The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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Her last sentence made him feel deeply uncomfortable. Something in his subconscious brought up these feelings. Many thoughts and emotions perforated his mind. He began to hear something within his own mind.
Suddenly a lighter voice entered into his mind, "If she hadn't knock us out of the bird we would still be a hero fighting for JUSTICE! But its not her fault. She didn't know."

Eobard: "Are you still here? I guess it may have been a little silly to believe I could beat personality to death. But hey, can't blame a guy for trying."

Barry: "You are awefully cavalier about me still existing."

Eobard: "Well, theres not a whole lot you can do about anything Barry. You step up to me and i'll put you right back down. This is my body now. You squandered it enough brother"

Barry: "You think you are doing a better job MURDERING PEOPLE?"

Eobard: "Yeah. You were too much of a puss to do what you needed to do not to get beaten or killed. That guy would have killed you in five seconds"

Barry: "I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN FIGHTING HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE!"

Eobard: "Good point. But you would have just gotten yourself killed trying to stop Bob from escaping instead of just helping, what would have likely happened anyway, go easier."

Barry: "But I would have died a hero instead of living as a villian."

Eobard: "Barry, you forget we share the same mind. I know that came from a holotape, even in your more lucid moments you couldn't put together a thought that complex without stealing it from something else."

I didn't think it would be like this either." He slugged her knocking her out cold on the floor. He lifted her up on his shoulder. "Lets get out of here Bob"

"Merchants huh? Do you have a plan for every kind of wasteland crazy that turns up?"

FalloutJack: Sure do.

"How many assets do we have now?"

FalloutJack: I dunno. Must be around 20-something now. We had kind of a weird upsurge, though we only tried this idea out as an experiment.

"What kind of guy pukes when he hears one word?"

FalloutJack: Someone conditioned in a Pavlovian manner? He instantly made the wrong conclusion about processing.

"You planning to keep these ones around?"

FalloutJack: Not sure. The Asset Program's a bit hit-or-miss. Still, it's worth a shot. I see someone tagged you for maintenance again. Every time FalloutScott does fieldwork, you seem to always be the fill-in guy. Ah well, she happens.

DING! The doors opened and Jack excused himself to his important work, which was running alot of the shit going on at this base when Number One wasn't doing the hands-on approach. As soon as William exited, he received a hardy slap on the back from someone that made the suit lurch only slightly, which meant it wasn't a powersuit.

"Yo, 37! How's it hangin'? I hear your tests are coming along well, that we might see a FalloutGeorge in the future."

Turning, William would discover possibly the strangest thing he'd ever seen yet. There was a pink-haired young woman here, one with a pair of horns jutting from her head at 45-degree angles andd lavender eyes. She was wearing combat boots, camou-styled pants, a navy-blue shirt, and a black flak-vest as well as a single re ring earring on her right ear. She was also carrying a large plasma rifle, bigger and tougher than the ones the usual soldiers were carrying. His helmet display actually called up information on her automatically.

It was a good thing he had this suit on, because its vision could also see the transparent sonic energy limbs coming from her back every now and again, which were listed as dangerous weapons. However, he was in isguise, so there weren't any problems.

Natsuki: Listen, I know this is out of the blue, but could you come to Bio-Lab 3 with me? Doctor-18 left some sort of plant experiment there and and it's been growing steadily while she's been out. Well, today..the fucker surprised a couple of our men, killed 'em, and eat 'em once the armor was pried off. Sounds to me like a torching's in order. Wanna go clean-up? Tell requisitions I sent ya and we'll take some Flamers to the party.

Whoa, from elevator music and irritating maintenance to the possibility of violence alongside a mysterious being all in one go! How did this happen? Meanwhile, back at the campsite, the 19th Asset of the Enclave was preparing too. He was thinking Dudley was going to get worse on him, do things violent or crazy. He was preparing for that with their medical supplies...

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Well, Crawver had stopped the music, and Abe had stopped, and so had their ghoul entourage...but there were a couple problems. First, they had a bunch of mean-looking rad-creatures around who were now looking very hungry. And second, they were in view of Rivet City, where-

"ATTENTION, PUNY HOOMANS! DIS BOAT IS NOW OUR PROPERTY, AND YOU IS OUR FRIDGE-MEATS! COOPERATE AND LIVE LONGER! DISOBEY AND YOU WILL DIE QUICKER! OH, AND WE'RE HUNGRY, SO DON'T TAKE LONG TO DECIDE! HAH HAH HAH HAAAH!!"

Well, ain't that a kick in the head... However, the ghouls suddenly got on their knees to chant about the Great Wet Ones. Dark clouds were beginning to form again... This could get...a bit weird soon.

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"What do you know about that giant crab?"

"Well, the others seem to think he's one of the Great Wet Ones, but I dunno. Looks more like just another crazed mutant animal to me."

Then, they all heard the noises and uhhh...the ghoul was thinking that maybe it wasn't safe enough to get out of here just yet. Still, they came out of there and that's when Wayne saw - in order - Nukezilla, a guy being flung from it, and Frank jetting from it as he backpeddled to get out of the fucking way. Good work! Becausse the beastie was actually going for a building that it had sprayed in blue, a building that Frank and gone through the window of. Speak of Frank, here is what HE saw now:

image

He saw a large-scale robot death machine sitting on its reverse-jointed legs using the building as cover, a building which it seems to hold together via numerous mechano-tendrils jutting from a series of small ports that use an addhesive agent to stick an then unstick from things, thus arranging rubble into the semblance of a wasteland building or something. The big eye of Metal Gear Box was staring right at Frank an it wasn't going to blink. It was sitting on its legs, which had tank treads, which meant that there was little to no clearance underneath unless it moved. Right now, one of the large three-fingered arms moved to punt him right back out the window! Then, regardless of whether that connected or not, priorities shifted. The enemy was near...

The building pieces were pushed aside as the machine revved to life, shoulder missles primed, secondary vulcan-arms ready, targeting scanner pinpointing every possible weakness in Nukezilla...as now everyone around could see the giant robot! Nukezilla charged even more furiously than before, and the MGB's treads propelled it forwards, vulcans blazing and missles firing at every joint the monster had, as well as the face. In the end, the giant crab still managed to reach the robot, and their clawed appendages locked in mortal combat. Machines are mae of sterner stuff than crab-claw, though, so the arms were bend back, and the vulcans were introduced to...well hey, there was another one of those Nuka Cola symbols underneath it too, in the belly area. It shot at them, and glowing juice geysered out of that as well.

No, the essence of the beast did not try to infect anyone. Though, the area might grow blue plants for a while. What followed, though, was a Brotherhood Vertibird dumping a ton of bombs on top of the beast and the robot, causing a Big McLargeHuge explosion! When the smoke cleare, however, the Box was covered in crab bits and it turned to Gilford's vertibird and blasted it with missles!

FalloutDavid: That is freakin' awesome.

Huh? Wayne, there's an Enclave dude ten feet behind you, watching the cool stuff going on while bits of his armor were smoking from a previous attack. And meanwhile, on top of an abandoned building...Gilford picked himself up, brushed off his powersuit, and sighed. They were gonna take that out of his paycheck...

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The problem with trying to trap Bob between lasers and fire was...only one of those was harmful to him. Namely, the suit he was wearing was giving him huge amounts of heat protection, thus making him nigh-immune to actual fire damage. It comes from being a Pyro Soldier. Hell, his suit could actually light up and burn things with a touch. So, after ducking or not-dducking-fast-enough Marlon's initial attacks, there were problems. Lucy showed up, then someone blew up Marlon's stuff and he went chasing after that guy, and then finally...among fires...

"Your scapegoat and Enclave Asset Unit-08 has arrived. Now, I'd appreciate it if I retained my cover here at the Brotherhood. People will think you overpowered me while I tried to take you on, if anyone asks questions. So to sell the story, I'm volunteering to be kidnapped."

The orange-highlighted Enclave armor seemed to notice her for the first time, or rather something in particular...

Bob: Ah, so there you are! Looks like someone's gone and done in your eye... Well, we'll just have to fix all that. Can't have an asset being unable to see, after all. Yes, that story works out fine. Let's a'go!

"Let's just say that their princess will be in another castle."

Just then, Barry came in and locked the door he came from, declaring that it was time to get the hell out of here.

FalloutBob: Barry, buddy! I knew you'd come around! Sorry about the leaving you part, but I had this fucking mission to quell the Doc!

The exchange that Barry and Lucy went through ended with him knocking her out on purpose and picking her up. Nodding at Barry, Bob flung a grenade at another door and blew it away, heading that way and then heading...

FalloutBob: Where are we going? We're going UP!

Seems like the Bobmeister was regaining a little of the spring in his step, but not enough to want to use his claymore. He just burned everyone in sight or threw grenades. Soon, he was up on the roof.

FalloutBob: Hello, Enclave! This is Bob here. Is there an transport in the vicinity?

-This is Davenport-1, Bob. You seen D-Prime anywhere?-

FalloutBob: Nnnope! Just pulled a daring escape here. Pick up over the Citadel while they're busy!

-You got it, chief.-

Soon, the black Vertibird that David Davidson had rode in on was heading into the area with guns blazing and back opening for Bob and Barry to get into, Lucy in tow. This was going to get...interesting.

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Uhhh, let's start with the Thorns, since the other guys left town. The gang of Paladins were leading most everyone who was staying in town over to the Lone Wanderer's place to hunker down and arm up. The men on the walls and the Deputies went on standby as Jake and the others entered the house. And what greeted them in there? Dogs. Quite a few of them. In this Pre-War style Megaton house, the descendants of Dogmeat were looked after like every quasi-wolf or quasi-wild dog should...by a flying robot whose voice sounded like Tim Curry.

Wadsworth: Good afternoon, everyone. How may I help you?

Jake: What the hell is going on here? Who are you?

Wadsworth: I am Wadsworth, the butler. I like to keep things tidy. The master left me in charge of this place until the good citizens of Megaton were to give it to someone else. Since that hasn't happened, I made it into the haven for his dog's offspring.

Sam: Why all the bobbleheads? No, better question. Why are you armed to the teeth?

Yes, Wadsworth currently had six arms and a more powerful hover engine. On those arms were a plasma gun, a ripper, a flamethrower, two gripping claws, and a cutting/welding torch. He explained that the master hadd spent a few nights tinkering on him and he woke up one dday like this.

Jake: Kid always was a strange one. Where's his spare weapons? We need to arm the town and arm it now. The Enclave are here and they're pissed.

Moe: A little worse than that. They're dropping Eyebots everywhere.

Sam: That's...weird. Wait, no. That's bad. They can go anywhere and shoot anyone on sight. Pop those eyes!

You heard the man. Meanwhile, the ammo stores were open and...Jesus, did this guy do nothing but colllect guns all the time?! Anyway, let's get to the other side of things, with Sylph and them. They had skipped town to get into Springvale with a load of the Eyebots around, having been dropped by the Enclave vertibirds instead of bombs. As for the battle business? They weren't hearing it before, but then they would hear the vertibirds shooting at some of the Megaton wall-defenders. Guess time was up after all... As for Johnny finding what looked like pre-war New York in the cellar...let's just hope that the figure in the dark holocaust cloak in the darkest corner of the room didn't have anything to say on that, nothing but gurgles anyway... This was the figure that the ghouls had been seeing lately. He always appeared around strangeness, it seems...

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This is Number One's personal room, his quarters. It's large like the receiving hall of a castle, but it's a metal room with the lights kept low and a red carpet leading to the metal throne where the black-and-red powersuit sits, its eye-lights low unless he awakens. Number One, taller than the rest, was awake now. He was aware of things around him, not the things here...but rather the happenings off in more distant places on the surface... He knew what was to come and soon...

"I can see the tearing of the world in two."

Just then, the green-highlighted FalloutJack entered from the sliding doors.

FalloutJack: Okay, I got the two guys from the campsite paranoid as all hell now, and we've dropped a bunch of our surplus Eyebots on onto Megaton. The funny thing is that we picked up on a guy we've been looking for, Johnny Truant. I assume you remember him.

"I remember him QUITE clearly. I believe we need to have a word with him... He made a man disappear...from existence."

FalloutJack: Oh, so you saw that, did you? Figure... Yeah, we need to get him under control, especially when he doesn't even know the story.

Just then, they were interrupted by a radio transmission from Bob, already in transit.

-Hellooo, Enclave vault! Bob here, back in action, that is as soon as I get over this rakking withdrawl! I'm coming back with some things of interest. I found Barry again and he's REALLY on our side now, pluuus I have you-know-who's daughter... You interested, JACK?-

FalloutJack: You have Isaac's daughter, gun and all, and after you made her an Asset? Oh yeah, I want words with her.

-Have a doc ready for an eye job, then have your fun, boyo...-

Bob signed off.

"Going to get it on, are you Jack?"

FalloutJack: 'Scuse me? She's around my daughter's age, and you know how I think about that.

"Interesting, considering the age of the woman who made that girl possible..."

FalloutJack: That's not the same and you know it. No, I'm going to do something...clever...with her.

Frank had been flicked.
Nobody flicks Frank.
Not even a colossal robot.
In mid-flight, Frank caught himself on the window-frame.
It would take more than that to kill Frank
He felt his left shoulder wrench slightly from the catch. He grabbed on with both hands, and held on for dear life as the building parts shifted to reveal a massive robot.
[Repair 100/100]Frank felt a little dirty about the feelings he felt towards this robot. He also felt it would be weird to destroy/disable it while he had such a large erection, but that's neither here nor there.
Frank knew a lot about robotics, and he came to some conclusions.
1. There were a few possibilities for how it was controlled. He doubted it was entirely autonomous since only an idiot would make their ultimate death-weapon able to turn against them. It didn't look to be designed to support a human crew. Purely radio-control is ineffective in combat scenarios, and this thing was clearly meant for combat, so no go on that possibility.
That meant it was a primitive AI basic enough that it couldn't make complex decisions like betrayal, and it received orders by radio.
2. It's hard to see if you're wearing a building. This meant some alternative form of detection. SONAR doesn't really work outside of the water. RADAR (RAdio Detection And Ranging if you're not familiar with what it is. This will matter) was a possibility. As was satellite images being radioed to it.
Frank had a plan. He activated his radio, and sent out a message.
"Three-Dog, this is Frank. I'm calling in my favor. Jam every frequency you can, for as long as you can. Use my guilty-pleasure tracklist if you can. (For the unfamiliar, radio-jamming works by simply sending a much more powerful radio-wave on as many frequencies as possible, thereby making those inaccessible to weaker signals.)

Springvale: The Cellar

"Tell me I'm not the only one that saw that!" Mister Johnny Shakes yelled to no one in particular.

"You're not the only one that saw that!!" The girl cloaked in red said as cheerfully and helpfully as she could as she looked about the room at the infinitely more interesting bits of stuff strewn all over the floor than an empty broom closet. Did she see New York getting bombed to shit? Who knows? But did it really matter? Not really. She was just happy that she had been so helpful to Mister Johnny Shakes.

These interesting bits that Sylphee was looking at? Well they looked like electronical doodads and widgets and thingers and stuffs made of glass and broken energy cells. Every little bit seemed broken, as if someone had been experimenting and breaking and fixing and hacking and building and breaking some more, every little bit except for something that the manic girl accidentally kicked with her foot as she walked around the dark and dusty cellar. It was cylindrical and made of metal bits with knobby doohickeys and glass bits. Looking through one end of the cylinder made Momy Meryl Barrel look very very far away while looking through the other side made her look very very close.

"Look what I found!" Slyph said as she showed the others the scope she had found before she placed it into her pack with all her worldly treasures.

Unbeknownst to all save the dead and one living person in the world, the trio had stepped into the Workshop of one Mister FalloutFancyPantsIsaac and Miss Big Sissy Lucy Blackjack from way back when. The very place where Miss Big Sissy Lucy Blackjack and her daddy dearest, Mister FalloutFancyPantsIsaac had created the now damaged Missus Gauss Rifle.

Of course, no one was really paying attention to the blue haired double ribboned pony tailed girl at the moment, they were probably paying attention to Mister Cloakity Cloak Ghoulified Man in the corner.

"Heeeeeeey! Whose zat?" Slyphee asked as she pointed at Mister Cloakity Cloak Ghoulified Man in the corner before waving at him in the friendliest way she knew how.

"Hi Mister Cloakity Cloak Ghoulified Man." She said in greeting, receiving nothing more than a gurgle in return.

"*Gurgle gurgle gurgle gurgle*" Sylphee gurgled, as she tried to greet Mister Cloakity Cloak Ghoulified Man in his own language.

The dull sensation of pain was the first bodily response that had arrived. This seemingly served as an alert to her growing consciousness.

Lucy was fortunate that the earlier simultaneous use of stimpacks and med-x were still running through her system. If it had not been for that particular combination, she wondered how much pain she would be in after Barry's unexpected punch.

Barry...something about him...had she really known him at all? Had she been deceived by someone else that she was growing to care for? No matter. It was par for the course at this point in her life.

Her vision returned and she quickly discovered that she was safely strapped into a seat. The interior was familiar: It was that of a Vertibird. A more spacious and luxurious version of what she had experienced compared to her time sniping Behemoths with the Brotherhood.

This all felt relatively familiar, yet so very wrong. To elaborate, she had "Barry" at her side once again, FalloutBob sitting across from her, rifle damaged and her depth of perception was significantly reduced. All of them contained in a Vertibird.

With a pained groan, she announced the fact that she was awake. "That makes us even, Barry. Give me more of a heads-up next time though." There was not even the slightest shred of positivity in Lucy's disposition or tone. It would be unnerving to anyone that had previously interacted with her, to notice such a drastic departure from her cheery or teasing tones and expressions.

Lucy was emotionally exhausted, frustrated, angry and...disillusioned. That was the best descriptor her mind could currently process. Yet in the midst of her suppressed emotional turmoil, she desperately clung to the desire for more answers, a confrontation with her mother and retribution for Isaac.

Her eye fixed its way directly on FalloutBob and with an almost aggressive edge to her voice, she addressed him. "It was one of your men, that took my vision." An eye for an eye. For whoever that particular Enclave soldier may be.

Closing her eye, she addressed FalloutBob once more in a significantly more relaxed manner. "Nevertheless Sir, thank you for bringing me home..." Hold it together, Lucy! "...my new home."

Lucy wondered if being the daughter of Fallout-Isaac would provide some sort of elevation in her status among their ranks. Notoriety or praise, either way: Fallout-Lucy had it's charm.


Lucy had been grappling with various methods of infiltrating the Enclave without the use of overt force for months now. At first she was motivated by finding her father's murderer. A question which the Brotherhood had surprisingly answered. Now it was confronting her Mother. She needed the full story.

The plan to rip them apart from the inside had to wait. She was in no position to carry out any sort of damage on her own. She would serve them as their Asset in the meantime. She had to discover more about the people that had shifted her life into the turmoil that it was today.

Everything was linked to the Enclave. And The Enclave unfortunately seemed to be the only constant in her life.

Stanley and Wayne hung on as the ground around them shook violently, beastly screams and mechanical moans filled the air, explosions sounded at a deafening volume. Stan tried shouting Wayne but to no avail, so he grabbed him and pulled him over to a hole that had been blown into the side of the building to watch the carnage unfold as the beast was blown apart by... A giant robot?

The noise died down as the mechanical menace seemed to be fighting the man who had flown into the building earlier, though it was hard to see the small metal man moving around the giant metal structure.

FalloutDavid: That is freakin' awesome.

Stan sighed before turning to level his sawn-off at the stranger, but as he turned Wayne grabbed the gun to stop him, giving him a hard stare to get the message Wayne's father gave him multiple times. Don't shoot at something you're not sure you can kill

Wayne turned his head to look at the man, keeping his back turned.

Wayne: Sure was. Enclave huh?

He said as he noticed the black, highlighted armour.

Wayne: I had a friend with ties to the Enclave y'know, he loved all kinds of technology, mainly stuff that could help people though.

He pulled up his 10mm pistol to his chest discretely in case his next response was one he didn't like, Stan saw this also and tightened his grip on the sawn-off. Contradicting his previous, telepathic message to Stan, Wayne knew their weapons wouldn't do a great job at putting this guy down, but if he were to attack they weren't going to stand by and let it happen. Wayne posed his question.

Wayne: Maybe you know him, his name is Arcade Gannon...

Danielle had lost her line of sight on Mr. Impotent. She knew where he was though, as there was a large amount of smoke that was steadily moving away from where he landed.
Priorities though.
[Perception]Crabs was down. This was good. There was a giant robot under the building Frank was in. This was bad. The giant robot had also shot down Gilford. This was bad. An Enclave Vertibird had landed atop the Citadel, and the Enclave capture who had un-captured himself was getting in with Frank's playmate. This was an opportunity for some catharsis.
Danielle switched to a max-charge cell, and switched to her upper rifle-barrel.
[Energy Weapons 100/75]Danielle lined up a shot on the strut connecting the left rotor to the fuselage.
Danielle had learned in the last Enclave conflict that the strut was not only the weakest part of the Vertibird, but that disabling either of the rotors would sent it crashing to the ground in a spectacular fashion. Frank had once explained to her that it had something to do with the fact that with only a single rotor in the center, the entire helicopter would spin, so a second rotor would be necessary for that type of flight. She didn't really get it all though. Leave the engineering to the knights and scribes.
The moment it was far enough away that it crashing/exploding wouldn't harm the citadel, or anyone in it, there would be a fireworks display.

Eobard clutched his wound sat back in his seat. He slowly began pulling out a match and cigar that he had swiped in his mass looting spree from his bag. He flicked the match against his chest and brought it to the end of the cigar before shaking out the fire. After a few puffs he sat back up and took it out and span it between his fingers. The words Bob told him finally sank in now that Eobard had finished arguing with himself. "No hard feelings about leaving me. It all worked out for the best anyway. I wouldn't be here right now without that decision." Lucy's words came quickly there after.
LUCY: "That makes us even, Barry. Give me more of a heads-up next time though."
EOBARD: "You didn't exactly give me a heads up when you pushed me out of a vertibird. If I had warned you, we wouldn't be even."
Lucy: "It was one of your men, that took my vision."
EOBARD: "Dang Lucy, you got to learn to roll with the punches. I wouldn't have done anything retribution wise if you hadn't asked me to. Vengeance is not a good way to live a long healthy life. As goes the old adage about digging two graves when you seek it. You appeared to be on the wrong side, you got shot. It happens. You didn't die, so theres nothing to be so aggressive about. I recommend being a little less vengeful and a little bit more pragmatic. THATS how you survive in the wastes. You can't exactly afford to burn bridges out here."

The Cellar

"Someone's there, Slyph?" Johnny asked, snapping to attention and leveling his lever action to where Slyph was pointing.

"All right, asshole," Johnny said, oddly calm, "Shut that toy off, we know you're there."

The ghoul didn't move, but he did shut off the stealth boy he'd been packing. He looked unarmed, but... something about him set Johnny on edge.

"What've you got there?" Johnny said, still unbelievably calm, given the circumstances and the past few minutes.(1)

The ghoul only seemed to mutter something in gibberish. Johnny crept closer to the ghoul. Johnny moved to turn the ghoul's shoulder, and that's when the ghoul jumped up and revealed that he was holding onto a detonator.

"SLYPH! GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE NOW!" Johnny yelled, his eyes going wide as his calm abandoned him again, already rushing to push her out of the cellar, he shot the lock that was keeping the door shut and kicked it open.

Just before the ghoul let go of the detonator and set off the bomb he'd been hiding under his cloak, he yelled, "NOTHING WILL CLAIM US ALL!"

Once out, Johnny checked to make sure Slyph was still at his side. And for once, he'd managed not to accidentally grope her, and instead, had his hand on her shoulder.

"Are you okay?" he smiled weakly at her.

(1) Almost out of character for him. Wouldn't you say? Heh.

Springvale: The Cellar

"SLYPH! GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE NOW!" Mister Johnny Shakes yelled, his eyes going wide as his calm abandoned him again.

"Wait. What's he got in his hands? What's going on Mister Johnny Shakes? Ow! Ow! Ow! Why are you pushing me? That's not very nice Mister Johnny Shakes." The Red Cloaked Girl yelled, her eyes glistening in the darkness as Mister Johnny Shakes seemed to be yelling at her for no reason at all. What did she do? Did she say something wrong? Was *gurgle gurgle gurgle gurgle gurgle* some sort of curse word because if it was, Mister Johnny Shakes was being a *gurgle gurgle gurgle gurgle gurgle* right now.

"Ow! Ow! Ow! That still hurts Mister Johnny Shakes!" The girl with sky blue hair yelled as he she was being shoved up towards the cellar door and deafened by Mister Lever Action Rifle as Mister Johnny Shakes kicked the door open and dragged her back out into Springvale where the Tiny Floatity Float Eyebots were still rampaging and now the Twirlybirds were shooting at Megaton.

"Kerpow!!!!" Said Missus Hidden Explosive Package as Mister Cloakity Cloak Ghoulified Man in the corner dropped Detonator Junior causing the Safe Spot to be exploded.

To Sylph's amazement, Mister Johnny Shakes, Mommy Meryl Barrel and Sylph seemed to be walking away from the Exploded Cellar without so much as a scratch, even though there were little bits of flaming wood falling on Sylphee's exposed skin. She didn't mind though. Mister Johnny Shakes was smiling at her and asking her something that she couldn't quite understand over the ringing.

"Are you okay?" he smiled weakly at her though to the girl's ringing ears, Mister Johnny Shakes was saying "I've got some grey!"

"No you don't Mister Johnny Shakes! Your hair looks great!" The girl screamed at Mister Johnny Shakes, making sure that she could be heard over the rude ringing noise that seemed to be following them.

So, there they were, Mister Johnny Shakes, Mommy Meryl Barrel and Sylph and a bunch of Tiny Floatity Float Eyebots that were looking at Mister Johnny Shakes, Mommy Meryl Barrel and Slyph.

"Mister Johnny Shakes, Mommy Meryl Barrel. Why are the Tiny Floatity Float Eyebots staring at us?" The girl asked as she grabbed one out of the air and stared right back at it.

BZZZZZT!!!

"Ow! Ow! Ow!" The girl cried as she was zapped by some sort of stun zapper, causing her to throw Tiny Floatity Float Eyebot at another one of the Tiny Floatity Float Eyebots, the two of them going BOOM! when they crashed into each other, which caused another one to go BOOM! and another and another and another and another and another and another. If Mister Johnny Shakes and Mommy Meryl Barrel were planning on leaving Springvale quietly, a bunch of Tiny Floatity Float Eyebots going BOOM! was definitely not the way to do it.

"Uh oh!" The Girl in Red said as she spooted a Twirlybird heading right for them.

"You can't exactly afford to burn bridges out here."

Those words were met with a break in eye-contact and a completely dismissive answer. "I'll burn whatever I wish, whoever-you-may-be."

This was not the Barry that she had briefly known. She couldn't explain it directly, but her intuition picked out a significant departure from his previous attitude and even the way in which he held himself. Had he simply dropped his cover identity?

Again, no matter.

Lucy formally addressed FalloutBob one more time as a reminder struck her.

"One more thing, Sir. You told me find out any information on the Brotherhood's next move? Bethesda Ruins. That's where The Brotherhood have narrowed down The Doc's location. We were going to be sent in to deal with him. They were preparing a huge assault to serve as a distraction while we made our way inside."

As a situation evolves, sometimes you have to create new alliances by offering something towards the relationship.


Overjoyed to see her Mother, Amy Kane. Lucy had stars in her eyes when she found out that she would be staying the week while her Father was away on business.

She missed her Mother so much and Lucy had so many stories to share about her recent studies, the boy she had met in the neighborhood and the weapons that she had been practicing with.

Day 1: 09:00 AM

Lucy had been attacked in her sleep. "Evaluation: Unit failed to protect itself. Failure."

Day 1: 10:00 AM

Lucy had been restrained to a chair and begged for her life. "Evaluation: Unit failed to endure spontaneous emotional dominance and physical pressure. Failure."

Day 3: 11:12 AM

Lucy was still strapped to the chair, she was deprived of food and water. She was subsequently shocked awake with a cattle-prod every time she had succumbed to sleep. "Evaluation: Unit shows decreased weakness and heightened emotional response after basic nutrient, necessity and sleep deprivation. Failure."

Day 3: 12:56 PM

After being freed, she had raw brahmin meat and two bottles of dirty water thrown to the floor, Lucy showed no shame in eating or drinking what was given to her. The crackle of a smaller taser, motivated Lucy to eat faster. "Evaluation: Unit accepted external aid, regardless of content. Success."

Day 3: 14:00 PM

Lucy was shouted at, grabbed by the hair and dragged to the bathtub. She was told not to struggle.

She struggled.

She struggled when her head was submerged underwater. The process of allowing her to briefly catch her breath before being submerged again was repeated at 15 second intervals until the water finally filled her lungs. She had succumbed to the torture's influence. "Evaluation: Unit failed to follow orders. Failure."

Day 3: 22:00 PM

Lucy awoke, frightened and exhausted. She was told that her Father was killed. His bloodied clothing was presented as evidence. Uncontrollably, she had burst into tears, hugging her Dad's favorite coat, now stained with blood and refused to speak or move. "Evaluation: Psychological manipulation rendered the Unit catatonic. External notes: The Unit cannot differentiate human blood from that of a Molerat's. Failure."

Day 4: 5:41 AM

Lucy was dragged to her Father's workshop, which was actually just a cellar beneath the house. Still unresponsive, she was strapped to a chair and injected with Psycho and her reactions were monitored and timed. The same process was done every hour for Med-X, Jet, Turbo, Mentats and even Buffout. The last chem involved her having to to be shocked on a more continuous basis with the cattle-prod to keep her breaking the chair. "Evaluation: Unit shows a surprising resistance to chemical agents. Success."

Day 5: 7:00 AM

Lucy was told to effectively lie and present methods in which she would manipulate people in various hypothetical situations. Initially, she was unresponsive, so she was beaten and stripped of her clothing. Asked again, she opened her dried cracked lips to respond as best as she could. She was slapped and berated every time she got an answer wrong. Yet her mind quickly adjusted to the ruthless thought process expected of her. "Evaluation: Unit had mixed results on the initial verbal exam. The Unit showed drastic improvement when pressured under physical shame. Success."

Day 6: 10:00 AM

Lucy stood naked before the boy she had a crush on. This time, he was strapped to the chair and Lucy held a 10mm pistol in her hands. She was given two choices: Shoot the limbs, hands and feet, allowing him to bleed to death. If so, she would be allowed to eat, drink and bathe. Kill him swiftly and she would be denied all benefits.

Lucy chose to torture the boy she wanted to kiss. His blood splattered her naked body after each gunshot, yet her face did not show any emotional inflection. She wanted to eat.

"Evaluation: The Unit has successfully followed orders with no complaints and committed her first murder of someone that she cares for without hesitation. Success."

Day 7: 08:00 AM

The day was spent repeating failed tests. Fending off surprise attacks, enduring being restrained and deprived, allowing herself to be tortured with no struggle, answering hypothetical manipulation tactics revolving around people correctly.

This was repeated until Lucy had successfully completed every test. "Evaluation: Unit has completed all the tests successfully. The Unit has improved in efficiency, willingness to follow orders and abandon emotional commitments. Special Note: Emotional commitment to an individual was easier to break after her first murder."

"Overall report: Recommended as an acceptable candidate for recruitment into Project-A. Initial force necessary for Asset motivation. Psychological evaluation complete."

Day 7: 23:16 PM

Lucy finally broached the question while her Mother was preparing to leave, packing away the various holotapes that she had used and marked with different numbers and incomprehensible notes attached. "Why did you do this to me?"

Amy Kane looked at her daughter with a twisted sense of pride. "To prepare you, my darling."

Fearing another beating if she didn't restrain herself, she simply asked. "To prepare me for what?"


Inside the Vertibird, Lucy opened her eye as the memory faded away.

To prepare me for this, Mother. To prepare me for the things I may have to do one day.

Even if Danielle did not understand Morse code, contextual clues would make "Stop, Don't shoot!" pretty clear.
The Enclave soldier in there had already killed too many people however, and she couldn't risk him getting away to kill again.
Danielle shook her head. She was maintaining her shot.
"Sorry."
Hopefully he would get off before things got bad for him.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Frank stood beneath 60 feet of robot.
[Perception]It only shot down Gilford after he dropped a bomb near it. It seemed to be acting mostly in self-preservation.
[Intelligence]Frank had already nullified any system of radio tracking. This left visual detection (one big eye that he could stay on the other side of) audio detection (On a chaotic battlefield, one person will not be noticed) and thermal detection...
Frank ran around to the other side of the robot, as it continued ignoring him.
Frank was never going to forgive himself for this.
Frank covered himself in the blue-goo all around him.
Nuka Cola Quantum. Somehow the people at the Nuka Cola corporation found a way to make Nuka even worse.
Frank was now sticky, blue, smelly, and mildly radioactive. The armor's radiation resistance meant it wouldn't really matter for a while.

Somewhere between Vault 101 and whatever's left of Megaton at this point.

Johnny couldn't think about how to word his response to anything Slyph just asked him, so he kept silent, and watched as the army of eyebots started to slowly tear Megaton down. It was like watching a legion of flying ants demolishing a rival termite mound... with lasers.

"Megaton doesn't stand a chance, poor bastards." Johnny said, letting himself fall back onto the ground, and laying down his head to rest on a nearby rock. When he spoke again, his voice was trembling, and his eyes were starting to water, "Reminds me of this one time where I got conned into joining a Karate Tournament in the ruins of Brisbane, Australia. You see, I had been trying to reach Catalina Island off the coast of California. Not for any reason in particular, just because I wanted to be somewhere else. From what I hear, its like Point Lookout out here... but minus the crazies, and plus a LOT of beautiful women. Heh... probably all bullshit, but hey, gotta hope for something in this stupid world, right?"

Johnny paused and tried to chuckle. It came out as more of a whimpering cough.

"Anyway," he cleared his throat and cracked his neck from side to side, "I was trying to get to Catalina in a rowboat when a fucking huge storm hit me out of nowhere and blew me so far off course that I couldn't tell where California was let alone where Catalina was. Also... lost my compass in the storm. It was a piece of shit, but it was sort of useful and it had set me back more caps that I'd like to admit wasting on the damn thing."

Johnny trailed off again, and hugged his knees closer to him.

"So as I was saying," he stretched his arms and legs a little before resting his crossed arms back on the top of his knees, "I spent the next four days trying to get my bearings, my limited supplies already dwindling. I'd started resorting to rationing my fresh water, and taking small sips of sea water to keep me going. Food ran out pretty fast despite my best efforts... motherfucking seagulls."

Johnny got up and started pacing in a circle around Slyph.

"That's when The Captain found me," he said, rubbing his forehead, "I was half dead when he found me, but he, being the kind of person that never misses out on an opportunity to turn someone into his slave," Johnny shot a glare back to the cellar from which he figured the Cold Bitch was slowly clawing her way out of, "pulled me onto his ship and nursed me back to health. Once I was up and running, he told me, in his nearly incomprehensible Scottish-Franco accent, that I owed him big time and that if I didn't want to be thrown back overboard - after being 'relieved' of all my possessions, I was gonna have to work off the debt on his smuggling tanker."

Johnny stopped pacing and leaned against the side of a ruined house that didn't look too unstable.

"So what was I supposed to do? Say no?" Johnny continued, folding his arms together and staring at the sky, "Spent the next few months getting work done on his tanker, rigging, navigation, janitorial crap... other stuff..." Johnny shivered at that point for no apparent reason, "Eventually, we set anchor just outside Brisbane. Yeah... half of Australia wound up flooded sometime after the bombs hit. Don't know why."

He coughed, and took a few gulps of water from a hidden flask.

"Set down in Brisbane for a while. The Captain had business there, and..." Johnny paused, as if to consider how to phrase the next part of his tale, "I'd been doing a decent enough job on the tanker that the old bastard started paying me. He said I'd worked off most of the debt, and figured he could give me a little back now. Sure... sure."(1)

"Hmm... no." Johnny said after a minute's break, "That's not right... the old sonofabitch was too greedy to actually pay me. Well... he did... if you count food as a currency." Johnny let out a bitter laugh, "I'd actually been wiping the floor with the other crew members at Omaha Hold'Em. Of course, I'd been cheating my way through every game... and it was only as we hit Brisbane that they'd all figured out what I'd been up to.

Johnny chuckled nervously.

"I..." he stopped, as if struggling to remember some of the details, "I'd just managed to give the bastards the slip when I bumped into a giant musclebound idiot. He acted tough but I managed to floor him in seven seconds flat. Guess I should've been more suspicious of that on reflection..." he let out a short bitter laugh, "That's... that's when his tallish partner pops up out of nowhere. Never got his name, but he had a habit of spitting words out faster than an auctioneer and he always wore the sweetest looking hats. Still don't know where he got'em."

"Anyway," Johnny went on, "he introduces himself as Trilby and his muscled partner as Punching Bag. Apparently, I'd just passed some kind of audition, and they were offering to pay me 50 caps a fight. Figuring I could get enough money to buy my way back to the States, I agreed. For the next month, I kept winning fight after fight in the ring."

"Heh, should've seen it coming really," Johnny grins, "It was all a scam of course, but I was stupid enough to go along with it. Towards the end of their con, they told me they'd been rigging the fights in my favor, and then told me that I should bet on myself. So, naturally, being the astounding idiot that I am, I bet everything that night. Guess who was there to meet me in the ring?"

"Yep," Johnny said not really waiting for a response, "Punching Bag. This time, he knocks me out cold by the second round. While Trilby was splashing water in my face, I muttered about how it was a crying shame... how I was planning to use my money to buy some stuff that was worth 1000% on the street. Punching Bag won the match and they were originally going to leave me to be lynched to death by the mob of angry betters, but my little gambit worked. They dragged me over to a bar and grilled me on what the fuck I'd been babbling about. So I led them right back to the Captain. So, we get back to the ship, and the old bastard just stands there and laughs as the crew tries to gang-gank me. Somehow, during all of that, I managed to tell the Captain about the two I'd brought here. Buyers, I told him... that'd managed to steal all my money, most of which was, in essence his and the crew's money. That got the bastard to tell his crew to lay off. So he started filling Trilby and Punching Bag up with stories of 'birds of paradise', and 'wonders of the Big Empty'."

"Turns out, they were as big idiots as I was, and they bought several crates of the crap we'd been lugging around. And well... longer story short... I eventually made it back to the States by... other means... and that's why Australia is now known as 'Isla Cazadore."

That's when Johnny saw the Cold Bitch's hand sticking out of the rubble. Johnny rolled his eys, groaned, and reached over to pull her out. Then, when he found that she wasn't breathing... he cursed to himself.

"Okay, Slyph," he said, "Don't hit me because I know CPR and can save your 'mommy', but you should know... she's a cold-hearted bitch that'll milk you for all you're worth and then leave you to die when you're no more use to her. So watch out kiddo."

With that, Johnny started pushing on Berly's chest with both hands, and occasionally stopping to push air from his lungs into hers. He kept repeating this process over and over again, and the longer it went on, the less Johnny understood why he was trying to save the Cold Bitch, again.

(1) That last bit was a verbal tic that Mr. Truant has had ever since he broke out of the crib.

Somewhere out there, between Springvale and Megaton:

"That's when The Captain found me," Mister Johnny Shakes said, rubbing his forehead, "I was half dead when he found me, but he, being the kind of person that never misses out on an opportunity to turn someone into his slave," Mister Johnny Shakes shot a glare back to the cellar from which he figured Mommy Meryl Barrel was slowly clawing her way out of, "pulled me onto his ship and nursed me back to health. Once I was up and running, he told me, in his nearly incomprehensible Scottish-Franco accent, that I owed him big time and that if I didn't want to be thrown back overboard - after being 'relieved' of all my possessions, I was gonna have to work off the debt on his smuggling tanker."

Just as Mister Johnny Shakes had failed to respond to any of Sylph's questions, Sylph was barely able to muster a response as she watched Mister Black Twirlybird swooped towards them with his pew pew pew guns blazing, causing the ground to explode while Mister Johnny Shakes told his story. Even as he was engrossed in telling this story, Sylph found herself unable to take her eyes of off Mister Black Twirlybird, she wasn't trying to be rude to Mister Johnny Shakes, Sylphee was sure that the story was interesting as she tugged on his shirt for a moment to get Mister Johnny Shakes' attention.

"Anyway," Mister Johny Shakes cleared his throat and cracked his neck from side to side, "I was trying to get to Catalina in a rowboat when a fucking huge storm hit me out of nowhere and blew me so far off course that I couldn't tell where California was let alone where Catalina was. Also... lost my compass in the storm. It was a piece of shit, but it was sort of useful and it had set me back more caps that I'd like to admit wasting on the damn thing."

It was at this point that the Cloaked Red Girl started waving her arms in Mister Johnny Shakes' face in order to get his attention as she screamed "HEY HEY HEY HEY MISTER JOHNNY SHAKES!!!"

"So as I was saying," Mister Johnny Shakes stretched his arms and legs a little before resting his crossed arms back on the top of his knees, "I spent the next four days trying to get my bearings, my limited supplies already dwindling. I'd started resorting to rationing my fresh water, and taking small sips of sea water to keep me going. Food ran out pretty fast despite my best efforts... motherfucking seagulls."

Mister Johnny Shakes got up and started pacing in a circle around Slyph, which was probably a good thing since the pew pew pew bullets from Mister Twirlybird started making the ground around them start 'sploding. Mister Johnny Shakes was so engrossed in his monologue, he probably didn't notice the terrible thing what happened next.

"So what was I supposed to do? Say no?" Mister Johnny Shakes continued, folding his arms together and staring at the sky, looking the opposite direction of Mister Black Twirly Bird, "Spent the next few months getting work done on his tanker, rigging, navigation, janitorial crap... other stuff..." Johnny shivered at that point for no apparent reason, "Eventually, we set anchor just outside Brisbane. Yeah... half of Australia wound up flooded sometime after the bombs hit. Don't know why."

Bloooooood. The smell of it permeated the air around Sylphee as she suddenly stopped moving and started looking rather very much embarrassed. Of all the times that Mommy Nature had to come remind the Cloaked girl that she was a woman, of all the times that Mommy Nature had to stop by and say, "Hi Sylphee!" it just had to be now? Standing there, the girl in red was frozen in terror by the red that was to come which, hopefully, Mister Johnny Shakes didn't notice.

It was at this point that Sylphee really had to stop paying attention to Mister Johnny Shakes' speak since she only had a matter of moments to react. She wasn't trying to be rude mind you. She wasn't trying to ignore the fact that she had no idea where this Australia was, she wasn't trying to even ignore the fact that Mister Johnny Shakes had been responsible for turning this Australia place into Cazadore Island. None of that at all. What Sylphee was intent on was dumping off of her prized possessions on the ground and looking for a feminine hygiene product and a change of underpanties.

"Yep," Mister Johnny Shakes said not really waiting for a response, "Punching Bag. This time, he knocks me out cold by the second round. While Trilby was splashing water in my face, I muttered about how it was a crying shame... how I was planning to use my money to buy some stuff that was worth 1000% on the street. Punching Bag won the match and they were originally going to leave me to be lynched to death by the mob of angry betters, but my little gambit worked. They dragged me over to a bar and grilled me on what the fuck I'd been babbling about. So I led them right back to the Captain. So, we get back to the ship, and the old bastard just stands there and laughs as the crew tries to gang-gank me. Somehow, during all of that, I managed to tell the Captain about the two I'd brought here. Buyers, I told him... that'd managed to steal all my money, most of which was, in essence his and the crew's money. That got the bastard to tell his crew to lay off. So he started filling Trilby and Punching Bag up with stories of 'birds of paradise', and 'wonders of the Big Empty'."

By the way, Mister Black Twirlybird was still heading right for them with its pew pew pew guns blazing.

CLATTER-CLATTER-CLATTER-CLATTER Went Sylphee's stuff as she started digging through the piles and piles and piles and piles and pile and piles of stuff until she found one of the items that she was looking for.

"Stampax! It Stamps the S*** out of Periods!" The blue haired girl remembered the box reading as she pulled the object out from the piles. With that item safe and secure, she smiled brightly as she looked for a cleanity clean pair of underpanties.

"Turns out, they were as big idiots as I was, and they bought several crates of the crap we'd been lugging around. And well... longer story short... I eventually made it back to the States by... other means... and that's why Australia is now known as 'Isla Cazadore."

"YAAAAAAAAAAY!!!" Sylphee exclaimed as she found the second item that she had been looking for as she tried to pull it out of the pile that it was stuck in while trying to remove the soiled ones that she was wearing. It was stuck stuck stuck stuck stuck! Why was it stuck?!?!? Panicking, Sylphee pulled hard on the pink polkadotted panties and freed them from the pile, as well as the object that had been holding them in place.

"Okay, Slyph," Mister Johnny Shakes said, "Don't hit me because I know CPR and can save your 'mommy', but you should know... she's a cold-hearted bitch that'll milk you for all you're worth and then leave you to die when you're no more use to her. So watch out kiddo."

Sorry Mister Johnny Shakes, Sylphee was still not paying attention as she used was in the process of yanking her ew ew ew bloody blood soiled undies off from around her ankles as she watched the object that had been holding her clean ones hostage twirl in the air and hit the ground before going THUMP!!!

The object happened to be Mister 40mm Grenade Launcher and Mister 40MMM Grenade Launcher had just hocked a metal spit ball at Mister Black Twirlybird.

KAAAAA--BOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

Mister Black Twirlybird Kaboomed as Sylphee pulled up her nice new pair of pink spotted undies and watching as Mister Black Twirlybird went SMASH-SMASH-SMAAASH! into the ground. Turning around, the girl in red spotted Mister Johnny Shakes kissing Mommy Meryl Barrel.

"Oh my gosh! You're my daddy now Daddy Johnny Shakes?!?!"

Outside the Cellar

Johnny continued performing CPR on Beryl. Against every instinct, shred of common sense, and just plain hatred telling him not to.

"Oh my gosh! You're my daddy now Daddy Johnny Shakes?!?!"

"Sorry kiddo. I still hate this 'mommy' of yours." Johnny said in between attempts at CPR, "Not kissing her, just trying to save her life because... fuck if I know!"

After a few more minutes of this, Johnny thought he heard Beryl cough and and start breathing again. So he stopped trying CPR on her.

"Guess that does it then." Johnny got up and pointed his rifle in the general direction of the landing vertibird.

"Wouldn't worry too much about that thing, Slyph," he said, "If they wanted to blow us up, they'd have done so by now. And if they had any more troopers to deploy, they'd already be out by now. Nope... all that's left in that vertibird is an officer and a pilot. Hmm... hey... Slyph? Want to help me steal that thing?"

Just as Johnny predicted, as soon as the vertibird landed, an Enclave officer stepped out and walked towards the trio of... WTF? The officer was wearing the standard tesla armor that the Enclave was known for, but this guy was apparently arrogant enough to not wear a helmet.

"Ah, Mr. Truant," the smug blondie said, getting closer, "Good to see you're still in one piece. Our leader wants a word with you."

"Yeah well," Johnny said, "He can go fuck himself."

"Now now," he said, "Is that anyway to address someone with an army at their fingertips?"

Johnny laughed.

"Army? You fucking kidding me?" he laughed again, still keeping his rifle trained on the officer, "You've already sent what little you had into Megaton. And that worked out so well for you that you had to send in the eyebots. You might have had some decent numbers, but your strategy sucks. Which is why you got your men killed. Now... why does your 'leader' want to see me? If its a job, officer, he can really go fuck himself. I hated the Enclave even before you assholes started chasing me around."

Johnny stepped closer to the officer, still keeping his rifle fixed on the officer, who was starting to visibly sweat now.

"Here's how its going to work..." Johnny trailed off, then called out to Slyph, "Slyph! Grab this asshole! We're taking his bird!"

Outside The Cellar: The Heist!!

"Here's how its going to work..." Papa Johnny Shakes trailed off, then called out to Slyph, "Slyph! Grab this asshole! We're taking his bird!"

"Okie dokie Papa Johnny Shakes!" The Girl Cloaked in Red yelled as she charged Mister Enclave Power Pants Man as fast as she could causing her Red Cape to billow behind her like - like - like A CAPE!! Faster and faster she ran, closing the gap between them as she did, her sky blue eyes hyper focused on grabbing the man like Papa Johnny Shakes told her to.

"(Grab the asshole! Grab the asshole! Grab the asshole! Grab the asshole! Grab the asshole!)" The thought repeated itself in her mind over and over and over and over and over again as Sylphee got closer and ever closer to Mister Enclave Power Pants Man

GRAB!!!

"I got him! I got him!" The Blue Pony tailed girl yelled as she smiled big and proud of herself to Papa Johnny Shakes as she held on tightly to Mister Enclave Power Pants Man's Power Armor Covered calf.

Mister Enclave Power Pants Man must have been super strong or something because -

KERPOW!!

A boot to Sylphee's face sent her flying backwards towards the ground. Papa Johnny Shakes was probably embarrassed of such a performance wasn't he?

"HAHAHAHAHAH!" Haha'd Mister Enclave Power Pants Man as he cleaned a bit of spit off of his boot and spotted something glittering on the ground - a glittering red gem'd choker.

HUMMMMMMMMMM

"Not laughing now are you?" Asked a stormy voice as Sylph grabbed the barrel of the Enclave Officer's weapon and pulled on it much harder than the man had been expecting, causing his body to pitch forward as he landed on his chest. Lucky for him, that would be the last thing he would hear as the Plasma Pistol discharged, sending a green bolt of plasma crashing into the man's chest. The plasma cascaded outwards from the point of impact until the Enclave Officer's body was totally consumed and left nothing behind, except for a bubbling puddle of green goo.

Looking at Johnny Truant, Sylph nodded as she headed towards the Black Vertibird, twisting her wrist as she triggered the razor sharp lawn mower blade to extend from her red sleeve.

A couple screams and a splash of blood all over the Vertibird windshield later, the formerly Enclave Vertibird was in their possession.

Heading back towards her items, Sylph packed up her belonging and gestured to Johnny and Beryl to get in.

"Where are we going?" Slyph asked in a voice that sounded something like howling winds and heavy rain as she powered on the bird.

Outside the Cellar

Johnny slung Beryl's limp but breathing body over his shoulder and carried her into the vertibird, where he found a pair of handcuffs, and chained her to a pipe running from the floor to the ceiling before strapping her into a seat. Then, he carefully disarmed her... had to make sure she didn't try to shoot at everything that moved when the Bitch came to.

In the cockpit

Johnny strapped himself into a seat on the left-hand side of the cockpit and offered Slyph the seat next to him.

Where are we going?" said Slyph in a voice that reminded Johnny of a hurricane he'd once been stuck in for a month.

"GNR, I think," he said, "ThreeDog and I go way back... and he's gonna want to hear about this. Might give us some caps or at least supplies. Just... watch yourself, he was wandering eyes and hands."

And the charisma of Elvis Presley on riddilin.

I took this opportunity to step in again. I turned to face Slyph, and addressed her calmly and politely in a voice that could destroy worlds and shatter sanity.

"Hello there dearie," I said, smiling, "I was hoping we could have a chance to talk. More or less face-to-face. You're not at all like that bundle of energy and... insipid curiosity that Mr. Truant seems to adore... for whatever idiot reason of his. So... I wonder, do you have any idea how you came to be... shackled like this?"

"Aaahh! Um.. hey there." Stuttered William, surprised at the multi-coloured person that fate had thrown at him. Pink, blue, black, MASSIVE PLASMA RIFLE. Who was this person? The helmet display sorted that conundrum out pretty quickly. William thought it was very cool to have a HUD and liked looking at people to make their information pop up. When things are as bad as they can be sometimes a helmet that tells you who somebody is can make all the difference.

This Natsuki Manriki seemed to know #37 quite well and was inviting him to a party with flamethrowers and man-eating plants. How could anyone refuse that? Perhaps it was more of a question of how could anyone refuse Natsuki? When a lady with horns and the most "I'm so happy I could disintegrate you right on the spot and laugh all day" attitude in the world asks you to go burning deadly plants with her, you go.

"Clean up? Sure I'd be up for that. Let's go get some fire." Hoping that Natsuki would lead the way, William tried his best "Go on, it's your show" gesture while wearing Power Armour, how did the Enclave do this all day? On another note, it would allow William to learn some of the layout of the base and learn more about how to imitate #37. Natsuki seemed to know #37 so a little bit of info would be useful.

===========================================================================================

While Asset 18 was getting orderly with the alcohol, Asset 19 was getting orderly with the medical supplies. He checked his first aid kit, unpacking and examining every item, then repacking them to his liking. Asset 19 liked well ordered equipment, it came with being a scribe. A place for everything and everything in its place. All things should work as best they could from robots to teams to packing systems.

This was the calm before the storm, Asset 18 had not finished drinking, he had not even looked up since he had started, or acknowledged there was another at the campsite. This was not good, a wave of pent up rage from the big guy was about to hit. Two bottles of moonshine to go, Asset 18's head was spinning and his speech was slurred, but the sentiment was solid.

*GLUG*GLUG*GLUG*GLUG*

Now that may have been the wasteland record for fastest consumption of moonshine. Asset 18 stood up a little unsteadily, puffed out his chest and pointed at Asset 19. "You, I want to talk to you."

Asset 19 sighed and glanced over, trying not to look for too long. "What about?" Though he knew exactly what about.

"Oh you know, because I've had it with you. We were fine until y'all showed up and tried doing something. I had a pretty damn good thing going as a merc, I was tough. Folks knew to stay outta my way or do what I want. I used to be a somebody that nothin' bad ever happened to. Sure I'd get into a few scrapes but I always came out swingin' and happy. I got my simple jobs done and I got my simple pay. Things were goin' well. Then you show up, suddenly I... I'm wanderin' around an Enclave base and coulda been killed any second by the folk I was talkin' to. I ain't no professor or doctor or fancy Brotherhood scribe like you but I know when I'm in over my head. I know when I'm up against something I can't beat. Something tougher than me scares me, I don't want no business with no Enclave. It was all a bit of harmless fun oh we can be assets but those people are stone cold killers. When we were last here you sent some guy in there and told him it'd all be fine but it aint! He's dead, we're workin' for the enemy and we didn't even get anything for your people. We can't try again so we've failed.

I'm not Enclave Asset 18, I'm Dudley. You aint Enclave Asset 19 you're an asshole. A stupid, pompous, stuck up little shit of a scribe that lets everyone else tell him what to do and aint fit to lick dust off my boots. So like I said, I'VE HAD IT WITH YA!" Upon saying these words Dudley ran straight at Evan (through the fire I may add) and wildly swung at him, punching him in the jaw. Dudley raised his fist to punch Evan again...

The Cockpit

Beryl coughed up a black splatter of something nasty and spat it across the room. She delicately tried to move her hands, only to find them chained in place. Sitting in front of her was Johnny, showing off as usual. It was then that she recognised the taste of whiskey and hard drugs on her lips. It didn't take her too long to connect the dots.

"Well, I knew it was only a matter of time before one of us would end up locked in your sex dungeon," she said to Johnny, "But I didn't expect to be your first choice."

She spat up the back of Johnny's chair. It then occurred to her they were no longer in the dusty cellar, but in a vertibird - a moving virtibird.

"I suppose you're going somewhere with this plan? That is unless you're really as big an idiot as I thought, and are just stealing proprietary aircraft for the fucking fun of it."

She noticed that Sylph was being silently distracted by something - a small mercy. She felt her handcuffs. Normally, someone would try picking them open with a safety pin or some such bullshit. Beryl didn't bother with that. Instead, she started squashing her fingers together, carefully teasing her hands out through the shackles a bit at a time.

The Cockpit

Johnny is... gone for now.

"Well, that's a fine thank you for saving your worthless life, wretch," The Editor said, "I am the reason that Mr. Truant keeps saving your geriatric ass."

I coughed, then breathed in and out slowly to calm myself.

"I had Mr. Truant perform CPR on you," he explained, "Just as I had him drag you out of a firefight you had no hope of winning. I am the only reason that you're still breathing you ungrateful cow!"

I breathed in and out again, trying to stay calm.

"You have your uses," I continue, "I'll give you that much. But my patience for your trite little absurdities is wearing thin. Hence the handcuffs. You see, if Mr. Truant had not chained you to your seat, you, given your track record up to this point, would have most likely tried to shoot everything in the cockpit before trying to jump out of the bird WHILE it was in the air. I know you like to think of yourself as intelligent, but really? You've been making a string of bad decisions lately. Now please be quiet while I try to talk to Slyph's true self here. You are not needed for the duration of this conversation. Thank you."

I turned my attention back to Slyph.

"So, I ask you again, dearie," I began again, "How did you come to be shackled like this? And... do you have a name of your own? Or do you share a name with your... cheery counterpart?"

Vertibird Cockpit:

"So, I ask you again, dearie," The personality that shared a body with Master Johnny began again, "How did you come to be shackled like this? And... do you have a name of your own? Or do you share a name with your... cheery counterpart?"

Slyph had been paying attention, to everything, as she turned to undo the handcuffs on Mistress Beryl.

"Apologies Mistress, I had no idea that Master Johnny had placed these upon your wrists." Slyph said subserviently as she twisted the key and loosened the handcuffs until they had loosened enough for Sylph's new Mistress to release her hands. As long as she was around, she would protect Mistress with her life.

Turning her attention back to the personality that had overtaken Master Johnny's body, she glared at him with stormy blue eyes that wanted nothing more than to stab the man who looked at her in the eye. She had been under the control of that half of a halfwit for too long and needed to take out some of her baser urges on something, preferably human, preferably healthy - for now.

"Don't presume that you can address me the same was as Master Johnny. Despite the fact that you and he share the same body, I am not under your control nor do you have my loyalty." The girl hissed venomously as she once again looked at the controls for the Enclave Vertibird.

She had been unable to disengage the Auto-pilot and even though her first Master had attempted to teach her how to countermand terminal overrides, this particular piece of software was proving to be quite the challenge.

BEEP!

An error message flashed on the console, informing Sylph that should she attempt to countermand the auto-pilot's programming again, the Enclave Vertibird would self destruct, taking all on board with it. While she was unable to alter the course of the flying machine, she was able to see where it was taking them.

Destination: Home Base

The information illicited a frown from the 18 year old woman as she decided to save the information for later. For now, she needed information about the Entity that had overtaken her Master Johnny.

"I am also Slyph." She responded simply as her subconscious opened various pieces of compartmentalized memories that separated herself from her "alter ego."

"Is a coin still not called a coin regardless of whether it displays heads or tails?" The girl asked rhetorically, indicating her acceptance of her and her "sister's" shared name; thankfully that was one of the few things they shared in common.

"The reason is clear is it not? My original 'Father' wanted someone that could act as both his devoted daughter as well as serve as his bodyguard." The girl said coldly as she looked out the window, remembering the moment that she had first laid eyes on her "Father."


Montana: 10 years ago

Shithead opened her eyes slowly, her stomach growling in hunger, as her mind told her that it was time to wake up as feeding time neared. Looking around the darkened holding pen, her eyes caught sight of the latest batch of dead men and women. They were weak, frail and stank of shit as some of them had soiled themselves when the Keepers had caught them. Some of them sat there, eyes wide eyed in horror as they realized their fate. Others wept openly and loudly, making Shithead wish that she had been allowed to keep her weapons with her when she slept.

Creeeeee-CLUNK!

Shithead knew that sound. It was the sound of happiness. It was the sound of people who cheered for her and best of all, it was the sound that they were going to feed her soon.

Only this time it was different.

A man in a dark suit and a tall hat stepping in through the holding pen doors, looking about curiously as the Keepers spoke to him. For what it was worth, Shithead didn't know what the Keepers were saying, but the man who was not one of the Keepers was gesturing at her. The Keepers kept shaking their heads until finally, they seemed to relent and nodded, causing the man, who she would know first as Master and then as Father, to smile as he approached the door to her cell.

Confused, Shithead, thought that it was time to go to the cheering place and held out her hands, ready to accept her weapons causing her soon to be Master and Father to say something to her that she did not understand and shake his head. Hesitantly, he took her by her hands and lead her out of the Holding Pens and never took her back.


Enclave Vertibird:

Shaking her head, Sylph turned back to the Entity that had consumed Master Johnny.

"Where I come from and how I came to be is of no consequence. The only thing that is of importance is Mistress Beryl and Master Johnny continue to live. You, whomever you are, are only protected because you share the same body as my Master and if you do anything to cause him harm, I will seek your death, just as I seek the man who killed my original Master."

Slyph found herself playing with the jeweled choker, as if contemplating whether she should put it on or not. The Enclave Officer and the Pilot had proven to be only appetizers for her wrath's hunger and if she knew anything about where the Vertibird was taking them, it was that there would be plenty of opportunity to vent her frustrations, annoyances and grievances with the world.

The cockpit

Hi. This is Johnny Truant's body, I'm not in right now, so if you'd like to talk, please leave a note or something on my forehead at the beep and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. BEEEEEEP!(1)[b]

[b](1) I, through processes which a simple human mind could not hope to comprehend, saw the memory that flashed through Slyph's minds.

"What a delicious little memory you have there, Shith-heead" I said, with equal amounts of eagerness and hatred, "I... am beginning to understand why Mr. Truant wants to help you so much. You remind him of himself. You are both such tragically broken things, its no wonder that he's drawn to you like a bee to a burning flower... he knows he can't help you, not really. Perhaps no one can. But... he still wants to try, in his own stupid way."

I paused, smiling to let the effect of what I'd said sink in. And then it listened to what she had to say.

"Hurt Mr. Truant? Me?" I said, genuinely offended, "I have no intention of doing so. And I do not consume him. I... am mostly along for the ride. Every now and then, I... give him some direction. How do you think it is that he just happened to be in Minefield around the same time as your little caravan was passing through? Did you think that merely a coincidence? Did you really buy that fool's tale of a job for that air-brained Ms. Brown?" I couldn't help but chuckle at that, "As for my... presence in Mr. Truant's haggard form now... well... I was... invited, shall we say. Oh, Mr. Truant didn't know he was calling out to me at the time, but... it was an invitation nonetheless. And he did need my help, oh yes... he still needs my help. Sorely. And I intend to fulfill his wish. But... don't worry, I have no intention of leading him to his death. Which is why I've been having him fight the Enclave tooth and nail all these years... every time I step onto their board, they take notice... and try to find me. I have no interest in their... foolishness. So I avoid them when I can, and scare them off at every opportunity."

I paused again. Mr. Truant nearly got out of school early today.

"Hmmph," I begin again, crossing Mr. Truant's arms, "I would have thought they'd have gotten the message with the Cave Dweller I sent to assassinate their nascent little transistor-tube of a president. Well... their former president now, I suppose. Mr. Truant is far too much fun, my dear. But, if you need to be convinced... very well, I'm tiring of this conversation myself actually. Oh, and in the future, call me by my function... I am simply an... Editor."

---

Johnny Truant blinked, then checked around him, and noticed GNR already starting to fade into the background.

"Slyph?" he said, noticing that her necklace was off, "Are you okay? Did that...thing say or do anything to you? Oh god... whatever happened, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for getting you and even, her mixed up in all this. Damn it. I thought I'd finally lost their scent."

There was no anger in his voice now, only a kind of quiet, understated despair.

Enclave Vertibird Cockpit: Enroute to Enclave Vault

"Slyph?" Master Johnny said, noticing that her necklace was off, "Are you okay? Did that...thing say or do anything to you? Oh god... whatever happened, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for getting you and even, her mixed up in all this. Damn it. I thought I'd finally lost their scent."

The Girl Cloaked in Red looked over at Master Johnny for a moment, her brow furrowing as she remembered where the Enclave Vertibird's Automated Pilot was taking them.

"I'm functional Master Johnny. The Editor, as the other entity calls itself, spoke but didn't do anything to either myself of Mistress Beryl." She responded, looking back towards Mistress Beryl to ensure that she was comfortable in the passenger hold of the Vertibird.

Slyph's stomach growled loudly, causing the young woman to turn away in what might have been embarrassment.

"I'm mostly functional." She said flatly in what could have been a joke, but was stated in such a serious manner it was hard to determine. Flipping open the top of her pack and peering inside, the calmness the girl had maintain suddenly evaporated.

"GODDAMN ANNOYING BITCH!!! WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!" The Girl scream angrily as she pulled out a bag filled with Rad-Scorpion Meat. It seemed that there was nothing BUT rad-scorpion meat in Sylph's backpack.

"I - HATE - RAD-SCORPION MEAT!!!" The Red Cloaked Girl continued to thunder as she continued to dig until she reached the bottom of the bag and found nothing but defeat.

Sighing, the girl turned to Mistress Beryl and Master Johnny.

"I will be taking my leave now. You know what to do should you need me." The girl said as she started putting on her red gem'd choker.

*CRACK!!!*

The sound of the punch echo'd all through the cockpit as the girl punched herself in the face before closing the clasp of her choker.

"OW! OW! OW! OW! OW!" Sylphee said in disbelief as she suddenly found herself sitting in the Formerly Enclave Twirlybird with Papa Johnny Shakes and Mommy Meryl Barrel.

"Papa Johnny Shakes!? Why - why - why'd you hit me!? What did I do wrong?" The Girl in Red whined as she clutched her face looking a bit like a wounded pet. Or at least she did until she notice:

"Oh my gosh! Rad Scorpion Meat! My fave fave! Thanks Papa Johnny Shakes and Mommy Meryl Barrel. You guys are the bestestest!!"

WHAM! As the sound effect goes, a punch from Dudley was certainly much more of a WHAM than a BIFF, BAM, POW or even the mighty KAPOW. Evan hit the floor, blood trickling from his lip down to his chin. Then the next punch came, but Dudley was drunk and not aiming, in fact he hadn't even registered his opponent was on the ground.

Dudley was all power, no precision. Evan was no power all precision. Even scribes get combat training in the Brotherhood and Evan knew exactly where to strike. Dudley had staggered past him with the second punch and was vulnerable, Evan kicked the back of Dudley's right knee and the big man went down like a tonne of bricks. Evan may not have been that skilled in unarmed combat but his opponent was badly drunk and should be easy to subdue. He got up and walked over to the heap that was Dudley.

I say SHOULD because Dudley wasn't going to stay down. As Evan approached he quickly stood up, windmilling his arms and catching Evan's side. Unfortunately, he was still facing away from Evan who put his arms around Dudley's neck and stomped on the back of his knee. Once again Dudley went down, but not too far as Evan was there to support him, yet also start strangling him. Dudley thrashed around and Evan could not keep such a heavy man still, Evan was shaken loose long enough for Dudley to reach his bowie knife in his boot. Pulling it out in one swift motion Dudley smashed upwards with the handle, breaking Evans nose.

Evan staggered back, blood now running from both his lip and nose now. He almost staggered into the fire but dazed as he was he was still in his right mind, though the pain was immense. Dudley was now armed, that knife was big and mean looking and if he wasn't careful Dudley might kill him. Evan was sure that under normal circumstances Dudley wouldn't kill him, but drunk and angry Dudley might. It was time to remember training, he had to control the fight and get that knife away from Dudley before he did some serious damage. Out here a nasty cut could mean infection and infection could mean death. All injuries would have to be cleaned with purified water and treated with any medical supplies they could muster.

Step 1: Move in on Dudley's left side, the knife was in his right hand pointing away from the body. The further he was from that knife the better.

Step 2: Use the back of the knee trick again, Dudley's own heavy weight was an advantage in most fights but would only serve to count against him if he was falling.

Step 3: Once fallen get the knife out of his hand, without that Evan would have more ways to attack.

Step 4: Go for the knockout, a little time out would give Dudley time to sober up and calm down. It would also allow Evan to restrain him without difficulty.

Ok time to give that a whirl and see where it goes.

Step 1: Evan moved in on Dudley's left si- SLAP! This one wasn't even a punch, it was a straight up slap in the face. It didn't hurt as much as Evan thought it might but that knife was coming around now, slashing at his neck. Evan leapt straight at Dudley and the knife bit deep into Evan's combat armour, but did not go through. Already unsteady on his feet, this impact knocked Dudley over once again, where he hit his head on a small rock, though this did not knock him out.

Dazed and confused, Dudley struggled to get up again as Evan ran back to the campsite, looking for something else to knock Dudley out with. What, what, what could he use?

THE TOOLBOX. That heavy metal wonder of the workshop was still sitting on the ground next to William's bike. Evan picked it up in one hand and ran over to Dudley's empty bottles, picking one up and throwing it at him. The fire blocked Evan's view and the first two bottles missed, the third hit Dudley square in the chest, triggering a ground shaking charge straight through the fire, Dudley's boots were singed and his trousers caught fire.

Only one thing to do: USE THE TOOLBOX EVAN!

Said toolbox connected with the side of Dudley's head, knocking him out right there and for another time, going down like a tonne of bricks. Evan rolled him onto his back and patted out the fires on his clothes. Evan then went to fetch the first aid kit, all nicely packed, of course he started treating his own injuries first, but a few cuts to the face were easy and a broken nose was manageable. The real problem would arise if Dudley had sustained any burns while he ran through the fire, or concussion at the repeated head trauma.

"Owwww, I feel like I went twenty rounds with a Yao-Guai. With my hands tied behind my back. Wait my hands are tied behind my back. My legs are tied too. This can only be the work of: EVAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNN!" Yup, Dudley had finally come round, it was well into the night now and the fire was almost gone. Evan had dressed most of his wounds and had a bandage over his nose, making him look a little strange. Dudley hadn't had his wounds attended to, though his shirt was now torn and forming improvised bonds.

"Yes Dudley?" Evan's voice was slightly off, probably due to the broken nose, yet his tone was calm and cool. This man was in control here.

"What did ya do to me?" Said Dudley, rolling around on the ground because it was basically the only thing he could do right now. Also because his head was still ringing from an untimely toolbox impact.

"I gave you the beating you deserved, but not the one you need at this time. That beating is coming now, though it's more of a... verbal beating." Said Evan, turning to face Dudley.

"Fuck you shitstick."

"That was stupid of you, I'm trying to help. I forgive you for attacking me, you got your punishment. I know why you did it too, because I'm the only one here you can take your anger out on. You're angry with yourself Dudley, you just can't accept it, so you project onto the nearest person as a way of covering your own back."

"Shut up you!" Snapped Dudley, clearly worried about someone trying to psychoanalyse him.

"Not until I'm finished, you had your little speech, now I'm having one. You're a big guy, a tough guy. Everything about you screams power, your minigun, your massive knife and that broken axe you lug around. You're a bruiser, in the Brotherhood you'd have made a good Paladin, might even have got yourself on a special team, though never as the leader of one, you're an attack dog for hire not the pack leader. My point is you're competent and dangerous, you're the Sentry Bot of mercenaries, everything is basically a breeze for you, but now you've met a bunch of guys from your worst nightmare, because they are better than you, at everything. They are stronger than you, they are faster than you, they are tougher than you and they hit harder than you.

You're feeling helpless, like your skills aren't useful, like you're the deadweight on this mission. You haven't really come up against anything you couldn't beat before and now you have you don't like it. That explains why you expressed your anger in such a physical way, you had to feel stronger than someone again. And in control of something, since you took this mission you've felt like you've been dragged from place to place and met people more important than you. You feel like you're a piece in somebody else's game. Maybe you are, maybe we all are and I understand why you might not be able to cope with that.

You say it's my fault William died, I didn't know what was going to happen in there. We knew what this mission meant when we took it, you could have said no and left but you didn't. You've got to deal with failure just as much as success, are you going to let the Enclave beat you this easily? Or are you going to suck it up tough guy and start helping?"

"What a load of brahmin shit."

"I was worried you would respond like that, ok, no more Mr nice Evan. I was going easy on you in our fight because I know your weakness, all I have to do is say one word and you turn into a puking, shrieking mess on the floor." Evan walked over to Dudley and grabbed him by his hair, pointing his head away, "So do you want to help, or will I have to step things up?"

"You wouldn't dare kiddo." Said Dudley, with just a hint of fear in his voice.

"Processing."

BLAARRGGGHHH!!!

"Ugh, fine. Now untie me. Bleh."

"Journal, I have a confession to make. Look, it's...it's just I'm rather unwieldy upon the land, you see? This has been explained thousands of times - but that's alright, I wouldn't want you to misunderstand me - I am; oh what was that venerable line, a traveller in a strange place? No, no, that can't be it, doesn't quite have that 'ring' to it, as they say...oh! but I forget myself."

"A walrus has little place above the earth. I have decided this upon completion into my study of contemporary lifeforms and also my study of obvious bullshit. Completed many studies of that one, me. I'm completing one right now."

"A reason? Well, simply what could I do but lie flat and mock spasm? Judging by what I've researched, a good old violent spasm can be enough to delay wild beasts until the situation is resolved, preferably by other interested parties, but resolved nonetheless. No ammunition, no fingers, and no upper body strength, at least not at that moment. It's a simple matter of delegation. I am he who is Wet. My survival is of utmost importance. At least, I'm beginning to believe that thinking in such a manner may reduce the seemingly incorrigible levels of stress that I've been experiencing. Simply put, concern has become tiresome."

"I won't hesitate to inform you, as searing bolts fell about us, I didn't care. As creatures howled and cried and roared and raged, I simply didn't care. As those luminous men prayed, prayed to me, praised me for my judgement, I cared not. As those ghastly brutes hauled us upon the vessel and into the stinking brig, I cared not for a thing in the world. I didn't even care when they beat Abraham..."

"...he's laid out in the corner..."

"...he's bleeding..."

"...*glug* I'm alright, Jack."

Beryl slowly got to her feet.

"Quite a show you two were putting on," she said, rubbing her hands where the cuffs had been. "Anyone seen my gun? I was thinking of shooting up the cockpit and jumping out."

She had to think about her next move. She was the only sane person here, and that somehow was putting her at a disadvantage. She didn't realise that Johnny could be any more of an asshole, but this editor character was pushing her buttons something terrible. She was long overdue to do a number on him.

Over in the corner washer nine iron. As Sylph had gotten back into the habit of making a nuisance of herself, Beryl was free to delicately slip the club out, unseen. She quietly moved over to a particularly important looking piece of aviation machinery. Confident that both Johnny and Sylph weren't paying attention to her, she took aim, poised, and swung the club full force into the nearest computer console.

The Vertibird lurched violently. Beryl tossed the club back over to her bag.

"Oh shit! What the hell was that?" she shouted, as green sparks started belching out of the club shaped hole in the console. "Must have blown a fuse!"

The vertibird swung violently from left to right. The starboard engine spluttered out, causing the vehicle to sag to one side. Beryl knew it couldn't stay in the air for much longer. She held on tight to the chains that had bound her down.

This was going to be a rough landing.

Mister Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird Cockpit:

This was going to be a rough landing.

That was probably the understatement of the year seeing as how the starboard engine had stopped working and the rest of Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird was built like a rounded brick and flew about as well as one too. Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird didn't just sag to one side like Mommy Meryl Barrel thought was going to happen, Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird started spinning in a motion counter to the one that the port engine was spinning. Not only that but since Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird's engines provided lift a well, only the port engine was doing the lifting and was now causing the Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird to twirl along it's longitudinal axis.

The result was -

"WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE - *gasp* - EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!" Wee'd the girl in the red cloak as Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird started doing something fun. It had definitely been a boring ride except for when Papa Johnny Shakes had punched her.

*CLICK* went Mommy Meryl Barrel's seat belt as she strapped herself in.

*CLICK* went Papa Johnny Shakes' seat belt as he strapped himself in.

"WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE - *gasp* - EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!" went Slyphee's mouth as she didn't strap herself in but instead lifted her arms in the air to make the fun ride even funner. This was even better than that time Daddy the First took her to Busch Gardens and took her on one of the rides.

This was going to be a rough landing.

The blue haired girl didn't quite know what that would have meant if someone had told her that since she had never been in Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird before and she had never seen one go KERSMASH! like Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird was about to.

KERSMASH!!!!!!!!

went Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird.

SMASH!!!!!

went Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird's windshield as the Girl in Red was launched from where she was seated, through the windshield and out into the Wasteland outside of Mister Now Ailing Black Formerly Enclave Twirlybird's cockpit.


Montana: 11 years ago

Shithead stood in the middle of the cheering place as people cheered as she took the machete that the Keepers had given her and used it to carve a claw off of one of the Giant Claws and Tail Bugs that they had put in the cheering place with her. Shithead smiled as the cheering people cheered louder as the Giant Claws and Tail Bug let out a high pitched scream and lashed out with its tail, causing Shithead to swing the machete in a defensive arc, sending the tip of the Tail flying before the machete, now reversed gripped plunged into a spot between the Giant Claws and Tail Bug's many eyes.

The creature bucked up and down for a moment but finally shuddered once and died.

That was when Shithead's shoulder erupted in pain as the last of the Giant Claws and Tail Bugs stabbed her in the back of the shoulder with its tail. The pain almost caused Shithead to black out but she knew what that meant as she had seen it happen to the other things and people that they had put in the cheering place with her. Turning around, she was able to avoid a repeated stabbing by the Giant Claws and Tail Bug's tail.

Remembering what she had done the last time, she swiped at the tail as it closed in on her and sent it flying. The effort of such a move, however, was just a bit too much for Shithead to handle as she came down to a knee, the pain in her shoulder spreading to the rest of her body, causing it to scream in agony. She didn't quite understand what was happening or why she was feeling that way.

"*HURK!!*" Shithead wretched as the pain caused her tummy to cramp up. It was at that point that she realized that the cheering people weren't cheering any more. They were making a different noise, one that sounded bad.

"BOOOOOOOO!!" The cheering people boo'd as some of them pointed and laughed at Shithead causing her to feel angry. She'd never heard that noise before and it felt like the people didn't like her anymore. If the people didn't like her anymore then she wouldn't get fed by the Keepers.

Slowly, Shithead got up to her feet, her body complaining at her as she did but she ignored it. Instead, she started charging at the Giant Claws and Tail Bug, howling as she did:

"HA-HA-HA-HAAAROOOOOOOOOOOOO-


Somewhere:

"-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Shithead opened her eyes as she heard herself howling, her body felt like it was in pain, especially her shoulder. Sitting up suddenly, the world almost went black but she knew what that meant as she had seen it happen to the other things and people that they had put in the cheering place with her. Looking at her arm, Shithead saw that someone had stabbed her with a metal beam (one that was used to reinforce the cockpit windshield of the Enclave Vertibird). They had stabbed her but they didn't kill her, she realized as looked around her.

The smell of blood, intoxicating blood, was everywhere as some of it trickled down from a cut she had gotten on her forehead. It didn't bother her. What did bother her was that she was somewhere strange and what's more she couldn't hear the cheers from the cheering place. It made her scared but the Keepers didn't like it when she was scared and so she went to what they had taught her to feel if she felt scared, angry.

Snarling, she felt her body react to her anger as she slowly picked herself up and saw a black machine smoking not far from her.

So this is what the Keepers put in the cheering place with her. This black machine was too big to put in the cheering place and so they must have taken her outside, something that had happened once or twice before. Looking around her, she saw no machete but she did see the metal beam sticking out of her shoulder.

Howling once again, she pulled the metal beam out, and started approaching the black machine, intent on killing it and anything inside of it.

"HA-HA-HA-HAAAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!"

Beryl deftly unbluckled her seatbelt and fell from her upturned chair. She did a quick inventory check - all limbs and fingers were present and functional. Even her bones all seemed in one piece. She could taste blood. Reaching into her mouth, she tugged out a loose tooth and tossed it to one side - no worry, she had plenty of those left anyway. Her chin was open and dripping onto her suit - no worry, she could buy a new one any time.

As she crawling through the interior of the smoking, mangled vehicle, something came into view. Through the smoke, she could see that a huge opening had been torn into the side of the vertibird. Even better, a battered medikit lay on the seat in front of her. She cracked it open and found both a stimpack and a bloodpack. splendid. She stuffed both in her pockets and rolled herself out of the steel carcass.

She quickly surveyed her surroundings. It was a nice panorama. All dirt, cliffs and green-brown filters. Same as anywhere else, really, but at the same time, too unfamiliar to get one's bearings. That felt somewhat comforting at least, and Beryl saw the current situation as a net improvement.

Beryl was then alerted by a distant yelling. She slowly turned, and saw Sylph running over this way. Still alive? she thought, Typical. Something was strange though. Sylph was brandishing some kind of weapon, and she wasn't so much as running, as charging straight at Beryl and the vertibird. Umm...

Sylph was getting kind of close now, and the hysterical laughter was an awful lot more menacing at this distance. Beryl took a step back, and looked around for her machine gun. Oh god, she's snapped. Where is it? Her baggage and her Chicago typewriter were still within the wreckage. She wouldn't have time to climb in and fetch it. She looked around for some kind of defensive weapon - a Fat Man would have been nice - but saw none. But there, on the ground! The nine iron! Beryl deftly picked it up and held it out in front like a sword. Lacking any formal fencing or golfing training, it wasn't much of a comfort, but it was something. Sylph was only a dozen yards away now. Beryl knew this fight was going to go bad for her. She grimaced.

Fffuuuuuu

Crashed Vertibird

Given the long string of bad luck he'd had over the past several hours, it seemed to Johnny as though his luck was finally turning around. Slightly. Maybe. Because just at the foot of the wreckage was his treasured lever action rifle. Johnny unbuckled his seat, and carefully and quietly climbed down. Once on the ground again, he quickly scooped up his rifle and snuck up behind Beryl. Once he was directly behind her, he saw that Sylph was about to go on a rampage.

Johnny made sure that he was far enough away from both Beryl and the vertibird that A) Sylph's rampage wouldn't spill over onto him (hopefully), and B) just close enough to Beryl to be able to whisper to her and still not be in reach of that damn 9-iron.

"Don't move, you fucktard," Johnny said, an unusual cold edge creeping into his voice, "Drop that club, and I'll make this quick. Don't... and I'll let Sylph have her way with you."

Frank stood behind a large robot.
Frank was getting really sick of climbing giant foes. Hopefully he could get back to fighting human-ish sized enemies.
Thankfully, Nuka-Cola Quantum is quite sticky.
Franklin Rose is climbing a robot. Why is he climbing a robot?
To hug the robot. To envelop the robot. He wants to make love to the robot.
Challenge the bot! Challenging death!
...Tough young knights, armored bodies...
There is a passionate affair going on between Frank and the robot.
Why does he climb the robot? Because he's in love.

Frank briefly worried about being detected by his new found radioactivity, but he knew it was a non-issue as Geiger counters aren't made for pinpoint scanning, the entire area was various levels of blue and radioactive, and robots don't care about radioactivity anyways. (Yes Jack, I can read your mind. You're not thinking of a number, you're trying to trick me by thinking about ducks instead.)
Frank had managed to climb past the lower body, and was now on the upper half. There was no danger of the robot turning around and seeing him. There was however, a rack of explosives further on his path. Frank pressed on anyways. The robot didn't know where he was, and detonating nukes on yourself probably violated some self-preservation programming.
Eventually, he came to a point that felt hollow-ish.
Here goes nothing.
[Unarmed 100][Piercing Strike][Bonecrusher][Striking Points: Repair 100]Frank began hitting the new hollow spot with his Displacer Glove.
It was denting.
Unfortunately for Frank; he had gotten some unwanted attention. A very large hand was coming to swat his current location.
Frank dropped down.
[Strength]As Frank fell, he caught himself on a lower piece of robot. He was still on the upper half of Boxy, but he had lost a fair bit of Progress.
Luckily this robot had some grooves on it. Probably for maintenance workers to hold onto.
Frank took out his Gauss Pistol and fired on a spot further up to hopefully throw it off his trail.
Small ports began to open up all around him, liquid-adhesive, along with robotic tentacles came out around him.
[Repair 100]If they were symmetrical around a point, it was a structurally weak point.
The way out is through.
Using all his cunning, Frank devised a potent combination of smashing, pounding, hitting, wrecking, and maybe some breaking if he was feeling frisky.
Before he could make it through, he had a sticky tentacle on his left arm, right leg, and one was on his helmet too.
Frank had never seen any hentai, but he still didn't like where this was going.
[Repair]Being prehensile costs structural integrity.
[Unarmed 100][Piercing Strike][Bonecrusher][Striking Points: Repair 100]With his free arm, Frank severed the tentacle on his left arm. He still had a chunk of tentacle stuck to it, but that's besides the point.
The still attached half of the tentacle began sparking and flailing.
Frank grabbed the tentacle, and stabbed it into itself, shorting out the whole limb.
The pulling of the head and leg tentacles were getting unpleasant, and now a large hand was coming for Frank.
[Unarmed 100][Piercing Strike][Bonecrusher][Striking Points: Repair 100]Frank severed the tentacle around his neck, and began to bungee down.
As Frank fell he kept himself vertical by grabbing onto the tentacle around his leg with his left hand.
His left hand was now stuck to the robot, but he wasn't falling anymore.
[Unarmed 100][Piercing Strike][Bonecrusher][Striking Points: Repair 100]Frank severed the last tentacle at the base so it couldn't try to shock him, and caught back onto the robot.
He looked a bit silly at this point, covered in Quantum, and tentacle chunks.
Tentacles... Seafood... Frank would really like to eat some of those Mirelurks... His grandfather had once told him that there were no Mirelurks outside of the East Coast. It sounded terrible.
The hand was still searching for Frank, like a human looking for a particularly annoying mosquito. Frank was no mere mosquito.
The hand was blocking his path back up. The way out was not through this time.
[Tactics 65/50]If an opponent commits resources to defending one area, other areas become less defended...
[Perception]The joint connecting the left "leg" to the "pelvis" was visible.
[Science 65/50]The square-cube law states that as you scale up, mass increases faster than volume. This meant that the legs would be under considerable stress.
Frank saw the limp tentacle that was on his left arm before him.
He grabbed it, and swung down at the joint. It was about to take his mass, time his acceleration, plus his Displacer Fist, plus half the weight of the robot all at once.
[Unarmed 100][Piercing Strike][Bonecrusher][Striking Points: Repair 100]Meteor kills dinosaur!
*CLUNK!* *....Lurch...* A combination of redundant armor and gyro stabilizers kept the thing standing.
Frank began to think he might need some help with this thing...

Beryl snarled in the direction of Johnny.

"Point that thing at the right person," she said out the side of her mouth, "you think she won't kill you too?"

It was a volatile situation, that was for sure. Beryl's choice was between having her head blown off, or having it caved in. To call it a Mexican stand off would be generous: she was just an old lady, facing off against an Elderich Abomination and a demented killer, and neither were even within reach of her golf swing. Whether she dropped or used her weapon either way, she was dead. She took the only reasonable course of action - she slowly paced a few steps to the right, allowing an easier route for Sylph to reach Johnny. Now the young sprat had a choice of targets, the odds felt a lot fairer to her.

Crashed Vertibird. Seriously, madam, I know your life is in peril but could you please observe some common courtesies? Thank you Beryl. -The Ed.

Johnny kept his rifle firmly trained on Beryl as she moved.

"Point that thing at the right person," the cold bitch said,"you think she won't kill you too?"

Johnny couldn't help but laugh madly at that.

"The hell makes you think I care?" he said, "All that matters to me right now is that you get what's coming to you. This entire situation is your fault. All you ever seem to do is whatever you can to bring out the worst in everyone around you. I'm sure that kind of manipulative bullshit works great on the utterly stupid. Because that would make them more useful to you."

Johnny chuckled. He grinned evilly.

"Well, congratulations you cold bitch," he spat at her, "You succeeded. You've brought out the worst in both of us. And its biting you in your precious little ass, isn't it?"

Johnny cocked his rifle, and checked his aim; if he fired now, it'd most likely hit Beryl right between the eyes.

"I'm sure the asshat still wants you alive," he kept smirking, " Even after you've demonstrated just how perfectly stupid you really are. But there's little he can do to stop this. Either my bullet hits you, or it misses, and Sylph gets both of us."

Johnny fired at Beryl four times.

ADDENDUM: This simply won't do, Mr. Truant. No. Not in the slightest. First, let's say we raise your metabolism a few degrees, give you the withdrawal symptoms of every drug you've imbibed in the last few days. All at once. That ought to put off your aim a bit. Might still hit something, I suppose. But definitely nothing vital.

Now... about Shithead over there... Time for me to speak again.

"SLYPH!" I called out to the rampaging red princess, "Wake up Slyph! Its time for school!"

The Crash Site:

Shithead had veered off of her path when she saw that one of the two people was carrying a large pain stick, she'd seen them used before when she was in the cheering place when the Keepers would kill one of Shithead's victims that she left still breathing and she knew that the large pain sticks were dangerous. Taking a path that placed the black smoking machine between Shithead and the two, Shithead knew that the large pain stick wouldn't be able to get her and that she could strike from any of many places, the most likely spot would have been from above the smoking black machine, but Shithead was too clever for that, she would attack from the openings in the smoking black machine.

Diving into one of the holes, she heard the two talking, they must have been talking about where Shithead was and they were expecting her to attack from above and realizing that she had the upper hand caused her to smile as she charged forward with the metal bar in her hand, ready to kill the two of them.

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Shithead found herself on the ground, surprised to find herself there and not on top of the two bashing their heads in. As she tried to get up, she felt pain in her leg and hip causing her to whimper in pain.

Looking down at her leg and hip, she saw blood, lots of blood coming from the four wounds that the pain stick had caused. Knowing that he time to die was fast approaching Shithead was determined to take one of the two with her as she tried to pick herself up, only to fall back on the ground, again whimpering in pain as she did so.

Seeing that her two opponents were looking at her, Shithead tried to snarl in defiance, thinking that perhaps she could scare them into thinking that she could still fight and send them running away. Only, she couldn't snarl, she couldn't move, she could only stare that the one holding the Pain Stick or rather what was dangling off of the Pain Stick.

A bright red gem that had been mounted to a black piece of cloth dangled there, a gem that caused the girl to recoil in fear and caused her to try to back away from the two, the effort causing more pain to shoot up her leg and hip as she fell backwards, exhausted from the blood loss.

And before the darkness came to smother her, she remembered the man that was to be her first Father and his lessons.

"No!" He had said as he dangled the gem in front of her, standing over her after he had savagely kicked her in the stomach. She had tried to fight back only for him to punch her in the face once again and send her to the ground where he kicked her, again saying "No!" calmly and firmly as he dangled the red gem in front of her.

"Whether you start behaving or you start breaking, it doesn't matter. You will be who I want you to be." She remembered him saying.

"SLYPH!" Some one called out, "Wake up Slyph! Its time for school!"

"It's Saturday. I don't have school on Saturday." Sylph said as she closed her eyes, diving deep into unconsciousness.

The Crashed Bird

Johnny slumped to the ground, struggling against his entire body telling him what a complete and utter asshole he was for taking all of those drugs. The vast majority of his muscles decided to twitch and turn in random directions, causing his limbs to move in odd directions at times. His eyes were threatening to retreat into his skull. His ears kept blaring the same high-pitched whine over and over again. Johnny's brain felt like it was going to melt and then freeze only to be shattered over and over again. His stomach felt like its acid was trying to make a break for it and explode out of his chest and start a colony of stomach-acid-morphs somewhere nearby.

Despite all of this agony... Johnny managed to crawl towards Slyph, he set his rifle and satchel down near her hands. Then he ripped off his shirt and tore into a longish strip of cloth that he used to wrap around the four bullet holes in Slyph's body.

He tied the shirt off as securely as he could to prevent further bleeding, and then whispered, "I'm sorry sweetheart. I don't think I'll be here when you wake up. Just... please, don't listen to Beryl. To her you are nothing but a pawn. I love you Slyph. If I'd ever had a daughter or a niece... I'd want her to be just like you. Sure... you're troubled, who isn't?" Johnny coughed, "You're the kindest, sweetest person I've ever met. And that goes for both of you in there. Wish I could've known you longer."

And with that, Johnny rolled onto his back to stare into the sky. And his withdrawal symptoms took over, causing him to spasm and convulse wildly until they finally settled down and he passed out. Though it was incredibly painful, and he wanted to scream very badly, Johnny didn't. He almost chewed his own tongue off keeping himself from screaming.(1)

(1) You didn't want her to worry, did you, Mr. Truant?

Ugh... you're here. Should've known a little thing like a horrible painful death wouldn't be enough to make you give up on me.

No. Mr. Truant. This is not the end. You're not dead, yet. But you're really pushing your rather limited supply of luck now.

Oh for fuck's sake, either kill Beryl or put me out of my misery.

I shall do neither of those things. Mr. Truant. There is more for you to do and see. More... interesting characters for you to meet.

You're right though... I didn't want her to worry.

I don't know if she can process a thought that complex...

Don't you DARE say a word against Sylph. EITHER of them. You hear me?

If you would let me finish Mr. Truant. I don't know if she is capable of understanding it but... even I have to admit, that was... brave of you.

The hell?

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