Beryl had been wandering the corridors for some time now. Every time an Enclave member popped up, she had to duck out of sight around a corridor or behind a random piece of machinery. After what seemed like the thirtieth time it happened, she gave up and walked straight past the next patrol she saw.
"WHAT?!" she shouted.
The two hulking metal men both took a step back.
"This place is off limits to everyone," one of them stuttered.
"Everyone including the first lady?"
The two enclave looked at one another. The lie was told with such a supreme conviction. Could this be the Mrs John Henry Eden? Was he married? And wait, wasn't he long dead? Before they had a chance to get their political history straight, Beryl had already marched right up to them and pulling rank once again.
"Now please listen carefully," She said, wagging a finger. "I may have made a silly mistake and left something in the munitions room. Could you two, exceptionally well dressed men point me in the right direction?"
The two couldn't oblige her any quicker.
"That way Ma'am. Do you require an escort."
Beryl considered it for a moment. Imagine the look on mother's face when I storm in with two armed guards, and ordered her execution there and then. Such idle fantasies were no good though. She couldn't have these two lugs wandering around, telling everyone they meet that she was the President's wife. Someone with even the most basic education and common sense would spot the gaping holes in her story.
"No...thank you. Be on your way."
They both tried to offer a clumsy salute, but she had already turned and strided away. They stood awkwardly for a minute, still saluting until she was out of sight and around the corner. Then they rushed off to the canteen to tell everyone the news.
Beryl reached what looked like the entrance to an armoury. She had to order another idiot enclave to open a vault door, just to get to it, so it must have been important place. Luckily, the enclave on guard barely looked up from his magazine, and blindly followed the command without looking up to see who was giving it.
Now she was outside the door, she had to figure on a plan of action. Peaking inside would be a dangerous tactic. It would like mighty suspicious to any enclave inside. She put her ear to the door. She heard somebody on the other side. Somebodies. Males and females? Whoever they were, one of the females was shouting an awful lot. Something about rats?
Shit, better be audacious. Still impressed by her previous luck with the best the enclave had to offer, she decided to go double or nothing and knocked on the door as loudly as she could.
And then she waited.
Johnny had been about to apologize to Lucy when someone knocked on the door. He briefly considered heading straight for the door but... decided whoever the fuck it was could wait a minute. He took a bit of a risk, and gently put his hand on Lucy's shoulder. Knowing that she could probably break his arm off and beat him to death with it... he did it anyway.
"I'm sorry Lucy," he said, squeezing her shoulder gently for a moment before letting go, "I don't know anything about your friend... but I'm pretty sure I wasn't talking about him... uh... I don't really know how to explain it. But... I guess that thing covered that. Ehh... I'll understand if you don't want me hanging around after finding out about him. For whatever its worth coming from a shitty person like me... I'm sorry."
With that, Johnny rushed for the door to make sure Sylph didn't have a chance to answer it before he did. Once he got to the door, he opened it a small crack, to see who it was. When he saw, he scowled at her.
"Piss off," he hissed, hoping neither of the young ladies in the room could hear him, "You don't want to see me, I don't want to see you. No one in this room wants to meet you. Don't you think you've done enough damage already?"
Before she could answer, Johnny gently shut the door in her face so as not to attract Lucy or Sylph's attention, and promptly stood in front of it for a moment while he hoped Beryl would just go away. He hoped she was like the old lady and the beef... or was it the old lady in the shoe? He could never keep those old lady stories straight. Point is, he hoped she'd take the hint and just plain stay out of his life from now on. Last thing he needed was for Beryl to come into the picture. One irredeemable bastard/bitch in his life was more than enough, thank you.
"Er..." he said, trying to come up with an explanation for why he'd shut the door after answering it, "Wrong room number."
"I wished to clarify something," He continued, floating closer to Lucy, "My... client, for lack of a better word, Mr. Truant is well aware of the difference between your beloved Shifty, and his brother, Henry. Thanks to me, he has some idea of what Sylph went through. Thanks to me, he witnessed it through her eyes. I can assure you, all of his anger is directed in the proper place. Though, it may seem that it is... too late."
Under normal circumstances, Lucy would rush for her rifle, but Johnny - or whatever he had briefly become - had frozen her in place. With tear-streaked cheeks, Lucy could briefly try and painfully retain eye contact before her vision was further disrupted by another bout of pain-induced tears.
If Johnny had intended to intimidate her, he had more than done so. He had frightened her. In her current state, she was even more shaken by the addition of fear to the emotional cocktail of anxiety, grief and aggression.
Once Johnny had hit the ground, she had wiped the tears away and fixed her eyepatch back on.
Possibly a few minutes had passed, but to the Eyepatched-Girl, the passage of time had no meaning while she had temporarily gone numb from today's overexposure to emotional trauma.
"I'm sorry Lucy" she only registered that she was being spoken to once she felt something on her shoulder. "I don't know anything about your friend... but I'm pretty sure I wasn't talking about him... uh... I don't really know how to explain it. But... I guess that thing covered that. Ehh... I'll understand if you don't want me hanging around after finding out about him. For whatever its worth coming from a shitty person like me... I'm sorry."
".....no..." Lucy uttered despondently, before stopping herself to start actively defying her anxiety regarding Sylph and Johnny. "Today has been a lot to handle and I snapped when I just heard...then you just - ...I don't know what." Lucy looked at Johnny directly, half-expecting another harsh surprise, but she suppressed her fear by her voice growing fiercly. "I would be the biggest hypocrite to judge someone by their past or even for what they are...so I'm going to - accept the original impression I have of you."
Lucy glanced over at the fist-sized dent in the wall. "Passionate." Then at Sylph. "Kind and caring." Then at his hand on her shoulder. "And someone with his heart...in the right place."
Extremely uncomfortable with the physical contact, Lucy got to her feet with an exhausted sigh when a knock at the door was heard. "So I'm sorry - " With her back now turned to Johnny, she managed to utter one last thing as she heard him stride towards the door. "- and stop putting yourself down."
Lucy took the opportunity to quickly check and fix her appearance in the small bathroom mirror. All things considered, she mostly appeared fine. Yet it was clear that she yearned for sleep.
But she had the Enclave to deal with on the other end of that door...
"Wrong room number."
Lucy raised an eyebrow in disbelief and her voice lowered while she slipped back into the Enclave Asset facade. "My private quarters, remember? Whoever is on the other end is my business. Open the door."
Johnny felt torn, a moment ago, he heard something that he hadn't expected to hear from anyone, let alone someone he just met. Someone accepting him as he was... and seeing something worthwhile in him. And he also didn't want to spoil that by letting Beryl in. But... well, what choice did he have? Lucy had a point.
"It's not the Enclave," he said, stepping away from the door, fighting back tears from the very unexpected moment he just had with Lucy, "It's someone much, much worse."
He stepped closer to Lucy, and whispered in her ear, "It's the bitch I told you about. The one that tried to enslave Sylph again. I think... she kind of stumbled onto the right phrase or something. But... if I'd let her have a chance, Beryl would abuse Sylph's... condition. And she probably did before I met them. Its... better if we never let Sylph see her again, and get Beryl to go away. Unless you happen to know the phrase that will stop make Sylph thinking of Beryl as her mommy."
To be on the safe side, Johnny walked over to Sylph, who... seemed to have found something else to play with.
"Hey sweetie," he said, a warm smile crossing his face, "Watcha ya got there?"
As The Enclave Vault Turns: Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's Room
"Hey sweetie," Daddy Johnny Shakes said, a warm smile crossing his face, "Watcha ya got there?"
Truth be told, Sylphee had absolutely no idea what it was that she was looking at in her hands, all she knew was it was frustrating the stuffing out of her. Responding with a big, big, big, bigbigbig shrug, The
Red Grey Menace showed the object to Daddy Johnny Shakes.
It was a Mister Cube that had been divided into 27 small cubic slices with various colors on each of Mister Cube's faces. As Sylphee fumbled with the object, Daddy Johnny Shakes could see that each of the sides of Mister Cube could be manipulated as to mix up each of the colors, at least that would have been the case had Sylphee not discovered her very own dilemma.
"I can't stop it from being one color on each side!!!" Sylphee squeaked in annoyance as she flipped Muster Cube's faces several times, mixing up the colors for a bit before showing Daddy Johnny Shakes Mister Cube once again, and once again, each of the sides of Mister Cube had one color.
"GRRRRR!!!!" The Grr'ing Menace Grr'd as she attempted to mix up the colors once again and once again she ended up matching up the colors on each side of Mister Cube. It occurred to the Blue Hair Genius that perhaps she could pry the stickers off each of the smaller Missy Cubes and mix it up that way but it seemed a bit like cheating to Sylphee so she quickly disregarded the idea and attempted to mix up Mister Cube's colors once again - and failed the attempt.
"Stupid Mister Cube!" The Frustrated Girl in Grey said as she threw Mister Cube in a fit of annoyance. That should have been the end of Mister Cube except Mister Cube seemed to have a mind of his own as he bounced off one of the walls, then another, and then off of Mister Bed and through Mister Door BONKING whomever it was that was at the door in the forehead.
"MOMMY MERYL BERYL!!!!!" Sylphee squealed as she saw Mommy Meryl Beryl at the door. Had this been some sort of cartoon, Daddy Johnny Shakes would have been looking at a cloud that looked exactly like Sylphee did before dissipating, only this wasn't some sort of Cartoon. Instead Daddy Johnny Shakes watched as Sylphee rolled backwards and landed on the balls of her feet, pirouetted and started sprinting at Mommy Meryl Beryl like a Mad Brahmin.
"MOMMY MERYL BERYL!! MOMMY MERYL BERYL!! MOMMYMERYLBERYLMOMMYMERYLBERYL!!" The Flying Menace yelled as she flew through the air intent on hugging her previously missing Mommy Meryl Beryl -
The Outcasts. Otherwise known as effectively the same scum sucking goons as the brotherhood out west with a paintjob. The expression on Marlon's face made it very clear that he sure as hell did not care for the notion anymore than Danielle or Lyons.
"Is that the kind of truce where we shoot them in the back when we're done with them or the kind where they shoot us? Cos I gotta say, I'm not a fan of the second one."
But then again, if the upside of this plan was to get a good look at the Outcasts, what their tactics, numbers, equipment and so on were like...maybe this'd be worth it. All the easier to put them in the ground later. It didn't seem likely that Danielle wouldn't have contemplated the same upside, given how much distaste she appeared to share for them.
"Ah hell. In for a penny..Fine. Let's go talk ceasefire with those bastards. Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll get wiped out enough for us to finish them off when it's all done."
Johnny's fears had been realized. Sylph had seen Beryl. Goddamnit. Why does nothing ever turn out like it should?
Mr. Truant was so distracted by his own recursive reveries that he failed to notice at first when Sylph flew right at him and knocked him to the ground. Snapped back to reality, he couldn't help but notice that Sylph's face had landed right on his crotch. Rather painfully at that. And his ass had somehow landed on her hands. Seeing an opportunity...
"Hey, little miss Sylphee," he said, gently nudging her with his knee to see if she was all right... and to get her off of him, "You need to ask permission before doing that sort of thing..."
Then Johnny laughed. He couldn't help it. All that was needed now for their time together to be completely symmetrical was for him to leave with Beryl, while Sylph went to sleep in a random house.
(1) Who the hell is this?
(2) Seriously, who the hell is this?
"Is that the kind of truce where we shoot them in the back when we're done with them or the kind where they shoot us? Cos I gotta say, I'm not a fan of the second one."
[Karma]"If I have any say, it'll be the kind where when everything's done we give each other ten minutes to walk away, and then shoot at each other."
"Ah hell. In for a penny..Fine. Let's go talk ceasefire with those bastards. Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll get wiped out enough for us to finish them off when it's all done."
"As much as I hate what they stand for, it's a touchy issue. I've got family in the Outcasts, as do most of the Brotherhood lifers."
Danielle headed off to see Elder Lyons.
Rick: "An adventurer only hurts vile monsters and villians, so if you worried about me hurting you which are you?"
Larry: "He's neither, he's just cautious as these eyebots just attacked the city so you would understand why he wouldn't trust you."
Rick: "Why would my people be attacking this city, tell me that?"
Sam: [Robotics Expert] "Because they're simple software with a radio receiver. They do as told. They'll even put on a silly personality to trick naive idiots."
Jake (Who had apparently been listening to the whole exchange from upstairs) came down.
Jake: "Eyebots may not be the only method of attack. Sir, where were you during the attack? John!"
Jake: "Could you go retrieve Simms?"
The Enclave Vault: Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's Quarters
The fact that the position that she found herself in was borderline creepy in the sense that she called Daddy Johnny Shakes, Daddy Johnny Shakes didn't really register with the Happy-Go-Lucky-Girl with the blue hair at all. No sir-e-FalloutBob, not one iota of thought was given towards the fact that Slyphee was in possession of two handfuls of two handfuls of Daddy Johnny Shakes' rump. Instead, Sylphee found herself turning a rather pale shade of green when she caught a nose full of unwashed just ran around the Enclave Vault after facing an Missy Miss Audrey II wannabe after being captured by a a bunch of Mister Black Armored Enclave Power Armor Dudes after escaping an invading horde of Floaty McFloater Soccerballs crotch.
"PEEEEEW!! Daddy Johnny Shakes needs a shower!" The Blue Haired Girl exclaimed into the room full of women as she came up for air before sniffing again.
"PEEEEEW!! Daddy Johnny Shakes needs some clean clothes!" Sylphee exclaimed, again into a room full of women as she did what most devoted daughters would do when their Daddy was having hygiene issues. She started dragging Daddy Johnny Shakes towards the shower.
"MISTER DUCKY YOU'RE THE ONE! YOU MAKE BATHTIME LOTS OF FUN!!" The Girl in
RED Grey started singing as she turned on the water and forgot that Mister Hot Water Heater still had a bullet sized hole in him.
A hole that Johnny quickly patched up with what was left of his underwear at this point. All he had to hope for now was that this wouldn't cause a fire.
Then, he stared at Sylph, waiting for her to leave the room before he started the shower, forgetting that he was already naked at this point. He didn't remember taking his pants off, but what the hell. Eventually, he gave up on the idea of Sylph being content until he started cleaning himself off, so he got to work washing himself off.
Finishing the shower, Johnny grabbed the most neglected-looking towel in the room to cover himself with.
"Er... any chance someone could..." he stammered, refusing to leave the bathroom in this state, "Call the intercom or something and get me some clothes? Uh... these... kind of..." his pair of underwear was launched out of the hole in the water heater and smacked right into the crumpled pile of pants on the floor, soaking them. "Kind of... wet."
This all seemed like a normal day with Sylph, and Johnny even started to relax, letting out a content sigh once the door was closed again. Then he remembered that Beryl was back in his life now. Fuck me.
(1) Scene removed for decency and time. -An Ed.(2)
(2) Who is this? How did you get here? Why did you come here?(3)
(3) I followed you.
Beryl barely had a moment to register it all. Before she had time to react to the ugly discovery that Johnny Shakes seemed to have found the armoury first, the door was slammed in her face. Then it was reopened. And then a rubix cube struck her head. And then she was assaulted by the second discovery that Sylph was also on the other side of the door.
With nothing further to say, Beryl silently walked into the room, arms folded. A glance at the cosy interior was enough to make it patently clear that this wasn't the armoury at all. That was bad enough. That she had managed to bump into these fucking knuckleheads once again was the real killer. She watched the confused display of Johnny and Sylph, trying to contort themselves into some kind of human pretzel. He then noticed another woman in the room, and gave her a knowing nod.
"I should have expected him to make his move soon enough," she said to the stranger, gesturing towards the bizarre, lascivious looking display going on between Johnny and Sylph. "Did he mention the time he chained me up and made out with my unconscious body? It was only a matter of time before he found more prey."
As the two rushed off to shower together, Beryl became conscious this had been a somewhat unorthodox way to say hello.
"Hello, by the way," she said, "my name is Beryl. Your place?" She put her hands in her pockets, remembered she was out of cigarettes, and began scanning the room for anything that looked like it was capable of being smoked.
"Is that what you call trying to save your worthless life!??!" Johnny yelled, opening the door wide open, momentarily forgetting himself. Though thankfully not enough to forget keeping his towel in place, "Next time you're out cold, and stop breathing, I'll remember to just watch you die, you evil, manipulative bitch."
Taking a moment to inhale deeply, he turned to Lucy.
"Please, whatever you do, don't let Beryl talk to Sylph." he said, then, thinking on it a bit, he leaned closer to Lucy and whispered, "Better yet, try to get her to leave while making sure Sylph doesn't try go with her. Trust me, its for the best."
Finally, his self-consciousness caught up with him, and went back into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.
Lucy didn't have much to say about Sylph and Johnny's antics, mostly due to how tired she was getting, so she was rather relieved when the duo made an exit to the bathroom.
"I don't know how you put up with it." Lucy remarked in response to Beryl, tossing her rifle on the bed and finally shifting her hands to her hips to survey the 'infamous' Mistress Beryl Craw from Johnny's account.
Beryl had a stern look about her and despite the elderly appearance, she carried a tremendous presence in the room. It was in the eyes mostly, that sharp-minded scrutinization that Lucy would always recognize.
Just like Mom...
With that similarity in mind, she couldn't help the smallest of smiles as she put her hand on the nearby food trolley from dinner.
"Lucy Black...and welcome to my recently invaded room." Lucy started to introduce herself politely.
Lucy nodded towards the food trolley with just enough leftovers of everything to fill another plate. "Hungry? Help yourself, we just finished eating." Adding politely, "Anyway, despite what I've heard, I make up my own mind about the people I meet."
While smelling strangely fruity, a barely concealed Johnny Truant had made his presence known by whispering in her ear.
"Better yet, try to get her to leave while making sure Sylph doesn't try go with her. Trust me, its for the best."
"I'll do no such thing." Lucy replied out loud flatly. "There's something I wish to discuss with my guest and the timing right now is a little crucial." Lucy turned around to forcibly push Johnny back into the bathroom, making sure to fire a fierce glare before following with a reassuring wink of the eye. Which non-verbally conveyed a ("Trust me.")
Lucy had a theory, but better yet, she had a dangerous idea.
Content that Beryl and Lucy were as alone as they could possibly be. "I'll get straight to the point. Explanations are in order though..." Propping herself on her bed. "I owe a substantial debt to a friend to oversee Sylph's continued protection and safety. Mister Truant recently made some of her more...complicated attachments known to me. Sylph believes that you and Johnny are her parents or masters, depending on whether the pretty choker is on..."
Sitting up, Lucy propped her arm on her Gauss Rifle. "From what Johnny tells me, you kind of...activated her mommy-mode with a particular phrase." Looking directly at Beryl with a sense of ferocious responsibility. "I'd like to know exactly what the phrase was. I can take over the responsibility of the Red Menace and these two won't be a hassle in your future."
Walking over to the intercom, Lucy decided it was time to get Johnny some clothing and a surprise for Sylph. Before finally turning to Beryl. "If not, then the four of us will be seeing a lot more of each other...so what do you think?"
"Yes, Asset Black?"
"Can I have two sets of clothing sent over?"
"Miss Black, you already hav-"
"- it's...not for me. I have guests."
"At this time of the nigh-...oh...ohhhh!"
"Small size, something red, for the female. Something large, don't care what color, for the male. Is that fine?"
"Oh wow...at the same time?"
Giggling could be heard over the intercom.
The giggling was interrupted by a more stern, male voice taking over from the other end.
"We'll send something right over."
Lucy turned around to face the room, rather flustered after that very loud conversation.
The Enclave Vault: Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's Room
"I should have expected him to make his move soon enough... Did he mention the time he chained me up and made out with my unconscious body? It was only a matter of time before he found more prey.
"Is that what you call trying to save your worthless life!??! Next time you're out cold, and stop breathing, I'll remember to just watch you die, you evil, manipulative bitch."
*SLAM!!!!!!* Said Mister Water Closet Door as he SLAM!!!!!!ed shut in the wake of the argument that was ensuing between Daddy Johnny Shakes and Mommy Meryl Barrel outside in Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's Room. This was followed by Mister Water Closet Door emitting a gentle *click* as Sylphee locked herself in Mister Water Closet, determined not to see what was going to happen in the next few moments as she sat atop Miss Porcelain Goddess rocking back and forth while hugging her knees against her chest.
"Don't kill Daddy Johnny Shakes Mommy Meryl Barrel. Don't kill Mommy Meryl Barrel Daddy Johnny Shakes. Don't kill Daddy Johnny Shakes Mommy Meryl Barrel. Don't kill Mommy Meryl Barrel Daddy Johnny Shakes." The worried girl with the blue hair whispered as quietly as a gang of moldy mole rats could whisper as she sat there waiting for the winner of the Argument to the Death to call for her and coax her out of her hidey hole.
Sylphee always felt better in closed spaces like Mister Water Closet and to ensure that she was safely tucked away in her hiding spot, she turned off the bright overhead lamp leaving her alone in the darkness as she waited and waited and waited.
A While Ago:
*Squiggle Squiggle Squiggle Squiggle Splorch SquiggleSquiggleSquiggleSquiggle* Went Mister paint brush against Missus Wall causing the Blue Haired Painter's smile to grow even larger. Turning her head, she allowed Mama Sarah Bear to see how happy this little art project was making her.
"What're you painting Sylphee Pie?" Mama Sarah Bear asked with a genuine bonafide whitest of the white smile. Even though Mama Sarah Bear didn't need to ask, since the painting was clearly Sylphee's idea of what a Super Mutant with a Sun Flower for a head would look like, Mama Sarah Bear liked talking to Sylphee and Sylphee liked talking to Mama Sarah Bear.
"It's a Mister Supa Mutant with a Sunny Sun Flower for a head!" The Red Dressed Painter responded excitedly as she placed the finishing touches on Mister Supa Mutant's pink fingernails.
"Daddy's home!!!" Sylphee exclaimed excitedly, unable to wait to see Daddy's expression when he saw Sylphee's masterpiece.
"What the bloody hell is that?!" Daddy said loudly as he came into the living room where Sylphee was drawing as Mama Sarah Bear looked on.
"Sarah, was this mess your idea?" Daddy asked Mama Sarah Bear, his voice getting slightly louder.
"Yes Henry. It was my idea. The least that I could do while your gone is bond with your daughter." Mama Sarah Bear responded, patting Sylphee on the head.
"This mess is your idea of BONDING? If you were happier living in that run down shack where I found you, you could have told me instead of fucking up my house." Daddy said, giving Mama Sarah Bear the stink eye.
"You know what Henry? I don't know what crawled up your ass today but I don't have to take it. You've been gone days at a time and you expect your daughter and me to just sit on our asses doing nothing but wait for you?" Mama Sarah Bear said as she started walking off towards her and Daddy's room.
"Just where do you think you're going?"
"I'm leaving. There's only so much I can take and the fact that you've never given me an ounce of respect is one thing but the fact that you've continually treated Sylphee like a piece of property is another. Not allowing her to be a girl her age - Henry you're just an ass and I'm going to take Sylph with me." Mama Sarah Bear said as she started throwing stuff into a bag. As Mama Sarah Bear did this, Daddy walked up behind Sylphee and placed a finger on the choker.
"I don't think so, Sarah my dear. I don't think you'll be going anywhere soon you worthless bitch." Daddy said before there was an audible *CLICK!*
The next thing that Sylphee remembered was seeing Mama Sarah Bear on the floor, covered in blood. Daddy said that Mama Sarah Bear had been attacked after Sylphee passed out and whomever did it must have really hated her because there with parts that had been cut off of Mama Sarah Bear. Mama Sarah Bear was really nicest of the Mamas that Daddy had brought home but it all ended the same. Daddy and the Mommys would get into an argument and the Mommys would get stabbed up. It made Sylphee feel uncomfortable and not so happy when it happened and she hoped that nothing like that would happen now that Daddy Johnny Shakes and Mommy Meryl Barrel were arguing.
"Lucy Black...and welcome to my recently invaded room...Hungry? Help yourself, we just finished eating."
Beryl nodded, more to herself than anything else. For once, it felt like she was meeting someone on a similar wavelength. She knew the right things to say, anyway.
"Thanks for the offer. I am and I will."
For the first time, Beryl realised how hungry she was. Her tobacco intake had been the only thing that had been suppressing her appetite. It took a lot of composure on her part to not dive straight onto the food. As she ate, Ms Black talked.
"I owe a substantial debt to a friend to oversee Sylph's continued protection and safety. Mister Truant recently made some of her more...complicated attachments known to me. Sylph believes that you and Johnny are her parents or masters, depending on whether the pretty choker is on...I'd like to know exactly what the phrase was. I can take over the responsibility of the Red Menace and these two won't be a hassle in your future...If not, then the four of us will be seeing a lot more of each other...so what do you think?"
Though she hid it carefully and fixed her eyes onto the plate in front of her, Beryl was immediately suspicious of the request. Firstly, no one should be so willing to take custody over Sylph. Especially after having a sit down meal with her. Secondly, handing over the phrase would be like handing over the detonator to every last warhead in the wasteland. Sylph is a goddamn weapon, and this Lucy - an obvious enclave affiliate - knows that perfectly well. Through a mouthful of 200 year old powdered mash, Beryl gave an answer.
"Oh, but I couldn't possibly let Sylph part from me."
She swallowed and turned to Lucy.
"I am sure your intentions are the kindest and you'd look after her very well, but Sylph and I, we've grown so close in the short time we've been together. She is worth a lot to me, you know. Very valuable as a friend."
Beryl was careful to emphasise the words "worth" and "valuable". She hoped Lucy had the sense to see what she was getting at.
"I am sure your intentions are the kindest and you'd look after her very well, but Sylph and I, we've grown so close in the short time we've been together. She is worth a lot to me, you know. Very valuable as a friend."
Worth and value. Now those were certainly a suggestive choice of words. The 'property' connotations certainly did not sit right with her.
While Lucy had acquired a small helping of Blamco, she sat for a few silent moments, contemplating Beryl's skilful denial. Once the Eyepatched female stopping swirling the water in her glass, she addressed Beryl in an understanding manner.
It was easier to work with others, rather than trying to work through them.
"Worth a try, you know?" Lucy smiled in relief and filled a glass of water for her guest. "Sorry if that was a little invasive, I prefer to get straight to the point before pleasantries."
To elaborate on Lucy's relief, she was actually pleased that the phrase wasn't given to her. Lucy had no idea how Sylph would actually react to her 'sister' uttering that particular command. Anything could have happened, Sylph may have eliminated Lucy for her hasty decision, perhaps the two mothers would have to fight to the death...or maybe Sylph would explode.
Upon reflection, Lucy wasn't comfortable with any measure of 'control' over Sylph. Regardless of her ultimate intentions, the artificial bond would more than likely undermine Lucy's very reason for forming the bond. More than that, it ultimately served to perpetuate Sylph's life cycle of ownership.
All in all, it was a terrible idea. Fortunately, she possessed another plan - well, more of a guideline - but this was much more of a long-term affair, plus it had the benefit of involving only the natural bond between Lucy and Sylph.
Mentally deciding that this was the best course of action on her part, Lucy finished her plate and posed a question to Beryl inquisitively. "If you don't mind me asking, what brought you here - to the Enclave I mean - friends, family, prisoner, Asset Program?" Quickly and politely, she added. "Oh, feel free to speak your mind."
Most likely due to her waning energy, Lucy found herself more inclined to the pace of Beryl's company. Which sparked an immediate thought. "- just let me know up front if you're carrying a second personality, demonic entity or psychic powers!"
Hmm, Beryl was certainly shrewd, but she did not appear to be anything like the fire-breathing mole-rat that she envisioned from Johnny's fair few warnings about her.
Speaking of which, a knock on the door could be heard, along with a thud against the door.
Getting up to investigate, Lucy discovered a basket filled with crimson clothing for Sylph...and a drab gray for Johnny.
Lucy walked over to the bathroom door, yawned and knocked to announce her presence. "Hey, clothing delivery...socks, gray shirt and worn jeans for the male..." Lucy announced as she picked up each item of clothing. "And..Blamco!"
Sylph crimson outfit was styled in the fashion of a military-inspired dress, complete with long sleeves and presumably a knee-length skirt finish. To top it off, long socks were thrown in. As hesitant as Lucy was, she reminded herself that this was the easier version of Sylph to communicate with.
This was also an opportunity for something positive, which gave her motivation. Actually positive, this time. "Sylphee...heh...you're gonna love your new present."
The Enclave Vault: Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy' Water Closet
Blanketed by the darkness and tight quarters of Mister Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's Water Closet, the girl still clad in the most boringest of clothing felt oddly comforted by the fact that Mister Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's Water Closet was so cramped that Sylphee couldn't sit on the toilet without some part of her body touching a wall surface, which would normally been gross but since it was inside of the Enclave Vault, one probably could have eaten off the floor without ingesting a drop of human waste. Of course there was no way that Sylphee was going to test her little theory since there was no way that she would ever be able to fit herself and a Giant Rad Scorpion Claw Knuckle inside of tiny old Mister Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's Water Closet.
Everything had gone quiet outside of Mister Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's Water Closet and it seemed that Daddy Johnny Shakes and Mommy Meryl Barrel had stopped fighting, which in Sylphee estimation could have been a good thing or a bad thing or a worse thing. It would have been good if Daddy Johnny Shakes and Mommy Meryl Barrel stopped fighting and were sitting down to a nice cup of tea, or coffee, or Wake up Juice (that would be 1 ice cold part Nuka-Cola, 1 part Dirty Water and 1 part No-Doze). It would have been a bad thing if during the fight whatever happened to Mama Sarah Bear happened to either Daddy Johnny Shakes or Mommy Meryl Barrel but there was something far worse than that. The worse thing would have been Sylphee assuming that the coast was clear and walking in on Daddy Johnny Shakes and Mommy Meryl Barrel kissing and tussling, something that sometimes happened between Daddy and the mommies that Sylphee had. Shuddering at the memories, Sylph adjusted her position on Missy Toilet Can, preparing herself for a long - night? - day? - weekend? - Sylphee had no idea what time it was or how long she had been inside Missus Enclave Vault.
All these thoughts sort of chugged through Sylphee's brain like a train of Giant Miss Antsies and the blue haired GREY Menace was too
preoccupied with lost in her thoughts to realize that someone was speaking to her through Mister Door.
"BLAHBLAH...BLAH...BLAH BLAHBLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH present."
It took a moment but Sylphee finally recognized Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's voice but more importantly, she recognized the work that came at the end of whatever it was that Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy said.
"Present?" Sylphee whispered inside the deep darkness of Mister Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy's Water Closet, a whisper that reflected both curiosity and amazement.
Now everyone knew that there were two reasons that you got presents and only two reasons. The first reason was because you did a good job. Daddy always gave Sylphee presents for doing a good job even when Sylphee didn't remember doing it. The second reason, which happened quite a bit less often since it was only Mama Sarah Bear that did this, was when Sylphee wasn't feeling her usual bright and shiny self.
Sylphee knew, or was at least fairly certain that she hadn't done anything that warranted a present. This left only one thing, somehow Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy knew that Sylphee wasn't feeling her usual bright and shiny self but the biggest question was HOW?!?! How did Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy know that Sylphee wasn't feeling her usual bright and shiny self unless - unless SHE COULD READ SYLPHEE'S MIND!!
*SLAAM!!!* Went Mister Door as he was opened rather aggressively by the GREY menace, who was at that very moment already airborne and ready to pounce on the unwitting Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy!
"OHMYGOSH! YOUDIDN'TTELLMEYOUCOULDREADMYBRAINMEATS!!! THAT'SSOAWESOME! READMYBRAINMEATMORE!! WHATNUMBERAMITHINKING?! OHMYGOSH!!!! HOWDIDYOUKNOWIWASTHINKINGOFTHENUMBER23?! HOWDIDYOUKNOWTHATILIKEREDCLOTHES?! OHMYGOSHTHANKYOUBIGSISSYPSYCHOLUCYCABOOSY!!!" Sylphee managed to rattle off as she landed atop Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy.
"Worth a try, you know?"
Beryl was actually a little sad that Lucy didn't press the matter. If Lucy put down a huge cash offer for Sylph, Beryl would know for certain how valuable the girl really was to the right people with the wrong motives. Lucy was probably smart enough to avoid showing too much interest. Not that Beryl would have accepted such an offer anyway - handing over the only loaded gun in the room to an enclave type and then expecting the bottle caps would be absurdly naive. Not pressing it was probably the smart thing to do.
"If you don't mind me asking, what brought you here - to the Enclave I mean - friends, family, prisoner, Asset Program?" Quickly and politely, she added. "Oh, feel free to speak your mind."
Beryl thought it unwise to discuss her mother in the admin block. Or her desire to get away from the two in the next room.
"Well, where there is money to be made, there will always be a Beryl. The Enclave has its fair share of detractors, but I just see them as another business opportunity. As far as I care, the Enclave can have their hokey patriotism - er, no insult intended."
"- just let me know up front if you're carrying a second personality, demonic entity or psychic powers!"
"I'm into golf, will that be a problem? Oh, speaking of which, my golf club was misplaced back at the entrance. I don't suppose any of your associates might be able to fetch it? And my Thompson machine gun too. I find golfing can get quite dangerous, see."
It was too soon to say she liked her new company, but at the least, Beryl wasn't getting annoyed by her. Lucy had some authority, she didn't ask annoying questions, and she didn't shout at the top of he-
Beryl's thought process was immediately jarred by the racket that was Sylph. Oh, god, she gave her a present? She sank her head into her hands. I hate you, Lucy.
Frank's design notes:
An attempt to make lasers stealthier by using a different color of light. In this case; colors beyond the human visual spectrum. A reduction in power makes it so that the air doesn't singe. (The source of noise generated by lasers) However; this proved completely ineffective at ranges over 15 feet. Combined with damage output lower than an average laser pistol makes this weapon ineffective for anything except assassinating an unarmored target in a crowded bar or marketplace.
Status: Abandoned. While it has uses, those uses are immoral.
Special Combat Optical Perception Enhancement: (S.C.O.P.E.)
An attempt to improve the standard weapon scope, the S.C.O.P.E. is made from a camera, a sensor-module, and some spare electronics. An eyepiece is attached to the user's helmet that receives a feed from the weapon allowing for easy aiming without putting the gun up to the user's face. Care should be taken to avoid motion sickness.
Status: Success. Danielle has taken the prototype for her own use, along with the L.A.S.E.R. Rifle prototype, and seems to be enjoying the device.
Laser Augmentation System Enabled by Recharging: (L.A.S.E.R.)
An attempt to make up for the deficiencies of the standard laser weapon, a Microfusion breeder has been added to a traditional AER12 Laser Rifle. When fired it adds the entire breeder charge to the regular Cell charge increasing the power of the laser. The laser seems to turn more yellow based on the strength of the breeder charge.
Status: Success. Danielle has taken the rifle prototype along with the S.C.O.P.E. prototype for field testing. If all goes well, I may begin work on a pistol model.
Addendum: Care should be taken when using Max-Charge Microfusion cells. Severe weapon degredation, and temporary blindness may occur if care is not taken. At least I hope it's temporary.
Theoretical melee weapon:
The current peak of melee weaponry is the reliable Super-Sledge. While useful, this idea may make it obsolete.
The RepConn and Winchester models of plasma weaponry all end in claws or spikes. The idea is simple; impale the target on the sharp bits, then fill them with plasma. Somewhat suggestive, but then, so is a pump-action shotgun.
It's the how that becomes problematic.
My current idea is based on an old tribal weapon; the Piston Spear.
Status: Suspended. Lyons doesn't feel that we should be refitting our plasma weaponry into melee weapons. Typical. Nobody appreciates the intricacies of close-combat anymore. What's the point of having power-armor if we can't charge into melee range?
There was a significant pause between Lucy's announcement and any sound of movement on the other end of the door.
Her excitement over a present started to erode when Lucy remembered just who she was dealing with exactly. Saying Sylph was unpredictable was an understatement of mountainous proportions, but she knew she could adjust to the more agreeable "Happy Sylph" far easier than the unnerving "Dark Sylph".
It was certainly going to be a process, and 'sister' labels aside, the two young ladies had a lot of boundaries and barriers to break before Lucy would let go of her anxiety surrounding the Color-coded Menace.
While waiting for some sort of reply, Lucy turned her attention back to Beryl, who appeared to be looking her over rather critically. Beryl's responses were still fresh in her mind.
"No offence taken, I'm not really in this for their ideology. The Enclave has -..." Lucy shrugged as she grossly oversimplified it. " - just always been in the family, you know? Anyway, I came here to bring some much needed change.
("Oh, speaking of which, my golf club was misplaced back at the entrance. I don't suppose any of your associates might be able to fetch it? And my Thompson machine gun too.")
Lucy pondered for a moment whether she should bug whoever was on the other end of the intercom system. Rather not. She had a feeling too many personal favours would put her in some sort of debt. Although she did have one final call to make.
"I'll look into it as soon as I can." Lucy snorted as the word 'associates' floated back into her mind. "Golf club should be fine. But I wouldn't get your hopes up about the gun. They took my plasma pistol just because it wasn't their tech. The GRP was. Weirdly eno-...!"
"EEP!" blurted out the surprised Lucy as the rocket-propelled soon-to-be-RED-menace knocked the two of them to the ground. Lucy had cushioned Sylph's landing, having sent clothing flying while she landed on her back.
Her body tensed extremely, just for a moment, as the anxiety of Sylph attacking her seemed to become very real - just for a moment. That quickly dissipated when she managed to decipher the Menace's motor-mouth. "Brain-meat, awesome, like red clothes and Psycho Lucy..."
Perhaps it was the lack of sleep - no, it was definitely the lack of sleep and the emotional roller-coaster that was this horrid and wonderful day that was throwing her emotions around. But the Gauss Girl couldn't help herself as she burst out laughing as the red militaristic dress floated down on Sylph's head.
"I..heh heh.." Lucy grinned at the oddball with a dress on her head. "..you were wearing red when we met, silly. So I just assumed you'd...heh...like a replacement."
Lucy sat up on her elbows and her voice softened as her tense state was completely lost at this point. "Glad you like it. Promised that I'd get you something awesome...I always deliver." remarked the Gauss Girl rather proudly. "Go try it on. I wanna see"
Having wriggled out from under Sylph, Lucy took a breather and her stomach tied itself into a knot as she pressed the intercom button.
Asset Black, abusing your communication privileges will result in disciplinary action."
"Look, I need to speak with FalloutJack first thing in the morning."
"Have you filed a written request at the Fallout Sector Administration Center, received the necessary approval number and waited two to three weeks for a response?"
"No! I only got here today - look, I want to volunteer for a potential mission."
"The Fallout Sector does not take requests from just anyo-" Droned the voice on the other end.
"It's about the Enclave Underground!" Lucy lost her patience and commanded coldly.
"..." Shuffling of papers could be heard.
"What about them?" The voice suddenly sounded a lot more intrigued, even desperate for a granule of information.
"I want to take any leads and track them down, with my personal team. It's time I pull my weight around here."
"...Ambitious - Asset Black, this - this might ease your reputation here - provided this gets approval. The message will be sent along to the Fallout Sector first thing tomorrow."
Lucy sighed with equal parts relief and worry. She would have to consult her guests in the room if they wanted to come with her. Provided that this was approved, this could open many opportunities for everyone in this room.
She hoped she would have support, instead of going alone.
Having heard the crashes from outside his temporary hideout in the bathroom, Johnny poked his head out of the door, remembering to open it first this time. (1) Upon seeing the destruction that Sylph had caused, Johnny stepped over to check on Lucy, who seemed to be okay, and didn't seem to want any help up... or possibly, Johnny thought, I'm invisible again. It's happened before...
Shaking his head to keep focused on the current scene, he managed to keep his towel firmly held in place while he helped Sylph up.
"You really need to be more careful, Sylphee," he said, keeping a firm but gentle tone as he struggled to get her off the ground with one hand (the other still busy keeping the towel where it needed to be). Once she was finally up on her feet again, Johnny hurriedly gathered the clothes that seemed to be for him, and rushed back into the bathroom to put them on.
Once dressed in a shirt and pair of jeans that looked uncomfortably close to what he normally wore, right down to the exact position of the holes in his pants... he joined the others back out into the main room in time to overhear part of Lucy's conversation over the... intercom.
He stopped her before she got back to the others, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"Hey," he said, looking her right in the eye, "Thank you for the new threads. And... whatever it is you need, I'm glad to help. If you want my help that is. I... uh... look, I'm sorry. I should have warned you about... him, but umm... how do you just..." he took his hand off of her shoulder, and threw his arms up in the air almost as if he were about to start flapping them, "How do you do that? Heh... great conversation starter... 'hey, I've got some... jackass in my head that does all kinds of weird and impossible things'... yeah... heh."
He tried to smile, but it fell a bit flat. Then, he stood next to her, and whispered into her ear again.
"I've been thinking on it a bit, and I think I figured out the phrase you were looking for." he began, "I uh... well... Beryl had gotten into a tirade, and had been throwing a lot of fire at Sylph... I don't remember all of it, she was being her usual bitchy self. But I do remember her finishing a sentence addressed to Sylph with 'retard bitch'... and then I called her out on it... umm... basically asking her who she thinks she is, and how she thinks she can just get off on calling Sylph a 'retard bitch'. Yeah... I'm not proud of repeating that in front of Sylph but... ever since that, she's been treating both of us as if we're her parents... sort of. So... yeah, that's... probably the phrase right there."
He waited a minute. There didn't seem to be anyone trying to hit him... yet.
"Go ahead, hit me. I know. I'm an idiot."
(1) For the time being, I am invoking the don't ask, don't tell policy popular in a number of backwards societies like this one. As in... I'M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU, AND DON'T YOU DARE ASK.
The Enclave Vault: Headquarters of the Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy Brigade!
"Glad you like it. Promised that I'd get you something awesome...I always deliver." remarked Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy rather proudly. "Go try it on. I wanna see"
"You really need to be more careful, Sylphee." Daddy Johnny Shakes added as he picked Sylphee up off the ground giving her an opportunity to hug and squeeze the heck out of the Red Outfit that Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy had picked out for her.
"Sorry, Daddy Johnny Shakes. I'll be lots more careful in the future but I just couldn't help myself since Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy not only gave me a present BUT she also read my mind!" The Red Menace explained as she headed bad into the confines of Mister Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's Water Closet to change. She was pretty sure that Daddy Johnny Shakes needed to talk to Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy for a minute, PLUS it would have been rather rude for Sylphee to change right then and there.
Humming to herself as she changed, she looked at the Bright and Sparkly Red clothing that Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy had given her. The clothing that Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy gave the Blue Haired Red Menace looked to be sort of the type of clothes that soldiers would wear, if soldiers wore skirts and such. Something inside Sylphee's head made her think that it was a nice choice of clothes since it looked like there was a layer of Kevlar between the layers of Synthetic Fabric. Over all, the outfit was made up of a Red Skirt, a red shirt, a red jacket, a pair of long red socks and a pair of shiny shiny black combat boots. What was even better was a pair of red ribbons that would let Sylphee tie her hair up in the two ponytails that she loved to wear.
Satisfied with Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's choice, the Red Menace immediately discarded the BORING set of clothes and started putting on the new outfit, making sure that her new clothes hid the network of scars that crisscrossed her back. Sometimes she wondered how she got them in the first place. She once asked Daddy about them and was told that some mean men had done that to her when she wandered off without his permission and he reminded her of this fact whenever she felt the need to walk around and look at stuff.
Satisfied that she was dressed properly, the restored Red Menace hopped out of Mister Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's Water Closet, prepared to give a big TA-DAH!!!.
"Go ahead, hit me. I know. I'm an idiot." Daddy Johnny Shakes said as Sylphee opened the door.
"Okay Daddy Johnny Shakes." Sylphee said as she punched him, without really knowing why Daddy Johnny Shakes was asking someone to punch him. With that order out of the way, Sylphee let out a loud:
As she flung up her hands into the air into a convulsion of jazzhands while she flashed Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy the biggest smile ever!
"See? I told you didn't I? I'm like a killer-cyborg or some shiz."
"Wow Hayes, when you want something done you really get it done" was the impressed reply Evan could give. They'd now acquired a hogtied ghoul all ready for study.
"Interesting specimen, the Brotherhood will want to see this." Said Evan, leaning close to the ghoul as it desperately snapped at the scribe.
"Well o' course they want to do that, we didn't get this guy for the laughs... well... crazy guy there mighta done it for that." Replied Dudley, indicating Hayes with the latter part of this sentence. Dudley was keeping a steady distance between himself and Hayes' grasshopper while never looking away from the ghoul. Dudley then began backing off.
"What's the matter Dudley? Scared he'll bite you, hahaha." Evan chuckled at his joke as Dudley backed off even further.
"Nah, I aint scared o' them things, I got nothin' to wo-OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT THERE'S ONE ON MEEEE!!" Seems like somebody failed a spot check as one of the ghouls was now lurking near Dudley's bike, he'd backed off far enough to be standing right next to it, all the ghoul had to do was reach out and grab him. Dudley went down like a tonne of bricks as the ghoul dragged itself up his leg.
"OH I AINT SCARED! I'M GONNA SHOW YOU JUST HOW NOT SCARED I AM!" Roared Dudley, he thrust out his left arm, the palm of his hand making contact with rotting ghoul forehead. His fingers tightened around the skull, exposed in places, and held the snarling head there. With his other hand he reached for his trusty axe from his pack, "HOLD STILL YA ZOMBIE!" he slammed the ghouls head onto the ground and brought the axe down with a surprisingly loud crunch. Bone, flesh and muscle gave way to heavy metal and the ghouls head rolled along the ground.
"...ok... wow." Evan lost for words, not a first but still quite rare.
"Ya think maybe we can get outta here? We got our stinker, LETS GO."
"Umm.. yeah, yeah lets go. You're right."
To the Citadel Robin!
Lucy was not going to get anywhere by sitting on her ass.
Looking around, she surveyed the unlikely group she had accidentally assembled in her quarters.
Sylph and Lucy's fate were intertwined and she would fight tooth and nail to keep her promise to her dear Undertaker. It dawned on Lucy how she had changed her mind about the control phrase; why did she even care about her relationship with Sylph? Did she not just feel responsible for her protection - or, was Lucy caring for Sylph on a level above that of a glorified bodyguard? While their stories were different, there was something largely unsaid about their relationship, having shared losses of love, affection and family.
Johnny was a surprise, the real surprise of the group. On one hand, he was an attentive man of inspiring raw passion, on the other hand, he seemed to harbor demons of his own, one quite more literal than others. It was this uncertain aspect that severely unnerved Lucy. Unlike Sylph, Johnny did not possess a choker to serve as a restraint and indicator. Besides for the fear she felt, Lucy appreciated how much of a passionate drive he possessed towards the protection of Sylph. It said much about him and she wished to know more.
Beryl was someone that she would have to bring into the fold - maybe. However shrewd this woman was, Lucy got the feeling that Beryl was a force to be reckoned with. Beryl commanded authority, but her story about profiteering off the Enclave seemed...off. Johnny has had nothing positive to say about her - which was a red flag on its own. However, Beryl was the only one in this room that knew nothing of Lucy's true status/intentions. But was an extension of trust the right move to make or was Lucy potentially handing over the noose for her plans?
Set on making an announcement, the sleepy girl turned around and was met with a hand on her shoulder. Half-expecting the demon again, she flinched this time, unable to hide her response. Unexpectedly, she had received a thank you for the clothes, an offer to help and an apology for earlier.
Lucy appreciated the honesty, she felt she hadn't done anything to earn such a kind reception from him, especially after the verbal meltdown before. Even more so, he had easily offered his assistance before asking. This made her feel equal parts thankful and guilty.
"The least I could do, I would ask for something nicer, but I think they'll put me on suspension on day one if I make another call." Lucy responded kindheartedly, nodding towards his slightly tattered jeans and then the intercom. Her voice shifted slightly as her eye met his hopefully, "You really want to come with me? I'll have you know, Mr Truant..." Lucy replied sternly, before her voice softened into sincerity. "...that's the best news I've gotten all day. I was - really worried about doing this alone." Lucy boasted in an overtly tough-girl manner, "Mostly because I can only fire one round at a time!"
The tough girl act was really used to whiplash into something more frighteningly honest. "You scared me - and I wasn't expecting - whatever that was." Lucy let her vulnerability show for what she was about to say next. "Is that something I have to - ...protect myself against? I don't want to hurt my friends anymore." she reflected sadly, thinking about Shifty.
Lucy was met with a small smile, which felt reassuring. Then, he stood next to her, and whispered into her ear - he seemed rather fond of doing that.
"Yeah... I'm not proud of repeating that in front of Sylph but... ever since that, she's been treating both of us as if we're her parents... sort of. So... yeah, that's... probably the phrase right there."
This crucial piece of information had put Lucy in a dangerous spot for a moment, she could cave in to her curiosity or worse; desperation - if the situation was dire enough. Either way, her mind had not changed on the subject and she kept her voice low for Johnny to hear. "I don't like the idea of control, Johnny. Even more, I don't want my - ...bond with Sylph to be anything but honest. I'm still putting myself in danger - you heard what she said about siblings - but I'll...do my best for the one and fight the other at every turn if that's what it takes."
On her last sentence, Lucy had growled slightly before collecting herself. "I need to ask you something. How trustworthy is Beryl, if I were to tell her what I really was to this place?"
"Go ahead, hit me. I know. I'm an idiot."
Lucy was about to ask why Johnny was expecting punishment, but a red blur out of the corner of her eye and a fist making contact with Johnny's groin had sent Lucy into a fit of laughter.
"Okay Daddy Johnny Shakes." confirmed the attacker as the now truly Red Menace herself, Sylph.
"Sylph - just keep being you..." Lucy remarked and started clapping her hands and squeeing (you read that right) after catching a good look at Sylph's dynamic display and drop-dead gorgeous dress. If Lucy hadn't known any better, she would have thought that the uniform was that of a full-blown military officer in fearsome crimson. "You look beautiful! How did - is it armored? Whoa. Told you I would get you awesome clothes!"
Lucy looked down at her full-body reinforced leather armor with more than a hint of jealousy. Started playing with her hairbands and fixed her hair into that of two loose pigtails, hanging down to her shoulders. A similar enough style to compliment Sylph's.
After the excitement had died down a little, Lucy stepped in the center of the room to address everyone. Her voice was very much similar to her Asset facade and the determined glare confirmed it as so.
"To get everyone up to speed, I pitched a mission idea to FalloutJack. There's something called the 'Enclave Underground', from what I was told, they sound like an elusive group that takes in...those who have defected. More importantly, it sounds like the Enclave itself is itching to find them."
Lucy paused to look at everyone "If it gets approved. We can get out of this place, hopefully get resupplied and rearmed and maybe even get compensated. So, stay here or join in?"
Beryl had finished off as much food as she could. Now that that box was ticked, she took to considering the group. Just how had Sylph and Johnny ended up in here? Lucy apparently already knew about their powers, but was she really trying to put them to use? With the right words, you could get Sylph to do stuff, but Johnny and his...thing...did they honestly expect to keep that under control?
Beryl watched Sylph prance around in her new dress. Even Beryl had to admit it was a nice combination. Almost as nice as the combination of Sylph's fist and Johnny's crotch, which happily happened moments later. It isn't such a bad day after all. A memory flickered into her head, back when she was that age. She never felt natural in a dress herself - it just seemed too fey. Regardless of how her friends and family tried to push her the other way, she was a stickler for formal wear.
Lucy started announicing something. Beryl snapped to attention, and the present day.
"...I pitched a mission idea to FalloutJack. There's something called the 'Enclave Underground', from what I was told, they sound like an elusive group that takes in...those who have defected. More importantly, it sounds like the Enclave itself is itching to find them...If it gets approved. We can get out of this place, hopefully get resupplied and rearmed and maybe even get compensated. So, stay here or join in?"
Beryl thought about it. If the Enclave weren't able to find the Underground already, then they were probably going on a wild goose chase. The enclave may be fucking nuts, but they had the resources to find these things themselves, without outside help. That said, just because the mission is probably doomed to failure, doesn't mean it would be a total a waste of time. Having the Enclave on your side was better than nothing, and She didn't fancy getting thrown in yet another cell.
She didn't respond right away. She waited for the others to have their say.
Rick quickly retorted to sam's statement 'I follow no man's orders, I am a free man and I choose to spend that time going on adventures and saving damsels not going around insulting people'.
Larry's hand slowly moved to his belt, where his grenades were located and turned to jake, his voice stayed calm 'I can take being called an idiot, but if you dare insinuate I am enclave ever again I will promptly replace you with a crater' by the end of the sentence his hand was holding onto one of his grenades, still attached to belt, while his hand had originally started moving towards a frag grenade it settled on a smoke grenade.
Rick: "I follow no man's orders, I am a free man and I choose to spend that time going on adventures and saving damsels not going around insulting people."
Larry's hand slowly moved to his belt, where his grenades were located and turned to Jake, his voice stayed calm.
Larry: "I can take being called an idiot, but if you dare insinuate I am enclave ever again I will promptly replace you with a crater."
By the end of the sentence his hand was holding onto one of his grenades, still attached to belt, while his hand had originally started moving towards a frag grenade it settled on a smoke grenade. Had John not gone off to fetch Simms, he would have informed Jake of this fact. Instead, it seemed quite like a legitimate threat.
Jake: "You're not helping your case sir, and that course of action would be inadvisable."
Sam was getting annoyed at the situation, and resolved to violently solve it with words.
Sam: "S1. Ginger Filet Fish: fillet fish lightly fried w. pea, ginger, diced pepper & chef's spicy sauce."
Sam: "S2. Seafood Delight: crabmeat, scallop, jumbo shrimp sautéed w. assorted chinese vegetables.
Rick: "Does not compute!"
Sparks shot out of Rick.
Sam: "S3. Happy Family: shrimp, scallops, beef, chicken sautéed w. vegetable in chef's special sauce."
Smoke began to come from inside Rick.
Sam: "S4. Perfect Match: a classic provincial combination of shrimps and scallops sautéed with mixed vegetables in spicy garlic sauce."
A small pop could be heard inside Rick.
Moe: What did you just do?
Sam: [Robotics Expert]"Pre-programmed to respond to countless different phrases and topics, none of which include the chef's specials section of a pre-war Chinese restaurant."
Larry used his other hand to gesture to his scared and burned face 'do I look like a man who takes advisable actions, with that in mind would it be advisable to insult me like that, but to simplify things my only goal in life is to destroy the enclave and to watch them suffer. Of course I have no way to prove that, anything I say or do I am sure a trained enclave spy would say or do in order to gain your trust, though I would say I don't think a enclave spy would turn up with a still functioning enclave eyebot and then refuse to destroy it.' larry then turned to look at sam, as he began talking his aggravation became more and more notable in his voice 'while I am on that have you ever thought of not damaging eyebots, and then looking through their still in contact programs to try and find a mapping system and maybe a list of enclave bases. Then do some edits to the eyebots, fill them with explosives and send them back to their bases. Once enough are inside detonating them and then sending in a group to take out any survivors. Or are you too busy trying to find parts for some laser rifles and ammo.'
"I shan't deny that this most blessed of burdens does not cause my bones to strain and my tendons to howl. Not more than an hour has passed - though the irrelevance of what time represents aches at the back of my mind - and my hefty frame is frail before you. I am...ashamed."
"Not often does a creature of science so readily become a creature of faith. But what I know now, what you meant for me to know, it is foolish to even think of looking away. It is impossible. No delusion is convincing enough to sway the truth that the world has ended, even the drunk knows that. Many truths have made themselves known, and falsehoods were swept away with the atomic winds. No, no falsehoods. Hopes. Hopes that hope itself could be found in the sciences, in knowing what yet lives, what persevered, what survived that which was meant to erase it. But...nothing. I could find nothing. I slit, and I stitched, I drained, and I tore out; but in memories of viscera and youthful fascination, nothing. I'm...I'm an old Walrus..."
"But the things I understand now cannot be wasted. The ages move in a cycle - the land and the water. This age of the land is drawing to a close, though it struggles and writhes, as if to convince you to the contrary. Fire and steel had claimed the land; but a fire dies and steel corrodes. Nothing can be eternal. Fire and steel wasn't enough, just as currents and coral failed us when the last age of the water came to it's passing. I have inherited the mantle of the blessed exile - born of the water, but banished to the land; for his skin to dessicate and burn under their sun, to become tarred with their dust and earth, the bear the scars of thorn and stone. But penance is not without reward. I should demonstrate that the land may no longer withstand the will of the Wet One. That the Wet One has once again been restored with might by the inevitability of the rotation of epochs. That the Wet One shall crawl upon their land, and it shall crack beneath him, and his disciples shall flow forth and cover the land once more."
"Your disciples flow before you. Men and women who relinquish their land-borne humanity, which tore horrors into their visages, so that you might know them. My companions who have seen what I have seen, and know what I have come to know, they cannot turn away from these truths."
"We swear that water shall no longer soothe our throats, as to drink your holy waters for sustenance would stall the coming of the age, and land will languish in it's half-dead state, denied a peaceful death for our selfishness. That...that is why you deigned to send the drunk to me! His concoction shall...uh...hm."
"So...it seems you wish for me to continue my penance."
The Enclave Vault: Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's Quarters
If compliments were to Sylphee as the sun was to Missus Slithering-Creepy-Crawl-Snakes, The Red Menace would have been bouncing off the walls - um - more than she already was as she basked in the compliments and approving looks that both Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and Mommy Meryl Barrel gave her. There was also a quite unexpected side effect to all the compliments that The Blue Haired, Anti-Materiel Rifle Toting, Double Pony Tailed Hyperactive Maniac was receiving: Sylphee felt her cheeks turn really REALLY hot, almost as if they were on FIRE, which of course only made the smiling accident prone ditz smile even more bigger.
"Thanks Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy! These are the bestest clothes that I've ever been given! BESTEST!!! EVER!!!" Sylphee said as she started plotting a way to repay her Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy for the awesomest threads ever. Which brought us to the point that we're at now.
"To get everyone up to speed, I pitched a mission idea to FalloutJack. There's something called the 'Enclave Underground', from what I was told, they sound like an elusive group that takes in...those who have defected. More importantly, it sounds like the Enclave itself is itching to find them. If it gets approved. We can get out of this place, hopefully get resupplied and rearmed and maybe even get compensated. So, stay here or join in?" The Formerly One Eyed, Cyclopean Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy suggested.
Without a single nano-second of thought on the matter, Sylphee raised her hand high high high into the air, waiting for her turn to speak, which of course was right away since Daddy Johnny Shakes was rubbing his groin area (Sorry Daddy Johnny Shakes) and Mommy Meryl Barrel looked like she was thinking really Really REALLY hard.
"Join! Join! Join!" Sylphee suggested rather loudly. It seemed to Sylphee that if Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy wanted to get rid of these Enclave people, the best way would be to get help from the Enclave Underground.
What was even better was the fact that this meant more exploring of Mister Enclave Vault and maybe digging: The Enclave Underground was underground after all. The Bestest part was the fact that Sylphee might make a few more friends on the way.
Running up to Miss Communication Panel, the very one that Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy had been using to talk to Miss and then Mister Enclave Communication Officer, Sylphee began pushing buttons.
"Hello?! Hello? Hi!" The Red Menace yelled into Mister Microphone as Miss Communication Panel beeped and booped.
"Asset Black. I be-" Mister Enclave Communication Officer started to say before he was cut off by Blue Eyed, Blue Haired Menace.
"This isn't Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy! Hey! Mister Enclave Communication Officer, I wanna talk to Mister Fallout Jack-a-lope-pants! We need shovels! Lots of shovels!"
"Who is this? What's your operating number?"
"What's an operating number?" Sylphee asked as her finger pushed the button that hung up the line.
After picking himself up off the floor for the... fifteenth time today (?), Johnny walked over to where Lucy had started asking for support.
"Heh. You have my lever action," he said, hurriedly grabbing it, and leaning on it for effect, "Whatever you need, I'll help with... well... nothing involving children, animals, or spoons."
He shivered at that last one.
Then Sylph was... being Sylph again and seemed close to breaking the intercom, so Johnny set his rifle against the wall, and walked over to her.
"Sylph," he said, giving her a kind smile, "That's Lucy's intercom... it would be rude to use it without her permission, okay?"
Then he noticed that Sylph seemed to be holding something.
"What have you got there, sweetie?"
The Enclave Vault: Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's Quarters
"Sylph," Daddy Johnny Shakes said, giving her a kind smile, "That's Lucy's intercom... it would be rude to use it without her permission, okay?"
The Red Menace in the soldiers outfit's head perked up at being addressed by her Daddy Johnny Shakes and gave the concept of asking for permission some thought before giving Daddy Johnny Shakes a snappy salute.
"Okay Daddy Johnny Shakes. I'll ask for permission from Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy from now on 'fore I touch her stuff." Sylphee responded with a smile in return, her eyes gleaming all sorts of a mischief as she decided that now would be a great time to go through her bag of treasures, especially if Daddy Johnny Shakes, Mommy Meryl Barrel, Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and her were going to go on an adventure.
Grabbing her bag, Sylphee loudly dumped its contents all over the floor in the middle of the room and started going through the various things that she had acquired along the way.
"Oh hey Mommy Meryl Barrel! I still got lots and lots and lots and lots of Mister Golf Balls here for you." Sylphee said as she deposited the 30 or so that she had collected way way way back when it was the two of them in the caravan in Minefield.
"Oh hey those aren't Mister Golfballs!" The Red Menace said as she picked up the two disc shaped Missus Land Mines off of the floor. Thankfully they were disarmed.
"Oh! Oh! Oh! Neat!" The Blue Eyed Wonder Girl said as she held up a lizard that had been flattened by the weight of all of the other treasures in Sylph's bag, though to be honest the neat part was the Chinese Military emblem that had been embedded in the Lizard's belly. Continuing through the bad of stuff, Sylphee paused for a moment and gazed hard at the object that she held in her hands.
"What have you got there, sweetie?" Daddy Johnny Shakes asked.
"It's a hat. I think it belongs to Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy." Sylph responded as she placed the black wide brimmed hat on the table. Looking at the hat, Lucy would have recognized it as having once been worn by her in bar in the Citadel.
After placing the hat on the table, Sylphee picked up another object, one that she didn't remember ever picking up before. A radio.
"Hey Daddy Johnny Shakes. Can you get this to work?"
Johnny couldn't help but smile and shake his head a little as he watched Sylph drop the bag of landmines for the umpteenth time, thankfully they were disarmed this time. He whistled when Sylph returned Lucy's hat, though he wasn't really sure why. It was a nice hat, but... that seemed like the wrong response somehow. In response to some of the looks he was probably getting at that point, he simply shrugged.
"Hey Daddy Johnny Shakes. Can you get this to work?"
Johnny paced over to see what Sylph was looking at. He let out a sigh of relief when it turned out to be a perfectly harmless radio, instead of the nuclear bomb he'd been half expecting to find her playing with at this point. Moreover, it was a simple, handheld radio... not meant so much for communication as it was for entertainment, seeing as there was nowhere to speak into the device... and instead, two small 'speakers'. He fiddled with the volume and channel settings for a bit, getting nothing but static until...
Johnny hadn't heard this song before, but it still seemed eerily familiar to him. Sure, he could definitely relate to its subject matter, but... there was something more to it than that. The singer's voice... sounded far too familiar for comfort... yet, he couldn't quite place it at the moment. Where on earth had he heard it before? And... why the hell was he shivering?
The Enclave Vault: Big Sissy Lucy Psycho Caboosy's Room
Sitting in the middle of a pile of her treasures and equipment, Sylphee listened to the strange song that came out of Missy Radio, which seemed definitely unlike any of the other songs she'd heard, especially the ones that Mister Twenty-Three Skiddoodle Dog played. While The Blue Haired Double Pony Tailed Lass didn't quite understand that subject of the song, she felt herself swaying in time to the music.
"Purdy wordy purdy song." Sylphee said with a big yawn as her head started tilting forward slightly, the gentleness of Missy Miss Singer's voice made Sylphee look at the world through slitted eyelids.
*BLINK BLINK BLINK BLINK* "YAWWWWWWWWN!!!!*"
It soon became rather apparent that Sylphee was just as tired as Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and as she curled up in a ball on the floor, the girl reached out to wrap her arms around the closest thing of comfort.
"Nighty night Daddy Johnny Shakes --- Nighty -- night Mommy Meryl Barrel --- Ni---ght-- Big --Sissy -- boosy" The Blue Haired sleeper managed to whisper before a light snore escaped her lips as she fell asleep with her arms wrapped around in a very tight cuddle with her very own Mister Landmine.
"Join! Join! Join!" Sylphee squealed rather loudly.
Lucy matched her comical enthusiasm with a wink and a point of the finger. "You're hired! Feel free to name the team!"
"Heh. You have my lever action," Johnny declared as he joined Lucy, grabbing his rifle, and finally leaning on it for added effect, "Whatever you need, I'll help with... well... nothing involving children, animals, or spoons."
Lucy motioned back by resting her arm on her somewhat larger Gauss Rifle in a playfully mocking manner, "And you have my gauss rifle. -...I don't know if anything involving you, me and children is on the table though." She hoped he wasn't getting a little too paternal with that last sentence, as for the rest, she could only raise her eyebrow quizzically before she openly yawned again.
Her bed beckoned, but she had a few extra living arrangements to make.
Lucy let out a small growl of determination when she received the eager and heartfelt support from both Johnny and Sylph. "Two out of three, that works for me." Needless to say, she was happy to have gotten any support whatsoever.
Lucy walked over to strip her bed, paying no heed to Sylph or Johnny antics, while she lifted one mattress off of the second and dropped it on the ground. With two pillows and an extra set of blankets, Lucy chose to spare the one of each for the makeshift bed on the floor. It would be a squeeze, but it would be manageable if two people shared a mattress each.
"Done." Lucy muttered to herself and turned around to figure out sleeping arrangements. Heh...a slumber party at the Enclave, who would have thought...
"It's a hat. I think it belongs to Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy." Sylph responded as she placed the familiar black wide brimmed hat on the table.
Unable to believe her eyes, there stood Shifty Mcgee's trademark top-hat. Her eye had visibly widened in shock, however, when she picked up and hugged the familiar feel of the hat itself to her chest, Lucy smiled bitterly, trying her best to fight back the flood of tears. Instead, she merely kissed the very top of the hat itself, before tucking it gently into her backpack once she reached it.
"It was - it's mine now - thank you." Lucy was visibly affected and her voice reflected a certain amount of heartache that even she couldn't bury.
Turning to the sudden source of music, Lucy appreciated the singer's voice, which put her in a more comfortable mood. Walking over to Johnny, she initiated her first meaningful act of physical contact on her part...a hand on his shoulder. It looked as awkward as it sounded, a fact that she was quick to realize. The problem was Johnny's height, like most people, he was taller than her.
Instead, Lucy awkwardly snaked an arm around his waist and leaned in to hug him briefly. "-Thanksforstaying..."
An awkward and discomposed Lucy was never a pretty sight, according to her at least. So when Sylph offered a distraction, it was welcomed with open arms...so to speak.
"Nighty night Daddy Johnny Shakes --- Nighty -- night Mommy Meryl Barrel --- Ni---ght-- Big --Sissy -- boosy" muttered the Sleeping Menace.
Lucy felt a little bad leaving Sylph on the floor so she softly addressed Johnny. "Think you can move her quietly to my bed - without the explosives? The extra mattress is yours...erm..."
Lucy walked over to Beryl with that thought in mind, "Maybe you want to sleep on your decision? Were you issued a room of your own or do you want to find a place here? Choice is yours Miss Beryl."
Walking over to her bed, Lucy reached to dim the lights slightly and thought against removing her eye-patch, there was a reason she had to keep it on. Unfortunately for everyone else, they had to bear witness to one of Lucy's more strange habits. Making extra effort to tuck her gauss rifle in next to her...she made sure that the rifle ultimately shared a pillow with her.
Letting her hair loose on top of loosening what could constitute as the "shirt" component of her leather armor, Lucy pulled off the tight clothing to reveal a gray undershirt, identical to Sylph's previous clothing. Something that Lucy had discovered she was wearing earlier. It appeared that the doctors that worked on her eye had also had her searched and clothed.
It was unsettling, but she was too tired to care at this point. Once everyone had made their decisions and gotten comfortable. Lucy flicked off the light, slipped into her side of the bed, arm draped over her rifle and steadily drifted off to sleep.