William was now en route to the command hub, the scientist's directions had been particularly useful. It's amazing what someone about to die will tell you. William paused for a moment and considered that the Enclave probably used similar methods when they were in a hurry.
The Enclave would be proud of me, interrogating that man back there, then killing him. Maybe this place is getting to me, maybe it's this armour, maybe it's just the day I'm having... or is this just what I have to do to survive here? Is this ok?
No, no it isn't. By that extent that means I'm not ok right now. All the more reason to try and finish up here and get what I came for.
William descended a set of stairs that would get him closer to the command hub.
What did I come for? This stupid data... what then? Get out and go back to the Brotherhood? Arriving on their doorstep with this data will get me a thank you and a small reward. Then what? Find another job, go find Morgan Bloom and get the reward from him... Bloom pays lots... but after a while the caps will have dried up and I'll be back where I started, risking my life so somebody else's ambitions and plans can be completed.
There are plenty of us like that, Dudley is one, that Tom Nevets I met a couple of weeks ago is one. Lucy was one, I'm not sure what she is now. But we go from place to place doing the work nobody else can do, we are the glue that holds the wasteland together, we are the corpses that lie undiscovered in a hundred different places.
We are the wastelanders, and we are a dying breed.
He'd have to settle down one day, or risk being killed too young. Hell, he could be killed in the next few minutes if something went wrong. Something could go very wrong very soon now because he had noticed that the number of conventionally dressed Enclave soldiers had dropped off significantly and the number of soldiers in Tesla armour had increased massively. William was now feeling very conspicuous as he got deeper into the Enclave base.
Meanwhile, back with the New Three Musketeers rounded a corner and saw some kind of roadblock had been constructed in front of them. Cars piled upon each other stopped their progress ahead of them. A rocky hillside blocked the road to their left and a steep slope made escape to the right hazardous. This thing hadn't been there when they came the other way.
"This looks like a trap guys. I think we should back up." Said Evan, who had braked sharply upon seeing the roadblock.
"Ya don't say genius? No way through on two sides, we'll probably crash and die if we try goin' off road." Wsa Dudley's quick retort.
"Gnrrrr?" No this wasn't Hayes or Evan answering him but the hogtied ghoul. "Gnrrrr..."
"Ya see? Even ol' Rotty agrees with me."
"Rotty? You're calling the specimen Rotty? Ugh... why are we discussing this here? This might be the worst place to discuss something like this... ever." Evan continued backing up away from the road block.
"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."
Beryl parted her hands in a sign of gratitude.
"That's very generous. I think it is wise to stay here in the company of my friends."
The words were a little forced. It wouldn't do to mention that she had sort of been on he lam since she escaped her store room, and that she needed a place to hide out from those that might come looking for some imposter who claimed to be the President's wife. Unfortunately, that did mean spending the night with that druggy and the kid, and their terrifying skeletons in the closet.
With everyone else tucked in, she decided to follow suit. She crossed her arms and curled up in a chair. She doubted it would be beneficial to anyone if she stripped down for sleep, so she kept the suit on.
She shut her eyes and counted Brahmins, in the comfort that if Sylph's landmine were to suddenly go off, she'd be too dead for her sleep to be disturbed.
Johnny glanced at the mine in Sylph's little hands. Then at Lucy. Then back to the landmine.
Why does she hang onto those things? And... how?
Still, the blue-haired 'menace' did look adorable curled up like that... even if it was with something incredibly dangerous. He stepped his way over the extra mattress over to where Sylph had set herself down, and gingerly reached down to slide the landmine out of the way. To his surprise, he was completely successful at this, and managed to get the dangerous explosive well away from Sylph. However, she also picked that moment to latch onto him instead, nearly tipping Johnny over.
"Woah!" he gasped out, "Uh... Lucy... I could use a hand now... Sylphee seems to have confused me with her... teddy-mine."
With Lucy's help, Johnny was able to ease Sylph into his new friend's bed. He hugged Sylph goodnight, and then he turned around and hugged Lucy.
"You know something?" he whispered into her ear for the umpteenth time today, "You and Sylph are the best things that have happened to me since this crazy adventure started."
He started blushing, so he didn't wait for a response from Lucy before breaking the hug off and heading for his improvised bed. He tucked himself in, and made sure his trusty lever action was handy, just in case the second worst thing to happen to him since this crazy adventure started decided to do something very, very stupid. He fell asleep. Dreaming of nothing more than more time with Lucy and Sylph.
"Hoi, chummer! Which way to Seattle?"
The bunch came out of nowhere, surprising both of Stan's pals. Stan, on the other hand, was quite used to be snuck up on. Maybe the four were a little odd, but who was he to judge?
"Hi there! Seattle is... West of here, and a bit north. A few thousand miles across some pretty terrible terrain. It is not a very fun walk!"
Stan looked at Wayne, and then at Cheekbones.
"Don't you two have those fancy bird-plane-things? Maybe we could loan them one!"
Then, Stan remember his is currently living and has always lived, after the apocalypse. God only knows how he ever forgets.
"Oh, if Seattle is still around. Haven't been out that way, uh... Ever. Never heard of anyone who has, either. So it may not be." Stan did his best sad face. "If you need a place to stay, our friend Cheekbones is leading us to a base of some kind!"
The desert... That stretch of wasteland that exists between wasteland and...more wasteland...here in the expanse that was once America. Here, making his way from pit-stop to pit-stop, was a van. 'Twas not any ordinary van, but rather it was marked as a Laughing Fools Ice Cream Truck, and it was NOT hauling ice cream. Not by a long shot. For this van was the mobile domicile of the aged man known to some as Dr. Dr. Corvius Madux. A man of two doctorates - chemistry and physics - he was, and quick to remind you of such, it was his fate that he should carry a great deal of explosive-making and generally explosive material in the rear of his van. His van, which was made to auto-lock the doors and the key never to leave his possession because he once locked himself out, and the van had a number of fail-safes against hotwiring...such as mustard gas in the airbag, not starting without a trick in the ignition, and a bad clutch. You don't question genius. Madux was traveling west. He'd heard recently that an old colleague of his - Doctor Donald Q. Bastion (The Q. stands for Mortimer) - was apparently in the Capital Wasteland. The van was now passing an old and dilapidated shack when-
-a blue box shot out of the building like a rocket into space! And in the wake of it, there was some sort of energy vortex heading right for the van!
Explosion? Explosion? Oh, Frank... You mean, after all you've done, you didn't see this coming? Every time you hijack a damn vehicle, it blows up, usually because you meant it to. Well, after so much bad karma for that one - even though it's all invariably funny - it was high time something went a bit...wrong. And yet, a bit right too. Here, lemme show you. The explosion that didn't happen - yet did - is a bit complicated. You see, Jackson Murphy's helluva-jeep hit the back of Metal Gear Box's leg square in the reverse-oriented kneecap. Dead on. No explosion, though. Jackson's had that jeep for YEARS. He built it to last. That, and the stuff in it was just set improperly. Anyway, here comes the strange bit. Remember when Murphy suddenly disappeared in the rear-view mirror? Suddenly...the jeep was gone to, but that's not the fun part. Here's what it is...
As a result of the impact, the MGB's leg was kicked right through a Behemoth mutant's stomach and it was having trouble staying oriented. When that happened, it began to fire wildly...with its energy cannons. Buildings were severely damaged, mutant caches of mini-nukes and throwable Fatman rounds exploded, and the Behemoths in the area...died of having energy blasted through them. Metal Gear Box surveyed the area, concluded that their defenses were broken, and then turned to the one and only opposition on the field now: Frank Rose, BOS. Vulcan barrels twirled, energy weapons charged up, missles were primed, and there's Frank without a getaway vehicle. It was looking pretty bad for him now, as not even his buddies could reach him right now. And then...
...a strange vortex appeared above and behind the MGB. It came from nowhere, and no explanation. The vortex spat out a large van with the words 'Laughing Fools' on the side. Behind the wheel was a man who had been suddenly scooped up by a random time event and deposited here, where his van would land first on top of the giant robot and then drive off again. On impact, the rear doors of the van came open and a thing came out. It was hard to make out, but it looked like somebody was trying to build a Fatman round from scratch. And if you looked REALLY closely, like with maybe a powersuit's special zoom feature, you could see some writing right on the bomb.
Dr. Dr. Corvius Madux's
Experimental Homemade Fatman Round
Please Handle With Care
The good doctor had a Fatman in the rear of his van, and he badly wanted to use it some day, but he could never find the rounds, so he tried to build one. It was almost perfected...but alas it flew out of his vehicle and the doors slammed shut...just as it struck the MGB in the face. A mini-nuclear detonation catapulted Madux's van over Frank's head and managed to hit the ground right-side up and remain so, intact, thanks largely to his velocity and airborne self. The MGB, inches from the explosion, was not so lucky. It was flung into a tumble from the force of the blast and rammed right into a Bethesda building, collapsing the entire thing on top of it. Well, doctor... You've reached the Capital Wastelands and surprised a giant robot. What do you do for an encore?
Stanley had given the group of four some directions to Seattle...sort of. However, there was a severe amount of confusion here as to the nature of these folks. For one, the big guy in the lead - Joe Slayer - was not human. Neither was the even-bigger-guy with one eye, obviously. And them dogs did NOT look pleasant, yet the guy with the tribal markings was petting them like puppies. And as for the elven chick...well...she was obviously elven. Wayne had to ask the next most-likely question.
"Just who... What the fuck are you guys. And what's in Seattle?"
Jonesy: Uh oh. I don't like this, Joe. It doesn't seem we're in Kansas anymore.
Joe: So...New Jersey, then?
Jonesy: No! I think we're off our plain. You know, our existence?
Coyote: What? I thought that only happened in trideos.
Speck: Uhh, tah put it simply, little guy, we're a group of gun-totin' badasses on our way back from a mission...the long way.
"Feeling a little small?"
David: Only in some territories. I think you'd better let me handle this.
"Don't you two have those fancy bird-plane-things? Maybe we could loan them one!"
David: I don't think that would-
"Oh, if Seattle is still around. Haven't been out that way, uh... Ever. Never heard of anyone who has, either. So it may not be. If you need a place to stay, our friend Cheekbones is leading us to a base of some kind!"
David: I don't think either of those things will help these gentlemen. Here, would you follow me a moment?
He took Joe off to the side and spoke low, but those with good enough hearing would find him saying...
David: Listen, the Enclave has had the closely-guarded secret of alternate dimensions, held at only the top level of clearance to know, such as myself. Now, what you want to do is proceed west PAST - and do not attempt to enter - Fort Knox for several miles East, and then look for a building that has men in black armor stationed outside of it. Tell them you would like to enter the Pub and that FalloutDavid sent you. That is the key to your return to Seattle, your Seattle.
Joe: A pub is the key to our safe return?
David: Could be worse...
He shrugged and went back to Stanley and Wayne, leading them North.
David: Come along, you two. We're nearly there. I've told them what they needed to know.
Back with the other group...
Joe: Strange guy.
Speck: So, what'd he say?
Joe: He wants us to go to a Pub of some kind...
It was here that they had gathered, that the Cult of the Great Wet Ones were in force. Here at...the Dunwich Building. No one of consequence had discovered them yet, amazingly, and the land was quite wet and clammy on a near-permanent basis since the rains began. The pure water had raised many mutant plants into corpses and taught them to walk the Earth to kill the living. But the ghouls...feral and aware alike...were of the cult, and so to was...Dr. Crawver the walrus-man. He, Abe, and the Red Guy had been here...and the High Priest - an exceptionally-strong ghoul in an obscuring hooded cloak - spoke to them often. Lately, Crawver had been seeing what the ghouls see, the cloaked wanderer with the gurgling sounds emitted from it. Sometimes, it was an illusion, or a facade over a ghoul, and sometimes he was even real. Crawver had seen its real face.
High Priest: Our master is a Wet One from beyond time and space. He was taken past the great door and forced to endure eternity while extending his mind into the world to find receptive beings. Through strange eons, he has found himself able to hold to this world in flashes, instances, and influence it. Your escape was his doing. Our great message is his doing, and soon...his great return to the flesh will be OUR doing. But first, I am to instruct you in the ways. Your drunken friend can wait. Come.
And thus, the education began...
Total madness, that's what it was, but Hayes was clearly a man of action and not too shabby either. He'd thought it would take all of them to take that ghoul. Heh, ghoul... As if 'Rotty' could be considered as such. He was a vegetable, literally. He was an animated corpse taken over by a violent rad-plant to look like that Scarecrow it really seemed like. Another thing, something they hadn't noticed before, but ummm...it could spit wads of energy, like laser-fire. The way it was tied up on Hayes' car, it could only shoot up, but still...it was disconcerting. Also, the other one that had had the smashed head. Before they'd gone, Evan had looked at it for a moment. The plant started to grow more, to find something to complete its body or to grow into something else. Fortunately, it was slow now and they weren't going to be in danger, not having left. But now, they were in front of...well...a trap. A trap of piled cars. Of piled-
Evan: Well now...
He grinned, pushed up his glasses, and backed up even further, pulling out his laser rifle.
Evan: Guys, this here's the variation on a Frank Rose maneuver.
So saying, he began to shoot the cars...and the Heads - smart raiders - who were behind the wall and lying in wait, suddenly went "Oh shit!" as the cars began to smoke and BOOOOOOOOOOOOMMM!!! Car parts would be raining from the skies soon and the remains of the wreckages that was once comprising that wall...was all on fire.
Evan: Check for stragglers?
Say... That Larry Hatchet, he's got an idea. Damn good one, in fact. Take an Eyebot, repair it, and return to sender. Have it loaded with explosives, and BOOM! There must be a million Eyebots out there or something. That's a plan that could work, yo. John went off to get Sheriff Simms in regards to regards to the whole Eyebot thing.
Lucas: I dunno what you boys wanted them all for. I just said to let us repurpose a few for our own needs and you can mess with 'em to your heart's content. Now, what can I do for you here?
During this time, however, we should point out...a newcomer at the gates. Deputy Weld was, of course, on duty, when a stranger appeared - looking at him ramrod stiff - and addressed him.
Deputy Weld: Howdy, stranger. Welcome to Megaton.
Deputy Weld: Are you feeling okay? Scans are inconclusive at this time.
Okay...the whacked out body-contortions 'Howdy' man was here. How the fuck did that happen?!
Danielle went to find Sara Lyons and - presumably - so did Marlon unless the weapon-maker had something better to do. In either case, they would find her talking with a load of the Paladins in the meeting room. She noticed this and made the indicator to sit down. She had news, and it wasn't pretty.
Sara: This meeting is to discuss the situation regarding the recent events with thhe mutants, the Enclave, and all. Since the Enclave's 'coming out' party, there has been a huge rash of incidents. Aside from their direct attacks and interferences, we have had...
An increase in raider activity, especially from a group called the Heads, who were driven out of Kentucky.
Bizarre ghoul activity, leading both ferals and non-ferals to act in a cult-like manner for reasons unknown.
The further mutation of super mutants into the large Behemoths that were created by this mad doctor.
A sudden and unexpected change in the weather, pure rain, which has raised plants to take over corpses.
The awakening of a giant monster responsible for Nuka-Cola bellyaches and rampant damages all over.
Sara: ...and so on. We need to get to work on this people. Rivet City is still calling for help. The Behemoths there are pounding on the ship because they won't come out and 'feed' them. There are vegetable zombies roaming the wasteland. There are ghouls in cloaks acting worse than Hubbologists. We need information on this stuff, and we need to clamp down on it and hard.
She looked them all over carefully before pressing a button and continuing. A viewing screen came to life behind her.
Sara: We need to work fast to tame the wasteland, because this bit of intelligence has been decoded from the files of that Enclave operative we had here. It is NOT good.
It was an image...from space! It was a satellite, had to be. The file was simply marked as RED in the top-left corner. What they saw was light on Earth go to dark as the planet passed between the satellite and the sun. On the night side of the planet, somewhere on the Eastern side of that pair of continents, there was something there. It was not like the lights of cities you see at night from orbit on a clear day. Not exactly. It was a bit more faint, and all of it was in red. The satellite focused on it, and then went to a thermographic reading. Hot spots, a large amount of little hot spots, all of them red. If there was a rad-scan, would it show up there too? Because it was clear what they were all looking at, at least that was what Sara suspected the Enclave had learned.
Sara: Dad always wondered what became of our enemies after the war. Were they like us, beaten down and trying to survive? All of them dead and gone? We don't have contact with the rest of the world like in the pre-war days. The Enclave had access to this satellite and figured it out themselves. It looks to me like there are a million Glowing Ones over there. Red ghouls, everyone. We've seen Chinese remnants over here. They survived here, they survived there. And if they still hold to the old orders, they'll start to wonder if WE survived.
As William was musing to himself about his future - a future that remained in question so long as he was in this base - he came to the place he was looking for. Ummm...shit. This wasn't going to be easy. You see, unlike the previous hub, this data hub was better-protected, more resticted. For instance, it had a nice longish corridor with a good ten guards - five on each side - standing still and holding Super Sledges. His powersuit's HUD identified them all as Replicants. Ahead of him were three Tesla Soldiers armed with Tesla Rifles. Yes, that's right. Lightning bolt guns. Give it shurikens and the only way to make 'em cooler is if they had tits and were on fire. Anyway, they stood in front of a sealed armored door, and the only thing they were interested in was clearance.
Tesla-118: Either show me proper authorization or buzz off.
Before he could switch on exterior sound, though, Alice chimed in.
Alice: You don't want to start a party like this. If you're going for the command hub, you'll be facing ten wholey-robotic soldiers at once and you don't want that. I suggest you either think of something clever...or come back. The information you have by now should be enough. We need you to get your asset out of there alive to be of any use, after all.
And so, here we are...once more...in the dark place.
Number One's eyes lit the interior, and then the lights rose from dark to dim as his other highlights became active. He sat in his seat, looking to his report from several of his subbordinates. So far, it was FalloutJack, FalloutBob, and FalloutGreg...but he was expecting more.
"We are ready, then? You may proceed."
FalloutBob: So, I checked over my suit logs and it looks like the Brotherhood got the information recorded on it while I was captured. Is...that good?
"It is, actually. You see, I was planning to leak information on our problem in RED from the start, but I couldn't actually think of a way that was trustworthy. So, they seem to have solved the problem for me...or rather, YOU HAVE."
FalloutBob: Uhh, glad to be of service?
FalloutGreg: We have a problem with the Box. The mission appears to be over, but it was nuke-blasted in the face. And we're not sure, but it appears to be under a building right now. Analysts are working on it, but I think it'll need a field repair job.
"I believe that's Mr. Scott's expertise. He's still out there, after all."
FalloutGreg: I'll send him a wire. Pretty sure he'll pick it up, having GNR's dish and all.
FalloutJack: We have a proposal from Lucy Black regarding a mission regarding the EU, with a team of her own, apparently.. My secretary told her I'd look into it tomorrow, but contacted me immediately. Considering the gambits we're running around here, I wanted to ask to make sure... Is this one of yours?
"Not mine. Could it be all her own idea?"
FalloutJack: Possibly. I want to believe she's trying to fit in, but I don't know. Personally, I'd rather we focus on BoS things right now. Speaking of which...do we HAVE any plans for the Outcasts?
"Pffft, no. Have you heard the reports from the Mojave? They all but wiped themselves out there from rash action and the Outcasts are a similar breed. Let them trip themselves up. Oh, and let them in from outside. I've been expecting this."
Jack does as he's asked and in walks who else but Technicians #818, #954, and #3000...with a smashed previously-runaway sweeper.
#818 and #954: We're the Maintenance Brothers!
#3000: And the Maintenance Sister.
"I see you caught the sweeper. Good work."
#954: I hit it with a big shiny mallet.
#818: You know, sir, I...don't think those new people are any good. Seems like alot more things are breaking and getting confused down here.
#3000: Such as a few of the listening bugs. Even then, it's kinda' obvious there's some weird stuff going on there.
"Yes, I know. I've been keeping track of things. Okay, you can come out now."
Disengaging a Stealth Boy, the pink-haired form of Natsuki Manriki appeared to the right of everyone from a shadow.
#818 & #954: HELLOOOOOOO, DICLONIUS NURSE!!
Natsuki: Hey dad.
FalloutJack: Sup, kid? Did you...take care of Lilith?
Natsuki: Yeah, she's out of the vents for now. I scolded her.
Natsuki: So anyway, there's been some issues. I dunno how long you guys are gonna let these people waltz around like they own the place, but we have some bodies floating around here. Shouldn't be too hard to put two-and-two together and come up with our new 'friends' causing it, especially since the Beryl woman broke out of her cell with that sweeper and pranced around, calling herself the First Lady to boot. Also, they just found a dead body in R&D, but nobody from the Black party's been there. We may have to assume someone's lost a suit. Now, what are we doing about all this?
"We're going to discuss this plan with Miss Black. I want to see what she's up to."
In the morning, Lucy would receive word that she will be directed to a room for discussion of this plan of hers.
((OOC: Yyyup, that's one-on-one scripting, Rip.))
Frank was pleased to see that the robot got what it deserved for thwarting his plan to drop a building on it earlier.
He had a new associate to say hello to, but priorities.
Frank had to make sure this thing was dead.
"From hell's heart I stab-"
It would seem that the good doctor had seen to that before his retreat though. While Frank didn't know it, the building was filled with explosives to prevent the Enclave from taking any of its sensitive contents. A lot of explosives.
A large explosion came from the building, followed by a much larger more nuclear explosion from the robot.
How was Frank going to survive this one?
Frank sailed through the air with a S, SE bearing like Indiana Jones in a fridge in his third best movie. (Seriously, Temple of Doom is so much worse)
Although Frank didn't know it because of the blinding deafening nuclear explosion, an ice cream truck was also flying along a similar trajectory.
[Quest complete: Un-boxing]
As Madux landed several thoughts were rushing through his head:
Did I just fly through a vortex?
Where am I?
What just happened?
Madux took a moment to gather his bearings. It appeared he had flown through a vortex, and inadvertently dropped his makeshift mini-nuke on a gigantic robot. Madux was torn, on one hand his mini-nuke that he had been working on had just been destroyed. On the other hand, he just dropped a mini-nuke on a gigantic robot. He was leaning on the side of that was awesome!
As he pondered his feelings on the matter he saw a large group of dead super mutants with various types of wounds, some even looked explosive. Surely the robot had not done this alone; that's when he noticed a fellow in power armor. Madux though to introduce himself to this fellow, who he assumed shared his utter hatred for super mutants. Perhaps he was even a fan of explosives such as himself.
"Hello friend, are you in need of-"
"From hell's heart I stab-"
And with that the two flew into the air.
And Sylphee Dreamed...:
The Red Menace was standing in some sort of town that felt like it was far far far FARFARFARFARFARFAR away from where she thought she was, in fact she didn't quite know where she was, or even who she was as she noted that she didn't quite feel like herself. She sorta felt kinda smarter, especially since she seemed to be walking through town with Mister Big Book o' Science in her arms and while she never thought she understood exactly what was contained inside of Mister Big Book o' Science, she felt like she could open it right there and right then to any of Mister Big Book o' Science's pages and recite what was written word for word for word for word.
"Hi Mister Double MooMoo Brahmin Heads!" Sylphee said happily to a Mister Double Moo Moo Brahmin Heads as she hopped through the town, people seeing her and saying something about bunnies or something and how Sylphee and her friends had made things safer in Shy-Town. She must've said something wrong since the people who were talking about Sylphee gave her a look like she had said something really weird.
Shrugging to herself, the Blue Haired Red Menace, continued hopping until she reached a shack that almost literally told her was her home that she shared with Daddy Johnny Shakes and Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy. But before she opened the door, she saw something cute on the roof of the shack, a Mister Bunny-Turret or some sort of Mister Turret that was Bunny Shaped.
"CUUUUUUUUUUUTE!!!!!!!" Sylphee squee'd as she headed to the side of the metal shack and climbed up onto the roof and gave Mister Bunny Turret a hug, Mister Bunny Turret Squeeing right back at her as it shot a couple of Missy Bullets.
Satisfied with the huggles, Sylphee dropped down from the roof. which had been strangely decorated with a lawn chair and umbrella, and walked into her house, excited to see Daddy Johnny Shakes and Big Sissy Lucy Psycho Caboosy.
"Hi Hi Hi HI HI HIHIHHIHIHIHI!" Sylphee exploded as she entered the door and saw the people she knew to be Daddy Johnny Shakes and Big Sissy Lucy Psycho Caboosy, though they kinda sorta looked different. I mean Daddy Johnny Shakes didn't have look like he had a body and Big Sissy Lucy Psycho Caboosy had lots and lots and Mister Sharpy Knives on her and though Sylphee thought that there was something wrong with the picture, she just ignored it. If it was important, it would keep bugging her.
*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG* said Mister Door as someone on the other side of him started *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG*ing away. Even though Sylphee had answered Mister Door a million billion times, she felt nervous about answering Mister Door this time since the person on the other end was wearing what looked like a top hat, and had pale skin and knew how to use shovels.
*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG* said Mister Door, the stranger on the other side of the Mister Door went *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG*ing once again.
Reaching out to Missus Doorknob, Sylphee pulled open the door and found herself blinded by the outsides.
The Enclave Vault: Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's room
The Red Menace opened her eyes suddenly and looked around the room and saw Daddy Johnny Shakes, Mommy Meryl Barrel and Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy sleeping.
Grabbing Mister Landmine and wrapping her arms around him, Sylphee went right back to sleep.
Unfortunately all he heard was a ringing in his ears.
He really hoped this wouldn't be permanent.
On the plus side; Level up!
Frank reached his level cap, and skill points were divvied.
New perk: [Alloyed Soul] By coming to peace with his father figures, Frank can unlock special inherited perks from them.
Frank realized that Gilford was most likely vaporized in the explosion. This saddened him deeply. Paladins Russell and Grey might be alive, but he had no idea if they survived.
Nothing he could do about it now.
[Perception]His vision was returning though, and he saw something very odd. An icecream truck was flying with him.
Frank was seeing some strange shit as of late, and he was pretty sure he was either insane or under the influence of a potent hallucinogen.
Lucy woke up earlier than any of her guests, unable to shake the uneasy feeling that being inside the Enclave itself brought.
Moodily, she grabbed her clothes and went about her business in the locked bathroom. While her armor, undershirt and undergarments were shoved in an auto-wash, she took her time in the shower.
More clean and fresh-smelling than she had felt in awhile, Lucy waited nervously while her clothing was being dried, she didn't know what to expect today.
As if her thoughts were being monitored, a red light next to an intercom symbol flashed above the closed bathroom door.
Hearing the auto-wash power down, Lucy quietly tip-toed across the room in her towel towards the flashing intercom.
"I'm here." Lucy replied in a hushed tone.
"Asset Black. You'll find an escort waiting outside your quarters. This involves your mission request."
Lucy hastily retrieved her clean clothing and armor, getting dressed while she mentally prepared herself for whatever was to come. With her armor, gear and two loose pigtails secured, she made her way to the table in the center of the room, leaving behind a note for the group to read upon her absence.
It simply read: "Gone out to pitch the mission idea. Wish me luck! *a smiley face was inserted here*...Don't break anything! *a frowny face was inserted here.*"
Finally, Lucy quietly left the room of sleeping occupants and nodded towards the two Enclave soldiers standing by her door. Without a word, Lucy was guided down a severely twisted route that she lost track of.
Before she was ushered into a dark room, her escort nodded at her rifle and warned her firmly, "I'm not gonna take it, but I'd think twice about firing at HIM." suddenly, the doors shut behind her.
Why did they always keep these rooms so damn dark? Locating a nearby table and chair, she could barely see a couple of feet beyond it. Lucy would have expected to hear from Jack about now, but instead there was a deeper voice...a darker voice that came out of nowhere...
"Sit down, Miss Black."
A tingle ran through her spine, this entire situation suddenly had her on edge. Something she did not appreciate, especially not after yesterday's shenanigans they had pulled on her. Regardless, she cautiously took her seat and sat with her arms crossed. Glaring into the dark nothingness ahead of her.
"Good morning to you too!"
Red eye-lights switched on, followed by the red highlights on the power armor. Judging from Jack's armor, this meant that he was someone important. The fact that his black powersuit seemed somehow sleeker, more advanced, and about a foot taller seemed to solidify that fact. Who was this guy?
"I am Number One. I believe you had some concerns regarding the tertiary splinter group known as Enclave Underground."
Number One calmly sat down across from her and his suit-fingers criss-crossed as he spoke.
Lucy thought Jack and Bob were intimidating, but this brought about a whole new level of fear just by the mere presence of this man.
Towering over Lucy, even while seated, she would have opted to make hasty apologies on any other day and bolted...but this man was no other than Number One himself, head of the Enclave. Considering how closely he was involved with her father, her emotions were spilling into her words.
"Ha! So I get a face-to-face with the Queen Bee of the Enclave...interesting."
Lucy held back any further words and focused on calming down before addressing his question.
"The Enclave Underground. I have reason to believe that's where Amy Kane defected to. You know of her, don't you?"
Lucy's stated this very bluntly while keeping her arms firmly crossed.
Number One didn't seem particularly phased by her opening comment. He just pressed on.
"Naturally. She was a research scientist. We considered it possible that that's where she went. Obviously, she did not feel safe among us while we were harboring ill-intent towards Isaac."
Perhaps it wasn't wise to anger or undermine the man at the top. That was easier said than done of course, Lucy had to bite back every scathing insult she wished to hurl at Number one.
"Well if I know my Mother, it's that there is one thing she loves more than me or Dad...herself."
"She would visit me whenever she could find an opening in my Dad's schedule. During the last few visits, years ago, it could not have been a coincidence that she always told me I would be 'safe underground one day'."
Of course, this was a lie, her mother never said such a thing. Lucy uncrossed her arms and leaned forward with her hands open on the table.
"I thought she was just referring to how Vaults were intended to keep people safe, but it all adds up now that I've eventually gotten most of my questions answered."
Lucy straightened up and looked directly at Number One, "Which makes me think, they're hiding from all you...but would they hide from me?"
Number one changed rubbing the chin of his helmet, contemplating what her words.
"We HAVE tried to find them with a few tricks like that, without result. The trouble I see is that if she somehow knew you'd end up here, why would she lead you to the EU? She might be the one who believes it all to be a trap. And of course, the members of the EU are no schlubs themselves. They trust nobody. They're so hidden that I'm fairly certain the BoS didn't even know they existed...'till recently."
Number One returned to the original position.
"So, in brief, it is your intention to use yourself as bait and hope for best. Do you have any idea where you might even begin, should I consider such a plan viable?"
Dammit, she had hit a dead end. She had assumed the Enclave would have rough estimations of a location at the very least. Lucy was a little lost in frustrated thought before answering Number One.
"You may have tried in the past, but have you ever had a carrot like me to dangle? Amy Kane is not completely heartless, she should budge for her only daughter, there was a reason she kept going on about preparing me for the future." Lucy paused, "You said without result? If they suspect it's a trap, I'm pretty sure I'll be executed on the spot...that's your guarantee that I either succeed or die trying."
Lucy addressed him firmly, "I was hoping you would have something more substantial in terms of locations, known associates - that kind of thing. You must have sent your previous attempts somewhere? I was hoping you had the information to point me in the right direction because I'm a great angle to use."
"Unless you have other intentions for having me here...I'm just proposing a mission idea here."
Number One flipped open a part of his suit's left arm near the wrist to reveal a keypad of some kind. Sounds of something sliding from the wall were heard, and then rapid-motion laser-light projection created an image suspended in mid-air which Lucy recognized as a Pipboy 3000 map of the wasteland encompassing their area, the Capital Wasteland, points in between, and an area to the west with the label of "Legion Territory" on it. Marked on it were presumably all the known towns and locations, plus a series of Vaults which were either discovered or unknown...Another button-press and red X's appeared over all of those locations.
"What we have is extensive knowledge upon where they are not. They are not in any town, nor any Vault. No location that we have a record of has turned up any signs of having been inhabited by Enclave personnel. It is possible that they managed to elude us and the Legion to make it into NCR territory, but some evidence of this would have come to us by now. It is clear to us that they have found somewhere to hunker down long-term, with or without assistance. They do not move. They are exceptionally well-hidden. We could formulate a series of locations to 'dangle' you in."
"However, I think it's obvious, Asset, that you are of value and should not be 'thrown to the wolves' so casually. What possibility of not dying do you attribute to this plan?"
Lucy studied the information before her, or as fast as she could read, considering Number One had filled the map with crosses to rule out all the locations on the map. They really had made a tremendous effort to find the Enclave Underground.
With this new information in the light, she felt considerably less unique as far as having any angle would go.
"If I were to embark on this mission, I wouldn't do it alone. That being said, I would not have made it this far if I couldn't have handled myself." Lucy paused briefly but continued against her better judgement. "The recent stragglers that have been picked up, they seem to have found me. So I made a few friends: Johnny Truant, a capable and loyal man. Sylph, an even more fearsome companion. And finally, Beryl, a recent acquaintance of that merry trio."
Lucy nodded with conviction, "I know they would fight on my behalf." She also added. "I wouldn't ask to be doing this for fun, I have a reputation here, cleaning it up by working on something seems like a good start."
"I see, and thereby clearing up their reputations as well, correct?"
Number One pulled out a sheet of paper with detailed information regarding the very trio she had just mentioned.
"Let's see...Johnny contains an eldritch abomination from beyond that takes him over every now and then. Sylph has attacked a number of guards and caused damages. Oh, and this one's fun. Beryl badmouthed one of our intercom people - who is her mother, apparently - and then escaped from her cell by making an auto-sweeper go rogue somehow. With people like that, I'd send Jack with you if he weren't on a mission."
"Exactly." Lucy replied and suddenly grew a little worried at the sight of that unexpected paper. She did however laugh a little when she found out about Beryl's origins.
"And ever since they met me, they stopped going rogue and stepped in line. I wouldn't be a good leader otherwise." Lucy paused for emphasis, "Johnny won't leave Sylph and I suspect he likes me a little more than a friend, I know of his other side and 'it' meant me no harm. Sylph thinks I'm her sister and absolutely adores me. Beryl will go wherever Sylph goes...you see where I'm going with this."
Lucy looked at Number One directly and for the first time, calmly and confidently stated, "They go wherever I go. They all inevitably follow me. I know how to keep them in line and I can continue to be a good influence. The more people you can spread around, the better, with the bonus of not being Enclave Officials."
"Interesting. Where would you deploy? Convince me of your leadership skills and show me a good 'fishing spot'."
Lucy studied the map a little more, she couldn't shake the feeling of the locations her dad used to use as 'trading' routes.
"Isaac used trading routes, they were very specific...Museum of History, Rivet City, GNR plaza...same general area...Amy would argue with my Dad about covering for him about shipments..." She was thinking out loud and unfiltered. "I was always reminded about those locations from my Dad as if they carried more importance than just trade routes...can't shake the feeling it's significant somehow."
Lucy straightened up and nodded towards the map, "I wouldn't cross out Rivet City so soon. There's a lot of people going in and out, it's also an information hub for 4 unique individuals to work in, while functioning like a team. I would re-examine Rivet City on a social level then work my way up the map to GNR plaza...between the people, the metro system, ruins and information...There has got to be something a small but concentrated team can dig out."
Lucy shrugged, "That would be my first move."
"Brotherhood territory? Pffft, I dunno about that. They may have left, but they're still Enclave of a sort. They still don't like the BoS, OR the Outcasts, in my opinion. Frankly, if they're in that territory, then we have an even bigger problem than before. We simply WON'T lure them out so damn close to the Citadel. Not until the Brotherhood makes their move."
Lucy mulled over Number One's thoughts on the matter. He made an excellent point.
"Makes sense, unless the Underground is simply so savvy that they would hide under the Brotherhood's nose. Either way, information gathering is never a bad thing...Like you said, it would be a bigger problem...unless...- what if they were hiding under your nose?"
Lucy hesitated, "How big is this Vault and can you account for every single soldier here?"
Number One's tone indicated that this thought had him intrigued, be he shot it down anyway.
"No no, not down here. I have full schematics. I or someone else would know if something was being used improperly. The Enclave built the Vaults. They wouldn't slack off about records like that, and the EU didn't come into play until I started the purge of the old regime. I worked here for years before then. So, not down here...but maybe elsewhere..."
Lucy's mind was working over various little ideas. At this point she was just brainstorming.
"Maybe elsewhere? Do you have any other suspicious Vaults in mind or areas you'd like me to look into then?" Lucy continued, "What about additions to the existing Vaults? You might be able to cover a lot of ground, but you can't be everywhere all at once, just thinking out loud here."
Lucy frowned as she couldn't let something go, "To be safe, I would order a lock-down of this vault anyway. Look out for anything out of the ordinary, anything strange happening here? Besides for Sylph's...umm...antics..."
Lucy sighed in frustration, more at herself than anything else. "I'm out of ideas without giving me some planning time. But you do know that I'm willing to go wherever you send me, there must be a few places that could do with a status update?"
"There are a few places that I could send you, yes. And worry not of suspicious activity in this base. We're on top of it."
Number One indicated towards the piece of paper from before as proof.
"Perhaps looking into Vaults and the general area would be merited. Obviously, I'm not going to send an armored operative into the open if you want to get 'caught' while investigating things. That would be counter-productive."
Lucy smirked a little, although she was disappointed she wouldn't be getting her neon pink armor.
"So no power armor, not a deal-breaker...the four of us would blend in as Wastelanders or any cover identity that can be improvised. How would we make contact about our findings? Eyebot or personal report?"
Leaning forward slightly, "Is there any chance that we can be restocked and re-armed upon leaving? I know that Beryl was complaining about a golf club or something..."
"If you had any Enclave technology on you upon being found by the EU, they would suspect the trap and probably kill you. No radios, no eyebots. Report back here. And for criminy's sake, this is a weapons development plant. We could probably give her a club that hits straight. You may restock in terms of your personal weapons from our stores. Nothing overtly Enclave or the jig is up."
Lucy was a little surprised at Number One's attitude, she was even more taken aback by what she said next.
"You know, you guys are a whole lot more accommodating than the Brotherhood. And funnier...you'd expect the opposite." Lucy laughed a little, "Don't worry, as far as weapons go, the rest of them like to keep it conventional. As for me..."
She peered over her shoulder at her Gauss Rifle Plus, "I'm the only one that can explain my equipment, plus my identity should help if we're ever caught."
Lucy sighed with relief, "It feels good to have some plan of action. When do we start?"
"Oh, make no mistake. We're an organization of power, control, and high technology. We ARE the conspiracy. You're doing us a favor for the mere compensation of guns and ammo, the thing we have in excess. I suggest you begin preparations within the hour. We have very many things to take care of before the big one."
Lucy weighed his words with attention and care. Nodding as she received her instructions.
"One last thing...Shifty Mcgee, the Undertaker - yesterday - I was forced to...dispatch of him. Why me? Has his body been disposed of?" Her voice broke at the mention of his name.
"You vouched for him and he did not clear. We will be keeping an eye on him. And by that, I mean keeping him immobile and incarcerated."
Number One finally stoop up, indicating the conclusion to their conversation.
"If there are no other confusions, I have a base to run."
Lucy cleared her throat, biting back her screaming thoughts of rage and extended her hand towards Number One.
"No further questions, sir. Thank you for giving me this opportunity...and I apologize about being so rude earlier."
Number One merely uttered a dismissive "Meh." regarding her rude comment. The mere act of a handshake caused Lucy to almost panic as her hand felt like it was being crushed. It didn't seem deliberate, although that made Number One all the more intimidating as she rubbed her pained hand.
Leaving the room, her escort was ready to take her back to her quarters. She was silent throughout the entire travel, her mind was in overdrive...Shifty was incarcerated, not dead. Beryl had escaped imprisonment, a detail she never mentioned. Number One knew everything about Johnny and Sylph, even down to the details of their last actions.
Arriving outside her room, her escort left her alone. She hesitated before entering, how much time had passed exactly? That was a rather lengthy meeting...
Regardless, Lucy realized that her personal vendetta was at odds with her responsibilities towards those that chose to stand at her side. It was clear that she was outclassed and outgunned here. One force was suddenly growing greater than the other and she didn't hesitate at making her decision now:
Lucy's selfishness and arrogance of the past had cost her too much already...she couldn't continue her life alone. No matter what it threw at her.
With that in mind, the determined Gauss Girl entered her room.
At the apex of a flight there is a moment where one feels absolutely weightless. It is the moment where your upward force is perfectly countered by earth's gravity.
It is a beautiful wondrous feeling. A single moment not being tethered by the force that traps us on this ravaged post-apocalyptic world.
It is also the last moment before you begin to fall.
[Perception]As Frank descended towards the earth he saw a few things.
First he saw the ocean. He needed to hit that. It was his current trajectory, so that was reassuring. Hitting the ground might be lethal if he hit it directly. If he hit the ground at the right angle he might be able to skip, but the water is what he wanted to hit. It always bothered him how easily the people of the wastes could swim regardless of what they wore. Even full Power Armor didn't seem to impede swimming. He never understood why.
He also saw Rivet City. The bridge to the city had been destroyed.
The third thing he saw was what worried him though. He also saw a half-dozen super mutant behemoths milling about outside along with a handful of the regular sized variety.
Rivet City was Frank's third home. After he left the Brotherhood he spent some time there, working for a repair shop run by a woman named Gabrielle Rothman. It was a decent living, however it didn't feel right, and eventually Frank set off to wander the wastes.
As Frank fell he realized his fall trajectory would not land him in the ocean as he hoped.
[Luck]Frank found himself lodged headfirst in a Behemoth's chest cavity. with his legs dangling out.
Well isn't that just a metaphor for my life.
Frank felt a very large hand grab his legs and yank him out.
Frank was face to face with a very large behemoth holding his lower body and looking quite displeased with him.
Frank realized that he had no way out. His body was beaten and broken from the explosion and impact. His arms refused to move, and his legs were bound.
It was looking like the end of our hero, when suddenly...
A door on the broken bow of Rivet city flung open. An old man with a laser rifle came out.
"Hey stupid, don't throw it here!"
He then fired a laser into the mutant's face.
It then, in order to spite the old man threw Frank at him.
[Endurance]With the last of his energy Frank stumbled inside the bulkhead which the old man then sealed.
When the mutants tried to open it and give chase, they were met with a very large dose of electricity.
Simms: "Now, what can I do for you here?"
Jake: Since you seem not to appreciate it when people handle security threats to your town that aren't immediately hostile, we figured you could handle this suspicious individual.
Mister Enclave Vault: Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's Room
**YYYYYAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!** **CLANG!!** **CRINKLE CRACK CRACK CRACK!!!!!** Went Sylphee as she awoke from the strangest dream ever, dropping Mister Huggable Landmine on the ground as she stretched for a really nice long time and looked around Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's room and saw Mommy Meryl Barrel and Daddy Johnny Shakes still off in the land of sleep, causing Sylphee to smile really really big. But what was this? Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy wasn't anywhere to be found and even Mister *PEW PEW Kitty* Gauss Gun was gone. Now it would have probably been for the bestest if the Red Menace went back to sleep but there were things that needed to be taken care of. For one, there wasn't any food leftover from the last night and the first thing that Sylphee liked to do when she woke up in the morning was get breakfast. She was sure that even Daddy Johnny Shakes and Mommy Meryl Barrel would be happy to get some breakfast when they woke up.
Walking up to Missy Communication Panel, The Blue Haired Psychotic Loony Loon remembered that Daddy Johnny Shakes had said that she shouldn't use it without asking Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy first and that if she broke it, Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy would have probably gotten mad at Sylphee. The thought was punctuated by Miss Note that Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy had left
"Gone out to pitch the mission idea. Wish me luck! *a smiley face was inserted here*...Don't break anything! *a frowny face was inserted here.*"
"Oh! Oh! Oh!" The Sky Blue Eyed Girl exclaimed in a soft voice as she now had an idea of where Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy had run off to. The problem was that it meant that Slyphee wouldn't be able to ask Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy for permission to use Mister Communications Panel. There was one thing that the Girl Dressed in Red could think of doing to solve this conundrum. Pulling a red marker from her Bag of Treasure, Sylphee carefully wrote a note on Mister Door.
"Went to find Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and get food for breakfast! <3 Sylph" The Red Menace wrote before slipping out the room and into Miss Corridor.
Simms gestured at larry and said 'I made a deal with him, he turns our scrap into weapons in exchange for keeping a fraction of what he makes, some food and water and a suit of power armour if he can salvage enough to make one. So this man is not a threat, I know we are all on edge after that attack but just try to get on, until you have a good reason not to.'
At this point Larry let go of the grenade he had his hand on making sure Jake saw him do so he then turned to Simms and said 'thank you' turning back to Jake he continued 'so can you stop insulting me and let me get on with some work?'
Wow Evan... that was certainly badass, the Frank Rose manuever was executed with a 9.4 average from the judges and the heads trap was blown to pieces.
"Check for stragglers?"
"Yeah, I don't think there are gonna be any stragglers from THAT. Damn boy where did ya learn that?" Said Dudley, eyes wide with surprise.
"We've got a guy in the Brotherhood who is just the best at this kind of thing. He gives a good reference point for these situations. When in danger ask yourself: What would Frank Rose do?" Said Evan, going misty eyed for a moment.
"Who is Frank Rose? One of your boys?" Said Dudley, motioning to inspect the wrecked ambush.
"You might have met him at the Citadel, custom Power Armour, got his own design on it. It's a rose... obviously. Actually you might not have met him, your bike still works, the last vehicle I saw him touch burst into flames." Replied Evan, moving forward to the wreckage and surveying it with his rifle. Evan wished he still had his Pip-Boy to check how many rads were around, he was sure there was something in the background.
Nothing seemed to be alive, twisted metal and dismembered limbs were all that seemed to remain. Then, under a mostly intact car that had been thrown by the blast there came a groan. One of the heads was crushed under it, his chest oddly compacted, when he saw Evan he tried to scream and move away, though all it achieved was a brief struggle followed by silence.
"Hayes, you found anything still tickin' over there?" Asked Dudley, speaking in an unusually hushed tone.
"Either show me proper authorisation or buzz off."
This seemed like a bad idea to William, the advice that came through over the collar backed that up. It looks like any attempt at the command hub would have to wait.
"I haven't got proper authorisation to be here, sorry sir." Said William, nodding his head and turning around to leave.
Just walk away and don't stop anywhere scientific, nothing that might link to the dead guy.
Turning back down the corridor William retraced his steps, passing through the scientific hub and back into the main complex, deciding to return to the EU and get the data to them. If nothing else, the collar might come off at long last.
As he made his way out he passed a young girl skipping down the corridor past him.
What? You know after Natsuki I'm not even shocked any more, I'm not even going to ask what goes on in this place anymore.
Simms: "I made a deal with him, he turns our scrap into weapons in exchange for keeping a fraction of what he makes, some food and water and a suit of power armour if he can salvage enough to make one. So this man is not a threat, I know we are all on edge after that attack but just try to get on, until you have a good reason not to."
Larry released his grenade.
Larry: "So can you stop insulting me and let me get on with some work?"
Jake: "Gladly. Have a safe day."
Moe: "That ended with considerably less violence than I was expecting. Always nice when that happens."
"Dad always wondered what became of our enemies after the war. Were they like us, beaten down and trying to survive? All of them dead and gone? We don't have contact with the rest of the world like in the pre-war days. The Enclave had access to this satellite and figured it out themselves. It looks to me like there are a million Glowing Ones over there. Red ghouls, everyone. We've seen Chinese remnants over here. They survived here, they survived there. And if they still hold to the old orders, they'll start to wonder if WE survived."
This just made Danielle's decision more justified.
"Elder Lyons, it's become clear to me that we simply don't have the numbers to deal with this situation. We're going to need as much help as we can get. That doesn't just mean taking in random wastelanders and hoping they solve the situation. (Danielle didn't know what Sarah was thinking with that. No war of any reasonable scale could be won by a handful of notable individuals. They could certainly help, but trained members of the Brotherhood would be better than random wastelanders for that problem anyway.) I'm talking real manpower. The Regulators, Rivet City Security forces, every mercenary we can track down, including Bloom's Fat Cats, Reilly's Rangers and possibly Talon Company, and yes; the Outcasts."
"I know you hate them. I do too, but the Enclave is the threat here. We can't let our personal feelings endanger the Brotherhood and the wastes by extension."
Frank awakened on an operating table, naked, with a strange old man standing over him.
Well we're alive. That's always a good position to start from.
"Good to see you finally awake. You're in my lab. Now to answer any questions you will have; I am Dr. Horace Pinkerton. We're in the broken bow of Rivet City. I patched you up after your little ordeal outside. I managed to figure out your locking mechanism on your armor opened when handled by your gauntlets, so I didn't have to wreck it to get to you. The citizens of Rivet City are alive."
Pinkerton. Frank knew that name. He used to be Rivet City's chief scientist until Dr. Li took over and started Project Purity. He disappeared after that.
"Alive, but not safe I presume?"
Pinkerton handed Frank some Mirelurk meat.
"Eat up, your body will need to replace what it consumed from the stimpacks."
When was the last time Frank ate? ...After the Behemoth siege of the Citadel. Since that time he had spent a day fighting a crab and a robot, and who knows how long unconscious. He was ravenous.
Frank began eating.
"My *Munch* name's *Chew* Frank."
"The Behemoths can't fit inside Rivet city. The smaller mutants get shot up when they enter. It's a holding pattern, which will end when the citizens of Rivet City either starve to death or turn on each other. The mutants will keep themselves fed with the local Mirelurks. They also busted the bridge, so getting food to the citizens would be difficult."
We have to save them.
While the Enclave is priority, that many Behemoths that close to the Brotherhood is problematic. You have to stop them.
"I might be able to figure a way to solve this out, depending on what you have lying around."
"I'm a mad-genius scientist hermit. I've made collecting technology a hobby to keep myself sane. Energy weapons, robotics, computers, cybernetics, medical devices, industrial tools you name it!"
"Then let's get started."
Mister Enclave Vault | Mister Sparkly Shiny Corridor
"La lala lala lala lala." Sylphee lala'd as she skipped down Mister Sparkly Shiny Enclave Corridor looking for either Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy or Miss Kitchen filled with food since she was still on a quest to find breakfasts for Daddy Johnny Shakes, Mommy Meryl Barrel and Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy if she ever found Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy in this place or if she found Doctor Enclave Petting Zoo.
"I haven't got proper authorization to be here, sorry sir." Said Mister Talking Neck Man before walking away from someplace that was filled with Super-Sledge-a-mah-hammer Guys and ZapZap Guys. As Mister Talking Neck Man started walking away, he gave the Red Menace a strange look as she paused in her skipping to look at him with big round blue eyes.
As Mister Talking Neck Man walked down Mister Sparkly Shiny Corridor, there was *T-Tap T-Tap T-Tap* noise behind him that seemed to get closer and closer and closer and closer and when he turned around to look to see what the noise was, Mister Talking Neck Man didn't see anything but of course that didn't make the noise stop as he kept hearing the *T-Tap T-Tap T-Tap* sound behind him regardless of what direction he turned.
This, of course, was Sylphee, who was peering at Mister Talking NeckMan's neck at Missy Miss Talking Neck. She could have sworn she heard Missy Miss Talking Neck talk, which was pretty neat since Sylphee's neck never spoke to her.
And that's when Sylphee said hello to Mister Talking Neck Man in typical Sylphee fashion.
"HIMISTERTALKINGNECKMAN! THATSUREISANEATTRICKYOUCANDO! DIDYOURNECKTALK? ITHOUGHTIHEARDHERTALK! HEY,YOUHAVEN'TSAIDHELLOYET! DOESYOURTALKINGNECKTALKFORYOU? I'MSORRYYOULOSTYOURVOICE! DOYOUKNOWWHERETHEKITCHENIS? ORTHEPETTINGZOO? ORMYBIGSISSYPSYCHOLUCYCABOOSY? ORTHEPLACEIORDERFOODFROM? DADDYJOHNNYSHAKESSAIDTHATISHOULDN'TUSEMISTERCOMMUNICATIONPANELWITHOUTPERMISSION! BIGSISSYLUCYCABOOSYTOLDMENOTTOBREAKANYTHINGANDDREWABIGFROWNYFACEONHERNOTE!CANYOUMAKEYOURTALKINGNECKTALKAGAIN?"
It was at this point that Sylphee remembered to breathe, allowing Mister Talking Neck Man a chance to talk if he was planning to talk.
The Brotherhood was an organization dedicated to technology. Or they were until they became dedicated to helping the people of the wastes not die.
But the love of technology remains.
All technological progress came from attempts to overcome limitations.
Need to kill that animal? Spear.
Need to not freeze? Clothes.
Need to cook the meat of that animal and not freeze? Fire.
Need to upgrade your stone tools and weapons? Metallurgy.
Need to kill the guys with metal spears? Guns.
Need to not be killed by guys with guns? Power Armor.
Need to ram into things and blow them up? Cars.
Frank needed to get to a place that could not be reached by foot, and reach the vulnerable points of foes much larger than him. He had needed that second part for some time. Similar to how one instinctively knows their life would be easier with a third arm when doing certain activities, Frank knew what to make.
Frank began disassembling his displacer glove.
He then took out the spare parts for his displacer glove.
Two emitters, and the electronics. The glove part was not needed for what he had planned. It would come later.
Frank and Pinkerton began affixing the emitters to Frank's boots.
"The theory is sound, but something feels off."
"No guts no glory."
Frank moved to a relatively clear part of the lab, and activated his new 'Spurs'.
"Let's try 5%."
Frank was launched up yes, but he was also launched back.
"Oh! We should have positioned them at your heels instead of your toes."
Pinkerton and Frank re-positioned the 'Spurs' and got back in position.
"Once more, with feeling!"
Frank was again launched upwards, but not backwards this time. As he landed, the sensor modules detected he was hitting the ground, and another shock from the 'Spurs' cushioned his impact. It felt like landing on jello.
"Well that was novel."
"I'm still going to need a primary weapon."
Frank put the glove part of his displacer glove on the workbench while Pinkerton gathered plasma weaponry.
"HIMISTERTALKINGNECKMAN! THATSUREISANEATTRICKYOUCANDO! DIDYOURNECKTALK? ITHOUGHTIHEARDHERTALK! HEY,YOUHAVEN'TSAIDHELLOYET! DOESYOURTALKINGNECKTALKFORYOU? I'MSORRYYOULOSTYOURVOICE! DOYOUKNOWWHERETHEKITCHENIS? ORTHEPETTINGZOO? ORMYBIGSISSYPSYCHOLUCYCABOOSY? ORTHEPLACEIORDERFOODFROM? DADDYJOHNNYSHAKESSAIDTHATISHOULDN'TUSEMISTERCOMMUNICATIONPANELWITHOUTPERMISSION! BIGSISSYLUCYCABOOSYTOLDMENOTTOBREAKANYTHINGANDDREWABIGFROWNYFACEONHERNOTE!CANYOUMAKEYOURTALKINGNECKTALKAGAIN?"
...help? William was suddenly approached by the young girl he had just passed and a flurry of words flew from her mouth to his general direction. What was she talking about, kitchens? Petting zoo? Lucy? Talking neck? Johnny?
Wait hang on a minute... Lucy and Johnny! Could it be Johnny Truant and Lucy Black? This girl could lead him to them, perhaps they had been captured by the Enclave and they needed his help. Either way, sticking with this girl would be his best chance of finding them.
"Excuse me young lady, I don't know where your friends are. But I can help you look for them, if I do you have to promise me one thing." William leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, "You have to keep my talking neck a secret to everybody. Can you do that for me?" William hasn't realised the collar might have been making some noise. Nobody in the Enclave seemed to have picked up on it but this girl must be more perceptive than they were.
William extended his arm to take the girls hand, "Take me to the place you last saw your friends and we'll look for them from there. By the way, what's your name?"
The chance to find Lucy and Johnny Truant again filled William with hope. He might finally have a friend or three in this horrible place.
Frank and Pinkerton went to work on their separate projects for the sake of the people of Rivet City.
Frank would be making a hot fist of plasma.
What Pinkerton was making is a surprise. He would have an easy time of it though, as he would be working from schematics Frank had already developed.
The RepConn and Winchester models of plasma weaponry had a common feature: The plasma comes out of sharp bits.
Frank planned to weaponize this feature of plasma weaponry.
He'd had the idea kicking around in his head for quite a while now actually, since back when he was still a full member of the Brotherhood. The key difference being that this would be a fist weapon as opposed to a spear.
Frank got to work, developing something of a hybrid of the displacer glove, spiked knuckles, and plasma weaponry.
"Good for you, but I've got a bunch more of these to make. Head out that door and test it on the Mirelurks that live in here. It'll give you a chance to test it, and me time to finish. Just be wary; I've set up a buttload of traps out there."
"See you in a bit."
Frank went through the bulkhead, and into the ankle-deep water and sealed the bulkhead behind him.
A pair of Mirelurks saw him and began to charge. One was gotten a by mine and rigged shotgun. It was limping. The other one was still charging him though.
[Unarmed][Piercing Strike][Bonecrusher]An uppercut met the beast's face. (They lower their face when they charge, so a straight punch or jab would hit shell) As the beast fell limp, it twitched from the plasma in its brain as it slowly turned to a a pile of green goo.
[Survival][Energy Weapons]Frank had a sad realization: nobody could ever eat this mirelurk. Plasma rendered meat unsafe for consumption.
Frank vented his frustration on the wounded lurk, kicking it in the gut, causing the Spur to knock it on its back.
Frank then stomped on the beast's face, killing it.
"These will do nicely."
Plasma Glove. 85 base damage. (With heavy handed it comes to 102, not counting the abstract damage bonus from Frank's homebrew perks) ignores 10 points of DT. (Stacks with [Piercing Strike])
Spurs: 50 damage. (per foot) Special jumping bonuses. Negates fall damage if landing feet-first.
Frank decided to do some testing on the rest of the lurks on this floor.
Lucy saw what happened to Beryl upon arriving last night, so in order to be prepared for whatever might be thrown her way by the Red Menace, she entered with her arms guarding her face. Lucy just hoped to Blamco himself that the landmine was not going to be flung her way...
...and her wish granted. For only a sleeping Johnny and Beryl occupied the room, with no Sylph in sight. Although a peculiar note fell from the door and landed on her shoe.
The note read: "Went to find Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and get food for breakfast! <3 Sylph"
Goddamnit Sylph...this was the last thing she needed.
With a frustrated sigh, Lucy walked over to the sleeping Johnny, got onto her knees, lightly shook him by the shoulder and whispered into his ear for a change. "Johnny...wake up. I need you."
Doc: Unfortunately, Johnny seemed to be deep in the middle of a night-terror. His forehead was pouring sweat by the bucketload, and he was muttering to himself in his sleep. After Lucy addressed him directly, his voice seemed to get louder.
"Look, he's your boyfrien... husband... whatever, so he's your friggin' problem. If he's really such an asshole, leave him." he seemed to say to no one in particular, as his fists clenched.
Then, he snorted.
Now that Lucy was leaning by his side, she grew worried in that moment for several reasons.
Most importantly: It was Johnny and that look of anguish, coupled with his appearance worried her. Secondly, she did not want Johhny's demon to manifest. Thirdly, she really didn't want to wake Beryl if she could avoid it at this moment.
But that was a whole other can of rotten Blamco...
"Oh that's rich!" his voice gaining a cruel edge, "That's just rich coming from the woman that used ant pheromones to 'seduce' her future husband." Johnny laughed.
Lucy knew what would wake her if the roles were reversed. Sofly and quickly, she put a hand over his balled up fist, put a finger to his lips while sofly hushing him, "Sssshhh, Johnny...come on, wake up...Johnny!"
Moving her hand from his fist, she gently placed her palm to his sweating forehead, making sure he could feel her touch.
Johnny went completely silent for a moment before his eyes finally flitted open. At first, he felt a twinge of familiar panic as he was waking up in a strange place, but then his vision seemed to clear, and he tried to give Lucy his best winning smile. At least, that seemed to be the intention. The execution was a bit... disconcerting.
"Sorry," he said, unconsciously taking the hand that Lucy had put on his lips into his burned palm. "Bad dream."
He didn't get up however; he seemed to enjoy having Lucy kneeling over him.
Allowing herself to exhale with relief, Lucy gave Johhny a small smile of reassurance.
"Welcome back, a-are you okay?" Lucy stammered as she begun to notice that her face was inches apart from his. Her hand didn't move from his forehead however, "Y-yo...ahem...you're running pretty hot."
OH! She could talk down to Number One and the Enclave Elite, but something like this would fluster her. She wasn't even sure why she had gotten so physical in the first place...
...Lucy had just seen Johnny in trouble and that's what her mind told her to do...
A few seconds had passed...
Lifting her hands from him as gracefully as she could, she pulled up the nearby note between two fingers and frowned, allowing Johnny to read it.
Finishing the note, Johnny half flipped, and half-jumped himself upright. Grabbing Lucy's hand, he ran out of the room, obvious worry creasing his face. "Shit, shit shit!" he said once they were out of Lucy's quarters, "Why does she always pull this kind of stuff when my guard's down."
After apparently realizing that he'd kind of dragged Lucy along, he stopped, and slowly let go of her hand.
"Sorry," he said, noticing that he seemed to be spending a lot of his time apologizing to Lucy lately, "I'm just worried about her. Sylph's a tough little girl... but there's a lot of weird shit in this place. Man-eating plants that pop out faster than bunnies, a strange girl that could tear Frank Horrigan and Legate Lanius in half with a single thought... and... well... me." He paused, to catch his breath. "I just don't want her getting hurt... or worse... the Enclave figuring out how to control her..."
He shivered at that last possibility.
Being yanked by the arm, dragged across the room and into the open hallway sounded like fun, but it wasn't.
"Hey hey, slow down...why don't I go try out the intercom, have their people find her on camera and we track her down..." Lucy offered as a solution, she was anxious as well, but losing her head didn't seem like it would help.
Lucy brought her hand to chin and drummed her fingers on her thigh in frustration, almost cursing herself for her negligence. "I don't know how long I've been away though...30 minutes, maybe more...it was a long time with the Queen Bee of the Enclave."
Lucy heard Johnny's frustrations and her own welled up at the same time, it just manifested a little differently... "She's more than a match for those guys...but...if anything happens to her, I'm using Beast-Mode to cut through anyone that touched her." The eyepatched girl growled.
"So, intercom? Or do you wanna rush it? Because we don't have a lot of time...I'll explain on the way." Lucy offered again hastily.
"Yeah, let's try the intercom," he said, calming down a bit, "You're right. But it would be a lot better if we found her first. If they could get her to sit still long enough..."
He let the rest of the sentence hang while he followed Lucy to the nearest intercom.
"Oh," he said, trying to bring his voice back to more casual tones, "Congratulations on getting the mission approved. I didn't know you could put on such a good cold mask."
Making her way back to her quarters at a hurried, Lucy slammed on intercom button.
"Yeah, listen, there's a young girl with blue hair in a red military dress that left my room sometime in the past...hour or so. I need you take a look at the camera's and tell me where she is."
"Listen Asset, we are not your - "
"This is for Number One's team that's leaving in an hour. FIND HER!"
There was a small delay and then they answered back.
"Sector 34, Command Hub C...she's currently with an operative. Since you don't have a suit, the directions are..."
Lucy focused on remembering all the twists and turns that was mentioned before abrubtly hanging up. Walking over to the table, she scribbled on the back of her note for Beryl to find. ("Mission approved. Leaving in an hour. Stay here. Restocking at armoury.")
Walking out of her room and closing the door behind her, Lucy described the sequence of directions in case she forgot.
A little preoccupied, Lucy slowed down while she walked with Johnny past the labs. "Sorry...just a lot to deal with."
She gave an exhausted smile that didn't quite reach her eyes at the compliment over the mission. "Thanks, it's not ideal, but at least we're getting out of here and able to clear our names...Hold me."
She said the last part with conviction as she leaned into Johnny, whispering so only he could hear. "They know everything about you, Sylph, Beryl. Every movement. I don't know if they're monitoring what we're saying, but keep your voice down for me..." She broke off and smiled.
"Wait...ho- how did you know?" Lucy asked quizzically as it had flown over her head in her panic over Sylph.
Johnny sighed, muttering a curse at himself. Then, he held Lucy close to him again as he whispered in her ear.
"The same reason I knew that it wasn't your friend that brainwashed Sylph when she was only a child." he took a deep breath, "The same reason that the Enclave tried to experiment on me. The same reason they've been chasing me for years."
He brought his forehead to Lucy's lightly. "That... asshole in my head."
Johnny went quiet for a while. His face adopted a pensive expression, as if he was struggling to remember something.
He shook his head, "I... don't really know how to explain it. Its... not like I'm seeing vision or anything. I just kind of... know things I shouldn't sometimes. You know how some people can read a situation as if everyone in the room were an open book to them? Well... I can kind of do the same thing without wanting to... with situations I'm not even present for... sometimes with people I haven't met before. And I know that it has to be his fault because it only started after I found that damn manuscript."
Lucy looked into Johnny's eyes fiercely. Seething at the Enclave's brutal treatment of another person in this world, let alone the person right in front of her.
"Bastards!" She hissed under her breath, "That's why it's easier for me to fling as much bullshit into their eyes as I can. Whenever I can. I didn't embrace being an Asset for family loyalty, I'm here to abuse the hell out of it...or at least that was my plan"
Lucy's voice had fallen to a level that matched Johnny's pensive expression, "So...you heard everything?" She panicked a little inside, still trying to comprehend it all, but she needed to explain her position fast. "You have to believe why I said those things. Why I act a certain way with them."
Breaking away slowly, she spoke softly while they turned down a corridor as she remembered. Lucy had quickly grown despondent as she looked down, "But I want out for now...I've risked too much and it was selfish."
The self-loathing was evident in her tone and body language. For a few moments, she no longer held herself with the measure of defiance she put up from her start here.
Johnny gently brought his hand to Lucy's cheek, and gave her a sympathetic, knowing look. "Yeah, I know. I just... I don't know. They play themselves up to be saviors, but they've burnt a lot of ground, and taken a lot from just about everyone that doesn't have an army backing them up. Heh. I have hard time telling the difference between the Enclave, the Brotherhood, and the Legion at times. They all want different forms of the same thing... and all of them find ways to justify attrocity after atrocity..."
Johnny shuddered as he seemed to notice how hollow and far away his voice sounded for a moment. "No you don't, you little bastard!" he hissed, "I refuse to be your puppet again!" Johnny backed away from Lucy, and clutched at his head. "Just... gah! Just fuck off already!"
Then, another voice spoke through Johnny. "Now now, Mr. Truant... watch your language, or I'll have to wash your mouth with..."
"GAH! Just... just shut up already!" Johnny seemed to be breaking through, but his voice still seemed so far away. "I've had it with you! You have done nothing but screw up my life! Just go away and leave me alone!"
The other voice in Johnny laughed, and fixed his now blackened eyes on Lucy. "Oh, don't exaggerate. I haven't made everything in your pitiful life worse. Or... do you really think you would have met her, or that... menace to all that is sane if not for me? Tell me, why were you in Minefield to begin with? Why were we in that Enclave vertibird which had just so happened to have been set to return to base as soon as someone turned the engine on?"
The other laughed again.
Lucy listened to Johnny in silence as they rounded a corner, he seemed to harbor a lot feelings towards the Wasteland's most major factions as a whole. Although just like Lucy, he had experienced and seen too much of the Enclaves atrocities to ever back their cause.
That's when Johnny shouts and pained grunts had started. Grabbing him by the shoulders, Lucy had Johnny backed up against the wall, trying to stabilize him - let him know she was there - anything...but only blackened eyes met hers in return.
Recoiling slightly as the very air she breathed grew cold, her skin tingled and she tried to counteract the sensation. With Johnny's pained shouting still ringing in her ears, she grew aggressive and spoke directly to the demon for once.
"Crawl back in whatever hole you came from!" It was a brave face, but she was scared and her hand was on her rifle for comfort.
"Ah. So she does speak. Good. I was beginning to wonder if Mr. Truant had more unsavory fetishes than even I was aware of." The other voice said calmly, as if it hadn't even noticed Lucy shaking its host, or didn't care. "You have my attention, my dear. So, what do you want to talk about? And you DO want to talk, as anyone else would have tried to shoot Mr. Truant by now. Though I would sympathize with you if you changed your mind. He can be such a downer at times."
It was taunting her and that was enough for her anger to override her fear for the most part.
"Oh, I speak and can you cut out the cheap scare tactics?!" Lucy snarled before backing off slightly, "What the hell are you? Do you even have a name? And why the hell do you have to hurt Johnny in the process?"
Johnny's eyes... flickered for a moment.
"Ah, he continues to surprise me. Hmm... oh, don't start thinking of ways to use our... connection to your advantage just yet, Sister Black. Mr. Truant only knows what I wish him to. For instance, he doesn't know what has befallen his beloved hometown, Rivet City."
Johnny's face twisted into a cruel parody of a smile, and looking into his eyes was like looking into an inky abyss... it seemed that there would be no escaping them if they took an interest in you.
Then it's face shifted into what was initially smile but quickly descended into something more incomprehensible and disgusting. Lucy's hot-blooded attitude plummeted at that mere display.
"A-are you going to kill me? If not, w-why...haven't you?" She uttered uneasily.
"No. You're more interesting alive." It said, instantly removing all trace of facial expression from Mr. Truant's face. The effect was so abrupt that you could almost think that
Mr. Truant's... JOHNNY'S face incapable of expressing emotion.
"You're lucky I'm not a witch of the crossroads, bound to only answer three questions. Otherwise... you've wasted two fo them. My name is not your concern. But, if you really need some label to cling onto well... my function still serves well enough. I am an... editor. And since you're new at this, I'll give you a freebie. I'll answer the question you failed to ask despite my somewhat less-than-subtle prompting."
"Mr. Truant is from Rivet City originally. He ran away half a decade ago due to some... unfortunate circumstances." The Editor made Johnny's face grin, a simple, almost human grin this time, but still not pleasant to look at. "Currently, however, Rivet City has a new... occupant. I knew well in advance of course, and my original intention with my... involvement with Mr. Truant was to evaluate which of the... previous occupants of the fair city were worth... salvaging."
Johnny's body stepped closer.
"In the end however, none of them were worth the bother, as far as my... associates were concerned. No practical use to anyone. I was... instructed to simply let them all die. But, I saw some potential in Mr. Truant, so I... 'nudged' him into leaving Rivet City well before its new... occupant arrived, and the previous residents had to be... forcibly evicted. That's all I have to say for now. But... I do have a question for you to consider, and I do expect an answer the next time we have a heart-to-heart like this: Why do you care what happens to Mr. Truant? You only met him scant hours ago."
Lucy bared her teeth as her lip curled upward with equal parts defensive disgust and fear as it stepped closer to her.
"Gee, thanks for the afterthought." She replied callously, "I thought we should get the basics out of the way." Lucy eyed it coldly, "What happens if Johnny reaches this occupant? Will that make you leave him alone? Think about that, Editor."
Johnny's eyes went back to normal, and he slumped forward.
Her eye fixed on the Editor's smile with a glare, "Until next time then. You'll get your answer."
And just as easily as the Editor had arrived, the Editor was now gone. Lucy caught sight of Johnny's eyes before leaning beside him...she was wary about getting too close...but after a few moments, she spoke once more. "Johnny?"
Lucy's voice was still roughly edged in icy defense. Despite her demeanor and tone, she was visibly shaking and staggeringly close to tears as the Editors presence shook her to the core.
Doc: "You dropped your eye-patch," he said, bringing an empty hand to her, as if trying to return something. Then his eyes refocused, "Oh... uh... whoops. Sorry. I... went... somewhere else for a moment."
Then, as if seeing right through her, Johnny hugged Lucy close to him for several moments before giving her a brief kiss on the forehead. "I'm back. Now... let's go find Sylph. Heh... shouldn't be too hard... just follow the sound of power-armored idiots fleeing in terror."
"How did..." Lucy remarked as she was handed her eye-patch, but it certainly explained the sudden surge of pain when exposed the corridor's bright lighting. "I -..."
Lucy was cut short by an affectionate Johnny, her body stiffened at his hug. Maybe Johnny had grown somewhat accustomed to the changes, but Lucy hadn't. "It's difficult for me to just...adjust to the - switches so easily. I'm sorry."
Her shaking hadn't stopped and she balled her hands into fists. "We have an hour before the four of us get shipped somewhere in the Wasteland. We're investigating questionable Vault's in order to find the EU. We have an hour to get restocked with anything in the armory. Just keep it conventional and bring as much supplies as you can."
It was all Lucy could do to calm her nerves, refocus on the task ahead by stating their mission. They rounded several corners and found themselves at 'Control Hub C. Looking around for numbers ranging in the 30's. Her defiant stance and attitude had returned around other soldiers.
"We get to leave this place and take matters from there. I have an idea for a weapon Sylph might like..."
"Yeah... tell me about it," was all Johnny had to say about 'switching', before continuing to follow Lucy through corridor after corridor.
"When this is over... and assuming we're all still alive afterwards..." Johnny said, trying to affect a hopeful tone, "I'd like to take you and Sylph to this great place in the north... where I met this weird human ant-queen once."
Hearing Johnny's ludicrous proposal about visiting a place where ant-royalty was a thing, softened Lucy somewhat. "Heh, I would like that. I think we all need a break...minus the ants. What weapons are you good with, by the way?"
Lucy located Sector 34 by the indicator on the wall, another equally long corridor that seemed to stetch a mile. "Somewhere down here..."
Looking back at Johnny, Lucy broke the silence, "Anything you wanna ask me?"
"I'm great with my trusty lever action rifle... wow, I really need to come up with a name for her... its been about six years since I rescued her..." he trailed off remembering that he'd left it alone in a room with Beryl,
"Anyway, I'm also good with my fists. Learned from the best martial arts cult in all of... Indiana."
He chuckled at that, and rounded another corner just after Lucy did... trying very hard not to be... distracted.
"Hmm... just... how are you so driven all the time? I... wish I was like that." he said, trying to find the walls around them interesting as he tried to hide his obvious embarassment.
"What the heck is an Indiana?" Lucy asked quizzically. "Anyway, you probably guessed that I prefer pew-pews over bang-bangs. And I prefer plasma over laser."
She couldn't wait to see what the armory had in stock for her, she desperately needed a sidearm to compensate for Beast Mode's cooldown.
Slowing down to a more relaxed walking pace down the corridor that Sylph was last reported in. Lucy pondered about Johnny's question, it was strange now that she thought about it. "I wasn't always like this, I'm actually an indoorsy bookworm...or was. Dad was never around much. Mom was...'critical' of me. -...After what happened, I learned that you either let the depression cripple you or you forge your own path."
Looking back at Johnny, "I think you're pretty admirable. Staying by Sylph's side, looking out for me. You have your...inner demon...but you fight it whenever you get the chance." She gave Johnny a small smile before focusing ahead.
"I think I see her..." Lucy pointed at something red in the distance.
Johnny returned Lucy's smile, apparently not quite finished processing her answer. Then he craned his neck to get a better look at where Lucy was pointing. From a distance it could have been Sylph, but... it wasn't moving quite right. "Umm... I don't think that's Sylph." he said, pulling Lucy into a nearby alcove as it came closer. 'It' turned out to be an over-sized eyebot painted bright red, and either it was malfunctioning, or some idiot had actually programmed it to fire its laser in random directions while spinning around and... singing in what sounded like Japanese.
Once it, and the soldiers chasing after it passed, Johnny finally noticed how close together their little hiding spot had squeezed them together.
"Heh... uh... sorry..." he carefully slid out of the tiny alcove, before helping Lucy out of it.
"It's...okay" Lucy commented, more bewildered by the strange eyebot than anything else. "Lets keep going, Sylph has to be here..."
Lucy wandered down the corridor, soldiers passing all around, hoping to catch a glimpse of something red.
Frank had finished clearing out the local mirelurks.
"Well that's some thorough testing."
Pinkerton came to Frank, dragging a small raft through the water with a large duffel bag on it.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye for now. In case you don't make it, it was a pleasure working with you."
Frank and Pinkerton shook hands.
Frank slung the bag over his shoulder, unsealed the bulkhead that led to the broken-off hallway that connected to the marketplace once upon a time.
Frank was about to put the spurs to some more field testing. He took a deep breath.
Frank made a running-spur-jump across the gap.
This feels amazing! This must be what it feels like to have sex with me.
A thought suddenly popped into Elder Sarah Lyons' mind for no discernible reason.
Lots of bouncing, not much genital stimulation?
Frank landed on the other side.
"You should know; Dr. Li left for up north about half a decade ago. When this is all over the people of Rivet City could use a scientist of your skill."
"Hell no, I'm retired."
And with that, Pinkerton sealed the bulkhead behind him.
Mister Enclave Vault: A Missus Clean Shiny Corridor
"Take me to the place you last saw your friends and we'll look for them from there. By the way, what's your name?" Asked Mister Talking Neck Man as he started following Sylphee through Missus Clean Shiny Corridor. He seemed kind of excited by the fact that she had mentioned Daddy Johnny Shakes and Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and he was probably one of Daddy Johnny Shakes' or Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's friends.
"WellMisterTalkingNeckMan,I'mSylph!" The Red Menace said before remembering that Mister Talking Neck Man seemed a bit confused when Sylphee started talking and so she obviously would have had to talk a little slower. Maybe since Mister Talking Neck Man was able to talk from his neck, he had problems understanding things. Remembering Mister Talking Neck Man's request to take him back to Daddy Johnny Shakes and Big Sissy Psyho Lucy Caboosy, Sylphee turned around and started skipping back towards where she thought that Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's room was.
"Since --- you --- know --- Daddy --- Johnny --- Shakes --- and --- Big --- Sissy ---- Psycho --- Lucy --- Caboosy --- do --- you --- know --- Mommy --- Meryl --- Barrel --- also, --- Mister --- Talking --- Neck --- Man?" The Girl with the double pigtailed blue hair asked in super slow mo, taking a right into another Missus Clean Shiny Corridor.
"Can --- you --- keep --- a --- secret? --- I --- think --- Daddy --- Johnny --- Shakes --- likes --- Big --- Sissy --- Psycho --- Lucy --- Caboosy --- more --- than --- Mommy --- Meryl --- Barrel. --- Is --- that --- weird --- even --- though --- Big --- Sissy --- Psycho --- Lucy --- Caboosy --- isn't --- his --- kid?" The Red Menace asked as she took another random turn into another Missus Clean Shiny Corridor.
"Here --- we --- are --- Mister --- Talking --- Neck --- Man!!" Sylphee said as she started to open Mister Door to
Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's room only to stop as she heard a familiar voice seep through Mister Door.
"It's not everyday one gets a call from the Enclave." Said Mister Familiar Voice that caused Sylphee to freeze at the door.
"It's not everyday that one gets to talk to a supposed dead man." Said a not so familiar voice belonging to Missus Not-Big-Sissy-Psycho-Lucy-Caboosy, "It was difficult to ascertain your whereabouts."
"Which begs the question, how did you find me?" Asked Mister Familiar Voice.
"We're the Enclave and intelligence is my specialty." Responded Missus Not-Big-Sissy-Psycho-Lucy-Caboosy.
"I guess that's fair enough. I assume that you were looking for me for a reason." Stated Mister Familiar Voice.
"I two things. I have a problem that I need resolved and I have something that you might want." Said Missus Not-Big-Sissy-Psycho-Lucy-Caboosy.
"Ha! What could the Enclave possible have that I would want?" Asked Mister Familiar Voice.
"Well I have, in my custody, the very man who tried to put you in an early grave and the one who was sent to kill you by the very people you used to represent. In return for him, I want you to perform a little errand for me, Undertaker" Explained Missus Not-Big-Sissy-Psycho-Lucy-Caboosy.
"Don't call me that. I'm not a fuckin' Undertaker anymore." Interrupted Mister Familiar Voice.
"Fine. Henry. I'll send you the details shortly." Explained Missus Not-Big-Sissy-Psycho-Lucy-Caboosy.
Mister World sure was a small Mister World, Sylphee mused to herself as she left the door and started back down the hall, trying to remember where Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy's room was located.
Rounding another one of Missy Corners, Syphee found herself running face first into someone's chest. Looking up at Mister Heavy Plasma Vulcan man, it looked like Mister Heavy Plasma Vulcan man recognized her even though she didn't recognize him.
"Hi there Mister Heavy Vulcan Man!" Sylphee said just as Mister Heavy Vulcan Man's hand tried to clonk her in the face.
Frank unsealed the bulkhead to Rivet City Market, and was met with...
[Explosives]Frag mines (In the Gamebryo engine Fallout games anyway) had an IFF program that made them only explode on enemies. Frank was safe.
[Perception]The place was a scene of carnage. Countless mutant corpses filled the area. Only a handful of Rivet City guards though. Understandable. They had defensive positions, landmines, training, and knew the layout of the ship. Odds are they'd be able to hold against most any attack for some time.
Frank resealed the bulkhead.
[Tactics]Frank considered the layout of Rivet city and concluded that the best defensive position where they could also fit all the citizens would be the mid-ship deck.
Frank headed towards it.
As Frank walked, he thought of Pinkerton. A bitter, lonely old man spending his remaining years tinkering, and hunting mirelurks for food. His only human contact coming from occasional visits by Crazy Wolfgang to drop off stuff for him to work on, and have stuff built and repaired.
Would that be Frank in 30 years?
Frank put it out of his mind as he opened the bulkhead to the midship deck and was met with...
...A firing squad consisting of Rivet City guards with 10mm SMGs and a giant of a man with an Anti-Materiel Rifle at the end of a long hallway.
Frank knew that man, it was Morgan Bloom's bodyguard: Rudolph Julian.
If Julian was here, so was Bloom.
"I'm here to help!"
The firing line lowered their weapons.
Frank knew that voice. Commander Danvers. Head of Rivet City security.
"Hello Frank." Please tell me the Brotherhood is here and the mutants outside are all dead?"
"I'm afraid not Lana. I do however have a plan to save everyone."
"What plan is that?"
"The best plan."
Frank un-slung the bag from his shoulder and revealed its contents.
Sylph skipped at a surprising speed and William found it hard to keep up, especially as the Power Armour impeded him, he noticed he was beginning to sweat, the weight of the armour was tiring him and without proper training he didn't know how to work it properly.
As she skipped Sylph began talking about Lucy and Johnny in a very slow voice, she also asked William if he knew "Mommy Meryl Barrel" which he didn't. Turning this corner and that, Sylph led him into parts of the Enclave base he hadn't been before until, with a flourish she announced they had reached their destination and began to open the door they had arrived at. Then suddenly stopped. "It's not everyday one gets a call from the Enclave." Said Mister Familiar Voice that caused Sylphee to freeze at the door.
Two voices could be heard from inside, William couldn't really distinguish them too much, did he know them?
"It's not everyday that one gets to talk to a supposed dead man. It was difficult to ascertain your whereabouts."
"Which begs the question, how did you find me?"
"We're the Enclave and intelligence is my specialty."
"I guess that's fair enough. I assume that you were looking for me for a reason."
"I two things. I have a problem that I need resolved and I have something that you might want."
"Ha! What could the Enclave possible have that I would want?"
"Well I have, in my custody, the very man who tried to put you in an early grave and the one who was sent to kill you by the very people you used to represent. In return for him, I want you to perform a little errand for me, Undertaker"
"Don't call me that. I'm not a fuckin' Undertaker anymore." (Rude, thought William)
"Fine. Henry. I'll send you the details shortly."
Sylph had apparently decided this wasn't actually the right room. To be honest, without hearing a familiar voice in there it probably wasn't the right room. She doubled back on herself and led William round a corner, and skipped straight into someone. After trying to greet him, Slyph was about to get a punch to the face for her troubles.
"Hey hold it!" Shouted William, moving forward to grab the fist and deflect it to the side. The impact hurt more than William thought it would, though that was balanced by the extra power provided to William's return blow, a jab to the chest made his opponent take a step back. William adopted a defensive stance beside Sylph and issued a warning to his opponent.
"Stay away from the girl, I'm escorting her back to her room."
Frank entered the capital preservation society where much of Rivet City was gathered with the intent of divvying the equipment Pinkerton had provided Frank.
Once there he saw something that made his stomach sink.
He saw Gabrielle Rothman holding an infant.
"Please tell me that isn't what it looks like."
Gabrielle gave Frank a look that told him everything he needed to know.
"Meet Argyle. Our son."
"So this is what it takes to leave you at a loss for words?"
"I'm going to need a bit to process this. We'll talk about it if I survive."
Krug liked being a Behemoth. The only problem was how hungry he got. He had to eat a lot. He liked eating though, so that was a plus.
Sure the sun was a lot brighter to his much bigger eyes, but the wasteland was always overcast anyway.
Suddenly he heard something.
"Tunnel Snakes Rule!"
Then there was a bright flash and a ringing in his ears.
The Enclave Vault - Psychological Services | Two Days from Now - 16:00
*KLAK!! KLAK!! KLAK!! KLAK!! KLAK!! KLAK!! KLAK!! KLAK!! KLAK!!*
Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 gritted his teeth underneath his standard issue Enclave Power Armored Helmet as its audio pickups sent the KLACKING of a Newton's Cradle, seated on a nearby stainless steel table, directly into his inner ear. Looking about the sparse office, Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 noted a pair of mice (?) in a nearby cage, their owner, and the man that Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 was here to see, having seen fit to place the creatures in a couple of miniaturized Enclave Power Armor suits. Looking closely at the pair, Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 thought he saw the shorter one with a large head squeaking to the taller one, who was trying to run about in his wheel.
"*SQUEAK! SQUEAK! SQUEAK!*" The Rodent Squeaked until it noted that Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 was watching the two. Giving Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 a glare, the shorter one with the large head pulled a privacy curtain down, forcing Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 to refocus on Enclave Psychological Specialist #5150.
"Vell Enclave Heavy Veapons Vpecializt noomber to-oh-nein. Tell vhy yoo have zis obzession vis zis fraulein un red. Yoo don't meind eef I call yoo Enclave Heavy Veapons Vpecializt noomber to-oh-nein do yoo?" Asked Enclave Psychological Specialist #5150 as he wrote down some notes.
"I'd prefer it if you called me E.D." Responded Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209, "It's short for Enclave Dominator, you know, since we Dominate everything with our Plasma Vulcans."
"Ah, I zee. Vell again Heavy V - I mean - E.D. #209. Tell me about yoor obzession vis zis fraulein un red."
"Well it started a few days ago. I was patrolling -" E.D. #209 managed to start saying before he was interrupted by Enclave Psychological Specialist #5150 interrupted.
"How about we zztart vith zat day?"
The Enclave Vault - Corridor - Current Day - 13:00:
"Oh man! Did you see that Ghoul's face? It was priceless." E.D. #209 said jovially to E.D. #300 as they walked down the corridor back from patrol.
E.D. #310, the runt of the trio looked a bit confused, especially since he hadn't gone out on patrol with the others.
"So #209 here corners a Ghoul on top of the OCD building and the freak pulls out, of all things, a 10 Millimeter pistol and starts waving it in front of him like it's gonna do something and what does 209 do? He gets all robot voiced and says 'Please put down your weapon. You have 20 seconds to comply.' So the Ghoul drops the gun thinking that 209 here is gonna let him live and that's when he goes 'You now have 15 seconds to comply.' That's when the Face Biter starts looking for a way out. 'You are in direct violation of Penal Code 1.13, Section 9.' The Ghoul starts running around back and forth, looking for some place to hide but you know you can't hide from these Plasma Vulcans. Of course 209 here keeps it going. 'You have 5 seconds to comply.' That's when the Ghoul starts screaming from the top of that OCD building 'HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME!' 'Four... three... two... one... I am now authorized to use physical force!' Man I have never seen anyone shit his pants while getting Green Jello'd at the same time. It was awesome."
"Yeah it was." Added #310 and getting a stern look from both E.D. #209 and E.D. #300. It was obvious that even though the trio were Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialists, they weren't exactly cut from the same cloth.
"So you gonna go get some chow with #310 and me?" #300 asked as they rounded a corner.
"Nah. I'm gonna go get a bit of shut eye." E.D. #209 said.
"You mean you're gonna go look in the hole that you found that looks into #411's shower." #300 said before he and #310 started peeling away towards the mess hall.
"Wait. There's a hole in #411 shower?" #310 asked, his voice fading off in the distance."
The Enclave Vault - Psychological Services | Two Days from Now - 16:00
"Vait! Zere iz a hole in Enclave Intelligence Zpecializt #411's shower." Asked Enclave Psychological Specialist #5150.
"Uh. NO?" #209 lied before continuing with his recounting of that day, "Now where was I? Oh yeah -"
The Enclave Vault - Corridor - Current Day - 13:00:
Something ran straight into E.D. #209's chest, something far shorter than he was and when he looked down to see what sort of blind idiot it was he saw HER! That damnable blue haired runt of a c**t that had been messing with him for the last few days. She wasn't going to get away this time.
Realizing that the corridor was far too narrow for him to whip out his Plasma Vulcan he sent a punch at her.
"Hi there Mister Heavy Vulcan Man!" The soon to be bag of broken bones little girl said.
"Hey hold it!" Said another voice as some guy moved in front of the Blue Bitch and blocked his punch. "Stay away from the girl, I'm escorting her back to her room."
It was sort of at that point that things got really - weird.
"Hey! Hey! Hey! Mister Talking Neck Man!" Said the Red Retard, pulling the White Knight by the shoulder, spinning him around and turning her back to E.D. #209 as if the two were going to talk in private or something, "I said that I'd help you go find Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and Daddy Johnny Shakes but I didn't say that I would go do the bouncy bouncy with you."
As the Runt in Red said this, she pushed that White Knight Son of a Bitch back a bit and took a step forward, making E.D. #209's second punch miss and dent one of the metal corridor walls. This, of course, infuriated E.D. #209 as he sent another punch towards the back of the Blue Haired Idiot's head.
"I mean you're nice Mister Talking Neck Man but it's weird that you talk from your neck and all." The Moron continued pushing the White Knight Asshole back once again and once again causing E.D. #209's punch to miss and strike the other wall, "It's also weird that you're named Mister Talking Neck Man. Did your mom not like you that she named you Mister Talking Neck Man?" *PUSH - WIFF* "Also, Daddy Johnny Shakes says that you should never do the bouncy bouncy on the first date or until you see the money." *PUSH - WIFF*
"WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!" Screamed the infuriated E.D. #209, the computer in charge of monitoring his vitals noted that there was a sudden and dramatic increase in size of a vein located on E.D. #209's forehead. Reaching out with a giant fist, E.D. #209 grabbed onto whatever he could, which was unfortunate since the first thing he grabbed was the barrel of an Anti-Materiel Rifle that the Red Hair Wench had been shouldering.
The next thing that E.D. #209 knew was that he was looking up at the ceiling, wondering how any of this was right or made any sort of sense.
"Oh hey look Mister Talking Neck Man! It's Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and Daddy Johnny Shakes!!! Hi Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and Daddy Johnny Shakes!" E.D. #209 heard his arch nemesis say before the world went dark.
The Enclave Vault - Psychological Services | Two Days from Now - 16:00
"An' zo yoo zpent foorty eight hourzzz in zee medical vard. Yoo know how lucky yoo are? If zee rifle vas loaded vith Armor Piercing roundzzz yoo wouldn't be here. And from vat I heer it vas catagorized az an acc-zident veapons dizcharge." Enclave Psychological Specialist #2150 said as he looked up at the clock. "Zas all zee time ve have. Oh. Mein Nurse says zat yoo have a message from Enclave Intelligence Zpecialist #411. She zays zat she vishes to meet yoo soon."
"Oh. Alright." E.D. #209 said as he stood up from the sofa, his eyes catching what Enclave Psychological Specialist #5150 had been writing.
"E.D. #209 - More like Erectile Dysfunction #209. Possible Penis Envy."
"Ahh izz mein next patients! Zee Maintenance Brothers!" Enclave Psychological Specialist #5150 said happily.
"And the Maintenance Sister!" added Enclave Maintenance Worker #3000 as she waltzed into the room.
Frank's plan was very simple. The size of an eye determines how much light it takes in. An infant human has eyes of similar size to adult eyes because they are born fully sized. Nocturnal animals have much larger eyes than us because they need more light.
Everything on a Super Mutant was bigger than on a human with the exception of sex-organs. The average Behemoth stands at about 15 feet, with eyes the size of a human fist.
One of the things in the bag, was a buttload of flashbangs. The Behemoths would be blind.
The other part of the plan was something Frank had developed after the siege of Project Purity: The force rifle.
During the battle of Project Purity, countless scavengers had acquired force-field generators. Some of those eventually came into the possession of Crazy Wolfgang who traded them to Pinkerton.
While a Force Rifle could knock over a tank, it couldn't do lethal damage to anything. It was like smacking something with a big soft glove. The greater the surface area, the more of its push it could use. But it wouldn't pierce, smash, burn, or melt. Behemoths would have plenty of surface-area though.
There was also a replacement Rose-Cutter in the bag, and a bunch of Mirelurk meat but that wasn't relevant to the plan.
Officer Lois Kaczmarek was shaking. She was selected to use one of the three force rifles that man in armor brought. She had some experience with energy weaponry. That's the reason she was selected to use it in the first place. But she was scared. She had seen seen her husband get eaten alive by one of those things, and there were apparently five of them out there.
She felt a rather colossal hand on her shoulder.
"Be calm. We can do it."
Rudolph Julius seemed relatively calm all things considered.
His calm seemed to help her maintain hers.
At noon on the dot, they would come out of the top of the tower and begin firing, while two other teams would come out on the flight deck and the city entrance.
"Let's hope this works."
Frank stood at the exit to Rivet City's market.
It turned noon.
The bulkhead was opened.
"Tunnel Snakes rule!"
The mutants were disoriented, and being knocked over by blue flashes.
Krug was still blind, and his ears were still ringing. But through the ringing he though he heard something.
He felt three spikes jab into his head.
Then he felt warm.
Then he didn't feel anything.
Marlon had trailed after Danielle, and quietly joined the meeting, feeling a little out of place among the paladins, but as Lyons made no objection to his presence he was content to sit by and pay attention. Besides, the mood in the room didn't look super upbeat for starters, so he was at least looking forward to seeing a positive response from Lyons regarding the swordfish blueprints once Danielle passed them along.
As Lyons went through the laundry list of bad tidings it became very apparent that there was very little good news on the table at all. The Enclave turning out might as well have been an invitation to the world's wildest party. Raiders, Ghouls, zombies, behemoths....a nuka cola monster? Eh, that one could wait maybe. Nuka Cola was awful. Give a man a whiskey any day of the week.
And then of course, the big news. Chinese Ghouls. Lots and lots and LOTS of chinese ghouls. Probably anyway. Still ominous even if they weren't.
Marlon listened as Danielle rattled off the names of the groups she was considering bringing into the temporary alliance to deal with the enclave. Some of them he'd heard of on his way here. Others he hadn't heard of, but what he was really waiting for was to see her reaction to Danielle's proposition. It was obviously still going to be a touchy subject to some members of the brotherhood, just as Danielle said, but at the end of the day, he wanted the outcasts in the ground and if they were going to be persuaded to take a few hits for him and the brotherhood, so be it, that'd just soften them up a bit more when the time to wipe them out came. If Lyons hated them as much as it seemed, he'd be happy to help.
As for the other groups, some of them sounded interesting...And if Danielle was proposing to run about bringing them under the anti-enclave banner then maybe he'd see if he could tag along. It was always good to meet potential buyers face to face after all. Hopefully enough of them would still be alive after all this.
There were a few reasons that Lucy chose to stay ahead of Johnny while they wandered the uninspired and ever-expanding corridor.
First and foremost, Lucy was genuinely worried about Sylph's well-being, doubly so in the heart of the Enclave. The protection of Sylph felt like it was her responsibility. Initially viewed as a burden, Lucy had made some amendments as to how she had viewed Sylph in their short time together -...the more she looked at Sylph, the more she saw of herself. If one were to boil their basic motivations down to the very core...they both wanted the same thing: justice/revenge, a family, a friend, a home and maybe even love. The duo merely had a 'different' set of problem-solving methods each. That's what she thought at least...one side was something of an enemy, the other side was the closest thing (and weirdest...really weird) she's had to a sister.
Secondly, The Editor had unnerved and even frightened Lucy to such a great degree that it was difficult to face Johnny and not imagine the twisted entity twisting his appearance for it's amusement. In a strange way, the Enclave's immediate presence served as a constant reminder of what she had set out to do. So she put aside her fear and channeled her frustration into a different avenue.
Walking down the halls with purpose and a strong sense of rebellion, Lucy started to notice the hallway's amount of personnel activity increase in volume as a commotion was heard but not seen through the sea of black power armor ahead of her -
Many soldiers, as did Lucy, flinched and directed their attention towards the unmistakable echo of a heavy weapon being discharged. And just for a moment, the crowd parted slightly to reveal a flash of red and ponytails...(Sylph!)...the problem arose as more soldiers exited nearby rooms to flood the hallway even more.
They were in the way of her Sylph.
"INVERT CONTROLS!" Lucy commanded fiercely.
Lucy had drawn her rifle and unclipped the scope from the rifle's rail mount. By this point, two small digital screens had flipped over and displayed themselves on either side of the frame: '(00:59)'.
Recognizing its command, the outer shell of the frame retracted backwards over the stock to enclose itself painfully around Lucy's wrist, effectively locking it in place. With the external frame out of the way, four symmetrical restraint-pylons on either side extended outwards and released its first external burst of steam while the rifle revved with power.
Audibly, Beast Mode had made her rifle growl, almost begging for release. Lucy, serving as the Beast's master kept it disciplined and amplified it's aggressively loud warning by dragging the rifle's muzzle along the ground behind her as she strode forward. The crowd quickly parted as they caught sight of her cold glare and heard the savage roar of her rifle echoing off the walls.
"Isaac's daughter-!" ... "Gauss Girl-!" ... "Isn't that-?" ... "Bob is nuts..." ... "She punched #411-!" ... "A Gauss Plus? Without a suit???"
Announcing her presence so dramatically had far exceeded her expectations and she was now subject to gossip easily overheard only a few feet away from various sources. Regardless, she continued her march towards the Red Menace, her eye piercing anyone that seemed intent on stopping her.
"Oh hey look Mister Talking Neck Man! It's Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and Daddy Johnny Shakes!!! Hi Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and Daddy Johnny Shakes!" She was even met with Sylph's version of fanfare.
Stopping in front of Sylph, Lucy smirked at the injured soldier and anti-materiel rifle being dragged away. Turning her attention to Sylph, her smirk remained as she placed her hand on her hip confidently. "We'll get you another one. In fact, we're going shopping now at the armory...on me, for free." She winked at Sylph, much more relieved that she was okay, while simultaneously being amused at the soldier's injury.
Two armored figures motioned to Sylph from behind but they quickly backed off when her Beast Mode expended another burst of steam. Lucy turned to the only figure that hadn't budged at all, a solitary soldier, he/she was met with a withering glare and even more of a cold reception. "She stays by my side. Take it up with Number One if you have a problem."
Raising her head slightly, the Eyepatched girl looked down her nose at the soldier with a visible level of contempt before turning her attention to Sylph and Johnny. "We passed an armory on the way here. We're getting restocked. I'm leaving with or without you. We don't have much time left."
Turning around completely, her rifle scraped across the floor as it's roar echoed along the walls once more. Halfway down the corridor, Lucy commanded Beast Mode once more. "Disengage!" One final burst of steam was expended before all the components resumed their natural position, her rifle seemed frustrated at not being used.
10 minutes later: Enclave Armory #45-1
Lucy had made note of this particular armory as a halfway point between their destination and her room. It seemed a good a place as any to get prepared before heading out.
Stepping into a spacious room filled with weapons, utilities and unknown tech displayed along the walls Lucy was welcomed by a shout from a soldier relaxing with his feet up on a desk. Presumably the guy in charge here. "Asset Black? I just got the notice dat you'd be arrivin'..." The soldier tapped away swiftly at an advanced-looking Pip-boy on his wrist. "Take a look, the Big Guy upstairs cleared ya' for everything but the best."
As the soldier was talking, wall-wide holographic interfaces appeared, displaying every weapon available in the armory. Weapons were divided into categories such as: 'Small Guns, Energy Weapons, Big Guns, Melee Weapons, Unarmed...' with numerous and detailed statistics regarding things like ammo capacity and weapon weight, among others. A few weapons were crossed out displaying the words 'unavailable' or 'higher-clearance required'.
"Just add anything ya want to the wishlist and wait for vending machine to process the order."
"Thaaanks..." Lucy was in heaven, she was squeeing as she read about energy weapons she had never heard of. After a few moments of clapping and excited 'eeeeeeeeee's!', Lucy stifled her inner-dork and tapped the interface for:
- 1 Plasma Pistol
- An abundance of ammunition for her Plasma Pistol and Gauss Rifle.
- 4 Stimpacks
- 1 Katana (For Sylph...Lucy could always give it back if it wasn't to Sylph's liking.)
- 1 Reinforced 9-Iron Golf Club (For Beryl)
Lucy pondered what Johnny might have wanted, but she would rather let him decide.
Confirming her order, a few rumbles and tumbles could be heard and a nearby vending machine soon had all her new gear thrown together in a large tray, an automated voice muttered something about 'If you shop anywhere else I'll have you killed!'.
Packing her items into her backpack, Lucy waited for everyone else to make their decisions.
Without another word Larry set up a workstation, he organised his tools and made sure there was a nice patch of dirt near his workstation. He looked over the salvage that was rounded up, near everything was broken 'do these people ever consider taking something out in a fashion that you can use it later' he thought to himself. He took the most intact replicant they had and took it carefully apart sorting the pieces and carefully placing them out next to the work station, he then did the same for an eyebot, a super-sledge, a de-powered power armour and a vertibird engine. Larry then wrote a list.
He handed this list to the Mr.Handy, 'hey can you try getting me this stuff' Larry asked it. Larry then took a look and the blue prints from the lone wanderers supply cache 'This is something I could work with'. Larry then sat next to the patch of dirt near his work station and starting drawing parts of his designs ideas he needed to visualise in the dirt using his finger.
Lucy parted a crowd... by scratching the metal floors of the vault with a... growling sniper rifle... sorry... gauss rifle. What was Johnny thinking at that point? Well... put it to you this way: if Lucy then announced that she was going to walk into a funeral pyre with a bunch of dragon eggs... Johnny would ask her to hold onto a plate of brownies so that Sylph would have a snack.
Its also worth mentioning that the crowd that was parting... was full of Enclave. Some scientists, some rookies, but a LOT of hardened veterans in there, some still in Power Armor. And they were all cowering, scuttling into the shadows, practically trampling each other just to get away from Lucy. How awesome did Johnny find this?
Well, put it to you this way: after coming out of the pyre with three live dragons, and announced that she wanted to unite the former U.S. with her as its new president, well... Johnny would immediately sign up to help her out however he could.
But... then there was the growling rifle. It was a peculiarly specific sound to Johnny. It reminded him a little too much of...
Long dark hallways always getting longer and darker...
a spiral staircase that never seemed to end, always twisting down, down, DOWN... or was it up?
Was Johnny sinking? Or was the staircase g r o w i n g, e x p a n d i n g ?
Then, having accomplished her task, the bad-ass beauty snapped Johnny out of his shivering episode by giving him clear instructions that he could follow, and well...
Seeing Lucy getting a bit too serious again, Johnny joined Sylph in giving her a mock salute. (he also needed to relieve the tension from earlier) Or at least, he assumed he was joining Sylph in doing so, he wasn't really looking in her direction, but it felt like the kind of thing she'd do. At any rate, he put his middle and index finger on his nose while Lucy was still looking, and then stuck his tongue out when she wasn't.
"Well," he said, turning to Sylph, "I think its time to go shopping, sweetie."
He took Sylph's hand and led her towards the armory.
"Seriously though, Sylph," he said, a worried frown creasing his features, "You really had us worried there, you shouldn't just wander off like that. Though I am glad you left a note. That was a very good and smart thing to do. Thank you. And..."
He trailed off, realizing that 1. he was talking like a parent, 2. he was mentally thinking of Lucy as Sylph's other parent, and 3. he'd have to deal with Beryl at some point. He shrugged it off, and gave Sylph a comforting smile as they entered the armory. Then, he made what could very well have been one of the worst mistakes he'd made this year... he let go of Sylph's hand in the middle of a room full of weapons, some of which looked explosive. And why? Because he saw a gun he'd been looking for ages, ever since he'd found his trusty lever-action rifle. He'd found his baby rifle's older, hotter, and all-around better twin sister, the backwater rifle. He grabbed it, and checked the chamber, it looked it would use the same ammo... but since it was more durable, it looked like it might handle the kind of ammo he'd been wanting to try for a while now...
and turning to the rows upon rows of ammo crates... yep, the Enclave had it. Not only did they have nearly limitless supplies of 10mm rounds, but they also had the buckshot, and incendiary variants of it. But that wasn't really the issue here... no... they even had some of the almost legendary acidic rounds. Incredibly rare, and incredibly dangerous to handle without the proper training or knowledge, the acidic rounds were well... full of sulphiric acid. And the Enclave only had... twenty of those in their specially designed box. He grabbed it after making sure no one was looking. He grabbed a couple of bandoliers so that he could sling both of his rifles over his back, and then he found something he found truly incredible... a ballistic fist!
He knew it could jeopardize the mission but... he knew he'd never have another shot... plus, it'd be nice to have a well-hidden back-up plan just in case things went awry, or if they had to go toe-to-toe with a super mutant army led by a great voice actor.
Between the asshole, and Sylph... he wouldn't be surprised if they wound up fighting an army at some point.
Sadly though... 'well-hidden' did not describe a ballistic fist... and Johnny couldn't even lift the damn thing from its perch. So he turned his attention to a collection of knives, and a very strange one caught his attention. It looked like it might have once been a great kitchen knife, but... now it seemed to be far too sharp for that, and it was glowing bright orange. Normally this would also make it hard to hide, but the Enclave had thought of that, and provided a sheath for it. Johnny grabbed both, put the knife in its sheath, and attached it to one of the bandoliers.
So... to recap, Johnny grabbed the following from the armory before meeting up with Lucy:
1 backwater rifle
1 super-heated cosmic knife
20 rounds of acidic 10mm ammo
70 rounds of incendiary 10mm ammo
100 rounds of standard 10mm ammo
1 large roll of gauze
1 medium-sized wheel of cheese he stole from the kitchens just one minute before Lucy was about to leave.
Mister Enclave Vault | Place with LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of Guns and Stuff
"OooOooOOoOOOooOoOOO shiny Shiny SHINY!!!!" The Red Menace exclaimed as Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy handed her a REALLY LONG and REALLY SHINY Missy Hacky Slashy. Pulling the REALLY LONG and REALLY SHINY Missy Hacky Slashy out of Mister Wooden Sheathe, Sylphee amused herself by waving the REALLY LONG AND REALLY SHINY Missy Hacky Slashy around, letting the light dance off the sharpened edge making "VRREEOW! VREEEOOOM! CHREEEEECHACK!" noises as she did.
"Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy - I am your Sissy!" Sylphee said in a low low voice as she waved the blade in the air once again.
Now, the Blue Haired Girl really hadn't meant to do this, but it just sorta happened in a way that these things do when things happened around Sylphee. The Red Menace brought the REALLY LONG and REALLY SHINY Missy Hacky Slashy down from over her head and sort of lost her grip on the REALLY LONG and REALLY SHINY Missy Hacky Slashy.
"Ooops!" Sylphee exclaimed as she watched the REALLY LONG and REALLY SHINY Missy Hacky Slashy bounce off of the floor back towards Sylphee, hitting her most favoritest choker in the world.
*PING PING PING* Went the Red Jeweled Choker as it clattered against the floor.
"Seriously though, Sylph," Master Johnny Truant said, a worried frown creasing his features, "You really had us worried there, you shouldn't just wander off like that. Though I am glad you left a note. That was a very good and smart thing to do. Thank you. And..."
"You are welcome Master Johnny Truant, I guess the idiot can be taught new tricks." Sylph's cold voice said as she retrieved the accessory from the floor and placed it in the pocket of the uniform that had been gifted to her by Lucy Black. After admiring the Katana for a moment, the Blue Haired Murderer sheathed the blade before tucking the weapon through the straps of her pack.
Walking towards the Holographic Display marked Small Guns, Sylph ordered an Anti-Materiel Rifle and Silencer. Though she was used to the .22 Caliber Rifle that she had carried, she understood that it would have little effect on Power Armored Soldiers.
"I should mention that there was a Power Armored Soldier looking for you and Lucy Black." Sylph stated as she finished her preparations to leave the Enclave Vault before sitting herself next to the Enclave Soldier that was in charge of the Armory, her face appearing to be deep in thought, though no one could really tell whether it was the her trying to keep herself from killing the Solder next to her or thinking about something else.
So close, but so far, you let her get away. William had been so surprised by Lucy's sudden appearance that he hadn't moved from his spot until she was gone, disappeared along with Sylph. Lucy had thrown some angry words William's way before she left, not realising who was under the armour.
The crowd of Enclave personnel that had parted to allow her to leave suddenly re-formed before William, his helmet display was flooded with designations of everyone in front of him. William thought he saw Lucy turn a corner with the distinctive hair of Sylph bobbing beside her. What are you going to do now, run after her? She'll look straight through you, or worse, look at you like she hates you. You're dressed like the Enclave after all.
No, not this time, not again. William fought through the crowd, pushing his way through scientists and soldiers alike. Some got out of his way, others didn't and were forced aside. In all the commotion William finally slipped out of the crowd and set off after Lucy.
William kept up a fast pace, occasionally having to back track when he realised he'd gone the wrong way. In addition, the occasional person would rush the other way thinking something was still going on.
So what are you going to do when you get there? Take off your helmet and say hello? That won't work, why don't you try informative placards?
Armoury, armoury, armoury. Where are you?
THERE YOU ARE! FOUND YOU! William paused outside the door for a moment, not sure what he would say or do, then he opened it and stepped into the armoury. Sylph was sitting in the room, looking unusually subdued. Johnny Truant was also here, admiring a new rifle. But then there was Lucy, putting stimpacks into her backpack. William stepped into the room itself, taking in the incredible array of weapons, then cleared his throat.
"Lucy, hello I need to talk to you. It's an urgent matter, is there anywhere we can speak privately? .... Ms Black."
Enclave Armory: Liek OMG #YOLOSWAG1337MySpaceHashtag
Lucy's left thigh holster now housed her plasma pistol combined with a pouch below filled with the necessary energy cells. On her right thigh, a pouch housed her stimpacks in order to remove any clutter from her low-hanging backpack.
Lucy prayed to the God of Decapitations for sparing her. Her hair however was not so fortunate. During Sylph's playing around with the sword, she had lopped off one of Lucy's pigtails in the process, giving her even more of an asymmetrical appearance to go along with the eyepatch.
Food! Something had to keep Sylph busy before the God of Decapitations decided that he was unsatisfied. Making one final order under the consumables section, Lucy ordered a large batch of Brahmin Jerky. Packing most of it away into her backpack for their journey, she kept two large pieces in hand.
Turning around, the difference in the shifted Sylph was easily apparent. Lucy quietly took a seat next to the unchained Sylph, the Soldier in charge of the armory seemed to pick up on the tension between the two and busied himself with work far away from the duo.
Lucy laid down a chunk of Brahmin Jerky and pushed it towards her, "Your note said you were hungry." Lucy desperately needed to decompress before chaining herself under the Asset facade once more, and she was in no position to be picky about who she tried to reach out to. So...
"See this?" Lucy pointed to an inner component in her plasma pistol with a smile that couldn't cover her heartache. "It's a magnetic accelerator. The problem is that the super-heated bolts travel at a slower speed than conventional bullets. This part eliminates the problem by speeding up the projectile..." Lucy took a breath, knowing that she was rambling. "I've only ever seen two. Dad would know all the technical stuff, he just told me what to do while we worked together."
Lucy leaned forward slightly, lowering her voice for only Sylph to hear. "Since my time here, I found the three men responsible for his death. Each time -" her fists clenched. "- I had a chance to pull the trigger, but I didn't. This morning I had the chance to end it all - but that would hurt all of you."
Lucy leaned back a little, looking upwards to reveal her face, she was visibly guilt-ridden during the confession. "I caused far too much damage by coming here. Not even a scratch on the Enclave...knowing them, none of us would be leaving this place alive. So I came up with the mission idea to get all of us out of here safely."
Lucy pushed her piece of uneaten Jerky towards Sylph. "This stopped being about me the moment I woke up on the Vertibird here. I was too late to realize it though."
With a brooding frown, "I'm sorry for what he did to you. N-nobody ever said that to me - " Lucy sighed hopelessly. "Then again, none of this really matters to you, but...isn't this what 'sisters' do anyway, confide in each other?"
Lucy hastily straightened up when the door to the armory had opened some distance off.
"Hope you like the outfit and the blade." The Gauss Girl concluded bluntly as she wrapped herself tightly in the Asset role once more. Taking a few moments to regain her composure, someone watching would have noticed her body shifting towards a more domineering stance while her facial expression grew defiant.
"Lucy, hello I need to talk to you. It's an urgent matter, is there anywhere we can speak privately?....Ms Black."
With her recent conversation still in mind, she honestly wished to destroy this new Enclave puppet on the spot, but this most likely had to do with their upcoming mission.
Hang on - 'Lucy', 'Miss Black'...her Asset status was always made abundantly clear in her time here. Perhaps she had earned some goodwill...in some backwards method.
While she could put on an act when the Fallout-Sector was concerned, anything below that was met with contempt. And she had made every effort to make this one feel unwanted and unwelcome.
If her glare wasn't enough, the way she walked right up to the soldier's suit, and the tone she had adopted certainly was. "My room. Whatever you have to say can be said in front of my friends. Your masters have taught you how to follow, haven't they?"
Maybe that was a little much, but she could hardly feel guilty for an Enclave dog's bruised ego.
"You walk a little funny, Enclave dog. I'll lead the way then."
Nodding towards her friends, Lucy made her way back to her room once everyone confirmed that they had finished here.
Lucy's room: Overcapacity, don't cha' think?
Lucy loudly announced her presence by tossing Beryl's new reinforced golf-club on the table. "Auto-sweepers should trouble you no more." she declared callously.
Once the door was closed and everyone was present. Lucy glared at the soldier with impatience while her blood boiled at it's presence. "You can speak now!"
The Enclave Vault |
Place with LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of Guns and Stuff An Armory
"Your note said you were hungry." Lucy Black stated as she pushed a piece of Dried Brahmin Jerky towards the Stormy Eyed Homicidal Maniac and though Sylph lacked a large amount of empathy towards
anything with a pulse others, she could sense that her "sister" was in need of an open ear. Picking up the preserved and salted hunk of Brahmin, Sylph took a small bite of the tough meat and listened to the frailer looking Lucy Black.
"It's a magnetic accelerator. The problem is that the super-heated bolts travel at a slower speed than conventional bullets. This part eliminates the problem by speeding up the projectile..." Lucy Black took a breath "I've only ever seen two. Dad would know all the technical stuff, he just told me what to do while we worked together."
Sylph nodded as she looked at the Plasma Pistol part that Lucy Black pointed out and nodded simply and made what she thought would be a look that expressed interest. Father hadn't taught Sylph very many things outside of the realm of weapons, their use and their maintenance. For Lucy Black to have taken the time to explain something to Sylph was a bit - confusing.
The topic of Projectile Acceleration via manipulation of Magnetic Fields didn't seem to be the topic that was on Lucy Black's mind however and it was confirmed when the Cyclopean Gauss Girl leaned forward to whisper in the Red Uniformed Menace's ear.
"Since my time here, I found the three men responsible for his death. Each time -" The Asymmetrically haired Sniper said with fists clenched. "- I had a chance to pull the trigger, but I didn't. This morning I had the chance to end it all - but that would hurt all of you."
The Admission that Lucy Black had opted to not complete her mission of vengeance due to the backlash that would come upon the group was a surprise to the girl that had been trained to follow through with her orders regardless of the result and yet it did call into question what Sylph had heard while Sylphee had control. Father wasn't dead. If Lucy was caring for Sylph due to Undertaker McGee's guilt, would she still be Sylph's "sister" if she found out the truth?
The world around Sylph seemed to fade into obscurity for a time as the - what was this sensation - fear? - took hold of the girl. If her "sister" were to find out the truth, that Father was still alive and that she had sacrificed her friend the Undertaker for a slight that never occurred, would Lucy Black still be so willing to accept the Red Dressed Death Incarnate or would she leave?
"Then again, none of this really matters to you, but...isn't this what 'sisters' do anyway, confide in each other?" Lucy Black said before standing to address the Enclave Soldier that had been looking for her and Master Johnny Truant.
"But it does matter to me." Sylph responded quietly as she watched both Lucy Black and the Unknown Enclave Unit leave the Armory.
Despite the fact that she was finished with her preparations, Sylph maintained her seat in the chair within the Armory, lost in thought.
If Father was still alive, why hadn't he come looking for Sylph? Would Master Johnny Truant still be her Master if Father was still alive? Would he still treat her the same? Would Mistress Beryl Craw? If any of them found out the truth, would they want anything to do with her or would they leave her or worse, give her back to Father? Should she have told Lucy Black, Master Johnny Truant of Mistress Beryl Craw that Father was alive and that he would be looking for them and that it was possible that Sylph wouldn't be able to help herself if Father told her to kill her new family.
Fighting back a sickly feeling in her gut, the Red Menace turned towards Master Johnny Truant.
"Master Johnny Truant? If you're done, I will meet you back at Lucy Black's room." Sylph said and waited for Master Johnny to leave the room before turning to the lone remaining person that shared the room with Sylph.
"Hey, mister. Fancy a roll in the straw? I'm about to get shipped out and - well - you know." Sylph said with a practiced smile to the Enclave Unit in charge of the Armory.
Giving the girl look up and down, the Enclave Unit nodded quickly.
"How about we take that thought to my quarters?" The Soldier asked, standing up quickly.
"How about we just take that thought and do it here?" Sylph responded as she gestured for the Soldier to remove his helmet.
"Oh hot damn." The Soldier responded as he took off his helmet. As he did so, Sylph reached out to run her hands through his hair before performing the practiced twist of her wrist.
The Enclave Vault | Outside Lucy Black's Quarters
Leaning against a wall, Sylph tried to work the red stain out of the skirt of her dress while she waited for the others. As satisfying as the act had been, the Red Menace's mind remained - worried? - about what was to come.