The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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Things were looking up for Marlon. After travelling with little incident save for a few damn fool raiders dim enough to attack a car with lasers mounted on it, he'd made his way to the Capital Wasteland and the town of Megaton. Promising little town.

He'd brought the car a little ways inside the gates. The sheriff hadn't been especially impressed by that, but he'd managed to talk him around after a while. Besides, strictly speaking he was here on trader business. Heavily armed yes, but trader business nonetheless. Either way, he'd be gone in a few days tops. This seemed satisfactory to the man with the big hat, so Marlon had since gone for a wander about town and turned his attention to business and pleasure, in that order.

On the business side of things, he'd found a few potential candidates for involvement in the business if the family decided to open a Megaton branch. Colin Moriarty seemed ideal. Reasonably cunning, more than a little mean and just ethically dubious enough to be alright with selling things that could make people disappear.

One of his patrons also, a man named Jericho. He was a possibility for some muscle. Granted a small possibility, but the guy was crazy mean. The family could use someone like that. An ex-raider too. Marlon was actually impressed. You don't see many people living long enough to retire from that line of work. If you could call it work.

The final candidate, though in Marlon's opinion, less likely than even the old ex-raider, was a mad tinkerer type named Moira Brown. While she seemed like she'd be more than decent at putting things together and maintaining merchandise, the downside was that insofar as Marlon could tell, she was simply madder than a bag of bloatflies. Maybe she'd be a customer instead though. She did seem enthusiastic about disintergration.

And finally pleasure, which was taking the form of food, booze and radio music at Moriarty's. Today was a good day!

"Agreed." Said William, a corpse would attract all sorts of undesirable animals as well as give off a foul stench. Tom Nevets knew his stuff.

The campsite was small and inconspicuous. It would not easily be seen from the road and the nocturnal residents of the wasteland were unlikely to venture near. 'Is this ok? I only met the man today and now I must trust him not to kill me in the night.' But William knew he had no choice, to continue on into the night would be suicide, he would barely be able to see the road, probably crash and maybe die, besides he would be heard for miles. Also, he knew he must learn to trust again. 'After Anver.' William stared as contemplatively as one could at a water bottle, remembering the faces of those that had been lost. Finally, feeling a little glum, he spoke up, "I know what you said about staying away from the Enclave and the Brotherhood, but I think I want to know what is going on. This Enclave thing has piqued my curiosity and I don't think I can let this be. But that may be a discussion for tomorrow." William took out the one thing he had kept from the raiders pack, a bottle of Whiskey, taking a careful sip and offering the bottle to Tom Nevets, "Do you want some?"

Flash looked at the ground and attempted to pick up his bladed gauntlet. The second his fingers touched it the gauntlet burst into flames. He pulled his hand back and shrugged. He looked up and noticed a raider...and another..and another...and another he span around and noticed he was surrounded by a dozen raiders in various armors holding bats, chains, and batons. "Backaway now and you will be left unharmed," Flash yelled lowering his hand from his ribs. The raiders burst into laughter and, in the case of a few of them, tears from laughing so hard.
The tallest one said, "Come on guys lets get him." They all sprinted towards him with their weapons. Barry slugged one with his right hand knocking him down. He felt a sudden sharp pain from a baseball bat cracking against his back. The armor saved him from a broken back. He turned around and slugged the other one. Then he took several simultanious strikes and crumpled to the ground. Blood leaked out of his mouth and the condition of his ribs worsened. They pulled Flash's bag of supplies off of him and walked away not bothering to avoid stepping on him. The tallest one spoke up again, "Wait, let's strap him to our brahmin as a sign not to mess with us." The other raiders nodded and dragged his body to the brahmin and threw him on top before they tied him tightly to the top of it.

After having eaten his first meal in days, Crawver led Udders towards the back of the town, where they set up camp and slept, both of them completely shattered.

When he awoke again, it was morning. The townsfolk had just left him alone. It was almost a little trick of his, just sleeping in a dark corner, and he'll always be left alone. He stretched, yawning. His whiskers twitched slightly. It had been a while since he felt this good, with food in his stomach, and a good nights sleep, even if it was on the floor.

He decided it was best to let Udders sleep. It was her who had done all the work of getting here anyway. Pulling himself up, he began to waddle along the street. Whereas before no-one had the nerve to talk to him, this time someone yelled at him. The doctor swung his head to locate the unknown person.

"Hey, hey you. Hold on a sec." An aging man ran up to him. He seemed to be experienced, yet welcoming. Crawver reckoned he might be the towns leader.

"What are you? What are you doing here?" By this point in his life, the walrus had gotten so used to this question that he almost drifted off into a trance as he answered.

"I'm no threat, if that is your main concern. I'm a doctor by trade, and am just looking for a place to live. That should be all that concerns you." Unlike his normal speech, this one phrase was practiced so much that the stranger understood what he said immediately. He did however raise his eyebrow once Crawver had finished.

"Oh, really? A doctor? If you say so. You don't seem to be violent at least, so I'll take you at your word, but don't think the town will be too accepting of you. We only just got rid of one...unusual resident, I don't think we're going to be wanting another." Crawvers whiskers drooped slightly. He hadn't raised his hopes up much, but he'd be lying if he said he didn't want to live here. Though he would be willing to live anywhere that would accept him.

"well, thank you for telling me that at least. I won't take up any more of your time." The walrus turned began to make his way back to Udders. He felt a hand upon his shoulder.

"Look, I don't know what you are, and I'll be lying if I said that doesn't unsettle me, but you're welcome to stay around town a little, engage in some trading if you want. I'll make sure no-one bothers you, as long as you keep your nose clean."

The walrus did smile a little at this.

"Oh, no thanks." Tom said, turning down the whiskey. "I don't drink." I can leave that duty to Steven. he thought glumly to himself. He hated that he didn't always have control over himself, that he had to share his own body with another person, especially someone like Steven Mots.

Snapping out of these thoughts, Tom realized how much more comfortable they'd be with a fire. "You got a lighter or anything? I have some food in my bag, but I'd hate to offer you raw potatoes and cold beans." A gust of wind blew, giving Tom goosebumps along his arms. "Besides, it's getting a bit chilly."

Tom couldn't help but notice how reserved William seemed. The man was clearly not used to trusting others. The wasteland can do that to a person, among other things. Tom thought. He didn't take it as an insult, but he would have to be sure William didn't put a knife in his back over night from simple paranoia.

OOC: In no particular order...

IC>>>>>

Yes, it seemed like Dr. Crawver finally found some refuge and indeed some salvation, no troubles for the time being and no hunger to worry about for him or Udders. Yet...was he aware that he was being followed by a strange half-crippled man who proclaimed him to be a catfish? Let it be known that while the reports on Uriah Abraham St. John are very VERY hard to follow sometimes, there ain't no other Brahmin-mounting creature close to catfish than Dr. Crawver, being at least a being made from the Irradiated Walrex. Nevertheless, they would have a visitor in the night, surely. A stranger with a special and wild alcoholic concoction that does...things to people. And to walruses? We shall see.

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Barry was in a bad fix, strapped over the back of a Brahmin by a bunch off raiders. That, fellow wastelanders, is the shits. Poor man thinks he's a superhero and tries to do good, but he ends up clubbed and beaten all over. Terrible thing. Well, fortunately for our boy, Barry, his karma was about to pay off a little. Just a little. There was a sound from up above, rotors spinning rapidly. By now, half the bloody wasteland had to know the sound of a Vertibird coming. Little or no cover to be found, the machine was upon them, turning in their path, and plasma and laser at most of the men. They actually did not kill the Brahmin or its occupant, and in fact when it landed the few soldiers who climbed out merely gunned down the remaining raiders before approaching the beast. Thus, there was commentary...

#43: And now, meat's back on the menu, boys!

#57: That's good, 'cause I haven't had a juicey steak in weeks.

#109: Someone's on top of that thing, tied. Living or dead?

They approached and checked him out.

#57: Living. Shall I end him?

#43: No wait, I'll handle this.

Barry would be poked and prodded until he awoke to find three black powersuits - LIKE THE POSTER!! - staring at him.

#43: Uncle Sam wants YOU to give us that walking steak you're riding as a down-payment for the saving-your-ass tax. No charge for a'cuttin' ya down first!

Clearly, though high in equipment, there wasn't much in the way of meat back at the base.

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"Do you want some?"

"I'll have a taste."

What the- Hello... That rough and grating voice you just heard belonged to a ghoul. Apparently, during their engrossing conversation, such a ghoul with tattered leather clothing and such spotted him and came in closer, until now he was in speaking range. He was, of course, something that looked like a walking corpse, but at least this particular ghoul didn't seem irked by two humans talking. He was armed with a sidearm, but it was in his holster, so no worries there.

"It's been a long fucking walk. You're Knight, right? Boss described ya well enough. Gots a message."

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The situation between Lucy and Vikki had looked to be alright UNTIL...an armored BoS man walked in on them and held his own Gauss weapon at ready, interrogating about the rifle in Lucy's hands. Isaac Black and his daughter may've been known around the Underworld will enough, but were those jokes just jokes or...what? This particular instance was being watched from a distance. By what? By something metal that floats, something that keeps and EYE on things, but will defend itself if necessary. And why? Because the Eyebot was programmed to look at things of relevant interest, like Steel-clad armors. And Frank Rose NEVER seemed to take his off. Big target.

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GNR: ...well, there hasn't been a break-in since that day, but we're all on the lookout for the birds in the sky, children, and so far the talk is none too pleasant. The Enclave have been droppin' their posters all over the place, randomly having shoot-outs with mutants and raiders, and randomly patrolling the wasteland for...well, yur guess is as good as mine. But with signs of melted people burned-out wreckages, I'm not holdin' my breath for a peaceful co-existence. The worst part of it is...the silence. Enclave haven't had an open transmission since the one and that's spookier than the old Eden days...

Moriarty's was, of course, listening up to GNR while they ate, drank, and did whatever else. They treated Marlon well enough too. There was, however, a brief disruption of the signal as the sound of a Vertibird passing overhead could be heard. A moment later, Lucas Simms was walking into the bar with a poster in hand.

Sheriff: They're doin' it again, I see. Trying to get people on their side when we know they're shit. I'd rather worship the bomb

Moriarty: Can't be as bad as when the youngin' was here. S'not like they've tried to takeover the wastes, at least not yet.

Sheriff: They will. Just you w-

Suddenly, there was a voice from outside going "Hey, there's a super mutant out there!". The Sheriff walked out. Why in the hell were they bothering him about one super mutant? One and only one? I mean, unless it was a Behemoth - and they would've SAID - it wasn't worth bothering him about it. Upon reaching the wall, though, he could see why it was a problem. There'd been rumors of alot of dazed and weirded-out mutants lately. Something was wrong with 'em. There'd been rumors about mutants and Project Purity. Was this...?

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BOOOOMMM!!!

Somewhere in a nearby tunnel, a loud explosion was heard and a whole in the tunnel actually formed from it, revealing the contents. Trashy metro station room, getting trashier by the moment. The loud boom had sounded similar to a Fat-Man round, but that was not what had flung the doom-blast. A cursory examination would reveal that in this room, there were alot of feral ghouls, and alot of them were now dead. The reason?

"Communism is a lie! Democracy is truth!"

A humanoid robot of unknown design was soundly trouncing them with ray-beam eyes, thrown mini-nukes, and his fighting skill. Feral ghouls style was to run at the enemy and lunge at him with all speed, trying to rip 'em apart, usually. This was having little or no effect on the robot that could zap them dead or punch them hard enough to rupture skulls. And then, when several ghouls tackled him from behind, failing to do more than make him lurch, he he started to kick and elbow them away...

"Communist attack from behind! Chances of success..."

...picked the last one up to to hold it over his head and...

RRRIIIIPP!!!

"...ZERO!!"

Next Issue: Mechanist Meets Liberty Minor!

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After Rex's new master spoke to him, there'd be a wild dog howling from a distance. This was, of course, understandable by Rex, not Brandon. It said...'For a good time, call'...what?! No! What were these wild critters thinking?! None of them appeared to want to attack, though. However, further 'conversations' proved slightly more enlightening.

'Hey, what are those black things over there?'

'Oh, I see that! Smells funny...'

'They make the heavy sound and the big flash! Run!'

Yes, there was...off in the distance, a three man patrol of some sort. Black things? Funny smell? Big flash? Aha! Enclave troopers... Not precisely heading this way, but they could find themselves looking this way if their attention was drawn.

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No sooner had Cass removed said bullets than...

"MAAACAAAVOOOYY!!! Wheerrre aaarrre yyyoooouuu...?!"

Yeeks! That deep voice, that loud strut from downstairs, that sound of the last-surviving house guard panicking before a silencing gurgle! That had to be a super mutant! A super mutant that sounded...admittedly drunk right now. And quite burly. Should we tell him now or let him figure it out for himself?

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Poor Dudley, stuck waiting 'cause he can't abandon his vehicle. In the confusion ofthe moment, he didn't exactly see them coming, but fortune was on his side today, as they were not the violent sort. Well, not unless so given the inclination to. You know how it is. So, when a rough voice began to address him...

"I say! You appear to be having a spot of trouble. Vehicle playing up, is it?"

Oh my god! Morgan Bloom! A ghoul with a nice suit, top hat, monocle, and gentleman's cane stood nearby now, with at least half a dozen well-armed men flanking him on either side and back. He looked over to one of his guards.

"Do inquire as to when the marketplace is open. I have alot of business to take care of today and little time to do it."

Now, his attention returned to Dudley.

"These wastelands can be terrible for a man smooth of skin sometimes, but life carries on, or so they say!"

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The Vertibrd was headed due north.

#122: So, what are we going after again?

#44: Eyebots that haven't been wrecked by Deathclaws last reported some kind of settlement declaring independence up here, called 'The Republic of Dave'. Stupid shit of a 'Last Man on Earth' scenario.

#86: I wonder... Would you mind if I tried something?

They just shrugged at this. Soon, the Vertibird was coming in for a landing and three troopers approached on foot, plasma rifles on their backs, not on their hands. They stood outside the fence and declared that they must speak to Dave on an important matter of world-impacting importance. Naturally, Dave was falling for it. Of course, the landing of a Vertibird could scarcely be ignored by their guest (Sully).

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The man Michael found was Fishspear, of course, so unless our pale fellow wants to do anything to him, this meeting would be innocent enough, except...

Underworld is just choking with ghouls. Wasn't there some talk of this insanely-rich and well-protected ghoul of some great influence? Someone like that would know how to find the BoS, who in there to talk to, and what palms to grease to get what's needed.

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Heeey...! After a fair bit of examination, Gig managed to find a cave which lead indeed to the entrance to a vault. He found it because of a dead body, badly decayed, that had been outside of said cave. The door appeared to be shut...and yet operational, but...there was one small issue. Old blood stains were on the door, writing out a single message...

DONT

Wasn't this Vault abandoned? Maybe something had moved in? Maybe it was irradiated? Maybe...something else? I guess we'll never know, because you're going to guard it! Right? The nice big button to open the door? The shiny...candy-like red button? Well, only Gig can speak for Gig.

Marlon looked at the poster and whistled. "Enclave huh? Haven't heard much about them for a while. What is this? They running out of goons in whatever hideyhole they've been lurkin' in?"

He frowned a moment and downed the rest of his drink, dropping the caps on the bar. "Back in a bit, I wanna make sure this mutant freak doesn't get anywhere near my ride."

He stood up and followed the sheriff outside, one hand resting on his plasma pistol, just in case.

Fishspear had been to underworld on occasion. The ghouls didn't really seem to like much though, so it was very much like every other settlement in that respect. The Brotherhood of Steel though, that was a very different story. Fishspear certainly knew who they were but finding them...he suspected he used to know where they were but that knowledge was long gone.

He opened his mouth to respond and...the words simply wouldn't come. He couldn't explain it and everytime he tried he was just on the verge of speech but he couldn't follow through. It was no surprise but everytime was just as dissapointing as the first. It didn't help that he'd been alone so long that he hadn't even thought about it for the longest time. He shut his mouth and hung his head.

Looking back towards the stranger he pointed at himself, put his arms in a cross formation and then had his hand open and shut a few times like a talking mouth. Meetings like this were always quite difficult. He waited for a response seeing as how it was much easier if others did the talking.

Two mutated dogs shot past the cave, howling in confusion and terror. Rex caught some of the intonation.

"...heavy..."

"...light..."

"...loud..."

"...run..."

Dogs aren't really the best conversationalists. Rex cocked his head and listened for the "loud".

thump

The sky nearby lit slightly. Rex had seen this before, the armored people carried things that did this!

Thus, there were armored people. Brandon was armored. Thus, the armored men were likely friends of Brandon. Perfect logic.

Rex began to howl wildly, hoping to attract the attention of the people who made the bang.

-EDITOR'S JOURNAL-

Abe has roused me from the first good, deathly sleep in weeks, "big tiger! He's here! He's here! ohhh can't slip by ol' Uriah Abraham oh no oh no oh no no oh! Got mah pole n' got mah hook, the fishies is bitin!" It's the first time he's talked to me directly since the truckstop; he seems not to be feeling the 'heavy' in his leg.

He has neither pole nor hook, just his crutch, but he's taken a bottle of 'shine from the crate, it's unclear how he intends to use it.

Later (notes)

Not a catfish, but truth stranger than fiction, more to follow in report.

"Yeah, we should be fine if we're friends!" Vikki beams, happy that Lucy had opened up to her and was willing to come with her to the Underworld and was actively going there too.

Another voice interrupted the sortie between the two woman, a muffled voice from a grey metal man.

YOU! Where the hell did you get that tech?! he shouted, pointing his weapon at Lucy directly. Vikki began to move in front of her friend, thinking that her skin might protect her a bit better than Lucy's would, but as soon as one of her muscles moved the man twitched his weapon over to Vikki, his aim fixed upon her head.

If you move freak, I'll take your head off your shoulders! he growled, quickly turning the rifle back at Lucy.

This guy isn't like the black metal men, he actually talks but he's just as evil, Vikki thinks to herself, trying to calm herself and assess the situation a tad better.

William took another sip of whiskey and considered the bottle a write off, handing it over. He didn't have anything against not feral ghouls but thought they were, well most of them, unhygienic. He rolled his eyes but looked down so that the ghoul would not see.

"I'm almost certain I know which boss you're talking about, so come on, what is this oh so important message?"

"Yeah, we should be fine if we're friends!" Vikki looks openly happy and this brings a great sense of joy to Lucy.

She could use a friend and at The Underworld, she could at least go asking around about the attack. Traders talk, you know.

Besides, maybe I could help Vikki out along the way.

YOU! Where the hell did you get that tech?!

Lucy's thoughts were cut short by a muffled and aggressive shout. She turned to look at the figure pointing a weapon at her.

Grey armour, full helmet, energy weapon... "The Brotherhood of Steel" Lucy muttered just loud enough for Vikki to hear.

But in that moment, Vikki half-stepped in front of her. She's shielding me?

If you move freak, I'll take your head off your
shoulders!
the man was positively hostile towards her. Turning his weapon on her and then re-focussing on Lucy.

Lucy's mind raced rapidly. This guy got the drop on us, I may be quick with my rifle, but he already has his sights trained on me. He's talking to me, but it seems like he'll kill Vikki without hesitation.
Noting this, Lucy raises her hand and steps in front of Vikki instead. "We're not hostile! We're just passing through."

Notably pissed off at having her friend threatened and her Dad's weapon questioned. Lucy makes sure she's blocking Vikki as much as she could.

"And this?" Motioning towards her Gauss Rifle "It's a family heirloom!"
. Proceeding forward "You're Brotherhood, aren't you? Well we don't mean any harm...See? Neither of us have even remotely tried to attack you!"

Lucy hopes that diplomacy works in this case.

If things go to hell, Lucy knew she was quick and nimble. She could dive to the side in a roll, easily emerging with her rifle ready to fire at him. The torso would be an easy shot, it won't kill him, but her rifle will have enough force to severely incapacitate the guy.

But what about Vikki...

Sounds of rowdy brahmin outside eased Sully into wakefulness. In no rush his mind slowly emerged from the residual mires of sleep that were determined to stick against his conciousness. Still groggy he thought back on the past night. He hadn't done himself any favours with Dave he suspected instead being quite a rude guest. Determined to set things straight... or in his favour if he could help it, he rose and began packing his equipment.
Walking rested but far from fresh, he strode out into the courtyard to find the girl from last night surrounded by her siblings. Wearing worn clothes they milled around not doing much. Sympathetic Sully supposed that there wasn't much for a kid to do in the waste land he himself just started working when he was old enough, helping his tribe to get by. Looking around at the compound in the morning light all he could see were a few brahmin within the walls,not much to help with there, but the land around was just as desolate as any other dead chunk of wasteland, how had they managed to survive this long he wondered. Letting these thoughts recede he refocused his mind at the task at hand, fleecing Dave. As, if any of last nights conversation had taught him much it was that the only help Dave would have to offer was a clean meal because he certainly lacked information. Sully found his way into the presidential office and found Dave silting nonchalantly in his seat, not doing much of anything either... Sully really hated this place.
After curt greetings between the men Sully cleared his throat and began his drive, 'Alright Dave, from what I can tell the great republic could use some allies out in the waste yes?' Dave nodded after some though making sure to keep his face neutral. 'Well I think that a show of charity would be a great example of TRoD's kindness and more importantly their international policy'
'You do huh?' said Dave his reply taking a harder tone than David would have liked.
'Uhh... yes'
'Uhh no.' Dave said with such conviction that Sully gave up on any hope of help then and there. 'Instead' Dave continued, 'It seems to me that you stayed within the republic of Dave without sorting it out your papers and details with the immigration bureau first. Not something we look kindly on in the republic.'
'So' Sully mused heart sinking 'what does it take to have a charge like that over looked?'
'Not much' a now smiling Dave replied,'but there are tasks I haven' t gotten around to, if you do intend to repay our kindness'
'Or... right? or, you could use my services to further your voice in the waste land, Dave. Sure, I could be a pack mule for the republic, kill a few mole rats here or stamp out a death claw infestation there or the republic of Dave could gain an envoy to spread the knowledge of Dave'
Dave scoped Sully out from top to bottom as one would asses a dodgy brahmin. Finally his stern expression dropped into a small smile and the tension from before was forgotten in the wake of Dave's newest grand idea.

Strange sounds tore through the Steel and Tin homestead and the inhabitants of the proud sovereign state of Dave's Republic walked out like sheep in a herd enthralled by their own curiosity. Watching the Rosie and Jessica run out of the capital building set Dave and his newly anointed envoy on edge. Handing him the promised armour (a set of strange padding that seem to look unusually like the frame of a football uniform) 'Maybe you'll be called into service before you even leave for your mission to Canterbury' Dave laughed devoid of the dread that was quickly rising in Sully. There were to things that Sully was sure of, the first is that he heard a god awful sound outside and the second was that with old world technology like that there was either going to be a whole lot of annexing,a whole lot of blood or a whole lot tithes and tributes.
Rummaging through the messy duffel bag that he had packed with the hope of a quick exit, he almost thanked the distaste that Dave incited. Pulling out both his gun and his bat he strode out into the courtyard and watched as the craft he thought might be a vertibird hovered into a soft landing. Three beetle like men emerged from the ship strutting as though they had few cares in the world. They approached the fence now a feeble looking defence when compared to the humming machine behind them. Tearing his thought yet again from their musings he got down to the bare bones of the situations.

Dave may not be a slouch in a fight, there was a fair chance that he would have had to defend this hole with Bob, his son. The rest however, well, they were collateral or hostages or worse even entertainment. Not that Dave's important guests seemed to be expecting a fight, approaching rather arrogantly with their weapons holstered. Sully turned with what he hoped a sense of gravity and started, 'Dave you have to remove the women and children right-'
'Great President Dave!' crackled an almost robotic voice from one of the beetle men (Sully was unsure as to which).
Dave turned to them happily, the smug self serving smirk he'd seen during their question and answer session drew across his face. Dear god Sully thought to himself, he'd just eliminated tithes and annexing from Dave's diplomatic store of political stratagem.

What on earth could they want with this maniac anyhow?

Although he knew he wasn't welcome for long, Crawver made the most of the time he had in the small settlement. As he found out later, it was actually quite a hub for trading within the wasteland, regularly sending out trading caravans. He was even told that they had a travelling doctor, but the walrus was unfortunate in that he never got to see him. Not that he needed any more medical supplies, but that he might have been able to have a conversation with a man on his own level.

However, the trader he did get the pleasure of talking to was an...unusual man to say the least. Almost everything the man sold was a pile of scrap, and yet he insisted that business was good and he was in high demand. He did however raise the good point of 'one mans scrap is another mans' treasure'.

The walrus always did like meeting traveling traders, they always seemed to be the most accepting among the wastes, provided you have caps of course. After a brisk trading session, while his caps now felt a little lighter, he had come out with some materials to repair his platform on Udders, as well as a medical brace and some spare surgical tools. He reminded himself to at least give the implements a clean before he used them.

Once the trader had left, Crawver was starting to feel tired again. Feeling that he deserved to treat himself to make up for the past bad week, he stopped off by the diner to get a little snack, and then waddled his way to the communal sleeping area, leaving Udders tied up outside with her own dinner.

While he hadn't found himself a home, he had entered a new region full of people, his chances had improved dramatically in his own eyes. He made a mental note that he would make his way to 'D.C.' soon enough, provided no interruptions of course.

-EDITOR'S REPORT-

Truth continues to be stranger than fiction, we've caught up with 'the catfish'.

Needless to say, it's not a catfish, but that doesn't mean to imply that it's human. Not at all.

It seems nothing is out of the question in the Wasteland.

What follows is an account of the evening's events, although words are limiting, such is the journalists' missing limb.

Soon after rousing me with his excited rambling, but more accurately the end of a crutch in the sternum, Abe led me to an open-air camp, somewhere within the commons, it was too dark with too few lanterns to really tell where.

...It is difficult to write this, this is just...I've seen a lot, too much in this job, okay? I've seen a yellow-skinned mutant, the size of a factory chimney wandering the Wasteland, I've seen whores that do business with half of their skin, I'm expected to believe that two-headed cows are fucking normal for christ's sake!

It's been 3 years since I left the Vault, and this...this is just too much.

A Walrus.

A Walrus, sleeping in a camp, wearing a fucking lab coat!

A fucking Walrus!

That's it, I'm sending this report in, and that's it. I fucking quit, Ron, I fucking quit. This is too much, this is too fucking much.
Send my caps to Megaton or something, I don't care.

Fuck Abe, fuck the Wasteland, and fuck this.

-Last known report ends-

"We're not hostile! We're just passing through."
. Proceeding forward "You're Brotherhood, aren't you? Well we don't mean any harm...See? \
[Perception]She seemed to be telling the truth about her lack of hostile intent, Frank relaxed slightly.
"And this?" Motioning towards her Gauss Rifle "It's a family heirloom!"
. Proceeding forward "You're Brotherhood, aren't you? Well we don't mean any harm...See? Neither of us have even remotely tried to attack you!"
[Intelligence]Her story seemed to follow, it appears she didn't steal any brotherhood tech, or attack anyone to obtain the gun.
Frank was about to holster his pistol when he heard a familiar noise...
Frank quickly whipped around and shot the eyebot that was spying on him.
"Damned Enclave! We have to move, we've made ourselves a target!"
"We have about two minutes before a Vertibird comes after us, they won't be sure of where we went, so we have to get away from here!"

Brandon saw the 2 dogs barking outside. Rex seemed to listen to them, Brandon looked around the cave when he heard it. Rex started barking, Brandon was spooked as he looked outside. He saw an patrol.. an enclave patrol! Brandon grabbed Rex as he closed his mouth as he crouched before him looking scared. "Please be silent... Or else they will kill us. You know murder us. end our lives. Please be silent." Brandon looked up as he saw that the enclave had heard the dog. Brandon grabbed his hunting revolver as he started to pray, he wasn't the religious type but who know maybe it would help.

It didn't. The enclave soldiers were moving towards the cave, they were still quite a long way off but they would be inside the cave in a few minutes. Brandon pointed to an secure spot in the cave. "You go there and don't make an sound." He waited for a minute and then he put away his gun and petted Rex. Brandon looked worried "Stay quiet and start close, and we might just survive this." Brandon walked outside, he acted to be surprised by the enclave patrol. "Hello there gentleman. Sorry about the barking it was just my dog who saw an mole rat. No need to be alarmed." Brandon was very happy right now that he wasn't wearing an power armor.

This situation was already tense to begin with, but this was getting unbearable.

Lucy stood her ground and glared at the Brotherhood soldier. She could feel Vikki positively seething with anger behind her. "Keep calm Vikki" Lucy thought.

After what seemed like ages, even though it was mere moments of silence the Brotherhood soldier lowered his pistol, spun around and shot some sort of flying robot ball thingy.

"Damned Enclave! We have to move, we've made
ourselves a target!"

"We have about two minutes before a Vertibird
comes after us, they won't be sure of where we
went, so we have to get away from here!" Shouted the Brotherhood soldier.

"Enclave...the poster...those soldiers in black armour...dad's murder" Lucy's speculation started connecting the dots. She needed more proof. Rage grew inside her and turned into a cold demeanor.

Lucy readied her Gauss Rifle and nodded reassuringly at Vikki.

Lucy turned to the Brotherhood soldier and shouted "Look, I'll make this quick! I'm willing to trust you judging by your tone. But if I go with you, my friend here comes with me!"

"I would be glad to lend you some backup in the meantime, I'm an excellent shot with this rifle. I'll even explain myself when we're safe, but no threats against my friend here!"

Lucy gave the soldier a determined look "Deal?"

The man in front of Michael opened and closed his mouth several times, but no words came out. If Michael knew what a goldfish was he would probably compare the pale man's wordless mouthing to that. He then hung his head looking disappointed with how fruitless his endeavour to communicate with Michael was and started miming. He first pointed to himself, then made his hands look like they were speaking and then held his arms up and crossed them forming an X shape.

"You can't talk then? Well my name's" He paused for a moment to remember what it was, "Michael, that's it" He beamed "Michael Brown. Could you show me the way to Underworld then?"

-FOR ATTENTION OF PUBLISHER-

Ron,

Please forgive and disregard my latest submission; it's just the sun, and the Wasteland, it just GOT to me; you well know that I'm a Vault Dweller, I haven't adjusted too well to post-war conditions. Look, you're the Publisher, the Sheriff, the Grand Poobah, I can't be the first to lose it out here, I'm willing to bet you've seen it more than once. I know, I know, you made me the editor because it's a position of responsibility and that's a rare commodity these days, but I swear, Ron, that it's a one-off.

Regards,

Ed.

-EDITOR'S REPORT-

Consider the previous report non-canon; a hard enough kick in the head can keep a good man down, clearly the Wasteland can't kick hard enough: this reporter isn't out yet.

Abe and I are inside the diner, just waiting for the sun now; he's taken a seat in a corner booth, slouching into one side with the crutch in turn slouching onto him; in the shadow cast by the solitary battery lantern on the bar shows a doting sweetheart with a head on his shoulder, just a young couple like any other with nothing to do but watch life seep away.

He's decanted some of his flask into a small dish, and he periodically lifts it to his mouth, sometimes he leans over to lap at it; it's a thick, syrupy liquid that seemingly refuses to reflect the lantern's warmth; a dense mass from which no light escapes. Those were the days...
He doesn't speak, but something has put him into a state of alertness altogether unexpected (more on that later), drumming his ragged fingers on the table - recognisable rhythms, strict 4/4, Abe continues to refuse to be predictable - and throwing glances across the street.

I should elaborate on the evening's events with a clearer head. I've come to accept a few things, and one of those things is that there's a Walrus in Canterbury Commons, I'm working on the rest. I well up with terror and laughter whenever I write it.

A Walrus.

But this is why I'm out here in the field. Nothing's impossible, not anymore.

Anyway, it's simple to deduce that this was the 'catfish' that Abe's been raving about, 'big tiger' he's named it; there were tapes, back in the vault; local folklore documented by gumshoe reporters, the lake creatures, the one that got away; maybe Abe's got a score to settle with himself.

To be completely transparent with my audience, as is the duty of all reporters, upon sighting the Walrus

Walrus.

There it is again.

Upon sighting the...catfish...I was. Indisposed. So to speak.
But not Abe, everything had gone dead, and only the gentle click-pad of his step remained. He had taken a bottle of 'shine from the crate, and carried it awkwardly in his armpit. Steadying himself against the camp fence, he gradually came to crouch on his good haunch, his other leg painfully bent beneath his meagre mass. I saw him rummage in the beast's pack.

It had a pack. The Walrus. The Walrus in a lab coat.

Eventually, he returned without the 'shine; addressing me directly again he said, "that's him, that's big tiger, mah grandaddy couldn' catchim, mah daddy couldn't catch 'I'm, n' I ain't gon' catch 'im yet, y'gotta find out if a fish done wanna be kitched, gotta spend a lotta time on the water, wouldn' be the man I ams today f'it weren't fer the time on the water..."

then, he added, "the rain. the rain don't stop comin' 'til the lady come home."

In his...unique...way, that meant something. To me. The lady never comes home, the rain won't stop. So we have to live in the rain, and the rain isn't so bad, we just need to built our levees higher and get used to being wet.

We wandered back over to the diner for some food; more bad news, I found the tender slumped behind the bar, glassy-eyed. Not dead, somehow, his breath was condensing on the glass still at his lips. He seems to be trying to speak, but we can't help him, another reminder that we haven't got Abe's pills or a doctor, not even any Jet, and a man has to be desperate to turn to the Jet. Apparently a medical caravan comes through the town regularly, seems we rolled in when the tide was out. Abe's been muttering about his leg, he says it'll get heavy soon, among...other things.

A half empty bottle of 'shine stands darkly on the bar; it's the same batch, if it does that to a man, then a Walrus?

There it is again.

A Walrus.

In a Lab Coat.

I...we need to move soon.

- Sunrise

I postulate to Abe that we move out, but he responds simply, "not yet, wait for the fishy. I wanna know if he liked Abe's gift. Folks like Abe's gifts, sometimes they up n' give Abe somethin' back; n' if I needs anythin' now, it's somethin'."

I'll comply with his wishes, but I dread to think of the day ahead without a doctor. Not just for Abe's sake.

-Report ends

#43 cut him lose. Flash slid off and plopped to the ground with an audible thud. His face was now covered in both his own blood and dirt. He could hear his own heart beat due to how near death he was. "You guys finally came! I knew you would come for me. You can't make a Superhero league without me!" Without saying a word #43 began leading the cow back to the helicopter. "You know Enclave is kind of an ominious name for a superhero group. You need something like TEAM LIBERTY or FREEDOM'S EAGLES or THE JUSTICE TEAM, or better yet, LIBERTY FREEDOM EAGLES TEAM OF JUSTICE. Also you guys didn't put where you are located on the posters. How is anyone supposed to find you?" The entrance to the vertabird began to close. "Where are you guys going? Oh I see your just going to drop off the Brahmin and comeback for me. When you get back i'll tell you about why i feel like there should be more individuality in the costumes!" The door shut and the Vertabird took off into the distance. Barry walked towards it and shouted, "Don't worry guys! I'll wait right here!!!"

Flash looked at what remained of the raiders. He took back his bag and pulled out three out of six of his stimpacks and injected himself. He sat down and looked up at the sky with a big childlike grin across his face. They had to come back? Didn't they?

The walrus stretched, yawning.

Life was going well for him now. Relatively speaking, of course, but he hadn't been shot at for a good few days now, and was able to find a place to eat and rest his head. Still, wouldn't want to outstay his welcome. He decided it was time to move on now, but made sure he'll keep a mental note of this place. A fallback plan was never a bad idea.

He pulled himself up, smacking his lips lightly. Thirsty. He hated the hot weather, always made him thirsty. He opened his pack, rummaging through it to find one of his flasks of water. His flipper found its' way to one. Pulling it out, he unscrewed the cap.

He had already downed half of it before he realized it tasted off.

"What the...why does this taste so bad? No-one's touched my pack recently..." The walrus just sat there, trying to think why it tasted like it did. It didn't taste contaminated, more just thick. It was then that his head started to spin, and he found himself learning over. He let out a loud belch.

"Wha...what's happening?" With his best efforts, he managed to set himself level again, but his mind was finding it harder and harder to comprehend what was happening. He clumsily set himself up, and stumbled out of the tent, knocking one of the townsfolk over.

"S...sorry there." He continued to stumble, not even sure where he was going now. Maybe Udders would know what was wrong.

"Udders!" He cried "Udders! Where are you?" He managed to stumble through a tent or two before finding his companion. He thrust the container, of which almost all of its' contents had been spilled, in front of the brahmin.

"Uddfurs, wh...what did ya do to my water? Silly cow." To his surprise, the brahmin spoke back to him.

"Well dr, we thought you weren't having enough fun, so we took the liberty of making sure you'll relax. We do hope you don't mind." The walrus just laughed a little.

"A...A talking brahmin...hah."

And with that he fell over backwards, hitting the ground unconscious.

So, he wanted to go to underworld then? Well, he hadn't shot at him or even drawn a gun. Hell, he'd been rather pleasant all things considered. Kind of strange but you meet all sorts. Frankly, Fishspear was extremely happy to have met such an amiable guy and was glad that he could help him. Of course, that hat was tempting...

He nodded. He could take this man to underworld. But...Fishspear pointed at Michael's hat. He hoped Michael'd get the idea. It seemed like a fair exchange to him.

The mute pointed at Michael's hat, he obviously wanted it as payment for guiding him to Underworld, but he had become rather fond of it during the last 257 days and wasn't eager to part with it. But he didn't have anything else he could barter, nor any caps to give him for his services.

"Fine, you can have my hat" He said begrudgingly.

He might find another in Underworld, but it was unlikely.

"Do you have a name? Can you write?"

It was a long shot, the wasteland wasn't known for it's staggering literacy rates, he had learned to read during his Brotherhood training, but this man was probably just a common wastelander.

Fishspear took the hat and examined it closely. He finally gave an approving look and stuffed it in his pack with his others.

"Do you have a name? Can you write it?"

Fishspear didn't really have a name in the traditional sense. He referred to himself as such but considering he couldn't communicate it he wasn't really sure why. He shook his head.

He thought for a moment about how to get to underworld and mapped it out in his head. It wasn't too far but they'd need to take a metro tunnel if they didn't want to walk around. Mentally deciding on an apropriate route Fishspear beckoned to Michael and started heading futher into D.C., the Washington Monument providing a good landmark.

"Look, I'll make this quick! I'm willing to trust you judging by your tone. But if I go with you, my friend here comes with me!"

"I would be glad to lend you some backup in the meantime, I'm an excellent shot with this rifle. I'll even explain myself when we're safe, but no threats against my friend here!"

"Sure, whatever; let's move unless you want to be a pile of goo or ash."
"We've got four options: The Supermarket which is crawling with raiders, the Anchorage Memorial which is crawling with Mirelurks, the Metro which is crawling with who-knows what, and Dukov's place which is crawling with skeez."
"Pick something, and let's go!"

"...silent... kill us. You... us... silent."

Rex recoiled. He had assumed wrong!

Brandon pulled his revolver and looked outside. After a moment, he pointed back into the cave. "You go there..." Rex slunk into the corner feeling very ashamed and worried. He wanted to whimper, but stopped himself.

Quickly, Brandon put the gun away. "Stay quiet... stay close... we..." Rex put his head down and slowly followed Brandon out of the cave. Outside, there were armor-men. The armor was all wrong - it was darker and more triangular. He must have attracted enemies!

"Hello... Sorry... my dog... mole rat. No..."

Mole rat? What mole rat? How did mole rats fit into this?! Confused again, Rex crouched on his haunches and waited for something to happen.

Seeing the ominous message written in what appeared to be blood Gig was feeling sufficiently creeped out. "Don't what" he pondered it probably meant not to go inside the vault. If someone wrote out a message in blood before they died there must have been a good reason to not go inside. Just as he decided not to he saw something that completely terrified him. What looked like a small army of armored soldiers were patrolling and there was nowhere to hide inside the cave. Thinking quickly he slammed open the vault controls, the noise made alerted the soldiers who upon closer inspection appeared to be wearing Enclave Power Armor. Gig ran into the vault and hit the close mechanism. As the door was shutting and the Enclave at the mouth of the cave he shot the controls on the outside of the vault just before the door closed. Breathing heavily Gig slumps against the inside of the vault door, on the other side he could faintly hear cursing coming from who he assumed was the commanding officer. He was just relieved his luck had held out and that Power Armor did not make anyone faster. When he looked up from where he was positioned he could only think of one thing. "What the Hell!"

OOC: I said I'd be doing this.

IC>>>>>

What Lucas and Marlon found was a rather husky super mutant...and he'd ralphed all over the hood of Marlon's car. He was teetering around, looking dizzy and even sick. Sick? This orange-skinned monstrosity could eat hard radiation for breakfast and human flesh for lunch! What in god's name could make HIM feel bad? Well, there was the muttering...

"Bubbly bubbly brrreeewww... Mon candard est en feu... Ooohhh whooo hoo hoo...!"

Okay, more like caterwauling, but it just goes to show that this boy was screwed up. Looked like a tough mutant overall, assault rifle on his back. What the hell was up with him?

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

"I'm almost certain I know which boss you're talking about, so come on, what is this oh so important message?"

The ghoul just glared at William for a moment, then said...

"How should I know? He paid me not to read it."

With that, he handed over a sealed envelope - using a wax seal that had the letters 'GG' enscribed on it, for...gentleman ghoul - and then started to walk off.

"Later, smoothskins."

Upon reading the message, whenever he actually felt like doing so, he would see the following...

To my dear colleague William Knight,

As I'm sure you're no doubt aware, there is a growing presence of the Enclave in these areas once more. I have seen their actions over the years and can assure you that no good can come of it. Back before the war, I had heard rumors of Vault-Tec being a front for an organization, that they have been manipulating this country from the start. I could never prove it, of course, it enough circumstantial evidence led me to take measures and lead me to the man - or should I say ghoul - I am today. That being the case, we cannot trust these people, and especially those who are like me have much to be concerned about. Even though they seem to be recruiting, their firm hatred of ghouls and super mutants remains unchanged. For the sake of all ghoul-kind, and that of a large payment for services rendered, I would ask that you meet me in the Underworld to discuss a favor worth a king's ransom...which as I said I would certainly pay for.

Yours Willingly,
Mr. Morgan Bloom

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

#86: Great President Dave! The Enclave greets you and your Republic!

Sully was bearing witness to...a terrifying moment in time. He could see that this was trouble, big trouble. He could see it clearly, but Dave was being propositioned by a rather silver-tongued and diplomatically-gifted (or manipulative) member of the Enclave, buttering him up with false compliments.

Dave: The Enclave? I remember hearing that name quite a while ago, on the radio. It's hard to be sure what the Republic of Dave should think of you, though. You claimed to be owner of the land, and would not acknowledge our own independence from the world.

#86: That's an oversight of the old regime. Before the war, this land was a united group of small states that ran themselves and banded together in common cause. And we come here for the benefit of all Dave-kind. Our commander has taken special interest in the Republic of Dave, and wishes to protect the land with an alliance between our organization and your people.

Dave: My citizens, you mean.

#86: Exactly!

Dave: Just what is it that you men propose to do? What does your commander have planned?

The three of them looked at each other, and then said "Become citizens of Dave!". This...was gonna be a long day.

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

EYEBOT-43545 REPORTING.....

Brotherhood of Steel Paladin sighted.
Coordinates transmitted.
Observation continues.

END OF LINE.

The display beeped at him until he paid attention to it. Still photos of a BoS member and coordinates were given. Looking at it, the pilot began to alter his course. It may seem petty to take down one Paladin with a vertibird, but they did make fools of the previous group. May as well send a few messages. Frank and compan would be getting more company soon.

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

The patrol of Enclave soldiers paused when they heard a dog howling right at them, or so it seemed. Night vision determined that there was a more domesticated dog along with a man. When they walked on over, the man came to greet them in a fairly jovial manner.

"Hello there gentleman. Sorry about the barking it was just my dog who saw an mole rat. No need to be alarmed."

#107: Alarmed! Because of your dog, we'll never reach the settlement in time to stop those raiders from killing everybody! Oh, what cruel fate this life be!

There was a good three seconds before they all busted out laughing.

#107: Nah, we're just on fucking patrol, long stretches of boring with sporatic excitement in the form of shooting anything that attacks.

Now, he looked him over.

#107: You're a sturdy lad. Why not join up and settle into metal? Your chances of survival go WAY UP in an Enclave powersuit. Nothing nearly as powerful.

Uh...oh...

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

Yeah, they left Barry in the dust, so to speak. And as they were flying...

#109: Who was that crazy bastard? He was dressed like a superhero and talking justice all the time.

#43: Wouldn't be the first time. I assume you boys read the report on 'The Mechanist'.

#57: Yeah, yeah... One thing that cuckoo had right, though. We have an image problem.

"Considering that the Enclave was suppose to stand for many as one, I would think that subtleties were just lost on him."

What the...? Holy shit, that was Number One on their receivers!

#43: Uhhh, sir? Have...you been listening in?

"Of course, I have. I have that right as your base commander, and certainly NOW as your main leader. I have an order for you now... Turn around and educate the crazy man about the Enclave, doing so in a manner that appears to be for great justice. He will sow the seeds of confusion among the masses and even fight for us."

#57: Sir, is that wise? He's a wastelander with delusions of granduer and super power.

"I fail to see the problem, as I have such people as FalloutBob underneath my command."

Oh. Right. Yeah, they couldn't forget about Bob. Bob tended to be a bullet train running headlong into derailment and crushing everything in his path, but was also among the mightiest in their organization, so much so that in the new regime where all are known by numbers, he is one of the few who earned the use of their names, names like: Cornelius Jack, Roberto Malcontente' The 3rd, David Davidson, and more. The vertibird actuallt did turn around and land. It opened up nearby Barry and #43 waved at him.

#43: If you're that serious about great justice, get in here.

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

People began to notice that there was a passed-out walrus on the ground. What the HELL just happened here? Of course, probably nobody noticed that his drink had been tampered with, but they were gonna find out of anyone took a sniff of that stuff. That said, Dr. Crawver's mind was probably taking a trip through La-La Land...

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

Fishspear and Michael would have to get moving soon, because this WAS the DC ruins, and you know what they have there!

"I smell tastey hoo-mans..."

One mutant, thus far, carrying a nailbat. However, he could bring more trouble, easily

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

And what was behind Door #1 after having avoided an Enclave patrol? Well, Gig, you win a lifetime's supply of...

"GARY!!"

There was a large group of identical men standing there with Vault Suits on. They seemed quite pleased to see him, actually. Well, for now. What...the hell was going on?!

"We've got four options: The Supermarket which
is crawling with raiders, the Anchorage Memorial
which is crawling with Mirelurks, the Metro
which is crawling with who-knows what, and
Dukov's place which is crawling with skeez."
"Pick something, and let's go!"

"Running from one possible firefight into another doesn't seem wise at this point." Lucy replied "Like you said, the Enclave is a much bigger concern at this point. So let's go to Dukov's place, I'm sure we can contain the situation easier there"

"So let's go!"

Lucy nodded to Vikki, opened her bag behind her back, just wide enough not to fall out but wide-enough for a nimble finger or two to grab, for easy reach to ammo for her Gauss Rifle and jogged up to the Brotherhood soldier.

Dudley reacted in surprise, almost falling off of his bike when a gruff voice called out to him. He quickly grabbed his axe and looked over, in case it was a threat, but judging by the clothing on the ghoul and the fact that the guards hadn't shot him full of holes yet, he was in the clear. A grin cracked over his face at the sight of the voice belonging to a ghoul, as they were one of his favorite types of people.

"Heh, yeah, I got a bum battery. Hopin' Flak an' Shrapnel got a few micro fusion cells so I can charge this sucker up."

He leaned against the seat and crossed his arms, eying all the guards around him.

"So, judgin' by the duds and all th' mercs, I take it you're some sort'a rich guy, am I right? What do ya want with Rivet City? I'd think ya'd want Tenpenny Towers. Heard ol' Dashwood's still there..."

"Wait, just let me get my bike!" Vikki shouts, quickly clambering up the rubble she was previously on top of and dragging the bike down the small hill.

"This should be useful," she grins to both of her companions, deciding to trust the steel man since Lucy did, as she unzipped the bag on the side of the bike, revealing a pile of various energy cells held within it.

"Just in case ya know?" she smiles thinly, pulling her gun from its holster before nodding to Lucy once more, "I'm ready to leave when you are now."

We'll be slaughtered if they appear, my cousins couldn't do anything, she thinks sadly, her grip tightening on the grip of the submachine gun and holding the bike against herself with her free hand.

"Alarmed! Because of your dog, we'll never reach the settlement in time to stop those raiders from killing everybody! Oh, what cruel fate this life be!" Brandon face changed to mild shock. They are kidding right? but 3 seconds laughter they all started laughing. Brandon looked very relieved. "Nah, we're just on fucking patrol, long stretches of boring with sporatic excitement in the form of shooting anything that attacks."

The enclave soldier then looked at him like he was looking at the worth of some kind of meat. Brandon felt very uncomfortable. He still urged Rex to stand down fighting 3 enclave solider from this range was suicide. You're a sturdy lad. Why not join up and settle into metal? Your chances of survival go WAY UP in an Enclave powersuit. Nothing nearly as powerful. Brandon was afraid that this might come. And walking away from these guys was not something you could do. He had to talk his way out of here. "Well I have considered it, but before I will join the enclave I have some things from my past to take care off. You see I used to gamble quite a bit and lose even more, and I have finally earned the money back. So I am going to pay my debts off first before joining the enclave. You know starting with an clean sheet and all that." He looked a bit sad while saying this.

"Well anyway I think it is about time for me to go, I still have quite some places to go to pay off my debts. But you boys keep fighting the good fight. I might even see you again one day when I am also wearing such an armor." Brandon smiled at them as he turned around. He urged Rex to follow him, he was still afraid that the Enclave would stop him and demand him to put one on now.

'Great President Dave! The Enclave greets you and your Republic!'

'The Enclave? I remember hearing that name quite a while ago, on the radio. It's hard to be sure what the Republic of Dave should think of you, though. You claimed to be

owner of the land, and would not acknowledge our own independence from the world.'

'That was an oversight of the old regime-'

Fuck... The beetles, or as he now come to know them the enclave, were smarter than he had wanted.
They were playing Dave just right. Tickling his ego and dancing around his insecurities. Stiff rows of hair began to stand up in a concerned Mexican wave, he really didn't think that someone who buzzed in nonchalantly with amazing old world tech could be serious about what they said, nor would they waste time and energy on something stupid like messing with Dave's head there had to be sinister intent. Not that, he now considered it would all bad for Dave if he stayed as compliant as he was now but Sully the newly promoted envoy (what timing) didn't want to get roped in with these idiots. Placated though Dave was for now it didn't eliminate the chance of a confrontation later. Spining on his heels he turned from his place at the front of the crowd with Dave and Bob back to the women and children, trying gage their reactions as well. The only one who looked remotely as concerned as they should was Rosie. She'd always seemed just a little bit sanner than everyone else here to him, and as he was recently 'briefed' by Dave, had been the sole provider of food and trade in the republic until a few months ago. 'Perhaps... The kids should play inside for awhile... it would be rude to crowd these nice new visitors wouldn't it?' he pleaded giving here a steady and stern look to drive his point home. Shuffling with frustration at being denied their spectacle, the crowd dispersed quickly enough into the two bunk houses.
Vaguely aware of the talk of Sully turned back to the beattles to catch the last of their declaration.

'-interest in the Republic of Dave, and wishes to protect the land with an alliance between our organization and your people'

Deep...

'My citizens, you mean.'

Sinking...

'Exactly!'

Feeling...

'Just what is it that you men propose to do? What does your commander have planned?'

The three of them looked at each other, and then said "Become citizens of Dave!".

This...was gonna be a long day. Worse Sully knew it was entirely his fault. If he'd just woken earlier or... or decided to cut losses and leave without trying to wheel a deal with Dave...Actually that was a good lesson. It was time to cut loses. Clearing his conscious with a twinge of guilt for Dave's poor old family he announced, 'Well Dave, it looks like my diplomatic services won't be needed at all. Your Dave-ness continues to astound. You just went and found new powerful allies before I could even drag myself onto the road.' Dave looked quizzically at him still obviously enamored with all the respect and compliments. Making sure not to invite his input put Sully continued 'As such think I'll head onto Canterbury anyway see if I can't form other alliances eh?' Resisting the dual urges to heft his bat up across his shoulder ready for a fight and the urge to bolt out towards the highway he knew was to the east leaving all these loons in the dust he strolled toward the gate which Dave had so kindly opened for the enclave. Wishing that he could see the expressions of the enclave soldiers he pushed past he made his way out left the compound still tense noting the enclave soldiers had turned to watching him now. The snaked tounged leader of theirs raised a hand at him as if to stop. Squeezing his eyes together and pushing his luck he kept walking hoping they'd just let it go. No such luck.
'Halt! You are a civil servant of our new ally the Republic are you not?' Sully's hands skulked back down to the sides of his loosened pants careful not to disrupt either the hem of the shirt concealing or the waist band supporting his hidden ACP. Seriously though what kind of luck was this? 'If Dave allows it we might reprimand you as a show of good faith to the Republic' the beetle face prick sneered, he must have been sneering helmet be damned Sully could hear it.
Dave sat knocked senseless by all the responsibility and authority before him. He looked thoughtfully of into the distance mulling it over in what would have been a hilarious and comic fashion on a holodisc drama... This wasn't a holodisc damn it!
Scanning the area for escape routes as discreetly as he could he was met with the flat, barren wastes he knew would be there. Well flat and barren everywhere other than the hole he'd left and the still manned vertibird idling along casually.

If this was karma he had no idea what he'd done to earn it. Was it the boy he'd watched Ule kill all those years ago? If it was it he thought that it was about time the wasteland gave that shtick up and forgave him already. Resigned to his seat amongst the rock and hard place he supposed that if this was a bad turn there must surely be a good one floating around somewhere. Surely!

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