The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

 Pages PREV 1 . . . 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 . . . 48 NEXT
 

"Scribe Explodium? Are you in here?" Enquired William, tentatively putting his head around the scorched door where said madwoman was supposed to reside.

BOOM

Yep, this room was where Scribe Explodium was. You could tell because things were exploding. There was an Enclave flatpack cage that would normally have held a deathclaw in it at one end of the room with various sets of Power Armour stood up inside it. The Tesla Armour was on fire just a bit. As for the orchestrator of all this destruction, Scribe Explodium was busy writing some notes from the latest experiment. Except, Scribe Explodium wasn't a woman, he was a middle aged man with glasses.

"A-ha!I'll be with you in a moment, I just have to record these results... for science dear boy!" Said Scribe Explodium. William tentatively entered the room as Scribe Explodium finished the notes.

"Thanks, er... why did the other scribes refer to you as she? Because they were quite clear on that bit."

Oh that's just their way of having a joke. I'm new here so I can only assume this is part of an initiation ritual. Social structures within the Brotherhood of Steel are of a complex nature. I'm not actually a scribe you see, I'm a scientist!" Explodium put extra emphasis on this last word, clearly some point of pride. "You see, as I said I'm new, just what the Brotherhood needs really but I don't like to boast about my vast genius. Except I was explaining to these buffoons about a past experiment of mine involving the manipulation of ant DNA, the experiment didn't actually work come to think of it but that's beside the point. I might have mentioned an Ant Queen one too many times and the nickname stuck. They call me the Ant Queen because they say I'm always bugging people. Bah! I'll blind them with science, or at least this new compound I'm working on that blinds dogs if you feed it to them for six months."

"Ant DNA, Ant Queens, you're that guy who torched Grayditch aren't you?" Accused William, confident that Scribe Explodium was actually Doctor Lesko, the idiot that had turned a bunch of giant ants into giant firebreathing ants. Until the Lone Wanderer showed up in town and destroyed all the specimens, the kid at the Weatherley Hotel, Bryan Wilks used to talk about it all the time.

"I SIMPLY GOT CARRIED AWAY AND SKIPPED TESTING IN A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT!!" Snapped Lesko, still hurt from his failure of years ago. "Spit it out ignorant one, you clearly need my scientific wonder for something or you would not be here.... nobody ever comes here..." muttered Lesko, now tired of William and his mention of Grayditch.

"Yes doc, I need you to take something from me, you can keep it afterwards if you really want, for science." William pointed to the collar around his neck.

"Really?" Lesko perked up at this, the mention of science put a smile on his face. "Of course my boy, I'll help you. For science."

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

Right around the corner from MGB "Ok gentlemen, right around this corner is the greatest thing ever that you could imagine." Said Evan, grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of having a go at the canned colossus. What wonder lay inside? The mind boggles.

Dudley's mind was boggling, mostly with the possibility that this big metal monster would stomp them in a second. "You sure about this?"

Evan grinned a little more, if such a thing were possible, "Nope, but I wouldn't miss this for the world. Now I have a plan, so listen up."

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

*phew* It felt good to have that collar off at long last, a weight from Williams neck had been lifted and a mental burden was gone from his shoulders. Lesko had removed the thing in an instant, the man was a genius, just one that shouted it from the rooftops at every given moment.

Now I have removed the item in question, and I presume I may use it for my research? You relinquish all ownership of the item?

"Yes of course doc, I never want to see that thing again unless it's to see it destroyed without hurting anyone." Said William, a smile creeping onto his face as for the first time in a few days he felt really free, probably because his head wasn't about to be blown from his neck.

"Wait around a moment more and I'll do just that. Now then, I've never actually recorded what one of these would do to Power Armour. Hmmm, I think the Tesla Armour would wear it best." Said Lesko, attaching the collar to said Tesla Armour and bashing part of it with a rock. He then ran back to his console before throwing the rock at the collar again. One more hit blew it up and crumpled the neck of the Tesla suit.

"Very interesting results, it appears that the explosion, powerful as it was, was unable to pierce the armour. It did of course crush it in such a way that would suffocate the wearer of this thing and cause an even more painful death. If you brought me more of these I'd like to try the results on other armour suits." Enthused Lesko, happy at the prospect of more explosions. William wondered if there weren't a few marbles missing in that brain, or if he would have allowed Lesko to remove the collar if there wasn't a touch of madness about him. A perfectly sane scientist would probably have triggered the bomb when disarming the remote detonation mechanism.

"No doc, I'm sure you'd pay well and it would benefit science... but I really never want to see another one of these fucking things for my entire life. Nice to meet you, goodbye!" Said William, backing out of the door and into the hall. Evan and Dudley were somewhere in the DC Ruins, chasing a giant robot. That sounded like a fun adventure to have.

Lucy: Springvale

"Thanks Dad..."

Lucy smiled softly as the lights flickered to life, allowing her to replace the floor tile which hid the energy cell power generator. One of her father's inventions which was created primarily for Lucy to read well into the evenings when she was younger.

Lucy, while waiting for a dinner promised by Kristin, started to strip the damaged armor from her body in front of a full-length mirror in her room. Content with a moment of privacy, she started to survey the damage that her travels had incurred.

New and unfamiliar scrapes, scratches and ugly bruises were discovered on her legs, lower back and shoulders. Yet one detail had her bitterly clutching the black eyepatch once more - her left eye was red, or more accurately, the iris was red. This was in stark contrast to her natural blue.

Lucy applied the eyepatch once more.
Today was an emotional day, that being the biggest understatement of her life, and she wasn't quite sure how to deal with any permanent physical changes that her journey might have incurred just yet.

After giving her hair a good scrub in the basin, Lucy wore one of the few articles of clothing that wasn't some form of armor - a ridiculous black & white polkadot dress. It clashed with her boots, but -

"Miss Lucy! Dinner may be late. I am preparing for three!"

What?

Grabbing her hunting rifle, the One-eyed rifle girl headed outside.


Kristin: Yum-Yums

Kristin had great fun cleaning her acolyte's house for the day. At some point, a broken toaster was used for bumper sword baseball...

While Lucy had requested some privacy. Kristin took her dinner preparations outside, her mini-microwave whirring and beeping along with her humming. She had settled for a large plate full of BlamCo pies which contained pieces of salisbury steak which oozed with delicious white cheese. Topped with a white cheese smiley face and unique spices for each pie. Kristin sought to dessert, BlamCo cupcakes -

"Hulloooo! I'm lukin fer... eh..."

Kristin turned to find the source of interruption. Oh! There in the distance...

"...Ishmael! I'm lukin fer Ishamael... Black..."

...a lonely hobo had made his presence known. Kristin knew that he was a hobo, not only had he dressed as such, but he had adopted their vague mouth-words speech pattern. She had spent countless times feeding the impoverished, although sadly she had rarely seen the same face twice after a new recipe. She wondered why that happened...more importantly:

A potential acolyte, this one might have ties to street rats, thugs and gang members. Men and women of opportunity who's belly's ached for something to munch on during vandalism and thievery!

Kristin would find a way to this hobo's heart, down his throat and through his colon!

Carrying a small plate with a single pie and her bumper sword in each hand, Kristin strolled over to the collapsed hobo. This wasn't the first time someone had collapsed after one whiff of her food.

"To answer your question: 'Is their mail back?', I must regretfully inform you that we have only recently moved in. Are you, by any chance, the postman?"

Kristin proceeded to gently prod the man in the side with her bumper sword.

"Hey, Mr Postman, get up!" Kristin chirped as her perkometer (perky meter) suddenly spiked when she laid the plate on the ground for him. "Why don't you join us for a complimentary dinner, hosted by the BlamCo heiress herself?!"

Almost on cue, the nearby house lit up brightly from the inside and Kristin proceeded to walk back to her dessert preparations before they grew cold.

"Miss Lucy! Dessert may be late. I am preparing for three!"

????(?)

Jonathan woke up with a headache, which left him curious. He couldn't recall drinking enough last night to cause a hangover. Then again, he couldn't remember a thing about last night, so maybe he had drunk enough to cause a hangover. Still, it was going to be a busy day today, so he couldn't let a stupid maybe-headache-maybe-hangover get the best of him. As such, Jonathan, with the clumsiness befitting of a man that hadn't drunk as much as he wanted(or maybe had and couldn't remember it), hadn't slept as much as he wanted(debateable, but the heaviness and exhaustion he felt made him feel so) and still ended up with a hangover (which may have actually been just a headache), got out of bed and, much like how a robot set to patrol a certain route, went straight for the bathroom.

The apartment was quite spacious, with decor reminiscent of rich pre-war suites. The walls were painted in deep, blood red and the floor was dressed with ostentatiously detailed persian carpets. The bathroom followed the same motif as the rest of the apartment, with the exception that the colour of the walls were sea blue. The cold water as he washed his face was rejuvenating.

"Goddamn, I don't look so good," he though as he looked himself in the mirror. He was right. There were black circles under his eyes, his hair was messy and greasy, his stubble had grown into an unkempt, dirty semi-beard and it just dawned upon him that he had slept on his shirt and work pants. "Just what the hell was I doing last night?"

"Could use a shower," he told himself as he scratched his itchy not-beard. "And a shave. Yeah. Shower, shave and go do..."

What did he have to do? He felt a certain degree of urgency toward doing... something. Why couldn't he remember?

A heavy banging sound derailed his train of thought and filled his mind with fear and worry. What made it worse was that the sound came from inside the apartment.

From the edge of the bathroom door, Jonathan sneaked a careful peak into the rest of the apartment. There was no one to be found. Crouching, and with careful steps, he walked onwards into the room. Where did the sound come from, and what caused it?

As he looked around for the answer to these questions, he felt himself drawn to the closet, a feeling that increased as he got closer to it. Slowly, but steadily, he reached out to the handle and started opening the-

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

Jonathan jumped backwards onto the bed as he heard... whoever it was talk. Distraught with fear and confusion, he searched around the room with anxious, frantic stares. He pinpointed the speaker at the edge of the room, his features obscured by shadow.

"Heh, my bad. I know just how much of a scaredy-cat you are, Johnny boy. But..." In a blink of an eye, the stranger somehow moved in front of the closet and closed the barely opened door. "...you really don't wanna open it."

The stranger was strange indeed. Having a slouching posture; their clothing, duster especially, was dirty and looked worn out, and their face was completely concealed by a combo of scarf, sunglasses and cowboy hat. It all looked pretty familiar, though Jonathan couldn't quite figure why.

"Who... who are you?" Jonathan muttered in an attempt to make sense of the situation.

"Did you know," the stranger continued, moving their index finger as though emphasizing each word, "that there are skeletons in there? Don't answer that, a rhetorical question."

"Skeletons?" Jonathan replied dumbfounded, "What do you mean by- What? How can there be skeletons in my closet?"

The stranger tilted their head for a second, then put their palm on their face and sighed heavily.

"You know, it's getting really old, me having to explain this every time you come by. Yes, there are skeletons in there." They turned towards the door and put a hand on it, "Poor skeletons... They're pretty misunderstood, ya know. All they want to do is socialize..."

"But I don't think they should!" they continued briskly as they quickly made a sharp turn, facing Jonathan. "Do you? Ya see, in their thirst and anxiety to socialize, the skeletons may get a bit... overbearing. Just-won't-leave-you-be overbearing. Be exposed to them for long enough and you might go... insane."

"But... But..." Jonathan was completely at a loss of words. The situation described by the stranger was completely irrational.

"Butt? Now is hardly the time to think about that, Johnny boy."

"...How?!?"

"How? How did the skeletons end up in there?"

"How are they even alive?"

"Is alive the correct term for this case? Hmm... But to answer your question, I dunno. You brought them to life. You threw them in there."

"I... What?!? What are yo- WHAT?"

"You're kinda freaking out."

"Freaking out? FREAKING OUT?! What the hell do you expect me to do? Do you have any idea how ridiculous what you're saying sounds?"

"Ridiculous, you say? So, you don't believe me?"

"Like hell I do! You make no sense!"

"No sense..." the stranger's voice turned cold and a bit threatening. "Ridiculous... Alright, Johhny boy, if you don't believe me..." they opened the closet, "Why don't you see for yourself?"

Jonathan felt shivers go down his spine as the stranger opened the door. As they did, the walls became damaged and disrepaired, and the carpets lost their elaborate detail; it was as though the room started rapidly decaying. The inside of the closet was pitch black; literally nothing inside could be seen. What made it even worse, perhaps, was the absolutely suffocating silence.

"T-that's enough... c-close it!"

"Uh-uh. You said you don't believe me."

"No. Nonononono, I do. I really really do. Just close it, please!"

"I'm not really convinced, Johnny boy. Besides, it might do you some good! When was the last time running away solved something?"

Suddenly, the sound of footsteps could be heard coming from inside the closet.

"Yes... I think a little confrontation is just what a man like you needs..."

"Close the door... pleeeeeease!" Jonathan begged in desperation. The footsteps grew louder.

"Look at you, a grown man, crying like a baby. You could really use some backbone"

"CLOSE THE FUCKING DOOR!"

"There we go! About time you grew a spine! See? I told you this is what you needed."

The footsteps grew louder and louder... and then, nothing. Suffocating silence again. Jonathan, sweating harder than a turkey before Thanksgiving, stood completely still, his eyes completely hooked to the vast nothingness of the closet. Time passed, and as it did, so did his fear.

And then, it leaped on him, and-

Springvale. Probably.

Jonathan woke with dirt in his mouth. He hoped this wasn't going to become frequent. His side was in pain, as though someone had swung a club at it.

"Hey, Mr Postman, get up!"

The words exploded in his ears like grenades. Just who in the hells was shouting at him? He was too weak to move his head to look, so all he could do was try and recollect what had happened.

"I was... looking for Isaac... Springvale... knight wannabe..."

Could it be the lady knight? How long was he passed out?

As he continued to brainstorm, his suspicions turned out to be correct. A hand wearing shiny armour moved into his view, blinding him thanks to the sun being reflected right into his eyes. When his vision returned the first thing he saw was...

Heaven. In the form of a slice of pie. The smell completely enthralled Jonathan. He thought he heard the what-was-her say something before she headed back towards oblivion. Or wherever it was she came from- It didn't matter! What mattered was the slice. The slice extends life. The slice expands consciousness. He who controls the slice controls the universe.

It glowed from the sheer magnitude of the power resonating from it. Or the radioactivity. Maybe the glow was a hallucination- It. Didn't. Matter. He had to get the slice!

He reached his hand out to grab it, but alas! It was too far away. The cursed knight-pretender-wannabe was taunting him, placing it just out of his reach! A thousand poxes upon her!

No, no, no. It was a test. The slice would not allow itself to be eaten by just anyone! It needed a champion, a man that would not falter at the face of adversity! And Jonathan was! that! man!

With the new-found strength gained from his conviction, Jonathan dragged himself towards the pie. When he reached the plate, he raised his head over the slice, breathing in its divine fragrance. He wasn't just going to devour the slice. He was going to savour it.

The time had come. The culmination of all his labours lead to this: The pie slice was within his grasp, he, its most recognized and revered champion. He opened his mouth, ready to become one with it and transcend this pitiful, limited existence and...

Passed out on it.

Kristin - Springvale: Feeding the homeless!

*beeeep!* *foooomp!*

Kristin's Limited Edition BlamCo Mini-Microwave comically produced the first batch of mini-cheesecakes. The cakes were spewed from a chimney-like extension and landed as gracefully as any cake would, on a large plate for dessert. Proud that her cake babies were looking beautiful and edible, Kristin whimsically turned on her heel to announce that preparations were complete.

*splaaaaat*

Her declaration would have to wait, for the unwashed and quite frankly ungrateful hobo had smashed her gift with his face. This indiscretion will simply not do! Kristin marched over to the hobo postman/woman, knelt by his/her side and proceeded to grope at his/her chest. As Kristin pawed at the undoubtedly flat-chested unperky nipples of the the now-confirmed male, she sighed and shook her head.

"Oh dear." Kristin put a palm to her face and applied a single smear of cheese to his forehead. "You are merely misguided, breastless one. I have no doubt that you were overwhelmed by the Milky One's offering."

Now let it be said that Kristin was not angry, she was just disappointed with the newcomer. Let it also be said that Kristin has gone toe-to-toe with a Super Mutant, hence why she could do the following: Without a second thought, Kristin had hauled the barely conscious body over her shoulder and stomped her way back to the table.

On the way, her vocal inflections shifted from sweet and motherly to downright indignant at the hobo-postman's wasteful display.
"Regardless...your flapping mouth jaw has been graced with dairy of the holiest variety! Do the denizens of the Capital Wasteland feast with their foreheads!? Answer not the question, but redeem your soul with proper manners instead!"

Comically, Kristin had propped the hobo-postman in a comfortable yet weathered armchair at the edge of the table. Lucy and Kristin had made arrangements to feast outside to celebrate the dawn of a new day.

"You have 10 seconds to explain before I make - !"

"Oh! Miss Black! No no, no fireworks will be required. As you can see, we have a guest and our feast is ready! So please, take a seat."

Lucy Black had exited the house brandishing her shiny hunting rifle, wearing a black eyepatch and a withering glare. This would usually be an intimidating combo, although the effect was unfortunately diminished by the addition of a frankly adorable polkadot dress and an uneven handling of said weapon. Cautiously, the foul-tempered woman had taken a seat at the head of the table while Kristin fussed over plates and minor smiley-face cheese decorations.

"Who is he?" Lucy growled unflinchingly without taking an eye off of the guest.

"He seems..." Kristin delicately cut open one of the pies and liberally sprinkled lemon-flavored mentats to offset the bitterness of the healing powder into the mix. "...to be the Springvale Postman. He mumbled something about 'Spring Male Nights' and such. One of your Lady Magazines, I presume? You need not worry, I won't judge."

Kristin cut a bite-sized piece of the powder-pie and shovelled it into the mouth of the newcomer, comically making him chew in process. It was rude to sleep at the table! The powder-addled pie was bound to jolt a person awake or - well she had forgotten the rest!

"Or wait!" Kristin clapped her hands together enthusiastically, failing to check if the newcomer had properly swallowed. "Is there a Springvale strip club?! We simply must spread the goodwill of BlamCo through a promotional catering event!"

"...I'm going to ignore most of that." Lucy's glare had wavered somewhat, to an outsider like her, this had probably looked like a dramatised poisoning. "Shouldn't you be a little more careful?"

"BlamCo is the ultimate science! The healing powder and dash of lemon mentats will alleviate this man's fatigue and he will be full of vim and vigor. His body will be restored..."

Kristin took a seat across from the half-conscious newcomer, brushed her unnaturally long silver hair aside, puffed out her chest, took a deep breath, grinned and spread her arms with a great deal of enthusiasm.

With stacks of BlamCo pies and BlamCo cupcakes on two large plates and Kristin in the middle, this almost seemed deliberately planned.

"Now...allow our souls to be bound by the grace of our Grand Cream Overseer for one more day!"

????(!?)

Jonathan woke up with a headache, which left him curious. He couldn't recall drinking enough last night to cause a hangover. Then again, he couldn't remember a thing about last night, so maybe he had drunk enough to cause a hangover. Still, it was going to be a busy day today, so he couldn't let a stupid maybe-headache-maybe-hangover get the best of him. As such, Jonathan, with the clumsiness befitting of a man that hadn't drunk as much as he wanted(or maybe had and couldn't remember it), hadn't slept as much as he wanted(debateable, but the heaviness and exhaustion he felt made him feel so) and still ended up with a hangover (which may have actually been just a headache), got out of bed. An extremely squeaky bed. He didn't remember it being so, or at least as much. Curious, indeed. Whatever the case, Jonathan made a mental note to go buy a new one ASAP and, much like a robot set to patrol a certain route, went straight for the bathroom.

The apartment, ruined as it was, was quite spacious, with decor reminiscent of rich pre-war suites, albeit left to ruin by the nuclear armageddon that had transpired ages ago. The walls had lost all colour, being left with a morbidly depressing grey, and the floor was dressed with large, burnt carpets, leaving but a memory of the grandeur that once was. The bathroom followed the same motif as the rest of the apartment, with largely decayed walls, a shower and tub filled with filth and a toilet... well, the fewer things said about the toilet, the better. As he placed himself in front of the tub, it occured to Jonathan that it was broken. Great. Absolutely wonderful.

Jonathan would've taken a look at himself in the mirror- if the mirror wasn't a broken, filthy mess. The ruin of the place gave him an epiphany: Why was he living in such a room in the first place?

A heavy banging sound derailed his train of thought (before it could even begin) and filled his mind with fear and worry. What made it worse was that the sound came from inside the apartment.

From the edge of the bathroom door, Jonathan sneaked a careful peak into the rest of the apartment. There was no one to be found. Crouching, and with careful steps, he walked onwards into the room. Where did the sound come from, and what caused it?

As he looked around for the answer to these questions, he felt himself drawn to the closet, a feeling that increased as he got closer to it. He felt the urge to open it, but, just as he was about to, decided against it.

"Well, at least you remember that much."

Jonathan jumped backwards onto the bed (which creaked harder than a bulldozer starting up) as he heard the stranger. Distraught with fear and confusion, he searched around the room with anxious, frantic stares. He pinpointed the speaker at the edge of the room, lying sideways on the sofa-chair.

"Bravo, bravo!" the stranger continued, clapping. In a blink of an eye, they sit upwards, with their tilted head resting on their arm and their legs crossed.

"Must say, I didn't expect you to come back so fast. You must have quite the fond memories from last time... Do you remember who I am?"

Jonathan took a look at the stranger, and then at the closet. Yes. He remembered.

"You opened the closet..."

"Yes! Exactly! I'm glad you remember, Johnny boy. It would've been a real hassle for me to have to go through everything again. If this were a novel, we'd have bored the reader to death by now!"

Jonathan shifted his view between looking at the stranger and the closet. His head was throbbing; he clearly remembered being in the same room, being talked to by the same stranger, the closet being opened and being attacked by... something.

But when did it all happen? Why did it all happen?

"You ok there, Johnny boy? You've been quiet for a while."

"You said that the skeletons... where created by me?"

"Yep. You made them and threw them in there."

"But..."

"Here we go again with the butts! Look, everyone has gone through moments in life that they are not proud of. So, they do their best to ignore them. That's pretty much what's been happening here."

"How do you know all this? Who are you?"

"Me? Well..." the stranger said in an amused tone, teleporting right on Jonathan's face, who proceeded to fall back with a bedazzled "Woah".

"I'm your best friend. Not that hard an achievement, considering I'm your only friend. I was with you after your father died, talking to you through those dark times of adolescence mixed with suicidal thoughts. Quite the combination, that one! Eventually you got better and threw me into the endless depths of oblivion. But hey, I don't judge."

"You're not answering the question."

"And that's because you already know the answer! You just have to... think about it a little. It's not like you get all the answers handed to you in life anyway."

With that, the stranger said no more and instead opted to get themselves comfortable on the bed, leaving Jonathan to ponder on what was said.

The stranger stated that they were Jonathan's best (and only) friend. But if that were the case, Jonathan was certain he would recognize them even if this was a dream- He considered his keen memory to be one of his few qualities. And what did they mean by...

"You said that I left you."

"Sure did! Didn't even look back!"

"Why?"

"Because you outgrew me, I suppose."

Outgrew? What did the stranger mean by that? Jonathan doubted he was going to get an answer to that, so he didn't bother.

"If I outgrew you... then why are you back?"

"Ah!" the stranger replied as they got up into a sitting position next to Jonathan, their index finger pointing upwards, "Now, that! That is a very good question!"

"And here's a better one!" they continued, disappearing only to appear leaning on the closet door, "Why did you leave inner DC?"

"Why? Well, the Enclave's back so... gotta get as far away from the hotspots as possible, right?"

"True enough! But is that the only reason?"

"What... of course it's the only reason! Why would I leave DC otherwise? Living out here is much harder!"

"Ok, ok! Just asking! No need to get all defensive from an innocent question! Relax."

"I'm... I'm not being defensive. I'm just aggravated that you're avoiding all my questions."

"That's the thing, though. I'm not avoiding them." They paused for a moment, looking upwards, then faced Jonathan again. "Looks like this is all the time we have for now."

As the stranger said that, Jonathan started feeling wierd; lightheaded. As though his conciousness was fading. The light in the room intensified, almost blinding him. He could faintly see the figure of the stranger waving at him goodbye.

"Don't forget, remember! And more importantly, swalloooooooooooow!

Springvale. Possibly.

Jonathan woke with- by the gods! What in the seven hells was that taste?!? He could feel the taste buds in his tongue dying, screaming at him to get "it" off! In a desperate struggle, Jonathan half-swallowed half-choked as he forced "it" down his throat, coughing intensively as he did. With "it" swallowed, he wiped the tears from his eyes and with a blank, cow-like look, surveyed his surroundings.

The first thing he noticed was that he wasn't on the ground anymore. Someone had put him on a chair in a less than gentle manner, if the pain on his rear was any indication.

The second thing he noticed was a table full of pies and cupcakes. Jonathan was certain that, had eating "it" not completely ruined his appetite, his mouth would have become a waterfall of saliva.

And finally, the third thing he noticed was the other people. Two ladies shared the table with him. One was the knight-crusader-pretender-wannabe he had met before, taking a rather... interesting posture, as though showing off her bosomy chest. The other one wore a polkadot dress, which classed with her otherwise threatening look.

Speaking of the ladies, Jonathan's life-and-death struggle with "it" seemed to cause a good amount of noise, attracting their attention and creating an awkward situation. There was contrast in their stares; while the hedge knight looked at him somewhat welcomingly, the polkadot lady's stare was a cautious, fuck-with-me-and-I'll-disembowel-you one. It only made the situation feel even more awkward.

Collecting himself, both from the shock of his struggle and the awkwardness of being watched by two dangerous femme fatales, Jonathan decided to make the first move.

"Um..." he started, exchanging eye contact with the two. "Hello. I'm Bob."

Springvale - Bickering and Development

"Um..." the stranger started, exchanging eye contact with the two ladies. "Hello. I'm Bob."

Kristin:

"Bo-oooooo-ooob.", Kristin sounded out the name as if it had some significant meaning to her.

Lucy:

Unlike Kristin, Lucy was not so comfortable in the stranger's presence. Her home, FalloutBob, the Enclave, the Enclave Asset Programme, her eyepatch, her Father, the answers she had found...

If Lucy's glare could harm another, there was little doubt that this man would be writhing in pain.

"Why..." She had begun uncharacteristically softly. Her eye widened when she remembered that her cover and identity as an Enclave Asset was tarnished and that there was no reason to keep herself shackled. In doing so, "Why did you come to Springvale?", her voice had gained a poisonous edge.

Kristin:

Kristin was busy putting together a plate of her best pies and cupcakes. The newcomer named Bob, seemed displeased with her powder-pie. This was a great injustice! Her cooking was her pride and joy! For BlamCo's sake, her very identity as the heiress to her illustrious organisation was being threatened! Her own faith was at stake!

This will simply not do.

"Oh dear." Kristin laid a hand to her cheek once more, growing incredibly haughty as the speech continued. "You were being terribly rude by destroying my offering with your failed-forehead-feasting attempt. Your table manners leave much to be desired. And I urge you to bathe in the excess dairy of our feast, breastless one."

Kristin's attitude suddenly whiplashed to benevolent and well-meaning, "Here you go, Mister Bob the Springvale postman. This should reinvigorate your tongue, taste buds and by extension...your soul.", Kristin uttered sweetly as she pushed a readied plate of her finest selection across the table.

Bear in mind, Kristin was so busy with preparations that she had forgotten to have a much-needed snack.

Lucy:

Lucy hadn't taken her eye off of this Bob character, yet Kristin wasn't doing her any favors by interrupting her.

"I don't care if you're the heiress to BlamCo family whatever fortune." Lucy almost hissed at Kristin for the first time, "But this - " Lucy gestured to the brightly-lit house, " - is the home of my late father, Isaac. YOU are the guest here!"

Kristin:

Kristin, of all people, was stunned...for the wrong reasons. "Miss Black...I am the chef and that does not make me immune to the rules of the dinner table, I understand." (She didn't.) "However, I implore you to eat. Your stomach-brain seems grumpy."

Lucy:

If Lucy still had her Gauss Rifle...

Choosing to ignore Kristin for now until she had cooled off. Lucy started eating to placate the Heiress, sure enough, the pies were delicious and each contained a unique flavour. Some better than others, but still some of the best food that she had eaten in months. It was somewhat undermining her outburst earlier, as she actually was mostly grumpy due to extreme hunger and fatigue since her one-sided conflict with FalloutJack.

Finishing off a cupcake slowly, Lucy started to gather her thoughts in an attempt to reign in her paranoia. This wasn't the Enclave Vault anymore. True, it had been less than a day since FalloutJack had assured her that she would be off their radar. It was... highly unreasonable to automatically assume everyone had an ulterior motive based on the coincidence of a mere name.

Sylph had taught her how to trust once more. Lucy couldn't stand to be doing her sister any sort of disservice.

"Lucy Black." Lucy turned to Bob slowly after much contemplation, introducing herself in a more gentle manner. Even the characteristic glare had lifted, replaced by an eye of curiosity. "Lets restart, what brings you to Springvale?"

Just outside the Citadel

"You, hey you! Which way did Scribe Ramsey go? He might have been accompanied by a really tall blonde guy too." Said Willing, feeling free and raring to go for another adventure. The Paladin gate guard he addressed pointed across the bridge that led into the main part of the DC Ruins, "Thanks mate." Said William, who then looked around for his bike to journey on.

...Oh yeah. Well at least it was a nice day for a jog, plus he had a Pip-Boy to return. Now that he didn't need the thing he was suddenly aware of the extra weight it carried, it dragged his arm down. William hadn't noticed that before but now it ran in circles around his head.

How did the Vault Dwellers wear these things all the time? Did they keep them on in the shower, wouldn't it stink under there after a while? My arm is starting to smell I think, and it sweats there really badly right now that can't help. What about in bed when you're trying to rest but you're always aware of it there? Or in bed but not for sleeping? That'd be a bit of a turn off if you're trying to get into the moment and you keep hitting each other with these giant metal bricks around your wrists.

I might be thinking into this a bit too much...

It turns out that jogging clears William's mind and allows him to mentally relax for a bit. Unfortunately his relaxing mind has to deal with some questions that have been skipped by in the last few days.

Springvale. Totally!

Jonathan was nervous as to the reaction of his company; if possible, he would indulge them as well as he could. He was so used to it by now that it came to him naturally; he had, after all, been lying all his life. Even so, all the charisma in the world wouldn't be able to save him if his hosts arbitrarily decided to kill him.

The knight-errant was the first to respond. "Bo-oooooo-ooob.", she bellowed like a stag issuing a mating call, putting an unnatural emphasis on the name. Jonathan wasn't quite sure how to react to that, but he did feel a small amount of relief that he wasn't attacked.

"Why..."

The voice reached Jonathan's ears as he looked at the woman-at-arms and filled him with hope, for it was a calm voice. Perhaps his hosts could be reasoned with, after all. He turned towards the polkadot lady an- No, they couldn't.

The one-eyed one looked at him with an intense, you've-fucked-with-the-wrong-polkadot-dress-wearing-mass-murderer stare, which was enough to make his eye twitch and cold sweat to run down his forehead. He was lucky the lady was missing one eye, for he was sure that, given the intensity of her one-eyed stare, one with two-eyes would have made his head explode like a blood sausage.

"Why did you come to Springvale?" The words came out of her mouth with the intensity of shotgun fire, causing to Jonathan instictively tense up, close his eyes and put his hands in front of his face; he was half-certain the woman would shoot him with that rifle she was carrying.

But why such a hostile response? The other woman emphasised the name, and she nearly tore him apart with her look. Was it the name? Could he have run into some sort of Bob-hating cult? I knew I should have gone for Steward...

No, no, no. That couldn't be it! Crazy people roamed the wasteland, sure, but surely there weren't any that would kill someone just because they didn't like the name, right? Actually, scratch that- there totally were people out there that would do that. But surely Jonathan hadn't run into them, right?

Jonathan causiously opened his eyes. He had to pick his next words very, very carefully. The one-eyed woman mentioned that he was in Springvale... That's it! He was at Springvale! And since he was at Springvale, he could ask them to bring him to Isaac, who would be able to get him out of this mess! Steeling himself, Jonathan prepared to spill the beans. "Um... I-I-"

"Oh dear." said the chevalier, completely stopping Jonathan in his tracks.

"You were being terribly rude by destroying my offering with your failed-forehead-feasting attempt." Jonathan touched his forehead, there were still parts of the pie stuck on it. Wait, offering?!?!

"Your table manners leave much to be desired" Noticing that his elbows were on the table, Jonathan hurriedly removed them. Did she just say offering?

"And I urge you to bathe in the excess dairy of our feast, breastless one." Jonathan took a sniff at his shoulders. He could use a bath, indeed. Wait, bath with dairy? Breastless one? Offering?!? Had Jonathan just run into a Bob-hating radical feminist neo-pagan cult?

This didn't look good. He hadn't even said anything, yet his hosts had already started abhorring his presence. If this were to continue then-

"Here you go, Mister Bob the Springvale postman. This should reinvigorate your tongue, taste buds and by extension...your soul." The sudden change in tone caught Jonathan completely off guard. What caused such an attitude whiplash? The cavaliere seemed all too eager to push the plate towards him; could there be a catch?

Jonathan opted to not be overly suspicious about it. If they wanted him dead, he was going to die anyway. Might as well try to appease one of them. Grabbing a slice of pie, he took a couple of sniffs at it. It did smell kind of wierd, but at this point he'd eat just about anything if it meant he could get out of this mess.

"I don't care if you're the heiress to BlamCo family whatever fortune." protested the venomous one. BlamCo? Like the fast food? Regardless, Jonathan decided against trying to reason with that one and instead focus on the Hussar. To do so, he started munching the piece of pie, which actually had a refined, if not wierd at places, taste. Jonathan reasoned that the wierdness must have been leftovers from "it".

"But this - " she continued just as Jonathan started swallowing, " - is the home of my late father, Isaac. YOU are the guest here!"

Shocked by her words, Jonathan once again started coughing intensely, causing the piece of pie he was swallowing to violently eject from his mouth, fly right next to the alleged heiress, and land on the ground.

Did she just say Isaac? And more importantly, late Isaac? Jonathan stared at the one-eyed Jack the Ripper aghast, his mouth open.

No. There is no way, no way she was talking about the same Isaac. There's many Isaacs out there, right? Surely he was Isaac Brown, maybe Isaac Green? Isaac Pink, yes, that's it! She was the child of Isaac Pink!

Even with his totally sane rationalizations, Jonathan couldn't do anything but stare as the one-eyed Atlanta Ripper was calmed down by the silver-haired prince. He had to make sure that she wasn't talking about Isaac Black. But how were he to go about doing that?

Before he could come up with anything, the one-eyed Gilles de Rais, her features noticeably calmer, spoke to him again

"Lucy Black."

Those two words shattered whatever hope he had like

So, she was the child of Isaac Black. And, unless she meant that he was late for an appointment, Isaac was dead.

...Fuck.

Jonathan fell back on his chair, assumed a defeated, slouching manner, and covered his face with his palm. It was all so much. He had evaded the ghouls and raiders of the DC metro, defeated a Stealth Boy-using super giant, outrun deathclaw and yao guai alike, starved for days and found himself in a tea party sponsored by two demented beasts, only to find that the last man he knew out in the wilds was dead.

What a joke. What a fucking joke.

"Lets restart, what brings you to Springvale?"

"I... I was..." he whispered while rubbing his face with his palm. He had stopped acting. I have grown tired of this hopeless charade.

With a heavy sigh, he raised his head and looked straight at Isaac's child with a tired, defeated expression.

"I was looking for your father... Isaac Black."

Lucy - Springvale: Explanations...

Lucy Black felt that she may have unintentionally dropped a bomb on this Bob character. His reactions had reflected many of Lucy's own after her earlier outburst, minus the spewing of food that is and more emotional stress.

"I... I was..."

Under Lucy's observation, she had gleamed that Bob was an expressive man, whether that was due to an unorthodox cheese party, Kristin's company or her own eyepatched appearance, needless to say it was an eccentric combination that would throw many people into an uncomfortable position. Had Lucy not dealt with the antics of the Red Menace, she would feel just as uncomfortable as Bob, if not more.

(Note to self: Invite Sylphy to a BlamCo party one day.)

"I was looking for your father... Isaac Black."

Lucy met the direct gaze of Bob with an unflinching yet weary stare. A look that said: 'Why can I not rest for one day?'. Perhaps her paranoia had paid off, for the hypersensitivity that she had never truly left at the Enclave Vault was going into overdrive. Something about Bob had shifted, his actions were more spontaneous, his expressions were that of true defeat, even the way he had expressed his last sentence seemed more...genuine.

She could be overthinking this, speaking as someone that was informally trained by an abusive and controlling Mother to monitor and control herself in order to get information out of others. Obviously her travels had displayed more failures than successes with regards to that particular portion of 'training'.

"Miss Black, is everything alright?", Kristin had prodded Lucy in the side with her already-oversized Bumper Sword, her head tilted in a fashion that seemed to be inspecting Lucy as if her batteries needed replacing.

It had dawned on Lucy that minutes had passed as she had stared at Bob, her lips had curled downward in an expression of sadness. Kristin, however, had cleaned up the table, left enough for two people and took her meal inside. Not after proclaiming that she had to wash up. Whether she had read the atmosphere...or truly needed to wash up was anyones guess.

"Sorry." Lucy uttered softly before speaking up to Bob, "You're about 4 - well technically, nearly 5 years too late."

Lucy had little idea on how to relay the death of her Father to someone else that was connected to him. Although details would depend on this person's relationship to Isaac. Then again...she was tired of fighting and tired of lying. So she opted for the unedited truth.

"Springvale wasn't always a mess, it used to be worse, but this was once an actual neighborhood about two years ago. That all changed when the Enclave arrived. They were looking for something..."

With comfort food available, Lucy delved into an explanation of the events, "...This area was purged by a high-ranking Enclave Specialist of the Fallout Sector, FalloutBob. Apparently, Isaac Black, who was previously FalloutIsaac had stolen an enhanced prototype weapon. A Gauss Rifle Plus. The GRP was proof that the Enclave was back in full-force, it was a weapon that had no security measures installed and whoever could harness the weapon's technology would have all the proof they needed to launch a surprise attack on the present Enclave itself..."

Lucy felt that Bob's defeated expression and rough appearance was the signal of a man that had travelled far for answers and resolutions. She knew that feeling all too well, unfortunately she had to claw her way through two opposing organisations and other obstacles to get to the truth. All she could offer this person connected to her father was an explanation...a luxury she never had. So she continued...

"...I took to Megaton for two years, I couldn't stay here anymore and all I had was some leather armor, the GRP and three stimpacks. I would have taken a shot at a normal life there, but I was breaking when FalloutBob returned and forced me into the Enclave Asset Programme. So I thought I could use that against them in time..."

Lucy had finished countless pies by this time and she had laid the perfect-condition hunting rifle in her lap.

"...I infiltrated the Brotherhood due to sheer luck, partly to keep up appearances for the Enclave, but later I had discovered that he was closely tied up with the Brotherhood's business." Lucy grew a little proud at her combat accomplishments, especially the giant mirelurk and its army. "...Behemoth's launched an attack, I killed one from an unstable vertibird. Then the Enclave launched an attack, since I was an Asset, I was replaceable and the scope of my rifle was sniped - " Lucy gestured to her eyepatch for emphasis. "...FalloutBob was captured and then he tried to escape. Still under the impression that I was an Asset, and since the Brotherhood was a dead end, I took a chance and helped FalloutBob escape. With my cover identity secured somewhat, I infiltrated the Enclave Vault where I learned the truth."

Lucy's pride was nowhere to be found when she had reached this part of the story, she still harbored a lot of guilt for her actions, or more accurately, her inactions.

"...I had to unwillingly sacrifice a friend to prove my loyalty. I met some recently-captured outsiders, we banded together and under my leadership as an Enclave Asset, they had become my team. I made a choice: Avenge Isaac...or live up to what he wanted and save these people. So I lied and lied and lied until I lost sight of who I had become. I was apparently important enough to warrant a meeting with Number One and the man primarily tasked with Isaac's murder, FalloutJack who had handed it off to FalloutBob. My Father had opposed everything that Number One stood for, he wanted co-operation with the Brotherhood to better the Wasteland."

"So I received my first mission. I ignored it and used it as my means to take my team and let them escape." Lucy sat back in her seat as she was finishing off, "...So I had the Enclave, Brotherhood AND then all of a sudden, The Talon Company after my head." ... "Less than 24 hours ago, FalloutJack arrived in person, we fought one-on-one, I lost...we talked and he had given me a second chance. Apparently I'm off their radar, since involving and using me caused a hell of a lot more complications for them in the long-run."

Lucy bravely told her entire story, thankful that Kristin had also taken the time to prepare lemon-juice for them while they talked in private. Returning with their drinks, Kristin made no comment, instead she was met a hand to her shoulder and what looked like a nod of earnest respect. Apparently Kristin had heard everything through the open kitchen windows.

Laying her glass down after a few moments of silence, Lucy lifted the eyepatch to reveal her crimson-iris, the defect on her organic replacement eye to confirm her story and quickly put it back on. There was no malice or aggression to be found in Lucy's explanations or speech, instead, an observant individual would recognise the gaze of someone that had experienced far too much in a short time-span.

"Why am I telling you all this?" Lucy queried softly, clearly unsettled at having to relive those memories, "If you were here to kill Isaac, you wouldn't exactly have grief written all over your face. Besides, I'm sure you can tell...I am done fighting."

And on that note, Lucy laid the new hunting rifle on the table and unclipped the bullet-holder-thingy to further illustrate her point.

"Before I ask you if you have any questions. You don't owe me anything, but...was he a good person to you?"

Citadel Outskirts

Rubble crunched underfoot as the odd trio dashed through the ruins, the hot sun beating down on them from above. Buchanan cursed as he awkwardly jumped over the remains of a fallen wall, yet despite the heat, sweat and fear of disembowelment, he was enjoying himself for the first time in weeks. It felt so good to be out of that dreary old compound and running through the wastes again, tearing through mutated creatures with his chainsaw.

*pew pew pew*

*RUMBLE! RUMBLE! RUMBLE!*

*CRASH! BOOM! SPLORCH!!!!*

The Knight Captain spun at the unexpected sounds to see their remaining pursuers get crushed under the collapsing alleyway, the route they had just run through cut off.

"You can set me down now."

Glancing at the girl under his arm with surprise Buchanan gently set her down before snatching his pistol out of her hand. Her calm demeanor and quick thinking, not to mention the ability to aim while being jolted about so violently, were not something he'd expected from the excitable girl who'd been poking him in the chest and thought mirelurks were inclined to hug people. Unsure what to make of her he turned around to see an out of breath Charlie staring at the strangest looking Mirelurk he'd ever seen.

"WHOO! WHOO! WHOOWHOOP! WHOO! WHOO! WHOOWHOOP!"

"Sir! Quickly, shoot this!"

With a quick shout Charlie pulled the pin from one of his grenades and threw it at the strange creature running around sideways clacking his pincers together. Reacting purely through instinct Buchanan quickly brought up his laser pistol and fired, detonating the explosive just as Professor Zoidberg The Mirelurk Emperor caught it in midair. The close range blast kicked up a storm of dust and several bits of shrapnel bounced off Buchanan's power armour as he protected his face with one arm. Charlie's combat armour saveed him from the worst of the debris as he dived in front of Sylph, shielding her from the blast. His exposed arms received several deep cuts however and one particularly large piece tearing through his left forearm

"Oh crap" he said, clutching the bleeding arm with his other hand as he sat up from where he had fallen.

Old Olney - Talion

As Talion rode into the ruins of Old Olney it wasn't the mutant he noticed first, it was the deathclaws. They weren't bothering to attack him so he left them to themselves, but there were so many of them in the streets staring at- And then he saw it. The "Duper Behemoth." He had been told that the behemoths were large but dear God... The implication of FEV being able to do that. That thought would have to shelved for now, it was still a problem and it had its sights on the man with the rifle.

Talion quickly dismounted Laura in the middle of the street, it was in the distance and there were deathclaws all over the place but charging it may not be the best idea. He turned on his radio and quickly spoke on Laura's channel "Get out of town and wait until I give the all clear. I don't know how fast it moves and I don't want it catching you." After a few seconds Laura whinny'd in response and galloped off in the direction they came.

Talion pulled his pistol from its holster with his left and and checked it and then drew his sword from its sheath with his left. He then walked straight down the street straight towards it and let loose a shot at its head... that missed and struck its shoulder leaving a flaming hole in it that even from the distance looked like it was trying to heal under the flames. It was still going at the sniper.

"Well shit" he thought out loud before holstering his pistol and charging at the thing. He wasn't going to get a clean shot from down here and something was giving him the idea that he needed to climb the thing. When he was about a foot away he jumped at its leg and started to climb it awkwardly stabbing into it with his sword to give him some grip.

The Wild Wastelands: The Citadel Outskirts

"Oh crap" Charlie Cannon cursed, clutching the bleeding arm with his other hand as he sat up from where he had fallen. While the declaration might have piqued the interest in others, they fell upon deaf ears in the case of The Red Menace. Instead of tending to her wounded "savior," Charlie Cannon, Sylph instead was staring at the ever widening crimson stain on her clothing.

Sylph was not, as had been demonstrated repeatedly, squeamish in regards to getting blood on her clothing. There were even times where it appeared that Blue Haired Psychopath quite enjoyed a little blood and viscera on her clothing and skin. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, Sylph was trying to brush off the blood on her clothing, the blood that Charlie Cannon had bled on Sylph when he had jumped on her to shield her from the explosion that HE had caused. The Red Menace was aware of this and yet she could not, for the life of her, understand why she cared so much about the clothing that she wore. She didn't even remember how it was that she came into possession of the militaryesque uniform.

Despite being overwhelmed by the unexplained sadness, there was another emotion bubbling up from the depths, one that she was quite familiar with and openly embraced: Anger. This anger was directed fully at the responsible party, one Charlie Cannon. The fool who had thrown a grenade in an alleyway, an alleyway that had redirected the brunt of the blast back towards the trio.

Sylph was experienced with such idiocy, having observed every moment of her other half's existence... EVERY MOMENT. There were even times that the Wretched Happily Oblivious Retard seemed to infect those around her with her stupidity. Having watched the Brain Dead Sky Blue Eyed Bitch's and Charlie Cannon's escape from the Citadel, there was no doubt that Charlie Cannon was as much as screw up as Sylphy was.

Fortunately for Charlie Cannon, the man child who's blood was mixing with the rubble that had been exploded and rocketed into his forearm and the gore that had been the former Mirelurk Emperor, Sylph was without her weapons as was demonstrated by a familiar twisting of her wrist. Rather than Sylph's hidden blade being exposed, the Stormy Eyed Girl's anger was as she pulled her arm back to strike Charlie Cannon in his stupid face.

Was this to be the end of partnership between Sylph and Charlie Cannon? Was she about to punch a perfectly innocent man in the face?

As luck would have it (I'm not saying whether this was good luck for Charlie Cannon or bad luck), the Mirelurk Emperor wasn't quite dead. A badly mangled claw tried to grab onto Sylph's ankle, getting yet more gore on the Eternally Angry Sylph's clothing.

"Oi! It huurrts. It hurrrts!" The Emperor said through whatever was left of its tentacled face.

"Not for long Professor Zoidberg..." Sylph said quietly and as coldly as an ice storm as kicked her foot away from the mangled Mirelurk, walking towards a destroyed wall and extracting three lengths of rebar.

*KERCHUNK! KERCHUNK! KERCHUNK!*

Despite being bent to hell, the rebar that Sylph staked the Mirelurk Emperor through its two arms and remaining leg pretty well. One might well imagine that this act of intolerable cruelty brought a sadistic smile to Sylph's face. No, it wasn't until Sylph opened Charlie Cannon's bad and pulled out a grenade and a length of twine that she smiled.

"Let's go." Sylph said to Charlie Cannon and Buchanan after stuffing the grenade in the Mirelurk Emperor's mouth and tying the twine to the pin. As the trio walked off, Sylph pulled the twine.

*KABOOOOOM!!!!*

Springvale, Black Residence

Minutes of uncomfortable silence followed Jonathan's announcement; time he spent trying to calm his mind and control his despair. The latter wasn't going so well.

To Jonathan, Isaac Black always had this air of invincibility about him; the mere thought he was dead was inconceivable. Until now. Isaac's death not only shattered whatever semblance of a plan Jonathan had, but it also made his fragile mortality all the more apparent. If, after all, there was something out there that could kill Isaac Black, what chance did he have?

He took a good look at the young Lucy Black. Her gaze was one of a person that had grown tired after being screwed by the world for too long; a sentiment that Jonathan could understand very well. Her body could attest for it. It was filled with bruises and wounds, making the contrast with the polkadot dress even more apparent. Of all her wounds, though, it was the burns spread across her right hand that were the most curious to Jonathan. They were too elaborate to be random burn marks; could she have been tortured?

The Hospitalier's declaration that there was washing to be done both broke the silence and interrupted his thoughts. She was a strange speciment indeed, with her apparent need to make the most glorious of declarations for the most mundane of tasks.

"Sorry." said Lucy as the Teuton left towards the house, "You're about 4 - well technically, nearly 5 years too late."

5 years?! It happened just after I met him, then? How could this-

"Springvale wasn't always a mess, it used to be worse, but this was once an actual neighborhood about two years ago." Jonathan paused his thought. It appeared that he was in for an explanation... "That all changed when the Enclave arrived." ...For better or for worse.

The Enclave. OF COURSE it had to be the fucking Enclave. Jonathan couldn't help but feel that his past just wouldn't let him go.

"...This area was purged by a high-ranking Enclave Specialist of the Fallout Sector, FalloutBob." FalloutBob? Jonathan had never heard of such a rank before. Just what was this new Enclave?

"Apparently, Isaac Black, who was previously FalloutIsaac had stolen an enhanced prototype weapon."

WHAT?! Isaac was Enclave!? But he was a trad-

"A Gauss Rifle Plus."

Jonathan lost it. Though on the outside he had assumed a neutral face, he was screaming in his head. The new revelations were already putting a strain on his less-than-calm head, but the fact that this new Enclave not only had the blueprints but actually manufactured one of HIS weapons was too much to bear. His work had already contributed to the death of hundreds of people- and if not for the destruction of Raven Rock, most of the Wasteland's residents- and that already weighted heavy to him; if what Lucy said was true, Isaac died thanks to his work. Nonononono, it mustn't be. It CAN'T be. It must be a mistake, I must have heard wrong- It, it-

"Silence in the studio!"

Jonathan's mind went from a typhoon of incoherent thoughts to gravely silence. He tracked the source of the voice; On the opposite side of the table, sitting backwards on the chair and using its back as an armrest lay an awfully familiar Stranger.

"Here's an idea. Rather than flip the fuck out, you could contain the drama for a few minutes and listen to her!" he said while pointing his finger at Lucy before disappearing as Jonathan blinked disbelievingly

Hallucinations. Now I'm seeing hallucinations... he thought as he took a glance at the table. It must have been from the starvation. I should... he picked up a slice of pie, ...eat something. Yes.

With pie in his mouth and ample, but controlled, misery in his head, Jonathan listed to Lucy's tale, his face growing gloomier with each sentence. He finally understood the full extent of the exhaustion he saw in her eyes. If she used the GRP then the burns in her arm...

In an attempt to keep his self-loathing at bay, Jonathan turned his attention to the resurgent Enclave. It had only been 10 years since the destruction of Raven Rock and the Adams Air Force Base. How could it have recovered so much in such a short time? And this Fallout codename, what could it mean?

"I was apparently important enough to warrant a meeting with Number One and the man primarily tasked with Isaac's murder, FalloutJack who had handed it off to FalloutBob. My Father had opposed everything that Number One stood for, he wanted co-operation with the Brotherhood to better the Wasteland."

Number One... The mysterious leader in the Knox vault. It made sense now. The Fort Knox vault was known for being filled to the brim with weapons; if Number One could get his hands on enough manpower, he was certain to become a considerable power in the Capital Wasteland. Using my schematics, no less...

Jonathan watched in quiet desperation as Ms. Black bravely finished her story. A pause was made as the Templar brought them refreshments. The silence didn't help.

"Why am I telling you all this?" she finally continued, her voice a bit shaken -from having to relive everything, no doubt-, "If you were here to kill Isaac, you wouldn't exactly have grief written all over your face. Besides, I'm sure you can tell...I am done fighting."

...I am done fighting... It echoed through Jonathan's head. For a few seconds, he experienced a sharp, intense pain in his head, much like a knife penetrating flesh.

"Before I ask you if you have any questions. You don't owe me anything, but...was he a good person to you?"

And so, it was his turn to speak. Jonathan opened his mouth, but quickly realised how speechless he was and closed it again.

Just... what the hell am I going to tell her?

The truth, Jonathan...

Another voice, barely hearable, echoed through his head. Yes. The truth was all she deserved.

"Ms... Black," he started, in a whisper, before speaking up, his face filled with determination, "You will have to forgive me if I don't answer your question immediately, but you deserve an explanation aswell. But first, introductions..."

A small sliver of doupt filled Jonathan as he was about to reveal his identity. How was he to know that she really was the child of Isaac Black and not an Enclave operative? Her knowledge of the Enclave was great and she was, by her own admission, an Enclave asset. Her reason for being left off the hook was shaky at best. How was he to know he wasn't falling into some trap? I'm already deep enough as it is. Might as well go all out.

"Or rather, proper introductions..." he let out a heavy sigh, took a deep breath, and continued. "My name is Jonathan Aristotle McKenna. Before the fall of Raven Rock, I was a member of the Enclave. Born into it. Wasn't exactly given much choice in the matter..." a small frown formed on Jonathan's face. He didn't like remembering those times. "W-Whatever the case, I didn't like it there. So, when Raven Rock was attacked and destroyed, I took it as chance for me to escape and restart with a clean slate."

A bitter chuckle escaped him, "How awfully optimistic of me. I, a vault rat through and through, was not prepared to face the dangers and harshness of the wasteland. At first, I struggled to stay alive, being left to starve and thirst for days at a time. Sleep didn't come as easily either. It's not easy to sleep where there is no shelter, where you could wake up with a radroach devouring your innards. So, after around two years of barely making ends meet, I eventually found myself joining a ragtag group of people, using my technological expertise as a means to stay viable to them. With some I got on well, with others... not so much. Anyway, I was with them for three years. It was there where I learned the basics of surviving in the wilds. Our parting was..."

Jonathan's face darkened again as he got to this part. "...You see, when I joined them, I gave them my real identity. Not smart. So, on my third year, where things weren't going very well and we had to ration, among other things, one of the people that didn't like me told the others that he had come in contact with a 'guy from the Enclave' and that they would be paid 'hoards of caps' if they were to bring me to him. Maybe that was true, maybe it wasn't. Some people sided with him, others refused. And, much like with all civilized discussions that reach a dead end, a fight broke out. And my side... lost."

He paused for a bit. Jim, Nicholas, Kate, Mary... Grabbing the glass with lemon juice, Jonathan drank it all the way down, and continued after wiping his mouth with his arm.

"So, we lost. I was stabbed in the gut and beat up. So much for taking me alive... As I was having the life beaten out of me, my assailants were swiftly disposed of with deadly efficiency"

He let out the best smile he could as he looked her in the eye "You see, it just so happened that your father was passing and saw the scene. He treated my wounds, gave me food, and offered me to join him as he went by his regular trading route. He was the one that recommended I went by with a fake identity to avoid drawing attention. He always looked at me as though he... understood all too well what I was going through... Heh. Guess it's pretty ironic, if you think about it... With that done, we parted ways here, in Springvale. He offered me a place to stay while I figured out what I was going to do, but I didn't want to encroach, given how much he looked forward to being back. I may have seen you from a distance while I left, but I'm not sure... So, to answer your question. If not for your father, I wouldn't be alive now." Whether that is a good thing is still up to debate.

"After leaving Springvale, I took your father's advice and ventured into inner DC. There, I lived..." he felt a little lightheaded, "on my own, scavenging. Supplies were easier to find and I also had some experience, so life had become much easier. Then..."

Another intense headache followed, this time spreading to his left eye. Jonathan rubbed both eye and head in hopes that at least a portion of his pain would be relieved. As the pain passed and he raised his head again, he saw something.

One blink and they were gone. More hallucinations. That's what sleep deprevation coupled with exhaustion does to you...

"Oh..." he said as his attention returned to Lucy, "Sorry, I'm tired, is all. As I was saying, I heard that the Enclave was back with a vengeance, and so decided to leave DC, fearing it would end up into a warring hellhole. That was four days ago. The journey wasn't easy. I run out of food during the process of leaving the city, so I was left to starve. I found a derelict house near the banks of the Podomac river and searched it for supplies, desperate as I were. While I found some, the place was occupied- By a Stealth-Boy using Super Mutant, no less. I managed to survive the encounter by causing the house to fall on it, but got pretty beat up in the process." as he reminded himself of that fact, his body started aching again, "...So, due to injuries and lack of supplies and given the proximity, I decided to come here, maybe find your father, rest a bit and be on my way again." So much for that plan... "Last night I was attacked by a deathclaw and a yao guai, but escaped as they apparently fought each other to see who would eat me. I run all night. That, coupled with my fatigue, starvation and thirst, left me in a pretty bad state. I stumbled my way around town until I made it here, passed out and... well, you know the rest."

Jonathan felt he still needed to explain to her about the GRP and his involvement, but decided to make sure she got the whole picture before continuing.

"So, before I continue... have you any questions, or anything else you want to say?"

Kristin - Springvale: During Lucy's chat

"Oh dear.", Kristin remarked as the barrel of Bob's hunting rifle had stopped oozing with cheese. Much like the soon-to-be-cleansed Bob, Kristin was putting his discarded equipment through a similar purification and cleaning process that he would experience later. "Silly weaponry, they have no faith. No faith at all. Bah! No matter! He who delivers post need not endure such weakness during their travels!"

It seemed that the BlamCo Jaw-Breaker snacks, essentially cheese with a hardening agent, had clogged the old rifle's barrel. (For some reason they had never caught on. Something about suffocation and intestinal blockage. Bah! Weakness!) Rendering it unusable as weapon, although it would now be wonderful for display purposes!
The even greater news is that Bob's cane was now decorated with promotional BlamCo stickers!

After noticing that the conversation outside had died down, Kristin dropped the bags of healing powder into the tub and rushed to the kitchen to prepare some light refreshments to tide her guests over. Popping outside, Kristin caught snippets of the rather serious conversation. Miss Black, her first acolyte, was in the process of explaining the story of her father to Bob, the Springvale postman.

Proud that Lucy hadn't teared up when they had taste-tested BlamCo Fire ant dip on their journey here. Kristin was proud that Lucy wasn't being a negative-nightkin right now when things had gotten personal with their guest. The eyepatched lady could be such a downer sometimes. (She could drive away potential customers! Didn't she know that this rugged-postman could possibly have ties to the criminal underworld? Even the most ruthless of thugs need creamy faith. So Kristin intends to set their bowels on the path to enlightenment.)

Keen on double-checking her preparations, Kristin popped back into the house as their conversation continued and resumed the creation of Bob's cleansing BlamCo bath.

This was...her own design.


Lucy - Springvale: Spit Your Sadness Away

Lucy was content to listen to Bo-...Jonathan Mckenna's story. At first she was wary when he had blatantly admitted to having direct ties to the Enclave, but Lucy softened as the story had reached the relevant parts that related to her father.

"...If not for your father, I wouldn't be alive now."

Lucy smiled at this, preemptively biting her lip slightly to prevent against a flood of tears, it was the first time someone had spoken about her father in such a personal manner. Not only that, but this Jonathan Mckenna person was directly referring to the Isaac Black she had grown up with, the kind man that took the form of her loving father over the years. Still, Jonathan was distraught at the news, while Lucy could only really feel a dull ache of melancholy. She had told her life story to so many others during her travels, it had almost become something of a routine.

"So, before I continue... have you any questions, or anything else you want to say?"

Lucy leaned forward, elbows on the table and proceeded to rub her temples as she processed the question. It was outwardly clear that she was physically tired, emotionally drained and somewhat irritable. Her irritability could be attributed to having her first day interrupted with the uprising of her past once more. Yet it was a shallow response, she was warming up to Jonathan, especially now that his true intentions for being here were revealed.

"If only...", Lucy slipped off the eyepatch, revealing her crimson eye and crumpled the eyepatch in a fist. "...you had arrived a few weeks ago. Maybe my mess would - ...so much could have been avoided."

With a sigh of frustration, Lucy bitterly replied. "It seems like we only knew fragments of my father, but I guess that's the best we can hope for." Lucy could feel a headache approaching.

Taking the chance to finish off the lemony drink, Lucy made a mental note to stock up on lemons, clearly Kristin had added something to the smooth purified water. With Kristin in mind, some odd sounds could be heard from the house. Running water, humming, clapping, smashing, grinding...

"Oh! Right...I didn't answer you." Lucy snapped back to attention. "Look, no offense, but I've done this before. The questions, the interrogations, the search for answers. I lost my eye, rifle and nearly my life on countless occasions doing so. I'm done."

The haggard female smiled softly at that point, looking genuinely pleased with everything she had heard. "I found what I was looking for, but it was nice that you came out all this way. Sorry that I wasn't the person you were looking for. Still, if there's anything else you want to ask, go ahead." Leaning back in her chair, Lucy gestured to the house. "Kristin took some of the things that you dropped inside. Like Father said, you're welcome to stay for a little. And...well...you are roughly his size, so his clothes...- !?"

No amount of heightened perception would have been able to anticipate what would happen next. An oversized bumper sword, decorated with gaudy stickers was flung from the nearby kitchen window. The old table stood no chance as it was cleaved in two with immense force, the hilt sparkled in the sunlight as the blade itself stood proudly in the ground between the two of them.

"The complementary BlamCo breakfast has come to an end!", declared a boastful voice from inside the house, growing closer as Kristin walked outside and stood behind Jonathan with her hands on her hips. Kristin raised an eyebrow at Lucy's shocked expression, "Do you not destroy your table once you are done with it? The East Coast is such a strange place!"


Bathtub - Springvale: Bubble bubble

Missy Bathtub had been thoroughly cleaned by a Creamy Empress. If Missy Tubs could talk, let alone have any semblance of sentience or even identify its own gender, she would most definitely be intrigued by the assortment of contents that dwelled within her watery depths. Healing powder, stimpacks, white cheese, crushed pies, ground cheesecakes, thick layers of dairy that bubbled on the surface...

This probably looked like a medical hazard. However, if Missy Bathtub knew a thing or two about Wasteland medicine, this bath would sufficiently heal any surface wounds, clean the pores and leave the body feeling rejuvenated the longer one soaked in the contents.

This was exceptionally lucky, since the Dairy Queen had possessed minimal medical knowledge, she had chosen each ingredient based on their smell alone...not on their effects.


Kristin - Springvale: Bathtime!

Kristin laid her hands on the postman's shoulders, clearly she was quite proud with herself, she was positively radiating with joy after seeing that her plates of food were empty.

"You may have rejected the first offering, but I understand that you were simply overwhelmed by the grace of our Gods. Nevertheless, you participated in the cleansing feast. Your colon is on it's way to enlightenment, yet your body..." Kristin tapped Bob's shoulders and sniffed his hair, "...has yet to be truly cleansed on the outside."

"I have prepared the bathing ceremony." Kristin walked to the kitchen window and pulled out a retractable stirring spoon, increasing it's length as she flicked it out like a baton. Kristin grinned widely. "You need not worry! I will be there to stir the blessed contents while you relax...lest they harden and encase your body in dairy-like stasis."

Springvale, Black Residence (cont.)

Jonathan felt anxious to continue as he stopped his tale. He felt a certain amount of responsibility; Lucy Black's suffering all stemmed from his work. If not for him, maybe her father...

He could feel his guilt growing as he looked at her; her red eye, now revealed from her taking her eyepatch off, felt like it was taunting him, constanly reminding him that this was all his fault.

"...so much could have been avoided."

His face grew grim as he faintly heard her bitter-filled response. Damn it all. Another life ruined thanks to him and damned work. It all would have been better if-

"It seems like we only knew fragments of my father, but I guess that's the best we can hope for."

Not bearing to look at her, he averted his gaze and looked at the house instead, hoping to keep his despair from swallowing him. There was a lot of noise coming from there, what could-?

No, now was not the time to think of trivialities. Jonathan had to make up to her somehow. But how? He would figure it out as he continued; there were things that needed to be said. Steeling himself, he prepared to continue his tale.

"Ms.-"

"Oh! Right...I didn't answer you. Look, no offense, but I've done this before. The questions, the interrogations, the search for answers. I lost my eye, rifle and nearly my life on countless occasions doing so. I'm done."

Jonathan was left at a loss of words at Ms. Black's unexpected response. She... didn't want to know? No, it was surely because she wasn't aware of what he wanted to say that she so casually dismissed the continuation of his tale. He had to make amends, and it was the only way to do so.

"Ms. Black, I-"

"You sure you want to do that?"

On the table, a familiar stranger reclined like a Roman at a feast, starring at Lucy.

"You heard her, right? What would you accomplish by telling her? She said she's done...People have a tendency to feel better when they choose to ignore reality, so why not let her do as she wishes? Are you doing this for her..." The stranger turned to face Jonathan; their eyes, though completely hidden by the sunglasses, felt piercing nonetheless. "...or are you doing this for you?"

A few moments passed in uncomfortable silence as the Stranger starred at Jonathan. Lucy Black was saying something about his things and some other stuff; Jonathan couldn't quite make it all out as his attention was completely taken by the Stranger. Then, suddenly, the Stranger jolted his head, facing the kitchen window and rapidly uttered "Watch-out-for-splint-"

Jonathan jumped up in surprise as a huge chunk of metal landed on the table, utterly crushing it; the Stranger was nowhere to be found either. Woah!

"The complementary BlamCo breakfast has come to an end!" bellowed the Ritterbrüder triumphantly as she exited the house, as though wanton destruction was something worth celebrating. "Do you not destroy your table once you are done with it? The East Coast is such a strange place!"

Though initially confused at the Halbbrüder's arbirtary show of force, Jonathan was shaken back to reality as she smashed her hand onto his shoulder.

"You may have rejected the first offering, but I understand that you were simply overwhelmed by the grace of our Gods. "

Offering? ...Gods?!

"Nevertheless, you participated in the cleansing feast. Your colon is on it's way to enlightenment, yet your body..."

Cleans- My body? W-whats wrong with-

Jonathan instinctively jumped back as the Druzhina sniffed at his hair. Her mannerisms had suddenly changed from being boisterous to being critisizing, just like before when he introduced himself as Bob. Was there a pattern to her personality, or did she randomly jump between various facets of it?

"...has yet to be truly cleansed on the outside."

Oh God. What is she going to do? Is she going to put me on a rack and torture me? A wheel? He stared as she closed her eyes and smilled. ...Please don't flay me? He threw glances at Lucy, his eyes giving off a pleading "Help me!"

"I have prepared the bathing ceremony."

Jonathan couldn't help but let out a heavy sigh of relief. A bath. She meant a freaking bath! How kind of her to prepare one on his behalf, even if the method she went about to make it known (surely there are better ways to call it than a ceremony) was creepy and nerve-racking...

"You need not worry! I will be there to stir the blessed contents while you relax...lest they harden and encase your body in dairy-like stasis."

...Of course she doesn't mean a simple bath. How could I even consider it? Normal baths are what normal people do.

With small but hurried steps, Jonathan approached Lucy.

"Um... could you maybe, um, perhaps, um, stop her from trying to, um, kill me, please?"

The Wild Wastelands | The Grisly Diner | Night Time
Coffeh Time with Henry!

Henry McGee had spent a fair time screaming and beating the Devil's infernal machination before he had resorted to pleading with and eventually sending its various rusty parts scattering across the floor of the ruined Diner and still the Grisly Diner's coffee machine was found to be beyond repair. Under his mask, Thomas' brother and former assassination target cursed himself for losing his temper as he crafted a fine mesh bag out of the human hair that had been provided by the Diner's former residents, a band of Raiders that were now locked in the walk-in.

Looking at his handiwork, Henry experimentally placed the ancient ground coffee beans into the fine mesh bag and dunked it in the purified and boiled water, watching as wisps of brown started swirling. Silently, he hoped that was the coffee grounds and not dirt from the hair before turning to the remainder of his find. Besides the Raiders and the mines that they had "strategically" planted around the Diner, there was box upon box of Blamco Mac n' Cheese, the sheer number of which made Henry almost scream out of terror. Since that small childhood incident between his brother and himself, Henry was deathly afraid of the starchy orange "cheesy" goop. He couldn't even look at art made of Elbow Macaroni without having a small fit of fear.

Despite his desire to burn the boxes of Blamco straight to the Six Hells, Henry had found a good use for them. He only needed a few test subjects, which he conveniently had stored in the walk-in.

"So... you ain't gonna kill me Mister?" The Raider Test Dummy that had been pulled out of the walk-in asked as he gave the Metal Faced Man a look of uncertainty coupled with distrust.

"No, I've decided that today is your lucky day, my friend. I've chosen you and you alone to be my messenger. I want you to tell your friends... whatever. Just go." Henry said impatiently before looking at his coffee, which was now a rich dark brown color, though he might not have made the mesh tight enough since it appeared that coffee grounds had infiltrated his coffee.

"Hey what's this!? Blamco? I love Blamco!" Yelled the Raider Test Dummy off in the distance.

BOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

"OMG! I'M BLIND!!!! ARRRRGH MY LEGS!!!! IT BURNS!!!!" Screamed the Raider Test Dummy off in the distance after tripping the BlamClaymore, a claymore that had been stuffed with Blamco "Cheese" powder and elbow macaroni and inserted in the Blamco box. It was quite the ideal weapon for disabling and wounding targets rather than blowing them up outright. He could sell it to the Slavers out of Paradise Falls or use them to collect more test subjects to experiment on. Smiling to himself, Henry took a sip of coffee.

COUGH COUGH COUGH The Masked Man hacked and spit out the coffee before looking into his coffee cup. The black coffee grounds that he had noted earlier were now swimming around the rich brown liquid.

Shrugging to himself, Henry took another sip, swallowing the coffee and the fleas.

"Ahhhhhh. That's a good cup."

Citadel Outskirts

'You're a bloody idiot Charlie,' the young man thought as he clasped his hand over his forearm, restricting the flow of blood as best he could. He pointedly tried to ignore the chunck of rubble painfully lodged just above his wrist. Honestly what had possessed him to throw that grenade in such a confined environment? Sheer lunacy.

At least he'd managed to protect Sylph. That brought a brief smile to his face until he looked at the girl in question. The look of rage and drawn back fist quickly turned that smile into a look of confusion. He'd never have expected such a reaction from the eccentric motormouth.

"Oi! It huurrts. It hurrrts!"

Luckily for Charlie and unluckily for Sylph, the mangled remains remains of the Mirelurk Emperor latched onto her ankle, bleating with pain. Charlie watched uncomfortably as Sylph stood up and brutally staked the oversized crustacean down with a cold fury. Buchanan helped the lad to his feet as Sylph took one of his grenades and force-fed it to the Emperor before turning away.

"Let's go."

Nodding hesitantly Charlie followed the girl alongside Buchanan away from the alley, the sound of one final explosion echoing in their wake. The two men looked at each other, unsure what to make of their strange companion. Shrugging bemusedly, Buchanan pulled a roll of bandages from somewhere within his hulking suit of armour and offered it to Charlie.

"Here, use these to patch yourself up. Once we stop I'll take a closer look at it, you'll survive until then."

Nodding gratefully, Charlie took them and began winding them around the wound as they walked, not paying attention to the direction they were heading.

The Wild Wastelands | Citadel Outskirts | Camp | Evening
Sylph

It seemed that Buchanan and Charlie Cannon [1] didn't have a ghost of a hint in regards to what they had on their hands. There was a good reason why Sylph was becoming known in the Wastelands as the Red Menace, The Blue Haired Bitch, The Crazy Scary Girl, The Mad Hatter of Murder, The Pez Dispenser of Destruction and The Little Red Riding Hood of Revenge. It also helped that there was an blue haired army of scatterbrained, speech impedimented clones staccatoing her name every second of every day. So why Buchanan and Charlie Cannon [2] had no idea that they were sharing camp with an extremely grumpy Gus is beyond my capacity to comprehend.

While Buchanan was busy patching up Charlie Cannon, The Provider of Painful Punishments had started a fire and had began warming up the evening's meal. If there was any doubt as to what was on the menu that night, it should be known that there was an over abundance of Mirelurk Meat, most of which had already been cooked by their cause of death, be it explosion or searing laser blast.

As the Mirelurk meat sizzled over the roaring flames, Sylph watched as Buchanan stitched up Charlie Cannon's forearm, the younger of the two grimacing from either the pain or the sight of blood, Sylph neither knew nor cared. What she did know was that it provided the opportunity for her to go clean the caked on blood and gore that had found its way on Sylph's clothing. Grabbing a piece of Mireluk knuckle off of the makeshift spit, the Hobbyist of Homicide meandered off into the outskirts of the camp, away from the fire and prying eyes, Sylph stripped off the uniform and started cleaning the clothing in a nearby pool of water that had collected in what was once a residential fountain.

Examining the clothing, Sylph could find no hint of the clothes origins. There wasn't even a tag informing her what size the clothing was or even care instructions. Thankfully, for Charlie Cannon's sake, the uniform had been treated with Scotch Guard and didn't absorb too much blood or muck. Laying out her clothing to dry, Sylph gnawed on a bit of the knuckle.

BUUUUUUUUUURP! Sylph burped as she enjoyed the buttery sweetness of the Mirelurk meat, despite the Radiation it was imparting to her body. It could have been the ass end of a Deathclaw, Sylphy would have enjoyed it, so long as it wasn't more Rad Scorpion Meat.

Speaking of Rad Scorpions, Sylph remembered that there was a Rad Scorpion in her backpack... which was all the way back in the Citadel, along with the rest of her equipment. She made a note to tell the others that she needed to make a return trip to the Citadel. After that, she had no idea what she was going to do with herself... other than witness the ensuing carnage and mayhem once she placed her choker back on.

"The food should be fully cooked by now!" She called out to the others over her shoulder as she continued to wait for her clothing to dry.

"It may be a bit burnt!" She added as the smell of food just starting to burn filled the air.

[1] Hey! Buchanan and Charlie Cannon sorta rhyme! Wait... Sylph? What're you doing? No! Oh god! My SPLEEN! No!!! OUCH!!!!
[2] No more! Please! Just let me tell the story Sylph!

The Wild Wastelands | Enclave B.A.R.N. | Evening Time
The Wasteland Royale

Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 aka Enclave Dominator #209 aka E.D. 209 was bored and when he was bored, things didn't run very smoothly in quite a few ways. Firstly, the cleanliness Enclave Barn-like Advanced Recon Nest had suffered dramatically. Rather than the sterile and efficient work space that the Enclave were famous for, and probably OCD about, there were beer cans, discarded ration containers, condom wrappers, spent micro fusion cell casings and what was most probably human entrails littered the command room floor. Secondly, there had been a rash of mysterious disappearances of Enclave Personnel, something that E.D. #209 swore that he knew nothing about. But we'll elaborate on that little tidbit later. Thirdly, the B.A.R.N. no longer seemed like a random barn in the middle of the Wastelands. There were no longer any Brahmin tranquilly grazing about the perimeter... actually, there was nothing that had a pulse that dared enter the perimeter of the B.A.R.N. Instead, there were random piles of dust and green goop in there stead. Even the birds that occasionally rested on the B.A.R.N.'s roof knew not to enter dropping distance of the mysterious structure.

All of this was happening because E.D. #209 was bored. He'd purged the area of Raider activity. He'd purged the area of any wandering Caravans that happened to drift too closely. He'd purged the area of anything moving... hell... even inanimate objects weren't immune to E.D. #209's boredom. So he spent his time staring, like he was doing now. What was he staring at? Well he was staring at the slumbering form of his Unit's newest addition, Enclave Recon Specialist #999. Creepy, yes?

Enclave Recon Specialist #999 was used to sleeping in his armor. It was something that they trained all Enclave Recon Specialists to do in Enclave Recon Specialist training. If one were to sleep in their armor, one would always be ready to move out at the first sign of danger or in the event that they bore witness to some critical event and needed to report back to base. They were trained to find comfort in their armor and to think of it as a second skin so it was particularly strange for Enclave Recon Specialist #999 to find himself sleeping without any armor... or clothing on.

"Wh-WHAT?!" The startled Enclave Recon Specialist exclaimed as he looked at his naked skin for the first time in years, feeling particularly vulnerable and agoraphobic. Checking himself over, he found that he wasn't fully naked. When he ran his hands over his neck, he found that there was a bomb collar that had been attached to his neck.

"Wait... WHAT?!" The panicked Enclave Recon Specialist exclaimed as he tried to pull on the collar, only to find it welded together, its latch immobilized and unyielding to the Enclave Recon Specialist's soft skin. If that wasn't bad enough, there was the fact that Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 was staring at him.

"Uhhh... what?" The creeped out Enclave Recon Specialist asked.

"Shhhhhhh, fuckface. Quiet down. You'll wake everyone up." E.D. #209 said, "We wouldn't want that would we, fuckface?"

"Why're you calling me fuckface? My designation is Enclave Recon Specialist #999." #999 responded indignantly.

"Oh chill out, fuckface. You recruits all get nicknames when you join the Enclave Dominators. I mean it's part of the bonding process." #209 said, grinning under his helmet.

"But... I don't wanna join the Enclave Dominators. What the hell is an Enclave Dominator?"

"Why is it that you guys keep claiming to never've never heard of us? It's not like our deeds aren't unknown to all you plebes. Don't you know who discovered that the Vertibird Mk II had a flaw in the auto navigation system?"

"Wait... now I know who you are! You're the idiots who shot out the auto navigation system in the prototype because the touch screen was too small for your fat fingers!!!!"

"See? Every Vertibird should have a navigation system that can withstand a sustained 500 energy rounds per second from an Enclave MG-486DX66. If our the rest of the Wasteland knew that flaw in the Vertibird Mk. II, think of the damage they could achieve by shooting out the navigation systems, fuckface!"

"You're an idiot."

"And you've got a bomb collar strapped to your neck, fuckface."

"Touche. Could you please stop calling me that? It's profane!"

"Sure can't, fuckface."

"Whatever. So what're you going to do to me now? You know I can't let this go unreported."

"Spirit night, fuckface. You get to experience spirit night with your fellow recruits."

BWOOP!

Enclave Dominator #209 pushed a button on his wrist mounted B.A.R.N. remove commander, causing a hidden wall panel to open, displaying the contents inside, all the other requisitioned Enclave personnel that had been assigned to the B.A.R.N. in the last month.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, so glad you all could join fuckface and myself! Welcome to Spirit night. As you can see, you all have bomb collars strapped to your neck. Don't try to take them off, they'll blow up and take your head clean off. Allow me to demonstrate." #209 said as he pushed another button on his wrist, turning on a view screen. The image on the screen showed a Raider with the same exact looking bomb collar strapped to his neck and like the other Enclave Dominator recruits, he was stark naked as well.

BOOOOOOOOOOM! went the bomb collar, taking not only the Raider's head off, but most of his upper torso as well.

"So. Here's the deal. We're going to set you free and each of you is going to get a randomized set of equipment. Some of you will have useful items. Some of you, not to useful items." #209 stated as he pulled a spatula out of Enclave Recon Specialist #999's bag, "Kinda like fuckface here."

"Your goal is to be the last one standing in 48 hours. Failure to do so well result in... well you know. This event will start in 30 minutes. So grab your bags and move out!" #209 roared, causing the captive Enclave Personnel to grab their bags and rush out the B.A.R.N.

Watching them leave, #209 started laughing under his helmet, a laughter that was soon joined by his pal and fellow Enclave Dominator #765.

"Think you should have told them we loaded their collars with confetti and red paint?" #765 asked.

"Naw! I'm sure they'll find out sooner or later."

'Tis the season...

Three Enclave soldiers were fixing a vertibird.

#76: God, I hate this work...

#32: I wish we had some better parts from the base.

#457: Well, there's no sense wishing for something that won't come true, so keep working while I stand watch.

Yes, three Enclave soldiers in the wasteland, pretty normal day for this place... Suddenly, they heard the sound of...bells. Not just any bells, sleigh bells. The three of them got up from their work and looked around. What did they spy from over that hill than something moving with a...Santa hat. Could it be true? Was it even possible? Was it even December?

#32: I can't believe it! It's Santa Cl- Ohhh...that's not...

Dashing through the sand, on a robot open sleigh... It came drawn by a plethora of Mr. Gutsy robots, all rambling on about the war and patriotism. The sleigh was metal and had wheels on it. Driving the thing was NOT the jolly one...per se. He was big and jolly and he had the right hat, but he was a green super mutant... The mutant wore armor made of tires and was fairly-large for his size. Not a Behemoth or a Duper, but just a chunky sort of a mutant. He stepped out of the sleigh to look over the dumbfounded soldiers, then spoke...

Santa Kirk: Santa's Log, Stardate Two-Five-Nine-Eight-Twelve-Nine-Seven-Two-Seven-Eight-Two-Two-Two...Six. Have spotted three men in armor and will proceed to yuletide the hell out of them.

Normally, that might be considered a good thing, but he pulled out a big goddamn minigun and GRINNED.

Santa Kirk: You've been bad little boys! You get nothing but LEAD!

He opened fire, first at them to make them take cover, then at the vertibird, which had an exposed engine!

#457: Oh shit, it's going to-

BOOOOOOOOOOMMMM!!!

And Santa Kirk got onto his sleigh after putting away his gun. He started up the Gutsies and he cried their names.

Santa Kirk: On Basher! On Panzer! On Boggart and Vincent! Go Comet! Go Ripper! And Donna Dixon! Get a move on, all of you! We have to save Christmas! HO HO HO HO HOOO!!!

And they all flew off with jet propulsion, away from the smoldering vehicle and towards...who knows?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the REALLY Wild Wasteland!

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

And now, back to our show, already in progress.

Evan: So, here is the plan...

He drew a circle in the sand for Ferdinand and Dudley to look at as his visual demonstration, poking in a dot, a bigger dot, the rubble they were standing behind, and three dots indicating their position. Obviously, the two other dots indicated Metal Gear Box and FalloutScott.

Evan: Now, that soldier is looking a bit out of it. Judging by the landscape, I'd say he was in one-on-one combat with somebody, possibly Frank Rose. Since neither he nor the robot looks particularly exploded, it's safe to assume Frank lost or got driven off or got bored. We dunno. He's not taking my calls, in any case. Now, at this time, the Enclave believes Dudley and I to be Enclave Assets, agents working undercover for them, Ferd. We were posing as weapons dealers, and although they know I'm also a Vault Dweller, they can't know we actually work for the Brotherhood of Steel. We should confront this man like we still work for him and have found a recruit.

He then pulls out a small rod-like device that looks like it involved Stun Baton parts.

Evan: The idea is to get close enough to use this Powersuit Destabilizer on him, make it much harder for him to move or act because hs suit will deactivate, maybe even lock in place and stun him. There are two things we have to do first, though. We have to send the robot on a mission so it can't support him...and we have to be right behind him to use it, as close to the suit's generator as possible. When we confront him, try to wander around a bit, looking at rocks or the robot or anything so you can get behind him, Ferd. Dudley and I will be talking Enclave stuff and trying to get him to send the robot to Old Onley after the Uber Mutant. When the robot is gone, I want you to talk to him, ask him anything that comes to mind like you're interested in the Enclave. Get him to turn his back on us so I can zap him and we can take him back to base.

That was all well and good, but what they didn't know that William Knight would be arriving right in the middle of it...and Evan didn't know that he was alive.

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

It was another bright and sunny Wasteland day down at Project Purity, home of the clean water provided by the Lone Wanderer some years back. Enclave Paladin Calvin was had pulled main gate guard duty during the poker game last night, and so he was the one to see...a large group of cloaked ghouls led by a strange man and a...and a...walrus-man?!

Calvin: I have GOT to leave those Frosted Sugar Bombs alone...

He got on the radio to his friend and cohort, Corporal Hobbes.

Calvin: Hello, Hobbes? Hobbes! We have a problem at the main gate.

Hobbes: What is it?

Calvin: I think scientific progress just went 'boink'. There's a walrus leading a bunch of ghouls here and I think they belong to that cult.

Hobbes: What do they want?

Crawver: Oh, hello. We seek refuge in the place of wet from the deranged sect of the cult, actually. Would you like to hear about it?

Abe: Want a bit of Abe's special medicine?

Calvin: I...think they're okay. Lemme get back to you.

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

At first, the battle appeared to be fairly even, Garys VS Sylphys while both leaders - Natsuki and Gary King - got lost in the shuffle, trying to kill as many of their opposition as possible. And then, after a while, Constance executed the plan, causing the Sylphys to...well...at first, the Garys thought they were in-fighting, but then they began to divide... Oh, the horror... That was when the King called out for snipers and they began to BOOM HEADSHOT a number of the Sylphys from the windows and rooftop of the Super Duper Mart! To even the odds, Natsuki began to user her plasma rifle on full auto while keeping all attackers from getting at her with her vectors. This was funny, in that Gary King took a flying leap with his sword and bounced right off! Still anybody's game, though...

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

The Deathclaws didn't attack Talion because they were experiencing something they had never felt before: Confusion. Remember, these guys will attack anything that moves, living or robotic. However, the fight involving the Uber Mutant and the sniper with the Batman grappling hooks had thrown them a bit weird, and that was why that happened. The former Donald Q. Bastion did indeed barely notice the cyborg justice man as he tried to go after Davd Davidson. It was only when the stabbing and the climbing happened that he let out an-

"OWWW!!!"

-and proceeded to try shaking him off, all while strangely his body was almost trying to suck him in! But unlike an organic being who might be crushed or absorbed, Talion could just power through and make better progress. Maybe he'd even have his own music playing.

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

Larry looked at the strange battle that had revealed itself to him and Malkos. The mirelurks weren't much to be concerned with especially with Malkos with him, he was definitely going to do something about the man in the enclave armour but he had very conflicting ideas about what to do with the plant, on one hand it was clearly dangerous but at the same time it was a plant that was able to grow in the nuclear wasteland. He had to stop it but not destroy it. Larry ran towards the bridge, signalling Malkos to come with him and shouted 'First don't shoot the deathclaw he's with me and secondly what do you know about big green over there!' as Larry ran he readied his scalpel shot.

The helmetless Enclave soldier had tensed at the approach of a Deathclaw, but now he had sort of an arched eyebrow stare for a moment as he continued to keep at the big plant with his rifle. He decided to give this one the benefit of the doubt until one of them tried to kill him.

Number 6: The plant seemed to grow from the walking corpse-plants that GNR s calling 'Scarecrows'. They're some sort of vicious rad-plant, so naturally the Potomac is giving it great nourishment.

He said so with a certain irritation. He must've seen this happen or simply had a good deal of understanding on the matter. Now, there was a scowl on his face as he pressed them for answers.

Number 6: Who are you? What side are you on?

"I am not aware of having a side, except for the survival of my species."

Larry looked at the strange battle that had revealed itself to him and Malkos. The mirelurks weren't much to be concerned with especially with Malkos with him, he was definitely going to do something about the man in the enclave armour but he had very conflicting ideas about what to do with the plant, on one hand it was clearly dangerous but at the same time it was a plant that was able to grow in the nuclear wasteland. He had to stop it but not destroy it. Larry ran towards the bridge, signalling Malkos to come with him and shouted 'First don't shoot the deathclaw he's with me and secondly what do you know about big green over there!' as Larry ran he readied his scalpel shot.

The helmetless Enclave soldier had tensed at the approach of a Deathclaw, but now he had sort of an arched eyebrow stare for a moment as he continued to keep at the big plant with his rifle. He decided to give this one the benefit of the doubt until one of them tried to kill him.

Number 6: The plant seemed to grow from the walking corpse-plants that GNR is calling 'Scarecrows'. They're some sort of vicious rad-plant, so naturally the Potomac is giving it great nourishment.

He said so with a certain irritation. He must've seen this happen or simply had a good deal of understanding on the matter. Now, there was a scowl on his face as he pressed them for answers.

Number 6: Who are you? What side are you on?

"I am not aware of having a side, except for the survival of my species."

Hearing what the man had to say about the plant made Larry quickly realise that this is someone who knows things. Someone who knows things and is well armed is someone to tread lightly around.

"And I do what's best for the wasteland. For example I am helping Malkos, the deathclaw, with his attempt to civilise the deathclaws of the wasteland and starting a communication channel with his tribe and humans. I have a question would you say that if we could isolate a sample of this plant that you would know someone or know how to find out about someone who could use the sample to make a less dangerous but equally fertile plant, allowing the wasteland to become green again and no longer be the wasteland. Or is this going to be a case of burn it with fire?"

While Larry said that he made sure not to get too close to the man as this could unnerve him and Larry didn't want to get into a fight with this man right now.

Know things? This man was only somewhat fazed by the talking part of the Deathclaw before him. He must have awareness in spades. However, Larry's question seemed to irritate him somewhat.

Number 6: Isolate a sample? That's as easy as blasting off a piece of this thing or capturing a Scarecrow. The Brotherhood of Steel have acquired one already. I heard that on the radio, as well. However, they haven't a chance. You need a micro-biologist, a botanist, a geneticist... The kind that they have, in the Enclave Vault. The kind they have working on Project Re-GECK.

He took this moment to lower his gun...and toss a grenade! It hit the plant and exploded with plasma, burning up a good chunk of the plant and sending parts of it all over. A few were on the bridge now.

Number 6: There's your sample. I'm not going back. They tried to put a number on me, but I am not a number! I'm a free man!

Good to know?

Finding out that the brotherhood already had a sample made picking one up kinda pointless for Larry, but he did so anyway in order not to give away to this man his alliances yet. As whichever side this man had troubles with it could be on par with Larry's if not worse.

'So do you think a fire grenade would be enough to start a big enough fire to cause this thing to fully ignite and burn to the ground? Because if it is I would definitely get one where it needs to go for it to do that.'

There seemed to be less activity at the moment, the plant needing to recover from plasma blowing up and cauterizing part of its 'body'.

Number 6: Fire would be effective...were it not partially underwater. In this case, a strong defoliant in an active solution would be the answer.

"What created these plants?"

Number 6: Nature, such as it is.

Larry looked at the plant, 'I am pretty sure that thing's not natural, or at least I hope it's not.' Larry paused for a moment turning back to the man 'Another question, your plan sounds like a solid idea, but to you have any defoliant, or stuff to make it. Otherwise we might just have to burn as much as we can, and then blow up the rest and hope for the best'

Number 6: Sadly, it was never my department. As of now, I am focused upon destroying this one myself, and I believe I can do it. The issue right now is that there will be more of them. I was referring to 'rad-nature', radioactive mutation. Go on and take care of this. I will not be following. My life is my own now.

The Deathclaw had always been taught that the Enclave was evil, but...this man was no longer of them, despite his black armor and firepower. Therefore, he - at least - would not be culled...

"I agree with going, unless there is more that you need."

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

Now was probably a bad time for Thomas/Shifty to be drinking and dropping magazines into water. For, as Arizona would observe...a Mirelurk arose with the magazine in its mouth! Oh, and look! He's brought friends! Fan-fucking-tastic...

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

Well, at least the Mirelurk problem HERE was taken care of. Between Buchanan, Charlie, and Sylphy...there had been a great ruckus and killing of things. This allowed them to enjoy some semblance of peace...or did it? Out of nowhere, they heard sleigh-bells junglng, and something LARGE rocketed overhead with a "Merry Christmas! HO HO HO HO HOOO!!" that sounded like a super mutant laughing. Gift-wrapped packages dropped before them in a pile, three of them. There weren't any labels, though, so you couldn't tell which was for whom...and that was kind of important when you consider the fact that they contained a rocket launcher, a Big Book of Science, and a...Deathclaw plushie?

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

All this time, there had been a man staring at the outside of the Black Residence from across the street, watching the exchange between Lucy, Kristin, and Jonathan. Was he yet another Enclave operative, either in or out of a powersuit? NO! It was none other than the REAL Postman, whose name was - in fact - Bob. He uhhh...decided to give this location a miss for a while...maybe let a neighbor bring over the girl's mail. Now, which ones were still alive...?

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

The return to base a hard one, since the Stinger's engines were still half-cooked from the damage and the jury-rigging. Nevertheless, FalloutJack returned to the Enclave base. Out in the courtyard, Bob was training some guys with his sword. He took him aside and they pulled off helmets to take a break and a breath of 'fresh' air.

FalloutJack: Say, Bob... Did you ever question or wonder about the orders I gave you to kill Isaac?

FalloutBob: Not really. I'm a blood-soaked master of combat and you're a decent guy. I figured you ordered me because you'd never be able to do it yourself.

FalloutJack: Yeah, but if you were that much on the ball, why didn't you let it go?

FalloutBob: Because you asked me to do it, and you did so knowing that he was going to ruin everything. I don't mind blackening the soul with violence and death, and I wanted to see what we'd make out of the girl...

He meant Lucy Black, of course.

FalloutJack: Well, that's all over with. I've released her from her responsibilities. You heard the report, right?

FalloutBob: Yeah, yeah... You think maybe I could stop for tea or something, maybe?

FalloutJack: I think that that would be an extraordinarily bad idea.

FalloutBob: 'Kay. Oh, by the way... You got a package. It was air-dropped by someone that might've been Santa Claus...

He looked at him, wondering if this this was Bob with dementia, but no... He held out ths crazily-wrapped package with 'NOT A BOMB' stamped on it. Curious, he opened it up and looked inside.

FalloutJack: ...the fuck?

Inside was a 1/100 scale model of Big O. Why the hell would anybody give him this? What the hell did it mean...?

[OOC: Point of Order - I couldn't get in touch with Nuba for a post he'd been working on. When I can, I will add it directly here or do an extra update if he just posts it.]

The Wild Wastelands | Citadel Outskirts | A Camp
Twas the Night Before Sylph-mas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the camp
Not a creature was stirring 'cept a crimson clad scamp
With all the snoring and turning from Charlie Cannon
All Sylph wanted was to cover smother him till his life did abandon
Knight Bucannon was nestled and snug in his roll
While visions of Mirelurks and Dynamite tortured his soul
With some cotton in her ear Sylph did settle down
While sitting at the perimeter making her rounds
When up in the sky there was a giant boom
Like a foreboding demon announcing their doom.
Sylph sprang from her post with a rock in hand
Or maybe a dirt clod made of radioactive sand
The outskirts of camp was blackened by night
Sylph would not be killed without a fight
When in the sky what to Sylph's eyes did appear
But a gigantor sleigh and eight gigantor rein-deer
Commanded by a captain so lively and but with a quirk
He wasn't Saint Nick to it must've been Santa Kirk
More rapid than Death Claws his coursers they came
And he whistled, and shouted and called them by name:
On Basher! On Panzer! On Boggart and Vincent!
Go Comet! Go Ripper! And Donna Dixon!
"Get a move on... WATCH OUT FOR THAT WALL!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
Without a roof, you'd think it would be sad
To not get a gift and think you were bad
But to Sylph's surprise what did she see
A bombing run by sleigh as quick as could be
With a Thud and a Crunch the boxes did land
Until they rested and were held by Sylph's little hands
Ripping off the paper with no names in sight
She saw a Deathclaw plushy mush to her delight
Looking up in the sky Sylph waved at the man
Who had given Sylph her first Christmas in this land
Now you'd think I'd be lying if you think Sylph waved
But you know she's not all bad, she can be saved.
So sleep now all and think on the tale
Now bad to the story that I will cease to derail.


The Crimson Menace was unused to seeing such apparitions and rubbed her eyes to clear them of what was clearly a hallucination brought on by sleep deprivation. Sylphy rarely slept, it was an act that was either above her or below her or just something that had never occurred to the Rouge Lunatic of the Wastes to do voluntarily and so it was up to Sylph to catch up on the sleep that the two had missed. Of course, given their current location in the Wild Wastelands, the hallucination did not go away. There were three items that had been airdropped by Jolly Old Saint Kirk. One was a Rocket Launcher. The Second was a Big Book of Science. The third was the strangest of things, a plush replica of the Wasteland Widow Maker, the Deathclaw.

Clearly the Deathclaw plushie was meant for her since it had landed closest to her. The DC Destroyer stared at the toy she had in her hands and hazarded a glance at the Bazooka and the Big Book of Science that had landed nearby, more specifically, at the Bazooka that had landed nearby. It wasn't that she was ungrateful for a gift, any gift, a weapon that threw out explosions like a sex worker threw out STDs was more up Sylph's alley. She was almost red with envy. However, there was quite a bit of thought put into this particular gift and it was the sort of thing her annoying other side of the coin would like.

The Scourge of the Citadel let out a brief but exhausted sigh as she brought the gifts back with her to the campfire, tucking the Rocket Launcher into Charlie Cannon's sleeping roll with him and tucking the Big Book of Science under Knight Buchanan's head before settling down on the lone piece of furniture the camp had to offer, a blackened scorched piece of driftwood.

Under the light of the campfire, Sylph examined the gift that Saint Kirk had so generously given her. The Deathclaw plush toy seemed normal enough, if not a bit heavy for being stuffed full of fluff, though she had no real reference on how heavy plush toys should have been. It would have been annoying to Sylph to have to drag the thing with her on her travels were it not for the magnets that had been sewn into the hands and feet of the toy, allowing it to act as a backpack. Undoubtedly there would be many a Raider that would find the sight of a young girl giving a plush deathclaw an adorable sight, right before they made the unfortunate decision to get themselves killed.

Trying it on, the Deathclaw felt comforting, like a hug from some Gauss rifle wielding woman long since forgotten, or recently forgotten as the case may be. The Murderer of Mirelurks noted that the Deathclaw tail lay close to her hands, stiff and heavy, waiting for her to pull on it. [1] A closer examination of the Deathclaw's stiff tail revealed a surprise, a nice and sharp shank, perfect of plunging into an enemy's orifice or making a new one. The shanker's blade had been lovingly crafted by one of Santa Kirk's more sadistic to look like a deathclaw's tongue coming out from its mouth, a fact that made Sylph almost sort of smile.

This was not the plush's only secret for Sylph to discover. There was a sensation that she had felt on her back since putting on the Plushie backpack. At first she dismissed it as her not being used to wearing something as ridiculous as this but she soon recognized the sensation of something crawling on her back.

Whipping her gift off of her back and onto the ground, she noticed that the belly of the toy seemed to be moving, as if something was alive inside of it. Something with multiple legs and very, VERY angry. A secondary search of the toy revealed an opening at the back of the toy's ridiculously toothy grin, an opening that allowed access to the items stored in its belly. Reaching through the Plushclaw's gullet revealed four items that had been placed inside.

One wrist mouthed blade, one Gifted Katana, one footlocker key and a very very angry Mister Pinchy, the stringerless Rad Scorpion that Sylphy kept as a pet. Mister Pinchy, as per his name implied did the only thing an Angry Rad Scorpion could do. He pinched Sylph's finger.

"Ooooww!" Sylph exclaimed as she flicked the infernal beast away from her, sending it flying onto one slumbering face of one Charlie Cannon.


The Wild Wastelands | Traveling
Mirelurks, Mirelurks Everywhere and not a Shell Cracker to spare

If this was Santa Kirk's idea of a gift for Thomas and the Old One, Arizona, surely he should have left a gift receipt for the reluctant duo. Of course that would leave the remaining issue of where one would be able to return a fanatically angry horde of Green and Red Mirelurks just waiting to turn the two into their Christmas time yule logs. Now why on Earth would these Christmas-Lurks be green as well as red?

Well, As a result the unseasonably warm weather for December in Washington DC, an algae bloom, known as Red Tide, formed in the Potomac River, home to a majority of the DC Lurk population. The algae found that the green tinged shell of the native Lurk was an ideal surface to cling to and grow on. As a result of this event, we get the Lurks that we see scuttling towards The Former Undertaker of the East and his Ancient Compatriot, Arizona.

If one consults the Wasteland Guide to Survival, given the current situation that the two faced themselves in, the ideal response would have been to either retreat OR if they had enough firepower, repel the Horde of Santa's Lurky Helpers. It was unfortunate that Thomas had never read the Wasteland Guide to survival and was Seven Sheets to the Wind and as a result, his response was thus when he bumped into the armor plated chest of the Lead Christmas Lurk.

Ker-Shhhhhhhhh

Apparently the Formerly Sober Neighborhood Undertaker thought it a good idea to use the shell of the Christmas-Lurk to open his bottle. It was not as demonstrated by the Lurk's attempt at sending Thomas flying backwards in the air.

"Heeeey. Old Oneee? Dere's a Lurk in the road." Thomas exclaimed after unintentionally ducking the blow, he had dropped the bottle cap, which was still currency last he checked. Let's also add insult to injury as Thomas had the Lead Lurk over the head with his bottle... a reasonable though still saddening waste of alcohol, before beating a quick retreat backwards to grab his rifle from Arizona.

"Thanx!" The Pale White Ghost of the Wastes said as he shouldered the rifle, took aim and fired.

CLANK! Went the first bullet as it hit the Christmas-Lurk center of mass

THUD! Went the Christmas-Lurk as the second bullet went in through the creatures head and started bouncing around the thing's armored cavity, cutting a swath of gore as it traveled.

No time to celebrate, Thomas, here come the Lurk's friends from Santa Kirk's workshop.

[1] Ew ew ew dirty dirty dirty

Kristin - Springvale: Rub-a-dub-dub, BlamCo in the tub!

Bob, even with a belly full of BlamCo jelly, was still as skittish as a mole rat on fire. (Legal Disclaimer: BlamCo (TM) Food Productions & The Blamco family do not endorse the abuse/riding of mole rats. No mole rats were harmed in the making of this analogy.) The postman with no post had done nothing but treat Kristin with wariness. Upon arrival, he had thrown her food back into his own face (And not in the good way!), subjected the consumption altar to his unwashed elbows and now he was blatantly ignoring her by seeking refuge with a stunned Lucy Black.

"Um... could you maybe, um, perhaps, um, stop her from trying to, um, kill me, please?"

Oh dear.

"Mister Bob. May I call you Bob? - No matter. I will call you Bob.", Concerned yet highly determined to allow another to join the righteous cause, Kristin effortlessly pulled her sword from the ground, only to raise the blade above her head and plant the mass of metal mere centimeters from Bob's feet.

It all made sense now. Bob was obviously starstruck. Meeting the Heiress to the Illustrious Cheddar Conglomerate will do that to a person. This man would require a grand gesture.

With her hands wrapped around the hilt, the self-proclaimed 'knight' took a knee before the man that delivered post.

"Hear me now, Postman that carries no post!", behind the hilt of the blade, the long silver hair had covered the face of the knight in a very rare moment of humility. "You will indeed die today. That is the indisputable truth. Your stomach-lining and colon will scream for the first time, the very first layer of your flesh will be stripped and your soul will atone for its negligence. FRET NOT! Think of it not as a bodily cleansing, but as your spiritual rebirth, resurrection, rebuild and reconstruction!" ...okay, so 'humility' may have been pushing it slightly (Okay okay, it was a lie). This was more about presenting the truth in the only way that Kristin knew how: theatrically.

Pausing to lay a hand over her heart, Kristin's voice returned to that of a more neutral tone, throughout her impassioned speech it was clear that her raw enthusiasm was nigh impossible to curb. So Kristin had stopped with her subtleties.


Spreading her arms with great gusto, Princess BlamCo made a declaration that could pierce the Creamy Cloudy Heavens:

" Have You Forgotten Who I Am !? "



For in that moment, the very Sun itself shined ever brighter to allow sunlight to refract off of her steel armour reinforcements. Making her declaration that much more potent.

"I am no ordinary BlamCo Heiress. I have travelled far in order to spread the gospel of Blamcoism. It is my sworn duty to honour what was written by the Gods of Dairy.", Kristin raised her head to directly meet the gaze of that which possessed no post. "I am BlamCo's only Princess!"

Rising once more with a tilted head and her sword in hand, the Princess fruitlessly scanned the man's aura for any lactose intolerance. Odd...she knew nothing of aura's. Bah! Pseudoscience!

"Since this is the East Coast, a Princess is nothing without her lord-in-waiting! Hence the preparatory cleansing bath, what say you?", That was highly rhetorical since Kristin had already wrapped her arms around the man's waist, hoisting him up from behind and she started to awkwardly shuffle towards the house with Bob in a stiff plank-like position. Passing an awestruck and recovering Lucy Black, the tiny woman had one thing to say to the current cargo Bob: "Do you honestly think anyone can make her stop? Ugh...I have to clean up this mes -...."

The voice grew distant as Kristin transported Bob to the Bubbling-BlamCo-Bathtub, 'pungent' as an aroma would be kind at best and it wouldn't be strange for someone to confuse the mixture of cheese/emptied medical supplies and spices for a radiation hotspot. Bob might notice that Kristin had put the cheese-jammed Hunting Rifle in a nearby basin, along with the promotional-sticker covered cane. Promotional items aside, Kristin started to unceremoniously strip the postman down to his underwear.

Seeing as this was Bob's, well, bits and bobs being handled...She would leave the particular details of such an act up to him. There was nothing gentle about her approach, despite the dissonantly gleeful humming that grew even louder as more clothing was thrown off.

---

Fast forwarding to Kristin cradling a near-naked Springvale Postman, Kristin suddenly looked at the man with an air of deadly sincerity.

"Your pores will be one step closer to transcendence. I am giving you the chance to wash your bodily sins away."

"Fear not!", The joviality had instantly returned to her voice as she laughed and Kristin flicked out the retractable stirring spoon from underneath Bob. "I will be with you every step of the way."

And then Kristin did three of the scariest things she could do in that moment:

1) Kristin grinned a wide toothy grin, clearly more happy than anyone should be in this kind of situation.
2) Kristin lowered Bob ever so slightly...and dropped him into the (unknown to him...and her) healing bath.
3) Taking a seat on the edge of the bathtub, Princess BlamCo started stirring for the sake of keeping her soon-to-be Advisor from being encased in hardened cheese.

Which one was worse was up for interpretation.

Springvale (Unfortunately): Cheesian Rhapsody

Before Ms. Black could answer, the Lancer, clearly annoyed that Jonathan had caught on her vile scemes, quickly retorted

"Mister Bob. May I call you Bob? - No matter. I will call you Bob."

Well, at least she hadn't heard him confess. Or maybe she had. What if she was an Enclave agent?! That... made sense, actually. Before his arrival, she was escorting Lucy back home -surely to make sure nothing went wrong along the way- and ever since his confession she had turned oddly violent. Could she have heard it, and now sought to kill him in the most inconspicuous way possible?

Before he could develop that thought further, the equites raised her oversized sword and swung it at Jonathan, missing him just barely.

A little closer and I'd be a goner!

"Hear me now, Postman that carries no post!"

Jonathan had already taken a dozen steps backwards by the time his would-be murderer spoke again.

"You will indeed die today."

...

She actually said it. Out loud.

"That is the indisputable truth."

And she's going on about it like some Republican Super Villain!

"Your stomach-lining and colon will scream for the first time, the very first layer of your flesh will be stripped and your soul will atone for its negligence."

TORTURE ME! She's going to torture me!

"FRET NOT! Think of it not as a bodily cleansing, but as your spiritual rebirth, resurrection, rebuild and reconstruction!"

What was she talking about? She made no sense!

As she placed one of her hands on her heart, dark clouds gathered in the sky and then, with a growl, she bellowed:

" Have You Forgotten Who I Am !? "

Jonathan was too fearstruck to think clearly.

"I am no ordinary BlamCo Heiress. I have travelled far in order to spread the gospel of Blamcoism. It is my sworn duty to honour what was written by the Gods of Dairy."

No way she's an Enclave operative. She's too damn insane in the membrane to be one. She's the second worst thing: A religious zealot!

She raised her head and met his gaze with hers; her eyes briefly flashing red.

"I am BlamCo's only Princess!"

Thank the Dairy Gods! He dreaded to think how the world would be like if there were more of her. Did he just think Dairy Gods? Gods! Her insanity was contagious!

"Since this is the East Coast, a Princess is nothing without her lord-in-waiting! "

Not only was she a religious zealot, she was also an advocate for Feudalism!

"Hence the preparatory cleansing bath, what say you?"

Oh go-

Before he knew, she had already grabbed him with an inescapable grapple, moving him towards his ...bath!

"Miss Black! Help! She's going to kill me!" he shouted in desperation.

"Do you honestly think anyone can make her stop? Ugh...I have to clean up this mes -...."

Noooo! Lucy Black had already given up on him! He was completely at the mercy of the Beast!

"Um... listen here... ha ha... let's not be too hasty about such things, ok? We have much to discuss, before I get... cleansed, right?"

The Behemoth was not in the mood for negotiation.

"And feudalism! That's so antique and barbaric! You are enlightened by the grace of the gods, surely you can see how irrational this course you're taking is, right?!?"

An unholy stench filled his nostrils, making him want to puke. What was it, and where was it coming from? As he looked at the source, he wished he hadn't asked.

A bathtub lay in front of him, with bubbles forming and bursting continiously. He would wonder what consisted of this unholy concoction, but by that point he knew better. The smell was getting even more suffocating, making him feel light-headed.

Then, the Giantess started humming, and proceeded to violently undress him, leaving him naked, save for his boxers. She stared at him, and then at them, and then at him again.

...She wants me to take them off? Can't do it herself? I may be dirty, but I am not unhygienic! He then realised that he was complaining about her not taking his underwear off, and felt like slapping himself.

With the vain hope that appeasing her would make it more probable that she would let him live, Jonathan took his underwear off, feeling too scared to worry about shallow indecencies.

He was, of course, wrong.

The Hekatonkheir threw him in the tub, its contents burning his skin as they made contact. Jonathan groaned in pain, a terrible choice of action which lead to him having to swallow a good deal of the pagan formula -which was surely made carefully to make certain the victim would suffer as much as possible-, leaving his insides burning as much as his skin. The motherly humming of the Titan only made it all more disturbing.

The mixture was sticky, envelopping his entire body. In a final, fight-or-flight attempt, Jonathan tried to get out of the tub, but as he started...

His movements became more and more labouring, the mixture hardening and turning solid just as Jonathan raised his hands. Not only was he frozen in place, but he couldn't breath also.

Desperately, he tried to move his hands, his head; anything. Alas, 'twas all in vain, for the concoction was too hard to break. Spent in energy and suffocating, Jonathan, losing conscience rapidly, closed his eyes...

He was surrounded by a vast darkness, with the only light coming from a spotlight over him.

"I see a little silloueto of a man!"

Suddenly, seven new spotlights flashed, each a different colour from the other, showcasing seven extremely high judge benches.

Not the Noose! Not the noose!

Can't you see he's gone commando?

Lightning struck in front of him, revealing a gallows

"Thunderbolts and lightning! We will see you hanging!"

Gallow-leo!

Jonathan felt himself closer to the gallows

Gallow-leo!

He was now on top of the stairs, facing the rope.

Gallow-leo figaro!

His head was in the noose, which tightened.

Magnifico-o-o!

"Um.. I'm just an old man, atoning for my villainy-"

He's just an old man! Destitute and Wavering! Spare him his life from this monstrosity!

The gallows disappeared, and Jonathan landed on his butt after a brief fall. With a groan, he got up again and continued his plea.

"Easy come, easy go, let me go atone!

THIS VILLAIN! NO! WE WILL NOT LET YOU GO!

Woah. That was quite the explosive comeback.

LET HIM GO!

And the judges behind him bellowed back with as much vigour.

THIS VILLAIN! WE WILL NOT LET YOU GO!

Back.

LET HIM GO!

And forth.

THIS VILLAIN! WE WILL NOT LET YOU GO!

*sigh*

LET HIM GO!

"Listen, if you don't-"

WILL NOT LET YOU GO!

"But if you don't-"

WILL NOT LET YOU GO!

"IF YOU DON'T LET ME GO, I'll suffocate and you'll all die! So let me go-o-o-o-o?!"

YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES!

Each yes invigorated him, filling him with power never before experienced

"Oh mama mia! Mama mia! Mama mia here we go!"

"There's time enough left in this world for me..."

He woke up, fury and power flowing through him.

"For me..."

Cracks appeared on the previously unbreakable hardened concoction.

"FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

The brew SHATTERED into tiny fragments as Jonathan ROARED like a berserker. He! Had! POWER! And he was going to make his would be murderer pay!

"SO YOU THINK YOU CAN POISON ME AND SPIT IN MY EYE?!?"

He got up, one leg on the side of bathtub, his left hand raised in a closed fist, with a flare in his eyes and a psychotic grin on his face and pointed at his awestruck -but more importantly- accursed advesary!

"SO YOU THINK YOU CAN THROW ME IN HERE AND LEAVE ME TO DIE?!? NOOOOO, LADYEEEH! CAN'T DO THIS TO ME LADYEEEEH! JUST WAIT 'TILL I GET OUT- YOU SHOULD HAVE NEVER FUCKED WITH ME HERE!"

With a warcry, Jonathan readied himself to lunge at his opponent and fight her to the death, for he was powerful and mighty and terrible! And naked. But that was insignificant! He had received enough pain and misery, fear and loathing, from her! and by the gods she believed in she! would! PAY!

Or at least, she would, if he didn't slip at the last second.

He landed on his rival's chest. Hard. Hard enough to take her down with him on the floor. Dazed, and with a headache to die from, Jonathan lost all the power and momentum he had before his tragic fall from grace. With great effort, he rolled away from his opponents body and, exhausted, stared at the wall. The loss of power brought with it a severe moodswing.

"Nothing really matters... Surely you can see... Nothing really matters..."

He sighed deeply, and turned to face his partner in misery

"Nothing really matters... to me..."

And with those last, weak words, he started losing consciousness. Again.

Lucy Black - Springvale: Discovery

Time was a strange thing in the Wasteland. Minutes could feel like seconds, seconds would seem like an hour. So in this moment, Lucy Black, sat near the ruined table outside. The sound of muffled shouting could be heard from within her house nearby. Why was Lucy not investigating? Several reasons.

First off, she had a headache.

Secondly and primarily, she was processing everything that Jonathan had told her. She felt that he had more to say, his words were vague enough that they were begging to be lead to further explanations. Lucy, unfortunately, was in no mood to indulge Jonathan McKenna. For her own safety and possibly her sanity, she had chosen ignorance over that of information. Then again, she had journeyed through the hell that was the Enclave just to get more answers, so what if he kne-

"No! No! NO!", screamed the girl that could not stop obsessing. "I said that I'm done. Finished."

With her head in her hands, the hunting rifle slipped off her lap and clattered to the ground.

Why did you have to show up now? Why now?! Mere hours after I fought FalloutJack no less?

In an attempt to subvert her own desire to dwell on the negativity, Lucy tried to focus on anything else, like the environment for instance. The house had grown eerily quiet and the screams from before had come to a concerning halt.

Getting up to grab her hunting rifle, Lucy proceeded to make her way inside, through the living room and into the kitchen. No faint discussions could be heard, nothing. Kristin was nowhere in sight and the bathroom door was closed.

Lucy paused to lay her rifle on the kitchen counter, stepping on something squishy in the process. Oh gross!
Lucy noticed that her kitchen had been entirely taken over by discarded BlamCo boxes, empty sachets, spices and a now crushed cupcake had littered the floor. Another curious sight had also caught her attention:

A dinner plate stacked to a considerable height of BlamCo pies and cupcakes was located nearby. Kristin hadn't eaten with them at the dinner table, in fact, she hadn't eaten at all. The eccentric chef had spent all of her time tending to Lucy and Jonathan. To be fair, Lucy was tended to, Jonathan was forcibly invited to the breakfast party, among other things.

...

"SO YOU THINK YOU CAN POISON ME AND SPIT IN MY EYE?!?"

Without hesitation Lucy made her way to the bathroom door, only to find that it was locked, presumably from the other side.
She would have to bash it down.
Or shoot the lock.


Kristin Blamco - Springvale: SUCCESS!

"Mooo!"

Floating just above her armored shoulder, Hermoos the Messenger of the Dairy Gods, took the form of something that mere mortals could comprehend; A robed brahmin, complete with sandals and wing-like accents.

"I am utterly pleased to have your appraisal. May our combined efforts usher one more into our bosomy embrace."

"I think you killed him, idiot."

The robed cow suddenly shifted into the form of a Deathclaw, turned a nasty shade of red and folded it's claws in disapproval. It was nothing more than a test, a spiritual check-up if you will. It was not unusual for the agents of Dairy and Soya to be dispatched in order to test her faith in times like these.

"Silence! I need not listen to the fork-tongued lies of that which lays eggs. You have teats, yet you possess no milk! That which has no milk, contains not a shred of purity!"

"Have you ever listened to yourself? You sound completely insane. By the way, nice job breaking the spoon. Now he'll die for sure!"

Kristin stared at the broken stirring spoon, before tossing it over her left shoulder, half-hoping to send the floating messenger back to whatever spiritual hole it crawled out from. Disappointed at the lack of Faith among Lucy's kitchenware, the Hungry Heiress made a mental note to cleanse the entire house.

The rest of the spoon was embedded in a bathtub of hardened cheese. Kristin made a mental note to prepare the cleansing bath just before introducing a future Dirty One to the ritual. For her first attempt, it wasn't bad, it just needed a few adjustments to the recipe, that's all.

*skkshhh!*

What's this? The Jawbreaker BlamCo solution had started to rapidly crack, shift and ultimately...SHATTER AS A WARRIOR HAD EMERGED!

"SO YOU THINK YOU CAN POISON ME AND SPIT IN MY EYE?!?"

Bob the Postman was no more. For Bobby the Naked Pugilist had burst forth from his bed of concrete with rage in his heart, power in his eyes, a roar in his lungs and a fully erect sense of strength on proud display.

"Praise be to the Creamy Gods.", Kristin, with a wild grin of excitement, opened her arms to welcome the newcomer. "Poison? I have given your soul the antidote! My saliva might be swimming within your lungs, but my essence was necessary for the ritual to work!"

"SO YOU THINK YOU CAN THROW ME IN HERE AND LEAVE ME TO DIE?!? NOOOOO, LADYEEEH! CAN'T DO THIS TO ME LADYEEEEH! JUST WAIT 'TILL I GET OUT- YOU SHOULD HAVE NEVER FUCKED WITH ME HERE!"

Kristin clapped with unbridled glee, keen on egging Bobby along further. Bobby was about to attack her, but she would welcome the pain of her newborn acolyte. It was her duty to guide him during this crucial and vulnerable time.

"Yes yes! Show me more of your true form, that which used to deliver post! Are you not liberat - ....!?"

Bobby had lost his footing and fell forward, knocking Kristin to the floor but landing within her tight embrace. For a few glorious moments, their hearts pounded with excitement, respect and acceptance. Kristin had seen the face of a warrior today...she couldn't possibly be any more proud to have found such a strong Advisor.

After a minor struggle, the warrior had rolled off of her body and turned to face her. The Pugilist had reverted to the Postman.

"Nothing really matters... to me..."

"That means that every experience from this point forward will be your first. Together, we can reconstruct this world. What say yo - ?"

*Crash!*

Lucy Black, presumably having took a running start, burst through the door and landed on top of the now unconscious naked Bob.

"Oh, I didn't know you were so eager to join, Miss Black! Can you be a dear and fetch me something to nibble on. I am starved!"


Lucy Black - Springvale: Recovery

One meal later for Kristin and an uncomfortable carrying of Jonathan's unconscious body to Lucy's bed. Outfitting herself once more into the leather armour and eyepatch. Lucy refused to move from Jonathan's bedside until Kristin had calmed down. She was always eccentric, odd and inappropriate at worst...but the look in her eyes minutes ago. It was similar to the madness that Johnny Truant had displayed in the Enclave Vault. Few things had scared her more.

Gathering Jonathan's clothing, weaponry, gear and laying it on the edge of the bed. Lucy took note of the weathered hunting rifle, damaged beyond repair by the same cheese in the bath no less. Lucy replaced the weapon with that of her own new hunting rifle. It was in excellent condition, yet she felt responsible for the events of today. So she left the following note attached to the rifle and extra magazines:

("It's family tradition to help those that we meet." - Lucy Black)

Kristin and Jonathan would be leaving this house as soon as physically possible.
Lucy wanted some measure of peace during her time here.

;;;;;

HAHAHAHAHA!

Jonathan woke -surprise, surprise!- with a headache. A different one from last time, though. This one wasn't as intense in pain, but made up for it in the nausea it induced him. And when was last time?

Oh, did I wake ya? Heh, sorry Johnny Boy, but your show couldn't help but crack me up!

Jonathan, still drowsy from waking up, wasn't sure what the Stranger was talking about. The pain and nausea weren't helping, either. "My... show?"

Oh, yes! That was magnificent! You made me so proud! You didn't just grow a pair, it was bigger than a radbull's!

"I'm... not sure what you're talking about."

Aw, can't remember? That's just sad, Johnny boy. Real sad. Lucky for you, we can watch it here!

The Stranger waved his hand towards a 32'' television. Wierd; Jonathan remembered there being no such thing last time. "Last time", again with the "last time". When the hell was "last time"?

The TV was large and bulky; one of the old school ones, before the slim ones took over. Despite what the Stranger had said, though, the screen itself was pitch-black, as though there was no power on.

Look at you, look at you! Haha! Immerse in your girth, erect you stood! You looked like a different person, Johnny boy. Despite what others may say, I knew you had it in ya! It's how you were raised, after all

"I... uh... can't see anything."

What? It's literally over there. Take a good look, Johnny boy.

Jonathan focused his gaze on the screen. Try as he might, though, despite all the effort and concentration he put into it, Jonathan couldn't see anything. Puzzled, he turned to face the Stranger with a puzzled stare.

*sigh* Nevermind. I didn't like the ending, anyway. Do you at least remember what happened before? With the other six assholes?

Other assholes? What was he referring to? He seemed to recall judges, him being hanged then the gallows disappearing, but nothing else.

"I... vaguely."

Better than nothing, I suppose. I went to great lengths in getting her to work with me there, ya know. You should thank me.

"Thank you? But you..." he suddenly remembered. This room, the stranger, something coming out of the closet "...tried to kill me! With that... thing from the closet!"

The Stranger stared at Jonathan without saying a word. They seemed puzzled, or hurt. Maybe both. It's pretty hard to determine someone's disposition if you can't see their face, after all.

Kill you? they said sorrowfully as they put their hand on their "face", Is that what you think I've been trying to do? You really are quite the fool sometimes, Jonathan. It'll be your downfall.

Did he just... call me by my name?

I think it's time you woke up, wouldn't you agree? Daylight's burning and all that.

Black Residence: A bedroom

Jonathan regained consciousness. The mid-day sun hit his eyes as he tried to figure out where he was, leaving his sight blurry Not the best start.

For one, he was on a bed. Recent experience showed that was not strictly a good thing. But then again he hadn't slept on a bed for months, so he wasn't sure why he was feeling off for it.

Two, he smelled of cheese, and was naked. Why was- wait. He was thrown into a bath with some cheese like substance. That substance froze, he started suffocating. Everything after that was in a haze. At least I'm alive...

He found his clothing at the edge of the bed. Dressing up, he noticed that the clothes were cleaner -as clean as clothing can get without getting washed- Hopefully it wasn't the Baroness that had cleaned them, for that surely meant there was a trap planted in them somewhere.

The rest of his gear was laying around the room. His sunglasses were -thankfully- unharmed. His stick was strangely filled with stickers. His rifle... wasn't his rifle. This one was brand new. What was it doing here? Picking it up, he found a note attached to it.

"It's family tradition to help those that we meet." - Lucy Black

The note woke him up, bringing him back to his senses and reminding him of his purpose. With an air of determination to him, Jonathan started walking towards the door and-

So, decided to tell her?

Leaning on the wall next to the door, the Stranger stared at Jonathan, who proceeded to ignore them and walked out of the room.

Silent treatment, huh? the Stranger said as he appeared on the corridor outside of the bedroom. Jonathan walked past them again.

Ya know, I'm in your head, you can't exactly ignore me forever, ya silly goose! This time, the stranger materialised right in front of Jonathan, who stopped right in his tracks.

"Urgh... what do you care?"

I already told you. She doesn't want to know.

"But she doesn't know what I have to tell her! I'm to blame for all this! She deserves to know!"

That may be true, Jonathan, but it's not your choice to make! You're doing this for your-

"Just shut up! Stop acting like you're my father or something! You are nothing but a figment of my imagination- That's it! If you think you can boss me around then you are gravely-"

He heard footsteps from down the hallway. Indeed, Lucy Black appeared from a room at the edge of it and walked towards him.

"Ms. Black!" he said half excitedly half anxiously, "Good! I've been looking for you. There are some things that I really, really need to tell you. Let me start by-" he reached out to his pistol, but realised that he didn't have in its usual place. Anxiously, he searched his entire body looking for it, but to his horror he didn't carry it on him. Where could it be? It wasn't in the bedroom, so-

The bathroom. The Serial Killer must have thrown it under some furniture as she violently undressed him, and he was too scared to notice!

Looking around frantically to get his bearings and determine where the bathroom was. Figuring it out, he turned to the young Lucy, who seemed to have a worried expression.

"P-please, wait right here" he told her, gesturing her to stay put, "There's something that I need to go find. I'll be back as soon as possible!"

Turning around, Jonathan run towards the bathroom, which still was a mess, and started frantically looking around for his custom laser pistol.

Citadel Outskirts - Camp (Evening)

Charlie winced and looked away as the Knight Captain stitched his wound, calmly and efficiently moving the needle in and out of his flesh. His arm burned from the liquid the older man had doused it with, but apparently it would help prevent infection so he grit his teeth and bore it. The smell of cooking meat filled the air from where their other companion was cooking one of the mirelurks they'd been running from earlier.

"So what's your plan now boy?" Buchanan asked, breaking the conversational silence. "I need to be heading back to the Citadel, but I'm not sure how welcome you'll be there after that stunt you pulled. As for her..." he said, pointing at Sylph with his eyes, "90% of the troops there will want to throw her in a dungeon and throw away the key."

Charlie looked over to Sylph who was tending to their dinner. He hadn't given it much thought during the frantic afternoon, but he imagined the Brotherhood wouldn't be too pleased with the duo who had run riot through their halls on an ATV.

Looking away as Sylph walked away from the fire, munching on a mirelurk knuckle, Charlie pondered his next course of action. He still greatly desired to join the Brotherhood, but for the first time in a long while he had something he desired more. This strange girl he'd encountered, someone who appeared to have no family, no companions... he wanted to stay with and help protect her. It was dangerous being on your lonesome in the wasteland and he had to admit, he'd greatly enjoyed the shenanigans they'd gotten up to this day.

"I think I'll stay with her for the time being Sir," Charlie said, idly playing with the locket in his pocket[1]. "It might be a good idea to stay away from the Citadel, at least for a little while."

Replying with a nod and a grunt, Buchanan pulled the needle out of Charlie's arm for the final time and rinsed it off with water from his flask. "Probably for the best I think. I'll leave this first aid kit with you for the next time you blow yourself up."

"The food should be fully cooked by now!"

At the shout from Sylph, Buchanan stood up. "Come, let's eat and then get some rest. It's been a long day

Charlie nodded eagerly, his stomach growling as he trailed Buchanan to the source of the slightly burned mirelurk smell.


Charlie tossed and turnd as he dreamed, his head filled with visions of pyromaniacs, oversized lobsters and many other wild and wacky imaginings. The picture of a short, blue haired girl riding an oversized ant was rudely interrupted by the very real and not at all imaginary sensation of pincers clamping down hard on his nose.

"AAAAAAHHHHHHH get off me you little monster!" he yelled, tearing the offending radscorpion off his face and throwing it into the centre of their camp. As he gingerly prodded at his flaming nose, the large shape of a drowsy Buchanan stirred, took one look at the situation and rolled back over with a comment something along the lines of "I'm too old for this shit." The radscorpion kicked feebly on it's back, unable to right itself without the use of its tail.

[1] Hehe, rhymes are fun!

Kristin Blamco - Flashback: Kristin's dark and traumatic past...

The Blamco family had finally found the time to settle down for dinner.

"Eat your peas, dear.", Kristin's father politely suggested.

Kristin Blamco, at the tumultuous age of 12, crossed her arms and turned her cheek in a haughty fashion.

"No."

*scccrrrssshhhhhh!!!*

A glass of wine, previously held by Kristin's mother had crashed to floor. The shock of her daughter's defiance had caused her to faint. "Oh...oh dear..."

On that fateful day, Kristin's unwavering pride had emerged.


Lucy Black - Springvale: Rebuild

So far Lucy's home had not felt like a home, a makeshift motel for wayward souls would be a more accurate description. Regardless, fatigue had finally taken its hold and she had found herself taking a short nap while she guarded Jonathan's bedside from Kristin.

Her nap was interrupted when Kristin had loudly announced that she would be outside for brunch. The BlamCo Princess was an odd one, it was difficult to get a grasp on what she would do next, but one thing was for certain, it was that her mood and actions were highly dependent on whether she had eaten or not. Lucy recalled the use of chems on Jonathan in order to forcibly wake him up...was it a drug problem? Probably not. Kristin may have been eccentric, but she wasn't 'intentionally' violent like Johnny Truant was.

Regardless, the Heiress seemed perfectly content to wait outside. That suited Lucy just fine. Unknown to Jonathan, Lucy had gotten into a heated argument with Kristin over the damage to her property and almost killing a family friend in the name of recipe experimentation. Kristin, now in a more lucid state, had made amends by cleaning the house in a proper manner that didn't involve the use of cheese, unfortunately the bathtub was unusable since the hardened cheese had clogged the tub and pipes.

It was a mess, but luckily Lucy had retrieved Jonathan's belongings after distracting the armored Princess with the promise of leftovers from breakfast. It was during her cleanup that Lucy had discovered the modified laser pistol under the bathtub. The modifications seemed familiar, as if she was seeing the real life version of a diagram. She couldn't quite place where she had seen something like this.

Spending some time brushing and curling her now loose asymmetrical hair (Sylph's blade had unfortunately removed a pigtail not too long ago.), covering up more noticeable scratches, scars and blemishes with make-up, Lucy actually looked...presentable and strangely pretty. The eyepatch ruined the look, so she had settled for the crimson eye, perhaps there was something exotic about heterochromia.

Leaving the master bedroom to go and check up on Jonathan, she grew concerned at the bombardment of speech that followed his arrival.

"Ms. Black!" he exclaimed with a mixture of caution and excitement, "Good! I've been looking for you. There are some things that I really, really need to tell you. Let me start by-" Jonathan started to frantically search his entire body for something.

The man disappeared into the bathroom, making it clear as to what he was looking for. Why he was frantically searching for a weapon was both intriguing and equally concerning. Without Kristin's immediate presence, she felt a lot more relaxed in her own home, enough so in order to make a small demonstration.

"Looking for this?", Lucy queried mischievously while holding up the modified laser pistol. Lucy beckoned with a finger and nodded towards a small stack of apology cupcakes provided by Kristin on the kitchen counter. "You know, personally I prefer plasma, although...", Lucy turned to face Jonathan with a small smirk on her face before she pulled the trigger three times, hitting the three cupcakes stacked at the top of the pile without looking. "...I wouldn't turn down a laser weapon though."

Lucy spun the pistol and pushed it towards the thankfully clothed chest of Jonathan. Motioning for him to follow, Lucy took a seat at the kitchen table. "I know that look. That panicked 'oh-crap-where-is-it?' look. Believe me, I carried the Gauss Rifle Plus for over two years. It's strange not to have that weight on my back..."

She grew oddly sad when she talked about the accursed weapon like that. It had brought her so much pain, yet without it she wouldn't have been able to save so many others.

"Sorry.", Lucy softly pinched the bridge of her nose, not wanting to ruin her make-up. "We're alone for now. I had a nap...so...what exactly did you want to tell me again?"

A large convoy headed southwards down the ruins of America's roads.
It consisted of many vehicles. Ranging from commercial shipping trucks, to fire trucks, to military vehicles, to custom monstrosities that defied conventional classification. The drivers, passengers, and cargo were all ghouls. They didn't seem to have a uniform, with the only common theme being a stark-white paint-job .


One member was not singing though. He was sitting in the back of a moving-truck staring at a video-feed.
"Right on schedule."
The ghoul wore odd power armor that was notably sleeker and shinier than any conventional model.
"Why do you bother watching if you already know how it's going to end?"
The question came from a ghoul with a rather substantial beard. (Which is quite abnormal for ghouls) who wore combat armor, and a strange wire-frame harness
"The same reason I do everything I do doctor; I'm neurotic."
"Please don't call me that."
Jesse Jager-Krieger was a pre-war ghoul. His definition of doctor varied from most. Most people thought of a doctor as someone who practiced medicine. Jesse however used the word doctor to refer to anyone with a doctorate. He was a physician, not a doctor. He was halfway through medical school in 2077 before the bombs dropped. With all proper channels gone he'd never be a doctor in his own eyes in spite of his tremendous medical knowledge.
"Right, sorry... NO! NONONO!"
On the monitor an image of Frank Rose's dead body impaled on the blade of a crashed vertibird's rotor could be seen.
"Well I didn't see that one coming."

The Wild Wastelands | Citadel Outskirts | A Camp
Not Everyone Gets What They Want!

While Charlie Cannon was flailing around with Pinchy, the Red Menace to Society at Large was looking into the throat of the PlushClaw that she that Santa Kirk had delivered to her. A huge majority of the things that had been delivered to Sylph via that wondrous bag of Death were things that both Sylph and Sylphee valued/vehemently adored, there was still one thing missing: The Rather Large and Impressive looking Anti-Materiel rifle that Sylph managed to carry around with her, somehow.

To Sylph, the whole world was a weapon. A rock could be used to bludgeon someone to death, stack on a prisoner's chest and for toilet paper. A stick could be used to impale someone on, burn with someone tied to it, ram in various places that sorta rhyme with whore faces. So most weapons were easily replaced in the Crimson Avenger's mind, save for her Hidden Blade, her Gifted Katana and now The Rather Large and Impressive looking Anti-Materiel rifle.

Like the Gifted Katana and the uniform that she worse, Sylph didn't remember why it was important to her, only that it was important. Important enough to go back to the Citadel for and important to kill everyone in the Citadel for if she had to.

If she had to?! Sylph had never considered this phrase in her entire life when it concerned the potential of killing someone. The answer was usually, "But of course." This... this was not like her at all. There was something wrong and Sylph needed to find how deeply this seed of empathy had rooted itself within her.

Enter Charlie Cannon, the flailing monkey, the imp of a man who had somehow come to cross paths with Sylph like some unshakable side kick in a story. He was as good a lab rat as any.

Thud Charlie Cannon had tossed Pinchy on the ground, who was in the process of attempting to right himself. The next thing Charlie Cannon heard was the approach of feet, running feet, running feet attached to a girl that had her fist up in the air and an expression on her face that screamed, "I'm gonna pound your face into dust."

SLAP! A hand slapped over Charlie Cannon's mouth, not hard enough to cause pain, but hard enough to keep him from screaming out.

"Shhhh... we have company." Sylph said angrily, though the anger was not directed outward at Charlie Cannon. Ensuring that Charlie Cannon was calm enough, Sylph pointed over to a man, or at least he looked like a man would if a man had horns, hooves and a black and gold tunic.

"Sylph, I heard that there's been a mistake this year and that you've been a very VERY VERY naughty girl. Now get in the bag!" Krampus said as he opened a large squirming bag that was already mostly filled with midgets dressed like gimps Raiders, "Now my little helpers, BRING KRAMPUS HIS CHRISTMAS GIFT!!!."

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

The Wild Wastelands | The Road to Dunwich
Shifty Senses... Tingling

The Assault rifle in Thomas' hands was doing all the talking at that moment, sending full metal jacketed words out of its barrel at 948 m/s. The Christmas-Lurk? They did all the listening they could handle until their little heads exploded. Everything seemed to be going well in hand as the Old One's guide and bodyguard splashed the scenery with Lurk blood, like some sort of Crustacean Rorschach painting.

Seemed to, at least until he got the call. It seemed that one of his clients... or world be clients was in need of his services, despite the fact that he was no longer the Undertaker of the East. Someone who had blown up his beloved bicycle. Someone who was a pretty big jerk.

"Walt damn it Frank." The Man Formerly Known as Shiftyc cursed as he dropped a spent magazine and rammed a new one into the receiver. Though he mourned for any man who died, this one didn't hurt so much but it still felt like something that he needed to do. He was one of HER friends.

Black Residence: You Can (Not) Run Away

"Where is it, where is it?!?" Jonathan thought out loud as he searched the "bathroom" for the laser pistol. He was certain that the Fanatic had thrown it somewhere in here. The question was, where?

"Looking for this?"

Surprised, Jonathan turned to face Lucy Black, who proceeded to playfully highlight the very thing he was looked for. Following her gestures, he saw her point the gun towards some cupcakes the Bigot had made; surely more experimental recipes to torture him with.

"You know, personally I prefer plasma, although..." she continued, turning to look at him as she blindly hit three of the cupcakes.

"...I wouldn't turn down a laser weapon though."

She was an impressive shot. Jonathan would have had difficult hitting all three of them consecutively and was pretty sure that it would take him a few years to be able to shoot them blindly. Getting on her bad side was not something he would want to do. Too bad he'd likely have to.

Handing him the gun, Lucy Black once again gestured him to follow her, taking him to a table, where they both sit. It was there that he noticed that she looked... different. Less ragged; beautiful, even. Even her red eye complemented her looks. If he didn't known better, he would be hard pressed to believe this girl had gone through what she had.

"I know that look. That panicked 'oh-crap-where-is-it?' look. Believe me, I carried the Gauss Rifle Plus for over two years. It's strange not to have that weight on my back..."

That damned weapon. The mere mention of it made Jonathan extremely uncomfortable and, going by her expression, Lucy miserable, which filled him with even more guilt.

"Sorry. We're alone for now. I had a nap...so...what exactly did you want to tell me again?"

Here it was, the time. Steeling himself, Jonathan raised the laser pistol, as though showcasing it.

"You fired three times with this pistol. Normally, unless modified, you would be able to fire another 27 times and would have to reload. That, is not the case with this pistol. Maybe you noticed, but there is no way to change the depleted energy cell. That is because in place of the, uh, "clip", shall we say, an internal recharger was installed. You see, the energy cell in this pistol is different. Most energy cells, when depleted, are useless. Even the optimised variants tend to break after a few recharges. This one, though, is a flawless energy cell, allowing it unlimited recharges. Basically, you are guaranteed to never run out of ammo with this gun. Downside is, it takes hours for it to recharge. Those three shots you took? It'll take it an hour to replenish them."

Jonathan hanged back on his chair, his face having grown grim, in his voice a hint of resentment.

"That's what I did, when I was Enclave. I designed weapons. It took me one hundred twenty-seven times to get the perfected energy cell right. But, it didn't quite make the cut. Intuitive design, but ultimately impractical in an actual fight scenario. Sound familiar?"

Jonathan then paused for a moment, a downcast, out-of-focus gaze in his eyes, as though reminincing of a time and deeds most would rather leave behind. Lucy Black was such a person; one that wanted to bury the past and move on, but she dug it out piece by painful piece for the sake of giving Jonathan answers. She deserved the same treatment. With a heavy sigh, he turned to face Lucy with a determined, but grim, stare.

"Gauss Rifle Plus. A side project of Gauss Rifle Mk II. Designed to deal with the problem the Gauss Rifle had at medium-to-short range, Gauss Rifle Plus was modified with an alternative mode of fire. "Beast Mode". Judging by the burns on your hand, I don't need to say what Beast Mode entailed."

"I designed the Gauss Rifle Plus as a sort of prototype for Gauss Rifle Mk. II. To see how well "Beast Mode" would do, its flaws, its potential for damage; everything. While "Beast Mode's" capacity for destruction was well beyond expectations, the drawbacks were extremely severe. I was working on ways to rectify these drawbacks in the improved version for the Mk. II, dubbed "Berserk Mode", but before I could, I was moved to assist on another project: A modified strain of the FEV virus, set to wipe out all the non-pure people of the wasteland -along with the mutants and the ghouls- transmitted by water. Luckily, the virus never survived the destruction of Raven Rock, but it would seem something else did."

Misty-eyed, Jonathan could barely hold back from crying in shame. His voice was filled with regret and sorrow.

"My work... is responsible for the death of your father and the pain and suffering you and countless other people have gone through."

He then proceeded to push the pistol through the table towards Lucy.

"Do with me as you will," he said as he averted his gaze from her from the shame, "I probably deserve it."

In the back of a moving-truck (That is to say a truck meant for moving furniture and the like, although it was also in motion) a ghoul in odd armor (Helmet not pictured) was having a freakout.
He let out a fairly substantial string of profanities that I won't repeat here for fear of offending anyone.
Jesse let out a sigh.
"You done boss?"
The armored ghoul stared at his hands. He wasn't fading from existence, and the universe still existed. This was promising.
"It went so differently 192 years ago." The armored ghoul pulled out a book labeled 'Prime Directive' and stared at it incredulously. "Any theories?"
Jesse was one of the few members of the Wight Knights to achieve the illustrious rank of 'Revenant', and as such knew the boss' big secret.
"Perhaps it's not a perfect circle, but a decaying orbit. This time we're enough trips around to actually notice any substantial decay."
"Plausible enough I suppose. We can't change it now."
The ghoul focused his gaze on the book.
"Pew-pew."
Lasers shot out of his helmet and incinerated the book.
"We fly without a net now. Tell them to prepare for new orders."
"Sure thing boss."
There was so much work to be done when he arrived Robert J. would need to be kicked in the crotch, the machine would have to be disassembled, an old friend re-motivated, the vault found, and the squid stopped. He'd done it before, how hard could it be to do again?
A few minutes later, the ghoul had leaped on top of his truck, switched on his radio transmitter, and made an announcement to his troops.
"Fellow Wight Knights; hear me now! The Lich has new orders for you: We're ignoring the schedule and making our way straight to DC!"
This was met with confusion from the troops. The Lich hadn't attempted deviating from his schedule in 150 years. When he tried it didn't work. His schedule was always right, and predicted the future with uncanny accuracy. This was why they didn't question his more insane orders such as when he demanded all his troops learn dance choreography. (They styled all up over their foes)
"I have spoken!"


The Lich climbed back into the trailer.
"You sure about this?"
"I'm not entirely sure of anything anymore, but I used to have to do things by intuition, and that turned out fine. Besides, I've already "died" twice before. What's the worst that could happen?"
"I think you mean "Thrice" now boss, and you know what can go wrong."
"You worry too much."
The Lich removed his armor, revealing that he was a ghoul reaver.
Wake me when we're near Maryland.
The Lich opened up a metal coffin filled with radioactive materials and climbed in.
He took one last look at the monitor.
"What's the worst that can happen?"
He closed the coffin.

The Enclave Vault | Enclave Intelligence Wing
#411: Mom of the year?!

It was a widely known fact that Enclave Intelligence officers assigned to Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411's ground didn't last very long before demanding either a transfer or ritual suicide by Toothless, a very old curmudgeon of a Deathclaw that #411 kept as a pet (Much to the dismay of Lilith were she ever to find out). As his name implied, Toothless had in fact lost all his teeth due to age and now subsisted on a diet of blended molerats.

But this story isn't about Toothless, this is about #411. Today was like yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. #411 was on a rampage.

"What in Ja... God's name do you mean you lost track of him. He's in a GIANT FUCKING ROCKET POWERED SLED. How in the hell are you in Enclave intelligence if you can't track an object the size of a small house?!" #411 raved at the Enclave Radar Technician before turning to the Enclave Radio Officer, "AND YOU!! HOW IN THE HELL DID YOU NOT PATCH ME THROUGH?!"

"I... s...s...sorry muh muh muh ma'am but he-he-he said th-th-that you wuh-wuh-were on the naughty list," The Radio Operator managed to stammer before Enclave Windbag #411 started up again.

"TH-TH-THIS ISN'T ABOUT ME YOU MUH-MUH-MUH-MORON!!!" The Enclave Intelligence Officer raved, tempted to punch the Radio Operator in the face as he started crying (He was very sensitive about his stuttering). Picking up the radio, she flipped a couple switches and turned a knob, setting the radio to broadcast on all frequencies.

"Enclave Vault to Santa-Kirk, Enclave Vault to Santa-Kirk... do you read? Enclave Vault to Santa-Kirk, Enclave Vault to Santa-Kirk... do you read?" #411 said in her nicest prettiest and attractive voice possible, "PICK IT UP YOU FUCKING FAT FUCK! HOW DARE YOU NOT AIR DROP A GIFT TO MY DAUGHTER? HOW DARE YOU FORGET ABOUT THE SWEETEST, MOST ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN IN THE WASTES?!"

The radio remained dead, no answer from Santa-Kirk was forthcoming not that it would matter 10 seconds later.

"Ma'am." Said a voice belonging to one of #411's junior officers, "I just got a report on the Former Asset that you wanted us to keep tabs on. Apparently she's in contact with another one of our former associates."

"Who." #411 said with a voice that could freeze and already frozen lake.

"I'm not sure ma'am. We found a hit on the database but the file is marked classified. I don't have access." #411's junior reported, used to his boss' temper. Of them all, he'd been with her the longest. They also said he enjoyed cutting himself but that was just a rumor, " here's the file for you to enjoy at your leisure ma'am."

"Carry on." #411 said before turning back to the radio, "LISTEN YOU CHILD LOVING BASTARD. I KNOW WHY YOU HAVE LITTLE KIDS SIT ON YOUR LAP AND THE ENCLAVE DOESN'T TAKE THAT VERY LIGHTLY!!"

#411's junior officer walked away, shaking his head. Others might have thought that #411 was just being a protective mother and trying to keep her daughter from getting hurt, but he knew far better than anyone else. What it boiled down to and had always boiled down to was impressing FalloutJack. If #411's daughter didn't get a gift, she meant that she was a bad kid. If Constance was a bad kid, that meant that #411 wasn't doing well as a mother and if she didn't do well as a mother, how attractive would that be to a man that had his own daughter. Everything she she'd done since joining the Enclave had been for him to notice her.

Lucy Black - Springvale: This Is (Not) The End

"My work... is responsible for the death of your father and the pain and suffering you and countless other people have gone through."

Jonathan chose to suddenly slide the pistol across the table towards Lucy.

"Do with me as you will," the guilt-ridden man uttered, choosing to avoid direct eye contact in favor of openly weeping, "I probably deserve it."

So this is what Lucy had dismissed in their earlier conversation. This was Jonathan McKenna's burden, his remaining reason for being here, the emotional breadcrumbs that lead straight to his guilt and sense of shame while he was in the presence of Isaac's daughter. Had Lucy been told this kind of information a few weeks before her journey, she probably would not have hesitated in taking his life with the Gauss Rifle Plus itself. A fitting irony for a key player in the destruction of her family.

She would have flown off the handle at him back then, but now?
While Lucy may have learned much, she still had a hair-trigger temper.

Ten solid minutes had passed between the brooding Lucy and the grief-stricken Jonathan, neither had uttered a word to one another, let alone glanced at the other. These two individuals were overwhelmed by their respective emotions. One had remained in a cycle of self-loathing, the other chose to lash out.

Wordlessly, Lucy swiftly got up from her chair allowing it to topple over and draw Jonathan's attention to her actions. Pulling out the nearby kitchen drawer, various utensils and miscellaneous items loudly clattered to the floor. Lucy proceeded to grab two handfuls of knives and papers. Taking a moment to write something on each piece of paper, Lucy pinned each note into the table with a knife, each note stabbed progressively closer to the creator of the accursed rifle.

Finally, Lucy stood next the seated man, at this height and angle it would appear that Lucy towered over him.

"Look at me.", the crimson eyed sharpshooter commanded.

Receiving no immediate response, Lucy forcibly gripped Jonathan by the chin, roughly raising his head to view the bared teeth and venomous glare of her crimson eye. Lucy raised her free hand and gave Jonathan a punishingly hard slap through the face.

"My father did not save you just to be killed by his own daughter down the line!", Lucy spat those words with absolute contempt for Jonathan's defeatist attitude. "You didn't bring the rifle here, he did. He was killed for stealing technology that could have sparked another war! You were not the one that drove a fucking Ripper blade through his stomach! That. Was. The. Enclave!"

Lucy took a step forward and grabbed the man by his shirt, staring at him with eyes of pent-up frustration.

"What do you expect me to do with that pistol, huh? Torture you, maybe even kill you?", Lucy cracked when she wildly gestured to the pistol across the table and reeled her palm back to deliver another punishing slap through the face. "Oh! I get it now...", the furious girl started to tear up, "You feel guilty? You think that this all on you? Stop being so self-absorbed! Because I think that you lost sight of the true enemy: The Enclave! Not you, THEM!"

Lucy released her grip on Jonathan, taking a step back to wipe her tears away. Before Jonathan could speak, gesture or even move during that moment of silence, she held up her finger as a warning and pointed to the knives on the table. Taking one step closer, Lucy pointed at the first note on the table. Each of them contained a name of an enemy and a tally of numbers.

"Have you ever stopped to consider, on some minor scale, that just fucking maybe you've made this world a little bit safer?", that was Lucy's armor-piercing question. Every note recorded the amount of kills she had made with the Gauss Rifle Plus and very rough estimates as to how many she had saved with each kill.

"...Super Mutant Behemoth, wielding mini-nukes at the Brotherhood Citadel. I shot and killed one from a vertibird."
"...Crippled a Behemoth."
"...Two packs of raiders, DC ruins and Super-Duper Mart."
"...Crippled a giant mirelurk."
"...Downed a vertibird."
"...Enclave Pilot."
"...Duper Mutant."
"...Rad-Scorpion infestation near Megaton."
"...Eyebot."
"...Bandits that threatened Megaton trade routes."

Lucy continued, her hands were still shaking but her anger had slowly dissipated after she recalled and recited rough statistics. Lucy even pointed out that Megaton's trade routes had opened since the arrival of her and the Gauss Rifle Plus, The Citadel and The Brotherhood of Steel stood to fight another day, Wilhelm's Wharf and the Super-Duper Mart's raider activity had decreased in those areas, allowing safer travel for all.

Lucy walked over to the end of the table to fetch the modified laser pistol.

"You want to honour my dad? Fight the Enclave in anyway that you can."

Lucy placed the laser pistol on the table in front of Jonathan, before all the notes on her activities with the Gauss Rifle Plus.

"He didn't die because of you. If it wasn't the GRP, it would have been something else.", Lucy concluded sadly, yet some part of her had a hopeful thought for the both of them after a few moments of silent contemplation. "I saved lives and made so many friends because of your creation."

Arizona

The old Ghoul gave Thomas a sidelong glance as he apologized and explained the 'logic' behind calling her Old One, if one could call it logic.

"Among my... family... those who can avoid giving death its due are to be revered, just as Lord Walt was able to cheat death by placing himself in cryogenic suspension, ma'am."

She had no idea who the hell 'Lord Walt' was, and she didn't exactly care. As far as she was concerned, two centuries after the bombs fell, people simply had some wacky beliefs, like worshiping supercomputers, or Ghouls, or the last roll of toilet paper for miles...

She suppressed a smirk when she remembered that last one. A few hundred miles back, and a few decades ago, she left a really pissed off cult behind her.

"And speaking of my rifle, why not look at it now, ma'am?"

She brought her attention back to her newest partner as he shifted to unload his rifle, promptly dropping the magazine with an "Oops."

As she watched it flip into the water with a bland expression, he took out the last round and handed it to her before pulling out a bottle and taking a long swig. She took the rifle from him with the barest shake of her head. If this drunk bastard ended up getting her killed, so help her, she was going to haunt his sorry ass for the rest of his natural life.

But she didn't say it. Instead, she checked the rifle over with the practiced precision of a long-time armorer. She was halfway through inspecting it with increasingly disgusted noises when she heard a thud, and then the telltale fizzle of a bottle being opened.

"Heeeey. Old Oneee? Dere's a Lurk in the road."

"I thought I told you not to..." she started, looking up from the rifle to look at the Mirelurk in front of them.

The beast was a rather festive red-and-green, which made her dimly wonder whether it was December or July, because it looked like Radioactive Nature decided to celebrate the holiday season. As her drunken friend smashed a bottle over the head of one, she took the opportunity to grab the magazine from it's mouth and shove it into the rifle before Thomas snatched it back.

Once her hands were free, she didn't waste time in taking up Lester and firing long, sweeping bursts and slowly backing up.

"I hope you know, I blame you for this, McGee." she growled.

The Wild Wastelands | The Road to Dunwich
The Grass is Greener...

The Old One was making quick work of the Christmas Lurks using the timeless 'Spray and Pray' method of combat. Her machine gun reacted to her commands quickly and efficiently as it sent hundreds of bullets down range, shattering the chitinous exoskeletons, exploding soft spots in the Christmas Lurk armor and spraying bits of the Christmas Spirit outwards. Thomas wasn't slouching off either, especially since he didn't have nearly the ammo capacity as the Ancient's machine gun.

"It must be nice to have a machine gun," Thomas said as he looked down the iron sights of the assault rifle, pulling the trigger and sending another bullet to play the roll of pinball inside a Christmas-Lurk's carapace,"Don't have to reload so often, don't have to aim... saves on the headache."

By which he meant, he wished he had a machine gun so that he wouldn't have to concentrate, which, given his current state, gave him a rather large headache.

It suddenly occurred to the Friendly Former Undertaker of the East that that, given the lack of quickness the Christmas-Lurks displayed, it would behoove young Thomas to save himself the headache of aiming and assault the Christmas-Lurks at point blank range. Truth be told, however, this thought was not nearly as coherent in the alcoholic's mind.

Climbing over the bodies of the fallen, the man strode towards the lead Christmas-Lurk and ducked its initial "flurry" of assaults before pulling out his 10mm pistol and firing a single round into the Christmas-Lurk's head causing the disfigured and cruel joke of a face to explode. What Young Thomas McGee had failed to take into account however was the fact that the Ancient behind him was still buzzsawing her way through the mass of Christmas-Lurks.

"Crap," The Tall, Pale and Dapperly dressed man cursed as the Christmas-Lurk started to fall forward while he fell backwards, tripping over a rock during his attempted retreat.

THUD

The Christmas Lurk fell atop Thomas, even as the Ancient, Arizona, finished the last wave.

"Yes... It must really be nice to have a machine gun..." The young man said, his words trailing off as he passed out underneath the Lurk, the alcohol having overwhelmed the once happy-go-lucky man.

 Pages PREV 1 . . . 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 . . . 48 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here