The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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The Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past
Like 19 years ago or so... you do the math
Post Collaboration with Neuromancer

The screams of the dying and wounded filled Charlotte's ears. She tasted blood in her mouth and when she touched her cheek, she found that something had created a rather large gash. Fire and the sound of fighting surrounded her and strangely enough, the ephemeral tone of an axe cutting through the helmet of a Raider, his screams cut short by the destruction of his brain stem.

The smoke cleared for the briefest of moments to reveal a ghoul, his long black hair matted in blood that was not his own but rather it belonged to the formerly living Raider whose skull Eddie was removing his axe from.

"E...Eddie? Why's my dad? Have you seen him?" Charlotte Sorrowfeld asked as she picked herself up from the burning remnants of what used to be a sort of Wasteland Wagon. Charlotte, in her 12 year old wisdom looked about for a weapon. Even at that age she knew that without one, she might as well have been dead.

Shotgun. Right. Perfect weapon for a kid that was built like a flagpole. She grabbed it anyways.

With his axe-guitar sitting on his shoulder, Eddie the Dead surveyed the smoke, ashes and blood around him. Things had definitely taken a turn to the interesting. Indeed, he was feeling rather lucky that this otherwise dull mercenary job had taken such a bloodthirsty turn.

He heard his name, and his grin turned cheeky.

"Eager, young, Charlotte," he called, amused, "Good to see your head and nethers are still intact!"

He walked up to her and took the shotgun from her hands, "Yer a bit too young to be using that, though. Fun though it'd be to see you pushed back like a rag doll, I don't think that would do good for my paycheck."

He took a better look at the shotgun. It looked to be in a good enough condition, and his last one was broken. "This could work..." he mused.

A raider rushed from behind Charlotte, ripper in hand, ready to tear the child apart. Without the hint of hurry or care, Eddie pointed the shotgun at him and shot, blowing his face and splattering blood all over the young girl's head and body. This worked, alright!

"Lookin' fer yer da?" he exclaimed amused, "Well, if wanna shoot people grab a pistol or somethin and let's go dad huntin'!"

The younger less bloody thirsty version of her future self appeared to be frozen, catatonic even. Being covered in blood and brain matter not to mention the remnants of someone's face usually did that to you if you weren't ready for it. It took a few repeated attempts and the placement of a weapon in Charlotte's hands to break her out of her stupor.

It was a knife. A simple combat knife with a serrated edge. The blade was carbon black and was already covered with blood. It was the type of weapon that was as quiet as it was painful. At the suggsestion of Daddy Hunting, Charlotte's mind thought that someoe had already beat them to this. It was strange though, that the raiders would strike out in the middle of no where. The route was typically patrolled by the Regulators looking to score a finger or two. In all her time traveling with her dad, she'd never even seen a Raider, let alone been attacked by a group of them,

"Alright." Charlotte said as she followed Dead through the smoke.

Eddie took a deep breath, his nostrils filling with the stench of blood and smoke. Most mercs would curse at the situation he was in. But not him. This was Luck smiling down on him. He had been growing bored of endlessly walking around on barren soil looking at endless swathes of even more barren soil, without anything exciting or at least interesting happening. He was even considering ditching the job, as he wasn't exactly running out of caps, but then the raiders hit and made his night.

"That knife ain't gonna help you much if yer alone with one of 'em fellas, but it's better than nothin'." he said as he studied the young Charlotte, who seemed to had finally snapped out of her trance. Kids these days. "Just stick behind me and ye'll be fine. I've faced packs of starvin' wild dogs more fearsome that these wimps."

As he said that, another raider, small in frame and slimmer than healthy, rushed him from behind. They never learn, do they? With a backhanded, circular one-handed swing, Eddie chopped off the raider's hand and landed the axehead on his side, effortlessly cutting through his leather armour and cleaving him in half. The raider's upper body circulated in the air, splattering blood everywhere, before landing on the ground, lifeless.

"See? What'd I tell ya?" he grinned again, throwing a glance at Charlotte, "S'all gonna be juuuust fine." he said, and started walking forward.

It was no wonder that the carrion birds were circling over head. With as much blood as the Ghoul Merc had been chumming through the air, Charlotte was surprised that Eddie hadn't attracted an oceanic shark, not to be confused with the land bound variety. She had just managed to calm her queezy nerves when Mister the Dead had split the Raider's torso in two, a lazy loop of intestines uncurling as the Raider, still alive, flailed against the empty air, unable to control his body. The man screamed, his lungs still intact even though his legs weren't. He was as good as dead but that didn't mean that his screams weren't going to draw the attention of his friends. The young Charlotte pounced, her hand slashing downward at the Raider's exposed neck. Her only thought was to get him to stop screaming.

Her vision cleared after a moment, the realization that the Raider had stopped screaming dawned upon her a few seconds later as did the fact that her hand was in a tremendous amount of pain. Looking down, she saw that she was bleeding. Her palm was a network of cuts caused by her own knife slipping in her grip and cutting her even as she stabbed the Raider. The only thing that kept her from screaming in pain was the amount of adrenaline that was in her body, locking away the pain until it was safe for her to register it. Despite this, there was a certain amount of satisfaction derived from the knowledge that this Raider would never pick on another Caravan.

She regarded the Ghoul for a minute before looking at the silhouettes of the Raiders forming up behind him.

"Well now laddies. Looka what we got here." The Lead Raider hissed happily as he spotted young Charlotte, "You, Ghoul. Give us the girl and we'll let you go."

Charlotte held the knife in front of her, not knowing what Eddie would do.

Eddie stared at the leader with a bemused smile. How kind of him to give him a choice! He started counting heads. Sixteen- no, seventeen heads, including the leader. Eighteen, if you include the head the leader dude was holding, blood dripping down to the ground. A familiar face. Charles Sorrowfield. Never seen him so shocked before. Funny the faces people make post-death.

He turned to take a look at Charlotte. Aww, look at her, cut herself with the knife. A little early to be going through that phase, isn't it? Holstering the shotgun, he got in a playing position and walked towards the child.

Effortlessly dodging her attempt at stabbing him, he lightly knee'd her in the stomach

*REEEOOOOOW*

She fell to the ground face-down, he rolled her over-

*REEEOOOOOW*

and stomped on her chest.

*REEEOOOOOW*

"Come and take her, then!"

"Don't mind me, I just feel like playing some fitting music for the occasion."

With a head notion, the leader ordered three of his men to approach. They did so rather slowly, not that Eddie complained; he had time to examine what they were equipped with: Eleven of them, including the three that were approaching, were equipped for close combat: rippers, pipes, crowbars, a large guy with a makeshift axe... Nothing to worry about. He's faced larger numbers in the past and got through fine.

The ranged boyz were gonna be a problem, though. Most of them were equipped with small firearms, 9mm pistols and a sub-machine gun, a dude with a flamer, and most importantly, a grenade launcher. That one would need to be taken care of ASAP. The head dog himself had an assault rifle, and from the way he was holding it, it looked like he knew how to use it.

Not all seemed so bad, though. Plenty of cover from ruined caravans and dead brahmin lay around. Not to mention how poor vision was, what with it being night and all the smoke, and his wearing black. With a little luck, he'd pull this through.

By the time that the three stooges got to him, sparks had already started coming off the electrified spearhead. Good, the guitar had charged in time. He waited until the got just a little bit closer, and...

With the push of a button, searing flames spew forth from the head of the guitar, swallowing the three soon-to-be-crispy-black raiders, giving him time to grab the young Charlotte, place her on his shoulder, and run for cover, narrowly avoiding shots from behind. He made it behind a dead brahmin, its stomach torn open, its intestines sticking out. Placing Charlotte inside it, he did a "shhh" notion with a grin and run. Oh, he had their attention now. Before he could deal with the close-combatants, though, he would need to deal with the shooters. There were only so many bullets one could eat before biting the dust, after all, even if that someone happened to be Eddie "I eat bullets for breakfast without milk" the Dead. He knew how to go about it, though. He was already rather camouflaged thanks to all the smoke and darkness (which proved the point that black is both stylish and practical), so he'd decided to make it 'round the caravan wrecks and dead animals and hit them from behind.

That would require him to hurry, though, considering nine very angry dudes wanted to stab and slash and swing at him. People these days, so bloodthirsty! As he run through the dense smoke under the cover of the wreckage, evading his new friends, he saw a familiar body.

Charles Sorrowfield. He looked rather good, if one was to ignore the lack of a head, numerous stab wounds and his intestines sticking out like spaghetti. Mmm, spaghetti. How many years had passed since he had eaten some?

He checked the dead man's pockets, finding a purse full of caps. Looks like he was getting paid after all. What for, though? He hadn't done the best job as a bodyguard -and who can blame him? There's only so many raiders he can take down with a single swing-, so, he decided, he'd be a hitman.

Loading a Dragon's Breath shell into the shotgun, Eddie moved in the shadows, staying out of sight until he got himself behind the ranged goons. Having lost sight of him, the legionnaires spread out, while the ranger-wannabees clustered 'round their boss. Didn't anyone teach them that having a flamer nearby is a bad idea?

"It brings me great pleasure to say my next job is you!" he yelled, and pulled the trigger.

*BOOM*

The flamer guy exploded to a million small, slightly burned pieces of flesh, the explosion taking down all of his trigger happy friends and knocking their glorious leader back like an enraged little girl tossing her doll across the room. No better way to start a concert with a bang and some pyrotechnics. Dropping the shotgun, Eddie grabbed his axe-guitar with both hands. The explosion worked as a signal for the other raiders to run back, and soon enough, one after the other started appearing, each one rushing him on their own.

"You guys never learn!" he laughed as his first victim run towards him, ripper in hand, "Don't you know that killing is my business..."

With his superior reach, he plunged the axe deep into the shoulder and kicked the dying raider to the ground, "...and business is good."

"Killing is my business..." he continued as the next one came. Eddie aimed for the legs, dismembering him, before splattering his brains on the ground with a mighty stomp, "...and business is good!"

"Killing is my business..." the next one had a crowbar. Hah! Grabbing it mid-swing, he headbutted the guy to wrestle it free, before plunging it deep into his eye socket and swinging it off, tearing his face out, "...and business is good."

"Killing is my business..." next came the pipe guy. Eddie took the blow to the side, grabbed his arm, kicked him in the nuts, dropped him to the ground and mashed his face with the butt of the guitar, "...and business is good!"

"Killing is my business..." the next one's head was crashed with the back of the guitar falling like a sledgehammer, "...and business is good."

"Killing is my business..." another ripper man followed, only to have his hand cut off, followed by a decapitation as he fell to his knees, "...and business is good!"

"Killing is my business..." the axe was plunged deep into the man's shoulder, cleaving him in half in a horizontal slash, "...and business is good."

"Killing is my business..." he avoided the large dude's axe vertical swing and horizontal slash, raising his guitar-axe high in response and swinging down a mighty blow. The goon's attempt to guard with the axe's handle failed miserably, breaking through the axe, splitting the head in two way down the torso, "...and business is gooooood!"

"You better believe it!" He laughed, as he kicked V-shaped corpse to the ground, freeing his guitar. Oh, this had been a fun night, alright. It would be a bitch to remove all that blood and gore from the guitar, true, but this was the most fun he'd had in the past 15 years.

Except, it seemed the night wasn't quite over yet. He heard pained groans in the distance, and indeed, guess who was unlucky enough to survive!

"You're... you're a monster!" the injured raid leader guy exclaimed in terror, his hands burried in his stomach. A slow death, that one.

"I'm not a monster," Eddie mused as he pinned his guitar on its strap, freeing his hands, "I'm just the kinda guy looking for quick, cheap thrills," he grabbed Charles' head, "Thanks for delivering, by the way," and grabbed the leader man by the jacket, dragging him along, "Lemme repay you in kind."


"Bloody, young, Charlotte!" he jollied as he returned to the brahmin, happy to see his young protégé was either smart or broken enough to heed his advice and stay hidden, "Good job! You survived!"

"I got you a present!" he tossed the man forward and and lay the head down, approaching Charlotte and patting her forward and leaning closer to her ear.

"Ya see, this slowly dying son of a bitch right here is the leader of the merry circus that attacked us. Oh, and he's also responsible for the death of your dad -My condolences, by the way- so I though that you should do the honours." He placed the combat knife he had picked up on his way back in her hands, and prodded her towards, moving before the raider and stomping on his torso.

"I'll make sure he doesn't try anything." He let off his charismatic, cheeky grin, "Go nuts."

Looking at the knife in her hand, Charlotte nodded grimly at Eddie before she walked towards the Raider Leader, his eyes wide in terror at the little child, the knowledge that karmic justice was well is on its way in the form of a slip of a girl. Stepping on the man's hand, the future Enclave torturer steeled herself for a moment before cutting off the man's finger, allowing it to roll away, the finger still twitching as the nerves in the finger went haywire. This was the only beginning, however. There would be more to come, that finger was the promise of more pain.


Eddie was left rather impressed with the imagination this twelve-year-old packed. He could totally see her taking up a carrier in torture and interrogation in the future.

Provided she survived her trip.

For all intents and purposes, Eddie was fulfilled his contractual obligations and received payment for services rendered, even if there was a shift in objectives towards the end. Bottom line, he owed the kid nothing. He had already shown how greatly magnanimous he was by saving her ass -literally- from their pleasant company and granting her the chance to satisfy her vengeance. Oh yes, he had done enough indeed.

And so, he waved her goodbye and walked away, "Good luck to you, murderous, young, Charlotte! I look forward to seeing you in twenty years or so, provided you make it that far!" he turned to face her and pointed as he walked on, backwards, "Oh yes, I look forward to seeing the kinda lady you turn out to be. Hell, we might even have some fun if I like you well enough."

"Until we meet again," he bowed, and turned back on course, "Keep on rocking!"

Standing in the middle of the wreckage, Charlotte watched as the ghoul disappeared beyond the horizon, never seeing the Raider behind her...


The Wild Wastelands | The Enclave Vault
A Conversation between two willing and consenting adults

An alarms sounded, waking Enclave Intelligence Officer #411. Her sheets were soaked in sweat. Her chest heaved as she tried to catch her breathe. Looking about, her eyes wild, she realized where she was... home, safe, secure. She relaxed for a moment until she realized that she was late for her meeting with #46. Getting out of bed, Charlotte let the cool air wash over her body before she headed to the shower.

~~~~~~~~~~30 minutes later~~~~~~~~~~

Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 strode through the corridors of the Enclave Vault, rather smug about her latest recruit into the ranks of the Enclave. He was a wad of unmolded clay at the moment but in time, he might be a strong addition to the organization, one that might get her noticed by FalloutJack ~Swoon~. There was no time to gloat however as she was nearing her destination, the quarters of the Enclave Head of Medical Operations #46. As #411's superior officer, #46 demanded the strictest of obedience. From what the Intelligence Officer gathered, she was from the old guard, a survivor of Raven Rock. Those folk were a different breed of Enclave, different from FalloutJack's Enclave. Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 would not only have to be on her best behavior but on her toes. It was all rather exciting to the woman who was usually relegated to observations.

Reaching the Wing that housed the officer's quarters, #411 quickly located the door to #46's quarters and knocked, waiting the requisite amount of time before opening the door and entering. Surprisingly, the quarters looked more like a home than #411's quarters. Standing at what passed for the foyer, the Intelligence Officer waited to be greeted by her host.

A door at the end of the hallway opened, and from it emerged #46, hands behind her back. Even after the day was done, she wore her black uniform, which complemented well her gray-blue eyes and her braided hair, jet black save for a streak of white showing her age. Even so, she looked far from old; one could easily mistake her for a woman in her mid-thirties, but much, much more mature in her presence, as though ageless.

"#411." She stated as she gave the Intelligence Officer a cold, calculating look, fixing her glasses. "Forgive me for not welcoming you at the door, I was putting my daughter to sleep." her tone was polite, yet distant, and gave the air that she was saying that out of politeness rather than actual care.

"But you are not here for casual talk." she motioned #411 to follow her, "Come, we shall discuss things in my quarters."

As they passed the living room and headed into #46's bedroom, #411 would notice an odd contradiction about the decoration; everything was neat and orderly, as though no one had ever lived in here, yet at the same time, the placements of the furniture and decorations (some of which were distinctively old world) gave the rooms a certain personalised character.

Same applied for the bedroom itself, but it was also spacious enough to have a desk and shelves, which seemed to fit #46, considering how professional and goal oriented she seemed to be even in her personal life.

She motioned #411 to sit on the chair opposite of the desk, and searched her shelves, finding a folder. Sitting down, she slided the folder towards her guest, and clasped her hands.

"I took the time to check after you left for your interrogation. The record kept by the archives offers personal information, but is otherwise incomplete. The one I have handed to you covers almost everything except for information deemed classified at the time."

The Enclave Intelligence Officer looked at the file curiously for a moment and noted the picture that had been pinned to the file's front page. She'd recognize the face anywhere, even if it was an image that had been taken years ago. It was the face of the man that was responsible for the bruises that she'd suffered while out in the field. It was the face of the man that was to be responsible for creating weapons for the Sylphy army that was to be at Constance's command. She looked over the file for a moment and noted the fact that it noted that it was married.

"Interesting." #411 muttered as she remembered the Blamco Bimbo and how chummy those two appeared. It appeared that Jonathan had found a replacement for the former Mrs. McKenna. As the Medical Officer stated, there was a number of pieces information that had been redacted or omitted from the report. It was a rather old file that recorded the events of his life up until his departure from the Old Guard Enclave.

There was a question that remained however. Why was Enclave Chief Medical Officer #46 showing her this and how did she have access to it. Due to the compartmentalization of the various departments, there were things that even #46 had less access to than #411. Based off of the information on the file, it was obviously dated and had been acquired by the woman prior to the fall of Raven Rock. Still why would she carry it unless...

"You're the wife listed in the file." #411 said aloud before looking up at the woman seated across from her, "May I inquire as to the purpose of your sharing this information? It's obvious that you don't want him back, lest you'd be out there with him. That doesn't leave a lot of motive, unless you're looking for someone to kill him."

The last line was made in jest, something that #411 wasn't accustomed to doing and was trying it on for size. She had been in a rather pleasant mood, especially since she'd scheduled a torture tactics later that day. The unfortunate volunteer to be the course's instruction dummy was her former second in command.

"What I want is irrelevant." Emily merely stated, her facial expression and voice unchanging, "I do not do this out of personal vendetta. There is a reason you seek to find McKenna again. Either he is a threat to be put down or you seek him to recruit him back. Whatever the case, the sooner your job is done the better. And so, as is my duty, I give what help I can offer."

Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 paused. It was a very rare case that Enclave Personnel spoke their mind so openly, especially around this particular Intelligence Officer. When she spoke, she spoke carefully. She didn't know this woman and she didn't know what her goals were. Considering she was part of the Old Guard, #411 had to at least consider that she was being genuine, a quality that was quite lacking in this day and age within the Enclave.

"Yes. There is a reason why I'm looking for him. He's assisting me in a matter that concerns the Enclave, though he's not doing so willingly. However, despite the leverage I hold over him, he remains blantantly obtuse about his situation and rebelious in the matter. I would hope to have your assistance in correcting this. You know him best."

#46 hang back in her chair, sighing deeply, before fixing her glasses and answering, "If it's to reign him in that you seek, then you are in for disappointment. Men like Jonathan cannot be molded into shape, only kept in check. His father learned that the hard way." despite her cold and unapproachable appearance, #46's eyes spoke of disgust. "The one thing you need to know about him, is that he's only in it for himself. He blatantly disregards everyone and everything else, and will happily use and discard them when no longer needed."

That didn't seem like the Jonathan that she'd met in the Outskirts of Megaton. Was his care for the Blamco girl a ruse to throw #411 off of his trail? After witnessing the display of sacrifice that the Undertaker had underwent for Lucy Black, Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 thought that perhaps there was a change on the horizon where the denizens of the Wasteland were starting to care for more than their own hides. If Jonathan was going to discard Kristin Blamco in the long run, perhaps he wasn't as useful as he appeared to be on the surface. The Enclave had plenty of weapons designers and with the retooling of the army to a more defensive role, #411 didn't have to hide the existence of the army. She needed to be sure however.

Looking around the room, #411 noticed the room that the Medical Head had exited, noting the childish furnishings within. The Intelligence Officer doubted that #46 was the type to indulge in childhood nostalgia.

"I have a daughter of my own. How old is your child?" #411 asked nonchalantly.

"I fail to see how this has anything to do with Jonathan," there was a hint of reluctance in her voice, "But she is nearing ten, in two months. Don't take this the wrong way, #411, but I prefer to keep my personal life separate from work. And this is work."

Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 did not stop, nor even hesitate at the request of #46. Though it was only because the woman before her outranked her, her she did not voice her thoughts. Now that she had been granted a higher level of access, she'd read not only Jonathan's old Enclave Personnel file but she'd read #46's as well. There had been mention of a child in the past, though it had never been carried to term. There had never been mention of #46 becoming close with any other of the Enclave Personnel. With the research that the woman had been conducting, #411 surmised that this child that #46 was protecting was the same offspring that was mentioned in the file.

"I didn't mean any disrespect, ma'am." #411 acquiesced, raising her hands in mock surrender, "However, as unprofessional sounding as it may be, might I ask what drew you to this particular man?"

"I... knew him since we were children. We basically grew up together, even if his father's studies gave him little time to pass time with others. We grew close, especially after his father's execution. My family and I helped him fight off the stigma of having his father branded as a traitor, helped him rise the ranks again. Eventually, we married."

Despite her attempt to hide it, #46's remorse over the mention of the marriage spoke well of how she looked at it in hindsight. "The Jonathan I fell for was a kind, highly intelligent man, always considerate." A semblance of a smirk appeared and vanished in the blink of an eye, "All a lie. He used me and my family as a stepping stone, and discarded me when I was no longer useful."

She gave #411 a cold glare, "Let this be warning to you. Jonathan is likely one of the most intelligent people in the wastes, and probably the greatest weapon designer we've had since the destruction of the Oil Rig. But he never believed in the cause."

It was slightly treacherous, this territory that #411 was stepping in. The woman's judgement might have been clouded by the slight that she'd received at the hands of Jonathan. Still there was one thing that they could agree upon. Jonathan didn't believe in the cause... but just because one didn't believe, it didn't mean that they weren't useful. Weapons was what #411 needed. Weapons that could protect the Wasteland from what was coming. She would never mention this thought to #46 though. Let the woman think what she wanted to think about McKenna.

It was time to leave. #411 was on a tight schedule and this talk with #46 had put her behind a little but it appeared to be worth it. Perhaps #411 had discovered something worth the time she'd invested. Still, it didn't hurt to ingratiate herself with #46.

"Once I'm done with him. Is there anything that you'd like to happen?" #411 asked as she stood up to take her leave.

"As I said, what happens to him is no concern to me." she said dismissively, "The Enclave is the only hope this Wasteland has, and its members can't let emotions run wild and potentially endanger it. Do with him as you will, what matters is that he does not endanger us in any way."

Getting up, #46 escorted #411 to the door, where she motioned her to wait,

"Though, I would like to be kept up to date with his activity. As you said, I know him best. I wish to act as a sort of consultant."

Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 nodded briefly before leaving. She would keep the Medical Head informed of most things. Not everything but most things.

??? - Secret BlamCo Research & Development Department (Several years ago)
"The origins of a certain sword..."

Olivia Blamco, designated sniper of the BlamCo hunting clan, had decided to surprise one of her sisters with a flask of coffee.

"So, 'Shieldmaiden', why aren't we just giving Kristin a super sledge instead? This seems a little excessive -- even for us."

The room was occupied with workbenches, whiteboards, half-finished diagrams and a small desk that was pushed into the corner. The desk itself was occupied with a pile of dog-eared pages of various textbooks, blueprints, crude notes and evaluation sheets from the BlamCo labs. A groan from overexertion could be heard from a nearby workbench. It appears that the BlamCo Defender was attempting and failing to effectively lift and swing a familiar heavy blade.

"Oh she will love this -- ", Shieldmaiden remarked to herself.

Affectionately nicknamed 'Shieldmaiden', this particular Blamco sister was responsible for equipment maintenance/team strategies & evaluation. Goal-orientated, cynical and ruthless. The Shieldmaiden was the black sheep of the family. In combat, she was one of the three designated team leaders, right next to the the Valkyrie herself: Kristin Blamco.
In combat, the most daring of the sisters followed the Valkyrie. While the most cunning of sisters followed the Shieldmaiden.

Groaning aloud once more, an annoyed glance was shot at Olivia. "She is the greatest melee fighter in our ranks. You can safely hide behind the scope of a rifle. Your area of focus is oversaturated by so-called 'snipers'. That makes you easily replaceable. So no --- don't even begin to inquire about an upgrade to your loadout."

Damn it. She had seen straight through her.

By nature, Olivia was calm & collected, but the Shieldmaiden and her know-it-all attitude had touched a nerve. Exhaling and taking the high-ground, the flask of coffee was set down on a nearby table.

"Oh come on, everyone is giddy to try out the new equipment we received from the Gun Runners."

Shieldmaiden poured herself a cup of coffee while her sister made a plea.

"No.", she stated flatly. "We provide food, we receive weapons, we use our funding from the family business to fund our BlamCo Weapons R & D department. We cannot afford to frivolously waste our resources for the sake of your curiosity."

Olivia resigned herself to the fact that only one Battle Sister would be receiving a new weapon loadout. "Fine, whatever, I'm over it. You never answered my question though. Kristin hasn't joined the hunting clans lately. She switched from sledgehammer to bumper sword after her first mutant kill --- am I missing something here?"

The Shieldmaiden managed to frown even more after hearing that. Olivia was presented with schematics for an existing weapon and a working prototype. Pouring over the details, her eyes darted between both diagrams, trying to make sense of the terminology.

"Let me get this straight --- this is a sword variant of the Super Sledge? A Super Sword?!"

Shieldmaiden rolled her eyes. "No. That would be a silly name. Essentially yes --- the protective casing is shaped to look like the exterior of a bumper sword. The micro but less effective kinetic storage devices are shaped along the blade. We had to sacrifice the keen edge for a thicker blade, hence the bulkiness, alternatively it is an excellent crushing weapon."

Olivia whistled in awe.

"Our Dear Princess won't know the difference, will she?"

For the first time, Shieldmaiden smiled.

"Not at all. And that is how it will stay."


Lucy Black - Megaton
'Grim'

"The fuck happened in here?!" Arizona's shouting echoed through the eerily quiet establishment. While Lucy was inspecting one of her laser pistols at the time, her eye widened in shock when the natural sunlight from the open Saloon door had revealed a gruesome scene. Tensing up, Lucy stepped inside and stoically stood alongside Arizona, her blood was running cold and she found herself listening for any signs of imminent threats. A dull and repetitive thud featured prominently amongst the uneasy ambience.

Lucy had no love for Moriarty's Saloon. Then again, she was beginning to realise that after the cavalier sale of her childhood home, she really did not place much faith or value in people, objects, places and even her own body. There were a few exceptions of course. This was the final product of a woman that would maim herself or burn bridges to gain the most inconsequential amount of leverage over a perceived enemy. Even her perceived friends weren't entirely safe. Individuals like Vikki & Frank --- her first companions on her journey --- compartmentalised and pushed out of her mind. They served no further purpose, her quest had long since ended. In addition to her Enclave thorns, she had grown callous. Callous. Despite being reunited with her blue-haired sister and the only man that she would consider loving.

Excitement and happiness truly were fleeting emotions. So potent in their presence, but so fragile to the influences of the world.

Throughout her own coping process, Lucy had quietly shut the door behind her and continued to remain oddly distant as she kneeled down next to the desecrated corpse. It was a disgusting sight that made her very stomach churn. Yet she forced herself to look until her vision had blurred over, much like one would do when deciphering those optical illusion imagery.

Happiness & excitement were dangerous emotions, there was no way around that.

"Hey, lemme know if you see Moriarty coming, alright? I have to grab a few things."

Her head snapped to the sound of Arizona's voice. Her reaction time was back to normal, which meant that the overdose of Med-X had worked its way through her system completely. Maybe that explained the current mood whiplash, among other things wrong with her perception and thought process from the previous day.

"Sure.", Lucy responded flatly. "We have about a few minutes at most before Megaton security checks this place out. And we need to find Shifty & Sylph."

Stealing? You did what you had to do in order to survive. You wouldn't find a moral high-horse here, she had done worse for no monetary incentive anyway.

Loading each laser pistol with a fresh energy cell, Lucy walked over to the entrance. She intended to seal it shut by melting the metal to the doorframe with a few carefully aimed bursts. Pausing before she could continue, Lucy turned to Arizona, "You might want to check upstai --- !?!"

The door to Moriarty's Saloon suddenly burst open, inches from Lucy, but both the newcomer and the eyepatch girl were treated to a hastily pointed laser pistol to their faces.

A figure taller than her was angrily pointing a laser pistol at her. With his clothes, skin and even hair caked in blood. Lucy adjusted the grip on her pistol, staring intently while searching for the person's eyes. Was this a survivor --- or was he --- ?

"Lucy!" the familiar voice exclaimed, chest heaving in between frequent panting, "Have you... have you seen Kristin?!"

It was Jonathan! And he was in quite possibly the worst state in which she had ever seen him.
Her eye widened in disbelief at what she was both hearing and seeing.

"What? Kristin? --- No.", Lucy brought a palm to her forehead while she tried to remember. "No --- not since last night, I think? In the bed -- but she can't be blonde.", she was getting frustrated. Grabbing the doorframe and pulling it closer to her to shield the view from any passerby. "Look, Med-X fucks with me in a really bad way. I could barely walk, let alone make sense of where people were. I thought you were downstairs, but you were up - and --- shit! Just hold on --- "

She had to act fast. "Arizona!", Lucy tossed her secondary laser pistol over to Arizona behind the bar. "Seal this door from the inside. There's an exit in the back. I'll take care of the front and we'll meet up soon."

(It's a small town, I'll find you."), Lucy thought to herself. Walking out and shutting the door behind her, Lucy leaned in the doorway and moved her pistol behind her back. Refocusing on Jonathan, he looked like hell and that was putting it lightly. Despite not being his biggest fan right now, the hunting rifle she had given him was slung across his back. It gave her a moment to look past his appearance...

"What's wrong? Are you hurt?", Lucy asking warily, unconsciously taking a slight step back from him.


Kristin Blamco - Megaton
'Challenge'

Despite being against the Cream Creed, a measure of pity could be taken upon the unfortunate souls cursed with irritable bowels & terrible sinuses. Aside from their disgusting lack of dignity and pride, these were sure fire methods to identifying a lactose intolerant -- an abomination. Sometimes they wore face-concealing helmets to hide their shame. In other cases, their own bodies would reject their unholy skin. Rightfully so!

*"BAAAAAAAAAAARF!!"*

Yet sometimes, just sometimes, you would find the rare individual that defied all rules. Those that rejected Dairy of their own accord. Ungrateful Bottom-feeding Sinner was too polite of a term. Nay, these were the true heathens of Dairy Lore:

Vegans

Gripping the handle of her Blessed Blade, Kristin BlamCo uprooted divine justice itself and held the blade low to the ground. She would launch this ancient godless warrior into the stratosphere with a single swing. Following suit, the Flat Chested Fake Human brought forth an opposing weapon of its own.

There was one thing that these agents of light and dark had in common: a ceaseless smile.

"N'awww, have I upset your weak-willed waste of a stomach, pathetic Vegan? HA!"

A loud voice interrupted from behind the pint-sized vessel of pity. Apparently it was one of Megaton's patrolling. He continued to stare at Kristin, to which she replied by turning her unsettlingly gleeful grin on him, cautiously he pulled out a baton. Apparently not very confident when he did a quick back and forth between their respective weapons.

"Fret not!", Kristin bellowed with a short burst of laughter that bordered on maniacal. "I have no intention of letting Divinity itself touch the impurity of a spineless Vegan."

True to her word, the blade was sent plunging into the ground once more. The guard, feeling a little overwhelmed by the Vegan's exotic weaponry and the Dairy Princess' disposition, went along his way and left the two alone once more.

"Was that piece of grease supposed to be food?" The thing decided to try its hand at insulting her fine culinary skills and by extension, she was insulting the moon.

"To a Godless Heathen such as yourself? No, that was not meant to be food. For the likes of you who do not deserve a single delicacy --- I cannot idly stand by and let you walk away unscathed, Warrior of the Rice Milk!"

With sunlight refracting off of her armor, the Divine Dairy Warrior dug her heels into the ground and raised her fists.

"A single sparring session! You have chosen to spit on my very honor, filthy Vegan, so I will claim what little power you have and make it my own. Be grateful, ordinarily I would grant you the blessing of death."

She yearned for combat.

Despite her snacks.
Kristin still hasn't had enough to fulfill the requirements of a full meal for the day.

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | The Road to Dunwich | Moriarty's Saloon

"Give as good as you get, take as much as you can. All the time."

As the Old Ghoul wrenched open the cash register and carelessly dumped the tray of caps into her pack, Lucy seemed to snap back to the present. Arizona wasn't entirely sure what was running through the girls head, but the expression on her face had been distant, so maybe it was best she didn't know. She had been told that she had had a similar expression whenever she committed one of the many atrocities as a Raider.

"Sure. We have about a few minutes at most before Megaton security checks this place out. And we need to find Shifty & Sylph."

"Agreed. Once we grab 'em, we can get the fuck outta Megaton. Sylph already left her fair share of corpses, and I don't want to be caught by the local law." Arizona called back with a soft chuckle.

Even as Lucy turned and started to suggest she check upstairs, the front door had been kicked open by one of the most bloodied men Arizona had seen in recent memory, and both aimed Laser Pistols at one another. And with her own reflexes having been honed raw by centuries of survival, the Ghoul had Lester resting on the bar, leveled at the newcomer.

"Lucy! Have you... have you seen Kristin?!"

He was a friend of Lucy's, it seemed. And, looking between him and the carnage both Lucy and herself walked in on, it was pretty clear he was at least partially responsible for it. It took her another moment to realize that he was also the one whose head Sylphee had used like a drum.

"Arizona!"

She her attention was brought back to the task at hand as Lucy tossed her other Laser Pistol to her, and she caught it deftly with her weak hand.

"Seal this door from the inside. There's an exit in the back. I'll take care of the front and we'll meet up soon."

"Got it. Don't get yourself killed, you hear?" she replied, stuffing the last of the bottles of Scotch she deemed were safe into her pack.

While the two strode outside, Arizona slid over the bar with her pack slung over one shoulder and the Laser Pistol in hand. When she got to the door, she stepped back and took careful aim at the doorknob. After three good blasts, the lock and doorknob ended up as nothing more than red-hot molten metal.

With a satisfied nod, she tucked the pistol into her pack, and immediately made her way out the back. But as soon as she was out, she had to blink at who she had nearly run headlong into.

"Thomas? The hell are you doing?" she asked quietly.


[ dr. sorenson ]

The Wild Wastelands | Following the Post-Apocalypse | Springvale

"First, do no[1] harm."

As a rule, Followers of the Apocalypse were usually pacifists who furthered humanitarian goals. To the layman, that meant that they helped people however they could. Giving out food and water, medical services, mechanical or electrical services. If it was related to the medical or technological fields and was considered a benevolent cause, no matter how small, they did it. But even they had to defend themselves, and the people they dedicated their lives to helping.

So, as Jenna Sorenson stepped up to the pile of ash in the middle of the road to a place called "Megaton", the holographic generator on her chest flickered on: :C

"I'm sorry!" she murmured, her voice quiet as she apologized to what was left of the Raider.

She was just a little ashamed of killing that Raider, especially since she had hope that, just maybe, despite the armor looking suspiciously familiar to her, that the man was possibly a reasonable Wastelander. But when he turned to her and started running at her with a baseball bat, saying that he was going to have a lot of fun peeling her out of her suit. So, she couldn't help but fire her Laser Rifle a little wildly. At which point, a particularly lucky shot hit him with a high-enough intensity to disintegrate him.

She didn't feel too bad, however. Raiders were a plague on the innocent as much as radiation was. Still, she wasn't very comfortable killing anyone.

With a sigh, she let her AER9.6 Laser Rifle hang by it's harness as she consulted her Pip-Boy, namely the map. She wasn't far from Megaton, her first stop on her way to the Jefferson Memorial, and by extension Project Purity. She could just go on her way, but there were a few interesting places nearby she could investigate first. Why waste an opportunity, after all?

There was a Vault. But she was wary about the idea of going into a Vault. Even if there weren't any inhabitants still inside, she wasn't even sure she could find a way in, or that she wouldn't lock herself inside somehow. No, better to save that for later.

There was the Springvale School. It wasn't far off either, she thought as she looked up in it's direction. Less interesting, certainly, but there was always a chance that something of value could be salvaged. Books, holotapes, other supplies. And that wasn't even taking into account what might have been brought and left there after the bombs fell.

Her "Expression Generator" flickered on again, this time with a smile: :)

As the red hologram flickered off, she started to make her way to the school. Who knew, maybe she'd get lucky.

[1] For values of 'no' approaching 'vast and permanent'.

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Behind Moriarty's Saloon
"I was given a fresh start and I want to do that with Shifty" - Lucy Black

Fresh starts. Only the dearly departed were given the opportunity for a fresh start. This is what Thomas "Shifty" McGee, the Former Undertaker playing at being an Undertaker, would have been thinking if he wasn't holding thumb in pain, its nail cracked and black. It had been some time since he'd built one of these caskets let along two of them.

The materials had been scavenged from the Saloon. The broken table that had been Thomas' crash pad just before Lucy had found him had provided a large majority of the wood. The remaining wood had been scavenged from a door to Moriarty's office. It would keep the dishonest Saloon proprietor honest whenever he woke up and freed himself from his prison for the dead.

tap tap tap tap... BANG!

Thomas hammered another nail home, securing the final cross member for lid that was to top the casket belonging to Colin Moriarty, the man already wrapped in a white sheet, or rather as white a sheet as could be scavenged from the linen closet of the Saloon. The Friendly Former Undertaker playing at being an Undertaker had already finished the casket for Moriarty's dead Bodyguard, his need obviously being greater than that of his unconscious boss.

Picking up a bottle that lay nearby, Thomas took a drink, allowing the liquid to linger on his tongue, the burning sensation down his esophagus caused him to wince once he swallowed. Undertaking was thirsty work and yet there was something oddly satisfying at having picked up his tools after so long a time. It felt like he was doing good works again, the type that enriched not just his ego but something slightly deeper than that.

As he drank, he thought briefly about what Jonathan had said before leaving.

Flashback:
As he was about to leave, though, he turned and faced Shifty, in his eyes a mixture of defeat, guilt and sympathy.

"You're like I'm looking at myself 20 year ago," he stated, not in an aggravated tone, but one of sympathetic realisation, "You and I, we're in desperate need to cling onto hope, in some way. You have Lucy, while I..." he sighed, "Lucy is your salvation, McGee. But the more you cling onto her, the the more afraid you'll become of losing her. And that fear will drive you nuts. You think I didn't see your jealousy when I was talking about Lucy? Please. Get me as drunk as you want, the obvious remains obvious."

He shook his head, "Don't be like that, Shifty. Don't let fear and paranoia rule over you. All that will ever do is hurt the one you so desperately want to protect. Lucy loves you, loves you more than anything in the world. Don't drive her away like that. Don't... don't become me."

Solemnly, he turned to the door again, ready to walk out, "What is lost can never be saved. Good luck, McGee. I hope the best for you both."

It had been a better goodbye than it had been hello when it came to Jonathan Aristole McKenna. Still, he had the distinct feeling that they'd run into each other again. It was a rather small Wastes after all. Placing the bottle back down on a nearby table, Thomas resumed his work.

With only the slightest of hesitations, the hesitation would have been substantially longer if Colin Moriarty had any semblance of humanity in his body, Thomas started placing the casket's lid on the casket, stopping due to Moriarty's less than timely "resurrection."

"(Good Lord Walt, why now?)" Thomas thought to himself. With the amount of damage Moriarty had sustained at the hands of a berserk Jonathan, he figured that the Saloon's owner would have been unconscious for much longer. Unfortunately, Colin Moriarty had a habit of beating expectations, for example, he had survived this long without any evidence of the existence of a heart in his body.

If Thomas were to leave the man locked within the wooden box, it would be likely that the authorities would be looking for Thomas rather than the one responsible for this situation in the first place. That's if Moriarty decided to go the route of notifying law enforcement rather than his usual method of calling up a posse of goons. With Lucy now firmly entrenched in his group of traveling misfits, the Tall, Pale and Sharply Dressed Man could hardly afford the additional danger this presented.

"Blessed Saint Colm Meanie! Get me outta here!" The Saloon's Proprietor and banshee shrieked as he struggled against the shroud that had been wrapped around him. Again, the sense of imminent infection might not have been present if Moriarty had bothered to wash the guests' sheets more often than semi-annually.

Now the Friendly Former Undertaker had a number of choices available to him. He could have knocked out Mister Moriarty and left him to back within the confines of the wooden oven. However this would have resulted in evidence that Thomas had a hand in the (un)timely death of the crooked barkeep. A posse of Moriarty's nearest and dearest would have gathered and danger would be following Thomas, Lucy, Arizona and Sylph once again. Thomas took the other option.

"By the blessed white gloves of our Lord Walt! You're alive, Mister Moriarty!" Thomas exclaimed with false exuberance, his hands raised in praise before uncovering Moriarty's head, "Let us give thanks to our beloved Lord that the Wasteland was not robbed of another fine and upstanding citizen. The Greatest of the Lords sings to us and tells us that 'it's a world of laughter and a world of tears it's a world of hope and a world of fears.' Today, however laughter and hope have won this day!"

Impatiently, the proprietor of Moriarty's Saloon attempted to grab the attention of the Undertaker, who was continued to espouse the greatness of what had occurred.

"Death has no power over those who follow the path of righeousness! If you strike him down you will only make him stronger! For he is chosen, chosen to bring balance to the world. Colin Moriarty, or should I say the chosen Messiah Moriarty, has come back from the grave, he has successfully evaded the hungry grasp of Death herself! Give praise..."

"HEY!"

"Behold, he who defeated the eternal slumber without the assistance of a Handsome Prince!"

"McGee!!"

"He who shall lead Megatonian Society into a new renaissance! A time of greatness and prosperity!"

"McGEEE!!!!"

"I give you Megaton! Your chosen, Colin Moriarty!"

Colin Moriarty was clearly taken aback by the high praise that Thomas had lavished upon him. The man even managed a slight cough as he muttered to himself. This did not, however, rob him of all of his faculties.

"Well... thank the Lord for that." Colin muttered absently as he struggled a bit against the stained off-white shroud, "Could you let me outta this now?"

"Gladly! Anything for a customer! You'll see that this is the best 2,056 caps that you have ever spent." Thomas boomed the calculated line.

"Two... WHAT?! TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTY SIX CAPS?! THAT'S ROBBERY!" The potential dig and dasher exclaimed in fiery outrage, his struggles against the shroud renewing themselves.

"Well, seeing your position within the community, I would hardly have expected that you would want a simple casket. Once you step outside you'll be dazzled by the craftsmanship. I've even engraved the lid with a fitting eulogy so that in some distant future, if you were to be dug up, they would know how truly great a man was buried in this casket." Shifty said before adding, "Plus as a pillar of the community, the people would want no expense spared in your burial. It would be a travesty to bury you in anything other than my finest work."

This of course was a total and complete fabrication of reality. The people would have sooner dumped the man's corpse in Little Lamplight than allow him to take up any amount of square footage in the wide open Wasteland.

"Of course now that my work has been completed, I should remind you that all paid contracts for custom work is utterly non-refundable nor negotiable."

"BUT I WAS UNCONSCIOUS!!!"

"Mister Moriarty, you were dead. You had passed. Having performed my duties as an Undertaker for a number of years, I assure you that I have seen my fair share of those dearly departed. You fit the criteria quite nicely. As such, your passing soul should have been able to understand my words and the terms of our oral contract. On top of that, I have already collected the funds that you owe me for both you and your friend. Would you rob a member of the Undertaker's Union, knowing what you know about us? You have used our services in the past if I am not mistaken." Former Undertaker Thomas McGee said looking down on the Saloon's proprietor.

"Fine. Then... then I'm charging you for that water that you've been drinking." The Owner of Moriarty's Saloon said as he attempted to re-coup of the the money that he'd spent while unconscious.

"Surely not, Mister Moriarty. If I'm not mistaken, that is a bottle of water from Project Purity and yet, it tingles upon my tongue like water that comes from the very wells of Megaton. I doubt that the Brotherhood of Steel would find it funny were they to find out that you've been passing off irradiated well water with water supplied by them. It would be a fate worse than if I were to have buried you before you'd been resurrected... which... I might add... is still a possibility if you continue to attempt to renege on your debt.

"Fine, McGee. You win but I won't forget this. I've got a bigger fish to fry. Fucking McKenna. I'll fry that fucker." Moriarty cursed as Thomas unwrapped the man from his shroud, revealing to the man that he was stark naked, more than a few sores having developed on his body since being wrapped up in the dirty linen, "What... the.. fook?!"

"Have a blessed day, Mister Moriarty." Thomas said as he turned, 2,056 caps jingling in his pocket as he left.

"Thomas? The hell are you doing?" Came a familiar voice from the direction of the Saloon's back door.

"Oh... ummm... Hello Miss Arizona." Thomas said slightly embarrassed as he attempted to keep himself between her and the view of the two coffins, "Ehhh... nothing. Just a little side work."

"SIDE WORK?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN SIDE WORK?!" Colin Moriarty yelled out from inside his casket, aware that the term suggested that Thomas "Shifty" McGee was working outside the purview of the Undertaker's Union.

"Just ignore him. He's a little sticker shocked." The Friendly Former Undertaker stated as he took a swig from the bottle in his hand, the clear liquid appearing to be nothing but water to the Ghoulish Merc.


The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | The Megaton Gates
Challenge Accepted

"A single sparring session! You have chosen to spit on my very honor, filthy Vegan, so I will claim what little power you have and make it my own. Be grateful, ordinarily I would grant you the blessing of death." The Ridiculously Endowed Paladin said as she took a fighting stance, the words that flew past her orange hued lips caused the Red Menace to blink. It was as if she was listening to Sylphee speak through the mouth of some Big Boobied Bimbo. This caused Sylph to smile after a moment as she leaned her Gifted Katana near by, but not so far as to be out of reach if things took a turn for the bad, she did not, however, remove the hidden blade that was strapped to her right forearm.

Despite the woman's ridiculous shape, there was muscle tone to her. The armor that the Parmesan Paladin wore was probably straining against muscle, not just mammary glands. This didn't scare Sylph, however, she would just use her superior speed to dodge the woman's blows.

The Blue Haired Butcher didn't even bother to take a fighting stance as she charged the woman. The first blows would not be physical however, she would crush the Cheddar Chump psychologically. Seeing that the woman had a host of Blamco branded equipment, Sylph took a gamble.

"It wasn't so much the food that upset my stomach so much as the thought that it tasted like the so called 'food' that BlamCo would make." The Crimson Catastrophe exclaimed was a cruel smile on her face as she feigned a punch to the woman's face but pulled back after at the last second, using the momentum of her pulled punch to add to the power of a spinning kick aimed for the woman's midsection.

THUD

It was a solid kick that appeared to have absolutely no effect at all... in fact, the kick actually pushed Sylph back and out of the range of a potential counter punch by the Chesty Cheesy Church Leader. This fight might last a while...


The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale Skool for Wayward Sylphys
Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy!

Constance Sorrowfeld had a rather large headache, so much so that she had started rubbing her temples. The day had gone from weird to even weirder. Rufio had returned with a message from Constance's mother, Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411, now an Officer though Constance was unaware of the promotion. The message stated that Constance was to await the arrival of two people exiting from the gates of Megaton, one a woman that was sort of... strange looking... from the images sent and a man that looked rather in need of a sandwich. She had also been instructed to start preliminary training with a handful of Sylphys, which after a time became a couple dozen Sylphys, especially after they had attempted to start descent training by repelling off of the school's roof.

Noticing that the Queen of the Sylphys appeared to be in pain, one of the Blue Haired Buttmonkies attempted to sooth her leader's headache with the assistance of a freshly squeezed Raider Brain. It seemed that prior to the arrival of the Sylphys, the former educational building had been inhabited by a group of Raiders plotting to invade Megaton. Apparently this plotting had been going on for some time now since the Raiders had restocked the entire school library with failed invasion plans.

"No no no. I don't need a brain replacement." Constance muttered as she waved off the offered Medula Oblongata.

"Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy!" Another one jabbered, one that had been placed on guard duty after having found a dose of Jet, and pointed towards the window, her Sylphys roughly translating to "Stranger Danger! Stranger Danger! Stranger Danger!"

"Ugh... again?" Constance muttered as she walked towards the window, half expecting to "see" an Enclave Eyebot or a tumble weed or, heaven forbid, another Deathclaw that the Sylphys would try to hunt and eat. To her surprise it was none of those, just some random wandering woman that appeared to be headed towards the School.

"Hey you! Hey!" Constance waved towards the woman, "I'd keep my distance if I were you! Just a little fair warning!"

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!"

"No... you cannot do that to her." The Cat Eared American Enclave Scout of America responded, her face twerking into an expression of modest disgust.

Megaton - Moriarty's Saloon
Exhaustion, Stress, and Depression

"What? Kristin? --- No."

His entire body hanged, and as Jonathan stumbled his way onwards into the saloon, panting, he felt heavy, as though chains had been wrapped around his body and dragged him down.

"No --- not since last night, I think? In the bed -- but she can't be blonde."

He hadn't realised just how exhausted he was until now. It was difficult to keep his eyes open, and as he sit down at a table, he felt himself jump in and out of conciousness. Snap out of it, you damned old man! Had he used what last remained of his energy in that foolhardy sprint here? Was he as spent as he felt? No, I... just need to catch my breath. That's all.

He was eager to leave. If his legs had the stregth, he would have walked out the moment he was told Kristin wasn't here. In part due to that Kristin wasn't here, but also because Lucy was here.

"Look, Med-X fucks with me in a really bad way. I could barely walk, let alone make sense of where people were. I thought you were downstairs, but..."

He phased out as she talked about last night. Enough time had passed for it to be classified as "last night". Why was she apologising? There was no point in it. He didn't blame her for ditching him. He was the one that had fucked up. The very reminder was like a vampire feeding on him, and he felt himself giving in, his conciousness slowly slipping away as sleep started overtak-

"What's wrong?"

He jolted upwards, much like someone would do if as they were falling asleep their idiot neighbour decided to ignite fireworks because it's 4th of July and you gotta celebrate, breathing quickly. That was close. Too close.

"Are you hurt?", Lucy asked warily, unconsciously taking a slight step back from him.

That step. There was something about it that hit him more that it should have. He took a good look at himself, and the reason became apparent. His rush to find Kristin had all but made him forget all the blood on his clothes. No wonder she stepped back, he looked like some serial killer.

I disgust her.

Nice going there, Gilles.

As though taking the cue, he stepped backwards too, and turned to face the counter, feeling too guilty to look at her. He couldn't do anything right, could he? He just kept on screwing up, and wondered if it was even possible to patch things up at this point.

"I..." he muttered weakly, not certain how to continue, "Look, Lucy... You don't have to apologise... You're not to blame for what happened last night.", he turned to look at her with his sorrowful, half-closed tired eyes, "I should be the one apologising. My behaviour towards you ever since we met has been... inexcusable. Especially what I said when I was having that breakdown. I... I didn't mean anything. I'm sorry."

Suffocating. This was suffocating. He needed to get out. Right now.

"Lucy, there are things that we need to talk about. Serious things, nothing to do with my bullshit... but it'll have to wait." he started walking towards her and the door, burying his face in his hat, "I need to hurry and find Kristin. If Moriarty's true to his word, then she might be in danger." He was out of the door now, looking around, "Let's... let's talk after everything's sorted out. Please." and run onwards.

Megaton - Way to the Gates/Blamco Festival
A terrible day for a faire

This was a most unexpected sight.

The street was packed with people, as stands were being constructed around him, mostly from young, teenaged-to-young-adult girls worked tiredlessly to finish their work before the sun shone midday. This whole Blamco thing had caught on quickly, it seemed, truly a testament of Kristin's natural charisma.

He only hoped she was ok.

His pace grew quicker. Hopefully Moriarty hadn't gotten his claws on her, hopefully she had woken on her own and set off. The uncertainty was getting to him. Lost in thought and looking for a flicker of her golden -or maybe it had gone back to silver?- hair amidst the crowd, he bumped into someone, and she fell to the ground. As he turned to look, he recognised her face.

The girl Kristin was talking to by the bomb. The very same girl that had heard Charlotte yell his name out. She stared at him in horror, as though ready to scream.

"You!" he said and grabbed her by the arms, getting her up and littering her shirt with bloodstains, "Have you seen her? Have you seen Kristin?", he didn't realise the amount of force he was putting in his grip.

"T-The gate..." the girl said, panicking, "I saw her by the gate!"

His eyes widened, and for the first time since last night, Jonathan genuinely smiled. Pushing her aside, he started running, adrenaline surging through his system, his heart beating like crazy...

...Never noticing the mob gathering behind him, calling for blood...

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | The Road to Dunwich | Megaton

"No refunds."

What Arizona found just outside the back door to Moriarty's Saloon wasn't what she was expecting. Though to be fair, she wasn't entirely sure what she had been expecting to begin with. But it certainly wasn't Thomas and a pair of coffins, one having a rather thoroughly beaten-up Moriarty sitting up in it. Thomas's reply could only be considered sheepish.

"Oh... ummm... Hello Miss Arizona. Ehhh... nothing. Just a little side work."

She glanced over at Moriarty in his coffin, sputtering about what he meant.

"Just ignore him. He's a little sticker shocked."

As Thomas replied, he took a sip from what looked like plain water. Perhaps he's already thinking about kicking the habit, she thought with a small smirk, crossing her arms as he regarded him.

"How is this side work? You are still an Undertaker, aren't you?" she said, before waving for him to follow her as she made her way out from around the Saloon.

"Anyway, we need to get the hell outta Megaton. Once we grab Sylph and meet up with Lucy, we're leaving. Crazy blue-haired bitch already left a bodycount behind her, and I don't want anything to do with it." she told him.

The old Ghoul paused for a moment before looking back at him with a narrowed eye.

"By the way, just how much did you take Moriarty for?" she asked conspiratorially.


[ dr. sorenson ]

The Wild Wastelands | Following the Post-Apocalypse | Springvale

"I come in peace! I promise!"

Jenna had only started to make her way to the school when she heard a voice call out from the school itself. Flinching, she stopped in her tracks and hunched her shoulders defensively.

"Hey you! Hey! I'd keep my distance if I were you! Just a little fair warning!"

Holding up her hands, she quickly keyed in a friendly smile into her Pip-Boy for her Expression Generator to project.

"I don't mean any harm! I'm a Doctor and Scientist with the Followers of the Apocalypse. If you, or anyone else in there could use medical attention, I can help. Otherwise, I suppose I'll be on my way." she called out awkwardly.

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Behind Moriarty's Saloon
Body Count? Cop Killer? Someone call Ice T

As Thomas listened to Arizona, he realized that they definitely should have left the Crimson Catastrophe outside the Megatonian Gates and probably gifted her to a Giant Ant to be taken back to its Queen. But nooooo. Someone thought that taking Sylph into the town was a good idea. Someone felt sorry for the Homicidal Maniac. The Friendly Former Undertaker was pretty sure it wasn't him.

The fact that Arizona had mentioned the name Sylph rather than Sylphee meant that she was in her homicidal attack dog mode and would be only slightly more trouble than the dafter side of the coin. This meant that it was more than likely Sylph was in the middle of slaughtering some poor child or puppy or child-puppy hybrid. This meant that getting out of Megaton was of utmost concern.

"By the way, just how much did you take Moriarty for?" Arizona asked conspiratorially as she lead Thomas back around to the front entrance of the Saloon, the rear door having been mysteriously fused in the locked position.

"Two thousand fifty six caps." Thomas responded simply, far too simple it seemed, "for services rendered for both himself and his dead bodyguard. It's a fair fee and actually at a discount despite the fact that he tried to gypped us out of a room is also a pretty good reason. As well as the fact that he takes advantage of the downtrodden and is, in short, an absolute asshole to everyone in existence, I think that perhaps charging him for extra work was justifiable."

"HEY ASSHOLE AREN'T YOU GOING TO LET ME OUT?!" Came Moriarty's screams that were drowned out by the creaking of the Saloon's primary entrance.

Upon entering the Saloon, Thomas saw Lucy's shapely silhouette, the thought of her bringing a dumb smile on his face and a rosiness to his pale cheeks. His sweat drenched body wanted nothing more than to rush to Lucy and envelope her in his arms. It was all rather very cutesy that it probably would have made Arizona vomit if it didn't mean that she'd be wasting good booze.

"Lucy." The Friendly Neighborhood Fornicator Undertaker said, calling out to her and attempting to wrest her attention from whatever it was that was occupied on, namely not him, "I think we're leaving Megaton. Now. Do you have everything that you need? We should find Sylph before she... continues being Sylph."

He hoped his Bookish looking Beauty of a Lover understood the euphemism in regards to Sylph.

Kristin & Sylph || The Megaton Gates
The BlamCo Valkryie VS The Crimson Huntress
Collaborative post with Generic NPC 22

Upon taking up a fighting stance with clenched fists held up at neck height, the Valkyrie's wrists overlapped in what was known to the BlamCo family as the crossguard formation. A wild grin was spread across Kristin's face, her heart was pounding in absolute excitement. Daring and welcoming her opponent to strike first, the Vehement Vegan was noted to be significantly smaller in stature. Despite the smaller frame, it was observed from her opponent's deliberate movements when her weapon was set aside, she possessed a lithe build that was not without lean muscular definition of her own.

And lithe she was indeed! The agile attacker had dashed towards Kristin, with a clenched fist speeding towards her, Kristin had no time to react outside of the realm of surprise. She was faster than expected! The strike never landed during the charge. It was a feint attack. Although that did nothing to stop the surprisingly skilled opponent from taunting the BlamCo Berserker.

"It wasn't so much the food that upset my stomach so much as the thought that it tasted like the so called 'food' that BlamCo would make."

Catching a hint of the snide smile, the BlamCo Berserker fell for the vicious taunt and was treated to an expertly executed spinning kick to her exposed midsection. Adrenaline-induced aggression coursed through Kristin's veins as she took a wild closed-fisted backhand swing at the Crimson Huntress' face, the purely reactionary attack had greatly missed when her opponent was pushed back by the ineffective kick. It would take more than that to break down a body born of BlamCo might!

With her lip curled in disgust, a low guttural growl was uttered by the BlamCo Valkyrie. Taunting an opponent was generally regarded as a means to aggravate an opponent into lowering their defence during an attack, but what would happen if your opponent prioritised overwhelming force over that of personal defense anyway? This:

During the scant few moments where the Speedy Huntress appeared to be surprised at Kristin's physical endurance, the Valkyrie had launched herself forward into a relentless charge towards her opponent. Opening her fist, the Valkyrie closed the small distance with an outstretched hand and took full grip of Sylph's face. Continuing with her charge, Sylph was lifted off the ground for a few steps and slammed head-first into a nearby scrap metal wall. The Valkyrie's heavy-handed strength was in full display.

Between the splayed fingers of her grip, the Valkyrie venomously hissed the following at the Huntress:

"Such mockery will not be forgiven! Show me then that you are worthy enough to be a Valkyrie's opponent!"

Crimson, crimson everywhere and all of it was formerly encased in the previously pristine body of the Crimson Menace. The scrap metal clanked loudly as the force of the impact caused a Sylph head sized impression on the piece of metal. It was only through sheer luck that the Blue Haired Butcher wasn't sent through the sheet of metal, or knocked unconscious or dead. Before the stars that spun around Sylph's head had a chance to make a single orbit around her cranium, Sylph's hands reached up and grabbed the wrist, locking on tight as she did a sideways flip, twisting the arm of the Chesty Cheese Log. The result was the Red Menace ended up behind the Busty Barbarian and had her in an armlock, not that it would have lasted long as Sylph felt this Paladin of Parmesan already wrenching her wrist from Sylph's hands. Letting go, Sylph jumped vertically and kicked out with both feet, impacting and pushing against the Silver Lined Sister of Swiss and sending her pitching chest-forward into the very same piece of scrap that had Sylph's face imprinted on it.

"Valkyrie?" The Menace of the D.C. Metro Area asked as she shook her head, finally clearing away the last of the birds that chirped in her ears, "You're just another annoying, chattering twit."

The was a flurry of action as Sylph charged in, punching, kicking, biting, scratching and dodging the Priestess of Provolone's counter strikes. The situation was quickly devolving from a sparring session to a brawl with people starting to bet caps on who would be the one to walk away.

[Heavy Handed]
*SMASH!!!*

A cheese wheel sized fist impacted against the side of Sylph's face, sending her backwards to the ground once again, causing the stars and birds to return. Laying on the ground, Sylph heard the crowd laugh the familiar laugh of those who enjoyed the sight of two people battling for their lives. The very people that had made Sylph suffer so long ago. Slowly, she picked herself up off the ground, the crowd roaring their approval. The wine colored warrior would beat the Berserker Boobs and then take care of the crowd that was enjoying Sylph's suffering.

Having sent the Crimson Catastrophe flying after a vicious backwards fist, the BlamCo Valkyrie slowly turned to face her opponent. Breathing heavily and physically scratched even deeper, a significant amount of blood was spat from Kristin's mouth before her lips curled into an unnerving smile. Kristin had vastly underestimated her opponent, between the incredible speed and unpredictability, her opponent's attack were varied but shallow. There was no point in creating a defense, not when her opponent shared similar qualities to her own. What this Venomous Vegan lacked, besides for a diet that didn't disgrace the Gods, was raw strength and stamina.

Steadily striding forward with a heavily bloodied body from superficial scratches and bruises, Kristin could hear the cheers of a crowd shout the name of BlamCo in praise. Oh? How interesting! It was best that she put on a show then! The Valkyrie lowered her head after opening her clenched fists at her sides. Towering over the small framed assassin, the skillful Huntress spun in position and raised her leg in an instant to land a devastating kick to the stomach of Kristin. After so many missed attacks during the Huntress' earlier flurry of attacks, it had become evident to the Valkyrie that the only way to successfully hit this Blue-haired Bruiser was to suffer some damage of her own and make sure that every counter-attack had outweighed the damage potential.

Feeling the bile rise to her throat, Kristin grit her teeth as she firmly captured the leg of her opponent. Much like she would lift her own blade, Sylph was hoisted upwards during this solid display of strength. For a few moments, the Huntress was kept suspended in the air while her muscles strained against her blood-stained armor, the Valkyrie sent Sylph crashing down chest-first into the hard ground.

"You -- look somewhat familiar.", Kristin uttered between heavy breaths, briefly puzzled by where exactly she had recognised such a female, regardless she resumed the banter. After brief consideration, the Valkyrie addressed her opponent in a more respectful tone.
"Careful Huntress, I am beginning to like you."

Firmly grabbing Sylph by the back of the neck, she was forcefully lifted up once more into a standing position. With her feet just dangling off the ground, Kristin delivered a punishing knee to Sylph's stomach, followed by a smaller uppercut to the sternum before tossing her aside like a rejected ragdoll.

The Red Menace was crapped out. Her gut hurt as if someone had unloaded a bunch of lactose laced explosives insider her bruised intestines, her eyes had started swelling shut after the tremendous thronging her face had received by both metal and fist. It was difficult to tell which had caused more damage. Still, where most would have bowed out, Sylph hauled herself off the ground, her clothing looking particularly red at the moment. Looking at the Titty Twat, Sylph could only let a slight whisper of words past her bruised and cracked lips.

"Are.. you... hitting... on... me?" Sylph asked as she started trudging towards her inevitable demise. She still had an ace up her sleeve so to speak. Even if the cut she was about to inflict came at the cost of her life, she would deliver it.

She reared back, winding up for a punch, as she approached and launched her fist with what remaining strength she had left. As the strike closed in on the Bovine Bitch, Sylph twisted her wrist in her familiar way. The blade, however, so caked up with blood and grime, never extended, which was probably a fortunate thing since it was the very weapon that had claimed the lives of several Megatonian drunkards the night. Without the extended reach of the blade, the strike seemed like some clumsy attempt at Sylph thumbing her nose at the inevitability of her defeat and failing miserably. Without any strength left in her legs, the Red Menace fell to the ground, staying there for a moment before attempting to pick herself up again...an action made impossible by the fact that the Silver Clad Savior of Cheddar had intertwined her legs with Sylph's and was currently twisting Sylph's ankle trying to get her to submit to the Provolone Paladin's Cheesy superiority.

Grimacing, Sylph gritted her teeth and waited for the snap that would have been the signal that her ankle had just been snapped like a twig, her moans of pain drifting off over the head of the crowd into the distance like an S.O.S.

This was not a mere sparring session, nor was it an escalated brawl, this was a battle between two Warriors.

Chest heaving, Kristin could no longer hide the extent of the damage that the skilled Huntress had caused. Kristin's neck, cheek, hands and wrists bore signs of deep bloodied scratches, her right cheek was swollen after a particularly ferocious onslaught of repeated jabs and her jaw was suffering from a dreadful subluxation. Painfully clicking her jaw back into place, the Valkyrie held her ground, more so out of necessity rather than grandstanding for this battle's spectators.

Even after their punishing exchange of attacks, the battered and blue-haired warrior took to her feet once more. Kristin's prejudices were washing away after every attack that this person had landed on her. Even after her opponent's mistaken verbal jab, Kristin smirked wearily. Regardless, the fight was coming to an end, both of the warriors shared a certain combat sense and Kristin prepared to grapple with her. The Crimson Warrior raised a fist once more during a charge. Predictable. Very well, if they were going back to basics, then the Valkyrie would follow suit, charging forward to meet Sylph's face with her hand once more.

Then she twisted her wrist in a strange motion that completely changed the angle of Sylph's attack, this was not what caused Kristin to skid to a halt, it was how the attack had landed short and what was contained on Sylph's wrist: a wristblade! The nerve! How dare she further betray the honor of combat!

Furiously, the Valkyrie grabbed Sylph by the back of the neck when she had collapsed to her knees. Forcing her opponent to the ground, the BlamCo Valkyrie used her legs to lock Sylph's and intensely gripped her ankle, completely intent on ripping this limb from her opponent's body.

Despite the Valkyrie's rage, the agonizing groans and lack of resistance from her opponent had signalled the end of this duel. Kristin BlamCo was nothing if not honorable to a fault.

Releasing her grip and rolling off of the Blue-haired Warrior, Kristin unsteadily rose to her feet only to be met with a roar of cheering and a scatter of bottlecaps from the bloodthirsty but satisfied crowd. Kristin BlamCo, an honourable fighter, would not be celebrating alone however. Stepping over to the fallen body of her opponent, Kristin hoisted her up into a standing position, not to attack like before...but rather to hold her hand up high for the crowd. The crowd's reaction was deafening, but certainly overwhelmingly satisfactory.

Stepping away from the former Vegan, the Valkyrie regarded the female, now known as 'The Huntress', for a moment.

"That...was... --- a fantastic duel!", even smiling had hurt, but she smiled regardless, "You have earned my respect, Crimson Huntress."

Absentmindedly clapping Sylph on the shoulder, Kristin walked over to the uproot the heavier bumper sword with more effort than usual. Looking up, Jonathan was spotted through an odd clearing in the crowd, he appeared to have been watching this particular battle. For how long he was there, she did not know, yet she hoped he was impress -- Jonathan --- wait!.

Suddenly, the memory of a particular on-screen display/Lucy's home/#411 had roared into conscious memory. This woman was largely reminiscent of the Enclave clone army!

"Aha! It was good to finally meet you, Sylph!", The Valkyrie turned to her former opponent once more, before gesturing to herself, "Kristin Blamco! May we do this again someday!"

After fighting one of the most staggeringly strong opponents the BlamCo Princess had fought in a while. Wearily, Kristin proceeded to slowly walk towards Jonathan with a silly grin on her bloodied and bruised face.


Lucy Black || Moriarty's Saloon
'Weary'

"I..." Jonathan muttered weakly, "Look, Lucy... You don't have to apologise...You're not to blame for what happened last night.", he turned to look at her with sorrowful, half-closed tired eyes, "I should be the one apologising. My behaviour towards you ever since we met has been... inexcusable. Especially what I said when I was having that breakdown. I... I didn't mean anything. I'm sorry."

Lucy was taken aback, she didn't quite expect this kind of sincere apology to come from Jonathan of all people. On one hand, she partially wanted to wave the apology away with acceptance. Yet on the other hand, Jonathan's mood had shifted to yet another extreme during his very brief time spent in her company. Past experience had made her wary of such individuals.

"Lucy, there are things that we need to talk about. Serious things, nothing to do with my bullshit... but it'll have to wait." he started walking towards her and the door, burying his face in his hat, "I need to hurry and find Kristin. If Moriarty's true to his word, then she might be in danger." He was out of the door now, looking around, "Let's... let's talk after everything's sorted out. Please." and run onwards.

This man would never cease to leave her alone. Her father was dead! She did not wish to drudge up the past. She did not want to associate with someone that was a constant reminder. She didn't need his creepy fathering attitude.

Lucy was close to punching Jonathan in the vain hope that he would start to make some sense. God-forbid he develop some sense of emotional consistency when he was around her. Despite her frustrations, she was curious about what he wanted to talk about. This time she would make a point to cut her ties completely or bury the hatchet and move on with Shifty, Sylph & Arizona.

Sighing, the currently annoyed former sniper waited for him to leave and made her way outside. Leaning over the railings to survey the current Megaton activity.

~~20 minutes later~~

"Lucy."

The Illustrious Undertaker addressed Lucy from behind, not the first time he done so today, mind you.

"I think we're leaving Megaton. Now. Do you have everything that you need? We should find Sylph before she... continues being Sylph."

Leaning back into Thomas' arms, she crossed her own, clearly preoccupied with something.
"Did I ever tell you that when I used to live here a few years back, that I was offered the position of being a Megaton Sniper? No?"

Lucy frowned, "Well I have good news and bad news. Good news: The Megaton Snipers have abandoned their posts very early today, so we won't get a bullet in the back. The bad news: That means it has something to do with whatever the hell is going on at the Megaton gates. Take a look."

Gesturing towards the immense crowd, there was was an influx of people blocking the gates and an even greater crowd forming a circle during what sounded like a brawl.

"So how do -- sorry -- ", Lucy caught herself in the moment when she looked up at the Tall Undertaker, standing on her tippy toes, she planted a small kiss to his cheek, "Ahem, so -- how do you want to play this? Take our chances or take a closer look? Ariz -- !"

Shifting in Shifty's hold, Lucy spotted Arizona nearby, "What do you think? I haven't seen Sylph, not from up here anyway."

Priming her laser pistol, Lucy patted the bag she was carrying at her hip in indication to Shifty. "Yeah, I'm done here.", her expression dropped, "Right, but once we're out -- if it's possible -- I have to talk to someone called Jonathan McKenna & The BlamCo Princess, yes she exists. I can catch up with you guys later if things get too crazy."

The Wild Wastelands | Springvale High
Daft Scientist Chicks are Daft

"I don't mean any harm! I'm a Doctor and Scientist with the Followers of the Apocalypse. If you, or anyone else in there could use medical attention, I can help. Otherwise, I suppose I'll be on my way."

Constance tracked the masked woman doctor with her ears as she started rubbing her temples once again. Clearly this woman wasn't going to take no for an answer. She was tempted to shoot her and be done with it. If she was a scientist, she'd clearly be interested in the Sylphys and their existence. This more than likely meant that there would be many a question to follow which would only further aggravate Constance's blossoming head ache. Little did the American Enclave Loli of America know that the repairs that had been performed by Lieutenant Natsuki Manriki and Rufio the Cyberdog had been incomplete. A misaligned signal projector was sending bursts of super high frequency noise into her brain.

"Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy!" One of the Sylphys jabbered and chattered.

"No. I'm fine. Let her in." The young girl said as she continued to rub her head, "Keep an eye on her and... don't eat her."

"Sylphy!" The Sylphy sighed but saluted anyways.

POING!

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!" The two Sylphys exclaimed in surprise looking at each other.

"SYLPHY!" The two of them exclaimed to each other pointing at the direction of the entrance to the school.

"SYLPHY!' The two repeated, continuing to point at the entrance to the school. Clearly thinking that the original should be the one who should be the one who went to the entrance of the school. The only question was, which one was the original of the two.

"Just go, the both of you. No no... don't salute." Constance groaned before her eyes rolled up into the back of her head, as if she was trying to get a better look at the back of her skull and fell to the ground.

"SYLPH!" The Stereo Sylphys exclaimed as they rushed to Constance's prone body, one rushing off in the direction of the Doctor.


The Wild Wastelands | The Megatonian Gates
LOSER! YOU HAVE BROUGHT GREAT SHAME TO YOUR HOUSE!!!

"Aha! It was good to finally meet you, Sylph!", The Voluptuous Valkyrie turned to her former opponent once more, before gesturing to herself, "Kristin Blamco! May we do this again someday!"

The Red Menace rubbed her shoulder absentmindedly. There would more than likely be a bruise there later from where the Busty Berserker had clapped her but it would still far less severe than the bruising the Crimson Catastrophe's ego had taken that day. If Father had seen this, he surely would have adopted Kristin in lieu of the loser known as Sylph... after all this was how Sylph had been adopted by her Father. Were this the arena from which her Father had removed her from, she would have been food for a Rad Scorpion or another of the gladiatorial combatants. The fact that this was not the arena nor was Father present to see her loss didn't make the pain in Sylph's gut hurt any less.

A couple of drops of water hit the ground, wetting the patch of parched soil that had somehow missed being bathed in blood. The Blue Haired Mess of a Girl wiped the lemming tears off her face before anyone could see them before picking herself off the ground, a grinding noise in her ribs caused her to flinch minutely before she stood up, tall and erect to face look at the duo that was comprised of Miss Kristin Blamco and the man that had knocked Father over the railing.

Despite the fact that her training called for her to dispose of the male, she made no move against him. He appeared to be quite familiar with Miss Kristin Blamco. Perhaps he was her husband? Despite the apparent age difference, they looked to be quite caring of one another. Sylph might have been naive in the way of the heart, but even these things were obvious to her. She'd seen it in the way Father looked at Miss Lucy.

Walking towards her equipment, the Wine Colored Warrior paused, as if sensing a shift in the atmosphere. The crowd that had surrounded Miss Kristin and Sylph for the fight had noticed Miss Kristin's male companion. The murmurs of "Enclave" and "Gut him" and "Kill her too" passed through the crowd like an electrical current. Picking up her Gifted Katana from where it leaned, Sylph waited to see if the crowd would act upon this impulse or if the demonstration that Miss Kristin had provided would be enough to convince them of the folly of any action against the duo... trio.

[ dr. sorenson ]

The Wild Wastelands | Following the Post-Apocalypse | Springvale School

"Not to worry, I make house-calls."

Jenna paused, hands still up in a non-threatening stance as she waited for some kind of response. When a few minutes passed, she was starting to wonder if it was best to just continue on to Megaton when a blue-haired young woman, no older than her late teens, rushed out to meet her.

She hadn't even gotten a chance to say hello when she was dragged, sputtering and protesting, into the school, all the while hearing the girl gabble something unintelligibly.

"Hold on, what... Could you just stop and tell me what's going on?" she asked frantically as she was pulled forcibly into the school's lobby.

The moment she saw a black-clad girl, collapsed and being tended to by what looked like the young woman's twin, her protests died down and she started to move toward them of her own accord. When she reached them, she knelt and looked up at the twin.

"What happened to her?" she asked firmly.

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!"

The Doctor's helmet turned to the 'Sylphy' for a moment before she shook her head and started to examine the collapsed girl.

What was immediately obvious was the pair of what looked like cybernetic cat ears atop her head, and after further examination they turned out to be some sort of miniaturized radar system that seemed to be connected directly to the girl's head. They looked battered, however, so she reached into her pack and pulled out her toolkit. But she hesitated for a moment. It wasn't like they were something that she had worked on herself, prior to all this. Should she really be messing with them?

Shaking her head, she started to slowly and methodically inspect the ears, and it took her a few moments to realize that there was in fact something wrong with them. A few of the projectors were out of alignment, one in particular positioned in such a way that it had to be giving the girl a considerable amount of feedback.

When she finished adjusting the cybernetics and replaced the casings, she sighed softly and looked up at the 'Sylphy' to tell her that at least one of the problems was finished. What she ended up facing was several of them, each one identical to one another. And there were far too many of them to be a coincidence.

"Oh... I didn't know that Washington D.C. had cloning facilities." she murmured after a minute.


Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | The Road to Dunwich | Megaton

"Shit happens, what the hell?"

As both she and Shifty started to make their way down the walkways that led to the front gates and his lady-love, the Former Undertaker named a figure that had the Ghoul's lone eye widening in shock.

"Two thousand fifty six caps."

"Two thou--What?! Damn, Thomas!" she murmured with a tone of impressed awe.

"For services rendered for both himself and his dead bodyguard. It's a fair fee and actually at a discount despite the fact that he tried to gypped us out of a room is also a pretty good reason. As well as the fact that he takes advantage of the downtrodden and is, in short, an absolute asshole to everyone in existence, I think that perhaps charging him for extra work was justifiable."

Arizona slowly nodded, her chapped lips pursed in thought. If that was the kind of pay that Undertakers could expect for a job, even at a discount, it might just be high-time to think about a new line of work once her current job was done.

When they finally reunited with Lucy, Thomas regarded her with the kind of dreamy look that Arizona couldn't help but envy. It also made her want to smack the back of Thomas's head so he'd stop, but she resisted the urge. After all, the couple had only recently reunited, so they deserved at least a few days to give each other brahmen eyes.

"Lucy. I think we're leaving Megaton. Now. Do you have everything that you need? We should find Sylph before she... continues being Sylph."

As Lucy leaned back against Shifty, letting his arms wrap around her, Arizona felt another tug of envy, as well as the warm, fuzzy feeling she still got every now and then when she saw something truly sweet.

"Did I ever tell you that when I used to live here a few years back, that I was offered the position of being a Megaton Sniper? No? Well I have good news and bad news. Good news: The Megaton Snipers have abandoned their posts very early today, so we won't get a bullet in the back. The bad news: That means it has something to do with whatever the hell is going on at the Megaton gates. Take a look."

As the One-Eyed Girl motioned to the lower reaches of Megaton, near the gates, Arizona peered over the nearby railing and had to grimace. A large mob of Megaton citizens were gathering around what looked like a fight, and in the process was blocking the gates. What was worse, she could swear she could pick out a glimpse of blue hair between the two fighting.

"Well, shit. That's a hell of a thing to happen now." she grumbled.

"So how do -- sorry -- Ahem, so -- how do you want to play this? Take our chances or take a closer look? Ariz -- ! What do you think? I haven't seen Sylph, not from up here anyway."

"Given our luck, she's down there in the middle of the goddamn mob. Probably fighting, if I really did see her blue hair from all the way over here." she shrugged, before reaching into her pack and handing Lucy back her other Laser Pistol, "Personally, I don't care how we get out as long as we can come back. That means that we hopefully don't shoot our way out."

"Yeah, I'm done here. Right, but once we're out -- if it's possible -- I have to talk to someone called Jonathan McKenna & The BlamCo Princess, yes she exists. I can catch up with you guys later if things get too crazy."

At the mention of things getting too crazy, Arizona couldn't help her groan.

"Crazy seems to be defining this whole trip." she muttered.

And as far as she could tell, it was only going to get worse.

Megaton - Megaton Gates
Persecution

There was a crowd surrounding the general area of the gates as he arrived, and the sounds of battle could be heard even if drowned by crowd noise.

Shit.

He readied his gun. Whatever was happening, it wasn't good. Had Moriarty's goons gotten there before him? That was surely the answer; he had taken too long to get here and now she was in danger.

DamnitdamnitdamnitdamnitOUTOFTHEWAY!

His heart raced as he pushed his way through the crowd. Lucky for him, the sight of the gun and his bloodied appearance was enough for most people to make way easy enough, even if they gave him wierd, hateful stares. It didn't matter. He'd soon be out of this hellhole anyway. All he needed was to make sure that she was safe and help in the fight as well as he could. He made his way through, getting through the rest of the crowd, getting a good look at-

Uh...

The edge of his lips twitched.

...The... The scene?

Are... are they-

Yeah, I've got nothing. This is too easy.

The Princess was locked in a... grapple with a strangely familiarly-faced girl. A most... unexpected of grapples. A dirty mind could go places with the way their... legs interlocked and their... modest parts rubbed against each otintertwined. With a mouth half-opened in disbelief, he threw curious looks at people left and right to make sure that he wasn't having some sort of hallucination. Excited, not a single hint of concern in their entranced glare. So... that was why there was a crowd gathered rather than people running away to save their hides.

He stared on. Was this even legal? And what about the children? Where are their parents when they stare at this... adult content? Was this some poor excuse to avoid "the talk" when the time came? Such irresponinsible parents. Will somebody please think of the children?

I don't see you trying to do anything about it, though.

Finishing her... performance, the princess stumbled her way to her feet, and a thundering roar of satisfaction came from the crowd, blasting his ears away. She had entertained them, alright. The princess proceeded to help her... partner up, too humble to take all the praise for herself. There was definately something familiar about her. Where had he seen here before... Where...

Oh shit.

A clone. This girl looked exactly like the ones on the display that #411 had showed them, the only real difference being that this one looked... livelier. But scratch that; what was a clone doing here? And what was it doing with Kristin? This only served to raise more questions than answers.

But then she turned to look at him, and their eyes met.

She was alive. That's what mattered. Moriarty hadn't gotten to her. He was glad, so glad that the worst hadn't come to worst. She grinned and started walking at him, and Jon followed suit, a sense of longing and impatience fuelling his every step.

He reached her halfway through, and gave her a wholehearted hug.

Oh, look at you both. Battered, bloody and smiling like you have an extra chromosome. You disgust me.

"I was afraid he had gotten to you." He said, sighing in relief, "I'm so glad to see you are safe."

"I feel amazing, Pugilist!", Kristin bellowed, slightly puzzled at his remark, "Why would I be in any sort of danger? Hmm?"

Crushing Jonathan in a tight hug, "Did you see my glorious battle!? Ahh!", pulling away, Kristin pointed a finger at Jonathan's face,"But I see you joined a battle of your own!"

"Yeah, uh, battle. Heh." He was glad that blood was covering his cheeks, because his cheeks were red. He had completely taken leave of his wits; all he could do is just stare on, smiling a stupid smile, not thinking things through.

Wait, you're not seriously going to-

"Listen, Kristin..." he heaved. Why was is so hard to breathe? "I...-"

"MCKENNA!"

He turned around, and was assaulted by a mob of angry, hateful stares. At the centre of it all stood Moriarty, his face thrashed to a pulp and his nose mashed, smashed, fractured and looking the part. He sure did a number on him. Not even his mother would love him anymore, but then again Jon was certain Moriarty had sold her to slavery some time in the past, so it was unlikely she loved him anyway.

"McKenna, you fucking piece of shite. Do you know how much you just cost me? You fucking piece of Enclave shite!" Moriarty screamed, emphasizing the word Enclave, bringing even more attention to the overly loud conversation that had ensued. Sensing the crowd's attention on him, Moriarty's voice grew even louder, "That's right everyone. This man here was one of them Black Power Armored Arseholes! He trashed my establishment, killed my bodyguard and almost did me in too! What cha here for, come to spy on us folk? Gonna tell your friends all about us? I saw you at the Bomb. What'd you do? Arm it again?"

The crowd roared in anger, hurling insults and rotten food, the more eager of the mob going into detail about all the wonderful things they would do to him if they got their hands on him. He took a few steps back. Every stare was like a dagger in his chest, every insult a club crashing against his head.

"I-..." he stared, shocked, pleading, "I disarmed it! Simms asked me to disarm it!"

"Bullshite! Of course you'd say that. But we all know that no Enclave arsehole can be trusted! Not a fuckin' one of yah!" The Saloon's proprietor roared over the crowd, drawing more approvals.

"HANG HIM!"
"BURN HIM!"
"SHOVE A PLASMA GRENADE IN HIS ASS!!!"
"LET HIM GO!"
"SYLPHY!"
"CRUCIFY HIM!"
"STRAP HIM TO THE BOMB!"

"You hear that Jonathan-boyo?! That's the sound of justice coming for ya. The sound of your past deeds coming back to haunt you... ya fucker." Moriarty continued, before lowering his voice "Unless your lass here wants to come work for me... then maybe I could be convinced to work this crowd the other way."

"ENOUGH!" yelled Simms, firing a few shots in the air, "Is what Moriarty says true... 'Jonathan'? Is that your real name?"

Jonathan wasn't even listening anymore. He plunged his face deep into his hat, gritting his teeth, his whole body quivering. I helped you, he thought, I helped this vile city and your worthless lives twice.

"Jonathan! Is. It. True?" yelled Simms again.

"YES!" Jonathan replied in kind, walking forward, his face a twisted blend of rage, disgust, and hatred. "I am guilty. So, so guilty. Isn't that what you wanted to hear?"

The mob turned loud again, Moriarty was grinning. Simms shot in the air again. "You admit to assaulting Moriarty and killing one of his men?"

"Yes! I am guilty of that. But I am also guilty of a far, far more heinous crime." he turned to face the mob, that sea of mindless, hateful faces, "I was born. I lived. I am guilty of being born in the Enclave. And no matter how MANY times I tried to show that I am not like them, I persist in my infamy." he turned to face Simms again.

"This isn't about your ties to the Enclave-"

"Oh, you're wrong! You're so, so, so wrong! It's always been about my FUCKING ties to the Enclave. That's all every single one of you ever cared about. You don't care about who I am. You don't care about what I've been through or how I feel. All you people ever did was put a monicker on my head and JUDGE me on it!" he turned to Moriarty.

"Moriarty. You waste of sperm. I bet that load swallowing gutter whore of a mother of yours really wished she was on the pill the day she concieved you. You fucking blackmailed me. You do as you please and these lobotomised cockstains let you get away with it because you give them booze to fill up that empty head of theirs. And you think you have the right to fucking JUDGE ME?"

"Jonathan, enough!" yelled Simms, pointing his assault rifle at him, "You're making the situation worse for yourself. Now, tell me. Is what he said about the bomb true?"

"I'll only say this: I didn't do it!" he walked backwards, spreading his arms in a shrug, "But I wish I did! I WISH I were the monster you brainless drones make me out to be. I WISH I had a remote, right here IN MY HAND to detonate that cursed bomb of yours! I'd gladly give my LIFE to watch all your worthless hides burn and explode even if it was for just... one... SECOND!"

A stone hit him in the head, and he crashed down hard on the ground behind him. he could feel blood rushing down his cheek, and now both of them were bloody. The world spun, his vision went blurry, and his ears ringed as though a bomb detonated next to him. He raised his head with difficulty, and though his vision was still recovering, he knew exactly what he was looking at.

The rusty wire that held the cork that kept the anger in gave way, and suddenly, a tidal wave of people rushed him, hungry for blood.

The Wild wastelands | Megatonian Gates
I Shit You Not

Thomas "Shifty" McGee

Jonathan McKenna was in clear need of a Public Relations officer of some sort because he clearly had no idea how to address a mob of people that was 1) accusing him of wanting to blow up their backwater town 2) really really out for his blood. Thomas could only place his face gently in his hands as he shook his head, the knowledge that there was going to be a lynching brought up memories of the so called son of perdition that had been lynched in another Backwater town during his Father's Father's Father's Father's time. The question was whether or not the Friendly Former Undertaker would come to the aid of the man who had entered his room uninvited, interrogated him, questioned his intentions with the One Eyed Gauss Girl and Assaulted him. Granted, this was after the Tall, Pale and Sharply dressed man had performed a perfunctory preliminary assault on his uninvited and decidely hostile guest.

"He just won't shut up, will he?" Thomas asked rhetorically knowing that the man would definitely not shut up.

Sighing to himself, Thomas racked a round into the chamber of the assault rifle. Though he wasn't going to be indiscriminately go firing into a crowd of angry pitchfork wielding villagers, that were scared of someone who had a less than stellar past, it wouldn't hurt to be prepared for a situation that involved things going south... like Warner Brothers south. Looking around, The Friendly Former Undertaker spotted Sylph holding her katana in a manner that indicated that she was about to use it and everyone in her general vicinity was going to regret being so close to the Crimson Clad Killer.

"Arizona." Thomas said, calling for his Radioactively Impaired companion, "Could you please keep an eye on Sylph and make sure she doesn't start lopping off any heads. She's got that look."

The Old One was probably aware of that look, from what Thomas "Shifty" McGee understood. After all, Arizona had witnessed the wanton murder of several Megatonians at the hands of Sylph just because they'd gotten too close to her. As tempted as he was to let her get her just desserts, he couldn't stand by and watch people get butchered for believing a scoundrel like Moriarty.

Of course, things had taken a turn for the worst at the moment and Thomas found himself acting on impulse as he drew Millie from her holster and pointed her in the sky. The trigger was pulled.

BLAM!!!

The sound of a 10mm pistol firing was loud, loud enough to cause the mob to pause and look around to see who had fired. Seeing that it was the bringer of ill omens, an Undertaker, the crowd paused for a moment, curious to see what the prophet of death would say.

Walking towards the center of the circle that the Mob had formed to surround Jonathan McKenna, his female companion that Lucy had identified as Kristin Blamco, Sylph and Sheriff Simms, Shifty spotted Lucy. Waving his hands in the air to grab her attention, he pointed the index and middle finger of his right hand to his eyes and then pointed in the direction of the BlamCo Princess. From what Thomas had heard from the murmurs of the crowd, the woman was as likely to fly off the handle as Sylph was. Three volatile personalities being mobbed was a chemical recipe for a rather bloody mess.

Looking down at Millie, Thomas pulled back the slide gingerly, ensuring that there was no bullet in the chamber before he started walking towards Sheriff Simms. As he closed in, the Former Friendly Undertaker took a side step, pausing long enough to pick his former Uninvited Guest up off the ground before he swung at Jonathan, the pistol impacted against the side of his head, hard enough to stagger him but not hard enough to knock him out. Using the opportunity Thomas pushed Jonathan against the wall, his next move being to cover the Blamco Princess with his gun, ensuring that she didn't make a move. Turning his head, he addressed Sheriff Simms.

"Sheriff, my compatriots and I are on our way to the Citadel. Seeing as how you're in need of the removal of this piece of Enclave scum, I would be more than happy to escort him to the Brotherhood of Steel's tender mercies." Thomas said to the Sheriff who appeared to mull over the offer, "Believe me, if what I'm hearing from your citizens is true, you'll have your fair share of casualties from the one with the Bumper Sword if you don't remove this man from the town post haste. Not that I would mind of course, seeing as how I could use the business."

There was a quiet murmuring that passed through the crowd, everyone knew who Thomas was based on his clothing and his previous visits to Megaton. There was not a single one of them that wanted to be his next client. A few of the less zealous of the townsfolk quietly retreated to the safe of their homes, the sound of latches being locked in place echoed against the walls surrounding the town.

"Fine." The Sheriff said wearily before he passed Thomas a pair of shackles and addressing the crowd, "Ladies and Gentlemen. Please return to your homes. Disperse. Get outta here. Move it."

As the crowd began to return to their homes, Thomas went through the motions of putting the shackles around Jonathan's wrist and removed the man's Plasma pistol and Laser Pistol. Looking behind him, Thomas noted that not everyone was leaving, particularly Moriarty and a gang that consisted of at least a dozen. Though it appeared that Thomas was tucking Jonathan's weapons in the front of his pants, he was actually tucking them in the back of Jonathan's pants, next to his loosely cuffed hands.

"Something that I can assist you with, Mister Moriarty?" Thomas said to the man behind him.

"Oh no. I'm quite satisfied with the work you've done here. You've made it rather easy for me to take care of this piece of garbage." Said Moriarty, the faux-irish twang causing Thomas's eyes to twerk in annoyance, "If his little filly is willin', I'll leave him alive so long as she comes to work for me."

"I doubt that'll be happening. I'm taking him to the Citadel." Thomas responded as he pulled out his combat knife. He knew where this was heading. The damage that Jonathan had caused to Moriarty's reputation was quite costly. It would be some time before Moriarty was once again thought of the man that you don't fuck with in Megaton.

"That was a nice speech and all that you gave to Sheriff Simms, but we both know that you're gonna let that Enclave piece of shite go after you leave Megaton. I did see him and your little lass Lucy entering Megaton together. It's only right that you'd want to keep one of her friends alive. Unless of course you think they're something more than..." Bad call Moriarty, Bad call.

Someone was about to get the fecal matter purged from system with the assistance of a boot.

"I suggest you stop speaking before I'm forced to make you stop." The Former Undertaker said in a rather unfriendly manner, "You're suggesting that I leave this man to your mercies so that you can have him as a bargaining chip for his companion? I that you forced Nova into her contract and I'm not going to assist you in reeling another one into your clutches Mister Moriarty. If you have nothing further to say, and I suggest that this is the case, I bid you good day."


The Perspective of Sylph
Co-Directed by Texas Joker 52

As the crowd began to turn on Mister Jonathan and Miss Kristin, Sylph's thumb started pressing against the guard of her Gifted Katana, a popping noise indicated that she would be able to pull it free from its scabbard at a moment's notice, though she didn't have to wait long when the rocks started flying. Taking a step forward, the Crimson Menace's right hand closed around the hilt of the blade. Regardless of the thrashing that Miss Kristin had given her, she had a desire to fight with the woman again and next time she wanted to be the victor.

When the old Ghoul spotted the movement, Arizona quickly reached over and placed one hand on the Blue-Haired Monster's shoulder, while putting the other on the pommel of the sword, keeping it from being drawn quite so easily.

"Hold on there, Sylph. Just relax. We want to get out of this without bloodshed, so calm down." she told her quietly.

After looking her over, she noticeably frowned, adding, "Not to mention, you look a little worse-for-wear. Taking on a mob, even for you, probably wouldn't be the best idea."

Strangely enough, the muscles that had been so taught and ready for motion relaxed. Could it have been possible that Sylph was actually listening to what the old Ghoul was saying? Strangely enough, it appeared so. Sylph turned her head slightly to Miss Arizona and spoke.

"We can't just stay here and wait for this crowd of idiots to kill Miss Kristin and her friend." Sylph said. There was a strange manner in which she said it, as if there was a sort of friendly fondness for the woman. Was this some sort of love? What in the hell was up with the water in Megaton? No. It seemed that the Maroon Monster actually thought of the Busty Blamco Boobs in a friendly manner. That illusion was shattered a moment later, "If anyone is going to be the one to kill her, it's me."

Arizona couldn't help but sigh a little at that, but one corner of her mouth curved up into a half-smile. The little hellion found herself a rival. It was an odd reason to want to keep someone alive, but it wasn't something that was unfamiliar to the old biddy. Still, the fact that she did as she said was a little reassuring. With any luck, Sylph would be a little less troublesome on the rest of the trip to Dunwich. Her 'sister', on the other hand, was another matter.

"I understand. Still, Thomas looks to be working his magic with the local law, so I don't think the mob is going to get their hands on either of them. For now, let's just watch, see how it plays out. If need be, we shoot our way out, but I don't want to kill folks that don't have it comin'." she told her, patting her shoulder.

Sylph relaxed and watched as Father spoke to the Sheriff for a time, informing him that they would be taking Jonathan to the Citadel. To the Blue Haired Butcher's amazement, the shallow ploy actually worked. The average Megaton citizen must have had the average intelligence of a Brahmin that had lost one of its heads. Actually, come to think of it, it seemed like the average Megatonian did the same thing, said the same lines and ate the same things every day. It seemed like the only person that had a brain was the man that remained... this Moriarty who looked at Sylph in a manner of familiarity and disdain and outright anger.

"Oh no. I'm quite satisfied with the work you've done here. You've made it rather easy for me to take care of this piece of garbage." Said Moriarty, the faux-irish twang causing Thomas's eyes to twerk in annoyance, "If his little filly is willin', I'll leave him alive so long as she comes to work for me."

Moriarty had Sylph's full attention now. Was he going to deny her the duel that was due? It seemed so. As Father addressed Moriarty, Sylph started edging closer to one of the man's goons, Miss Arizona didn't stop her this time.


The Wild Wastelands | Springvale High
Flat faced but not flat chested it appears

Constance Sorrowfeld

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!"

The words wavered in and out as Constance Sorrowfeld slowly started regaining consciousness. Despite her eyes being closed, the Cat Eared American Enclave Loli of America was able to see her surroundings with ease and what was hovering over her was not one of the Sylphys, not, only was it not a Sylphy, it didn't appear to have a face, just a smooth area where its face should be. Her hand edged downward until it felt the grip of her shotgun and in a sudden movement, she pulled it and pressed the barrel of the shotgun against what she assumed was the flat faced humanoid's chin.

"Wh... who are you?" The young girl croaked, her throat parched from having been unconscious without water for so long. She pressed the barrel against the thing's "chin" pushing it backwards and upwards to that she could stand up. Strangely enough she didn't feel any sign of the headache that had been plaguing her.

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!"

"Wait... she did what to me?" Constance responded to the Sylphys before returning her attention to the clearly feminine featured creature... yeah... like in the chest area.

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!"

"And you let her do that to me?" There was a slight amount of outrage in Constance's voice before her cracked lips cracked into a smile. She dropped the Shotgun to her side, "They told me that you helped me. Thank you. I'm Constance. Constance Sorrowfeld. You... don't look like either of the two that I've been waiting for."

Actually, the woman didn't look like anyone that Constance knew since Constance was unable to "see" that person's facial features.

Sitting down on a desk chair, the young cat featured Enclave Girl Scout let her head drop for a moment as before rubbing her face with her hands, clearing whatever residual fogginess remained in her skull. They were in a class room that had been converted into a bedroom by the School's previous occupants. Most of the items had been cleared out and burned by the Sylphys but the bedding had been cleaned and brought back to the school for use. IN the corner a few Sylphys were cleaning some weapons that had been acquired from the previous occupants as well as eating some "food" that hadn't required any cooking.

"I'm Constance, by the way, Constance Sorrowfeld. Thanks for helping me."


The Wild Wastelands | Doctor Evil's Vault of Evil
Why would you put that there?!

"FUCKING SCORE!!!" Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 exclaimed as he opened a random door in one of the random corridors in this randomly built Vault Lair belonging to Doctor Evil. He appeared to have found the room that the Scooby Gang's gear had been stashed inside of. Which was probably just as well since he was pretty sure that both Chester and Trixie were getting tired of seeing his man sausage being hung out to cure and dangle the whole entire chase scene. Chase scene you ask?

Well let's just say that Benny Hill had nothing on what had occurred a small time ago. Between opening random doors to escape Evil Security, running down random corridors to escape Evil Bots and a brief pit stop in the little boy's room, the casualties had been mounting for Doctor Evil. It was probably best that Doctor Evil had skimped out on life insurance benefits, otherwise it would be probably pushed a large majority of the Shell Companies that supported EvilCorp into bankruptcy.

<<[Insert amazing equip sequence here]>>

The familiar weight of a Plasma Vulcan in his hands would have been enough to give the big man a mighty erection if it weren't for the fact that he was in polite company. They'd already bore witness to the dangle of his dingle long enough and he wasn't the type to beat a joke into the ground. Waiting for the remainder of the group to finish arming themselves, #209 leaned against a podium, the elbow of his power armor breaking through the fragile glass box on top of it before jamming down a red button labeled "Self Destruct Sequence."

"Alert! Self Destruct Sequence has been initiated. Please Evacuate."
"Alert! Self Destruct Sequence has been initiated. Please Evacuate."
"Alert! Self Destruct Sequence has been initiated. Why do we even have on of these things?."
"Alert! Self Destruct Sequence has been initiated. Please Evacuate."

"Seriously? They put a self destruct button here? Who does that?!" The Enclave Dominator Exclaimed before suggesting, "We should really consider getting the hell out of here."

[ dr. sorenson ]

The Wild Wastelands | Following the Post-Apocalypse | Springvale School

"Guns don't point guns at people. People point guns at people."

The fact that she was confronted with what couldn't be anything but clones, came to Jenna as something of a shock. She was vaguely aware that cloning was something that had been dabbled in, Pre-War, but she was completely unaware that human cloning was developed to the point that healthy specimens could reliably be cloned. Though, given the fact that so far, they've only said 'Sylphy' made her doubt their mental faculties. Not to mention, they only outwardly appeared healthy. For all she knew, they could have a variety of problems that weren't evident from a mere glance.

She was so focused on the clones themselves that she hadn't been paying attention to her patient. The young girl, whose ears she had attempted to repair, stirred awake, and the first thing she did was to thrust a Shotgun against her chin, pushing her head up with the barrel.

"Wh... who are you?"

The young girl's voice was hoarse, likely due to a dry throat. And as she pushed Jenna to her feet with the Shotgun, she started to get up herself.

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!"

Jenna's turned her head just slightly to look at one of the clones gabble at the girl. And she not only understood what they seemed to be saying, she wasn't very happy with what they said.

"Wait... she did what to me?"

The young Doctor swallowed hard behind her helmet, and she hoped that her good deed, or attempt at one anyway, wasn't about to have her brains splattering the ceiling above her. The clones replied in their particular brand of gibberish, and after a tense moment, the girl relaxed.

"They told me that you helped me. Thank you. I'm Constance. Constance Sorrowfeld. You... don't look like either of the two that I've been waiting for."

When she dropped the Shotgun to her side, Jenna sighed heavily, and in the process her knees gave out and she fell back onto her butt.

"Oh thank god! For a moment there, I thought you were going to kill me for trying to help." she said with a nervous laugh, before she reached into her pack and pulled out a bottle of Aqua Pura.

Then she offered it as she introduced herself, "Here. I'm Doctor Jenna Sorenson, with the Followers of the Apocalypse. I'm a traveling scientist who's trying to get to Project Purity. I want to figure out how it works so it can be mass-produced across the wastes."

Lucy Black || Megaton Gates
'Subtlety!'

Naturally, Lucy was initially watching the emotional breakdown from a nearby rooftop. Being something of a former sniper had left her with a few odd habits. So it was with much frustration when Thomas 'Shifty' McGee had signalled her to keep an eye on the Bloodthirsty BlamCo Princess. Making a mental note to slap Shifty later, among other things, for inadvertently making an eye pun...Lucy hopped off her perch and starting making her way through the crowd in order to reach Kristin. With a characteristic glare and unholstered laser pistols held up at shoulder height, this particular combo quickly had those in her immediate vicinity avert their gaze and shuffle away.

With her attention split between Jonathan's anguished screaming and navigating a very hostile crowd without stepping on too many toes, outside of the odd shove, individuals quickly retreated when a laser pistol was pointed in their face. Breaking through the thick of the crowd, Kristin was located at Jonathan's rear, bumper sword shielding her face from thrown objects and using her own body to further shield Jonathan from any surprise attacks from behind. Since when did these two get so close?

Jonathan had addressed Moriarty close by and a variety of thugs that she had vaguely recognised from the saloon. To put things into perspective, every time Jonathan motioned wildly or took a step forward, Kristin either adjusted her sword or moved in tandem. These two were practically synchronised and they weren't even looking at one another.

Lucy fearlessly took a few steps towards Kristin, turned her back and pointed her laser pistols at the mob. Shifting backwards, Lucy spoke over her shoulder at Kristin. "Look, someone you care about is in trouble and all you want to do is carve your way out of here. I get it! Believe me. Just keep it together okay? One wrong move and this crowd will be the first to tear him apart."

No response. That -- that didn't seem like a good sign, especially from the Chatty Cheddar Princess.

With the arrival of Sheriff Simmms, Lucy sighed in relief, then tensed up after Jonathan was being put on the spot. Idiot! You can't poke and prod a person in the middle of a breakdown and expect reasonable answers! Regardless, Jonathan's story was painting a rather grim picture of not only his recent adventures in Megaton, but that of himself. A sudden wave of guilt had rushed over her, she had been so adamant to push Jonathan out that she barely took the time to listen. Maybe he wouldn't be having this outburst if she had -- had just what exactly? Regretfully she didn't have any answers, but the knowledge of inevitability did nothing to help the sense of guilt.

Then the Undertaker had arrived, carrying the full weight of his reputation behind alongside him. Was Shifty always so dramatic or was he quite possibly showing off for her?

"Sheriff, my compatriots and I are on our way to the Citadel. Seeing as how you're in need of the removal of this piece of Enclave scum, I would be more than happy to escort him to the Brotherhood of Steel's tender mercies." Thomas said to the Sheriff, clearly this had caused some thought "Believe me, if what I'm hearing from your citizens is true, you'll have your fair share of casualties from the one with the Bumper Sword if you don't remove this man from the town post haste. Not that I would mind of course, seeing as how I could use the business."

Kristin was seething, so much so that her knuckles had turned white while gripping her sword, dragging the mighty piece of metal along the ground to turn her rage at Shifty. With a brief hand to her shoulder, "Just play along, we'll get him out, I swear...and you have a reputation, so use it.", whispered the One Eyed Girl.

"Fine. Let's play along then.", The BlamCo Berserker practically hissed this between clenched teeth.

"That was a nice speech and all that you gave to Sheriff Simms, but we both know that you're gonna let that Enclave piece of shite go after you leave Megaton. I did see him and your little lass Lucy entering Megaton together. It's only right that you'd want to keep one of her friends alive. Unless of course you think they're something more than..."

"Oh you mean me?", casually sauntering over to Shifty's side, Lucy had to do something to solidify his story, so she pointed a laser pistol at Jonathan's leg in full preparation to shoot. "It's called turning over an Asset. Now I can't kill him, I am with the Brotherhood after all. Remember Frank Kni--- !?"

Oh, she would have shot him to sell the story...but this story from here on out might make more sense from a different perspective...

Kristin had caught the attention of the crowd.


Kristin Blamco || Megaton Gates
'Subtlety?'

"Oh no. I'm quite satisfied with the work you've done here. You've made it rather easy for me to take care of this piece of garbage." Said Moriarty, "If his little filly is willin', I'll leave him alive so long as she comes to work for me."

Kristin's eyes immediately darted to the side of Moriarty's disfigured head. Living up to his namesake, she was pleased at the Pugilist's handiwork. Resting the herculean blade on her shoulder and started taking a few confident steps towards Moriarty, inadvertently interrupting Lucy's orders and speech. The BlamCo Princess smiled with a mad look in her eyes.

"Under normal circumstances, I would not care about your position in this town. Although I see that you carry a degree of influence, tell me, if you mean so much...", Kristin tilted her head and raised her eyebrows at the ('Atom is no more: Embrace Dairy!') posters and now-empty stands of a Dairy-based festival. "...why do you appear to be so irrelevant to me? Don't get me wrong, it is adorable how you think I would ever work for you. So let me put this into perspective for you: I have more respect for the dirt beneath my feet."

Kristin smirked, tightening her grip on the sword that was being held low.
While all eyes were on her, the first attack was not of BlamCo steel, instead one of the thugs had fallen to a Huntress' attack.

"You dare to call my partner trash? I am compelled to correct you on that mistake, human filth!"

Whether this was a divine blessing or the affection of a rival, Kristin acknowledged the gesture and made one of her own.

"You will have to break BlamCo Steel if you wish to lay a finger on my partner! Speaking of which..."

The BlamCo Valkyrie slammed her foot down to pull Moriarty's attention to her once more and his right shoulder was crushed underneath the full force of a punishing downwards strike of BlamCo steel. The hopelessly crushed arm dangled loosely as blood immediately spread across his clothing. Kristin furiously charged at those that rushed her...

With two simultaneous attacks happening on both ends in a mere matter of seconds, there was no telling how long these idiots would last amongst two respective rivals & warriors.

Outside of abominations/mutants/lactose-intolerants...they were all the same...Kristin wouldn't ordinarily attack someone unaffiliated within that specific criteria so readily and so viciously. Moriarty had crossed her only friend and he would pay with his limb, rendering him as the exception to that rule.

Megaton - Megaton Gates
Messmaker Extraordinaire

He had, quite royally, fucked up.

Not like that was anything new

He shouldn't have let his emotions get the better of him. He shouldn't have given in to the taunts and insults and, most importantly, he shouldn't have aggravated the crowd. He knew all that, yet went ahead with it all anyway.

Because he didn't care. He had been pushed around long enough, let the fear of his identity eat him long enough, and this was the last straw. He gave these fearmongering buffoons a piece of his mind, showed them just how twisted their flawed sense of morality was. So what if it meant his death? He didn't care; he was even strangely at peace with it. He had lived a miserable life; it was only fitting that he'd die a miserable death.

Laying on the ground as he were, the blood flowing out of his wound run down his eye, shifting his already blurry from the shock vision ever so much toward "legally blind" territory. Everything was blurry, unfocused; all he could see is rough shapes growing larger and getting closer, while everything further away blended into an abstract mix of colours.

His hearing wasn't any better either; though he could hear, all he hear was... noise, unable to make out words or specific sounds. Bah, all he was probably missing was more insults. He'd heard his fill of those.

A sharp, loud noise penetrated his ears, making his head feel it was vibrating like a church bell, and he suddenly felt himself forced back to his feet. The stench of alcohol filled his nostrils, and his lone eye made out enough for him to recognise the face. A familiar face. Loathingly familiar. Thomas Shifty Mc-

BANG went the impact on his head, recoiling backwards, and he felt his legs giving in, the only reason he didn't fall due to being shoved on the wall behind him. The world spun 'round again for a few seconds, but the hit shook him up, and his senses were finally coming to him.

"Sheriff, my compatriots and I are on our way to the Citadel. Seeing as how you're in need of the removal of this piece of Enclave scum, I would be more than happy to escort him to the Brotherhood of Steel's tender mercies.Believe me, if what I'm hearing from your citizens is true, you'll have your fair share of casualties from the one with the Bumper Sword if you don't remove this man from the town post haste. Not that I would mind of course, seeing as how I could use the business."

McGee, you crafty son of a bitch, he frowned, as his vision returned to normal, at least on one eye, Why didn't you let an old idiot like me die and make a quick buck out of my funeral? You're digging a grave, alright, one deep enough for the both of us.

With his vision back to functional in the broadest of senses, Jon noticed that the Undertaker was not pointing his gun at him. In fact, he was pointing it at-

Kristin. Fuck. Shit. He fucked up. He fucked up worse than royally. Again, nothing new. He had involved her in his bullshit and now she had to deal with the aftermath. He was suddenly glad that Shifty had appeared and saved him; Kristin would have lunged herself at the mob, and no matter how powerful she was, she was still human, and all they needed was a good shot in. He was close, so close to putting her to the danger he sought to save her from.

You stupid, self-absorbed shell of a man!

Fortunately, Shifty's excuses worked, and the mob scattered. Save for Moriarty and his goons. It was at this moment that he was turned around and cuffed, and he played along; he only hoped McGee was suave enough to be able to talk their way of Moriarty's claws too.

"If his little filly is willin', I'll leave him alive so long as she comes to work for me."

Jonathan's cuffed hands shook in anger, and he gritted his teeth so hard the could break. How dare he, how fucking dare her use him as leverage to get to Kristin? If Jon had his way, he'd rip the bastard's balls off and-

No. Stop. Don't let him get to you. That's what got you here in the first place. That's what got Kristin this situation in the first place. Stay calm. He turned to glance at Kristin. He hadn't seen her this angry since Charlotte the Harlot had her way with her back in Lucy's house. Speaking of which, she was standing next to her, patting her shoulder, talking to her. That's right, Lucy, talk her out of it. Don't let her start a fight. Don't let Moriarty win. His heart was racing from the fear of that happening. More so than he thought it would. It almost felt like... he had gone through this before.

"That was a nice speech and all that you gave to Sheriff Simms, but we both know that you're gonna let that Enclave piece of shite go after you leave Megaton. I did see him and your little lass Lucy entering Megaton together. It's only right that you'd want to keep one of her friends alive. Unless of course you think they're something more than..."

Moriarty, you fucking snake. You know exactly what buttons to press. Jon took a glance at Shifty; the looked like he was seriously considering blowing that arsehole's brains out. Please don't do that, please...

"...If you have nothing further to say, and I suggest that this is the case, I bid you good day."

He let out a sigh of relief, hung his head, closed his eye and suppressed a smile. Lucy was behind him, playing along, covering Shifty's story. At the very least, it looked like no further violence would take place here. It looked like-

"Tell me, if you mean so much..."

His eye darted open. Oh no.

"...why do you appear to be so irrelevant to me? Don't get me wrong, it is adorable how you think I would ever work for you. So let me put this into perspective for you: I have more respect for the dirt beneath my feet."

He raised his head and stared dumbfounded at her, frantically waving "Nononononononononono".

"You dare to call my partner trash? I am compelled to correct you on that mistake, human filth!"

His breathing turned shaky. No, Kristin, don't take the bait! Don't put yourself in danger for me!

I must say...

"You will have to break BlamCo Steel if you wish to lay a finger on my partner! Speaking of which..."

"KRISTIN! DON'T-"

The Berserker Princess slammed her foot down to pull Moriarty's attention to her once more and his right shoulder was crushed underneath the full force of a punishing downwards strike of BlamCo steel. The hopelessly crushed arm dangled loosely as blood immediately spread across his clothing. Kristin furiously charged at those that rushed her...

It keeps happening.

He felt a sudden flash of pain in his head, and he turned away. "Not... not again no not again..." he mumbled incoherently, going through what seemed to be shock.

You start caring about someone...

"No, no, no, not again, no..."

Then you get attacked for who you are...

"No! No! This isn't... this... I... I won't..."

And that someone dies for you.

Jonathan turned to Shifty with an almost maddened stare. "Sorry." he muttered, before headbutting the Undertaker and running forward, getting his handcuffs off and arming himself. He had to keep up appearances... to make sure that it wouldn't happen again...

Each step was a labour. He could barely stand from the exhaustion, and he didn't so much run as push his body forward and let gravity pull him. It was a wonder he hadn't fallen flat on his face yet. He had to get closer; his vision was too shit to risk accidentally hitting the princess. He had to get close enough that he'd not miss. Which meant close enough to be at an arm's length. He approached the whirlwind of pain that the princess was making out of Moriarty's goons, noticing one of them raising a baseball bat to get her from behind...

The hot laser hit him square in the face, disintergrating it and the rest of the body into a pile of ashes. The princess quickly turned, only to be greeted to a hunching, smirking-but-looking-run-down Jonathan, with one eye closed from the blood flowing from the wound over it. "I couldn't let you have all the fun today!" he yelled confidently, and shot another one with his plasma pistol, turning him into fluorescent green goo.

That's right, keep your cool. Don't show her that you're scared shitless, show her you can handle yourself! Give her one less thing to worry about!

It's like when you fall down the stairs after being warned about them. she mused as Jonathan continued to cover the Berserk Princess.

It... keeps... happening... she said amused, as though wondering if this one would make it out alive.

Several Years Ago...

It was dusk when the fires came and the explosions reigned. He knew what it meant. They had come for him. They had sent BOB to kill him... Telling Lucy to stay out of sight, he confronted the Enclave member out in the open, as other houses burned slowly to the ground. FalloutBob was a devilish, unstable warrior of a man, never to fight in a backhanded manner...but always to be full of fire. They had sent him because he was a destroyer, because he would most-certainly get the job done. Isaac stooc with the Gauss Rifle Plus in hand, facing down the mammoth person in the black powersuit, glowing tracelines orange like the flames around them.

Isaac: So, they wouldn't send Jack, then.

FalloutBob: He couldn't go through with it. He knew it, they knew it, I knew it...

Isaac: So, this is how he absolves himself, then?

The powersuited man shook his head.

FalloutBob: No, there is no absolution. Not for him, not for me, and not for you...but you created this mess. You want us all to die. It's...ALL YOUR FAULT!!

With a rage-filled battlecry, the large armored man drew his Incinerator Deluxes and began fireblasting akimbo. They'd sent Bob to do this because Bob...they could be most-assured to get mad. Explosive gouts of flame covered the area Isaac had been as he leapt and rolled aside to Bob's flank, trying to end this quickly with his gun. Isaac was not armored like him, not augmented in like him. He only had this gun and his natural abilities. And strong though they might be, they paled somewhat against this fiery berserker backed by the technology of the Enclave. This neighborhood was going to hell no matter WHO won this fight. Isaac fired once, twice, thrice! Damage! He'd damaged the suit, disabled one of Bob's weapons. Bob tossed the- Oh shit! Bob had tossed them away and simply jumped right at him, his whole powersuit burning up around him! The whole FRONT of a house caught aflame as the man hit it, Isaac having moved aside to shoot Bob in the back! Isaac did NOT know about this! Pyro soldiers had SOME fire-power, but not Human Torchness! Before he could get off another shot, Bob had backhanded the gun from his hands and KICKED him across the street, his shirt practically incinerating on the spot as he slid across the ground. His ribs and his back were sore from impact and landing. He had to get up...keep moving...lure Bob into a trap or ANY situation where thinking serves better than force. He had to- Too late! Bob was too angry to draw this out! He landed on Isaac with a leap, grabbed him by the throat, and began repeatedly beating him against the ground with his hands around Isaac's throat. He couldn't react...couldn't breathe... Everything was going Black...

Isaac jolted awake. It was strange that he could nod off while on a bike ride, but as they were heading back, back to his home, he had managed it somehow. It was the first rest he'd had since...being alive again. Since he'd been up, he had fought ghouls, gotten a report of current WEIRD events, had a fridgeful of BlamCo Mac & Cheese, and learned that his daughter had been out fighting in the wasteland. Isaac knew what his daughter was like. She was headstrong and full of vigor. He didn't know what had happened that night when he died...

Isaac: Guess my dreams reacted to that little nagging thought that I just didn't KNOW...

On motorbike, they had quickly gone south to Rivet City to pick him up some non-smelly clothes. He'd insisted on combat armor, trading some chinese assault rifles for them. Now, they were on their way west...towards the Springvale/Megaton area. He hoped Lucy was alright...

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

Well, their reverie about war and whatnot had to end about now. You see, there was a huge hub-bub inside the Smith Casey Garage now. Some kinda' brutal battle was going on and...well...it sounded alot like raiders dying like hell. And soon enough, out of the garage shambled this figure... The four of them were pretty shocked by the sight of it. They had seen horror. They had seen human sacrifices turned into flesh-form bug spirits. They had seen dragons who could lay waste to countrysides. They had seen the Aztec gods... Yet somehow, something like this...this viceral freakish man...could still put them on their toes. It's probably because you just don't underestimate what could pop out of you just because you're hot shit back in Seattle. Any hellhound can still take you out if you're a dumbass about it. Can't be too careful, chummer. Still, this isn't as shocking as the girl in the photograph. All four of them were taken aback by that.

Joe Slayer: One of them Sylphy girls runnin' around the place.

Jonesy: So they're related to him?

Joe Slayer: Looks like.

Speck: Sylphy and Grendel?

Coyote: Hansel and Gretal.

Jonesy: Guido and Fluffy.

Joe Slayer: Rebo and Zooty.

Speck: Okay, Fun-Sized. Here's what you do. You go head about...that way - about EAST - an' eventually you'll find more damn Sylphys than you can handle. I dunno where you'll find a horse dat good. All the ones around here have spikes and eat meat.

That would be the Nightmares... Still, we have to pause for a moment, because Coyote totally started hearing something with her elf ears.

Coyote: Hey guys. Do you hear...music?

The rest of them started hearing it too. It was...it was...ROCK MUSIC!!

A New Challenger Approaches!


EDDIE THE DEAD

Also, observing all of this from underneath a strategically-placed CARPET near a wrecked and exploded car,, there was a man in a powersuit who had no helmet. Yes yes, fair viewer. It's the return of Number 6 Steinmetz!

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

Well...there's this big fight happening in Megaton to address, but there's something we have to look into first:

"THANK YOU FOR PRESSING THE SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE. YOU NOW HAVE THREE MINUTES TO EVACUATE FACILITY."

Dr. Evil: God fricking dammit! Why don't I ever put a lock on those damn things?!

Everything was going MAD down here! Henchmen were running all over the place, trying to find Emergency Escape Tubes and tunnels to the surface. Fortunately, int he event of a self-destruct button-pushing, all the elevators and conveyances were overcharged as per the over-charging reactor preparing to go off. Hooray for easy escapitude! Dr. Evil and his mini-clone - Where the hell had he even BEEN this whole time?! - were heading for the big escape-rocket, when Number Two stopped him.

Number Two: You always use the escape-rocket and there's plenty of room in there! Let someone ELSE get on board!

Dr. Evil: I don't take rider!

Mini-Me kicked him in the nuts and they got in, shutting the door and blasting off. Uhhh...people outside of the area would find...a giant Pipboy statue (In a Disco Fever pose) with rocket feet flying off into the stratosphere!

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

Okay, NOW we get to the fi-

Number One: Ahem...

Oh, sorry. We're in Number One's domicile with FalloutJack!

Number One: So...I did as you requested for Charlotte Sorrowfield's promotion. You know, this effectively puts her in charge of the Intelligence Sector. Her new suit will be be permanently attached to every iota of gathered information the Enclave gets on all important affairs. It's not much of a Fallout Sector position in combat, but...

FalloutJack: But let's just face it. Shrewd as she can be, challenging as she is of your own lofty position, she's most-definitely the best at what she does. Now, if we can steer that towards actually making the Enclave look GOOD in some people's eyes...

Number One: I don't think leading a coup to put you in charge would do it, though. You see, as we have clearly seen from Mr. McKenna, it isn't who is in charge that's the problem... It's that our predecessors already put the stigma in.

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

Oh yes, we've been observing you here, Megatonners. You have all been cleverly watched by that pink-haired daughter of Jack, that military Diclonius, that vector-wielding wonder...Natsuki Manriki! Had you forgotten? She had gone out with #411 and walked back in without a fuss. She's been watching and recording everything here. She saw or overheard alot of the best and funniest happenings, all for Enclave posterity and her own personal enjoyment, and nobody thought anything of it because she simply remained out of the way, harming nothing. She caught the bar-fight, the duel at the gates, the non-burial, and so much more. Now, she was watching everything at the gates unfold and continue to unfold, but by now...ehh...it's time to take care of this her way. Natsuki pulled off her hat and let it fall, switching on some music from her belt-player...

Why not? She simply walked towards the renewed fray, moving along with the beat of the music, and her vectors started doing all the work. Faces were punched without seeing who'd done it, weapons were pulled or batted out of hands. Grown men, all of them in a snarl at trying to beat the crap out of the main characters of this strife - picked up and thrown like ragdolls, impacting sheds and walls...passing out because she had passed on her Diclonius infection to them. Everyone else - Lucy, Jon, Kristin, Sylph, Arizona, Shifty, Simms, Moriarty, and whoever else had a real name to their names - just pushed aside or to the ground by the whipping, swinging vector limbs. They couldn't see any of them coming, so they really didn't have anyway to predict them coming. They were, however, the only ones who would be able to get up after the fact when the music stopped.

Natsuki: Hi there.

Sheriff Simms: You? What're you doing back here, Enclave-girl?

Natsuki: Oh, just some observations. I couldn't miss out on this. You see, McKenna was never the Enclave spy. I was. He's just a poor retired inventor disillusioned by the old Enclave.

Moriarty: Well, that doesn't sort out what he's done ta' me! And we don't take kindly ta Enclave people here! Not even b'fore that attack you people started up! Or anythin' the rest of 'em have done!

Natsuki: Oh, cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it. I've been spying, remember? I know what you've been up to. Re-armed the bomb... Yeah, right! Do you know how much CHEESE is in that thing now? I swear, you people...

She shook her head, and then just rolled Moriarty down the hill. Then...she noticed that she'd caused the local Sylphy to duplicate, which was a surprise. Natsuki turned back to the Sheriff again, who was giving her dirty looks and preparing his gun.

Natsuki: Yeah, yeah, I know. 'The Enclave attacked our town'. Well, right now, the Enclave wiped out an angry mob for great justice, Sheriff. These people have a mission to take care of, for Morgan Bloom, at Dunwich.

And as if on a cue, some clouds were rolling in. It looks like it might rain again...

Sheriff Simms: Dunwich, eh? What for?

Natsuki: For all our sakes. Something hideous is growing there, and we're having trouble getting near it ourselves. If you'd like to see tomorrow, be a good guy today, and let it go. We've already let the Brotherhood of Steel get wind of what else is coming. They'll be preparing. You should too.

The Wild Wastelands | Springvale High
We're not playing Doctor!!
Constance Sorrowfeld

"Here. I'm Doctor Jenna Sorenson, with the Followers of the Apocalypse. I'm a traveling scientist who's trying to get to Project Purity. I want to figure out how it works so it can be mass-produced across the wastes." Doctor Jenna said as she offered a bottle of Aqua Pura to the American Enclave CatGirl of America.

Constance accepted the bottle with a slight smile before she opened it and placed it to her lips, allowing her parched lips to soak in the water before drinking from the bottle.

"I'm Constance Sorrowfeld. I'm a member of the American Enclave Scouts of America." The young girl said before gesturing towards the Blue Haired Yammering Followers of her's, "These are... well... I call them Sylphys since that's all they can say, or at least I haven't heard them say anything else."

"SYLPHY SYLPHY SYLPHY" The two Sylphys in the room said before curtsying.

"Huh." Constance huh'd. She'd never taught them that before, "They said pleased to meet you, Doctor Jenna. Thank you for saving our..."

Constance paused for a moment before addressing the two directly.

"I told you to stop calling me that. I am NOT your Queen. At best I'm just your temporary commander and a poor one at that, I might add." The Young Cat Eared Scout said, her voice filled with the annoyance that one had when trying to explain something to someone for the hundreth time, "Just call me Constance okay?"

"Sylphy sylphy sylphy." The Two Sylphys said in unison with a bow, causing the young girl's right eye to twitch in annoyance. From what Jenna could see despite the fact that the young girl was able to turn her head directly towards the people she was addressing, the cloudiness of Constance's eyes indicated that she was blind. Was that what the purpose of the Cat Ear shaped radar dishes on top of Constance's head were for?

"sorry about that. I just can't seem to get these Sylphys to listen to what I say... they insist on calling me their Queen but don't listen to anything that I'm saying." The Youngest Sorrowfeld said to Jenna with a tired smile, her stomach growing as she did.

"Uh. Sorry about that." The younger of the two women said in embarrassment. She'd kept enough supplies stocked for a week but with the sudden increase in the local Sylphy population the supplies were gone.

"SYLPHY SYLPHY SYLPHY!!!" Can a call from outside. It appeared that the hunting party was back and Deathclaw steaks were for dinner.

"Um. Are you hungry? Care to join us? It's the least I could do to pay you back for helping me." Constance offered with a slightly embarrassed look on her face.

The Wild Wasteland | The Gates of Megaton
The Cheddar Riots
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

This had been a rather familiar experience for Thomas "Shifty" McGee recently. Between Sylphee and Jonathan, Thomas' face was starting to feel like the sadistic running gag. This wasn't what was important however. The sounds of weapons being fired, men screaming for their lives and the clash of blades was familiar to the Former Undertaker Union Assassin. Were he able to see through his watering tear filled eyes and smell through his bloody nose, he more than likely would have found the stimuli quite familiar as well. The D-Cupped Dairy Queen had literally lost her marbles, what few she had left given the company she kept, and gone all Butcher Pete on the Proprietor of Moriarty's Saloon. Kristin Blamco's giant buster sword Bumper Sword came down like a guillotine and almost cleaved Moriarty's arm clean off and setting off the resulting brawl.

"(Dammit!)" Thomas cursed internally as he blinked the tears out of his eyes. A sound to his left caught his attention as he saw one of Moriarty's goons bringing down the butt of his rifle down on Sylph's head, sending the Crimson Calamity to her knees. An expression of pain was tattooed on Sylph's face as she drew her Katana from its scabbard, thrusting it backwards into the gut of her attacker. The man instinctively dropped the rifle as he tried to keep himself from spilling his guts all over the place. Another flash of polished steel separated the man's head from the rest of his body.

Drawn by the sounds of a brawl, more men on Moriarty's payroll appeared. The longer the fight went, the greater the chances that the group would be overrun. They needed to get the hell out of Megaton and the best way to do it would have been to stop Kristin and get her retreat with them through the gates.

"Sylph!" The Master of the Red Menace called out, pointing towards the Busty Blamco Berserker, "Get her t-"

A pair of arms reached out and wrapped themselves around the darkly clad Undertaker, cutting off his order to get Kristin to stop fighting. Holding him in place, one of Moriarty's goons started pummeling Thomas with his fists, a couple of the blows catching him in the face, once again.

"Omph!" Thomas omph'd as he caught a fist with his nose, the cracking down bringing more tears to his eyes. Lashing out with a long leg that had been strengthened by bicycling the length of the continental Former United States, Thomas struck the goon in front of him in the groin, causing the man to bend over as the sound of Thomas' cracked nose was echoed by the man's shattered testicles. Pointing Millie downwards and behind him, Thomas pulled the trigger, shooting blindly. The man behind him screamed as a bullet passed through his foot, sending him careening to the ground as the Undertaker whipped the 10mm pistol towards the goon in front of him, sending a bullet through the man's kneecap.

The last headbutt and punch that he'd been on the receiving end of felt like it might have cracked something. Touching his nose, the Pained Former Undertaker of the East felt a slight bend in his once proud beak.

"Uh... ow." Thomas said as he brought both hands up to his face, attempting to reset the shattered bit of cartilage into something resembling a nose. One stream of tears, a grunt of pain and a string of curses later, Thomas had a nose once again. Though all that pain would more than likely be for naught if they didn't get out of the situation soon.

Turning towards the gates, Thomas noted that more than a few of Team Irish Bastard had taken upon themselves to block Thomas and Friends' sole route of escape. To his left Lucy stood in the sea on minions, burning holes in the chests and faces of her targets. To his right, Arizona had taken the opportunity to introduce the Megatonian populace to Lester, the sound of Light Machine Gun fire bouncing off the walls.

Marching towards the gates, Thomas held both Millie and a combat knife in his hands. Of the four goons, the largest... I mean he must have been mothered by a Behemoth and raised on Behemoth breast milk or something because boy was this guy big... was the first one to go down. As he approached the first opponent, the Fully Cocked Undertaker unloaded 2 or 3 rounds into the man's kneecaps causing an explosion of bone, blood and tissue. The tip of the blade sliced through the man's throat ensuring that he would not be getting up any time soon and if he did, he'd not be recovering anytime soon. The others were taken care of soon just as easily.

Having cleared out the men from the gates, Thomas turned to Arizona and Lucy. Motioning for them to get the hell through the gates before more of Moriarty's henchmen decided to make their brawling debut. He would have motioned for Sylph as well but it appeared that she was quite busy... assaulting Kristin Blamco.

There had never been a better opportunity to be rid of Sylph than now. With her attention being drawn away by the High Princess of the Cheddar Priesthood, Thomas, Lucy and Arizona could have made their escape without Sylph being any the wiser. Taking a step towards the Gates (and loading screen), Thomas hesitated, turning to look at the Crimson Menace as she charged the Cheddar Champion.

"WALT DAMMIT!" Shifty cursed as he made a run towards the Crimson Catastrophe only to be cut off by more of Moriarty's men. Their time, it seemed had come to it's final climax.

Surrounded on all sides, the group was hopelessly outnumbered... Thomas' movements ground to a halt. It was of no use for him to continue fighting. Without the Friendly Former Undertaker's continued assault, Moriarty's men closed in. Despite his death being at hand, The Darkly Dressed Assistant to the Departed scanned the field for Lucy. Stopping when he saw the One Eyed Former Gauss Girl pressed against a wall, her face marred my steaks of tears. He needed to reach her. As he took a step forward, a wave of goons moved to cut off his apparent retreat. He was not retreating though, he just needed to reach her.

Surrounded on all sides, the group was hopelessly outnumbered... the staccato of machine gun fire raked through the mass of promised pain and eventual death. Arizona was still alive. Thomas found himself rather pleased that Arizona was still alive. Despite the gruff exterior that matched her ghoulish facade, it seemed that there was something rather motherly about the Old One. He deeply regretted failing her.

Surrounded on all sides, the group was hopelessly outnumbered... a limb flew past Thomas's head before splatting against the wall, leaving a crimson splat where it had impacted. It seemed that Sylph and Kristin were still alive and still going at each other, though despite their inability to kill each other, Moriarty's massed men were still paying a price when they got too close. The Friendly Former Undertaker's thoughts briefly rested on Sylph. Young, naive, filled with pain... at least the pain would be gone after today.

Surrounded on all sides, the group was hopelessly outnumbered... at least they would have been were it not for the timely intervention of one Lieutenant Natsuki Manriki.

A flash of pink hair and horns was the only sign that something... not quite human... had become involved in the fight... that and the launching of goons into the air. As quickly as the fight had been started by a woman, it had been ended by a woman. Looking at the pink haired horny girl that had saved their collective asses, Thomas noted the Power Armor that the young woman wore. Black as if the armor had been crafted with a material so dense that light could not escape its clutches. The girl, whose name Thomas recognized from his time in suspended animation, spoke with Sheriff Simms, who'd been rather incompetent in stopping this brawl.

He took the opportunity to take a survey of the status of the others, goons included. As he looked at the piles of unconscious goons he saw a flash of blue hair and crimson clothing causing a wave of concern and dread to wash over him.

"SYLPH?!" The Friendly Former Undertaker exclaimed as he started walking towards the semi-dazed Sylph.

"Father?" Came a familiar voice from behind The Darkly Dressed Former Undertaker, causing him to turn. The sight of Sylph in standing there as opposed to what he had just seen caused Thomas to shake his head vigorously, as if he was attempting to shake the cobwebs from his brain. Turning back around he noted that there was no one there other than unconscious goons.

"Nothing." Thomas said as he turned his attention back to Natsuki.

"For all our sakes. Something hideous is growing there, and we're having trouble getting near it ourselves. If you'd like to see tomorrow, be a good guy today, and let it go. We've already let the Brotherhood of Steel get wind of what else is coming. They'll be preparing. You should too." Natsuki concluded her speech.

Approaching the Enclave Lieutenant, the Former Undertaker of the East cocked his head to the side, giving her a curious look.

"You look a lot different from how I imagined based on how Lilith spoke of you." The Undertaker said boldly as he tempted fate.

Natsuki blinked at this.

"'Spoke'? I don't mean to be rude, but...weren't you frozen before? When did you talk to Lilith?" Natsuki responded.

"S'ah funny thing. I was frozen and yet, still very much conscious. I wouldn't recommend it as far as a beauty regimen." The Undertaker quipped, "And it's still a funny thing that she was able to speak to me despite me being frozen and I do mean speak in a very loose sense of the word. The sort of loose in the way of being able to bypass my ears and beam words directly into my skull. It was... a very neat trick for a very... strange child. Don't see much of a family resemblance. Must be your lack of wings. That's quite the interesting family that FalloutJack has assembled..."

"Ah, well... She's kind of...adopted. Lilith's a Deathclaw." Came the response from the Lieutenant.

"Right... that explains... everything." Thomas said in a sort of verbal throwing up of the hands. It didn't actually explain anything at all considering: WHEN DID THE DEATHCLAWS BECOME ADOPTABLE?!

"Uh... huh." Thomas uh huh'd as if he'd stepped out of a loony bin right into an even larger loony bin that contained the loony bin that he'd just stepped out of, "You're not reading my thoughts right now, are you? Considering that display from earlier," gesturing towards the unconscious minions.

Of course, one didn't really need to be able to read minds considering the way that Shifty's face shifted when his eyes fell upon Lucy Black.

She smiled at this.

"Please, I'm not psychic. I'm just very good." She added.

"I'll take your word for it," He said mentally making an addendum to his response, "(psycho)."

"Now why would the Enclave be interested in sending us to Dunwich. If I remember correctly the goals of the Enclave and the goals of the Brotherhood are... diametrically opposed. If things are as bad as you say, wouldn't it be simpler for the Enclave to let whatever's going on in Dunwich wipe out the Wastes before swooping in and taking everything?" Now Thomas, let's not give the evil pink haired horny girl ideas.

Now, she gave Shifty a deadpan look.

"Oh, sure. We want 'Ghouls Gone Wild' all over the place. That's much better than dealing with people. Something fucking evil is going on over there, something with alot of ghouls. We know about as much as Morgan Bloom does. The sooner we all get more information, the sooner it gets wiped out. Ya dig?"

Thomas dug, alright, Thomas dug.

"Fine. Just keep your psycho friend away from us." The Formerly Friendly Former Undertaker stated referring to everyone's favorite Enclave Intelligence Agent and Interrogator, "You guys have some shitty hiring practices..."

"#411 was rescued from raiders and volunteered. She's very good with Intelligence, but she's bad at people skills. However, she has a nice kid."

The Undertaker opened his mouth, about to make a commentary on the Enclave's breeding allowances and the fact that #411's child was probably another Deathclaw, but stopped himself. Nothing would come out of goading Jack's dearest little psychic daughter into ripping them apart limb from limb.

"Right. People skills." Thomas grunted before remaining silent. The conversation was over, stick a fork in it, it was done. He walked over to the gates and waited for the others. There were still a few other things that needed discussion and settling. The whole brawl between Kristin and Sylph for one and the likelihood of Kristin and Jonathan traveling with the quartet for two and three, there was the matter to be discussed with Lucy.

The Lucy Lover saw the Double Laser Duelist and approached her. He wondered as he closed in on her what had occurred earlier during the fight that had caused her to react in such a manner. He worried that there was something hopelessly broken within the embodiment of his rekindled hope. Without a work, he wrapped his arms around Lucy Black.


The Wild Wasteland | The Gates of Megaton
Sylphee ga Kill!
Sylph

WHAM!

The world went all topsy turvy for a moment as someone managed to sneak up on the Red Menace and slam the butt of their rifle against the back of Sylph's head. An uncharacteristic grunt of pain escaping her lips as she was forced to her knees. Pulling her Gifted Katana from its sheath, the Crimson Calamity thrust the sword backwards, impaling her assaulter on the curved blade before it was wrest from his gut and severed head from torso. The body pitched forward, its still grasping at a loop of exposed intestines before a twin jet arterial blood sprayed the front of Sylph's dress. There was a slight smile on Sylph's face as a sense of ... something strange... set in.

Was it contentment? Was it joy? Just a few of the concepts foreign to Sylph's brain until recently thanks to their introduction by Arizona. The smile broadened even more just seeing the number of potential corpses were on the field.

"Sylph! Get her t-" Father started to say before he was mugged by a couple of Moriarty's goons. While the command had not been completed verbally, the intent behind the command was obvious. She was to stop Kristin by any means necessary... including killing her.

Turning her attention towards the Busty BlamCo Baroness, the Red Menace witnessed the cleaving of a goon by the Dairy Diva's Bumper Sword, the man's arms flailing as his upper body arced in the air. Using the opportunity presented by the Dairy Delight's follow through, the Red Menace planted her feet for moment before breaking out into a sprint.

CLUNK!

Sylph's boots came in contact with the surface of the Blade as she used Kristin's Holy Bumper Sword as a ramp and springboard to jump over Kristin's head before delivering a jaw popping kick to the side of Moriarty's head. Landing on her feet Sylph spun around and thrust the butt of her sword against the Chesty Cheddar Cheese Queen's solar plexus. The duel was on.

The Red Menace was surprised to see an expression on anticipation on the Berserker's face. The two duelists circled each other, looking for an opportunity to strike, looking for an opening that would allow them to claim total victory through a single strike. Neither of them would find that magical moment... but it didn't hurt to try.

The Bumper Sword cut through the air, a horizontal slash whose impact promised a quick death via decapitation or broken neck. Despite the apparent weight of the weapon, the Dairy Duelist appeared to have no issue wielding the over weight weapon. Sylph's Gifted Katana intercepted the strike, turning the strike upwards and over her Blue Haired Head. Kristin's bumper sword was still able to taste blood as it bit into the arm of a goon that had stray too close to the duel for his own good. The limb flew across the field before coming to rest against the wall.

So powerful was the Valkyrie's strike that is caused Sylph's feet to skid backwards despite having braced for impact. Blocking the Dairy Queen's strikes appeared to be a rather poor choice of actions as Sylph felt her shoulders desire to pop out of their socket.

The redirected assault continued on its course of destruction, the side strike's momentum being redirected into a low strike launcher. A scream of pain echoed over the skies of Megaton as Sylph switched places with a goon who found out what he was comprised of.

Using the opening presented by the wildly gory strike, the Crimson Catastrophe countered, lashing out with her foot.

*THUD*

It seemed that Kristin was not without her own surprises. In a feat of strength that would have rivaled Hercules, the Fromage Eating Fury reversed the grip on her Sword and brought it down into the ground, using the tip as a pivot point to deflect the kick with the flat of her blade.

*CLANG*

Steel met steel. The reverberation of the two swords clashing. Sylphs's sword strike being deflected by a simple tilt of the Bumper Sword by the Cheddar Queen. Frustrated by the strong defense being presented, Sylph thrust with her Gifted Katana, watching as the blade was once again turned by a simple tilt of the planted Bumper Sword before it was driven into the chest of Minion of Moriarty's that had attempted to use the diverted attention to sneak up on Kristin Blamco.

*CRACK*

Taking advantage of Sylph's over extension, Kristin's knee shot up and nailed the Blue Haired Butched in the gut before bringing twin fists down on her back sending the girl crashing to the ground. Sylph saw stars again as she came to a skidding halt. Picking herself up, Sylph charged once again and once again was flustered by Kristin's seemingly impenetrable defense.

Bringing the Katana down on high, Sylph attempted to sever one of the Blamco Baroness' hands forcing Kristin to release her grip on the blade's hilt. An opening? Sylph kicked the blade, driving the hilt into Kristin's abdomen, forcing her Platinum haired Priestess double over slightly. An welcome reaction as the Bloody Berserker had kicked off of the Bumper Sword and performed a back flip, her trailing foot catching Kristin just under the chin. As Sylph reached the apex of her flip, she pointed her right arm at the Berserker Princess, twisting her wrist. This time the blade extended, slicing into the Dairy Queen's shoulder.

A lucky strike? Perhaps. Even if this was the only time that Sylph would draw blood, the Lady of Lactose would have a souvenir to remember the Red Menace by. But the fight was still a stalemate with the only losers being the men who'd strayed too close to the Maelstrom of Mayhem... the Typhoon of Terror... the Dance of Death.

Lifting the sword, Kristin positioned it before her, the tip of the blade pointed directly as Sylph who was mirroring the pose. Time seemed to slow for the two as Sylph charged at Kristin. She never reach her destination however... Natsuki had taken a position on the field of battle... causing all hostilities to cease.

Lucy Black - Megaton Gates - Incapacitating flashback
'Malleable memories/Distorted details'

Dissociative Amnesia

"Dissociative amnesia is the partial or total loss of important personal information, sometimes occurring suddenly after a stressful or traumatic event."

"There are five types of dissociative amnesia -- localized, selective, generalized, systematized, and continuous -- varying in terms of the degree and type of memory that is lost. The most common, localized amnesia, is a failure to recall all the events that happened in a specific short period, often centered on some highly painful or disturbing event."

Lucy's heart sank when the spectacle of combat had exploded due to a single swing of one particularly large blade. Arms dropping to her sides, the One-Eye Female watched as her loved one's and recent acquaintances were swallowed by waves of enemies. In Megaton's narrow-sighted view, facing down anything Enclave-related probably seemed like the right thing to do. Years ago, she would have agreed, but now? She could only count the number of potential corpses. It was this pang of sadness that caused the lonely girl to cry as she regressed to her 18-year-old self.

----

We all know the story of the Springvale massacre.

After disillusionment and subsequent betrayal, Isaac Black AKA FalloutIsaac, had incurred the wrath of the Enclave. A certain member of the Fallout Sector & Isaac's student, FalloutJack, was tasked with the duty of executing his traitorous mentor. Not having the heart to go through with a task for a man he respected, the order was handed off to FalloutBob. A particularly heinous individual that wouldn't hesitate at the opportunity of combat and the safeguard of the Enclave.
Lucy Black, daughter to Isaac, was subjected to watching the one-sided duel. Yet between a burning neighborhood, casualties of neighbors and smoke inhalation. The unarmed and sheltered little girl had stumbled outside, despite her father's orders to stay indoors.

If perceptions truly shaped an individual's experiences, Lucy's fragile mind had fractured at that point. Bending her perceived reality to fit the limited emotional spectrum of an inexperienced 18-year-old girl. In Lucy's mind, Bob was not alone. In Lucy's mind, her Father was gutted in front of her. In Lucy's mind, she was tortured with med-x shots to the back.

Except Bob was alone. Lucy never strayed too far from the house, too overcome by the assault and her burning surroundings. As for the torture? Who wouldn't want to forget and immediately chase the pain away by going through every first-aid kit in the house? It was with improper use and near-overdose that Lucy had semi-permanent discoloration & damage to the skin on her upper back.

See, it was easier to make your personal monsters all the more threatening. She wanted to strike back at something horrible one day.

---

Having spotted a stationary target, an offshoot of Moriarty's mob had slowly approached and surrounded Lucy. When the One-Eye female had returned from her state, she didn't see thuggish individuals. For a brief moment, she had pictured the several surrounding figures in black power armor. The result was not pleasant as Lucy exploded in a tearful fury. Her attacks were cruel and uncoordinated. Even as the bodies fell or others had attempted to stumble away, Lucy proceeded to empty the charges on her laser pistols until only the ashes of her victims had remained.

Suddenly, a tremendous force had pushed her to ground, flattening her face down in the surrounding ashes. Blinded, stunned and desperately trying to catch her breath, she could only focus on closing her remaining eye and waiting for her inevitable death to follow. She deserved as much. Thomas had recently given her something that could only be described as a cruel joke: Hope.

Sadly, death did not welcome her when the unknown force was lifted from her body. Scrambling to her feet and pointing her now-empty laser pistols at no target in particular. Shakily reloading each pistol after tugging at the zipper on her backpack, Lucy pushed herself against the wall, using the cold metal sheets to guide herself unsteadily towards the gate, all of which felt next to impossible when she was also struggling to maintain her sanity.

Her anchors of hope, a tall pale figure and a faster whirlwind of crimson & blue were the only things she could see in her blurry vision. Even then, she couldn't trust what she could see. It was enough for now at least. Taking a moment to wipe away the rogue tears and ashes from her face, Lucy proceeded to meet her Undertaker at the gate. Her expression grim, she didn't raise her head to meet his gaze. Her body language suggested that she wanted to leave as soon as possible.

She thought it best to remain quiet for a little awhile.
There was no explaining what she had seen or experienced.


Kristin Blamco - Megaton Gates
'Love Letter'

"I couldn't let you have all the fun today!"

Two targets had evaporated before her eyes in a flash of light. For the most part, the Buttery Bruiser was grateful, but there was no denying that she was dissatisfied at the idea of someone stealing her glory. Nevertheless, the Dairy Farm Female tilted her head ever-so-slightly and grinned even wider to see the Pugilist on his feet again. Battered and bruised he may be, she was both relieved and proud, bruises were a sign of a good day! Huzzah!

Praise was short-lived as the Vaunted Valkyrie was completely distracted. Her attention was split between a new wave of approaching enemies and more dominantly, her attention rested on a flash of steel from the Hellfire Huntress. The Valkyrie surveyed the immediate battlefield, intent on carving a path directly to her very first blood-soaked rose. It would be rude to not reply.

If there were two places that could be called fields of destruction. It was the opposite ends of the battlefield where Sylph & Kristin had decimated their targets. To a perceptive eye, Kristin's seething anger had all but waned into a barely-contained lip-bite of sadistic bloodlust. The usually quirky Princess had strange notions about damn near everything, but combat? That was passion for her. And if she shared the battlefield with a like-minded opponent, then it was a passion akin to love. It was a very worrying display to anyone that was watching. Few people would openly derive such pleasure from the thrill of dodging and delivering death.

Positioning her blade on her back, Kristin launched herself towards a group of six charging enemies, each brandishing what appeared to be hastily picked up tools as weapons. Kristin brought her blade crashing down on the collarbone of the first, then lifted the blade into a devastating upwards slash on the second, splitting his throat and jaw open. Two strikes had showered the Valkyrie in blood, staining the seemingly pure fabric to match that of her rival's. Whether the Valkyrie's own declaration of acknowledgement to her opponent was heard, she was now clad in blood-dyed clothing. At the very least, she was dressing up for the occasion.

Using the momentum of her swing, Kristin leaned backwards and took a two-handed grip on her blade as she swung in a full 360 degree arc. Catching the unfortunate third in the stomach with the dull edge of the sword, he was swung into a nearby wall with bone-crushing force. For the Valkyrie, she had to clear the stage in order to properly put herself on display for the Huntress.

The fourth attempted to charge her after her swing, but his tire-iron had unremarkably clanged off of her steel pauldron. With a show of force and self-taught skill with her Bumper Sword, Kristin pulled back, spun on her heel and used the loose gravel to stinger impale the man through his sternum with a mighty thrust. Throwing the body off of the blade with a offhanded flick, Kristin deftly spun the sword and pitched the tip backwards in preparation. The final two would be the end of her flourish. Flirtation thrived on grabbing one's attention.

Unfortunately for the fifth, bringing a gun to a swordfight would only worsen your punishment in the BlamCo Berserker's eyes. Aiming for a low swing, Kristin's backhanded strike came as a surprise to the target as his legs were separated from his body. Preemptively raising her foot, his screams were cut short with a tremendous armored stomp to the skull. Of course, the Valkyrie had to let it be known that there was more to her than meets the eye. A wink and a smile was only the beginning after all.

Grinding the Bumper Sword against the ground as it was dragged into an upwards strike on the sixth target, the tip had caught him in the stomach and he was launched into the air. Raising her leg and reeling her blade behind her head, the sixth's midsection was cleaved in two during her baseball bat swing of her sword. Playful hinting had its own limitations. Sooner or later, someone had to make a move. Someone had to tip the scales.

Allowing the blade to naturally crash into ground ---

CLUNK!

A surprisingly resilient Moriarty would speak no longer when the Huntress had broken his jaw. The agile display had caused the Valkyrie to smile playfully, softly licking her lips in anticipation. Even after the jab to the solar plexus, Kristin had unconsciously bit her lip.

By silencing Moriarty, the Huntress wanted no further interruptions, this was a private matter between the two. Despite all better judgement, this poisonous kiss was captivating. And she wanted more.

The air was thick with anticipation, gleaming blades held high, the deathly duo had begun to circle one another. The field of desecrated corpses decorated their battlefield, serving as nothing more than macabre roses planted by the mutual rivals. Unlike their earlier duel, a single strike would determine the victor.

Clad in matching crimson, the BlamCo Berserker smirked as her eyes wandered along the body of her respected rival, truly - this stormy-eyed aggressor had more than merely caught the eye of Kristin, Vaunted Valkyrie of the West Coast. She was captivated by Sylph, the Haunting Huntress of the East Coast.

Gracefully, Kristin ran her palm along the sides of her blade, removing any excess blood from earlier attacks -- not wanting to disgrace her blade nor her opponent by mixing blood. After such a motion, the Bumper Sword was sent into a downwards swing, aimed at claiming the heart of her opponent, the quicker flash of steel had deflected her strike. A feat worthy of recognition, yet an action that spurred Kristin into more reckless attacks.

*THUD*

A grave mistake was to send the Huntress into the skies, for it seemed that the Valkyries wings were clipped in comparison. Forced into a slow-moving defensive position, the BlamCo Berserker was at the mercy of the Concierge of Crimson's endless barrage of slashes & thrusts, each of which were narrowly diverted and deflected when her blade was forced to function as a shield. The exotic curved blade was a mirror of the individual wielding the weapon, remarkably deadly with an efficiency to her attacks. She was self-taught, like Kristin, but she lacked the necessary force to break through BlamCo armor. A sharpened blade was useless against a granite wall. It was better to crush an opponent with the devastation of your attacks.

*CLANG*

Nevertheless, much could be said for the individual that forced the Valkyrie into a position where she could not strike.

*CRACK*

Growing weary under the constant assault, Kristin led by example and crushed Sylph's defense with a knee to the gut and dual-fisted slam to the ground. Kristin may have shattered Sylph's defense, but she had neglected her own. Ever the opportunist, a mocking blow to the stomach, a kick to the chin and a rogue slash of a secondary blade had torn through cloth and opened a particularly vicious wound on Kristin's upper arm. Her rival's retaliation had caused Kristin to raise her blade one final time, the eager smile was lost upon her face, now replaced with a grim expression and a frown. She was preparing to say goodbye, whether it be to the Huntress or her very own life.

Raising the blade to head height and angling it downwards, Kristin prepared to impale her rival through the heart. It was hers to claim. A flash of steel and crimson rushed towards Kristin with a curved blade mirroring her very first horizontal strike. Mere millimeters away from the slash to Kristin's neck and an opposing thrust to Sylph's heart ---

--- Kristin & Sylph were slammed into the ground by an unknown force from above. With their attacks missing by a wide margin when their weapons were sent clattered to the ground, the two rivals were forced to their knees. Looking up, the green eyes met the stormy eyes of her rival. A small smirk followed the deeper opposing glare. Breathing heavily, the ragged fatigue was seemingly shared between the two Berserkers. Kristin may have conquered Sylph in unarmed combat, but in a lethal bladed battle, the two were equally met. Today marked a stalemate between the Valkyrie and the Huntress.

Arriving at a wordless understanding once the unknown force was lifted, the two caught their breath and quietly surveyed the damage they had inflicted on one another. Getting up to their feet, neither made an attempt to attack. Was this the result of their rapidly growing respect? Breaks between a deathmatch was unheard of. Claiming their weapons once more, the warriors resumed their stances, intent on continuing this dance to the death.

Never before had Kristin experienced such raw passion.


Lucy Black - Megaton Gates
'Breathe & berate'

Being pulled into a sudden hug by Thomas, who for all intents and purposes probably had the best of intentions, Lucy felt constricted and panicked. It caused her great distress that a seemingly kind gesture had such a negative reaction. The last thing she had wanted was to chase away her hope!

With her hands to his chest, Lucy pushed herself backwards, new tears had unknowingly emerged. This had sadly felt reminiscent of her rejection of Shifty not too long ago. Her hands lingered on his chest, clutching the fabric of his shirt -- wishing to communicate that she was not leaving for good. She just needed a few moments to collect her thoughts. Leaning her head against his chest, the conflicted female whispered to him in a crestfallen tone, "I saw something -- I'm not cra --- don't -..."

Don't leave? Lucy couldn't even bring herself to ask for help. She was responsible for so much, she had caused him so much pain. It was only fair that she quash her anxieties in order to remain as his support. Yes. That would be best -- she had to remain strong for his sake. It was her turn to bear the burden.

Nobody wanted a bird with broken wings.

"I'll go fetch the rest.", Lucy voice rasped in reply, "I'll be fine, don't worry."

Brushing his cheek weakly, Lucy unholstered her laser pistols in a shaky grip and proceeded to make her way directly to the most dominant sight amongst the horrifically bloodied battlefield. Passing a nearby Jonathan, Lucy didn't intend to ignore him, but one look at her face was enough to tell anyone that Lucy had far more going on in her mind than the task at hand.

Kristin & Sylph, blades at the ready were circling one another, seemingly ready to take the other's head. A triangle burst of laser fire peppered the ground between the two bloodthirsty sadomasochists. Both heads turned to face Lucy, who had pointed over her shoulder towards Thomas in the distance.

"Gates! Now! We're leaving with Thomas, all of us!", Lucy's face crinkled in fury when she had gotten a good look at a battered & bloodied Sylph. Her eyes immediately darted to Kristin in an accusatory manner, motioning to the BlamCo Princess. "You first!"

Walking forward, Kristin plunged the sword into the ground and nodded at Sylph, albeit reluctantly and holstered the blade across her back. Upon reaching Kristin, Lucy immediately grabbed her forearm and growled threateningly, loud enough for anyone near enough to hear. "Lay a finger on Sylph again and we'll see how long it takes to turn your body to ashes."

Sensing another challenge, the BlamCo Princes smirked and opened her mouth to seemingly goad Lucy into combat. Kristin was quickly hushed when Lucy growled once more, "Don't!"

Lucy had once split a crowd of Enclave soldiers with a glare, a shout and a gauss rifle. Batting aside an over-inflated ego was trivial to her.

After Kristin stopped to collect her things off to the side, Lucy peered over her shoulder to double-check that Sylph was nearby. Still noting that her own appearance was a mess of tears and ash, Lucy's expression dropped sadly at Sylph's battered appearance. "Are you okay, sis?"

The slip of the tongue could barely be rectified, because she was a step away from suddenly walking into someone.

Special thanks to @FalloutJack: for the dialogue.

Near some Garage
Four dolts and a Metalhead meet a hillbilly

"Got no religion! No needs, no friends!" sung Eddie as he drifted along, his fingers on his guitar, playing the riff to match the song he was listening to.

"Got all I want and I don't need to pretend!" he walked with a sense of satisfaction. Today had been a good day, and it wasn't even over yet.

"Don't try to reach me 'cuz I'll tear up your mind!" And indeed, how could a day not be good when it had begun with him being assaulted by a blue-haired teenager wielding a crude spear? Ah, adolescence. Back in his day adolescence meant that both genders would wear make up and do outragious hairstyles to attract attention in a bid to drown out their insecurities. Nowadays it meant rushing people with spears. He was starting to love the new generation.

"I've seen the future and I've left it behind!" The best thing about that blue-haired Conan wannabe? As she was cleft in half, another appeared! And another. And another. It was like Christmas. Like the Easter Bunny hid an egg underneath a Christmas tree and inside there was a gift. A gift that keeps on giving. It was rather comical how they all kept yelling 'Sylphy' as though they were some sort of unintelligent domesticable monsters. He wondered if they could be taught to execute moves. Maybe then young, aspiring sylphy trainers could leave home at around the time their balls dropped and compete in leagues where they command the girls to slaughter each other for entertainment.

Nah, it would never catch on. Still, he must've slaughtered around one hundred of them before he got bored and burned the last one to a crisp and lo-and-behold, no more teenagers. First rule of the wasteland: Burning things always works.

As the song finished, he noticed two things. One, further in the distance was a building. If he recalled correctly, it was a garage. Two, and more importantly, four dolts wearing fancy gear turned to look at him. An audience! Time to leave an impression! He assumed the power stance and raised his hand, as though his pick was a goblet and he was toasting to those about to be graced with the wonder that was rock. He struck a cord...

...And the magic happened. He wasn't sure, but he could swear he heard thunder strike behind him.

"Gentlemen!" he greeted the Marx Brothers stand-ins, expecting applause and requests for an encore. All they did was stare dumbfounded, and suddenly Eddie came to a terrifying realisation.

The uniforms, the equipment, their absolutely terrible taste! There was only one logical conclusion: He was dealing with Nerds.

"Well, what are ya? Alive or a mosaic?"

They all look at each other for a moment.

Jonesy: We're alive. You look kind of...not.

Joe Slayer: Lemme handle this.

He thumbs in the same direction Speck had been telling Grendel to go.

Joe Slayer: Fury Road's that way, chummer.

Eddie gave a nonchalant look at the direction the Alpha Nerd was pointing, and turned to stare at him, and then his remarkful friend, smirking. Strike one.

"Aren't you a bright example of the existence of intelligent life on this planet."

And back to the Alpha Nerd,

"What's that? Fury Road? Is that a Nerd reference? Is that how you treat random strangers? Especially when said stranger was kind enough to dedicate a solo to you as a sign of goodwill?"

Joe Slayer: I'm more a Maria Mercurial fan. Anybody here know what a nerd is?

Jonesy: Really old term, actually. He's saying we ain't wiz.

Speck: I think he's a really old term. Didn't someone say these ghoul-types could get really old?

Coyote: He looks more orcish than ghoulish, maybe.

Joe Slayer: Maybe. Whacha want, junior? We got a real wild one here to handle.

He indicated Grendel.

There was a slight twitch on Eddie's eyebrow as the Alpha Nerd called him Junior. Strike Two.

All the unpleasant thoughts were pushed aside, though when he saw what he was being pointed at.

"Oh... my... GOOOD!"

He was disgusted. He was excited! He felt like throwing up, for both reasons! This was grand, it was great! He'd seen a lot of shit in his life, but never had he seen them fused in such a unique way and quantity!

"Gentlenerds, don't you realise what this means?" he said as he walked forward, eyes focused on the big pile of poop.

"Don't you realise the significance of what we are so fortunate to experience?!" he continued as he turned to stare at them, signature cheeky grin included, "So many years... So much effort! I can't help but be impressed by their tenacity! Nerdlemen, you are looking at what the collective labour of hundreds of years of brothers fucking their mothers who are also their sisters has spewed forth! The ultimate! The hillbilly to surpass all the other hillbillies!" He giggled in excitement. It was unnerving. "Yes! I dub him... the UBERBILLY!!

Jonesy coughed.

Jonesy: I think he's called Grendel.

Eddie's head dropped, and he turned to Mr. I'm-So-Anal-About-Details-I'm-Gonna-Get-Souplexed, annoyed, "You must be fun at parties. What's next? You gonna tell me how reloading Gauss Rifles works?" and again to the Alpha Nerd, "And you're hunting this Hansel why, exactly?"

Joe Slayer: Nah, we were hunting raiders. This guy must've fragged 'em all on his out of that garage. Dunno why, don't care why. Seems he wants something about those Sylphy girls."

"Sylphy, you say? Hah! I run into a girl yelling Sylphy. Perfect example of a teenager: Loud, annoying, bloodthirstingly hormonal and self-replicating. Must've killed a hundred of 'em just from one! And you say Barnie here is looking for 'er?"

Joe Slayer: Yeah, there's like a whole army of 'em somewhere, beat out an army of guys named Gary, if you can believe it.

Speck: Dunno what their story was either, since the rakkers could only shout 'Gary! Gary!' at us.

"Huh. Sounds...fun." His trademark grin returned, more mischievous than ever. "Say, nerdlas... you don't mind if I go and have a chat with Arnie over there, do ya?"

He started walking towards Grendel, not looking for approval.

"Hillbillies, you see..." he turned to them, doing overly dramatic hand notions, "They speak a special language. Few people know it outside their closed family circles. You're lucky enough to gaze upon a true linguistics scholar, one that knowns that forbidden tongue!"

There appeared to be a fair succession of "No no, be my guest", "Go ahead", "Knock yourself out", "Go wild", and "We don't care". thrown back at him. Have fun, Eddster.

Ohohohoho, he'd have fun, alright. Rubbing his hands, Eddie giggled and grinned like a criminal mastermind. He walked forward, changing the sound of his guitar to "Acoustic" on the effects, until he reached a safe distance enough away from Grendel.

Now, what was the song I used to communicate with them hillbillies down in Point Lookout? he though, scratching his hand, Ah, yes!

He felt this was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Road To Dunwich | Megaton
"Join the Army! Visit fascinating new places! Meet the locals! And then kill them."

"Oh no. I'm quite satisfied with the work you've done here. You've made it rather easy for me to take care of this piece of garbage. If his little filly is willin', I'll leave him alive so long as she comes to work for me."

The moment Moriarty said that, Arizona's eye narrowed and she let out a heavy sigh. As she yanked out her mostly-empty pack of cigarettes and pulled one out by her teeth, she couldn't help but wonder what was running through that fake Irish fuck's head right then. Perhaps it was alcohol poisoning, absorbing too much radiation, or maybe he was simply that cocky and stupid. Whatever the reason, she wasn't surprised to see the busty girl with the Bumper Sword stride over with a look in her eyes that told Arizona that Moriarty was in for a bad day.

She didn't even bother paying attention to what it was the woman said as she casually lit her cigarette, and by the time she had taken her first drag, Moriarty was in the middle of having his arm crushed. After that, things devolved to the point that everything else was a blur.

As the Bumper Sword Berserker started to tear at the gang of bully-boys Moriarty had brought with him, Sylph instinctively did the same. The Old Ghoul couldn't help but bring Lester to bear and make sure he said hello. A flash at the corner of her eye was enough to make her glance over at the idiot Thomas had managed to save as he headbutted the Former Undertaker to throw himself into the fray too. Fucking retard.

All of it couldn't have lasted more than a few minutes before she and her companions were pushed back by some unseen force, and Moriarty's bully-boys were thrown around like rag-dolls. The only one who didn't seem affected by it all was a pink-haired girl, bobbing to the music playing from her belt.

Shaking her head, Arizona ignored her for the most part as she surveyed the damage. From what she could see, Thomas, Lucy, and Sylph were all fine. Tits McHugeKnockers was mostly unharmed too, as was her dumbass boyfriend. So as far as she could tell, everything was as it should've been. At least, in regards to her own ragtag group of psychos.

At least, that was until she heard Little Miss Pink Hair mention Dunwich to the local Sheriff, and she turned to face her more directly.

"Yeah, yeah, I know. 'The Enclave attacked our town'. Well, right now, the Enclave wiped out an angry mob for great justice, Sheriff. These people have a mission to take care of, for Morgan Bloom, at Dunwich. For all our sakes. Something hideous is growing there, and we're having trouble getting near it ourselves. If you'd like to see tomorrow, be a good guy today, and let it go. We've already let the Brotherhood of Steel get wind of what else is coming. They'll be preparing. You should too."

That was enough to get Arizona's attention. But what was more, Thomas seemed to recognize her. As she walked over to join him, she managed to catch the last part of his questions.

"... If things are as bad as you say, wouldn't it be simpler for the Enclave to let whatever's going on in Dunwich wipe out the Wastes before swooping in and taking everything?"

The Ghoul had to give her credit. The look she gave Thomas was a perfect deadpan, something that had to have taken quite a bit of practice.

"Oh, sure. We want 'Ghouls Gone Wild' all over the place. That's much better than dealing with people. Something fucking evil is going on over there, something with alot of ghouls. We know about as much as Morgan Bloom does. The sooner we all get more information, the sooner it gets wiped out. Ya dig?"

"Oh, great. That makes me feel loads better, kid. Send an old Ghoul in, to see what's brainwashing other Ghouls. You should be glad I'm a greedy bitch, or else I probably wouldn't have accepted the damn job." Arizona grumbled.

She turned back to an Undertaker in the middle of hugging what looked like a shell-shocked Lucy. The fact she looked so shaken was enough to make the Ghoul frown in worry, and she was about to reach over and lay a hand on her shoulder when she pulled away from her lover.

"I'll go fetch the rest. I'll be fine, don't worry."

As she went to break up the already-circling Sylph and the Bumper Sword Psycho, Arizona took her place next to Thomas.

"Well, everyone's alive and seem to have all their parts, so that could've been much worse. Your girl alright? She looks like she's been through hell." Arizona pointed out as they followed the group through the gates.


[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Following the Post-Apocalypse | Springvale School
"Proper eating habits are essential to one's health."

Constance seemed to smile as she took the offered bottle of purified water, and took a moment to drink it. When she lowered the bottle, she took the time to introduce herself again to the young Follower's Doctor.

"I'm Constance Sorrowfeld. I'm a member of the American Enclave Scouts of America. These are... well... I call them Sylphys since that's all they can say, or at least I haven't heard them say anything else."

Jenna nodded and looked them over again.

"Makes sense. I'm surprised that the D.C. Area even has cloning facilities of any scale, much less a production one." she said.

"SYLPHY SYLPHY SYLPHY"

Two of the 'Sylphys', most likely the two that had dragged her into the school to treat Constance, promptly curtsied. Jenna couldn't help but laugh, and with a quick dance of fingers over her Pip-Boy, a red, cheerful smile was projected over her helmet as she gave them a friendly wave.

"Huh. They said pleased to meet you, Doctor Jenna. Thank you for saving our... I told you to stop calling me that. I am NOT your Queen. At best I'm just your temporary commander and a poor one at that, I might add. Just call me Constance okay?"

The exasperation in Constance's voice was enough to make Jenna laugh a little harder. It sounded like she had to tell these 'Sylphys' that same thing several times over already. The fact that they gabbled and bowed made her think it'd take a few more tries before they finally listened.

Despite the fact that she noticed the young girl's eye twitch in irritation at the two blue-haired clones, and the fact that she always seemed to face whoever she was talking to, her eyes were milky, and the fact that she had radar dishes attached to her head told her the girl was blind. If anything, she had probably ended up fixing her 'eyes' moment's earlier.

"Sorry about that. I just can't seem to get these Sylphys to listen to what I say... they insist on calling me their Queen but don't listen to anything that I'm saying."

Jenna raised up her hands and shook her head, but before she could reply, she heard the young woman's stomach growl and giggled. As Constance apologized, they could both hear a group of the clones shout their unique brand of gabbling, and Constance turned back to her with a sheepish look.

"Um. Are you hungry? Care to join us? It's the least I could do to pay you back for helping me."

After a moment, Jenna nodded and pushed herself onto her feet, brushing off the wasteland dust from her Science Suit.

"Sure! I can eat. And I can even help with any cooking." she offered cheerfully, holding up a declarative finger, "After all, cooking is just another form of chemistry."

Trixie panted as she entered the room, the chase taking it's toll on her stamina.

#209 seemed happy to find himself another overcompensating weapon, she was happy he found some clothing.

Finally She thought to herself as she picked up her Assault Rifle, rudely thrown into the corner of the room, as if they saw no value in a normal weapon. She brought it close to her as she loaded the magazine. *Chk, chk* "Ahh, I love that sound." She softly announced.

She began equipping her combat armor, choosing to put it over the clothes she already had, in fear of perverted eyes. Finally strapping the last arm buckle her focus was broken by a noise coming from a nearby speaker.

"Alert! Self Destruct Sequence has been initiated. Please Evacuate."
"Alert! Self Destruct Sequence has been initiated. Please Evacuate."
"Alert! Self Destruct Sequence has been initiated. Why do we even have on of these things?."
"Alert! Self Destruct Sequence has been initiated. Please Evacuate."

Instantly she turned to #209's direction, his face was a puzzled one.
"Seriously? They put a self destruct button here? Who does that?!"

"Insane people." She replied. "And they come in the bucket-loads in this state."

"We should really consider getting the hell out of here."

At least she finally agreed with something the heavy-clad boyscout had said, grabbing Chester by the collar and pulling him toward the signs point to 'exit'.

"And we had better be quick about it!" She commented, questioning in her mind how fast he could run in such large powerarmor.

Megaton - Megaton Gates
Pain, misery and death, all for a stupid old man.

There was no way he could keep up.

Try as much as he could, the Berserker Princess was too powerful and experienced for him, a mere labrat having picked up some survival skills, to not fall behind. Though he sidestepped and dodged and evaded attack after attack and repayed the aggressors in kind, the distance between him and Kristin only grew langer, and the only reason he hadn't lost her yet was the trail of devastation she was leaving behind in her wake. At least with energy weapons he didn't have to worry about getting bloodier.

She was truly a sight to behold. The princess had already proven herself a more than adept combatant back at Lucy's house, but this was something else. She hacked and slashed and swung as though she was wielding a plastic toy sword, and the screams of those unfortunate to still draw breath filled the air, as though singing their own dirge. Death was all that followed the princess' wake. Death and misery. And she was grinning. This was something she enjoyed. He had met a similar person once, though far, far less humane, and much more twisted. Was this what awaited her too?

This is sickening.

He surveyed the battlefield. The princess was already well ahead, way too ahead for him to hope catching up, and locked in combat with the blue-haired teenager she was busy scissorwrestling earlier. He stared at them in disbelief, and averted his gaze; he couldn't bother rationalising why they'd turn to one another when there still were enemies around, reason was pointless at the face of bloodthirst. It was then that he noticed her, and his eye turned wide in disbelief.

Lucy?

Lucy Black was a person hardened by misfortune and misery, more than able to handle this situation, taking cover, shooting at exposed targets, keeping away from potential danger. She was doing none of those.

Instead, she was staring, at no one in particular. An unfocused, horror-filled stare, tears flowing down her cheeks.

Look familiar, Johnny-boy?

This sudden change this... unexpected turn he was witnessing shook him more than all the disembowling he had seen Kristin do. It was familiar, alright. Jonathan understood it all too well; she was remembering, and for people like her and him, who bury the past in a vain attempt to keep it from swallowing them whole, there was nothing crueler.

And this is all your doing.

To make matters worse. an offshoot of Moriarty's mob had started to slowly approach her, seeing her as easy prey in her state. Jonathan raised his laser pistol, aimed and pulled the trigger... but nothing happened.

This, is all your fault.

He had run out ammo, at the worst possible moment. Summoning what little energy he had left, he run towards her. But at his speed he'd never get to her in time.

All the blood is in your hands!

They had surrounded her, and he no longer could see her. He could feel his heart ache from the anxiety, and tears started flowing down his cheeks. Another person he cared about was about to die, and all he could do is watch.

How many more graves, Jon? How many more have to die for you?

Then, suddenly, flashes. He watched as lifeless bodies started falling to the ground, only to be shot again and again, until only ashes remained. Lucy kept pulling the triggers of her guns even though the energy cells were spent long ago, and her face resembled that of an innocent teenage girl desperately fighting back with whatever she could find.

He had seen few things as unnerving as this.

An overwhelming force pushed him downwards, burying his body to the ground. Normally, any person would fight back at this incomprehensible force to break free, like a cornered animal. But Jonathan did not, and, much to his dismay, Lucy didn't either. He used what force he could muster to keep his head up and look, and all he saw was a girl with a closed eye and a regretful frown, a girl that had given up and awaited death, much like how he had too, not two days ago

He had seen few things as gut-wrenching as this.

The force keeping him down subdued, and the battle was over, people talked and he scarsely paid attention. He was too burned out to care anymore. He raised his body and sat, looking at all the death and destruction he had caused. All this for a stupid, worthless old man. He didn't deserve it. He did not. He turned to look at Lucy, and he felt his guilt sting at the back of his head. After everything she went through she too was picking up the pieces of her shattered psyche. He stared as Thomas hugged her, and frowned as the only effect that seemed to have was unnerve her more.

Nice going there, bonzo. I bet Shifty's gonna spend a long, looong time dwelling over that hug, like the insecure little loser he is.

As Lucy made her way to gather the rest, she passed next to him, and all he did was stare at the ground. He wanted to reach out to her, to support her, but no words came to his mouth. His support would be unwanted, he was sure. And that was for the better. He'd only make things worse, anyway.

Grabbing his hat off the ground and dusting it off, Jonathan got up to his feet and started walking towards Shifty. Towards the gates. That's where Lucy wanted them all, wasn't it? The cold harshness in her voice as she spoke to Kristin only made him feel worse. Reaching Shifty, he gave him a truly miserable look before staring ashamed at the ground.

"I'll talk to Kristin," he started remorsefully, his voice barely above a whisper, "I'll persuade her that it would be best we left on our own. You won't have to deal with us ever again." he was pretty close to saying 'me' instead. With a discontented sigh, he started walking forward, "...I'm sorry. For everything. I'll be outside the gates."

* * *

Having traversed them, Jonathan sat on the side of gates, his back against the wall, a cigarette resting on his lips. He had found a pack full of them as he walked towards the gates, and figured that if there ever was a day for him to start smoking, it was this one. Lighting it up with a match, he inhaled the smoke, only to violently cough it out. That's how all smokers start, he bemused.

Another cigarette followed. And another. He decided he'd had enough for now, didn't want to smoke them all in one place. He moved his hand to place it in one of his shirt's pocket's... Except, it had something in it. That's funny, he didn't remember placing anything in that particular poc-

Oh no. The rose. He held it out in his hand. Battered, withered, without a pedal left.

Even at that, he had failed. He was supposed to have given the damned thing to Kristin, as a show of affection, hoping that they could start their adventure on good terms. A cruel joke, that. The sight of the rose and the reminder of what it represented drove tears to his eyes, and, Jonathan, who had put on a brave face after that fight, who wanted to make what amends he could , broke into weeping.

For the sight of the rose, ruined as it was, reminded him just how much of a useless wreck of an old man he truly was.

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton Gates
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it
Narrator

"In the remnants of what was the site of a recent skirmish between the townsfolk of Megaton and a group of intrepid adventurers traveling to discover the horrors brewing at Dunwich, two lovers regarded each other. They showed each other strength even when they themselves were on the verge of breaking. They thought to protect each other even at the expense of their own sanity. If the road to Hell was paved with good intentions and the foundation to functional relationship was truth then Lucy and Thomas were going to soon discover that the path they'd chosen to travel ended up at burned out house located in the deepest circle of Hell."

"Uh ma'am?" One of #411's Enclave Intelligence Subordinates butted in.

"Yes?" Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 responded as she watched a set of monitors that displayed the Gates of Megaton, a bucket of popcorn in her lap.

"You're doing that thing again... where you narrate whatever you're watching." The Subordinate responded.

"And?"

"N... nothing, ma'am" The Subordinate replied as a set of hands grasped his shoulder, a friend giving him the look that asked him if he had a death wish before pointing at a display case that held the remains of #411's former right hand man.

"Right." #411 said as she watched the monitors, tossing a piece of popcorn in her mouth. It was good to be back in the Enclave Vault.


Thomas "Shifty" McGee

Thomas "Shifty" McGee felt a momentary wave of fear, panic and despair wash over him when he felt the hands of Lucy Black press against his chest. Despite the very slightest of space that she allowed between them, it felt like an unimaginable rift. There was true terror in the eyes of the Friendly Former Undertaker as memories of an all too familiar scene that had unfolded within the space of a Brotherhood Bar. Unlike the last time, however, Lucy placed a calming hand on Thomas's chest, causing the constriction over his heart to ease. He understood what she was asking of him. She needed some space but she was not pushing him away permanently.

She pressed her Mousy Hair Clad Head against his chest, tears wetting and staining the fabric of his shirt that had not already been touched by blood. There was a temptation to wrap her in his arms once again, protect her from the horrors of the Wastelands. But he caught himself and instead stroked her hair, hoping to soothe her emotions somewhat.

"I saw something -- I'm not cra --- don't -..." She whispered to him. There was fear in that whisper.

Tucking an index finger under the Former Enclave Asset's chin, he lifted it so that she could look at his face and the gentle smile that he presented to her. He nodded. He understood. She was going through some thing internally. She was probably not ready for this trip back out into the Wastelands and it was a reckless thing to allow her to leave the relative safety of Megaton. But to banish her away might have only served to deepen whatever it was that was going on in her mind.

"I'll be here when you need me." Thomas said, mirroring the false strength that Lucy presented him. As much as he wanted to follow up his hopefully comforting words with a more concrete gesture, the Double Murder Twins appeared to have a different idea on what "Let's leave Megaton," meant. The two had started circling each other once again. Since there had not been a clear victor in their second duel, they thought that it needed to continue.

"I'll go fetch the rest.", Lucy voice rasped in response to the renewed potential of violence, "I'll be fine, don't worry."

Despite her request, Thomas did find himself worrying and fretting. Despite all that he'd suffered, he'd gladly do it again for Lucy. Had he not promised to protect her and assist her in any way possible during their time at the Citadel? Had he not proven himself to be more than willing to help her during the times that she found herself faltering? Did she believe him weak?

As Lucy left to grab the Berserker Buddies and break up round two... or three, Thomas leaned up against the rusted gates of Megaton, certain thoughts threatened to break through the surface. The depression of being rejected and the sadness that came with it had began to chisel at the back of his head. Was this what was best for Lucy? Had he not once tried so save someone only to have her wounded, by Jonathan no less.

A voice broke in on Thomas' thoughts, the familiar raspy voice belonging to his traveling companion, Arizona.

"Well, everyone's alive and seem to have all their parts, so that could've been much worse. Your girl alright? She looks like she's been through hell." The Ghoul asked, an uncharacteristic amount of concern coloring her voice.

Thomas shrugged as he mulled over Lucy's reaction to the skirmish at the Gates. She had, however, told him that she was okay... but there was no way he could have answered with blinders on.

"Yes, I think so and she says so. Though, I would be lying if I wasn't concerned about her and reconsidering taking her with us. I... have just never seen her act like this. In our battle against the Giant Mirelurk, she was fearless and when we were preparing to infiltrate the Enclave Vault, she revealed to us her status as an Enclave Asset, despite knowing what the could mean. I can only assume that the Lucy I knew back then is still the Lucy that I've committed myself to..." He paused, contemplating something, "... to protecting. She's always been brave and reliable. So... I think she's okay."

Arizona glanced at him, and the concern that tinged her voice earlier showed through with the look she gave him. But after a moment, she sighed and patted his shoulder.

"Thomas, you sound like you're trying to convince yourself. My advice? Talk to her. If something's bugging you, tell her. Otherwise she can't help." she told her, patting his shoulder one more time before adding, "As for protecting her, not sure that's what she wants. If anything, she wants to be the one protecting you."

The Friendly Former Undertaker took in Arizona's words, accepted them, processed them, filed them away for later use. There was a high degree of wisdom in the Ancient one's words. There was no question as to why the Undertaker's Union revered them for they bore wisdom learned over centuries of existence. Some within the Union postulated that the so-called Feral Ghouls were simply Ghouls that had learned so much about human nature that they became disgusted with it and discarded it in favor of a simpler life, more in tune with nature.

"You're right. I guess I should talk to her... when she's ready." The Darkly Dressed Caretaker of the Departed stated, noting the Berserker Princess Blamco as she passed. Turning his attention towards Sylph and Lucy, Thomas noted that Sylph looked at the the One Eyed Former Gauss girl the same way she would a stranger, the muscles in her body tensing as if she was preparing to strike.

"SYLPH!" The Former Undertaker turned Father Figure called out, "Let's go."

The Red Menace's body relaxed after a moment before she sheathed her blade, saying something to Lucy before she turned to leave through the gates. Standing there at the gates with Arizona he waited for Lucy to leave, waiting for any more words of wisdom the Old One could bestow upon him.

"Don't worry, Shifty. The trip to Dunwich will give you two plenty of time to talk, whether you like it or not." Arizona said with a dark chuckle before looking over at Lucy and Sylph.

"Lucy! Kiddo! Whenever y'all are ready, let's get this show on the road." she called, waving at them.


Sylph

The Red Menace had a rather large smile on her face as she and the D-Cupped Dairy Queen circled each other. The two had caused quite the scene earlier on their first duel and their second was shaping up to be yet another spectacle. With a blade in each hand, Sylph had managed to draw some blood from the Princess of Provolone and she craved more of the sweet crimson that had stained the woman's white leathers red. The conclusion of the second duel would have to wait, however. A trio of laser blasts cratered the ground between the two Slasher Sister, causing Sylph to jump backwards in retreat. Someone was intruding on her fun.

Turning towards the source of the laser blasts, Sylph frowned as he saw the approaching One Eyed Woman that Father had claimed... or had she been the one who claimed Father. She had only been a silence observer at the time and since Sylphee's focus had been on pummeling the top of Mister Jonathan's skull, the Stormy Eyed Twin could only catch the briefest of glimpses at what had occurred.

"Gates! Now! We're leaving with Thomas, all of us!", The woman's face crinkled in fury when she had gotten a good look at a battered & bloodied Sylph. Her eyes immediately darted to Kristin in an accusatory manner, motioning to the BlamCo Princess. "You first!"

As the Blamco Berserker left, the One-Eyed Woman fired off more venomous words at Sylph's Slasher Sister causing Miss Kristin to leave without a word. It was a marvel to behold, the sight of someone actually causing the Paladin of Parmesan to retreat without so much as a strike being needed. It was mildly impressive to the impressionable young Crimson Catastrophe but there was still an underlying anger at the Brown Haired Cyclopean Waif prematurely ending the battle.

"Are you okay, sis?" The woman asked.

There was a sudden look of confusion on the Crimson Clad Calamity's face... before things started falling into place. Did Father take in another servant like Sylph? Was she to be as Sylphee was to Sylph, only separate in body as well as mind though united in serving Father? There was a tinge of jealousy in those thoughts...

Looking at her, Sylph absently wondered what it was that had taken Father in. She looked as if someone had taken a Mole Rat, removed its body hair, placed a wig upon it and made it walk upright. Though, it might have been that Sylph thought that Father could have done better combining genetic material with the High Dutchess of Dairy. Still, the Blue Haired Heroine concluded, there was something ... familiar about the woman... something that made Sylph feel rather... warm... like the tears that suddenly started streaming down her face.

Why did this woman have such an effect on Sylph when Sylph had no memory of her or anything that she may or may not have done? Why was there also a sense of abandonment felt when looking at this woman named Lucy? Her grip tightened on the hilt of the Gifted Katana. There was one way to make this confusion stop.

"SYLPH!" Father called out, "Let's go."

Looking at her Father, the Red Menace could see a stern look on his face, causing her to jump into action as she walked away never having spoken a word to her "sister."


The Wild Wastelands | Springvale High
Pressed Deathclaw... under glass?

"Sure! I can eat. And I can even help with any cooking." Doctor(?) Sorenson offered cheerfully, holding up a declarative finger, "After all, cooking is just another form of chemistry."

Constance Sorrowfeld regarded the strange... scientist(?)... with a look of curiosity. She wagered that Doctor(?) Sorenson was right, in a way. The American Enclave Scouts of America Troop leader had always called cooking an art form that a very special select few were good at. The Cat Eared Loli-Scout wondered with morbid curiosity if Doctor Sorenson was one of these special people.

"We'd love the help. Not a one of these Sylphys can cook. They even burned the BlamCo Mac n Cheese boxes that were airdropped here a few days ago. How do you even do that?" The young girl asked in actual disbelief. She took the lead, since she'd been busy renovating the former school into an actual school fit for housing and training a full battalion of Sylphs at a time, though she wasn't looking forward to training that many Sylphys at a time. She had the idea of training a select few Sylphys that could propagate the knowledge to the others... unfortunately her idea was far more simple than the reality of doing so.

Reaching the ground floor, the Scout and the Doctor and the Two Sylphys that followed entered the former cafeteria just as the returning huntered were removing the Deathclaw's head from the rest of its body.

Reaching up its throat hole, one of the Sylphys manipulate the Deathclaw's jaw from inside.

"SYLPHY SYLPHY SYLPHY!" She yammered, causing the rest of the Sylphys to laugh loudly.

"They never get tired of that joke." Constance muttered as one of the following Sylphys called the rest to attention.

"SYLPHY!!" The snapped causing the rest to drop what they were doing and salute the Queen of the Sylphys and her Esteemed guest.

The scene caused the young girl's cheek to flush a bit from the embarrassment. Gesturing towards the Sylphys, Constance bade them to continue what they were doing, causing the blue haired air heads to continue dismembering and cleaning the Death Claw carcass.

"I hope you're right about cooking and chemistry. I think all I've had it Death Claw jerky for the past couple of days," The Cat Eared Scout quipped a euphamism for blackened, burned Death Claw steaks.


The Wild Wastelands | Doctor Evil's Vault of Evil
BADA BIG BOOM?!

This was an escape pod? This tiny thing?

Those were the thoughts of one Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 as he looked at the 6 man escape pod that the trio had located. There was one issue with this particular escape pod. It looked to have been built for midgets, or rather it had been built for 6 normal, non-heavy weapons power armor wearing humans not one Extra-Extra-Extra-Extra Large Enclave Heavy Weapons specialist to fit inside of, let along get through the door. There was also the mechanism in which the escape pod worked. The pod was essentially a large projectile for an extremely large magneticly driven launching device... essentially, they were going to be shot out of a Super Sized Gauss Cannon.

"Well this isn't going to work." #209 muttered as he pondered attempting to disarm the self destruct mechanism, "You think this is going to work because I've got doubts as to this thing working. I mean they've got a random self destruct button in an armory, they probably haven't mastered Gauss technology yet. Right... we should probably find some other way out of here or maybe just disarm that auto-destruct sequence. I mean we can do that right? Right? Right?"

Let's not forget that they were down one pacifist. Robin was no where to be found and despite the fact that she batted for the opposition of #209's hypermasculinity, she was someone that might seriously be thankful if a certain Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist came to her rescue. I mean... that's what happened right? That was the rules of the rescue right?

"So... well... what do you think? I'm not gonna fit in there... at least not all of me." #209 muttered, there was another option for escape, it just required that half of him be hanging outside of the escape pod.

Just outside Vault 122

Grendel put the photo away, and sheathed his weapons before grunting appreciatively at the Runners for their information, and started heading north towards the biggest landmark he could see for miles.

Grendel wasn't exactly sprinting or even running, but he kept up a good pace that would be difficult for most to keep up with, but then he noticed someone following him. Without so much as a sound, Grendel drew one of his knives and hurled it at the figure approaching from behind as he charged the stranger with the other.

Kristin Blamco & Lucy Black || Megaton Gates
"Leftover poison"

Lucy Black was well aqcuianted with Sylph's mannerisms, so while Sylph's muscles tensed and the smallest gleam of a partially unsheathed blade welcomed Lucy's eye, she had little to no qualms with Sylph taking her life. Residual guilt from Lucy's abandonment weighed heavily on her mind, the effect was compounded when Lucy realised that this was the most time they had relatively spent alone. Sylph's puzzling tears came as a shock, one that Lucy didn't really know how to respond to. Still, she silently urged her sister-in-name-only to draw her weapon. It would only take one swing.

Wordlessly, Sylph walked past her, presumably towards the gates. After everything, their odd relationship had seemingly vanished, almost as if someone hit the reset button. What happened to Sylph?

Lucy had two emotional responses in mind, firstly to allow herself to sink into a silent state of depression or secondly to lash out in frustration. She had chosen the latter. The target for said lashing was picked when she approached the BlamCo Princess who was busy packing her bag. Stopping just short of Kristin's portable microwave, Lucy crossed her arms and harshly addressed the busy woman.

Silently, the Haughty Princess walked ahead of Lucy, passing the group without a moment's hesitation and quickly exited Megaton after not having immediately spotted Jonathan by the gates.

Stopping just short of Megaton's gates, Lucy stopped by Thomas & Arizona. Clearly in a bad mood from Kristin's surprising conversation reversal.
"You guys can stop at my former house in Springvale -- unless you want to keep moving. It's up to Arizona. I have to find out what Jonathan wants with me now. I won't be long. Let me know?"

A minute later after checking her bag, Lucy exited Megaton and turned to find Jonathan & Kristin nearby. In between a bad mood and shell-shocked trauma. Lucy flitted between an air of frustration and a disconnected expression of shaken trauma.

She was in no condition to be doing this. Running a hand through her hair and tightening her grip at the back of her head, Lucy sighed and closed her eye, raspily addressing Jonathan.

"You...wanted to talk to me?"


Kristin Blamco || Outside Megaton Gates
A minute or two before Lucy's arrival

Having found Jonathan, the Injured Princess increased the pacing of her steps. After her entanglement with Lucy, an exchange that would make her younger sister proud, Kristin's mood was only slightly dampened. The electrical excitement from the duel with the Crimson Huntress was still fresh on her mind and clearly visible to anyone who got a good look at her body. Despite having a fairly high threshold for pain, Kristin's felt fatigued and her body ached, seemingly begging for rest & recovery.

Reaching Jonathan, it was clear that the man had been crying. This confused her. They were alive, he should be ecstatic! Unless he was so happy that he brought to the verge of tears? Most likely. Still, she needed to show her support.

"Jonathan! My Pugilist!", Kristin gleefully exclaimed, locking him into an unexpected hug, "Ahh, I am so very happy to see you here - standing no less!"

Breaking off slightly, Kristin was still pressed against Jonathan while rooting through her schoolbag with one hand. "I believe I still have that first-aid kit in here somewhere. We look -- ", eyes darting upwards, her face cracked into a wider grin. " -- absolutely terrible! Ahh, scars, the tattoos of battle."

The dull ache from the vicious bladed slash on her upper arm had finally hit the BlamCo Princess, forcing her to reluctantly grimace for a few moments before resuming a stiff smile. "I may need your help.", the Proud Princess turned her arm towards Jonathan, drawing attention to the open wound just below her armor. An uncharacteristically fatigued chuckle was uttered.

A voice, not far off, had piped up. Presumably after trying to find a gap in Kristin's loud conversation.

"You...wanted to talk to me?"

Oh, her.


The Dunwich Party
The Wild Wastelands | The Road to Dunwich | Outside Megaton Gates
"There's no pep-talk like a Ghoul's pep-talk."

After she gave Thomas her two caps on the whole situation between him and Lucy, he seemed to take a moment to think about it. But the way he spoke after didn't do anything to make her feel better about the whole thing. Still, it wasn't really her business. Perhaps after a century and change of keeping her nonexistent nose out of messes like this, she decided maybe it was time she tried it again, she thought as she shook her head.

When she looked over at Sylph, however, she noticed the Blue-Haired Monster's cheeks had tears running down them, and she had to do a double take. It was unexpected to see her cry, especially here and now. She would've thought if there was a time for her to cry, it would've been while she told her life story. So when Thomas called out to her and she made her way over, the Old Ghoul couldn't help but reach over and place a firm hand on Sylph's shoulder.

"Hey, Kiddo. You alright?" she asked with a note of concern in her tone.

The Blue Haired Menace to Society shrugged off the concern. Clearly not ready to talk about it quite yet and instead held out her hand. The words, "Choker" could be heard quietly.

The Undertaker turned Father shook his head.

"No. Answer her question, Sylph. She's concerned for you." Thomas added his two cents into the conversation. It seemed harsh but sometimes people needed a push in the right direction rather than allowing them to hide themselves.

"I don't know." Sylph answered after a time, responding to Arizona's question, "That... lady... she... makes me feel..."

Her words trailed off. Thomas nodded. He understood. If he were a son of a bitch, one could have said that he understood and could relate to the feeling that Sylph had. Were he a son of a bitch, he would have understood the sensation of abandonment... of course, he wasn't one of those. He had encouraged Lucy to leave the Enclave Vault without him. He'd actually given her no say in the matter and taken it upon himself to make the decision for her. But he still... in his darker moments could have possibly understood the feelings that Sylph was going through.

This sensation combined with Sylph's apparent loss of her memories made things rather strange.

"Lucy? Oh..." Arizona murmured, trailing off as she glanced over at Lucy Black herself.

As it was, she was arguing with Boobs McHugeTits. And it looked like, whatever they were talking about, Lucy wasn't exactly holding her own with her words. After a moment, Arizona nodded, then pulled off the bandana wrapped around her forearm and offered it as a handkerchief.

"Here. That girl over there is Lucy Black. When we spoke, she told me that you two have met before. Used to be close. Beyond that, you'll have to talk to her." Arizona said vaguely, before firmly adding, "And I do mean talk, not threaten, or try to hurt, maim or kill."

Patting the girls shoulder, she sighed heavily, "And like I was telling Thomas here, we're going to have plenty of time to talk on the way to Dunwich."

Thomas grinned absently at the thought of time with Lucy, Sylph giving him a rather curious look. Having not been in on the information as to what happened between Lucy and her Father, she wasn't sure how to take that rather stupid expression on her Father's face.

"Is he alright, Miss Arizona?" The Crimson Calamity asked quietly.

Looking over at Thomas, Arizona couldn't help but chuckle and cross her arms. Lucy really was a lucky bitch as far as she was concerned.

"Oh, he's perfectly fine. In fact, I get the feeling that he couldn't be better, eh, Shifty?" she asked with a sly grin.

The Former Undertaker blinked for a moment, his cheeks turning 50 shades of red as he realized that he'd just been daydreaming about... something. He scratched the back of his head before he responded.

"Yes. I... am... quite good." Thomas responded quickly as he attempted to pull himself back together.

It was clear that the mood had lightened a bit at the expense of Thomas "Shifty" McGee's pride. But still, Sylph was feeling tired emotionally, mentally, phyisically... she needed rest.

"Can... can I please have my choker back?" She asked Miss Arizona.

Thomas sighed. As much as he disliked Sylph's wanton violence... there was something predictable about that... as opposed to Sylphee.

Eyebrow raised, Arizona merely nodded and went, "Uh-huh... Right."

Then she turned at Sylph and leveled a look at her for a moment before she nodded again and reached into her pack, pulling out the choker and handing it over.

"Here you go, Kiddo." she said quietly.


[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Following the Post-Apocalypse | Springvale School
"This week, on Cooking, Wasteland Style!..."

Immediately after her little declaration about cooking, Jenna could see that the young, blind Constance was peering up at her with curiosity, and her mechanical cat ears were turned to scan her too. It was enough to make her feel a little concerned about the prospect of pitching in, especially since she was likely going to be cooking for at least ten.

"We'd love the help. Not a one of these Sylphys can cook. They even burned the BlamCo Mac n Cheese boxes that were airdropped here a few days ago. How do you even do that?"

That answered why Constance had seemed curious. The fact that none of the clones could cook wasn't entirely surprising, but burning BlamCo Mac 'n Cheese? That was a step beyond simply being unable to cook as far as Jenna was concerned, and she reflexively reached over to her Pip-Boy and had it project a red, cartoon grimace over her helmet.

"Well, uh... I'm sure we can come up with something." she said with wavering confidence.

When they reached the ground level and walked into what had to be a cafeteria, the Doctor stopped in her tracks as she saw a few of the Sylphys cleaning and butchering an adult Deathclaw. Even a lone Deathclaw in the wastes was dangerous, and in some cases were worse than the Cazadores that were a plague in the West. The fact that these Sylphys had taken one down without a single Anti-Materiel Rifle, Gauss Rifle, or heavy weapon in sight... It was both impressive, and scary.

One of them promptly took the Deathclaw's head once it was cut off and manipulated it like a hand puppet as she gabbled, making the others laugh raucously. Jenna, meanwhile, merely shook her head.

"They never get tired of that joke."

As soon as they noticed Constance was they, they dropped everything they were doing and saluted. Waving, Jenna had her Expression Generator project another friendly smile over her helmet.

"I hope you're right about cooking and chemistry. I think all I've had it Death Claw jerky for the past couple of days."

Glancing over at Constance, she couldn't help but wonder just what she was going to do about dinner when she spied what had to have been the kitchen at one point. And a kitchen had ovens, gas lines, and pilot lights, all waiting to be jury rigged into potential greatness. With a that in mind, she rolled her shoulders.

"Don't worry. I have a plan, and luckily we won't have to deal with leftovers." she said, before moving past and making her way into the kitchen.

* * *

It was a minor miracle that the pilot lights and a few of the ovens still worked, if not as well as they would have before the war. But that was enough for her to get started on cooking. With some creative use of a medical thermometer to check how well done the meat was, and using the components of a few rations from her own pack, she had several Smothered Deathclaw Steaks steadily cooking away. All in all, she was rather proud of the setup, and she was pretty confident everyone was going to get fed, something she was a little worried about.

As it turned out, the Deathclaw they had managed to take down had some decent meat on it, and while she had used up all of her rations... Well, there were worse reasons for it, and she was confident she was close enough to a bastion of Wasteland Civilization that she'd be able to get more food as needed.

Turning to Constance, she nodded and placed her hands on her hips.

"Sorry about the amount of prep time I had to take, but it shouldn't be too long now." she said happily.

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | The Gates
Enter the Sylphee
Thomas "Shifty" McGee and Sylph(ee)

Click

The Friendly Former Undertaker braced himself. He understood what was coming his way. In weather terms, Hurricane Sylphee was about to make landfall over a densely populated area and it would unleash destruction the likes of which had not been seen since the bombs fell. Observing the Blue Menace, Thomas watched her eyes open. Despite the underlying cruelty of how she'd been forged by Henry, the change never ceased to amaze the Tall and Pale Father figure. From the way the girl stood, her expressions, her mannerisms, even the way light reflected from her eyes, Sylphee was a completely different person from Sylph despite sharing the same body.

With pinpoint accuracy, the Hurricane of Happiness hurled herself at her Father, wrapping her slender yet deceptively strong arms around the neck of her Father figure, almost pulling him off balance.

"DADDY!" Sylphee squealed directly into Thomas' ear hole, attempting to blast the contents of his skull out the other ear.

"Ow ow ow." Thomas' back and skull complained as his knees buckled and he fell to the ground, Sylphee landing on his chest while the back of Thomas' skull found the hard packed dirt.

THUD!

Clearly, Sylphee was back.

Looking around, the Menace to Anything and Everything spotted Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun. Before Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun had a chance to brace herself, the Devil with Blue Hair had launched herself into the air, her arms stretched out, her finger wiggling in anticipation of a hugging Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun to an almost literal death.

She might have gotten away with it if it wasn't for a skillful dodge that sent Sylphee flying over the crouched Arizona.

THUD! ... THUD! .. THUD! . THUD!THUD!THUD! Went Sylphee's body as she came to a tumbling stop before launching herself again.

"HEY Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun! ATTACK HUG!!!" The Blue Haired Banshee screeched as she flung herself into the air once again.

Thomas would have found the whole incident rather amusing were it not for the pair of hands that hauled him up on his feet, directly into the path of the incoming Blue Eyed Projectile.

"You b-" Thomas started to curse uncharacteristically at the Ghoul who'd used him as a human shield.

"Sorry Thomas, but better you than me." Arizona stated with a note of amusement in her voice, clearly proud of herself.

CRASH!

The impact of the Sylphee-Styled-Attack hug launched both the Crimson Menace and her Dapperly Clad Father figure through the gates and into the Wastelands.

THUD

More stars, more aches, more whiplash. With the exception of the time spent with Lucy, clearly this was not the day to be Thomas. Waiting for the all too familiar stars to stop orbiting around his skull, a trio of figures came into focus. Kristin, Jonathan and Lucy.

Thomas noted the rather hostile look on Kristin's face as she attempted to activate some sort of Blamco Branded Invisible Laser Attack on Lucy. He'd caught a small snippet of the earlier exchange between the two women and it seemed that none of the hostility between the two had dissipated in the last two minutes.

"Who're those Ladies with Mister Hollow Bongo Head?" Sylphee asked in a quiet voice, or what passed for quiet for Sylphee, meaning it was still audible to the trio.

"The one in the white leather armor is Kristin... Mister... uh... Hollow Bongo Head's friend and the other is Lucy." Thomas said, his voice softening at the mention of Lucy's name.

"Is she my Mommy?"

"I... uh... well.. maybe? It's a little too soon for that." The Former Undertaker turned Crimson Faced Sputtering Idiot sputtered in a manner that would have caused him to fountain milk out his nose were he drinking milk.

"So... Missy Krissy Boobs-A-Bunch and Missy Mommy Lucy Caboosy?" Sylphee said in awe of Missy Mommy Lucy Caboosy's mommy status.

"N...no!" Thomas started, attempted, failed to correct, noting with slight dismay that Lucy had started talking with Jonathan. Despite reassurances, The Green Eyed Former Undertaker couldn't wait to be rid of the former Enclave Inventor.


The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale Elementary School
Death Claw for Cutie
Constance Sorrowfeld

GRUUUUUUUUUUUUUMBLE

One of the many noises that came from the stomach of one Constance Sorrowfeld, who was currently attempting to look rather calm or risk slipping in a puddle of her own drool. While food preparation had taken time, it smelled like it was going to be worth all the extra effort that had been put in.

True to her word, Miss Jenna was putting together a splendid meal. Constance watched her drift from one station to another, cutting this, whisking that, basting this and sauteing that. It was a rather magnificent ballet to behold.

"Sorry about the amount of prep time I had to take, but it shouldn't be too long now." Miss Jenna said happily.

Constance abruptly shook her head.

"No. It's quite alright, Miss Jenna." The American Enclave Scout of America responded, "It smells absolutely divine. I think the waiting part, while taxing, is going to make it all the more delicious."

Not that the girl had anything to compare it with since she'd been served a never ending line of burnt chunks of protein over the last few days. It was to the point that even uncooked Mirelurk Roe might have well been Beluga Caviar imported from Pre-War Russia, not that Constance had any experience with that icky fishy fish egg stuff.

"Sylphy Sylphy!" One of the Sylphy Girls grumbled in a rather hostile fashion. The girl's uniform was stained with a copious amount of blood. From the blood spatter pattern, Jenna could tell that this was the clone that was responsible for cooking until the position had been usurped.

"It's quite alright. I'm sure Miss Jenna doesn't need your help. You should just relax." Constance responded kindly, though there was obvious relief in her voice.

"Sylphy!" The Cook responded as she leaned up against a pipe, against a valve that controlled the flow of natural gas into the oven.

FWOOOOSH!!!

Smell that? Is something on fire? Is dinner done? Oh... looks like it's going to be extra extra done in a few seconds.

The Four Musketeers: Ridin' through this (dead) world."

Like vengeful Valkyries storming across the Wasteland at great speed, our valiant heroes rode roaring horses of steel. Nothing could stop them, for they had purpose in their hearts and fire in their eyes!

Alright, that's actually a load of rubbish. You try staying at top speed when the roads are cracked, broken, and littered with pre-war wrecks.

Still, our riders were making some fine progress as they sped towards Springvale. Isaac had judged the selection of dresses at the clothes shop to be unsuitable for his needs, and the former Fallout sector member was now kitted out in combat armour.

The quartet had crossed the Potomac and were roaring past the Super-Duper Mart at this point, confident they had cleared the worst of the obstacles and debris.

"Whew, am I glad to see the back of that place." Said Evan, flinging his arm back to indicate Washington DC and nearly catching William in the face as he did so.

"Mind my head!" Came the response from the aforementioned passenger, "I thought you liked DC, it's got everything a Brotherhood Scribe could want." Continued William.

"DC's alright, but I hate getting in and out on this thing, all the main roads are jammed up with wrecked cars."

"I suppose when the bombs fell people tried to get out of the city, not that it did them much good."

That particular conversation died quicker than a mole rat in a blender, leaving an awkward silence hanging over things. Unfortunately, Dudley Sullivan took this as the perfect opportunity to say something.

"You stickin' with that get up Isaac?" Asked Dudley, prompting a mental facepalm from both William and Evan, "Cause' ya know you look pretty generic in that stuff. Gotta get ya 'iconic look' figured out."

"Duds don't..." William protested half-heartedly.

"See, ya be ex-Enclave, so that's somethin' ta play on. Can't be goin' for their Power Armour, that's too generic and old you. But ya could get scraps of it to make up yer new look. A shoulder plate here, a gauntlet there, a couple o' the lower leg bits. Stuff that shows a connection to the Enclave, but screams 'badass who moved on' kinda thing." Continued Dudley as innocent as ever.

Maybe Isaac was smart enough not to become the latest subject of Dudley's Wasteland Fashion Show.

Isaac had remained mostly quiet, generally trying to will himself home faster to see if his daughter was there, safe and sound, or at least sound. Unfortunately, there was a disturbance in the force...and by that, we mean Dudley. Was he...egging him on about his former profession? He wasn't having this. The Brotherhood of Steel trusted him, for crying out loud!

Isaac: Dudley, I was just brought back from the dead. I don't give a damn about how I look. I would show up there at home wearing nothing but a smile as long as my little girl is okay, so give it a rest.

"Dudley, stop trying to make everyone wear some unique outfit. This isn't a game, lives are at stake." Said Evan curtly, he was annoyed Dudley had ruined an upcoming moment as they reached the crest of a hill and the grim shape of Megaton came into view.

"Megaton!"

"Megaton!"

"It's only a model..."

"What?"

"Nothing. I said it's not long until we get to Springvale now, this part of the ride is clear and easy."

The Musketeers accelerated with the anticipation of a journey nearly over. After all these years, Isaac was so close to reaching his daughter. Wasn't he?

Ah, but alas, he was unaware of the fact that Lucy... Well, that ALOT of things about Lucy, but most important was the fact that Lucy Black was at the gates of Megaton, and they were too far away to see that.

Isaac: C'mon, hurry up...

The rising husk of metal that was Megaton loomed ever closer and closer, the road they were on took them past the mighty town and brought them back down into Springvale.

Nobody spoke now, the journey was in the final sprint to the finish line. Both bikes wound their way through the streets and twisted wreckage of former houses until they got to the rebuild Black residence.

William spoke softly as the engines quietened, "This is it Isaac, you're home."

It was in better condition than Isaac expected it to be. Still looked like it had been through some bad times, but- Isaac quickly leapt off of the bike and ran for the house. He didn't bust open the door, because boobytraps could always happen, so he eased it open and saw no shotgun or grenade. Then, he opened it wide.

Isaac: "Lucy!"

He began to move when he didn't hear a reply, calling out her name as he made a circuit of the house. No Lucy, but he DID find a bashed Enclave helmet, dried blood, and a no-

"GOD DAMMIT!!"

CRASH!!

Well, we were about to say 'note on the table', but that table had just been demoted to kindling with one fine smash of his first. THEN, he noticed the message that had been left for Constance. He walked out and asked the guys...

Isaac: What the hell is this about a clone army?

"I'm going to chalk that one up to 'weird shit that happens when I'm not around'. There's a lot of weird shit that happens when I'm around so there must be some weird shit going on everywhere else." Said William who began to ponder the logistics of a clone army in the Capital Wasteland, "A clone army would need cloning technology, obviously, and I do know one place in the Capital Wasteland that has that technology. Vault 108."

Evan looked worried, as he knew what that meant. Dudley looked confused, having never been to Vault 108 or even heard of it.

"That's bad. That's very bad." Said Evan, picturing an army of Gary clones flooding the Wasteland, "An army of psychopathic Vault Dwellers... or have they found a new template?"

William remembered once coming across a clone of Sylph. Had she been taken to Vault 108 and used as the template of a clone army? He should never have abandoned her, like he abandoned everyone else.

"Something tells me that's a problem that's going to need solving down the line, maybe by a group of daring adventurers." Said William, resigning himself to the possibility that saving the world from a mad clone army would probably only be the second or third craziest thing he'd have done this week.

Right now the priority was for Isaac to find Lucy, or tables across the wasteland would exist in a permanent state of fear. Oddly enough it was Dudley who a good idea on that front.

"If yer daughter ain't here, maybe someone in Megaton knows where she is. If she came here then decided ta make a trip somewhere she'd probably go into town fer supplies first."

Good idea Dudley, I'm sure someone in Megaton will have seen Lucy Black recently if you ask around enough.

Isaac: "Then, let's go there."

Earth's Orbit | Reconnaissance Vessel A-23

The scouting ship from the Sontaran Empire hovered several thousand miles above the planets service, idling in orbit. Round and silver it bore a striking resemblance to a floating dinner plate. Through the round portholes installed on the side, two creatures could be seen dressed in military style uniforms. Standing at around 3 feet high the creatures looked uncannily similar to baked potatoes with tiny eyes and ears.

"Corporal Staal! Stop playing with that creature and get over here!" one of them yelled at the other. "We need to prepare to return to the mothership... what the hell have you dressed it up as?"

The second creature turned away from the unconscious form of the one and only Charlie Cannon, who was clad in nothing but a loincloth and a frilly pink bonnet.

"It's one of the samples we collected from the planet Lieutenant, I think it makes him look cute!" the one referred to as Staal protested, walking over to his comrade. "I want him to look pretty for when we arrive."

The Lieutenant sighed and backhanded Staal across the face. "For the last time he's not your pet, he's a test subject! We need to determine the viability of this planet's occupants for warfare and labour!"

Staal cringed and rubbed his face. "I know sir but he's just so adorable, I couldn't help myself."

"You disgust me." The lieutenant said, turning to the ship's console. "Sit down and let's get ready to launch."

Before Staal had a chance to follow the order, the ship rocked under a tremendous impact! Alarms began blaring and air rushed through the cockpit out through a newly formed breach in the hull.

"Shit! Get to the escape pods Corporal, we gotta go!" the Lieutenant cried. The two potato men raced to the pods, the first ejecting immediately while the second delayed slightly to attend to their guest...


Courtesy of FalloutJack:

Meanwhile, out in space...

More specifically, Look to La Luna. Thine moon. The big gray thing in the sky. Upon this natural satellite, Dr. Evil had once installed his secret moonbase to be able to attack the world with his "Laser". However, he was not the ONLY one to build anything on the moon. A few miles from his base...

image

...was another! In fact, the recent activity FROM Dr. Evil's secret moonbase had caused certain systems from long ago to start up again. Built to look like it was part of the moon, the unknown refuge began its quiet power-up, and the lights soon switched on, revealing Enclave insignia's all over the place. Computers were awakening from their long slumber, and so is someone else... Within a large stasis chamber, on a medical bed, there lies a single figure in an old gray-and-black Enclave Powersuit, their one and only Cryo Soldier. He was not a Fallout Sector man. They came after his time. He was shot up here on an experimental mission, and as he awoke...he received automated information from the computers: A mission. He knew, going in, that he might be called at any time to get to work on something up here, even without maybe knowing what's going on back on Earth. It didn't matter. This place was his dominion and he would take care of it.

"Enclave command, this is agent Absolute Zero reporting for duty. Have received orders to take over enemy lunar base. Will report in again when the mission is complete, over and out."

Stepping out of the chamber, he entered his personal weapons locker, a bank vault of weapons, and armed himself with Plasma Guns and Enclave Cryo Blaster. From there, he stepped through the airlock and out into that big ole' moon, taking big space-jumps with the suit's enhanced movement to get where he was going. He saw some strange robot turrets all around this base made to look like a moon crater and fired on them with plasma. But upon entering the enemy airlock, he switched to his Cryo Blaster and went Mr. Freeze on anything that moved...so as to preserve whatever he shot and not damage equipment. There, he found some weird robots with...rouge and lipstick on for some reason...followed by a robot sphere that appeared to be in charge and spoke in an English accent. Absolute Zero found no further resistance as he inspected the controls for this "Laser". Why...was it in quotation marks? Nevermind. He had to try this out! Let's see...just a quick test-firing.

KA-ZOOOWWW!!!

He watched the beam fire off into space, and then...he saw a kind of bright flash. Aaand that's when the robot sphere nearby thawed out to get a good look at things going on.

Wheatley: Hmmm...you know, we're suppose to hit those reflective satellites around the Earth. Iooks like you hit something, but it wasn't any satellite.

"Huh... I wonder what."

We showed you that, so we could tell you this: The "Laser" beam hit a flying saucer. In fact, it was the very flying saucer containing none other than Charler Cannon! There was no stopping it. A big ragged hole had been blasted into the side of the thing and it was falling through the atmosphere! It would spin wildly and frantically, and then actually tear in half to leave two parts rapidly approaching the general area of Eddie, Grendal, the Shadowrunners, and Steinmetz. But where oh where is Charlie?!


Charlie you ask? Why he's tucked away nice and cozy in the spare escape pod, floating down behind the two fireballs chunks of space ship with a giant parachute slowing his decent. The impact of the debris smashed a crater into the ground mere metres away from Eddie, with Charlie's pod gently coming to rest moments later behind it. No signs of life stirred from within for the meantime however...

Something Somewhere Garage
Close Encounters of the Hillbilly Kind

And so it was, on the year of our Lord two thousand something sometime, that His great beast, a being many generations of inbreeding in the making, was finally unleashed upon the world, so as to administer His divine judgement, guided by his loyal follower and mentor, Eddie, Grand Ken of Bee (a suburb of New Wiltonshire, itself a suburb of New Bobhaven, itself a suburb of the Nevada desert). The sacred notes were struck upon the Guitar of Awakening, and so the beast roareth, throwing a knife upon a bush (and for good reason, for this bush was not burning, thus not a direct line to the Lord, thus a charlatan trying to misguide them, a heretic of the highest degree), and, with a vengeful roar...

...Turned and faced his disciple (who is also his mentor, it's complicated), and with naught but a moment to waste, surged forward, gracefully flaying his hands in the air, galloping with the elegance of an antelope with a lion biting its arse, his angelic face twisting and turning into a grand array of gestures, like a man that spent the last eight hours furiously masturbating. One couldn't help but admire his muscles, his smooth facial features, be overawed by his finesse, his magesty and be bewildered...[1]

That he could trip so easily.

Taking a step aside and dodging the uberbilly's blow, Eddie extended his leg and tripped him, and so dropped the beast head-first onto the sacred ground. With a satisfied growly giggle, he hopped a few steps back, preparing to play the next notes in his attempts to communicate.

But then, he raised his head and stared at the sky.

And he saw them.

And with but a moment's deliberation, grinned.

*DRAN-RAN-RAN-RAN*

"You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain!"

With each note played, he took a few steps forward and to the left.

*DRAN-RAN-RAN-RAN*

"Too much love drives a man insane!"

Another four steps, this time back a bit, to the right.

*DRAN-RAN-RAN-RAN*

"You broke my will,"

*DRAN-RAN-RAN-RAN*

"Oh what a thrill!"

*DRAN-RAN-RAN-RAN*

"Goodness gracious..."

He crossed his arms and pointed to his left and right...

"GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!"

Pointing exactly on the spots two great fireballs fell from the sky and crashed in smoking craters on the ground.

Satisfied with his correct prediction and perfect execution, he started dancing around as he played the riff, stopping just a few paces away from where an escape pod landed.

"I learned to love all of Hollywood money!"

He turned to the door of the pod,

*TAP TAP TAP TAP*

"You came along and you moved me honey!"

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

"I changed my mind..."

*BANG BANG BANG BANG*

"Looking fine..."

He turned around, hand rubbing his chin contemplatively, wondering why no one was responding.

"Goodness gracious, great balls of fire..."

He thought about how he was going to go about this, he couldn't exactly axe his way through that and say "Here's Eddie!", that could cause an interplanetary incident! No, no, he needed a scapegoat...

It just so happened that a certain uberbilly was getting up. Eddie turned to look at the door again. It didn't look like it was holding up very well. He turned to look at Grendy again, this time grinning. They only had a brief interaction before, but Eddie, with his vast language skills, had understood just what he needed to do. The wonderful feat of genetics stood on its legs and turned to look at him, only to be greeted with...

And at that moment, a repeat of their previous bonding moment happened, with Grendel rushing at him, murder (or an orgasm) in his eyes, lunging forward...

...Only for Eddie to step aside again, and the monster of the lake crashed on the door, the impact taking both into the pod itself. Dusting himself off and fixing his hat, Eddie excitedly followed them, entering and...

"I COME IN PEACE!" he yelled in a grandoise manner, checking his surroundings. Grendel seeing stars and getting intimate with that door, and some human guy wearing a loincloth and a pink bonnet. How underwhelming.

Those aliens get wierder fetishes every day.

First order of business: Check under the loincloth. Hmm, no damage spotted there. At least they didn't take away the boy's manhood, because he didn't look like the kinda person that could build an information network out of starving beggar kids.

"Planet Eddie to Astroboy, do ya copy?" He said as he tapped on the kid's head like a woodpecker, pestering him awake.

[1] For added effect, imagine all this in slow motion

Note: Collab with @RipVanTinkle: part 1

Megaton - Outside Megaton
Part One: Misunderstandings

By the time he heard the gates opening again, he had calmed down.

Though, "calm" may be an overstatement. It was less calmness and more hopelessness, with a little bit of apathy and self-loathing mixed in. Not the best of moods, definitely not in the top 10.

He needed time. This had been a most difficult couple of days. He was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and had reached his breaking point more than once in one day. He didn't need more of that. There was a concept, in the old world, a most peculiar concept, called vacation. A vacation sounded just what he needed right about now. Yes, time to recollect himself, rest, stomach the trauma and move on.

So of course he wouldn't be getting any of that.

From the opening gates emerged a tall figure wearing metal armour normally painted silver, but now stained crimson. The grin she let out as she saw him would have been uplifting, were her face not so bloody. Now it only was disturbing. She picked up the pace as she got nearer, and her approach was the last thing he wanted right now. Between his feelings and that display... there was too much going in his head about her, and now just wasn't the time to dwell on those.

Yet, there he stood, frozen in place, looking at her come closer and closer. He couldn't muster the energy to react in any sort of way. And besides, that would only make things worse, he bet.

"Jonathan! My Pugilist!" she exclaimed as she locked him unexpectedly in a hug, so unexpectedly that he dropped the withered rose from his hand. A weak hug, with barely any strength put into it. Quite atypical of her. That hug revealed more about the princess' current position than she would probably like to admit. "Ahh, I am so very happy to see you here - standing no less!"

"I believe I still have that first-aid kit in here somewhere. We look absolutely terrible! Ahh, scars, the tattoos of battle." The princess cracked a grin, but he couldn't reply in kind. He stared on at her miserably, with half-closed eyes. Yes, they had the luxury to remark how terrible they looked like. The dismembered corpses she left behind looked even worse, he wagered, but they couldn't worry about that anymore. They couldn't worry about anything.

The princess turned her arm, revealing an open wound still bleeding, albeit lightly, and Jonathan's eyes darted open in astonishment and worry, and guilt stung at his chest. She was wounded. She was wounded because of him.

"I may need your help."

"Uh, yes. Of course..." he stumbled, before removing his backpack, helping the princess with her first aid kit and examining the would. Nothing major, but it would need proper car-

"You...wanted to talk to me?"

What... was he thinking about, again? He was sure it was something important, but upon hearing that voice his mind froze. He turned his head to see, and he felt a thousand needles piercing his back and brain. Lucy Black, reluctant to even face him, was answering his request.

He stared at her for a few seconds, his face turning ever more remorseful the more he stared.

Damn it, old man, snap out of it!

"Uh... yes, I do..." he managed to mutter, turning to look at Kristin's wound, "But... Ms. Kristin is wounded and in need of medical attention. Please wait a few minutes, I have to take care of her wound."

After a reactionary closing of the eye, Lucy Black let out an audible sigh of frustration. Leaning against a nearby wall, her expression grew vacant as she stared off into the distance. Presumably looking at the outline of Springvale on the horizon.

Jonathan let out a longwinded sigh. Right, he also had to take care of that. Talking with Lucy wasn't what he wanted to do right now. But with him and Kristin going on their own way (note to self: talk Kristin into leaving them alone) this was probably the only chance he'd get.

"Your wound doesn't look too bad," he started, disgruntled "but better safe than sorry. Could we remove parts of your armour to treat it better?"

Unclipping the pauldron that covered most of her upper arm, Kristin openly grimaced at the sting of anaesthetic and the rough work of Jonathan's hands. If Jonathan was taking note of Kristin instead of the wound, he would have discovered the Injured Princess bearing a concerned frown for her unenthused partner.

"That will do just fine, Jonathan.", Kristin thanked Jonathan with a weak smile before grabbing sanitary wipes from the first-aid kit. Slowly working at cleaning up her face while using a mirror from her bag. Quite content with sitting down, a tired reply followed "I will wait here for you of course."

"Yes... very well" he mumbled in return, reluctantly getting up. He wanted to argue that he wasn't finished with the wound's treatment, but he knew that it would just be stalling on his part, not to mention risking angering the Princess by disregarding her words. "I don't think it will take long. When I return I'll take a look at your wound again." he cracked a half-smile, the best he could muster, and started walking towards Lucy with slow steps. Another attempt at prolonging the inevitable.

How does one start a conversation after everything that happened, after witnessing... that? Should he be cold and professional? Could he even be like that at this point? Step by step he was getting closer and he had no idea what to say.

This wasn't looking very well.

He reached Lucy, having come up with a few sentences as to how to start the discussion. As she turned to look at him and their eyes met, though, he found himself forgetting what he was going to say. Unable to bare her stare, he turned to face the ground, and stepped closer.

"Thank you, for waiting..." he said awkwardly, scratching the back of his head. Think, damn you, think! "Are you... feeling better? I... I caused you trouble again, I-I'm..." Yes, he was. He had said that sentence a dozen times now. He was getting rather repetivive, "I'm sorry" he sighed and hanged his head.

Having raised an eyebrow at Jonathan's inquiry about how she felt, Lucy reflexively crossed her arms, not wishing to delve into anything regarding her current mental state.

"I'm back on my feet, aren't I?", opening her mouth, she caught herself and sighed behind gritted teeth, "I don't why you're apologising. Or what you're apologising for. I don't know..."

She trailed off, opening her hands and raised them at her sides. Looking bewildered, her eyelid twitched under the stress that was rapidly developing. "I don't know with you, so tell me, what do you want from me?"

"Wha- What I want...?" Jonathan flinched, taken aback by Lucy's sudden hostility. He took a step back, looking stressed at the ground, desperate to find words to say. And if he took too long? Would that anger her more? No, no, that must be avoided. Think, old fool, think!

Did you really expect her to react any differently? 'Oh hello, Jon! I'm doing fine! Thanks for today! It's not often someone put the life of my boyfriend and I in jeopardy, or make me remember things I don't want to!' Seriously, Johnny-boy, you're dumber than bricks sometimes.

"I... I want your safety..." he said meekly as he raised his hands in front of his face, "And for that... I need to ask you questions... about this new Enclave." He took a step forward, and looked at her pleadingly, "L-look, I know you want to leave all that behind and that... that you don't want to think back to those times, but... I don't have much of a choice in the matter. If I thought there was another way... I wouldn't talk about this..."

Lucy would have taken a distrustful step backwards if it weren't for her already having her back to the wall. Hearing Jonathan's plea for information about the Enclave of all things had set her off.

"Why?", She responded flatly, ignoring the sentiment regarding her safety, "What could I possibly know that could help you and -- no, scratch that. First, what the hell is going on? Second, am I talking to Jonathan or someone coming out of retirement?"

Again, aggression. No, this wasn't going well at all. Jonathan had clearly lost his charm with women. He could feel his heart hammering on in his chest. The air was getting suffocating.

"It doesn't make much of a difference anymore..." he frowned, staring at the ground. He didn't want to tell her like this, it would only serve to her feel worse, "The reason you're here now... The reason Shifty is here, was because I had to make a deal with that numbered bitch. I... had to agree to work for her. Me and... Ms. Kristin too. You two are off the hook now."

At least, if she intends to keep her end of the bargain.

He turned to look at her again, "Do you see why I ask, now? I'm walking into the deathclaw's den blind and unarmed. Give me something, anything! That's all I ask. And after that... You'll never have to worry about having to suffer my presence ever again."

Lucy brought a hand to her forehead, clearly cycling between emotions and connecting the dots as her frown dissipated from anger and entered into the realm of horror.

"L-Let me get this straight - ...", Holding her hand up, "You and Kristin took my place. I can't give you anything if I don't know the specifics...", trailing off once more, she let out a hollow laugh, "It never ends. It never fucking ends with them."

Sliding down the wall, Lucy placed her fingers to the side of her head, desperately searching for solutions where none could be found. "Then I'll take both of your places again. She approached me first -- this...this was originally a job for me. What has she got you doing?"

"You will be doing nothing of the sort!" Jonathan lashed out in a growl, surprising even himself as to his reaction. "I... I mean..." he rubbed his face, sighing, "Lucy, I'm done anyway. The moment they identified me I wasn't getting away. I was fortunate I was able to turn the situation around as I did, and got you off the hook... And, it's not like it's a job for you." He sit down beside her, biting his lip, "They want from me what they always wanted. Weapons. More of them. It's not like I'm good at anything else, anyway..."

"Lucy, don't burden yourself over what happened. I made the bargain knowing full well what it's got in store for me. So, please... let's have this talk and bury it. You're free now..." he extended his hand, intending to place it on her shoulder.

In a futile attempt to make herself smaller, Lucy brought her knees up to her chest. The burnt-out female would have matched Jonathan's anger and used it as fuel on any other day, but after everything, even she couldn't rise above the situation and burn everything around her. There was too much at stake and she had something to live for now.

"There's something that I don't like about this particular brand of 'freedom'. I did my fair share of sacrificing, so I'm not about to stop worrying about the people that stepped in for me.", sighing, Lucy looked directly at Kristin, who was uncharacteristically frowning at her. "That explains why she went off at me earlier. Seems like she's carrying a bigger burden than that sword, you know?"

Lucy paused as she rested her head against the wall, turning to look at Jonathan, her face was now crumpled in a conflict of emotions. "I am sorry. I'm still struggling to let people in, so that's I've been so -yeah, sorry.", atypical of the former-gauss-girl, she stumbled over her own words.

"So, I understand you - weapons development.", she gestured towards Jonathan and then to Kristin, "I don't get her though. What is a BlamCo Heiress going to do? Anyway, I'll help - what do you want to know about them?"

"Kristin?" He turned to look at the Princess, and her frown directed at Lucy. And Lucy mentioned something about going at her? He'd have to ask later. "Well, it's not often you find people skilled enough to take out two elite Enclave soldiers. I will be giving the gear, and she will be giving the training."

He sighed again. This one was more of a sigh of relief, as the situation seemed defused. He would have preferred that Lucy would just turn over a new leaf, but he respected her decision, and the reasoning for it. "As for what I wish to know, well, the more the better. But let's start with the basics. Number One. What can you tell me about him? Is his goal the same as the now-deceased President's? And what about the Fallout sector? Never in my years have I heard of it before."

"You think this is going to work because I've got doubts as to this thing working. I mean they've got a random self destruct button in an armory, they probably haven't mastered Gauss technology yet. Right... we should probably find some other way out of here or maybe just disarm that auto-destruct sequence. I mean we can do that right? Right? Right?"

Oh 'we' are going to disarm it? Trixie thought to herself in a sassed tone.

"So... well... what do you think? I'm not gonna fit in there... at least not all of me."

Trixie looked at 209, and back to the escape pod, then back to 209, then back to the escape pod, he wasn't going to fit in there, but she could...
He did carry my unconscious body away from a large group of armed guards however, perhaps I owe him that. Trixie contemplated, almost ignoring the fact that if she did try to escape by herself he could probably rip her arms off in that oversized suit.

"We don't have time for this." She told him, bringing up the console by the self-destruct sequence.
She turned back to #209 "I'll need absolute silence." She brought up, before beginning to tap away at the console with the speed of an anime fan responding to youtube comments.

Note: Collab with @Neuromancer Part 2

Lucy Black & Jonathan McKenna || Megaton - Outside Megaton Gates
Part Two: Exposition Explanations
((Jonathan's perspective, hence Lucy's bolded text))

Lucy shrugged but started counting on her fingers as she mentally recalled the previous events during her brief time at the Enclave Vault.

"I met a few important people when I infiltrated the Vault.

#411: As a loyalty test, she made me put Thomas into cryogenic stasis. I didn't think that was even real, so I believed that I killed him. Regular Enclave soldier, no armor-highlights, that's how you can tell Fallout Sector from the regular soldiers.

Fallout Jack: Second-in-charge and head of the Fallout Sector, or at the very least, everyone in the Sector answered to him. He was my Father's student. When the Enclave caught wind of Isaac's betrayal, they sent Jack. Jack couldn't do that to his mentor, so the task was handed off to Fallout Bob. That - ...person was responsible for burning Springvale to the ground and killing Isaac.

Something interesting about the Fallout Sector; they are and I quote 'Elite members who don't even feel the weight of the suit while running and jumping, or can fight really well, or are fundamental geniuses beyond their scientists'. All of them seem to be specialists in different fields. The unstoppable Vanguards leading the teams.

Fallout Jack: Blue armor highlights. Level-headed, good-natured, has a daughter named Natsuki, good talker and excellent fighter. Gun specialist.

Fallout Bob: A pyromaniac soldier? Orange armor highlights, switches between flamers at range and a power claymore at close quarters. Brutish, violent, spanish, egotistical and he can't be reasoned with.

There's a sniper as well, who took my original eye by shooting the Gauss Rifle Plus' scope. And who knows how many others...

Number One, the Enclave Leader, red armor highlights on a more sleek armor design. He can't track down the thorn in their side: The Enclave Underground, a splinter group that believe in the old Enclave ideals. All the Vaults are monitored, so they aren't in any that have been investigated. Most likely where Isaac and my mother, Amy Kane, ended up though. I know nothing about him personally -- Jack is loyal to the new cause -- which is the total restoration of the Wasteland, if that's even possible.

The Enclave Vault is the source of their weapon's technology. Jack mentioned things like flying fortresses, new vertibirds, bombs, an 'MGB'...so much. Apparently it's hidden under one of the most secure places in old US. Whatever that means, my geography is sketchy.

When I was last there, Number One mentioned preparing for something big, really big. I don't know what...but that guy, there was no lying to him. No matter how good I thought I was, it felt like he was playing me the entire time.

That's off the top of my head -- is there anything more specific?"

Jonathan got up, and scratched his chin, staring onwards into the wilderness, "That's a lot to swallow." he finally said, turning back to look at Lucy.

"#411 is planning a coup." he said, dropping the bomb as casually as one can, "She wants to depose Number One and have FalloutJack take the helm. Though, with what you told me, I am beginning to wonder just what chances she actually has, or whether she's as smart about keeping it hidden as she likes to think. As for her soldiers, they all look like..." He turned to look at Lucy's party, and pointed at one of them, the blue-haired teenager.

"That girl. Back in your house, as you were unconcious, #411 showed us a whole lot of girls just like her through a feed. In other words, the original was cloned." he took a long, drawn-out sigh, "My wife... ex-wife spearheaded the cloning project. She was a genius at her field, way above the rest of the staff." he turned to look at Lucy again, bitter, "And a complete bat-shit crazy basket case. Funny thing, what grief does to a person..." he stared to the ground, thinking for a brief moment, before raising his head again, "Though I don't know if she survived or not, it's clear that her research has. And if this new Enclave has achieved even a 10th of what she theorised, they will be a very, very formidable force. So, I suppose I have three questions." He raised three fingers, "One, from your experience, how powerful is this new Enclave militarily? They have the superior tech and excellent commanding officers, what about their regular stuff? Numbers, training, anything you can come up with.

Two, what can you tell me of #411, and the Intelligence Sector? I know of her obsession with FalloutJack, what else can you tell me about her, and what do you think of the chances of her coup?

And lastly... What can you tell me of the blue-haired girl? She can't have been picked at random for cloning. No way #411 would have made her a central part of her plan if there wasn't something extraordinary about her."

Lucy was visibly distressed at the mention of Sylph being cloned. "This is insane."

After a long pause, Lucy held up three fingers to mirror Jonathan's, counting each as she answered the questions.

"First:

The new Enclave puts the current Brotherhood to shame. The regular soldiers? Well, think about it, if you put up a system where individual soldiers are rewarded with status, influence & power for their individual performance...you create an environment where everyone is striving to be the best. Just walking through a few corridors lead to enormous numbers - and this is coming from someone that stood on the walls of the Citadel amongst the Brotherhood army. The only point where I wasn't being watched were my private quarters.

Second:

#411 barely registered on my radar until I realised she was the same person at my house. She has a daughter named Constance. A catgirl, no I am not lying, young female, late teens/early twenties. Poses as a Brotherhood 'Scout'. Sorry, I can't help you with her.

Although I think her chances of success greatly hinge on whether she has FalloutJack's support or not. If not, the Enclave will suffer minor casualties. If Jack is in on it, then imagine the Fallout Sector with an army under their command and plausible deniability. Either way, this is bad.

Third:

Let's put it this way: The BlamCo Princess can take down two armed Enclave soldiers. One fully-trained Sylph can bring Kristin to a standstill. An army of Sylph's? Devastating. (There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's BlamCo-Card))

I think what was extraordinary was Sylph's combat ability and disregard for self-preservation. There's one massive problem though...two personalities exist in Sylph over there. With a choker: Sylphee - lovable childish maniac with a love for cheerfully hurling herself at anything and everything. She is the embodiment of 'ignorance is bliss'. Without a choker: Sylph is the one you should fear. Cold, uncommunicative, ruthlessly violent. She's the protector, something that emerges when Sylphee is under threat. This is also the most intelligent one, which makes me think that this is the original personality. You either have an army of chaos or ruthless efficiency.

I don't really want to go into her history. But if you're looking at a connection between #411 and Sylph, look no further than Henry McGee...the vile sadist that enslaved Sylph at a young age and shaped her into the monster that she can become. Yeah, Thomas' brother. Henry was an Undertaker, but he's dead now. How long ago, I don't know. But it was plenty of time to clone Sylph before I had spent most of my time with her during the course of last week."

Lucy sighed and got up to her feet. Staring at Sylph, the nervous biting of her lower lip had her worried over whether she was the original or not.

"She is the original, right? How can you tell?"

Note: Final part of collab with @RipVanTinkle

Outside Megaton
Part Three: Future Plans and itsy bitsy bit of drama

"I can't say," Jonathan shrugged, reluctantly, "Depends on much progress was done with the cloning project. Or, if there were any alterations to her formula..." he scratched chin, and stared at this Sylph, trying to think back on the feed #411 showed them. Were the clones wearing chokers or not? "I suppose the best way about it would be to find a clone and compare the two." he sighed, "I'm sorry, Lucy, I can't help with that. Most of my ex's more... brilliant ideas came after the divorce. Even with my rank, most of her research was classified."

He patted her on the back, "You really care about her, don't you?"

Pausing to consider the entire situation, Lucy resumed a more relaxed composure, thoroghly lost in productive thoughts, instead of dwelling over the negatives. She was exhausted, emotionallly, and it showed. Yet there was a sense of passion in her eyes, the same sense of passion that motivated her to fight against all odds. Carefully, she weighed her words and responded. Devoid of anger, a grim determination underlined her words. A rapid, yet positive departure from her earlier state of mind.

"This is a big mess. Fow what it's worth though, if you need help down the line...I'll be available. I've had my family and life stolen by them, I'm going to draw the line at friends."

Running a hand through her hair, Lucy's lip curled into a half-smile for the first time in their conversation. A smile undercut somewhat by the absent-minded biting of her lower lip.

"More than words can desribe. She saved me.", Lucy admitted while she stared at the now-chipper Sylphee, "She arrived at just the right time and pulled me out of a very dark place. Her safety was the primary reason why I didn't risk everything and put a Gauss round in Number One's skull. I wouldn't be here right now without her."

Pausing a little to nudge Jonathan in the ribs, Lucy's eye darted to Kristin and back to meet Jonathan's gaze. "Seems like you really care about her, don't you?"

Jonathan's face turned sour, "It's nothing like that." he stated, almost bitterly, "Kristin got involved in this whole mess because I had to use her as a bargaining chip with that harlot. I am thus responsible for whatever happens to her. And besides..." he thought back to the fight, the whirlwind of blood, that crazed smile, and the rose, "...I know when I'm out of my league."

"Really?", Lucy tilted her head in a curious manner, "Because she hasn't stopped looking at you while we've been talking. And for just a 'partner', she's willing to put everything at risk for you and fight for your honour." For a moment, her tone dipped into bitter wariness, "Of course, she ended up fighting for herself by targeting Sylph.", Lucy perked up a little more as she carried on, "I think the sentiment still stands. She seems to care greatly."

Fumbling with the thigh-holster, Lucy unclipped one of the laser pistols and held it up to Jonathan's chest. "Take it. You'll need it more than I do."

"I appreciate the gesture..." he said as he showed her the the holstered pistols at his back, "But I'm packed. And besides, you already gave me that hunting rifle, remember?" he pulled out the plasma pistol, "So, I think I will be returning the favour. Take this. It's another one of my works. Where you're going you'll need more firepower than laser." He waved it around, and highlighted a button at the upper part of the grip, "hold on to that, and it'll charge the next shot. You can see how charged it is here," he showed her a small gauge next to it, "The more you hold the bigger the bang. Just... don't let the gauge get to red. Red probably means the pistol blows up. After firing a hypercharged shot, it needs around 10 seconds to cooldown, similar to..." his voice trailed off, and he sighed before continued disgruntled, "...Gauss Rifle Plus." He suddenly felt his chest tightening.

"Mini beast mode!", Lucy exclaimed excitedly while cradling her new plasma pistol, a particular weapon that was difficult to find in stores due the association with the Brotherhood or Enclave soldiers. "It's not a rifle, but I think this will suit me much better. I love it..."

After miming a quickdraw and measuring the weight in her hands, Lucy replaced one laser pistol with plasma instead. She intended to give the remaining weapon to someone else.

"Uhh, thank you Jonathan, really...for a lot more than just this weapon...", Lucy scratched the back of her head awkwardly, "Like I said, if you need help down the line. Seriously, don't hesitate...like it or not, you've involved me by telling me, especially if Sylph is involved. Might be handy to have someone on the outside at some point, just saying.", sheepishly, she nodded, clearly in something of a better mood.

"Oh? Eh, yeah, uh... you're welcome..." Jonathan stumbled his words, as he started looking around awkwardly. He hadn't been used to being thanked. "I suppose I can't keep you from involving yourself, since your friend is involved..." His head darted upwards, as though he had an epiphany, "Actually, since you want to help, I have just the job. #411 has given me a 6 month time limit before I start working for her. In those months, I plan to get us allies in the war, to even the odds." His voice almost sounded excited, "Help me get allies. Any individual is good, but I'm hoping to get at least some of the major powers of the Capital Wasteland involved. Like it or not, this war will affect everyone, and I'm sure they would prefer to be on the winning side. So, if there's one thing you can do for me, is help me with that. Especially with the Brotherhood. I expect having a hard time with them given my background."

Lucy mulled it over, scrunching her face slightly at the logistical nightmare.
"Sure, I can try. Where do I send them and what are they fighting for exactly? Knowing my luck, I'll be visiting the Brotherhood again, but I know a guy, bit of an ass...but he can help or get the support you might need. So yeah, I'll see what I can do."

It was Lucy's turn to pat Jonathan on the back. "Good luck, Jonathan.", Lucy pointed over her shoulder, "I've got people waiting on me, is there anything else?"

"Yes. Shifty." he turned to look at the tall young undertaker, and turned to look at Lucy, "I don't mean to poke around in your relationship, but..." he scratched the back of his head, "I worry about him. When I visited your room, he was drinking. And when I talked about you, he stared at me as though we were having an affair behind his back. I worry about him. And, in all honesty... He reminds me of myself in my youth. And, if I'm right, right now you're what's keeping him sane. Unfortunately, that means he'll likely be obsessive and..." he stopped, not wanting to go on, "Bottom line is, be careful, for both of your sakes."

A shadow of a glare had started to form, one which had gradually faded over the course of Jonathan's expression. "Never knew that you two talked, hmm...", Glancing over at Shifty with a look of puzzlement and curiousity, Lucy turned back to Jonathan. "I'll keep that in mind while I figure out, whatever-it-is we're doing. We have a lot to discuss - in time."

After a brief pursing of her lips, Lucy looked at Kristin. "I should say something to her before I leave. She is...full of surprises. Not really sure what to make of her, but there's more than meets the eye. So be careful okay?"

"I will try. Though I think I have the better end the deal. Whatever's happening in Dunwich... that's fucked up. Anyhow, let's-"

Not far from the gates of Megaton, the lone Ghoul-for-hire had been watching both Lucy and Jon arguing from a distance, all the while trying to ignore Thomas and Sylphee behind her. So, when Lucy had finally turned away, calmer now, she decided to take that as her opportunity.

She strode over, and when she reached the two of them, she turned to Jonathan and put her hands on her hips.

"Glad to see you two have mostly worked things out. Now, all that's left is a matter of payment." she said simply, holding out her good hand while she stared at Jon with her one eye.

"Uuuuh..." stared Jonathan blankly, taken aback, turning to Lucy for support.

Lucy face cracked into a smile and soon a burst of laughter occured after seeing Jonathan's expression.

"Oh no, don't look at me!", she smiled and held up her hands, apparently absolving her of all responsibility. "Good luck!"

Turning and walking over to Arizona's side, Lucy placed a hand on her shoulder, still struggling to stifle a giggle at the absurd notion of payment after everything that had happened. "Thanks for waiting, I'll be with Sylphee after you get some compensation for our merry band of mercenaries."

Waving over her shoulder, Lucy collected her things and made her way over to Kristin.

Seeing the young woman break into a smile and start to giggle made the Old Ghoul's face soften a bit with a small smile of her own, especially when she placed a hand on her shoulder and thanked her for waiting.

"Well you seem to be in a better mood. Good. I'll meet you there." she said, before turning back to Jon.

Jonathan met the ghoul's gaze with a mixture of confusion and horror; an LMG wielding one-eyed ghoul was pretty high on the list of things not to fuck with, "Ehm..." he said, hesitantly, "Payment? What... for?"

"Saving your ass when that fake Irish fuck decided to set his goons on you, and by extension me and my group. The least you can do is compensate us for the ammo we used to cover you." she said firmly, giving him a very pointed stare.

"Uuuh..." he muttered as he took a step back, "No, you, uh, definately don't look like a charity, hehe" a nervous laugh. That joke wasn't funny, Jon, you're making your situation worse. "But, uhm, unfortunately... I am broke" he showed his empty pockets, shrugged and nervously smiled, the kind that say 'please don't fill me with bullet holes'.

A variety of emotions passed over the Ghoul's face at that moment. Namely, irritation, then disappointment, and finally resignation.

"I should've figured. You don't look the type to have much in the way of caps on you. Fine. Don't get your ass killed then, or else the ammo we used was for nothin', and I'll make a point to dig you up and piss on your corpse." she told him with a glare, before turning to walk away.

Part of her had had the feeling that asking for compensation was pointless, she thought as she went to rejoin Thomas and Sylphee. The rest of her, however, knew she had a reputation to uphold. You start saving people for free, you got a reputation for being a goody-two-shoes hero, and an easy mark. And she was determined to stay a freelancer without a better nature, because you couldn't eat off of gratitude and fuzzy feelings. Still... The others deserved some compensation for their own work. Glancing at her pack, she remembered the caps that she stole from Moriarty's Saloon.

If she couldn't be a freelancer without a better nature, then at least she could keep that better nature hidden.

* * *

Sighing with relief that he dodged that bullet, Jonathan turned to look at Lucy's group. This had been a long day, a very long day indeed. But it seemed to be ending on a high note; he somehow managed to patch up his relationship with Lucy and had gotten a good deal of useful information. This Fallout Sector was as mysterious as it was dangerous, it seemed, and Jonathan felt Lucy was just scratching the surface with them. As for where this Enclave Vault was, and given that is was in a 'secure old world' place, only one location sprung to mind.

Fort Knox.

He always wondered what the deal was with the Fort Knox Vault and all the secrecy surrounding it, but he guessed now he got his answer. The plot thickened, and suddenly wondered what their chances actually were.

But that was only for a few seconds. He was tired and hungry, and these thoughts were best reserved for a clear mind. Turning to face Kristin, he started walking towards her, smiling.

It was the first genuine smile he had in some time.

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