The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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If it was Charlotte's life goal to rise to the top of one of Enclave R&D's chief ex-scientists' shit list, well she needn't have continued trying because she landed the position a while ago. It wasn't a difficult feat; the shit list mostly consisted of probably-and-hopefully dead individuals that made his life miserable back before Raven Rock went boom boom, like for example James Ronald Tiberius Drummond, who got his position because high ranking father, and was a bright, shining example of the Dunning-Kruger effect doing its work, or that Clearwater MIV or whomvever-of-his-name he was, who was a mixture of mad scientist-slash-Don Quixote-slash-pseudogentleman (but only for the ladies, the lust-driven virgin hypocrite lunatic of a bastard). Truly, compared to what he had to put up with in his earlier years, the agent's rage-fuelled idle threats and empty promises were like he was being commented for his brilliant disco dancing skills despite the fact he had no idea what the drowning fuck a Disco was! No, it was not the agent's shallow attempts at intimidation that riled him so; rather, it was her actions back at the Miss Black's house that landed her on the top of the people-I-want-to-make-most-miserable list, and he expected to spend many a night thinking of all the wonderful ways her head could melt from lazer rifle shots, or plasma, or tesla coils, or lava. Maybe boiling water. It would be like a MKX fatality showcase, except what the flippity dildos is MKX anyway?

And so, he payed little attention to her, quite frankly, laughable attempts at asserting her dominance, his attention wholly occupied by the recently awakened Miss Black getting up and stumbling around in a vain attempt to look strong. A mixture of delibitating anxiety and guilt kept him from acting -indeed, he could scarcely keep a straight face-, and he really couldn't find words to expressing himself. Hells, as he were right now, he wasn't sure what he wanted to say. The girl threw a glare at him, as though examing him to see what had changed over the course of a few hours, before speaking up

"You have a lot of explaining to do." she stated flatly, and Jonathan found himself gulping anxiously. He wasn't sure of her tone, but what he was certain of, given the fact that she had woken up to him talking to the very same agent he was pointing his gun at along with an Enclave officer, she had painted a very, very wrong picture.

That thought terrified him, and Jonathan found himself at a panic, desperately wondering just what it was she was thinking of him. He could have easily stood there for a good few minutes, but a certain unwanted collaborateur decided to sprout more bullshit again.

"This is not an act. Lucy." And the Enclave cared for the wasteland. And Charlotte didn't have a crush on FalloutJack. And Jonathan had pancakes for breakfast.

Why did she even bother? She was the one that decided interrogating the poor girl in her house just as she was left off the hook for what looked like petty grudges and paranoia And suddenly she cared? Please, Jonathan could come up with a forbidden love story between Enclave officer and Super Mutant Behemoth and still make it more plausable than #411's words. He was content to leave her insultingly fake show uncommented, prioritising helping Lucy around over throwing petty insult, but of course the Agent had to play macho, didn't she?

"Don't make me regret this act of kindness or you will regret it."

"You sure have a really fucking wierd way of showing you're sorry, don't you?" Jonathan said as he turned to face her, his eyes throwing a piercing glare, before hunching towards her, his head barely a few paces away from hers.

"You can threaten me all you like, Charlotte" he started, his voice barely above a whisper, "But lest you forget, you're the one that started this mess in the first place by announcing my fucking name, to a fucking Enclave officer. You're the one that blew my fucking cover, it's not my fucking problem if in order to save my arse from your fuckup I have to make your life miserable. Clean your own mess."

"I'm guessing this Constance is my contact." he said in a calmer manner as he backed away, noticing Natsuki come back with the doctor and that Lucy had disappeared during his little outburst. Thinking he overstayed his welcome and eager to catch up with his barely-standing acquaintance, Jonathan grabbed his bowl and faced Church, "Doctor, I would like you to deal with the radiation of the clothing I have in the backpack outside. Don't worry, I will pay, extra if it's done quickly. And Agent..." he said as he turned to look at her again with a grin, "I look forward to working with you." he said mischievously, before opening the door and leaving.

* * *

She hadn't strayed too far, as expected of a person that couldn't quite stand on their own two feet. He was quick to catch up to her, though words still escaped him. As he slowly approached her, he grew even more panicky over what to say, made evident by the sweat running down his cheek and nervous shaking of his hands.

Snap out of it!

"Moira, uh, closed not too long ago for the night..." he started awkwardly as he got next to her, occupied as she were staring at a sign labeled 'The Children of BlamCo'. The Princess sure left quite the first impresiion, it seemed.

"You hungry...? I brought some food... eeeh, it's quite delicious?!" he continued in a similar manner, extending the bowl towards her before sighing and getting more serious.

"Look, I know how this looks like... but I swear that I can explain." he threw nervous glances left and right before looking back at her meekly "But not here. Please, come with me to my room at Moriarty's Saloon, Miss Kristin's there too. I promise I'll go over everything that happened today there. "

The Wild Wastelands | Conjoined Paths | Temporary Camp
What a F**KING start...

"Though if you want to stick around with me, I wouldn't argue about that either." The Old One, Arizona said with a smirk on her face. Her teasing had risen to such a degree that it had caused the Former Undertaker's cheek to burn red as she toyed with him. Though the exercise had left Thomas' dignity in tatters, it did signal the fact that Arizona seemed much more approachable than she did when he had first met her in Rivet City.

"Well, you don't need to argue, Arizona. You did recruit me to guide you to Dunwich and I'm not about to let you wander off in the Wastelands without a guide, regardless of what could potentially be waiting for me in Megaton. I may not be an Undertaker any longer, but I'm still a man of my word." Thomas said in an almost comically valiant sort of way. Despite his training and preparation, Thomas had found himself ill equipped to handle the Wastelands. In fact the last time he'd gone on an adventure of this magnitude, he'd ended up cryogenically frozen by the Enclave. Even with this particular fact gnawing at the back of the man's brain, Thomas "Shifty" McGee had made up his mind in regards to accompanying his friend to the Dunwich building.

"No! I lost again!!! No fair Mister Boulder! You're cheating!" Sylphee yelled in the background as she had apparently lost another hand of Caravan to the boulder that she was talking to. How she even found a Caravan Deck this far East was beyond the already mentally exhausted man.

"Sylphee! Say goodbye to your friend. We're leaving!" Thomas called out as he started packing his gear, eyeing the blue haired junky for a moment to ensure that she heard him.

"Okie dokie daddy!" Sylphee called out as she started packing up her Caravan card, sticking her tongue out at Mister Boulder. No one liked a cheater.

"Arizona. I really, really, really appreciate you doing this for me," Thomas said with a smile that did a rather piss poor job of hiding his excitement. Though if there was any doubt that the Friendly Former Undertaker was excited, it was dispelled with the hug that he gave the ghoul.

"DAW! So cuuuuute!" Sylphee called out from where she sat, her bags already packed and ready to go, her rifle, which she had retrieved from Arizona was slung over her shoulders.

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Party | Path to Megaton

The fact that Thomas' face turned an entertaining shade of red only made Arizona smirk a little wider. Really, the fact that he still blushed that easily was a little surprising, though he did mention that he wasn't quite... Experienced when it came to women.

"Well, you don't need to argue, Arizona. You did recruit me to guide you to Dunwich and I'm not about to let you wander off in the Wastelands without a guide, regardless of what could potentially be waiting for me in Megaton. I may not be an Undertaker any longer, but I'm still a man of my word."

"Glad to hear, especially since I don't have the slightest idea of where the hell the Dunwich Building even is from here, so I'm relying on you to get me there." she told him easily.

The fact that she was starting to like the idea of company on the journey there was something she kept to herself. The Wastes were boring enough as it was on her own, and having someone to talk to was nice. Even if it was two someones who she could already tell would drive her up the metaphorical wall quicker than it would take for a snowball to melt in hell.

But she hadn't been prepared for his hug. After she had gathered her own things, he mentioned that he appreciated what she was doing for him, and wrapped his arms around her in a tight embrace. She blinked even as her face pressed against his chest, and the short Ghoul awkwardly returned the hug with a small smile.

"It's no problem, Tommy boy. Now that's enough. I'm getting soft enough as it is." she said as she quickly pushed herself out of his clutches and gave him a mock glare.

She ignored Sylph entirely as she called out how adorable the two of them were. At the same time, she wondered where Charlie had gone off to, but realized that he knew what they were planning on doing. If the boy had any brains in his head, he'd be following behind them in short order.

"Well then, let's get to Megaton. I can hear that nuke calling to me even now." she said brightly as she started to walk.

The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Party | Gates of Megaton

I'm going to shoot her. I'm going to shoot her. I'm going to shoot her, Arizona repeated to herself as a mantra, I'm going to shoot her right fucking now, I swear to Good Christ Almighty.

As they stood outside of the metal gates of Megaton, all the old Ghoul could think about was taking Lester and putting a bullet in Sylphee's head, due in no small part to the trip there and the resulting migraine. From their temporary camp, it had taken them from early morning to late evening to get there, and while it was only around half-a-day's trip, Sylphee made it feel like it had taken several agonizing weeks. She could easily see why Thomas wanted to dump her irritating little ass in Megaton and leave her there. It was only due to her uncharacteristically phenomenal patience that she hadn't shot the blue-haired little shit.

Looking up with a bloodshot eye at the sentry above the gate, she called out.

"Hey! You gonna let us in, or what? We've got caps to spend, and don't plan on causing any trouble." she shouted up wearily.

She only hoped that neither Thomas or Sylph had managed to get a reputation here. But given what Thomas had implied in earlier conversations, she was almost certain they had.

Lucy Black - Megaton
"..."

"Don't make me regret this act of kindness or you will regret it."

An apology intertwined with a threat. No doubt, Lucy's offhand comment about Constance had ruffled some feathers. Not enough to make #411 fly off the handle and implicate herself any further in front of the Enclave Lieutenant, but it was enough to keep in mind for the future. Which reminded her, #411 had given her something cylindrical and thin with a few buttons on it. Some kind of remote?

Lucy couldn't quite place where she had seen it, her recollection of recent events were shaky at best. So she merely focused on fiddling with the power button and lo and behold, a slim screen flipped out and displayed footage of Thomas "Shifty" McGee. Lucy's heart did not leap into her throat, which was highly unexpected at the sight of her very-much-alive Undertaker. Biting her lip to elicit some sort of positive reaction, the girl who had her world turned upside down from recent events couldn't convince herself that he was truly safe unless she could protect him. She had to be his shield.

Lucy wasn't 'alive' unless she was fighting something or protecting someone. There was no normal life after the Enclave Vault, not to mention those that she had met, betrayed, fought alongside, lead and used as support along her journey. Outcast to both the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave, it also meant that she had more enemies than friends and she no longer had a prototype Gauss Rifle to protect herself.

Perhaps she could strike a deal with Moira, although she wondered whether the quirky woman would accept a house of all things...

"Moira, uh, closed not too long ago for the night..."

"Wonderful.", Lucy sarcastically replied, turning around a little too fast to catch sight of Jonathan McKenna standing not too far away. Judging by his panicked expression, he was most likely here to check on her. A sentiment that she appreciated, but not one that could fully vocalise while her head was spinning.

"You hungry...? I brought some food... eeeh, it's quite delicious?!", he continued in an enthusiastic fashion, extending the bowl towards her. As hungry as she was, she wasn't quite sure she could trust her stomach to remain settled until they had found someplace comfortable to rest. Waving off the offering of food with a grimace, she couldn't help but wonder if The Children of BlamCo and Jonathan's sudden enthusiasm for the food that had almost killed him were intertwined somehow. Her refusal was met with an audible sigh. Oh?

"Look, I know how this looks like... but I swear that I can explain."

Yeah! It looks like you are cleaning up my mess. Your cover is blown. Me losing an eye will go down in history as one of my most monumentally stupid last-ditch-efforts to save a screwed up plan. Kristin, using her blade before her brain, just painted an enormous target on her back by killing two Enclave soldiers in her home...despite how impressive that was.

You shouldn't have saved me. I would have found a way out! Hell, I had a face-to-face with Number One himself!

"But not here. Please, come with me to my room at Moriarty's Saloon, Miss Kristin's there too. I promise I'll go over everything that happened today there."

If there was one thing that would always distress Lucy; it was being left out of the loop and lacking information.

Now Lucy wanted to blurt all of this out, but the audacity in his previous statement begged more immediate questions that wouldn't give her any headaches. Nightmares, maybe.

"Whoa whoa whoa!", Lucy swayed a little and tumbled safely into Jonathan's outstretched arm. The two started walking together once Lucy had her arm around his shoulder for extra support. She was beginning to recognise that someone had administered Med-X into her system. Surely not Doc Church? He was well aware of her aversion to the substance. "Wait a minute.", Lucy raised an eyebrow and slowly turned her head to face Jonathan.

"Moriarty's? You two?", closing her eyes to shut the mental image from her mind, Lucy continued, curious as ever it seemed. "'Miss Kristin', you two are on speaking terms - no - polite terms where you aren't cursing her existence? I mean, I get it.", Lucy narrowed her eyes to give him a sly look, "So what did she put in that food anyway? Or was it your turn to fill her - OW!", Lucy yelped as her head collided with the doorframe to the entrance of Moriarty's Saloon.

Med-X was a terrible thing.

Fortunately, the knock to the head had made her lose that particular train of thought. More somberly, her face fell and her voice had lost any drunken charm while they struggled up the stairs together. It was a terribly slow process, but it gave her enough time to go back to her primary thought. "You shouldn't have saved me. Look at the mess you're in, my mess."

Drunken words were sometimes thought to be honest ramblings. In Lucy's case, that truly was how she felt.
After what felt like a pause in their walking, Lucy untangled herself from Jonathan, feeling a little bit safer that she was inside. Now, to open the door and be greeted by Headache Princess...

Sure enough, Lucy entered the room by pre-emptively putting up her hand for silence. She was savvy enough to silence the Princess before her headache had gotten any worse. Her only greeting however...was silence. Opening her eye, Lucy found someone asleep in a bed for two. Sounds innocent enough, right? Dead wrong. Lucy remembered an armored warrior Princess, not a blonde-haired whore half dressed as a schoolgirl whose chest was ready to burst from a shirt 3 sizes too small.

Turning on her heel, Lucy was prepared to walk out. She would rather proposition #411 for a cup of tea than deal with Jonathan's sexual exploits.

"Okay, seriously? Where's Kristin?", Lucy replied with a hand to her forehead, "Couldn't you pay your entertainment first, so she could leave, before you came to visit me?"

Med-X was a terrible terrible thing.

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | The Gates
///Ignorance is (not) an excuse///

They say that Ignorance is no excuse. Ignorance of the law, ignorance of society, ignorance of culture. It's never an excuse. However, in the case of Thomas "Shifty" McGee, the Former Friendly Neighborhood Undertaker, Arizona, a Ghoul with a Machine Gun and a Mission and Sylphee, ... ummm... well... it's Sylphee, an exception should be made when it came to the current events unfolding in the Wastelands. Thomas had spent a number of weeks spooning a bottle of the ole Shroomshine under a rock somewhere in Rivet City, his mind blasted on the 150 Proof alcohol. Arizona was new to the Wastelands, having migrated there from the West. And Sylphee... ummm... well... it's Sylphee. Had any of them been aware of the ongoing war between the Sylphys and the Garys as well as the mass jettisoning of Raiders from the American Enclave Scouts of America's transport, they might have been prepared for the reception that they received at the gate... namely this:

"Hey! You gonna let us in, or what? We've got caps to spend, and don't plan on causing any trouble." The Old One shouted up to the sentry, her eyes bloodshot and her head pounding from the cranial pounding Sylphee's voice had been inducing the past few hours.

The answer wasn't so much an answer as it was a flurry of Machine gun fire aimed at the small trio of travelers. The staccato of gun fire followed the flurry of bullets that impacted the ground around the three, kicking up a rather large cloud of dust blocking the trio's view of the gate. Though, it should have been noted that it also blocked the sentry's view of the trio that immediately ran for cover.

Crouched behind a small bathtub, Thomas could hear the guard, Timmy calling down his partner, located just behind the gate and looking through a peep hole.

"'Ey Jimmy! It think I popped one of them there Sylphys in the face man! Chu wanna go out there and take a look fer me?" Timmy the Sentry called down to Jimmy who was apparently the brains of the operation since there was a flurry of muffled words that soon followed.

"Others? Oh! They musta been some slavers man! No one would dress up in clothes like and dress his sex slaves in clothes like that unless he was a slaver. I think one of them wuz a zombie, man. That's gross! He's a ghoul fucker and a slaver!" Jimmy answered loudly as he besmirched the good name of Thomas "Shifty" McGee.

Another muffled response came from Timmy down stairs.

"No, I didn' ask fer no names!"

"What in WALT'S NAME is going on?! Why in WALT'S NAME would you shoot at us?!" The Irate Former Undertaker yelled from behind the tub, his voice reflecting the sheer offended nature of his being at having been mistaken for a slaver.

"Oh! Looks like one of them's still alive!" Timmy said as he raised the machine gun again, taking aim towards where he though the voice was coming from, popping off a salad sized salvo of lead in Thomas' general direction.

"HEY! HEEEEEEY! Please, stop shooting at us. I'm Thomas "Shifty" McGee. I'm an Undertaker with the Union! I'm here on business! My companions are Arizona and Sylphee!" Thomas yelled, taking on his old title and hoping that it would at least assist in settling the matter without having to resort to bloodshed. Even the Warner Brothers weren't going to keep Thomas from getting through that gate.

"'Ey Jimmy! One of them says that's he's an Undertaker by the name of Shitty!" Timmy said, not shooting this time and instead waiting for further instructions from Jimmy the Brains, "Says that he's here on bidness."

More muffled responses.

"'Ey you Undertaker. Why're you travelin' with one of them there Sylphys?!" Timmy asked.

"Sylphys? No I'm traveling with just Sylphee!"

"Sylphy!"

"What?!" Thomas asked, his voice clearly sounding quite annoyed by the guard and his mouth.

"Sylphy! That's what they're called, not Sylphee!"

"I don't hear a difference! I said Sylphee! Sylphee! Sylphee! Sylphee!"

"Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy! Can't you hear the difference?!"

"No! Walt damn it! No I don't hear a Walt Damn difference!"

"Well, regardless of that, Mister Shitty or whatever you wanna call yerself. You ain't gettin' pass this gate with one of them Sylphys in tow so I suggess you march off!" Timmy said, putting his foot down on the matter.

"What if we just leave her at the gate?"

The question had an obvious effect on the Blue Haired Happy Go Lucky Psychopath, Sylphee the Crimson menace as she hopped out in the open to yell at her Daddy.

"Hey! Hey! Hey! Daddy, you're not leaving me here! I wanna go inside with you. Please take me with you! I wanna go inside Mister Megaton. Please please please please please PLEAAAAAASE!!!!!" Sylphee complained as she hopped up and down, her voice getting louder and louder and louder and louder. At least until she lost her footing, "Oops!"

BAH-BOOOM! Went the Anti Materiel Rifle as it struck the ground and discharged, sending a bullet through the gate. A scream of pain echoed out the hole the bullet had made and was soon followed yelling.

"Man are you sure, Jimmy?"

More muffled yelling.

"Alright! Jimmy says I should let chu in, if you take that there rifle away from that there Sylphy." The guard said, a smirk crossing his face. He never liked Jimmy, not since he learned that Jimmy had been bedding his wife while the guard was on guard duty.

"That's Sylphee!" Sylphee called out, offended that the guard would get her name wrong.

"I still don't hear a difference and I still don't know what in the hell is going on here." Thomas muttered to himself, his voice muffled by the roar of the airplane engine that opened up the gates. Shouldering the Sylphee's rifle, Thomas entered Megaton, relieved that they'd been allowed inside. Since night was fast approaching, Thomas guessed that they'd better go to Moriarty's to get a room before he ran out and in the morning, he'd go check Lucy's house to see if he could find her.

"Let's go get some rooms." The Friendly Former Neighborhood Undertaker stated simply as he walked towards the Saloon whose sign glowed in the distance. The sooner he slept, the sooner morning would come.


The Wild Wastelands | Moriarty's Saloon

It appeared that little had changed since the last time Thomas the Former Undertaker was in Moriarty's Saloon. The drinks still smelled stale and the patrons smelled even worse and yet, despite the obvious lack of anyone taking points in an Interior Design Skill, Shifty McGee felt right at home in the dilapidated building. Entering the Saloon's main room, Thomas noted the uneasy stares that he was receiving as well as Sylphee was receiving.

"Hey there handsome. Been a while." A silky voice said from the corner of the bar, "I was starting to think you forgot about lil' ole me."

Turning to face the voice, Thomas suddenly became nervous as he saw Nova sitting at the bar, cocktail in front of her and a look in her eyes that said "Give me your Caps and I'll give you a great time."

"N... Nova. Yeah... well... has it been that long?" Thomas responded, keenly and uncomfortably aware of the eyes that were looking at him, the eyes that belonged to a certain Crimson Menace, the only one to follow him up to the Saloon since Arizona had complained about a headache and the need for something to quell said headache. "N... Nice seeing you. Ummm... I'm just here for a room."

"You don't want me to come up later? Thomas. I thought we had an understanding." Nova pouted, dipping her chin down to her ample and soft...

"Daddy! I'm tired. Can we get a room yet?" Sylphee whined, thankfully interrupting Nova's game of twist Thomas around her fingers.

"Right... sure... whew." Thomas muttered as he motioned for Moriarty.

"Well if it isn't good ole... WHAT IN THE FUCK IS SHE DOING HERE?!" Moriarty exclaimed as he ducked behind the bar, putting something solid between himself and his previous assailant.

Looking over the bar, the usually wordy Former Undertaker noted that Moriarty was in the duck and cover position, as some sort of Act of God was about to descend upon him and rip his world apart.

"Ummm... rooms? Please?" Thomas said awkwardly as dropped some caps on the bar, the sound of currency bringing the Saloon's proprietor out of his shell, "Three of them."

"This is only enough for 2." Moriarty said, "and to cover the stitches your pal behind you gave me when she sliced me shoulder open like a fish."

"But.. I." Thomas stammered, he was unaware of the fact that Sylphee had been to Moriarty's previously and had in fact impaled the man's shoulder with her wrist blade during her hunt for the Sharply Dressed Man. The realization that something had happened came soon after as Thomas wheeled on the Blue Haired Ditz, "What did you do, young lady?"

"I 'unno." Sylphee responded with a shrug, her smile never leaving her face.

"Fine. Whatever." Thomas said, defeated as he headed up the stairs to one of the rooms, closing it behind him and sitting down on a chair within.

"Bouncy! Bouncy! Bouncy! Bouncy!" Sylphee exclaimed as she found the room's bed and started jumping on it. This was going to be a long night, made even worse by the thinness of the walls.

"Okay, seriously? Where's Kristin?", A feminine voice said, "Couldn't you pay your entertainment first, so she could leave, before you came to visit me?"

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Party | Megaton Gates

The answer she got from the gate guards was a flurry of gunfire. She swore under her breath and followed Thomas behind a bathtub. She grimly realized only a few moments late that it probably wouldn't stand up to machine gun bullets.

It wasn't long before she heard the guards start wondering just what they had shot at, and two things immediately jumped out at her: First, that there was apparently more than one Sylph out in the wastes. That, in and of itself, was a nightmare she didn't want to accept just yet, especially so soon after their... Road trip. And second, that they thought they were slavers, and that she was male.

"I'M A CHICK YOU DUMB FUCK! THESE TITS AREN'T FOR SHOW, AND IF YOU DON'T LET US IN, SO HELP ME GOD..." she started to roar out at them, before Thomas decided to pull out the charm.

Or at least, what anyone could pass for charm in a situation like that.

As he explained the situation to them, she rubbed her temples with both hands and audibly ground her teeth next to Thomas. It took a few minutes, and when it seemed like they were going to be turned away from Megaton entirely, Sylph managed to pull an "Oopsie" and shot the guard through the gate with her Anti-Materiel Rifle. Purely by accident, of course.

But the muffled screams made her lips spread in a small, cruel smile and a rough chuckle rumble from her throat.

"Serve's the shithead right." she murmured as she grabbed her things and followed Thomas inside.

"Let's go get some rooms."

She turned to him and nodded.

"Good idea. I'm going to head by whoever happens to be the doctor around here and get something for my migraine. If I don't, I can't be held accountable for my actions." she said, her tone taking an edge as she leveled a glare at Sylph.

"I'll meet you at the bar... Shifty." she added with a small smile.

The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Party | Moriarty's Saloon

As it turned out, Doc Church, the man who passed for a doctor in that godforsaken town, was almost as much of a raider as she was if his price gouging was any indication. The price she paid for three syringes of Med-X was tantamount to highway robbery, even with haggling, but she paid it and had immediately took one. So by the time she had gotten up to the building marked as Moriarty's Saloon, she was beginning to feel sweet relief from the migraine.

At least, until she stepped inside and saw the bartender recoil from the sight of Sylph.

"Well if it isn't good ole... WHAT IN THE FUCK IS SHE DOING HERE?!"

Her single eye narrowed on the girl and she shook her head, asking, "Is there anywhere in the Capital Wasteland that you haven't caused trouble in?"

"Ummm... rooms? Please? Three of them."

When Thomas put down a handful of caps onto the bar, the bartender took the chance to come out from behind his cover to take it.

"This is only enough for 2. and to cover the stitches your pal behind you gave me when she sliced me shoulder open like a fish."

At that, Arizona growled low, but she reached into her duffel, pulled out some caps and shoved them across the bar to the man.

"Here. That should be enough for three, and a drink. Gimme a scotch." she snapped.

She glanced back as Thomas and Sylph made their way up to the rooms. When the bartender shoved a dirty bottle in her direction, she snatched it up before promptly following in her companion's wake. All while hoping that Med-X kicked in a little faster.

There comes a time in a person's life that, after a series of stressful events and sudden, turbulent changes they gbelieve that they finally get some time to relax, contemplate on what they went through, catch a break.

And then, as things are going well and dandy, as it seems that the situation isn't as bad as it seems, life arrives on the scene with truimphant horns and dancing barely-clothed exotic beauties, takes a look at said person, lets out a cheeky laugh, and slaps them back to reality.

That's how Jonathan felt right now, minus the dancing beauties, because his life was too shit to have that kind of fanservice.

Just as he had left his room bursting with energy, as though a spring of possitivity had manifested within him, so too had it now been devoured by an endless void of negativity, gluttonously devouring whatever last vestiges of liveliness was left within him. His encounter with #411 was the start of a downward spiral of a steadily increasing in intensity guilt trip, culminating with his interaction with the broken, barely-standing Lucy Black.

And so, Jonathan did what he always did when he was on the verge of despair; withdraw to himself. Had he not left his glasses and hat back at the room -and despite the fact that he'd pretty much be blind wearing them in the middle of the night-, he would, as though hardwired to, put on his mask.

"Moriarty's? You two?" stated Lucy inquisitively as she turned to look at him, only for Jonathan to avert his gaze, barely paying attention and staring an unfocused stare at the ground, letting out a weak, submissive "I can explain." before hearing a thump on entrance and a squeal of pain.

"Stop being so self-absorbed!"

Lucy's words, echo though they were, stung like daggers in the back. Her hitting her head on the floor served as a rude wake-up call for him, the girl could hardly walk, and all he was doing was sulk around like a teenager. Getting better hold of her, he hurried through the saloon and up the stairs, certain that the faster he got her a place to sit and rest the better. Carefully placing the bowl of food on the railing behind them, Jonathan reached for his pocket to get the key. As he placed it into the keyhole, however...

"You shouldn't have saved me. Look at the mess you're in, my mess."

He sighed and shook his head as he unlocked the door, before turning to face her, on his face a disapproving, tired look further emphasised by his half-closed eyes.

"A mess that I started to begin with." he stated flatly, motioning her to enter the room with his hand as he turned to grab the bowl. He was too exhausted to play the blame game. His one-eyed companion was quick to free herself of his grip, opening the door and entering the room, only to abruptly take a 180 degree turn, ready to walk out.

"Okay, seriously? Where's Kristin?" she protested, "Couldn't you pay your entertainment first, so she could leave, before you came to visit me?"

"What?" retorted Jonathan sheepishly, alternating glances between Kristin and Lucy, "But... What? Entertain- what? Huh? Eh?"

It took him a few seconds to get the picture. His face looked as one would expect.

"Oh. Oooooooh. No, no, you don't understand. That is Kristin."

He gave the one-eyed girl a few seconds to stomach that.

"As I said, I will explain everything." he said as he sit on the same chair as Kristin, placing the bowl on the nearby table, "Please, take a seat." he finished as he motioned to Lucy to sit on the bed opposite of him.

"So..." he started hesitantly, reluctant to reminisce on today's events, "After you passed out, we-"

Sounds started coming from wall behind him, stopping him in his tracks. They were loud and were as though... as though...

Sounds like someone's having the night of his life.

"Anyway, as I was saying..." he started again with a sigh and shrug, annoyed, "After you passed-" only to be interrupted again as the sounds grew more frequent and louder.

"Ok, that's it. That does it." Jonathan shouted angrily as he got up and headed for the door, "I've had fucking enough for one day. I'm not going to put up with having to listen to some sexually frustrated whoremonger get it on. Not fucking tonight. I've had too fucking much for one fucking day and this is the cherry on the fucking cake." He grabbed the door handle and flung the door open... "This asswipe is either shutting up or-" ... only to hit something with it.

"Oh?"

He heard something crashing down with force, probably from some altitude. Opening the door more causiously, taking studied glances left and right, Jonathan proceeded to look down the railing, where a person had landed on a table.

"Sorry about that!" he shouted, awkwardly scratching the back of his head, "I didn't expect anyone standing- Wait."

He took a better look at the individual that he had just thrown down the railing.

"I... I know you!" he yelled, shocked and surprised at the same time. Though Jonathan was not one to remember names lest the person left an impression, he never forgot faces. And he knew exactly where he saw that face; a certain video feed, at a certain house...

"You're..." he said as he pointed at the man in disbelief, "You're Thomas McGee!"

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Moriarty's Saloon
Then came the darkness...

Sylphee:

WHAM!!! Went the sound of Mister Door slamming against Daddy and sending him flying over Mister Railing down onto Mister Table before a man, Mister Meanie Man to be exact, looked down at Daddy and pointed at him.

You're... You're Thomas McGee Mister Meanie Man declared loudly and if The Crimson Menace had her way, it would be the last declaration Mister Meanie Man made.

"HEY! HEY! HEY!" Sylphee yelled loudly as she charged the Mister Meanie Man, distracting him from hurting Daddy any further before she jumped up and used the door frame of the room's entrance to swing herself up into the air, landing on Mister Meanie Man's shoulders and locking herself into place.

From Mister Meanie Man's perspective, the world went dark as his face was filled with... something... something warm that had been clad in cotton. He would have felt the long legs of the assailant lock her legs around his head and the sensation of a pleated crimson cotton, the sort of thing that would have been all the rage were there school uniforms still around, wrapped around his head. The sensation of two firm yet soft mounds resting upon his head might have been comforting were it not for the fact that whatever his assailant was doing was blocking his airways even as she attempted to ram her fist through his skull.

And then there was the machine gun that had been loaded with words.

"I-dunno-who-the-hell-you-think-you-are-Mister-Meanie-Man-but-no-one-hits-my-daddy-with-a-door-and-lives. Ow! Why-is-your-head-so-hard-Mister-Meanie-Man?! You're-a-big-meanie-a-big-big-big-big-big-big-big-big-big-big-meanie! I'm-gonna-make-sure-you-never-do-this-to-daddy-again! Ow! Ow! Ow! You're-head-is-super-hard! I'm-gonna-keep-pounding-it-with-my-fist-until-it-lets-me-in!" Sylphee machine gunned her words as she continued her valiant assault on Daddy's assailant, Mister Meanie Man, "He-might-be-mean-to-me-but-he-didn't-do-anything-to-you-Mister-Meanie-Man! So-you-better-say-you're-sorry-or-else-I'm-going-to-keep-fisting-this-until-it-breaks!!"

The assault was relentless as the smothering continued as well as the fisting. What was Mister Meanie Man going to do?!


Thomas "Shifty" McGee

The world was darkness, at least for the first few moments after the Undertaker had landed right on top of where Arizona had set her filthy bottle of alcohol. Luckily for Thomas, he had avoided landing directly on top of the bottle and avoided a meeting with Doc Church, who wasn't too gentle with a pair of forceps when fishing broken glass out of someone. Unluckily for Arizona, her traveling companion had landed on the edge of table, breaking one side and turning it into a bottle-pult. The liquor took a high arc in the air, the liquid inside bending the light of the room into little rainbows as it spun. It was to also be an unlucky moment for the Saloon's proprietor as he watched the arcing bottle sail high into the air, never bothering to move, never bothering to make an estimation as to where the bottle would land.

CLUNK!! The bottle landed, the impact of the landing lessened by the fact that it had landed on Moriarty's skull before taking another bouncing tumble back towards its owner, like some sort of demented and fermented boomerang.

CLUNK!! The bottle landed once again, this time on the chest of the ailing Undertaker, knocking what little air he had left completely out of his lungs.

"Ssss... Ssssssss... Sssssssssssss." Thomas attempted to say to Arizona as he pointed a wavering finger in the direction of where he heard the machine gunning of words and thocking of fist against skull, "Sssssss... sto... sto... stop... h...he....her."

Apparently, he was asking Arizona to stop Sylphee from murdering yet another person. But there remained the fact that he was just assaulted by Sylphee's assaultee. Why would the Breathless Blue Eyed Undertaker want to show mercy to a man that had not only almost killed him, but almost committed the cardinal sin of wasting alcohol?

"He... heeeee... he...know...m..m...my...name."

Arizona

The Wild Wasteland | The Dunwich Party | Moriarty's Saloon

Med-X was a wonderful drug. It relieved almost any kind of physical pain in such a way that, even though you technically still felt it, as far as you're concerned, it was happening to someone else and there was no reason to give a damn. At least, that was how it was supposed to work, when the person who took it didn't have an intense migraine due to a little blue-haired maniac. And it certainly didn't help when that person was a Ghoul, and Ghouls were pretty notoriously resistant to most forms of drugs, which was part of why Ultrajet was created, or so some said.

As such, Arizona's head pounding started to intensify as she watched Thomas get knocked back by a flung-open door and land on the very table she had momentarily set her Scotch onto. Her single eye tracked the filthy bottle as it sailed through the air and knocked the bartender over the head, all without somehow breaking in the process, before twirling back towards her.

She smartly stepped back, when it landed on Thomas's chest, making him wheeze out what breath he had. All the while, Sylph had decided to latch onto the face of the man who was responsible for Thomas's fall and was trying to beat his skull in. To top it all off, her mouth was running a mile a minute.

Ignoring the spectacle, she leaned forward and loomed over Thomas with as much of a sympathetic expression as she could manage in her current mood.

"Do you ever have any good luck?" she asked dryly.

"Sssssss... sto... sto... stop... h...he....her... He... heeeee... he...know...m..m...my...name."

She blinked for a moment, then slowly looked up at the scene and sighed.

"Oh good Christ..." she murmured before striding over, grabbing a chair along the way.

She set the chair up so she could stand atop it and grabbed Sylph from behind, wrapping her arms up and around Sylph's.

"Sylph, stop beating on him, and Miss Arizona will give you a treat. Does that sound good?" she asked wearily, all the while trying to tug the girl off of the poor man.

The Three Musketeers - A morning of varying comfort.

*THUNK*

Exactly what sound Dudley Sullivan made as he tried to shift in the child sized bed, cracked the timbers, and went crashing to the floor was up for debate. But *THUNK* is close enough for now. In an instant, Evan and William were in his room brandishing weapons, scanning the area with their eyes for the attacker. In unison they both looked down and saw Dudley lying on the ground in the middle of a broken bed.

"Who've you got in here then Duds? Where have you hidden her, the toybox?" Asked William in a jovial tone, opening the trunk at the foot of the bed to reveal a few scraps of junk. He tapped the lid back down with his foot.

"Whaddya mean?" muttered the heap of Dudley amidst the broken bed.

"You must have been really enthusiastic to break the damn thing in half." Replied William, lowering him pistol.

"Tell us Dudley, how are you feeling? What were the details?" joked Evan, recalling the last conversation they had. Just as quickly as the words left his mouth Evan did a double take at William, as for the first time he noticed what he was wearing. "William... why are you wearing a blanket, what happened to your shirt?" Inquired Evan, who had slept in his clothes, as he always did. William for his part looked like a huggable cocoon with feet, a head, and one arm sticking out.

"My clothes are back in my room, if you sleep in them too long they start to smell. The main bedroom had a bathtub and some abraxo cleaner in it. If you put some water in the tub and soak your clothes overnight in the abraxo for an hour, they dry clean and fresh. I've been wearing those bloody things for over a week now, they've started to smell quite badly." Explained William, before continuing with, "And there's nothing wrong with the blanket, it's comfortable." William gave a defensive shrug and pulled it tighter around his shoulders.

Evan gave his Pip-Boy a quick check and realised it had gone seven in the morning. Any time they wasted now was precious daylight gone they'd lose for travel. "Guys, we'd better start getting up. There's more travelling to do, and we can't waste time. Pack everything up, we'll have breakfast downstairs at eight. No going back to sleep either, this alarm clock was one use only." Evan indicated to Dudley with a wave of his arm.

"I'm already packed, so I'll go back ta bed if ya don't mind. I trust ya to wake me up in time for breakfast." Said Dudley, before rolling over to face the wall and didn't speak again. William and Evan left the room, and William shuffled back into his room.

"In that case, I'm going back to bed too. I'll spend the next ten minutes pretending the world isn't an irradiated husk of dead rock." He said, somewhat sleepily.

"And you're king of an island of scantily clad women, where there's food and water wherever you want it?" Asked Evan, who would be spending his time recording the latest events of their journeys into his Pip-Boy. Record keeping was an important task, and one day people might want to know how all this had happened.

"Yeah, something like that." Yawned William, as he closed the door behind him. Evan heard an audible *WHUMP* a second later, presumably William had just decided to fall onto the bed.

---Some time later---

The Three Musketeers were getting back on the road about half past eight by Evan's reckoning. Riding towards the rising sun, they carried onwards in their quest to find Isaac Black. He was out there somewhere, and these three were going to find him.

Talion - Old Olney

"What, that? They're really not that uncommon anymore. I'm David Davidson, lord of the Empire of Dave. We're a growing thing up north. That mutant was once a crazed Enclave doctor who'd covered the Capital Wastelands in newly-created Behemoth mutants. You can ask anyone. It's true."

Talion thought about it as the man talked. He had heard of the republic of dave and what he knew of them was limited though, he didn't hear anything about them possessing Vertibirds. And then he heard it, in his ears and his minds eye as it came into view the machine sitting on his list as a target for destruction.

Its appearance, what was known of it anyway as it had been described was something that made him wonder now as it opened fire on a deathclaw. So either the man was lying, this was a different machine, or the republic of dave was under enclave control. It was either the first or the third.

"So...lunch?"

What to do? His first thought was to throw the bomb he had prepared earlier at the machine, shoot Dave, and run. But that was something he doubted he would survive, and he doubted simply throwing the bomb would kill it. He thought he would have range to approach it from, but it sitting there what felt like watching him made open hostility difficult at this range.

"Lunch?" was what came out of his mouth unsure of how to act, "Yes. Lunch."

Lucy Black - Megaton

'Unyielding'

Taking a seat on the bed next to a now-confirmed sleeping Kristin and massaging her temples, Lucy Black tried in vain to soothe the growing headache in the midst of her new environment. Moriarty's Saloon. Packed to the brim with sounds of jovial laughter/shouting/clinking of bottles and the perpetual creaking of bedsprings between the adjacent paper-thin walls, Lucy wondered if it was Jonathan's or Kristin's idea to stay here for the night. Surely the self-proclaimed 'Princess' would have some reservations regarding her surroundings...

"Ok, that's it. That does it." Jonathan shouted angrily, snapping Lucy's wondering mind back to her immediate reality. He seemed upset, unreasonably so and after a certain delay and having Jonathan leaving the room, the One-Eyed Lady got up to go see what the fuss was about. It was a loud crash and a series of shouting from downstairs that first set off the alarm bells in her head.

Feeling somewhat unsteady, Lucy grabbed the nearest object resting on the bedside table to support her weight and ensure that she wasn't hassled along the way.

"You're Thomas McGee!"

What?

Lucy's eye immediately darted to the doorway, catching sight of a crimson flash sweeping Jonathan out of sight with a familiar yelling.

"HEY! HEY! HEY!"

"Sylphee!", Lucy shouted to get her "sister's" attention. No use.

With great effort, Lucy pulled at Kristin's bumper sword - a weapon with the words 'Tempus Neminem Manet' inscribed on one side of the blade - and discovered that she could lift the heavy weapon just enough to rest it on her shoulder. How Kristin carried it so casually was a mystery.

No doubt, the Crimson Catastrophe herself was here: Slylph, or more accurately in her childlike form, Sylphee. Regardless of form, Lucy knew that Jonathan's life was at risk.

Leaving the room and dragging Kristin's sword behind her, the growing sounds of commotion downstairs were dying down as steel agonisingly grinded itself against the metal flooring as if a Deathclaw was given a chalkboard for it's birthday. The sword made a loud thud for each step of the staircase. With each laborious step, Lucy's arrival was slowly being announced.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs and turning the corner, things had become somewhat more clear. A familiar man, known to her as Thomas Shifty McGee was sprawled on the floor, clearly in pain. Glancing to her immediate left, someone was successfully prying Sylph from Jonathan.

Unfortunately, due to the bystander effect, the population of the Salooon crowded around Shifty and Sylph for the sake of free entertainment.

Lucy's temper shattered and the immediate few in her vicinity tripped over one another as Lucy put all her strength into lifting the reinforced bumper sword above her head to send it crashing down into the floor. The metallic crash echoed through the establishment and Lucy was met with silence, glares and unholstered guns in her face.

With her lips curled and teeth bared, the very hostile One-Eyed female hissed, "I fucking dare you. Now move!"

Sure enough, the immediate crowd cleared a path to the man sprawled on the ground. Lucy dragged the blade from the dented floor, dropped it to the floor once she reached Shifty's side and laid a hand to his cheek once she had dropped onto her knees.

"You better not be dead, Thomas...Shifty...McGee.", Lucy's voice softened for him, but that was the only thing that was gentle about the Lucy we know now.

Laying a hand on his chest and another on his neck, Lucy's fingers clawed into his skin as she lustfully kissed him. Ravenously biting his lower lip, Lucy murmured hungrily after her tongue flicked at the source of the metallic taste of blood.

"Get up..."

As terrible as he tasted and smelled, her heart did not care, he was here...and she won't be seperated from him again.

"You have 10 seconds before I stop holding back.", Lucy murmured with a mischievous smile, tracing a finger along his neck in the meantime.

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | Splitting Paths | Moriarty's Saloon

As Arizona tried to pry Sylph off of the suffocating man, a slow grinding noise started to make its way to the growing crowd. A thud punctuated it every second or so as it grew louder. The Ghoul spared a glance from the blue-haired troublemaker to watch as a one-eyed, black haired girl lugging a massive sword behind her that was easily longer than she was tall. The sight was enough to make her pause and watch as she made her way to the crowd of bystanders, then hefted it.

Arizona had to admit that she was impressed that the girl had managed to lift it off of the ground and over her head at all, but then she crashed it down to get everyone's attention. Said attention included quite a few guns coming out of their holsters. She bared her teeth at that and gave them an admirably menacing hiss.

"I fucking dare you. Now move!"

Each bystander moved with the kind of speed that told you that they suddenly had something very important to do somewhere else, and cleared her a path. Straight to Thomas.

When she reached him, she knelt next to him and placed a hand on his cheek, saying something the old Ghoul couldn't quite make out. Not that she needed to. The fierce, lusty kiss that she laid on the man was enough to make even Arizona's blood heat up, but she couldn't help a small smile at the sight. It seemed that Thomas had found his girl, Lucy Black. Not so unlucky after all, she thought to herself before turning back to Sylph and fully pulling her off of the man.

"Come on, Sylph. I'll give you your 'treat' outside once I take care of a few things." she told her, before striding over to the newly reunited couple.

"You have 10 seconds before I stop holding back."

The girl had pulled him to his feet after thoroughly kissing him, and was currently tracing a finger along his neck. So when Arizona reached them, she placed her hands on her hips and smirked at them.

"I take it that's Lucy Black then, huh Thomas?" she asked.

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Moriarty's Saloon and Sexhaus
Am I dead?
-Thanks to Texas Joker 52 for the assistance-

"You better not be dead, Thomas...Shifty...McGee."

It has been said that when you die, the souls of those who loved you in life appear before you to guide you into the realm of the departed. The sweet sound of the voice belonging to Lucy Black told Thomas "Shifty" McGee that he must have died. After all he had gone through, it seemed such a tragedy to have died due to an accident and on the unsanitary floor of Moriarty's Saloon of all places. He would have rather died, heroically or wastefully, on the battlefield, protecting those he cared for. He would have rather than the Enclave had killed him outright rather than have spared his miserable life. The even larger tragedy was the fact that despite all that he'd done to protect her, Lucy Black was still here, ready to guide him to the afterlife. He wanted to take a moment to apologize to her for failing her and for being dead... and he would have were his lips not suddenly covered by her's.

So it wasn't exactly a text book example of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, but it did get the job done. His already overworked pain receptor's registered the bite that Lucy had imparted on the man's lips, informing him that he was not dead. Far from it, there was still some life in the old boy yet. Looking up from where he lay, he saw her: The woman who he had shared a quieter moment with before an impending battle, the mousy bookworm of a lady that he stolen his hat and perhaps something far more significant from his chest. A woman who made Thomas feel like he'd attempted to swallow the world every time he swallowed around her. But he also saw what had been lost. It wasn't just her eye, it was beyond physical. She'd been hardened. Whether it was from the Enclave's machinations or life's machinations or simply the choice that he'd forced upon her, to leave him behind, he couldn't rightly tell. There would be time to delve into this, he hoped. But her voice, the voice that he'd have gutted a Deathclaw with his bare hands to hear once more broke through and quieted his swirling thought.

"You have 10 seconds before I stop holding back." She commanded, as follow up to the ecstasy filled kiss that she'd bestowed upon his nearly departed form.

It's said that for every second that an Undertaker blushes, even a former one such as Shifty, an infant spontaneously bursts into a small, flailing, crying pile of flames. If this legendary old wives' tale were true, surely 10 infants had met a fiery demise due to the reddish tinge that Lucy had brought to the Former Undertaker's cheeks. The fact that Arizona was nearby, hands on her hips and a devilish smirk on her face, did not help the situation, or the infant population of the Wastelands.

"I take it that's Lucy Black then, huh Thomas?" Thomas' ghoulish compatriot asked, causing the spontaneous combustion of a few more wailing infants.

"Y... yeah. Arizona, this is Lucy Black. Lucy, this is Arizona. She managed to rescue me from some... troubles in Rivet City." Thomas managed to stammer. There was a certain amount of shame in his voice, not associated with the ghoul mind you but rather how trouble had managed to find the former Undertaker of the East. Namely, he'd attempted to hide in the bottom of a bottle in reaction to the false news that Lucy had been killed.

"HEY HEY HEY! Who's this lady? Why's she biting Daddy's face off? What's going on here? Is daddy okay? Did he break a bone? Did he break a bone in his pants? Is that what's sticking up out of his pants?" Came the familiar machine gun phrase crafting of one particularly annoying Crimson Menace.

"She's one of Daddy's good friends," Arizona said automatically, "She wasn't biting his face off, and he seems to be just fine. The deal with his pants is a subject for another time. Or do you not want your treat?"

"Treat? Oooooh. Rad Scorpion Sundae? Rad Scorpion under glass? Rad Scorpion Sandwiches? Rad Scorpion Stroganoff? Rad Scorpion Salad? Rad Scorpion Surprise? Rad Scorpion Succotash?" Went the Bubba of Rad Scorpions excitedly, threatening to knock the earth out of orbit with her incessant hopping.

"Ummmm... well... I... erm... I... huh." The Crimson Cheeked Undertaker stammered as he stood up, "Just happy to see Lucy after so long."

It wasn't exactly a lie, it just didn't explain the whole business with the pants and such. But still, Arizona had successfully switched topics on the Crimson Commando and now found herself being dragged out of the saloon by the Blue Haired Wonder.

"Just don't give her any chems." Shifty said to the receding forms of Arizona and Sylphee.

As she was dragged out by Sylphee, Arizona couldn't help but roll her eye. But she took the time to stop the hyperactive girl for a moment to turn back to Lucy and Thomas.

"Once you two are done 'catching up'? Tell Lucy to come see me outside. Girl-to-girl talk." she said, smirking as she winked at them, before turning back to Sylph and striding out.

As she did, the distinct sound of her muffled voice said something about the treat being [i]better[/u] than Rad Scorpions. Though as the voices faded into the Megatonian darkness, a new voice came to drown out the rest.

Looking at Lucy, Thomas could only hazard a nervous smile. The last time he'd heard this song it nearly broke his heart asunder. He'd blasted the damned jukebox and gotten into trouble. This time, though, it almost broke him for another reason. Despite the happiness he felt at having been reunited with Lucy Black, he knew it was temporary. He'd promised Arizona that he'd escort her to the Dunwich building. At the time he made the promise, he'd only had the desire to die along the way. Now he had a reason to survive.

Looking down at the Mousy Haired Gauss Rifle Wielding Damsel, he couldn't suppress the smile that wormed its way to the surface. He bent down to kiss her. It was the kind that communicated the hunger that he'd felt in his soul. The thirst that those stranded in the desert feel before they die.

"I... I'm really very glad to see you, Lucy. I... can't tell you how much I've waited for this moment." Thomas started to say before he could pump the brakes on his mouth, "There was just so much that I wanted to tell you before we were separated last time... but now that you're here, standing in front of me, I can't seem to remember what I wanted to tell you... "

Seeing as how there were still quite a number of eyes on them, the Former Undertaker took the Former Gauss Girl by the hand and lead her up the stairs, the door closing softly after their passage.

Arizona & SYLPHEE

The Wild Wastelands | Splitting Paths | Megaton

Before Arizona did anything about Sylphee's promised 'treat', she stopped off at the Craterside Supply to buy a few things from the eccentric redhead there for the rest of the journey. Just the essentials: Ammo, cigarettes and decent booze. She didn't trust the look of the stuff in Moriarty's, and her standards weren't that low. When she stepped back outside, however, she could tell the Crimson Menace was starting to get impatient.

Sylphee was indeed as impatient, if not more, than Arizona had observed. For one, she didn't like waiting for promised treats. Delayed gratification had one issue to it, the delayed part. The Crimson Crusader was a creature of the now, not later. While Arizona was inside for whatever it was that she'd been inside for, Sylphee was left outside to her own devices, which, if Arizona had known Sylphee just a little longer, would not have been the smartest idea.

The wooden railing underneath Sylphee's feet complained rather loudly as she paced back and forth atop the old rotten wood. The pattern was repeated, step - step - sigh, step - step - sigh like some sort of demented waltz of impatience. Nearby, a recently deputized sheriff was talking... no... ordering the blue haired heroine off of the railing.

"Look, kid, you've got a lot to live for. Just don't jump! We don't need that sort of trouble. You could accidentally set off the bomb and you'd kill us all."

This... ranting and yelling had little effect on the crimson menace, who continued her vigil outside of Craterside Supply. Seeing Arizona, Sylphee jumped happily off of the railing, bouncing over the deputy who had little time to react as he took a rather unfortunate stumble, through the railing and into the crater below.

"Daaaaaaaaamn ittttttt!" THUD!

"Treat? Treat? Treat?" Sylphee treated incessantly.

Arizona rushed to look over the railing to see just where the man had landed. With a slow grimace, she looked up at Sylphee and shook her head slightly. It was quickly becoming clear to her that she needed full-time supervision, and preferably something to keep her occupied. Otherwise, she would probably end up killing everyone around her on accident. Though, she didn't exactly have a hard time putting Sylphee's latest victim out of her mind. It wasn't as if she knew him, after all.

"Right. Treat. You like music, Sylph? Or Sylphee, whichever you prefer." Arizona waved off as she reached into her duffel bag for her harmonica.

When she pulled it out, she flipped it in the air and caught it deftly.

The Crimson Menace tweeked her head to the side in slight confusion. Music wasn't exactly what Sylphee would have called a treat and so if Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun was calling this a treat, she clearly was not one to be trusted. However, as Daddy said, not everyone's idea of fun was the same, or someone Sylphee had called Daddy at one time or another had said, if Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun thought that this was a treat, it couldn't have been all THAT bad, could it have.

"Music's fine... I guess." Sylphee said, not even bothering to mask the amount of disappointment in her voice.

"OH GOD MY BACK!!!" A voice screamed from the depths of the crater, only to be drowned out by the shrill note that Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun played as she cleared the harmonica of the traveling dust that had gathered in it crevices.

Though the note was not without its effects, however, as Sylphee started to feel a little strange, the gem having vibrated with the tone that Arizona had just played.

"Damn thing's got dust in it." she murmured, shaking it a little without so much as sparing a glance at the scream behind her.

There were other people in Megaton that could help him, and as it was, she considered keeping Sylphee occupied more important. After all, it stopped her from doing that to anyone else in town. So when she put the harmonica back to her chapped lips, she started to play a fast, humming tune.

The sound seemed to carry on the evening air, and as she slowed down a little, it seemed to carry with it a slight melancholy feeling. That was part of why she grew to love the blues, it was something that everyone had felt before and could relate to in the wastes.

For some reason the notes that came out of Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun's harmonica were SUPER effective at keeping the Runt in Red occupied though for whatever reason, Sylphee had no control over what happened next. The broken railing was as good a stage as any for what happened next.

Sylphee hopped up on it, her eyes a blank slate as she balanced perfectly on the toe of her left foot, her right foot held out to counterbalance her top half which leaned precariously to the left. A simple kick with her right caused her to pirouette to her left, spinning in time to the rapid fire notes that came with the songs introduction before the tempo slowed, allowing the Crimson menace to plant her hands down on the makeshift balance beam, her legs coming up over her head, her skirt collapsing down, drawing a crowd leering men around Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun and the All Singing All Dancing Blue Haired Ballerina.

Pirouette, Plie, chasse, brise. A strange juxtaposition of moves when coupled with the song but strangely enough it fit and for what it was worth, Sylphee appeared to be enjoying herself, though she had not a single clue as to what she was doing. As she continued the dance, the men grew closer and closer, each one wanting to get a touch of the pale soft flesh that made an appearance every so often.

The end note... a vibrating note that faded into nothing... was soon joined by a chorus of epithets.

"WHAT?!"

"ARRRG!"

"NO! NO! NOOOO!!!"

The bouncing had not been without consequence. The choker that was normally around Sylphee's neck lay at Arizona's feet and Sylphee... or rather Sylph stood atop something else... a pile of corpses.

Stretching, Sylph regarded Arizona for a moment before.

"Thank you." Sylph said simply.

During her performance, Arizona focused on nothing but the music itself, her single eye closing so she could better appreciate the sound. She didn't notice Sylphee's dancing, or the men that had started to gather around to watch the blue-haired girl tease them with flashes of soft skin and subtle curves. When she finished, she looked up to see Sylph staring at her calmly, sans choker, but standing a little taller thanks to the pile of bodies that she was on top of. Thanking her.

The Ghoul promptly took a step back and examined her handiwork, before looking up at her with exasperation.

"You know, I did that with the hope that you wouldn't kill anyone else." she said dryly.

"Sorry." The Crimson Menace said flatly, sounding not sorry at all, infact quite the opposite of sorry, "You'd do that to if you were stuck watching that blathering idiot of a sister of mine do whatever she fancied that moment."

Of course there was the issue of corpses, something that the local law enforcement wouldn't be keen on finding were they to find the pile of bodies. The answer was simple, not be in the immediate area when the bodies were found. Walking away, Sylph motioned for the musically inclined Ghoul to follow, though what kind of person would follow a girl into the darkness after having witnessed her kill a half dozen to kill her sense of annoyance?

After a short pause, Arizona glanced around before shoving her harmonica back into her bag and following Sylph into the night, though not before snatching up the choker. But she kept her hands close to the reassuring weight of Lester, hanging at her front.

No sooner had Jonathan shouted towards the man that he had accidentally smacked with the door and thrown down the railing than he was assaulted, as something -or someone- crashed on his head from behind, and before his brain could process what was happening, the world went dark.

Wha-?

Worse still, whatever it was that was binding his was also applying excessive amounts of pressure, and Jonathan was having a hard time grasping for breath.

And then the blow upon his head came, a blow that felt like a hammer falling upon an anvil.

Even worse, it wasn't the only one. A barrage followed, as though his head had turned into a punching bag, getting "oraoraoraora"'d by an experienced boxer. The whole world -not that it was much , considering he was blinded- whirled as pain flared ever more violently with each blow, and Jonathan; confused, blind, under assault and getting choked to death, was losing what little balance he had thanks to hanging onto the railing.

Much like how prey give one last fight to break free as a predator sinks its teeth into their neck, Jonathan jerked and twisted his body in a desperate attempt to get loose from his binds, but alas, the barrage of blows and oxygen deprivation had taken their toll, and he fell on his knees, consciousness rapidly failing.

He wanted to scream, to plead for someone to help, but he didn't have the air, he didn't have the energy to even whimper.

Lucy... help... I- I need-

Well, isn't this a sorry state of affairs.

Jonathan's eyes widened, as though he was having a rude awakening by bucket full of ice-cold water. Why her? Why now? Why, of all people, did he have to content with her in his final moments?

On death's throes and you're still a rude jackass, he heard an exasperated sigh, I suppose I shouldn't have expected more from a fuck-up. Still... I must say, of all the shit that you've been through the past 24 hours, this one takes the cake, her tone was one of barely contained amusement, You sure have a penchant for near-death experiences, don't you?

Ignore her. He needed to ignore her and find a way out of this. But how? As much as he tried, he couldn't shake off his assailant. Fall off the railing? No, he didn't have the energy for that, and even if he did, with his luck he'd break his neck in the landing. No, he had no hope. Except Lucy. She'd see him and help him, he was sure of it.

She's not going to help you, Jon.

No! Ignore the venom-spitting hag! Lucy was dependable! She would save him!

The flurry of blows came to an end, and he could feel his assailant struggling to hold on. Someone was helping him! She was wrong! Lucy was saving him! Lucy was-

Oh, for fuck's sake, Jon! she exploded in anger, You're blind, not deaf! Haven't you been hearing what's going on? Lucy saw you like you are. She even shouted "Sylphy", whatever the fuck that means. And she abandoned you. Just straight up abandoned you. Didn't you hear her footsteps? The sound of something heavy hitting the floor? She left, Jon! Stop being so self-absorbed and focus!

And as she commanded so did he obey, and Jonathan, soon-to-pass-out as he were, for the first time since he was attacked listened. A man with a raspy voice was talking to this... Sylph as he called her, promising her treats if she let him go.

And, surprising though it was, Sylph did let him go. He fell on the floor, with a firm grasp on his neck, coughing heavily as blessed air filling his nostrils once more.

You look like shit.

His head pulsated from the pain; indeed, his left eye felt like it was about to burst out. Had he a mirror to see his wounds, he'd see his left eye, bloodshot as it were, swollen and already turning black from bruising. His forehead was filled with bruises and small cuts, along with a larger wound that was bleeding, not heavily enough to risk death by bloodloss, but enough to run down his face like a small waterfall and make him feel dizzy -or rather, dizzier than he already was-.

Well, at least you're alive. How unfortunate, eh? Hey... ya listenin'?

Spinning though his head was, Jonathan could clearly see her appear in front of him, her form hidden in darkness, only a silhouette visible. And she was... pointing. Downstairs.

Take a look.

With visible effort, Jonathan grabbed the railing and pulled his body upwards, looking down at the mess of a saloon. His vision was poor; he could hardly focus his gaze, what with the room spinning around and his left eye taking a vacation to throbbing-pain-land.

But he saw it.

I told you, didn't I?

Lucy was holding McGee.

Call me whatever you want, but unlike you I am no liar.

And she was... kissing him. Then she really...

Aww... what's with that face? You look like a betrayed puppy promised snacks only to have its entrails gutted out for lunch! Johnny boy, Johnny boy. When will you learn?

He wanted to leave, go, anywhere than here would do. Even a deathclaw nest. Especially a deathclaw nest. At least they killed relatively quickly. But the world spinned, and he could barely keep balance as he stood up without any kind of support.

Woah, woah there! she said as he stumbled, barely avoiding a fall, Easy there, pardner! You look like you need a...

...HAND!

He felt as though his face was hit with a baseball bat as he crashed down on the floor, he world around him twisting and turning and twirling rapidly. But it wasn't doing just that.

Blink. He always hated that ceiling. How many years had he spent his nights staring at its light, wishing he wasn't trapped in this damn bunker doing this stupid job.

Blink. Wooden walls and ceilings weren't something he was used at. He hadn't spent so much many nights in one place since his Enclave years, much less with other people. But he hoped he'd spend many a night more.

Ooooh Johnnyyyy Boyyyy!

Blink. He was back at the saloon, staring at the rusty ceiling. Realizing that what little he understood of reality was crumbling around him, he turned and faced Kristin's room, a bright light emanating from within.

The light, Jon! Go towards the liiight!

Using the door frame as support, Jonathan laboured his way back on his feet, taking small confused steps towards the light.

Blink. He was outdoors, now, the night sky filled with stars, surrounded by dead familiar and not, a lone man standing in front of him. He felt like his stomach was ready to burst, and indeed, when he touched his belly he felt blood spilling out.

"You're lucky I found you when I did," said Isaac as he reached out his hand, "You look like you could use a hand." Jonathan reached out to him...

...Only to grasp at thin air. Blink. He was back at the saloon room again, falling facedown to the ground. A loud thud was head as he landed, splattering blood from his wound on the ground, as he groaned in pain.

Didn't your mother teach you to watch your step?

He felt like throwing up. The room spun like a carousel shortcircuited into going faster than a rollercoster, but in the centre of it all was the light. He had to get to the light. Crawling, for he had not the strength to stand up again, he slowly made his way, as what was real and what was false intermixed. A teenage girl wearing a backpack stared.A couple of people lay in a pool of blood. Move faster, damn you. Move! His father surrounded by figures clad in pitch black armour. Light. He had to get to the light!

And what lies beyond it iiiis...

The light disintergated as he reached it, and with it went his hope. The light left, but the images remained. Terrible, terrible images! He pulled himself into a sitting position, his back against the bed, as he stared outside the door, sobbing. A bitter smile accompanied her crying. The dead looked shocked, betrayed. A break; two people, both familiar passed the door holding hands. Betrayal. His father gave him a mournful glance as he was carried away by the men.

Looks like some one-eyed girl's about to get some. Isn't life unfair?

Yes, it looked so indeed. And here he lay, bleeding and hallucinating, tossed aside now that he was no longer needed. His head was feeling lighter, as was his sight getting cloudier; conciousness was starting to leave him, though whether it was due to the pain, the blood loss or the trauma that he was experiencing, no one could say.

He felt alone, above all. It was a wierd feeling, he'd spent most of his life alone, but this loneliness was different; heavy, suffocating, threatening to swallow him whole. For the first time in a long while, Jonathan was in desperate need of support.

"Help... me..." he wimpered, shaking his head. Why did she abandon him like that? Was it revenge for her father? But he tried to help... he tried...

"Please..." he turned to the bed. Kristin was laying on it. Could she help him? Only one way to find out. Eyesight failing, reached out to grab her, to get her attention, oblivious of the fact that his handing had landed on her butt cheek, or that his attempts to hold on to her would likely look like he was groping her heavily.

"Help me... please..." he pleaded ever more weakly as he lay his head on the bed, blood turning the sheets red, as everything faded to black, "Don't leave me... Lilly..."

Kristin BlamCo & ??? - Dreaming - Reflecting on past memories
'Duality'

Kristin Blamco, having recently gained the nickname 'Berserker Princess' due to her fighting style, readied her reinforced bumper sword in preparation for today's demonstration for her fellow battle sisters.

The BlamCo hunting clan, lead today by Kristin's younger sister, had trapped a lone super mutant in a mountain rift.

"Classification?", Hidden all over the mountainside, Kristin proudly raised her voice for her battle sisters in the distance.

"Super Mutant Brute.", a nearby voice replied impatiently, completely obscured by Vault-Tec cloaking technology. "Can we continue now? The filthy abomination just realised that it's weapons were nearby. Ready yourself."

"Impatient as always!, Kristin smirked and dug her heels into the ground. The Super Mutant was charging her position. "But I wouldn't have it any other way!

With a sledgehammer held high, Kristin narrowly sidestepped the earth-shattering blow to counter by spinning on her heel to swing her weighted blade into the ribcage of the beast. Predictably, the beast lashed out with a wild swing of the arm, an attack that Kristin chose to block with her blade instead of dodging. Slamming down the blade tip-first into the ground to regain her balance and stand tall once more to taunt the beast, the Berserker Princess chose to assert her dominance in combat by shrugging off enemy attacks instead of avoiding them.

"My turn!", the Berserker Princess smirked, angled her blade downwards while she charged and unleashed a devastating upwards slash at the beast's torso, followed by sideways swing at the thigh and finally Kristin took a step back to run her opponent through. She would have done so, but in her berserker haze, it had gone amiss that the beast had grabbed it's fallen weapon with it's freehand.

"Defense!"

A blur to the eye had stepped in front of Kristin, forcing her to move backwards.

With a sledgehammer in hand, the beast took a wild swing at Kristin. The attack resulted in an explosion, a super mutant losing it's weapon, arm and most of it's torso due to the directional blast all at once. Without surprise, what remained of it was scattered on the ground and Kristin was sent tumbling backwards out of a combination of sheer force and surprise. Mostly surprise.

The attack had also uncloaked her younger sister who was responsible for intercepting the beast's attack. With her heels dug into the ground, the mousy brunette stood behind a severely modified rectangular tower shield. The tiled plating on the shield itself was smoking profusely.

"Explosive reactive armor layering.", Kristin's younger sister smugly explained after taking one look at her shocked expression.

"You forget your shield, Valkyrie!"

Grabbing her sister's outstretched hand, Kristin put an arm around her shoulder once she was standing. The duo started laughing together as their fellow battle sisters emerged from higher ground, everyone was clapping and cheering at today's display of teamwork.

"Ha! I have not forgotten a thing when I have you, my dear Shieldmaiden!"


Kristin BlamCo - Moriarty's Saloon
'Care'

The Cheese Princess, being the heavy sleeper that she was, remained blissfully in her dream world. Completely oblivious to the absolute catastrophe of events that were taking place downstairs, let alone outside her very bedroom.

Back in dreamland, the newly nicknamed 'Shieldmaiden' was getting a tad too touchy-feely while they were out in the open. ~T-that happened one time only!~, Kristin stammered before slapping her sister's hand away. In the real world, this roughly translated to absentmindedly pawing at Jonathan's blood streaked face before scratching her nose. An odd wet sensation and nearby murmuring had stirred the tired Princess from her slumber.

"Help me... please...", Jonathan lay next to her, awkwardly positioned with his arm sprawled over her, but his bruised and bloodied face had come into full view after a series of blinking.

Frowning, the Princess took a moment to register whether she was still dreaming or not. Looking down confirmed that she was wearing an ill-fitting school uniform instead of her proud dazzling dairy armor. Touching her cheek once more resulted in her bolting upwards as she recognised that the scarlet substance on her hand was blood. The BlamCo Heiress shook Jonathan at his shoulder only to receive a murmur and a limpness to his body.

Now fully alert and on the lookout for Jonathan's attacker, Kristin stood up on the bed, tip-toed over Jonathan and hopped down to the floor, her hand absentmindedly reaching for her weapon at the bedside. The grip of her blade nor the weapon itself was anywhere to be found. Darting to the bathroom only revealed that it was empty, devoid of attackers, nevertheless Kristin worked the hot water tap in the shower and threw an unused towel (presumably meant for the second occupant of these rooms) inside. Darting back to the main room, Kristin noticed a first-aid kit on the table and grabbed it. (Where it came from, she did not know. But she could hazard one faithful guess: The Gods of Dairy).

She had an idea of sorts.
Pulling her bag closer to find the Grand BlamCo recipe book, opening on the last few pages that contained notes scribbled by her closest younger sister: "Shieldmaiden Safety Tips for a Silly Berserker". The first-aid kit was opened to survey the contents.

Now, let it be said that Kristin's knowledge of first-aid care was limited to alcohol and bandaging. However, when given a few notes on treating wounds that were transcribed as metaphors for cooking, some knowledge could reasonably be applied here.

Having wrung out the hot wet towel from the shower, Kristin forcefully repositioned Jonathan onto his back and laid his head on her lap. With everything nearby, she started working on the very basics.

- Adding some oil to the pan (Applying pressure with the warm towel)
- Throwing the vegetables in searing oil (Using the damp warm towel to clear excess blood)
- Add some spices and herbs. (Applying alcohol swabs to minor cuts and larger wounds)
- Keep stirring and make sure the vegetables don't stick to the sides of the pan (Unravel the cotton bandages in order to make a crude headwrap)
- Turn the heat down to simmer, you don't want to burn everything. (Soak a cotton ball in antibiotic ointment and dab at smaller cuts that are in reach)

While Kristin was able to attend to cleaning up most of the blood, Jonathan's swelling eye looked absolutely terrible and she was hesitant to even attempt anything without further instruction. Unfortunately, her younger sister's safety tips were broad in their application and nothing pertained to eye injuries.

Very well, she would be carrying him to Megaton's Doctor of Churches.

Packing her things into her bag and stuffing any miscellaneous items of Jonathan's inside, like a particular laser pistol as well. Throwing on Jonathan's backpack, poking the hunting rifle and walking cane through the straps, she felt certain that she had everything. Kristin cradled Jonathan's limp body with more difficulty than usual (She was strong, but somewhat overburdened. Even if she would never admit it.) and proceeded to exit the room and head downstairs. Discovering her sword on the ground alongside a massive dent, she barked orders at a group of men to help her with the weapon. It took three slightly drunken individuals to lift the blade and successfully position it between the straps of backpack like the other weapons.

Strangely, she heard whispers about her blade as if few could pull it off from the ground, like some sword stuck in a stone.


Kristin BlamCo - Moriarty's Saloon - Some time later
'You have a visitor'

Kristin was sitting at Jonathan's bedside, alternating between bolting upright whenever there was activity with the doctor and dozing off on Jonathan's leg while she waited. She refused to leave, despite the Doctor insisting many times that she was either getting in the way or wasting her time. She would stay. She had a friend now and this is what friends do! She hoped. This was all somewhat new to her.

The journey to the clinic was uneventful, although in her concerned state, she did attempt to question the brahmin outside of the clinic about directions in this new town. While one of the two heads of the cow was perpetually looking at the sign to the clinic, Kristin thanked the Dairy Gods, Nipples and Cows for their infinite wisdom and guidance.

Doc Church, seemingly in a worse mood than he was the day before, was unhappy with seeing Jonathan at the clinic. Or was he upset at her? Either way, the doctor that owned no churches that she knew of, charged her a total of 200 caps for Jonathan's treatment. An amount that she was happy to provide, but a pit in her stomach had grown when she realised she had just spent the very last of her inheritance. The other 13.7 million caps were spent on armed transport from New Vegas to the Capital Wasteland.

The BlamCo Heiress never had to concern herself with things such as money. They tasted terrible.
There was this one instance where she paid 300 caps for a Nuka-Cola from a street vendor. To be fair, it was a lovely Nuka-Cola, so that explains the price.

Surely the Caravan drivers wouldn't lie about their fees because of her well-known heritage...right?
Perish the thought.

Right now, she was concerned about her friend and she would stay by his side until he woke up.
Although she did wonder about the punishment she would inflict upon the individual who was responsible for this.

Vault 112, Southern Capitol Wasteland, some miles North-East of the Dunwich Building

Though the Former Vault 101 Dweller (aka The Bastard of the Vague Yet Menacing Government Agency of Phillip J. Crazypants), had laid the first floor of Vault 112 low when they murdered their Liam Neesan (and some random jerks) repeatedly in a simulation before freeing him... that wasn't all that lay nestled deep inside that hole in the ground (no, not a hobbit-hole... though this one was neither dry nor particularly moist)were several more floors... most of which were filled with a maze of traps and stairs. Tripwires, gas mines, incendiary mines, auto-turrets, baseball catapults, shotgun battering rams (don't ask, or ask... I'm not explaining that one either way), spinning saw blades, and of course, the classic spike pit. You know, the essentials. All of it to keep people as far from a recently discovered formerly hidden wing of Vault 112.

Even Dr. Bruan didn't know about this wing, as it was secretly inserted by the Enc... I mean American Congress to store their greatest criminally insane masterminds, because f--- those horrible future mutant people. (and yes, the real Pint-Sized Slasher was being kept alive down there along with the infamous crime duo known only as Bonnie and Frankenstein's Monster's Bride's Third Cousin on Her Mother's Side Twice Removed) One of these ghoulish (no, not in that way) bodies was exhumed several years ago to make way for a creature far more dangerous than any of the others combined...

a creature covered head-to-toe in a pliable yet durable metal armor, a creature rumored to have single-handedly exterminated the Time-Traveling Kaiju Invasion of 2087. At least, that's one theory to account for all the giant piles of giant bones littering the Bible Belt Valley, and parts of the Sunken South. In fact, some cities are built entirely out of the junk... though ironically not "Boneyard."

"False advertising I tell ya," Johnny Truant said after narrowly evading yet another fiery skeeball trap.

I don't care, just get on with it you useless...-The Editor

"Okay okay! OW!" Johnny finished with a painful yelp of redundant pain as a pain-inducing poison was somehow introduced into his system by a dull tennis ball.

And so the two voices in Johnny's head argued as they made their way through the MC Escher-esque labyrinth, the two truly growing sick of each other.

"Okay, so which one should I open..."

Who cares?

"Ugh... eenie-meenie, minie..."

Would you get on with it? SOME of us have apocalypses to start.

"All right all right. Just shut up already." and without a further word, Johnny pressed a bunch of seemingly random buttons on a nearby Vault-Tec/Rob-Co Certified Terminal (TM), and presto! The pod with the new creature opened. The creature's first action was to draw its katanas and kill Johnny Truant with them. If this had been a certain... comic book character, there would probably be a fourth-wall-breaking joke here, but it wasn't, so there.

The creature howled and sliced poor Johnny to ribbons before The Editor could react. When the creature was done, The Editor gave a metaphysical shrug, teleported to the surface, turned into a giant glowing cloud of ever-shifting colors (most of which we don't currently have names for) that rained dead animals everywhere it went. Don't ask it where it got the dead animals. And this luminous cloud wandered through the skies, looking for a nice town to settle in... and possibly join the most dreaded of all secret organizations... the PTA.

Meanwhile, the creature continued howling as it made its way out of Vault 112, effortlessly evading all of the traps its former master had set up to keep it there.

Meanwhile meanwhile, in the Brotherhood of Steel Citadel...

The "android" who was really a time-traveling terrorist or at least uni-bomber, was attempting to sabotage the wiring for one of the nuclear silo consoles when it threw its virtual spine out, sending a devastating cascade of pain-data throughout its systems, locking them up in the process and making it involuntarily scream its heart out for about a minute before its volumator shorted out and needed an hour to recharge, leaving the demented android screaming in place under a key terminal, unheard... except... well...

It had a mouth, but it could only scream every hour on the hour.

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Moriarty's Saloon
Flowers, Trains and Fireworks GO!

There was a small part of Thomas "Shifty" McGee's mind that registered the fact that the door to his room hadn't closed fully and there was a large part of him that didn't care. What he did care about was the fact that he felt the warmth of Lucy Black's hand in his. What he did care about was the fact that he could smell the feminine scent of the One Eyed Gauss Girl trailing behind him, so utterly close, far closer than they'd ever been. The past pains faded into a distant memory as Thomas turned around to face the Mousy Haired girl that he'd once sworn to protect to the end and pulled her to him, his mouth seeking the softness of hers, his hands reaching down to lift the shorter woman upwards towards him, cupping the curves of her bottom.

Lucy's long and supple legs entangled themselves around the her pale lover, locking her in place as if she was warning him to not even hazard the thought of parting with her. Her fingers undid the buttons of his shirt, even as he moved a hand against her back, pressing her chest tightly against his. Her lips separated from his, as she pulled her shirt over her head, tossing it to the side as she was pressed up against one of the room's four metal walls.

They remained like that for a time, two people reconnecting, putting the horror's of their shared past behind them, clothing falling the ground like so much refuse strewn about the filthy room. There came a point in time where the Overly Friendly Former Undertaker looked at his Mousy Haired Lover, admiring the curves of her body, the tautness of her muscles. It was in that moment that he looked her in her eye and saw something. A hunger. A fire needing to be quenched. A need to get her mind obliterated by wanton physicality. Seeing these needs within the woman that he'd forever protect, he lead her towards the room's lone table and placed her upon it.

He was nothing if not obliging.


The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Moriarty's Saloon
Some time later...

The musky smell of what had just been done in the room hung heavy in the air, a cue card to anyone who stepped in the room as to what had just happened within its confines. Nevermind the figures that lay on the room's bed. Propped up on one elbow, the pale skinned man looked down at the formerly shy Gauss Girl. There was an understanding of sorts as to what she would want to do when she found out that he was leaving to help Arizona complete her mission. It was the last thing that he wanted. He'd come so close to being permanently separated from the woman that the thought of having her placed in harm's way was virtually unthinkable.

Yet, knowing Lucy and the type of woman that she had become, it would have been far easier to convince a Deathclaw not to eviscerate its victim than to convince the Gauss Rifle Wielding Woman to stay behind. Much had changed since the last time he saw her. The way she approached him earlier in the evening, the way she had commanded his attention and even the way she'd... well... it spoke of a confidence that she'd gained.

Still, in spite of the dangers that he and Arizona and Sylphee would be facing on the Road to Dunwich as well as inside Dunwich itself, there was a part of him that was selfish. It wanted her to go with him. It wanted her close to him. It wanted her to be around so that he had a reason to survive the trials that were to come. It wasn't just selfishness either. There was a certain fear that had taken root in a moment of post coital clarity. Lucy'd come out of the room belonging to the man that had knocked the Former Undertaker over the railing. A certain insecurity sprouted and took root.

Who was this man? What did he have to do with Lucy? What was she doing in his room?

Thomas banished these thoughts as he traced a line up Lucy's leg, up past her hips and beyond. The sensation of her smooth skin under his fingers didn't help him make a decision either way.

"Lucy... I..." He started to say, was about to say, wanted to say but couldn't. She wouldn't allow that, would she? It was at that point that he realized that he didn't know this version of Lucy. He saw little traces of the one of old but this one, this one was stronger, more fierce, more confident. Did she even need him to protect her anymore? Just who was she now? Would she have been better off if he'd never come to Megaton?

"I'm glad we found each other again." Thomas McGee said slowly, working words back into his vocabulary, "I know it's rather soon, but I will be leaving Megaton again. I've promised Miss Arizona to take her to the old Dunwich Building. I owe her for saving my life and this is what she's requested of me. I can only surmise from your expression that you want to accompany us. As much as I would want this in all the world, it does pain me to ask you to please, stay in Megaton."

He knew it was just wasted breath, but he had to try. He would continue to try to protect Lucy Black no matter what.

We now turn you over to the inner-domicile of Number One, leader of the Enclave and biggest badass ever to don a dark powersuit. He was approached by one of his men with a new report from the field, regarding FalloutScott. He'd been captured and was getting boozed up by the enemy to make him talk. At this, Number One laughed.

#35: What's so funny?

"What's so funny?! Have you SEEN that man drink?"

#35: Well, at any rate, FalloutGreg took his cycle out to go break him out.

That was going to be interesting, to say the least.

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Well! For the moment, let's head down to Dr. Evil's secret underground hideout, where a man with a knife and a fez has just been hit on the head with a flying laser pistol. He stumbled around a bit, and then fell down the garbage chute after accidentally pushing past Chester. The result went something like this...

Maaaybe going the Star Wars route wasn't a very good idea, after all... Anyway, let's see how Robin was faring now. She had just given the moonbase robot a complex set of instructions involving the maintenance bots and complex code in binary...which was going to fail hilariously, because - and let's just face it - this bot's a moron.

Still, he zipped off to do that aaand then Robin would hear the priming og two guns at her head from either side as the guards had found her at last. Looks like the Stealth Boy had worn out and she was finally exposed in this situation of prisoner escape...or escapades. Whatever.

"What do you think you're doing?"

Just then, Wheatley returned.

Wheatley: Okay, I've had a look into the situation and it does appear that some of the robots have 'gone rouge'. I found lipstick and eyeshadow and everything. It's pretty surreal, especially since none of us has any genders up here. Oh wait! I was suppose to say that in binary! Sorry...

The metal eyeball thing began to repeat what he just said in a series of ones and zeroes, with NO indicator if anything she had said had actually been implemented. However, because of this mishandling of information, it was extremely likely that the moonbase was distracted in some OTHER way. Kudoes for that much, at least. However, the guards were disconnecting her and taking her to a cell now. Probably the sauna.

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You know what's funny? What's funny is that as the Three Musketeers were heading UP into the DC Ruins on their quest to find Isaac Black, Isaac himself along with Liberty Minor was heading DOWN into the ruined city, on the grounds that he had to get to somewhere civilized like Rivet City so that he could find some REAL clothes and no the crap he was wearing right now. Seriously, Chinese soldier fatigues? Not good.

LM: Communism level still low, but do not push me...

The robot had wanted to go after Metal Gear Box, but Isaac had told him that they needed a LITTLE more than the two of them to take that thing down. Right now, Isaac had a knife, a chinese assault rifle, and a fair amount of ammo, but he was not going to be taking down giant robots today. Not without more weaponry, armor, and allies. Now...to go find those things. He stopped at an old refrigerator, and in investigating it...

Isaac: Hey...BlamCo!

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Lunch, it was, as Talion and David headed north with...with Metal Gear Box following them. David sighed.

FalloutDavid: Honestly, it's like a lost puppy...

It was only due to the fact that it had discovered that what it had been ordered to eliminate was already dead It followed them all the way to the FORMER Republic of Dave, which was most-definitely converted into a kind of fenced-off Enclave vertibird airfield, some of them painted black because David liked it that way and they were souped up, besides. Well, Talion... You are covered from behind (by the BOX), ahead (with a number of black-armored soldiers), and above (due to vertibirds). The guy beside you is looking a little smug, but he's not laying it on thick.

FalloutDavid: So, any questions, then? Or shall we begin?

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We're a LONG WAY from Nightvale, so that Editor was in for a helluva trip. Curiously, it would have noted the words 'Johnny Truant was critically hit for 156 points of damage and was killed.' before it left, but since it was out of this story, it didn't matter WHAT it saw. Still, nevermind that for now. Let's talk about the nutjob who was exiting the the Vault into the Smith Casey Garage, only to hear...

"Okay, we should be safe in here."

"Man, what WERE those people? The big one had only one eye!"

"Doesn't matter. When they come by, we'll jump 'em and kill 'em, and then we'll EAT 'em..."

Half a dozen moderately-armed raiders were taking refuge in here. Why? Well, because outside...there was a small group of Shadowrunners. They had somehow gotten thrown into this universe by a weirdly-disturbing room and a cowboy abomination that says nothing but "Howdy". Standing outside and gradually approaching this building? A group of four: Orc, Cyclops, Elf, and Human. They were from a cyberpunk world with magic in it, and things hadn't been all that great for them, but so far at least they were intact...

Joe Slayer: What the hell was that Gary-Sylphy business all about?

Jonesy: Got me. Some kind of clone war, I think. Glad that's over with.

Speck: *Sigh* War... What's it even good for?

Coyote: Lucrative paychecks, big guy. That's life.

Well, for THEM, anyway. But what would life be for those raiders now? Very short, perhaps?

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Well, #411 had been loaded into a vertibird that had arrived shortly after Arizona and Thomas/Shifty had with Sylph. However, Natsuki hadn't left. She decided to stick around after sending Rufio back to Constance. Why? Because she knew that something good and funny was happening in this town, and she was gonna WATCH. Hence, she donned her wide-brim hat and Clint Eastwood-style clothing and followed them around town, getting a look at all the happenings and goings-on, which finally settled at Moriarty's. Oh, that chaos nearly made the poor Diclonius fall out of her chair with laughter. But then, Lucy Black came into the picture and things took a different kind of entertaining turn. She watched them head upstairs and got Jack on comms.

Natsuki: Just saw Lucy Black and Shifty McGee. Game, Set, and Match, dad. You're good.

-What? You think I somehow organized that? All I did was give the girl some breathing room and release the guy.-

Natsuki: Come on, you big romantic... I know you did that SO this would happen. I've got it recorded, you know.

-One for the scrapbook, eh kid?-

"OH GOD MY BACK!!!"

Aaand that was her cue to go outside and watch Slyph-related hijinx.

Years ago l Raven Rock
Have a cigar

It had been a long day.

Jonathan slouched over his desk, head resting on his hand, as he stared at some blueprints and feigned attention. This would have been a typical day for him, if not for the unnaturally high streak of unsucceful weapon tests, the last of which having been especially disastrous as it resulted in an explosion that took out the hand and most of the arm of the unfortunate soul used to test the pistol.

Drummond stood over him, hands resting on his sides, mumbling nonsensical justifications about why he was not to blame for the malfunction. "So, uh... you see, given all the points that I have, uh, listed, we can, uh, conclude that the failure was, uh, with absolute certainty, not my fault."

It had been his fault, of course. James insisted that it was the experimental energy cell's fault that caused the explosion, something about it being extremely unstable. Which, much like every single other excuse Drummond has uttered in the 10 years that Jonathan had the displeasure of working with him, was bullshit. Energy cells were not combustible. If they were, the amount of blown up feet across the wasteland would have phenominally increased from accidentally stepping onto one. That was common knowledge, something that any so-called scientist knew well. But Drummond never was a scientist, his position coming through nepotism due to the fact that he had high ranking parents.

Jonathan wanted to call him out on his nonsense, but standing your ground and fighting for your dignity against a guy with connections is a surefire way to get yourself demoted into oblivion. So, he did what any smart person in his situation would do: Feign interest, let your mind wander and hope the day ends quick enough for you to not have gone postal.

It should be any minute now.

Jonathan took a glance at his Pip-Boy's clock. The day's shift couldn't end any faster. He wondered how exactly he'd be able to spend the next hour and 25 minutes without smashing Drummond's face with a chair. Listening to his drivel was an every day occurence, but this time it was way too early; the explosion abruptly ended the day's tests sooner than usual, and now he had to content with the vain attempt of some blundering idiot to cover his own ineptitude by shifting the blame. And he'd have to deal with that for the next hour and... 20 minutes.

And that idiot just didn't want to shut up.

What a day.

He sighed, wondering what kind of excuse he could come up with to leave earlier. A simple stomach ache or other such mundane ailment wouldn't achieve much; Raven Rock had the best medical facilities in the Capital Wasteland, and medicine was abundant and effective enough that he'd be administered some and be sent back to work. That wouldn't even take 15 minutes, but at this point even 15 minutes away from here were tempting.

The electronic door slid open, and as it did Drummond dropped a sentence half-finished. Loud, mechanical footsteps were heard entering the lab, and as Jonathan turned to face the source he immediately recognized the large, cumbersome pitch-black Power Armour that had become the symbol of the Enclave's technological dominance of the Wasteland.

"Jonathan Aristotle McKenna" went an emotionless, almost robotic voice from within the armor, and Jonathan felt his chest tighten.

"That... would be me." he answered as he raised his hand lightly, his voice coming out as a bit too anxious for his liking. Silence followed for a few seconds as the armoured figure turned to see Jonathan Face-to-Helmet, the intimidating facelessness of the stare causing cold sweat to run down his forehead.

"You are to return to your quarters immediately." the soldier finally ordered, before taking a 180 degree turn and leaving the room. Jonathan exchanged a few confused glances with James, before getting up and getting his things.

I have a very bad feeling about this.

"I suppose I shall be going now."

"Yeah, I, uh, um... think that's best. Hey, uh, Jon, about the-"

"Don't worry," Jon said with a smile, patting James on the shoulder, "You're right. The energy cell was unstable. It was my fault, not yours. I'll try and fix it when I am given the chance."

He maintained that smile until he walked out of the door and into the corridor, wherein he let out a "grrrr" of exasperation. It always ended like this. Drummond would fuck up, refuse to acknowledge the fact that he fucked up, leaving Jonathan with having to clean up his fuck up. Business as usual.

Speaking of fuck ups, Clearwater, inconspicuous as ever with his ridiculous top hat and pretentious monocle, walked towards his direction absorbed in his own world as he usually were.

"Felines? No, no. Too small. Oh, I know! Canines! Yes, canines will..." he mumbled as he walked by Jonathan. What was he talking about? Probably another one of his crazy experiments.

But Jonathan didn't have time to wonder about the abstract thoughts of a man too far gone into the depths of insanity. He had been ordered to return to his quarters, and that "immediately" obviously meant he needed to hurry up with it. He started walking down the metal corridor with hurried steps, anxious as to what awaited him if he was late, aswell as when he arrived. He passed the other labs and testing facilities without much of a second thought, until...

The door from one of the labs slid open, and from inside emerged a man carrying a large box, large enough to conceal his face. The man, blind of the world in front of him, walked outside into the corridor just as Jonathan was about to pass, and Jon, unable to react quick enough in such a short time frame, crashed right into him, the box doing its best simulation of a plane crash as it went aflight only to crash violently to the ground, spilling its contents onto the metallic vault floor.

"Woah!"

Next thing he knew they were both on the floor, groaning, as Jonathan rubbed his collision-hurting face. "Watch where you're going, damnit!" he lashed out angrily, before taking a better look at the man he run into, "Whitley?"

Whitley was one of the few people in Jonathan's mind that had been blessed with both competence and decency. What's more, he was also quite the innovative mind, and Jonathan had heard good things about his current project. During the brief time they had worked together in the past Jonathan had taken a liking to him, and considered him a friend, one of the few he had.

"Sorry about that, Jon..." Whitley groaned as he got up and offered a hand of assistance, "I've been having a long day."

"That makes two of us," Jonathan replied as he stood, taking a look at the box, "What's that all about? You're changing projects?"

"Yeah... about that..." Whitley scratched his head, "I'm being transfered, Jon. To the Airbase."

"What? Why? Why didn't you tell me?"

Whitley shugged and shook his head "You've been having a rough time too, I didn't want to add to the pile of your troubles."

"And here I thought you were smarter than that," Jonathan sighed, "Look, Whitley... I am in a hurry right now and-"

"That's fine, I can pick up my stuff on my own, don't worry ab-"

"I didn't finish. Before you leave, let's meet up one last time, all right? Have a drink, hang out. Give you a proper goodbye until next time."

"Yeah, I'd love to."

"Look forward to it then. Catch you later."

* * *

Jonathan stood outside his room, his hand laying on the handle of the door, thinking on what could be awaiting inside for him. This was rather unusual behaviour that he had been subjected to, being relieved of his duties so abruptly, without so much of a warning. Whatever the reason for that was, it was serious, and most likey unpleasant. But waiting outside would only make things worse, and so Jonathan, taking a deep breath, opened the door and walked inside.

He hated being right.

Sitting on a chair on the opposite side of the table, sit a woman clad in pitch-black officer's uniform, her long, straight black hair resting down her left shoulder, staring at Jonathan with cold grey blue eyes. Her arms rested on a folder laying on the table. From the angle he was standing, he couldn't quite make out what was written on it.

"You are late." she stated emotionlessly, her otherwise beautiful face hiding all emotion. If she had any; Jonathan was having second thoughts on that.

"Hello to you too, Emily." he retorted just as coldly, laying his things on the bed before sitting on the chair opposite of her, "Long time no see."

"Not since the divorce." she paused, as though examining him, "You should shave that stubble off. It is unfitti-"

"And you should learn to mind your own business." he let out a sigh of discontent, "I'm really not in the mood to deal with you right now, so can you please drop this awful excuse of small talk and get to the point?"

Emily blinked once, which for her was a rather spirited response. "Very well. The higher ups have taken note of you."

Shit, thought Jonathan, this must be about the weapon tests.

"Look, if this is about the explosion earlier today, it was an accident, ok? You can tell them that-"

"This has nothing to do with whatever insignificant project you are currently working on. The president himself has taken note of your abilities, Jonathan, and so I have been told to recruit you."

"If this is your idea of a joke, I am not laughing."

"See for yourself, then." she said, sliding the folder to his side of the table. The words "TOP SECRET" were written in bright red on the front of the folder, and inside lay an assortment of pages, the first of which having only two words:

PROJECT PURITY

He skimmed through the rest of the pages, his eyes widening the more he read. Finishing his brief read, he closed the folder, took a few seconds to stomach it all, and finally spoke: "You do understand what all of this means, right?"

"Complete victory for the Enclave."

"Through genocide."

"We are the last pure humans on earth. Desperate times call for desperate measures."

He sighed, "And you say that you have been sent to recruit me?"

"Yes. You will abandon your current project. Tomorrow guards will come to take you to your new workplace, aswell as new residence. I suggest you start packing."

"And what if I refuse?"

"Are you truly that much of a fool?"

"I did marry you."

She flinched, "I did tell my superiors you weren't worth the trouble."

"You may be onto something there. But no, I accept." Refusing after having read something of such significance would have likely ended with him in a shooting gallery.

"Then my task here is done." she said, getting up, grabbing the folder on her way out, "I hope this is the last time we have to meet."

"The feeling is mutual." Jonathan replied, and she slammed the door shut.


Present Day I Doc Church's Clinic
Pain and Loathing

He woke to an unfamiliar ceiling. This was not the first time this had happened today, though hopefully it was the last. His head felt fuzzy and heavy, and his eyesight was somewhat blurrier -his left eye felt pretty wierd. Taking a few moments to fully wake up, he tried to get a grip of his surrounings -which on second glance looked familiar- aswell as remember what happened, his memory a haze of horror and bitterness. He was attacked, that much was certain. He remembered everything suddenly going black, and hammers falling on his head, but everything after that was a blur.

He laboured himself upwards, and the world spun as he felt a jolt of pain on his head. It took a few seconds for the dizziness to set off, and when it did Jonathan was greeted to the reflection of his bandaged forehead and blackened eye on a mirror placed on the table between two beds.

I look like shit.

But the reflection did more than just make him think depricatory comments about his looks, and he started remembering what happened more clearly.

The memory of Lucy kissing McGee as he bled to death was especially painful to remember.

It never gets any better.

His disposition -already shit as it were- dropping, Jonathan sighed heavily as he realised where he were. Doc Church's clinic, and to be more specific, the very same bed that Lucy Black was lying on.

The universe's sense of humour is as sharp as ever.

The question as to how he got there was quickly answered, for he finally noticed Kristin sitting on a chair on the other side of the bed. He gave her a truly hopeless glare, the kind that said "I need a break from living", and shifted his body to sit on the bed beside her. He sighed yet again, this time slouching forward, his forearms resting on his legs, before slowly turning to face Kristin.

"Well," he started and turned to face the floor, leaving his head hanging, "This is a sorry state of affairs."

Lucy Black - Megaton - Moriarty's Saloon
'A little backstory...'

They met under extraordinary circumstances.
When they met, the Dedicated Lover had sought to the Restless Lover's protection.
They bonded over a bottle of terrible alcohol and uncoordinated dancing.
They shared their first kiss at a bar.

One lover's heart was restless and the remaining lover was fearfully pushed away. The Restless Lover pursued her ambitions and the Dedicated Lover followed her on a path of uncertainty. Reluctantly reunited, yet fiercely protective, the lovers were forcibly torn apart by forces beyond their control. Convinced that they were lost to one another, the Restless Lover's heart had grown volatile. The spark of hope was extinguished and thorns had grown around her heart. The Dedicated Lover was punished for walking a path that was not his own. Eventually he was released with no hope left in his world, the Formerly Dedicated Lover had given up.

When all was lost, the lovers were given glimpses of hope.
The Dedicated Lover stood tall once more and the Tired Lover gathered her remaining strength.

The insurmountable odds regarding their journey was not within their trials and tribulations. No. It was within their reunion.

The lover's found one another once more under extraordinary circumstances.
During their reunion, it was the Tired Lover that sought to the Dedicated Lover's protection.
They had shared another kiss at another bar.
With no need for pleasantries, they chose to bond in one of the most raw forms of passionate expression.


Lucy Black - Megaton - Moriarty's Saloon
'Hello again'

Lucy's body was aching, she was exhausted from her burst of adrenaline and the more direct use of her remaining strength to feed a suppressed desire that had been pushed aside for far too long. She was well aware that by feeling the effects of her actions, a good kind of ache, signalled that the effects of Med-X had largely dissipated. More pleasingly on a personal level, she was content with knowing that her actions weren't being guided by any foreign substance in her system.

In this very moment, Lucy Black had her head buried in the pale chest of Thomas 'Shifty' McGee, not because she was feeling bashful, instead, she was listening to his heartbeat. She had to be sure that this was not an elaborate dream.

Lucy Black slowly traced a fingernail along his chest, every so often her eye lingered to admire his lean yet surprisingly toned build. Peering upwards to catch his attention, the lustful female wasted no time by taking every opportunity to lean in for a tender kiss and more. Her usually overactive mind had retained a pleasant sense of serenity every time Lucy had seized control. In this instance, the covers had slipped off the pair when he was being straddled and she was leaning in for another heart-pounding kiss. Moments later, they were entangled once more, alternating between thinly-veiled admiration and bursts of physical intensity.

This was how it continued until Lucy drifted off to sleep for a scant few seconds, only to be interrupted with some sensation, in this case a fingertip making its way along her thigh had sent chills up her spine and caused her to snuggle closer to Thomas. She never wanted this to end, she wanted this to carry on for the day, she wanted no interruptions, she wanted to continue in her bubble of happiness, she wanted to make him bite his lip every time she -

"Lucy... I...", Thomas broke their wordless communication with an uncharacteristic sense of trepidation. The Eloquent Undertaker was not remembered for his hesitation, in fact, caution had layered much of Thomas McGee's actions in their short time together. Despite their clear intentions and almost effortless nonverbal communication, Lucy had found herself guiding Thomas and pushing for more. While he was a considerate and gentle lover by all accounts, Thomas appeared to be handling her with a sense of fragility, as if one wrong move would break the former bashful bookworm of a girl. Even Lucy's actions today had surprised her, at what point had she become so forceful? Regardless, she listened without directly looking at him.

"I'm glad we found each other again." Thomas McGee slowly admitted his feelings, again with a great deal of hesitation. "I know it's rather soon, but I will be leaving Megaton again. I've promised Miss Arizona to take her to the old Dunwich Building. I owe her for saving my life and this is what she's requested of me. I can only surmise from your expression that you want to accompany us. As much as I would want this in all the world, it does pain me to ask you to please, stay in Megaton."

Her eye narrowed to form a brief glare before glazing over as she stared at him after his little speech, the corners of her lips had relaxed and she looked...bored. So very bored by such a predictable proposition. It was not chivalrous.

Without missing a beat:

"Absolutely not.", Lucy replied in flat defiance. "You are 'asking' me, are you not? That implies that you are giving me a choice in joining you on your travels."

Thomas 'Shifty' McGee may have unintentionally touched a nerve right now.

"I refuse to just let you walk away. I refuse to let Sylph go again. And I refuse to be treated like some delicate flower.", Lucy looked at Thomas, not with anger, but with a delayed sense of frustration. A delayed reaction to finding someone you thought you lost to be alive again. With her vision becoming blurry, the frustrated Lucy continued, "I missed you so much. I thought you were dead. I grieved for you in that hellhole of a Vault and I had to sit right across from FalloutJack, FalloutIsaac's apprentice, Number One, leader of the Enclave and manipulate my way out of there. With help, I lead four other people to safety while I abandoned my mission. I turned on the Enclave..."

And Lucy explained how she stayed with the unstable group that consisted of Sylph/Johnny Truant/Beryl and William. Passing traveller's like Alice and Constance were mentioned. As were the raider attacks, Lucy's sisterly bond with Sylph/Sylphee and how she had come to acquire her militaristic dress and eastern style sword. On top of that, Lucy touched on her one-sided duel with FalloutJack after shooting down his vertibird, their exchange and subsequent deal, hence why her rifle was nowhere to be seen.

After a significant pause, Lucy rested her head on Thomas McGee's chest before wiping her tears away. It seemed like there was a lot of pent-up emotions for the one-eyed girl.

"I want to be with you. Wherever it takes us, whatever you're doing, I want to be at your side.", Lucy looked at him directly once more, "Do you understand me?"

Sitting up on her elbows, Lucy turned to look at Thomas with clear concern in her eye. She had always been stubborn, but she sounded downright abrasive in comparison to the self that she remembered when first meeting the Undertaker.

"I have another reason. I was going to use it as an excuse, well --- do you remember the Enclave Agent that froze you? #411. She had slash has a target painted on your back if there was any suspicion of me double-crossing the Enclave again. I don't exactly know anymore, so..."

Lucy explained #411's visit to her home. How Shifty was leverage in a manipulation plan or else he would have been gunned down. Considering it was Jonathan's business, she left out those details. Kristin didn't make her way into the conversation just yet, nor did the loss of her eye...she had been speaking for far too long and had most likely probably ruined the mood for the two lovers.

Lucy sighed and appeared crestfallen after having to relive the events of her reality, "I'm sure there's a lot that you want to ask. But I have one request before you start."

Leaning towards Thomas, she whispered, "Kiss me..."

Even for a few seconds, she wanted to suppress her feelings and gain control.

In an attempt to lighten the behemoth-heavy mood, she smiled slightly and added, "...and I want to hear all about you."

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Moriarty's Saloon
Shifty Shaming

Lucy Black was right in all things. She was right to shame both the man as well as his request. What he was asking of her was not an act of chivalry but one set in cowardice. In asking for the One Eyed Former Gauss Girl to stay in Megaton, The Former Undertaker of the East was asking her to live in an oxidized cage. In asking for the woman that lay on his chest, staring up at him intently, to stay behind while he ventured off to assist Arizona, he was committing her to an imprisonment that was worse than the one he'd just been released from in that she would be imprisoned by someone who cared deeply for her and were he to never come back, she would be left wondering if there was something that she could have done to save him. He was a man dying of thirst and yet hoarding his water and yet too afraid to drink for fear that he would make a misstep and drop his canteen.

The shame that he felt, the fear of the possibility of losing her once again, these feelings were joined by regret as he felt the sensation of wetness upon his chest. Looking down, he saw them, like so many cold gems. The tears explored the softness of the woman's face before landing upon his chest. He had never wanted to be a reason that Lucy cried and yet, there she was, tears rolling down her face, because of him. Looking up at the sky beyond the rotted ceiling above them, the Undertaker entrenched himself in his thoughts even as he listened to the woman in his bed speak.

It was not an act of chivalry. It was a denial that Lucy Black was unable to strengthen herself mentally and emotionally in Thomas "Shifty" McGee's absence. It was a failure to accept the woman with whom he'd just shared the most intimate of acts. He had every right to have been shamed for his request was the request of a coward so intent on never again suffering a loss that he never again lived. This was not the sort of person that Lucy Black deserved at her side.

As he listened to the tale that the former wielder of the prototype GR+ spun, the realization of the depth of his denial became apparent to him. That Lucy had successfully lead a group of four out of the Enclave Vault, that they'd survived a massive ambush by Raiders, that they'd made allies, that she'd successfully parlayed for her freedom from Enclave interference was only further evidence of the woman that Lucy was. With that realization came another, it was that he was asking the wrong question. The question was not whether Lucy Black needed the protection of Thomas "Shifty" McGee, it was whether or not Thomas "Shifty" McGee deserved such a woman at his side, in his life.

His jaw clenched tightly as he heard the Formerly Shy Slip of a Girl explain his unwitting participation as a pawn in another one of Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411's machinations. Were he a better man, he would have killed the woman with his own two hands, even if it were the cause of his own death. But that... that was an old line of thought. He could only accept it and plan ahead with Lucy Black as an equal partner.

"I'm sure there's a lot that you want to ask. But I have one request before you start." Leaning towards Thomas, she whispered, "Kiss me...and I want to hear all about you."

Place her chin between his index finger and thumb, the Friendly Former Undertaker and Current Fornicator leaned down to kiss the entrancing woman who lay on his chest. His hungry lips sought the softness of her's even has his tongue ran along the inside of Lucy's lips. Arms wrapped tightly around soft curves drawing her in closer and closer. There was a manic desperation in that kiss. A desire to be forgiven for having the audacity to misjudge. A need for acceptance. The kiss broke after a moment, Thomas' heart pounded within his too small chest.

"I was adrift for a while," Thomas admitted reluctantly, "There was no longer any port that I could call home and no bearing to follow. It didn't matter though, not to me. I had no desire to continue eking out a simple existence without the company of others, not after that wench #411 had lied to me and told me that you'd been killed by the Undertaker's Union for my involvement with your affairs as well as the revealing to you what they were. My sole purpose become seeing life through the bottom of a bottle. Alcohol became my sole companion, my sole partner, my sole confidant and like any other fool that takes her into their life as heavily as I did, I began to suffer for it. Were it not for the timely intervention of Arizona, I never would have made it here, which is why I am indebted to her, which is why we will go to the Dunwich Building with her."

"Ultimately though, it was Sylph that gave me evidence of that you were alive in the form of the key that she had, the very same key that I gave you ages ago in the Citadel. As to why she doesn't remember you or why she isn't attempting to murder me for the death of my brother, I'd more likely be successful at arm wrestling a Mirelurk than attempt to explain her actions in terms of logic and reason. It was because of those two that I traveled here. They gave me the hope that a bottle could never give."

Thomas exhaled loudly, dispelling the nervousness that he felt for revealing the depth of his sorrow and weakness to the woman who'd become so strong in his absence. Where she had flourished, he had wilted. But this was a moment where could change all of that. While the experience had left him a vulnerable and broken man, he'd discovered the one thing that could make him whole once again.

"Of course, that's little comfort to the Raiders that Sylph quite literally dropped a building on top of." There was a wry smile that appeared on the Former Undertaker's face as the replayed his trials with Sylph and Sylphee in tow.

A moment of levity. The sense of a change in the winds, in his fortunes. Thomas felt these things. Where once he had something worth dying for, he had someone worth living for. Looking down at the woman beside him, her body devoid of any scrap of clothing, he felt it, the hunger for her rise within him once again. Leaning down, he kissed her once again, this time rolling a top her and pinning her hands against the bed's headboard, unaware of the eyes the color of stormy skies that peeked through the crack in the door.


The Wild Wastelands | Megaton
A Ghoul and a Psychopath blow off some steam

Darkness. It was friend to those who were seeking to distance themselves from the scene of a crime that had just been committed. In Sylph's case, it was the random murder of a number of Megatonians in an attempt to relieve herself of the stressful annoyance that had built up in her system whilst being forced to witness the absolute lunacy that followed Sylphee around like an all too clingy lover. The escape was suddenly cut short, however, as a set of lights were turned on, bathing both the Red Menace and Miss Arizona in a cacophony of neon. Someone had setup a carnval in the town of Megaton.

The girl paused for a moment, regarding the crowd that had started to gather, laughing, smiling, drinking, eating. The smell of exotic roast meats and spices and liquors wafted in their direction, causing the Blue Haired Bitch's mouth to water. She appeared to hesitate for a moment but then suddenly turned to walk in another direction, away from the noise and sights.

"Idiots." Sylph muttered as she passed Arizona.

Glancing back at her as she passed by, walking away from the sights, smells and sounds of a carnival, Arizona couldn't help but huff to herself. Before, as her "other" self, Sylph seemed more than happy to indulge in anything she considered fun or interesting at the drop of a metaphorical hat. Now, she acted like she loathed the very idea of fun.

"Sure they are, but at least the Wastes could use something like this a little more. World's miserable enough as it is." she pointed out blandly, before she turned to face her properly.

"And you know, I think you owe me an explanation of the whole... Sylph and Sylphee thing. Doing that over food sounds like just the thing." Arizona told her firmly, reaching out to grab the back of her shirt collar and drag her back.

The Red Menace attempted to struggle, though the struggle was half hearted as compared to what it could have been. At the very least, Arizona wasn't impaled by the hidden wrist blade mounted on Sylph's right arm. No matter how grumpy you were, there was only so much resistance that one could put up in the face of delicious meats and liquors. The struggling finally subsided after a few minutes and the Ghoul found herself dragging dead weight towards the dining stalls that had been set up in the center of carnival area. Though the foods varied in flavor and in price, there was one thing that they had in common, they were horribly unhealthy, each on having been deep fried in some manner or another. There was even a deep fried liquor vendor.

Settling down at a table, Sylph waited for Arizona patiently as she went from stall to stall to stall collecting various and copious amounts of food and drink. As she waited for the Ghoul to return she thought of what sort of answer she would give. She wasn't too sure of how she'd come to be the way she was. She only knew that Father was responsible for this, somehow.

Arizona was glad that Sylph didn't argue. As it was, the girl was trouble, and even an old biddy like herself didn't want to deal with that kind of trouble, but she wanted an explanation, she wanted to eat, and she definitely needed a drink. Especially with how she felt the conversation would go with Lucy Black later on. It wasn't going to be easy from what she could see. So as Sylph sat down, she started to peruse the offerings.

By the time she had gotten back to the Blue-Haired Girl, she was carrying a pair of misshapen trays absolutely laden with food. From deep fried Fancy Lads to Iguana, Mole Rat and Brahmin fried on sticks, it piled high enough to Sylph's chin when the old Ghoul set them down, before reaching into her pack for a few bottles of her favored Scotch. In fact, it looked like she had taken a little bit of everything on offer, except for the deep fried liquor. She scoffed at the very idea for two reasons: One, she had no idea how someone would actually deep fry alcohol. And two, one never ruined even decent hooch in the wastes. You just didn't.

So when she sat across from the Red Menace, she motioned to the food before taking a bite of a fried Fancy Lad Snack Cake.

"Erm lisherning." she grumbled as she chewed, eye staring intently into Sylph's.

Sylph hesitated for a moment, picking up a deep fried molerat on a stick, the Red Menace took an experimental bite, her eyes widening for the briefest of moments before the hardness returned as she cast it back on a plate.

"Gross." Sylph said as she picked it back up and took another bite, eying the Ghoul, who was still looking at her expecting a story in regards to her origins. There was some things that she remembered and it was this that was relayed to Arizona.

"I was alone in a place that was dark where I would have to fight other children like me." Sylph started out, "and one day they gave me to Father. He took care of me. He trained me. But he never said that he loved me. He never told me that I was doing a good job. And then he made her. He locked me away inside of her. The annoying little cunt. I have to watch her walk around making a fool out of us."

The Crimson menace hesitated for a moment, her memory of being locked away seemed to have affected her greatly, though she tried to hide it. If there was something that Arizona noticed about Sylph, no matter how the girl felt, she tried to hide it. Her desire to enter the Carnival, hidden from view. Her enjoyment of the food, hidden from view. The hurt that she felt from being rejected by the one who saved her from the gladitorial slave pits, hidden from view. The girl wasn't a girl, she was a girl made to live as a shadow.

"Mmmm. This is good." Sylph said as she took a drink from a bottle of hooch.

True to her word, Arizona listened to the girl as she told her what she could remember of how she became both Sylph and Sylphee. As she did, the Ghoul's eye narrowed a little at how she reacted to everything around her. Sylph didn't go into a long, elaborate story. Her explanation was terse and just a little bit bitter, and it painted the picture of a poor slave girl, used by those in power above her, never loved or truly appreciated, and then forced to be imprisoned in her own head with a childish moron. But Arizona forced her face to stay neutral as she finished her snack cake, brushing off her hand on her fatigue pants.

"So," she said finally, "You figure you need to distance yourself from everything that other girl likes, huh? Be as different as possible. While she's loud, loves to have fun and basically irritate everyone around her, you decide you need to be serious, alone and otherwise kill everyone around you?"

Twisting her lips into a sneer, she reached over to grab a bottle of her own and took a long pull from it.

"Yea, that's a wonderful plan. Lying to yourself makes for a wonderful lifestyle." she said harshly, "There's no shame in enjoying yourself, or admitting that you're hurting. And girlie, I can tell that you're hurting. I still have my good eye, so I ain't blind."

Sylph looked at the ghoul in a manner that stated that she could rememdy this issue of being able to see that she was hurt with one swift strike and while she would have normally done something about this feeling, she didn't. Instead, the girl retreated, standing up and walking towards Moriarty's.


The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Moriarty's Saloon
Bye bye

She'd been there for a time, standing next to the nearly closed door that lead into her Father's room. She'd been standing there just listening. Not to what the two individuals did to eachother within the room's confines but rather what was said. It appeared that Lucy and Sylph had once been, close. She'd been the one who had gifted her the katana as well as the uniform. She'd been the one who gave her the key that she kept close by. Unconsciously, the Crimson Menace brushed off the unifrom of the dust that had built up during her travels.

The two seemed happy together, genuinely and truly happy together. While there was part of her that wanted to enter the room and destroy whatever happiness was inside, there was another that wanted to leave them be. Knowing that Father was to leave with Miss Arizona, it was more than likely that Lucy would follow and likely die with both Miss Arizoan and Father. While she didn't remember the things that Lucy Black and Father discussed, she knew them to be historically factual. It explained how she'd come to have these items and there was the sensation that these events that actually occured.

As she stood in the doorway, listening to Father and Lucy join together once again, Sylph, remembered Arizona's words and made her decision and headed towards her room. She would leave with Miss Arizona that night with Dunwich being the destination in mind.


The Wild Wastelands | Doctor Evil's Vault of Evil
That was a close one

It seemed that going down the garbage chute was the wrong thing to do and thankfully the fact that the fez wearing miscreant had fallen into the chute was enough of a reason for the trio of escapees to not follow suit. Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209, still naked as a newborn, took point and headed down the corridor, looking rather confused as each and every one of the mother f'ing corridors looked exactly the same. It was quite obvious that orienteering was not #209's strong suit, nor was puzzle solving, nor was etiquette, nor was critical thinking or even thinkinig in general. The Enclave Dominator was only good at one thing, dominating on the battlefield. Show him a target and he'd blast the fuck out of it, destroy it, light it on fire.

"Hey, you two. Where the hell are we going now?" E.D. #209 asked as he waved in a generalized direction, never mind the sign that pointed them in the direction of Doctor Evil's lair.

The Three Musketeers, visiting dreams.

Unbeknownst to two of our dear trio of William, Evan, and Dudley, one of them had been in the throes of a particularly vivid dream the night before. Maybe it was something in the water, maybe it was something he ate, or maybe it was something to do with him facing some sort of personal struggle that must be resolved if he was to have a happy ending to all of this.

The ride was a quiet one so far, the Three Musketeers had started to bear north a little, as they followed the road at Evan's insistence. All three were not speaking, but one remembered.

A midsummer Knight's dream...

The roar of his motorbike engine slowly died away, like some beast settling down for the night. All around him the wasteland was pitch black, save for the small campfire he was now approaching. Sitting at it was a man William had only met once before in his life, Tom Nevets, the man he had encountered shortly after finding THE ENCLAVE WANTS YOU poster.

"Come closer William, we've prepared a place for you." Said Nevets, in a voice not at all how William remembered it. He didn't look away from the campfire as William approached and sat down on a folded blanket by the fireside. There were several other places set, but no sign of anyone else at the camp.

"Why are you here, William Knight?" enquired Tom Nevets, still not taking his gaze away from the flame, "What are you doing in this place?" he asked.

"You asked me to join you at the campfire, I needed somewhere to bed down for the night and it would have been rude to ignore your invitation." Replied William, whose gaze kept being drawn to the mesmerising flames that held Nevets' gaze.

"No, William. I mean what are you doing out here?" Said Nevets in monotone, giving the surrounding wasteland an indication with a sweep of his arm, yet never looking away from the fire. William was able to break his gaze from the fire and realise there were no landmarks or visible terrain, no hills, roads, or towers were at all visible. All around was an infinite flatness, with just the small fire.

"I don't understand, I'm doing the same as you. I travel the wasteland looking for work as a mercenary, just like you. What's to know about that?" Asked William, becoming aware he couldn't stand up and that his own gaze was being drawn to the fire.

"Are you sure you aren't running away, William? You've been running away for years, and have left a trail of dead and abandoned in your wake. You have been running away all this time, just like Tom Nevets was." Said the figure hunched over by the fireside, the voice now almost unrecognisable. "This place is filled with people running away, and they keep running until they die. Tom Nevets died, he died a week after you met him, now he doesn't run away anymore. He's at peace. If you keep running away, you'll soon be at peace too."

"What? How did he die?" Asked William in a quiet voice, it was strange to think Tom Nevets had only a week to live after meeting him. Each and every person had a finite time to live, and no indication of when it would end.

"The simplest of things, somebody killed him. Tom Nevets was killed by a man he didn't know, for a handful of caps. Once he was a newborn baby, cradled by a loving mother. Then he was a child, growing up amongst the ruins of a dead world. Now he is a dead man, it happens to everyone in the end." Said whatever was using Nevets' appearance to speak to William.

"Is that what you see for me? My fate... my death? One day soon I'll die and be forgotten..." William's voice trailed off as he stared closer at the fire, he thought he could see shapes in the flames, the outlines of buildings he recognised.

"I cannot say for sure, I do not know the future, but certain things are inevitable. You live a dangerous life, all it would take is one bullet to end that. Do you think you will grow old, and still live the same life you do now?" Droned the voice.

"I hadn't thought about it." Replied William tersely. The flames of the fire suddenly burst up as if in anger.

"LIES!" Hissed Tom Nevets, "You think of it every day, your own mortality, and you know you cannot continue like this forever. It preys on your mind, do not lie to me again, I shall know." Warned Nevets.

The campfire died down and William could see somebody else sitting across from him now. This was an older man, possibly in his forties with hair beginning to turn grey and a neat beard with similar flecks. This new man was staring at the flames, then he looked up. William saw his own eyes, his own face staring back at him, but on the neck there was a massive wound still bleeding. The older William slumped to the ground, eyes still staring at the fire, but plainly dead.

"That's me, is that me? Is that how I die?" Asked William, a hint of fear entering his voice.

"These are but the shadows of things that may be, if you continue on your path you will not grow old. You will die in some strange place, and none shall mourn your passing. None shall even know." Said Tom Nevets. As he finished the last word the body burst into flame and William felt a great pain in his own neck. Moving his hand to the pain he saw blood, yet in an instant the pain and blood were gone.

"You see, but you do not yet fully understand. Look closer into the fire." Instructed Nevets, and William could not stop himself staring deeply into the heart of the flame, where he saw somewhere he recognised. His old hometown of Anver.

In an instant, William found himself standing in the town square of his former home. Looking around, the entire place was ablaze. Slavers ran through the streets seizing everyone they could get their hands on. Homes burned and crumbled, the town walls collapsed under the blast of explosives, and the screams of the fresh made slaves filled the air.

"I know this place," Said William, "This is Anver. I didn't die here, I survived." As soon as the words left his mouth, William and Tom were transported outside the town walls. An armed and armoured man beckoned a ragged group of people to follow him. Some looked back at the destruction of their home, others did not.

"I know these people, this is the group that made it out. There were sixteen of us, we ran all night and through the morning until we couldn't even see the smoke anymore." Said William, remembering the faces of his former companions. "The slavers followed us for days, killed a couple of our group. That's Adam and George, the ones the slavers got. I remember these others too, Serena, Martin, and Horace are the ones leading the group. They were killed by a grenade bouquet, I remember all of them." Protested William.

"This is why you've been running away, William Knight. This is why you've never been able to settle in once place again. Your condemnation is to walk the wastes until your body dies, you abandoned your soul and spirit long ago." Said Nevets, "This is what you never understood about yourself. It will kill you in time."

William and Tom were standing near a different camp, a much larger one. The fire was larger and fifteen people sat around the fire, staring at it. One empty chair remained. Tom Nevets simply stood and watched as William sat down on the chair. Once again, these visions were all dead, each bore different injuries.

"This isn't right, only nine of the group died before we split up, not everyone." Said William, turning around in his chair to see Tom Nevets standing beside him.

"Once there were nine dead, now it is fifteen. You are the last one left of those that went their separate ways, they all died in the wasteland." Said Nevets, confirming what William had long wondered about those he once travelled with. That harsh and inhospitable place had claimed all but him.

"I get it Tom, I keep drifting from place to place because I can't get too close to anything again. Not after I lost so much." Said William, staring into the larger fire, which flared up once again as he finished speaking.

"LIES!" Screamed Nevets, "I told you not to lie to me again, and you still do not understand. Perhaps something more recent will help you see."

This time, some of the places around the campfire were taken by people William had recently met, each of them was glaring at him rather than staring into the fire. Tom Nevets, Lucy Black, Sylph, Johnny Truant, Beryl, Evan Ramsey, Dudley Sullivan, and Frank Rose were the new arrivals. Nevets turned to William, "Let us begin the education, shall we?" He said in his actual voice, the unnerving monotone was gone, replaced by a human voice once more.

Tom Nevets spoke first, "You met me weeks ago on your travels, we spoke briefly, then went our separate ways. I died shortly afterwards. We are but two of the wastelanders, already dead in truth but still waiting for our bodies to be killed, we who pass like ships in the night then continue on our solitary course. Is that all you are, a lonely vessel passing through the lives of others? You exist alone, and you will die alone, just like I did." Said Tom Nevets, who then threw his head violently to the side, revealing where his skull had been broken. Nevets stared into the fire as blood seeped out of his head.

Lucy Black spoke next, "You never stop running away. You left me three times, do you remember? The first time you saved me, carried me out of the wreckage of my home. Then you ran away, like you always do. The second time was at The Citadel, there was so much I wanted to know and you left me again, like you always do. The last time-"

"You left me the last time." Interrupted William, "The group fell apart and YOU left ME that last time."

Lucy shot him a withering gaze and continued. "You could have followed, my mother asked you to take care of me, and you left me as I left you. I was gone and you didn't care-"

"I cared, but I-" William tried to interrupt but Lucy continued.

"You didn't care, you left me as I left you, as you leave everyone. I gave you three chances and you left me each time. You never even came back to check on me, you dumped me on a doorstep and disappeared for years! Am I that disposable to you?" Finished Lucy, who then began staring intently into the fire. Before William could say anything else Slyph began to speak in a mocking tone unlike her usual childish cadence.

"Hi Mister Willy-Billy! Remember our adventures? Remember when we got to the Citadel and the Brotherhood of Steel locked me up? What did you do then? You left me, you went off on this adventure without me. I could still be in that cell for all you know, and you didn't care, not when you got the chance to run away again." Said Sylph, finishing coldly before staring once again at the fire.

Johnny Truant spoke next, "You didn't care that I'd gone. I slipped away when none of you noticed and none of you cared enough to notice. None of you spared a single thought for me, and nobody spares a single thought for you either. When you die nobody will spare a single thought for you then, and you will fade into nothingness with your last breath." Spat Johnny, a more angry and vicious version of him at least.

Beryl spoke only a few words at the campfire, William couldn't see her face properly, and certain features shifted from time to time. "We travelled together, you and I. But you barely know a thing about me. I slipped away when nobody was looking, and like Johnny you didn't care to think of me again. My fate will become yours, and you will become a discardable curiosity in the lives of others." Before she turned and looked back into the fire.

Evan and Dudley both looked at him in unison, both glaring at him. Evan spoke for both of them. "You're going to leave us aren't you? When this is all done you'll pack up your things and leave for some far off place, never to return. We aren't your friends, we're just people who happen to be walking the same paths as you do. When we come to a fork in the road you'll take the first opportunity to leave us and never return. You'll just become some person we used to know, and we will not think of you again. After all, I know you'll do the same for us... friend." Evan spat the last word out with true venom in his voice before turning to stare into the fire. Dudley did the same without saying a word.

Last in the group was Frank Rose, still dressed in his decorated Power Armour. "Did you know I'd died out there? No, I don't suppose you would have. If I didn't make it what chance have you got? You'll die out there and no one will remember your name. You'll become a carcass to be picked over by all who find your body, until only your burned bones remain." Then Frank looked into the fire.

The fire burst up once more, leaving William and Tom Nevets sitting together at the original, smaller campfire.

"William Knight, on your current course you have been running away. You're the man that runs away and leaves his friends, never settling in one place. Unless you find something to stay in one place for, you'll continue to walk the earth alone until your death. Find a reason, a purpose in life. Or your fate will become mine, and you will die young and alone." Said Tom Nevets, before the fire flamed up again and William was standing on a road, as Nevets and a stranger argued over a handful of caps. The stranger grabbed a metal bat and struck Nevets in the head, grabbing the caps from his bloodied hands. Blow after blow rained down, and through it all Nevets looked right at William as he died.

Back to reality...

William became aware of the wind on his face again, the sheer rush of it as the Three Musketeers sped along a mercifully clear road. The dream had shaken William to the core and the message had been clear: Find something worth settling down for, or suffer the fate of too many wastelanders. He vividly remembered the faces of the people in the dream, people he had met and abandoned.

As William continued to think, Evan checked the map on his pip-boy.

Lucy Black - Megaton - Moriarty's Saloon
'Small steps'

Sometimes words were not necessary. So Lucy chose to simply hug Thomas tightly after his confession.
Where Lucy had exploded and taken her frustrations out on every person around her, Shifty was the one to implode and relentlessly attack himself. She was not quite sure which was worse, but she had hoped that their reunion could be something of a turning point for both of them.

Them.

What were they exactly? Was this temporary or had this been boiling under the surface? Stress perhap - ...
No. She refused to allow doubt into something that she had just started...regardless of what she had started exactly...

Back in reality, Lucy was understandably tired and a little preoccupied mentally. Something was distracting her greatly and it was not the need to offer a proposition to Moira, she couldn't quite put her finger on it. Then again, anyone in her current position would be happily distracted.

With a hand to Shifty's chest, Lucy signalled that she was indeed getting a little too worn out. It had been awhile since she had done this, let alone to this extent. Smiling mischievously, "It's not a race. Besides, we'll have plenty more opportunities in the future.", wriggling her hand free, she added a tap on the nose, "If I'm going to be leaving with you, I have a few people to talk to and a small matter of business to attend to."

Hugging the Pale Man, Lucy Black slinked off the bed and attempted to find her clothing littered across the floor. Of course, she had made something of a show regarding her underwear and leather armor, but that could be attributed to the good mood. Approaching Shifty, she leaned in to give him a tender kiss.

"Umm, not sure how long your friend Arizona wants to talk to me. And Sylph - ", Lucy's expression fell, it was slowly dawning on her how hurtful it was for Sylph to have little to no recollection of their time together. " - I'll, uh, figure something out. Oh, I have a friend or two that I want you to meet. But I'll be at Craterside Supply, you'll see."

Awkwardly, Lucy took a step to the door, stopped, turned on her heel and rushed back to hug Shifty.
"You have no idea how happy I am to see you again.", Lucy whispered before breaking off and walking to the door that was slightly ajar. Was this open the entire - ...ehh, whatever.

Waving goodbye, the Eyepatched-Girl started making her way to Craterside Supply.


Kristin BlamCo - Megaton Clinic
'ZZZzzzzZzzz'

Say something interesting. Say it say it say it say it say it say it say it say it say it.
Stop being a Postman and burst forth on a quest of retribution fitting for that of a Pugilist!

"This is a sorry state of affairs."

Oh dear BlamCo on the moon! (Which is the moon, as we all know.)
How agonisingly dreary and defeatist! Why, as the Princess of Dairy, she ought to - to ...
Oh BlamCo, the lack of sleep. Don't fail me now, body of steel!

Smiling in a whimsical manner, Kristin was glad to see that Jonathan was finally awake. As for her? Well, she hadn't gotten a good amount of rest in two days. She was sleep-deprived after burning through her little amount of energy by tending to her wounded friend. It was little surprise that her head flopped down onto the bed almost immediately after confirmation of Jonathan's consciousness.

Doc Church's Clinic - Megaton
Admissions.

Jonathan stared on, waiting for some sort of response from the blissfully smilling Princess; a pat in the back, another nonsensical inspirational speech, even a Blamco sermon. But instead, like a leaning building hit by an earthquake, Kristin collapsed on the bed, sleep overtaking her.

He was too fed up to react. So he simply stared.

The first emotion Jonathan felt was anger mixed with bitterness. Again he was alone, lacking any sort of support. He wondered what Lucy was doing. Getting fucked by her boyfriend, probably. He frowned on the thought. This was not helping matters.

Then came gratitude, again mixed with bitterness. Kristin had brought him here, and saw to it that his wounds were cleaned and treated. She looked dependable.

And, finally, regret. At many things. But right now, for Kristin, and everything he subjected her to.

Sighing, Jonathan got off the bed. He tested his bandaged hand -it seemed that whatever drugs flowed in his system also helped his hand recover[1] and so, with what strength he had recovered, Jonathan gently grabbed Kristin's body, and puuuuuuuuuuuuuu-

-uuuuuuuuuuoooooooooh my god, she was heavy. Guess all that muscle wasn't just for show. Jonathan panted from the exertion, but at least he managed his herculean tast[2], and felt slightly satisfied by it. Pulling a blanket over the princess, Jonathan took a few moments to stare at her with a sad smile, caressing her arm.

"You were exhausted, but you still brought me here and waited for me to wake." he muttered apprieciatively, before his voice grew bitter, "I'm afraid, Kristin."

Afraid. Afraid of many things. Afraid of the future, of the chances his gamble will even work, of working for the Enclave again. And afraid of his feelings for her.

Jonathan normally wouldn't admit or even acknowledge it, but when emotions run high you become that much more vulnerable, and you are made to finally accept what pride and caution otherwise wouldn't let you. Jonathan was attracted to Kristin, at first only physically, but after the talk... what was said... the parts of her personality that she wouldn't otherwise show... she had been slowly creeping through his defences.

Then this whole farce happened, and where Lucy abandoned him she was there for him, helping and caring until she lost consciousness from the exertion. And so, rather than creep like some peasant, Kristin stayed in character and loudly punched through his defences with a proud smile and triumphant roar.

And it terrified him. He was terrified of the fact he was falling for her, terrified that she would reject him (a most likely outcome), but most of all, that she would leave him. Just like everyone else had.

"I don't know what to do with you," he shook his head, "I really don't."

You're really damn easy.

He jerked up in shock, and threw hurried glances around the room. Nothing. Not even the hint of a hallucination. Only sadistic giggling.

He resisted the urge to run outside; it was all in his head, he knew. He couldn't let them win.

"I see you are feeling better. Good." Doc Church appeared, "Now pay up and get out."

Church sure was hostile, not that Jonathan exactly blamed him. He did cause a ruckus in his clinic.

"Very well," replied Jonathan, reluctant to give the doctor more cause to hate him, "For my healthcare and the removal of radiation of the armor I gave you. How much?"

"The miss payed for your health. As for the rest, it's 150 caps."

"She payed?" he turned to glance at the sleeping princess, "I can't accept that. How much?"

"200 caps."

"For a swollen eye and brushes? Preposterous." He waved his hand dismissively.

"The price goes up for Enclave supporters." Church pointed, "You're lucky, I wouldn't have treated you since it wasn't fatal, but the girl was stubborn as a brahmin and worried sick."

Jonathan suppressed a smile at the sound of that, "Whatever beef you have is with me. She has nothing to do with this."

"I suppose you will be paying the 200 caps, then?"

Jonathan frowned at the thought. 150 caps for the armour was more than stretching his financies, especially with all the parts he had ordered from Moira. 350 caps was definately not something he could afford.

"I can't afford to pay for all that," he sighed.

"I suppose there's not much you can do other than pay for the armor and get going, then.

Jonathan sighed once more. In truth, there was still once card he hadn't played yet. But was it worth it to go that far? He turned to take a look at Kristin and the answer suddenly became abundantly clear.

"You know..." Jonathan placed his hand on his chin as though thinking, "You did listen to my discussion with two rather high-ranking members of the Enclave."

Church's face turned sour, "Where are you getting at?"

"I'm just saying... one of them is pretty irritable, not to mention ruthless. She might target you for it."

"I don't take kindly to blackmail."

"It isn't blackmail. It's a warning. I could dissuade her... but that would be tough and dangerous, and it must be worthy my while. So let's strike a deal: I pay 175 caps for everything, you return Kristin her money, and I'll make sure you don't have to worry about airstrikes coming your way whenever you look at the sky."

Church thought on it for a while, grinding his teeth, "Fine." he finally said reluctantly, "But I don't want to see you in my clinic ever again."

"I don't plan on coming back, don't worry. Give me a moment to get my things and you'll never have to see my face around here again."

With Church paid and gone, Jonathan was left to pick up his things, not that there was much effort to put into that; the Princess had already taken care to get all his things placed in his backpack, saving him the trouble of having to go searchin-

All things, except for his hat, that was. Nevermind. Damn, he was really emotionally attached to that hat, he couldn't pinpoint why and it felt stupid, but he really didn't want to leave without it. Not that the fact it was missing made him think any less of her, he did wake her rather abruptly after all.

So, back to the Saloon to get the hat. And then what?

A good question. What would he do then? Would he leave on his own, off to Lucy's house to meet this Constance person that was assigned to him? Or would he wait for Kristin?

And then what, indeed.

There was one thing that he definately decided on, he wouldn't leave Kristin behind. Despite his restlessness about his feelings for her, he couldn't abandon her so abruptly. Not when she needed a guide, and especially since -if his hunch was right- he was the first person she tried to connect with in a while. He didn't want her to feel how he was feeling right now.

And so, he wrote her a note:

Miss Kristin,

You will find your armor, ready to be worn, in your backpack at the wall to your right. Once you're up and about, come find me at Megaton's gates, where we shall discuss our next moves. If anything were to happen and you don't find me there, then we shall meet at Black's house in Springvale. Behind this note I have written general instructions to help you get there, just in case. You will also find the 200 caps you spent for my care on the night table next to you.

Thanks for everything, and see you soon,
Jonathan


Near Moriarty's Saloon - Megaton
New Dawn Fades

The sun was rising by the time Jonathan made his way to Moriarty's, and he could feel fatigue slowly crawling its way through his body; true, he spent a good amount of the day unconscious, but those weren't exactly power naps. He wondered whether or not he should sleep, he had another long day ahead of him, after all, but he just didn't have the time, now, did he? Not anymore, anyway, what with it being morning and Kristin potentially waking up in an hour or two. Besides, staying in the room Kristin rented meant that sooner or later he'd have to content with them.

Oh yes, Jonathan hadn't forgotten, and he wasn't sure he was going to forgive, either. He knew Lucy wanted explanations, but, frankly, Jonathan couldn't even stand to think of her without going bitter and angsty in the signature J.A.M. fashion. Speaking of which...

A slim young woman wearing an eyepatch exited the Saloon with an upbeat tone and a smile, making her way down the road. Had he not noticed her first and swiftly hid around a corner, she would have seen him, and, given his kneejerk reaction, that would be bad. He waited for her to pass him with a good enough distance, and hurried his way to the Saloon, fearing that she'd turn around and notice him.

* * *

The saloon was mostly empty, what little patrons left were either half-asleep, full-asleep or very drunk. Or a combination of them all. Whatever the case, Jonathan payed no heed to them; he needed to find his hat and leave before Lucy returned from her errant. As he went up the stairs, he noted that Moriarty was eyeing him suspiciously, a vaguely-familiar goon whispering in his ear, throwing quick half-glances at his direction. Whatever.

He entered the room and saw the mess he had made. Blood was splattered around the floor, in the spot he remembered falling on in particular. Bloodstained sheets lay on the floor next to the bed, and there was a small but noticable pool of semi-dried blood on the matress. He could only imagine the shock and confusion experienced when she saw him like that, and he frowned in disappointment. He had to make up for it, somehow. But enough about that, he had to find his hat.

It wasn't a particularly ardious search; the hat lay under the bed, hidden by the messy hanging sheets. Dusting it off, Jonathan felt a slight hint of satisfaction as he put it on, like he was reunited with a lost part of himself. He walked outside, and he couldn't help but focus on the railing. The night had already been going rather badly as it were before that, but ever since he accidentally knocked McGee down and got himself jumped by who he was sure was a girl, everything truly went to hell.

Speaking of McGee, he didn't see him leave with Lucy. Did that mean he was in their room? Hmm...

He took a few steps forward, hand sliding on the railing, until he stood in front of the door, lost in thought. He could think of a hundred different reason why this was a bad idea, from the fact that he was keeping a grudge of petty jealousy to that he wasn't sure just how dangerous a person McGee was. But all the reasons against were drowned out, and Jonathan banged on the door. It wasn't jealousy, hatred or anger that drove him to do that. It was curiosity.

He was curious to see the kind of man Lucy would leave him to die for.

[1] Or at least make it feel functional again.
[2] Putting Kristin on the bed

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Moriarty's Saloon
Death in the Family (Part 1)

Exhaustion? Yup. Aches? Yup. Both of these were sensations that Thomas "Shifty" McGee felt deep within the very core of his body and yet there was a definite sense of satisfaction and contentment after the spurious physical and emotional outpouring that he had shared with the Mousy Haired Lucy Black. She'd left but not before allowing him to feast upon her with his eyes as she dressed and not before giving him a made the whole getting-put-into-stasis-by-the-Enclave-and-placed-in-a-storage-facility-where-the-only-conversational-partner-that-you-had-was-an-extremely-young-mutated-Deathclaw-with-mind-powers thing worth it.

"You have no idea how happy I am to see you again." Lucy Black said as she slipped through the door, waving to him as she left.

She had no idea how happy he was to see her once again. Whatever this thing was that was going on between the two of them, it had merely been icing on the happy cake that Thomas had been bequeathed by that oh so whimsical pixie known as life. He felt the weight that had been sitting upon his chest, like a dozen dozen morbidly obese molerats, lift. Turning over in the bed, he smelled her scent lingering in the pillow that she had rested her head upon. It stirred up emotions within the Friendly Former Undertaker that he was too scared to identify by name, bringing with it a new set of worries to plague him at a later date. For now, he was contented and he felt himself drifting off... to... sleeeep.


A white castle stood in the foreground. One of its decorative spires, taller than the rest, reached up for the heavens. Though the building was large enough to house the entirety of the Undertaker's Union, Thomas knew that the castle served as a simple gateway. Those who passed the bridge and through the gigantic arch were destined for the afterlife.

As if reading his thoughts on the matter, he saw them. The souls of those recently departed passed by him as they headed towards the realm that would house their soul for an eternity, be it Adventure Land, Tomorrow Land, Fantasy Land or Frontier Land... or for those whose souls were completely unrepentant, Toon Town.

It was as the souls passed that he heard the voice singing. Both the voice and the song were as familiar to him as the other memories of his childhood past. Looking for the source of the voice, he saw them. Their faces familiar and kindly. They looked at him briefly as they passed, granting him a brief yet saddened smile before they passed through the gates.

"Mom? Dad?" Thomas whispered as he saw his parent disappear into the afterlife.


The Undertaker woke with a start, his body drenched in sweat, his breath coming in brief spurts as he tried to make sense of what he saw. His mother? His father? Were they gone or was this a vision or just a manifestation of his psyche come to plague him. His mind raced as it attempted to interpret the dream.

Was the cold bitch, Enclave Intelligence Specialist right? Was the family going to send others to finish what he'd started and kill Sylph, Lucy and himself? The very thought of promised misery brought the horde of Morbidly Obese Molerats back to smother him.

Reaching over to the nightstand next to the bed, Thomas "Shifty" McGee pulled out a bottle of scotch. He'd bought it from Moriarty in the event that he didn't find Lucy. A sort of just in case for his emotions. Pulling the cork out from the top with his mouth he hesitated for a moment, thinking if getting roaring drunk was really the answer to the anxiety that he felt.

No. It was definitely not what he needed at the moment. Getting up he started towards the room's sink, determined to pour the foul, head fogging liquid down the drain. He would have probably gotten there too if it weren't for the knock at the door.

BAM! BAM! BAM!

The sudden assault on the door almost made Thomas choke on the cork before he spit it onto the ground. Changing his destination, he hurried towards the door in the event it was Lucy, coming back to tell him that she'd forgotten something. That something being another hug. In his haste, he didn't notice that the cork that he had recently ejected from his word hole had decided to come to rest under one of his feet, the reaction to such an act being the loss of balance of the Former Undertaker in a hurry. During his attempt to regain his balance, several things happened. First, the scotch within the bottle sloshed around violently, causing a rather large amount to fly out the mouth of the container and splash itself upon the man's half nude body. Second, the Undertaker bit his tongue. Third, in his attempt to regain his balance Thomas ended up bursting through the room's door, arms flailing for something with which to steady himself. It was a rather unfortunate action since he ended up planting his hand on what should have been one of Lucy's ample bosoms but instead was someone's decidedly less ample, more firm, more masculine pectoral muscle.

The scene was frozen mid pose for a moment, the Undertaker, who smelled of booze, his eyes squinting against the brightness of the room, groping the man who had banged on his door before Thomas "Shifty" McGee attempted to regain his composure.

"Can I help you?" The Former Undertaker asked politely and with a smile, though after biting his tongue, it sounded like he said the phonetic equivalent of "I am groot."


The Wild Wastelands | The Grisly Diner
Death in the Family (Part 2)

"FIRE!" The R.A.I.D.E.R. Leader yelled to his men, unleashing hell upon their target. An veritable armory's worth of weapons unloaded round after round at their target, kicking up a cloud of dust as some of the rounds missed their mark. The R.A.I.D.E.R. leader raised his hand and the firing ceased.

The R.A.I.D.E.R.s had been called into the area when some of their scouts noticed a sudden drop in the Raider population in the area surrounding the grisly diner. As they were the Rare Albino Insurgent Defenders and Early Risers, it was their job to defend any and all raiders of "pure" blood. They also enjoyed waking up early as well but that was a different story.

They squad stood there for a while, waiting for the dust to settle and when it finally did, they saw it. The black casket stood in the middle of the bullet made dust storm like a Monolith waiting for some chimp to come over to touch it. There was movement from behind the object as a figure emerged from cover, taking a moment to brace himself as he engaged the trigger on the large RPG like device that he had slung over his shoulder.

The plasma lance emitted a steady stream of green energy. With the focusing aperture disengaged, the beam was wide and obliterated half of the squad as it swept from the left flank of the group towards the middle before the weapon's ammunition was spent.

KACHUNK!

The 6 modified Micro Fusion Cells were ejected from the weapon and fell to the ground as the figure took cover once again.

"RPGs Prepare to fire" The R.A.I.D.E.R. Leader yelled before he smelled something in the air. It was the sweet smell of flowers and honeysuckle. He felt a hand, unseen by him and the remainder of his squad, run from his stomach up to his chest, like the touch of a lover. As strange as the feeling was, it wasn't unpleasant. The unpleasant part was the sensation of something carving a large bite through the flesh of his neck, ripping a large bite in the vital spot. The leader was a dead man who could do nothing but fountain blood through the brand new hole in his neck.

His men, confused by the sudden blood geyser in their midst backed away from their fallen commander and the ghostly figure that was bathed in the man's vital life fluids. It looked like someone holding an umbrella?

"F...FIRE!" said the man with enough sense to realize there was an enemy in the ranks. It was the last thing he said as he saw the rest of his squad fall, run through by some sort of blade before he felt a pain in his right eye all the way through his skull. He was frozen in place for a moment due to his disbelief and the destruction of his motor cortex. It was at that point that he saw her. A decidedly feminine woman whose main unfeminine feature was the large metal jaw that had replaced her real one. In one hand she held a parasol that hid her skin from the sun's evil rays. In the other she held a thin blade that had pierced the man's skull.

SHNIKT!

The blade was withdrawn and sheathed back in the parasol as the last of the R.A.I.D.E.R.s fell to the ground. The two victorious figures stood amidst the carnage as they looked at the third actor in the scene, a man who emerged from the interior of the Grisly Diner.

"Hello Father. Our task is complete." The hulking figure known as Tombstone said as Henry McGee approached his two children. The other, Shiver, said nothing, the end result of having had her jaw ripped off by a jealous lover. She only walked to Tombstones side and draped herself lovingly against the body of her Brother.

"Show me." Thomas' brother said before Tombstone opened the casket, allowing the two corpses that had been stored within to tumble to the ground.

"Hello mother. Hello father." Henry said to the corpses before spitting on them, "And the counsel?"

"They have seen the error of their ways and await your arrival before declaring your ascension." The Hulk stated as he closed the casket and pushed it over, the chains that connected the man and coffin rattled.

"Good. Lets go home then." Henry said cheerfully. Shiver stopped and pointed at the corpses.

"Have the heads sent to the Citadel. Leave the rest for the scavengers."

The woman in black nodded as her blade flashed under the light of the Wasteland sun once again, the heads of Henry and Thomas's parents rolled on the ground for a moment before coming to rest.

**Vault 112, Upper Levels.**

The raiders offered little in the way of meaningful resistance for the armored creature making its way out of the vault's depths. From the moment the Jet and Psycho addled thugs loosed their mutated and starving dogs on him, and opened fire with every gun they could carry, and rushed at him with steel crowbars and scavenged knives, they were all dead. The creature might have simply left them alone if they had not attacked. But they chose... poorly.

Reacting faster than even some AIs might have managed, the tall, thin creature ducked from cover to cover, braining the charging dogs' heads one after the other without a single flicker of hesitation or apparent effort. The dogs were simple to deal with, and assuming the creature was one to moralize, it might have justified such an action as mercy. For these pups were little different from it in a way, broken, abused, starved, and programmed to fight someone else's cause. The only difference is that the creature wielding the blade that slew them... had cut its leash long ago. Instead, all this efficient killer did was let out a series of low grunts as it continued its slaughter.

The melee rushing psychos were the next to die. The fools were at best, wearing leather armor, but against the creature's twin curved, di-coated daggers, these raiders might as well have been wearing armor made out of whipped cream. A few stabs here and there, and they were down for the rest of the fight, or dead. Since the creature had no objective beyond "get outside", it didn't really care whether its victims were still alive after this or not, though a crippling injury this far from any likely trading caravans in the Capitol Wasteland was likely to be a death sentence regardless.

The problem with relatively unskilled marksman taking drugs to increase their performance is... that doesn't really work not matter how hard the shit is they're selling you. Upshot of that being that the creature hardly had to swerve and dodge out of the line of fire to avoid getting hit as the drug-addled idiots kept firing wildly and screaming at the top of their lungs... right before the armored killer slit their throats two at a time before finally pouncing on the last remaining one, knocking the terrified thug to the ground. Sheathing one of its knives and then drawing a slip of what looked like paper at first out of its pocket... the creature showed a certain picture to the thug and shoved it in the guy's face several times before he finally got it.

"Look m-man... I dunno anything a-b-bout that, so just..." the creature cut him off by snapping the man's neck before getting up, sheathing the remaining blade, and walking outside the vault.

**Outside Vault 112**
If the creature was at all surprised by the odd assortment of cybered-up ork, cyclops or whatever else had been forcibly imported from another universe, it gave no clear indication. Instead, it simply howled at them to get their attention, eliciting a number of "Shit!" and "The fuck is that thing?!?!" kind of lines from them.

"Who-who are you?" One of the Runners finally asked.

The creature seemed to consider this for a few moments before responding... or at least it stood perfectly still without shifting its gaze in the slightest before finally responding in a series of pained, drawn out grunts that might be mistaken for words, "Gre...nnnnn....daaa...llllll."

Then it showed them the same picture it showed the now dead raider: a simple image of the creature petting its hand on a surprisingly healthy-looking horse, and riding on top of the horse with the biggest smile on her face that "Grendel" had ever seen... was a girl in a simple brown skirt with deep blue hair.

The Wild Wastelands | Moriarty's Saloon | Shifty's Room
Hey! Stop looking at my junk!!!

Note:
One gigantor collaborative post between @Neuromancer and Myself. Pardon the dust...

It is said that first impressions are the most important ones, and that they shape the all future interactions yet to come.

If that were the case, one should feel pity for Shifty, for Jonathan really wanted to punch him. And who could blame him, when from behind the door burst a man drunk, half-naked, his member hanging out and about like this was some nudist beach, groping his chest like it was...

Lucy. McGee thought Jonathan was Lucy. That thought enraged him even more than the slight possibility McGee was drunkingly coming on to him. Had Thomas also been excited, Jon really would have punched him. Repeatedly.

"Can I help you?"

Jonathan's eye twitched. He glanced at Shifty's smaller-than-average nethers as a cue for the Undertaker to take notice of what he wasn't wearing and, taking advantage of the confusion and embarrassment Shifty was suddenly experience to shove him aside, entering the room.

He took a good look of his surroundings, especially of how messy they are, and that only served to confirm what Jon had imagined they were doing. It still stung, in way, imagining the scene. He certainly wasn't going to go anywhere near that bed. He wasn't sure if he wanted to go near the chair at the corner either.

"Thomas Shifty McGee." Jonathan muttered as he turned to face the Undertaker, each word dripping more venom than the last. He removed his hat and placed it on his chest on a mockery of common courtesies, and gave off a smile. A very angry, unnerving smile.

"I can tell you and I are gonna get along juuuuust fine."

Thomas "Shifty" McGee took a look at the man who'd just barged into his room without being invited in, noting the fact that he'd taken stock of Thomas' nethers, before wrapping a towel around his waste, allowing himself the slightest amount of modesty before the thought of opening his mouth to complain about the man's manner had even started forming. The words "WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!" never came as the Friendly Former Undertaker recognized exactly who the man was. No, he did not identify the man as the man who'd knocked him over the railing before his wondrous reunion with Lucy. No, he did not identify the man as the one who'd Sylphee had assaulted after he'd been knocked off the railing. He identified Jonathan as the man whose room Lucy had exited just prior to making her way to the fallen Former Undertaker.

Besides the fact that the man wore a rather unnerving smile on his face, Thomas also noted his deliberate use of sarcasm when he stated that Thomas and he would get along just fine. Everything in regards to the situation that they found themselves in screamed that they would not be getting along at all. He actually had the distinct feeling that the stranger would not be the only one wearing bruises by the end of this encounter. Of course, the difference was that a majority of Shifty's bruises were acquired rather recently, during the various acts that had been committed on the various pieces of furniture.

"You're... you're who in the hell are you?" Thomas asked, feeling the disadvantage of not knowing the identity of the stranger while the stranger knew of Thomas "Shifty" McGee and had probably heard a number of things.

There was a slight twitch in Jonathan's cheeks as he stared on at the man silent, as though ignoring the words he uttered, instead taking a rather hard, intrusive look, examining Shifty. If this was the man Lucy sold him out for, then she must have valued Jonathan rather cheaply, because so far McGee looked little more than a thug. Not everything looked as it seemed, though. He wondered on the bottle Shifty was holding and the stench of cheap booze that came out of his mouth, assaulting Jon's nostrils. Why was he drinking?

"Lucy didn't look the least bit drunk from what I saw of her" Jonathan started, his voice and face taking a turn for the serious, "So unless my eyesight isn't working as it used to be", he tapped on his blackened eye with his pointer and grinned, appreciating the twisted sense of irony, "you're drinking by yourself."

Jonathan started circling the room like a health inspector searching for mice in a restaurant, scratching his chin contemplatively "But what troubles could a man like you be having after such a lovely night?" he let off a twisted grin, giving off a knowing glare. He abruptly stopped, again his face shifting towards seriousness, and gave McGee a dreadful glare.

"Jonathan Aristotle McKenna." he stated before Thomas could react, his voice cold, "Perhaps Lucy mentioned me, perhaps not." He was expecting the latter to be true, but either case he'd learn soon enough.

As the man spoke, Thomas bristled at the manner in which he was addressed and the condescending tone that this Jonathan Aristotle McKenna took when speaking. This man clearly had some sort of chip on his shoulder when it came to Thomas "Shifty" McGee and as much as Thomas wanted to sort this man out with a verbal thrashing, there was part of him that was morbidly curious as to what had brought this obviously angry man to his door. It couldn't have been the warranted assault that Sylphee had doled out. Thomas had suffered worse from the demented blue haired midget.

Besides, Thomas wanted to learn what he was dealing with and taking an offensive tone on someone who was already offended for some unknown reason was not the road towards enlightenment. On top of that, serial killers often were identified with three names and the name Jonathan Aristotle McKenna numbered three names.

Sitting down at the room's lone table, Thomas couldn't help but smile as he noticed that there was a section of the table that had been cleared of dust in the shape of Lucy's finely crafted...

"Well, seeing as how I have company who is concerned with my drinking habits, how about you oblige me by sharing a drink." Thomas said as he poured a drink for himself and Jonathan, "I seem to have caught you in a rather poor mood considering it was you that knocked me over the railing. As for the reasons for partaking in a lonely drink, it dulls the aches after vigorous and strenuous activities."

Thomas couldn't help himself with the jab. He felt more than a slight pang of guilt for mentioning the wondrous acts that had just occurred within the confines of the room as he was not typically the type to kiss and tell. If this man was here to cause more trouble for the Former Undertaker, he'd sooner learn of it and end these hostilities before they threatened to blossom into something more substantial than a few jabs here and there.

"And in all honesty, Mister McKenna, this would be the first time I've heard your name. A pleasure to make your acquaintance. As you know I am Thomas McGee, former Undertaker of the Undertaker's Union as well as former traveling companion to the lovely miss Lucy Black. Now, may I inquire as to the purpose of your visit and the nature of your less than veiled hostility towards me?"

Moriarty's Saloon - Shifty's Room
Brief bouts of violence are good for the health

Note: Part 2 of the collab post

Jonathan couldn't help but let out a bemused smirk at the the Undertaker's jab. A smart ass, then? No, despite Jon's abysmal opinion of him, the Undertaker did not seem the bragging kind. Or at least, Jonathan hoped that Lucy had better taste than that. No, McGee seemed to be hiding something. Underhanded humor was often a means of avoidance, and perhaps Shifty hoped to misdirect Jonathan by trying to strike a nerve.

It didn't matter. What did was Lucy never mentioned him. That meant she either wrote him off as inconsequential or the feisty couple had little interaction outside lustful perversion. Neither prospect bode well, the former moreso than the latter.

There was a silver lining, though. Thomas spoke as though Jonathan knew more than just his name and his relationship with Lucy. If Jon played his cards right, he'd get Shifty to reveal more info than he normally would.

And so, Jonathan accepted the invitation, and sit down on the opposite side of the small table, making to inspect it for undesirable liquids sticking on it, the thought that they may have also done it on the table.

Whatever irritation the thought cased him, he didn't show, and Jonathan lay back on the chair, frowning.

"I know of the Undertaker's union. Their part time job especially. Had a brief run-in with one of its members, once." his voice was uncharacteristically bitter, "Still have the bullet scar on my shoulder." he tapped on the exact spot the bullet hit him as proof. "They seem quite the closed group, the union. The kind that's rather reluctant to let people leave."

He hunched forward, placing his forearm on the table, "But don't misunderstand, Shifty. I am not so close-minded so as to hold a grudge over past associations and allegedly cut ties. Matter of fact, I have no beef with you in particular, yet. Rather, it's the situation that I've found myself in that makes me bitter. A situation you and Lucy lie in the center of." He grabbed his drink and took a sip. Never was much of a fan of cheap booze. "But we'll get to that." His grin returned as he said that.

"From what you tell me, you and Black were too... excited to reminisce on the events of the day. So I suppose that falls to me."

"But before I start, tell me: What does a random assortment of numbers, like say, Four-One-One, mean to you?"

411? As in Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411? As a matter of security, Thomas had a habit of stashing a weapon nearby. However, recent events had caused a lapse in this regard and Thomas was left without a weapon while the fully dressed Mister McKenna was sure to have at least one on his person at that moment. Were things different, the Former Undertaker might have taken it upon himself to point the business end of a 10mm pistol directly in the man's face and demanded what he knew about the bitch that had been the center of misery in both Thomas' and Lucy's life. The fact that Thomas left the glass of liquor untouched was telling, as was the expression on his face.

If Jonathan McKenna could read expressions correctly, he would have seen a seething cauldron of anger at the very mention of the Intelligence Whore's numerical designation. He would have seen the pain that the woman had caused and he would have noticed the Former Undertaker rubbing his shoulder at the site of what appeared to have once been a very deep stab wound, once that he'd inflicted upon himself to maintain Lucy's guise as a loyal member of the Enclave Asset program.

"Where do you know those numbers from?" Thomas asked quietly, his words as restrained as each of the muscles in his body, each one of which appeared to want to leap over the table and strangle the closest living being, namely Jonathan, for mentioning those numbers in Thomas' presence. He ignored the fact that Jonathan was privvy to family secrets. He ignored that Jonathan was a victim to the Union's other practices and he definitely ignored the fact that he kept mentioning Lucy in a rather bitter tone, one that made the Undertaker want to pile drive the asshole until his head was sticking through the ceiling of floor below.

McGee didn't need to speak words to answer Jonathan's questions, his expression and body language saying everything he could have possibly said with words and then some. What was also clear was that he was barely holding himself from jumping Jonathan to beat the answers out of him. Things sure had taken a turn for the intense, and the atmosphere grew more electrified by the second.

"Glad we're on the same page, then," simply uttered Jonathan, unfettered by McGee's turn to violence. He had been a victim one too many times today, and if things took a bloody turn he wouldn't be the one abandoned to bleed to death. "Charlotte the Harlot..." he let out a small chuckle at the mention of the nickname he had given her, "I've only known her for a day, but she's quite possible the most sociopathic pair of tits I have come across. And that's including my ex."

"Did you honestly think you would be let off the hook so easily, McGee?" he questioned, his voice turning more serious again, "No catches? No ulterior motive behind your release? You don't seem that naive."

Jonathan tensed up. McGee was already at the turning point with his anger, and he feared that mentioning that would tip him over the edge. If that were to be the case, Jonathan would be ready to jump back and draw his laser pistol.

"Charlotte..." Thomas said, chewing on the name like a piece of fruit that had suddenly turned rotten in his mouth. He'd never caught her name but he was definitely not glad to know more about the woman than he already did. The less he knew about that particular bitch, the better his life would have been and yet here she was, dragging him back into the tar that was a trademark of the Enclave. He was tired of it. Tired of being someone's pawn. He was tired of having to play by a set of rules that he never knew and that were constantly changing. He was tired of people dragging both Lucy and him into the darkness of a life of violence. More of all, he was tired of the asshole with the laser pistol who sat across from him.

Thomas slammed both hands on the table and started laughing. It was creepy given the context of the question and the seriousness that Jonathan had been displaying. It was the laugh of someone might have just lost the last of his marbles.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAH! You... you wanna know more about her don't you? HAHAHAAHAA! This is what it's all THIS is about? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!" The laughter died off leaving the Friendly Former Undertaker with a smile on his face, "You two would make a great couple."

The movement was sudden as Thomas shoved the table directly into Jonathan, knocking him back or more specifically causing him to start teetering backwards on the shitty chair the Moriarty kept stocked up in all the rooms. The Undertaker's next movement was to toss the towel that he'd kept around his wait directly into Mister McKenna's face. The object was soon followed by the Undertaker himself who leaped atop the man who was now on his back, head ringing from the impact of his head hitting the floor, possibly re-injuring whatever injury Sylphee had caused earlier.

There was no additional violence coming from the Undertaker save to press Jonathan's own weapon against the man's chin. This action was not without its benefits however. Jonathan did get a rather spectacular view of Thomas "Shifty" McGee's marvelous undercarriage.

"Besides the desire to caused me additional distress, I have no idea what that bitch would want from me. She told me that Lucy was dead, killed by my very own family. She told me that I was to be next before she cut me loose, naked and unarmed into that barren wreck of a city. It was only through good fortune that I found out that 411 lied to me and it was through the sheer luck that I was able to find Lucy. If I find out that you've put her in danger with 411, after all I've been through, we'll revisit this position and I will pull this trigger." Thomas said before he pressed a release button on the laser pistol, attempting to eject the energy cell. Noting that the cell wouldn't eject, he tossed the weapon on the bed.

Standing up, Thomas pulled his visitor back up into a upright position before wrapping the towel around his hips once again.

"Now. Charrrrlotte. If I ever see her again, I'm going to let her live. She'll live for another few days as she depletes whatever oxygen is left in the casket I build her and bury her in."

Jonathan hated being right, and he always was. Well, no. Jonathan was only good at predicting disasters. Which technically meant that he was always right, because even the good things he predicted turned into disasters.

And he was staring at multiple disasters right now. Such as how McGee had gone over the edge, or how easily he overpowered Jonathan, or how he was raving like a lunatic right now. It looked like if he wanted to get back on track, he'd have to straighten McGee up the old fashioned way. All the better then, because he really needed to blow off some steam.

McGee, in his lunacy, had made the crucial mistake of turning his back on Jonathan, perhaps thinking that he could get away with his little outburst. Jonathan approached him from behind, tapping on McGee's back, and then smashing his face with a hay maker as he turned, reeling him backwards towards the wall. Not keen to let his opponent recover, Jonathan rushed him, pinning him against the wall. Punch after punch after punch followed, until Jonathan started running out of breath, at which point he let go of Shifty, who lost balance and slid down the wall. It was fortunate that Thomas hadn't searched Jon, because if he had he would have surely found the plasma pistol Jon took from #411. Building enough distance to make sure that he would have time to react if McGee wanted to go berserk again, Jon drew the pistol and pointed it at his downed opponent.

"I've been a victim one too many times today." he stated, as though justifying his outburst. Pulling up the downed chair next to him with his other hand -while also making sure not to lose sight of McGee-, Jonathan sit down backwards, using the chair's back as an armrest.

"Have you calmed down?" he asked coldly, "Can we finally get back on track?"

The Wild Wastelands | Moriarty's Saloon | Shifty's Room
Confessions from a pair of romantics - A Neurotic NPC Joint (Part 3)

Thomas looked up at his villainous visitor from where he was seated, taking a moment to spit out a gob of blood onto the floor, not that it would cause him to lose whatever deposit he had on the room. Practically every inch of the room had probably had some sort of biological material on it at some point in him. The Former Undertaker nodded after a moment and stood back up, taking his seat once again, his hands laying flat on the table as he eyed the plasma pistol.

"Believe me, I understand the feeling. Sylphee packs quite the punch for someone in her weight class." The Former Undertaker quipped, acknowledging that he knew of Jonathan's prior assault by the Red Menace. Having relieved his building anger through his earlier outburst, he appeared quite a deal calmer, more relaxed. He even smiled when he spoke of Sylphee. Perhaps it was Jonathan's turn to be unnerved by the sudden mood shift that the Undertaker displayed.

"We were speaking of Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411. As I stated previously, yes, I am aware of her so far as she tortured me, interrogated me and placed me into a frozen stasis." Thomas said bitterly, "And I went through all of that willingly to cover for Lucy as a member of the Enclave Asset Program. After a while, I don't know whether it was months or years, she released me under the orders of one of their top Agents, FalloutJack. #411 didn't fail to use the opportunity to slide yet another knife into my gut. She told me that Lucy was dead and I was responsible."

There was a sadness in Thomas' voice as he reached forward for his glass and poured himself a drink. The Undertaker seemed to consider the drink for a moment before pushing it forward, untouched by his lips. He regarded the man with the Plasma Pistol.

"Why the interest in my past? What's it matter to you?"

Sylphee. Jonathan would remember that name. McGee also confirmed what he had suspected, that this Sylphee was his companion, though he was a bit bewildered by his remark about her punching power. Was this Sylphee prone to these violent outbursts?

Not important right now. What was important was that things were finally starting to fall into place. This FalloutJack Charlotte was head over heels for has released Lucy and Shifty both. Jonathan entertained the possibility that Jack had ulterior motives about that, but he knew too little to draw conclusions. Whatever the case, Charlotte had planned to use Thomas' release as an opportunity.

She was smart, that bitch.

Jonathan holstered the pistol as a sign of goodwill and got up, dragging the chair along closer to the table and sit down once again. It was as though Thomas' outburst had never happened. Sighing, he grabbed his glass from the ground, and motioned for Shifty to pour. Things were about to get heavy.

"Frankly, it has little to do with the events of the day, though you did shed some light into the situation," he sighed again, "I wanted to know more about the man I was left to die for."

The Former Undertaker lifted an eyebrow in the direction of the man known as Jonathan Aristotle McKenna, again someone who could have been a serial killer by virtue of his three names. The rude visitor was acting more than a little over dramatic in regards to the Sylphee-sault. He'd seen Sylphee kill before and what she'd done to Jonathan was in no way shape or form close to her killing him. He had the feeling that laughing about in Jonathan's face was a bad idea.

Thomas poured Jonathan a drink, leaving his untouched. He wanted to be sober, needed to be sober. Though he appreciated the gesture of the man holstering his pistol, Thomas didn't want to get punched in the face again.

"So. Have I satisfied your curiosity?" The Friendly Former Undertaker asked, "Surely there's little more of me that you need to know of me because there are several items that I'd like to talk to you about. Primarily, what's your relation to Miss Black?"

Was that a hint of jealousy in the Undertaker's voice? Was there even... a hint of fear?

"My relationship with Black is... multifaceted." Jonathan stated, "I knew her father. He saved my life when I started out in the wastes. Traveled a bit with him until I got my bearings. Great man, that Isaac. Can hardly believe he is actually dead."

"But... that's not all." he let out a heavy sigh, staring at his filled glass, "For, you see... I am the cause of the majority of her suffering." swallowing the entirety of his glass' contents, Jonathan wiped his mouth and pointed at the bed.

"That laser pistol. I noticed how you tried to get the energy cell out of it, but couldn't. Quite curious, yes? What use is a gun if it becomes useless after a clip of ammo? That one's... different. In three ways." He raised a finger, One, "The energy cell cannot be replaced, the pistol being built around it, rather than the opposite." Two, "The energy cell is unique. It gives the pistol better firing power than even the most overcharged energy cells. Furthermore, no matter how many times it recharges, it will never break." Three, "Lastly, the gun is fitted with an internal recharger, which basically means that you'll never run out of ammo as long as you give the weapon time to recharge. Each shot taking around 20 minutes to recharge."

He gave off a bitter frown, "I am ex-Enclave. Was born into it, hadn't much of a choice until Raven Rock blew up. That's what I did, back then. Weapons designer and general scientist. I created weapons like that pistol. That pistol... and Gauss Rifle Plus."

"Huh"

"I see you are familiar with it. Then you must also be aware of all the suffering that damned creation of mine brought Lucy." Jonathan sighed, and motioned for a refill.

Thomas obligingly refilled the glass, placing the bottle back on the table. It appeared that the alcohol was having the desired effect, namely loosening Jonathan's tongue. The fact that Jonathan was Ex-Enclave surprised him, a little. In a way, Jonathan and Shifty were more alike than they were not. They were both ex-members of organizations that didn't necessarily accept resignations barring their unfortunate and untimely passing. They both had the appearance of wanting to assist Lucy, though for different reasons. Where Thomas wanted to help Lucy due to a sense of affection, Jonathan wanted to assist Lucy to atone for whatever suffering his creation had caused her.

The Serious Former Undertaker nodded. He was quite familiar with the suffering the rifle had caused her. It had been one of the reasons that her father had been murdered by FalloutBob. It had been one of the reasons that the Enclave had taken such an interest in Lucy at all. However, it had saved her life more than a number of times... and for that, Thomas "Shifty" McGee was thankful.

"You're aware that despite the suffering your invention may have caused Lucy, it's saved her on a number of occasions. For that, I feel that despite your former affiliation with the Enclave, I should thank you. Were it not for your invention, perhaps she might not be alive today and perhaps I might not have ever had the opportunity of meeting her. It's a selfish thought, I know, but when it comes to the way I feel about her, I cannot help but be a bit selfish." Thomas blinked for a moment, surprised by both the boldness of his words and the ease at which he had admitted them to a total stranger, "I'm sure you understand this... feeling."

Again, another probe sent out to see if this Jonathan McKenna was a rival suitor in the game for Lucy's heart.

"I am not going to debate morality here. I already did that with Lucy." Jonathan said bluntly ignoring McGee's question, eager to move on. He remembered his outburst and how carelessly he spoke. If he didn't have that break down, Lucy wouldn't have kicked him and Kristin out of the house, and things could have been very different.

"No, I think it's time we spoke of what happened," he took a sip, "I arrived at Lucy's house during the morning, destitute. I recently left DC, and had a rough couple of days, so I figured I'd visit Isaac, maybe he'd help me again." he gave off a bitter chuckle, "Was I in for a surprise. Not only did I find out that Isaac was dead, but of everything Lucy went through." another sip followed, "I couldn't stomach it. I spit my guts out, told her of my past, of my involvement with the Enclave. Rather than kick me out, she instead stood up to me." he let out a chuckle this one filled with fondness and amazement, "Not what you would call your standard bonding moment, but... well, she was very accommodating" he recalled the clothes, and the rifle, and of course, the note she left him, stating how her father taught her to take care of others.

"...Very accommodating indeed..." he echoed ominously, also remembering of what happened next and fell silent, trying to build up the courage to go on. The drink helped, in that regard.

There was a sharp stabbing sensation in Thomas' chest as he heard Jonathan's words. The sensation brought back the desire to rip the man's face off, though he took it out on the liquor that had previously been untouched. Taking the glass into his hand, the Former Undertaker felt the weight of the glass in his hand. It felt heavy, overly heavy. Pouring the entire contents of the glass down his throat assisted in the weight issue. The familiar sensation of the liquor burning a hole in his esophagus was welcome... almost soothing. Taking the bottle into his hand, Thomas poured himself another drink, downing that one as well before refilling his glass and placing it back on the table, spinning the glass with his index finger and thumb. He watched the light from the weak and exposed light bulb contort on the table is it was refracted by the glass's imperfections and the brown liquor itself.

"That doesn't explain how you know the bitch." Thomas muttered. The bitch, Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411, bane of his existence, Charlotte the Harlot all names of the same soul sucking demoness, "Convenient that you would show up at Lucy's door step the same day that she does."

Was it Shifty's turn to play paranoid? No. Not just yet. Thomas had the feeling that #411 was up to something else. It was likely that due to her obsession with Lucy, #411 had merely been monitoring the poor woman and had decided to pay her a visit after Jonathan had.

"But that's what #411 would want me to think." Thomas considered aloud. When it came down to it, there were a lot of unknowns in regards to #411, "Clearly she's made an impression on me, having tortured me and used me as leverage. I'm left with the impression that she's on your mind for a completely different reason, otherwise you wouldn't have come to talk to me about her. That is the reason that you came up here, correct? To see what my association with her is? To see if I might be some sort of spy for her? If that's the case, she's got plans for you. You're of some use to her, otherwise you'd be locked up in some interrogation room."

"I already gave you the reason I came here." Jonathan stated in a matter-of-fact way, "And anyway, we'll get there. You know that #411 arrived at Lucy's house. At the time, I had already departed with the other guest she had, Kristin Blamco." His face lightened up a bit when he mentioned her.

"Good woman, that one. Beautiful, and dependable from what I've seen of her. Total monster in battle, too. She is a bit... quirky, though."

He shook his head, in disbelief that he actually just uttered praise like he did. The drinking must've made him more open that he wanted to be.

"Anyway, I had agreed to travel as her guide, and we were already almost out of Springvale by the time we saw the Vertibird arrive, from it emerging #411 and two power-armored bodyguards. By the time we sneaked back to the house, they had already secured the perimeter. Kristin favoured a frontal assault, but I feared that would jeopardize Lucy's safety. I sneaked in to find Lucy, and I did, right as #411 was telling her her little sob story. And then..."

"#411 revealed a video feed. You were in it. She gave Lucy 20 seconds to give in to her demands or you would be shot dead. I intervened, disarming her as Kristin took care of the guards and got her to cancel her order, but..."

He downed his drink, "Lucy tore her artificial eye out. To frame #411 and... to keep my identity safe."

"As if that would work!" he yelled in frustration at how pointless that move was and how guilty it made him feel. "The Enclave always kept archives! Always! I knew full well that going in there would mean my identity would be compromised, but I accepted that if it meant Lucy would be safe!" he slammed his fist on the table, "And look how well THAT fucking turned out!"

A brief silence followed, with Jonathan taking deep breaths to try and calm down. That wasn't working too well. He raised his empty glass again, growling a disgruntled and blunt "Pour"

The pain that was plaguing the Friendly Former Undertaker's chest disappeared at the mention of this Kristin Blamco. The way that Jonathan Aristotle McKenna spoke of the woman indicated where the man's affections lay. It was almost like looking in a mirror at himself. Almost. Thomas wasn't nearly as drunk as Jonathan. The bottle was near empty now. Jonathan having imbibed a majority of its contents while another substantial portion had sloshed out of the bottle during Thomas' failed and interrupted attempt at pouring it down the drain.

It was strange, this man who was and was not him. The way he described this Kristin Blamco reminded the Tall and Pale man of Sylph/Sylphee. He doubted, however, anyone could live up to the physical incarnation of quirkiness that Was Sylph herself. It would be interesting thing if Sylph and Kristin were having a conversation similar to this at this very moment. Well, perhaps not interesting in what was being discussed but rather how they were discussed.

Pouring the remainder of the bottle into Jonathan's glass, Thomas pushed his nearly full glass towards Jonathan as well, indicating that he was done drinking, perhaps forever. Where he was going, he would need his wits. Looking at the man that Jonathan was, Thomas felt a certain kinship towards him and at the same time, he felt a fair amount of pity. This was the previous incarnation of Thomas. This was Thomas filled with regret. He had no desire to be the Thomas that Jonathan was channeling.

"There's nothing that can be done about it now." The Optimistic Former Undertaker stated, perhaps a bit too cheerfully for the drunk's tastes. Standing up, walked over to the bed and pulled on his pants and tossed Jonathan his Laser Pistol, "No amount of self pity or anger can change what's already been done. Lucy, you, myself. We've all suffered at the hands of that soul sucking Enclave wench. If there's something good that's come of this, it's that I know that I should look over my shoulders Lucy, my companions and I travel to Dunwich."

There was no inclusion of Jonathan and Kristin in this. He suspected that if Kristin had managed to kill a number of Enclave personnel without being placed in the Enclave queue for full body cavity searches, there was something more important to #411 than a number of grunts.

"It's strange. I always wondered how she lost her jaw." Thomas said in reference to Jonathan's past mention of his run in with the Undertaker's Union, "I guess I have my answer."

Jonathan nearly choked on his drink, "Dunwich!" he exclaimed in horror. He got up, too quickly for a man as drunk as he were, and almost fell back on his chair.

"You're going to FUCKING DUNWICH?!" he exclaimed, stumbling, "Have you ever been there before? Do you have any IDEA what's there? No, of course you don't. You're not so stupid. I don't think you are so stupid!"

"Now, you listen here good, Thomas Shifty McGee!" he pointed an accusatory finger at the former undertaker, his voice stumbling along, "I sold my life and Kristin's to #411 to get you and Lucy off the hook! I will not have you throwing your fucking lives away!"

Thomas shrugged. He initially didn't feel the need to explain himself. If there was one thing that he learned about the Enclave during his time experiencing their hospitality it was that they had little knowledge of what a promise was and what it meant to be indebted to another, the lengths that you would go to to free yourself of that debt. It was to Jonathan's benefit however that Thomas remembered that it was because this a similar sense of debt that Jonathan had made a deal to keep Lucy safe. Shifty calmed himself after a moment before addressing the drunk man.

"Listen, Jonathan. I know that you understand what it's like to owe your life to someone and what happens as a result. My companion, Arizona, needs to go to Dunwich and I promised her that I would guide her there. I owe her my life for what she did for me. So I don't have a choice in the matter, not if I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror." Thomas said in a way that expressed that there had been a time where he couldn't bare the sight of him, "If you think we're ill equipped for the journey, advice would be good, the presence of you and Kristin might be better but I'd not be the one to suggest it wholeheartedly after the recent exchange of blows that we shared."

"We're going to leave in the morning and given the hour, I think that a little rest in order. Perhaps you might want to consider it for yourself."

Jonathan stared at McGee utterly defeated. He wanted to smash the man's face in; Jonathan had sacrificed his life to save him and Lucy, but here was Shifty, completely disregarding that, planning to take Lucy to that hellhole. He finally understood; behind all the courtesy and pleasantries, to Shifty Jonathan was just another Enclave mook. Yes, he was surely thankful that Jon went ahead and gave his life away to save his and Lucy's, but he could bugger off with his actually reasonable demands, the Enclave bastard. Used and tossed aside.

"You're not getting any rest. It's already morning." Jonathan stated bitterly, withdrawing to himself, knowing that any attempts to rationalise all this would be turned down.

"You know... I actually thought I'd have done some good for once." he stared at Shifty, ready to cry, "That, maybe, I could save two people, give them something akin to a... "normal" life."

"I'm a fool, aren't I?" he stared sorrowfully to the ground, "Yeah, there's no other way to define me. Just an old fool, used and tossed aside when no longer needed."

Laser pistol in hand, Jonathan started walking to the door, "It's moments like these that I think she's right", he muttered as he opened the door, "That I really shouldn't have bothered." He walked out, and slammed the door shut.

Thomas looked at the door. He felt sorry for the man. Perhaps he'd find some sort of happiness some day. Jonathan Aristotle McKenna couldn't have been all that bad, he did spare the life of Shifty's cousin, even though he'd shot off her jaw. He didn't begrudge the man for that. Shiver was something of a psychopath, like most of Henry's trainees from his Undertaker days.

Still, he had a feeling that he'd be hearing from Jonathan after some time. Though he didn't realize that some time would turn out to be only a few minutes later.

Lucy Black - Megaton - Travelling to Craterside Supply
'Resolutions'

Lucy Black may have only spent a single day in town, but in a place as small as Megaton, news of any sort travelled fast. And if humanity's favourite pastime was anything go by, there was gossiping aplenty since the arrival of Jonathan, Kristin & Lucy. The odd pointing, stare and muffled whispers were made abundantly clear while Lucy struggled to make her way through the influx of Moriarty's morning crowd. Phrases like 'BlamCo Princess' and 'Enclave sympathiser' were increasingly common, probably in reference to Kristin & Jonathan respectively.

Kristin.
Lucy had barely seen let alone had the opportunity to speak to the Illustrious BlamCo Baroness. From the little that she had seen, Lucy could rest assured knowing that Kristin was not wasting a single moment to capitalise on her Dairy Empire. 'The Church Of Atom is no more!' - Stated an overly-decorated pamphlet, given to her by a Flour Girl & Flour Boy as she finally made her way outside. They gleefully giggled before skipping away.
All this? In one day no less!
Well done, Kristin, well done. She had earned her title.

Jonathan.
Lucy, at least, had the pleasure of seeing him once more. Although, in Lucy's condition, her traumatic history and terrible reaction to the drug that was known as Med-X. Lucy was not in the correct state of mind to be making any big decisions, let alone rationalise her actions and emotions. Hell, she had lost her grip on simple physical locations when she had believed that Sylph was downstairs during the commotion at Moriarty's earlier. Truly, what did she hope to achieve in that moment by taking Kristin's weapon? Attack Sylph to possibly save Jonathan? That was the actual intention. A frightful intention born of a chemically altered state of mind. Although that intention remained just that, a mere motivation that was never truly acted upon. She could barely walk at first, or understand what Jonathan was shouting about in the bedroom, nevermind that her mind played tricks on her.

That changed when she had made her way downstairs. Her priorities had instantly shifted, inhibitions were thrown to the wayside and she had chosen to indulge herself, to give in to ravenous cravings and forget all else.

Med-X was truly a terrible drug.

Even now, even in the face of self-reflective guilt, Lucy's patience for Jonathan was growing wearily thin. Even after spending time with a certain Mr Truant, she had never met someone so absolutely loathsome in their ability to project their own guilt or make the other party feel guilty by association. That is not to say that Lucy did not appreciate his help or the man's attempts at atonement. It was merely that every attempt was emotionally caustic, regardless of the type of interaction, Lucy felt her energy and soul being drained under the weight of that man's grief and aggression.

After making every gesture to send Jonathan on his way with a certain peace of mind, he had boomeranged to find her once more.

With her upcoming journey in sight, Lucy reluctantly made a mental note to say her goodbyes to both Kristin & Jonathan. She had two more immediate matters to attend to: gear up and then find Arizona.


Lucy Black - Megaton - Craterside Supply
'Rearmed'

After a few moments of stunned silence followed by giddy laughter, Moira Brown had welcomed the eyepatched-female with a hug.

"It's been so long!", Moira chirped, "You look terrible! In a good way of course, very 'mercenary-chic' of you."

Polkadot dresses aside, Lucy remembered why she had elected to take on so many odd jobs or short travels when she used to live here. Moira Brown was one that could only be handled in short bursts.

Shuffling uncomfortably, "Actually, you're probably not going to see me for awhile again. I have to stock up for a big journey.", Lucy got right to the point since she was feeling a little pressed for time. "So I have something big that I want to sell in exchange for supplies."

"Well, sure! So what have you got for me? Is it outside? Was it too big to carry in? Oooh, is it irradiated?", by the second Moira was growing more excited over this mysterious proposition.

Lucy raised her hand slightly, "Easy Moira. Umm, it's my house, the workshop, the energy weapons, the scrap underneath the floorboards and everything inside. I won't be needing it anymore."

Moira's eyes lit up as a thousand ideas ran through her mind about what to do with the property. Eventually she cocked her head to the side, "What's the catch?"

"No catch. I just need a new weapon, ammo, something to carry them in and maybe some stimpacks.", Lucy simply shrugged.

Moira brought a hand to her chin, clearly lost in thought about the experiments she could concoct in a private setting.
"Alright! Pick a few things out and we'll decide from there."

---

Taking a look at herself in the mirror, Lucy took a look at her new equipment and appearance:

- 2 Laser pistols (Luminescent iron sights modification)
- Standard black leather armor (Replacement for her broken reinforced leather armor)
- Thigh-holsters
- 5 Stimpacks
- 1 bottles of purified water
- 2 doses of Fixer
- 2 boxes of BlamCo Mac & Cheese (It was getting strangely popular lately)
- Backpack filled with an ample amount of energy cells for her weapons
- New boots
- Polkadot-adorned hair scrunchie

"This is perfect Moira!"

Saying her goodbyes, Moira was happy with a new lab and Lucy's known amatuer work with energy weapon repairs to know that her house was filled with all sorts of salvageable items. Meanwhile, Lucy was happy to feel armed and prepared for combat once more. Not that she exactly intended to fight from extreme distances anymore considering her current accurate but rapid-fire weapon choices.

---

Exiting Craterside Supply, the eyepatched female with her hair tied back into a ponytail leaned over the railings to try to identify Arizona from afar. She wasn't exactly judging, one of the nicest people she had ever met was a kind ghoul, but it wasn't exactly false that it was easier to spot a ghoul in a crowd, especially one that wore a red bandana.

Seated at a table near some unknown festivities, the previous gauss rifle sniper spotted what appeared to be the lady that briefly spoke to her in the bar. Not wanting to waste any more of Arizona's time, Lucy tended to her appearance and briskly walked down the various ramps. Eventually making her way to a table with mountainous pile of food, Lucy cleared her throat to announce her arrival.

"Ms Arizona, is it?", Lucy extended a hand with something of an awkward smile, The two did meet under 'odd' circumstances. "We, uhh, met earlier."


Kristin BlamCo - Megaton Clinic - A few hours later
'Reinvigorated!'

Miss Kristin,

You will find your armor, ready to be worn, in your backpack at the wall to your right. Once you're up and about, come find me at Megaton's gates, where we shall discuss our next moves. If anything were to happen and you don't find me there, then we shall meet at Black's house in Springvale. Behind this note I have written general instructions to help you get there, just in case. You will also find the 200 caps you spent for my care on the night table next to you.

Thanks for everything, and see you soon,
Jonathan

Standing on the clinic bed, with a bedside mirror tilted upwards, the Dairy Princess was making the final adjustment to her plate armor reinforcements.
Kristin BlamCo stood tall and proud, taller than any human in this establishment! (Her boots were on.)
Shinier than any human in this establishment! (Steel vambraces, pauldrons and greaves were fixed onto her silver-dyed leather armor.)
More radiant than any human in this establishment! (She was brushing her hair)
Closer to the God's than any human in this establishment! (She may have ingested a handful of salt to remind herself how much better the cheese tasted in comparison.)
Poor no longer! (She was thankful that her money was saved.)

Being forced to leave due to her alleged shoutings and headache-inducing energy, Kristin glanced at the back of Jonathan's note. It contained a list of details, directions and an easy-to-read map. Kristin crumpled the paper in her fist and proceeded to eat the note and gain its power.

"I know when you are trying to test me, Pugilist!", Kristin bellowed as she extended her arms to the sky, "HA HA! Fret not, the burning moon in the sky will guide me today!"

She had skipped a meal in her sleep...

"You there!", Kristin pointed her blade at a guard standing by the Megaton entrance, "Where is the gate!?"

"...r-r-right her ---!?"

"ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT!", Kristin bellowed at the burning moon this time in open defiance. Daring it to attempt to body slam her. She was not afraid to break a flaming ball over her knee. "HAVE A COMPLIMENTARY BLAMCO BRUNCH!"

Kristin started rooting through her bag for what looked like pepper (it was flour), she sprinkled a pinch of pepper onto a ready-made BlamCo Bread Loaf that she didn't remember making (It was a brick that she discovered on the ground). And promptly tossed said bread loaf at the lone guard. Upon delicious impact, the guard must have been so giddy from excitement that he collapsed to the ground without a single sound. Oh look at him, he's so overwhelmed with gratitude that he fainted.

Stabbing her sword into the ground to use as an backrest, Kristin started munching on leftover excess cupcakes from the day before. She would never give these to anybody else, but she surely would not let the good food go to waste. So the Loopy Princess slowly regained a semblance of sanity, one bite at a time, while she waited for Jonathan at the Megaton Gates.

The Wild Wastelands | Megaton | Megaton Gates
Double Trouble

There was a girl with blue hair, dressed in a crimson uniform carrying one of the most peculiar backpacks the town of Megaton had seen in quite some time. Her hair, done in twin pony tails swayed gently as she passed walked through the town, past Doc Church's Clinic, past the site of where a local had fallen and severely injured his back. Her eyes were blue in the hue of a stormy day. She neither smiled nor looked at the locals at they passed around various theories about the sudden and violent deaths of a number of men the night before. There was a rifle slung across her shoulders, large enough to appear to have the capability of shooting down a vertibird out of the sky and despite the weapon's obvious weight, there was a certain gracefulness to the manner in which the Red Menace walked.

She only made one stop during her trip through the small town, at one of the carnival's concession stands that advertised something called Bacon Wrapped Deep Fried Blamco Balls, a sign hastily posted to the structure declared that the company was under new management. Picking up a couple of the deep fried delights, the Crimson Catastrophe continued on her way towards the gates.

There was someone already waiting at the gates of Megaton, someone clad in white and sitting against a rather large and heavy looking sword that had been stabbed into the ground. Next to the woman was the body of an unconscious man, a guard from the manner in which he dressed, as well as and a brick. The squarish imprint upon the man's face as well as his broken nose gave Sylph the impression that the man had been attacked at the Megaton Gates by someone using the brick. The obvious suspect was the woman in white, the sole remaining conscious person in the area.

Of course, the Red Menace was not one to quibble over an innocent man being knocked into the realm of unconsciousness. She'd done her fair share of that, or worse. To hold this again someone would be the height of hypocrisy. No, Sylph's main issue was the rather irksomely cheerful way that the Cupcake Princess was happily munching on her pastry. It screamed of a similarity of character with Sylph's annoying other half.

Sitting down against a wall, Sylph cleared her throat. As much as it would have gave her pleasure in pinning the cupcake to the back of the woman's throat, it would have only brought attention to the Red Menace, attention that she could ill afford after last night's massacre of the Megatonian Citizenry. Instead, the Blue Haired Psycho removed one of the Bacon Wrapped Deep Fried Blamco Balls from its container and took a bite.

"Peh." Sylph peh'd in disgust as she continued to eat the morsel.

Moriarty's Saloon, Outside McGee's room.
Rampant

Jonathan slammed the door shut and made his way down the stairs, his mind, focused despite his drunken haze, filled with bitterness and barely contained anger. Anger for his situation. Anger for the way the two lovebirds decided to act. Anger that he even bothered.

One would think that after everything he went to in order to get them off the hook -to the point that he sold his and Kristin's life to servitude- would mean something to them and they would honour the one wish he had. But no. Used up and thrown away.

Fuck them. Whatever debt he owed to the late Isaac had been repaid. It was not his problem if his daughter wanted to pointlessly waste the one opportunity she had at normalcy and throw her life away. He didn't believe her to be so stupid. But you can't cure stupidity, same as you can't cure ungratefulness. He would get out of here and wait for Kristin; she was the only person he could count on, the only one he could trust not to abandon him.

"Not so fast," barked Moriarty as Jonathan walked towards the door, "I've business with you."

"I don't care," growled Jonathan, continuing unfettered.

"You should, Jonathan."

Jonathan stopped at his tracks, shocked, and turned to give a wide-eyed stare of disbelief at Moriarty.

"Yeah, I know who you are," smugly smiled Moriarty, "did you think you could hide your identity? In my city? Don't flatter yourself. The guy working at the door?" Moriarty beckoned at the tall, buff man sitting at the door, "He used to be part of the Enclave before Raven Rock blew up. Specifically, the labs where you worked. Funny how you Enclave folk are all about purity and patriotism, yet wave some coins at your direction and you'll wag your tail like faithful little hounts.

He turned to take a better look at the guard, and he wanted to punch himself for not recognising him. Jay Burge, childhood bully and life-long bringer of misery. He had always been physically imposing, even as a kid, and Jonathan had fallen victim to his abuse many a time. But it hadn't ended there. After his father's death, Burge blackmailed Jon into doing his dirty work, correctly pointing out that no one would miss the child of a traitor. Even as Jon managed to climb up the echelons of Enclave hierarchy, Burge was always one step ahead of him, and Jon could never fully rid of his pressence, always ready to derogate and deride, to blackmail and threaten.

He clunched his fist, "What do you want?"

"Here's how it's gonna go: From here on, you work for me. Or I'll see to it the whole town finds out who you are. And that won't be pretty."

Jonathan's glare turned grim, "You're blackmailing me."

"Call it whatever you want."

His hand was shaking from anger, "And if I refuse?"

"Your lady friend's sleeping in the clinic, right?" Moriarty slyly smiled with a "got you" stare, "It would be a shame if something were to happen to her."

Jonathan's eye twitched, and a great rage awakened within him, as his glare grew darker and more threatening and his hands trembled, even Moriarty was unhinged, taking a step back and preparing for violence.

But Jonathan closed his eyes and took a deep breath, and in a blink -literally- of an eye his disposition changed, his tense body becoming more relaxed, his facial expression as cold as an iceberg about to sink a ship.

"Well," he said with a grin, shrugging, "You suuuure got me, didn't ya? I suppose there's nothing I can do, is there?" he said with a snark as he grabbed a large, thick bottle off the counter and turned, heading towards the jukebox "How about a song to c-c-c-celebrate the occasion?"

"Don't you try anything funny, McKenna. I'd rather have your body full of holes than-"

"Easy, easy there, boss!" Jonathan said as he waved his hands submissively, "Just trying to set the mood! You'll see..." he was over the jukebox now, looking at the songs, "It's a very special song, quite unlike the rest. I remember when I first heard it here, you know. 5 years ago, you got the guy that had it played beaten half to death and thrown outside. Still, it left such a mark I had it recorded in my Pip-boy. Used to listen to it a lot before it broke. Ah! There it is!"

Jonathan selected the track, and pushed play.

"See? Just a light jazz piece, nothing to worry about!" he spread his hands open in a mockery of a welcoming gesture, "Though you have to let me take certain... liberties with the lyrics"

Jonathan walked towards the patrons and raised his hands, grabbing their attention

"Last call for alcohol!" he announced, getting the attention of the rest of the crowd

"Last call for your freedom of speech. DRINK UP!" he motioned his hand upwards as though giving a legitimate order, "Happy hour is now enforced by law.

"Don't forget our house special," he pointed at the bottle, "it's called a Trickie Dickie Screwdriver! It's got one part whiskey, two parts Nuka Cola,and a jigger of formaldehyde from the jar with Eden's brain in it we got in the back storeroom."

"Happy trails to you..." he finished and walked back to the counter.

"Happy traaaaaaaails to youuuuu..." he sung and gave an ironic bow at his new "boss"

"Don't try anything funny, McKenna!"

"I'm just getting started," whispered Jonathan threateningly as he straightened up and took a look at the crowd again.

"I'm emperor Colin Moriarty," he pointed at the crowd, "And you're funding my private army. Soon to be preee-siii-dent!"

"I'm not laughing!"

"Human rights will soon go away!
I am now your Shah today!
Now I command all of you,
And you'll have to pay for school!" he turned to give Moriarty a side glance, grining as he pointed upwards in exclamation,

"I'll make sure there's labour, too!"

Moriarty, clearly unamused, beconed for his thug to come beat some obedience into Jonathan, yet he remained unfettered, his back against the counter, juggling the bottle with one hand as he continued singing.

"Capital Wasteland, uber alles.
Capital Wasteland, uuuber alles."

The thug approached ever so threateningly, but Jonathan showed no signs of worry or fear, continuing singing along merily.

"Uber alles, Capital Wasteland.
Uber alles, Capiiiiital Wastelaaaaand!"

Shab-shaba, shaba dou wa!

Jonathan grabbed the bottle from the neck and...

"Shab-shaba, shaba dou wa-

-YEAAAAAAAAAH!"

Mortiarty crashed to the ground, the force from Jonathan's backswing blow shattering the bottle on his face. Jonathan slid over the counter, narrowingly dodging stray shots from the guard, grabbing the downed and dazed Moriarty from the neckline, punching him, a punch for each one of the bullshit he had to deal with the past day.

The ghouls in the metro, the stealth-boy-using mutant,the yao guai and deathclaw, all the near-death experiences Kristin left him with (each one getting a punch), Four-One-FUCKING-One (he put extra force into this one), almost breaking his hand on a wall in frustration, Four-One-FUCKING-One announcing his identity to the world, and of course, the beatdown at the hands of this "Sylphee", followed by betrayal.

This blackmail was just the rotten cherry on top of a wedding cake made from shit. Were he left alone, he'd keep punching Moriarty until there was nothing more left of his head but brain matter splattered around the Saloon floor.

Alas, even in drink-fuelled berserker rage, the sound of hard leather boots hitting the floor ringed in his ears, and he knew exactly what was coming.

Puliing out his laser pistol, he got behind Moriarty and grabbed him from the neck, pulling him up and pointing his pistol at his head. No matter how good a shot the goon was, he wouldn't risk having his boss in danger.

The ex-Enclave mook froze into place as he saw them, and Jonathan motioned him to back off, his unnerving grin complimenting his murderous glare excellently. The music grew softer again, and Jon, seemingly unhinged by the sudden bout of violence he unleased, turned on the water in the plugged drain next to him, and went back to singing the dissonance that created serving only to amuse him.

"Yeah, that's it, just relax." He threw a condescending look and bitter smile at the crowd of the decadent degenerate sheep that had the gaul to called themselves sentient. "Have another drink. A few more Sugar Bombs, Some Blamco Mac & Cheese? Turn on those Old World shows in your vid feed!"

Moriarty coughed blood, his swollen, beat-up face looking worse than a Super Mutant's hemorroid-affllicted arse. Both his eyes were swollen, his nose had been smashed, crushed and mashed into oblivion, and he bled from multiple cuts, both on the forehead and the his lips.

"Lock your doors, close your mind."

A door opened from upstairs, from it emerging Thomas Shifty McGee -this time wearing trousers- staring downstairs bewildered, his eyes locking with Jonathan's, the latter giving him a psychotic smirk, the irony that but few minutes ago he had knocked McGee out of a similar string of lunacy escaping him.

"It's time.. for the two minute warning."

Jonathan loosened his grip on Moriarty, grabbing him instead from the hair behind his back, pulling his head backwards.

"Let me go..." weakly pleaded the overwhelmed Moriarty, finally realising the error of pushing over the edge a man that had spent the past 10 years getting accustomed to a wasteland that very much wanted him dead, "I'll give you... anything... I'll-"

"WELCOME TO 1984!"

Moriarty made a most satisfying splash his face was driven deep into the water, and he started spasming, his hands desperately trying to cling onto something, anything, to help him emerge from the water. The more he fought the more Jon pushed, though, and soon enough his face was being pressed onto the water-filled sink, rapidly running out of breath.

"ARE YOU READY TO LOSE EVERYTHING YOU LOVE?" shouted more than singed, as he stared on at Shifty, his voice channeling all the anger, loathing, and frustration he had been welling up the past few days

"YOU TOO WILL MEET THE SECRET POLICE!" he turned to the herd of sheep that were staring at him with horror-filled eyes,

"THEY'LL DRAFT YOU AND THEY'LL JAIL YOUR NIECE!" he faced the guard, who was trying to line a shot from the cover of a fallen table, shooting at him a wide grin that promised violence.

"You'll go quietly to BOOT CAMP!" he pointed his gun to one of the people in the ground...

"They'll shoot you dead make you a man." He faked a shot, the man he pointed the gun at faliing to the ground from the shock,

"Don't you worry it's for a cause..." he pulled Moriarty out of the water, the helpless shell of a mobster coughing out water, grasping for breath.

FILLING MISTER MORIARTY'S CLAWS!

Jonathan smashed Moriarty's head on the counter, only to raise it and smash it again, repeating the process, blood splattering all around the counter and Jonathan's clothes and face, followed by Jon dragging it along the counter, like a brush painting the counter red, before throwing his unconcious body over the edge of the counter, crashing on the floor and forming a pool of blood.

"And all the friends of President Reagan!"

With Moriarty no longer under Jonathan's clutches, the ex-Enclave goon readied a shot, only to be hit on the shoulder by a bullet from an unknown assailant, giving Jonathan enough room to shoot the man multiple times on the chest, before rushing him and pinning him on the wall, letting his body fall before continuously stomping on his head, the force of the blows cracking the skull. Blood gushed from cracks as Jonathan, as though possesed, continued, and the skull shattered, splattering its contents on the wall behind.

"THIRTY YEARS OF MY LIFE YOU SON OF A BITCH!"

After a while, all he was doing was stomping wet chuncks of bone onto the wall, and so he stopped, taking a few steps back, grasping for breath. Blood was splattered all over his face and clothes, his trousers drenched in blood up to knee, brain matter stuck on the sole.

He stared at what remained of Burge's body, drained of emotion. It was as though his outburst had completely emptied him of feelings, leaving him rather disconnected from the scene he had just made. He turned to face the empty tables, the crowd having seemingly fleed minutes ago, before turning at the counter. Moriarty layed in a pool of blood, alive but in serious condition. Jonathan's hat lay on the ground, having fallen as he rushed the guard, and he picked it up, dusting it off before putting it on again.

He heard footsteps behind him, and as Jonathan turned to look he saw the figure of the Former Undertaker descending the stairs, approaching Jonathan reserved. At the sight of the Undertaker Jonathan something stirred inside Jonathan, that something being... depression. He stood still and silent, staring at Shifty with tired, half-closed eyes.

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | Road to Dunwich | Megaton

The way Sylph glared at her after her scathing remarks was enough to tell Arizona that what she said was probably going a little too far in poking the Yao Guai, but part of her didn't care. She gave the advice she had to give, harshly or not, and she wasn't going to apologize for it. So when the Blue-Haired Bitch simply got up and walked away instead of putting out her one good eye. The old Ghoul had to breathe a sigh of relief at that.

As it was, Sylph's story did tug what heartstrings she had left, and it made her glad that Thomas had killed his brother. Henry sounded like a kind of monster that the Wastelands only churned out once every so often, and needed to have been put down. So, since Sylph was ultimately a victim of Henry McGee's sick ideas, she couldn't help a pang of sympathy. Of course, it wasn't going to stop her from pointing out how her mechanism for coping with Sylphee was stupid as far as she was concerned.

Putting it out of her mind, she took another long sip of Scotch before pulling out a cigarette and her Zippo. By the time she had taken her first drag of wonderful nicotine, a familiar face had walked up to her.

"Ms Arizona, is it? We, uhh, met earlier."

She shifted her cigarette to her left hand to shake the hand Lucy offered, all while exhaling a trail of smoke away from either of them.

"Lucy Black," Arizona murmured with a smile, "I gotta admit, Thomas didn't tell me much about you, though it was clear you meant a lot to him from what he did say. So..."

She leaned back in her chair as a slow, coy smile spread on her face.

"How was it? Was he up to par?" she asked.

There was a moment's pause before she chuckled and waved her hand dismissively.

"I'm joking, you don't have to answer that. Honestly, I'm not sure where to start." Arizona admitted with a sigh, "I assume you and Thomas had a chance to actually do some talking?"

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