The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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The Wild Wastelands | The Really Wild Wastelands | The Road to Dunwich | Outside of Fairfax
The Preacher and the Undertaker
Thomas "Shifty" McGee | Sylph

Were Thomas one his less finicky brethren, he would have ordered Sylph to move in while he fired on the itinerant preacher. At best Sylph or Shifty would have been wounded and the stranger would have been dead. At worst, Sylph and Shifty would have been dead. The Former Undertaker of the East was not a gambler, especially with the lives of others on the line and so the stand off continued for a time while Sylph and Shifty sized up the new comer.

Having spent his childhood involved in an organization that had killers in their ranks, the Darkly Dressed Caretaker of the Dead could see that this man was a killer that would not have hesitated in delivering a bullet between the eyes of a young girl like Sylph. More than that, Thomas could see that the man was a survivor, not in that he would commit any sort of heinous act to ensure his continued existence but he had survived while someone close to him did not. An Undertaker had seen these eyes on many who'd suffered the loss of someone close to them. Who had this man lost? And so the stand off contin-

"Hey! The fuck are you two doing? We're in the middle of a gunfight!" Arizona said from the hole that Thomas had used to sneak into the building. The Undertaker, surprised by the sudden appearance of his traveling companion took his eyes off the man for a split second before he realized his mistake. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw man's wrist tense for a split second, bracing for the pistol's recoil. Simultaneously, he saw Sylph slide her trailing foot backwards, going lower to the ground, making herself a smaller target for the man. Neither the sound of a gunshot nor the sound of a blade slicing through flesh followed, allowing the Friendly Former Undertaker to relax for a moment.

"'Tis rude to point a gun at a man wishing to provide you with assistance," The man said in a voice reminiscent of a preacher, "As is to accuse them with nary a reason given. More often than not, 'tis the accusers that are the guilty."

A slight fit of petty anger caused by the man's words sent blood rushing up to Thomas's pale face. Under normal civilized circumstances it was rude to point a gun at a person, any person to be exact. However the Wasteland was not exactly what Thomas considered civilized. Since arriving in the former District of Columbia, he'd been assaulted on more than one occasion, had his bicycle not only stolen but mangled, been put into suspended animation by the Enclave and somehow adopted a psychopathic daughter/slave with a penchant for turning people into pin cushions. There were times where practicality and caution trumped social graces. Sadly, the fact that Thomas "Shifty" McGee had spoken first and shot later was as polite a gesture as could be expected under the current circumstances was just another sign that the world had gone topsy turvy.

Outside the staccato of gunfire resumed with increased intensity only this time the a bowel emptying sound of Deathclaw roars was added as counterpoint. Lowering his weapon, Thomas called out to Arizona.

"Given those roars out there, I don't think we're in the middle of a gunfight anymore, Arizona." The Amiable Former Undertaker said as he lowered his weapon, pointing it at the stranger's feet instead of his chest.

"Though you are correct in one regard, accusing one. I am indeed a brother, Yohannes is my name, but my mission is with the living." The preacher pulled The Book from his bag with the other hand, his voice rising, "My mission is to spread the word of the Good Lord Above, and deliver His faithful from those that brought them suffering and grief." His eyes opened wide, and gave a judging glare of his own, "Pray tell, are you, perhaps, such a man? It does not feel nice when the accusation falls on you, does it? Let us, then, leave them behind us, and start anew. As I said, I am Brother Yohannes"

The Friendly Former Undertaker almost spoiled the redo of introductions as he forcefully repressed a groan at Brother Yohannes' introduction. He'd run across multitude of preachers advertising for any multitude of Gods and while many of them spoke of a kind and nonjudgmental deity, their spokesmen were often lacking in this very virtue. Seeing a number of bullet cases laying at the Preacher's feet, it appeared that Thomas was not the first that had been judged by Brother Yohannes that day. Despite of the hypocritical nature of those who served the Pre-War Gods, the Tall and Pale Former Assassin respected the fact that a majority of these men and women had devoted themselves to something other than personal gain. While the Undertakers cared for the souls of the Dead, people like Brother Yohannes cared for the souls of the living.

"Well met, Brother Yohannes. I am Thomas McGee, formerly a representative for the Undertaker's Union for this region. My associate in crimson in front of you is Sylph and the woman that was behind me is Arizona. Though I doubt that your order has provided you with any sort of combat training, I can see that you've been in the Wastes long enough to know how to hold a pistol and surely you would know that one cannot expect politeness and manners to flourish in the middle of a battlefield... at least until the allegiances of all sides have been determined." The Former Undertaker lectured as holstered his own weapon before signaling for sylph to stand down. Her wrist blade sheathed itself audibly as she straightened herself, "Given that the sound of gun fire has died down and I presume that both the Raiders and the Deathclaws have been dealt with, I believe it's time that we can continue this conversation without weapons, right?"

Backing away from the Preacher-man, Shifty moved towards the hole that he'd used as an entrance into the building and peered through it, looking to see what was happening outside.

"By Lord Walt, that's not something you see everyday." The Former Undertaker of the East cursed loud enough for the others to hear, gestured for Sylph to look through the hole with him, "It appears that a Vault Dweller has made herself known and she's brought large bipedal reptilian friends with her." Which could only mean one thing when you're talking in the middle of the Wastelands. Gesturing for Brother Yohannes to look out the building Thomas continued to speak, "So, Brother Yohannes, doesn't your Book tell you to be wary of the Prince of Serpents? What happens when it's a Princess?"

"Death...claws." Sylph muttered as she started to move through the hole only to be stopped by Shifty's gentle hand on her shoulder.

"Easy Sylph. Given that Arizona, William, Evan and Dudley are unharmed. I think the need for violence is now over." The Tall and Pale Caretaker said before patting Sylph on top of the head.


The Wild Wastelands | Smith Casey's Garage
SO CLOSE!!
Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 | Trixie

The dark haired woman leaned against one of the Garage's dilapidated walls and let out a long sigh. Despite the fact that she didn't really care for the company of the Enclave Heavy Weapon's Specialist, he had assisted in her escape from the Evil Vault of Evil and she owed him for that, of course that didn't mean that she would stoop so low as to sleep with the idiot in order to repay her debt. Rubbing her temples, she attempted to ignore the remainder of the interaction between ED and Eddie, never noticing that the other man dressed in Enclave Power Armor sans Helmet had moved over to where she had been hiding resting.

"I don't incline myself to tell you people how to do things, but you may with to stand back..." The man named Steinmetz suggested as he jabbed at the computer thingy around his wrist. Looking over the man's shoulder, she noticed that the former Enclave Associate was attempting to hack into the Eyebot.

"If you don't incline to tell us how to do things, why start now?" The woman quipped as she started walking away from the stacked escape pods. With any luck, she'd be rid of this rogue's gallery of miscreants and she could get back to the business of being a businesswoman. Passing the small ribboned Eyebot, the petite woman dressed in leathers paused for a moment as the cute floating soccer ball started chirping excitedly, attempting to communicate some sort of desire to be helpful.

"They're far beyond help dearie." Trixie said as she patted the small Eyebot before she continued on, waiting for the inevitable blast-wave... except it never came. The merchant took another couple of steps before her internal clock registered that it had been far longer than the 20 seconds that had remained on the timer when she'd last seen it. She stopped. She waited to see if maybe she was wrong and then turned around.

"I DID IT! I FUCKIN' DID IT!" The Power Armored Idiot bellowed triumphantly with his arms raised victoriously over his head before screaming out more profanity laced celebratory statements, "I MADE THIS FUCKER MY LITTLE BITCH!"

"I really doubt it." Trixie muttered to herself, resigned to having to travel with the self proclaimed Enclave Dominator for at least another hour or so performed another mind numbingly stupid and life threatening act of "heroism." Of course by the time this happened, he will have already hit on her another six or so times. Walking back over to the assembled "team" of misfits. ED, not Eddie, looked at her with a large smile, or at least a large a smile as the mouth zipper would.

"So, sweet ass, what do you think? You know, karma dictates that since I kept that bomb from exploding, I need to make something else explode." The Enclave Dominator said in a rather meaningful tone.

"That's one." Trixie muttered to herself.

"What?"

"I said sounds like fun... but we've got company... and they have questions." The dark haired woman said as she pointed at the... thing with the blades and the picture.

"[What about you two?]" The Irradiated Rocker asked of the duo.

"Nope." The Girder Girl responded quickly after glancing at the photo, "Cute kid though."

"I KNOW THAT GODDAMNED C-"

"ED!" Trixie hissed in warning, seeing that the well muscled, sword Weilding Vault Thing had a particular affinity for the girl in the photograph.

"Fine. Yeah. I know that goddamned cutie pie. Showed up in the Enclave Vault about a month... or six ago. Killed a bunch of those Egghead Enclave Deathclaw Researchers... and a few guards... and a few others. Then she was spotted running off with a traitor to the Enclave." The Enraged Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist responded, bristling at the thought of Sylph and the defeat that he's suffered at her hands, "If I ever run into her again I'll..."

"ED!"

"... give her a hug." The Enclave Dominator said before finishing off the sentence mentally, "(to death.)"

Sable "Swan-Maiden" Blamco || Travelling from New Vegas to Megaton
"Never one, without the other"


*Beep-boop*
...
*Beep-boop*
...
*Beep-boop*
...

"Sister.", Sable stated flatly, "I thought you were cutting off all communications and transmissions while we are on our little journey."

The beeping continued, much to the annoyance of Keira Blamco, owner of the beeping Pip-Boy. Clearly this was an urgent transmission. Answering the call, a live video-feed filled the screen. A senior officer in a yellow BlamCo jumpsuit was on the other end, "Apologies, Lady Blamco! We had a security breach at Warehouse-22!"

"Had?", a stone-faced Keira inquired, "Take a breath and explain yourself."

Despite being about two decades older, the officer was visibly tense -- it seemed like this was his first time contacting one of the Blamco family members directly. "We had a break-in, the lock on the door was picked and she started rummaging for food and a very specific set of weapon modifications from our deals with the Gun-Runners. The little thing kept her face covered and took out our camera with a throwin' knife. She forgot about the silent alarm though -- 30 seconds without verification and security got a warning about a breach. We cornered her and she stabbed Wilson in the leg and bit Derek on the arm! One stun-baton later and she's all tied up. What should we do?"

"Show me the captive.", The video feed was adjusted and a young girl in her early teens was shown. Tied up, filthy and clad in rags.
Keira pondered for a moment.
"Show me what she attempted to steal." Rudimentary BlamCo products, parts for pistol and a shotgun modification.
"Search her body for any markings. Tattoo's, branding -- that sort of thing. No need to be gentle with a thief."

The video feed grew erratic as the officer ordered those under his command to search the aggressive female. "Found something, Lady Blamco. On her chest, a rabbit tattoo."

Keira swore under her breath, signalling to Sable to stop the caravan. "Make a citizen's arrest and take her to the authorities -- The right one's, I want justice, not a mess. No further harm will befall that girl. We cannot have this splashing back on BlamCo.", Keira exited the caravan, hauling her greatshield out. "In the meantime, I want the security footage from our surrounding warehouses. We're dealing with the Rabbit Gang and they are growing far too meddlesome. Meet me at BlamCo HQ in --- 30 minutes or so. I am on my way via horse, inform the guards at New Vegas gates."

"Yes Ma'am!", the senior officer replied, visibly saluting before the feed was cut. Leaving the two sisters in silence, it was Sable that proceeded to pierce the heavy atmosphere.

"So, dear Sister. I take it you are abandoning this senseless quest for revenge?", Sable remarked offhandedly whilst checking her nails and scowling for just a moment. "This was a disappointing waste of my time."

"Oh fret not, Sable.", Keira grinned, eyes gleaming with malicious intent, "You will be going in my stead."

Sable crossed her arms, blue cloak fluttered against the wind, "Our intentions are very very different, Keira. Unlike you, I am worried about our Heiress."

Keira spun on her heels, arms extended in an off-puttingly theatrical manner. This was most unlike her. "As am I! That is why you will go in my stead and bring Kristin Blamco back. Assess the situation first, if you must. Help her, if you need to. But ultimately, convince her to return to her rightful duties at home -- lest those duties fall into the hands of someone more...capable."

For all of Keira's poking and prodding, the hairs on the back of her neck raised in tension, for few things were more fearful than the Fiery Wrath of Kristin Blamco or the Cold Judgement of Sable Blamco. "I move of my own volition, Shieldmaiden. And like I mentioned before, I will measure my judgement according to the actions and motivations of our Valkyrie. Your agenda is transparent and unsightly."

Keira exhaled, she wasn't even aware that she was holding her breath whilst waiting for Sable's response. It wasn't perfect, but she could make this work -- BlamCo was a business after all, there was no room for sentiment and liberal notions of self-discovery. And like a well-oiled machine, Keira would crack the whip if that meant the restoration of BlamCo's economical power.

"It's settled then.", Keira concluded, rapidly tapping away at her Pip-Boy, "I'm ordering Delivery Girl to use a refurbished vertibird to take you are far as possible until she needs to refuel. At that point, you'll continue by Nightmar- horse. Also, you need an inventory adjustment, since I will not be joining you."

Sable's curiosity was piqued, "What kind of adjustment?"

"A shield.", Keira stated, carefully disassembling a thick layer of the shield while removing handfuls of circuitry, "My greatshield to be exact."

The 'Raven Wing', an expandable riot-shield modelled and referred to as a greatshield that was modified with a layer of explosive-reactive armor. The directional blast was lethal on strike yet highly adaptable when paired with a row of mini flashbang grenades for non-lethal takedowns and interruptions. Impervious to small arms fire, laser and explosive blasts...truly, this shield had saved countless lives. Too large to be used by those wielding two-handed weaponry, the greatshield was often used in careful coordination between two-man attack teams -- defense and offense at it's finest.

The current greatshield, now stripped of any explosive gimmicks and much lighter as a result, shined in the hands of Sable Blamco. Why? Sable's fighting style relied on speed and closing the gap in range...that's where the stripped-down greatshield was an excellent repellant against small arms fire and laser blasts, but without the former coating, it was no longer fit to contain explosives, plasma or high-caliber weapons fire. The adjustable size was a lifesaver for Sable who needed to move unhindered.

Trading in her double-barreled shotgun and ammunition for the non-explosive variant of the stripped-down greatshield. Sable hooked the shield onto her back, content with her inventory. "I suppose I'm back to being the Shield-Maiden then, correct?"

Keira smirked, "Don't come crying to me when you realise how much skill my role requires. Besides, my heavy greatshield would do nothing but hinder you or get you killed. You are still very much the Swan-Maiden of us, so feel free to dance on the battlefield...showoff."

It was these small moments of banter that the sisters truly missed. Yet their growing list of responsibilities had impinged on their time together.

The rhythmic sound of an approaching Vertibird had signalled the impending departure of Sable Blamco. "She might not be the most tactful, but our Heiress is the spirit of BlamCo. Take her away and whatever rotten desires of ambition you possess will surely fail."

Keira did not reply.
...
Politics aside, the Swan-Maiden stepped forth to hug the Shield-Maiden.

"Worry not, dear sister."

Equipment, dying horse and one-third of the Valkyrie Unit loaded onto a Vertibird for a short-yet-speedy trip -- Sable departed on that note, not before witnessing the look of conflict on Keira's face.


Kristin Blamco | Springvale Elementary School
"Mundane Madness"
---

With over half of the guests absent, not eating their food or gallivanting in search of kitchenware. One could say that Kristin Blamco was none too pleased with this group's lack of proper etiquette. One could say that, yet they would be woefully underestimating that fact if one had caught sight of the Heiress in this very moment. Frozen whilst cutting the lasagne into smaller portions, Kristin's head tracked Constance's departure from the room, face stretched into an accommodating grin which was betrayed by a twitching of the eyelid. Whether or not Kristin's sanity had broken for this very moment was up for debate, but absurdity had to be met with absurdity! If simple manners cannot exist in this world, then neither can rational thought! She should just give up her quest right now, an army? What a silly notion. Cheerleaders! Now there was a worthwhile pursuit for the giggling gang of Sylphy's. The Wasteland needed a message of hope, a symbol of courage in these darks times and a daily boost to morale. Where else would one find motivation other than the water-drenched & coordinated pom-poms of woo-ing Sylphy -----

---- and Kristin Blamco found herself standing mere feet away from the Intelligent Deathclaw, presumably having walked here in her fugue state. A heaped plate of excess BlamCo Lasagne in one hand. Coming to her senses somewhat (The sight of a Deathclaw would do that to a person), Kristin grew haughty in the face of imminent death. Placing the plate of food on a small stack of concrete blocks, Kristin used this elevated platform as a makeshift table. Still not in her right mind, she placed a knife and fork down, registered that her other hand was holding a flask of purified water -- which had the cap twisted off and placed alongside the plate.

"If you have any allergies, Mister Claw.", Kristin started, her pitch notably higher, as if she had given up on proper vocal conventions as well. "Do let me know. There are several salads available if you are on a filthy diet or if you have unholy ethical concerns towards the consumption of meat or dairy, you godless heathen. Please enjoy your meal and you are most welcome to join us for wine. Unless you don't drink alcohol, you can remain a blight in the Eyes of The Moon --- Enjoy!"

With a small curtsy, the BlamCo Heiress spun on her heel and marched back to the kitchen. She was trying not to think too hard about her actions. How could Constance leave the table after being presented with dinner!? Was the Moon-Dweller even eating? Could she eat? Was Kristin meant to blend the lasagne into a sickening paste for the Hallowed One to drink through a straw?!

Was nobody partaking in the BlamCo tradition of feasting when presented with food!? It was simple table manners! Could she live in this horrid state of absolute chaos, how had her life gone so terribly wron ---

"Here you go, Kristininin. I think this is enough for the 50 Sylphys." Constance cheery voice shattered the feces-stained windows of her temporary worldview, re-entering the kitchen just in time, Constance was hard at work with the new dishes for the Sylphys. Oh! What a wondrous sight! Gaze upon those mechanical cat ears, no longer were they the horns of the devil-child that Kristin believed her to be not 0.3 seconds ago!

Rejuvenated and filled with determination, Kristin was intent on helping Constance with the dishes.

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!"

Oh? So one of them had come to investigate all of the commotion -- or more likely, the scent of dinner. Turning on her heel, Kristin approached the Sylphy, standing mere centimeters away. "Sylphy?"
Not a hint of fear. Kristin was still taken aback by the sheer uncanniness of these clones. Picking her up by the waist, much like one would handle an action-figure, Kristin turned and twisted the Sylphy into various positions. The giggling Sylphy was happy to comply. Clapping her hands together, Sylphy followed suit -- after a few miscommunications that involved a tugging of the hair, a hilarious 'got-your-nose' moment and a brief arm-wrestle. Sylphy and Kristin had finally managed to play patty cake.

One thing could be interpreted from this interaction. Kristin required a translator and the first person in mind was Constance. For training an army non-verbally would nigh-impossible without an abundance of visual aids and plenty of laser pointers. Nay, twas the dawn of Lieutenant Commander Constance!

"Well Miss Kristin, there's more bowls left in Miss Black's former residence. If you want, I can go pick them up or I can just wash them as the Sylphys eat in shifts."

Kristin pondered, cocking her head to the side before glancing at McKenna's empty seat and emptier plate, she wondered where he was. Resuming her Hostess role, Kristin lifted the plastic cover from the Constance's plate, content to see that the heat was preserved. Constance was waved off, "Oh you have done more than enough for now, thank you. We can go feed the Sylphys together after you have finished eating. I have much to discuss with you about training regimens, dietary restrictions and scheduling. It looks like we will have to organise the Sylphy's into smaller groups based on weapon specialisation and performance ratings. One group rests and recovers, another group will take their place for their evaluation and training. I need you at peak performance.", Kristin looked unflinchingly serious for a moment before breaking into a hearty chuckle, "Fret not! We will start tomorrow, but rest assured that I will gladly pour my very blood into ensuring the best possible training. A Blamco bleeds amongst their battle brother and sisters."

Proceeding to dish up a sizeable portion of lasagne, alongside a helping of salad, onto McKenna's plate. Kristin sealed the contents to temporarily preserve the heat.

Finally taking a seat, Kristin dished up her food. One mouthful later and anyone perceptive enough would notice that the pleasant demeanour had all but vanished, somber when sitting opposite the empty chair where Jonathan belonged. She would try to give him his dinner by the end of the day at least.

Despite being in new company, the heavy political atmosphere was not sitting well with the Heiress. She missed her sisters. A good fight would do wonders right now.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
The Followers and Freeside
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

Despite the fact that it was Winter in New Vegas and the fact that the freshly minted Undertaker was standing under the shade of a grimy, off-white tent that had been erected by the Followers of the Apocalypse, Thomas "Shifty" McGee still found himself sweating. Many a set of eyes followed the Darkly Dressed Caretaker of the Dead and many a hand hovered near holstered weapons, just in case the stranger decided to anything violent or, at the very least, extremely rude. While Shifty could have argued that he had arrived at the Follower's base of operations to peacefully complete the delivery of a letter to the Follower's Leader, his case would not have been helped by the rumors suggesting that death seemed to follow the members of the Undertaker's Union. Of course, this sort of reaction hadn't been limited to those of the Followers, nearly everyone in New Vegas had given the Fresh Faced Friend to the Dead a look of either curiosity or hostility. While the reaction suggested that many were aware of the secondary purpose of the Undertaker's Union, the Sharply Dressed Grave Digger was aware that the treatment he'd received thus far was due to superstitious supposition rather than actual facts.

Thomas had been waiting for the Branch leader, Julie Farkas, to finish reading the Letter of Request from the Undertaker's Union. The young man couldn't help but be comforted by the fact that the woman's hair style was a Mohawk that mirrored his own. Like the organization to which Thomas McGee belonged, the Followers of the Apocalypse had a noble purpose but unlike the Undertaker's Union, Miss Farkas' group was not constrained by the concept of appearance suggesting one's virtuousness. Rather it was the actions of the Followers that demonstrated their integrity.

Miss Farkas, having finished the letter, folded the document and placed it carefully back in its envelope before looking at Thomas. There was an amused expression on her face, one that made it appear that she knew something Thomas did not, which was true considering the Newly Initiated Undertaker had not read the requisition letter.

"Heluva request your boss is making," Miss Farkas said looking up at the Undertaker from where she was seated, "But you can tell him that I'll send our top Robobrain Researched back with you."

"I'm sorry but I should inform you that I won't be heading back home in the foreseeable future," Thomas said with a frown, finding it hard to hide the disappointment he felt. If the Union was requesting a Robobrain Researcher from Followers of the Apocalypse and they had already sent a messenger to the Commonwealth, it could only mean that his brothers and sisters would making the final preparations for one of the most important events in human history... and Thomas would be missing it. Dismissing his disappointment, Thomas resumed talking, "After our meeting, I need to meet up with another member of the Undertaker's Union and get an assignment before heading off to the East Coast where I'll be caring for the people there. From what I understand, the Followers do not have a presence on the East Coast. Some of my comrades that have returned from that region and reported that the Brotherhood of Steel is close to the completion of a machine that can mass produce pure drinking water."

The woman at the desk looked at her guest with some interest, a thoughtful expression on her face.

"Interesting," Miss Farkas said, "Thanks for the tip. Now then, is there anything else?"

"No, Ma'am. Thank you for your time." The Well Dressed Undertaker responded before turning to exit the tent.

"If you run into any extra medical supplies, we're in desperate need of them in order to continue our work in New Vegas." The Mohawked Woman said.

"You'll be the first one I visit if I ever find myself drowning in StimPacks." Shifty said as he left the tent before leaving the compound itself.

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

Despite having intentions on immediately leaving the impoverished community of Freeside, Thomas found himself walking its streets an hour later. Exiting the town should have been a relatively easy task but the Finely Dressed Undertaker found it hard to differentiate one street lined with bombed out buildings from another street lined with bombed out buildings. Stopping at an intersection, the Lost One looked to his left, then to his right and then back to his left.

"Excuse me." The Tall and Pale Caretaker of the Departed called out as he attempted to flag down the closest pedestrian for directions out of the city. The Freesider, a teenager clad in threadbare and dusty clothing, paused long enough to see who had called out for him before walking away from the Lost Undertaker at twice the pace he had been walking.

Sighing to himself, Undertaker McGee resigned himself to looking for the Southern Gate without assistance. Since leaving the Undertaker's compound, Thomas had started being accustomed to the treatment he'd received at the hands of others. He was only semi-bothered by the wide berth the local populace gave him as he traveled through their streets, none of them looking directly at the sharply dressed grave digger. Were they unaware of the need for people such as Shifty McGee? Did they not care what happened to their bodies after they died? The answer to the latter question lay a few feet away, soaking in a pool of its own bodily fluids.

She'd been dead for only a short time but her body had already voided itself of the fluids once contained in her bladder and bowels. While the harsh smell of the woman's fecal matter and urine did not affect the Undertaker, the fact that Thomas saw signs of people who'd walked around or over the woman's body without a second glance did. Leaning over to examine the departed, the Caretaker of Corpses noted that his new customer had been rather striking and lead a rather rich life. The clothing that clung to the woman's body had been custom tailored and crafted from rather expensive cloth, as was the purse that lay next to her. Saying a brief prayer for the departed, Thomas reached over and picked up the purse, opening it in hopes of finding enough bottle caps to cover the cost of her burial.

"H... Heeeeeeeeeey." A drunken and feminine voice slurred, causing the Undertaker to look around for the source of the voice, "Whaht're yuuu doin' wiff my purse? Yuuu tryun to steal fruh me?"

Looking to where the woman had been laying, Thomas noted that she was now sitting up and staring at him, her eyes filled with a large amount of anger that threatened to boild over. The woman, who had not died but had instead passed out from over consumption of alcohol, reached out and gave the Surprised Young Undertaker a good shove, causing him to fall backwards, the purse's strap wrapping around his wrist. As he attempted to pick himself off of the ground, the Unfortunate Undertaker felt a tug on his arm as the woman attempted to wrest her purse from Thomas.

"Yuuuu AR! GIVE MEE MAH PURSE!" The woman snarled before filling her lungs up with as much air as possible, "THIEEEF! WE GOT A THIIIEEEEF HERE!!!"

The people of Freeside stopped for a moment and did something they had not done before: They looked directly at the Undertaker with eyes filled with anger. Here was another outsider that was messing with a Freesider. Here was another man that was attempting to put a Freesider back down in the proverbial ditch.

"N... no. This is all just a mistake... I thought you were dead." The Shifty stammered as he attempted to free himself from the woman's grasp.

"D'JA HEAR DAT?! HE WAS GONNA MAKE ME DEAD!" The woman cried out to her audience, who was getting angrier and angrier at the Undertaker.

"I... ummmm... welll... Gotta go." Thomas said as he pulled out his knife and cut the purse strap with a quick swipe of the sharpened blade. Turning to run away from the crazed drunken Freesider, Thomas heard a thud as the woman, unprepared for the sudden release of her property, fell backwards into the puddle of filth she'd been laying in.

"STOP HIM! GET HIM!" Thomas could hear the woman screaming. While he couldn't hear anyone running after him, it didn't stop the Undertaker continuing his escape by ducking into a narrow alley.


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale Elementary Sisterhood of Steel HQ
Good Intentions... something something something
Constance Sorrowfeld

Examining bowl number thirty-one, the Teenaged American Enclave Scout of America looked for the smallest speck of dust or old food that would have contaminated Miss Kristin's divine cooking. It didn't take but a second to note a near microscopic shred of ancient molerat meat which was then scrapped off using a scrubbing pad that Constance had found under the sink. Satisfied with the state of bowl number thirty-one, Constance Sorrowfeld carefully passed the item to the Sylphy that was assisting her with drying. Pausing for a moment, the girl looked at her fingers, wrinkled from prolonged exposure to moisture. Though there might be danger from her fingers remaining in that wrinkled state forever if she continued her task, Constance didn't mind the structure that the Dairy Queen was providing. As Constance started her work on bowl number thirty-two, the sound of giggling could be heard nearby. Turning her ear towards the source, the teenager was pleasantly surprised to see that Miss Kristin was having fun with one of the Sylphys, the two playing patty cake at the table where they were sitting.

"Sylphy?" The Sylphy assisting Constance with the dishes asked.

"Oh, nothing. I didn't expect Miss Kristin to start playing patty cake with one of your sisters. She seems like she's going to be a pretty rigid trainer." The Cat Eared Scout responded with a smile as she dunked the bowl in a solution of dish soap, disinfectant, rad-away and a mild solution created from a cheese byproduct that had been designed to neutralize harmful contaminants, "But she looked kind of sad when she looked at Mister McKenna's place setting didn't she?"

"Sylphy." The Sylphy responded and nodded as she accepted bowl number thirty-two and began drying it.

"You think we should do something for Miss Kristin?" The Concerned Cat Girl asked quietly to that Miss Kristin wouldn't be able to hear them.

"Sylphy Sylphy?" The Sylphy reponded.

"Grab one of your sisters and asked them to bring Mister McKenna here for dinner, please." The young girl said with a smile.

"Sylphy!" The Sylphy said as she placed bowl number thirty-two on top of the existing stack and walked off into the hallway. Another Sylphy, the former head cook, took her sister's place drying. Seeing that Miss Kristin was now at the table, resuming her role as hostess, Constance had yet another Sylphy, the very one that Kristin had been playing with, take her place washing bowls.

Once seated at the table, Constance suddenly found herself salivating as all the wondrous smells assailed her nostrils, each dish trying to out do the last in terms of savory scents.

"We can go feed the Sylphys together after you have finished eating. I have much to discuss with you about training regimens, dietary restrictions and scheduling. It looks like we will have to organise the Sylphy's into smaller groups based on weapon specialization and performance ratings. One group rests and recovers, another group will take their place for their evaluation and training. I need you at peak performance." Miss Kristin said in a rather serious tone that was soon shattered by her pleasingly pleasant chuckle, "Fret not! We will start tomorrow, but rest assured that I will gladly pour my very blood into ensuring the best possible training. A Blamco bleeds amongst their battle brother and sisters."

The very world seemed to quake in fear at the BlamCo Valkryie's words and dedication to turning the Sylphy mob into a proper army. Constance could almost see the army, with Miss Kristin at the front and Constance by her side, charging at their enemies, who would be so consumed by the fear, they would submit without a shot being fired. The very thought would have brought a grin to the teenaged girl's lips were it not impolite to grin with your mouth filled with delightfully savory foods.

Though the thought of such a future lifted Constance's spirits up to a state of near ecstasy, second only to the ecstasy her taste buds were experiencing, there was a certain amount of fear the had wormed its way into the pit of Constance's tummy. Could she measure up to the training regime that the Commander in Cheddar had in store? Would the Sylphys be able to? Was Constance making a mistake putting so much faith into a near stranger while others closer to her had failed?

"Thank you, Miss Kristin," The Formerly Silence American Enclave Scout said with a smile, "Thank you for helping the Sylphys and me. Thank you for accepting us without a second's hesitation. Thank you for everything... especially this wonderful food. The American Enclave Scouts of America never taught us to make foods with this much flavor. They'd always said nutrition first and taste last. But... this is the best meal I've ever had."

The last statement was actually factually correct. In most cases, people could be counted on saying that a meal tasted either as good as their mother's cooking or came in a close second to their mother's cooking. However, seeing as how Constance had never had a home cooked meal that had been prepared by her own mother, Charlotte, there was no comparing the two.

"I really, really, really, reallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreally hope that I can live up to your expectations, Mimimiss Kristinininin." The Young Girl practically stuttered with excitement, her mind aflutter with the various training exercises that Miss Kristin would have Constance perform. Were the position of mother not already taken by Enclave Intelligence Officer #411, surely Miss Kristin would have been suited for the job. No one, not even the famed Natsuki Manriki had ever motivated the Cat Eared Scout in the manner, "I would hate to disapp-"

The sentence was abruptly cut off by the sudden appearance of a mob of Sylphys that barged through the kitchess door, jabbering excitedly to one another. Of concern was the fact that they were carrying weapons that had been constructed by Constance for the sole purpose capturing live game to be cooked later. Nets, Capture Poles, Padded batons were used to stun and capture prey animals. Also of concern was the fact that this group of Hunter Sylphys had gone out and captured a very lively and very angry Jonathan McKenna, wrapped his body with rope and gagged him. Dropping the man on the floor, the Sylphys look expectantly at their leader, Constance Sorrowfeld.

Stunned, embarrassed and very much surprised, Constance stayed in her seat, unsure of what to do. The Blind Amateur Shotgun Surgeon had been meddling and she was not exactly sure what the Dutchess of Dairy's stance on meddling was. The young girl could have played it off as if the Sylphys had done this on their own or she could fess up.

"I... ummmm... I..." Constance stammered for a moment before taking a long breath, "When I said bring Mister McKenna here for dinner, I meant ask him to come here to have dinner, not capture him and bring him here to be dinner." The Embarrassed Ambassador for the Sylphys said as she rubbed her suddenly aching head before turning to The Baroness of BlamCo, "Miss Kristin... I... thought that if I were going to be a good host like you are, it would be best to have Mister McKenna arrive for dinner with all of us. I didn't mean for... this... to happen."

Looking around for support, she spotted Miss Sorenson and hoped that she'd have something to say that would better the situation because from where Constance Sorrowfeld was sitting, it looked like an unmitigated disaster.

Fiona stared at the strange group of people around her, ..especially the zombie woman, who then started talking, which to her was unusual for a uh, zombie thing.

"Well, that's nice. So, who're you, why are you here, and how the the hell do you have a coupla Deathclaws following you around like they're some overgrown puppies?" she asked gruffly, keeping a firm hold of Lester in case they decided to make a move to attack.

Fiona Callahan listened intently to the question from the strange lady that looked like an undead zombie. That was the strangest thing, aren't zombies supposed to be obsessed with brains and wander about and not be able to wield guns? She'd have to ask when it felt saver.

"I'm Fiona Callahan, from Vault 127, now known as Claw City, I am just exploring to be honest, I got tired of being couped up in a vault, and as for Larry, Curly, and Moe here... Thats a really long story, I do hope we can be friends, or something. I'm a certified vault medical doctor and have all the equipment with me if you need them."

Fiona looked around a bit to take in the strange bunch here, at that same time, something very amusing began to happen. One of her deathclaws grunted, the other one thwacked the deathclaw that grunted, and it began a smacking contest between the three deathclaws, leaving Fiona to just laugh and laugh.

The Really Wild Wastelands | Six Years Ago | The Arborial Town Ann | The Blood Bath
I cut myself on edge!
The Sapphire Slayers| A Villainous Guest

A roar of approval from the assembled spectators filtered into the dark staging area where the three Sapphire Slayers waited for their match. The blue haired girls passed knowing glances as each other. When a crowd roared in that manner, it meant that one of their sisters had been butchered in the dirt filled, blood stained arena. While the three in the room weren't sisters in a biological sense, they had grown up together, watched each other's backs and kept each other safe. The eldest of the trio by a number of years wrapped a lock of sky blue hair around her index finger, a habit of her's when she was nervous, before giving the others a reassuring look.

The three Sapphire Slayers' individual names had been erased over time leaving them with only the names that their captors had taken to calling them and the names that they had made for each other. The eldest of the trio, Dumpster (or Shelley), stood near the door to the arena, her hands gripping the shaft of her lance so tightly that even in the darkness, the two others, Stupid Bitch (or Sydney) and Shithead (or Sylphee), could see the whiteness of her knuckles. Sylphee could tell that the eldest of the trio was nervous. Perhaps it was because the Old One, a woman who visited the trio to treat their wounds, had mentioned to their captors that Shelley was expectant, though none of the three knew what the 16 year old could be expecting besides more scars given to them by the arena.

Sydney, with her two axes in one hand, walked over and placed her hand on her elder's shoulder, reassuring her that everything would be alright, that this was just another event where they would earn their food, that in the end all three of them would walk out of the arena alive.

"I learned what they meant," Shelley said as the door to the staging area opened and six men entered, grinning their menacing grins at the three young women.

"We got something special for you," The lead handler said as they affixed a leash to Shelley's collar, then to Sydney's collar and then finally to Sylphee's collar. Grabbing the Lance wielding slayer by the back of her collar, the man pulled her back and pressed her body against his, "I'm gonna miss you but at least neither of us are gonna have to worry about that little problem of yours after this."

With a brutish laugh, the lead handler hauled the girls out of the room, the door closing behind them with a sense of finality.

For Sylphee, walking through the corridors that lead to the arena was always a nerve wracking experience as the Spectators, many of them men, leered at the Sapphire Slayers, pawed at them and pulled on them. True to form, the crowd did not fail to meet what Sylphee expected of them. A rough hand grasped at her chest and tugged on her. A man whose yellowed teeth could be seen through his wicked grin, spat in her face, before being shoved backwards by one of the handlers.

"A lively bunch today, Shithead." The handler stated before urging her forward into the arena.

Assembling their side of the arena, the girls huddled together and vainly strained to listen for the match up to be announced as it was drowned out by the noise of the spectators. Something had made them especially excitable that day.

"Same thing as usual," Shelley said, "I'll go first and pin the creature while you two finish it off... Sylphee! Pay attention!"

Sylphee, who was looking around at the people who sat high around the perimeter of the fighting pit, had spotted an odd sight. A well dressed man in a black suit, his hair had been slicked back and was as manicured and black as his moustache, was talking with the Blood Bath's owner as he looked down at the three Sapphire Slayers.

"Sylphee!" Sydney shouted this time and brought Sylphee's attention back to her with a grab of the arm.

"The usual," Sylphee said quickly as the gong sounded and Shelley sprinted for the opening door located on the opposite side of the pit. A deep roar could be heard over the sound of the cheering audience.

"Yao guai!" The lead Slayer called out, identifying their opponent, as she thrust the lance through the door, intent on ending the match prematurely. How wrong she was... how dreadfully wrong.

"WOOOOOT!" Shelley hooted as she felt the tip of her lance hit something.

The tip of the lance could be heard piercing the thick skin of whatever was beyond the door but rather than the typical yelp that would have been head from a Yao guai being stabbed in the neck, the angered roar of Deathclaw being stabbed in the knee followed the young woman's triumphant hoot, which was then followed by the sound of the lance being snapped in half.

"Shelley!" Sydney called out, too far to help, too late to do anything. The crowd yelled out their approval as a giant claw appeared from the darkened cage and impacted against the Eldest of the Sapphire slayers, sending her flying. A sickening crack was heard as bones shattered. Standing there, frozen in grief, Sylphee could only watch as Shelley's body lay against the wall, unmoving, the four parallel slashes across her chest pouring the girl's life onto the dirt.

"Sylphee!" the other remaining Slayer called out, "Move!"

The girl stood there, unmoving, as if she'd suddenly been turned into a statue by the Deathclaw's gaze.

The creature limped as it strode forward into the arena, looking at the audience atop the high walls, seeking a way to them. Seeing that the monster was distracted, Sydney made her move, sneaking her way behind the 10 foot tall mutated creature, aiming to get at its other leg. Stepping over the creature's long tail, the only moving Sapphire Slayer closed in for the strike.

*Crrrash*

A bottle, hurled from the crowd, exploded at Sydney's feet and drew the attention of the razor clawed monstrosity. Seeing the girl, the Bipedal Death Machine attacked, this time nearly cutting its opponent in two as its 12 inch claws sliced into young flesh. Not satisfied with its first strike, the creature grabbed the girl and hurled her across the dirt lined pit.

"Sylphee." A quiet male voice said from behind the still frozen Slayer, "That's what your sisters called out, right? Move. If you want to survive, you need to move. If you want to disappoint those who cheered at the death of your sisters, kill that creature. Look at them. They're ready for you to lay down and die for them," The voice continued from behind the gates.

Looking at the people who surrounded the place where her sisters died, Sylphee could see the smiles on their faces. She could see the enjoyment they experienced from watching the misery experienced by all those sent into this God forsaken hole. She hated them for it. She wanted to kill every last one of them because of it.

"In time, Sylph." The voice said.

Spurred into action, the last remaining Sapphire Slayer ran towards Shelley and Sydney's killer. The two blades bound to her wrist gleamed as she ducked under the Deathclaw's first strike and pierced the scaled hide around the creature's knee. Undeterred by its wounds, The Murderous Beast turned and swiped at its assailant, cutting into her back. Though the cuts were superficial, they still bled. They still hurt. The crowd applauded and cheered their delight at seeing their enjoyment prolonged.

The Blue Haired Child remained silent despite the stinging pain she felt in her back. She wouldn't give these people the satisfaction of seeing her as weak as she had been when she allowed the others to die. Turning to the stumbling Deathclaw, the attacked again, dodging the deadly blows that the creature sought to rain upon the girl's body. Lunging forward, Sylphee's blade pierced the creature's shoulder, slicing a tendon. The wounded arm dangled uselessly now that it had been robbed of a third of its weapons. Another swipe was dodged and this time both blades were plunged into the belly of the beast. Roaring, the Deathclaw twisted it body as it tried to dislodge its attacker. It felt the blades that had pierced its abdomen slicing into it, allowing a loop of intestines to fall out into the open. It felt itself getting weaker... and it made the Deathclaw even more enraged.

The remaining arm swung out at the blue haired girl, this time catching her in the side and sent her flying to the ground. A horrible snapping sound could be heard as the blades broke, leaving Sylphee defenseless. Falling on its wounded knees the claw eyed its opponent, its reptilian eyes watching to see if she was still alive.

She was... though she was in no shape to move. Groaning as she sat up, Sylphee could see that she was not yet victorious. She could see that the Deathclaw was ready to claim victory as it drug itself forward, salivating at the thought of biting into young human flesh. Closer and closer, the claw creeped towards its next meal. Closer and closer, death approached the blue eyed berserker. The reptilian monster opened its mouth...

BAM!!

and fell to the floor next to Sylphee, its head half removed by the blast fired from a Gauss Pistol. The crowd, for the first time that day, booed as they realized what had happened, that they'd been robbed of their entertainment. A fight broke out in the stands and Sylphee... bewildered by the fact that she was still alive, looked up at her savior.

"I've my work cut out," The man with the slicked back, coal black hair said as he picked the girl up in his arms.

"W...who..." The girl asked, dazed by blood loss.

"My name is Henry McGee... but you'll be calling me Father." Henry McGee said as he carried his newly acquired prize out of The Blood Bath.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
'The Followers, Freeside and Hunting'
- Sable "Swan-Maiden" Blamco -

---

RadAway & Rad-X, often considered to be miracles of modern medicine, were absolutely vital in an age where radiation exposure was all-too-plentiful to the unfortunate and the unsavvy. A recent stream of successful results had emerged from BlamCo's Research & Development division. Several new entries were being considered for mass-production and the department was left with a surplus of emergency medical supplies. Keeping in line with Blamco tradition and BlamCo business practises, anything that was deemed useful to their allies was fit for delivery.

A mousey female, jumpy in disposition, was struggling to find a way to carry four of the aforementioned medical supplies in various containers. The pursed lips and furrowed brows lead to an air of frustration. An air of frustration so seemingly senseless, even a bemused BlamCo Swan-Maiden couldn't stifle an off-putting giggle mere centimeters from the girl's back.

"M-m-m-miss -- LADY BLAMCO!", the girl stammered, hand clutched over her heart.

"Come now, Delivery Girl." Sable Blamco waved off the loyal retainer with a faint smile. "Save the formalities for Keira and those that live on prideful validation. I am here to assist you for a change of pace. Freeside, was it? Did you not grow up there?"

Delivery Girl blinked, swallowed and grew flustered in her attempts to wipe the surprise from her face. Of all the sisters, Sable was the least-demanding and very rarely sought Delivery Girl's services, instead settling for personal advice and quiet moments between a shared pot of tea. If anything, Delivery Girl was treated like an equal, yet she felt like Sable kept a wellspring of secrets under the eerily calm exterior.

"Y-yes. Lady Sa-- sorry -- Sable.", Delivery Girl stammered whilst frowning with greater intensity, seemingly frustrated with Sable's uncanny ability to disarm the plucky girl with an uncanny force of presence. "Freeside is home for me. Though we need to move quickly and inconspicuously which might prove difficult with your...armor, cape and various implements of war. Miss Blamco! I urge you to reconsider this trip! Freeside is a dangerous place and you might draw too much attention -- ..."

"I am one-third of the Valkyrie Unit.", Sable interrupted with a delicately raised a hand at an opportune moment, "I do ever so appreciate the sentiment my dear Delivery Girl, but I fear you might need the protection more than I do.", a faint smile emerged, exuding an unnerving serenity so unquestionable that her retainer simply agreed without question.

Clad in white leather armor with dazzling silver plate reinforcements, Sable had a retracted ballistic riot shield with an accompanying power spear worn across her back. A short-barreled hunting rifle rested on a thigh-holster along a bandoleer of pouches draped across her chest. What was inside these pouches were a mystery to anyone else but Sable. Strawberry blonde hair tied into an immaculate french braid draped over her shoulder --- the Delivery Girl, clad in an oversized jacket and a mechanic's overalls looked positively mortified at the disparity between their respective appearances.

Sharing the burden of containers, the duo proceeded with their delivery of the cooled medical supplies. "Umm."

"Speak freely.", Sable replied flatly, not before adding a bemused, "...Delivery Girl."

"I have a name you know! It's Annabelle. 'Anne-with-a-bell'.", Catching herself, Annabelle almost dropped the containers out of shock. "My apologies Lady Sable! I spoke out of turn, please forgiv -- ..."

"You've been working with Keira lately, am I right?", Annabelle nodded and Sable's eyes glazed over. "Do not let her abuse you. We were born with great privilege and an insurmountable responsibility on our shoulders. We would not be here if you weren't supporting us from afar. You are not a slave, Annabelle. You are a dear friend. So if Kristin's pride threatens to overthrow your opinion or if Keira's callous behaviour has you intimidated -- tell them, in no uncertain terms, that I will personally teach them a lesson when they least expect it."

"Thank you, Lady Sable.", Annabelle looked like she was on the verge of tears.

Poor girl, it was quite common for BlamCo technicians and scientists to feel reluctant to work with Keira BlamCo. More prone to cerebral activities and BlamCo's business-orientated work, Keira possessed a brilliant mind yet a terrible attitude. It was little wonder why Kristin Blamco was becoming the face of BlamCo, a milestone that Sable was all-too-pleased to hear, Kristin's upbeat attitude and flair for the bombastic served as inspiration to those around her at any given moment.

"Lady Sable?", Annabelle queried after making their way through a large crowd, "I thought you were the designated sniper of the Valkyrie Unit. Why the shield and spear?"

Sable cocked her head to the side, remembering how much more imposing she looked with a shield & spear. While she regarded her hunting rifle with a level of contempt, she felt like a failure of a sniper. It was her role to prevent the deaths of her sisters, yet she was not fast enough, strong enough, too cautious. No, today marked the end of her use of gun-related weaponry...she would master the intensity of close quarter combat, albeit with a very precise approach. After all, today she was on her way out for training with her new weaponry on top of the memorial for her lost sisters.

"I dislike guns.", Sable stated, "While I respect their power, I am not fond of the dehumanisation that takes place during combat. I am no less guilty of it than those that picked off my sisters. People, abominations, feral animals --- nothing should be treated as just a target. So if I must, if I absolutely have to, I will fight for the sake of protection and support."

"How does Kristin do it then?", Annabelle looked on with bewilderment, "She has no shield and she has...difficulties finding the safety switch on ballistic weaponry."

"Kristin is the type of warrior that can look down the barrel of a gun and laugh. A confused enemy will then be dashed away by that moment of hesitation. She knows no fear and defies common sense in order to topple her foes. She is bigger than me, bigger than you, bigger than this very story. Her spirit is larger than life itself."

Annabelle still looked confused. It wasn't a very satisfying answer. Then the mousey girl stopped in her tracks and clung to the medical containers. "Stay very still, Lady Sable!", Annabelle hissed in fear, "Cover your pockets and don't react to anything. Don't move. Cling onto everything you hold dear!"

Sable, confused, was about to request what had caused the sudden shift in disposition. Before she could speak, the duo were enveloped in a small roaming crowd. Hoods drawn over their heads and bandana's concealing their faces, Sable could feel her body being groped. Their hands, in a matter of milliseconds, changed size and shape. Searching, ever searching for something and it was in that moment that Sable drew her shield, manually pulling the adjustable ballistic shield to cover the length of her body. During this seemingly aggressive motion, the crowd dispersed in every direction possible, scattering and causing a ruckus for everyone nearby.

"Lady Sable! Check your pockets, check everything!", Annabelle was panicked, less so for her sake and more so for Sable.

Sable checked her inventory. Shield, spear, rifle, armor and even the medical supplies...everything seemed intact. "What was that?"

"A Rabbit Run!", Annabelle spat those words with fury, "They overwhelm you with numbers, taking advantage of your surprise and steal whatever they can get their hands on. Before you realise what's happening, they scamper away before you can even identify what's missing, let alone who took your things!"

Sable kneeled down, laid a pale hand on Annabelle's shoulder. "Whatever they did, they failed. But --- ", Oh. Annabelle was furiously patting the inside of her coat. "Your pocketwatch? I'll buy you a new one, no, I'll make an urgent request for your very own pip-boy.", Annabelle looked tearful once more, pip-boys were nigh-impossible to simply purchase due to their extreme utility and high-demand. "They probably saw your panicked state and you had become the easier target. They probably assumed I was your bodyguard."

Annabelle sniffed, wiped her nose on her sleeve, picked herself up and proceeded to carry the medical supplies to the Follower's HQ in Freeside. "I won't make you regret it, Lady Sable!", Annabelle stated with fiery determination, "When my pip-boy arrives, I will work night-and-day to make it up to you. One day, I will make a Vertibird fly once more and it will bear the BlamCo banner! I will paint it black in your honor!"

Is this what Kristin felt like? This feeling of unquestionable loyalty being declared for her sake. It was heartwarming and admirable, Sable enjoyed the passion in Annabelle's eyes. And yet -- all it took was a promise to buy a pip-boy. It was a tool that Sable overlooked, but to someone like Annabelle, it was invaluable in her studies as a mechanic and maintenance-maiden.

"Then it's settled.", Sable concluded with a soft smile, her heart beating faster at the reciprocation of kindness. Annabelle was one of few that did not actively avoid Sable. "I will put in a request when I get home tomorrow morning."

"THIEEEF! WE GOT A THIIIEEEEF HERE!!!"//"D'JA HEAR DAT?! HE WAS GONNA MAKE ME DEAD!"//"STOP HIM! GET HIM!"

As the duo rounded the corner, those words cut through the intimate moment with Annabelle. Sable, having already seen a victim of thievery before her very eyes, was not about to let this stand as long she roamed this street. Drawing her hunting rifle, Annabelle eyes widened. "Please! Lady Sable, don't do anything rash!"

Sable exhaled and steadied her breathing, her eyes wide and unblinking, her face expressionless, "Take the supplies to the Follower's. Now.", her voice was distant and cold.

After watching a man with a raider-style haircut desecrate the corpse of a woman sprawled in the middle of the road. The deviant panicked as a crowd stood and watched, a few shouted, yet nobody reacted except the outraged woman that had regained consciousness, apparently not as lifeless as she had appeared. The bystander effect, he was probably taking advantage of this phenomenon. Meanwhile, Sable had steadied her rifle in order to confirm that she could take a clean headshot. Quickly, she reached for a hollow-point round on the bandoleer of pouches containing various bullets and memorial items. Nothing...her bullets were missing! The pouch was gone. Quickly taking aim, centering the reticle on the sharply-dressed man's forehead, she pulled the trigger.

*click!*...*click!*...*click!*

The chambered round was removed. No, worse. This wasn't even her rifle! A dud, a fake, a replacement! A short-barreled hunting rifle was extremely common and rather popular, so her refurbished version would fetch a higher price than this rusted contraption. How had those Rabbits so deftly switched out a rifle of all things!?

In a rare moment of anger, Sable slammed the body-sized ballistic shield into the ground. Drawing her power spear, the superheated tip started to glow and emanate a heat shimmer in the air when it reached it's dangerous blue glow.

Uprooting the shield, Sable ran after the thief. The crowd turned to the face the heavy sound of armor hitting the ground as Sable broke out into a sprint. A few people screamed or jumped out of the way, the 6.5 foot black shield mixed with a glowing weapon and silver armor was a fearful sight to the unprepared. Following the dispersed crowd and direction of pointed fingers from those idly standing around, Sable rounded a corner which lead to a narrow alleyway.

Slamming down her shield to block the exit, Sable drew the attention of the thief by prodding at a nearby metal dumpster, the spear melted and pierced the material with minimal effort. Whatever residue remained was quickly melted with an audible sizzle when Sable lowered the spear towards the thief.

"Hand over what you have taken, Thief.", Sable commanded with empty eyes, advancing with a single step and in doing so, putting the pressure on her adversary. "There is no need for bloodshed if you have some semblance of sense!"

Who would have thought, the first day of putting her melee weapons training into practice...it would occur with an Illustrious Undertaker.


The Wild Wastelands | Present Day | Springvale Elementary School
"Embers of Pride"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

"Thank you, Miss Kristin," The Formerly Silent American Enclave Scout said with a smile, "Thank you for helping the Sylphys and me. Thank you for accepting us without a second's hesitation. Thank you for everything... especially this wonderful food. The American Enclave Scouts of America never taught us to make foods with this much flavor. They'd always said nutrition first and taste last. But... this is the best meal I've ever had."

The BlamCo Heiress was humbled and truly happy to discover unbridled appreciation in the confines of a relatively small kitchen space. Moments like these where people from all walks of life, stripped of affiliation and responsibilities, were brought together by the joys of food. With a wry grin, Kristin attempted to imagine what kind of lifestyle one would have to lead to so thoroughly neglect the palate of our All-Seeing-Scout.

"I really, really, really, reallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreally hope that I can live up to your expectations, Mimimiss Kristinininin." The Young Girl practically stuttered with excitement! Kristin's head whipped to the side.

"Hachikuji! Constance!", Kristin interrupted, "Unless you bit your tongue, I appreciate the fact that you think I deserve more consonants and vowels in my name than originally intended. Unfortunately, as a Princess, my namesake is more than a mere identifier. It is a symbol of justice! So for future reference, my name is Kristin Blamco!"

...

"I would hate to disapp-"

The sentence was abruptly cut off by the sudden appearance of a mob of Sylphys that barged through the kitchen door. Their special guest? None other that Jonathan McKenna himself. Not quite the reunion that Kristin had in mind, considering that she originally planned to deliver him his meal and hope to find him in a more amicable mood while they ironed out their differences, in spite of Kristin's reluctance to justify her two centuries of family history that she had no control over. Stubborn pride aside, Kristin expected to feel a familiar rush of hope --- a call-to-arms for those around her with a sour face. But watching intently, her former companion rose to his feet, took a seat and proceeded to cut away at his bindings. On any other day, Kristin would have slapped the glumness from his face. But not today. The sight of his apathy had lead to Kristin's despondent disposition. Their relationship, if one could call it that, had become an emotional minefield.

"I... ummmm... I..." Constance stammered for a moment, diverting Kristin's attention to her once more, "When I said bring Mister McKenna here for dinner, I meant ask him to come here to have dinner, not capture him and bring him here to be dinner." Turning to Kristin, "Miss Kristin... I... thought that if I were going to be a good host like you are, it would be best to have Mister McKenna arrive for dinner with all of us. I didn't mean for... this... to happen."[/b]

Kristin's jaw clenched instinctively, brow furrowed and chin raised to look down upon the smaller Scout. This flash of searing-frustration was intense but short-lived. Shoulders sagged, a last bite was taken and a small dismissive sigh was Kristin's reply. Her eyes had lost their spark and her posture was off, almost like she was minimising the space she was taking up, the furious grip on her wrist betrayed her restraint. All the while, her face was uncharacteristically devoid of emotion -- well, any positive emotion that is.

"I have heard the summons.", Jonathan finally started, breaking the silence which lead to a greater deafening silence.

"Enjoy your meal.", Kristin replied mechanically, lifting the plastic cover off of his warm plate. "Excuse me, I have others guests to attend to."

With a complete loss in her appetite, Kristin walked over to the kitchen proper and started putting her armor back on. She felt exposed, not in a manner of liberation, but rather in the claustrophobia of vulnerability. The familiar weight of her battle regalia did nothing for her mood. Fetching her things and grabbing one of the larger cooks pots. Something prodded at her rear, that something being the Pattycake Sylphy eagerly eyeing the contents of the large container. Kristin pointed at the stack of bowls. Understanding her intent, the Sylphy grabbed a precariously balanced stack while Kristin beckoned her to follow.

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

Exiting the kitchen with more Sylphys joining as she walked, Kristin attempted to speak to Pattycake Sylph. "Your name would be?"

"Sylphy!"

"Ahh, of course.", Kristin muttered under her breath, "How am I meant to differentiate you from your sisters?"

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy.", the Sylphy concluded with a proud nod.

"So...you are considered the 7th Sylphy?". Kristin was in dire need of Constance's help.

Communication barrier aside, the Sylphys understood intent and universal signals. Upon reaching an empty classroom, the gaggle of Sylphys followed in single file. At the front of the classroom, Kristin put the pot of food on the classroom's podium. A few attempted to claw at the lid, those few received a swift slap of the wrist. In a demonstrating fashion, Kristin beckoned for the Pattycake Sylph to step forward and lay the bowls on a nearby table. Grabbing a bowl and handing it to Pattycake Sylph, she was greeting with her first helping of BlamCo stew along with the necessary cutlery that was fetched from the kitchen.

After a few miscommunications and the assertion that the bowls were not hats. This batch of Sylphy's slower learned that if they were to be fed, they would need to follow a basic rule structure. Positive reinforcement.

Admittedly, the sight of each Sylphy's eyes lighting up upon receiving a complete meal with a potential promise of leftovers was more than heartwarming. It was a longer process than expected, she had to resort to a visual pantomime of the act of receiving food and taking a seat without bothering anyone else. Very few of them fought for food, yet the rate at which they wolfed down their serving portions had the Heiress concerned.

It was going to be a rough few days. Taking note of her students, Kristin kept an eye out for those that shared, kept to themselves or those that appeared to argue. Every detail was important and Kristin would begin dividing the Sylphys into differing categories based on displayed behaviour. Pattycake Sylphy seemed particularly attached, probably for the promise of more food. But during her antics to draw Kristin's attention, Pattycake Sylphy started mimicking Kristin's stance -- eagerly untying her hair and pulling downwards in an attempt to create the impression of artificial length. This gave her an idea, walking over to each Sylphy, Kristin mimicked a certain hairstyle for the Sylphy to wear.

- The team-players wore their hair in an over-the-shoulder braid.
- The quiet ones were fine with a simple ponytail.
- The aggressive ones retained their loose messy hair, a reflection of their disposition.

It wasn't quite as useful as a name or even stringing together a sentence, but by her count: 25 Sylphys were accounted for, fed and temporarily categorised in this previously abandoned classroom. Back to the kitchen and onto the next batch or so, BlamCo forbid that these Sylphys had begun to multiply.

Springvale High School
Pull my strings

The ride never ends.

As Jonathan lay on the cold floor, his back in pain from the fall, that was the thought most prevalent in his mind.

He stared at the ruined ceiling through the net he was carried in, unsure as to how he was supposed to feel right now. Surely any man would be in a stage of outrage right now, but for Jon, he just couldn't bother.

As soon as he had come to that sickening realisation, three clones had appeared before him, rope and net in hand, as though they were thought police aware of his transgression, come to take him in for thought rearrangement. Their attack was swift, and struggle though he did, all he did was delay the inevitable.

Or hasten it. As he struggled, he had elbowed a clone in the face, thoroughly breaking her nose. Just as he did, as though a scene from a low-budget sci-fi holovid, a new clone emerged from the old one, enthusiastically exclaiming "Sylphy!" before helping with his arrest.

If there was any cosmic evidence that his struggles were for nothing, this was it. Cheap sci-fi pseudo-science doesn't happen in real life. Except in this case it did, and it happened to him.

So why bother? That was the question. Why do I do this? What he wanted was time alone, time to think, to unwind, to calm his nerves. But it was clear that others thought otherwise, and thus his desires, however paltry and reasonable, had been thoroughly ignored. No amount of excuses that the blind operative was making could mask the fact that they had ignored his request. Violently, aswell.

A slave has no rights.

That was what he was, after all. He was in a position of bondage, having traded away his freedom for Lucy's, and despite all his bluffs and bravado, his was the weaker hand. Perhaps this was to remind him who was the boss here? More than likely, given this girl worked for #411. A gentler approach would've worked just the same, but without the added benefit of humiliation, and direct violence often worked more effectively than implied threats.

And it had definitely worked on Jonathan. His spirit had already been crushed by that sickening realisation, the pieces now only multiplied. This was the result of his choices, and a man has to bear responsibility for his actions, no matter how much contempt it might breed.

So, rather than shout at his slaver for her supposed incompetence, when the Sylphies removed the net he got up to his feet -for luckily enough they only saw fit to bind his hands and took a seat. Might as well play along this farce of a celebration.

He exchanged a long, tired glance with everyone in the room -Sylphies excluded- and grabbed a knife. It was deathly silent all of a sudden, as though everything hanged upon his words.

"I have heard the summons" he stated, defeated, and started cutting at the rope binding his hands with the knife.

Smith Casey's Garage
Between a rock and hard place

For poor Charlie, this had been the wierdest week of his life.

If it was a week. He wasn't quite sure how long he had been up there on that spaceship. Kinda difficult to watch days go by when the sun's at the same position all the damn time.

And to think that once he believed the time he'd spent with Sylph to be the wierdness high point of his life. Oh, how laughably normal it all seemed in comparison.

And the worst thing was, this ride didn't seem to be ending! He was now stuck with possibly the most utterly uncipherable company he'd ever seen: A ghoul casually wearing an Enclave helmet, two Enclave operatives, a thing so monstrous it looked like it crawled out of an extremely irridiated swamp, and... a woman. She looked normal. As normal someone travelling with such a company could be.

Not that Charlie looked any better, of course. To his eternal embarrashment, he had found himself wearing a dress and, before the ghoul took it, a bonnet. Oh, and also crash landed on an alien escape pod from a mothership circling Earth from Outer Space!

For once in his life, it seemed, Charlie's uncle Al had been right: What doesn't kill does make you wierder. Even if from association alone.

Charlie figured he'd be coming out of this a whole lotta wierder, provided he came out of this at all. He was dangerously close to hoping he was still back in the raunch doing all those banal chores. But only close. That sense of wanderlust left in him made all this exciting in a rather worrying way.

And then there was the Sylph case. On top of everything else, Charlie couldn't wrap his head around the fact that the ghoul and the thing were looking for her. And for what purpose?

He didn't dare ask. He felt rather lucky to have been left out of the conversation save for that off-hand question; the less he had to deal with this ragtag bunch, the higher his life expectancy looked. He stayed silent as the ghoul asked the rest the same question, watched the Ed guy answer.

And from the way he was talking about Sylph, Charlie felt the urge to tear him a new one.

[To be fair,]

Yeah, the Ed guy was a right proper arse from where Charlie was standing. He was kinda wishing someone would beat his ass up.

[If Biolante's combat skills are as good as his flirting, little girls are about the only thing he could be a threat to.] Yeah, you tell him, ghoul! [Why, I bet Astroboy here could take him on!]

Yeah!... what, what?!

[Eh? Whadda ya think, Astroboy?]

Charlie's eyes circled around the room. Everything had gotten silent, and all eyes where on him, waiting to see his response.

"Well... uh..."

He took a look at Ed. Oh dear, was he always this big? He felt his throat dry just by looking at him, and the ghoul expected him to fight this hulking mass of muscles?!

"Uhm... welll..."

But he couldn't really say no, now, could he? For all he knew if he did the ghoul would kill him instead! Sweat rolled down his forehead, as his voice grew shakier. He'd had many close calls in the past, but even the implication of this one felt closer than anything he'd felt before. He looked to the people on the side, the lady and other, non-Ed Enclave man,

"I... well... that is... uhhh..."

His expression was rather obvious. He was pleading for help.

The Road
'Because your enemy walks around like a roaring lion looking for any he can devour'

A silence reminiscent of an old Western holofilm rose between the good brother and the undertaker, as both side threw hard glares at one another. For the good brother Johannes, this silence served to further study the people in front of him. It also served as a way for him to be ready to react in case they decided to attack. Though aware that this was not his time he were, to act rashly would be hubris, the deadly sin of pride, favourite of the Advesary.

"Well met, Brother Yohannes. I am Thomas McGee, formerly a representative for the Undertaker's Union for this region. My associate in crimson in front of you is Sylph and the woman that was behind me is Arizona. Though I doubt that your order has provided you with any sort of combat training, I can see that you've been in the Wastes long enough to know how to hold a pistol and surely you would know that one cannot expect politeness and manners to flourish in the middle of a battlefield... at least until the allegiances of all sides have been determined."

"No man is born of the cloth, Mr. McGee" was all the good priest said.

"Given that the sound of gun fire has died down and I presume that both the Raiders and the Deathclaws have been dealt with, I believe it's time that we can continue this conversation without weapons, right?"

"Point made." he hummed, as he waited for the other party to holster before lowering his guard. Rather than holster immediately, though, he replaced the three used cannisters with new ones. The Wasteland was a harsh place, and vigilance was always needed, for both direct and indirect danger.

"By Lord Walt, that's not something you see everyday" That got the Priest's attention. As a matter of fact, a group like the former Undertaker's wasn't exactly common either. The brother was curious, intrigued even, to see what their purpose was, and though curiosity killed, it also created opportunity.

So, he walked over to the hole, ever wary of the girl especially, and gazed outside.

The undertaker wasn't lying. Three Deathclaws, terror of the wastes, all accompaning a woman. A woman a shallower man than him would call beautiful, if only by virtue of her uncomfortably large assets. But not him. He had seen true beauty, once, and this girl was a old hag in comparison.

"So, Brother Yohannes, doesn't your Book tell you to be wary of the Prince of Serpents? What happens when it's a Princess?"

"The advesary comes in many forms, Mr McGee, and whispers many lies to trick us from the path. We all must remain vigilant not to fall to temptation." he stared at her for another moment, "But I suppose we should be thankful she hasn't sicced her beasts at us. Yet." He turned to the undertaker, "I take it you'll be leaving introductions to your ghoul companion?"

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
Rings and Misunderstandings...
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

The Newly Initiated Undertaker's escape from Freeside was going as expected, that was, not going the way that he would have liked. Having been hopelessly lost prior to breaking out into a sprinting retreat, in the midst of a blind run through the streets and side alleys of the small New Vegas community it was going to be well nigh impossible for Thomas "Shifty" McGee to escape without stopping to gather his wits. Ducking yet again into another darkened alley way, Shifty found his retreat stopped by the sudden appearance of a small trip-line, that sent him sprawling to the broken and shattered asphalt, as well as the fact that the alley was terminated by a sudden dead end. Even as he lay sprawled out on the ground, his lungs burning and gasping for relief from his rushed retreat, Thomas' ears could discern the sound of cans clattering against a distant roof. Laying there for a moment, he gathered his wits and realized that it wasn't that he was no longer in the narrow cramped alleyway but rather he was laying in the middle of an open area and his eyes were able to register the brownish blue of open skies.

With a small groan he sat up and then hesitantly picked himself up from the ground and moved over to a rusted garbage bin, leaning against it as he attempted to recover some of the stamina he'd spent on his blind tour of Freeside. Surveying his temporary refuge, he noted that he could not have chosen a worse location to land. Surrounded on three sides by the high walls of multistory buildings, the only exit route was the very alleyway that the Darkly and Dapperly Dressed Caretaker of the Dead had emerged from. While it was the worst spot possible choice for a hiding spot, it was the best possible spot for an ambush.

As if reading his mind, the world decided that it was indeed a good idea to have the Newly Minted Undertaker ambushed. The sizzling, crackling sound of metal being melted was the first sign that Thomas was not alone and that he was about to be ambushed by whomever had setup the trip-line. Throwing himself forward out of pure instinct, Shifty attempted to avoid the possibility of getting stabbed in the back by whomever had sneaked up on him. Though it was a good choice of actions, the Unlucky Undertaker's luck still held sway and opted to throw a pile of loose debris in the path of his dodging forward roll.

BAM!

The back of the Undertaker's skull hit a beam of wood and caused the world to go blurry and start blaring a ridiculously high pitched ring that blotted out all other sounds. Again the inexperienced initiate to combat was forced to pick himself up off of the ground in a panic before turning to face his assailant.

His eyes widened as they came to focus on the sight of a woman, dressed in the purest of whites and silvers, pointing a spear, its tip blue from an intense amount of heat, at his heart. Her shapely lips moved, though he couldn't understand what she said through the ringing of his ears. For a strong-arming stickup artist Shifty's assailant wasn't quite dressed in a manner that he would have expected, then again he was in a town where a mob of sequined, pompadour topped, jump suit wearing gangsters held dominion, so anything was possible. Regardless of her dress, the Wintery Skinned Spear Wielder was not going to mug the Gravedigger for the Departed without a fight. Pulling Mags, Thomas' 356 Magnum, from her holster he pointed the revolver at his assailant's chest, assuming that she would be preferable to an open casket funeral.

Taking a step forward, the villainess took the initiative and forced Shifty to pull the trigger.

CLICK... CLICK CLICK CLICK was Mags' response to her master's commands.

"Walt dammit..." The Bane of Buzzards cursed as he noted a piece of detritus that restrained Mags' hammer from striking primer of the ammunition loaded in her chambers. Holding up his hand as if waiting for a moment, he holstered the revolver back underneath his black jacket with a promise to her that he'd spend some time cleaning the weapon out so as to avoid any future embarrassments. With the weapon secured in the holster, the Newly Initiated Undertaker reached and pulled out the two combat knives that were had stored against his lower back. Holding the pair of serrated blades in front of him, the left one in a reverse grip, he paused for a moment to make a comment, not that he'd be able to hear her response given the continued ringing of his ears.

"This hardly seems fair... why... your's is so big," The young man, newly introduced to the world, commented absently before remembering himself. He was an Undertaker and as such should have been more polite with his words. With a sour expression, he apologized quickly, "Sorry. I didn't mean to come off so crass."

With that last apology, the tall man charged, keenly aware that the White Warrior's Weapon had a longer reach than his, though it would only be an advantage if she could keep him at spear's length. That wasn't the only issue however since the super heated spear tip was likely to cause a sever amount of damage with even the slightest of touches.

Keeping himself low to the ground, Thomas tried to present as small a target as possible and as he neared the Spear Wielder's range, he lunged forward, attempting to evade any strike while getting close enough to slice into her leg or arm... any spot that would hamper either her movements or her ability to use her weapon. To her credit, she was surprisingly agile and moved far more quickly than Thomas would have expected given the armor she was wearing. The sunlight reflected off of the blade in his left hand as he cut into... nothing... nothing but air. Like a matador, the woman expertly dodged his attack with a dance-like side step.

Having passed the target without dealing any damage, the attacking Undertaker planted his lead foot while kicking out with his tailing leg, causing him to pivot and come to a sliding stop with his front pointed towards the Blizzard Colored Bandit.

"(Well... that didn't work)" Shifty thought to himself as he remained in position, surprised that he was even standing. Despite the fact that she'd been able to dodge his attack, the Winter Warrior hadn't stab him with her spear when he presented his back to her... which meant that she was either a novice when it came to hand to hand combat or she was toying with him, "I'd better let her attack then..." the Watchman of the Deceased thought to himself as he watched for any signs of an impending assault.

"Well... I haven't got all day..." The Man Facing his First Real Opponent goaded, some relief washing over his face as the ringing in his ears started to subside.


The Wild Wastelands | The Really Wild Wastelands | The Road to Dunwich | Outside of Fairfax
Caution Advised
Sylph | Thomas "Shifty" McGee

Despite the fact that Father had holstered his weapon, the Crimson Catastrophe known as Sylph maintained her vigilance. Though the man was dressed as an ordinary priest, the Blue Haired Butcher was intimately aware of the fact that danger was seldom obvious and that those who cast the most like, also cast the longest shadows... not that she philosophized about such things. It was just that she was in no position to trust this Brother Johannes.

"By Lord Walt, that's not something you see everyday!" Father exclaimed loudly, breaking what little silence had settled in the bombed out room. As was the tendency of such proclamations, the Brother in Black went over to where Sylph's Father stood and peered through the hole in the wall, his eyes registering some semblance of surprise at the sight that lay beyond. Curious as to what the two men saw outside, Sylph walk to a window, the glass blurry and warped by both the heat of a nuclear detonation and the passage of time, and looked in the direction that both Father and Yohannes looked with their mouths agape.

"So, Brother Yohannes, doesn't your Book tell you to be wary of the Prince of Serpents? What happens when it's a Princess?" Father quipped with a small smirk as Red Menace's eyes focused on the distant group and felt her stomach hit the floor as if she'd been gutted.

Deathclaws, the foul monsters, the very sight of them caused the Psychopathic Death Stalker to shiver for a moment, though for the life of her, she could not fathom why the very sight of them made her feel so... concerned. She reached into her pocket, her fingers seeking the comforting feel of her choker only to realize that she'd dropped the damned thing somewhere in the field.

"The advesary comes in many forms, Mr McGee, and whispers many lies to trick us from the path. We all must remain vigilant not to fall to temptation." The Killer of the Cloth stared at the woman for another moment, "But I suppose we should be thankful she hasn't sicced her beasts at us. Yet. I take it you'll be leaving introductions to your ghoul companion?"

Father hesitated for a moment before shaking his head. Foolishly, he ventured out through the hole and into the open.

"No. I think our guest will second guess any aggressive actions if we show her how many of us there are. Besides, I think that it would be beneficial to us if we were to assist Arizona in the opening introductions... lest she figure out a way to sell 'Authentic Deathclaw Biscuits to our new friend..." Father's voice trailed off as he covered the distance between the building and the assembled group.

Remaining in her position, Sylph waited and watched over her companions, wishing that she had some sort of long range weapon with her besides the Gifted Laser Pistol, since there was the distinct possibility that even if she managed to snipe off one of the Deadly Talonned Lizards, she would also cause the demise of everyone around it.


Gravel crunched under the Darkly Dressed Deacon's and the Dapperly Dressed Gravedigger's boots as they approached the gathered group. Thomas felt a bit curious as to why Sylph had not come with them but was somewhat comforted by the fact that he had someone watching over the assemblage of personalities. The Friendly Former Undertaker of the East paused for a moment as two of the Deathclaws got into a slapping match causing the Shifty McGee's hand to unconsciously drift towards the grip of his assault rifle, not that it would have done him any good considering it was loaded with standard ammunition as opposed to the preferable armor piercing variety.

While the presence of the Deathclaws was someone unnerving, the fact that Arizona, William and Evan were in one piece was enough of a comfort to allow the Tall and Pale Coffin Builder to press forward.

"Looks like you've made a few friends, Arizona." Shifty called out to his companion before pseudo-introducing Brother Yohannes to the group, "I've made one of my own."

Stopping at few feet away from the less Deathclawy member of the newly arrived foursome, the always friendly Former Assassin tipped his hat at the woman before thanking her.

"I take it we owe you thanks for chasing off the remainder of the raiders that had been hell bent on robbing us?" Thomas asked as he eyed the young woman in front of him, "If so, thank you Miss and apologies in advance if I seem a bit... jumpy... around your companions. Since they haven't turned Arizona, Evan and William into blood pudding quite yet, I assume that they're ... how would you put it... house broken?" Thomas euphamized with a small smile.

Not bothering to ask for the girl's name, since he was absolutely sure he would catch it in the next few moments, he opted to introduce the man who came down from the hill with him.

"Brother Yohannes, these are my friends and fellow travelling companions." Gesturing towards the One Eyed Ghoul, "This is Arizona and the three..." The words trailed off as Thomas realized something was amiss.

Eyeing the group, Thomas was surprised that he hadn't noticed the fact that the trio of Musketeers that had arrived with Isaac Black had been reduced to a duo. Gesturing to William, Thomas hesitantly mentioned the name "Dudley?" hoping that he wasn't going to have to craft a new coffin that day


The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Training Room
Enter the Sylfs, the Sylpheys and the Sylphies
Sylphys

The history of the Sylphys' creation was undeniably convoluted, filled with its own lion's share of weird events and utter nonsense. Sure the goals were simple enough, create a self replicating clone army that would all overthrow the tyranical Enclave Leader Number One and replace him with FalloutJack, Enclave Pretty Boy and Eradicator of the Kadou Claws. What should have been an easy contract should have stopped with a hew hundred self replicating soldiers but Henry "I Drown Five Babies Before Breakfast" McGee had decided to put his own personal spin on the project by basing the look and personality of the clones on his "Best Girl," Sylph.

While the nitty gritty bits of the Sylphy creation process could have been layed out, thereby preventing an unnecessary decade's worth of research by the Followers of the Apocalypse, this is a story, not a technical manual on how to create your own Sylphy. Suffice to say Henry "Sheep Tipper" McGee accomplished what no other person in their right mind would have wanted to do, he created an mob of terrorist that could be molded into an excellent army, provided their trainer had enough willpower to not only complete the task but to not go insane in the process.

Now had anyone bothered to ask their creator if there was anything that Kristin Blamco needed to know about the Sylphys, Henry "Informational Blackout" McGee might have mentioned that there were three Sylphy personality archetypes, the Sylfs, the Sylpheys and the Sylphies... and left it at that. Of course anyone who has been following the story thus far would pieced together what two of the three personalities were... now the question was, what was the third like? Was she super extremely aggressive beyond even Sylph or was she super extremely ... Sylphyee... or was she perhaps something between?

We now tune you tune you into our regularly schedule program already in progress...

"[Sister! Sister! There's a Sword Wielding Giantess that smells of Sour Cream and sweat gather the others up.]" The Blue Haired Sylphy, whom Kristin had mistaken for being called Number 7, sylphy'd to her sister who was in the midst of preparing a room for The Cat Empress' guests. Looking up from their work, the Magenta Maids took in the sight of the Dutchess of Dairy gathering some a number of Sylfs into a room,

"[Yes, there is a Colossal Queen who smells of cream gathering up the Sylpheys as well. Perhaps she gathering the them up to collect their milk, Sisters,]" The second Blue Haired Butlerette said as she fluffed a pillow and placed it on a bed.

"[Sister! Sister! She's coming our direction with a strange look in her eyes.]" The first said as she finished straightening out the bed spread on the cot they had set up for the Cat Queen's Friends.

"[How terrible. We are being violated in our guest's mind, Sister.]" The Second said as she placed a second pillow on the cot.

"[It's terrible. We are experiencing the ultimate shame in our guest's mind, Sister.]" The First said as they all turned to look at the Busty Blonde Berserker before being sheparded into a classroom with the Sylfs and Sylpheys. There was a brief lesson on table manners, which would more than likely would have been lost were it not for the intervention of the Sylphies

"[Look, sister, the Woman in White is trying to teach the Sylpheys how to eat with utensils. Isn't it silly?]" The First Sylphie asked the Second.

"[Our silly guest is wasting her time trying to teach the Sylfs how to eat slowly and share their food, sister. Isn't she aware that she's just wasting her time?]" The Second Sylphie said with a hint of smugness in her voice.

"[Sister. I think that we should intervene since she is a guest of our Royal Cat Empress.]" The First retorted and caused the second to cease her smug grin. Sighing briefly the Second Sylphie cleared her voice and spoke to the others, "[Sisters, Sisters. What our Mistress' guest is giving you is called a bowl. You use it to carry your share of the meal.]"

"[Sisters, Sisters! There is plenty to go around. It looks like there will be even enough for everyone to get a second share.]" The First said loudly and clearly for her Sylf and Sylphey sisters to hear. Stopping for a moment, the two Sylphies that had been translating for the Fearless Feline Leader's guest noticed the third and final of the Sylphie sisters, the one that Kristin had taken to calling Pattycake Sylphy, was miming everything that their guest was doing.

"[Sister, Sister. The brown noser is trying to be like the Milk Maiden.]" The First Sylphie said to her sister as they both eyed the Third, the one who habitually tried to be anything but a Sylphie.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
Dancing with blades
Sable "Swan-Maiden" Blamco

---

"Well... I haven't got all day...", her darkly-dressed opponent goaded.

Lowering her shield, Sable peered at the man with a studious sideways glower, everything below the neck screamed tales of a man born from a different age. Damage and dirt aside, the tailored suit would not be out of place alongside a twin-tailed coat and the inclusion of a charming top-hat. Even this man's effortless posture told a story, visually he had mirrored the dignified stance that spoke volumes of Sable's own royal upbringing. His hairstyle, a gaudy mohawk, was a puzzling choice for a man of such an upstanding style. Even his weapons, brutal-looking knives, alongside a vicious revolver were puzzling choices for a man capable of matching and outperforming Sable's grace and endurance.

Superficial evaluations aside, Sable took this moment to catch her breath after a slow exhale through pursed crimson lips. Blinking softly, Sable dropped her shield and opted for a balanced grip on her power spear. The loud clatter of the heavy shield had caused the Sharply-dressed Savant to visibly tense, he was not one to be underestimated, that much was clear when Sable was forced into a completely defensive state after his onslaught of varied attacks. For that period of time, he had made her spear practically useless, outside of being a deterrent for any overzealous missteps. Truly, he had pushed Sable to a defensive limit, so much so that this fight had become a careful battle of wits over brawn.

With several strategies in mind, Sable was not so arrogant as to assume victory, instead becoming a battle that relied on the mitigation of risks. Why had she dropped the shield, the very thing that saved her life mere moments ago? The answer to her own question was simple, she had been taught and trained with each implement individually, but never in unision. Her dancer-like fighting style, that which earned her the graceful title of Swan-Maiden simply could not be implemented with the addition of a shield.

Fighting the urge to launch herself headfirst into the fray and deal with the wounds later, a la Kristin's approach.
Her useless hunting rifle mocked her for not disabling the target, a la Keira's approach.

Taking a backstep, Sable twirled the spear in a circular fashion. Switching from hand to hand, the deadly baton was being made to move with her body. Warming up, Sable devastated the environment around her with fresh scorch marks that covered the walls, floors and melted the glass of nearby windows unfortunate to come into contact with the superheated spear. Advancing with a pirouette, her eyes closed in concentration, the circular trails of a blue flame forced her opponent lower himself to the ground once more. Wasting no time, Sable lunged past the Hunter, sending the searing flame overhead, she turned and interrupted his counter-attack with a plated kick to the shoulder. Spinning on the momentum of her kick, Sable twisted her body into a cartwheel that ended with a downwards lunge into the ground, narrowly missing the Hunter's feet. The glint of blades being readied signalled for Sable to break out into a slide to kick out the shin of the Hunter and override his attack. Sliding past her stumbling opponent, Sable reached out for the discarded shield, spun on her heel and instinctively deflected a thrust attack from the irked opponent. Digging in her heels, the deflection was turned into a shield bash that forced the opponent back lest he be treated to another faceful of ballistic fiber. Relentless in his attack, Sable had pushed him past her discarded spear and she advanced for another shield bash. Being too heavily telegraphed, the Sharply-dressed Savant took a page from Sable's book, sidestepping the shield bash and reacting with the reverse-gripped combat knife. Glancing off of her pauldron, Sable's uprooted her spear and dropped her shield and proceeded to kick off of a nearby dumpster to launch herself into the air and attack from the sky. A graceful downwards plunge of the spear was the intention...but gravity had other ideas.

Unable to correct her aim, she had lost her grip and the spear appeared to have been thrown. Even if it missed, it still succeeded in diverting the Hunter's attention, just enough so that Sable's aerial assault had turned into a gravity-driven tackle. Two heads had hit pavement upon collapse and for Sable at least, her world had started spinning. For a few moments, Sable's armored form was atop the Hunter's chest, the collected unison of two exhausted fighters had lead to this quiet and intimate moment. Two thoughts had crossed Sable's mind: (1. Never fight like Kristin again. 2. This is...beautiful.).

Sitting up, a gauntlet was pressed to the Undertaker's chest. Catching a glimpse of the pistol in it's holster, Sable's eye had caught something else, initials and a title embroidered behind the breast pocket of the pristine coat. She couldn't make out the name, but the word 'Undertaker' was difficult to miss.

Even Sable's blood ran cold for a moment. The Undertakers, symbols of death and modern-day reapers to the superstitious. It just so happened that Sable was amongst the superstitious. More delicately, Sable picked herself up and extended an armored hand to the Undertaker. She had no pretense of pride in the face of Death, but the least she could do was meet Him with a measure of dignity.

"It seems...", Sable was at a loss for air, "...I was terribly mistaken. I don't believe a Thief and an Undertaker can be one and the same."

Lowering her head, her eyes widened in horror at her missing bandoleer. An errant breeze scattered ash and feathers across scorched floor. Looking to her left, she spotted the ripped bandoleer, the contents of her pouches were strewn all over the alleyway. Those were memorial items for her deceased sisters. Feathers, ashes and wishes of a safe travel to Valhalla written on small folded pieces of paper.

The situation was almost comical if it weren't so tragic. Here she was, kneeling at an Undertaker's side with her head bowed in hopes of forgiveness. If the BlamCo Valkyries were only beginning to spread their wings, then the Undertakers were the hawks that soared overhead.

If Karma existed, it was a swift enforcer in the Wasteland.

"I ask that these be delivered to my sisters in exchange for my life.", Sable gestured around her, "And I will ask no more in light of your judgement."

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
Communing with the Dead...
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

Were it any other day but that day, it might have been possible for the Neophyte Undertaker to have put up any semblance of a defense against the White Warrior's dazzling offensive. Anyone who mistakenly believed that Thomas "Shifty" McGee had put up any sort of a fight during the skirmish had either been out in the sun for FAAAAR too long or their opinion was colored by the fact that the Dazed Grave Digger belonged to the illustrious organization known as the Undertaker's Union. If Tombstone, a man who had been involved in the Newly Initiated Undertaker's training, had seen the strikes that Shifty had used to lash out at the Silver Slayer, he might have made a comment about how Thomas' movements were reminiscent of a Deathclaw... with arms crafted out of rubber... going through an epileptic seizure. Still, were it any day other than one that had involved the Disoriented Caretaker of the Dead sprinting circuits around the community of Freeside, he might have been able give the Silver Spearmaiden a run for her money... and perhaps he would have come out on top both figuratively and literally.

The spear's super-heated tip that seemed to ignite the very air around it, became a streak of sapphire as it was accurately cast towards the Newly Initiated Gravedigger's chest. Uncertain as to how react to the azure projectile flying toward him, the Sharp Shoveler unconsciously took a step backwards and slipped on a loose bit of asphalt, sending him flying onto his back and underneath the spear. Quickly seizing the opportunity presented by the Clumsy Coffin Creator's tumble, the Argent Armored Amazon swooped in for the kill, knocking the man back on the ground as he attempted to get back on his feet and back into the fight. The light pressure atop the Undertaker's chest informed him that he'd been pinned and that he was about to be sent up to Lord Walt's embrace. He lay there for a moment, waiting for the sound of his neck being snapped or his sensation of the spear being plunged into his chest or his the banging of his head being bashed against the ground. None of those sensations or sounds ever came... only the sound of breathing... both his and hers. Hesitantly, Thomas opened his eyes and saw that the woman sitting on top of him, her hand on his chest and her eyes focused on Mags' holster.

"(Well this isn't the worst ways to die)" Thomas thought to himself as he waited for the woman to retrieve Mags from her holster and kill the Undertaker with his own weapon, "(At the very least I can ask that she shoot me in the chest so that I can have an open casket.)"

As he opened his mouth to make the request the Shadow Clad Psychopomp was surprised see the woman delicately lift herself from atop her victim and help him up to his feet. Already surprised by her actions, Shifty was even more surprised to see the Silver Sheathed Spearmaiden's eyes lowered as she addressed him.

"It seems...I was terribly mistaken. I don't believe a Thief and an Undertaker can be one and the same." The Woman said with a measured amount of fear in her voice, as if she were addressing Death himself.

"(She wouldn't have thought that if she'd known of Henry.)" Thomas thought absently as his mind still attempted to wrap itself around the situation. First he was about to die... and now this woman was acting as if she was about to die.

"I ask that these be delivered to my sisters in exchange for my life.", Sable gestured around her, "And I will ask no more in light of your judgement."

Thomas suppressed the overwhelming desire to contort his face into a deep frown at the statement that the woman in white has made, especially in light of the fact that she'd been the one with the undeniable grace to spare him his life despite the fact that she could have easily impaled him on the tip of her spear without breaking a sweat but still... Undertakers were the caretakers of the dead. Regardless of whether they were Raiders, Rapist, Murders or simple folk trying to eek out a living, they were to be treated equally after their passing. Unless contracted to or done in self defense or a person presented a great threat to Wasteland Populace (which in those sorts of cases, there would invariably be a contract out on them), a proper Undertaker should never take a life. That didn't mean that those ideals weren't fudged with from time to time but Thomas was new to this life and was still in the throws of trying to follow the Undertaker's bylaws to the letter.

Standing up, Thomas "Shifty" McGee brushed the dust and dirt from his clothes while looking at Sable Blamco before offering her a hand up, just as she had with him.

"Undertakers don't judge..." The Neophyte Caretaker of the Netherworld Denizens muttered absently, "Ferrymen can never be judges... So unless you're planning on dying via some other means, I will not be delivering your items to your sisters today. Even if I did send you off to reside with Lord Walt, I'm sure your sisters would be sending me to join you soon after I delivered your personal effects to them. If there were even a fraction as skilled as you are with that spear of yours, I'd likely find myself perforated with cauterized stab wounds befoe I could say, 'hello.'"

The Undertaker walked over to where the spear had been cast and picked it up before handing it back to its rightful owner, a sign that the Silver Spearmaiden would not be dying by his hands and perhaps a bit of a peace offering. While it was often necessary to fight women in that day and age, it didn't mean that Thomas didn't feel any less guilty for hitting a woman. It was also necessary if he was going to procure a guide out of this damned town and find his way over to the BlamCo building.

"However, I do have a proposal in mind. I will waive the standard Undertaker burial fees for your future needs in return for some assistance getting out of this city and finding ... the BlamCo building? I've been wandering Freeside for the last few hours trying to find the gates but... all I see are the same rusted wall panels." The Naive Neophyte said before remembering introductions, "My name is Shifty by the way... and as you correctly deduced, I am a member of the Undertaker's Union."


The Really Wild Wastelands | Smith Casey's Garage
Tribunal of Tribulation
Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 | Trixie | Charlie | Eddie the Dead | Grendal | Vera II

Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 felt a bit conflicted about the impending deathmatch with the little girl in the polka dotted dress. On one hand, it would be very simple to rip arms off of the ugly, boyish looking girl and beat her to death with the still twitching appendages. On the other hand, the girl who looked like she'd been beaten with every ugly stick on the planet was still a girl and Enclave Dominator #209 was above plasma pounding a girl into a mass of bruised glowing green gooey flesh without good reason. Then again, ED #209 had been challenged to a fight and he could not very well concede victory to this hideous looking man-girl. In his itsy-bitsy brain, the rather massive looking, gimp mask wearing, plasma wielding Enclave Agent could only think of one solution which was to not only accept the challenge against his manhood and to uphold the Enclave's reputation as the most bad ass organization in the Wastelands but to also declare his distaste for punching this Grotesque Girl's head clean off of her shoulders, using a jet of super heated plasma... of course.

"I'll fight this disfigured and boyish looking broad... but..." ED #209 started to say to the Eddie before he was interrupted by his calm cohort.

"Yeeeeah... I think she's actually a he," Trixie sighed from where she stood, practically smelling the Y chromosomes in the kid's fear induced sweat, "and I don't actually think he wants to fight you."

"Well if that's the case. I'm going to murderate this little bastard." The Enclave Submissive Dominator said through the zippered mouth hole of his mask. As he finished his statement he reached back behind him and pulled out the Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist's signature weapon, the Plasma Vulcan Cannon, only to have a slender hand that was unusually-strong-for-being-a-woman's grip one of the barrels and point them towards the ground.

"I think you're supposed to be 'murderating' him with your fists, not your plasma weapon. Besides, I'm not up for accidentally getting fried to a crisp by you today," The Synthetic Woman stated in a rather matter of fact tone. The Behemoth Blockhead looked at her with a rather puzzled look, or rather it would have been a puzzled look were it not for the black mask that had been strapped to the man's face. It was the head tilts that gave it away. Letting out a heavy breath, the woman instead opted to fall back on her charisma to charm the pants... or rather Plasma Vulcan off of the Enclave Dominator (not that it required much effort in the charisma department), "I'd think it would be a bit more exciting to see you get your hands dirty mangling the kid up," she continued as she slid her hand up and down the barrel of the Multi-Barrelled Plasma Weapon in a rather suggestive manner.

"I... YES! I'LL BEAT THAT KID'S FACE OFF! I MEAN... YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!" The Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist stuttered as he dropped the weapon a reared back with one Brahmin Head sized fist.

*CRACK!!!*

The Enclave Dominator's fist hit with the force of a Behemoth playing golf using a bus as a club and sent its victim flying backward to the ground... only, ED #209 didn't exactly hit his intended target.

"Ohhhhh crap." The Iron Fisted Idiot cursed as he looked at the body of his female companion sprawled out on the ground before running over to her, "Shit... Sorry Trix. I didn't mean it. Are you alive? Do you need mouth to mouth?"

"P-W-0-3-5 Requesting Girder" The woman muttered with her eyes closed, bringing a bit of relief to the worried Enclave Dominator, though it still puzzled him as to why she kept muttering the same phrase over and over again every time she passed out... meaning it was going to be some awkward pillow talk if people ever left the two of them alone for a couple minutes.

While the Black Leather Face hadn't exactly put two and two together, it was probably obvious to anyone with more than four brain-cells as to what the significance of Trixie's utterances were. Deep inside her Synthetic brain, PW035's systems started to come back online after an emergency shutdown, a function necessary to keep her moving parts from damaging themselves after a sudden and traumatic impact. While it looked like she had simply been rendered unconscious by the impact of ED's fist against her face, it was all according to design.

PW035's Log File:
Initiating Start Up Sequence...
Starting Systems Check:
Power Management Systems... Okay
Mobility Suite... Okay
Personality Matrix... Okay
Skill Matrix ... Okay
Short Term Memory Storage... Okay

Long Term Memory Storage... ERROR

Scanning Storage......................................................
Errors in Logical Unit 30 - 49.

Migrating Data to uncorrupted storage... Error
Not enough storage for Long Term Data... Data loss Detected...
Personality Matrix corruption detected...

ERROR ERROR ERROR!!!

Commencing Damage Mitigation Protocols...


A pair of green eyes revealed themselves from under their eyelids, filled with confusion as they regarded their owner's surroundings. There was a masked man, a mammoth of a man, looking down at ... Trixie... that was her name. There was a masked man, a mammoth of a man, looking down at Trixie with an air of concern. There were three others nearby, looking at her as well as a floating metal soccer ball.

There was a sudden sense of panic that steamrolled over the woman's body before being soothed by the sensation of cloth against her skin. Clearly these weren't people that posed any sort of danger to her... at least... not immediate danger.

"Do... do I know you?" Trixie muttered her query as she sat up slowly.

"Wut?" The man next to her asked with a bit of disbelief in his voice. He had tensed his entire body, surprised by her question.

"Do I know you?" The dazed woman asked once again before looking at the others that stood nearby. One a boy in a dress and two... ghouls? One a body and one ghoul and something that looked like it could have been a ghoul, "Do I know any of you?"

"Of course you do... I'm the Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist that saved your life and rescued you from the Evil Vault of Evil!" The Mammoth Moron responded before pausing, "At least you're supposed to know me. We just met these creeps."

Says the guy that's wearing a creepy gimp mask.

"Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist?"

"Yeah... #209."

"Oh... um... hi." The Android with Amnesia said awkwardly as she stood up and looked at her surroundings, "How'd we get here?"

"Well that's an easy question," The Enclave Dominator prefaced as he warmed up to tell the heroic tale of how he'd rescued the attractive woman from the Evil Vault of Evil where she was going to be sacrificed to some sort of pagan god who had promised the vault owner eternal life and unlimited power, "You see we were captured by the group and imprisoned in a Vault. They were looking to do ... sooomething to you... that would have probably killed you. Only thanks to my quick thinking we escaped and commandeered an escape pod which crash-landed here. I pulled you out of the wreckage and..." ED stopped for a moment as Trixie opened her mouth to interrupt him as he got to the good part of the story... where that Boy in the Dress had punched her out... yeah... that kid.

"Do... do I know you?" Trixie muttered her query as she stood there.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
Invitation
Sable "Swan-Maiden" Blamco

---

Sable, of the three remaining Blamco Sisters, had taken the deaths of her siblings as a personal failure. Depression had quelled the desire for revenge. Whether it be the provocation of the overzealous Enclave remnants, miscommunication with the reclusive Brotherhood or lives claimed by the feral beasts of the Wasteland. Sable's ambition wasn't so much crushed, as it was surgically removed and replaced with emotional numbness that hummed a dull tune of hollow inner-peace. One could not destroy Sable's spirit when she had so thoroughly gutted herself for the past year.

Despite being sisters, everyone dealt with trauma differently...

- Kristin sought to the training of undisciplined volunteers in accordance with a pet project that belonged to the Follower's of the Apocalypse, Kristin had shocked many as she proved to be an adept physical trainer and an unconventional combat tactician.
- Keira buried herself in research projects and worked closely with BlamCo R & D, constantly improving BlamCo's personal arsenal while maintaining a healthy yet delicate trading relationship with the Gun Runners.
- Sable sunk inwards. Withdrawing from her sisters and attending to agricultural work alongside the care of BlamCo's livestock. News of an animal rehabilitation project for injured beasts was being considered by the Follower's of the Apocalypse. Primarily for educational and survival purposes, Sable was on the fence about whether to spearhead the project with BlamCo resources.

Desperately trying and failing to create meaning. Her willpower had taken a turn for the fatalistic. So, it was up until this point that she had long since awaited death.

...and should she attempt suicide, she would forfeit her place in Valhalla. She needed to die in battle, for even Valkyries could lose their wings if they went against the natural order. Death by her own hand was not an option, but she would find someone extraordinary to forcibly rip her soul from her body. For regardless of how she felt, she refused to forsake tradition.

Sable waited, head bowed and eyes closed, she waited for the sound of a gun being readied or hungry blades being carved together in an anticipatory fashion. Neither of those sounds had arrived, for Sable was greeted with redemption in the hands of an Undertaker lifting Sable to her feet once more. Standing on equal ground, the Silent Swanmaiden's offering was denied and through his denial, that fleeting moment where all was surrendered in the name of superstitions and ideals, Sable felt a rush of hope. The Undertaker, Ferryman of Souls that he was, looked upon her shining soul and gave her a second chance. This surge of hope, this sudden burst of inspiration had brought color back to the dreary vision of this Swanmaiden's dull green eyes.

("Was this excitement...and fear?"), Sable blinked, staring at the Undertaker who was dusting off his clothing, ("I must know more! He unlocked something within me.")

Who knew that it would take a near-death experience...in order to be happy to be alive.

"Undertakers don't judge..." The Undertaker muttered absently, "Ferrymen can never be judges... So unless you're planning on dying via some other means, I will not be delivering your items to your sisters today. Even if I did send you off to reside with Lord Walt, I'm sure your sisters would be sending me to join you soon after I delivered your personal effects to them. If they're even a fraction as skilled as you are with that spear of yours, I'd likely find myself perforated with cauterized stab wounds before I could say, 'hello.'"

The Undertaker turned around, walking over to Sable's discarded spear. Making a move of her own, the Undertaker turned around and was met with Sable standing mere inches from his face. Her washed-out green eyes met his with an intent gaze, darting back-and-forth as if she was taking in every detail. Crimson lips parted slightly, letting out a breathy exhale after she had been holding her breath so as not to disturb the ambience. Unclipping the demi-gauntlet, Sable reached upwards to caress the Undertaker's cheek, lightly brushing a finger over a small cut to his lip (Most likely caused by the shield bash). Sable's right hand reactively reclaimed her weapon and continued her small inspection. The unarmored hand was gliding along his collarbone now...

"Ferrymen you may be. But I am a Valkyrie.", Sable's silky voice was now a whisper due to their proximity, "While we have evolved, we only raise our weapons for the most worthy of warriors. It has been a tremendously long time since this has made me feel alive. For an Undertaker, you are awfully skilled at reminding one's soul that there is more to life. I would be marching towards a tremendously different fate if it weren't for this destined encounter. Thank you."

Although she was enjoying herself, since she hadn't felt quite so invigorated in such a long time. She hoped that he was attentive enough to pick out the implications of her message.

A rarity, even Sable had to use the tips of her toes in order to gently kiss the Undertaker's cheek. Pulling away with no hint of embarrassment, Sable licked her lower lip in a satisfactory manner, the faint metallic taste of blood from their fight was lingering. She would be feeling this in the morning.

"And dare I say.", Sable smiled ever-so-faintly, before nodding towards her thigh-holster, "As a former markswoman, my sisters are leagues above me. These are my new weapons of choice and I have been demoted to the lowest ranking in combat prowess. As for cauterized wounds, you'll more likely find yourself being dashed with a power zweihander or riddled with armor-piercing rounds from twin submachine gun fire."

A slight wince was all that Sable needed to see when her hand moved to his shoulder.

"You're injured. As am I...but I don't wish to impair your work."

Opening her mouth, she was about to propose that they head back home for a quick check-up and some conversation over a few refreshments. Funnily enough, he had read her mind, somewhat.

"However, I do have a proposal in mind. I will waive the standard Undertaker burial fees for your future needs in return for some assistance getting out of this city and finding ... the BlamCo building? I've been wandering Freeside for the last few hours trying to find the gates but... all I see are the same rusted wall panels." The Undertaker seemed to remember something, "My name is Shifty by the way... and as you correctly deduced, I am a member of the Undertaker's Union."

"Proposal accepted. I assume you mean the BlamCo HQ? That building can be reached through an arduous process involving entry into New Vegas proper, but I am aware of a shortcut.", Sable gathered her things, grabbing a handful of fallen feathers and she paused as the ash dispersed with the rising wind. "You aren't too far off.", Sable pointed just above the wall where an out-of-place apartment complex was seemingly tacked onto the outer walls of New Vegas itself.

Making their way into the road, life had seemingly continued in Freeside. Unchanging in the midst of violence, Sable wondered whether Delivery Girl had made a safe trip. Surely there were no worries there. Proceeding through gates guarded by NCR soldiers, the duo received a mixed-reception if looks were anything to go by. Walking along the outskirts of New Vegas, Sable approached the refurbished apartment complex, pointing to various structures in the distance.

"Blamco HQ. Originally it was a humble one-story building turned bakery. As time, brand recognition and popularity rose...", Sable pointed to the 5-story tall mansion. Gated, fenced and outfitted with protectrons stationed on guard towers. The BlamCo Estate gave the impression of a small fortress with a secondary pathway leading to what appeared to be smaller yet more industrialised warehouse/factory combos on the right. Behind the estate, the sounds of animals could be heard -- mostly brahmin. Surprisingly, Sable walked right up to the gates of the private estate, not the factory area which was available to the public.

Two guards were stationed at the gates. Recognising Sable permitted the routine bow and kind greeting towards the guest, in this case, her company had caused the guards to exchange looks --- a smirk, followed by an elbow to the gut. Sable was bringing another mysterious male home with her. Her icy stare snapped the guards back into form. "I-Is there anything you need, Miss?"

"Have one of my Mister Handy's prepare some tea. Also send word to the infirmary that I would like a nurse to check our wounds in my room. Also, contact maintenance --- I require a resupplied travel kit for my guest.", Sable's tone was authoritative, her stoicism had always put the guards at unease. "Also, any snide remarks about my habits in the future, implied or otherwise, and you will find yourself swiftly reassigned to demonstrative sparring duty for Kristin's new training program. That will be all."

Stone-faced, the guards proceeded with their duties. Both tapping away at their pip-boys in order to send their required messages. Proceeding through the gates with Shifty in hand, Sable turned on her heel, the backdrop of carefully kept vegetation framing her pale form. "My name is Sable."

"Sable Blamco, Swanmaiden of BlamCo.", She smiled and lead him towards the large doors to the mansion itself. Doors creaked and the entrance beckoned. "Please, join me for tea. I must apologise for earlier."

Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | The Road To Dunwich
"Slapstick at its deadliest."

Arizona, in an act that clearly had nothing to do with the fact that there were three large Deathclaws in close proximity, fixed her gaze intently on the woman in front of her and steadfastly ignored everything else. Or at least, tried to. Her lone eye kept darting to each of the three beasts in turn with what could only be described as a look of deceptively mild concern.

She couldn't have been hallucinating. Just taking a glimpse at her companions, who were struck even more dumb than she was because they could see them too; Or at the dead raiders, who were very clearly mauled by very real Deathclaws given the marks on their bodies, served to prove that those three Deathclaws were not figments of her imagination.

Her eye flashed back to the woman when she finally started to speak.

"I'm Fiona Callahan, from Vault 127, now known as Claw City, I am just exploring to be honest, I got tired of being couped up in a vault, and as for Larry, Curly, and Moe here... Thats a really long story, I do hope we can be friends, or something. I'm a certified vault medical doctor and have all the equipment with me if you need them."

Immediately after she introduced herself, and her Deathclaws, the three of them decided to do their best impressions of their namesakes. Prompting the Vault Dweller, or Vault Doctor in this case, to burst into a fit of laughter. All Arizona could do was say the first thing that came to mind as she watched the scene before her unfold.

"You named them after the Three Stooges." she said dully, before closing her eye and rubbing it with her free hand, murmuring under her breath, "Oh sweet Christ, if any of them kill me, it damn well isn't going to be funny."

Feeling that it was as close to safe as it ever would be to turn her back on a trio of Deathclaws, which she mentally argued meant never, she turned to the rest of her group, especially as Shifty, Sylph and the man from earlier joined them.

"Looks like you've made a few friends, Arizona. I've made one of my own."

She glanced at the preacher and nodded, saying, "I can see that."

Before introducing him though, Shifty turned to the Vault Doctor and, in his charmingly roundabout way, asked the question on everyone's minds: If they were actually tame. And Arizona was certainly interested in the answer to that question herself, so long as it didn't involve her insides suddenly being pulled outside.

"Brother Yohannes, these are my friends and fellow travelling companions. This is Arizona and the three..."

Frowning when she saw Thomas's sudden hesitation, she turned to look at the Trio and realized that one of them was suddenly missing. The annoying Romeo-type had wandered off somewhere. Groaning, she turned to Brother Yohannes as Thomas tried to unravel that particular mystery.

"So, Brother Yohannes, huh? I may as well ask what religion you belong to." she said with a sigh, crossing her arms as she regarded him with a sardonic smirk.

"What'll it be? You a Child of Atom? One of Walt Disney's worshipers? Oh, maybe one of the Dairy Acolytes?" she added with a chuckle, "Or should I go with tried-and-true Christianity? They're so far and few between nowadays, but I remember when it was awfully popular."


[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School Kitchen
""

As Constance and Kristin continued to get to know one another and generally chat, Jenna was busy trying to focus on his headache, in the vain hope of easing it at least a little. While she didn't begrudge the two women even a little, especially since cordial social interaction was pretty rare in the Wastes, she couldn't bring herself to really listen to what they said, much less join in.

She hated being the morose one in the room, but since they hadn't seemed bothered by her silence, or even directed much of the conversation towards her that she noticed, she supposed it wasn't quite the social faux pas after all.

The Followers Doctor slowly opened her eyes from behind her helmet when she heard the chattering of a great many Sylphys, and lifted her head just in time to see a hog-tied Jonathan dumped into the room.

"I... ummmm... I... When I said bring Mister McKenna here for dinner, I meant ask him to come here to have dinner, not capture him and bring him here to be dinner. Miss Kristin... I... thought that if I were going to be a good host like you are, it would be best to have Mister McKenna arrive for dinner with all of us. I didn't mean for... this... to happen."

All she could really do was stare. As much as she disliked the man, she admittedly felt a pang of sympathy for the fact that he was man-handled like he was. Then he took a knife and started to cut away his bindings.

"I have heard the summons."

Kristin, who seemed so animated before replied with a monotone, wishing him a good meal before striding off, presumably to feed the Sylphys. The reaction was enough to make Jenna instinctively reach for her.

"But what about--oh." she started, before trailing off quietly and lowering her hand back down onto her lap.

After a long pause, she sighed and looked over at Jonathan.

"Would you like help with those ropes? Or do you still believe that I'm with the Enclave?" she asked quietly, her tone devoid of any hostility.

Despite both her worsening headache, and the fact that he had threatened her earlier, throwing out baseless accusations about who she was... She could tell that he was having a truly rough day. And she didn't exactly want to make it any worse.

"How are your wounds, by the way?" she added, remembering that he had been hurt when she last bumped into him, "I am a doctor after all. I can at least check to make sure they've been properly treated."

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas | Freeside
Best Laid Plans...
Silent Observer

Standing on the Freeside rooftops, the observer stood out in the open but remained unseen by either of the combatants. When it came to anonymous surveillance, it was necessary to remain out of sight. In order to accomplish this, a proper hiding place was invaluable unless you acquired a stealth boy during your travels as the Wraithlike Watcher had. The Obscured Observer was pleased that the plan had gone off mostly without a hitch but was left dissatisfied by the results. Both the Undertaker and the BlamCo Valkyrie were under trained. There was no denying that the two had the raw talent to become efficient killers but they had both flailed about their makeshift arena like two blind brawlers. There was the additional note that where the Freshly Initiated Undertaker lacked a certain blood lust required for those in his trade the Spear Maiden also lacked an equivalent survival instinct. Of course, were it not for these flaws, the Veiled Viewer was confident that one of them would have died otherwise. Thomas would have eventually been overwhelmed by Sable's strength had she continued to fight and Sable would have been executed on the spot if Thomas had the proper killer's instinct for an assassin.

Despite the results, the masked manipulator was still pleased rather pleased with herself. In leaking information about the BlamCo convoy to the Rabbits of Freeside, the Silent Sentinel had ensured that the Valkryie's primary weapon would be removed from the field. In ensuring that the planted drunk had both jammed the Undertaker's revolver and loudly accused the young Ferryman unscrupulous actions, the Silent Seer had not only ensured the removal of the Undertaker's weapon of choice but also a showdown between the man and woman. From that point on it was a simple matter of herding the Unhinged Undertaker into the alleyway. What the Ghostly Gazer had failed to anticipate was the fact that the alley was also the hunting ground of one of Freeside's many gangs.

Stepping forward, Invisible Viewer observed the interaction between the two combatants with a fair amount of interest, especially the growing blush that had tinged Thomas "Shifty" McGee's cheeks. Of course there may have been a raised eyebrow that had resulted from the young woman's kiss. The Silent Shade watched for a short time longer before the two former opponents left together, more than likely headed for BlamCo Headquarters. Releasing a quiet sigh, the Obfuscated Observer shutdown her Stealth Boy and revealed herself. In a world older world than the Old World, they would have called Victoria McGee's style of dress Victorian. A black silk scarf that was wrapped around the lower part of her face and neck to hide the wounds she'd received in the D.C. Wastelands. The woman's dark hair had been bound into a tight bun held in place by a simple silver clasp. An umbrella, unfurled itself above the the female Undertaker's head as she took a step to the side, avoiding the pool of blood that had been growing for some time now.

The Dirty Harrys had been both the smallest and the newest of the many gangs that claimed Freeside as its turf. While it was relatively easy to establish a presence in the sprawling ghetto, trolling for victims was no small feat when your gang only numbered five. This was, of course, why the Dirty Harrys had placed a series of tin can alarms, tipping them off when anyone wandered into their territory. It was unfortunate for them that someone had a vested interest in observing the two combatants that were in the process of slugging it out in the alleyway. Before they could interrupt the impromptu grudge match, the gang members suddenly found themselves being killed off by an unseen force. The sound of a knife being slipped between ribs and the sudden escape of air from a new lung hole was the only clue that the Dirty Harrys were killed off one by one. While neither Shifty McGee nor Sable Blamco were able to kill other one off, Victoria McGee had tallied off a kill count of five.

CLANK

Turning at the sound of someone climbing up to the rooftop, the Delicate Caretaker of the Dead smiled when she saw the familiar face. Relieved by the sight of Rabbit Gang's leader, the Darkly Dressed Assassin pushed her half drawn blade back into the umbrella's handle. Nodding a greeting in her direction, Victoria watched as the two would be gladiators walked off. She'd join them later of course, but for now, she needed to thank the Rabbit Gang for their help.

"Tess... " A slightly robotic voice started to say before pausing for a moment, the smile that had graced Victoria's face turned into a frown. She hated voice modulator that she was forced to use and would rather have been mute than be forced to rely on the infernal communications device. She hoped that the Follower Doctors were correct in their assurances that she would get used to it in time, "Thank you for all you've done..." The Undertaker known as Shiver continued as she and her companion walked off the roof and into the bustling markets of Freeside.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas | Freeside
Gagged...
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

If Thomas had the ability to look at himself from outside the confines of his mortal body, he was reasonably confident that he would have resembled an Old World Thermometer, the sort of thermometer crafted of glass and contained a solution of alcohol and red dye. To make matters worse, he was fairly sure that he'd suffered a concussion of some sort since he had lost the ability to control his facial muscles and as a result he quite certain that he was grinning like an idiot in front of the Spritely and Strong Sable. Of course, this sort self perception wasn't difficult for The Framboise Ferryman to imagine since the woman standing in front of was in the process of demonstrating that she was far more adept at rendering him mentally unstable through simple actions than she was knocking him to the ground with her shield. An intense stare, a finger that traced a path from the man's lips to his collar bone, a kiss on his cheek... each of these might as well have been a Flash Bang Grenade set off inside of Thomas' brain... each of these was a punch thrown in a pugilist's masterfully crafted combination. Despite this, Thomas' mind was able to catch the words that passed between the warrior woman's lips.

"Ferrymen you may be. But I am a Valkyrie," Sable's silky voice was now a whisper due to their proximity, "While we have evolved, we only raise our weapons for the most worthy of warriors. It has been a tremendously long time since this has made me feel alive. For an Undertaker, you are awfully skilled at reminding one's soul that there is more to life. I would be marching towards a tremendously different fate if it weren't for this destined encounter. Thank you."

While he felt as if he'd lost the ability to respond to the woman's words, his mental faculties hadn't been so compromised that he'd failed to understand what it was that she meant. As it invariably meant with all Undertakers, death was involved in one way or another. In Sable's case, it was probably the death of someone or someones close to her. Death robbed her life of its meaning... and while she searched for something to fill the void left by those that had departed, it also meant that she was waiting for her turn to pass on... to rejoin those she lost. As much as he wanted to tell her that he was happy to have given her a reason to see tomorrow, his tongue felt as if it had been tied into a series of complex knots. Simultaneously, as much as he would have loved to have claimed his conclusions on Sable's mindset as his own, he would have been forced to admit that the Undertakers took courses dedicated to the mourning process.

"And dare I say.", Sable smiled ever-so-faintly, before nodding towards her thigh-holster, "As a former marks-woman, my sisters are leagues above me. These are my new weapons of choice and I have been demoted to the lowest ranking in combat prowess. As for cauterized wounds, you'll more likely find yourself being dashed with a power zweihander or riddled with armor-piercing rounds from twin sub-machine gun fire."

The freshly minted and friendly Undertaker swallowed hard at the thought of was awaiting him at BlamCo HQ. While Shifty was not opposed to the concept of death, he would prefer that his be peaceful, preferably surrounded by those who called him family and friend. A violent death was not necessarily a noble death or a good death or an honorably death. Shaking his head, Shifty McGee cleared the thought from his mind. Everyone was entitled to their opinions and it wasn't Thomas' place to judge the merit of a person's ideals.

With the air cleared, statements of apology made and identities rendered transparent, the two former combatants were ready to depart the alley that had served as their makeshift gladiatorial ring. As they exited the alley, then Freeside and then New Vegas itself, Sable demonstrated her ability as a guide. Normally, the Friendly but Feared Caretaker of Those Crossed-Over would have been hassled by the soldiers guarding the City Gates however, having the Wintery Skinned Warrior removed that particular experience from their traveling itinerary. It took but a particular expression for them to acquiesce to her request for passage through the great metal doors.

Closing in on their destination, Thomas remained silent, attempting to anticipate what would be waiting for him at the large compound that loomed before them. He would have been lying to himself, and to anyone who cared to listen, if he had stated that none of his anxieties were related to his opponent turned guide, however he would have been telling the truth if he had mentioned that none of his anxiety was related to the fact that he and Sable had spent a number of minutes attempting to spill each other's blood. If anything his anxiety was rooted in the way his the Silver Spear-maiden had treated him, especially when her treatment was contrasted against the way she treated others.

"Have one of my Mister Handy's prepare some tea. Also send word to the infirmary that I would like a nurse to check our wounds in my room. Also, contact maintenance --- I require a resupplied travel kit for my guest.", Sable's tone was authoritative, her stoicism had always put the guards at unease. "Also, any snide remarks about my habits in the future, implied or otherwise, and you will find yourself swiftly reassigned to demonstrative sparring duty for Kristin's new training program. That will be all."

Stopping one of the guards before he made good on his escape, Thomas paused for a moment before making an additional request.

"One of my associates has been waiting for me here. If you could inform Miss Victoria McGee that I've arrived, I would certainly appreciate it." The Friendly Future Former Undertaker of the East said politely, Thomas's control over his tongue having returned to him during Sable's impromptu history lesson regarding BlamCo.

"I'll relay the message once Miss McGee has returned to the compound, sir." The Guard stated before moving on, leaving Thomas alone with his former opponent, former guide and now host.

"My name is Sable... Sable Blamco, Swan-maiden of BlamCo.", She smiled and lead him towards the large doors to the mansion itself. Doors creaked and the entrance beckoned. "Please, join me for tea. I must apologize for earlier."

The words "there's no need to apologize" clung to the tip of Thomas's tongue and try as he might, the young man was unable to loose those words. Instead, the words "you're not the only one" found themselves flung out into the open. Thomas' eyes widened in surprise as he found himself uttering that crudely crafted phrase. Clearing his throat of... traveling dust... the Tongue Tied Triggerman corrected himself.

"What I'm attempting to say is... it would be my pleasure to join you for tea, though, like you, I feel it is my place to apologize for our skirmish earlier. Had I not instantly jumped to conclusions and explained myself reasonably, I'm fairly certain that we'd be in the same position as we are now, minus the need for medical attention," The Tall and Pale Assassin stated with a sense of growing confidence as he felt the day's wariness dissipate. Of course, given Sable's post combat reactions and behavior, Thomas could only assume that the current outcome was the best, "Though... if I might be so bold as to suggest that given the fact we are both alive and that you appear to be have gained a renewed sense of yourself from these events, I can only come to the conclusion that everything unfolded as it should have. So, I think it best that we be thankful for this rather than apologetic. I, for one, am thankful that I was able to test the training I received. If anything, I've learned that I'm lucky to have arrived at New Vegas in one piece... I doubt there was as effective a method of demonstrating my combat deficiencies without me actually winding up deceased... so... um... thank you."

Internally, the Coffin-maker cringed at his reference to death. While death was part and parcel to the Undertaker's way of life, there were few, if any, people that enjoyed being reminded of their mortality. From what Shifty could tell, Sable might have been one of those few people but it didn't diminish the cringe factor of the comment. Taking a breath, the somewhat shaky Shifty tried to relax and banish the fact that Sable was the first woman that he'd actually conversed with that wasn't related to him or wasn't an Undertaker. He was also trying to ignore the fact that people were giving him that look... the one that informed the Undertaker that his kind weren't welcome and that he should take his corpse loving ass some place else. Thomas gestured to the Silver Swan-maiden to lead the way, hoping that he wasn't implying that he was there for anything other than a good conversation and a good cup of tea.

"This is a rather impressive operation that you have here." Thomas commented absently as he looked about, "You know... my mother was rather fond of gardens. She actually tended a fairly large one that provided flowers for all of the funerary bouquets that our more traditional clients request. I always did feel bad for her whenever one of these clients did pass on since she would have to watch the garden that she so diligently cared for be rendered barren when one of these clients had their contract fulfilled. She would have loved to have been able to sit in a garden such as this."

The heavy mansion doors swung open and revealed the mansion's well-appointed interior. What struck the Newly Initiated Undertaker wasn't the lavishness of the furniture or the delicious smells that seeped in from what must have been a rather massive kitchen, it was all the wood. A proper Undertaker was also a proper carpenter as they were required to manufacture the caskets that they used by hand using the materials they had on hand. In the Wastelands, this usually meant wood that had been blackened by nuclear fire or bleached by the sun's rays until they were bone white. In this place, the Casket Carpenter was able to observe the richness of a wood's true color, polished to a high gloss. Following the home's Pale Proprietor, Shifty walked slightly slower than Sable as he ran his fingers along the smooth surface of a banister, pleasantly happy that not a single stray splinter pierced his finger tips.

Looking up, the Friendly Future Undertaker of the East noticed that his hostess had been standing in front of an open door for some time. Embarrassed at having become so engrossed in something as silly as wood, the young man walked quickly to where the Swanmaiden had been waiting for him, the realization that Sable was standing in front of her room, coming moments later. Supressing the desire to excuse himself out of the impending tea time discussions he'd reminded himself that he'd already come this far and that Sable Blamco had questions for him as well. Taking a deep breath, Thomas "Shifty" McGee passed the threshold.


The Wild Wastelands | Springvale Elementary School
Constance Sorrowfeld and the Crap End of Adult Issues
Constance Sorrowfeld

Constance Sorrowfeld was living a nightmare. Not only had the Sylphys kidnapped Mister McKenna and delivered him to the Blind American Enclave Scout of America, Miss Kristin had run off as if she was totally digusted by the presence of her partner/former partner. It was all so confusing for a young teenaged girl that had little experience with adults. Also confusing was that this sort of behavior was not exactly what Constance had expected out of two "consummate" professionals. Of course, this was all second hand information since, prior to the arrival of the Blamco Berserker and the Depressed Doomsday Device Designer, a Sylphy had been sent on a reconnaissance misison of Megaton.

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!" The Sylphy Scout had stated in her report regarding the future replacement parental figures project assets. A good sign indeed!

"I have heard the summons." The Bound and Wound Weapons Smith said after a moment, breaking the silence that had fallen over the room.

"Enjoy your meal.", The Sword Swinging Drill Sargeant replied mechanically, lifting the plastic cover off of Mister McKenna's still warm plate. "Excuse me, I have others guests to attend to."

The Teenaged Version of a Wasteland's Catgirl blinked in response to Miss Kristin's statement and blinked again as Miss Kristin walked out of the room without another word, without even acknowledging Constance's apology or presence or existence or need for some sort of affirmation. Looking around the room, Constance had to fight the urge to start throwing dishes against the wall, much as her mother, Enclave Intelligence Officer #411, would have or blame the entire situation on the single white male that was intertwined in the situation. The problem was that none of these actions would have solved anything. None of these actions would have moved Constance closer to her goal of becoming one big happy family accomplishing the mission that had been assigned to her by the Enclave Powers that be.

"Would you like help with those ropes? Or do you still believe that I'm with the Enclave?" Miss Jenna asked the Gagged and Bagged Energy Weapons Designer in an attempt to NOT HELP THE SITUATION AT ALL!, "How are your wounds, by the way? I am a doctor after all. I can at least check to make sure they've been properly treated."

"I think it's best if we just untie him and check on him." Constance said as she walked over towards Mister McKenna, though ultimately she wouldn't make it to where Mister McKenna lay. The world went fuzzy for a moment, causing the American Enclave Scout to lose her balance and trip on a poorly positioned chair. She could feel herself falling, though from what she saw the world was static and unmoving, as if the image that her ears had captured was stuck in a memory buffer.

*CRACK!*

The sound of her skull hitting the floor was followed by the sensation of her head bouncing off of the hard floor... followed by the warm sensation of blood seeping from a fresh cut in the girl's scalp.

"Uhhhhhh... ow..." Constance mumbled as the world went dark, not that she had lost consciousness rather it was due to the fact that the implants that had provided her with a view of the world had decided that now was an appropriate time to fail. Raining and pouring and all. The black clad kitty lay on the floor for a minute, unsure of what was going on. Was she dead? No... the sound of panicked Sylphys milling about reassured the daughter of #411 that she wasn't dead yet. Was she blind forever? No... a diagnostics of her viewing systems detected an error, a misalignment of the transmitters that were now attempting to beam millimeter length sound-waves into Constance's skull. Was she going to feel this for a while? Probably.

Reaching out, the girl attempted to pick herself up, only for feel herself crashing back down... too dizzy to keep herself upright. At least the people around her knew that she wasn't dead now, just severely injured... and blind.

The Three Musketeers - Road to Dunwich, or Andale - Porthos has buggered off.

"What'll it be? You a Child of Atom? One of Walt Disney's worshipers? Oh, maybe one of the Dairy Acolytes? Or should I go with tried-and-true Christianity? They're so far and few between nowadays, but I remember when it was awfully popular."

Arizona was certainly giving Brother Yohannes a grilling. William wasn't sure how he'd help the preacher out, as he didn't know enough about the various religions of the wasteland. He'd come across the Children of Atom when he'd stopped by Megaton, and there had been some other offshoot cults that he'd heard about, not that he'd had any intention of encountering them. People who worshipped a nuclear bomb we're never worth getting involved with. He'd heard of Walt Disney and the Dairy Acolytes from Shifty and Kristin, though both seemed exceptionally strange to him. Christianity was spread around here and there, some in Rivet City followed it, and it seemed like it had been a big part of pre-war society.

Then again, William wasn't sure if he really wanted to make it easier on the preacher. There was something very dangerous about him that William just couldn't ignore. Nobody who travelled the wasteland survived without being dangerous in some way, and those who wore a guise of peace got by because they were able to get dangerous in an instant.

"Who are the three stooges?" William asked Evan in a hushed whisper, not understanding the meaning behind the deathclaw's names.

"Funny people, I saw some old holotapes about them years ago, but they got damaged."

"I suppose when you've got three deathclaws following you around everywhere it helps to develop a sense of humour."

"What's your read on this guy? I half expect him to say the path to enlightenment starts with us stripping naked and handing over all of our stuff."

"You know I met a guy like that once, he had this cult of followers that didn't dress like they were following his advice."

"What did you do? Hand over all your stuff and let him enlighten you?"

"What's that supposed to mean? Anyway, no I shot him and killed his cult. They had this massive stash of people's belongings, it was really creepy."

"You killed them? That sounds kind of evil."

"No! They were robbing people and turning them loose in the wasteland without any clothes or supplies. Might as well sprinkle yourself in sauce and climb into a Yao-Guai's mouth." A little kick in the leg from Evan reminded William that they had been ignoring the rest of the group for too long.

"Oh yes, as Mr McGee was saying we're two of the Three Musketeers. I'm William, this is Evan." Said William with a forced cheery smile.

"The Third Musketeer isn't around right now." Evan added helpfully, wondering slightly just how far Dudley had managed to run, he might already be in Andale at this rate.

Fiona Callahan was rather bothered, here she was trying to be nice, and everyone was fretting over her Deathclaws when its damn well obvious their not going to flip out and start murdering people. She wanted to shout, knock some sense into people, maybe even start swearing up a storm, but instead she decided to try and take the diplomatic route.

"If I understand Correctly, Deathclaws are feared all over, but I can guarantee this, I swear upon my life, these three will not harm anyone I do not order them to harm, or whom does not try to kill me. But I can understand the concern. Trust me on this, this was not an easy thing to accomplish, and I doubt my skills would work on just any old deathclaw without an immense amount of patience."

She offered her hand out to Arizona with a smile, she had a very charming smile, despite being naive of the world, and while the fact that Arizona looked like a sapient Zombie, she came to immediately understand that Arizona was not, most likely, just a wasteland mutant of some kind.

"If You would have them. I'd happily offer my skills to your group, I'm a medical doctor, and i'm very good at what I do, but I must be honest. I'm a rather terrible shot with my rifle, I'll do my best to pull my weight, but my accuracy means I most likely need training. Other then that, like I said, great doctor. Plus I'll easily and happily have my deathclaws aid the group, their quite intelligent."

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas | Freeside
"Best Laid Plans...of Mice and Men Often Get Bitten In The Rabbit's Den"
Tessa Rabbit

---

"Tess... ", an electronically-modulated voice had greeted the Restless Rabbit. It looked painful. The pale beauty paused in a moment of frustration before concluding with a look of appreciation. "Thank you for all you've done..."

"No problem, Vicky!", Tessa's ineloquent response was muffled by the removal of the bloodied rags that covered her leather armor. This was a day like any other, she was happy to conduct some business with a good friend once again. "You can find the bodies tucked away just like you asked. Oh, and I helped myself to a finders-fee or five. 'Gotta do my bit for the Rabbit Hole."

Removing her gloves, Tessa fixed her hair and proceeded to pack her ill-gotten goods in the bag that Victoria McGee was safeguarding. Upon completion of their respective tasks, the peculiar pair had made their way onto the streets of Freeside, with Tessa disguised in a borrowed funerary veil with a matching shawl. Tessa made a note to thank Victoria for supplying her with such a clever disguise. Marching in lockstep as an Undertaker's Acolyte, Tessa Rabbit, Gang Leader to Freesides den of thieves: The Rabbits. It was all the more important for her to conceal her identity. Tessa didn't get this far because of bravado or arrogance.

Truth be told, wetwork was usually done with the roles reversed. In the past, the Rabbit's had helped the Undertakers conduct their business without interference from onlookers and would-be profiteers in exchange for a handsome reward or a favour down the line. Rumors had spread, as it always did in Freeside, that the Rabbit Gang was backed by the Undertakers/consisted of exiled Undertakers/consisted of a single Undertaker that relied on a complex series of mirrors to create duplicates or induce mass hallucinations...really, the list went on. While the Rabbits were skilled thieves, more than living up to their namesake that implied agility and numbers, their reputation went from being considered a nuisance to downright fearful due to Victoria's friendship with Tessa. How those two met...well, that was a whole different story.

So the Undertaker's 'Acolyte' had a few questions on her tongue, yet she kept her silence. It didn't take an expert to see that Vicky hated the use of the voice-thingy. Growing bored as they sidestepped down another alleyway, Tessa kept a hand hovering over the throwing knifes along her thigh pouches. "You sure you don't wanna spend some time in the Den? The bar is lookin' real good these days. We miss you!". Okay, even most of the Rabbits were scared of Vicky, but Tessa's nonchalant attitude towards an Undertaker had done wonders for her reputation.

Victoria paused, shook her head and tapped at her umbrella. Vicky looked reluctant to leave so Tessa answered in her stead. "Business? Ahh, that sucks. Tell the Tall One to give you a vacation already!" It saved Vicky from having to use the voice-thingy unnecessarily. Leaning in for a brief embrace, Tessa called after Victoria. "Don't be a stranger, okay? I'll find you and you'll find me, you know how it goes."

Tess smiled to herself. Victoria and Tessa used Freeside as their personal playground whenever she was in town, it was game to see who could track down the other one first. This time though, Victoria had outwitted an entire gang and offered a job proposal to the boss herself. Tess didn't ask too many questions about her reasons. What needed to be done and how this could benefit the Rabbit's in return was far more important.

After taking a series of rooftop shortcuts, ducking into alleyways and avoiding NCR patrols, Tessa had found herself near the inner walls of New Vegas. A dingy bar was her destination, signing an old signal to the guards at the door, they stepped aside and allowed the Gang Leader in disguise to enter without any hassle. A waft of booze and cigarette smoke had stung the nostrils. Nothing out of the ordinary, at least until Tessa's vision went black and she found herself struggling to breathe under the crushing weight of bear hug from a monster of a man.

"Bruu--noo!", Tessa squirmed in his grip, "I missed you too, okay!?"

Being released, Tessa was pulled into Bruno's side when he rested his arm on her shoulder and proceed to shove a frothing mug of beer in her hands. Still trying to catch her breath, Tessa playfully elbowed her giant companion and took a long swig of the bitter-dirt-water-that-passed-for-beer. Slamming the empty mug on the bar, Tessa made a small sign to her companion. It was time to take their greetings elsewhere. Moving behind the bar, Tessa deposited a small pouch of caps into the bartender's hands, exited into the supply room, asked Bruno to uproot the loose floorboards and the duo disappeared into an empty cellar.

"You go away for two days. We worry!", Bruno exclaimed, looking genuinely hurt. Don't blame the poor guy, underneath the big bruiser's exterior was the heart of a loyal man. "Job successful, like normal, yes?"

"Consider the Dirty Harry's taken care of.", Tessa held up 5 throwing knives and expertly pinned them to Rabbit's tally board. The gang marked their work every day and seeing an entire wall of knives served as a reminder for what they have accomplished. Tessa's side of the board kept everyone in line and motivated, she built this from the ground up and it was with much rejoicing that the rest of gang started drinking more heavily. "I brought back some goodies. Go find out who needs a hunting rifle and spread some of these caps around to the others, we're celebrating tonight! Oh hey, how's your mom these days?"

Returning to his post beside a closed door, Bruno crossed his arms and kept an eye on anyone with a little bit too much liquid courage coursing through their brains. The other Rabbit's, even in their inebriated state, knew better than to hassle Bruno when he was on duty. Mess with Bruno, expect a broken arm. If Tessa finds out, and she will, you'll find yourself gagged and bound in rival gang territory.

"Mother is getting better. Medication expensive, only Follower's have. Mother needs medication. I okay, Bruno always make plan."

Tessa counted the caps she had taken off of the Dirty Harry's. She handed Bruno a sizeable pouch. "Take it. Family's important, so...y'know.", she shrugged. Bruno, the gentle giant that he was, looked ready to crush Tessa in another hug. She retreated and changed the subject by nodding at the closed door. "You been standing since I was gone?"

"We all love Little Rabbit, but me keep family safe.", he looked proud.

Tessa softened and turned the handle on the door, "Easy Bruno!", she jokingly chided, "Keep smooth-talking like that and some woman's gonna fall in love with you. But I'm here now, take a break, you earned it."

Saying their goodbyes, Tessa entered the room and closed the door behind her. "Hey Mercy! Check it out..."
Walking over to a chalkboard, Tessa crossed out an amount and subtracted 200 caps. Emptying the amount into 'Mercy's Gift Jar'. It was a small fund for Mercy to legally purchase a plasma pistol, Tessa initially raised an eyebrow at the whole affair, but now she understood why the fund was started. The Rabbit's weren't going to last forever, but one purchase at a time, they'll make an honest living one day.

Tackled to the ground, Tessa found herself being hugged by someone much smaller. Mercy Rabbit, her little sister/engineer and smarty-pants to the Rabbit Gang had brought some much-needed warmth to the heart of Tessa. "Good to see you too, Mer. So what happened while I was gone?"

Laying on the floor together, the sisters laughed and talked to their heart's content. Mercy knew all the gossip and proceeded to geek out over tech things that Tess barely understood, Tessa played up her own adventures and proceeded to tell Mercy about an amazing duel that she caught sight of. Truly, they kept one another motivated.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
"Intrigue"
Sable "Swan-Maiden" Blamco

---

Having reached her room, Sable BlamCo proceeded to leaf through a pile of letters that filled the mailbox beside her door. Losing herself out of routine, Sable was dragged back into the responsibility-laden lifestyle that fell upon her name. Invitations to banquets, correspondence letters with the Follower's about an animal rehabilitation project, boring financial statements from her personal account, permission forms from BlamCo employees...

...she had forgotten, for a few blissful moments, that work was only a few steps away from her door at all times.

"Lady BlamCo?", a nearby voice had snuck up on Sable, "It's good to see you home. I was just on my way to see your sisters. Oh! Must I send for a medic?"

"Hmm?", Sable absentmindedly turned towards the voice, taking note of the small stack of clipboards in the maid's arms. "Oh. Oh no, I've already sent word. I might stay and make some headway on a few projects."

"That's good to hear! You are away from home fairly frequently. If I may be frank -- ."

"You can leave those approval forms with me. After my guest leaves, I'll see to them myself.", Sable stopped her, whatever she was intending to say was bound to spoil her mood. " Instead, can you prepare two fresh pots of tea? Surprise me on the flavor."

"Right away, Lady Sable."

"Thank you."

Adjusting the papers, Sable turned on her heel to expect Shifty to be waiting right beside her. Amusingly, she watched him inspect a portion of BlamCo's craftsmanship by way of the staircase. Seeing a more human side to the Undertaker had brought about a measured sigh of relief. He existed like everyone else, how intriguing.

Catching her eye, the Worse-For-Wear Warrior extended an arm to the doorway, ushering in her new guest.

Sable's room was large and divided into three distinct sections based on the decorum. To the far left, a lavender-colored four-poster bed featured prominently against the dark wooden flooring and soft-colored minimalist decorations. In the center, where they had entered, it was almost like someone stitched together this portion of the room with someone else's. Sunlight bathed the room through a wall-to-ceiling window, positioned to keep a homely coffee table, a chair and a small couch occupied at all times...oddly enough, this entertainment area was devoid of decoration and even the most basic of color choices didn't go beyond a muted palette. Moving over to the far right, and one would bear witness to Sable's version of chaos: A small workbench and a personal library of books. Dog-eared and left open for quick perusal. Several whiteboards lined the wall, half-written thoughts and discarded drawings had brought to mind the imagery of Sable flitted from one topic to another, never quite content to settle in one domain, this was a women interested in knowledge and alternative perspectives, even if they clashed with her own ideals.

"Please take a seat, Shifty.", Sable politely directed him to the couch.

Placing the power spear on a nearby desk, Sable started to loosen the broken bandoleer across her armor. Pausing to untie what remained of her pouches, Sable emptied the contents of the few that remained intact.

"Feathers of a raven for a fellow Swan-maiden that fought with grace and purpose. Ashes of a raven for a Battle-maiden that burned ever-so-brightly till their very end. Talons of a raven for a Shield-maiden that fell in protection of others.", Sable pointed to each item, her motions were precise and measured, yet her eyes peered endlessly into that of the Undertaker's, seemingly searching for meaning -- waiting for his thoughts, whether someone in his profession would scoff or introduce her to another way. "The BlamCo Valkyries delved into three schools of thought, three disciplines basically. We all share the necessary training and desire to fight. Combat, and how we choose to present ourselves, is an expression of our convictions. Our weapons are an extension of our roles. Our fighting styles are an extension of our personalities."

A faint knock on the door had signalled the arrival of tea and a BlamCo medic.

"As you already know, I have recently become a Swan-maiden. While I share the sensibilities of a Shieldmaiden, in that we focus on the protection of others in combat and non-violent support initiatives in the community outside of combat, my...uhm...demeanour and inclination to make a visual spectacle lends me to the more fitting and capricious role of a Swan-maiden."

After having their tea brought in, prepared and served. Sable took a sip and visibly relaxed, the tea was set down, Sable stood and nodded to the waiting BlamCo medic. A small dressing screen was moved from Sable's bed over to her position, clearly she wanted to stay within earshot without interrupting the flow of conversation. Casually undressing herself whilst concealed behind the screen, Sable's golden hair danced along bare shoulders as she gestured with her fingers while the medic inspected her body for any serious wounds.

"Without the Swans, BlamCo would not exist as a business aiming to entertain and integrate into modern society. Without Shields, BlamCo would not take a step back to evaluate their actions and choose what is best on a traditional and progressive scale. Finally, without Battle-maidens, BlamCo would lose sight of their warrior heritage and our ability to exercise our strength within a code of ethics. We have retained and built upon that structure for two centuries, molding our own ways across three schools of thought."

Having being given a reassuring nod by the BlamCo medic, she sought to controlled stimpack injections and traditional bandaging of her own collarbone and ankle. Sable's controlled demeanour was unflinching and she continued with a hint of bashful pride in her ability to remain elegant in times like these.

"I do not wish to turn this into another round of thank you's, since you already touched on that particular topic and I very much agree with your approach. But at the risk of repeating something, I am not used to being saved or being given purpose. For as long as I can remember, I decided when to stop and when to start. Today, you saved me ---- whiiich goes against everything I've come to know about Undertakers."

Leaving her armor and taking a seat across from the Undertaker, Sable looked more than a little uncomfortable at not having all the answers in the room. Clad in white lightweight leather armor, Sable hastily resumed talking after a quick sip of tea while the medic moved over to Shifty.

"What I'm saying is, you are unlike anything I've ever encountered. Your weapons, fighting style and...trendsetting hairstyle choices...betray your appearance. It's not a reflection of your words or your more pleasant demeanour. It's something far more...intriguing. Yes, intriguing.", Sable crossed her legs and refilled their cups, "Simply put, I wish to know more...among other things. But I would like to start there. Tell me more about the Undertakers, who knows, BlamCo can become an ally if our goals align."

Springvale Elementary School
Embrace Futility

His comment had left quite the impression, it seemed.

As all eyes -even, perhaps, clones ones- continued their close examination of the former father of death, Jonathan found himself enjoying this carade in a rather perverse way. A carade of a celebration, made for his humiliation and the truimph of his enemies, a mean-spirited show of sadism. Yet, in a depraved way, this was all so liberating. He had reached the bottom again, and from experience knew that he could only go up from here.

Regardless, his words had caused a shift in the air. Towards what, he couldn't say, and very likely wouldn't want to find out. Scarcely care to, even. Whatever his overlords had in store for him, as it where right now he had no way of contesting it. Perhaps this uncertainty was the best he would get.

"Enjoy your meal" said the chief taskmaster, lifting the cover of his plate but otherwise not bothering helping with his bindings. It was time for open mockery, it seemed. Laugh at the old fool, he fell for it.

"Excuse me, I have others guests to attend to." Raising an eyebrow as she left, he replied, "Yes, of course. Thank you for the food." in a rather dismissing tone as he went back to cutting his ropes. As expected of barely sentient clones, the knot keeping his hands bound was primitive and not well made. Soon enough he'd be free. His hands would, in any case.

"Would you like help with those ropes? Or do you still believe that I'm with the Enclave?"

He threw a sharp, hostile glance at that, before going back to cutting his bindings. The mockery continued. It reminded it him of the good old days were this was his daily reality. And just like back then, he did the only thing he currently could: Ignore it and keep to himself. A gagged dog can't bite back, after all.

"How are your wounds, by the way? I am a doctor after all. I can at least check to make sure they've been properly treated."

Yes, I am sure you are absolutely dying of concern, doctor. Continuation of the humilation: Stupid old man, got a rock thrown right on his forehead. Pity the old man, he can't even dress his wounds properly.

But, he was already done with the bindings. At the same time as he rubbed his wrists, a loud *CRACK* was heard; clearly someone visually impaired had taken a wrong step and fallen flat on her face.

But that was none of his concern. Not even bothering to turn and look, he instead grabbed a fork and started cutting a piece to eat.

"It would seem someone else is in need of your attention, Doctor." he said nonchalantly and took a bite as the good doctor run past him to take a look at her new patient.

"Not bad." he said to himself as munched, the food being a lot better than expected. "Not bad at all."

Smith Casey's Garage
New Age Sex Ed

Charlie checked his pants. He hadn't pissed himself, which provided a boost that his currently shrinking masculinity direly needed.

He wasn't sure what exactly had just happened, but he was alive, and that mattered most. To his left, the helmet-wearing ghoul was laughing his ass off, muttering stuff like [That fucking moron!] between breaths, clearly greatly enjoying what had just transpired. And to his credit, had Charlie's life not been on the line -no thanks to the ghoul-, he'd probably be laughing too. A scene of such idiotic incompetence one would think it was straight out of a comedy holovid. And besides, that woman had it coming after motivating her brute of a boyfriend to, in her own words, murderise poor Charlie. Such was karma, and she was seldom gentle.

But then, something wierd- erm, wierder happened. The OH-KO lady started muttering a phrase over and over. Furthermore, to Charlie's admittedly limited knowledge, it all sounded gibberish. Furthermore, he was pretty sure that unconscious people couldn't talk.

[Well, I'll be.] said the ghoul, who had stopped laughing for a moment, stared at the duo, and started giggling.

As he did, the woman opened her eyes, and proceeded to have one of the most absurd conversations -if one could call them that- with her jock of a boyfriend.

It was all very confusing to poor ignorant Charlie. This whole situation was very flabbergasting to say the least, and he couldn't quite reach any reasonable conclusion. It seemed, therefore, that the only course of action he could take was ask someone who seemed to know more than him for clearance. The jock seemed to be the only guy in the room more clueless than him, his woman seemed to have the memory of shellfish, so that left out...

The ghoul. He dreaded to enter that guy's radar again. He almost had him killed, after all. But the wanderlust and curiosity still reigned strong in young Charlie, and so he approached the ghoul hesitantly. The ghoul hadn't stopped giggling since he was hit with that realisation of whatever it was that going on, and he was gripping his stomach with one hand and placed the other on his helmet.

"Uhm, excuse me..." said eager, young Charlie, "But what's going on?"

The ghoul stopped his giggling and turned to face him, the helmet along with his height making this conversation a lot more intense than Charlie would've liked, [Isn't it obvious?] he replied as though what was happening was common knowledge.

The ghoul needed only look at the clueless, blank look on Charlie's face to get his answer. He sighed and shook his head in a manner a disappointed father would if he learned his son was still a virgin at the tender age of 32. [Kids these days. Alright, since neither of you knuckleheads seem to be getting the message I'll spell this out slow and clear. Hey, peas-for-brains! Listen up! I ain't repeating myself.]

Having gained the attention of the brawn-for-brains, the ghoul continued. [She. Is. A. Robot.] He wasn't kidding when he said he'd say things slow.

"Robot?" Charlie was quick to protest, "But robots look nothing like humans! How can-"

[My, my, didn't your IQ take a dive into the mariana trench. I wasn't finished. She's a type of robot called a Synth. Got the word memorised? Repeat after me, now, Syyyyy-]

"Synth? Never heard of those before." Charlie was starting to have a headache.

[Yer not supposed to. Like to blend in, them techy mofos.] he let out a laugh at that, [Ya hear that, Jock-o-rama? Ya was hitting on Fisto's second cousin!] and at that, [Please assume the position!] and an even louder one at that.

[Even the uberbilly's got more luck with the ladies that you!] the ghoul laughed some more, seemingly unaware -or totally uncaring- of the pure violence emited from Tough Enclave Dude's stare. The ghoul looked around some, as though trying to find something, [Wait] whatever it was, it looked like he wasn't finding it. [Where'd he go, anyway?]

The Road
The path of the righteous man is beset at all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men

Having left some distance between them and with a final glance at the murderous child that had chosen to stay behind, the priest followed after the undertaker, keeping a firm grip on his revolver, just in case. As they approached, he started counting heads.

The Deathclaws would be a problem. Yohannes had enough bullets for everyone if they decided to turn on him, but he could never hope to put a dent on a Deathclaw's hide with a .44 round. Or outrun them, for that matter. Indeed, if the tallest undertaker of the wastes was leading him to a trap, this could we have been the end of him.

But he didn't fear. It was not his time yet. He had a lot of work to do still.

"Looks like you've made a few friends, Arizona." greeted McGee, "I've made one of my own."

This had been the first time in a long time someone had called him a friend, and the brother repressed a groan. The last friend he had betrayed and took everything that Yohannes had ever cared about from him. He had thoroughly given up on the notion of friendship. Still, it surprised him that even if said in jest it affected him so much. He would need to dwell on that.

"Brother Yohannes," he was addressed, and so turned to look, "these are my friends and fellow travelling companions." A one-eyed ghoul and a pair of wierd-looking men. It could've been worse. "This is Arizona and the three..."

Three? Two men stood in front of the priest, with a third nowhere in sight. And if the Undertaker had not seen them since the beginning of the firefight...

"So, Brother Yohannes, huh?" spoke the ghoul, her voice full of contempt, as she turned to address him. "I may as well ask what religion you belong to."

"What'll it be? You a Child of Atom? One of Walt Disney's worshipers? Oh, maybe one of the Dairy Acolytes?" she added with a chuckle, "Or should I go with tried-and-true Christianity? They're so far and few between nowadays, but I remember when it was awfully popular."

Mockery. Yohannes had grown used to it, it had for the longest time been a part of his daily life. Laugh at the madman, laugh at his words and beliefs. She wasn't the only one, he could hear the trio-made-duo discuss his faith also.

But a few words would not deter the priest. His religion had been tested in the past, a long time ago, and thousands of martyrs were put to the sword. Theirs was the legacy that he was tasked to safeguard, and he would not be found wanting.

"You are correct, ghoul." he finally stated, his words detached of any emotion, "I am indeed a priest of the Good Book. Even though the world as we know it was unmade in the fires of nuclear annihilation, the people have not yet forgotten their Lord, and it is the duty of my brothers and I to remind them."

"But before we continue this enlightened conversation, may I suggest we move to a safer place, a settlement, perhaps? We've tarried upon this road for long enough, and as we've seen 'tis nary the safest place to converse. If I recall correctly, Andale is not too long a walk from here."

The ghoul's lone eye hardened as she stared him down.

"Arizona," she told him flatly, "My name is Arizona, smoothskin. And feel free to shove that holier-than-thou attitude up your ass if you plan on sticking around."

Glancing back at Andale, she jerked a thumb in the direction of the two figures clad in Enclave Power Armor.

"As for getting to the town, we have those two to deal with. If we're lucky, they'll let us pass 'cause they know we're expected." she said, before looking back at him and shrugging as she added, "And to be honest, our luck has been shit so far. So if you want to lead the way and try your luck, be my guest."

The priest took a look at the men in power armour. Enclave, then.

"I shall return shortly." he said, and walked towards Andale.

[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School Kitchen
"Damnit Jon, I'm a Doctor, not a Mechan... Oh wait, I kind of am."

Jenna was largely at a loss for what to do, not least of which because she wasn't exactly good with people who weren't actively suffering from something she had expertise in. And since Jonathan spurned her offer of help with a glare, she wasn't about to come near him if she absolutely had to.

Young Constance, on the other hand, got up to try and help him anyway. Jenna couldn't help but feel a small, approving smile tug at the corners of her lips behind her helmet. At least, until the blind girl stumbled on a chair and fell face-first onto the floor.

Without so much as a second thought, Jenna launched herself from her own chair and knelt beside her, gently lifting Constance's head up and turning her over.

"It would seem someone else is in need of your attention, Doctor."

Ignoring his little quip, she carefully felt along the scalp for any wounds. She found a damp patch quickly, and when her hand pulled away there was blood on her fingertips.

"One head wound, potential concussion." she murmured to herself, "But what's the cause, whats the cause?"

Glancing at the cybernetic ears, she reached up with her free hand to rub where her chin would have been on her helmet.

"Has to be the radar apparatus. But I can't well inspect them here..." she muttered, before she shifted her position so that she could sit up a little higher, Constance's head laying on her lap.

"SYLPHY! SYLPHY! SYLPHY!" she called.

It didn't take long for a small group of the Sylphy clones to rush in at the call, each of them looking thoroughly confused, either due to what she potentially said in their language, or due to being called at all during their meal. Looking at each of them for the moment, she had an internal struggle as she wondered whether she should even try and say what she needed in Sylph-ese, before settling on just plain English. They seemed to understand that well enough before.

"Constance is hurt. I need all of you to carry her to a bed, preferably one near a terminal if this place has one that still works. Be gentle, and mind her head, it has a wound." she instructed them.

After moment to process what she just said, the group immediately rushed over to help, lifting Constance off of both Jenna's lap and hard floor before they took her away with varying looks of worry. Once she was on her feet, she strode into the kitchen to grab her medical and mechanical supplies.

When she passed through the dining room again, she paused just once to regard Jonathan.

"You are nothing more than a big, dumb jerk. You know that?" she said coldly, before striding off to treat her latest patient.

She found her surrounded by the Sylphy's that had carried her, and had to squeeze past some of them to even get to her bedside. Sadly, there wasn't a terminal even remotely near, meaning that she was stuck using her temperamental Pip-Boy for the system's diagnostic.

"Alright, all but one of you go back to your food. I only need one extra set of hands, and the rest of you won't do her much good crowding her while I'm trying to help." she told them, making shooing motions with her hands. Then, reaching into her pack, pulled out some antiseptic and some clean cloths.

"Constance? Constance, can you hear me? I'm about to treat your head wound, and then I will be trying to see what the problem is with your... Ears." the Doctor told her calmly, "I'm going to need to to stay awake and aware so that you can tell me if you notice any changes when I do a diagnostic. Can you do that for me?"

Once she applied some antiseptic to the first cloth, she carefully brushed aside Constance's hair to better see the wound.

"Just to warn you, this is going to sting quite a bit, but I need you to keep still, alright?" she said, before starting to clean away the blood.


Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | The Road To Dunwich
"A sucker is killed every minute."

"I shall return shortly."

Arizona's lone eye blinked in surprise. She hadn't actually expected him to actually go and investigate on his own, but she merely shrugged and watched as he strode off in the direction of the two Enclave soldiers. As far as she was concerned, he could get himself killed and she wouldn't shed a tear.

She turned back to the Vault Dweller when she began to speak again.

"If I understand Correctly, Deathclaws are feared all over, but I can guarantee this, I swear upon my life, these three will not harm anyone I do not order them to harm, or whom does not try to kill me. But I can understand the concern. Trust me on this, this was not an easy thing to accomplish, and I doubt my skills would work on just any old deathclaw without an immense amount of patience."

Her eye flicked back towards the three bickering death-machines. The fact that they acted like slapstick comedians in the bodies of monstrous killers with foot-long claws did little to prove her point that they were even remotely tame or trained, and she didn't exactly want to just take her word for it.

But when the young girl offered her hand to shake, the old Ghoul frowned a little.

"If you would have them, I'd happily offer my skills to your group. I'm a medical doctor, and I'm very good at what I do, but I must be honest. I'm a rather terrible shot with my rifle. I'll do my best to pull my weight, but my accuracy means I most likely need training. Other then that, like I said, great doctor. Plus I'll easily and happily have my deathclaws aid the group, they're quite intelligent."

The fact that she was a doctor was what made her offer tempting. Even though she admitted that she couldn't really hit what she aimed at with a rifle, her Deathclaws, assuming they really were trained, could more than make up for that.

Reaching out, she took the girls hand and shook it with a small sigh. Thinking of the priest, she supposed she'd have to take it on faith. Of course, she reminded herself, she was already taking quite a lot on faith, which wasn't something she was comfortable with at all.

"Sure, why not? We could use a doctor for where we're going. And who knows? Maybe I'll open a circus when the job is done, because I've already got a menagerie of sideshow freaks." she told her.

Turning to Shifty when she let go, she jerked a thumb at the direction of Brother Yohannes.

"Keep an eye on him, would you? If he gets killed, I want to know. For now, I'm going to see about looting what I can off of these stupid bastards while I can." she told him, before calling out to the two remaining Musketeers, "And you two! Find Romeo and drag his ass back here! I don't want him getting into trouble and leading it back to us!"

Striding off in the direction of the carnage, Arizona grumbled darkly to herself.

"I'm surrounded by a fucking circus now. Sylph can do trick shots, Shifty can be ringleader, the 'Three Musketeers' are goddamned clowns, and now we have a Deathclaw Tamer. Shit, when was the last time I had a normal fucking job?" she muttered, rifling through the pockets of a pair of legs severed from it's torso.

Her vision started to swim a little, and she couldn't be sure if it was due to the stench of death, or possibly some kind of gaudy flashback sequence. Regardless, Freelancing Raider swore under her breath, because she wasn't fond of either.


Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | Eight Years Ago | The Neon, Michigan Wastes
"The last time Arizona had a normal fucking job."

The Neon was a shithole. To say that it was built out of the ruins of Detroit was a misnomer. It wasn't exactly built as it was slapped together half-assed, and the joke that Detroit was always that bad, or had actually improved after the bombs fell was done to death. It was to the point where making that joke could and would get the joker in question shot.

But Arizona had to admit, it was her kind of shithole. It certainly lived up to it's name, with garish neon lights throughout the dilapidated office buildings and skyscrapers, with most of it dedicated to what the locals called Heaven's Marketplace: A post-war red-light district on Psycho dedicated to sex, chems, and anything that could be sold for caps.

At it's core, however, it was a Raider City, which was probably why it had appealed the the old Ghoul. She hadn't been a true Raider for some time, but it had been such a core part of her surviving the bombs that she couldn't exactly let it go.

She sat back on a wobbly chair in a surprisingly well put-together bar on the edge of Heaven's Marketplace called Bob's Booze Shack, taking a drag of her cigarette as she listened to the proposition of the man sitting across from her.

His name was Tracy, and he was a tall guy, reasonably young. She pegged him in his late teens to early twenties given how fresh-faced he was in a place like The Neon, and he kept himself reasonably clean as far as hygiene went. But his eyes told her that he most certainly was not clean when it came to chems, with his pupils being massively dilated. Due to the smell of his breath, she figured Jet.

His hair was golden blonde and unevenly chopped at, while his face was handsome enough, even though he clearly looked untrustworthy.

"So, from what I've heard, you're not only an outsider, but a merc. Don't suppose you'd be willing to do a job for me?" Tracy asked, shifting a little under the lightly-armored harness he wore.

Arizona could hear the light jingle of both the 10mm Pistol and the machete that hung on either of his hips. Exhaling a thin stream of smoke, she nodded.

"Depends on the job. And of course, I expect to get paid." she pointed out.

He gave her a surprisingly charming smile as he replied, "Oh, I can pay you. Would you prefer caps, or some of my merchandise?"

"Caps. What did you want me to do?" Arizona asked.

"Caps it is then. See, I've got a rival in the chem trade on my side of the Marketplace, and I want to see her, and her entire crew, gone. In the most permanent way you can imagine. Her name's Sweet Sue, and while she's probably going to be a pushover, her guards won't be." he told her, before smoothly asking, "Think you can handle them on your own?"

Smirking, she nodded. "Naturally, for the right price."

"How does 500 caps for Sue sound, with 100 more for each of her crew? Should come up to about... 1100 caps, since she's got six of 'em." he offered.

"Deal." she told him, reaching out and shaking his hand, "I'll let you know when it's done."

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas | Freeside | The Rabbit Hole Household
A Twist of the Wrist...
Mercy Rabbit

The Rabbit Hole had seen better days from a cleanliness perspective. Then again, these sorts of things were inevitable when you had not one but two Rabbit Sisters living in the same household. A sink was overfilled with not only dirty pots and pans but parts from the disassembled auto-wash that was undergoing "maintenance." Clothes had been haphazardly strewn about the place as Mercy had accidentally misplaced Tessa's collection of lucky hairpins and the resulting search had sent a hamper full of dirty laundry flying all over the room. Ultimately the hairpins were discovered on top of the ice box in the kitchen, a spot where Mercy swore that she would never forget putting them... but ultimately did. It wasn't all laundry-splosions and out-of-order auto-washes, in the middle of the bed was an area clear of debris, large enough for two Bunny Sisters.

*BZZT BZZT*

The Reading, Writing and Arithmetically Minded Rabbit Sister was hovering, not in the "I'm flying" sense of the word hovering but rather in the sense that she was standing above one of her latest inventions. Looking at the item throw a magnifying lens, Mercy Rabbit soldered a power coil that had come loose during that previous test before the closing the protective panel. Looking at the object the Mechanically Inclined Mercy wondered if her older half sister would like what the Happy Little Hare was crafting.

"That just about does it," Mercy muttered to herself as she picked up the small blade off of the table before turning to a rather dented looking target. Remembering the lessons that Tessa had tried to teach her younger sister about the finer points of throwing knives, the Bubbly Baby Bunny drew back her arm and hurled the small blade at the target. As it sliced and spun through the air, the edge of the blade began to glow green as the miniature centripetal turbine charged the energy cell which then directed power to the plasma emitters mounted strategically along the edge of the blade.

*THUNK!*

"WOO!!" Mercy exclaimed loudly as she watched the glowing green throwing knife cut through a slab of steel, causing bits of super heated metal to trickle onto the floor and sizzle. Walking over to the target, Mercy grabbed the blade by the hilt and pulled.

*RATTLE RATTLE*

"Huh?" The Widdle Wabbit huh'd as she pulled on the hilt again.

*RATTLE RATTLE*

"Crap." The Brown Haired Bunny cursed as she realized that the melted steel had cooled off and encased the blade. Looking at the other other knives that had suffered the same fate and been encased in steel, Mercy wondered if she should have increased the energy cell's capacity and added a retro rocket that would automatically fire off and remove the blade from the target. Still, it was a vast improvement over the early models. Looking at the pile of plasma throwing knives that she'd already built, she wondered if Tessa would be inclined to field test the inventions and give a bit of feedback regarding their usefulness.

*CREEEEEEAK*

Despite not having ears the size of a rabbit, Mercy was able to recognize the sound of someone coming through the front door of the Rabbit Hole. Of course, there could only be one person that would dare enter while the Inventive Young Woman was hard at work. Running over to the closet, the youngest of the Rabbit sisters threw herself inside and waited for the intruder to come close enough and for Mercy to attack.

"Hey Mercy! Check it out..." A familiar voice called out from the entrance way followed by the high pitched squeal of chalk rubbing against board. The sound of footsteps got closer and closer and closer until.

*GLOMP!* Mercy attacked!

"Good to see you too, Mer. So what happened while I was gone?" Big Sissy Tess Tess asked as she looked around the Rabbit Home. Being this close to her sister, the Observant Little Bunny could detect the faint aroma of lilac, roses and something... chemical. Pulling her face away from her sister she looked up and Tessa and wrinkled her nose.

"You were with Vicky again, weren't you?" Came the rhetorical question that had become more and more frequent. Now, far be it from the younger Rabbit to pry into her sister's affairs but there was something rather off about the Undertaker that had come strolling through their lives. For starters there was the fact that Victoria's jaw was an artificial prosthetic and while Tessa accepted the whole excuse about a raider ambush, Mer Mer knew a plasma burn when she saw one and there weren't a lot of Raiders out in the wilds that used plasma weapons. Then there was the whole secret project that Victoria McGee had commissioned the Books Smart Bunny to complete.

"Next time you see your Duchess of Death, you can give her that thing that she hired me to build for her," The Green Little Rabbit grumbled as she pointed to an device sitting on the workbench. It had taken quite a bit of research and ingenuity to create the object in question. The Concealed Wrist Mounted Blade was designed to fit around the forearm of its user and watched for a precise wrist motion before it deployed the collapsible nano-carbon steel blade. While Victoria had mentioned that it was meant to be a last point of defense, as to avoid a repeat of the incident that took her jaw, Mercy's curiosity was piqued at the Lady Undertaker's secondary request. It was to be able to interface with a Vault Door's access panel and open it. Mer Mer made no mention of the secondary specification of the blade to her older sister as the prospect of exploring Vaults might have been too strong a pull for the more Adventure Minded Bunny.

"I guess you can give it to her when you see her tomorrow, I mean, it IS her birthday after all," Mercy said with a grin as she pulled out a big red bow and placed it on the concealable weapon. Regardless of her personal feelings in regards to Victoria McGee, Mercy Rabbit could see that Tessa was quite happy after seeing her Darkly Dressed Dame of Death. With as much as the two had lost, the Bookish Little Bunny would never begrudge her sister a bit of happiness.

"Now then, since I've got your attention... I've got these little babies for you to test out. Now... I know how you feel about being my little Crash Test Bunny after the I had you test the Auto-Shower, which I swear I'll dismantle and put the parts back in the auto-wash, but I think these little babies are right up your alley." Mercy said as she showed Tessa the pile of plasma throwing knives that she'd built.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas | BlamCo Headquarters
Our Enemy is the Light of Humanity...
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

If anyone had said that Thomas "Shifty" McGee was not on the verge of becoming a nervous wreck when entering the bedroom of Sable Blamco, they would have been a dirty rotten liar. The BlamCo residential manor exuded an air of sophistication and superiority that the Friendly Future Undertaker of the East had never encountered in his life. Every single bit of furniture and ornamentation that Shifty encountered in the mansion had been strategically placed and designed to impress upon the viewer the far reaching influence and capital that the BlamCo organization wielded. It was apparent in the craftsmanship of the banister that the Coffin Crafter had admired, it was apparent in the chandelier that hung over the megalithic entry hall to the mansion and it was even apparent in the room where Sable Blamco resided... at least it had been apparent prior to her moving in. Of course, Thomas had little room to comment as he was little to no experience with the concept of personal space.

For as long as the Newly Initiated Undertaker could remember, he'd never had a square inch of real estate that he could call his, let alone a whole entire room, let alone a whole entire room as large and as spacious as the one in which Sable resided. For sixteen years, he had shared a room that was roughly one quarter in size of the room that sprawled out before him with fifteen more people than the current number of residents in Swan-Maiden's room. So, no, Shifty would have had absolutely no clue as to how to decorate a room the size of the BlamCo Spear Maiden's room. That being said, despite his inexperience with personal interior design, Thomas was able to deduce a few details regarding his hostess based on her design choices.

"Please take a seat, Shifty." The Golden Haired Valkyrie said politely as she directed him to the couch located in the room's guest area, which appeared to only be used on very rare occasion if the lack of decor was anything to go by. In a way, it was an aspect that mirrored Thomas' own life since not many people sought the company of an Undertaker.

Following his hostess' directions, the Overly Tall Caretaker of the Departed took a seat on the lone couch and observed as Sable walked over to a nearby desk upon which she began depositing her equipment. The Power Spear was laid to the side of the table while the contents of her pouches were removed and placed carefully on the table. Leaning forward to get a better look at the items, the Newly Initiated Undertaker was curious to see what they were.

"Feathers of a raven for a fellow Swan-maiden that fought with grace and purpose. Ashes of a raven for a Battle-maiden that burned ever-so-brightly till their very end. Talons of a raven for a Shield-maiden that fell in protection of others." The Golden Locked Valkyrie intoned ceremoniously as she pointed at each of the objects on the table, the identification of each caused Thomas to blink in surprise and then understanding. It was a small world after all.

Like the Somber Swan Maiden, and perhaps the remainder of her order, the Undertaker's Union found not only great symbolic value in the Raven, even integrating the bird's likeness into their crest (A double headed Raven that grasped a shovel in its talons, surrounded by a wreath of lillies), but a utilitarian value to them as well. In the wastelands, the raven was an Undertaker's guide. It showed the Traveling Ferryman where he was needed, like directions to a death. While the Caretaker of the Deceased took a meal from the birds, he was to ensure that an offering of thanks was left as payment for their services, typically a slab of raw meat or a freshly killed carcass. Like the Undertaker in the room with her, Sable had found symbolism in the Raven as well, for her they were a remembrance of her Sister Valkyries and what each represented. Given what he knew about the legends surrounding the Valkyries, as the mythology surrounding Death had been one of the topics covered in scholastic studies during his training, the may as well have been taken from actual Valkyries of Legend from the reverent manner in which Sable spoke of them. Given the manner in which Sable had fought, he was inclined to agree with the comparison.

"The BlamCo Valkyries delved into three schools of thought, three disciplines basically. We all share the necessary training and desire to fight. Combat, and how we choose to present ourselves, is an expression of our convictions. Our weapons are an extension of our roles. Our fighting styles are an extension of our personalities." The Silver Clad Spear expanded on Thomas' thought process as if she'd been reading his mind. Looking at her, Shifty opened his mouth to respond only to be interrupted by the light knocking of someone at the door.

*knock knock knock*

The BlamCo Medic that had greeted Sable and Shifty at the entrance to the BlamCo facility entered the room with the tea as had been requested. Placing a cup before the Undertaker as well as the Valkyrie, the medic went to Sable's bed to fetch a screen. Waiting for his hostess to take a sip of her tea, Thomas could see the woman visibly relax, almost luxuriate in the sensation of the hot brew spreading through her body. Picking up the cup that had been set before him, the Friendly and Polite but Pale Caretaker of the Departed took an experimental sip, expecting the bitter herbal tea that was the standard funeral affair, only to find it smooth and mellow with a hint of orange and honey.

"As you already know, I have recently become a Swan-maiden. While I share the sensibilities of a Shieldmaiden, in that we focus on the protection of others in combat and non-violent support initiatives in the community outside of combat, my...uhm...demeanour and inclination to make a visual spectacle lends me to the more fitting and capricious role of a Swan-maiden." The Silver Clad Swan Maiden said as the screen was placed between her and her visitor. Shifty McGee swallowed, hard, when he noticed the silhouette of Sable undressing, the light dancing off of her golden locks even through the screen. Looking away, the young man gave the woman some privacy while hiding the redness that tinged his cheeks, quite thankful that there was a dressing screen between the two of them.

"I do not wish to turn this into another round of thank you's, since you already touched on that particular topic and I very much agree with your approach. But at the risk of repeating something, I am not used to being saved or being given purpose. For as long as I can remember, I decided when to stop and when to start. Today, you saved me ---- whiiich goes against everything I've come to know about Undertakers." Sable said casually as she sat across from the suddenly attentive Shifty McGee and the BlamCo Medical Officer that was examining him. While the Medic was not as thorough in his examination of the Guest within the walls of the BlamCo Residence Manor, the Dapperly Dressed Gravedigger was thankful for what attention he did receive, though, truth be told, his mind was not exactly focused on his injuries at the moment, rather they had focused solely on the woman who sat in front of him and the words that she'd said.

"What I'm saying is, you are unlike anything I've ever encountered. Your weapons, fighting style and...trendsetting hairstyle choices...betray your appearance. It's not a reflection of your words or your more pleasant demeanour. It's something far more...intriguing. Yes, intriguing.", Sable crossed her legs and refilled their cups, "Simply put, I wish to know more...among other things. But I would like to start there. Tell me more about the Undertakers, who knows, BlamCo can become an ally if our goals align."

Thomas once again felt his cheeks grow hot as the Golden Haired Warrior spoke her honeyed words. He felt himself become unbalanced by her kindness of her speech, as if he'd been drinking quite a bit of mead. As much as he had been put on the defensive by her implied knowledge of the Undertaker's Union, there was an equal portion of the man that was as intrigued by the Silver Swan Maiden as she was of him. On the battlefield, she displayed grace, skill and fearlessness. Off the battlefield, the young woman was intelligent, observant and charming. As much as the Friendly Future Undertaker of the East wanted to be open with Sable, there was still the matter of the Medic in the room, the set of ears that kept Shifty from speaking freely.

"Since its inception by my Father's Father's Father, Smitty McGee, the desire of the Undertaker's Union has been to give those who have perished alone in the Wasteland a proper burial. As monumental and Sisyphean a task as it sounds, its one that my brother and sisters in the Union feel is important. A society is not only measured by how it treats its young, its elders and its women, it should also be measured by how the dead are treated." The Undertaker recited the lines that had been fed to him since his first days of training. He knew these words backwards and forwards and could recite them in his sleep, as he often did in his younger years. Eyeing the Ever Vigilant Valkyrie, he noted the she appeared to be measuring him on the choice of his words, almost as a reflection of his character, "Of course, there are many dangers inherent in traveling alone in the wastelands. It is because of these dangers that combat training has become a requisite course for all Undertaker Acolytes in addition to their traditional studies. Of course, not all dangers appear in the form of Super Mutants, Old Ones or Raiders."

Shifty paused for a moment and took a sip of the tea, allowing its warmth to relax him and take a moment to glance at the BlamCo medic. Having completed his medical examinations, the Medic had begun packing his equipment as well as moving the changing screen back to its original spot in the room.

"As you yourself demonstrated, there are a few misconceptions and rumors about the Undertaker's Union and its members," These words were said without any hint of criticism nor said in a patronizing manner. He was simply stating a fact, "It is not our position in the Universe to judge people. We have no say as to where your soul or spirit will go after you pass. We aid in the ability of the departed to rest peacefully and though we are part of the cycle of death, we would prefer not to kill when it can be avoided."

The last line was perilously close to a lie. Thomas paused yet again to take a sip of his tea and this time, he kept his eyes solely on the woman seated before him, looking for any sign that she knew or had an inkling of the truth.

"Of course, that's one of the more minor stories that have been floating about in regards to my fellow brothers and sisters. Of the more ridiculous rumors in circulation, the belief that Death follows an Undertaker is also one of the more harmful. The Wastelands is a dangerous place and an environment where fear can flourish and it is because of this fear and an individual's drive for self preservation that a fair number of my fellows have been assaulted or killed. As bitter as I am about this story about Death following an Undertaker's arrival, it is on the very surface logically sound. Death is as inevitable as anything can be in this day and age. Regardless of whether you cross paths with an Undertaker, unless you are an Old One, you will die." Thomas concluded with a small smile on his face, "I've also heard it said that Undertakers have the power to kill people with just a single word. Now, I don't know about you, but if I had the power to do so, I doubt that we'd be having sharing this fine conversation and to be perfectly honest, I think that the sore muscles that are waiting just around the corner will be worth it."

Finished packing up his supplies, the Medic quietly exited the room, the door closing with a small and audible *click.* With the departure of the BlamCo Medic, Sable's guest visibly relaxed. Though he was still slightly guarded, Shifty felt that he was able to more freely converse with the Golden Haired Swan-Maiden.

"If I might be a bit forward, given what you said about what you've come to know about the Undertakers, I can only assume that you've met and spoken to Victoria, the contact that I was supposed to rendezvous with here at your Headquarters and I can also assume that she's spoken of the Ferrymen." The Newly Initiated Undertaker said, revealing a portion of information that was not supposed to be widely circulated, even among the regular members of the Union.

The Ferrymen were a small selection of members belonging to the Undertaker's Union that acted as assassins. Chosen at a young age, the Ferrymen and Ferrywomen were given advanced training that would aid them in infiltration, assassination and escape. To those who knew of the Ferrymen's existence, it was seen as a noble role as only those who acted as a stabilizing force in the Wastelands were able to hire the Undertaker's Union for these types of jobs.

Shifty's eyes widened as he came to the realization that he'd made referenced to himself as a Ferryman after his and Sable's initial skirmish. If she'd known about the Ferrymen from Victoria, why would she still have allowed him to enter her quarters and why would she, someone who had chased down Thomas under the assumption that he'd robbed a drunk woman, imply that an alliance between BlamCo and the Union was possible. Had she entrapped the Inexperienced Initiate into revealing more than he should have or did she condone the use of assassination as a tool?

"If... that's the case, what possibility could exist for BlamCo and the Undertaker's Union to embark on an alliance?" Thomas asked, broaching the topic after a moment of hesitation.


The Wild Wastelands | The Road To Dunwich | Outside Andale
Bring Out Your Dead...
Thomas "Shifty" McGee | Sylphee

It was a rather motley crew that had, through some strange twist of fate, been assembled on the outskirts of Andale. Of course, it has been said that people that you congregate with are a reflection of the type of person that you are. If this was true, Thomas wondered what sort of person Arizona was to have pulled this sort of group together, considering that she was the one in charge, considering that this was the job that she'd signed up for. Watching the Priest walk in the direction of Andale, the Friend Former Ferryman couldn't help but wonder what was in Brother Yohannes' mind. That way be the Enclave and they were not particularly fond of uninvited guests. Then again, the Brother's Old Timie Religion was the sort of Old World Americana that the Enclave want gaga over. Which brought to mind an unsettling comparison in the Dapperly Dressed Gravedigger's mind: If the Ferrymen could use the Underakers as a cover to travel where they wanted, couldn't a Preacher?

"Keep an eye on him, would you? If he gets killed, I want to know. For now, I'm going to see about looting what I can off of these stupid bastards while I can." The One Eyed Ghoul stated as she started rifling through the Raider remains. Of course, with the amount of work that needed to be done before the Dunwich Crew departed the area, there was no way that he could keep an eye on the Errant Priest while caring for the Departed. Whistling loudly in the direction of the old and dilapidated building that he'd found Brother Yohannes hiding in, the Friendly Former Undertaker signaled for Sylph to keep an eye on the priest before returning his attention to the task at hand.

Looking at the sheer number of dead that scattered the area, the Undertaker was well aware that he couldn't dig enough holes for all of them, which is when he turned to the newest quartet to join the bunch.

"Excuse me, Fiona was it? I was hoping that you could assist me with something that I need to do." Thomas said, before gesturing towards the Raider corpses that had been strewn across the field, "I happen to be philosophically inclined to give these souls a proper burial and due to the sheer number of bodies, it's going to be logistically impossible to complete without a weeks worth of spare time. The more practical method would to be a funeral pyre. The souls of these misguided fools will travel up with the smoke to reside with Lord Walt. If you would be so kind as to ask your trio of compatriots to assist me in moving the bodies into a tidy pile, I would be in your debt."

Without waiting for an answer, the Duty Bound Gravedigger started dragging the corpses that had already been searched by the Mercenary Ancient One, Arizona. The sound of footsteps behind him caused the Wary and Weary Warrior to turn.

"Sylph," The Undertaker said with a frown on his face, "I thought I told you to watch Brother Yohannes."

The blue haired berserker shrugged as she walked over to one of the bodies and moved it to where Thomas had laid the first. With the first of her corpses moved, the young psychopath looked at her "Father" and smiled a small smile.

"You looked like you needed help." Sylph said before reporting on the status of Brother Yohannes, "As for The Priest, he is currently talking with the Enclave Soldiers posted at the border of Andale. They did not attempt to wave him off nor did they assault him."

Nodding to his Ward he started dragging his second corpse to add to the pile.


The Wild Wastelands | Springvale Elementary School
Battered, Blood, Bind and Bound...
Constance Sorrowfeld

Blood, blood everywhere and not a drop of blood to spare. Blood on the floor, blood on the Jonathan's legs, blood on the walls, more than enough blood to make a big bowl of blood pudding... Constance Blood Pudding. As Constance lay in the pool of her own bodily, life giving fluids, she heard Miss Jenna speak up against Mister Jonathan's lack of action in regards to the girl lying at his feet, blood gushing from her head.

"You are nothing more than a big, dumb jerk. You know that?" she said coldly, before striding off to treat her latest patient. One of the Sylphys shook a fist at the quiet Mister Jonathan, who sounded like he was enjoying his food.

Despite being in the dark about basically everything, the American Enclave Scout of America had enough of her senses about her to sense that there was a growing crowd around her, a crowd of Sylphys that had carried her all the way into what was probably her bedroom. They yammered their "Sylphys!" at her and to their surprised, their illustrious and bloody leader didn't appear to understand what they were saying. All they could do, in their shared concern was to hold the young girl down as she struggled to voice her opinion as to how Miss Jenna was talking to Mister Jonathan.

"He's just testing me..." Constance managed to stammer as she lost the fight against the multitude of hands. The sound of an additional set of footsteps marching towards Constance caused her to stop and listen and question who it was that was entering the room, "Miss... Kristin?" She managed to mutter before she found her expectations dashed.

"Alright, all but one of you go back to your food. I only need one extra set of hands, and the rest of you won't do her much good crowding her while I'm trying to help." Miss Jenna's voice said softly, losing none of the authority it would have needed to command a pack of Sylphys back to their chairs.

The sound of a zipper being unzipped and items being removed from some sort of pack.

"Constance? Constance, can you hear me? I'm about to treat your head wound, and then I will be trying to see what the problem is with your... Ears." the Doctor told her calmly, "I'm going to need to to stay awake and aware so that you can tell me if you notice any changes when I do a diagnostic. Can you do that for me?"

"Uh huh," The Blind Girl with the Busted Ears uh huh'd, not trusting her body enough to nod.

The ailing young girl felt the coolness of a damp cloth wipe away the gummy blood from her forehead. It was a bit of a relieving feeling until the antiseptic set Constance's nerve endings on fire. Struggling against the Sylphy's pressing hands, the bloody and blind Scout let out a soft pain filled moan before settling back down. As Miss Jenna examined the wound, she would have noticed that despite its bloodiness, it was relatively minor, nothing a half dozen stitches wouldn't patch up. Of course of growing concern would have been the fact that Constance appeared to be running a rather high fever. The Sylphy grabbed the cloth from Miss Jenna and wiped away the blood once again before she pointed at the patient's left "Ear."

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!" The Sylphy jabbered, pointing directly to a portion of the Cat Ear that appeared to be bent and pointing towards Constance's skull.

"Uh... so loud. What'd she say?" Constance moaned as small beads of sweat started forming on the young girl's head, mixing with the blood from the wound that just refused to stop bleeding.


The Wild Wastelands | Smith Casey's Garage
Rebooting loops...
Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 | Trixie

It would have been quite the understatement to say that The Black Haired Business Woman, Trixie, was having a rather bad day. From the looks of the sun, it was getting late in the day and she'd woken up with quite the hangover... at least she assumed that's what it was.

"(Throbbing headache? Check. Dry mouth> Check. Not being able to remember what happened after escaping a facility run by a mad scientist with a gun toting psychopath in tow? Check. Check. Check.)" The damaged little droid thought to herself before considering the alternatives, "(Or I've got a concussion...)"

Having a concussion after having been hit in the head was almost a better choice than the possible activities that followed getting black out drunk. The woman shuddered at the sight of the Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist wearing what amounted to a Gimp Mask.

As for the topic of conversation that was being held by the trio of men surrounding her, despite having the worst hangover in the Western Hemisphere, there was only so much Trixie would take. Over the years of traveling in packs of similarly minded merchants, she'd received her fair share of nicknames, some of which she actually liked. Robot, however, was not on that short list of nicknames that she accepted, it was in fact on the long list of nicknames that annoyed her to hell... right next to "icy bitch."

Still it was obvious that her and the Enclave Dominator were at a disadvantage. For one, the massive ghoul... thing... that ED was obviously annoyed at was wearing ED's Power Armor Helmet, one of the essential parts to the targeting system for the Enclave Heavy Weapons Class Power Armor. How she even actually knew that was beyond her but she was aware of this piece of trivia. Another factor that calculated into the fact that her and the #209 were at a tactical disadvantage was the fact that the kid in the dress was an unknown. Having traveled all the way to... where in the hell were they... the middle of nowhere dressed in a sundress took a combination of luck, guts and skill. Without knowing the ratio of the three, it was best to assume that the dressy boy had a large amount of skill under his belt. Finally there was the ... massive ghoul... that was standing in front of her, grinning like some sort of radioactive maniac. He was obviously crazy, which usually meant dangerous.

"Listen," Trixie's companion started to say, before getting cut off once again by the grey skinned jerk.

"[Ya hear that, Jock-o-rama? Ya was hitting on Fisto's second cousin!]" The misanthrope said before assuming a robotic voice, "[Please assume the position!]"

"But..." ED said, trying to get a word in edge wise.

"[Even the uberbilly's got more luck with the ladies that you!]" The Radiation Soaked Super Dick cackled before a puzzle look settled on his face. In Trixie's opinion, it was a natural look that suited him quite well. "[Wait. Where'd he go, anyway?]"

"That's what I was trying to tell you..." The Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist said with drooped shoulders before pointing in a North Easterly direction, "He saw something shiny and ran off after it. Probably it's best that you go run after your friend now. I've gotta take care of Trixie here."

Something about the way that ED spoke struck the woman as odd. The man was crass, rude, sexually suggestive and a total social reject but he made no apologies for what he was. He owned it, yet there was something strange that laced his voice at that moment... gui-

It would have been quite the understatement to say that The Black Haired Business Woman, Trixie, was having a rather bad day. From the looks of the sun, it was getting late in the day and she'd woken up with quite the hangover... at least she assumed that's what it was.

"(Throbbing headache? Check. Dry mouth> Check. Not being able to remember what happened after escaping a facility run by a mad scientist with a gun toting psychopath in tow? Check. Check. Check.)" The damaged little droid thought to herself before considering the alternatives, "(Or I've got a concussion...)"

"It looks like he's headed in the direction of Andale and that's where I need to take Trixie so that I can get her some-" The Enclave Dominator started to say before looking over at the black haired business woman, "Medical attention."

"Huh? What are you talking about. It's just a hang over. Nothing that a bit of water won't fix." Trixie said with a grimace before getting a look at the Massive Grey Ghoul with ED's helmet on. Here's a fun fact: The Power Armor Helmet us one of the essential parts to the targeting system for the Enclave Heavy Weapons Class Power Armor. How she even actually knew that was beyond her but she was kind of proud of herself for remembering that bit of trivia. Gesturing at the Hulking Ghoul on Steroids and Dress Boy, Trixie whispered to her companion, "Who are they?"

"Uh... acquaintances. I thought I just introduced them to you." The Dominating Dominator muttered quietly to himself mostly before addressing Eddie and Charlie, "Chances are he's going to get himself into a bit of trouble and given his penchant for killing those blue haired girls, he's going to find your friend and kill her too. Now I'd love to help, since he's heading in the general direction Trixie and I are headed, but I'm out one Power Armor helmet and I can't exactly have you traipsing into an Enclave Installation with Enclave tech. So... Trixie and I are going to start walking that direction... if you want to follow along, you're more than welcome. But if we get into any major skirmishes... I need that Helmet back."

Turning to the Caravaner, ED started leading her towards-

It would have been quite the understatement to say that The Black Haired Business Woman, Trixie, was having a rather bad day. From the looks of the sun, it was getting late in the day and she'd woken up with quite the hangover... at least she assumed that's what it was.

About sixty six percent of The Three Musketeers - Near Andale

Arizona's shout snapped William and Evan's attention away from their daydreams. They were both glad of something to focus on, they'd lingered outside Andale for a little too long, and it would do the group good to get moving again. Shifty would attend to the considerable pile of corpses as was his duty as an undertaker, and they'd be able to continue with their journey after that.

"And you two! Find Romeo and drag his ass back here! I don't want him getting into trouble and leading it back to us!"

"You know she's probably right. We can't really let Duds wander around on his own for too long." Said William, turning towards Andale and trying to spot Dudley. Somewhat worryingly, he could just about see two large figures wearing what looked like Enclave Power Armour. Someone who was probably Brother Yohannes was approaching them, "I suppose we were going to have to cross that bridge again at some point." He muttered. Despite all this, he couldn't spot Dudley with them. Perhaps he'd made it to Andale through some other route.

As they set off towards Andale, Evan was sure he could slightly hear Arizona grumbling as she searched a corpse.

"I'm surr....... a fucking circus now....... trick shots, Shifty......ringleader, the 'Three Musketeers' are goddamned clowns ........ we have a Deathclaw Tamer. Shit, when was the last time I had a normal fucking job?"

"Clowns? Clowns? William, are we clowns?" He whispered incredulously, trying not to let Arizona hear him as they headed for Andale.

"No, what gives you that idea?" William replied, before peering at a figure making its way towards the distant trio outside the town, "Don't answer that, I think I've found Duds."

Great.

The Other Musketeer - Andale

You might think Dudley Sullivan would have made it to Andale before now. But his incredibly fast running had tired him out to the point where he'd had to stop and rest for a bit. After downing a Nuka-Cola, Dudley had continued on his way in a sort of exhausted stagger with his head down. As a result, he'd not even spotted the three people outside Andale that he was currently approaching until it was too late.

"HUFF.....HUFF.....HUFF......You guys.... Aww nuts." Was all Dudley could manage, bent double and wheezing from the running. He could see just enough to realise how much trouble he was in. Oops.

We begin our tale today with the day in the life of an Enclave Replicant... As you know, these are robots which have been built directly into Enclave powersuits. The best way to tell a Replicant apart from a normal soldier is its characteristic lack of conversation and total stillness when not engaged in activity. They cannot speak, and have no need of such things. However, they do have a mind, a robotic brain with commands and functions and an attention do detail. Let's peek inside, shall we?

Replicant-73

STATUS: GOOD
ORDERS: GUARD PERIMETER -Andale-, NO INDIVIDUAL MAY DEPART -Andale- UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, DESTROY HOSTILE TARGETS

BEGIN STATUS REPORT:

Brother Yohannes had walked up to the Enclave soldiers he'd spotted and began to speak to them. They had appeared very well poised for combat with those Super Sledges in their hands, but had not made any move to attack. He had their attention, clearly, but they said nothing in reply, remained resolutely silent. As time passed by, both he and the rest of the team would be able to see that other Enclave soldiers with Super Sledges were patrolling the town perimeter regularly. Well, maybe not Arizona, who had taken it upon herself to start singing while looting No hostile action was being taken, but of course they were all VERY aware of Fiona's Deathclaws. Moe, Larry, and Curly were not doing anything as of this moment, but a Deathclaw could stand completely motionless and still seem like the most threatening thing in the world. It was a problem they had. Looks like the soldiers were NOT preventing them from entering, though. Curious that the streets seemed rather empty...

"Aaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuoooooooooooooo!! Auuooo, Aaauuoo, Aaaaaaauuuuuuuoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!"

What...the fuck...was that? It SOUNDED like a human being trying to make a werewolf call, but it was just all wrong...

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

So, while we're on the subject of Andale, let's turn to our Three Musketeers, who have finally caught up with Dudley. The Duds had run off and gotten a bit lost in the Andale area. While the Three were now discussing what the hell he was up to, they had heard a...fakish kind of howl, and then one of the patrolling Replicants went by - because they were now officially inside the perimeter - and pointed in...towards town. They were being 'asked' to go in.

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

Meanwhile, back at the school area...we have that rarest of rare opportunities: The horror and hilarity of a Deathclaw attempting to eat with a knife and fork. Malkos had been observing the weirdness that was a cheese-girl, a blind-girl, a girl-with-no-face, and a raggedy-man go through some sort of complicated dance of 'Who Was Working For The Enclave?'. Weirdly, it was possibly only the blind-girl who actually DID, but she claimed that they were not really bad people. Stories handed down from Great Grandfather Goris said otherwise, but this was hardly a big lying human...more of a naive child. One cannot be sure if it was true because she had no reason to lie...or because she was somehow fooled.

Well, nevermind that. He'd been served something that smelled alot like the cheese-girl BY the cheese girl, who said something very odd, but that Malkos wasn't paying any attention to because he was busy...trying to determine just what the substance on the plate before him was. Witness the look of perplexion upon a Deathclaw's face at the lasagne, and then at the fork and knife. Utensils... He'd never actually tried those before. They were tiny to him, as he attempted their grip in thumb and foreclaw. Thus, he attempted to cut a piece of the meal out and found...well...his actual claws were getting in the way of everything. There would be a great deal of plate-scratching heard by the girls in the vicinity, possibly enough to annoy all of he Sylphy-girls.

About the time the Sylphys had brought in the raggedy-man, Malkos had given up on the utensils because they were completely useless in his hands and just shoved the whole damn thing in his mouth. From then on, the Deathclaw was sort of silent, chewing, and...even more perplexed than he had been before. At some point, however, he had swallowed and produced a loud...

"BURRRP!!"

CRACK!

The blind-girl fell over.

"That has...never happened before."

So, the blind-girl was reaching around for something to steady herself. What she got initially was Malkos' tail, causing the Deathclaw to turn and look with an audible grunt. He smelt blood around the place. Someone injured the blind-girl? When did THAT happen?

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

So, back at the garage... Countdown averted, nothing exploded, and the Rocker apparently wanted to know something about the blue-haired girl in the picture.

Number 6: Yes, I've seen a bunch of her before. Clones. Fairly certain a machine in a Vault started them up, given how there use to be roaming men in jumpsuits all shouting 'Gary!', but lately it's been just them.

Honestly, Steinmez couldn't tell what it was that the Rocker wanted about the blue-haired girl, exactly. He'd boasted killing a load of them, but he also seemed to advance threateningly on the boy from space who'd embarrassingly come dressed in...well...a dress. Seemed like the Enclave doofus had a desire to fight him as well. However, in the midst of it all, he'd managed to bean the nearby girl into amnesia. Good god, what a klutz! Eddie then decided to lay down the poin that Trixie was an artificial being. Very interesting. Who built her, though? Well, things got a little carried away for a moment, but then he needed his helmet back. To facilitate the return, Number 6 whispered into Eddie's ear that he could show him how to disemble other parts of an Enclave Powersuit.

[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School Kitchen
"Is there a doctor in the house?"

As the Sylphy clone took the damp cloth from her and jabbered at her, pointing at Constance's ears, the Followers Doctor took one last look at the wound on the young girl's forehead. Like she had hoped, it was shallow. The bleeding was pretty impressive, but that was to be expected from head wounds, so so long as it was covered and treated properly, maybe given some stitches, it would be fine.

"Here," she said, taking some gauze and medical tape from her Doctor's Bag and handing it to the Sylphy, "Once the bleeding has slowed, cover the wound with this. It should do for now while I work on her radar sensors."

If Jenna had an 'element' to be in, so to speak, it was definitely whenever she dove headfirst into a problem like this. Taking some basic tools from the other bag along with some connecting wires, she examined the casing of the cat ear shaped sensor and came to the conclusion that it was the same problem she had to fix when she first got there: Some of the emitters were misaligned, including one or two aimed directly at the poor girl's skull.

She shook her head and muttered to herself, "This is why I hate doing patch jobs: They're never quite good enough." before turning to face Constance more directly and saying, "Constance? I think I see the problem with your 'ear', so I'm going to go ahead and take off the casing, disable it temporarily, and once I make sure the emitters are properly lined-up, I'll turn it back on. You may feel some disorientation or discomfort, but that should be normal, I think..."

As she began to unscrew the casing, she couldn't help but think that really, this wasn't at all normal, so she couldn't be entirely confident what kind of effects turning off the sensor array would have on her. 'Disorientation and discomfort' were just her best guesses, she thought, removing the casing and setting it aside before using the connecting wires to hook it up to her Pip-Boy.

The moment she did, the screen suddenly began to flicker, the lines of code the scrolled across it going fuzzy. With a grumble, she smacked at the salvaged RobCo device a few times until it finally seemed to clear up, and she had a better idea of what the code looked like. From what she could tell, the sensors were well-programmed, and whoever had made them seemed to know what they were about when it came to RobCo Termlink Code. Which hopefully meant that standard code commands would work.

As it turned out, they did. After about ten minutes of meticulously re-centering each emitter and looking over the internal circuitry, she was satisfied enough with the repair to re-enable the 'ear' and screwed the casing back on.

"There. That ought to do it." Jenna said brightly.


Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | The Road To Dunwich
"Ooooh, baby, baby, baby, why you gotta treat me this way?"

As grisly a job as it was to search mutilated corpses for valuables, sometimes it paid off, even if it was in small ways. While none of the dead raiders had much in the way of caps, they all had a few, and they did tend to add up, she thought with a small smile as she slipped a handful that she took from the poor bastards into a pocket to count out later. She even began to hum a little as she moved on to the next body, sparing a glance at Shifty and Sylphy as they worked to gather the bodies that she had already searched, probably to burn or bury them.

"I gotta little change in my pocket, goin' jing-a-ling-a-lang," She sang under her breath, craning her head to look up in the direction of Andale, "Want to call you on the telephone baby, a-give you a ring..."

Looked like the priest was trying to talk to the two guards, and they hadn't decided to splatter him just yet. That was a good sign, she supposed as she went back to looting, pulling off a metal shin- and knee-guard from the lower half of a disemboweled corpse.

"But each time we talk, I get the same old thing. Always 'No huggie, no kissie until I get a wedding ring'. My honey my baby, don't put my love upon no shelf! She said--" she sang before she stopped and stood, looking around for the source of what could only be described as a horrible attempt at a wolf howl.

"Aaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuoooooooooooooo!! Auuooo, Aaauuoo, Aaaaaaauuuuuuuoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!"

"What the fuck," she murmured, readying Lester with her finger hovering over the trigger, "Is making that noise?"


Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | Eight Years Ago | The Neon, Michigan Wastes
"Friends don't turn on their friends. Thankfully, my friendship is for sale..."

It was about half an hour later when she finally left Bob's Booze Shack and stepped out into the rest of Heaven's Marketplace in The Neon. For most of that hour, she spent her time nursing a bottle of scotch, while listening to the grungy music of the bar, but for the first ten minutes she spoke to Tracy, mainly getting some details out of what he wanted her to do for this job. As it turned out, he didn't just want Sweet Sue and her crew dead, but he wanted her operation intact.

Figured. Why kill the competition without take over what was left? It was a waste. After working out the specifics, he told her where to meet him for payment once she was done, and that was that. As she stepped out into the brightly-lit night, she noticed with a quick, backward glance that someone else had hurried out just behind her. She recognized him as one of the bar patrons, one that kept their back to her.

Arizona merely shrugged after she spotted him and simply kept on walking. But she kept one hand steady on Lester's grip, even with her other arm draped over the machine gun as it hung at her front in a picture of casual readiness. She even took her sweet time as she rounded a corner into a deserted alley.

The moment she was out of sight, she crouched around the corner and unsheathed her Bowie knife from her boot and waited. It didn't take long for the man who followed her out of the bar to round the corner himself, and once he did, she grabbed him by one shoulder metal armor as she pulled him into the alley, then slammed him against the concrete wall. His rifle clattered to the ground in the process.

"Care to tell me why you're tailing me?" she asked calmly as the edge of her knife hovered a hairsbreadth from his throat.

The man held up his hands, and as she got a good look at him she realized that he was a little older, more grizzled, with patchy hair and not a few burn scars along his scalp and face. She spared a quick glance down at what he dropped, and seeing that it was an old Chinese Assault Rifle told her that either he was a well-equipped Raider, or a Mercenary like her.

"Hold on, hold on. No need for that. Just wanted to talk to you about what you've got goin' on with Tracy in more private digs, see? Bar ain't exactly a place to talk about business like this." he said in a gravelly rasp.

What he said was true enough. Still, she wasn't overly worried about that. She didn't plan to give Sweet Sue much time to find out what was coming.

There was a short pause before Arizona levelly said, "Well? I'm listening."

The man cleared his throat and looked down, and her knife only came away a centimeter. That seemed to be good enough since he continued.

"I overheard your deal with Tracy. Wiping out Sweet Sue's operation is doing me and mine a favor, or it would be if it wasn't for Tracy being such a irritating pain in the ass as it is. With another chem lab, he'll be worse. Unless..." he said, his scarred lips spreading in a crooked smile.

The old ghoul's eye narrowed. It wasn't hard to figure out what he was getting at.

"You want me to kill them too. And how much are they worth to you and yours dead?" she asked flatly.

"Tell you what, since he's not exactly paying you much in the way of caps for Sweet Sue, how's a flat 3000 caps sound? Dunno how many he's got, just that he's a pain alive, and he'll be a pain to get dead too." he said.

A smile spread on Arizona's own lips, and she pulled Jackie away from the man's throat and let him go.

"It sounds like we're in business." she said, switching her knife to her other hand and offering to shake his hand.

"I'm Char. It'll be a pleasure knowing that little shithead motherfucker is gonna be out of the picture soon. Whenever the job is done, meet me back here. You'll get your caps." he said, clasping her hand and shaking it.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
"Armor-piercing"
Sable "Swan-Maiden" Blamco

---

"If I might be a bit forward, given what you said about what you've come to know about the Undertakers, I can only assume that you've met and spoken to Victoria, the contact that I was supposed to rendezvous with here at your Headquarters and I can also assume that she's spoken of the Ferrymen.", The Unfiltered Undertaker took several mental steps forward. More accurately, he took a verbal leap, from Sable's perspective.

In doing so, Sable was now privy to information that raised more questions than answers. That said, she had already decided on her approach when it was her turn to reply.

Sable had refilled her cup for the third time since their discussion had begun. Without wishing to disturb the flow of the conversation, Sable tried to soften the noise that came from stirring too hard. Her attention had peaked when her guest had taken a more serious tone that suggested delicacy and urgency. While Sable wished to address every single point of the Undertaker's speech, she had to clear up a few misconceptions of her own.

"If... that's the case, what possibility could exist for BlamCo and the Undertaker's Union to embark on an alliance?"

Sable offered a small smile in response. Her closed-eyes and an extended sip of her tea communicated the fact that she was measuring her words.

What would her sisters do?
Undoubtedly, Kristin would have taken a direct approach. Saying something without nuance. A demand for clarification. Perhaps even an attempt to override the Undertaker with sheer force of will. An extremely aggressive approach.

Keira, on the other hand, would use this as an opportunity for manipulation and blackmail. It was possible, given enough time, that a fake alliance could be established with the possibility of an unexpected betrayal at some crucial moment down the line. She wasn't above execution of anything that endangered BlamCo, probably by hiding behind the reasoning of 'risk mitigation'. Keira existed to capitalise on success while severing ties with anything that hindered her. An underhanded approach.

Sable needed to created a synthesis of these two extremes. An integration of complementary elements between opposing philosophies.
Nothing came to mind. Once a decision was made, the sisters had an implicit agreement not to step on each other's toes when business was the concern.

This was Sable's domain. She decided to apply her own approach.

"Truth be told, I have heard about the Ferrymen.", Sable started, her head resting delicately on one hand, "From you. In reference to yourself. 'Ferrymen can never be judges', as you mentioned before."

Sable blinked and continued to calmly relay everything she had learned today.

"My knowledge of the Undertakers is thus: A Union exists, which suggests an organised movement with a strong familial foundation, not unlike BlamCo itself. Undertakers operate under a broad philosophy that includes studies in various unmentioned subjects, which suggests multiple disciplines and perhaps some measure of personnel specialisation, not unlike the BlamCo Valkyries."

The handle of her teacup was tapped.

"You would 'prefer' not kill, which further suggests a measure of control over those circumstances, not unlike the BlamCo Valkyries during mutant hunts or quelling skirmishes that border on mercenary work."

An unblinking gaze was unperturbed by the light steam from the warm cup.

"Apparently BlamCo is expecting a visit from another Undertaker by the name of Victoria...considering you are the very first Undertaker to set foot within our home in this generation, the news of not one but two Undertakers would have inevitably reached me by now."

A look of puzzlement caused her to cock her head to the side.

"Now, about these Ferrymen, specifically my implied knowledge of 'the Ferrymen', what was once a cute metaphor is now a title that you speak of in hushed tones --- Odd, since I thought it was a reference to yourself after our fight. As I noted before, the brutality of your weapons contradict your nature -- this isn't a criticism. We Valkyries choose weapons that reflect our personality to an obsessive degree, even if our equipment is a hindrance in this day and age. Perhaps it isn't a contradiction and more of a reveal?"

The tea was only half-finished, but she rested her head in her hands. Intent on watching his reactions while she spoke. It wasn't her intention to provoke, more so to observe and learn.

"Finally, you seem perplexed at the idea of an alliance between BlamCo and the Undertaker's Union, almost as if there's something fundamentally wrong about that -- which is odd for someone that required directions to the BlamCo HQ itself. Surely you have business with us, otherwise I see little reason for you to be here. Barring politeness, that is."

Sable paused to refill their cups. Shifting in her seat, she finally broke the intense atmosphere with a reassuring smile.

"Excuse me. I may have said too much, but my point is that no relationship can begin without acceptance, trust and a leap of faith. I just so happen to firmly practice trusting others to an implicit extent.", Tea was sipped and the routine continued, "In a world filled with endless negativity, it's easy to lose one's sense of purpose or faith -- so my personal challenge is to be a stabilizer, a balance of relationships between others and BlamCo.", Sable's gaze shifted to her bed, "That extends to my personal life as well."

"Moving on," she pressed forward, "You can choose to ignore my speculation. Dismiss it. Misdirect me. Silence me. In all of those scenario's, you close the doors to BlamCo, the Valkyries that operate above a simple company's discretion and the resources at our disposal in various manners. This can range from a polite goodbye to generations of senseless war."

"I say this, as someone with blood on her hands," Sable's gaze pierced Thomas with ferocity for the first time, with no hint of pride "I am in no position to judge or provoke. We have both stumbled today and I am wondering whether I can find meaning within the Undertakers and their cause. So far, I am very sympathetic...as opposed to the glorification aspect of the warrior culture that BlamCo breeds."

Sable's gaze shifted downwards, the faint smile was lost when she asked the Undertaker his input on the following question.

"If a marionette wishes to cut off it's strings, has it become a broken doll or can it become something else?"

Sable had never spoken those words out loud and it showed. She looked truly uneasy at shining such an intense spotlight on her own motivations. Regardless, she had to stand by her words.

"While BlamCo is a business aimed at providing dairy-based meals in various categories, our history and methods have been far from innocent. This goes beyond corporate greed, promotional meals appear hypnotic due to flavor, which is only half-true. Addictive substances can guarantee return customers. Taste-testers were required for every single iteration, that's hundreds of subjects for successful...and failed projects. While the Valkyries exist due to family tradition, we also serve as guardians against those that threaten BlamCo. It must seem odd to have such a militaristic and combat-orientated presence surrounding a food production company, don't you think so?", Sable stretched and looked at Thomas intently, "Now I haven't admitted to anything, but I have implied enough. Now neither of us can feel disarmed in this exchange."

If there was ever a weapon that Sable used liberally, it was the truth. It was unyielding and spared little room for error or misconceptions. Sable disliked manipulation and the obfuscation of facts, so she would rather clear the playing field for both parties, even if it puts her at a disadvantage, at least it can ensure a firm understanding between the two.
The sword cut both ways and if Thomas was about to let something slip, it was only fair that she had done the same.

"So I must inquire, who are the Ferrymen and do their goals align with the Valkyries? A small group of warriors that operate at their own discretion for the sake of BlamCo and their allies."

The Three Musketeers - Welcome to Andale

Ok, let's all just take a breath, Lord knows all three Musketeers could do with getting theirs back. Dudley was just about dead on his feet, moving further into the town at the behest of one of the replicants in an exhausted shuffle. William and Evan were in better condition, though still tired for the moment.

"Aaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuoooooooooooooo!! Auuooo, Aaauuoo, Aaaaaaauuuuuuuoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!"

"Ok, who the hell is that?" Said William, a distinctly unimpressed look on his face.

"It's a guard, I think they want us to go in."

"What?"

"A guard, he wants us to go into the town."

"No, I was meaning the howling. What person does that? Really badly too."

The Three Musketeers didn't have much time to think about this as the guard motioned with their gun for the trio to get moving. All three were creeped out by the silent, motionless guard who stared after them as they walked into Andale. All snuck looks back as they walked away, but the guard may as well have been a statue.

"Andale, this cannibal town has really beefed up security. I didn't know they had patrolling guards around here." Said Evan, very interested in the guard who had ushered them to head into the town. There was something off about him, something silent and still that felt unnatural. Whatever it was, it had piqued Evan's curiosity.

"Ca...HUFF....HUFF.....cannibal t-town?" Stuttered Dudley, half through exhaustion and half fear, "Are we goin' to a slaughterhouse?"

"No, Andale hasn't been a cannibal town for years. That kid from Vault 101 came through here and killed all the cannibals, Andale's a nicer place now." Said William, not really believing that last part. Whatever the state of the town now, Andale was tainted in the eyes of many who lived in the Capital Wasteland. More than once William had heard drunken folks from Megaton or Rivet City get the idea that the town needed burning down to really wipe the slate clean. It never came to anything. The would-be posses would always end up thinking of some other idea or passing out on the floor.

"Are you sure about that? We are being coerced into the centre of town. If they wanted to try anything we're walking right into a trap."

"Well I didn't bring the travel brochure but I'm sure that's what happened. The Lone Wanderer showed up, they tried to eat him, he killed them. Whatever this is, it's something else." William said, slowing down at the end to add a more ominous tone to his final words.

"Where are the others, they nearby?" Asked Dudley, finally able to speak again without gasping for air.

"They'll be along. We're all going the same way, just at different speeds." Replied William, sure that the others couldn't be more than a few minutes away. Unless they got sidetracked with something, that did happen a lot. Speaking of things to be sidetracked with, there was a distinct lack of it in Andale. The streets were deserted, this was weird.

"Be on the lookout for whoever howled a couple of minutes ago. They may not be completely sane." Warned Evan. The Three Musketeers stood back to back at a crossroads in the centre of town. It was quiet... too quiet.

Yes, crazy fake howling. You know your terrible at howling when you have Three Deathclaws with "What the Fuck" Expressions and utter confusion evident on their faces, and now they were sniffing the air and looking around as Fiona was completely dumbfounded.

"Well, thats a way to get someone's attention, or rather, everyone's attention. ALL The attention ever, I think someone's had way too much Jet."

Fiona decided to investigate what the hell that noise was, having her three deathclaws with her because if its a crazy person higher then a kite and less coherent then a pissed off midget, he might attack, he might be a danger to himself, or he might just need to have the bajeezus scared out of him so that he is sober again. Either way, Fiona was a little wierded out and wanted to know what the heck.

"Sounds like a person trying to do a piss poor impression of either a wolf or a deathclaw with a sore throat."

She said that to Arizona, when Arizona had announced "What the fuck, is making that noise?"

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo HQ | Sable's Room
One Little Undertaker revealing the truth, Hoping that he doesn't sound uncouth.
Thomas "Shifty" McGee | Sable BlamCo

To be perfectly frank, which when Thomas McGee thought about it, was really a strange adage to use in reference to someone who was attempting to be honest and transparent with both his words and intentions. It might have been better if the adage was "perfectly Lucy" or "perfectly Charlotte" or "perfectly Sable" or even "perfectly Jonathan" since perfectly frank brought to mind the mental image of a power armored thug attempting to souplex a Deathclaw. To be "perfectly Arizona... no not Arizona... William," The Future Former Undertaker of the East visibly flinched and felt a sharp pain in his stomach, as if someone had removed his stomach, turned it into a molerat and the molerat had been given a good wallop by an Alpha Deathclaw that had been heavily, HEAVILY dosed with Buffout and like the very same molerat that had found itself roasting on the surface of the sun, Shifty felt his face get warm as it turned a heavy, HEAVY shade of red.

"Truth be told, I have heard about the Ferrymen.", Sable started, her head resting delicately on one hand, "From you. In reference to yourself. 'Ferrymen can never be judges', as you mentioned before."

Another adage that Thomas was keenly aware of was "You know What happens when you assume?" In this case the answer was not "It makes an ass out of you and me" the answer was "It makes an ass out of Shifty." Though, to be perfectly Dudley, it was no fault of the Silver Swan Maiden that the Darkly Dressed Caredtaker of the Dead had tipped his top hat too soon nor that she was more perceptive than most of his peers in the organization he served. The term "peers," by the way, was used in the very loosest sense of the word when it came to the Undertaker that sat in front of the Graceful Gladiator and his relationship with his fellow Union members. Were Thomas more like his "peers" he might have found himself pointing Mags at Sable's face once again.

There was a brief lull in the conversation, one of those awkward sorts that occurred every 20 minutes after the hour for some strange reason. Glancing at the clock, the Superstition and Silent as the Grave Grave Digger noted that it was indeed twenty past the hour. Was Sable listening to a choir of angels that had flown over the building? Was she paying a silent homage to Abraham Lincoln? Or was she, as Thomas was, thinking about why a silence had befallen them at twenty past the hour. Whatever the cause of the pause, it had allowed the crimson faced ferryman to bring is emotions under control and calmly listen to the words of Sable BlamCo.

"My knowledge of the Undertakers is thus: A Union exists, which suggests an organised movement with a strong familial foundation, not unlike BlamCo itself. Undertakers operate under a broad philosophy that includes studies in various unmentioned subjects, which suggests multiple disciplines and perhaps some measure of personnel specialization, not unlike the BlamCo Valkyries." The Death's Dancing Dame said as she tapped a finger on her teacup, ""You would 'prefer' not kill, which further suggests a measure of control over those circumstances, not unlike the BlamCo Valkyries during mutant hunts or quelling skirmishes that border on mercenary work."

Listening to the Silver Clad Spear-Wielder, the Friendly but Formerly Panicked, Future Former Undertaker of the East started to formulate an idea of BlamCo's purpose and the relationship between Sable's Valkyries and the manufacturer of cheesy yet wholesome food products. It was a little known fact that, once upon a time before the bombs fell, BlamCo had been contracted by the founder and deity of Disneyism, Lord Walt, to provide for and manage all of the food concession stands for Walt Disney's Land. The Fresh-faced Ferryman brightened at the idea that it was possible to form a newly forged partnership, or rather a resurrected partnership, with Sable's compatriots.

"Apparently BlamCo is expecting a visit from another Undertaker by the name of Victoria...considering you are the very first Undertaker to set foot within our home in this generation, the news of not one but two Undertakers would have inevitably reached me by now." The Wise Warrior Woman said, a look of puzzlement crossing her features, "Now, about these Ferrymen, specifically my implied knowledge of 'the Ferrymen', what was once a cute metaphor is now a title that you speak of in hushed tones --- Odd, since I thought it was a reference to yourself after our fight. As I noted before, the brutality of your weapons contradict your nature -- this isn't a criticism. We Valkyries choose weapons that reflect our personality to an obsessive degree, even if our equipment is a hindrance in this day and age. Perhaps it isn't a contradiction and more of a reveal?"

The Knife Wielding Nice Guy nodded slowly, unsure of how to respond to the Warrior Woman's critique of his choice in weapons, a pair of combat knives. To be perfectly Constance, Shifty's use of the knives was primarily due to the nature of the weapon's concealability. Due to his position as an Undertaker, the Good Natured Grave Digger was already at a disadvantage when it came to interactions with the general public. Given the general belief that death clung to members of the Undertaker's Union like a shadow, the simple act of carrying a weapon, even for the purposes for personal defense, would do nothing but make it more difficult for a Union Member.

The rustle of cloth brought Thomas' mind back to reality and the realization that, in his angstian thoughts, he'd started looking into the depths of his tea cup, as if attempting to divine some sort of meaning for this meeting. Looking up, the already world weary wanderer was greeted by a warm and reassuring smile from his honorable hostess. With a smile returned, Shifty McGee found himself reengaged in the conversation.

"Excuse me. I may have said too much, but my point is that no relationship can begin without acceptance, trust and a leap of faith. I just so happen to firmly practice trusting others to an implicit extent. In a world filled with endless negativity, it's easy to lose one's sense of purpose or faith -- so my personal challenge is to be a stabilizer, a balance of relationships between others and BlamCo.", A pair of green eyes shifted towards the room's lone bed, a motion that did not go unnoticed by the usually pale pall bearer, "That extends to my personal life as well."

"Moving on, you can choose to ignore my speculation. Dismiss it. Misdirect me. Silence me. In all of those scenario's, you close the doors to BlamCo, the Valkyries that operate above a simple company's discretion and the resources at our disposal in various manners. This can range from a polite goodbye to generations of senseless war." The BlamCo Ballerina commented, while Solitary Shover's Subconscious unsuccessfully attempted to point out at the top of its lungs that Sable hadn't ruled out her bed as a possible outcome to this conversation.

The Neophyte Undertaker frowned at the thought of a prolonged and wasteful war against an army of warriors like his BlamCo's Battle Ballerina and at the fact that he'd been placed in such a position. Such a thing should have been left to a more senior member of the Union, not to one who had only recently been given his first assignment. Regardless of the sense of ineptitude that had been growing in Shifty's chest regarding the current situation, to it didn't take any great amounts of wisdom or insight to know what the best outcome for everyone would be: Peace.

"I say this, as someone with blood on her hands," The Virtuous Valkyrie said with prideless ferocity, "I am in no position to judge or provoke. We have both stumbled today and I am wondering whether I can find meaning within the Undertakers and their cause. So far, I am very sympathetic...as opposed to the glorification aspect of the warrior culture that BlamCo breeds."

The pale green pair of eyes shifted downwards, her smile having fallen off of her face.

"If a marionette wishes to cut off it's strings, has it become a broken doll or can it become something else?"

"(Can you call it a marionette in the first place if it has wishes of its own?)" The Tall and Thoughtful Thomas wondered absently, remembering Lord Walt's Parable of Pinocchio,"(A marionette parrots the will and actions of its master. It has no will, no wish, no thought other than ones belonging to the one who pull the strings.)"

"While BlamCo is a business aimed at providing dairy-based meals in various categories, our history and methods have been far from innocent. This goes beyond corporate greed, promotional meals appear hypnotic due to flavor, which is only half-true. Addictive substances can guarantee return customers. Taste-testers were required for every single iteration, that's hundreds of subjects for successful...and failed projects. While the Valkyries exist due to family tradition, we also serve as guardians against those that threaten BlamCo. It must seem odd to have such a militaristic and combat-orientated presence surrounding a food production company, don't you think so?," Sable stretched and looked at Thomas intently, "Now I haven't admitted to anything, but I have implied enough. Now neither of us can feel disarmed in this exchange."

If the BlamCo Valkyries were at all similar to the Undertaker's Union, Thomas "Shifty" McGee was fairly certain of what the consequences would be for Sable if word ever got out of the implications she'd made about her organization. The consequences would be especially severe if it was revealed that she'd received no sort of intelligence regarding the Undertaker's Union in return. While part of the Future Former Undertaker of the East wondered if this was all a well acted ruse, as other members more than likely would have believed, a large part of the Caretaker of the Cadaverous and their Clan didn't care.

"So I must inquire, who are the Ferrymen and do their goals align with the Valkyries? A small group of warriors that operate at their own discretion for the sake of BlamCo and their allies." Sable asked bluntly.

The Apprehensive Emissary to the Underworld took a nervous sip of his tea, pausing the conversation to put his thoughts in order. BlamCo's Green Eyed Guardian had put a tremendous amount of trust in her guest when she had hinted at the secrets that the Mega Food Conglomerate was hiding from the world, secrets of such magnitude that BlamCo would have sent someone like Sable to ensure that this information remained a secret. Would it have done any good for the two of them to be on both the Undertaker Union's list of people to eliminate as well as BlamCo's? No... but it wouldn't keep Thomas from returning the trust that Sable had placed in him, naive as the action may have been.

"To understand the Ferrymen, you must first understand that the Undertaker's Union was originally founded with the idea that no body left in the Wasteland should suffer the indignity of being left unburied, as they have already suffered enough in life. In a simpler time, before the Old World was transformed into the one that we know today, far fewer souls were left to suffer this fate. The bombs fell because of the decisions and desires of the few people in positions of power. It was because of an elite few that the world suffered and yet, despite the tragedy's evidence surrounding us, we still allow the few to determine the fate of the many. Even now, while you and I speak over this tea, men and women who, having not learned from history, are responsible for the deaths of a great number of people. My Father's Father came to the realization that a great number of people could be saved from the pain and indignity of dying in the Wastelands, far from their home and their families, in exchange for one sacrifice. It was because of this realization that a my Father's Father commissioned the organization of a group of men and women culled from the ranks of Undertaker's Union. These Ferrymen and Ferrywomen would break the most basic of tenets taught to every recruit when they seek Union membership: Unless it in defense of one's self, do not end the life of another. By killing one of the many Wasteland warlord that have sprouted from the ashes of the Old World, a Ferryman can prevent the senseless death of many others. It was a strict rule that only those whose exemplary actions show their dedication assisting mankind to its feet and given knowledge of the Ferrymen and thus given the right to hire them," The Friendly, Foolish Feeling Future Former Undertaker said, his eyes locked onto Sable's. He paused for a moment, his thoughts wandering once again. It wasn't that he didn't believe in his Father's Father's cause, it was difficult to ignore the rumors that had swirled among the candidate Ferrymen. It was especially difficult to ignore those rumors regarding the identities of the current Ferrymen patrons and that each patrons had been selected because they had the ability to assist the Undertakers with their ultimate goal.

The contemplative caretaker of the departed shook his head ever so slightly, breaking free of the potentially factitious bits of fabricated fiction before giving the continuing conversation between the Blonde BlamCo Ballerina and himself. He had considered using his pause to segue into another topic but he felt as if he needed to make an additional clarification on the matter. He sipped the remainder of his tea, the golden nectar helping soothe his mind as well as his throat, which had started to feel a little sore from this much use after not having a conversation partner for so long.

"I'm not so naive as to believe that all or any of the Ferrymen's patrons are the benevolent type of person that would put the welfare of others above their own survival," Shifty said solemnly as he refilled his tea cup, his eyes flicking upwards to meet Sable's, "I would say to act otherwise would be to act against our nature as humans. However, to return to the question that you posed, those freed from the strings that control them, be that their selfishness or their familial traditions, have the potential to become something greater than they were. We are naught but bodies filled with potential, as it is said in the Parable of Pinocchio. I'll spare you the long sermon, but there was once a puppet named Pinocchio that had been freed from the strings that controlled him. While he was but a wooden child, a facsimile of a human boy, he persevered through numerous tribulations and proved that himself worthy of becoming human and therefore something greater than he once was. I believe that, even in this day and age, we all have that potential."

The previously pale pall bearer felt his cheeks grow warm again, feeling slightly embarrassed at sharing one of the many of Lord Walt's stories. Despite this, Thomas McGee maintained his eye contact with his honorable hostess, the Silver Swan Maiden named Sable, and braced himself for the inevitable stifled laughter, the typical reaction of those who heard one of Lord Walt's stories.

"While I lack the authority to say for sure whether or not a partnership between BlamCo and the Undertaker's Union is possible, if the ranks of the BlamCo Valkyries are filled with members like you, honest and honorable, I would hope that such a partnership would be inevitable." The Neophyte Undertaker said with a small but energetic smile. Despite his weariness from their earlier confrontation, he found himself enjoying the conversation with his lovely companion.

"As for Victoria, she was to meet me at your BlamCo headquarters so that she could assist me in my preparations to depart for the East Coast where I am to take over her now vacant office. While I'd hoped that she'd report directly to your manor, she has always been the sort of free spirit that enjoyed milling with the local populace." Thomas "Shifty" McGee said with a fondness in his voice. Glancing out the window, he noticed that it had started getting late into the afternoon. The Undertaker sighed in disappointment at the prospect of having to leave, "I should probably go look for her. I've already posed too much of an imposition..."


The Really Wild Wastelands | Outside Andale | South of Fairfax | Mass Grave
One Lonely Undertaker Stacking Bodies High, One Green Plasma Blast Sent Them Into the Sky
Thomas "Shifty" McGee | Sylph | Arizona | Fiona Evan | Brother Johannes William Knight | Dudley Sullivan

Stacking the corpses of the Fairfaxian Raiders had only taken half as long as Thomas "Shifty" McGee had expected, thanks mostly in part to the assistance that Sylph had rendered. Eying his blue haired ward, the Friendly Former Neighborhood Undertaker wondered how it was that a young wisp of a woman was able to carry the now empty vessels with such ease. Which was, of course, when the Darkly Dressed Grave Digger remembered who Sylph's original guardian was. The Stacker of Empty Shells absently wondered just how many times this scene had been played during her time with Henry. The thought of the Henry forcing his will upon Sylph caused Thomas' blood to boil and his hands clench into fists. The sensation of blood dripping through his fingers brought with it the realization that the Angered Undertaker's nails had started to dig deeply into his palms. Banishing the thought of his brother from his mind, Shifty glanced towards Andale to ensure that the Enclave's cybernetic defenses had not been activated.

"Father?" Came the Blue Haired Butcher's flat voice, drawing the attention of the concerned caretaker of corpses. Thomas blanched when he realized that Sylph's voice had come from the top of the rather mountainously tall pile of corpses, quite a few of those corpses having been created by the Crimson Menace herself, "Is something the matter?"

"No... not really... and Sylph, could we talk about this whole Father business?" The Fairly Frustrated False Father Figure asked as he gestured for his Daughter of Disaster to get off of the giant pile of corpses. Taking her to the side of the collection of criminal corpses, Shifty looked down at the Red Menace with a slight amount of embarassment, "Sylph... would you perhaps call me something other than Father?"

The Blue Eyed Little Psycho looked at her Bogus Begetter with unwavering eyes as she considered the matter.

"What would the proper term be for a male guardian, that is, one who is responsible for my well-being, protects me and ensures that I am properly cared for?" The Stormy Blue Eyed One asked flatly before turning away to ensure that there were no more corpses that needed to be placed in the pile while Thomas facepalmed at the fact that he'd been out talked by the Scarlet Scythe.

"Just... could you start the fire now?" Sylph's Crimson Faced Custodian asked as he turned towards to the others and motioned for them to back away from the pile of corpses, as the smell would be rather strong when they started burning. Glancing towards the Rouge Reaper, Thomas nodded for her to pull the trigger on her laser pistol.

"Aaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuoooooooooooooo!! Auuooo, Aaauuoo, Aaaaaaauuuuuuuoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!" Came a distant and discordant howl that was not the sound of a laser pistol.

"What the fuck is making that noise?" Went Thomas' Loaded Down with Loot Companion in response to the distance and discordant howl that was not the sound of a laser pistol.

"Sounds like a person trying to do a piss poor impression of either a wolf or a deathclaw with a sore throat." Went the DDDDDD cupped Dame of Deathclaws in response to Thomas' Loaded Down with Loot Companion's response to the distance and discordant howl that was not the sound of a laser pistol.

Startled by the noise, the Gifted Laser Pistol's beam went slightly askew and missed the pile of kindling that had been gathered under the mountainous pyre and instead struck an exposed metal pipe of some sort.

BA-BOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

As it so happened the exposed happened to be a natural gas line that detonated loudly, sending flaming hunks of flesh and limbs skyward, which inevitably started to fall ground ward and onto the group once gravity took over. Grabbing Sylph by the hand, Thomas took his Disorder Inducing Pseudo-Daughter and took refuge from the flaming flesh hunks under the wreckage of a large transport truck. Looking out from under the truck chassis, Thomas wondered how it was that he'd ever been a successful Undertaker.

"I think I'll stick with digging graves," The Reluctant Corpsian Rocket Scientist muttered before noticing that Sylph's hand was tightly wrapped around his. Glancing over at her, he noticed the slight smile on her face as she admired the flaming fountain of fire that she'd created. Sighing, the Former Undertaker of the East turned Father to a Walking Natural Disaster squeezed Sylph's hand and called out to the rest of the group.

"Everyone alright?!" Shifty called out before getting out from under cover, "I think we'd better head to Andale before more gas mains explode and whatever made that howling noise finds us."


The Really Wild Wastelands | Fast Travelling
One Naked Enclave Soldier #209, Getting burned where the sun don't usually shine.
Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 | Trixie | Charlie Cannon | Eddie the Dead | Grendal | Vera 2.0

"So who are these guys?"

"That jerkface that has my Power Armored Helmet, I think he's called Eddie, the skinny puke in the dress is Chuckles, the smooth talker... I have no fucking clue and same with the Eyebot"

"Where are we going?"

"We're going to Andale to get you looked at. The Enclave has a... doctor there."

"Are we there yet?"

"No."

~15 minutes pass~

"So who are these guys?"

"That asshole that has my Power Armored Helmet and Gauntlets, I think he's called Eddie, the skinny fucker in the dress is Chuckles, the screaming moron... I have no fucking clue and same with the Eyebot"

"Where are we going?"

"We're going to Andale to get you looked at. The Enclave has a... doctor there."

"Are we there yet?"

"No."

~15 minutes pass~

"So who are these guys?"

"Eddie, Chuckles, Fuckwad and Eyebot"

"Where are we..."

"Andale."

"Are we there yet?"

"No."

~15 minutes pass~

"So who ..."

"Dick, Cock, Berry and Anal Beads!!"

"Not them. That guy!"

"Oh that's a Behemo...fuck..."


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale Elementary
One Bloody Cat Scout Stuck Inside, Hopefully After This Her Brain Won't Be Fried
Constance Sorrowfeld

If one had the ability to imagine how it would feel to have a pulse emitter for a millimeter wave radar system pointed directly into one's skull, then it could be said that you either have a very vivid imagination or that you have pointed a millimeter wave radar system at your own skull. Suffice to say that it is not the most pleasant of experiences as the radar pulses do cause the slightest of vibrations in a person's skull meats. While the individual pulses don't cause too much of an issue, the cumulative effect of thousands of pulses was enough to cause the blind American Enclave Scout of America a mildly severe amount of pain.

"Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww..." Constance moaned, her head feeling as if it was both attempting to explode out of her brain and spontaneously combust, which in a way it was since the radar waves piercing through her brain had been imparting some of its energy to the girl's brain tissues which was converted into heat.

"Constance? I think I see the problem with your 'ear', so I'm going to go ahead and take off the casing, disable it temporarily, and once I make sure the emitters are properly lined-up, I'll turn it back on. You may feel some disorientation or discomfort, but that should be normal, I think..." Constance could hear Miss Jenna's voice through a haze of "OMG IT HURTS!"

There was an audible click and then everything went dark, not that it wasn't dark before given that the Girl with the Kitty Cat Tail didn't exactly see things. To describe exactly how the Sonar Guided Scout saw the would would have been as difficult to describe as someone attempting to describe what the color blue looked like to someone that had never seen in color. Regardless of this, it probably would have been better if Miss Jenna had left the Echolocating Enclave Enthusiast's ears turned on, otherwise she might not have flinched when she heard a trio of SMACKS! when the Faceless Female Follower decided that smacking her Pipboy next to the head of a blind girl was a good idea.

SMACK SMACK SMACK!

The Blind as a Bat Amateur Shotgun Surgeon flinched in response to the banging, her head movement tugging a bit on the cable connecting Constance's skull to Miss Jenna's pipboy.

"Ow ow ow woooow!" The Suddenly Seeing Enabled Scout exclaimed once her ears were re-enabled. Testing her "vision," Constance panned her ears left and then right before focusing on Miss Jenna's "face"

"uhhhh... that's better... Wh... what happened to Mister Jonathan... and Miss Kristen?" The Concerned about the Welfare of Others Kitten asked as she tried to get up, find that a bad idea since her brain was a little on the over-easy side.

The Wild Wastelands | Present Day | Springvale Elementary School
"Food Fight"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

In order for one to survive in this immediate environment, one must quickly adapt to the never ending cacophony of the verb, noun and proper noun that is 'Sylphy'. If not for their amusing mannerisms and the enthusiastic reminder of their endless combat potential, Kristin might very well have gone insane. And as we all know, the Proud BlamCo Heiress holds her mental fortitude in high esteem.

One might be wondering why Kristin hadn't proceeded to the next classroom, eager to shepard in a new flock of Sylphy's to feed. Well the answer was rather mundane, if a bit out of character for the Valkyrie that moves to swing of her own sword. She was taking notes on everything from the impromptu hairstyle classification system to the amount of food each Sylphy had eaten. A proper diet will become crucial to their assigned combat roles --- but those details will unfold in the future to come! Dinner was nowhere near complete and there were plenty more mouths to feed.

"Your attention, please!", Kristin commanded, her booming voice had brought every Sylphy in the room to a standstill, "My name is Kristin Blamco! I have been summoned to work alongside Constance Sorrowfield in order to turn this generic mob of cannon fodder into the Sisters of Steel!"

"Sylphy! Sylphy Sylph Sylpheee Silf Silf...", what followed Kristin's introduction was a mimicry from Pattycake Sylphy. From tone, expression and right down to the mannerisms. Pattycake Sylphy's adaptability was on full display and the two nearby Sylphy's had joined the chorus. Kristin had made a note of their more observant disposition, could they be the leaders amongst the masses? Regardless, Kristin's message was being relayed to the immediate group.

In a sweeping motion, Kristin slammed her armored fist down onto the lectern. Shattered wood aside, the intent was to bring attention to her unflinching expression.

"Starting tomorrow! I will be in charge of the evaluation of your diet, exercise regimen, individual combat potential, weapon specializations, organised team-based tactics and many more tests to follow.", bringing her armored hand to her chest, the Blamco Valkyrie corrected her posture and addressed her class with unwavering belief in their potential. "I ask of your physical endurance, mental fortitude, will to survive and your desire to become perfected versions of yourselves! Work with me, hate me, make me your enemy, match me, befriend me or surpass me --- but know this! --- there will come a time when we must march together in glorious battle! Our differences mean nothing when our blades, guns, fists and teeth are directed towards our enemies."

With haste, the educated trio of Sylphy's translated with their own manner of gusto. Two of them seemed puzzled at some points of the translations, even hesitant and eyebrow-raisingly suspicious of Kristin's audacious claims.

"Death and pain will become a ludicrous concept, a mere concept that will compel you to laugh in the face of your enemies as you prove them wrong! We will topple them. As a Valkyrie looking over her soon-to-be-warriors, we have much work to do. However, WE WILL TOPPLE THEM!"

With an overly dramatic swish of the cloak, Kristin deposited the remaining pot of food in Pattycake Sylphy's hands. The implication was clear and Pattycake Sylphy seemed happy to be trusted with a measure of responsibility so soon. There was enough for seconds to be dished out and going by the way the class had wolved down their meal, it was clear that a regulated diet needed to be implemented.

"Eat well, my battle sisters! Feast till your heart's content.", Kristin shouted with glee, arms wide in acceptance. "For tomorrow, your new lives begin!"

Gathering her things, Kristin pointed at the duo of translators and gestured for them to follow. They would be needed in the following classrooms. Kristin would make her introductory speech, offer a sample of dinner to the one with the most influence first and return to the kitchen to feed the rest. That was the plan. Was.

---

Exiting the classroom, the BlamCo Valkyrie walked down the dilapidated hallway. Distinct echoes were heard in the distance, some sort of commotion in the kitchen she concluded. Flanked by the duo of educated Sylphy's, Kristin pondered why they hadn't tried to grab a meal early. They were certainly deserving due to their translation efforts. Unfortunately, this line of communication had one direction --- they could understand her, but she couldn't make heads or tails of any nuance one would put on a sentence comprised of a singular word.

Stopping at the overtly damaged classroom door, Kristin turned to the duo in hopes of asking for their assistance once more. What she discovered at a glance was their poorly-concealed fear. These two ceased their constant chatter when Kristin had put a hand to the door. What could possibly scare the clones of the Respected Original?

Steeling herself, the Battle Maiden had already taken a step inside the rundown classroom, the Translation Sylphy's hid behind the doorframe. Overturned desks blocked a good portion of the windows, broken chairs littered the floor and every remaining seat was lined up against each wall facing the center of the room. Stepping into the middle of the room, a crack of the knuckles had drawn attention to a brutish-looking Sylphy that was perched precariously on the lectern. Meeting Kristin's gaze with a smirk, the sound of a classroom full of ragged-looking Sylpy's emerged from every conceivable angle, surrounding the lone Valkyrie.

This was an arena.

Silently, Kristin extended her hand, a last bowl of food to indicate her intent. The brutish Sylphy hopped off the lectern, strode up to the new guest and shoved the bowl into Kristin's chest. A cackle of laughter erupted from the diminutive gang, feeding the leader's ego more so than her stomach. Kristin's chestplate was a mess, the sauce had stained the underlying light leather armor. Taking a few steps back, Kristin put a considerable distance between the smug leader. Undoing her chestplate, the heavy armor hit the ground with an audible clang. Unsheathing her blade, the Valkyrie lowered herself into a crouch that was primed for pouncing.

In a swift motion the greatsword was extended outwards, immense weight was put on her left leg, combined with a leap that twisted in mid-air due to the mass of her greatsword. Initially thrown into an overhead arc, the powered blade was sent crashing into the ground. Visible cracks had formed on the impact zone, but a stunned and fearful Sylphy's head was mere millimeters from the devastating weapon. The Valkyrie had caught the brutish Sylphy's face on the way down with her off-hand that sought to drive her opponent's skull into the ground, the sword was a deadly distraction and an extreme deterrent for any that chose to defend their leader.

"Apologise to your commander.", the Valkyrie ruthlessly growled, applying pressure to the already pinned down head. "Or do you wish to have your ungrateful fingers broken by the Heiress to the BlamCo throne, Rival of The Original Crimson Huntress - Sylph and a Valkyrie with specialisation as a Battle Maiden? I will not ask twice."

"Sylphy SYLPHY SYLPHY!", the duo of Translation Sylphy's shouted from the doorway. Their fear for the classroom had been overcome, only to be replaced by the wide-eyed uncertainty with which they viewed the shockingly punishing nature of the Vanguard Valkyrie.

"S-Syl --- Sorlphy --- SYRRY!", the brutish Sylphy had finally cried out. Hastily, the battered bully was hoisted by the cloth of her dress and held in place on her feet. Her head was held low, dirty hair failing to hide the furious tears and embarrassment suffered at the hands of the unforgiving Valkyrie. Not a soul had approached the one-sided battle, no maneuver was thought possible with such a weapon, let alone had such a swift and intricate takedown ever been seen.

"TRANSLATE THIS!", the Valkyrie's voice boomed with righteous fury, "The day will come when each of you can fight me to a standstill. Today is not that day! If you wish to usurp me I would advise against it, for this, this was an act of kindness compared to the wrath you can incur."

Armor in one hand and sword in the other, Kristin walked to the exit without any interference.

"These two will not fall under any harm while they translate for me! You will be receiving your meals shortly while I divide you into groups. Any further disruptions will double or triple your group's exercise regimen tomorrow. I expect a measure of discipline and you will be met with respect and rewards. Now kindly wait for your dinner and assemble your seating in a proper manner. No seating, no food."

The strongest message one could convey is outright conviction with no sign of hesitation. So when Kristin turned her back and casually strolled out of the room as if this was nothing more than a mere routine, a common thought had remained in this particular classroom of Sylphy's: ('Who was this woman!? And why didn't she fear us?!')

...onto the kitchen to fetch third helpings for this group!
Admittedly, that was rather cathartic for the BlamCo Valkyrie.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
"Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy"
- Sable 'Swan-Maiden' Blamco -
---

*Knock*
*Knock*
*Knock*

Sable Blamco, Duchess amongst the ranks of BlamCo nobility, was rather pleased at the timely call for attention. Excusing herself, the BlamCo Hostess sauntered across the room to answer the door, greeted by one of her loyal retainers, a small conversation ensued.

"Lady Sable, my apologies.", a bespectacled maid announced, somewhat surprised after having noticed Sable's use of eyebrow-raising casual attire amongst a formal guest. "The BlamCo Travel Kit that you requested. Shall I, uhm, prepare you and your guest any further refreshments? Perhaps the, uhm, guest will be staying for the evening?"

Before Sable answered the following questions in a manner that didn't arouse suspicion, it should be noted that the BlamCo Hostess would like to elucidate on a few matters regarding the events of this very day.

While it had been several hours since Thomas McGee had taken his first sip of tea, the duo did not in fact only talk about matters of business, partnerships, secrets and ideology. Akin to a polite dance, in Sable's domain, Thomas stumbled over his words while Sable lead the dance with blind sincerity. She had no idea where their conversations would lead, but her attention was placed on the nuances of each step. Over time, their banter had reached a point of stability...or in tactical terms that mirrored their deadly fight hours ago, they had reached a stalemate. And much like their previous encounter, Sable would implement an all-or-nothing tactic that served her interests. Her interests being that of Thomas' somewhat extended stay.

"That won't be necessary.", Sable kept her voice even, yet she couldn't hide the nervous lip-biting and mischievous gleam in her eyes. Sable inquired about any new visitors to the mansion. The maid shook her head, having recently passed through the BlamCo Foyer. "We will be expecting another guest, a retinue to our current guest, Thomas McGee. A female Undertaker by the name of Victoria. Inform her to wait patiently, I still have some important business to discuss in the meantime. Please attend to her when she arrives, otherwise you need not fuss over me, and feel free to take the rest of evening to yourself."

"Very well, Lady Sable.", the bespectacled maid curtsied, a flash of silver was revealed in that practised motion of raising the edges of the skirt. Like all retainers to the Blamco family members, proficiency in close quarter combat was a requirement -- training that was overseen by Kristin Blamco herself. Sable Blamco was instrumental in the suggestion of a more pragmatic approach to their fitness routine -- the maids were quite prepared to wield cutlery in a finer fashion than most. The BlamCo Valkyries weren't the only warriors that existed in this household. "And may I say, it is good to see you at home once more."

Sable smiled warmly, "Have a good night, Rose."

Closing the door with one hand, Sable turned on her heel and held up the 'BlamCo Travelling Kit' in a demonstrating fashion. With a small cough, Sable cocked her hip to the side and maintained her best imitation of those cheesy infomercials one encounters on holotape.

"Meet the latest and greatest travelling kit for any recovering traveller on the go.", Sable fluttered her eyelashes and proceeded to put the stepford wives to shame. "Bitten by Molerats? Mauled by a Deathclaw? Cheat death with the Follower's of The Apocalypse tried-and-trusted remedies, instructional manuals and more! In partnership with BlamCo, be the envy of all and never go hungry again with BlamCo's patented heat-expansion products. Turn a ration into a buffet!"

Sable dropped the smile, giving Thomas quite the withering look. The kind of look that says: ('I have recited those lines more times than you can tell. And you cannot pay me to say it again.')

"I admit, it's a pet project that I'm spearheading with the local Follower's. The promotional part is...annoying.", Sable shrugged, her smirk growing as she walked over to her bed, beckoning Thomas to follow and look at the contents. "Since you're leaving so soon, and since you fit the criteria, these travel kits are issued to those that were recently injured. No use in letting someone go on their merry way without giving them a fighting chance, right? Anyways, I --- "

In a moment of excitement, Sable had accidentally knocked over the shock-resistant travelling kit towards Thomas' side of the bed. "Woops, would you be a dear and -- "

As Thomas obliged, Sable took a silent step towards the Undertaker while he was bent over. Loosening all of the buttons on her white blouse except a single one in the center, Thomas turned around to be greeted by a mischievous smirk, slightly parted lips and dull green eyes whose gaze diverted to his lips.
Frozen for a moment in time, Thomas didn't immediately recoil. So Sable took the initiative of leaning in, nestling her head below his neck and faintly tracing the tip of her finger over his hastily bandaged wounds from his earlier medical inspection. (Sable, like all things in her domain, had taken note of the complete yet hasty nature of his treatment.)

"Now now, Mister McGee.", the siren whispered with playful glee, "It wouldn't sit well with me if your wounds are not properly checked, it would make me oh-so-sad to hear that those on my service treated such a valued guest, potential partner and my most pleasant company with anything below the standard of excellence."

Placing a foot behind his ankle, a soft kiss lingered on his neck -- the pleasant scent of lavender was lining the collar of his shirt -- and with a hand pressed to his chest, Sable tripped the man over her intertwined leg. Credit where credit is due, Sable had more enticing ideas to liberate herself from her remaining clothing, but Thomas McGee was a warrior like her, so his reflexes still demanded that he pulled her down with him onto the four-poster bed. Obscured by the silken curtains, these two were ensured their privacy.

"I much prefer this." Sable whispered, alluding to their previous entanglement after their little skirmish. "I hope that I can place myself in your care, surely an Undertaker would have no qualms over a mutual medical evaluation."

On the mention of care, Sable had undone the final button on her blouse, letting the garment fall slightly to reveal her bare shoulders, a lacy emerald brassiere with matching underwear that complemented her milky skin tone. Sable couldn't hide her own bashful lip-biting as she watched his expression change from surprise to admiration. Now it was Sable's turn to be impressed...
Millimeters from his lips, the breathless duo dared the other to fall to temptation and go in the for the kiss. Meanwhile, Sable's hands were deftly unbuttoning his own shirt, right down to unfastening the buckle of his belt. Pulling at the zipper to her multi-layered skirt, Sable's fingers traced their way down the well-defined abdominal muscles of her ever-enticing suitor. She could sense his hesitation, yet Sable took every step to ensure that his comfort became hers by taking the initiative from this point.

Her own look of longing was apparent, not much one could do about that. However, after a few moments of awkwardly fumbling around from both parties, all pretenses were dropped when Sable characteristically clung to Thomas, losing her breath in the moment --- the Swan Maiden relaxed her muscles as she lowered herself for further penetration. Stifling a gasp, Sable's looked upwards to meet Thomas' lips with her own. Intertwined passionately, Thomas' kisses were gentle and soothing --- the type of combination that made Sable's heart leap. Eagerly, her moans were muffled during their frequent kissing and their playfully wordless banter continued through a litany of shared smiles and bashful glances when one caught the other lost in the moment.

Now, one might be wondering what compelled Sable to play on the attraction that was evident between the two. While Sable made no remark of it during their conversations, their mutual praise of abilities and dreamlike wonder during a shared tale had lead to more than a few lingering stares between the two. Now, the question of 'why?' still remained.
As a simple motivation, Sable was grateful to the Undertaker for bringing her back from the brink of her ever-increasing destructive path. On a greater level, Sable had honestly met no other individual quite like Thomas McGee --- in their hours of conversations shared over honeyed tea. The learning Valkyrie had found common ground with the fresh-faced Undertaker. Their implicit trust had been mutual and a part of Sable desperately wanted to savor any and all memories of such an illustrious individual before his inevitable departure.

It was a rare thing to find a kindred spirit.
So when Sable's lips met Thomas', well beyond the point of keeping track of numbers, she hoped that her sincerity, appreciation and genuine intrigue was communicated through her every motion. Even in her own domain, in this very moment, words would fail them both. She yearned that her message was clear.

====
~ Some time later -- (What? Do you honestly time yourself!?) ~
====

Having long lost track of time, Sable was breathlessly resting her head below Thomas'. His heart was racing and his breathing grew irregular whenever Sable had made a sudden motion, squeezed him or gave him yet another kiss. She had found it quite amusing that he struggled to hide his reactions, then again, the same could be said of her. Sable didn't feel confident about her ability to stand just yet, her dignity had dictated that she maintain a minimum level of grace in her movements at all times.

"So...", Sable whispered between breaths, "This 'Parable of Pinocchio', I wish to hear the full tale sometime. And more, of course. I happen to enjoy your storytelling..."

('I happen to enjoy your storytelling.' !?!!?)...("What kind of line is that!?")...("Quick, think of something witty!")...("Oh Valhalla! Just go with your instincts!")

I'm secretly Lucy.
I'm Number One.
Are you a Gemini?
Maria would make a lovely name for the first-born.

"I hope you know that this is your fault.", Sable's playful side was emerging, it was one way for her to ease any tension and hopefully elicit a laugh. "Silly Thomas, being all dashing without thinking about the repercussions, how irresponsible."

Sable was quite content to cuddle with Thomas in the meantime. Although she knew full well that she was delaying his inevitable departure. It was selfish, but Sable considered it fair, after all -- he was the first to actively challenge her in more ways than one. A bashful Sable was a rarity.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering. The medical examination went over quite well.


The Wild Wastelands | Time Unknown | Unmapped territory
"Burning Elegance"
- Lucy Black -
---

"So?", her father inquired, keeping his tone hushed, "What do you see?"

Peering through a telescopic scope from a borrowed rifle, Lucy Black was perched near the highest point of a rocky mountainside, overlooking the entrance of a cavern that belonged a long-defunct mining operation. Sure enough, this mountainside was a minefield of raiders in the figurative and the literal sense. They had travelled into a trap. If they had chosen to work their way around the mountainside and extend their travel, the food supply would surely dwindle.

"It's over.", Lucy anxiously replied, brow furrowed, "Can't make out any details, but someone is messing around with the bodies. They're alone at least. So what's your plan now?"

"Geez Lucy!", Isaac's eyes widened at Lucy's infamous glare, he raised his hands in resignation, "Let's wait awhile. Maybe they'll pass or get some rest and that's when we'll make our move. We can be diplomatic or pragmatic. I know you wanted to go charging i --- "

Lucy scoffed, descended from her position and made her way back to their temporary camp. Clearly Isaac had touched a nerve, of which Lucy had many it seemed.

"Talk to me, Lulu.", Isaac pleaded after a sigh. He watching his daughter stare daggers into the small flame of their campfire.

"I know how to handle myself.", Lucy coldly replied, her fists clenched, "I've fought worse and I'll be damned if I let some lowly fuckin' raider take you away from me. I'll crush anything in front of us. I won't lose you again."

Isaac took this moment to rifle through Lucy's backpack and retrieve some brahmin jerky. Handing Lucy a chunk, he took a seat right next to her without saying a word.

"I know." He started, sounding somewhat despondent. "And that is something that's going to haunt me until the day I actually die. But Lucy, there's no reason for you to fight anymore. I don't know how you managed it -- but I cannot begin to tell you how happy it makes me to know that you never gave up."

Lucy's expression softened slightly and her head perked up. "What do you mean?"

"To be honest, I was expecting the worst and many variations of it.", Isaac stated rather painfully. "So when I discovered that you were happy to see me after all this time. Well, it meant a lot. However, you did all of that without me. You look like you've seen hell and grown horns to compensate -- "

Lucy flashed a glare at that part of statement, only to be cut off by her father.

" - that's exactly what I'm talking about!", Isaac put an arm around his daughter, causing her to break the stoicism. "I've never seen someone put so much ferocity into a look. You're so restless, like you're ready to jump straight into the fight and let the chips fall where they may. Did I hit the nail on the head?"

Lucy begrudgingly smirked, he was right.

"Two minutes.", Lucy started with amusement, "You've broken the world record of taking me from a 100 to a 40 in a scale of temperament."

They laughed and had a drink together. Turns out that Lucy's small stockpile of Gauss Rifle ammunition was quite profitable. With no Gauss Rifle in sight, the ammunition was traded for the necessities, a few luxuries and some bartering caps from a passing trader.

"So, uh, tell me about this Shafty character.", Isaac had shown a missed protective side.

"First off! His name is Thomas McGee.", Lucy nearly choked on her food, followed by progressively turning red. "And, uh, uhm. He's...you see, he saved my life once or twice..."

"Does he love you and do you love him?", Isaac interrupted, fighting the urge to further leave his daughter fumbling.

Lucy replied with a nod. You could see the poor girl trying to will away the blushing. "He's a good man, and it's definitely mutual."

Isaac sighed and put his arm around his daughter once more. "Then I'm happy for the two of you. I want to meet this Thomas one day, properly, see if he's good enough for my daughter."

"Daaaaaaad!", Lucy whined, trying and failing to balance the embarrassment and sincerity.

====
~ An hour later ~
====

"So?", her father inquired once more. "What do you see?"

"Give me a second!", Lucy proceeded up the rocky mountainside with more caution now that the sun was setting. She could've sworn that she heard the unified mooing of a multi-headed brahmin. Reaching her previous perch, she leaned out to take a look and had her attention immediately drawn to someone at the base of the mountainside, just below her.

"Now now!", A seductively silky voice broke the ice in the most unnerving manner possible. "I was coming to clean up, although you look different from the standard affair."

A woman in white, clad in the stunning shining armor was delicately perched on top of a slow-moving brahmin. With a single pat to the base of the brahmin's neck, the beast of burden had stopped in it's tracks. The mysterious female looked upwards with an eerie dissonance, further reinforced by the nonchalant descent from the brahmin. Drawing what looked like no ordinary spear, a blue glow emanated from the tip.

"Come now, no need to be shy.", the silken voice unnerved Lucy, yet the woman proceeded to walk up the mountainside, her left arm raised at chest height and seemingly clutching at nothing. "I have been waiting for you to take a shot for the better portion of the last hour. You should know that your sniping angle is poorly chosen, in your case, the glint of your scope was obvious from where I was standing all the way over there. So either you just happen to be uninvolved or this is revenge for your 18 comrades?"

Lucy could hear her father withdraw a 10mm pistol of his own, he had overheard and took his place alongside her. Pistol firmly held and pointed at the newcomer.

"Rifle. Incorrect grip.", The golden-haired statuesque stunner pointed the spear at Lucy's rifle. Then pointed at her father. "Pistol. Extended magazine with exposed hollow-point rounds. Try not to lock your elbows."

"ENOUGH!", Lucy shouted. She had never used an assault rifle and the assertion was more of an attempt to comfort herself against someone that hadn't batted an eyelid at two guns pointed in her direction. "If you're referring to those raiders in the mine, then we have nothing to do with them!"

"And you didn't think to help?", the spear-maiden lowered the pitch in her voice, advancing on Lucy's position with every spoken word. "Forgive me for I have yet to sin, but I have heard plenty a lie today ---- !?"

*CLANG!!!*

*CLANG!!!*

*CLANG!!!*

Three 10mm rounds had been fired in the woman's direction, she had been brought to a standstill and subsequently obscured by a body-height black shield. A small device, hastily duct-taped to the exterior of the shield was sputtering to work. An armored hand reached around the ballistic shield, ripped the device from the exterior and tossed it aside with nary a care. It was a stealth-boy.

"My my, this is finally getting interesting!", the unfazed wraith answered, "How did you know about my shield?"

"I didn't! But there was a shimmer in your left hand. You deliberately walked slowly so that we wouldn't notice whatever 'it' was until too late.", Isaac shouted in reply, even he looked completely unnerved. "She's my daughter! We have no quarrel with you, we were merely waiting for the combat to die down. As you can see we're -- "

"Under equipped? Yes, that much is obvious.", the golden-haired quipped. Lowering her guard and making a motion on her spear. The blue tip fizzled out. "My deepest apologies then. I have little tolerance for raiders and those that prey on the weak. Allow me to introduce myself: Sable Blamco. Swan-Maiden to the BlamCo Valkyries and sister to the heiress of the BlamCo family fortune.", in a practised motion, the shield was folded, slung onto her back and she issued a small bow of respect. "And you are?"

"Lucy and Isaac Black.", Lucy answered, somewhat dumbfounded, but she had made the familial connection in that very moment. "You're referring to Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco, aren't you?"

Sable clapped in joy, utterly delighted and unnervingly pleasant in such a short span of time.

"Yes yes! Oh it warms my heart to hear that my sister has gained a reputation outside of New Vegas!", Sable walked right up to Lucy when all the weapons were lowered. Towering over her by a full head, Lucy took a step back. "You must tell me where you last saw her, if it's compensation you need for such information -- feel free to peruse the items left behind at the former raider camp. Although I ask you not to unearth the buried bodies. Oh and I have a surplus of Blamco products --- "

"We'll take it!", Lucy stopped the eerie beauty from raising more questions with every passing second. Plus, her mouth was watering at the prospect of not living off of tasteless rations for one more day. "Let's take this to our camp."

====
~ An hour later ~
====

Unknown to Lucy and Isaac, their meals were laced with a BlamCo-developed barbiturate that lowered inhibitions once ingested. The effect was compounded if alcohol was present in the system. Fortunately for the Swan-Maiden, Lucy and Isaac were not one's to mince their words. They were seemingly more forward than they were comfortable with, but any doubt over the contents of their delicious meal was expertly swayed by Sable's steering of the conversation.

Sable had learned of Kristin's most recent exploits in a town called Megaton, followed by a neighborhood called Springvale, a quarrel and subsequent trading of places with Lucy in service with the Enclave of the East Coast -- most troubling. Certainly intriguing, yet Sable needed to hasten her journey.

"Thank you for the information. This was most helpful and I'll be sure to send your regards to my sister.", the hauntingly beautiful sister of Kristin took to her feet and deposited a surplus of products from the brahmin that carried her items. "If you ever find yourself in New Vegas, ask to speak to a Keira Blamco. Tell her that Sable Blamco welcomes the two of you as official guests. She'll ask for proof: 'Shield blocks Sword. Sword crushes Swan. Swan overwhelms Shield.' -- remember that well."

Both parties exchanged geographical details, routes and more common locations from their respective sides of the land. With an updated map, both parties could move with greater ease. Sable had received her vital information and provided the father/daughter duo with lodgings at their future destination.

"Before you go.", Lucy inquired after saying her goodbyes, "Why is a second Valkyrie travelling to Kristin's location?"

Perched on the back of her brahmin, Sable pulled out a book and removed the bookmark. Without looking, these were her final words:

"To aid my sister, bring her to justice or bring her home. Her fate is my domain. Farewell."

====
~ 1 minute later ~
====

"Dad?", Lucy called out, not taking her eye off of the Scarily Serene Swan-Maiden. "You ever meet someone that feels like a walking apocalypse?"

"I wouldn't put it in those words. But yeah, I've met a few...and that girl is definitely up there."

"Apart from the Enclave, these Valkyries are something I've never seen before."

Lucy gulped and shook her head.
That girl had cut down an encampment of 18 raiders that stood in their way. The implications were frightening.

"So, New Vegas?", Lucy quipped. "Sounds interesting."


Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | The Road To Dunwich
"The buddy system is an old Army trick of keeping from getting fucking lost and/or killed."

Her two closest companions in the menagerie that was her thrown-together mercenary group had just finished piling bodies when the howl cut through the air, causing the two of them to jerk upwards and look around for the source. As the Deathclaw Whisperer likened the sound to someone trying to do a bad wolf impression, possibly on Jet, or a deathclaw with a sore throat. The Grumpy Ghoul was beginning to turn to reply when a stray laser bolt hit not kindling for a pile of bodies, but an exposed gas line.

BA-BOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

Arizona flinched back and shielded her remaining eye with a hand, feeling the heat wash over her before she slowly lowered her hand and leveled a hard stare at both Sylph and Shifty. The two had managed to dive under a nearby truck wreck, and as Thomas poked his head out from underneath it, it looked more than a little shaken by the results of their funeral pyre.

"I think I'll stick with digging graves..."

He took a moment to slip out from under the truck and offer a helping hand to Sylph before calling out to the others.

"Everyone alright?! I think we'd better head to Andale before more gas mains explode and whatever made that howling noise finds us."

"Yea, that tears it." Arizona muttered under her breath before calling out in a bellow that carried for some distance, "EVERYONE INTO ANDALE!"

Then she turned back to Shifty and Sylph.

"You two, stick together, don't wander far. And you," she said, focusing on Fiona now, "Tits McHugeKnockers, keep your walking death machines close, I don't want them wandering either. Keep to the buddy system."

With that settled, she broke into a run in the direction of Andale, all the while thinking that she couldn't wait to finish this damned job.

The Really Wild Wastelands | Outside Andale | South of Fairfax | Mass Grave
Mistakes were made!!!
Sylph | Thomas "Shifty" McGee | Arizona | Fiona | Evan | Brother Johannes | William Knight | Dudley Sullivan

The Wastelands surrounding the ruins of the District of Columbia were truly a wild place if the most sensible member of a party was a blue haired girl with dissociative identity disorder and a penchant for merciless and sadistic homocidal outbursts. While the word sensible and the name Sylph rarely, if ever, appeared in same sentence without the qualifiers "least" or "far from the most," given the current action that the party was undertaking, the shoe just happened to fit.

"I think we'd better head to Andale before more gas mains explode and whatever made that howling noise finds us." Father called out to the others before grabbing the crimson clad catastrophe and checking her over for any damage, "Are you okay, Sylph?"

The Red Menace nodded briefly, feeling a bit unsteady on her feet. Between starting an explosion that caused body parts to fall from the sky and having her "Father" shielding her from the natural gas explosion with his body, as opposed to the usual arrangement of her protecting her "Father" from harm, the girl with the stormy blue eyes and the gifted katana felt a bit out of sorts, unbalanced... more so than usual. This was perhaps the reason why she didn't speak any sooner.

"EVERYONE INTO ANDALE!" Came the orders from "Father's" companion, Miss Arizona, who was looking at the two of them, "You two, stick together, don't wander far. And you, Tits McHugeKnockers, keep your walking death machines close, I don't want them wandering either. Keep to the buddy system."

"RIGHT!" Sylph's Pale Patriarch responded as he grabbed onto Sylph's hand and attempted to follow the others towards the small hamlet of Andale. Attempted due to the fact that Sylph was not moving at all. Giving the girl's arm a firm tug, the Blue Haired Berserker was unstuck from her spot, "C'mon Sylph. Get moving!"

Looking at it from a future perspective, an older and more insightful Sylph would have realized that perhaps the reason for her hesitation and confusion was the sound that had caused such a panic among the group of travelers. There was a familiar, almost intimate, quality to the sound that had brought back vague images of a crashed Vertibird, an older woman that enjoyed golf and a man who came from a House of Leaves and something deeper in the young woman's past.

"Almost there!" The Reprobate Red Menace's Father called out to the others as they closed in on the border of the small town, though as they closed in on the town, Sylph's internal alarms grew louder and louder, her feet attempting to stop her forward momentum, though her "Father's" pull too strong for her to stop the both of them.

"But Father..." Sylph started to say as her brain started to unfreeze itself but alas, the thaw was too late in coming as the group ran past the Synthetic guards unobstructed, the Blue Haired Braking Device and her Father bringing up the rear.

"What in Walt's name, Sylph?" Father asked, sounding more than a little annoyed and less than really angry at his "Daughter."

"Well..." The Ever Observant Eviscerator started to say, feeling a bit on the spot, "If we are supposed to be running from the howl, why did we run right towards it?"

That was actually a very good question since[1] the howling had originated from the town of Andale, at a playground to be specific. Well... that's awkward. Looking at the Blue Haired Berserker, her Father could see that she was not playing any sort of joke, especially since jokes were not in this particular young woman's nature. Nodding, the Pale Patriarch started to walk back towards the border of Andale with the full intent of leaving... only to be stopped by the business end of several plasma weapons.

"This isn't good." Sylph's Father said with a glance to the others. It seemed that the Replicants weren't stationed at Andale to keep people out of Andale, it was to keep whatever was in Andale inside Andale.

[1] As had been confirmed with FalloutJack

[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School Kitchen
"Doctor Not-Feel-So-Good."

When Constance made a few soft cries of pain in response to Jenna's percussive maintenance, making the young Followers Doctor flinch back a little herself. Taking a few moments to unhook the connections between the 'ear' sensors and her Pip-Boy, she stepped back to give her patient a little bit of room.

"Sorry about that, I've been a little... Off, since I've gotten to the Capital Wasteland to be honest, so my bedside manner isn't at it's best." Jenna apologized, looking a little shamefaced behind her helmet, though Constance could hardly tell.

"Uhhhh... That's better... Wh... What happened to Mister Jonathan... and Miss Kristen?"

Blinking, Jenna shrugged and placed a hand on one hip.

"You know, I'm not sure. Last I saw Mr. McKenna, he was eating, and Miss Blamco had walked away. If you'll stay here and off of your feet for the time being, I can go get them for you." she offered.


Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Andale
"If it howls, it's got a throat. If it's got a throat, it can be silenced by slitting that throat."

Instinct had largely taken over the old Ghoulish mercenary by this point, since strange sounds usually warranted one of several responses. The one that she had settled on was running away from it, since that seemed to be the most cautious and prudent response she could come up with at the time. She didn't know what, or where, it was coming from, so she didn't like the idea of taking chances. After all, she had survived this long, and she had no plans dying before she was at the very least paid for the Dunwich Job.

It was when they were well-into Andale that she finally noticed that both Shifty and Sylph were lagging behind, and skidding to a halt, she turned to face them. Just in time to catch the last part of their exchange.

"If we are supposed to be running from the howl, why did we run right towards it?"

Arizona's lone eye blinked once, then twice. Then she bared her teeth angrily and tore off the bandana that served as both a headwrap and a makeshift eyepatch, revealing a heavily scarred, milky eye and a surprisingly full, if choppy, mane of red hair as she looked around wildly for the source of the howl. But without another call, it was ultimately pointless.

Glancing back to Shifty, it seemed that he had attempted to retreat out of the town, only for Enclave Plasma Weapons to be trained in his direction. Meaning they were stuck in here, either until they killed the Replicants, or whatever they were keeping in there.

"This isn't good."

"No shit, Sherlock. But it isn't quite as bad as you might think." Arizona called over with a huff.

Fumbling with the bandana so that it once again tamed her hair and hid her bad eye, she strode over and gave Sylph a pointed look.

"Think you can take us to where the noise came from, exactly, Kiddo?" she asked, hefting Lester.

Strange sounds usually warranted one of several responses. Running toward the noise was equally valid, if much more risky. But if you planned to kill the source, you had to find the source first.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo HQ
Invasion of the more intimate kind...
Victoria McGee

In the grand entrance of the BlamCo mansion, a ghost swaddled in black cloth nervously walked the room's perimeter. Unlike a true otherworldly spirit, the staff that managed the enormous estate was able to discern the woman dressed in silk and lace, though she was left largely to her own devices, much like they would have if she was a being that had escaped from the afterlife. This was especially true since the only harm the woman appeared to be doing was to the wooden floor's finish as she the same path over and over again.

"Oh yes, your companion is partaking of Lady Sable's hospitality. I will let you know when they are ready for you." the BlamCo staff member who had greeted the Undertaker had informed Victoria McGee with a peculiar and not at all comforting grin on his face.

Had Victoria possessed even a fraction of the confidence she'd once had, she might have been able to do something other than walk the perimeter of the mansion's foyer. She might have been able to decipher the BlamCo employee's true meaning in the word hospitality rather than wracking her mind as to whether or not her cousin was being tortured by one of the BlamCo Valkyries. Then again, why was she worrying about the man that was to don the mantle of the Undertaker of the East? Was it because no good ever came out of a meeting that involved the participation of two Ferrymen? No... the reason was all too obvious to anyone that knew of the history between Thomas and Victoria, prior to her being adopted by Thomas' Uncle. This realization was not particularly comforting, especially given her current condition.

"Damn you Jonathan McKenna," The woman cursed the name of the man who had robbed her of both confidence as well as voice. The Silk and Lace clad Ferrywoman felt her prosthetic jaw clench unconsciously as she remembered the coldness of the laser pistol's barrel as it had been pressed up against her jaw as well as the intense pain that she felt after the man had pulled the weapon's trigger. The memory's only comfort was the fact that Victoria had managed to plunge her blade into the man's shoulder, injecting a minute amount of poison into his veins, a poison that would poison his mind, turn it against him until he was given no other choice.

"Lady Sable is certainly giving her all today. I'm surprised her guest has lasted this long without breaking," A pair of whispering women giggled between themselves as they passed by the waiting ferrywoman.

That's it! That was the phrase that caused the pale woman swaddled in black to stop her pacing and spring into action. It was that phrase in which the deal was sealed. Victoria's cousin was obviously in trouble and being tortured by the woman that he'd been seen fighting earlier and now it was up to her to retrieve Thomas McGee and escape this Sable's clutches. Looking around to ensure that she was alone, the Undertaker Assassin unfurled her parasol and disappeared from view.

Victoria's Parasol was as utilitarian as it was fashionable. Having integrated the components found in a salvaged Chinese stealth suit, the chic umbrella not only provided protection from the sun's damaging rays but provided protection from prying eyes with naught but the flick of a switch, hiding anyone who stood underneath the solar powered combination of stealth boy and sun shade. Glancing at a nearby hanging mirror to verify that she was properly hidden from view, the sneaky little silk swathed assassin ascended the stairs, looking for any sign of her comrade... which didn't take long to find given the volume of the noises coming from one of the mansion's many rooms.

Pressing her ear against the door, the silent as the grave gravedigger listened for any hint as to what was happening beyond the wooden barricade. Was her cousin being flogged? Perhaps he was being branded... or stretched... or cut... or electrocuted. Perhaps this Lady Sable was beating him for having humiliated her in their duel. Nothing. Whatever had been happening inside the room had stopped. Perhaps the waif of a woman needed a rest from beating on Victoria's beloved Thomas. Quickly picking the locked door and unsheathing one of the many blades hidden on her body, Victoria quickly slipped into the room... only to find herself completely ill prepared for the scene that was waiting for her.

THUD! THUD!

Both blade and parasol found themselves on the floor when it became evident that she'd not stepped into a torture scene but rather a somewhat more torturous scene, at least from her perspective. There, laying in the room's lone bed, amid sweat soaked sheets, was the glistening skinned body of Thomas, his limbs intertwined in a rather familiar manner with the woman that Victoria had once perceived as would-be-torturer turned ... something else. They had been kissing the two of them, this Lady Sable and Thomas... and it felt like quite a while before the two of them realized that Victoria had entered the room. A long... long... long... time.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo HQ | Sable Blamco's Bedroom
Mission Update!
Thomas McGee | Sable Blamco | Victoria McGee

Years from now, Thomas McGee would look back on this moment and discovered that by walking in on him and his Blamco Ballerina, Victoria had done him a favor. Had things not been interrupted as they were, had Victoria not been the catalyst that sent the Caretaker of the Departed in a different direction, it seemed unlikely that the Friendly, Future Former Undertaker of the East would met his truest of loves, Lucy Black, Sylph or the remainder of D.C. Wastelanders that he considered comrade in arms. Of course, this did not mean that he was at all happy to see his wayward cousin bursting through the bedroom door while he found himself in bed with a rather amazing woman.

To put the situation into context, Thomas, who had never previously been the target of anyone's attraction, let alone a woman as ravishingly gorgeous as Sable Blamco, found himself utterly smitten. Though it would have been embarrassing to admit that this was his first intimate encounter but it would have been the truth and. like most boys who found themselves in the arms of someone the found utterly out of their league, the Pale and Darkly Dressed Grave Digger's heart threatened to latch on to Sable and never release her from its grip.

Fate, in its infinite and meddlesome wisdom, had intervened however and now Thomas, still drunk from performing legendary acrobatic feats, was the first to notice that neither he nor Sable were alone in her bedroom. A woman stood near the doorway, her form was as ghostly as her suddenly appearance in the room. The paleness of her skin, made even more pale by the darkness of her dress, did little to dispel her spectre-like qualities. While he recognized the woman as one of his order, he did not immediately recognize her face. A gem-like tear traced a slow path down the woman's black hair framed face.

"Tommy," Victoia McGee's artificial voice said as she pulled an envelope from the folds of her dress, throwing it at the naked Undertaker and his lover. He noted that her eyes were pinned to the ceiling.

"Victoria?" Thomas questioned, as he finally put a name to the unfamiliar face. He knew that it had been years since he'd seen her but he'd been ill prepared to see that the youngest person ever to have been given the mantle of Undertaker and Ferryman had blossomed into a woman.

"I'll give you and your who... host to get dressed. We've work to discuss." Victoria said mechanically as she slipped out the door, leaving Sable and Thomas alone once again.

Eyeing the envelope that had been cast to him, the Friendly Neophyte Undertaker recognized the Undertaker's insignia, pressed into a wax seal. A mission envelope. Picking the object up, the Undertaker read the words carefully scribbled onto the parchment.

Mission for Thomas McGee:
Your Cousin, Victoria, has failed to complete her mission and given away the Undertaker Union's most carefully guarded secret. After you've eliminated her, you are to take over her duties and her targets. Do not fail, my son.

Walt Guide You,

Your Father

Re-reading the letter a couple more times, Thomas' skin began to feel clammy, his stomach began to turn and his skin took on an even paler tone than before. Turning, he saw that Sable was awake, looking at him with curious eyes.

"H... hello," Thomas whispered as she leaned over to give her a kiss, "It appears that our ... negotiations have been cut short by the realities of our world..."


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Outside Springvale
A Lady's Primer to Etiquette and Assassinations
By: Victoria McGee

"(A proper assassin must always approach her target as a lady would a dessert buffet. Proper etiquette dictates that the approach occur in three phases, the first being observation.)" The Unseen Assassin thought to herself, jotting these thoughts down in a notebook as she sat on atop a hill that overlooked the sleepy ruins of Springvale. Pulling a spyglass from its thong, the finely clothed Undertaker looked down towards the skeletal remains of the elementary school, "(By ensuring that your path is free of both obstacles and prying eyes, a prim and proper lady can ensure safe passage to her target, whether it be a mark or a chocolate eclaire.)"

Few would have believed Victoria McGee if she'd told them that in the span of just a few months, she had traveled from the D.C. Wastelands to the Headquarters of the Undertakers Union on the West Coast and then back to the D.C. Wastelands once again and yet there she was, sitting outside of Springvale underneath the relative safety of her parasol. If anyone of her former clients from back when she was the Undertaker for these parts asked her what she was doing back, she might have responded that she missed this small corner of the world or the fact that she simply missed the weather around these parts but in truth, she'd been sent to deliver a message from Cousin Henry to Cousin Thomas.

The Lady in Lace had no illusions about what would happen after she informed her Dear Cousin, the Friendly Former Undertaker of the East, that his parents were dead, slain by her and Victor's hands. He, in his grief, would slay the messenger and murderer and then grieve for her as well. It was the way Thomas McGee was built. Perhaps it was because of this that Victoria found herself camped out near the last known location of Jonathan McKenna, the one who had prematurely ended Victoria's career.

"(Infiltration, despite its nefarious connotation, is simply a means of entering a locale without being noticed. Like a prim and proper lady attempting to sneak in a second piece of dessert, the trick is to wait until the guests surrounding the chocolate eclaires are distracted. Then, before they have a chance to notice, the prim and proper lady should strike, moving towards her goal with confidence and speed.)" Victoria thought to herself as she continued to jot down her notes, hopeful that some day a young woman that traveled the same path as the Lace and Silk Swathed Shovel Mistress would find these notes.

Looking back through her spyglass, the Former Ferrywoman noticed that the Syphys had started running towards the ruined school's gymnasium. Following their path with her vision, the Etiquette Following Assassin caught glimpses of some sort of fight between the Blamco Heiress and a large blue haired behemoth. Was this another of Cousin Henry's creations? Victoria had no intentions of finding out but rather had every intention of making her move.

Quickly descending from the top of the hill, the graceful gravedigger breached the perimeter of the school with ease, assisted by the fact that there was not a living being that could see her thanks to her Stealth Enabled Parasol, not that it was needed given the lack of training these airheaded soldiers had received.

"(Upon arriving at the target location, a Prim and Proper Lady has two options. She can either maintain her position as a lady and strike in a manner in keeping with etiquette, which for example might be nibbling at the chocolate eclaire, or she can sacrifice etiquette upon the altar of expediency, shoving the entire dessert into her mouth before anyone sees her. The situation will usually dictate which of these two options is possible and so it is the responsibility of the Lady to decide and act accordingly.)" The Would be Etiquette Author thought to herself as she rounded a corner, unsheathing her stiletto from its parasol sheathe. Peeking through a doorway, she spotted him. Jonathan McKenna. The man that had robbed Victoria of jaw and voice. It was this man that had been responsible for sending the Lace and Silk Dressed Gravce Digger back West, starting her on a path that ultimately lead her into the clutches of her cruel cousin. Watching her prey eat, the Silent Silk Swaddled Assassin could not help but note that time had not been kind to the man nor could she dismiss the annoyance she felt in the back of her mind that this pathetic sack of meat had been able to best her in combat. She'd spent so much time obsessing over this final meeting between the two of them. While it was certain that Victoria McGee remembered the man that had maimed her, there was another question that needed to be asked.

"Jonathan McKenna... do you remember me?" The Lady in Black whispered into the man's ear.



The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale Elementary
A Death in the (Pseudo) Family
Constance Sorrowfeld | Jenna

"You know, I'm not sure. Last I saw Mr. McKenna, he was eating, and Miss Blamco had walked away. If you'll stay here and off of your feet for the time being, I can go get them for you." Miss Jenna offered, sounding a bit concerned about what would happen if Constance were to go traipsing about after such a massive and severe head wound.

"N-n-no. That's okay, Miss Jenna," The American Enclave Scout of America stuttered as she picked herself up off of the ground, her head trying to murder her as she did so, "S-see? I'm just fine!"

Without another word, Constance, deciding that it would be best to not only check on that status of Mister McKenna but also clean up the dishes for the next set of Sylphys, headed back towards the kitchen. Pausing a number of times to keep from keeling over, the Cute as a Boot Little Kitty wondered if Mister McKenna's mood had changed any, now that he'd filled his belly with Miss Kristin's delicious meal.

Passing through the door into the kitchen Constance stopped dead in her tracks when she realized that Mister McKenna wasn't alone. For a moment, the Blind as a Bat little Cat thought that Miss Kristin had returned to her cooking duties and was simply taking a moment to talk with Mister McKenna... but Miss Kristin didn't wear a dress... nor did she carry a long stiletto that came to a needle like point... nor did she ever appear to want to murder Mister McKenna.

Constance's shotgun was propped up against the counter and without a second of hesitation, the girl pointed the weapon at the intruder and pulled the trigger. In a scene that would replay itself over and over and over again, the Amateur Shotgun Surgeon watched as a cone of lead was propelled towards the would be assassin. Constance could feel her cheeks pulling her lips back in a smile as the shot neared their target... only to be redirected by the woman's umbrella, which dispersed the buckshot as it would have dispersed rain. From behind the cover of her parasol, the woman looked at Constance and scowled before retreating out the doorway.

For a moment, Constance was about to run after her until she heard the gurgling. It sounded like someone trying to breathe through a saturated paper towel. It sounded like...

"Mis...Mister McKenna?" The Young Girl asked quietly, turning slowly, afraid of what she might see... horrified at the sight she ultimately saw.

Laying in a pool of his own blood, Mister McKenna's questioning eyes stared blankly at Constance... at the girl that had killed him... the pellets of her shotgun finding their way into the man's neck, destroying Mister McKenna's throat.

"Mis... Mister McKenna?" Constance repeated to the body of the departed Jonathan McKenna.

Situations being what they are, you never question a Deathclaw's motivations for anything. What they react to, whether they decide to kill you now or let you quake in your boots for a while, how they decide on the amount of chunks a fresh corpse should be torn into - you never question their motives. They're Deathclaws, and under normal circumstances, you would be adopting the Ash Williams motto of 'Shoot first, ask never' on these guys.

However, such is not always the case.

Ever since the intelligent Deathclaw had been introduced into gene pool, you get these Albino-breed Deathclaws that have a greater mental accuity than the norm. They're gray, they're insightful, and they can speak more fluidly than any other of their ilk that learns. Malkos the Deathclaw was one such being, originally from out west. He was shockingly skilled, very clever, and could even be reasonable...when he wanted to. There was more to him than meets the eye, though.

A shot rang out.

In the Springvale school area, there could be lots of violence due to the Sylphys. Hell, there had been, earlier, for some reason. Malkos STILL didn't know what that was all about or why. But no, see...this had come from inside, and this had come from the blind girl's shotgun, from Constance. Now, you might wonder why that held any significance to the Deathclaw, and the answering narrator says...this.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some Time Ago...

It wasn't anywhere in particular, just a spot in the middle of the wasteland. However, it was here that a meeting would take place. Natsuki Manriki was on her radio with someone, but she was also getting telemetry from spying eyebots in the area.

Natsuki: Yeah. Uh-huh? I got it. Well, you really should've kept a better eye on him, David. Hell, you're the leading sniper. Eyes are your thing. Hold on, I got something here.

She signed off and waited, sitting on a large rock. Soon, a gray Deathclaw came into view, he was big and heavily dangerous. The Diclonius observed him carefully, noticing his comprehension of there being a person before him and not immediately attacking. She smiled at him.

Natsuki: You're not from around here, are you?

The thing rumbled a simple "No." at her.

Natsuki: Smart Deathclaws are rare, but I hear they're coming back into style.

He said nothing. Surprisingly, Natsuki got down from her seat and approached him. The Deathclaw snarled and prepared to attack. However, Natsuki knew that he would feel something, the presence of the vectors she could use to protect himself. He didn't act on instinct because he was smart, cautious. It was a trait that made him ten times more capable than basic Deathclaws. He would do fine. Natsuki was within smell-range now and Malkos caught a whiff of young Matriarch off of her.

"What is this? Why do you smell of our kind?"

Natsuki: She's just a little girl, but she's also the most advanced of your species, named Lilith. I take care of her. With that in mind, I think we can talk. You got a name?

"Malkos."

Natsuki: Nice one. So, listen... I've been rather busy lately, but there's this friend of mine that I get worried about. Ya mind looking out for her a bit?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You have to describe a person carefully to a Deathclaw, since they don't distinguish humans as easily as their own kind, but it would be a little difficult to miss the pointy bits of metal (whining echo sensors), blind eyes, and tail on a person. Natsuki had described Constance, and Constance had fired the shot. He moved - audibly - to the eating place and found the scene. Funnily eough, Malkos did not misunderstand the situation. Jon McKenna lay dead on the ground, but the girl hadn't been attacking him. Like many animals, the perception of smells was way more acute than with humans. Malkos knew the shotgun shell had struck that reinforced umbrella held by a woman. The scent-trail was clear. She was an enemy. However, rather than just dash right at her like a common Deathclaw, Malkos threw a table at her and leapt in - claws prepared to invoke the Chunky Salsa Rule - right after that.

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

As it happens, it was a bad impersonation of a wolf.

Even a Deathclaw with a sore throat can't sound that bad. But then, what the hell did it? Brother Yohannes would have reported to the group as they approached that he was unable to get a word out of the soldiers he'd been speaking to, but an exploding gas main and a subsequent announcement that they were piling into Andale ended that. This seemed like a bad idea, as was made reference to by Sylph, and then proven by the perimeter guards, who barred their departure with extreme prejudice. Fortunately, no shots were fired because Shifty stopped. It seemed obvious that the Replicants simply did as they were told and were violently against any breach of protocol. This would therefore, lead them further into town. Yes, even the Deathclaws.

Now, the people of Andale - WHO WERE NOT CANNIBALS, THANK YOU! - were still remaining indoors. Why? Because they were afraid. They were afraid of what was in their town, afraid of the Enclave keeping them hemmed in like this, and now afraid of the people who had come in...with deathclaws. The doors were locked and barred shut. Nobody was talking. You would need Moe, Larry, and Curly to gain entry...and it may not be wise to have it come to that. Also, an announcement was made from the same voice that brought you that bad wold impression.

"Crush, Kill, and...Destroy! I am Justice!"

Sylphy senses would lead them to the playground area, where there was another perimeter of Replicants, as well as Eyebots, keeping watch of a green powersuited figure...doing air-guitar. Okaaay...

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

The Three Musketeers had walked into town from a different angle. Consequently, they were there for the arrival of an Enclave soldier with Science Division markings: Doctor-18. She - and she was a she - was flanked by a pair of Eyebots and being followed by a small entourage of Replicants who seemed to follow her like lost puppies. She appeared to be tsking at a file marked 'Subject-23'.

Doctor-18: Such mental degradation... Well, he was a third-rate mind to begin with. Ah, there you are!

She now took notice of William Knight, Dudley Sulliva, and Evan Ramsey.

Doctor-18: I was told to expect a group bound West. Thought there'd be more of you. Only just arrived myself. I'm 18.

Dudley: You sound a bit more grown-up than that.

Doctor-18: Never heard that one before. Let's see... Ah yes, you're the one that doesn't like 'processing', right? Cut the noise, little man. This is serious business. I am Doctor-18 of the Enclave science division. Natsuki told me about you. I'm afraid I'm going to need to use you as a test group to see about the handling of Subject-23, known as 'Storm Shaun'.

Evan: Why in god's name or anyone else would we do that?

Doctor-18: Because no one leaves this containment area until the threat has been neutralized. Not even me. Satisfied?

Sadly...yes. It meant that the Replicants were locked into their program and she couldn't simply order them to let anyone go until there was a big fat Mission Complete sign stamped on the issue. That said, for better or for worse...she figured it wouldn't take long.

Doctor-18: Anyway, we heavily cyberneticized him - experimental work, really - and sent him west with some creations to go deal with a force known as Caesar's Legion, clearing out much territory until the NCR killed all of the subjects except Subject-23. He came back, malfunctioning.

It was at this point that you could see the approach of a smattering of people - Ed's group - running like hell away from a Behemoth. Doctor-18 chuckled as she saw this.

Doctor-18: Is that...? Oh my, but this is funny. Why is he naked? You three, off to the playground with you. I'll handle this. Children? Destroy the Behemoth.

Now, Replicants were essentially android killing machines with very little personality, but there were just a few instances of self-motivated behavior within their silent demeanors. For instance, as 20 of them ran at greater-than-human speed towards the Behemoth with Super Sledges out, this little ditty was going through their minds...

Now, how many of the original group was still here was in question, but we know that ED was dragging a synthetic being this way at full speed, running from said Behemoth. His day had sucked for a while now, but there was to be a slight improvement as the Enclave's mechanoids all ganged up on the enlarged mutant and began to sledge like hell into it! They were single-minded in purpose, completely coordinated in efforts. The Behemoth would be mashed into an organic paste, and then they would return to their duties. Good times.

The Wild Wastelands | Present Day | Springvale Elementary School
"Ashes of a Raven"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

Kristin Blamco, currently flanked by the duo known as the Translation Sylphy's, was proceeding towards the kitchen at a snail's pace. First and foremost, Kristin was in the middle of her post-combat breathing exercises. A very basic form of meditation that aided the Valkyrie in easing her muscle tension whilst realigning her concentration. Secondly and perhaps most irksome, she was apprehensive about the heavy atmosphere in the kitchen -- specifically with regards to Jonathan.

All tension aside, Jonathan was the closest thing that she had to a friend since her arrival. Going even further with that line of thought, Kristin felt that she would look fondly upon these days. The earliest days were always the most difficult, were they not? Much like one would approach an exercise regimen or a new weapon. Familiarity and comfort didn't follow without rigorous training and dedication.

As a guide, Jonathan McKenna was quite terrible at his job. He didn't revere the BlamCo Heiress. He refused to preach the good word of BlamCo. Even her lust for battle was met with disdain. All the more reason to respect such an individual. Few things undermined the Valkyrie's ego more than a sycophant. The unlikely duo had not travelled very far, yet their experiences were varied. Although they have locked themselves into a treacherous situation, there was no saying that this experience had to be completed through gritted teeth and bitterness.

So with a heavy sigh, Kristin Blamco decided to apologise to Jonathan McKenna.
Any argument would fail -- Mister McKenna was just far too skilled in the area of wordplay. She wasn't particularly thrilled with the idea, but their circumstances required them to be a bit more professional around an impressionable army-in-training.

Re-equipping her armor and slinging her sword across her back, the Valkyrie rounded the corner of the final corridor leading towards the kitchen.

A lone gunshot shattered the silence, causing the Sylphy's to jump and Kristin to ready her sword.
Charging towards the kitchen entrance, a muffled yet incredulous-sounding voice was gaining clarity.

---

Bursting through the threshold, the Valkyrie identified the positions of the Moon Medic, Constance and the slouched over form of Jonathan. At a glance, she appeared alive, unarmed and startled. Constance appeared to be repeating herself. Jonathan was...

"No..." Kristin faltered, her words failing her.

The next few seconds would play out in a far longer fashion for the Blamco Valkyrie. To anyone watching, Kristin's expression was one of deadly seriousness slowly being twisted into an unmoving, silent horror.

The smell of gunpowder invaded her senses. The bullet damage to a nearby wall caught her eye. The sound of Constance's repeated dialogue. Jonathan remained unresponsive. An unnatural colour on the dining table was quickly pooling and spilling onto the floor.

Kristin Blamco was no stranger to death. She, admittedly, revelled in combat. Seeking glory in battle. Her ability to turn an otherwise traumatic violent encounter into an exercise in exerting justice and honor -- this can be regarded as a defense mechanism. A firmly-entrenched justification that kept her moral compass in check.

A murder, however, especially the murder of friend or family was another affair entirely. There was no sense of honor, no rationalisation and no justification to be found here. Such methods flew in the face of everything the fighter stood for.

And were this anyone else...

Kristin's vision turned a searing white, her body moved of it's own accord and a bestial almost heartbroken voice bellowed at Constance Sorrowfield. A few seconds were unaccounted for, but the brief moment of lucidity that followed was all the more frightening.

The Valkyrie's iron grip was enclosed on Constance's wrist, attempting to get the small girl to relinquish control of the weapon. At an angle, sword was pointed and pressed to Constance's chest. Those feral screams belonged to Kristin.

"What happened!?!"

"What did you do!?!"

"Explain yourself!!!"

---

Without an immediate answer. Or at least, without one that she had heard. Her throat choked up, tears welled and blurred her vision. The iron-blooded Valkyrie's emotions, ravenous as they were, threatened to escalate to frightening levels...
...one furious blink quelled the tears for a moment, the terrifying feeling of her own shaking hands had allowed Kristin to release Constance, shotgun and sword clattering to the ground.

Beyond that, Kristin took labored steps towards ---
Kristi ---
Approaching the fallen warrior, formerly known as Jonathan McKenna, the Valkyrie cradled the former vessel. What started as an embrace transitioned into a cradling of the body. Grasping at the hilt of the sword, the impromptu tool was dragged behind it. They made their way outside, walking to someplace that felt appropriate.

Blind to the world and deaf to everything besides the earnest prayers, the Valkyrie tore at its cloak to cover the horrible wound. Noting his stained clothing, the Valkyrie ripped the knee-length cloak off entirely and proceeded to wrap the fallen warrior in a more appropriate plumage.

Discarding the heaviest of its armor, the Valkyrie proceeded to use the slab of steel-disguised-as-rock as an impromptu spade. Each plunge of the weapon had dulled its tip, some even dulled the edge and even more had been done to break the coating. The "bumper sword" appearance was fractured and broken to reveal a power sword/super sword, less effective variant of the super sledge. The Valkyrie remembered asking for the outer reinforcement for it's crushing properties, as opposed to relying on its sundering ability.

Kristin had no recollection of this.

The Valkyrie, on the other hand, proceeded to dig a grave for the fallen warrior. That was its purpose. That's all it could effectively do, at this very moment.

When Kristin returned, she was on her knees. Jonathan's weapon, an energy variant she was unfamiliar with, was cradled in her lap. While a weapon said much about a warrior, something about this weapon had screamed of great importance.

Once again, Kristin Blamco felt truly...lonely.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
"Talons of a Raven"
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

Sable didn't know when her light snooze had started. A detail which would always cause the BlamCo Oddball the slightest of annoyances. For awhile, and much to the immense displeasure of her sisters, Sable had attempted to conduct an informal study on sleeping patterns. Sneaking into her sister's rooms and waking them up with a series of questions was a sure-fire way to get a pillow to the face. Or a series of shouts. Or an array of weapons flung in her general direction. Sable learned that there was little merit in daring to wake Kristin from her slumber without a very good reason.

Sable reflected on all of this while she pretended to sleep. You see, someone had entered her room, someone whose voice she didn't recognise. Fighting her instincts, Sable 'played dead' more-or-less, while her hand inched towards a panic-button concealed between a small gap in the mattress.

The conversation was brief. The door had been slammed shut and hurried steps marked the image of someone leaving the hallway. 'Waking up', Sable's senses were met with pleasurable reminders, and she was all too pleased to see that Thomas had stayed. She had never pressed the button.

Propping herself up on her elbow, the sheets were tugged upwards for modesty. While Sable took in the sights from bottom up, her heart dropped when she caught sight of Thomas' worried look. Whatever was bothering him was written on a letter. Sable brought a finger to his shoulder and scratched playfully.

"H... hello," Thomas whispered before he leaned over to give her a kiss, "It appears that our ... negotiations have been cut short by the realities of our world..."

"Hello." Sable greeted, a little amused at his change in demeanour. Her smile didn't quite reach her eyes though. "Unfortunately. Not the most pleasant news, I suppose?"

Sable nodded at the letter in his hands. She couldn't read it from her view, nor was she the sort of person to attempt to. Instead, the Swan Maiden got up and walked towards a nearby closet. Wrapping the sheet around herself as she walked, poor Thomas was deprived of any immediate bed cover.

Hastily dressing, Sable threw the blanket back and saw fit to slip into a white lightly-armored dress. The ceremonial dress consisted of a thin leather pauldron, chainmail weave arranged into a corset and matching greaves to go with the vambraces that Sable was equipping. The black-dyed armor pieces with golden trimming stood out amongst the stark white.

"Don't get me wrong, Thomas." Sable started, gesturing towards her attire. "But someone just barged into my room. If I am to meet them, I have certain appearances to uphold, outside of my own room that is."

Sable's hand hovered over her power spear and decided against it.
She was none too pleased with having her privacy invaded. Then again, she couldn't possibly expect something like this to happen.

Taking a breath, Sable sauntered over to Thomas in all her finery.

"Thank you for your time, Mister McGee.", Sable smiled slyly. "I'd propose the idea of further negotiations in the future, but this will have to do for now. Where did you say you were going again?"

Once they were both readied, Sable gave him one final peck on the cheek. It was a far more innocent gesture than what occurred before, but it's sincerity was in its simplicity.

Looking back on this, the Smitten Sable knew that Thomas leaving would alter a significant path in her life. Much like the change he had made when he arrived. So while the Swan's little heart was breaking, she would only commend herself for remaining relatively composed during those few moments.

Where romance was concerned, it was only years later that her very own Delivery Girl had confessed to harboring feelings. What was once a teasing nickname had turned into an affectionate title. Eventually, her very own Anne-with-a-Bell had become Sable's loved one.

"The Undertaker and Valkyrie alliance.", Sable reminded, quite seriously in fact. "I can only aid my family, the BlamCo name and it's future in so many ways. If you require trade, publicity, personnel or my own alliance. Then so be it. But I implore you to take it into consideration."

Steeling herself, Sable opened the door and proceeded into the hallway.

---

Reaching the end of the hallway, standing at the edge of the staircase, Sable immediately noticed a collection of maids blocking the exits and doorways. Their most recent guest had alerted the staff, it seemed, when storming out of a Duchess's room without permission. Brandishing everything ranging from cutlery to a searing iron poker. Catching the movement from the stairs, the maids looked at Sable for a signal. She waved them off and they begrudgingly relaxed.

The darkly-dressed guest, antithesis to Sable's attire, turned to the sound of her voice.

"Victoria, I take it?" Sable announced. Her tone regal yet dismissive. "Such a lovely name, yet such uncouth behaviour."

Sable giggled with faux-politeness.

"Forgive me.", Sable continued prodding. "Perhaps you are the adventurous sort, one that barges into a person's bedroom unannounced."

The Swan Maiden stopped, her demeanour similar to the fight with the Undertaker hours ago.

"Business with Thomas aside." Sable stated, expressionless. "My name is Sable Blamco, Duchess to the BlamCo name and Swan Maiden of the Valkyries. Do you have any business with us?"

---

Little did Sable know, this was not the manner in which she would have addressed someone like Victoria McGee in retrospect.


The Wild Wastelands | A Few Days Ago | Middle O' Nowhere
"Birds of a Feather..."
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

To host an impromptu date outside the ruins of an abandoned library didn't require much. A spontaneous choice of location, a place to settle for the evening, fine food and drink prepared in advance and a wardrobe change.

Clad in a white sun dress paired with a short black overcoat, Sable had asked Annabelle to set the Vertibird down at the ruins of a large if desolate building. From what she could tell, this was once a thriving marketplace, with the 'library' possibly doubling as a municipal building. The cobbled floors had shown a remarkable resilience to their harsh conditions. The smaller series of buildings that surrounded this district created the imagery of people flitting from stall-to-stall.

Regardless of the stories that one's location could tell, Sable's eyes were firmly fixed on her Annabelle. The BlamCo Pilot's wavy hair had some amusing kinks and curls when not weighed down by the ever-present helmet.

From Swan Maiden to a BlamCo Pilot (Read: Only pilot.), Sable had playfully ordered Annabelle to dress in the attire laid out for her in the passenger bay of the Vertibird. That is to include a personal mix of accessories and makeup. While they had eaten earlier, their dinner was more focussed on flavour over quantity. While their dessert was, as all dessert, indulgent.

Pleased with the results of her cooking. Sable triple-checked her make-up in a borrowed mirror, let loose her hair and straightened the tableware for the upteenth time. When the door to the Vertibird was opened ever-so-slightly, Annabelle's eyes widened at the sight of an armorless Sable, even moreso when the BlamCo Pilot figured out what was happening when she spotted the table, candles and food.

"Ahhhh.", Sable sighed in an exaggerated fashion, "Two servings of chocolate fondant, I certainly won't object, but I fear that I may lose my figure."

The cargo door was flung open and the formerly mousey pilot had fallen for Sable's prodding once again. The cobalt blue sun dress looked stunning on the embarrassed woman. The very woman that was piecing together why Sable had insisted on taking her measurements two weeks ago.

"You're spoiling me too much!", Annabelle exclaimed, shocked when she discovered that the frills, if not the entire dress, was silk. "This must have cost a fortune."

Sable could only grin in response. Tilting her head to get a better look, Sable noted the uneasy movement of Annabelle as she approached. Catching her date around the waist, Sable acted on the anticipation of Annabelle stumbling in her heels.

"It's actually mine.", Sable stated, a small smile growing. "I had worn it once before I thought it might look a lot better on you. So with a few modifications, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that you look quite wonderful this evening, my Delivery Girl."

Instinctively, Annabelle's nose crinkled as she prepared to reprimand anyone throwing around her nickname instead of her proper name. Noting that Sable hadn't removed her hands from Annabelle's waist, the bashful beauty dropped her shoulders, gave up on words and threw her arms around the Swan Maiden. Without the fear of interrupted privacy, the lovers kissed in a tight embrace.
Broken up by smiles of overwhelming emotion on Sable's part, Annabelle was growing teary-eyed.

"O-oh, then I'll cherish it even more. T-thank you, Sable.", Annabelle stammered, her own smile grew as the ever-in-control Sable was swayed by the moment as well. "I love it. A-and I-I-I love you!!"

Sable caught her breath, completely taken aback by the forthright nature of her very own Delivery Girl.
"I...", Sable faltered, an incredulous look on her face appeared when words had failed her. "I didn't plan for it to happen quite like this. Umm."

Biting her lip nervously, Annabelle didn't share Sable's never ending supply of amusement in all situations. The BlamCo Pilot had just made the ultimate confession to her superior.

After months of fooling around, secret meetings and growing tension. Sable had put her entire position as a Duchess & Swan Maiden on the line when the family had been introduced to Annabelle as a lover -- not just Annabelle as an all-purpose delivery girl. With the passing of Sable's father, a lot of BlamCo's more traditional rules had fallen to the wayside. The current Empress had only asked if this was purely romantic and not mired in the political race to be eligible for Heiress Status. Annabelle would never forget how Sable had dropped her characteristic and omnipresent smirk to declare Annabelle as her one and only lover.
The BlamCo Empress looked truly happy, her sisters were ecstatic and Sable was immensely relieved.

A stranger amongst the political affairs of BlamCo, Annabelle wanted Sable to know how she truly felt. She didn't wish to be just another lover. And while it was true that this was the longest relationship that Sable had been in, Sable's colorful romantic history had Annabelle worried that she was not good enough. Not doing enough. Well that would change! She would lay out her all her cards on the table, so to speak.

"Then that just makes this easier.", Sable broke off from Annabelle. Nervously wringing her hands until she retrieved something on the table. With her back to Annabelle, even the Swan Maiden faltered at times like these. "And so much more difficult."

Worried, Annabelle took a step, she was already a bundle of nerves without Sable's odd reaction. Immediately, Annabelle stifled a gasp.
She couldn't believe what she was seeing. A Swan Maiden, golden hair dancing along her milky skin, the ethereal beauty was kneeling and those green eyes of hers looked livelier than ever before. Her hand lifted up a tiny ornate wooden box, only to reveal two diamond rings once the lid was opened.

"Annabelle 'Delivery Girl' Weiss.", Sable proudly stated, "Would you do me the tremendous honor of becoming my one and only. By setting aside all titles and ambiguity, I can happily declare that I love you too, so very much."

Annabelle had her hands over her mouth. She never understood why the couples in the holotapes always looked so shocked. She understood now. Oh she understood that overwhelming feeling all too well. A reply was on the tip of her tongue.

"Will you marry me?", Sable asked, shoulders tensed and her voice so filled with hope that Annabelle received a rare look at the vulnerability that Sable buried.

"Yes, yes, a thousand -- no, a million times YES!", Annabelle launched into another embrace, and she proceeded to playfully scold her Swan Maiden. "You could have just lead with the 'marry me' part, you know!?"

"Now what fun would that be, hmm?" Sable smiled slyly before dodging a silencing kiss, Sable tutted playfully before wiggling her fingers. "If we're going to do this, then we'll be doing this right."

Annabelle rolled her eyes at the formalities, but when the pair slipped the rings onto each other's fingers, a bundle of nerves had become an explosion of excitement.

Finally, Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco proceeded to wine-and-dine with her future Annabelle 'Delivery Girl' Blamco. The duo had much to discuss and even more to celebrate.

One thing could be declared: From that night on, Annabelle's and Sable's feelings of inadequacy and doubt had evaporated over time. It seemed likely that their relationship required the baring of their souls, to remove all internal defenses, to remove oneself from titles and duty. Right here, all that mattered was two heartfelt confessions and the promise of a dedicated future.


The Wild Wastelands | Present Day | Approaching "Andale" Apparently
"Feathers of a Raven"
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

Picture two boulders of somewhat equal height. There was a small gap between them, too small for an adult to fit through, but small enough for a child to scurry through. Though these rocks were quite tall, further inspection revealed that these were broken stone pillars. Bridging the gap between the broken pillars was a rather large expandable ballistic shield. This provided shade and functioned as a small hovel for Sable Blamco to relax in.

Resourcefully, Sable stopped to clean her armor, air out her clothing, perform weapon maintenance, prepare food and take a light shower. The Swan Maiden wasn't about to let any location specific diseases or ailments get in her way.

After all her business was complete, she climbed onto the rock and surveyed her surroundings. A settlement was nearby, not close enough to make out any activity without some sort of magnification, but close enough to note that it wasn't too far of a sprint if she required sanctuary.

Although she preferred to travel alone, she was missing her sisters and her fiance.
On an indulgent level, she was excited to intermingle with the inhabitants of this coast. Did they have any significantly different cultural values? What was the predominant political state? Due to factions and feuds, was this side of the world as fractured as New Vegas?
While she was fully aware that her title as BlamCo Duchess & Swan Maiden would command little attention here, the immediate freedom from her political responsibility was refreshing. There was so much to learn and experience!

--

She had travelled so far by Vertibird, to the point where the Vertibird had to be refuelled, lest Annabelle couldn't safely return home. Then her unnamed radiation-mutated horse, colloquially known as a 'knightmare', said to originate from this coast had died during it's very last ride. The horse was accustomed to Sable's touch and loving care. Sensing it's own waning time, her steed galloped an impressive distance until exhaustion. Sable buried her beloved companion out of respect. No carrion should interfere with a Valkyrian steed.

After her 36-hour predator-and-prey hunt of the 18 raiders posted in the cavern on her way here. Sable was quite keen on keeping her body count to a minimum if possible. She did not seek combat for glory as Kristin does, if combat must be initiated, one must have ample justification and reasoning to follow through with an honorable fight or a clean kill, especially if it meant that the lives of others could benefit from this. She was no vigilante, but Sable Blamco could hardly turn a blind eye to human suffering.

The raiders, as their name would imply were not good folk. In fact, it would be more accurate to call them slavers, after Sable scouted a way around their encampment. Two to three people per cage, horribly cramped and mistreated. This was a particularly horrifying display of human cruelty.

Sable attempted to negotiate with them to no avail, in fact, one of the hostages was killed for her hubris. A warning shot was fired her way, horribly missing its mark, but she was unperturbed. They let her walk, assuming her to be not quite right in the head.

So Sable launched a campaign to dismantle the entire operation. After watching enemy patrols, their alcohol supply was laced with BlamCo barbiturates, the very same core ingredient that went into old/cheap mainstream BlamCo products. Retreating and re-engaging, their food was stolen, which lead to hunting parties and infighting. Sable capitalised on the hunting parties, picking them off one-by-one and taking out a small 3-man team when her shield nullified their bullets. The commotion would draw significant attention, which made Sable backtrack and head towards the base. Fiddling with guns and removing the bullets, Sable gave each prisoner a collection of ammunition and a concealed sidearm collected from the raider stockpile. Hiding in a closet as night time grew near, the tired personal guard and leader were slain in their sleep. Any guards that came to inspect the commotion were gunned down in a coordinated strike according to Sable's orders.

Freeing the prisoners from their cages, they were free to scavenge for armor, clothing and weapons. Provided that Sable could feed them with the surplus that the raiders no longer had any use for. The former prisoners repaid her with information, hastily-drawn maps and knowledge more privy to the local community.

It felt like three days, but according to Lucy Black (Once they had met) it was calculated that Sable had been fighting, harassing and burying the corpses for nearly two days.

--

Returning to the present, Sable inspected her engagement ring. Jeweler's were hard to come by, but Sable insisted on having silver raven talon designs hold a small diamond into place. She was quite fond of the design.

Fetching her shield, Sable prepared to use it as base for a bed when the most tortured and piercing of howls erupted from the only settlement nearby. She was losing natural light fast, so it had become more difficult to make anything out.
That sounded like torture, or at least someone was in great pain. While picking up a bit of the basics from the Follower's of The Apocalypse, if she acted fast, she could aid with minor medical attention.

The howls didn't continue, but it had scared off her brahmin. The very brahmin she had collected from the from raider camp. If an animal was panicking, then this must be bad news.

Sleep would have to wait and as a trained Swan Maiden, that rest was a worthy recovery period. Weapons and armor ready, Sable packed her things and proceeded towards the settlement.

...

Soldiers. Enclave Soldiers.
This was a mixed bag scenario. Sable was fully aware of her family's history with this Coast's Enclave, in essence, Sable had followed Kristin to their true homeland. Right now, she needed to inspect the source of the scream/howl. If the Enclave was responsible, then approaching them meant suicide. If the Enclave was attempting to remedy this situation, Sable could offer her support as a show of good faith.

Power Spear VS Super Sledge. The odds weren't in her favor.
Sable was definitely geared towards piercing armor and hitting vitals with the advantage in one-to-one combat. Kristin was geared towards crushing armor and bone with the advantage of crowd control.

Keeping a low profile, as low as one could get behind an extended ballistic greatshield, Sable avoided the entrance on her end. Noticing that the Enclave guards stood resolute with no sign of moving, Sable attempted to approach from a different angle. Here goes nothing...

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo HQ
Civility in all things...
Victoria McGee

For one who prided herself on being a lady of proper bearing, Victoria McGee, her cheeks still flushed from the sight of her cousin and his lover's unclothed and intertwined bodies, felt not an ounce of the grace she normally exuded. Regardless of reason, breaking into anyone's private quarters was a grave breach of protocol that would bring not only personal embarrassment but potentially upon the Undertaker's Union as well. Were she inclined towards overly dramatic displays, a characteristic with was unfortunately common among the portrayal of women of high refinement by Pre-War teledramas, the Damsel of Death would have dug a hole and hurled herself to the bottom of the shallow grave. She could have also stormed out of the manor and rode off as quickle as Frank, her replace draft brahmin named after the cretin that she'd encountered riding piggyback on a small child that, for some strange reason, exploded after a minor collision with a molerat. Ultimately, the Well Mannered Mistress of the Mortuary stubbornly stood within the ante-chamber, her eyes not so much as lingering on the weapon wielding staff members for longer than was necessary.

As she waited the eternity for a member of some standing within the mansion to greet her, the delicate and flushed nightshade was forced to remove her fan from the folds of her dress and fan herself, while she attempted to banish the unwelcome images from her mind. She briefly wondered how it was possible that the two former combatants who were out for the other's blood had ended up in such circumstances. While etiquette guides made exceptions to coupling within the first hours of meeting one another, it was uncommon among warriors, unless one was performing a Black Widow operation. The opposite was true as well, while it was frequently encouraged for warriors to combat each other to the death, intimacy between enemies was frowned upon as it inevitably resulted in confusion on the battlefield. Was the fact that this appeared to be uncharted behavioral territory, at least in Victoria's studies in the field of combat and the field of etiquette, what was bothering the Grand Dame of Grave Diggers?

A lull in the staffs' hushed conversations brought a halt to Victoria McGee's train of thought and caused her to turn to look towards the stairs that lead up to the personal quarters. As expected, the cousin lover was standing there, looking down upon her with ... perhaps a bit of disdain or mockery. As was expected of the guest in someone's home, despite the fact that she'd already seen her host without her finery, the Undertaker Union's Empress of Etiquette curtsied deeply and politely, her eyes looking towards the floor out of respect for her host's position as well as in thanks for accepting her into the home, though they would see how long that acceptance would last. Returning to a stand, the Darkly Dress Damsel of Death looked up towards her host and noted the woman's eyes. She appeared analytical and observant, characteristics well suited for allies and dangerous in enemies. Victoria briefly wondered if this woman could see through her illusion of finery and see the assortment of weapons hidden in plain sight.

Being a member of the Ferrymen, the Assassin was required to straddle two worlds. On one side, she was a respected member of society who traveled the inhospitable wastes to give the departed their final rest. On the other side, she was a killer of men and women. As a result of this duality of roles that Victoria's finery was also forced to serve dual roles. While the best known example of this was the woman's trademarked parasol, one of the Civilized Slayer's lesser known tools was the necklace that was draped around her neck from which a number of intricately carved gems dangled. The truth of the necklace was that the gems were simple glass that had been carved to hold an edge of a few microns in thickness and in a shape that was balanced enough to throw accurately. Another of the Undertaker Union's Princess of Propriety's tools was the ornate fan that had just been tucked back in the folds oh her dress, which, as to be expected was bladed. What most people were unaware of, or those who became aware were in no position to give this secret away, was that the sealed fabric that formed the leaves of the fan could be removed and used to smother a person by covering their face, making it an effective take down tool. The parasol, the necklace, the fan, these were but a few of the hidden weapons that were kept in plain sight.

"Victoria, I take it?" Sable announced in a rather dismissive tone. It was obvious that Lady Sable was aware that she had Victoria at a disadvantage due to the embarrassing trespass into the BlamCo mistress' personal chambers, "Such a lovely name, yet such uncouth behaviour."

"Forgive me," Sable continued prodding. "Perhaps you are the adventurous sort, one that barges into a person's bedroom unannounced."

The Prim and Proper Princess of the Underworld held her tongue, despite its despite to spit words of acid upon the face of the woman that stood before her. She was highly aware that she deserved this sort of embarrassing treatment as recompense for her earlier breach of decorum. It was the behavior of someone knowledgeable in the ways of cultured society. Still she did not enjoy the sensation that she was being toyed with in the same fashion a cat toys with a mouse. Still as the guest of the household, Victoria was to defer introductions and the right of first speach to her host.

A momentary pause allowed the Union's Duchess of the Departed's eyes to flick upwards ever so slightly as both her mouth and mind prepared to launch Victoria's own introductory strike. From the expression on Lady Sable's face, however, the Darkly Dressed Damsel of the Dead could see that she had been mistaken. It was not, as she thought, her turn to speak, rather it was a sudden tonal shift in not only the conversation but Lady Sable's posture, one that seemed rather combative. Was there a particular reason for such a shift? Was there something that Lady Sable knew about the Undertaker's Union? The shift had come so suddenly that Victoria's hand had drifted perilously close to the handle of her parasol, which also served as the handle to its concealed stiletto.

"Business with Thomas aside," Sable stated, expressionless. "My name is Sable Blamco, Duchess to the BlamCo name and Swan Maiden of the Valkyries. Do you have any business with us?"

Victoria McGee's frown would have been visible from space were it not for the fact that the lower portion of her face was covered by a silk scarf. While it was a minor breach in etiquette to discuss business matters prior to the completion of introductions as well as the a perfunctory round of small talk, it was still a breach none the less but one that could be overlooked.

"Thank you for your hospitality, Lady Blamco," Victoria said with a curt bow of thanks towards her hostess. Despite the cheerfulness projected in her words, Victoria's frown deepened under the scarf upon hearing the artificial reproduction of her once melodic voice, "As you undoubtedly learned from my esteemed cousin, Thomas, my name is Undertaker Victoria McGee of the Representative of Undertaker's Union and current Head Undertaker of the East Coast. Before we discuss the business that brought me to your manor, I would like to formally apologize for barging into your personal quarters unannounced and finding both you and my cousin in such a sordid state of dress. While there is no excuse for such rudeness on my part, I humbly ask if you could kindly chalk up this incident as one comrade looking over the welfare of another. I must confess, I did bear witness to the vigorous and hard fought battle between the two of you. It is, indeed, a rarity among our cultured society to see such a swing in the relationship between two former combatants in such a short time span," Victoria paused for a moment as if to savor the next words she spoke, "I trust my cousin as vigorous and hard in your second encounter... It would be a shame to know that he couldn't rise to the occasion."

"(It would also be a shame to have you on your knees and denied satisfaction for a second time.)" Came the thoughts left unsaid in Victoria's mind. While there was a certain amount of leeway, it would have been uncouth to have verbalized such words... uncouth and potentially life ending.

"As for my business, besides coming to collect my dear cousin Thomas... that is if you are done with him... I also have a contract request from the Undertaker's Union. As we will be opening our temple to the public, we would like to contract BlamCo with the provision of refreshments for the throngs of guests that are sure to visit. Our historians found that prior to the Great War, BlamCo had also been the primary provider of food to Walt's Great Temple and the Grandmaster thought it appropriate to resume such a relationship." The woman said genially and without the playful cheerful tone that she'd used previously. It was time to get down to business.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo HQ | Sable Blamco's Bedroom
Introspection
Thomas McGee

With his hostess having left the room, Thomas "Shifty" McGee found himself alone, not that he minded considering the proverbial miniature nuclear warhead that was sitting in his lap. Sometimes one really needed to be alone when attempting to reconcile their personal beliefs with reality. Looking down at the instructions, he reread its contents.

The Note:
Your Cousin, Victoria, has failed to complete her mission and given away the Undertaker Union's most carefully guarded secret. After you've eliminated her, you are to take over her duties and her targets. Do not fail, my son.

Walt Guide You,

Your Father

Two questions of similar construction wormed their way through the Neophyte Ferryman's mind as he sat there, his hands shaking at the thought of fulfilling his duties. The first of the questions was whether or not Thomas could kill Victoria while the second revolved around whether or not Thomas could kill Victoria.

Victoria McGee was the youngest recruit to ever graduate from both Undertaker's training and from the Ferrymen program. She was a prodigy when it came to the choreography of combat. While she was exceptional in long range combat, having broken several records in her first year, her true passion was close quarters assassination. Her ability to distract and lull her victims into a false sense of security before lashing out with a well aimed strike was second to none. If her alpha strike failed to put down her victim, her abilities with the multitude of weapons secreted on her person made her very dangerous. Knowing this, the prospect of successfully killing his cousin seemed like a distant pipe dream with a low probability of success. The one saving grace in his favor was the fact that Victoria was not aware that Thomas had been ordered to kill her. But even with this advantage, the question remained, could Thomas "Shifty" McGee kill his cousin?

Victoria's adoption had caused quite a few waves in the Undertaker community, as she'd been the first to have ever been adopted by an Undertaker, let alone by someone as high ranking as her father. The fact that she was a simple street urchin prior to her adoption didn't make things any easier for her.

Except from Victoria's Childhood:
"Ew, Victor, what is that stink? Did you roll around in the garbage this morning?" A familiar but younger voice asked.

"No, Cousin Henry. Maybe Victoria did." A deeper but equally familiar voice responded to Victoria's tormentor.

"Makes sense since I saw eating garbage this morning. You know what they say about rats..."

"Stop it! I did not eat trash!" A younger female voice retorted.

"Sure you did! You know what they say... Victoria eats garbage! Victoria eats garbage! Victoria eats garbage!" Henry chanted with Victor playing backup.

"Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!" Victoria continued to plead with tears welling up in her eyes.

"HENRY!" An Eight Year Old Thomas McGee interjected standing between his brother and his cousin, "Stop!"

"Or what, little brother. You'll go tell on me? You remember what happened the last time you did that... or should I remind you." Henry said as he put both hands in a defensive posture.

"No... I'm not going to do anything... she is." Thomas said, nodding towards the six year old girl that had sneaked behind Henry.

Grabbing her tormentor by his bicep, the young girl backed up against the taller boy as closely as she could before bending forward with all her might, tossing him over her hip and to the ground.

*SNAP!*

The sound of a breaking collar bone soon followed the sound of the impact... which was soon followed by the sound of a ten year old boy crying for his mother...

Remembering that, remembering the number of times similar scenes had played out in his childhood, Thomas wondered if he had the ability to turn coat on his Cousin. Simultaneously, he wondered if he had the ability to refuse an order that had come directly from father. Letting out a long and stress filled sigh, Thomas looked back at the note on his lap, knowing that if he refused this order, there would be a similar order issued.

"Was this really the right thing for me?" The Neophyte Undertaker asked himself, questioning his chosen profession for the first time in his life. Having been brought up on stories of his Father's Father's Father's Father, Thomas wondered if Smitty McGee would have approved of what had become of his legacy. Did he approve of the assassinations? Did he approve of the secrecy? Would he approve Thomas killing his own cousin for nothing more than the unsuccessful completion of a contract? There would most certainly be a day when Thomas found out the answer to these questions... perhaps even today if he failed his given mission.

He glanced over at Mags, sitting in her holster which was hung from a chair and down to his own shaking hands. Silently and quietly he rolled out of the bed belonging to Sable Blamco, wishing that he had someone as even keeled as she was to talk to about such matters but knowing that he could never talk about such things without putting her in danger. The Confused Crypt Keeper silently donned his uniform and exited the room, hoping to find an answer to the question "Could he kill Victoria McGee?"


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Outside Springvale
A Young Lady's Primer to Etiquette and Assassinations: Chapter 2
By: Victoria McGee

Except from Victoria's Manuscript:
The ability to walk with a volume of literature perched precariously on one's head is not merely a simple parlor trick performed by a refined young lady but a demonstration of balance and situational awareness. As a young lady walks with a heavy tome upon her head, she must be aware of not only her posture, her movements, her balance and her gait but she must also be aware of the obstacles that lay in her path. These obstacles may be an errant ottoman or a grab happy suitor. As such a young lady must possess an almost preternatural awareness of her surroundings as well as how to move in order to avoid a potentially embarrassing accident.

Just as a young lady must be confident in her movement, her balance and aware of her surroundings, so too must an assassin. It is a perilous fate that awaits both an assassin as well as a young lady should she fail to keep these concepts in mind. While the fate of a young lady might be a temporary and ignominious banishment to social purgatory, the fate of a professional killer is many times more severe. Death via dismemberment is just one of the many horrifying possibilities so take heed of this lesson, my exquisite executioner in training, lest you find your skirt stained in your own scarlet blood.

[insert lesson here]

Despite the lessons she'd outlined for her future students, Female Ferryman was caught a bit off guard by the Deathclaw's use of tactics to close the gap that lay between the two. The table, which was easily hundreds of pounds in weight, made for a massive projectile that had been aimed directly at her. That in itself was not the strategic part of the massive reptilian ripper's plan. The size of the projectile made for an ideal blind for which the creature could use to conceal his next moves. The one thing that the scaled stalker could not hide was his mass nor the sound of his approach when he charged.

Victoria McGee was by no means intent on allowing herself to be slaughtered by the scaled slicer and dicer, which meant that there was little that she could do but flee the area and hopefully lose massive muscled mutilator before had a chance to remove her spine from her body. Watching as the table closed in on her, her mind reviewed the multiple scenarios that had the potential of unfolding. She could stop the table from hitting her, which was probably the Deathclaw's preferred action since it would allow time for him to close the distance between them. She could dodge the projectile and attempt to run from her pursuer, which out matched her in terms of speed and endurance, which meant a inevitably short chase scene followed by the Deathclaw pouncing on her and ripping the flesh off of her bones. This left one last scenario... she allowed the table to hit her.

Watching as the food preparation and consumption surface close in on her, the Silent Assassin leaped vertically, adding a bit of backwards rotation to her jump so that her extended legs were parallel to the floor.

*THUD*

She felt the table impact against the bottom of her feet, triggering her legs to start bending and allowing them to act as shock absorbers and mitigating any damage that the table would have done to her. This also had the added benefit, due to the difference in mass between Victoria and the massive table, of propelling her along the table's trajectory, away from the charging Deathclaw. She rode the table for a moment, perhaps less than a heart beat or two, before she sensed the object starting to fall, triggering her legs to kick outwards, propelling her away from the surface of the table and out of the room and to start her escape with an added amount of speed gained stolen from her ride on the table.

*THUD*

The escaping executor of Jonathan McKenna hit the ground running, attempting to conserve as much of the momentum she'd stolen from her ride as possible. This meant not looking behind her, even when she heard the creature burst through the walls of the dilapidated old elementary school. She turned North, towards the nearby river, which was, if she remembered correctly, teaming with Mirelurks that time of year. They would make an ideal distraction if she could make use of them... if she could get to them before the Deathclaw got to her.

The sound of evisceration closed in once again and this time, Victoria failed to keep herself from looking behind her. The creature was massive, impressively so, and moved quickly despite this, its muscles rippling beneath its scales as it closed in with its razor sharp teeth, saliva glinting off of yellow enamel. Pulling an object from her belt, the Fleeing Ferrywoman waited a second or two before she tossed the glitter bomb over her shoulder.

*BOOMPH!!*

As silly as it seemed to use such a device on a creature intent on turning the Silk Swaddled Duchess of the Dead into a scarlet stain on the sand, it seemed like the most effective weapon in the woman's arsenal. The glitter bomb detonated with an anti-climactic poof as he unleashed a cloud of tiny and annoying bits of glitter. With any hope, the tiny bits of plastic would get under the Deathclaw's scales, causing a bit of irritation and slow down the beast. Victoria also hoped that, just like a gentleman caller to a cabaret inevitably discovered, it would be near impossible for the Deathclaw to easily brush off.

"I hope you'll forgive me if I don't pause to admire your new sparkling scales, Mister Claw." The usually quiet killer quipped as she continued to run towards the river.

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When Malkos through the table, he did not expect the woman to use it as a means to launch herself out of immediate harm's way. Of course, she could not know the fact that this was - in of itself - usable to his designs, in that Constance would be safe. The wall, though... Well, it was the quickest way, and you would not believe how many people thought jumping into an old shack or a building would protect you from a rampaging Deathclaw. Even the normal ones laugh at this.

Pursuit of the strange woman continued. There was nothing particularly handy to use to slow her down, but on the plus side there was nothing around to slow him down. Thus, it was that Malkos began to run full-tilt. If he could kill her instead of merely drawing her off, there would be no concern about her showing up later. However, she had suddenly thrown something that Malkos was moving too fast to avoid and...well...glitter everywhere. That halted him for...seconds! You know that shock wave roar they do?

"HOOOOWWWRRRLLL!!!"

Glitter flew from Malkos like a pretty little shock wave and fell to the ground. Hot Pursuit: Re-Engaged.

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"HOOOOWWWRRRLLL!!!"

The Fleeing Ferrywoman could feel a blast of rushing air blow past her as the Deathclaw roared loud enough for any Victoria's fillings, if she had any, to be vibrated out of her artificial jaw. The glitter bomb had served its purpose in buying an additional few seconds of distance between her and the Reptilian Nightmare from Elm Street. Continuing to run non-stop at breakneck speeds, the woman could detect a sudden drop in ambient temperature [1]. This was good as it indicated that the Silk and Lace Slasher was closing in on her destination, the river, and its clawed inhabitants. These claws weren't the same type of claws as the woman's pursuer but they were still dangerous never the less, especially if they surrounded her.

The crunching and churning of dirt behind the Refined Lady of Assassins told her that the chase had resumed and for some odd reason, Victoria had the uncanny sensation that the Deathclaw would take the glitter bomb rather personally and perhaps make things a little harder on her. But she was all too close now. Once again reaching into her pockets, the woman removed yet another bomb from its folds. This was not a weapon nor was it one of Victoria's utility items that she'd normally used. Instead, the object in question was known as a bath bomb, a gelatin type ball that dissolved in water and released a large amount of perfume into the air. Being fully aware that if she were to activate the stealth mode on her parasol, the pursuing Deathclaw would be able to track her using its keen sense of smell... or taste... or whatever it used to track her scent, she needed a way to mask it.

There was a small cliff that overlooked the river's edge, not too high but high enough to hide her from the Mirelurks that ... lurked... near the shore, scavenging for food. Gripping her parasol in one hand and the bath bombs in the other, the woman tossed the balls towards the water, their trajectory carrying them into the edge of the water where they began to dissolve.

"Adieu Mister Claw!" Victoria called out as she jumped over the edge of the cliff, unfurling her the parasol and activating the jury rigged Chinese stealth device.

*TACK! TACK! TACK!*

The Mirelurks gathered at the shore seemed to have a sudden spasm of some sort as they were used as living stepping stones for the Unseen Assassin to hop across as she headed towards the spot where the bath bombs had landed and were unleashing their perfumed payload.

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

This seemed like a decent enough tactic, even a smart one, when you considered that ordinary Deathclaws would be distracted by such things and such enemies. That would be a normal reaction to the situation, at any rate. She'd taken care of sight, mostly, and smell, but what about sound? Something hit those Mirelurks and they made a sound. So, without delay, here was the sound that followed Victoria's egress...

CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! BOOP-BWEEP!

...as Malkos hopped and stomped the crabs in pursuit of the noise of his foe!

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The temptation to unleash an unladylike torrent of curses grew dangerously strong as the crunching sounds of Mirelurks being turned into some sort of squishy seafood dip followed the daintier tapping of Victoria's shoes impacting against the Mirelurks' hard carapaces. The commonly used adage, though modified for these circumstances, "Don't be seen or heard," bounced about the Pretty Pretty Princess of Funerary Parlor's head as she attempted to review her options. She could have continued to flee until she ran out of Mirelurks and time. She could have turned to fight but considering that she was more a finely etched glass knife, it would have taken a single glancing blow from the Deathclaw to eviscerate her, a full frontal assault was out of the question. She could have swam but that would have put her at the mercy of both Mirelurks and Deathclaw and it would have meant ruining her dress. She considered conversing with the Deathclaw but that seemed a rather ridiculous notion considering most Deathclaws were little more than mindless killing machines hell bent on destroying everything in their path... though this one seemed a bit different considering it was walking about the ruined elementary school and hadn't appeared to be biting the heads off of the blue haired air heads right and left.

"Mister Claw... this might be crazy of me to ask but you wouldn't happen to be one of those intelligent Deathclaws with the ability to speak and be reasoned with would you?" The Young and Proper Undertaker called out to the crunching noise behind her. She continued to hop along the backs of the soon to be Crabby Patties, at least they would end up that way after the Deathclaw stepped on their heads, spotting a small boat not too far away. She changed directions towards the small watercraft and hoped that her slight course correction wouldn't cost her an arm and a leg.

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And a deep, DEEP voice would reply, over all the noise being made here...

"I have my moments."

Oh good. A flippant Deathclaw.

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The Bouncing Betty's eyes widened when she heard a response from behind her and her blood felt a slight tingling of excitement. This was quite the dangerous adversary that would have made a wondrous foe if Victoria didn't have other plans already in play. She needed to get to Andale, the projected destination for her cousin and deliver a message to him. Only two more Mirelurks were between her and the small watercraft tied off to a dilapidated old pier. Removing the uncouth 10mm pistol its holster, the Pale and Pretty Princess of Funeral Processions took aim at the closest Mirelurk and pulled the trigger, the bullet tearing through the pea-sized brain of the creature's pea-sized head. Though it was suddenly robbed of its ability to think, the body remained rigid enough for her to hop onto for a split second as she jumped towards the last one, again, shooting the mutated creature in the face before hopping onto the deck of the boat. She'd denied her foe a couple of stepping stones but was confident that he had the jumping range to land on the boat deck, where she could hopefully resolve this situation.

Turning for the briefest of seconds, the woman called out towards the Deathclaw and cast the remainder of her bath bombs into the water.

"Mister Claw, since I know you understand me, you'll probably understand what will happen when I shoot the engine of this boat. If we can't resolve this spat of ours like civilized beings, obviously neither of us deserve to live." Victoria called out before jumping onto the pier her weapon pointed at the watercraft's nuclear powered engine.

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In response to her ultimatum, there was a loud...

SPLOOSH!!

...as Malkos dove under the water and would be making land within seconds while avoiding explosions AND weird scent-bombs by using his big powerful arms to paddle ashore. It was a nice idea and all, but an outboard motor detonating above the water wasn't going to do quite as much if he was deep under and kind of avoiding it. She'd have to knock it off to make it into a depth charge, and unfortunately atomic devices will not explode if flooded with water.

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Victoria McGee, Former Undertaker of the East before Thomas McGee, could scarcely believe her eyes as she saw the Deathclaw swan dive into the river. She'd been intent on conversing with the creature but instead, she'd been given an opportunity, one that she wouldn't waste. Firing a couple rounds into the engine, the Dame of the Dead was not intent on killing her pursuer... no no... she was instead intent on her original plan, escape. As the engine started to catch fire, she started running once again, unfurling the stealth parasol once again. Turning a corner, the woman waited for the inevitable...

*BA-BOOOOOOOOOOM!!!*

The boat exploded into a miniature mushroom cloud sending water high into the air, more importantly, it dispersed much of the perfume that Victoria had deployed as well, spreading it onto the surrounding environs, masking much of the smells in the area. While the explosion more than likely was not enough to kill her pursuer, it would hopefully disorient him enough that he would have issues tracking her.

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

Well...damn. Malkos didn't expect that exactly, once he'd emerged. This was a problem. Scent-trail, no. Sight unseen, yeah. Hearing, probably too far away now. The explosion hadn't been all that damaging because, of course, it hadn't been underwater, but the boom and the ensuing fiery boat was masking footsteps rather handedly. Footsteps, though... Ah! The Deathclaw got low to the ground and began to follow any signs of that woman's departure that were on the ground, and he began to do so quietly...which was something that normal Deathclaws never did. We might pick up this chase later.


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Andale
Under Construction
Thomas "Shifty" McGee | Sylph(ee)

The Crimson Catastrophe was starting a feel a bit... anxious as she and the rest of her comrades approached Andalian Playground, not because of who or what they found at that particular location but rather it was the fact that she'd been out and about for some time now. Her senses felt overwhelmed by the amount of noise coming from the playground and the stench of roasted corpses that wafted in on the light breeze. Slipping her hand into her left pocket, her stormy blue eyes widened when she realized that it was empty. Not only had she forgotten the Anti-Materiel Rifle that she'd been carrying for some time now out beyond the perimeter established by the Enclave guards but she'd lost her sole remaining means is escape.

"Missing something?" Her Father asked as he stood next to her, attempting to make sense of the scene in front of them, "I think Arizona has your choker."

A passing view of a reflective glint of an object in flight was all Sylph needed snatch the object from the air and put her mind at ease. Glancing over at the Ghoul with the Machine Gun, the Crimson Clad Calamity nodded her thanks before taking one last look at the utterly bizarre scene that lay before the group: A man in power armor, riding a horse.

*Squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak!!"

A spring attached to a plastic horse protested loudly as it attempted to keep itself from breaking under the strain of being bent from one extreme to the other while attempting to support a nitwit in Power Armor. As ill suited to the science of physics Sylph was, even she could tell it would only be a matter of time before the thing snapped. As strange as the sight of a power armor clad adult was, stranger still was the fact that someone had fashioned a harness around the shoulders of the armored rider and attached the other end to a jungle gym, which appeared to have been dragged several feet in order for the KillDroid to mount his steed.

Giving the Power Armored Idiot one last look, Sylph wrapped the choker around her neck, the clasp making an audible *SNAP!*

--------------------------------------------------We now return to our regularly scheduled Sylphee--------------------------------------------------

"Wwwhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"

That is the sound that Sylphee makes when she's having funsies and riding Mister Horsie with her newest and bestestestestestest friend in the world, or at least Amdale, Mister MetalStorm ShormStaun, Defender of the Juiciest! Things hadn't always been like this between Mister MetalStorm ShormStaun, Defender of the Juiciest and the Blue Haired, Blue Eyed Psycho. It had taken a bit of coaxing and trust building to get to where they were.

"Look Daddy, a horsie!" Sylphee had said to her Daddy as she jumped up and down, pointing at Mister Juiciest's crack brown horsie, "Can I ride it? Can I? Can I? CanI? CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?"

"Uh Sylphee?" Daddy had said in a confused sounding voice complete with a confused looking face, as if he hadn't seen Sylphee in quite some time but really he had just seen her like two seconds ago outside of Amdale.

"Okay thanks!"

"Sylphee!" Daddy had called out, his hand trying to grab her by her shoulder but wasn't fast enough to catch the Blindingly Fast and Blindingly Cute Cacophony Called Sylphee.

"Hi Mister can I ride with you?" Sylphee called out to the Mounted Metallic Man Mountain.

"Okay! We ride to Justice and to fight the Evilest of Evils, those vile Men in Black!" Went the mighty Mister MetalStorm ShormStaun, Defender of the Juiciest.

"YAAAAAAAY!" Sylphee yay'd as she hopped onto the horsie, right behind her newest and bestestestestestest friend in the world, or at least Amdale.

"Wwwhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"

Do you know what happens to the good boys and girls of the world when they try to help the world and defend it from the Evilest of Evils? They learn to fly! Sylphee would have sworn to the story considering she was there to witness Mister MetalStorm ShormStaun, Defender of the Juiciest's first take off flight.

The two of them had been riding Mister Horsie for quite some time, looking for the Evilest of Evils to vanish and they were going really really fast too! So fast that Mister Horsie started going *Squeakasqueakasqueakasqueakasqueakasqueakasqueak!!" instead of *Squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak-a-squeak!!." So fast that Sylphee could feel the wind rushing through her hair, her past her ears and up her skirt... it was THAT fast! They were going so fast that Sylphee could barely hold on to Mister MetalStorm ShormStaun, Defender of the Juiciest's waist and so she let go.

"In infinity and beyond!" When Mister MetalStorm ShormStaun, Defender of the Juiciest, as he launched off the back of Mister Horsie and smashed into one of the Meanie Metal Men in Black that had surrounded them, the Jungle Gym, Mister MetalStorm ShormStaun, Defender of the Juiciest's Sidekick jumped into action, smashing another one of the Meanie Metal Men in Black that had surrounded them.

"SNAP!" Went Mister Horsie.

"Sylphee! Are you okay?" Asked Daddy's face as he looked down on her from where she was laying on the ground.

"Uh huh! That was fun! Can I ride Mister Horsie again?" Sylphee asked her Daddy, sitting up and seeing that Mister Horsie was laying on his side, obviously worn out by their frantic ride to fight the Evilest of Evils.

[1] I won't say how but it does rhyme with Ripples

[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School
"... Call time of death."

When Constance insisted on getting up herself to check on Mr. McKenna, there was a moment when Jenna wasn't entirely sure that the young girl was going to be able to get on her feet at all. With a concerned frown behind the opaque dome of her helmet, she watched Constance struggle just a little to her feet, and surprisingly managed to stand steadily enough to make the Followers Doctor relax. While she was all-too aware of how fragile the human body could be, she supposed that Constance had to be made of sterner stuff to have survived out here, even with the Enclave supporting her.

She had just turned and started to put her tools away when she heard the gunshot echoing through the ruined school. With a startled jerk, she sent most of her technical tools flying across the room. Her mind raced in a panic. Who was shooting, and at whom? Was it friendly gunfire? An accident? Was someone hurt? In the space of a few seconds she struggled with her options: Should she go to investigate immediately, unprepared and unarmed, for the chance to treat any possible wounded immediately? Or should she take the time to prepare, arm herself, and be ready to treat anyone who was hurt, even though those precious seconds could be the difference between life or death?

Clenching her teeth, she grabbed her Doctors Bag, still containing most of her medical supplies, and ran for where she knew her AER9.6 still was. The moment she had it in hand, she frantically sprinted to where she thought the gunshot came from, and hoped the worst hadn't come to pass.

She still wasn't entirely prepared to find both Constance and Kristin both standing over the bloodied, inert form of Jonathan McKenna. She arrived a split-second before Kristin leveled her bumper sword at the shocked looking Constance and screamed for an explanation.

"Hey, hey! Before we do anything hasty and start attacking each other, give the poor girl a chance to breathe first!" Jenna called over, striding to Constance's side and placing a gentle hand on the girl's shoulder.

Pulling her aside as the BlamCo Heiress visibly grieved for the death of her partner, Jenna led the two of them to a nearby room and guided them to a pair of chairs.

"Hey now, are you alright? You didn't get hurt, did you? What happened?" she asked softly.

While she waited for Constance to answer, Jenna forced herself to put aside the fact that Jonathan likely died because he didn't get help quick enough. Her help, since she was probably the only qualified doctor close enough. But she couldn't think about that. The dead were beyond her help.

This time, a very different sound than that of a gunshot made her jump in her seat: It was a Deathclaw howl. She had almost completely forgotten about Malkos.

"... What is that Deathclaw doing?" she asked in an anxious whisper.

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