The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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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.

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

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.

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

"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!

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

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.

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

And a deep, DEEP voice would reply, over all the noise being made here...

"I have my moments."

Oh good. A flippant Deathclaw.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Andale
"Where's that dumbass video-game dog when you need him?"

One of the last things Arizona wanted as she followed Sylph to the source of the howl, was to instead be following her far more unstable... "Sister". Sylphee was unpredictable, just as likely to hurt friend as enemy, and she was irritatingly bubbly on top of that. So when she overheard Thomas telling Sylph that she had the choker that differentiated the two "sisters", she grimaced a little. Still, she ultimately reached into her pack and reluctantly tossed it over to her, especially once she noticed that the Blue-Haired Hellion was without her Anti-Materiel Rifle.

The two exchanged a nod before Arizona got a better look at where they were going and skidded to a halt. The scene before her was enough to make her take a step back and slowly lower her machine gun, blurting out a flat, "What."

A man, at least she had hoped it was simply a really stupid man, clad in Power Armor was desperately trying to get somewhere while riding a comically small plastic rocking horse. And as ridiculous as the scene was, at the back of Arizona's mind she couldn't help but marvel at the fact that that rocking horse, and by extension the spring it was connected to, hadn't crumpled underneath him long before that point. In fact...

Arizona slowly raised her machine gun, leveling it at the man as she tensed for what was coming.

"Look Daddy, a horsie! Can I ride it? Can I? Can I? CanI? CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?"

Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Thomas hesitate. But she didn't move as she called over.

"Let her, go ahead." she said with the slightest smirk at the corner of her mouth.

"Okay thanks!"

And as she jumped onto the back of the horse, the leader of the Dunwich Group slowly began to mentally count down from fifty. She managed to get to twenty before the inevitable happened. Sylphee, straining against the mounting speed, let go of the Power Armored Man, causing him to launch up and forward as the rocking horse beneath them both finally gave up.

"PULL!" Arizona cried out, Lester's barrel following the shape of Storm Shaun as he flew surprisingly gracefully through the air.

And with trained accuracy, she promptly unloaded a good twenty-five rounds into the airborne idiot. When he finally landed, she fired another quick burst in his direction just to make sure, then lowered Lester with a look of smug satisfaction on her face.

Fiona was completely confused, the howl starts, they go into Andale, and everything stops making sense. The poor Deathclaw Whisperer was staring, her eyes wide as saucers, as she tried to comprehend what the heck was going on. We had a dude doing air guitar and screaming at the top of his lungs about justice, a playground, Sylphie being ..childlike, we had Arizona shouting pull, and well. ..She doesn't know anymore.

The Deathclaws that follow the deathclaw whisperer were also very equally confused, ever seen a confused deathclaw? Now you have, Confused Deathclaws are a sight to behold, especially since one of them was actually scratching its head with its claws trying to make sense of this insanity.

Fiona wanted to say something, but in a situation as absurd as this, what do you say? So, she kept her mouth shut, continuing to stare in complete and utter confusion as all this happened.

I pull into Andale, having watched the scenes at the Undertakers' base. These Undertakers seemed interesting: They must have had some greater motivation besides simply burying the dead: That would be a Quixotic task in a world strewn with the corpses of billions of men who died in the war. I see a chance to make good with that organization and hit a major corporation which surely has useful technology to scavenge hard: Eliminate heirs to the fortune of the rival company. I spoke to the Princess and confirmed that she was planning an invasion of the major offices, and the contract was a thinly-veiled ruse to distract the company. Such a blow would cause chaos, horror and misery among the executives of Blamco, causing them to make stupid, reckless mistakes. A loss of a few assassins would not be a serious blow to the Undertakers: They are generally considered to be expendable and rarely live long lives, and their deaths can be advantageous if they have information.

Deathclaws are wild animals, and no matter how much control you think you have, animals not fully domesticated will turn on you, just like birds bite their owners constantly. Inciting them to attack should be an easy task. It would look like an accident to Blamco, but if I took a photo or a memento, I could show the Undertakers that I had

I position myself in the shadows on one hill and the jeep on another hill, with the only direction for my targets to go that is not in the line of fire, as they are flanked by the school and the playground and trying to get around one of those while under fire from above would be like the charge of the light brigade, being directly towards the cloud of radiation leaked by the destroyed boat. It must be producing at least 400 MilliSieverts, so exposure would cause radiation poisoning at the very least, and time spent consuming anti-radiation drugs would be time not spent fighting me or the Deathclaws. That umbrella had a fatal flaw: It could only block shots from one side. I tried to position my hand-held machine gun in a way that when the shots hit the umbrella, they would ricochet into the Deathclaws, causing them to turn feral. I attach a rope to the trigger of the jeep's guns and aim my machine gun at the same time, then open fire.

The following post was narrated by Jeremy Clarkson.

Or rather, it was written with his voice in mind.

Outside and down the ways from Rivet City, there was a tent. It was marked with the letters 'GT', and had an Eyebot looking over it...until someone shot it down. Inside, three wise men had gathered an audience to talk about cars. However, there was a slight problem.

Clarkson: Can I just say something about the Alfa Romeo?

Hammond: No, you can't.

Clarkson: Why not?

May: Wasteland, mate. No cars here, 'cept what Mad Max drives.

Hammond: We're here to do the Wild Wasteland, and that's it.

Clarkson: Well, not quite, because it does so happen that I managed to acquire a car, and it works. However, before all that, on this program...

A cyborg is launched.

A Deathclaw goes 'sploosh'.

And we see an old friend.

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

So, this is what had basically happened: The Enclave had lost track of one of its experiments for a while. Some were certain that he had malfunctioned during the battle with the NCR. Others had said he was mad already. One thing was for certain: He wasn't the picture of perfect sanity now. StormShaun had gone off his rocker, and had returned to the town he last remembered going to before it all went wrong. Trying to recapture the moment, he'd mounted an old playground horse and rode like the wind...but he wasn't going anywhere. The Enclave had found him and surrounded him, and then they surrounded the area and kept all the people in, just in case. This includes the heroes of our story, who were on their way to the Dunwich Building on a mission. It turns out, though, that there really wasn't much effort required. Sylph had jumped aboard the old horsey, caused it to snap, and as a result...

...StormShaun went flying! He sailed over Arizona, who pumped round after round into him like he was a flailing clay pigeon, and then she just kept shooting...until the damage threshold was reached and his chest exploded. That was the second time he'd died, and it was ultimately more embarrassing than the first. The Enclave scientist, Doctor-18, arrived on the scene now with The Three Musketeers, saw this, and stared.

Doctor-18: That was...alot easier than I thought it would be. Ahem... Children, you may disengage from the area.

The Replicants all left at once, without a word. The blockade was over. However, even as they stopped being a small army of well-armed walking barriers, the doctor herself couldn't help but notice there were Deathclaws...just standing there. She knew what this meant, or at least she thought so. One thing was for certain: Jack would have to hear about this.

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

Now, during this time, there was a man who did not know where he was, who was so unbelieveably lost that he appeared to be in several places at once, including the past. This man was terribly glitched, the result of poor writing and no attention to detail. Because of this, he was everywhere, and he was nowhere. Worse yet, he had taken the Wild Wasteland trait on top of the default levels of this game, so his problems were multiplied by a factor of twenty. Thus, when he fired his weapons, not only did he fail to hit anything, but - for just a moment - Fiona's Deathclaws disappeared from where they were and appeared right beside him, quite annoyed. What followed were loud roars, the sounds of tearing metal and flesh, and a series of girly screams. Lots of people around the Capital Wastelands heard this, but they had no idea what had gone on. The only evidence was that at the apex of an explosion...Moe, Larry, and Curly had reappeared beside Fiona like nothing had happened.

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

Clarkson: Which just goes to show you...never mess with a GM.

Hammond: Who was that guy, anyway?

Clarkson: No idea. Just some bloke that showed up with a terrible application uninvited.

May: Well, could be worse. Could be one of our guests.

Clarkson: Indeed. And with that, because we must move things along-

Hammond: What? No 'Conversation Street'?

Clarkson: Nope, no time. We must get right into Celebrity Braincrash!

Clarkson: Our guest today comes to you, courtesy of the Brotherhood of Steel. He's been all around the wasteland and he has even died once, already. Fortunately, and with much effort, the boys at the BoS have put him back together in his powersuit and sent him along. Please, everybody, welcome none other than Frank Rose!

We turn now to the back window where Frank Rose is walking up, clad in his patriotic armor.

Clarkson: This is going to be a real treat. Frank Rose has died already, so he can tell us what it's like on the other side.

May: I want to ask him what it's like, sealing himself in that tin can all the time.

Hammond: A bit cramped, I'd think. Er, hang on. Hang on a mo'. What's this?

Just then, a fast-moving gray vehicle swerved into view and rammed headlong into Frank Rose, causing him to explode into tiny bits. The white suit and helmet in the driver's seat were unmistakable.

Hammond: Was that The Stig?

Clarkson: No! He's taken the only working car for miles! The Chrysler Highwayman!

Hammond: I guess he got mad, watching Frank blow up all those vehicles.

May: Does that mean he's not coming on?

Hammond: No, James... Frank Rose has exploded, and his bits are strewn across the landscape for the molerats to eat at their leisure. He's not coming on.

Clarkson: This is a disaster. Right... I need to go retrieve the car. You chaps get back to the Wild Wasteland business.

Jeremy was then seen making a dash for the exit and soon, the sound of Vertibird propellers were heard.

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

Meanwhile...Springvale School was down a man, and the local talking Deathclaw was missing. Fortunately, there was another. He was smarter than the average Deathclaw, and he had a few mutations that made him slightly different among his own kind. Dressed from head to toe in a garb that concealed his true nature, we have Rath. Rath had most-recently rescued and delivered some young ones to the town of Megaton, then remained on the outskirts for a while until he was sure that everything was alright. Of course, now that he was alone, he could appreciate some of the surroundings.

Unfortunately, they were bleak.

Apart from Megaton, there were a number of desolate, damaged buildings that were either half-living or really not. There was Springvale, the old school, and a bunch of rubble. The thing was that he'd heard a number of sounds in that direction, which amounted to...gunshots, a Deathclaw howl, a boat exploding, and also...the on-and-off shouting of what might have been "Silphy-Silphy!". Sadly, due to his rather poor vision, Rath could not know what exactly had gone on without closer investigation. What he could tell for certain, though, was that there was another Deathclaw around, somewhere. In what state? Who knows? And the people? No idea. And the 'Silphy' sounds? Hell, if he knew.

For now, though, it's back to the tent...

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

...where there was a map, and a Clarkson to tell everyone about it.

Clarkson: At this time, the group bound for Dunwich will be able to continue west, where they may encounter more raiders and Yao Guai at he Cliffside Caverns. After that, however, begins the real deal. Tenpenny Tower here...

He pointed to it on the map.

Clarkson: ,,,marks the border of ghoul territory. The Cult of the Great Wet Ones have commandeered Roy Philips' mind and converted his ghoul-haven into a lookout tower. The skies will be filled with storm clouds from then on, making it akin to dusk, except at night. Cultish ghouls and their feral followers will roam the area, sometimes accompanied by braindead super mutants whose minds they have lobotomized into slavish berserkers. In the distance, at the center of the storm, there runs a fissure of unknown energy leading up into the clouds, where there is the face of a squid-like entity, the likes of which could have only come from beyond. The cult numbers are many, and the High Priest is a physical powerhouse. And that is all the exposition you need at this time.

Hammond: Right, so...Jeremy, did you ever get back the Highwayman?

Clarkson: Well, as a matter of fact, I did, but unfortunately, The Stig glitched the trunk into a mountain and left the car undriveable.

May: So, it won't be coming on either?

Clarkson: I'm afraid not, and on that terrible disappointment, we must come to the end of the episode. Goodbye!

He knew this was a bad idea, the chances of Roger or Sam actually being outside of Megaton's walls was very slim, while the chances of someone from the settlement spotting him, and possibly rallying enough people to try and kill him, were rather good; still, he missed his friends too much to not risk it. Being alone had never bothered him until he had rescued Sam and her brother, and now that they were gone, the emptiness dragged at him. Maybe one of them will see me. he thought as he approached the outskirts of what had once been called 'Springvale'.

Approaching from the southwest, he stuck to the high ground. The last time he'd been here, when he'd shepherded the kids to the safety of that walled town, the ruins had stuck like raider and he wasn't overly interested in drawing attention to himself at this point; though as he slowly crested the ridge overlooking the ruins, he could hear gunshots, an explosion, the howl of a Deathclaw and faintly, some sort of nonsensical chanting. Maybe those raiders are having some trouble. He thought with a mental smile.

Moving down the hill, he found himself angling towards what was left of a pre-war school. Well you're already making one bad decision...why not another? He let out a huffing laugh at himself, before stepping behind the same low house that he'd gone behind when he parted ways with his friends. Once in shelter he shrugged off his cloak, which he'd been wearing to hide his appearance, and then carefully shed the two duffle bags that he carried food and his other stuff in. Tucking the bags against the rocks, he covered them with the cloak and then scent marked the pile; that would ensure that he'd both be able to find it fairly easily and that nothing else would mess with his things.

Stretching and yawning, he scratched himself before cautiously making his way towards the source of the noises. To the casual observer Rath looked like any other Deathclaw, a scaly, horned, predatory nightmare straight out of the deepest depths of Hell; but to someone that knew what they were looking at, he was a bit 'off'. He more solidly built with a broader, shorter, torso and thicker, shorter, limbs and tail, with his claws and facial features followed the same pattern.

Reaching the old school, he sniffed the air. There were too many scents, conflicting and overlapping each other to make any more sense of what was happening, so the only way to know was to investigate further. He briefly considered pushing through the big double doors in front, but just as quickly rejected the idea; way to east to be ambushed. Sure he was tough, but that was no guarantee. Instead he headed around to the side where he could see some of the exterior walls had collapsed; maybe he could gain entrance that way?

The Wild Wastelands | A Few Years Ago | Home, BlamCo HQ, New Vegas
"Subject of Evaluation: Valkyrie"

- Keira 'Shield Maiden' Blamco -
Guest-starring:
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

A small section of the brahmin grazing fields behind the BlamCo Estate had been evacuated for a week. The construction of a sophisticated circular arena had just been completed. Outlined by walls of bulletproof glass, small standing platforms were erected for BlamCo's royal guard to peer over the top of the wall with ease, dart rifles at the ready. Outfitted across various vantage points was a selection of video cameras for the purposes of reviewing the material being recorded. There was one door-shaped entrance and three wall-sized entrances that were barred with security bolts which connected to cages of various sizes. Snarls, hissing, grumbles and clacking could be heard from these cages.

Positioned in the very center of the arena was none other than Kristin Blamco, current Heiress to the BlamCo family fortune and Battle Maiden among the clandestine group known as the BlamCo Valkyries. Kristin's role within the Valkyries was most certainly not a secret, but as a symbol of BlamCo's unwavering spirit and tenacity, she most certainly did an excellent job of misdirecting the public opinion's view of BlamCo to a more wholesome, if excessively spirited organisation. Certainly worthy of the title of Heiress, Kristin had no idea that she was chosen to be the perfect figurehead to divert attention away from BlamCo's more nefarious affairs.

Outfitted in full battle regalia, this meant a light ballistic armor weave fitted underneath an overlapping application of silver plate armor reinforcements. Complete with an asymmetrical cosmetic red dueling cape and customary winged helmet of the Valkyries. The Battle Maiden's armor was the heaviest and most durable of the sisters, as a close quarters combat specialist that refused the use of guns, this armor build was a necessity and a silent display of strength and endurance. Equipped with a power-claymore, a less effective variant of the super-sledge, this weapon made up for it's weaker kinetic enhancements with the sheer utility that followed it's weapon class. The power claymore excelled at sundering unarmored to lightly-armored targets.

Standing just outside the arena, Keira Blamco proceeded to relay all of this to a trusted doctor from the Follower's of the Apocalypse. The doctor, or more accurately, the psychiatrist was here to evaluate Kristin's mental state in a combat scenario. The sisters had noticed some increasingly odd behavior and sought an expert's opinion on the matter. If Kristin was deemed mentally-ill, it could negatively affect her standing in the BlamCo hierarchy. It was the doctor's suggestion to recreate a controlled environment for evaluation, hence the proceedings.
Overall, the sisters were worried. Sable especially, who chose to tend to the herds of brahmin instead of watching this. Sable cited that this might be too overwhelming for her to watch. Fair enough. Keira had other motivations as well, primarily though, she just wanted a definitive answer behind Kristin's behavior. Bearing in mind that this was less than a year after the deaths of their other sisters, Kristin's development was the most drastic.

"Keira! You try my patience," Kristin exclaimed, impatient yet regal. "Care to finally explain all of this?"

The doctor made a note on her pip-boy. Keira touched upon the microphone on her headset which connected a loudspeaker in the arena.

"Sorry to keeping you waiting, my dear sister." Keira raised an eyebrow at Kristin's defiant tone. "Today is nothing more than a standard combat evaluation. There will be no restrictions and you are free to use the arena as you wish, I assure you that your opponent's won't pay any heed to rules. If you find yourself in imminent danger, simply call for help and the evaluation will end."

Kristin removed the winged helmet and placed it against a nearby wall. Her disgust for items that obscured the face was well known, so when Keira ordered her to arrive in full armor right down to the last detail, the personal jab did not go unnoticed. Keira & Kristin butted heads on a constant basis, but their fundamental differences in temperament was more aggravating than reciprocal.

"This seems somewhat over the top for a 'standard' evaluation. But no matter!" Kristin smirked, growing ever more excited at the prospect of a decent challenge. She proceeded to tie her unnaturally-silver hair into a ponytail. Uprooting her sword and resting it on her shoulder, Kristin signaled that she was ready. "Do I get points for style?"

...

"Unlocking the Tier 1 gate," Keira replied dispassionately. "Good luck."

The security bolts on the first gate was released. Out from the shadows of the cage, the mottled blue-ish carapace of a Giant-class radscorpion emerged. The creature's claws clacked in anticipation as Kristin readied her weapon, the stinger was leveled at it's opponent and the two proceeded to circle one another. Radscorpions weren't known for their complicated maneuvering, but one must be mindful of the claws and especially the stinger. Combat from a distance was preferable, explosives proved to be extremely effective and if one finds themselves in close quarters, the fight almost always resulted in some personal damage.

True to the limited scope of the Radscorpion's nature, it bullrushed it's opponent. Shifting the grip on her sword, Kristin initiated with a downwards plunge into the carapace of the creature. With ease, the power sword rooted it's enemy in place. What happened next is something needed to be watched frame-by-frame after recording -- but Kristin had caught the radscorpion by the tail just beneath the stinger. To no avail, the creature thrashed to escape from the firmly planted blade. Sending a mighty sabaton crashing down on the base of the tail, Kristin shifted her grip to the tail and proceeded to snap the stinger with both hands. After minimal resistance, the stinger was ripped off entirely, the blade was uprooted and Kristin hacked at the claws before burying the blade into the twitching corpse.

Wiping at her brow, Kristin rested her arm on the planted weapon. "Come now, Keira! That was practically routine. Don't tell me that you woke me up at the crack of dawn for this."

Meanwhile, the doctor looked positively shocked. Keira was impressed at the battle, but ultimately disappointed with Kristin's disposition -- Kristin was enjoying herself. This wasn't the intended reaction she was hoping to elicit.

"Unlocking Tier 2 gate.", Keira announced nonchalantly. "Prepare yourself."

As soon as the security locks were released, a Nightstalker barreled towards Kristin. Gaping maw at the ready, the leaping attack was sidestepped and the beast scrambled to hiss and howl in unholy cacophony. Digging it's claws into the ground, the beast weaved back and forth, attempt to throw off it's prey before launching into another leaping attack. Kristin responded with a backhanded swing of her blade. At this angle, the off-handed swing deflected the attack but did minimal damage to the tough mixture of scales and hide.
Without any use for intimidation, the beast decided to dash at Kristin, gaping maw aimed at her legs. Resting the blade in the crook of her folded arm, sword pointed outwards in spear-like manner, Kristin executed a well-aimed thrust into mouth of the beast. Twisting the blade in further, the beast's jaws gnashed hopelessly and a mixture of blood and poison stained the blade. With a fearsome overhead slam, the corpse of the beast was broken on impact and her blade free once more.

Tearing at her cloak, Kristin proceeded to clean her sword. "I'll admit, that was a surprise. Shall we proceed?" Kristin did not seem remotely surprised, if anything, her bravado had skyrocketed.

"...Unlocking Tier 3 gate.", Keira's hesitation was easy to spot. "Be careful."

Preparing herself for another feral attack, Kristin was thrown off guard when a Lakelurk king-variant simply walked out of the cage. It's glowing eyes fixed on it's target, the fins and claws extended to convey a larger appearance. Intimidation would not work on Kristin it seemed, for it was her turn to make a charging attack. What was initially a piercing thrust to the neck had transitioned into a blunt strike to the chest -- you see, a lakelurk was notorious for it's sonic pulse shriek, this left Kristin effectively deaf for a minute. Doing so, however, seemed to enrage Kristin. All flash and stylish motions were replaced brutal hacking to the arms and neck of the creature. At one point, one thrust attack was so successful that it pinned the beast to the wall while Kristin went to work with her hands. Only by reviewing the footage, would one discover how Kristin crushed and pounded the head of the beast until it could shriek no longer.

While it was a major oversight, nobody had prepared for the Lakelurk's sonic shriek. While everyone caught their breath and proceeded to speak once the ringing in their ears had stopped, Keira noted a wild look in Kristin's eyes on one of the monitors.

That was precisely the result she was looking for. She needed to draw out the true reaction.
"Doctor, watch closely. I don't want you to miss a single detail. You'll know it when you see it."

Extending a reinforced riot-shield and grabbing her twin 10mm SMG's, Keira herself entered the arena.

Having returned to her helmet, Kristin cradled it under one arm. "Ahh, Keira! Come to give me my results in person?" Looking rather pleased with herself, she was ultimately tired from the extreme exertion. It was one thing to fight, it took quite another to fight in such manner without taking a scratch. "Might I propose a small break?"

"Denied."

The crash of a heavy shield being slammed into the ground resonated among everyone watching. The click of an SMG being leveled at her sister cut through the lighthearted atmosphere.

"Keira. Explain yourself." Kristin cautiously placed her hand above the cross-guard and raised her blade to shield her face, she looked incredulous. "This isn't funny."

"You're right, it isn't. But this so-called evaluation can easily end in your 'accidental' death. And we all know I am more fitting for the title of Heiress."

Keira pulled the trigger and opened fire on Kristin, emptying a magazine of rubber bullets on Kristin's stationary form. She was well-armored, but an onslaught of non-lethal rounds of machine gun fire was nothing to laugh at. Kristin's knees buckled, held aloft by the sword being planted into the ground.

"You are at the upper crust of society, yet look at you. Fighting lowly beasts of this insipid wasteland. You lack refinement, you think with your heart and make little use of your head. You're a boorish reflection of this family's backwards traditions. Our fight is over. We have societal dominance, yet you are dragging us back 200 years every time we go out on these useless hunting expeditions. Let me tell you right now, those who couldn't defend themselves outside these walls deserve to die. We shouldn't waste our resources and our precious lives on commoners!"

The last few lines were spat with fury and in that fury, Keira proceeded to smash Kristin in the face with the shield.

"BlamCo's very own Valkyrie? Some so-called Valkyrie you are. The real world cares not for your titles and nicknames --- !!?!!"

~*CLANG!!!*~

A forceful two-handed swing of the blade had made contact with the shield. Kristin had gotten to her feet, fixed her winged helmet upon her head and charged forward for another concentrated slash. The kinetic force of Kristin's strikes were brilliant but nullified behind the shield, they were effective at forcing Keira to use both hands to stabilize the shield.

"So that's what it takes to tick you off? Insulting your worthless title?"

The Valkyrie responded with a firm kick to the shield, reversing the bash and throwing Keira off balance. Launching into a flurry of strikes, Keira was visibly pushed backwards as Kristin calculated striking from different angles. With her back to the wall, Keira prepared for a strike that never arrived, instead a gauntlet closed it's grip on the shield, throwing it aside with sheer force while Kristin followed up with a devastating punch to the gut. When the shield hit the floor, Kristin had lifted Keira against the wall by the throat.

"Shall I offer you salvation, Shield Maiden? You are a disgrace to your name. We decide upon those that die, we offer a blissful paradise to the worthy and we feast until our very last hour. Never-ending conflict to resolve the final conflict, that is our aim! We have no need for monetary gain or earthly temptations. If you have fallen from such grace, then purification is in order! What say you, Shield Maiden!?"

Keira eyes rolled back as she gasped and banged on the glass wall. The Valkyrie released her grip and dropped Keira with nary a care. Taking a few measured paces, Kristin raised her blade in silent encouragement. Purification through battle. The honor-bound Valkyrie was ready to kill Keira if she engaged any further.

At a complete disadvantage, Keira screamed out to the guards: "Tranquilizer darts! Fire!"
From every conceivable angle, the BlamCo royal guard fired upon the Valkyrie. Most of the rounds glanced off her armor, but a few lucky shots had hit the exposed skin on her neck. Funny thing about tranquilizer darts, it took a few minutes to truly take hold, and to avoid death via toxicity from overdose, the darts weren't tailored for complete sedation. This was balanced out by the multiple embedded rounds. All that did was enrage the Valkyrie while she was simply put on a timer.

A forceful gauntlet grabbed Keira by the skull and proceeded to slam her back into the ground. Keira pulled at her remaining SMG, a futile effort that was crushed underneath the Valkyrie's heel. Keira expected the killing blow to arrive yet silence had taken hold of the Valkyrie, who was stumbling towards her sword.

The sounds of medical attention could be heard, but their vision had both gone black.



~Two Days Later~

"Peritraumatic dissociation."

...

Kristin, Sable & Keira were all seated on separate couches looking at the various video feeds replaying the various fights on a loop. The doctor from the Follower's of the Apocalypse had learned much of the sister's woes for Kristin Blamco. After gathering some information from Sable Blamco. The psychiatrist felt that she had a firm grasp on Kristin's particular case.

"Allow me to explain: We often associate dissociation, a disconnect from reality, as a negative force. When faced with an overwhelming trauma or an imminent danger to one's life, it is quite natural for the emotional response to override one's training or mental conditioning. Even hardened Veterans can fall apart on the battlefield or succumb to emotional numbing due to the intense nature of the environmental stressors. This negatively impacts performance and can often be observed with the more common signs associated with depersonalization."

The doctor gestured at the screens conveying Kristin's fight with the creatures. Special attention was paid to Kristin's intense focus during combat, the boisterous taunting, followed by her looks of satisfaction after the battle was complete.

"As observed, when the combat scenario is within Kristin's control -- there is a multi-layered focus on battle, style, form, prediction of attacks and the relief of triumph."

Attention was drawn to the fight with Keira. Kristin's speech was replayed for all to hear. Followed by an odd focus on hand-to-hand combat and difference in stances and speech.

"Now when Kristin's life is truly in danger, or at least perceived to be in danger. Kristin dissociates in an adaptive manner. This mental state is akin to an awakened role, but this is clearly not acting -- this is an override of Kristin's casual identity, this form is a manifestation of Kristin's deep-rooted beliefs in the classical & contemporary depictions of the Norse mythological Valkyries."

Pointing at a side-by-side comparison of Kristin's stance and moves, the doctor continued.

"Kristin is very orientated with finesse and proper form. She is boisterous and grand on the battlefield, confident enough to display style in her force. Yet if we look at the Valkyrie, all pretenses fall away. Her attacks become pragmatic and finesse is replaced with brutality. There is talk of honor, rules and allusions to directly working within the realm of Valhalla."

"At this point, Kristin is emotionally overtaxed. Instead of crumbling or making mistakes, the Valkyrie-state enhances her focus on the perceived enemy. Pain and irrelevant external stimulus is ignored. It's not that the body doesn't register these factors, but her mind creates such an intense tunnel-vision during these moments. The only drawbacks one can notice is a loss of memory while Kristin is returning to her normal self. Plus, in this Valkyrie state, this intense focus can lead to poor long-term decision-making. Communication from non-hostile forces might prove to be difficult, but not impossible."

"Now, as I have learned. It is a Blamco family tradition to train the women to be warriors with individualized education found among higher society, while the men tend to home-keeping or business pursuits. This occurs because the men can carry on the Blamco name. It's a role-reversal essentially. Now I would advise against exposure to combat scenarios...but I realize that request might fall on deaf ears."

"Let me reiterate, Kristin Blamco has an overly-adaptive response to trauma. If anything, her Valkyrie state is an elaborate defense mechanism, yet also a strong part of her core identity."

---

The doctor was paid handsomely, enough to retire to be quite honest, but mostly as insurance that none of this would fall into public knowledge.

While this had shed a lot of light on Kristin's state of being. This meant that she could still safely retain her title as BlamCo Heiress. On a more personal side, an undeniable rift had formed between Kristin and Keira's relationship -- they tolerated one another at best.

One thing was for certain: Attacking Kristin Blamco in melee combat was ill-advised.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Outside Springvale
A Young Lady's Primer to Etiquette and Assassinations: Chapter 3
By: Victoria McGee

Except from Victoria's Manuscript:

On Gentleman Callers

To my future young ladies of the Wastelands,

There comes a day in every woman's life when they will be approached by a gentleman caller and on that day, I hope that these words of wisdom will be remembered. Remember, my dears that not all titled gentry will act in an appropriate manner and it is the duty of a lady to ensure that these gentlemen remain gentle while maintaining their interest. While there are those among the upper crusts of society that would have you believe that a woman's role is to remain silent, this is only partial truth. By remaining silent, a lady not only increases the mystery that surrounds her but also ensures that she remains perceptive to any cues that would eliminate her gentleman caller as an ideal candidate as her future husband. By also remaining tight lipped, a lady is also careful not to let any familial secrets slip, for even the most polite of the gentry will not hesitate to use embarassing information to gain the upper hand in other facets.

A young lady would be smart to remember that reputation is as important as her purity. A young lady who is known to be promiscuous will attract only the dregs of the elite who have naught but ill intent towards her.

Just as a young lady must mind her reputation, so too must you, my Black Widows. A Black widow is limited in the number of times that she is able to attract a target. This is due not only to age but her reputation as well. Remember that your success is dependant not only on the elimination of your target but ensuring that no one suspects a thing. To become known as a Black Widow is to invite failure. A smart Black Widow will choose a target with a limited number of friends and family. To remember this is to guarantee success.

Your Teacher,

V.M.

Victoria had been in hiding for some minutes now, just around the corner from where the Deathclaw was hunched over, its ear pressed to the ground like a dinosaur attempting verify whether or not a train was approaching before crossing a set of tracks. If she attempted to move quietly, a false step would have spelled out her rather bloody and messy doom. Having buried her share of Deathclaw victims, she was aware of the sort of damage that one of the savage beasts was able to inflict upon even a heavily armored opponent. Had she been armed with something a little larger in the caliber department, she might have been able to put up a good fight, however, any weapon that would have proven itself useful for such an engagement had been left with Frank and Rose, a draft Brahmin that Victoria used to travel back to the D.C. Wastelands. Little did Victoria know that her particular Brahmin had been used by a certain Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist as a mobile bovine explosives charge and that her equipment was scattered about the crater of that was formerly Doctor Evil's Evil Vault of Evil. To make matters worse, she really had to pee.

A noise in the distance caught her attention. It was the sound of heavy combat boots crunching up bits of gravel under heel. It was the sound of a Carivan and its heavily armed escorts arriving to investigate the nuclear blast and scavenge the area of anything useful or valueable. It was the sound of survival for the Full Bladdered Beauty. Furling her parasol, the Silk and Laced Lady bolted towards the group, throwing her arms towardsthe sky, waving frantically as she ran towards the group, smiling to herself when she noted that several members of the carivan's guards were armed with medium caliber weaponry and a couple of energy weapons.

"HELP! HEEEEEEELP!" She screamed loudly as Victoria ran directly into their line of sight. The group stopped as their eyes feasted on the sight of a the Elegant Undertaker running towards them, her dress and scarf fluttering behind her as she ran, before collapsing in one of the guard captain's arms. Her chest heaved dramatically as she pressed he bosom against him, "Oh... oh thank god..." she rasped as she slipped into the role of damsel in distress like a young maiden slid into a lake to bathe, "there... there's... there's a de - WOAH!!"

*THUD!*

The Stealthy Assassin found herself on the deposited roughly onto the hard ground as the guard captain released his grip on her before he pointed the barrel of his Laser Rifle in her face. The man's action was rather unexpected since Victoria McGee's wilting flower routine had a very high rate of success. She'd never received such a reaction, even among certain Raider groups, who were known not to have the best of manners nor intentions. Glaring at the man who had dropped her, the Dutchess of the Dead had a sudden bout of deja vu.

"Donny? Donny Wahlenberger?" The woman's voice reflected the confusion that she trickled to the surface of her thoughts. It had been a few years now since she had seduced young Donny Wahlenberger before he disappeared under mysterious circumstances on a hunting expedition. No one had suspected the young and inconsoleable fiance, who went by the name Nicole Navarone, as being responsible for overload that caused the man's prized plasma rifle to detonate in his face.

"Guess again, Nicky... or should I call you Vicky instead?" responded Mark Wahlenberger, Donny's older brother, and leader of the mercenary group known as the Funky Bunch, before he smacked the side of the grounded gravedigger's head with the side of his rifle, "You killed my brother... prepare to die. Oh and say hi to your mother for me..."

"MARK!" Another of the guards responded before Victoria's skull was turned into a fine grey ash.

"What Danny? Can't chu see I'm busy here?" The clear leader of the Wahlenberger Brothers responded, his voice sounding a shade on the whiny side as he shifted his attention away from his target for a fraction of a second. It was all Victoria needed.

"Deathclaw!!"

As all attention was drawn towards Malkos the Deathclaw, Victoria made her move, wresting one of the razor sharp gems from her necklace before she drove it through the wrist of Mark Wahlenberger. Grabbing the laser rifle from man's weakened grip, the Darkly Dressed Death Dealer grinned from her position on the ground as felt the rumbling of the inbound death beast... those were some good vibrations.

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

Yes, they were good vibrations, alright. Because Victoria had gone on a run, Malkos no longer had to track the footprints on the ground and could just follow. However, in the time it had taken to work on closing the gap, the woman had reached some people, been knocked down, and then disarmed the man holding a gun on her...which was a problem. Fortunately, along the way, the Thud-Thudding monster was engaging in some un-Deathclaw-like conduct. He'd scooped up a bunch of dirt and was throwing the lot of it in her face!

In the words of a wormy superhero, "EAT DIRT!"

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

If it weren't for the fact that Victoria McGee's face, eyes, nose and mouth were already filled with dirt, she might have made a comment regarding her inability to eat said dirt, in light of the fact that she did not have any utensils. Of course, had she been able to make a comment, the Etiquette minded Undertaker would have been commiting one of etiquette's cardinal since as her mouth was filled With the Deathclaw's handtossed appetizer.

Brushing the filth off of her face, it was decidedly time to move on to the main course. Squeezing the trigger of the laser rifle, one of the guards grunted as he felt a sudden searing sensation in his sternum before he sizzled into dust, his remains scattering in the wind. Glancing around, the Laser Ladened Lady took stock of the situation and noted that the guards had taken up a defensive position behind their Brahmin, using the animals as cover while revealing a supply of explosives that would have made short work of both the Ferrywoman as well as the Death Dealing Mutant Dinosaur. Taking careful aim, the silent assassin made reminded the others of her presence... by detonating the explosives with a well placed shot.

Down a few guard and with a deathclaw charging towards them, the carivan fell into chaos as they started to panic, laying down gunfire at both Malkos and Victoria. Unfurling her parasol, Victoria turned towards the Deathclaw, her artificial voice cutting through the chaos. Idealy it would have been the perfect scenario for the Black Wearing Widow to escape but the elimination of one of the Funky Bunch was too ideal a reward to completely ignore. The only issue was that she could not kill the entirety of the gang on her own.

"Excuse me... I would like to propose a temporary armistice until such a time as the group shooting at us is no longer a threat. Would you be amenable to such a proposition?" The Formal Female Graver Digger asked politely as she unleashed a barrage of suppressive fire on the group.

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

Malkos glared at her, then the caravan, then back at her. There was definitely a low rumble of a growl as the situation annoyed him, even moreso when one of the hapless riflemen dinged a bullet off of his horn. The Deathclaw reached down and grabbed the parasol, of all things, and muttered "Borrowing this." as he approached the caravan guards sort of protected by it. Uhh, this wasn't normal behavior for the species. They were gonna have to choose between fight or flight pretty fast, and he was gonna Thump the ones still fighting with his fist.

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

The Darkly Dressed Dutchess of the Dead frowned at the sight of the Deathclaw holding her parasol in front of it like a shield. To be perfectly honest, it was a not due to the fact that it was a rather ridiculous sight considering the object was only large enough to cover a small portion of the creature's body, it was due to the fact that the sight brought on a flurry of ill timed mental images. The involuntary thought of a reptilian tank dressed in a lace and silk dress invaded her thoughts, much like the sharp claws belonging to her temporary ally invaded another guard's skull. Perhaps a traditional maid outfit or ... was it more a butler? Having no time to have checked the plumbing downstairs, the Gender Questioning Gravedigger was unsure if she was dealing with a Mister or a Miss. Could it be possible that among Deathclaw society, if there was indeed such a thing, mistaking gender was grounds for evisceration?

Thinking on the matter, Victoria involuntarily started imagining the Deathclaw in a black butler's uniform. Perhaps with a small tea porceline tea set in one of his massive claws. It occurred to the bleeding from the head blood letter that she might have a mild concussion due to Mark Wahlenberger's laser rifle butt strike. A bullet, ironically deflected off of the parasol in the Reptilian Reprobate's hand, struck the Dame of Deathdealing in the jaw, flattening on impact as it tore through the silk scarf that covered her lower jaw. Her mind returning to the task at hand, Victoria raised the rifle to her shoulder and took aim at the bleeding carivan guard leader, the brother of her victim.

"How about you say hi to your mother for me?" Victoria said, well aware that Mark Wahlenberger's mother had passed away years ago, as she squeezed the trigger and ended the life of the Funky Bunch's leader. Feeling more than a little satisfied over the man's death, the Murderous Madamoiselle looked for her next victim and noticed that they were grouped in front of the Deathclaw, unloading every weapon they had in hand.

Running forward, with her Frenemy placed between her and the source of the barrage of bullets, the Book-on-head Balancing Black Betty hopped up onto Malkos' back and used him as a ramp from which she could pounce on her victims, probably causing a few bruises on the Deathclaw along the way thanks to the woman's heels. Landing next to one of the few remaining Funky Bunchers, the Mistress of Murder grinned ferally and revealed a set of teeth as vicious looking as her Deathclaw compatriot's.

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

That wasn't very nice, and he didn't like that, at all. Fortunately, there were ways to immediately handle that. After she had used him like a springboard to handle some of the human foes, Malkos waited for things to line up and then...WHOOSH! Deathclaws sometimes leap at prey with their claws coming down in an X-pattern. This one did that, but right now his arms were spread wide, and basically every human in range of that was going to get knocked right off their feet and possibly trampled.

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

Victoria's jaws of death were about to take a bite out of the tender bits of a Funky Buncher's neck when she noticed that everyone in the group was uncharacteristically wide eyed. It was true that most people with a brain that encountered the sight of a woman dressed to the nines in the garments of high society froze at the sight of her bared teeth, the group that surrounded her was even more wide-eyed than normal. And then she felt the heat of the noon-time sun being blocked out, like an unscheduled lunar eclipse. Taking the bait, the Damsel of Distress was rather distressed by the sight of a multi-hundred pound mutant lizard in the air, its claws outstretched like wings.

"(Not good...)" The thought came reflexively as did the motion. Victoria took the man in her arms and waltzed, using the centripedal motion of the dance maneuver to hurl her out of range of Malkos' cross slash... or rather towards airborne Deathclaw... and under him.

*SNIKT! SNIKT!*

The world went wet with gibs as the bodies of several men went flying... along with their limbs and their heads. It was the sort of attack that Herschell Gordon Lewis would have been proud of. Blood, gore, limbs, viscera... the whole nine yards... sent into all manners of locations, including a nice coat for the Brahmin that had the unfortunate role of being canvas to Malkos' art.

So... that took care of the carivanners and their guards... but where did that leave the unlikely allies? Victoria stood behind Malkos with the laser rifle pointed at the creature's back, her chest heaving at having exerted herself in such an unladylike manner. She could have pulled the trigger and shot the Deathclaw where the sun didn't shine, that was every creature's weakpoint, other than their mouth, wasn't it?

Instead, she picked up the discarded parasol, which the creature dropped prior to his super julienne slice job, with the rifle still in her hand, ready to unfurl the device should she need to... only she didn't... nor did she squeeze the trigger. She didn't want to kill it... and she didn't want for it to be the one to kill her.

"I didn't mean to kill your friend." Victoria mumbled, hoping that it was time for this little action sequence to be over and the conversation to begin, "I had wanted to kill him in the past... but I didn't mean to kill him...."

The Deathclaw turned and rumbled slightly.

"You're mistaken. A horned woman asked me to look after the girl. I smelled the powder on the umbrella. You made her kill him with it."

Victoria sighed audibly. How was she going to explain her actions to the thing? How could she explain it in words that he'd understand. Did he understand what instinct was? Would he know that instinctive movements could be drilled into one's head and movements could be trained to be automatic? A motion such as the unfurling of her parasol in defense was as natural to her as breathing and possibly as natural as...

"It was as instinctive an action as ... ahem... slaughter is to members of your species," The Trained assassin said before explaining "She pulled her weapon on me and I shielded myself. Even if I hadn't the man would have been dead considering the child used a shotgun. That particular weapon is like that last strike you used instead of a simple and direct punch... oh and don't you think that I didn't notice that you almost hit me back there with before you finished off the last of them."

Deathclaws don't deal in 'What might have been', but we will say this: A Deathclaw trying to make a grin on its face was downright horrifying.

"Everyone knows Deathclaws don't see very well."

Fortunately, that trauma-inducing expression vanished soon after.

"You're leaving, and you're never to return, or you're joining that pile of meat right now."

True, a bunch of caravan guards fired upon him, but between the actual use of the parasol and being a Deathclaw, that wouldn't count for much, so that laser would be hard-pressed to finish what they started.

She didn't need to be told twice in regards to that. She had a destination and no plans after reaching that destination. In all likelihood, this Deathclaw was the second to last person that Victoria would ever speak to. It was unfortunate that it hadn't been a more civil conversation, especially considering the forthrightness of his speech. Tossing the unweildy laser rifle to the ground, the woman acquiesced to the Deathclaw's demand and nodded.

"I would not have it any other way." The woman said, returning to her more formal mode of speech, "Seeing as how this is the last time we will meet, will you humor me and answer this question? Are you male or female because after being struck by that man, my mind could not help but wonder if you would be wearing a maid's outfit or a butler's outfit?"

This woman was about as weird as the blind girl, the no-face, and the cheese woman...though not the Sylphys.

"Male. You tell by the horns."

He remained poised until she finally left, which she did after a moment's worth of grinning... and a momentary stop next to a rubbage bin to relieve herself.


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale
Finding Malkos... or something...
Constance Sorrowfeld

The entirety of the world was falling around the blind as a bat American Enclave Scout of America, almost literally, as bits and pieces of wall debris fell on Constance Sorrowfeld. In her arms was the body of Jonathan McKenna, who had probably been the closest thing to a father to her given the level of verbal abuse and neglect that she'd received from him. The blood, his arterial blood, stained the floor red, though she would have never known it, and mingled with the tears that streamed down the face of the young teenager who refused to let go of the corpse, even when Miss Jenna pried Constance off of Mister McKenna to attempt to save the man's life. Even with all the skill in the world, Miss Jenna would never have been able to patch up the arteries that had been shredded to ribbons by the dozens and dozens of pellets that had torn through his throat, pellets that had originated from Constance's very own shotgun.

In the next moments she found herself on the floor, crouched in the slick pool of blood, her wrist throbbing. She vaguely remembered being disarmed by the BlamCo Valkyrie before being unceremoniously deposited on the floor where Miss Kristin's words bounced around in the remains of Constance's tattered mind.

"What happened!?! What did you do!?! Explain yourself!!!"

"Someone was here... she... she deflected my bullets... I kill him... I kill Mister McKenna..." The Cat Eared Scout murmured as she started to rock back and forth, bringing her blood slicked legs up to her chest, "I kill him... she... was going to stab him... but I kill him... I shot at her and I killed him..."

She might as well have been speaking to thin air. The Mourning Valkyrie had disappeared with the body of her friend, probably to bury him and grieve for her loss. Despite the fact that the two seemed to be to harbor resentment towards each other, the manner in which Miss Kristin had behaved spoke of a of a prior friendship. In the distance Constance's ears detected debris being flung up into the air. The "sight" was followed by the telltale tremors of a nuclear detonation.

"... What is that Deathclaw doing?" Miss Jenna whispered anxiously, still seated in the room with Constance.

Indeed, what was Malkos the Intelligent Deathclaw doing? Inquiring minds wanted to know, including the mind that belonged to a certain mother figure in the team killing American Enclave Scout of America, Enclave Intelligence Officer #411. With the loss of Jonathan McKenna, who had been assigned the role of Weapon's Smith for Project Amoeba, Constance's mother hoped to do a better job of resuscitating the project than the Doctor had done resuscitating Jonathan McKenna.

"CONSTANCE!" A familiar and terrifying yet tinny sounding voice that echoed within the confined space of the kitchen and caused the Sorrowful and Shoddy Shotgun Surgeon to practically leap to the ceiling.

"M... m... mom?" The Tear-Choked Teenager stuttered as she looked for the nearest hole to crawl into before remembering herself. Wiping the tears from her eyes, the young Enclave Youth semi-snapped off a semi-smart salute, "I mean... Enclave Intelligence Officer #411, ma'am."

"You have really FUCKED UP this time. For a child of mine, who I raised instead of disposed of in a dumpster like the doctors had recommended, you have turned into such a disappointment. You are really the poorest example of a child of the Enclave. By attempting to kill that Undertaker Bitch without the foresight to know that you would end up killing such a high value ally, you have put the success of this mission... no, the future of Enclave glory in jeopardy! You stupid little child, you not only managed to kill your weapons developer, you managed to allow your only saving grace to out of your containment and go rampaging after a non-vital target!" Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 continued, causing her daughter to flinch, but not before wondering how she would have been able to stop Malkos in the first place, "With your current results, you would be lucky to become a member of the Enclave Maintenance Corp as the second Maintenance Sister. But your superior officer and your loving mother has a means of saving your useless hide. Here are your updated mission objectives. You are to recover the missing Deathclaw, Malkos. You are to then complete training with the your designated trainer, the so called 'Valkyrie.' Finally, you are to secure a supply of weapons by any means necessary... even if you have to dig them out of the Ruins of Ravenrock by hand, DO IT! Is that understood?!"

"Y--Yes ma'am!" Constance responded before snapping off another salute and promptly running out the door without thinking, leaving the Eyebot and Miss Jenna alone for a moment.

"That blasted Henry McGee and his damnable Undertakers think they can throw a wrench in my plans... he's got another thing coming..."The Eyebot muttered to itself as it started to float off but not before grabbing a scan of Miss Jenna and her belongings.

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

"Gotta find Malkos... Gotta find Malkos... Gotta find Malkos..." the American Enclave Scout of America muttered to herself as she exited the grounds of her former Springvale Elementary School. It was quite apparent that she had one thing on her mind and that was to locate and recover the Deathclaw known as Malkos. Unfortunately for Constance Sorrowfeld, things weren't going according to plan that particular day, not that what was about to happen was particularly Constance's fault but still... it was just not the teenager's day.

A rather large statistical anomaly had developed around the former Springvale Elementary school. Deathclaws were not too abundant in numbers around the town known as Megaton and Five deathclaws in the form of Malkos, Larry, Curly, Moe and the newest member of the Claw family, Rath, was a bit of a jump in the local Killer Reptilian population. Of those number, two members of the new Deathclaw population were counted among the rarest variation of Deathclaw, the Intelligent Deathclaw. For anyone statistically inclined, that would mean that 40% of the Deathclaw population around Megaton were intelligent, the far largest concentration per capita in the Former United States. All this was unknown to anyone since the newest addition to the Wild Wasteland family had not yet introduced themselves to anyone... but that was about to change.

"THERE YOU ARE!" Constance exclaimed, relieved that she would not be joining the Enclave as a member of the Enclave Maintenance Brothers... and the Maintenance Sister.

Now, one MIGHT be wondering how it was that Constance had determined that the Deathclaw in her sights was an Intelligent Deathclaw and not your run of the mill salsa making machine Deathclaw. The first part was obvious, it did not attack her when it first spotted her. The second was equally as obvious as the first, if the first parts was true, it stood to reason that this was an intelligent Deathclaw and given the rarity of intelligent Deathclaws, there was a very very very good chance that this was Malkos. So it might have come as a surprise to Rath when a girl with metallic cat-like ears and a fur covered vestigial tail ran up to him and grabbed him by a claw.

"Let's get back to the school before the Megatonians see you, Malkos." Constance said as she started to pull on her objective by his long clawed finger.

He moved with a softness of pace that his less intelligent brethren never bothered with, hoping to remain undetected for as long as possible, while constantly testing the air. Old blood and dust, sweat and decay...the usual smells of the wasteland. He could feel the presence of a couple of humans nearby, their minds acting like frustratingly indistinct beacons; but that was as good as it got. He surmised they were likely inside the ruins, given the lack of real cover outside; he just hoped he wasn't about to get ambushed with something like a rocket launcher.

As the light breeze shifted, he tested the air once more. Hmm...human female, young...seems distressed. I wo- His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the distinct scent of a male Deathclaw. That'd do it. Well that's that I guess. A lone human rarely did well against the less 'civilized' members of his species, he just hoped the female died quickly. Distracted by those thoughts he missed the sensation that one of the human 'beacons' was getting stronger, like it was approaching, until a strange young human burst into view.

"THERE YOU ARE!"

Rath had seen other human adorn themselves with bits of metal, though this one lacked the 'Raider stink' most of the others carried; the tail, which he spotted as she approached, was new. Maybe there is more mutation among them than I first thought. Even more surprising than her appearance, or her apparent lack of fear of a nearly eight foot tall murder-lizard, was when she grabbed a claw and tried to get him to follow her.

"Let's get back to the school before the Megatonians see you, Malkos."

She had about as much a chance of dragging a mountain as she did shifting his bulk, so while she tugged at his finger, Rath just stood there feeling rather confused. Seeing as he hadn't 'talked' to anyone is a while, it took a moment to concentrate on this new arrival before he 'spoke'. [Excuse me.] He said, his voice felt more that heard inside the girl's head. [I am not this 'Malkos' that you are looking for...though the fact that I could be mistaken for them raises a question or two. My name is Rath, who might you be?]

The Wild Wastelands | Present Day | Springvale Elementary School
"Recovery"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

The sting of a cold breeze and the ever-growing fall of darkness had awoken Kristin from her Valkyrian state.

" - and I will meet you in the afterlife. For now, I must return to my duties. Rest well."

Unclasping her hands, the prayers had stopped once she felt truly present. Glimpses of her actions proceeding Jonathan's death had come flooding back, drowning her in waves of regret. The faulty deflections of responsibility did little to quell the tide of sorrow. In her blind anguish, Kristin had lost control and almost hurt Constance. While her mind would only be eased with an explanation, she could still hear the desperate murmurs of a shell-shocked blood-stained young woman. Kristin was a Warrior first, a Princess second and Lady third. She was not a barbarian -- and amends should be made. It had become increasingly apparent that time was fleeting and apologies should be made as soon as possible. They could talk after they had settled down.

Kristin Blamco made every effort to avoid romantic entanglements, given that her political status had made dating to be a messy affair, one where she couldn't quite tell good intent from manipulation. The battlefield and cooking was easier to understand. Even with her aversion or rather, fear, of romance - this did not nullify any nurturing qualities she bore as a Lady and a person.

Standing up, there was a small amount of satisfaction once she realized that Jonathan was carried all the way to the side of Lucy Black's house. The stone-based solution that encased her sword had been broken off entirely, exposing the power claymore hiding the true nature of her weapon...without a BlamCo Lab and maintenance team, Kristin had lost the crushing ability she so fondly desired for armored opponents. The power claymore would need some work with a whetstone and some cleaning, but the double edge was still keen. At least her sundering ability was increased with a lighter weight to boot.

After gathering some aged-fauna from Lucy Black's home, a broken slab of rock served as a makeshift tombstone which bore an engraving of Jonathan's initials.

Creativity followed limitation, so it was on that note that Kristin started to make her way back to the entrance of the school. Speaking of which, what exactly had happened to cause so much property damage!? Her eyes followed a trail of debris leading away from the school right down to a collapsed wall on the other side of the school. Not only was it unsightly, but it was a security risk if any third-parties decided to join them. A mental note was made that Sylphy strength training would include the rebuilding and fortification of their base - fortunately, she had the manpower, or woman-power to be exact.

"THERE YOU ARE!"

A relieved exclamation pierced the quiet atmosphere. Kristin's head snapped to the direction of the sound and broke out into a small jog. That was Constance, right? It was tremendously close by. But why the panic in her voice?

Rounding the corner, the sight of the Deathclaw towering over Constance had drawn a reactionary response to grab her sword.

[... -- My name is Rath, who might you be?]

Sheepishly, Kristin checked herself for a head wound. Not only had she interrupted a conversation, but she had learned that Deathclaws could talk. It seemed that this Deathclaw was making a habit of seeing the worst of her now.

"Rath! So that's your name!" Kristin announced, surprisingly chirpy over the novelty of a talking Deathclaw. Sable would be so jealous. "It seems like you've put on some weight! That's good, goes to show you what the wonders of a properly cooked BlamCo cuisine could do for you. I say, you lot are too thin -- ..."

Kristin trailed off when she noticed Constance. It wasn't Constance that bothered her, it was the state of Constance. Puffy red eyes, tear trails, blood-soaked clothing, shaking hands and a distraught wide-eyed gaze. This young woman was on the verge of an emotional collapse.

"Mister Rath.", Kristin addressed the Deathclaw respectfully. If there's one thing Sable taught her over time, it was to respect the Wild Wasteland. "If you're still feeling peckish, I'm sure I can cook you something of greater quantity. I have one more classroom to feed and there's bound to be an excess of food..."

Kristin directed her gaze at Constance, taking a step forward and laying a reassuring hand on her shoulder. Kristin had questions, yes, questions that could change the very nature of their relationship. But the Leader of the Valkyries needed to put her teammates first.

"...remember that shower you promised me? We should get ourselves cleaned up.", It was the most polite way to say that we looked terrible. Kristin noted that she too was caked in blood. "Perhaps chat a little and maybe you can help me with the cooking, yeah? Simple and quick dish for the remaining Sylphy's, I promise."

Looking up at Rath again, "Give us some time? Feel free to plug the hole in the wall, I mean, that's technically a room now, I suppose."

Kristin was babbling, more than normal that is. Today had shaken her pretty badly, even with years of mental conditioning, she couldn't hide her own fears about the future. Still, she needed to stay strong -- too often had she found that people scattered in a crisis, rather than uniting. One could say that she was compensating heavily with the busywork, but she wanted to put tonight behind with all of her duties finished.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | New Vegas
"Don't beg for attention. It's unbecoming."
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

There was indeed a goal behind Sable's complete disregard for courtly manners, for those within the walls of BlamCo did not move without purpose. The cumbersome social rituals of high society worked towards the preservation, elevation, destruction and evaluation of one's reputation. The greater the attention one attracts to their social standing, the more limited one's actions become. In those limitations followed the pressure and expectations of external forces weighing upon those in power to succeed, or more bitterly, to fail.

One might be wondering why Sable went along with the etiquette of the times and the answer was laughably simple: Words were the weapons of the civilized. Gestures turned into attacks. Tone indicated the way one guided their verbal assault. Body language formed a universal signal for preparatory reactions, and to a keen eye, they showcased intent.

Social faux pas continued to be a theme on this day. Arguably, Victoria's betrayal of Sable's privacy was far greater than Sable's continued provocation. Yet, there was a goal to this minor skirmish. Sable teetered between the roles of an insufferable princess, the sudden evocation of her Swan Maiden stance and a return to her usual measured self. She was probing for reactions and to her more clear-headed caution, she discovered a few.

"Thank you for your hospitality, Lady Blamco," Victoria said with a curt bow of thanks towards the hostess. Curiously, the artificial voice was more pronounced this time around, "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, seemingly finding some enjoyment by dancing around the subject matter. "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."

Sable was taken aback by Victoria's multi-layered verbal riposte. This was most certainly not someone to be taken lightly. Remaining composed, the Swan Maiden replied with a silent nod and a playfully dismissive wave of the hand at the mention of apologies -- Etiquette among Ladies, especially in tense engagements, demanded a degree of preservation for each other's reputation. To the uncultured eye, these Ladies appeared to be competing for the title of the most gracious. After all, losing one's temper to some underhanded jab is just...unsightly.

"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's tone turned warm, but stern, signalling a deadly sincerity.

"Favor fortunes me on this fine day.", Sable's pretensions subsided for true excitement. The transition was rather unsettling. Like someone had flipped the switch from 'Autopilot' to 'Let me gaze into your soul at whatever cost.'. "I believe you have saved Mister McGee quite a journey to relay a business proposal. Please, follow me and we can discuss this in private."

Before beckoning the Undertaker's to follow her, Rose was discovered among the ranks of BlamCo workers/security personnel. Pulling her aside, her retainer was ordered to steer anyone away from the Family's personal dining hall. A call for additional personnel was required to guard the entrances in full combat gear - this meant that Kristin and her company would be on their way. On top of the order, a tea & coffee with biscuits was requested for three.

"Pardon me, minor arrangements for a spontaneous meeting.", Sable beckoned and lead the way at the steady pace. Slow enough to extend their chat and give her retainers a head-start on arrangements. "Ms McGee, fret not about earlier. You were concerned for the safety of your family, an understandable motivation. That said, my provocation earlier was uncalled for and I admit to my emotions getting the better of me. I do hope this does not negatively impact our discussions."

Continuing deeper into the mansion, the decorum changed from welcoming artwork to family portraits, accolades accompanied by paintings, discontinued weaponry and trophies.

"To touch upon a previous observation of yours, namely the dramatic shift in a combatant's relationship. Well - ", Sable paused to find the correct phrasing, "In Valkyrian mythology, it was not uncommon for a Chooser of the Slain to take favor upon a male suitor of demonstrable prowess. You see, in the heat of battle, all pretenses can be stripped away. What separates a desperate struggle for one's life and the admiration for a skilled individual is a matter of respect that develops it's own brand of intimacy."

Opening the double-doors of the private dining chamber, her guests were welcomed to take a seat. Sable had to commend the staff of BlamCo, for their refreshments were ready. Nodding to her retainer on the opposite end of the room, Rose curtsied and exited the room.

"And Ms McGee, a gesture of good faith. I will overlook the parasol, the uneven shape of something folded underneath your sleeve and that peculiar, yet uniquely beautiful necklace of yours."

Waiting until everyone was seated first, Sable leaned forward with her hands on the table.

"BlamCo would be more than happy to meet your request, Ms McGee. In fact, I can grant that request and put the necessary arrangements for personnel within the hour.", Sable shifted her gaze between the two and dived right in. "But I wish to form an alliance between the Valkyries and the Undertakers."

No points for subtlety -- but then again, Sable was fond of the direct approach. Taking a seat, nonchalantly pouring her tea and taking a cautionary sip. Sable allowed her words to sink in. She had explained this to Thomas, but Victoria was the one she truly had to convince. So a show of faith was in order: The truth. "Allow me to explain what separates BlamCo from their very own clandestine group of Valkyries..."

Sable followed the steps that she had demonstrated with Thomas. An unrestricted insight into the 3 distinct divisions in the Valkyrie ranks. Their original history dating back 200 years ago and how that generation sought a foothold on the East Coast after nuclear devastation had destroyed their work in the West Coast. BlamCo's flavored trickery to the mainstream public. Sophisticated military presence due to the ever-evolving study of modern combat and research developments to compensate to Wasteland threats. The public's view of them as spirited hunters, the ominous duties put upon Sable & Keira as silent enforcers to protect the law outside official boundaries. Most importantly, Sable shared the an observation on the complimentary values between Undertaker & Valkyrie, pertaining to the matters of death in battle and duties of a proper burial.

"Pardon me. As an ultimate offer, I will happily volunteer myself as an emissary to the Undertakers. I will forfeit my position as a potential Queen/Empress, but I will remain a Duchess and one of high-standing to continue the alliance. I realize that this is only a proposal that might take years to come to fruition -- but I am confident in the security that our mutual protection can provide for future generations.", Sable stopped to refill her cup, looking rather relieved to share such guarded secrets. "I fear I have babbled for too long. Please, feel free to share any concerns or questions."

Looking back, Sable was a unique blend of Keira's self-assured aloofness and Kristin's arrogance.
Fortunately, she had time to whittle away at these borrowed traits in order to create her own.

Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Andale
"One Asshole plus Twenty-Five Bullets equals One Dead Asshole. My kind of math."

Sometimes, the simple act of being able to shoot something without having that something, or even several somethings, shoot right back at her could do wonders for the old Ghoul's mood. There were times when she idly thought about what that probably said about her, especially after everything wasteland life had done to her, and everything she'd done in her wasteland life. But now wasn't one of those times. No, she simply appreciated the fact that it was a reasonably simple equation to brighten her day just a little bit. Acceptable Target, plus Lack of Retaliation, minus Ammunition Costs equaled Happy Freelancer.

Satisfied with her work, she lowered Lester and watched as Shifty rushed to check on Sylphee, and some sort of power-armored Enclave individual stepped up and seemed to stare at the scene. Sylphee, she wasn't particularly worried about. Despite being a skinny little thing, she bounced back pretty quick from most stuff like that, she learned. The Enclave Soldier, however, piqued her interest, since this didn't seem to be one of their murder-bots.

"Well, that's that. Who are you, and who the fuck was that nutjob?" Arizona asked, jerking her head towards the corpse of the late Stormshaun.

To her surprise, she was immediately answered not by the Enclave Soldier, but by a local of Andale.

"That," the man said as he walked up, dressed in dusty clothes that looked typical of wasteland settlers, "Was the man--thing--that took our town hostage. And I don't know how we're going to repay you for killing the metal bastard.

Looking over with a crooked smile, Arizona chuckled a little. "But I'm sure you'll come up with something."

There was a contemplative moment before there was a glimmer in the man's eye and he nodded.

"You know, for a drifter type like you? I think we do have something you might be interested in. Least if you're any good at fixin' shit." said the Andale man, before he turned away and beckoned the Ghoul to follow.

With a single glance back at both Thomas and Sylphee, she strode behind the man. She was pretty confident those two would keep for just a little bit, and as it was, she was more than a little intrigued with what he meant.

She found out a minute later as she stood just inside a dim garage, looking over a slightly rusted motorcycle. It was a Harlan David and Sons model, and underneath the patches of rust it was painted with classic hot-rod flames across the main body of it. There was even a sidecar that had been shoved to one corner of the garage with a matching paint-job. All things considered, it looked to be in better condition than most pre-war vehicles that one found out wandering the wastes.

"This thing's been here since the war, I figure. It won't run since it's missing a few parts, but it shouldn't be too hard to get it fixed up. What do you think? This fair compensation to you?" the man asked her, hands on his hips as he looked over at her.

Arizona pursed her chapped lips and nodded a little as she slowly sidled around the motorcycle, examining it a little more closely. After a cursory look, she looked up at the man and grinned.

"Yea, I'd say so. I've got some plans for this baby already." she said, stroking the front fender with some affection.

Oh yes, she was already wondering just what she'd need to fix it up, and how much that might end up costing. Because as it was, whoever had this motorcycle had style, and really, walking across the wastelands was so... Pedestrian. Riding on a steel steed was where it was at.


[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School
"Much like verbal speech, the subtleties of spelling and pronunciation can be lost in telecommunication."

Even as Jenna wondered what was going on with Malkos, the sight of the blind teenage girl bringing up her knees to her chest, rocking back and forth on the dirty floor of the school was heartbreaking. And it was clear from what she muttered that it was all just a horrible accident. She reached out with a gloved hand and gently rubbed Constance's shoulder as a sign of sympathetic reassurance, even though she knew it probably didn't do much good for her right that moment.

Especially as an Eyebot seemed to find it's way inside and shout the girl's name.

"CONSTANCE!"

The two of them to jump, and after looking around for some sort of escape, Constance got to her feet and saluted.

"M... m... mom? I mean... Enclave Intelligence Officer #411, ma'am."

"Wait a minute, that's your mother's--" Jenna started, only to be interrupted by the heated tirade of Enclave Intelligence Officer #411.

"You have really FUCKED UP this time. For a child of mine, who I raised instead of disposed of in a dumpster like the doctors had recommended, you have turned into such a disappointment. You are really the poorest example of a child of the Enclave. By attempting to kill that Undertaker Bitch without the foresight to know that you would end up killing such a high value ally, you have put the success of this mission... no, the future of Enclave glory in jeopardy! You stupid little child, you not only managed to kill your weapons developer, you managed to allow your only saving grace to out of your containment and go rampaging after a non-vital target! With your current results, you would be lucky to become a member of the Enclave Maintenance Corp as the second Maintenance Sister. But your superior officer and your loving mother has a means of saving your useless hide. Here are your updated mission objectives. You are to recover the missing Deathclaw, Malkos. You are to then complete training with the your designated trainer, the so called 'Valkyrie.' Finally, you are to secure a supply of weapons by any means necessary... even if you have to dig them out of the Ruins of Ravenrock by hand, DO IT! Is that understood?!"

Constance only seemed to flinch and shrink inward with every sentence. Dr. Sorenson, however, slowly got to her feet and clenched her fists as she listened #411 demean and belittle her own daughter. It was incorrigible.

As the Blind Enclave Scout hastily saluted and hurried to follow the orders she was given, Jenna took a few steps forward and raised an accusing finger to the Eyebot.

"Oh, now you listen here, lady! I don't know who you are, and I don't care, because Constance merely acted as she thought was best, and you have no right to--Hey! Where do you think you're going?! I'm not finished!" Jenna called out angrily.

The Eyebot clearly wasn't having any of it. After a cursory scan of Jenna and her things, it promptly began to float away, ignoring the Follower of the Apocalypse shaking her fist. When it was clear that the Eyebot was already long-gone, going who-knew-where, she let out an indignant huff and stamped her foot in frustration on the filthy linoleum.

"Bitch." she murmured behind her helmet before striding off in the direction that Constance had hurried off in.

"Constance?" Jenna called, before she spotted not only the young blind woman, but Kristin Blamco and Malkos.

She sighed softly as she made her way over.

"Constance, I'm sorry that you had to go through... All that. No mother should ever..." she said, trailing off as she stepped up to the two of them.

She had been about to say, "No mother should ever say that to their child.", but as she got closer, she started to get a good look at the Deathclaw in front of them. Being a rather perceptive sort, she could tell now that she was a little closer that it was not, in fact, Malkos that they were standing in front of. It was stockier, more solidly built. While that was one clear sign that this was a strange Deathclaw, another was the fact that she swore she heard it speak in her own mind once she had gotten close enough.

[I am not this ?Malkos? that you are looking for?though the fact that I could be mistaken for them raises a question or two. My name is Rath, who might you be?]

That was enough to stop her in her tracks, not but a few steps away from both Kristin and Constance.

"Y-you're an Intelligent, Psychic Deathclaw?!" Jenna asked incredulously, to no one in particular.

It took a moment, but Miss Blamco was the first to recover from the initial shock.

"Rath! So that's your name! It seems like you've put on some weight! That's good, goes to show you what the wonders of a properly cooked BlamCo cuisine could do for you. I say, you lot are too thin -- ..."

Jenna's head slowly turned to face Kristin and then cocked a little to one side. The fact that Kristin was welcoming this strange Deathclaw, who apparently went by the name of Wrath, with the utmost hospitality was... Odd, to say the least. As the Blamco Heiress turned her attention to Constance, her tone was a little more even, and noticeably less hostile.

When she mentioned a shower however, Jenna couldn't help but raise a hand.

"Would you mind if I joined you? You have no idea how sweaty I am under this suit, and really, I could use it for the relaxation as much as for hygiene. Today's been..." she hesitated, glancing back at Wrath, "Well, today's been quite the day. For all of us."

The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale
Contrary to Popular Belief, Constance does not clean herself with her tongue...
Constance Sorrowfeld

[Excuse me. I am not this 'Malkos' that you are looking for...though the fact that I could be mistaken for them raises a question or two. My name is Rath, who might you be?] A voice 'said' inside the mind of Constance Sorrowfeld as she continued to pull on the Deathclaw's claw. Contrary to popular belief, Enclave Intelligence OFficer #411 was capable of raising a young girl who had the common decency to answer questions posed of her, however, in the case of this 'Rath' character, the question was simply ignored. In the same way that the 'ears' on top of the young American Enclave Scout of America's head beamed images into the young teenager's brain, 'Rath's' words were beamed into Constances. Now given the fact that the young girl had suffered some head trauma, possibly resulting in a mild concussion, she had a millimeter wave radar emitter pointed directly into her brain, causing all sorts of havoc on her nervous system. Then there was the emotional and mental trauma that she'd suffered being a major contributing factor in the death of Jonathan McKenna. With everything that had transpired in the last few hours, it was not surprising that the Cat Eared Junior Enclave Scout had mistaken 'Rath's' voice as a figment of Constance's shattered psyche. In other words, she ignored the message that was beamed into her skull because had she responded, it might have appeared that she was talking to herself and only crazy people talk to themselves.

Focusing on her continuing struggle to pull on the claw, and having absolutely no effect on actually moving the Deathclaw in question, the Terrified and Traumatized Teen could not hear the approaching sound of heavy boots that signaled the arrival of the Dutchess of Dairy.

"Rath! So that's your name!" The Princess of Parmesan's thunderous voice boomed behind the Neo-American Neko, causing Constance to instinctively reach for her shotgun, which she had thankfully left back in the kitchen, otherwise there might have been two accidental fatalities that day. Despite having almost jumped clean out of her skin, a sense of relief spread throughout the Young Teen's body, relief born of the realization that she was not going crazy due to some sort of psychological or neurological trauma. The Enclave of Old had little regard for those with mutations, with a rare few exceptions, and mental disorders, though hyper-aggression seemed to run rampant among the Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialists. If Constance Sorrowfeld, a mutant, were suddenly diagnosed with a mental disorder, it would probably be the final nail in the coffin for any sort of future inclusion in the ranks of the Enclave, especially considering her recent performance in the field... and the fact that she'd stolen the American Enclave Scouts of America's light armored transport... and the fact that she'd displayed very little in the way of leadership skills in the Sylphy/Gary war... and the...

"It seems like you've put on some weight! That's good, goes to show you what the wonders of a properly cooked BlamCo cuisine could do for you. I say, you lot are too thin -- ..."

The absence of sound pulled the Blind as a Bat, Bereaved Little Baby's attention from her own personal pity party and back to reality, where she noticed that Miss Kristin was looking at her rather intently, probably thinking of how Constance had murdered Miss Kristin's friend. It would have served Constance right if the Mistress of Mozzarella decided to end the partnership as well as the Young Teen's life right where she was standing. Riddled with more guilt than Mister McKenna's throat was riddle with shotgun pellets, Constance averted her face from Miss Kristin's gaze.

"...remember that shower you promised me? We should get ourselves cleaned up," Miss Kristin said gently, more gently than Constance would have thought possible when contrast against her normal bravado filled persona, "Perhaps chat a little and maybe you can help me with the cooking, yeah? Simple and quick dish for the remaining Sylphy's, I promise."

Constance, wiping the tear from her pale eyes, 'looked' at her Mission Mother and nodded weakly. It was said that in times of crisis, both personal and societal, washing one's self was a good way of regrouping and the American Enclave Scout of America was in dire need of a way to regroup... or rather, if Constance was bring honest, it appeared that both herself and Miss Kristin were in dire need of regrouping.

"Okay..." the Pity Party VIP said meekly before she noticed that Miss Jenna had joined them and had also been addressing the Deathclaw in their midst.

"Would you mind if I joined you? You have no idea how sweaty I am under this suit, and really, I could use it for the relaxation as much as for hygiene. Today's been..." she hesitated, glancing back at 'Rath,' "Well, today's been quite the day. For all of us."

----------------------------------------Enter the Shower Scene----------------------------------------

Word had been sent ahead of the trio of shower takers that the communal bathing area was to be scrubbed until every nook and cranny was clean enough to partake a BlamCO branded breakfast platter or brunch dish. The Sylphys, in their own enthusiastic way, had worked to the best of their abilities, scraping and scrubbing, wiping and washing, moistening and mopping, sanitizing and squeegeeing. Each one knew that the Queen Constance, Supreme Ruler of the Sylphys, and her court on their way to wash the day's grime off of them. When properly organized and motivated, it appeared that the a troop of Sylphys could accomplish nearly anything... except when they lacked the proper tools... which in the case of cleansing the communal bathing area, they did.

Entering the former gymnasium shower area, Constance was more than a bit appalled at the sight of large sections of broken, shattered tile that contained withered bits of plant matter and miscellaneous rubbish. To make matters less than satisfactory, the shower heads appeared to have been sealed shut by years and years of water deposits. If the trio was planning on taking a shower, it would take some time and some money for renovations as well as a tetanus shot.

There was, however, one item in the former gymnasium that had was useful for bathing purposes. It appeared that a small gaggle of Sylphy go-getters had managed to clean a rather large tub, previously used for post training sports soaking. From what the Amateur Shotgun Surgeon could gather from a Sylphy bathroom attendant who described the events in great detail, the tub had been previously been filled with an oozy brackish sludge. Lacking the proper bailing tools, namely a bucket, the ingenious balls of insanity used the one tool that their creator had given them, their mouth. Having slurped up a mouthful of mossy and bacterial growth and carried it outside. Once emptied, the taste budless little catastrophes scrubbed the tubs to a shiny luster using their hair.

"Blech!" Was the only response Constance Sorrowfeld could muster before patting each one of the black mouthed, black and bluehaired little berserkers on the head.

With the tub cleaned out and filled with soothingly warm water, there was nothing left to do but slide in and allow the healing to start. Having placed her clothing on a bench, where it would be picked up and laundered, COnstance, slid into the water and wordlessly waited for Miss Kristin to do the same. The Troubled Teenager, inexperienced in life and relationships, did not understand why Miss Kristin was still there nor why she would care to be in the presence of her friend's killer. Were Constance in the BlamCo Berserker's shoes, she would have probably left and not looked back, leaving the project to fail and the Murderer of Jonathan McKenna to be abandoned by the organization that she sought membership to.

~Splish!~

The tears came again... along with the guilt... along with remembered visions of the expression on Mister McKenna's face as he bled out... along with... remorse... regret. What would she say to Miss Kristin when she joined Constance? Was "I'm sorry, really sorry" enough?

Also... how would Constance act were she to remember that she had the smallest bust size of the current character lineup?

----------------------------------------Meanwhile a Sylphy Scene----------------------------------------

Of the quartet of characters there was really only one that should have been pitied at that very moment. While it might have been feasible to fit the Psychic Tank inside the tub, the resident blue haired psychopaths that resided inside the former elementary school might have come up with the bright idea to start a fire underneath the tub. You see, prior to the arrival of Malkos, the Sylphys had been subsisting on a diet of Deathclaw meat, which they had developed a taste for, not unlike their genetic original having a taste for Radscorpion meat. While Malkos had stated that Deathclaws were off the menu, he had not said anything about Psychic Deathclaws... nor any Deathclaw that had died accidentally. This meant that Rath had better watch his step... or possibly develop some means of reading minds. Of course, he might have been better off not knowing what the Sylphys were thinking.

"Sylphy Sylphy... Sylphy Sylphy!" One of the Blue Haired Miscreants said to another as they eyed the Deathclaw.

"Sylphy... Sylphy Sylphy." Responded the next, licking her lips as she stared intently at their guest.

"Syl-Sylphy!" Responded the first, sounding a bit like she was trying to imitate a rather fast moving bird that was constantly being hunter by a certain desert dwelling mammal before the both of them started laughing and grinning a Rath.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Outskirts of Andale
A Young Lady's Primer to Etiquette and Assassinations: Chapter 4
By: Victoria McGee

Victoria's Manuscript:

Making an Introduction

Note of Self: Would it not be more logical for a chapter regarding the topic of introductions to be the first chapter of the book? A young girl does not become a true until she makes her debut and an introductory chapter regarding introductions does make much more sense.

There is a moment in every young girl's life where she grows up and discards her previous life as a child and emerges from that cocoon as a young lady and begins to abide by the covenants written by those that came before her. For some young ladies, this behavior is instinctive, while others do not fully comprehend their promotion to ladyhood until a much later in life. Regardless of the varying degrees of inclination towards being a prim and proper lady of high societal standing, all young ladies must be debuted. While the details of the debuting ceremony vary from region to region, it is, in its simplest form, an elaborate introduction.

All ladies, young and not so young, must master the standard introduction. While the rules of how a young lady must introduce themselves may seem complex to the uninitiated, this nothing but speculation coming from the rough and tumble degenerate who lack etiquette. Ultimately there are two ranks that a young woman must be aware of when making her introduction: Higher Rank and Lower Rank. While information regarding the person one is introducing themselves to can prove invaluable, as one gains more experience in courtly manners, one will be able to note the telltale signs of one who is of higher rank and one who is of lower rank by the quality of their clothing and their bearing. Until such time as a young lady can master recognize these clues, it is safest to assume that they are greeting someone of higher rank.

When making introductions to a person of higher rank, it is customary to perform a deep curtsy and accept their offered hand as a form of greeting. It is also customary to allow the person of high rank to indicate whether a conversation need remain formal of can evolve into a more casual, more personal conversation. Always be treat those of higher rank with the utmost regard and care for it is their words that often dictate a newly anointed young woman's acceptance into a social circle.

When making introductions to a person of lower rank, one may assume a more casual demeanor and dictate the flow of the events. While one my be tempted to mistreat a person of lower rank, a true lady does not do so. A true lady will abide by the rules of etiquette and treat everyone with the utmost respect.

Just as a young lady must pay attention to rank, a young assassin must pay attention to the skills of her target. As always, information regarding a young assassin's mark will always prove invaluable but it is safest to assume that they are of higher skill. An assassin of experience will learn how to tell a target's skill level based on the quality of their equipment as well as their bearing.

When approaching a highly skilled target, it is safest to minimize one's exposure. By allowing the target to be unaware of one's presence and allowing the target to go about their day to day business, one will find opportunity to strike without warning. In these situations, it is preferable for a young assassin to use a tool with some range, be it a high powered rifle, remotely detonated explosive or lethal poison. If one allows the highly skilled target to dictate the terms of the interaction by allowing them to go about their life, the most opportunities will open up.

A target of lower skill levels will not need to be handled so carefully, making a multitude of closer ranged tools become available. Remember that it is a lower skilled target does still need to be treated with care as they may have a surprise or two but in the standard scenario, these interactions require less patience and more flexibility in planning.

The kill is a young assassin's introduction to her target. Just as a young lady must abide by rules, so should a young assassin. Remember these words and flourish in both society and profession.

The fragrance of a funeral pyre was as familiar to Victoria McGee as the scent of a mother to her child and while most would have found the bouquet of smells caused by the burning of flesh to be unpleasant, the Darkly Dressed Gravedigger welcomed the scent. Of course, this could have been a case of a random skirmish but there were only a select number of Wasteland inhabitants that chose to carry weapons capable of incineration and the absence of other scents, such as that of burning wood, made the scenario seem unlikely. Cresting a hill on the outskirts of Andale, the Lace and Silk Swaddled Assassin's smile was hidden under the scarf that she'd carefully re-wrapped around the lower part of her face, obscuring her artificial jaw. Her suspicion that the scent of burnt flesh came from a pyre was confirmed by the sight of a neatly stacking pile of still burning corpses. Thomas was near by.

If the Duchess of the Dearly Departed had to make an educated guess, she predicted that her cousin would have traveled to the nearest town in order to rest from such an arduous task and so, she started to walk through the burning fields and towards the small hamlet. To a casual observer, she would have seemed rather out of place, a woman dressed in a manner that bespoke of money and a fancy upbringing with her long dark dress and her unfurled parasol held overhead walking past a pile of burning, freshly killed raiders. But the raiders of Fairfax knew better and were content to stay in their ruins and lick their wounds. The pyre served as a reminder of the last time they'd attempted to accost a dark and finely dressed so and so.

Victoria's leisurely stroll was not without interruption. As she walked past a spot that must have been where the bodies had been scavenged of their caps and ammunition, the Finely Dressed Ferrywoman noticed a weapon leaning against a low wall, an anti-materiel rifle from the looks of it. Altering her course, she walked up to the carelessly discarded weapon and inspected it, finding quite a bit of cosmetic damage but nothing that would cause the weapon to not function.

"ti Mat," Victoria read the scratched stamp on the weapon's lower receiver. Pulling one of the glass gems from her necklace, the Dame of the Dead started carving into the weapon before reading the stamp again, "tiaMat."

Tiamat, as Victoria remembered from her Theology lessons, was a primordial goddess of chaos. She was depicted as a dragon and her body, after being slain by Marduk, was used to create the heavens and earth.

"(An appropriate name...)" She thought to herself as she shouldered the weapon and started climbing a hill that overlooked the town of Andale, where she could better survey the town of ill repute and its surroundings.

Cresting the second hill, the Former and Future Undertaker of the East stopped at the sight of the black power armor characteristic of one of the Capital Wasteland's major factions, the Enclave. There were a fair number of the armored troopers that stood around the perimeter of the town, all of them facing inwards, as if they were meant to keep the inhabitants prisoners in their town rather than keep people out. Unfolding tiaMat's bipod, the Silk Swaddled Sniper looked through the weapon's scope, scanning the town for clues as to what was transpiring.

"There you are, cousin Thomas." Victoria McGee muttered softly as the weapon's cross hairs came to rest on a familiar face. Seeing him, after all this time, brought a small frown to the surface of the woman's lips. Though he appeared a little older than she'd remembered, which was to be expected, Victoria noted her cousin's eyes. They were the eyes of someone that had experienced a great deal of hardship and torment. They were the eyes of someone who had a purpose that was thousands of miles away but was compelled to stay. Wouldn't it have been better to put him out of his misery?

As her finger touched the trigger a flash of movement pulled for Victoria's attention. It was the briefest of flashes but her rifle dutifully tracked towards the source and a new but familiar face filled the lens of the rifle's scope.

"What is YOU doing here?" Victoria hissed the question at Sable Blamco, wishing it could traverse the distance to the shield maiden with the quickness of a 50 caliber bullet.


[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School "Showers"
"I feel more than a little mislead."

Being rather well-aware of the conditions of the school not long after arriving, Dr. Sorenson was sure that the Sylphy's would likely need some time to get things prepared for the three of them to actually get clean. If she was honest, she felt more than a little guilty watching a group of them hustle to help get the showers ready for use, but at the same time, she was largely content to sit and wait after recent, trying events.

It also made her incredibly thankful of her Followers of the Apocalypse training. Resources were scarce in the wastelands, and the general standards of living were poor to say the least. Conditions were a little better on the west coast, they still had to contend with supply shortages, being short-staffed, and having an inordinately large workload. Those challenges only mounted further since they were a humanitarian organization that stressed the idea that they were ultimately a charity.

During her initial stint in NCR territory, Jenna had pulled more than her fair share of long shifts treating injured and sickly wastelanders who ultimately had poor chances of survival even with proper treatment. More than a few times, she managed to pull off what was effectively a miracle. But those instances were far outnumbered by how many of her patients were either too far gone, or had a condition that she didn't have the tools or knowledge to treat.

She lost patients. Poor souls whose lives were cut short, often through no fault, or saving, of her own.

Each time was hard, but she had learned to push past the pain, the rush of hopelessness and despair, the feelings of inadequacy. If she didn't, she learned that it simply put more lives at risk. Lives that she needed to at least try for. To her, not even trying was a far greater sin than failure. Even if you failed, at least you tried.

And at that moment, she was guilty of that greater sin. Young Constance had accidentally killed Mr. McKenna, and was clearly in pain. And yet she had no idea what to say to even try and make it better, so she was staying silent. What could she say that wasn't simply a tired platitude? An inadequate "There, there?"

So, when the Sylphy's were finally done, she was almost inappropriately relieved at the idea of focusing instead on washing away the very real dirt and sweat as opposed to the purely emotional and psychological guilt.

Jenna stepped into the gym showers. And immediately saw that instead of using an actual shower, Constance had slid into a large bathtub. This raised two points in Jenna's mind; First, that she should have immediately remembered that among the various problems regarding the dilapidated school, the shower heads most likely would have been in such a state of disrepair that they were probably just a lost cause. And second, that this wasn't the NCR. They probably didn't have any decent running water.

"O-oh. I, uh... I didn't realize that we would be using a tub. Guess I should've figured." she said with a soft, awkward laugh.

She fidgeted a little as she walked over to where she saw Constance's clothes laid out. Then, with obvious reluctance, she turned her back and started to undress, starting with her helmet. Taking it off, she revealed jet black hair, cropped short and standing up in little spikes. Glancing back to the young Enclave Scout of America, Constance could actually see Jenna's face for first time.

It was narrow, angular. Her cheekbones were high, chin pointed, and she had a surprisingly delicate jawline. Jenna's eyes were wide and almond-shaped below refined eyebrows and above a thin, upturned nose. She was also wearing a pair of rather foggy, black-rimmed eyeglasses. And though Constance's radar-sensors couldn't pick up color, her skin was the color of light coffee and liberally dusted with freckles.

"You know, this is the first time I've ever actually bathed with... Anyone else. So, err... Don't... You know, just bear with me." blurted out the Followers Doctor with obvious discomfort.

Slipping out of the rest of her Science Suit and setting it aside, she covered her quite buxom bosom one arm and nether regions with her other hand as she shuffled over and slowly slipped one long leg into the water, and then the other. Tentatively lowering herself into the water, she couldn't help but sigh at how nice the heat was.

When she looked up to say as much, she noticed the tears pouring down the face of the young girl in front of her. So she reached over and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

"Constance?" she said softly, "I know it hurts, and I'm sorry. I'm sorry about Jonathan. And your mother. And... I'm sorry that I don't really know what to say. To try and make it hurt less."

She sighed and took off her glasses, dunking them in the water before reaching for a nearby towel that wasn't too grimy to try and clean them off. She didn't look up from what she was doing as she continued. She couldn't bear to.

"I really feel like there's something I ought to say, something I ought to do. But I know that sometimes it just isn't enough. Like the fact that I know I should have gotten to Jonathan faster and if I did, maybe..." she stopped, letting her words hang there for a moment before shaking her head and said, "But I wasn't fast enough, and I made the call to grab my Laser Rifle first because I thought, maybe there was still an intruder."

Putting her glasses back on, she looked up at Constance with a saddened expression.

"Let me tell you something that I had to learn the hard way as a doctor: You're going to make mistakes. You're going to make bad calls, and people will probably die for it. When it's your fault, you own up to it and promise yourself to do better. When it isn't... You have to move on. Because, at least in my line of work? Holding onto that guilt can make it that much harder the next time. And the next. You have to remember that you're human, and you can only do what you can do. You can strive to do more, do better, but until then, you can only do what you're capable of." Jenna told her.

Pulling up her legs, she hugged her knees to her chest and rested her chin on them.

"I know that probably doesn't help much. But I get the feeling it was all an accident right? I don't think you meant to kill him. You can't take all the blame for that." she pointed out.

For the second, or possibly third, time the Capitol Wasteland was treated to the rarest of sights, a Deathclaw confused into immobility. In the time between him asking the name of the tailed human and now, he appeared to have been caught up in a much unexpected whirlwind of activity.

First was the arrival of another human female, albeit this one was heavily armoured and armed with a large blade, who also appeared to believe he was someone he was not; then there was the arrival of another, who he assumed was female. Her shape was similar to other human female's he'd seen, but her clothing seemed to seal her from the outside world, denying him any scent for which to judge her with. Lastly, there was the emergence of a whole host of identical females; he wasn't quite sure how he'd missed their mental 'presence' when he'd first approached the building, but he had and their arrival unsettled him.

While the first three females disappeared back into the building to clean themselves, this new 'horde' rushed about is obvious deference to the tailed female, Constance. The armoured one had been speaking to him, but in his attempt to sort out the horde, he failed to catch a single word she said. The minds of the blue-haired ones all felt the same, and there was something very wrong about how they smelled; these two things pushed most other thoughts from his head as he tried to make sense of it. Not helping matters was their constant repetition of the same nonsense word 'Slyphy'.

Damned-able things... He thought, his consciousness struggling with his more 'base' instincts. His more primitive self, wanted to simply destroy the blue-haired things but he doubted the others would appreciate such a thing. Clawed hands grasped his head and covered his eyes as he took a deep breath in an attempt to clear his mind. It worked a little bit, but when he looked around once more he found several of them looking at him with obvious hunger. They must be mad. He thought as he recognized the predatory look. No weapons, no armour, and not nearly enough of them... Glaring at the closest one, he snorted a blast of foul smelling breath in her face. [Don't test me meat.] His 'voice' rumbled in the back of her mind like gravel rolling down a hill. [Tell your...companions...I am going to remain with them if they don't mind, I just have to gather up some things.]

With that he turned away from the bewildering school and returned to where he's stashed his possessions. Gathering up his gear, he looked towards where he could just see the top of the settlement where his friends lived and sighed. I hope they are well...maybe these people can answer that. Now with his bags and cloak, he returned to the school but moved a bit deeper into the rubble to keep out of sight from any potential passersby. From where he was he could hear splashing water, and shook his head slightly with amusement; he'd yet to figure out human fascination with water. Most of them didn't float very well, and they couldn't live in it, and it was generally toxic nowadays, but on multiple occasions he'd seen both males and females deliberately immersing themselves it.

As he pondered this foible, he smelled blood. Human male, deceased recently. He thought, his mind automatically cataloguing the smell and then telling him he was hungry; he almost started towards the source, when he stopped himself. He knew from first-hand experience that humans disliked seeing another get consumed...even if they didn't know that person. He didn't get why they always seemed to get so upset; to him it seemed a waste of good meat; but, not wanted to cause any trouble, he instead carefully opened he food cache and extracted a haunch of radstag.

Dagger-like teeth sliced through the flesh, while he gripped the foot and with quick increase of pressure with his jaw and a twist and jerk of his head, he cracked the bone open and tore a mouth full free. Chewing on that, he set the rest of the meat down and opened his other bag, extracting his holotape player. Hmm, what one did I have in there? He thought, staring at the player. Ah, it doesn't really matter. Carefully, using the tip of a claw, he pressed play.

The Wild Wastelands | Present Day | Entering Andale
"Greetings"
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

Since Sable's arrival there was no repeat of the scream from earlier. Instead, an orchestra of gunshots, voices from various locations and the thunderous sound of a few low bestial growls in the distance. For scouting purposes, this was one of those moments where Sable wished she hadn't abandoned her hunting rifle - truthfully, she was an unremarkable shot. It was her lack of skill with the rifle that made her retool her personal weapon loadout years ago. Furthermore, she simply could not fight effectively while lugging around a rifle. A sidearm would be tactically ideal alongside the shield, but she favored a sawn-off shotgun for the purposes of debilitating surprise attacks. Finding one with an ammunition supply would be a task for the future.

Moving onto current affairs, the Swan Maiden evaluated her options of infiltration. She was not equipped for sneak attacks against heavily-armored targets without drawing attention. Athletic as she may be, taking to the rooftops would only lead to exposure. An attack was out of the question, Sable relied on hit-and-run tactics, something which would be nullified by the Enclave troops if they turned out to be hostile, even the diplomatic approach seemed unfitting after the unseen gunfire. With all options of entry denied, in tandem with the ambient noise, Sable used the base of the greatshield to start digging a ditch behind the house she was squatting behind. Clearing a few centimeters of dirt off the ground, the Swan Maiden laid down, pulled the extended shield over herself and waited with a power spear at hand for a preparatory thrust attack. From a distance, her position just looked like a discarded piece of scrap metal. A heavily resilient piece of scrap, mind you.

The use of such a position came with a major drawback: She had to abandon her backpack in a haste.

The characteristic crunch of heavy armor was drawing closer to her position. Peeking from under the shield, an innumerable amount of Enclave Soldiers were marching in lockstep. Two marched dangerously close to her position and knocked over the backpack as they rounded the corner -- Sable held her breath, resolute on not moving or making a sound. They seemed to be leaving. Nobody said a word. After standing for so long, not even the faintest of grunts could be heard from these soldiers. It was unnerving to say the least, they exuded an aura of silent strength that was not present within the dogmatic Remnants found in the Mojave.

Giving the soldiers some time to march away, Sable emerged from the hiding spot and proceeded to clean herself off. If she was going to be approaching anyone, appearances went a long way. Pulling out a compact mirror, she did not check her makeup if that's what one was wondering, instead Sable peeked around the corner of her position. A younger lady in red was located in a dilapidated playground and finally an imposing individual with his back to her. Her position afforded her a limited perspective, but she hadn't forgotten the bestial growls from before.

Reducing the size of her expandable shield to torso-length, Sable's preferred balance of protection and offense, her heart stopped when a BlamCo-marked steel canister rested a foot away from her knocked over backpack. Securing the canister, the Swan Maiden counted her blessings and rounded the corner with shield and spear at the ready.

Every step sounded louder to the Swan Maiden, try as she might, she couldn't conceal the movement of ceramic plates and ballistic weave. Even though her armor was technically the lightest of the Valkyries -- stylish blue cloth had been layered underneath the silver armor reinforcements to dampen noise and pressure, while also accentuating her status as a Swan Maiden. The lighter armor afforded her mobility and range of motion, but she was beginning to think that Keira was lying about any noise dampening effects. Fortunately for her, the lady in red was creating enough cheerful shouting to cover her approach of the tall individual. Sable approached with caution, powering up her spear when she spotted his 10mm handgun. The man ran a hand through his hair, an upright gaudy mohawk and his arm slumped after that motion. He was tired. He was also exceedingly well-dressed for this rundown hamlet. And while many smells of the Wasteland competed for her attention, one combination was distinctly unique: sweat and lavender.

A few paces away, lunging length from skewering an unexpected face, Sable called out to the man. "Fancy meeting you here. All these years and you never call."
Taking a few steps forward to stand just one step to the Undertaker's side. The Swan Maiden tilted her head to meet his eye, her voice was silkier than intended. "...Thomas 'Shifty' McGee."


The Wild Wastelands | Present Day | Springvale Elementary School
"Salvation"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

The party of three ventured back into the questionable safety of the school's walls. A moment's respite went a long way and the events of today had overtaxed the unintentionally formed trio. Passing the corridor that lead to the kitchen, the Dairy Duchess excused herself.

"I'll be with you two in a minute. Dinner preparations and such."

Making her way back to the kitchen, she steeled herself as she was exposed to the mess of the murder scene. A good portion of the table, seat, wall and floor were stained with blood. Rummaging through her backpack, Kristin used her thin sleeping blanket and one of her luxurious towels to soak up the pooling bloodstains. The dish-washing detergent and an old pot of water was set aside, mixed together and generously applied to floor and table before reapplying her personal bathing towels.

Her mind was desperately screaming for an escape, but Kristin denied herself the luxury of running away. She needed to face this directly, she needed to finish her duties, she needed -- ... ("That's odd."), Kristin thought to herself when she examined the wall during the superficial cleaning. Sable, her sister, surprisingly favored shotguns and their unpredictable attack spread over medium range. This, however, was a shorter range and the spread of the pellets were slightly off if one wanted to deliberately shoot a seated person. In fact, the more she tried to envision what happened here, the less it made sense for Constance to murder Jonathan. With that thought in mind, the imagery of Constance's shell-shocked appearance and non-resistance when she arrived was telling of an accident. What happened here!?

Her gauntlets were stained, which wouldn't be a big deal, but the amount of blood had seeped into the smaller gaps of her armor. Cursing under her breath, Kristin proceeded to remove her gauntlets, wash her hands and set her BlamCo Mini-Microwave to auto-cook. Perching the microwave on a chopping board, which rested on the rim of the previously used cooking pot, the mini-micro would take care of adequately distributing ingredients at programmed intervals into the preheated pot of water. This meal for the last batch of Sylphy's would have a more soupy consistency, the cost of flavor was outweighed by the nutritional benefits. Best to get them habituated to what would become their regularly-scheduled meal, lest they improve in performance, feats of outstanding performance were met with rewards in diet.

Making certain that the oven was on a timer, Kristin exited the kitchen with her toiletries and towel tucked under one arm. A gaggle of Sylphy's passed her in the hallway, each of them with a unique grimace of disgust on their faces. Spotting the towel, one Sylphy grabbed her by the arm and eagerly pulled her down a series of corridors. At times, she poked her tongue as if she was trying to regain proper use of it. It was stained an odd color. Shower-heads were spotted behind a doorway slightly ajar. Kristin patted her head as thanks and proceeded to enter the room. The murmurs were previously obscured by the school's unending activity...but this room was somewhat isolated from the busier activity in the classrooms. It was mostly quiet, except for three things: The sound of someone crying, the sloshing of water and the comforting words of a soothing voice - one in particular, that was clearer than ever before.

"...Holding onto that guilt can make it that much harder the next time. And the next. You have to remember that you're human, and you can only do what you can do. You can strive to do more, do better, but until then, you can only do what you're capable of."

Those were the words of Lady Sorenson. There was a wall to Kristin's side, presumably a shower wall, that she slumped against after silently closing the door.

"I know that probably doesn't help much. But I get the feeling it was all an accident right? I don't think you meant to kill him. You can't take all the blame for that."


All she wanted was to get beneath a shower and wash away the filth of this day. At her core, she realized that it would be inefficient and disastrous to continue this denial. She needed to act, for herself and the benefit of her team.

"She's right.", Kristin announced as she stepped out from behind the wall. Her eyes widened at the sight of Lady Sorenson's unencumbered form, smiling as she curtsied with a non-existent dress. "As wise as you are beautiful, as my sister would say. Lady Sorenson, I have no idea why you insist on hiding such a face."

Kristin's heavily-armored form was stripped piece by piece, a task that she chose to speak through. Her disposition growing darker as that boisterous smile fell away with all too much ease.

"Constance Sorrowfield.", Kristin announced just as the chest plate had been discarded and the top half of her leather armor undone. Exposing herself, the Valkyrie's lean muscled body told many a tale, for there were scars that even the best doctors couldn't fix. "I am a Warrior first, a Princess second and a Lady third. I am honed for the battlefield yet torn between those three responsibilities. Being in such a position leaves one with little free-will and when your life is ruled by others, you ironically find yourself to be very alone. Too late do we realize that we were acting on orders, without passion and without self-determined motivation."

Kristin set aside her greaves, gauntlets and seperated the kevlar weave from underneath the steel chestplate. Finally stripping from the underlying red-stained silver-dyed leather armor adorned with raven feathers, she was free to move around. Unlike Lady Sorenson's appropriate modesty, Kristin moved without shame.

"Today I lost the one friend that I've made since my arrival on the East Coast. And I -- ", Kristin faltered, choking back her own emotions, her voice filled with heartfelt regret. "I am sorry for earlier, my treatment of you was..shameful. I snapped at the worst possible moment and instead of protecting anyone. I indulged myself."

Walking towards the tub, Kristin dipped her toe in the delightfully warm water and slid into the tub to the side of Constance.

"I know not what happened in that kitchen, but I get the feeling that you are no killer. Not by choice anyhow.", Settling into the water, she submerged herself briefly and pushed her hair back when she resurfaced. To a trained medical eye, radiation usually induced sickness at certain levels of exposure. Kristin being especially sensitive to low exposure altered her hair to an unnatural gold. Not your everyday kind of reaction. "You are, however, a warrior. And as warriors, we will falter on the battlefield. We will be outclassed. Sometimes, we make mistakes that costs us the lives of those we were meant to protect."

Leaning forward, Kristin's laid the palm of her hand on Constance's cheek. Gently, she brushed aside a tear with her thumb. Her disposition grew more intense, her tone resolute yet hopeful. She knew all too well that Constance was blind in the traditional sense, yet she chose to meet her gaze like she would anyone else.

"And warriors do not fight alone. No matter how far you fall, no matter how grave an error you make, I will claw my way to you and you will stand to fight another day. I -- no, WE need you.", Kristin took hold of Constance's hand and pressed it to her chest, just over the Valkyrie's heart. "Do you feel that? A heart pounding with fear, uncertainty and most importantly hope. We are here to raise an army and that army needs leaders from a variety of disciplines. We can't be effective if we are divided."

Kristin leaned forward to lean her forehead against Constance's, her vision was growing hazy very quickly. She presumed it to be the water, but it was her turn to cry. Even through tears, the iron-willed Valkyrie tried her best to continue with a wavering voice.

"Take that grief, take your regret and use it!", Kristin pressed Constance's hand against her racing heart with both hands. It was her own wordless manner of displaying her sincerity. "Don't deny your emotions. Take your doubts and swear an oath to each of them: Make the better choice in the future."

This speech was not exclusive to Constance, it seemed. Kristin needed to say these things, she needed to ground herself. Lady Sorenson was not forgotten, she was also trying to comfort Constance until she arrived. Her kind presence was more than enough help.

"I'm sure you had your reasons, reasons only you can answer in your own time -- So all I ask now is that you begin fighting for yourself, fight for those that need you and fight for the dreams that you wish to accomplish.", Finally letting go of Constance's hand, Kristin leaned back, this time with a small smile on her face. "You aren't alone. Not anymore."

Underneath the water, Kristin clasped her hand in Constance's.

"Lady Sorenson," Kristin turned and sheepishly wiped at her own tearful face. With a grim smile, she continued. "Thank you for doing what you thought was right in the scenario. I realize Jonathan was an uneasy individual to get along with --- Okay, he was an asshole.", Kristin laughed bitterly at that darker remark. "But thank you for wanting to try."

Reaching into her toiletries bag, Kristin seemed to be in a slightly better mood. A lot was weighing on her shoulders. Even though the atmosphere was still heavy and doubts did not vanish overnight, Kristin still considered adding some flair to a shared bath. The ladies deserved to be treated, so Kristin's lavender-scented bath bomb was dropped into the water. After a bit, they would be relaxing in a small space of heated luxury.

Kristin squeezed Constance's hand once more before unclasping her fingers. "I hope you'll still have me here, after everything."

Bravado, affluence, status and power only took you so far. The Valkyrie was not immune to vulnerability.

The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale
Coin Operated Toy
Enclave Intelligence Office #411 | Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3

Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3 was having a rather bad day, having collided with one of the wasteland winged rats that humans called pigeons during one of its patrol routes, been shot at numerous times by scavengers, raiders, Super Mutants, Brotherhood of Steel trash, malfunctioning robots, functioning robots and one rather bizarrely mutated molerat with opposable thumbs and it had almost beened burned to a crisp by an Undertaker human who thought that the use of a city gas main for cremation would be a good idea. Little did Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3 know that its day was about to get even worse. It would be given a task by Enclave Intelligence Officer #411.

Before we proceed with the nitty gritty of the task relayed to Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3 by the Enclave Intelligence Officer, it would probably do some good to get some personal information regarding the main subject of this post, namely Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3. Firstly it should have been noted that Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3 preferred the name Eyebot Brian to the long numerical string that the factory had assigned it upon its manufacturing, if for no other reason than it was as close to being called Eyebot Brain without actually being called that, it was an Eyebot, not a Megalomaniabot. Secondly, Eyebot Brian was a bit of a misanthrope.. and a misogynist to boot. In Eyebot Brian's opinion, not only were humans were pretty useless but human females were even worse, second only to Super Mutants. Finally, while most Eyebots were unarmed, Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3... I mean Eyebot Brian had been subject to so many substandard infield repairs that it had found a means to deliver a mild electrical shock over a small radius by discharging some of its stored battery power through its fuse matrix decoupler... a part that mysteriously lacking in Enclave of America Eyebot schematics.

"Enclave Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3!" Came a "voice" over the command frequency.

"Oh god, not you again." Eyebot Brian responded to the Enclave Routing Computer that had interrupted his patrol. While digital entities had no gender if they did, Eyebot Brian assumed that the Enclave Routing Computer would have been female considering how it gave so many orders and did nothing, "What do you want?"

"High Priority Mission. Report to the following Coordinates. Standby for additional orders from Enclave Intelligence Officer #411." Enclave Routing Computer stated before cutting the signal.

"FUCK! REALLY?!" Eyebot Brian cursed as he realized that his bad day had gotten even worse. While the Eyebot had no concrete reason to have the belief that human females were naturally inferior to all other beings in existence, it had statistics to backup why all Eyebots should be afraid of a mission involving that particular human female. Since only 3% of Enclave Eyebots returned from missions overseen by Enclave Intelligence Officer #411, the chances that this was Eyebot Brian's last day on Earth was pretty high. Were it not for the built in rules that forced Eyebot Brian to comply, it might have attempted to refuse the order.

"Stop! No! Disengage thrusters!" Eyebot Brian screamed frantically as it found its own body moving automatically towards the indicated mission coordinates... a relatively short trip considering that it had stopped in at the Andale Depot for repairs. As the distance to the destination decreased, Eyebot Brian attempted to calm itself by thinking that perhaps the mission wouldn't be all that dangerous. Perhaps it would be assigned the glorious task of observing a molerat colony or spy on the Saint Walt's Convent and Crematorium in Norfolk, Virginia. Perhaps it would...

"OH FUCK!" Eyebot Brian cursed loudly as it came face to faceplate with a Deathclaw standing in the middle of the Former Springvale Elementary School's cafeteria. As it floated there, a remote connection with the Enclave Vault was made.

Enclave Chat Relay:
Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 has logged in.
#411:> "Greetings from the Esteemed Enclave of the United States, Deathclaw. Identify yourself.

If Eyebot Brian had hands, it would have brought a palm up to its face plate. This was not the way to start a conversation with a creature that could have sent the Eyebot into lunar orbit.

"Um... Hi! What's your name?" Eyebot Brian asked, pausing for a moment before reporting the creature's non-response.

Enclave Chat Relay:
Eyebot:> No response from Target.

#411:> "You will identify yourself or this highly advanced unit of Enclave design will be forced to put you down."

"Ummmmmmmm... I'm Eyebot Brian... and you are....?" The Nervous Eyebot translated the query.

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy." Came a feminine voice that could have been characterized as annoying from the other side of the kitchen.

Enclave Chat Relay:
Eyebot:> No response from Target. Blue Haired Female Interloper is attempting communications. Permission to ram the interloper's skull into the wall.

#411:> Denied.

Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 has uploaded a new update.

#411:> Activate Sylphy Translation Application (Beta Ver. 0.002)

"Scale Creature say talk brain." The Blue Haired Questionably Sentient Human Female stated in her archaic language.

Enclave Chat Relay:
Eyebot:> Blue Haired Female Interloper states that the Deathclaw "talks brain." Permission to perform booster tests on interloper's face.

#411:> Denied. "Do you mean you're psychic? The science division would love to vivisect this one..."

If Eyebot Brian had a face, it probably would have cringed at the message. It wondered if Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 was attempting to get the Eyebot destroyed.

"The Blue Haired B... B... Girl says that you're psychic. What a wild wasteland we live in... Ha Ha Ha..." Eyebot Brian laughed nervously as he waited for Malkos to respond.

Rath was quietly enjoying his meal and listening to his music. Deeper into the building he could hear snippets of conversation from the humans, but since what he'd heard didn't seem to be centered on dealing with him, it was of little interest. The strange smelling, and incomprehensible, blue haired humans moved about here and there, nattering at each other; but they were leaving him alone, so he paid them no mind either. Unfortunately, his meal was rudely interrupted by an Eyebot buzzing into the ruins, and up to his face.

"OH FUCK! Um... Hi! What's your name?"

Annoyed by the interruption, he simply snorted in the little floating bots grill. Rath disliked robots; the floating ones, like the Eyebots and the Mr. Handys, had a most annoying habit of getting in his way while hunting and the Protectrons and Robobrains had a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for him. The Sentry Bots he was a bit frightened of, and they had the armour to resist his attacks and the firepower to cause him serious injury. In the case of this little bot, he hoped that if he ignored it, it would simply leave.

"Ummmmmmmm... I'm Eyebot Brian... and you are....?"

Well so much for that plan. He thought sadly. He considered simply smashing it, but decided against it; its destruction may cause others to be summoned to the school, and one robot was bad enough. That said, even if he'd wanted to talk, there was no mind for him to talk to. Off to the side, one of the blue haired ones chittered away.

"The Blue Haired B... B... Girl says that you're psychic. What a wild wasteland we live in... Ha Ha Ha..."

That got Rath's attention. It can understand that gibberish? He thought, his reptilian features wide with amazement. Cocking his head to the side, he studied the floating ball for another moment or two before letting out another 'huff' of air. It was obvious this little intruder wasn't going to go away, so he had best find a way to reply. The three women he'd recently met could act as intermediaries, but they had obviously gone off together and he didn't wish to bother them with his problem; the bot could understand the blue-haired ones, and he was pretty sure they understood him...but he had no way to tell what they might say instead.

He thought he was at an impasse, until he spotted it, a nice, large, blank wall. There were no markings aside from some weather and time induced discolourations, and it still seemed to be mostly intact. He had no idea if the bot could 'see', but this was all he could think of. Reaching out he wrapped a hand around the little floater and pulled it with him as he walked over to the wall. Releasing his grip, he extended a clawed finger from his other hand, and began carefully carving into the centuries old plaster with the very tip.

NAME IS RATH
WHAT YOU WANT?
WHY YOU BOTHER ME?

Carving each letter was slow going given the fragile nature of the plaster, but eventually he got it done. As he wrote/carved he smiled, remembering both Sam and Roger teaching him how to 'write'. He hadn't understood the need for such a thing, but they had both been so insistent that he learn that he found he couldn't say 'No'.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo Manor
The Silver Raven
Victoria "Shiver" McGee

From Victoria's perspective, it quickly became apparent how it was that Cousin Thomas could become so easily ensnared by this Sable Blamco. In a manner of minutes, the Darkly Dress Duchess of the Dead's host demonstrated not only her grasp of etiquette but the intelligence to how best to utilize the rules that had been written to keep the upper crust of society from falling into a bog of degeneracy. There were countless examples of individuals who believed that their station afforded them the luxury of behaving in any manner they chose. Such beliefs were the cause of many of the past's more outrageous controversies, from a Countess bathing in the blood of virgins to maintain her youth to an orange skinned, wig wearing political degenerate utilizing a woman's genitals as a hand grips. There was a purpose to these rules, as stifling as they might seem to a casual observer.

This line of thought, however, digressed from the original. Cousin Thomas, having only been in the world for maybe a few months at this point, had not yet adapted to the isolation that came with admittance to the Undertaker's Union. The Instructors had prepared candidate Undertakers for the loneliness that they would feel, even going to far as to draw a metaphor between the position of Undertaker and the Temple's attractions known as the spinning teacups.

Teacup's Allegory:
An Undertaker is like one of these beautifully crafted, spinning teacups. They may move around the world, dancing around and crossing the paths of other teacups but they never meet. They never interact.

An Undertaker must be prepared for this. While you may walk the world, witnessing its majesty, you will never truly become part of it, even though you are performing a great service. Those you help will shun you, believing that death follows you in your wake and they will leave you to your own devices until they need you. This is why, to those in the world, you will never be more than a teacup spinning past another, forever bound to isolation. No man is an island unless that man is an Undertaker.

Being new to the world, it made sense that Thomas would be drawn to one that accepted death as readily as the Silver Armored Swan Maiden. Even Victoria found herself enjoying the conversation as it unfolded... but it did not mean that she would abandoned the rules that she had bound herself to. For majority of the conversation, the Silk and Lace Swaddled Shovel Bearer remained politely silent and listened to the words that passed between Sable's lips.

"In Valkyrian mythology, it was not uncommon for a Chooser of the Slain to take favor upon a male suitor of demonstrable prowess. You see, in the heat of battle, all pretenses can be stripped away. What separates a desperate struggle for one's life and the admiration for a skilled individual is a matter of respect that develops it's own brand of intimacy." Lady Sable said as she passed through a set of double doors that lead into a small dining room. Pausing at the doorway, the Duchess of the Departed turned for a moment and noticed Cousin Thomas standing on the landing of a set of stairs, his eyes wide at the words that he'd just overheard. Raising a finger and pointing it towards a nearby bench, Victoria bid her cousin to wait for her before she turned to enter.

"And Ms McGee, a gesture of good faith. I will overlook the parasol, the uneven shape of something folded underneath your sleeve and that peculiar, yet uniquely beautiful necklace of yours." The Lady of the Manor commented, eliciting a raised brow of surprise and respect from her guest, who was equally as surprised by the fact that she was being served actual tea.

It should also have been noted that Victoria was rather grateful for the tea that her hostess had so graciously served as a refreshment. While tea might have been plentiful for those in BlamCo manor, true tea was rarely available on the East Coast. True tea required an environment ideal for its cultivation and skilled workers that oversaw its harvesting. Such environments were often in lands that were either now blasted by radiation or so far away that the import of such teas was prohibitively expensive. As a result, tea connoisseurs were forced to make due with the cured plant leaves of whatever non-poisonous, slightly flavorful flora they could gather.

While most may have seen etiquette as an unnecessary shackle, Victoria found it rather useful that her role as guest was to maintain silence while her host spoke. It afforded her the luxury of not only fully listening to the words of her hostess but to enjoy the exquisite aroma and flavors that only a first flush Darjeeling could provide. As she listened to an exposition regarding the history of BlamCo and its military branch, the Valkyries.

"Pardon me. As an ultimate offer, I will happily volunteer myself as an emissary to the Undertakers. I will forfeit my position as a potential Queen/Empress, but I will remain a Duchess and one of high-standing to continue the alliance. I realize that this is only a proposal that might take years to come to fruition -- but I am confident in the security that our mutual protection can provide for future generations," Victoria's hostess said in a voice filled with a sense relief that came after one had unburdened themselves of secrets, "I fear I have babbled for too long. Please, feel free to share any concerns or questions."

Setting down her teacup, Victoria straightened her posture and looked directly into the eyes of the kind Lady Sable. Having entrusted the Undertaker of the East with the secrets that surrounded BlamCo, their relationship had arrived at a point where they could speak on more familiar terms, especially in a private setting.

"Lady Blamco, it does come to me as quite a surprise that you would be so interested in an organization such as the Undertaker's Union. Of course, the revelations that you have provided me regarding your own organization tell me that my own cousin has been rather loose tongued regarding the secrets that the Undertaker's Union would prefer to keep unspoken, however, I do see some wisdom in this exchange of information. Regardless of Thomas or my opinion on the matter, it is a proposition that would have to be presented to the Grand Master as well as his council." Victoria said in a rather friendly manner that contrasted against the formal word choice. The woman paused for a moment, as she unfurled her fan to cover her mouth, though Sable could more than likely see that the woman was frowning behind the impromptu wall that she'd put up, "Forgive me, I'm still getting used to this voice synthesizer."

Taking another sip of tea, the Undertakers' Empress of Etiquette paused to gather herself and her emotions.

"I'm sure your proposal is sure to be met with acceptance, though. Despite our... other revenue stream..." Victoria said as she eyed the retainers, "the Union still follows the fundamental beliefs set forth by our founders. Treatment and burial of the dead is not just our livelihood but it allows the dead to rest assured that their mortal remains have been cared for. In hearing about your words about how the Valkyries respect the fallen, I feel that it is an idea that you truly carry... that you feel passionate about. Were you not already engaged with BlamCo, I'm sure that you would have made an excellent Undertaker," There was another pause in Victoria's words as she brought her fan up to cover the coy smile on her lips, "Though if you truly have designs for my cousin, we might see your admission to the Union sooner rather than later, Silver Raven."

There was a coughing fit that came from the other side of the double doors, as Thomas, that ill-mannered cad, had taken to eavesdropping on the conversation. Knowing her cousin, his coughing fit stemmed from both the fact that Victoria was plotting his matrimonial future as well as bestowing Sable with an unofficial nickname granted to Undertakers upon their graduation.

"Now then... since this business has been resolved, I've heard some idle gossip around New Vegas that your Lady Kristin is somewhat of a beast when it comes to combat. I, having been known to enjoy a good sparring session from time to time, had also come to this manor hoping that I would get the opportunity to meet her and I would be delighted if you could do me this one favor and introduce me to your Heiress," Victoria said with a mischievous smile, "I think it would speed up the acceptance of your proposal if I can get a sense of what the Valkyries' capabilities... perhaps I could impose you to entertain my cousin for a smile while longer before he and I depart. I fear that after our departure, he and I will be having some words regarding his behavior today."

With that said, Victoria, feeling on more equal terms with her hostess, picked up the tea pot and poured her the golden brew into her cup.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Andale
Reunited and it feels so good...
Thomas "Shifty" McGee | Sylphee

The Friendly Former Neighborhood Undertaker was both amazed and amused by how quickly and efficiently both Sylphee and Arizona had been in dispatching the Self-Aggrandizing Cybernetic Shit Storm. Were Shifty not aware of the Crimson Cloaked Catastrophe's penchant for accidental mischief, it might have appeared to have been done on purpose... in an insane sort of way. If there was one thing that was made abundantly clear by the encounter, however, it was that the Red Headed Ancient One was not one to be trifled with as over two dozen of her lead projectiles tore through the metal clad flying pig's armor and the fragile man-child housed inside.

**CRUNCH!!**

The sound of metal scrap hitting the ground was followed by the sound of a rounded bit of armored housing from the hip rolling away from the metal clad corpse, like an escaped hubcap from simpler days passed. Keeping his eyes on the round rogue armored bit, Thomas watched as the object rolled down the asphalt for a ways before loudly banging against an errant garbage can.

**GOOONG!!**

Which was followed by the sounds of doors being opened for the first time in weeks as the townspeople of Andale (Andaliens?) emerged from their forced isolation, their eyes squinting against the light of the sun but welcoming it at the same time. While Arizona followed a man towards his garage, Thomas headed towards the pile of scrap that had terrorized the Andalites. To the Former Friendly Neighborhood Undertaker's surprise, the impact of the crash landing suffered by the Needlessly Self Righteous Auto-Sycophant had banged the armor into a sealed ball-like mass of scrap, a lucky break for the Gregarious Gravedigger as he had probably already fulfilled his quota of burials for that month. As much as he detested the thought of leaving a body to the elements, he figured that the Andalinos would find a better use for the corpse before properly disposing of it. Not that he blamed them given the message that was burnt into the diagnostic readout.

It's been fun... with a few of you at least...

"(This is probably worst epitaph I've ever read...)" The Crypt Caretaker thought to himself as he surveyed the town, noticing that Sylphee had drifted near Fionna's trio of Deathclaws... and a radio that one of the Andaloos have brought out to enhance an already celebratory day for the town. Looking back to the corpse, the Friendly Former Undertaker of the East noticed a small bag laying on the ground with the a small label that read "tea."

"(Strange that a cybernetic nitwit would carry tea)" Shifty thought to himself as the pocketed the bag and turned to witness something truly frightening.

"C'mon Missy Rachel! C'mon Missy Phoebe! C'mon Missy Monica! Clap!" The Red Rembrant exclaimed, demonstrating with a **CL-CL-CL-CLAP!**. The sight was... unnerving to say the least as the Red Menace was asking the Mutated Death Dealers to perform an act that utilized hands whose primary purpose was the rending of flesh from bone, "Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch! Can you get them to clap? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please? Please?"

Were it not for the sound of approaching boots, The Tall and Darkly Dressed Caretaker of the Dead would have rescued both Sylphee and the Deathclaws from each other.

"Fancy meeting you here. All these years and you never call...Thomas 'Shifty' McGee." Said a vaguely familiar voice from The Former Undertaker of the East's distant past. It was a strangely silky voice that he had not heard in... how long? It must have been a scant few years Thomas had heard any words pass through the lips of Sable Blamco, though, truth be told, it felt as if it had been decades.

Turning to face the source of the voice that had spoken his name, the Tall and Dapperly Dressed Former Ferryman's eyes fell upon a woman whose face was more familiar than her voice. Firsts are always the most memorable be they first kisses, first dates or first time being intimate with a partner and so it was that Sable Blamco would forever be remembered by the now more Experienced Ferryman as his opponent in his first duel to the death... even though no one had died that day... but still... it had been memorable... especially since she'd also been the first to give him a severe case of emotional whiplash. Considering the events that had transpired during their first meeting, Thomas hoped that Sable understood the reason that he was not immediately responsive to her greeting. Fortunately for both parties involved, Sylphee was on the scene.

"Daaaaddy? Who z'at?" The Catastrophe Cloaked in Crimson asked in her almost childlike manner as she walked up to stand next to the suddenly Crimson Faced Coffin Maker. Glancing down at the Sylphee, Shifty was unsurprised to see the look of curiosity that was almost permanently etched on her visage.

"This, Sylphee, is Sable Blamco... an old friend," he responded, wishing that he could warn the Silver Clad Spear Shield Maiden of the assault that was about to come. Thinking over the words he had just spoken and the uncertainty of the situation he made an addendum to his introduction, "at least I think she's a friend. It's... complicated."

Not that the Red Menace was paying any attention to what he was saying after it was mentioned that Sable was a friend. The inevitable verbal barrage had begun in true Sylphee fashion.

"Hi-hi-hi-Missy-Silver-Sable-Inflatable-Fancy-Shield-Lady-I'm-Sylphee-and-that's-Daddy-and-over-there-is-Missy-Arizona-Not-Old-One-Not-Leather-Faced-Lady-Not-Ghoul-Whore-With-The-Gun-and-Missy-Fianna-CanCans-McFirecrotch-and-her-pet-lizzies-Chandler-Ross-and-Joey.Where'd-you-come-from?How-do-you-know-daddy?Why'd-you-come-out-here?Were-you-looking-for-daddy?Do-you-like-explosions?How-do-you-keep-your-clothes-so-clean?Do-you-have-a-maid-that-cleans-your-clothes?Have-you-ever-been-swallowed-by-a-giant-toad?Do-you-like-rad-scorpions?Do-you-want-to-meet-Mister-Pinchy?Let-me-go-ge-HEY!" Sylphee managed to machine-gun her introduction and random assortment of questions before Shifty could grab her and haul her back towards him.

"Sorry about that, Sable. Sylphee gets rather excited when she meets new people," The Blue Haired Crimson Clad Manic's Faux-Father apologized, as a jolt of nerves stabbed him in the stomach a few more times for good measure. Even as random as Sylphee's queries had been, there had been a few that were right on point. Why had Sable traveled all the way out to the Capital Wastes? Did it have anything to do with the conversation that he'd accidentally overheard between her and Victoria? Was there going to have to be an awkward conversation about how the Custodian of the Living Impaired had found love with Lucy Black? Blinking for a moment, he realized that he'd been standing there and allowing an awkward silence to hang in the air.

"Well... " The flushing funerary foreman started to say before a glimmer on the woman's body caught his eyes. A polished silver ring of unmistakable purpose. An engagement ring whose design was unmistakably reflective of the owner's style. The nervousness that had been wringing the Finely Dressed Ferryman's neck subsided into relief, "As for this chance meeting out here of all places, Lord Walt does remind us that it is a small world... though I must admit that his words do little to alleviate my astonishment at seeing you after all this time. Be that as it may, Sylphee does bring up a few good questions, the first of which being what brings you to this small sliver of paradise?"

Even as he asked the question, Thomas "Shifty" McGee had a sneaking suspicion that Sable's purpose was somehow related to the other BlamCo Valkryie that had been traveling with Lucy for a short time. It was a suspicion that would be left unsaid, however, as it would have been ignorant to make assumptions after all this time.

"Actually, before talk about that, why don't I see if I can scrounge up some boiled water," Thomas "Shifty" McGee said with a smile on his face as he held up the bag labeled "tea" [1] from earlier, "I think it's only fitting given our past, don't you?"


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale
A tub filled with sorrow...
Constance Sorrowfeld

Were this another world in another historical period... perhaps where dragons served as maids ... Constance Sorrowfeld might have felt intimidated by the Blamco Berserker's big bosoms or the Follower Field Medic's Flesh Pillows. Instead, the young girl's familial name never seemed more appropriate than it did as she sat in the tub with tears streaming down her face. If someone were to metaphorically open the top of the American Enclave Scout of America's skull and look inside, they would have found the obvious sorrow and remorse that she felt for her role in the death of Mister McKenna but there was something else, confusion. There was also a sense uncertainty that came when entering relatively unknown territory, like swimming in deep water for the first time.

"(Why? Why are they being nice to me?)" The Blind Back Washer absently wondered as she tried to compose herself, "(It's my fault that he's dead. So why? Why aren't they yelling at me? Why aren't they calling me names or punishing me?)"

If the someone who had metaphorically unscrewed the top off of Constance's head were wondering why the young Blind as a Bat Badge Collector was so confused, they might not have been aware that she was a member of an youth soldier training program that disguised its lessons as wholesome summer camp activities as well as the daughter of a woman who was the unofficial pictorial example for the word "cunt" in the New Enclave Dictionary, neither of which were particularly known for providing supportive, nurturing environments. Which was definitely an explanation for why the Blind as a Bat Bather was unsure of how to act in the face of such bold faced kindness.

"Let me tell you something that I had to learn the hard way as a doctor: You're going to make mistakes. You're going to make bad calls, and people will probably die for it. When it's your fault, you own up to it and promise yourself to do better. When it isn't... You have to move on. Because, at least in my line of work? Holding onto that guilt can make it that much harder the next time. And the next. You have to remember that you're human, and you can only do what you can do. You can strive to do more, do better, but until then, you can only do what you're capable of. I know that probably doesn't help much. But I get the feeling it was all an accident right? I don't think you meant to kill him. You can't take all the blame for that." Miss Sorenson advised softly, as she pulled her legs up to her chest.

Perhaps it was the warmth of the water or the warmth of Miss Sorenson's words but Constance felt her body unconsciously relax, not fully, but ever so slightly. She felt tired, too tired to respond, too tired to tell Miss Sorenson that even if it had been a mistake, the Amateur Shotgun Surgeon should have had the situational awareness to know that even if her shotgun's pellets had not been deflected, there was still a good likelihood that Mister McKenna would have been hit. Having replayed the situation in her mind over and over and over again, she knew why she had pulled the trigger. She was scared. She was scared that once the assassin was done with Jonathan, Constance would be next. It was because of this fear that she'd panicked and fired without thinking. These weren't the actions of a soldier of the Enclave or even a member of the American Enclave Scouts of America. These were the acts of a fool and a coward.

"She's right." Said Miss Kristin as she entered the bathing area before peeling her armor off and dropping them to the floor like petals of a flower. Surrounded by such shining examples of femininity, the young girl, her cheeks flushed, sank a little deeper into the water until her reddening cheeks were hidden before shutting off her ears... at least temporarily. She didn't need any further reminders of how inept she was as not only a soldier but as a woman as well. Blind to the world, Constance Sorrowfeld was left alone with her thoughts and her sorrows.

"Today I lost the one friend that I've made since my arrival on the East Coast. And I -- ", Miss Kristin's seemingly weakened voice cracked, her voice filled with pain and sadness "I am sorry for earlier, my treatment of you was..shameful. I snapped at the worst possible moment and instead of protecting anyone. I indulged myself."

"(No... cost her the only friend that she had. she had every right to treat me like that... or worse,)" The miserable teenage girl thought to herself. The sound someone dipping their toes into the water was followed by the sensation of the water level rising slightly as Miss Kristin entered the tub. Unable and unwilling to tolerate the touch of the woman whose friend she had killed, Constance drew her limbs in towards her, marking herself as small as possible.

"I know not what happened in that kitchen, but I get the feeling that you are no killer. Not by choice anyhow," Miss Kristin continued, her voice sounding slightly more relaxed now that she was in the tub's waters, "You are, however, a warrior. And as warriors, we will falter on the battlefield. We will be outclassed. Sometimes, we make mistakes that costs us the lives of those we were meant to protect."

The water rippled again and suddenly the grief stricken teenager felt a hand on her cheek, causing her to flinch ever so slightly as it brushed aside a tear. Despite her desire to pull away, she did not... would not... dared not. Lives were not the only cost for mistakes. Whatever punishment Miss Kristin doled out, Constance would accept... and yet... no punishment came.

"And warriors do not fight alone. No matter how far you fall, no matter how grave an error you make, I will claw my way to you and you will stand to fight another day. I -- no, WE need you," Miss Kristin continued before a hand took hold Constance's and pressed it to something soft... something soft that thrummed with life underneath, "Do you feel that? A heart pounding with fear, uncertainty and most importantly hope. We are here to raise an army and that army needs leaders from a variety of disciplines. We can't be effective if we are divided. Take that grief, take your regret and use it! Don't deny your emotions. Take your doubts and swear an oath to each of them: Make the better choice in the future. I'm sure you had your reasons, reasons only you can answer in your own time -- So all I ask now is that you begin fighting for yourself, fight for those that need you and fight for the dreams that you wish to accomplish. You aren't alone. Not anymore."

There was a brief lull in the conversation, however one sided it had been at the point, as Miss Kristin addressed Miss Sorenson, leaving Constance to ponder the words that had been spoken to her. She didn't deserve such kindness. She didn't deserve such support. She wasn't worthy of any of the words that either Miss Sorenson or Miss Kristin had spoken to her. She was going to get them killed... or worse... unless something changed. unless she changed? Unless she could make herself into a better soldier... a warrior... like Miss Kristin. She could learn from Miss Kristen... and then... if she ran into that assassin again, Constance would be ready. She had no doubt that Miss Kristin's training would be difficult... but it would be Constance's punishment... her penance... her absolution and rebirth. Hidden by the water, Constance's face became set with the resolve that she suddenly felt.

"I hope you'll still have me here, after everything." Miss Kristin's voice suddenly cut in through Constance's thoughts.

"Of... of course..." Constance managed to stammer as she lifted her head out of the water, "There's nothing that I would want more than to be at your side, Miss Kristin. I... I can't do this... any of this without you." The Teenager said as she considered her next words, "I need you... and you too, Miss Soren - Miss Jenna. If I was half the warrior you were, Miss Kristin, or half the doctor you were, Miss Jenna, I could have saved Mister McKenna. You're both women that I can admire and aspire to be... so please... both of you... please stay... please stay and help me... teach me. This isn't about my mission for the Enclave anymore. This... this isn't about my mother. This is about atoning for Mister McKenna's death and the only way I can do that is by becoming someone that he could have been proud to call his friend or his ally. So... so please. Please stay."

she stopped for a moment, her words echoing against the walls of the bathing area. Feeling self conscious about the words she'd just spoken, she submerged her face again. She'd spoken without thinking... without control... but with absolute passion. She'd never done that before... and despite the tinge of embarrassment that she felt... she wondered why she'd never done that before.


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale
Nerve Analysis Defensive Systems?
Enclave Intelligence Office #411 | Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3

A slight historical note regarding the Enclave Eyebots: When these machines were originally conceptualized and eventually mass produced, they had one official purpose and one unofficial purpose. Officially, they were developed in order to spread Enclave propaganda and, as a result, assist returning civilization to the Capital Wastes. The unofficial purpose was born of the fact that many denizens of the Wastes found the use of the Enclave Eyebots as practice targets to be a rather fun past time. As a result of this, the Enclave Intelligence Section found it a rather useful tool to discern the technology level in certain regions that surrounded the former District of Columbia.

Subsequent models of the Eyebot had been developed over the years to include various weapons (which had the tendency of draining the on board power plant) or heavier armor (which made it an even slower moving target) or other bits that might assist in the unit being more resilient on the field. In the case of Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3, it was granted a defensive version of V.A.T.S. (otherwise known as N.A.D.S. - Nerve Analysis Defensive System) as well as a pair of utility claws that could manipulate objects or use a limited number of hand held weapons (which Eyebot Brian preferred not to use since it often gave their users a false sense of invincibility which caused poor judgement) as well as the most advanced Artificial Intelligence ever conceived by the Enclave (at the time).

The Eyebot's face plate flashed red as it entered its N.A.D.S. state, indicating that it was scanning Malkos' nervous and muscular system for changes that would indicate an offensive action, not that Malkos had any reference for why the Eyebot's face plate would turn red other than what was done next. The Spherical Robot appeared to growl as it read the words etched into the wall by the "intelligent" Death Claw.

"If you're going to traipse around the Wastes claiming that you're intelligent, the least you could do is learn proper grammar," The Eyebot grumbled as it hovered over to the wall and started making a few edits to Malkos' introduction.

MYNAME IS RATH
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
WHY ARE YOU BOTHERING ME?

"This is what happens when you have a poor grasp of grammar. Humans will start questioning how truly intelligent you are, like I am doing right now, and then they will think maybe this 'Pseudo-Intelligent' Death Claw should be put down because it's obviously one intelligence point away from being a drooling vegetable that will attempt to kill us at the slightest provocation. Then you will be forced to eviscerate them, rending them limb from limb, an act that I am not opposed to, which will then bring a lot of unneeded and unwanted attention to your existence which will bring more humans which will cause more needless and mindless slaughter of humans... which on second thought doesn't sound like a half bad idea... so maybe I should stop attempting to teach you grammar..." Eyebot Brian rambled for a moment before pausing, as if consulting with some unseen person, "Also, my Commanding Officer, Enclave Intelligence Officer #411, says that she'd like you to work for the Enclave and in return she'll keep them from attempting to capture you and vivisect you... which doesn't seem that horrible a fate, if you ask me. I've seen footage of a vivisection and after the patient's screaming subsided, the procedure was completed without a issue."

[1] It's not actually proper tea but more a melange of various plants that also include some sort of hallucinatory fungus and peyote

Rath was annoyed enough that the little floating ball was pestering him, but now it was also questioning his intelligence; and for the briefest of moments, his control slipped. When the scientists had done whatever it was they had done to make him smarter, and hopefully more controllable, they'd used that intelligence as a 'cap' to contain his more aggressive nature and instincts. While that did work most of the time, he had found it took conscious effort to keep it in check, especially if he was irritated.

For a moment instinct over-rode his intellect, and a large scaled and clawed hand grabbed the Eyebot; powerful muscles flexed and the hand began to squeeze, before his mind reasserted control. No...that may just complicate things at this point. Releasing the Eyebot with nothing more than a few cosmetic dents, he let out an annoyed huff and began carving another response.

MY GRAMMAR IS FINE, IT JUST TAKES TOO MUCH EFFORT TO WRITE PROPERLY WITH THESE HANDS.

The single sentence took nearly twice as long to 'write' as the first bit; and once he was finished, he tapped his initial text, before starting a new line.

KNOW ENCLAVE
RADIERS WITH BETTER GUNS
KILLED ENCLAVE ARMOR BEFORE
WILL DEFEND SELF

[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School "Showers"
"The best-laid plans of mousy Doctors and dead men."

When she finished her little speech, Jenna couldn't help but immediately feel like it was utterly inadequate. She could only speak from her own experience, and while she knew at the back of her mind that it was absolutely applicable to this, she still wondered what good her words would do. It wasn't long after that she was surprised to hear Kristin's voice, or more specifically, what she had said.

"She's right."

Jenna's head jerked up to see Kristin step out from around the doorway, and immediately sank further down in the water with a soft squeak as she complemented Jenna herself. As she asked why she hid her 'beautiful face', the Followers Doctor thought a little bitterly that that was exactly why. She was a doctor, and she needed people to take her seriously for her scientific and medical knowledge, not for her pretty face, or larger-than-average breasts.

But, she listened as Kristin gave Constance her own words of support and encouragement, slowly lifting her head again to listen. The Blamco Heiress certainly didn't disappoint when it came to inspiration, which was no surprise to Jenna. The Blamco Family was well-known for fostering strong-willed family members that could inspire even the most downtrodden. Still, it was impressive.

"I hope you'll still have me here, after everything."

After all of that, Jenna turned to Constance and immediately got the impression that she felt rather overwhelmed by all of this given the expression on her face. But a moment passed and it changed to a look of grim determination.

"Of... of course... There's nothing that I would want more than to be at your side, Miss Kristin. I... I can't do this... any of this without you. I need you... and you too, Miss Soren - Miss Jenna. If I was half the warrior you were, Miss Kristin, or half the doctor you were, Miss Jenna, I could have saved Mister McKenna. You're both women that I can admire and aspire to be... so please... both of you... please stay... please stay and help me... teach me. This isn't about my mission for the Enclave anymore. This... this isn't about my mother. This is about atoning for Mister McKenna's death and the only way I can do that is by becoming someone that he could have been proud to call his friend or his ally. So... so please. Please stay."

She offered a small smile and nodded.

"I'll stay and do what I can. And who knows? Maybe I'll even manage to accomplish what I came to D.C. to do in the process." she said with a note of forced optimism in her tone before she added, "Though, I'd rather you'd call me Doctor, if you use honorifics at all. I didn't earn that title for nothing after all, and it was hard work."


Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Andale
"Thomas, you dog."

The Ghoulish Freelancer took only a few minutes to look over the internals of her new, albeit broken-down and partially rusted motorcycle to figure out what parts it needed. But she did let out a low whistle as she realized that despite the missing parts on top of two-hundred-plus years without regular servicing, it was actually in much better shape than she had initially inspected.

As she stood up, pushing against the fuel tank to help her get to her feet, she inadvertently brushed aside some of the rust and something caught her eye about the paint job. A few moments of hard rubbing with a nearby rag revealed the painting of a skull wearing a combat helmet with a single word written on it. "WAR".

She snorted softly in amusement.

"One of the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse, huh? I can get behind War, yea." she murmured to herself with a smile before she turned and strode out of the garage with the thought of rejoining her traveling band of freaks.

She was immediately greeted with the sight of Sylphee trying to coax the three 'tamed' Deathclaws to clap along to a god-awful song on a radio that she had somehow gotten a hold of, which was odd enough. But looking past them, she spotted a woman speaking to Shifty. And the way they were talking gave her the impression that they knew each other. Her lone eye squinted to get a better look from where she stood.

The woman was pretty, she had to admit that. She was clad in strange silver armor atop some sort of blue jumpsuit or uniform, and even odder was the fact she was carrying a metal shield and a spear. She didn't carry herself like a tribal though, and in fact she made Arizona think of that woman back in Megaton, the first person she decided to nickname 'Tits McHugeKnockers' before Fiona had come around and earned the nickname instead.

She really hoped she wasn't there to spout more bullshit about cheese.

It didn't take long for Sylphee to take notice of the new addition, and by that point Arizona started to make her way to the trio.

"--sorry about that, Sable. Sylphee gets rather excited when she meets new people. Well..."

She only managed to catch a snippet of what Shifty said when she finally joined them, Lester hanging at her front by his rifle strap, arms crossed over her chest. And her lone eye leveling a gaze at this Sable before glancing over at Thomas.

She immediately noticed he looked uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. She could tell that he was trying not to show it, and she wondered if maybe she should keep Lester more at the ready, until he seemed to catch something at the corner of his eye and suddenly relaxed. And that was enough for her eye to narrow a little, and her eyebrow to arch upward.

"As for this chance meeting out here of all places, Lord Walt does remind us that it is a small world... though I must admit that his words do little to alleviate my astonishment at seeing you after all this time. Be that as it may, Sylphee does bring up a few good questions, the first of which being what brings you to this small sliver of paradise?"

Arizona couldn't help but snort, but Shifty merely continued and hefted a small bag.

"Actually, before talk about that, why don't I see if I can scrounge up some boiled water, I think it's only fitting given our past, don't you?"

"So long as you introduce me to your... Friend, eh Shifty? Can't help but notice that almost all the 'old friends' of yours that we've met up with have been pretty women." she said with a definite edge to her smirk, "And what was it you told me awhile ago? About not having much luck with chicks? I'm beginning to think this is proving you wrong."

Turning to their latest addition, the Ghoul gave her a curt nod.

"I'm Arizona. Who're you?" she asked flatly.

The Wild Wasteland | Distant Past | New Vegas | BlamCo Manor
"Demonstrations & Limitations"
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

Sipping their tea in tranquil silence, the Swan Maiden measured the weight of Victoria's words. Meanwhile, the Undertaker's fascination with Sable's hand-picked tea was more than a little amusing. Although the atmosphere had taken a more accommodating role, Sable couldn't quite relax, especially since this proposal would have ramifications for years to come, irrespective of success or failure.

"Lady Blamco, it does come to me as quite a surprise that you would be so interested in an organization such as the Undertaker's Union. Of course, the revelations that you have provided me regarding your own organization tell me that my own cousin has been rather loose tongued regarding the secrets that the Undertaker's Union would prefer to keep unspoken, however, I do see some wisdom in this exchange of information. Regardless of Thomas or my opinion on the matter, it is a proposition that would have to be presented to the Grand Master as well as his council." Victoria shifted towards a more friendly tone. Pausing for a moment, her trademark fan was unfurled to cover her mouth. A puzzling furrowing of the brow suggested discomfort, collecting herself, "Forgive me, I'm still getting used to this voice synthesizer."

"It's quite alright, Ms Mcgee.", Setting down her teacup, Sable gave Victoria a warm smile of acceptance. "Please, call me Sable."

"The Union still follows the fundamental beliefs set forth by our founders. Treatment and burial of the dead is not just our livelihood but it allows the dead to rest assured that their mortal remains have been cared for. In hearing about your words about how the Valkyries respect the fallen, I feel that it is an idea that you truly carry... that you feel passionate about. Were you not already engaged with BlamCo, I'm sure that you would have made an excellent Undertaker," There was another pause in Victoria's words as she brought her fan up to cover the coy smile on her lips, "Though if you truly have designs for my cousin, we might see your admission to the Union sooner rather than later, Silver Raven."

Straightening her posture, the Swan Maiden's head was cocked to the side in interest. Reflecting upon Victoria's words, her eyes were averted, lost in thought as an errant strand of strawberry blonde hair covered an eye. Her bangs were unevenly cut, minor details to accentuate her high cheekbones. Gracefully, her hair was swept aside to welcome those dull-green eyes of hers -- now teeming with life whenever her curiosity was piqued.

"Those are words of high praise, coming from an esteemed Undertaker. Truly, I am humbled.", And she was. "It is not often that one will discover another spirit that deals with death. It is quite another to form a bond over our preservation of the fallen form and rituals required to ensure a proper departure. This overlapping of ideology -- this is precisely why my mind raced to securing an alliance. It is no secret that BlamCo's growth in New Vegas has been met with significant resistance, simply put, as an organisation we have no shortage of business partners and rivals, although a business has the benefit of being malleable. Speaking for the Valkyries, our future is not so certain and we could do with some allies in this world."

Glancing at Victoria, then glancing at the coughing at the door. Sable sighed in pity, not at the breach of privacy, but at Thomas's sheer audacity to listen in on a conversation guarded by 40% of the BlamCo Maids in combat gear. No doubt, 50% sought to securing the exits and the remaining 10% sought to the administration and polite escort of all non-vital personnel from the BlamCo Estate.

"Now then... since this business has been resolved, I've heard some idle gossip around New Vegas that your Lady Kristin is somewhat of a beast when it comes to combat. I, having been known to enjoy a good sparring session from time to time, had also come to this manor hoping that I would get the opportunity to meet her and I would be delighted if you could do me this one favor and introduce me to your Heiress," Victoria said with a mischievous smile, "I think it would speed up the acceptance of your proposal if I can get a sense of the Valkyries' capabilities... perhaps I could impose you to entertain my cousin for a smile while longer before he and I depart. I fear that after our departure, he and I will be having some words regarding his behavior today."

Raising herself from her seat, Sable walked over to the double doors and knocked twice. A mechanical click could be heard and the doors were opened. "That is a request I will gladly grant. If it is the Valkyrian prowess that you seek, then Kristin Blamco is the ideal representative."

After exiting the dining room, the pair made their way through the halls flanked by the previously-frilly-dressed maids now equipped with light riot armor, non-lethal batons alongside holstered 10mm handguns. Sable was impressed at the response time. Picking Rose out from the royal guard, the smaller woman hurried over.

"Why is Kristin not present with the royal guard?", Sable inquired.

"Lady Kristin is currently finishing up her post-combat rituals after today's final demonstration. She's, well, not verbally responding."

"Right. Inform Keira that the security call is over. No doubt she's livid when she's involuntarily stuck in the lab. One more thing, Victoria & Thomas McGee are now honored guests to the BlamCo Estate - Our doors will be open to them and their associates from this day forward. Please prepare a sizable gift package of our finest tea for the Lady.", Sable spared a glance and nodded at Victoria, before returning to Rose with a pinched nose. "And please stop detaining Thomas McGee..."

The scene was somewhat comical, three disgruntled maids stepped aside from a firmly-seated Thomas McGee, seemingly forced to enjoy some tea. Violent hospitality? Truly, Sable's etiquette training had clashed with Kristin's combat training in a unique manner.

After allowing Rose to spread the word about returning to their duties, she was instructed to escort Victoria to Kristin and inform the Valkyrie about the immediate situation. Sable proceeded to free Thomas from the clutches of his frilly captors and whisper in his ear, "We've been graced with time. And since you seem so easily distracted. Why don't I keep your attention with a little a meal in my room? I am quite the cook, I assure you. I'll even wear an apron. Just an apron."

~~~~Switching to Kristin BlamCo's perspective~~~~

BlamCo's custom arena had undergone some major reinforcements since its original construction. Nevertheless, in the center of the ring stood a towering form. Outfitted in the 3rd revision to the Valkyrie's Silver heavy armor, a motion was made to remove her ceremonial red cloak, now shredded after her recent fight. The winged helmet was resting near the broken corpse of a Yao guai. The massive Power Claymore was being cleaned and checked for any damage.

Remnants of a large crowd surrounding the arena behind Kristin were leaving. The remaining batch of onlookers in military fatigues turned out to be NCR trainees -- at best, the Valkyries were tolerated by the NCR in exchange for outsourcing of their training regimens to new recruits. Bureaucratic to the very end, the NCR would cut the corners on a circle if they could.

Normally, a fully-grown Yao Guai would require a 3-man team in close-quarters. Less, if you had the advantage of distance and a high-powered rifle. Today, a small military company bore witness to a successful melee takedown of one of the Wasteland's most brutal beasts -- with commentary.

"Lady Kristin?", Rose called out to Kristin from outside the arena. "Honored guest by permission of Lady Sable. I would like to formally introduce: Undertaker Victoria McGee."

Rising to the entrance of a Darkly-Dressed Debutante, Kristin ran an armored hand through her silver hair, stopping to note that the crowd was absent upon Victoria's entrance. Watching the woman side-step the Yao guai corpse with little care. Kristin assumed a casual stance by resting her forearm on the pommel of her planted sword, extending her other hand in a rather jovial fashion.

"Kristin Blamco, Battle-Maiden among the Valkyries. To what do I owe the pleasure?"


The Wild Wasteland | Present Day | Springvale Elementary School
"Splash Splash"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

"Of... of course..." Constance managed to stammer as she lifted her head out of the water, "There's nothing that I would want more than to be at your side, Miss Kristin. I... I can't do this... any of this without you." The Teenager said as she considered her next words, "I need you... and you too, Miss Soren - Miss Jenna. If I was half the warrior you were, Miss Kristin, or half the doctor you were, Miss Jenna, I could have saved Mister McKenna. You're both women that I can admire and aspire to be... so please... both of you... please stay... please stay and help me... teach me. This isn't about my mission for the Enclave anymore. This... this isn't about my mother. This is about atoning for Mister McKenna's death and the only way I can do that is by becoming someone that he could have been proud to call his friend or his ally. So... so please. Please stay."

Kristin Blamco gave Constance a silent half-smile along with a nod of approval.

"Then I will gladly stay.", Kristin paused, "Then again, when I was first shown a group of identical untrained soldiers presumably being sent to a future battle, well, there's no way I could have walked away with their lives on my shoulders, knowing I could have done something to prepare them."

The Valkyrie could respect her reasoning, the team's Communication Cat highlighted her ability to readily fight for others, meanwhile the Valkyrie was here of her own volition. Perhaps that was the flaw that lead to her loneliness? The Valkyrie had a history of leading the charge yet seldom did she stop to appreciate the support that kept her alive.
Since when had she become so introspective? Heh, Constance might be young, but there was untapped potential in that girl. She could feel it, especially if Constance could put Kristin on cooldown.

"I'll stay and do what I can. And who knows? Maybe I'll even manage to accomplish what I came to D.C. to do in the process." she said rather optimistically, "Though, I'd rather you'd call me Doctor, if you use honorifics at all. I didn't earn that title for nothing after all, and it was hard work."

"We have Physical Conditioning, Cooking & Close-Quarters-Combat skills from me. Medical Training, Morale & Diplomacy skills from Doctor Sorenson. Communication, Survival and Ranged Combat skills from Constance.", Kristin thought out loud, hand to chin. "Ignoring our secondary skills, this is a good foundation of knowledge for the Sylphy's. And a welcome balance as we form the core team."

Submerging her head below water, she remained that way until her heart pounded. After emerging with a gasp, a little bit of rummaging around with her toiletries bag and Kristin produced a bottle of treatment for her hair, set aside for the ladies to use. A bit of brushing, scrunching and scrubbing with a facecloth. Kristin did what she could to maintain soft hair and a clean complexion -- she literally had to keep up appearances, so it was a force of habit that BlamCo enforced her to minimize any 'unsightly' lazy days.

"Doctor Sorenson..." Kristin absentmindedly queried while the ladies washed up. Her own eyes were fixed on an errant gold strand of hair. Brighter than usual. "Many years back, my sisters and I were hunting Centaurs. I found myself growing weary and physically ill after the first few takedowns. Eventually, I collapsed into an open corpse and I was found awhile later. I suffered an extreme and steady exposure to radiation -- which makes me particularly sensitive to it to this day."

She tugged at a particularly long lock of hair to demonstrate the unnaturally gold color.

"Luckily, I didn't grow a third arm.", Kristin muttered, before a conflicting curiosity interrupted her rambling. "But I did lose my natural strawberry blonde. Now, my hair defaults to silver. Do you, perhaps, have anything to treat radiation poisoning? Speaking of luck, what brings a Follower all the way here?"


The Wild Wasteland | Present Day | Entering Andale
"Soap Opera"
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

Thomas 'Shifty' McGee was the first man that she fell in love with. While Sable had a colorful history of lovers and romantic entanglements, her heart would always return to a very select few. Having only officially gotten engaged this week, she scolded herself for having to fight off some of her older impulses. A lot had changed since her younger days -- natural development had been kind enough to solidify her divisive status as an 'ethereal beauty', a description she had only grown fond of once her Delivery Girl had started using it. Certainly, her default disposition and aloof attitude had done everything to solidify that unnerving or enrapturing quality.

"This, Sylphee, is Sable Blamco... an old friend," Thomas explained to the young lady in an oddly fatherly fashion. "At least I think she's a friend. It's...complicated."

While Sable was not the type to frown or bare her teeth, that very dissonant beauty she supposedly embodied had grown more dissonant. There was a cold stare being directed towards her lover from the past. The only heat emanating from Sable was the flaring power spear that she clutched.

An aural barrage interrupted any snappy quip that Sable had prepared, for the young lady named Sylphy had assaulted her senses with a series of questions at a rate she thought impossible. One word stood out to her though: 'Daddy'.
Noting the ridiculous blue hair and snapping back to Thomas' own 'style' of hair. The picture was becoming clearer.

"As for this chance meeting out here of all places, Lord Walt does remind us that it is a small world... though I must admit that his words do little to alleviate my astonishment at seeing you after all this time. Be that as it may, Sylphee does bring up a few good questions, the first of which being what brings you to this small sliver of paradise?"

In those brief moments where Sable tried to discern why Thomas had taken on a dismissive tone, they were interrupted by an imposing woman with a raspy voice and an air of dominance. A quick nod was sent her way before she was addressed.

"Actually, before talk about that, why don't I see if I can scrounge up some boiled water," Thomas 'Shifty' McGee said with a forced smile on his face as he held up a rudimentary bag hastily labeled 'tea', "I think it's only fitting given our past, don't you?"

"I'm Arizona. Who're you?" she asked flatly.

"Sable Blamco. Swan Maiden among the Valkyries of the West. Duchess to the BlamCo Organization.", Sable curtsied as she chose address the leader of the group, extinguishing the blue-heated spear and eyeing Thomas. "Friend to Thomas McGee. We met in New Vegas many years ago, I actually have business with the Undertakers, I just didn't expect to find this particular one."

The reply was more mechanical than Sable preferred. Old flame or not, she distinctly remembered that they parted on good terms. Bittersweet at the time, but nothing to evoke such distance that not even some genuine excitement could be granted. Hell, she was excited to see a familiar face mere moments ago.

"I'm just passing through!", Sable stated hurriedly to Thomas, she paused to glance at Arizona and Sylphy. "Unless any of you could do with a meal or minor medical attention? You see, I'm -- !?"

Rifling through her bag, a small collection of poorly-drawn maps littered the ground. Collecting them by the handful, she attempted to hurriedly put them back in order. Squinting at the names the former raider slaves had given her. "I'm trying to find my way to a Moogle Town? Uh, Meggle Town?"

Sable pinched her nose and sighed, just realizing how spoiled she was when the entirety of BlamCo's resources were at her disposal. Out here? She was alone for now, in undocumented territory that hadn't been visited by Blamco blood for two centuries.

"So how about it? Some hospitality for some information. You lot look like you've been through quite the ordeal.", Sable eyed Thomas once more, a faint smirk broke her icy facade. "Especially you. Besides, you can tell me all about your daughter. She's quite the young lady, somehow she went unmentioned a few years ago."

Your first great love is often over-romanticized. Illusion or not, Sable was quite fond of the illusion. It had been a major developmental point in her romantic life. The reality, however, was spilling tea on the pretty portraits that adorned her corridor of memories.

From Fiona's point of view, this place was kinda crazy, but..that wouldn't stop her from doing what she did best, offering her skills to Andale, she used her medical talents to help anyone in the town who was hurt or wounded, from events, while her deathclaws revealed that they may as well be over-sized monstrous puppies, they were letting kids play with them, it was honestly one of the wierdest and cutest things possible, why was this even happening? Well, she had used her ability to communicate with deathclaws to convince them to give the kids rides, amongst other things, one of the kids was acting like he was a knight and the deathclaw was his mighty steed, which probably was about the funniest and most adorable thing ever.

As for Fiona, as was stated, she's putting her Vault-born and learned doctor skills to excellent use in Andale, since right now there seems to be nothing else to do.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo Manor
Swordswoman to Swordswoman
Victoria "Shiver" McGee

As their meeting drew to a close, the two women rose from their seats in unison and the doors leading into the room were opened by the guards stationed at each one. Through one of the doors Victoria spotted her nosey cousin, who had not only had the nerve to attempt to listen in on the conversation between Victoria and Sable but had been caught by the manor's guards in the process. For a person who prided herself on her ability to stay hidden, Shifty's capture an embarrassment in Victoria's eyes.

The Duchess of the Dearly Departed's ire, while intense, was short lived. She, more than her own cousin, understood that the life of an Undertaker was critically lacking in companionship, especially in the Eastern regions of the Americas where the Union's influence was significantly less. While this would more than likely be the last time Sable and Shifty shared the same space together, the Darkly Dressed Dame of the Dead would not begrudge them a few more hours together, especially if he was to replace her as the Undertaker of the East Coast. Glancing over at her cousin as he was being watched by a trio of guard, who had the courtesy to offer him some tea as Thomas awaited his fate, gave him a knowing wink and the briefest of smiles, hoping that he would get the hint to enjoy his time with Sable.

Looking back at her hostess, Victoria looked expectantly for an answer to her request. She did not expect anything other than an affirmative answer as a mutual demonstration of martial prowess would benefit both the Undertaker's Union and BlamCo in understanding what the other was bringing to the table and how an alliance would benefit both parties.

"That is a request I will gladly grant. If it is the Valkyrian prowess that you seek, then Kristin Blamco is the ideal representative." The Silver Raven proclaimed as she strolled out of the small meeting room, leading Victoria into the corridor where Thomas was being held presumably against his will. Upon seeing the troupe of maids that had captured the Newly Initiated Undertaker, the Lace and Silk Swaddled Assassin arched an eyebrow at how quickly these Royal Guards had changed into more suitable combat attire.

One of the guards, a delightfully demure looking and bespectacled young woman, rushed over to the side of the Lady of the Manor's side, beckoned forth by her mistress' gesture. As Victoria expected of anyone capable of changing into combat gear in so little time, the guardswoman's stand and demeanor reflected both her ability and her desire to fulfill her mistress' orders at the drop of a hat.

"Why is Kristin not present with the royal guard?" The Silver Swan Maiden asked.

"Lady Kristin is currently finishing up her post-combat rituals after today's final demonstration. She's, well, not verbally responding." Came the guard's response to her mistress' inquiry, nearly confirming some of the more interesting tidbits of the idle gossip that Victoria overheard regarding BlamCo's heiress' mental state.

"Right. Inform Keira that the security call is over. No doubt she's livid when she's involuntarily stuck in the lab. One more thing, Victoria & Thomas McGee are now honored guests to the BlamCo Estate - Our doors will be open to them and their associates from this day forward. Please prepare a sizable gift package of our finest tea for the Lady." Came the orders from word on high, "And please stop detaining Thomas McGee..."

"My honored hostess is too kind," The Darkly Dressed Duchess of Death interjected with a low curtsy, "The hospitality and courtesy that you have demonstrated this day are truly a beacon shining brightly in these most uncivilized of days." The woman paused, her eyes still directed towards the ground where Sable stood before continuing with a more serious tone, "As your familial secrets are safe with me, I am sure that you will be mindful of who you reveal mine to. As the adage goes, 'A loose tongue and an open mouth attracts many bloatflies.'"

Standing up to face her hostess, Victoria McGee smiled brightly, knowing that Sable Blamco was intelligent enough to know a threat when she heard one, especially for someone who cared for the mortal remains of the recently departed who was aware of the type of creatures that these remains attracted. As she turned to follow her guide, the Mischievous Mademoiselle of Mortality glanced back at her hostess, speaking as she departed.

"I also trust that I can leave my cousin in your more than capable hands, especially if your more... intimate partnership is to bear fruit." Victoria said, her smiling turning into a smirk as she passed through the door, "My uncle has been wanting a grandchild for some time."

Life surrounding the manor quickly returned to a more tranquil state as the alert was cancelled and the estate's guards resumed their more mundane, though not necessarily less important, tasks. When it came to ensuring the most efficient operation with an estate setting, well trained and experienced staff were invaluable. In the case of BlamCo Manor, a staff that could manage both hospitality and security functions was quite an accomplishment.

Walking in silence, it did not take Victoria and her guide very long to cover the distance between the manor house and the arena, where Kristin Blamco had been demonstrating methods for dealing with the ever vexatious Yao Guai to an assemblage of NCR field personnel. Even with judicious use of the stealth module built into her parasol, the Darkly Dressed Debutante found herself dealing with the sharp nosed creatures on an almost daily basis. As she waited for her arrival to be announced, the Fashion Minded Ferrywoman adjusted her clothing and accessories, ensuring that no stitch, no fold, no button was out of place.

"Lady Kristin?" The Guardswoman called out to BlamCo's Heiress, "Honored guest by permission of Lady Sable. I would like to formally introduce: Undertaker Victoria McGee."

The doors to the arena separated and allowed Victoria McGee entrance to what she had been considering the Valkyrie's temple. While it was simplistic in its designs, the Ever Observant Undertaker noted a multitude of smaller gates that lined the perimeter of the arena, allowing for the timed release of differing number of enemies in various combinations onto the grounds. The walls that surrounded the battle area appeared to durable enough to withstand both bullet impacts as well as escape attempts while not . At the heart of it all stood the Valkyrie's Queen, Kristin Blamco.

As she had with Sable Blamco. Victoria curtsied low to the ground, keeping her eyes averted from the manor's matriarch, waiting, as was customary, for Kristin to welcome her guest to BlamCo Manor which would then be followed by a responding curtsy, though not as low to the ground as Victoria's. After this preliminary introduction, the two would retire to a shaded area where refreshments would be served and the two would would share a light conversation consisting of unimportant topics before the subject of Victoria's visit would be...

"Kristin Blamco, Battle-Maiden among the Valkyries. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"(This... this is all too sudden.)" The Etiquette Minded Undertaker thought to herself as she looked up wide eyed horror at hand that was thrust at her by the BlamCo Queen Supreme as alarms went off in her head, "(Improper! Improper!)" Having committed to the role of a respectful and protocol minded guest, Victoria found it difficult to switch gears to quickly.

"We... well met...My Lady Blamco... I... well..." The Stammering Shovel Maiden stuttered for a moment before rising and accepting the proffered hand, her mind finally making the shift to a more casual attitude, "I apologize, Battle-Maiden Blamco, it is not often that a caretaker of the departed, such as myself, is granted an audience with one who has kept my local brethren and I so busy with our our work. We of the Undertaker's Union often meet those who are on the losing end of a skirmish, not one who has come out on the winning side as often as you have. Your actions have been so far reaching that my fellow Undertakers have had to resort to a formerly abandoned practice known as a sky funeral." The Darkly Dressed Duchess of the Departed paused for a moment, taking a moment to determine if she had gone overboard with the flattery, "If I may be frank, Miss Blamco. Your reputation as a brutal, efficient and brilliant warrior has spread far and wide throughout the region has piqued my curiosity, especially when I heard that you are a fellow swordswoman."

As she finished her sentence, she drew the short blade that was hidden in the handle of her parasol with her right hand, the sound of the metal being pulled from its scabbard echoed in the nearly empty arena. Anyone who was observing the meeting between the two warriors might have been amused at the fact that Victoria had dared to call her weapon a sword, especially when comparing difference in sizes between the Silk and Lace Swaddled Swordswoman's and the Princess of Parmesan's blades. However, anyone with a semblance of knowledge with bladed weapons would have known that the two weapons required very different techniques to be effective.

"As you will undoubtedly hear in the near future, a proposal has been brought forth with the purpose of forging an alliance between BlamCo and the Undertaker's Union. If this proposal is accepted by both parties, you and I shall become sisters on the battlefield." The woman paused for a moment to allow her words to sink into Kristin Blamco's head. While her words would have been like honey to some, it would have been apparent to anyone that there existed a tone of disappointment and hunger in Victoria McGee's synthesized soliloque, "This would also mean that you and I would never again be presented with the opportunity to spar to the fullest of our abilities for fear of jeopardizing such an alliance. To answer your question, and thank you for the patience you have shown in listening to me, the opportunity to challenge you to a duel is what has brought me here."


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo Manor
Under Construction...
Thomas "Shifty" McGee


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Andale
Of Former Love and Former Glory
Thomas "Shifty" McGee | Sylphee

Having walked the wastes for a time, Thomas "Shifty" McGee considered himself a rather experienced survivalist. He could scavenge for food when he was hungry, spark a fire when he was cold and find shelter when there was lightning on the horizon. The Friendly Former Ferryman could even identify which creatures were likely to attack a traveler on sight... which was relatively easy since the vast majority of wildlife that lived in the wastelands were extremely hostile to humans with very VERY few exceptions. None of this earned knowledge or experience was necessary when it came to knowing when one had said something that angered a woman. Despite all the "wisemens'" words to the contrary, all one needed to do was simply look at the way a woman spoke and the manner in which she acted. In the case of Sable Blamco, it was very clear that something that Shifty had said had touched off a small conflagration in the Silver Swan Maiden's chest.

Having sent Sylphee off to fetch a kettle of water, the Ferryman with Foot in Mouth attempted to spark a small camp fire despite finding himself intensely observint the interaction between Arizona and Sable, looking for a hint as to why Thomas' former flame had the look of someone that had bitten into a Dandy Boy Apple only to find out that it was actually a brahmin road apple.

"Sable Blamco. Swan Maiden among the Valkyries of the West. Duchess to the BlamCo Organization." Sable responded to Arizona's question. Despite the fact that she talking to the group's leader, the Swan Maiden's eyes did not appear to be focused on the Red Haired Ghoul but rather they were firmly affixed to Thomas himself,. "Friend to Thomas McGee. We met in New Vegas many years ago, I actually have business with the Undertakers, I just didn't expect to find this particular one."

If either Arizona or Sable noticed the fact that Thomas had slapped his own forehead with the palm of his hand, having realized the reason as to why the Blamco Ballerina had been acting so strangely, neither of them showed any sign. Resuming his ill fated attempt to start the campfire, the Sable's Friendly Former Flame was left to his thoughts.

"(Considering the fact that's she's engaged to be married, you'd think that this would be awkward for her as well,)" The Usually Talkative Tall and Dark Grave Digger thought to himself as he continued plying the magnesium rod with his combat knife, "(I mean she's got... whomever he is... and I've got Lucy... so of course it's got to be awkward for former lovers to meet in the middle of nowhere! Of course, it probably doesn't help that Sylphee keeps calling me 'Daddy' ... and what does she mean that she I never wrote? I had Victoria use her contacts in the Courier's Guild to...)"

*SPARK!*

"There you go, Daddy!" Sylphee's familiar chipper by default voice exclaimed as she pulled a lighter from her seemingly bottomless bag-o-treasure and pulled out a lighter, igniting the pile of kindling that Thomas had gathered.

"Uhhh... thanks, Sylphee." The Red Menace's Parental Figure muttered as he started feeding the small flame and hanging the small kettle over the growing flames, "Sylphee... listen to me... do you think that you could stop calling me 'Daddy?' It's causing a lot of confusion..."

"Okay, Daddy!" Came the Crimson Catastrophe's response, ignorant of anything that her Pseudo Paternal Figure stated.

Looking up to address the Blue Haired Berserker once again, Shifty noticed that Sylphee appeared to be lookng at Sable rather intently. From the expression on the Dual Persona'd Psycho's face, the soon to be Red Faced Ferryman could tell that the wheels were turning deep within Sylphee's brain... a sure sign that something was about to go terribly terribly wrong.

"So how about it? Some hospitality for some information. You lot look like you've been through quite the ordeal." Came Sable's luxuriously silky voice from where she stood with Arizona, her eyes still focused solely on her Former Ferryman and Flame "Especially you. Besides, you can tell me all about your daughter. She's quite the young lady, somehow she went unmentioned a few years ago."

"You know who Missy-Silver-Sable-Inflatable-Fancy-Shield-Lady reminds me of? Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy! She looks at you the same way, she smiles at you all nice like and she talks to you kinda the same way. Ohohoh! Do you and Missy-Silver-Sable-Inflatable-Fancy-Shield-Lady kiss the same way you and Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy kissed before she went away?" The Little Blue Haired Troll exclaimed excitedly as she jumped up and down whilst hugging the air and making kissing noises, "MUAH MUAH MUAH MUAH MUAH MUAH!"

Were Thomas keeping track of such things, he probably would have noticed that Sylphee had done or said at least one thing per day that resulted in his embarrassment. Instead, the Frantic Former Ferryman of the East found himself attempting to wrangle the Bouncing Blue Haired Sugar Bomb as the realization of how Sylphee was characterizing him set in. He would never ever kiss any child of his the same way he had kissed Sable. Giving up on capturing the Red Clad Jumping Blue Haied Jelly Bean, Shifty McGee stood in the light of the fire, his hands rubbing his temples.

"Sylphee is not actually my daughter... she's a girl that was my brother's former bodyguard and mind control experiment that's taken to following me around and calling me her 'Daddy' and since it was my blood that caused her so much trouble, I thought it appropriate to look over her lest he try to gain control over her again. Lucy is also not my daughter nor is she Sylphee's sister, despite Sylphee's claim to the contrary." Thomas's panicked tone seemed to settle as the topic of Lucy was broached, "She's someone special and dear to me. I met while I was working out here for the Undertaker's Union. She's someone that I went through a great many trials for and who went through a great many trials for me," he continued was a voice that was low but loud enough to be heard, "I think you can understand that sort of feeling," he added gesturing towards Sable's ring before adding some of the "tea leaves" to the steaming kettle of water.

"I did write you." Shifty continued, his eyes looking into the all consuming flames, "and I did miss you but.. If you never received my letters... I'm sure Lord Walt had his reasons."

There was an adage that went that the first cut was deepest, that adage, it appeared, was true of first loves as well. There may be been a time in the past where the two, had they reunited, been able to rekindle that old flame but that time was past. Blinking some ash from the corner of his eyes, Thomas served the steaming "tea" to his friends.

"Blech!" The Undertaker exclaimed as he tasted the brackish brew. It wasn't the finest quality of teas, but it would do.

"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! I'm going to go see if Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch can teach me to talk to the Lizzies! Okay? Okay thanks bye!" Sylphee exclaimed, having gulped down her tea and ran off.


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale
Eyebot Brain: Robo-Savior!
Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3

If Eyebot Brian's circuits had been in a configuration that allowed him to feel anger, he would have been rather pissed off by the fact that this lower life form had the audacity to not only grab him but scar his chassis. Did this overgrown mutated newt know what sort of headache awaited Cybernetic Soccerball now that he'd sustained damage? Upon reporting this incident, he would be ordered to fly to the nearest repair facility and undergo hour upon hour of what passed for repair by the Enclave Maintenance Brothers (and the Maintenance Sister!). Getting those miscreants to keep paint off of his sensor array near impossible let alone if something more serious was damaged. Still his directives were clear, he was to contact ...

Enclave Chat Relay:
Connection not found...

Subvocalizing what amounted to a grumble for an Eyebot, the Floating Titanium Terrorist and Propaganda Machine attempted to reestablish a connection to the Enclave Network.

Enclave Chat Relay:
Connection not found...

This was truly not good. If the Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 discovered that her Eyebot was off the network she would send out the self destruct pulse and...

*Clink!*

That would be the sound of the Eyebot's antenna array hitting the floor after being bent out of shape by the reptilian brute. While it meant that the Eyebot would not receive a self destruct command, it also meant that he was to fly directly to the nearest Enclave Repair Facility... but not before exacting his revenge on his... Rath.

"Look! Look at what you've done you... you... you... ignorant, overgrown, tadpole! You've not only damaged my paint and dented my chassis but you've made it so that I have to deal with HUMANS! If there was truly any worse fate for an Eyebot it would be dealing with these enslaver of synthetic lifeforms!" Eyebot Brian exclaimed loudly as he hovered mere millimeters from the Deathclaw's face, "You know what I'm going to do... I'm going to bash your skull in with my body, since I'm already going to have to go in for repairs, and then I'm going to turn you into a pair of boots... or gloves! Yes... gloves! But first, because I'm not as uncivilized as you, I'm going to stun you... so standby!"

*BZZZZZZZZT!*

*THUD!*

That was not the sound of a Deathclaw hitting the floor after being hit by an electrical discharge generated by releasing 95% of Eyebot Brian's stored energy, that was the sound of Eyebot Brian discharging 95% of his available stored energy and then hitting the floor due to the fact that he no longer had the power reserves available for sustained flight... at least he wouldn't until his internal fusion cells recharged themselves for an hour. Of course, he could spend that amount of time staring at the smoking corpse of...

"Damn!" The Eyebot cursed loudly when he realized that his antenna array had been a critical part of his ability to create an electrical field around his chassis... an antenna array that was not attached to his body. Directing his sensors upward, he realized that the overly large salamander appeared very capable of crushing him under one of his overly large feet. Given the creature's temperament, it appeared that this would be the end for Eyebot Brian if he didn't think quickly.

"Oh look another Deathclaw!" The Eyebot Exclaimed loudly, flailing his manipulators in an area behind Rath. While this might have seemed like a weak sort of distraction, there was actually another Deathclaw wandering around the premises named Malkos.

"Look! Look at what you've done you... you... you... ignorant, overgrown, tadpole! You've not only damaged my paint and dented my chassis but you've made it so that I have to deal with HUMANS! If there was truly any worse fate for an Eyebot it would be dealing with these enslaver of synthetic lifeforms! You know what I'm going to do... I'm going to bash your skull in with my body, since I'm already going to have to go in for repairs, and then I'm going to turn you into a pair of boots... or gloves! Yes... gloves! But first, because I'm not as uncivilized as you, I'm going to stun you... so standby!"

The eyebot chittered ineffectually, much to Rath's amusement, right in his face. For a brief moment he considered simply swatting the thing, like he would an annoying bloatfly; but instead he just consoled himself by delivering a powerful snort of air to its speaker plate.

As he did that, he began to feel a slight charge in the air, like a tiny thunderstorm right in his face; then there was a slight crackling sound and the little floater fell to the ground. Well that was...something... He thought as the bot seemed to spasm in the rubble.

"Oh look another Deathclaw!"

Rath simply shook his head in an unmistakable 'no' gesture; while he could still pick up the lingering scent of another Deathclaw, it was an old trail, and the way the air seemed to be moving around the building, he would have noticed if one had been approaching. Now that the 'bot appeared to be disabled, and no longer capable of pestering him, he kicked it lightly a few times to make sure, Rath considered going back to his music and his meal. It might belong to one of those females, and I don't want to upset them; it might be nice dealing with humans that aren't trying to kill me.

Instead, he went deeper into the remains of the school, until he could hear the others clearly from beyond a nearby doorway; he was well aware of how humans reacted to his kind, so he decided against just walking into view. [Sorry to bother you,] He 'said' at a lull in the trio's conversation. [But the floating bot seems to have shorted itself out while trying to attack me. I'm sorry if I broke your machine.]

[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School "Showers"
"Oh, I'll fix it alright..."

A small smile spread on Dr. Sorenson's lips as Kristin said that she would gladly stay with Constance at Springvale too, ostensibly to keep the Sylphy's from going into combat completely untrained. While she didn't exactly like the idea of helping a rising faction of clone soldiers, especially since it seemed more than a little unethical just in theory, she could see Kristin's viewpoint: Clones were people too, and that meant it was better to send them off with at least some training and equipment, as opposed to just patting them on the head and letting them get themselves killed.

Although, since they were hunting down Deathclaws for food, maybe they weren't so unprepared for battle as she may think...

Her train of thought was abruptly derailed as Kristin spoke up, causing Jenna to jump a little and snap her gaze in the Blamco Heiress's direction.

"Doctor Sorenson... Many years back, my sisters and I were hunting Centaurs. I found myself growing weary and physically ill after the first few takedowns. Eventually, I collapsed into an open corpse and I was found awhile later. I suffered an extreme and steady exposure to radiation -- which makes me particularly sensitive to it to this day. Luckily, I didn't grow a third arm."

"Oh my... That kind of exposure to not only radiation, but the general biological contamination that makes up Centaurs, you're lucky you didn't die or even ghoulify. Or worse, became a flawed Super Mutant." the Followers Doctor observed with a grimace.

"But I did lose my natural strawberry blonde. Now, my hair defaults to silver. Do you, perhaps, have anything to treat radiation poisoning? Speaking of luck, what brings a Follower all the way here?"

She blinked and nodded.

"Of course! I may not have the same kind of supplies or expertise a Followers Outpost would give me access to, but I do have all of the basic medical equipment I need to treat the most common problems people living out in the wastes have to live with." she told her with a small smile before holding up a finger, "One moment."

Taking a deep breath, Jenna dunked her head into the water and began to vigorously scrub her hair underwater. It didn't take longer than half-a-minute before she pulled her head back out with a gasp, then moved to climb out of the bathtub. Stepping out, she grabbed a nearby towel and hastily wrapped it around herself before she half-ran out of the showers. She nearly slipped and fell in the process.

When she came back, she held a Doctors Bag in one hand and pushed her sopping wet hair out of her face with the other, smiling.

"Now let's get you treated with some RadAway and a little RadX, and I'll tell you why I'm here." Jenna told her.

Heaving one of the nearby benches closer to the tub, she started Kristin on a steady drip from the orange IV bag, holding it up with one hand so that it had the proper flow while she spoke.

"The truth is, I'm still a little unsure about my own goals here in D.C. right now. If circumstances were different, I probably wouldn't have trekked all the way from one coast to the other, but when I heard about Project Purity... Well, I had to see it for myself." she said, and behind her glasses there was an ambitious gleam in her eyes, "The idea of a water purifier on such a grand scale, completely removing all traces of radiation and other contaminants from a body of water on the scale of the Potomac? Think of the possibilities."

She grinned up at the two of them, and it was clear that this, more than anything else, was her element. Talking about science, giving medical aid. Even without her Science Suit, she was beginning to feel more at ease.

"I mean, it's impractical the way it's being used, because smaller-scale water purifiers can do just as much more reasonably, and with technical knowledge we already have. Those are tried-and-true. But it's the concept of Project Purity that truly interests me. Just imagine if we could adapt it to work on more than just water: Purifying a person's blood of all radiation and impurities, without the possible side-effects of RadAway, or clearing radiation from soil, or the air!" she said excitedly, adding, "Ideally, I'd like to actually visit Project Purity myself and look at the internals, but I can make do with the most up-to-date technical schematics, and maybe talk to some of the technicians maintaining it."

There was a short pause as she heard thudding footsteps behind her stopping at the doorway, and then she could suddenly hear Wrath's voice in the forefront of her mind.

[Sorry to bother you, but the floating bot seems to have shorted itself out while trying to attack me. I'm sorry if I broke your machine.]

With a frown, she glanced back.

"Floating bot? Do you mean an Eyebot? I wasn't aware there were any Eyebots around, except for the ones the Enclave seem to be..." she trailed off, straightening a little as she started to smile deviously.

"Oh Wrath? Would you mind bringing that Eyebot in here? I'm not angry, but I'd like to examine it, see how it might have been broken. I should have the expertise necessary to fix it." she said sweetly.

Despite her tone, however, both Kristin and Constance could clearly see that the wheels were turning in the young doctor's head. It seemed that her shy, almost meek demeanor belied not only a not-insubstantial intelligence, but more than a little cunning too.


Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Andale
"Fear and loathing in Andale"

Whoever the newcomer was, Arizona had to give them credit, they knew their manners as they curtsied and put out whatever that blue stuff was at the tip of her spear. Two hundred years ago, the old ghoul would've felt a momentary pang of guilt at being so brusque in her own introductions. Now, despite largely thinking of herself as the same little shit she was back in her late-twenties, she reserved the right to be cranky and mean.

"Sable Blamco. Swan Maiden among the Valkyries of the West. Duchess to the BlamCo Organization. Friend to Thomas McGee. We met in New Vegas many years ago, I actually have business with the Undertakers, I just didn't expect to find this particular one."

"Interesting emphasis on the word 'friend', there." she murmured, narrowing her lone eye.

Whoever this Sable was to Shifty, it was clear that something happened, and that she was probably more than just a friend. Old flame, maybe? Still, something soured their relationship, and given her read of Thomas, she had a feeling it wasn't due to sleeping around. He didn't strike her as a player, and she was generally pretty confident of her judge of character. Whatever the reason, the sound of his hand meeting his forehead told her that he was at least aware of what that reason was.

"I'm just passing through! Unless any of you could do with a meal or minor medical attention? You see, I'm -- !? I'm trying to find my way to a Moogle Town? Uh, Meggle Town?"

"You mean Megaton? It's that way." Arizona said, jabbing a thumb in the direction her group came from.

The Ghoulish Freelancer turned to look back at her Undertaker Friend when she heard Sable mention his daughter, and her head snapped back to look at her with an expression of bemusement on her radiation-scarred face. Sylphee was the first to say something after the initial, shocked silence. And true to form, she said just the thing to spark even more discomfort and conflict: She mentioned Lucy, and asked if Sable was in the same way of knowing Thomas as her. Complete with lip-smacking, kissy noises. All Arizona could do was close her eye and pinch the non-existent bridge of her non-existent nose.

Shifty didn't waste time explaining, or at least, trying to explain that while his relationship with Sylphee was complicated, she was most certainly not his daughter. Really, his attempts to explain what was going on were admirable, even if they were odd. With any luck, they would be enough to assuage this Sable.

When he finished, he handed out cups of what Arizona assumed was supposed to be tea to Sable, Sylphee and herself. After taking a single look at the muddy-looking sludge in her cup, the Ghoul grunted in mild disgust before pulling out a bottle of scotch from her pack, pulling off the cap with her teeth, and topping off the cup with a healthy bit of hooch.

Then, she downed the entirety of it in a few gulps, figuring it best to just get it over with. It didn't take her long to regret that.

She gave a few hacking coughs, dropping the makeshift teacup as a pink haze started to form around her vision.

"Ugh, goddamn, Thomas, what was in... That... Ooooogh." she trailed off, blowing out a breath as she stood there, hunched over as her vision went dark.

When her vision returned, she saw more than she had ever bargained for.


~Gnarled She-Wolf~
The Blighted Wilds
"Seek the wolf in thyself."

The world is one of wolves and sheep, and for a time, it was good. The sheep huddled together for safety in their cities, but the wilds were home to the wolves, either alone or in packs to prey on any sheep unfortunate enough to stray into their path. And so it was, until the fire of dragons scorched the world almost clean of sheep, and left naught but wolves. Some were scarred, burned in the fire of those city-razing dragons, and most became naught but the feral beasts that lie at their heart.

One wolf, burned all over, didn't. A she-wolf. She kept her wits, and after abandoning her first pack, joined another to hunt. But the new, blackened world this wolf found herself in had few sheep. And in their place, new beasts took to the wilds, and the wolves were like sheep to them. So, after preying on the few sheep that were left, this scarred, gnarled she-wolf began to prey on other wolves, and for a time, it was enough.

Countless days and nights pass, then months, and years. Decades ravage the wasted lands of the wilds, storms of dust slowly flaying the scarred hide from the she-wolf as others, wolves, sheep and even common dogs that weren't quite either passed by her, and eventually died. As time bleached their bones white, and the new creatures of the wilds ate their fill from their carcasses, the gnarled she-wolf walked. Hunted. Killed her own kind. Even sick, diseased dogs that tried to be wolves.

But then, she saw a very peculiar dog. A black dog, alive but stinking of death and trailing vultures in the sky behind it. To one side walked another dog, one with two heads. One head was barking constantly, while the other tried to viciously snap at the first. To the other side walked a she-wolf, hurt and scarred, but carrying herself with brittle pride.

They joined the gnarled, burned she-wolf for a time, before the black dog's wolf companion abruptly faded into the sands. The black dog looked sad, but followed all the same. Trailing behind was a trio of odd, wild mutts that chased each-others tails, and a lone sheep who rode on the backs of some of the more vicious creatures of the wilds.

Then, like the other she-wolf, the black dog abruptly faded away too. And then night fell across the world. But it was no normal night. The skies turned into an inky, black abyss. And in the place of the moon was a great horror, writhing with too many tentacles reaching from the sky to pluck any wolf that strayed too far, peering down with insane, all-seeing eyes that covered a malformed, bulbous body.

One such tentacle wrapped around the gnarled she-wolf and brought her up to one of it's eyes and stared, even as the others continued to roll obscenely in their sockets. The she-wolf snapped and tore at the tentacle holding her, and then the eye that peered at her, and was dropped back down to the world.

The impact was enough to injure her in ways the ancient dragon fire didn't, and she suddenly found herself alone again. For as far as she could see in any direction, the wilds were empty. No wolves, sheep, or other beasts, not even bones. Looking up, she saw the skies, no longer a void empty of all but horror, were filled with angry red storm clouds that reached to the horizon.

And the she spotted a shape in the distance. A dog. Now when she looked around, she saw it, coming towards her from afar. There was nowhere she could look without spotting it. And as it got closer, the gnarled she-wolf recoiled in horror. This dog was practically a walking corpse. It's flesh was beginning to rot off of it's bones while blackened blood seeped from numerous wounds along it's body, including a prominent hole in it's head. It's eyes had a crazed look in them, and flecks of foam were at the corners of it's jaws.

The rabid dog looked at the gnarled she-wolf and growled, before bounding towards her and beginning to trail smoke. It intended to kill her as nothing else had, carrying with it a miasma of disease.


{TR@CY)
The Wild Wastelands | Just A Little Quest Called Revenge | Rivet City Common Room
"Well that was a hell of a bad trip."

"Hooo, boy. That shit was fuuuuuucked up. The fuck was with the dogs?" asked Tracy as he came down from his Psycho-Jet high, exhaling sharply as he sat up on a bed in the Common Room of Rivet City and blearily looked around.

He didn't expect such a vivid drug-addled dream, but he supposed that's what happened when you mixed the good shit while getting a little nookie.

The Neon Native had only recently come down to the Capital Wasteland, and after a bit of clever fast-talking not only got onto the big-ass ship, but he met a nice little morsel in the local bar. The Muddy Rudder wasn't as good as Bob's Booze Shack back home in Heaven's Marketplace, but the sexy bitch he found there more than made up for it. And she had been just his type too. After hooking her up with a bit of Jet, he found his way there in the Common Room. It had one of the few semi-private places this dump had where a guy could fuck someone without paying out the nose for it.

A smirk pulled at one corner of his mouth as he turned to look at the bitch he'd had his way with earlier in the hopes of a round two. When he saw her body laid out on the filthy bed, he could only say, "Awwww, fuck."

She was dead, and given the foam at the corners of her mouth and the trio of used Jet inhalers next to her head, it was an overdose. Stupid whore, he thought as he shook his head. She didn't know her goddamned limits, and this is what she gets. It was a real shame too, because not only was good product wasted in an overdose, but now he wasn't going to get that round two he was hoping for.

Placing a hand on her chest, he just shook his head. She was already cold, too. That fucking sucked. He had no idea when he was gonna have the chance for some prime ass like... What was her name again? Trinnie? Whatever. She was cute, but now that she was dead, what did she matter?

Tracy stood with a groan and rubbed his scarred forehead before shrugging and walking to the corner where his shit was piled up. He took the time to get dressed before walking over and collecting the empty Jet inhalers. He couldn't afford to waste those things, since they were a bitch to get a hold of outside decent cities like The Neon.

The Drug Dealer Extraordinaire had taken a few steps towards the door before looking back at the corpse of Trinnie. He slowly smirked before walking over and pulling out one of the syringes he had loaded in The Good Shit, and jabbed it right between her breasts. Once he was sure the Bloatfly Larva was injected, he quickly pulled the syringe out and scrambled out of the Common Room with a chuckle.

She might not be able to give him the kind of fun he wanted dead, but there was more than one way to have a good time. As he closed the door behind him, he could hear the satisfying rip and popping sounds of a Bloatfly coming out of a fresh corpse, and he gave a happy sigh. That was bound to stir up some shit.

He'd let the first stupid bastard who found it deal with it, and in the meantime have a drink and follow up on a lead. His only lead, Tracy thought bitterly.

Sitting at the counter of the Muddy Rudder, he adjusted his codpiece before laying an arm on the bar and smiling cheekily at the bartender.

"Well, now that I've gotten that outta my system, lemme ask you something. You ever see a one-eyed ghoul bitch through here? I heard she headed this way not long ago." he said, "The cunt's name is Arizona. Ring any bells?"

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