The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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"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... 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."

[Ah, I assumed it belonged to one of you, as it was floating around pestering me.] He replied. As to why the female wanted to repair the blasted thing, he was most confused. Should have stepped on it and be done with it. But that was neither here nor there; instead Rath simply exhaled a snorting 'huff' and returned to where the metal ball had fallen, and scooped it up in one fluid motion, before returning to where the trio were.

Stooping a bit, he ducked under the door frame and this time, stepped into the room. There was a large tub of water with two of the females in it, and the third was nearby. The ones in the water had shed their outer layers, while the standing one was wearing an improvised covering. Sam and Roger had explained as well as the could have to Rath about humans and their need of coverings of various types, and for the most part Rath understood, but he still had trouble wrapping his mind around the human fascination with dunking themselves in water; but that was something to ponder another time.

[Here it is.] He said, unceremoniously dumping the spherical bot on the floor. [It's very annoying. If you know how to make it stop talking, I'd recommend doing that.] As he stood there he sniffed the air, more out of instinct than anything else, identifying the scents he could and mentally 'cataloguing' those he didn't recognize in case he encountered them some other time.

[Well, since I'm here now, I want to clarify a few things.] He said, the tone of his 'voice' taking a rather annoyed edge. [Firstly, I am not this 'Malkos' that you keep referring to. Aside from two friends, who are hopefully still nearby...and a raider or three I may have toyed with...I have never even spoken to a human, certainly none of you. Secondly, just who are you? And thirdly, what is that?] He'd raised a muscled, leathery hand and extended a claw to point at one of the blue haired females that had stuck her head into the room. [It looks human, but the smell is wrong...along with the mind.]

The Wild Wasteland | The Distant Past | BlamCo Manor
"Valkyrie Falter"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

"We... well met...My Lady Blamco... I... well..." The Stammering Shovel Maiden stuttered for a moment before rising and accepting the proffered hand, "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."

The Valkyrie blinked, brought a hand to her chin and cocked her head to the side. A silence fell between the two ladies before Kristin slammed her fist into her open palm. "Undertakers!", she exclaimed with wide-eyed jubilation, a move which caused Victoria to jump. "We've known for generations that someone is cleaning up the Wasteland, giving the fallen a proper ceremony, but we have never encountered the elusive Undertakers in person.", a small nod of respect soon followed, "Unfortunately, I cannot speak for your abilities. Although I can speak for the evidence of your work. For decades now, the Valkyries have taken a 'Warrior's Fee' when we conduct our business beyond these walls. 202 bottlecaps won't accompany you into Valhalla, but it can at least ensure respect for those in their glorious fall. You have my personal thanks."

That was the extent of Kristin Blamco's knowledge of the Undertakers. She never sought to look into it any further, but every tale surrounding the Undertakers had an air of dread. Even Sable spoke of them in hushed tones, insisting that we make sure to have enough to cover our "Warrior's Fee" on each adventure. Then again, this dread -- colloquially referred to as the 'Undertaker's Aura' -- only worked if one feared death. The Valkyrie cared not for when she might die, she cared about how she would die. A mindset that brought about some truly reckless means of survival when her life was threatened.

"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." Victoria paused for a moment, disappointment was apparent in her tone. "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."

From the ladies' parasol, a nimble blade was drawn. Held at chest height, double-edged and directed towards the armored Valkyrie, all she could do was smile in response. Kristin had come to understand the Undertaker's momentary disappointment, but that very disappointment displayed a hunger for battle not unlike her own. And while she had no reason to doubt any guest of Sable's, then this was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"Then we shouldn't waste any time, Undertaker.", Kristin grin grew wider. Her muscles tensed when she lowered her power claymore in an even two-handed grip. "Don't go thinking I'm about to go easy on you. I'm not that polite."

A small smirk was caught before Victoria charged on the last spoken syllable. The gap was closed before Kristin had time to properly adjust her grip, the thrust from Victoria glanced off of the Valkyrie's armor, presumably intent on piercing the collar bone through the small gap in the segmented armor pieces.

In reply, Kristin spun on her heel and struck out with a low one-handed sweep of her sword. Predictably, Victoria leaped over the sweeping attack but failed to anticipate Kristin lashing out with a forceful free handed grip on her head in preparation for a devastating slam. In an unnecessary show of strength, Kristin lifted the woman off the ground, only for the Undertaker to grab her wrist, kick off of her chest plate and land low to ground in order to gain some distance. A brief exchange of glares said it all.

It was Kristin's turn to charge an almighty thrust to the Undertaker's center mass. The thrust attack was briefly blocked by the nimble sword and swiftly pushed by hand, only for Kristin's momentum to carry it off target. Switching tactics, an overhead strike caused Victoria to leap backwards before dashing forward to capitalize on Kristin's recovery to make two quick strikes to her arms, both of which were deflected by the armor, before retreating back to a defensive stance. Kristin continued her assault with gap closing horizontal sweeps, narrowly dodged, only to be met with more piercing thrusts with seemingly random placement.

The Undertaker was probing for weaknesses in her armor!
This was the third major revision to Kristin's primary armor and weapon loadout. Previous versions restricted the mobility of the legs and articulation of the arms in favor of greater protection. Kristin was known for fighting within melee range, but instead of playing to her fighting style, her armor had become a burden. The current version features heavy plating overlaid on thin leather armor for free range of motion. The major protection stemmed from the chestplate to protect the vitals, steel faulds to protect the lower abdomen, vambraces for the forearms, chausses the legs and sabatons for feet. Unknowingly, this would become the design that the Valkyrie insisted upon, with incremental improvements of course.

For every attack that the Valkyrie launched, the Undertaker sought to punish her twofold. Victoria's agility was magnificient, but Kristin showed no signs of stopping with her own brand of sheer endurance. Of course, there was a method to the Valkyrie's crowd control sweeps and arcing slashes, something that Victoria discovered when her ankle hit the uneven Yao guai corpse in the center of the arena. In that moment, where Victoria's footwork faltered, Kristin's shifted her grip to the blade and struck out with the crossguard of her sword, connecting with a heavy blow to the Undertaker's floating rib. The pain was immediate as she tumbled over the corpse.

The Undertaker took to her feet, hunched over with a hand in her clothing. Kristin was about to offer a truce, but a small object was flung towards her helmeted face and she was met with a blinding flash of light. Stumbling backwards, the Valkyrie reached up to clear her eyes instinctively. In order to do so, she ripped off her helmet and try as she might, her vision was spotty at best. An undeniable shape was charging towards her and instead of focusing on a rudimentary defense, she caught the sight of her discarded helmet covered in...glitter?! A panicked ill-timed slash was all she could muster until her vision cleared.

The Undertaker wasted no time taking advantage of this, this time her attack point was unconventional yet brutally effective: that nimble sword of hers was now impaled through the right arm from below, rendering the external armor useless. The motion was labored on Undertaker's front and through the shooting pain, an excessive amount of Adrenalin surged through the Valkyrie. It was one thing to skewer your opponents limb, it was quite another for them to react with an unnerving battlecry to the face and a furious uppercut to the broken rib they were sporting.

The Undertaker stumbled to the ground, cradling her stomach while fumbling around in the folds of her clothing. Meanwhile, Kristin's sword hit the ground with an audible clang, Victoria raised her head to catch sight of the Valkyrie menacingly pulling the impaled blade from her arm with a sickening amount of blood flowing from the wound. The Valkyrie advanced with blood-drenched blade in hand, her other arm dangling.

Victoria rose to her feet and extracted a concealed 10mm pistol, the press of her own sword was all too familiar on the Undertaker's neck as the Valkyrie stood millimeters away. The Valkyrie, however, was facing down the barrel of the gun.

"ENOUGH!"

"ENOUGH!"

-
-
-

The Undertaker and the Valkyrie had shouted in unison, putting an end to their "duel". The warrior and the assassin told a story that went beyond a polite exchange and nuanced wordplay. No, their exchange was measured in blood and broken bones. Their weapons were lowered and a sword was handed back.

The two were swarmed by readied BlamCo medical personnel, apparently waiting for a signal, since word broke out among the staff that a duel was happening.

"Well fought, Sister.", Kristin Blamco, Battle Maiden among the Valkyries welcomed Victoria McGee, Undertaker of the West.


The Wild Wasteland | Present Day | Entering Andale
"Tea & Tales"
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

"You mean Megaton? It's that way." Arizona said, jabbing a thumb behind her.

Sable scrounged for a pencil, corrected the name on the map and made a note about the general direction. She forgot to inquire about just how long the journey would take, or whether there were any landmarks to keep track of. A lot had slipped her mind in that valuable moment and try as she might, this was one occasion where she wore her heart on her sleeve.

Silently, the Swan Maiden curtsied once more, thanking Arizona for the information. Setting down her duffel bag, she got to work with setting up the BlamCo Mini-Micro, transferring the fusion cell from her Power Spear to the all-in-one cooking device. An awkward silence had fallen upon the group once Sable had turned her back to get to work with light dinner preparations. It turned out that pre-dinner entertainment would break the silence.

"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!"

From the corner of her eye, the Swan Maiden caught the 'performance' of the younger lady. With an incredulous look, she turned to catch site of the kissing motions. Clenching her teeth, spare plates were extracted and various vegetables were sliced and added among the Expandable Cheese Cubes.

"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 he continued "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.

Sable added some water to the small container, adjusted the settings on her mini-micro and the device started whirring with power, hoping everyone would enjoy a small serving of lasagna.

Taking in his words, Sable turned to assess Thomas as he currently stood. Very little about his core appearance had changed over the years, barring the smarter wardrobe and the loss of his clean-shaven innocence. He spoke with panic, but ultimately measured his words -- certainly wiser and heart-breakingly world-weary going by the distance in his neutral gaze.
So elated by his appearance, yet confused about his presence -- Sable had jumped to conclusions, putting him into an awkward position. Just what was she hoping to expect? A hug and a ceremony!? How foolish. Bringing a hand to rest just below her neck, the glimmer of her ring brought about a knot of guilt.

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

"I wrote to you too.", Sable piped up, waiting for the lull in his string of thoughts. "To every single letter of yours without fail. But the Courier's guild ---"

**DING!**

Turning on her heel, Sable rushed to extract the container from the mini-micro. She had precious seconds before the lasagna solution overflowed from expansion after reaching the programmed temperature. Depositing the lasagna in layers on each plate, raw mutfruit slices were added for contrast. Scrounging for utensils, Sable deposited a plate to Thomas & Arizona. Two plates were left out. One for Sylphee and another for anyone wanting seconds.

Having received her tea from Thomas, she took a seat next to him. Doing her utmost to remain composed, she took a sip of the tea. The bitter taste numbed her tongue and stung the back of her throat. To her credit, she politely took another sip before chasing it down a heaped fork of dinner. Arizona audibly coughed as she downed the contents of her cup, slowly relaxing into a directionless gaze.

Turning to Thomas, she continued the conversation. This time, however, there was a cold detached air to her voice.

"Bloodshed and the upper-class will always go hand in hand. The Courier's Guild --- corrupted by those cowards that hide behind the NCR puppets. Truly, loyalty is not earned, it's bought." a true look of disdain was written all over her face, looking down upon the fire as she would of any corpse in New Vegas. "For a time, BlamCo's outgoing mail was intercepted. We had an idea of who could manage such a task. You remember the Rabbits, don't you? Two sisters leading the riff-raff of New Vegas into organised crime. The little one was smart, she told me all about how they stationed themselves in NCR territory so that we couldn't interfere, they could safely undermine us, while the corrupt mess that is the NCR tripped over their precious paperwork to deny us any inquiry."

Taking another sip, Sable continued without inhibition.

"The Rabbits intercepted our letters. They knew all about 'Sable Blamco -- The Gravediggers' Sordid Affair', a public relations nightmare when the rumors warped as they spread. There was a definitive reluctance among the public to deal with BlamCo's food, as one could imagine. Since I brought the Undertakers under the Valkyrian fold, it was my job to fix this mess, lest I suffer an exile.", sipping her tea once more, Sable stopped to take a few bites. Upon finishing, her fists were balled in frustration -- years of latent frustration. "If loyalty can be bought, then loyalty went to the highest bidder. Upon purchasing a few blind eyes and a public declaration to quell the rumors the following morning, I had that night to act. I hunted those Rabbits down -- skewering, blinding and breaking my way through their ranks. When I cornered the two sisters, I took the eldest sisters' tongue before the wounded were rounded up to be jailed. True enough, I found a small safe full of sensitive BlamCo material."

Sable's fists unclenched, she turned to look at Thomas, watching the flame dance in his eyes.

"Weeks upon weeks of my most private words to you, lost." an errant strand of her golden hair covered an eye. "I was put under strict orders to cease my writings to you, lest another leak occur. From that day forward, I was considered the black sheep in the family, and it was up to me to silence any unsavory group or voice once my debt was paid. --- a necessary sacrifice for the future of BlamCo. My sisters fought their battles by day and I hunted at night."

Holding up her ring finger, "This is the celebration of my freedom. Her name is Annabelle, a delivery girl of sorts.", sighing, she smiled softly, "Lucy, huh? Well in my experience, the best couples are forged through unending dedication. Naturally, I can understand her dedication to you, you do have your charms -- still, I am rather pleased to hear about your foster case. You're still kind, never let that go."

Her eyes widened and she covered her mouth in surprise. Did she just say all of that out loud?!

"I think this 'tea' of yours is causing a loose tongue, but I can't quite help it." she chuckled nervously and watched him go red. It made her feel better. The effects of the 'tea' were short-lived, she could feel her composure reforming. "I'm sorry about before. This trip is not at it's end, yet I have mountains to climb. The Battle Maiden, Kristin -- her absence from the arranged marriage has forfeited her the crown. So I am to offer her Duchess status, exile or worse, depending on her current actions. If I do survive, I am here as an emissary to the Undertakers. BlamCo is a larger machine than what you witnessed and I need to find a certain woman to continue our partnership."

Collecting his plate and utensils, Sable set them aside and removed her ring. Leaning over to kiss his cheek, she whispered, "Permit me this one act of selfishness. I never forgot about you.", she pulled away and gave him the same conflicted smile that she wore during their final goodbyes, years ago. "But I am grateful to hear that you have found love in your life."

Excusing herself, Sable secured her ring, collected the dishes and unceremoniously set aside the unfinished 'tea'. Packing her things, a few hacking coughs from the previously silent Arizona had startled her.

"Lady Arizona, are you alright?", Sable inquired before gesturing at her meal. "Please eat up, food helped with the, urm, 'tea' that was served. And I advise against standing up too quickly."

Returning to Thomas with her bag packed, she held out a rudimentary map to Megaton and a pencil.

"Could you help me with the finer details?", Sable inquired, shakily taking a seat. That tea had some latent effects on her balance. "I'm surprised Lady Victoria isn't with you. Do you know where one could find her?"

Nodding at Arizona and Thomas, "Thank you for the hospitality, if our paths cross again, it would be my pleasure to lend a hand."


The Wild Wasteland | Present Day | Springvale Elementary School
"Splish Splash - Part 2"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

With Doctor Sorenson's brief departure to fetch her medical equipment, Kristin had the opportunity to stretch her legs, wash her hair underwater and generally scrub away until she felt clean and refreshed. With her arms resting on the rim of the spacious tub, the Valkyrie kicked her feet rather playfully. (Un)fortunately for Constance, this meant that the Communication Cat had full view of a flanking position bobbing on the water's surface.

Lady Sorenson returned, complete with the Doctor's Bag in hand.

"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.

The Valkyrie had faced many a foe in her time, with all manner of armaments. Yet it was the needle of a Doctor that had her reach into the depths of her combat conditioning. With reluctance, closed eyes, audible wincing and a look of childlike betrayal, the needle for the IV fluids were expertly handled. Nothing less from a Follower.

"Thank you.", she mumbled, more emotionally hurt by ordeal with needles than anything else.

"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, with a spark of energy in her voice, "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."

Clean water? Truth be told, Kristin never had to worry about that sort of thing. BlamCo had the means to secure it's place in New Vegas. Her journey so far had exposed her to this coast's environment and the limitations of survival for the individual. For Kristin, these conditions sparked a challenge and a desire to improve upon her prowess.

"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."

The avenues of Doctor Sorenson's interests went far above the Warrior's head. That said, if there's one thing that she absolutely admired in a person: it was their sense of passion. By losing or not investing in a passion, the Valkyrie always felt that was the point where someone could lose themselves to forces beyond their control. Passion is power, and in the Doctor's case, the investigation of the Project Purity sounded like the beginning of a potential adventure.

"Doctor Sorenson, that sounds like a glorious quest just waiting to happen!", she would have stood up for this declaration, but the needle kept her place. "Once our responsibilities finish up here. The three of us could travel the Capital Wasteland. What say you, Constanc -- !?"

[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.]

Could it be? Her BlamCo Mini-Microwave!? Why yes, it is set to automatically dispense ingredients at timed intervals, but there was only a handful of times where she had electrocuted herself whilst drunk...

"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..." the Doctor trailed off, only for a devious smile to form.

"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, a little too sweetly.

Oh. It was just an Eyebot.

When the Doctor's burst of enthusiasm for medical work switched to mechanical work, Kristin grabbed a hold of her IV bag. When a few strands of the hair dangling in her face had gone from golden blonde to her usual silver, she relaxed, merely intent on listening to the proceedings with the resident Deathclaw. She wondered whether Deathclaws were simply domesticated on this side of the coast, their language would suggest some sort of education. Kristin found herself lost in thoughts of young Deatchclaws in ill-fitted school uniforms.

[Firstly, I am not this 'Malkos' that you keep referring to --- ]

Oh oh! One boy-claw was writing a letter to a girl-claw he fancied -- but he kept breaking the human pencil and the desk beneath it. Oh, to be young and in love.

[Secondly, just who are you? And thirdly, what is that?]

Daydreaming about retiring to manage a comedy group of Deathclaws had her missing out on parts of the conversation. Not-Malkos had managed to find his way into the bathroom and he was asking questions. Fantastic, she wondered whether he would be opposed to wearing a tuxedo one day. He could be the gentleman of the comedy trio.

"Kristin Blamco, Battle Maiden & Valkyrie of the West.", Kristin piped up, "Our resident Communication Cat can explain more about the Sylphy's. I'm just here to turn them into warriors."

Kristin yawned while waiting for the IV bag to finish. Otherwise, this tub was doing wonders for her aching muscles. Or it could be the fact that she was slowly becoming less irradiated and therefore feeling rejuvenated. Regardless, her hypothetical Deathclaw Comedy Troupe needed some serious thought if this were to work. One day she would trade her helmet for a brilliant poofy sorcerer's hat. A hat so awe-inspiring in size...


Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Andale
"How long was I out?"

The next thing Arizona knew, her throat was incredibly dry and it felt like her mouth was stuffed with cotton. And while she barked out a few hacking coughs, her vision slowly cleared so that she could see something beyond a trippy desert landscape.

"Lady Arizona, are you alright?"

"Shifty," Arizona rasped hoarsely, "The fuck was in that tea you gave me? I think it was laced with something."

Placing her hands on her knees and bent forward, she let out a few more coughs and grimaced.

"Please eat up, food helped with the, urm, 'tea' that was served. And I advise against standing up too quickly."

Glancing up at Sable, the look on Arizona's face could only be described as both weary, and more than a little incredulous. Motioning towards herself with one hand, she gave her a wry, crooked smile.

"Girl, I'm pretty sure I've been standing here this whole time while I was in fucking La-La Land. I was out, I'm sure. The two of you didn't notice?" she asked as she straightened up and walked over.

She plopped down and sat right next to Thomas with a soft grunt before glancing down at the map and pencil that Sable held out.

"Could you help me with the finer details?"

Cocking her head a little to one side, she studied the rudimentary sketch for a few moments before shrugging and glancing over at Thomas.

"This is all you, Shifty. Reading maps is more my forte, not making them." she said.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo Manor
Swordswoman to Swordswoman Pt. 2
Victoria "Shiver" McGee

The duel had resulted in a draw, a rather ignominious ending for such a spirited and frenzied fight. While Victoria would have normally detested an ending with no clearly defined victor, the silk and lace swaddled shovel bearer's battle-lust was sated, at least for the time being. It was a shame that a future alliance between the Undertaker's Union and BlamCo would prevent the two bloodied adversaries from any further bouts of unrestrained combat. Accepting the bloodied blade from Kristin, the Bruised Burier of Broken Bodies felt her ribs grinding as she moved, a sure sign of a fracture.

"Well fought, Sister." The Blamco Berserker stated in an almost ritualistic tone as she was mobbed by a squadron of Blamco Branded Medics

"My hostess is too gracious," The Etiquette Minded Undertaker returned with a low courtesy that caused her enough pain to wince, "Stories of your prowess with the sword pale in comparison to reality. I -," The woman paused for a moment as one of the BlamCo Badged Medics applied a stimpak to the Duchess of the Dearly Departed, "- hope that my own performance was to your satisfaction, Lady Kristin." Victoria said coyly, her eyes playfully flicking upwards to lock on to her hostess' eyes as she did.

Straightening herself up from her courtesy, the Fashionable Ferrywoman examined her clothing with the knowledge that there was no possible way that her clothing could have gotten through the duel unscathed. Sure enough, there was a horizontal rip that had cut through a the many layers of Victoria's skirt. Turning to one of the many Bearers of the BlamCo Brand, the Luxurious Lady of the Formerly Living requested a stool and a sewing kit.

"It is a shame that this duel marks the first and only time that you and I shall be allowed to fight unfettered by the restriction of alliance," The Battle Loving Shovel Bearer said with the smallest of smirks hidden under her scarf, "While I found our shortlived time on the field to be absolutely thrilling, you have reminded me of the need to remain humble and that there is always room for improvement when it comes to tactics and strategy. While I have always found one on one combat to be the most effective means of discovering one's flaws, it does not mean that I am against requesting more private lessons."

The BlamCo Manservant returned with the requested items, setting them down in the middle of the arena. In a rather strange juxtaposition of location versus actions, the Delicate Damsel of the Dearly Departed started to mend the rip in her dress, exposing a flash of milky white skin as she did. While it might have appeared that she was attempting to flirt with the Heiress to the BlamCo fortune, she was,of course, simply playing around with the BlamCo Battle Mistress. There were more ways to duel after all. This had been one of the reasons that drawn her to the the iron-blooded, hot-blooded, cold-blooded thief, Tessa Rabbit, who might have been lacking in familial name or station but more than made up for it with her abilities with both knife and tongue.

"Fortunately, I suppose this line of conversation regarding any future duels is purely speculative until a formal agreement is reached between our two organizations," Victoria said wistfully before eyeing the BlamCo heiress, her hands expertly working the fabric of her dress as she did, "though, I suppose it is not too early for discussions regarding a suitable pairing arrangement to cement this alliance. I suppose my Lady Blamco already has candidate for such a matrimonial agreement already in mind for such an occasion? Perhaps you would put yourself forth as such a prize... or maybe an annoying thorn in your side that you would love to be rid of?"

Finished with the emergency repairs on her dress, the Stealthy Sword Wielding Seamstress gave the black thread a quick tug to ensure the tightness of the thread before running it along the edge of her blade, neatly slicing the thin black cord. Sheathing her sword back in the handle of her parasol, the brilliant but bruised Ferrywoman unfurled the accessory, shielding her pale skin from the afternoon sun.

"Before I depart and depriving myself of your presence, my lady Blamco, I must sate my own curiosity and ask a simple question of you. Were this not a duel and had we been in actual combat, would have have run me through with my own blade, knowing that I would have shot you at the simultaneously?" The Etiquette Minded Undertaker asked in a voice that was overflowing with curiosity, "Or would you have spared me, gambling on the chance that I would do the same?"


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Andale
A Clockwork Crimson
Sylphee

One would think that with the reaction that the others were having in response to Cybernetic StormShaun's "tea," the disturbed devil in red would be the one most out of control, however, anyone who bet money on this sort of outcome would have found themselves completely bereft of their deng... and their pants. Mind altering cactii and halucinogenic mushrooms aside, Sylphee had been completely fascinated with Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch's trio of droogs since their arrival and much to Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch's (probable) despair, had been attempting to convince Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch to teach the Crimson Catastrophe the secret language of the Lizzie Bordens. It was rather badiwad that Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch had wandered off to waggle her yahzick at the Andalien lewdies about dobby Vault stuff, leaving Sylphee to stare at the Lizzie Bordens as they stood there, each one holding a tass of the ole moloko plus.

"What's it going to be then, eh?" Said Lizzie Borden, who was actually called Alex in another life, to his banda droogs, peeting his milk with knives, so as to sharpen him up and ready him for a bit of the dirty twenty-to-one before he spotted the little devotchka who was, like Lizzie "Alex" Borden and his droogs, dressed in the heighth of fashion, "Hello there little sister, what brings a pretty little ptitsa to merzky mesto such as this?"

"HEY HEY HEY, Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch?! THE LIZZIE BORDENS ARE TALKING FUNNY!!" The crimson koshtoomed kisa creeched out to the devotchka with the horrorshow groodies, "Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch?! HELLO?!"

"I viddy that this little dim devotchka's a dobby bit bezoomny in the mozg, don't you think?" Izzy "Pete" Borden chumbled with a quiet smeck, "Think we should give her a rookerful of the ultraviolence? Slice a few of her cables and make her swim in that red red krovvy?"

"Nay, bother Izzy," responded Fizzy "Georgie" Borden, "stop flapping your rot with such chepooka. The Devotchka with the horrorshow groodies'll give us a bit of ole in-out in-out fisting if we so much a lay a finger on this nadsat's hair. If you wanted to see ole Bog so soon, you shoulda peeted a bit of drencrom in your moloko. Hold a tick, I think Lizzie has a messel."

"Indeed, O my little brothers, I do," Lizzie "Alex" Borden said with a grin before looking at the sneety eyed sharp, "Little Sister, I viddied that your yahzick has little love for the eggiwegs or the steaky wakes and that sort cal they call pishcha that the lewdies of Andale have brought out. But, just for you my little sister, I smotted a stash of RaddyScorp Jerky if you're not all poogly of a little rabbiting."

To the little ptitsa's credit she didn't let a word past her goobers, just standing there without govoreeting whilst viddying the three droogs as they finished their moloko plus. Of course, such a stare might have been a hint that she wanted a bit of the ole in-out in-out with the trio but Lizzie "Alex" Borden didn't think there was enough firegold in the world for such a thing.

"If you fancy those dobby little morsels of RaddyScorp, just iffy off into each of the domies in the town. Since all the lewdies are out and about, there'll be no need for any dratsing or the polyclef from the cantora. Just iffy on into the domies and find the waterheaters. Jack up the temp real nice and close up the valve before you ookadeet. Then the four of us will iffy off outside of Andalero and scarffle up all the RaddyScorp Jerky we can stuff in our brookos. Sound like a horrowshow of a time?"

"Ummmmmmmmmmmmm..." The Vino Koshtoomed Sharp umm'd for a tick-tock before nodding in quite the skorry fashion before scampering out out out out! "Bye bye Mister Lizzy Bordens, thanks for the tip!"


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

Except from Victoria's Manuscript:

On Eavesdropping

It is a common belief among members of polite society that the act of eavesdropping on a conversation is the height of impropiety. This is, however, a misconception all too happily disseminated and popularized by those with one or two skeletons that they would prefer remain in locked away in a closet. There is not a person in this world that has the ability to control what they are able or unable to discern with their ears. If one of you, my young ladies to be, happens to overhear a conversation meant to only be shared between the participants of said conversation, there is nothing that either you nor those offended by your inadvertent actions can do. Had this hypothetical conversation taken place in a more secure location, there would have been no issue.

Regardless of one's stance on eavesdropping, it cannot be denied that the accumulation of information in tantamount to the success of a young lady of etiquette and assassination. There is no such thing as an unimportant piece of information for even the smallest tidbit of intelligence can reveal the world about a person or target. It is for that reason that any morsel of information should be kept behind the locked doors of one's lips for no other reason than good reason. The sharing of another's personal information both devalues its importance and leaves a young lady open to accusations of improper behavior, which may result in her being branded as a salacious gossip.

So, my young students of etiquette and assassinations, remember this lesson well for it is a major cornerstone to your success.

There was not a soul in the Wastelands that could have been faulted for making the assumption that Victoria McGee had spent copious amounts of time in front of the mirror and, truth be told, they would not have been completely incorrect. There was, however, a high probability that they would have assumed to her time spent in front of her vanity was for the sake of her skin deep vanity and for in that assumption, they would have been incorrect. In the months that followed the loss of her jaw and the subsequent installation of the voice synthesizer in her neck, Victoria had indeed spent many an hour in front of a mirror regarding her own reflection as she spoke. Every phrase spoken in the world had its own combination of jaw, lip and tongue movements not unlike a form of linguistical DNA. Despite having had the lower portion of her face reconstructed with synthetic parts, the Darkly Dressed Duchess of the Departed no longer had the auditory feedback of her own voice, due to the words perfectly formed by the voice synthesizer, that would have normally allow her to shape her words with her mouth. While she no longer needed to even move her mouth in order to speak, there was a certain amount of vanity that forced her to stare at her lips in the mirror as she spoke in order to ensure that when she chose to speak, it appeared that she was speaking.

Though as substantial amount of time was spent on this project of vanity, Victoria found that its completion had produced some unexpected results. In studying how to move her mouth when she spoke, she was also teaching herself to perceive the words that were being formed by the lips of others. In short, she had learned to read lips, a skill that she had found beneficial in her line of work as a Ferrywoman and as an observer looking through the scope of her newly acquired anti-materiel rifle on the events that unfolded within the Andale's city limits.

Despite the distance that separated her and her cousin, The Ever Etiquette Minded Undertaker could smell the odd bouquet of the so called tea that Thomas was brewing. While a few of the dried herbs steeping in the kettle were foreign to her nose, Victoria was quick to recognize the scent of Psilocybin as well as Lophophora williamsii, two ingredients that she had regularly imbibed while under the tender care of her cousin Henry.

"(Oh cousin, that particular blend of tea is probably the last one you'd want to share with Sable Blamco)" The Amused Assassin thought to herself as she watched the group settle down around a small fire they had built on the outskirt's of the Andalian playground... at least most of them. It seemed that Sylphee, Cousin Henry's little toy doll had other ideas which included the interestingly tame trio of Deathclaws.

"I did write you." Cousin Thomas' lips confessed to his former lover, "and I did miss you but.. If you never received my letters... I'm sure Lord Walt had his reasons."

"I wrote to you too," Came the counter-confession from the sublimely innocent lips of Sable Blamco "To every single letter of yours without fail. But the Courier's guild ---"

"Damn..." The unbidden curse came from the Concealed Caretaker of the Dead. Had the Silver Raven pieced together Victoria's part in the severing of the romantic link? Tessa Rabbit always did know a person in the perfect position at the most opportune time. At Shiver's own request, her Beautiful Bunny had ensured the interception of Sable's responses to Thomas' love laced letters and while the two were in agreement to keep the contents a secret, Mercy, Tessa's very own younger sibling, had decided to plaster Sable's words all over New Vegas in an attempt to destablize BlamCo's hold over their town. What became of the Rabbit sisters was a mystery to Victoria as her duties to her new master had quickly overtaken her personal interests.

"Bloodshed and the upper-class will always go hand in hand. The Courier's Guild --- corrupted by those cowards that hide behind the NCR puppets. Truly, loyalty is not earned, it's bought." Sable lips said stiffly as both remembered anger and the herbal concoction took hold, for she started to speak rapidly and fearlessly without any inkling of restraint "For a time, BlamCo's outgoing mail was intercepted. We had an idea of who could manage such a task. You remember the Rabbits, don't you? Two sisters leading the riff-raff of New Vegas into organised crime. The little one was smart, she told me all about how they stationed themselves in NCR territory so that we couldn't interfere, they could safely undermine us, while the corrupt mess that is the NCR tripped over their precious paperwork to deny us any inquiry."

From Shiver's perspective above the temporary rest area, it appeared that the drug laced "tea" had a firm grip over Cousin Thomas and his companions for the Ancient One could be seen staring off into the depths of the past and her Cousin... her cousin appeared to be barely keeping a foot planted in reality. Pulling herself up from her prone position, the Silk and Lace Swaddled Shovel Bearer brushed the dust and dirt from her dress, slinging the rifle on her shoulders as she unfurled her parasol. It was time for her to make her grand entrance.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Andale
Coming soon to a Theatre near you...
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

~Cough cough cough~

It wasn't very often that one discovers a drink that tasted progressively worse the more one drank but as Thomas continued to slowly sip the concoction that he had, in hindsight, made the mistake of brewing, he imagined that the flavor was starting to get closer to how he imagined the Northern dish known as Brahgis, the stomach of a Brahmin that had been stuffed with its innards, left to coagulate and rot and served thinly sliced atop a ball rice and kelp. He also couldn't help but notice the fact that as he drank more of the swilly tea, the world appeared to get more and more vibrantly colorful.

"... You remember the Rabbits, don't you? Two sisters leading the riff-raff of New Vegas into organised crime. The little one was smart, she told me all about how they stationed themselves in NCR territory so that we couldn't interfere, they could safely undermine us, while the corrupt mess that is the NCR tripped over their precious paperwork to deny us any inquiry," The BlamCo Ballerina said as she sipped more of her tea, her voice and tongue becoming more loose.

The Darkly Dressed Doorman of Death did know of The Rabbits, specifically the two sisters that Sable had spoken of and more importantly he was aware that they were Victoria's contacts to the New Vegas underworld. The question as to why one of Victoria's contacts would meddle with one of the allies of the Undertaker's Union popped in Thomas' head as he looked into the flames of the small campfire.

Visions of The Fire:

The outpost was on fire. The base had served as a staging area for BlamCo foodstuffs that had been slated to be delivered to the Undertaker's Union. All around the facility personnel and warriors battled against fire and an unknown force that charged them recklessly. Despite their superior training, the BlamCo personnel were being beaten by the charging hoard of helmeted raiders, though it was unclear if the assailants were raiders as some wore raider armor, some wore Vault suits and others wore the clothing of a normal civilian. Their only commonality were the round helmets they wore, each one topped with a pair of circular ears.

Thomas knew this shape well... it was the Son of Walt.

"The Rabbits intercepted our letters. They knew all about 'Sable Blamco -- The Gravediggers' Sordid Affair', a public relations nightmare when the rumors warped as they spread. There was a definitive reluctance among the public to deal with BlamCo's food, as one could imagine. Since I brought the Undertakers under the Valkyrian fold, it was my job to fix this mess, lest I suffer an exile." The Fiery Valkyrian Phoenix said in a voice still frustrated by the whole ordeal she'd been forced to endure, "If loyalty can be bought, then loyalty went to the highest bidder. Upon purchasing a few blind eyes and a public declaration to quell the rumors the following morning, I had that night to act. I hunted those Rabbits down -- skewering, blinding and breaking my way through their ranks. When I cornered the two sisters, I took the eldest sisters' tongue before the wounded were rounded up to be jailed. True enough, I found a small safe full of sensitive BlamCo material. Weeks upon weeks of my most private words to you, lost." an errant strand of her golden hair had fallen over an eye, adding a bit of mystery to her beauty,"I was put under strict orders to cease my writings to you, lest another leak occur. From that day forward, I was considered the black sheep in the family, and it was up to me to silence any unsavory group or voice once my debt was paid. --- a necessary sacrifice for the future of BlamCo. My sisters fought their battles by day and I hunted at night."

The Friendly Former Undertaker of the East's unanchored mind drifted off to imagination. He could envision the Silver Spear-Maiden hunting in the night lit by starlight and accompanied only by the moonlight. He could see the angry glow of her Powerspear as it seared through armor, hide, flesh and bone. The pain that Sable's prey suffered was intense but ended quickly. Had the anger over being unable to communicate with him fueled this search for justice or had her loyalty to her family? Looking up at the pale moon, he knew that this was the last thing that many of the Blemished BlamCo Beauty's victims saw before life fled their broken mortal shell.

Visions of the Night:

The blaze that consumed the Matterhorn had obliterated the stars from the night sky. Only the moon served as witness to the downfall of the Undertaker's Union. Having heard rumors of a mysterious army that was massing near their Headquarters, Undertakers and Ferryman alike were prepared to meet any assault... but no amount of preparation could have prepared them for the numbers they faced.

"We are betrayed!" A junior Undertaker called out as he pointed towards the BlamCo uniforms worn by some members of the assault force.

"No... it's something else." Another said, "Look at their helmets."

"Why? Why would they wear the Son's head? This is blasphem-" The first questioned before he was cut down where he stood. A massive shadow dragging an even larger coffin continued forward, leading Henry's enslaved army.

From the Magical Castle that overlooked the Headquarters, Thomas' Father looked into a mirror and asked it a question.

"Mirror Mirror on the wall, what is the fate that awaits us all?" He asked as the door behind him opened, allowing a figure to enter with, a blade being drawn from a black parasol.

Thomas blinked, the vision... hallucination... waking dream had ended. Despite the terrible events that had been shown to him, he felt calm, as if he had gone into shock. Sable continued to speak as if no time had passed while The Friendly Former Ferryman had bore witness to these horrors. A strange reflection of the firelight had broken the spell and as his eyes refocused on reality he could make out the ring on Sable's finger.

"This is the celebration of my freedom. Her name is Annabelle, a delivery girl of sorts," sighing, the one Victoria had called the Silver Raver smiled softly, "Lucy, huh? Well in my experience, the best couples are forged through unending dedication. Naturally, I can understand her dedication to you, you do have your charms -- still, I am rather pleased to hear about your foster case. You're still kind, never let that go."

Thomas felt his cheeks go red from the compliment. It was infrequent enough that he was able to speak to a person, let alone a beautiful woman, let alone receive a compliment from one. He had an inkling that this sudden rush of honesty was not entirely voluntary.

"I think this 'tea' of yours is causing a loose tongue, but I can't quite help it." The Parmesan Princess said with a slight nervous chuckle. He felt his cheeks burning once again under the woman's gaze, "I'm sorry about before. This trip is not at it's end, yet I have mountains to climb. The Battle Maiden, Kristin -- her absence from the arranged marriage has forfeited her the crown. So I am to offer her Duchess status, exile or worse, depending on her current actions. If I do survive, I am here as an emissary to the Undertakers. BlamCo is a larger machine than what you witnessed and I need to find a certain woman to continue our partnership."

It was at this point that Sable, having cleaned up their plates leaned over and planted a soft kiss on the Surprised Shovel Bearer's cheek, a small smile could be seen as she pulled away from him.

"Permit me this one act of selfishness. I never forgot about you. But I am grateful to hear that you have found love in your life." The Former Ferryman of the East's First and Former Lover said before retreating.

"Please eat up, food helped with the, urm, 'tea' that was served. And I advise against standing up too quickly." Sable said to Arizona as she grabbed a map and a pencil from her pack. Unsurprisingly, Arizona seemed to have been under the influence of the tea as well, though the effects of the "tea" on the Machine Gun toting Old One were unknown, "Lady Arizona, are you alright?"

"Girl, I'm pretty sure I've been standing here this whole time while I was in fucking La-La Land. I was out, I'm sure. The two of you didn't notice?" "Lady" Arizona asked gruffly.

"Sorry, Arizona. We've been catching up and filling in some blanks," Thomas admitted sheepishly. Though fate had ultimately decided that their futures lay in different directions, the revelation that any possible future between Sable and Thomas had cut short by entities other than the two of them caused him both a great deal of sadness and a great deal of anger, "Then again... I don't think you're the only one that's being affected by this... 'tea.'"

"Could you help me with the finer details?" Sable said as she returned to where The Angered Undertaker was sitting, flourishing a map and pencil.

Taking the crude chart in his hands, he started drawing in some landmarks as well as the best route that would take her to Megaton while simultaneously avoiding Fairfax. If she was in a time crunch, the last thing she needed was to bury a bunch of Dead Raiders killed by the tip of her Power Spear.

"I'm surprised Lady Victoria isn't with you. Do you know where one could find her?" Sable commented as he completed the map, bringing back memories of the vision that Thomas had recently endured, "Thank you for the hospitality, if our paths cross again, it would be my pleasure to lend a hand." She added as Thomas "Shifty" McGee handed her the now more accurate map.

It might have appeared to be a sudden bout of rudeness that had held Thomas' tongue hostage as he'd not uttered a single word in response to the Fair Dame of Dead and Dairy, but it could have been explained away by the visions and loosened tongues that had affected the group so recently. As the Map Minded Mortician drew the map, a familiar silhouette had caught his eyes. Watching the form take shape as he drew, the Hallucinating Horseman for the Dead started to make out some of the silhouette's finer details, such as the mask the woman wore... no it was not a mask... it appeared as if someone had stripped away the skin and muscle from the woman's face below her nose, leaving only the skeletal remains of a jaw... cast in carbon black with teeth the would have made Larry, Moe and Curry jealous. It was perhaps in response to Shifty's gave that the woman in the distance pulled a scarf over the lower portion of her face, covering the jaw. In her hands was a parasol, which Thomas knew to contain a blade hidden in the handle and the power to cloak its user in invisibility.

"ACHOO!" A strangely familiar voice sneezed on the outskirts of their temporary rest area. Turning towards the source of the sound, Shifty could make out an even more familiar sight, "You're supposed to say 'Walt Bless You', cousin Thomas." Victoria said as she strode in from the past and back into his life, "Though, I take it you may be surprised at my sudden appearance so soon after Lady Sable had mentioned my name. It would be a bit spooky to me were I in your shoes."

As the Even Cautious Undertaker regarded his cousin, his hand drifted near his 10mm pistol, his mind unable to shake the fact that he had just envisioned the murder his father by the woman that now stood in front of him. She had changed since he'd last seen her. No longer wearing the conservative funerary garb, her clothing appeared a bit more modern, a bit more revealing. The neckline of the dress plunged sharply down, revealing a flash of his cousin's breasts as well as her navel, though it was covered in a gauzy lace. The familiar necklace that held a multitude of throwing knives sat nestled in her exposed cleavage. Though it had been a great deal of time since he'd seen her last, Thomas could not have imagined that this choice of clothing was her idea but rather someone who was used to controlling all aspects of those around him.

"My Lady Sable, it has been quite some time since we last spoke. It is always such a pleasure to see you in good health and in good company," Victoria McGee said with a flourished courtesy before rising to great her cousin.

"No love for your beloved cousin after all this time?" Victoria asked, opening up her arms for a familial embrace, "I am afraid that you will want to share this embrace with me before I deliver news of your parents... their death... and my role in it."


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale
The Family that Bathes together...
Constance Sorrowfeld | Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3

Unlike her bouncy bosom blessed bath mates, Constance Sorrowfeld's emotions were feeling rather... flat. While the Flat as a Pancake, Feline Eared Scout was still reeling from the shock of the day's events, Miss Jenna's chest heaved like a pair of inflated weather balloons, bobbing in a light Spring breeze, as she spoke passionately about bringing water to Wastes by the jug load. While it was a rather noble idea, Constance's Enclave based lessons had taught her that this form of communism would never work and definitely as Unamerican as one could get.

"(Even if you gave everyone the same access to pure clean water, someone's going to find a way to take advantage of the situation so that they can pad their breasts... ummm wallet.)" The Wet Washboard of a Young Woman thought to herself, averting her ears from Miss Jenna's Swaying and Scientifically Inclined Sweater Puppies, "(Icebergs! Icebergs ahead!)"

Having attempted to avert her eyes from one set of super sized sweet meats, the Nearly Completely Concave Constance found herself staring at a pair of perfect flotation devices. Having never seen an iceberg outside of a text book, the fact that only a small percentage of the huge chunk of floating ice was seen above water suddenly made sense, a fact that made the already self conscious kitten all the more red faced. Staring at the floating fun bags, Constance had thought that her view of Miss Kristin's copious cushions was being magnified by water refraction until she remembered that her ears did not perceive that sort of thing.

"(They really don't have to go around flaunting everything they have...)" commiserating Kitten though to herself, her body throwing a minor fit over the unfairness of her flatness, which was (un)fortunate turn of affairs since it caused her to accidentally (on purpose) sit on her not so minor sized tail with cause enough discomfort to cause her to lean over (totally to give herself enough space to remove her tail from under her buttbutt) which resulted in a loss of balance and the landing of Constance's Cat Ear topped head on Miss Kristin's Fabulous and Fluffy Fleshpillows of Warm and Fuzzy Feelings.

"~Blub blub blub blub blub~" Constance mouth bubbled from under the water as she melted away.

*CLANK!*

Meanwhile outside of the Debaucherous Bath of Bouncy Breasts, Miss Jenna had found something else to toy around with (besides Constance's eternal envy). Glancing over at the genetically gifted general practitioner, Constance noted the large, round and shapely curves of an Enclave Eyebot, one of the short lived multi-function models from the looks of things. Had the machine been delivered earlier in the day, The Amateur Shotgun Surgeon might have mentioned the fact that the thing was Enclave property but as she nestled up to Miss Kristin's softer side, the thought escaped her. Truth be told, quite a number of things had escaped the confused kitten since the appearance of Miss Kristin and her strange treatment of Constance Sorrowfeld. While there was a great deal of strangeness that appeared to follow the Vicious yet Vivacious Valkyrie, there were things that were personally strange to Constance... such as Miss Kristin's apology, her encouragement, her demands not simply for success but rather for the investment of all of Constance's efforts in every task. Was this how mothers were supposed to...

"Kristin Blamco, Battle Maiden & Valkyrie of the West," Miss Kristin announced to the second Deathclaws that had the self control to not murder on EVERYTHING in sight , "Our resident Communication Cat can explain more about the Sylphy's. I'm just here to turn them into warriors."

"Me? Explain?" Constance stammered nearly incoherently as she attempted to wrestle her mind back to reality instead of daydreaming about being pushed on a swing by... well it didn't matter. What mattered was the fact that she was to explain the history of Project Sylphy.

"Well... the Sylphys are a set of experimental clones designed using various technologies discovered in a number of Vaults for the express purpose of creating an army consisting of highly replaceable soldiers. I'm not really sure why the person who created the Sylphys used this particular girl as the clone's template but they all seem to suffer the same sort of craziness. It might be because the inventor messed with their brains to make them easier to control or maybe the cloning process is subject to some sort of noise when copying their cells or it might be some sort of side effect from them being able to do this..." It was at this point that Constance gestured over to one of the Sylphys standing near by, "Sorry about this," she apologized to her subject before punching her in the shoulder, causing the Blue Haired Psychopath to split into two copies, both of which started rubbing their shoulder where Constance had punched. Looking over at Malkos Rath, the constantly curious Constance had a rather sheepish expression on her face.

"I'm not actually sure if that answered you question since I'm more sure about what they're for instead of what they are and why I seem to be the only person that can understand what they're saying." Constance continued, "Now that I've possibly answered you questions, maybe you can answer a couple yourself... like... what brought you out to the Capital Wastelands and how it is that you ended up with your particular... method of talking?"

Rath watched and listened with fascination as the tailed and metal eared woman gave a rough explanation of what the identical, strange smelling, women where. The near instant duplication of these 'Slyphy' after Constance struck one of them made him snort in amazement. [Remarkable,] He said after a moment. [It's a self-replicating food supply...and that explains their odd smell.] There was another bout of 'gravel avalanche' laughter from him, before he made a rather human placating gesture with a massive clawed scaly hand. [I try not to eat humans, if for no other reason than there's just so little meat.] He added, still chuckling. [Though if these Slyphy taste as odd as they smell, then I think I'd pass.]

"I'm not actually sure if that answered you question since I'm more sure about what they're for instead of what they are and why I seem to be the only person that can understand what they're saying. Now that I've possibly answered you questions, maybe you can answer a couple yourself... like... what brought you out to the Capital Wastelands and how it is that you ended up with your particular... method of talking?"

[Well you answered as best you can, and really that's all anyone could ask for.] He replied. [As for me? I came here guarding some friends, who I hope a well, to Megaton; I guess I miss them, so I've stayed around.] He went on, his armoured shoulders drooping slightly.

[As for how I 'speak'?] He shrugged. [From what I could tell, it was probably an unintended side effect. I was created at a place called 'Fort Detrick' as an attempt to make pre-war experiment more controllable...I only know bits about my creation as the computers were not in very good shape.]

Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Andale
"God, I hate that song."

When Thomas finally noticed that she had snapped out of whatever reverie she had been stuck in, he had the decency to look a little sheepish. Especially since he had made the tea in the first place.

"Sorry, Arizona. We've been catching up and filling in some blanks. Then again... I don't think you're the only one that's being affected by this... 'tea.'"

The Ghoul's eye narrowed as she said, "... Get the feeling I'm the only one who went to fucking La-la Land cause of that tea."

Still, she settled back as the Undertaker got to work on the crude map that the Blamco Sister had drawn up and they continued their conversation. She was content to leave it at that, when she spotted a figure approaching them, an unfamiliar one at that. Arizona's hands clenched Lester as she opened her mouth to say something, but she didn't need to. The new arrival sneezed. That seemed to be more than enough to get the others attention.

"You're supposed to say 'Walt Bless You', cousin Thomas. Though, I take it you may be surprised at my sudden appearance so soon after Lady Sable had mentioned my name. It would be a bit spooky to me were I in your shoes."

Arizona took a step back and leveled a suspicious glare in the young woman's direction. Her Light Machine Gun didn't so much as falter as she kept it ready. Judging from the way she dressed, the mention of Walt Disney, and the fact that she called Thomas 'cousin', meant that this had to be a fellow Undertaker. And if she overheard the two former lovers correctly, her name was Victoria.

"This is, what, the third woman we've met up that knows you, Tommy-boy? I guess it's a small wasteland after all." Arizona muttered under her breath.

Victoria McGee curtsied as she addressed Sable, then she turned back to Shifty and said something that raised even Arizona's hackles.

"No love for your beloved cousin after all this time? I am afraid that you will want to share this embrace with me before I deliver news of your parents... their death... and my role in it."


[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School "Showers"
"Audio feedback-loops. Always a little creepy."

There was a pause between Rath's response and him finally stepping into the shower room and dropping the inert sphere in front of her.

[Ah, I assumed it belonged to one of you, as it was floating around pestering me.]

"Well, not yet, but I have ideas." Jenna said with a smile as she walked over to where her change of clothes were, along with her Pip-Boy.

Once she had it affixed to her wrist, she felt along the outer casing of the Eyebot. And promptly shut out everything around her thanks to her laser-focus. She was only vaguely aware of Rath's mental voice asking for an explanation regarding the Sylphy's while she found a small access panel and opened it.

"Unauthorized access will not be granted!" The Eyebot said as it attempted to swat at Jenna's hands with one of its flimsy utility arms, "Messing with Enclave Property is punishable by... OW! That's the wrong PORT! What part of Output Only do you not understand?"

Catching the utility arm with one hand, the Followers Doctor examined it with some interest. These weren't a standard-feature on Eyebots if she remembered correctly, so this had to be a specialty model.

"Oh, settle down. And what do you mean that this is Output On--Oh hold on." she said, pausing as she examined the panel next to it and let out a little amused 'Ha'.

In small, worn down print, the two access panels were labeled as Input and Output. Taking a moment to wipe off her glasses on her towel, she opened the second panel and promptly hooked her Pip-Boy into both. As RobCo Termlink Code scrolled over the cracked Pip-Boy screen, she looked back at the Eyebot and frowned.

"Care to tell me what model of Eyebot you are, or am I going to have to try and find that out from your programming?" she asked.

"If you think that I will assist in the unauthorized access of an Enclave asset, you are sorely mis-mis-mis-mis-mis-mis-mis-mis-mis-mis-" The Infinite Looping Eyebot started to repeat as the Faceless Follower accessed his menu system, activating a bug that had been patched after the last time that Eyebot Brian's software had been updated.

At that, Jenna quickly glanced between both the Eyebot and the scrolling lines of code on her Pip-Boy. After a half a minute of synthesized stuttering, she decided to simply input a standard stand-by command, with the hope that that would be enough to make it stop. Especially since it was starting to disturb her.

"Initiating Standby mode. Deactivating Personality Subsystems. Deactiviating Anti-Theft Devices. Disconnecting from Enclave-Link. Deactivating Anti-Molerat Protocols. Removing Anti-Mutant Biases. Would you like to continue vocal feedback?"

With a satisfied smile, she crossed her legs and sat across from the Eyebot and nodded.

"Yes, please. Now, what model of Eyebot is this, and what are you capable of?" she asked pleasantly.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Andale
A messenger's death
Victoria "Shiver" McGee

"Cousin Thomas, as you know I have always been quite the stickler for etiquette and one of the things that I cannot abide is the pointing of a weapon at my face," Victoria stated coolly as she stared down the barrel of her cousin's 10mm pistol, one that was nearly identical to her own save for the missing silencer, "If after I have relayed a message from your half-brother, Henry, my role is done and you may do with me as you wish."

Perhaps the story needed to be backed up a bit. Victoria's beloved cousin was never one to ignore his emotions and as soon as she had informed him of his father's untimely demise at her hands, the pistol had been pulled from its holster. Had he been this quick to pull a weapon on her in the past, perhaps all of this could have been avoided as she would have been killed back in New Vegas and would have never become Henry's puppet as a result.

Slowly, the Less than Friendly Former Undertaker of the East lowered his weapon but kept it in hand by his side, not that she blamed him for such precautions. She had just admitted to murder.

"Explain yourself... and what you mean by Half-Brother.' Her cousin said responded simply, unaware of what his own family's history.

"The story starts, as all of our treasured parables start, with the death of a mother, your's. As you know she died while you were young but what you don't know is how it affected your father. While we Undertakers are taught that death is inevitable and that we should never mourn the ones that have left this world, your father forgot this lesson and sent forth your brother, The Reaper." Victoria stated before pausing to give Thomas a chance to digest what she had said.

"That program was supposed to have never been started. We're supposed to respect the dead, not rob them," Her oh so naive cousin said before turning to the others,"The Undertakers believed, for a time, that those who lived in the Vaults, separating themselves from the rest of the world might as well have been dead. They were living in nothing more than a technologically advanced mausoleum. So some of our number thought it would be a good idea to put those Vault Dwellers to rest while gathering what technology they could."

"Your 'brother' Henry was a result of this program. Did you never think that it was strange that he bore such a striking resemblance to Lord Walt rather than your father? It was in one of the vaults that your father discovered the possibility to bring about the return of Lord Walt. Your half-brother is the result, a child born from an egg harvested from your mother and fertilized by the genetic material of our God." The Silk and Lace Swaddled Shovel Bearer said, "And with the death of your mother, your father, blinded by his grief, reopened the program and sent your brother to look for a means to resurrect both your mother as well as Lord Walk himself."

"But then he betrayed us." Her cousin interjected.

"But then he betrayed us," The Silent Silk Assassin repeated, "It was inevitable as the fables tell us. Sometimes it's Brother betrays Brother or Friend fights Friend but the commonality is that there is a betrayal and in Henry's case, he betrayed you so that he could usurp your claim to the Union. Though he is older, he does not carry your father's blood and that eliminates him from consideration... but if he finishes the work that your father started, he can take claim as a direct descendant of Lord Walt himself... and as a fleshly incarnation of our divine Lord, he will attempt to bring happiness to the world."

"Which doesn't sound so bad... but there's a catch." Thomas said, is voice filled with a certain sense of disbelief.

"'There's so much that we share that it's all time we're aware it's a small world after all.'" Victoria quoted as melodically as her voice synthesizer would allow, the muscles on her cheeks pulling her non-existent lips into a non-existent smile, "If we share his vision of the world, there is no need to need for violence or death and before you ask, he intends to use the technology he discovered in the Vaults, technology that he tested out here in the Capital Wastes. As you may have heard, there is a blind girl, the daughter of a certain Enclave Intelligence officer with whom you are acquainted. Her ears, which are sensors, are integrated into a helmet which projects a version of Henry's reality to the wearers. This is how he controlled Raiders and BlamCo personnel into assaulting the Magical Kingdom. Though that is only a temporary measure."

"How temporary?"

"You Sylph is a test of other technology. A machine with the ability to transfer consciousness and the means to control and shape someone's memory and personality and the, with the Sylphys, the ability to create an army of completely loyal and happy subjects. Tests conducted as far away from the Union as possible."

"You said consciousness transfer?" Cousin Thomas asked hesitantly, almost as if he already knew the answer to his next question, "Whose?"

"Don't you find Sylph's method of hand to hand to be similar to someone else's" Sylph's Pseudo-Sensei stated before adding, "Though Cousin Henry modified her personality quite heavily."

"So why did he come here to deliver this message?" The Former Ferryman asked, not quite understanding the purpose of Victoria's revealing of Henry's plans, though he also appeared to be having issues grasping the scale of Henry's plan.

"That is not the message. The message is that if you do not come visit him in the Magic Kingdom, your dear Lucy will." The Messenger said, delivering the message, "He will drag her from New Vegas back to the Magical Kingdom where she can enjoy his hospitality, as I did... and as Sylphee did."

The message was delivered. It was time for her to be delivered from the nightmare she had suffered under her cousin's control. Closing her eyes, Victoria waited for the embrace of oblivion.

"Now cousin, you can execute me. For the murder of you father, my beloved Uncle. For betraying you and for threatening your beloved Lucy. He told me 'Wwth the trigger is pulled, the hammer will fall and thus ends your part from this all.' He means for you to kill me, as you should have in New Vegas."

There was a long and pregnant silence that held over the group before her cousin responded.

"Fine." Thomas said before raising his pistol and pulling the trigger.

*Click*

While it was not the sound that Victoria McGee was expecting, the results were never the less impactful. With the trigger pulled, as Henry had said, his control over his puppet was released, though the memories of what she'd done in his name remained, actions whose corresponding guilt washed over her, bringing her to her knees as tears began to wet the ground under her face.

"Arizona..." She heard her cousin voice, muffled by her sobbing, "I know I swore that I would guide you to the Dunwich Building... but... I... I have to go. I know she may be untrustworthy at the moment, but if I released her from my brot... half brother's control like I think... Victoria can guide you. She was the Undertaker of the East before me."

Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Andale
"Farewell, Undertaker."

Henry McGee was a monster. It was a small comfort that he was some ill-conceived attempt to create a modern child of Walt Disney using his DNA, an egg from Thomas's mother, and Vault technology. But that was enough to make him the next best thing to the Second Coming in the eyes of the Undertaker's Guild, and Henry planned to use it, along with perception altering helmets, as the McGee cousin explained. He had his sights on the entire wastes, and he wanted Thomas to find him. If he didn't come to Henry, Henry would take Lucy.

In the span of roughly two hundred and twenty years, Arizona had seen and heard of the worst that humanity had to offer. And in the worst of days after the bombs, there was no level to which people wouldn't descend to. What Victoria McGee described wasn't the worst she had heard of, but it came close. Not because of what Henry McGee did, or what he planned to do. It was how it affected one of her few living friends. Glancing over at him with a grim expression, she could only see shock and dull horror on his face, and she felt her guts twist a little at the sight.

After the she mentioned the death of his parents, Lester's barrel had been leveled at Victoria throughout her conversation. But now at the close, the former Undertaker simply closed her eyes and waited for Thomas to execute her. The old Ghoul merely lowered her weapon. It wasn't her place. Not this time.

There was a long pause before Thomas raised his pistol and took aim before he pulled the trigger. The click of the pin hitting an empty chamber felt louder than a gunshot. And Victoria fell to her knees and wept.

"Arizona... I know I swore that I would guide you to the Dunwich Building... but... I... I have to go. I know she may be untrustworthy at the moment, but if I released her from my brot... half brother's control like I think... Victoria can guide you. She was the Undertaker of the East before me."

She looked over at the sobbing girl in front of Thomas with a hard expression. Damn him. God damn Henry McGee for all of this. As skeptical and suspicious as she wanted to be regarding her, all she could see was another young girl that that bastard brainwashed, used and abused. She couldn't help but feel pity. She didn't want to, but she couldn't help it.

With a nod, she slowly let go of Lester so that the machine gun hung at her front by the straps, and stepped up to Thomas. Placed a scarred hand on his shoulder.

"Well, I ain't gonna stop you. I don't have any right to. But you better not die to him, you hear me? I'm really sick and tired of outliving the people I care about." she said, with a small, bitter smile before she leaned in and gave him a surprisingly delicate kiss on the cheek, saying, "Go save your girl, and give her my best, will ya?"

When she pulled back, her smile was a little more natural, and for a moment there was a shadow of the young woman she used to be in that smile.

"Oh, and before I forget, it's Amanda. Amanda Butcher." she said just loud enough for him to her.

There was another moment before she took a breath and her face hardened again and she clutched Lester, looking like the grizzled mercenary named Arizona that he always knew, and she gave him a curt nod.

"Do what needs done, and kill that son of a bitch. Make sure he rots in hell. I'll see you after it's all over." Arizona told him before turning away and calling out, "EVERYONE HEADING TO DUNWICH, GET READY TO HEAD OUT! WE'VE STILL GOT A LONG WAY TO GO!"

With a backward glance in Victoria's direction, she added, "That means you too, Victoria McGee. Road's long, so you'll have plenty of time to get it out of your system while we walk. But we need to get going."

The Wild Wasteland | A Few Years Ago | New Vegas | The Tops Casino
"Valkyrie Break"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

The Valkyrie's attention had wandered to the activity in the casino's courtyard, soft jazz accompanied the smaller groups that danced in unison. Idly stirring an overly sweet drink, Kristin watched the ladies and gentleman, dressed in pre-war attire, seemingly regressing from 200 years worth of societal progress to accommodate this outdated era of adulthood.
Slicked-back greasy hair and cheap ill-fitted suits were the order of the day for the overeager men. Fawning over the women so blatantly acting coy, their mutual posturing reeked of self-doubt and desperation. Needless to say, it was uncomfortable to watch.

"Miss Blamco? Somethin' the matta?"

The Valkyrie snapped back to reality. Sheepishly, she waved a dismissive hand and politely urged her date to continue.

"So like I was sayin' --- "

Her date proceeded to agonize over the NCR's training regimen. This man made it into the New California Republic's military division? He was sorely lacking in the physicality fit for a rifleman and general combatant. He was, to his credit, sincere and persistent. So when Kristin Blamco discovered this very man attending but not participating in her close quarters combat training, she asked for his name, to which he blurted out a confession of how he fancied her. Caught up in the moment and hounded by her sisters to let loose once in awhile, she accepted his plans for a date.

To her grand irritation, he had taken the 'Lady' in Lady Blamco quite literally. She had received a disappointed remark for not wearing a dress, a pink alcohol-free drink, he took every opportunity to open a door, pull out a seat and even give some aggressive looks to other males looking her way. He paid for her, spoke for her and after noticing that the ice cubes in her drink had melted due to neglect and boredom, he proposed that they 'Get outta' here' in a very passive-aggressive manner.

Beckoning her to follow like some hound, she resisted the urge to reach into the pocket of her hunting trousers and make use of a pair of brass knuckles. Adjusting her white blouse, she gripped her leather coat that was thrust in her direction and sunk her hands into her pockets. Making it quite clear that there would be no hand-holding of any sort, blind to subtleties, he hooked his arm in hers and lead her outside and down a few shortcuts seemingly to avoid crowds.

"I appreciate you taking me out for the evening, Mister Boston. But I --- "

"That's great then. An' here I thought you was actin' snooty. Playin' hard to get, eh?"

The two hurried around the alleyway of some place called 'Gomorrah'. Proceeding deeper into the back-alleys while the blaring of music drowned out her protests to stop and listen to her. Reaching into her pockets, the man suddenly pushed her forward and blocked her exit from the alleyway. It was a dead end. When she turned on him with fists raised and brass knuckles firmly in place, she caught his repeated muttering of apologies, even his exaggerated accent had fallen away. Faltering for a moment, two figures emerged from corners of her peripheral vision. One small and one much larger than her. The large figure, a male as the neon signs from the Gomorrah revealed, closed in on her.

Securing a tremendous grip on her left arm, she responded with a grip on his wrist, a twist, a boot to the foot and a square punch to the throat. Stumbling backwards, the smaller figure withdrew a knife and hissed at her former date.

"I did my part okay! Thi-this wasn't part of the deal. The bitch isn't even drugged, wouldn't drink tonight. Keep your money! I want no part in this!", the man protested, backed off and turned to run. Unfortunately for him, the knife-wielding female saw fit to bury that blade into his back after a skillful throw. She casually strode over to his fallen form and the sickening gurgling and choking that followed said it all. Cleaning off the long knife on the beaten-up leather armor, she winked at Kristin.

Her large assailant had regained his composure quicker than expected and he closed in once more. Without the proper armor or weapons, Kristin couldn't repel this kind of assault head-on. To her credit, her fists bore down on his shaved head like a sledgehammer during the few seconds he took to lift her off the ground and tackle her to a nearby wall. Her head collided with the wall, leaving her stunned for a few precious seconds. During that time, she was dropped to the ground. Stubbornly, she grabbed his arm and repeatedly struck upwards at his elbow in full fury, an audible snap was savored by the Valkyrie. Yet she underestimated his rage, two repeated feral punches drove her to the ground, once again, her head hit the ground resulting in a prolonged stun.

Hoisted upwards, the large man hooked her arms behind her back. Her shoulders threatened to pop out from their sockets until the smaller knife-wielding female commanded him with something between a hiss and a gurgle. His grip loosened slightly and positioned Kristin to face this woman.

"Kristhin Bwamco," The ragged vagrant hissed, before leaning in with her mouth open. A stump of tongue remained, along with some hideous burns to the lips and gums. "Don' hold it against me. You people take down my people. Stho I'm gonna take you apart piethce by piethce until you' family pays for what they did to my Rabbits!"

The knife-wielder cackled gleefully when she waved a bowie knife in front of her face, tracing the knife edge from her collarbone down to Kristin's lower abdomen.

The next few seconds would change the course of Kristin's life, but whether or not the following intervention was simply ill-timed, it was something that would haunt Kristin Blamco for years to come.

**BKOOOM!!!**

The sound of a double-barreled shotgun pierced the air, causing the large man to identify an intruder on the rooftop above. The female, however, grew furious and buried the knife into Kristin's lower abdomen. Kristin screamed at the immediacy of the attack, she was already surprised and panicking from everything that was happening. There was no mental preparation that could be readied for something like this.
The small female turned to laugh and gloat at the late arrival of the rooftop intruder. There was no verbal retort, but a blue-streak of super-heated steel pierced the upper chest of the small female, a thrown spear had pinning her to the ground, she thrashed wildly only to widen wound as the spear burned away at her flesh.

Kristin was dropped to the floor as the large man shambled over to his fallen comrade. He turned to the rooftop assailant, but she was bearing down on him, having jumped from the roof to land onto him, in vain he readied himself to grab her. Unfortunately for him, the first thing to reach him on the way down was a point-blank shotgun blast to the face.

Spring-boarding off the corpse, the sound of armor on cloth drew Kristin's attention through the haze of excruciating pain. The Swan-Maiden retrieved her spear from her attacker, not before making a motion and cutting her way through the collar bone to relinquish her weapon.

Kristin's vision had gone first, she resisted the urge to pull the blade from her body, it wasn't enough. The blood was pooling where she had crumpled to the ground. She wasn't hallucinating Sable's appearance at least. Her sister shouted, pleaded for a response, but it was intelligible in those few seconds before she passed out.

~24 hours later~

Groggily, the Valkyrie eyes opened. Hazy at first, the beeping of machines could be heard. Shifting her head to the side, Sable Blamco jolted from her seat to call a nurse. A few minutes passed before she woke up again, this time she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen. Opening her mouth to speak, a dry wheeze of hers begged for water.

Sable was absent this time around. The nurse had informed her not to move or make any attempts to sit up just yet. She was told that we was at the New Vegas Follower's outpost, she had been attacked and survived a deep stabbing to the lower abdomen with a rusted weapon. The stab wound and subsequent blood loss were the Follower's Surgeon's immediate concern. Fortunately, her sisters had donated blood on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there were complications due to infection, the placement of the piercing weapon had significantly damaged her uterus. While all superficial bruising and wounds had been healed via stimpacks and conventional surgery, they had to perform a hysterectomy.

Kristin Blamco pleaded with the nurse to keep this confidential. Her sisters might be forgiving, but BlamCo would not allow that which cannot create a future for the Blamco bloodline.
When Sable returned, there was a barrage of questions and between tears of frustration, guilt from Sable's end and uncertainty on Kristin's part. She assured Sable that everything would be fine and thanked her sister for saving her.
In that moment, however, Kristin wept for her future. Being told that she was barren, she wept for the life she couldn't have anymore and she cursed her existence, almost wishing she could have died then and there.

The Battle-Maiden's purpose had been limited to that very title. It was a concept that she struggled with on a personal level. The years ahead of her were dedicated to the militaristic expansion of BlamCo. It was her mission to carve out her own future from all of this.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo Manor
"Valkyrie Duel"
- Kristin 'Valkyrie' Blamco -
---

The sparring session turned duel had taken an unexpected turn, yet the results were no less thrilling to the Battle-Maiden. One might think that simple pride barred her from admitting to her mistakes on the battlefield. Nothing could be further from the truth, for the Valkyrie yearned to better herself in combat.

"My hostess is too gracious," the Deadly Debutante curtsied in spite of the fractured ribs. A show of willful commitment that earned the Valkyrie's unspoken praise. Raising her head to meet the Valkyrie's stare, she continued. "I hope that my own performance was to your satisfaction, Lady Kristin."

While BlamCo personnel swarmed her, she dismissed those that blocked her view of Victoria. With a super-stimpack fixed to her injured arm, the Valkyrie winced not at the sting of alcohol, but rather at the needles associated with the stimpack itself.

"You've more than entertained me, Undertaker. In fact," Kristin leaned forward, "This has been quite educational. My armor and weapons are suited for larger opponents and beasts of the Wasteland. Now I have several revisions and designs to bring up to BlamCo's Research Department."

The conversation continued. Victoria lamented about this being their final duel. A point that the Valkyrie refuted, at least on BlamCo territory, regular skirmishes were encouraged between mutual parties. It was a custom to learn about your allies in direct combat, if there ever was an exercise that accentuated the duality of aggression & restraint, a duel was the perfect place to do so. Plus, with a few regulations, it was a fantastic way to relieve tensions or solve disputes without being resorting to more underhanded methods.

"Before I depart and depriving myself of your presence, my lady Blamco, I must sate my own curiosity and ask a simple question of you. Were this not a duel and had we been in actual combat, would have have run me through with my own blade, knowing that I would have shot you at the simultaneously?" The Etiquette Minded Undertaker asked in a voice that was overflowing with curiosity, "Or would you have spared me, gambling on the chance that I would do the same?"

Victoria, to the very end, projected an infallible image. Her tone danced the line between earnest respect and playful jabs expertly interwoven into every statement. Kristin mused that Victoria was more dangerous off the battlefield. Regardless, the Valkyrie smirked and stifled a small fit of laughter.

"Oh, my Dear Undertaker," Kristin said, clearly amused. "This was a sparring session, not a duel. For those training under the Valkyries, these injuries are par for the course on a weekly basis. If this were a duel -- you wouldn't be sporting broken ribs right now. Do you remember my attack? It would have been much quicker to rend you apart with the blade in the same swing. But I needed you alive, so I took a risk and struck out with the crossguard."

Resting the sword on her shoulder with her off-hand, "If this had been actual combat. I would have run you through, regardless of risk. Then again, if this had been actual combat." Kristin nodded at the Victoria's gun. "I think we would have adopted different tactics if we had access to our full arsenal."


The Wild Wasteland | Present Day | Exiting Andale
"..."
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

Sable's thoughts were all over the place. Then again, to an outsider like herself, very little of this had made any sense.

She had questions for Thomas & Victoria.
On a pragmatic level, she had immediate business with Victoria, although that rested on the prerequisite that Victoria was not an emotional mess and a victim of apparent brainwashing. How far back did this go? Was Victoria influenced when they first met?
On an emotional level, Sable discovered that she had positioned herself close to Thomas, Power Spear flaring with heat. Seemingly ready to jump to Thomas' defense in the advent of Victoria's retaliation, the Swan Maiden took a moment to come to grips with herself.

While Arizona, Sylph and Victoria departed, a recurring image of an eyepatched woman came to mind. The woman was travelling with her father. She seemed to have a poor handle on her weapon and she was a couple of days of travel from here. That said, Sable had promised the duo a home within BlamCo until they could find their footing elsewhere in New Vegas. Sable had suggested one of the casino's as a profitable endeavour with plenty of personal protection if one is worried about such a thing. Lucy was her name, could it be the same person?

Sable would inquire about all sorts of things later, for now she had to tend to Thomas and relay what little she might know.

Turning on her heel, Sable shouted to Victoria, "VICTORIA! I didn't travel across the country only for you to disappear once more. We have a partnership to honor. So stay alive!"

Turning to Thomas once again, she found him staring into the distance. Taking him by the hand, she brought him into an even pace, forcing him to start his journey whether he wanted to or not. "I can travel to the edges with you, but I can't leave with you I'm afraid. I'm sorry -- for everything. I - , " She was lost for the proper words. "So you said her name was Lucy. Can you tell me more about her? I think I can actually help, just a little."


Now, you may recall that some time ago, a Russian super agent flew in via the North Pole to determine the state of America. You may also recall that when he landed, he was greeted not only by Sara Lyons and a small group of Brotherhood of Steal knights and paladins...but also Number One, the current head man of the Enclave. Thirdly, you may recall that there was a BoS mission to unit local groups against the Enclave, and that Morgan Bloom had been approached by the Enclave. And finally, you must remember that the Enclave Remnants on the West Coast were heroes in the NCR and retired, but that they'd escorted an Eyebot from Number One into their meeting room. There has not been much report in the exchanges of bigger powers behind the scenes, but now...you're getting the inside scoop. The following groups had gathered in one place - a meeting room in Rivet City - with one representative, either physically or via eyebots projecting holograms:

Number One - The Enclave
Sara Lyons - Brotherhood of Steel
Aaron Kimball - New California Republic
Mr. House - New Vegas and RobCo Industries
Morgan Bloom - Bloom City and Bloom Industries
Demetri Radanov - Russian Metro Government

The three major military powers in the former United States were, of course, paramount in this discussion. Mr. House and Mr. Bloom were included on the grounds that they were perhaps the two most powerful industrialists alive today. However, there was a small problem... Everybody at this table - barring possibly Radanov, who was neutral to their personal affairs - hated each other. NCR had grown to hate most of the Enclave and BoS for their well-known practices, and only tolerated the industrialists because they simply wanted to do things their way, not blatantly take over the country. The Enclave did not like NCR or BoS, of course, because of past defeats resulting in reduced numbers and effectiveness. The BoS, of course, had a similar problem with NCR and the Enclave, though the latter two were perfectly fine with Mr. House and Mr. Bloom. They basically didn't care. Neither of the industrialists really cared much for the politics at all. They were more concerned with what they could accomplish, whether the endeavour made them any money, and how well they could expand their ventures.

The one saving grace about all of this was that Number One was - bizarrely - allowing bygones to be bygones...except of course that he didn't like ghouls because many of them became feral monsters. Still, this was rather surprising and therefore was immediately suspect. He had, naturally, explained that the current Enclave was new and more realistic about itself and how things should be done...because he'd killed nearly everybody in there who was against changing venues. This sounded a bit more Enclave-y, so they believed him...and then immediately distrusted him because he'd admitted to both that and causing a dramatic reduction in Caesar's Legion via the ever-increasing group of cyberzombies he'd sent west and had to be killed at the Hoover Dam to protect NCR territory. He was technically a better leader, but he was a terrible person. Strangely, Radaov liked his candor, and even chuckled when the Enclave leader explained that the man called Dr. Evil had been thwarted by his agent on the moon. However, there was another problem...

Kimball: I must insist that you hand over control of Dr. Evil's weapon of mass destruction for the safety of all people of the Earth.

"I'm afraid I can't do that."

Kimball: Number One, we are attending this meeting in good faith. We were under the impression you would at least attempt the same.

"That may be so, but the weapon is no longer in my control."

Sara: Likely story. You said you've got a man up there and that the moonbase was practically undefended. You even boasted that he blew up an alien spacecraft with it, meaning you even know how to use it.

"All true, but that doesn't account for the unexpected."

Kimball: Did your man go rogue?"

"No...he went missing, and the base was destroyed."

Kimball: How?

"You are, perhaps, aware of the Archimedes II Orbital Laser Satellite?"

Mr. House: Oh dear. Did it go off?

It did. Of course, if anybody knew who was in control of it, they weren't saying, but the fact of the matter was that the satellite was slaved to the control of a device that looked...kind of like a kid's toy, and that a man who delivered people's mail had decided to point that device at the moon one day, and the rest...as they say...was history. No more moonbase. Arguments regarding the actions of certain groups moved on to problems with the Brotherhood of Steel, which Sara explained that the East Coast didn't operate like the West, though she resented that NCR had treated them no better than the Enclave, and over the solar station which powered the Archimedes satellite, of all things!

Sara: My father did alot to protect the Capital Wastelands, not lord over it. The Outcasts still preferred it the other way, but I've reached out to them. There's still hope of reconciliation.

Number One cleared his throat...apparently. Sara glared at him.

Sara: What did you do?

"Well...remember when you decided to hand over FalloutScott to the Outcasts and we just laughed?"

Sara: I remember it distinctly.

"My men had, by this time, already replaced the Outcasts."

Sara: You what?

"Killed a patrol or two, stepped into their suits, and then coordinated with FalloutJohn and FalloutDavid to take Fort Independence during a frontal assault. It is an Enclave outpost now, much the same way the former Republic of Dave is now the 'Empire of David' Vertibird Airfield."

Sara: Do I really need any more proof that this man is a monster, and that his entire organization should be put down for good?

Kimball: Unfortunately, we cannot - at this time - commit to that, for the very reasons of this meeting. The Enclave has proven itself to be a tremendous threat. However, it is with due consideration to NCR's heroes that we also take into the account that it is a viable asset. We despised Caesar's Legion, we were relieved that Dr. Evil was thwarted, and they have come to us all with information regarding the current crisis, the threat hence forth to be known as Red Ghoul China.

Mr. House: Am I to understand that we're still at war?

Mr. Bloom: Apparently, the Chinese think so. You have all, at times, seen remnant soldiers ghoulified by war and still very much hostile. The Enclave's satellites have shown that China is still very active. Radioactive, and glowing. Further, using the facilities at Rivet City, we have seen an actual warship...shortly before it was destroyed by a nuclear missle. This has been revealed to be - once again - the Enclave's doing.

Kimball: Number One, just how are you achieving these results?

Mr. House: I can tell you. By the same token that leaves me in control of New Vegas. You have a facility which creates weaponry en masse. This includes your troops, your vehicles, and your giant deadly robot.

"How do you know that?"

Mr. House: I have satellites too.

Finally, after all this, Radanov sat up and broke his silence.

Radanov: Alright, Demetri has heard enough, except maybe about squid in photograph. The Russian Metro Government-

Kimball: Excuse me, Mr. Radanov, but why is it called-

THUNK! Down went the combat knife into the table.

Radanov: Be letting Demetri have the floor. Russian Metro Government has empowered this agent to make field decisions recommended to government and act as need-be. You are all petty, squabbling children to the point where crazy psychopath be taking most action. That is being Demetri's job!

Radanov was part soldier and part secret police. He was a super agent who tended to kill alot and never flinch about it. He was finding the Enclave's acttions to be, by his standard, most effective. Nobody liked it, but it was done and he simply moved onto the next thing.

Radanov: You are all having enough power to handle threat once and for all. Russia would prefer its ally make recovery, having been through strange times itself. Is being Russian Metro Government due to all survivors living underground. If China returns, whole world could be glowing by next year. Is most unacceptable.

And naturally, despite his weird english, he had a point.

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

Meanwhile, in another part of Rivet City, Tracy would hear the scuttlebutt about Arizona. It'd been circulating on the rumor mill for quite some time. She'd taken a job for Morgan Bloom - The Gentleman Ghoul - to investigate the area of The Dunwich Building, because of all the rumors about ghouls going crazy and transforming into a cult of all things. He'd hear about the crazy ghouls, her job, and the fact that she'd hired a weird drunkard who swore and muttered about 'Lord Walt' during some of his binges. So, in short, he'd managed to find out everything he needed to track down Arizona.

That'd be a long trip... A long trip...to be without a trip. Might have to go up to that junkyard that one of the known dealers lived out of with that pet robot of his. Now, what was his name? It was Abe or something, right? Yeah, that rung a bell. Abe the chem-maker.

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

Yes, it was a junkyard. Nobody's perfect. In fact, after a great many trials, Abe was happy to have it. It was his own piece of territory and plenty of people - mainly raiders - bought from him. Furthermore, he had the companionship of a ummm...'special' Securitron. He was a dubiously-programmed - or rather, malfunctioning - sort of thing. It didn't know much and it rolled around with a most unusual smile. Well, he could manage, mostly. Errrm...he sometimes had to duck-and-cover because there would be like a twitch and its active combat programming would go off, and then it'd go back to normal. Such is life.

A curious thing - no, two curious things - that he had noticed, though... It had to do with his drugs. Nothing wrong with them, but he had noticed that some of the raiders were all seeing the same things during their trips. One was the curious vision of a walking squid-monster, and the other was that of some random wandering blue-haired females that went 'Sylphy-Sylphy!'. The thing is...he knew that the latter were no hallucination. He'd seen them too, and when he wasn't on a high! Just who or what were these people?

Maybe he should find out...

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

Malkos' Perspective

Malkos had needed to take a little time on the way back to tear apart some feral ghouls in his way before heading back to Springvale. He was aware that he had been gone a while and that that sort of made it hard to fulfill his promise to keep an eye on the strange cat-eared girl. However, it was on the way back that he picked up a fresh Deathclaw scent. Oh hell, that wasn't good... At first, he thought he'd walk into a bloodbath, but then he got an even worse thought, that those continually-cloning Sylphys would overpower and kill the Deathclaw! Either way, he was going to get a move on, easily doubling his speed through the use of lunging forearms in the mix. Given that Deathclaws were rather loud when approaching at full speed, they'd hear and probably feel this coming. It was likely to put everybody on guard. However, when Malkos got in...well, he wasn't expecting that. Straightening up, he placed his hands on his heips and said...

"I turn my back for a little while, and you go and get a new Deathclaw. How did it ever come to this?"

Rath's Perspective

Rath watched with fascination as Dr. Jenna began to work on the annoying little bot he'd brought her. Watching intently from a ways a way so to not crowd her, he'd managed to distract himself enough that he didn't consciously realize what the approaching noise was until it was very close. Once he realized, his head snapped up and he wheeled to face the door in a low attack stance. [LOOK OUT!] He 'barked' to his new companions. The fact that this new arrival stopped and adopted a rather 'human' posture, did manage to throw Rath for a bit of a loop.

"I turn my back for a little while, and you go and get a new Deathclaw. How did it ever come to this?"

Still in a crouch, he relaxed a tiny amount and sniffed the newcomer. Same scent as the one that was here before me, and he talks...they said they knew another Deathclaw... Straightening a bit, Rath eyed the other Deathclaw. [Would you be this 'Malkos' that I was told about?] He asked. [And mistaken for...though I don't see how.]

Aaand back to normal now.

Malkos' head flinched as he did sort of a double-take and adopted a more classical Deathclaw posture.

"My head? But why...?"

This was possibly a new one on Rath. He was making human-like vocalizations with his mouth and throat. Malkos' confusion subsided for a moment.

"Yes, I am he, but why would they think you're ME?"

Big emphatic shrug here.

"We're nothing alike!"

Well, humans think Deathclaws are all alike, so...

[Why?] There was a rumble of 'dry gravel' laughter from Rath. [I don't know but I'm pretty sure it was an accident; but you...you speak, that's amazing.]

As Rath's weight shifted, there was a small noise as the mangled remains of a bullet worked its way free of his hide. [That happens sometimes...]

He noted the bullet with a nod.

"Same."

Now, he shrugged.

"You could learn to talk with your mouth. Any Deathclaw can. It takes time, however."

Even then, you're gonna sound evil, no matter what. Remember that mutants like Fawkes are intelligent, but their vocal cords make them sound the way they do. Only some, like Marcus, speak in a normal voice. Now, a curious thought crossed Malkos' mind.

"So, where is your pack, then? I left mine to establish one for myself. It is...tradition."

[I have tried.] Rath replied, the mental 'rasp' of his voice softening. [I tried plenty after I first woke up; the best I can figure is that my vocal cords are too different to create a 'voice'.]

Malkos was seeming friendly enough that Rath's posture began to relax until he was down on his haunches, using his stubbier tail as a support to stop from falling backward.

[As for a pack? I have none. I was created in a pre-war lab; woke up in a large tube. Apparently I was an experiment to make the Army's new weapon more...controllable; something about using stuff called F.E.V...I don't have many details, the system wasn't in the best shape]

Malkos let out a long snort of irritation.

"All Deathclaws came from the FEV. Some were tampered with more than others. That's why they began to learn to talk and read and teach others. The mind thing, though... That's different."

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

As for Andale...Fiona Callahan would have sort of a weird moment to witness, a Sylphee sort of moment. You see, she had been having her Deathclaws play around, as you recall, showing her skills off as The Deathclaw Whisperer. She had also shown off her skills as a medic by treating wounds that the people may've incurred during the cyborg incident. All of this was well-received. And then, it happened. Sylphy had walked up to Moe, Larry, and Curly...and then declared that the Lizzie Bordens were talking funny. It all happened after she had drank some of that strange 'tea'. Oh dear, better keep away from that. Well, Sylphee had apparently had a 'conversation' with the three Deathclaws...and then ran off somewhere.

Well, the narrator knows where Sylphee went...

What she had done - on the 'instructions' of the Deathclaw droogs - was walk into everyone's houses and execute some precise tamperings with their hot water heaters. Now, as you may know...and as has been indeed confirmed that hot water heaters will - if they are jammed while in operation - eventually blast off. It's only a matter of time... So, what better way to time this Clockwork Timebomb...than with some appropriate music?

No sooner had Arizona spoken that it was time to pull out...than the first heater blew through the first roof, followed by others! Yes, it was time to go, alright! Time to go in a hurry! Will everybody please evacuate the town and in a bloody hurry?! THANK YOU!!

Abe believe he was having a bad day or was it a good day? He wasn't fully sure himself since he was outside, laying down on the ground and seeing a flying spaghetti monster or was it just a flying human head with curly hair? Where was he again? Oh yes..outside on the ground. His friend? Assistant? Um...a robot that helps out..once in a while..yeah let us go with that.

Anyways, his robot went berserker like on a normal day and accidentally destroyed some of his drugs canisters, which release everything into the air. Which this all happen while he was eating so his gas mask was off.

So this all means he inhaled a large dose of his own drugs and now was trying to wait until the trip wear off. So today was somewhere between bliss and hell. "I wonder if I'm going to see any blue hair girls or those fucking walking squids..."

"Perhaps we'll see the muffin man!"

Abe looks over at what he thought was a rock which then turns into googly eye fish with a large mouth. Abe had no idea how to handle this, but having some muffins right now does sound like an amazing idea. "But where would the muffin man show up magical fish?"

"I dunno! I"m a fish." the fish then start flopping around making those horrible gasping sounds like he couldn't breathe.

"OH GOD THE FISH IS DROWNING...does..it counts as drowning? I..." This thought process made him forget about the magical fish and about the muffin man at the moment. He was in deep thought about his current question. After a few minutes, Abe starts to crawl towards his home which he had all the windows and doors open to hopefully get the smog of drugs out. "Hey..Hey! how does..it look..in there?" Abe asked as the Securitron who was still inside.

"Boop...it might be a bit longer Master." The Securitron replied as it comes outside to look at his owner. The creepy smiley face still plasters on the video screen.

"next time..if you gotta shoot..Shoot outside...cause...we can't keep losing our..meal ticket..ya ..crazy robot..Heheheheh...you got a funny face..." Abe said as he saw the face start making faces at him.

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo Manor
Parting is such sweet (and drawn out) Sorrow
Victoria "Shiver" McGee

"If this had been actual combat. I would have run you through, regardless of risk. Then again, if this had been actual combat." The Princess of Parmesan nodded at the Victoria's gun. "I think we would have adopted different tactics if we had access to our full arsenal."

There was a slight pause as Darkly Dressed Duchess of the Departed allowed her mind to chew on her sword sister's words before a soft chuckle could be heard.

"Well said, Milady Blamco. Well said indeed. I pity the Undertaker that cares for those that have been dispatched by your blade for there is little chance that they would remain whole after you have hewed them in twain with your unrestrained strength." The Midnight Mistress of the Murdered complimented, "While your restraint was truly my saving grace, it may have been your's as well. Those such as myself are like lousy lovers in that we seek to bring you to the edge of exhaustion as quickly as possible, wearing you down until your legs quiver and buck under your own weight before you can savor our little dance. As such, you must assert yourself and dictate both time and tempo of the encounter until I... we are the ones left exhausted."

There was an old world song that had loudly proclaimed that respect was something that everyone wanted, no it was something that everyone needed. In the upper crusts, a series of ritualized behaviors were developed in order to demonstrate one's respect for another and resulted in a foundation in which etiquette could flourish. Few among the warrior class could imagine mustering the patience for such outward and elaborate displays when it was nearly universal belief among their number that all men and women who took to the battlefield were deserving of respect. Despite this disdain for overly elaborate gestures, the warrior class had developed its own set of rituals that paraded respect. Regardless of whether one used a salute or a curtsy, the core value behind such gestures were the same. If you, my dearest reader, were wondering why such basic knowledge needed to be shared, perhaps it is to explain why Victoria did what she did next.

Lifting herself from her low position before the Duchess of Dairy, the Veiled Caretaker of Those Who Had Passed Beyond the Veil reached down to her waist and removed a simple box whose obvious purpose was the preservation of whatever lay inside. Unlocking the box, an audible hiss could be heard as Victoria removed a simple piece of cloth that had once been white... or rather it was still white save for a number of vertical rust colored lines that had been drawn on the fabric's surface.

"Each one of these lines is drawn in the blood of those who have earned my utmost respect both on and off the battlefield." Victoria explained as she cleaned the edge of her blade off with the cloth, leaving a bright crimson line, "Of those whose blood stain this cloth... you are the only one to that continues to draw breath."

With the mark placed upon the cloth, Victoria McGee carefully folded the cloth, leaving the newest mark on top of the folds so that it would dry properly, before placing it back in the box. With her own ritual of respect performed, the Debutante of the Departed faced the Warrior Princess once more and curtsied deeply.

"I must confess, before our meeting, I had wanted to simple test your mettle and depart without further burden. Now that I must depart, I do so having discovered a fellow sister of the sword. While it is uncommon for those of my brethren and myself to wish a long and healthy life upon those we meet, it is my sincerest wish for you, Milady Blamco." Victoria "Shiver" McGee said before rising, waiting for the Lady of the Manor's final words and permission to leave.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Distant Past | BlamCo Manor
It's cumming... coming I promise!
Thomas "Shifty" McGee


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Exiting Andale (Dunwich Bound)
A Young Lady's Primer to Etiquette and Assassinations: Chapter 5
Victoria "Shiver" McGee | Sylphee

Excerpt from Victoria's Manuscript:

On The Walk of Shame

There comes a time in every young debutante's life when she will do something that causes her a tremendous amount of shame. Whether this action sullies a young woman's reputation or her family name matters very little in the grand scheme of things as these things are temporary. What matters is how the young lady holds herself as she puts these events behind her. If she steels herself, ensures that there is not one hair out of place or pleat out of place and acts as if all is right with the world, then all is right with the world and no one in all of creation can question her good name.

This lesson also holds true for you, my deadly pupils. In the same way a lady of fine breeding walks from potential embarrassment, so too must you for the surest way to escape notice is to act in an unnoticeable manner. Unless there are those who have bore witness to your misdeeds, the surest way to escape is through the front door without a hint of guilt, sadness or satisfaction.

"VICTORIA! I didn't travel across the country only for you to disappear once more. We have a partnership to honor. So stay alive!"

By the time the Sable's words reached their intended target and first of the steamy water fueled projectiles launched, Victoria McGee had already locked herself away deep inside her own thoughts. She did, however brush her right hand across the brim of her veiled hat, since it was a fact that true ladies never yelled and that her voice synthesizer did not get to as loud a volume as it would have taken to reach Sable's position. This was the second time that the Darkly Dress Duchess of the Dead felt the stabbing dagger of jealousy towards that woman, though she would never admit it out loud. This thought, however, was intruding upon a more pressing issue. For the first time in a long time, she was without a master to pull her strings. It was true that her Cousin Thomas had given her an assignment to serve as guide to Lady Arizona, he did not elaborate on his orders nor did he elaborate on how he expected her to act, as Cousin Henry had. Was she expected to defend this motley caravan of random characters? If so, was she expected to sacrifice herself in favor of someone more important? Even in that case, who was the V.I.P. of the group? Was it the Death Claw tamer? Was it the Ghoul? Was it the child of madness? These were all questions the Veiled Midnight Maiden of Murder was expected to answer for herself.

She had been walking taken up a position at the rear of the party, the position those of higher breeding and refinement were expected to be in when traveling in a large convoy. Though that was enough of an excuse for her, there was also the fact that she was unfamiliar enough with Lady Arizona's marksmanship as well as Lady Fiona's abilities to control her Death Claws to be particularly comfortable with traveling ahead of them. The position suited her as it meant that she could maintain her dignified march without question, comment or...

"HEY HEY HEY! LOOK!" A voice that was equally familiar as it was annoying broke through the Duchess of the Departed's thoughts while a relatively short blue haired topped wall impeded the Former Ferrywoman from moving forward, "WE'RE GONNA GET A FEAST! RADSCORPION MEAT FOR EVERYONE!!"

Turning her gaze back to the direction of Andale, Victoria's eyes fell upon the white smoking trails left by what she first though were long dormant Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles loosed from their hidden silos. The true nature of the projectiles became apparent when the objects reached the zenith of their trajectories several hundred feet up rather than dozens of miles.

"You little... bi... idiot..." Victoria hissed, almost whispering the command phrase to take control of Sylphee, as she turned on the source of the sudden onslaught of steam powered pain. Addressing the group, she barked her order quickly. "DO NOT MOVE!"

For those who had known her for quite some time, this method of communication would have appeared alien and foreign to someone who dressed and acted as Victoria did, however, there were rare moments where efficiency of communication was of paramount concern. Turning back to face Andale, Henry McGee's Previous Pinocchio's eyes focused on the second salvo of Steam Powered Projectiles. In situations like these, it was best to know where these objects were going to land and avoid the area rather than run blindly off, as a group of fleeing Andalites found out as they were crushed by a couple hundred pounds of hot, warped Water heater casing. The second salvo reached the apex of their flight and started to fall, allowing the Normally Silent Sister of Sniping to track their trajectories.

"This way!" The Group's Newest Guide ordered as she pointed to the West, walking as quickly as she could in that direction as the water heaters started falling around her, "I think there's a cave this way... we can take shelter until the danger this one..." The Pale and Pretty Lady of the Lifeless paused to tap Sylphee on top of her head, "...has passed."


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Exiting Andale (Megaton Bound)
Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness: Tonight, Tonight
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

"Well, I ain't gonna stop you. I don't have any right to. But you better not die to him, you hear me? I'm really sick and tired of outliving the people I care about." Arizona had said before giving Thomas a kiss on the cheek, "Go save your girl, and give her my best, will ya?"

"Oh, and before I forget, it's Amanda. Amanda Butcher," Amanda said, just loud enough for him to her.

Before Arizona could pull away from him, Thomas' hand shot out and grabbed onto his friend, stopping her from moving away too hastily.

"Thank you," The Grieving Gravedigger muttered before clearing his throat, "I'll send word for you when this is all done. Until then, please look after Sylphee..." He paused for a moment as if giving his request a great deal of consideration, "and Victoria."

In retrospect, years later, he might have reconsidered his words, especially after the incident that left a Magical Castle in rubble with only Grannie Arizona, Sylphee and Thomas and Lucy's future children to blame but for now, the words seemed to fit and before he knew it, he had left Andale's borders with Sable in tow.

Though there was no way that he would have known it, Thomas' inability to push himself away from the thoughts that swirled within the confines of his head matched the that of his though locked cousin, Victoria. There were few that could blame the Confused Former Ferryman as he had been given quite a buffet of bad news in the past hour or so, of which the announcement of his parents' murder by Victoria had taken center stage in his mind. Was sparing Victoria's life the right thing to do? True, the fact that she was brainwashed by Henry McGee was a mitigating circumstance but was it enough for Shifty to have not killed her in retribution. While he was on the topic of Henry McGee, the mad orchestrator of this whole affair and who, until recently, the Friendly yet Fuzzy Undertaker of the East had believed was dead, what sort of person had he become to think that using people in the manner that he used Victoria in order to murder his own parents was okay? What sort of person thought that there was a perfectly good reason behind these sorts of actions. In the same vein of his past actions, Henry was now manipulating Thomas by making threats against Lucy Black, the woman who had set up residence in the heart of the Once Lonely Loveless Caretaker of the Lifeless. which was sort of an awkward thought considering the presence of Sable Blamco, the heart in question's previous tenant, who had appeared from literally nowhere with some convenient excuse to travel to the East Coast. Didn't Victoria mention that Henry had brainwashed some of BlamCo's personnel? Was Sable one of these agents? Was she going to make an attempt on his life once...

"(No!)" The Darkly and Dapperly Dressed Duke of the Deceased thought to himself, almost verbalizing the words. "(Unless he thinks that I don't love Lucy, there isn't a reason why Henry would send Sable out here since there's potential for it to conflict with one of his plans.)"

The thought was desperate and made sense to him but more than anything else, he needed someone that he could trust. He needed someone that he could lean on in this moment of internal crisis. The ship that bore their names set sail long ago and for now, he needed someone, anyone, that he could talk to that wasn't tied in with Henry and his crazy plans for Godhood. There was a calming air about that woman, one that...

"VICTORIA! I didn't travel across the country only for you to disappear once more. We have a partnership to honor. So stay alive!"

If Shifty had not already been in the middle of vindicating Sable's name in his mind, the comment about a partnership with Victoria might have sent him over the precipice of paranoia once again. No, Sable and Victoria had been the ones that had forged the initial links that bind the Undertaker's Union's and BlamCo's partnership, so it was only natural for them to stay on amicable terms... along with the other Blamco sister that Victoria had sparred with... what was her name?

"Krista... Christina... Carrie..." Thomas muttered to himself as the two continued on in silence, a characteristic which was not present of their previous encounters, "It couldn't be Kristin... since that would be too absurd a coincident."

Kristin Blamco, the overly loud loudspeaker of BlamCo Religion, was the second member of the Blamco Royal Family, next to Sable, that The Friendly Former Undertaker of the East had met and while extolling the virtues of a pure BlamCo diet might have been a bit of marketing for the brand that founded her belief, he wondered how many of Moriarty's men had started to take a long hard look at their own diets after the thrashing she had handed them.

Reaching the bottom of a hill, the two fellow travelers were shielded from the sights and sounds that came out of Andale and Sylphee's experimental rocket propulsion system. It was there that Thomas stopped walking and turned to face his companion.

"Did I do the right thing?" Came the barely whispered question, which could have been about anything so without a frame of reference it could have been about not staying with Sable in New Vegas or it could have been about eating bacon for breakfast or it could have been about, "Was allowing Victoria to continue to draw breath the right thing to do, despite the fact that her hands are stained with the blood of my father and step-mother? While it's true that everyone dies, does justice not demand that I killed her were she stood? Or maybe it is a far crueler fate to have allowed her to live with the knowledge that her hands took the lives of those that raised her? Or maybe..."

Shifty stopped there. He knew what he had done was right. Victoria was no more responsible for the death of the Grand Master of the Undertaker's Union than any of those other unfortunate souls that assaulted the Union's headquarters while being controlled by Henry. Had she the ability to resist the command, she would have, of that Thomas was sure. This knowledge was little comfort to a man who had lost his family... nor was it the sort of topic that he should be addressing while the wound was still fresh. He would have plenty of time to think as he traveled back to New Vegas. For now, it was probably best that he think of something else.

"Kristin Blamco... you're looking for her, aren't you?" He suddenly blurted out, looking for a sign, any sign that would tell him that Sable was still untainted by Henry's long reach.


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale Elementary's School for Wayward Sylphys
Breakfast, Bath and Bed...
Constance Sorrowfeld | Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3

"Now, what model of Eyebot is this, and what are you capable of?" The Unauthorized user requested serenely and pleasantly as Eyebot Brian attempted to re-enable its systems to no avail. Whomever this technician was, she appeared familiar with Enclave Technology, which would inevitably lead to her demise if word of this reached authorized ears.

"Response: Enclave Eyebot Model X-23S. Designed as a modular test platform for future Eyebot technology until its replacement by Eyebot Model X-24S. Currently outfitted with Experimental Personality Matrix proposed under the Hearts and Minds initiative, Utility tentrils with grasper claws for field repair and remote medical procedures, Zapper Non-Lethal ordinance for herding rogue brahmin to Enclave run farms, Enhanced propulsion drive capable of lifting Enclave Personnel outfitted with the latest Hellfire Power Armor and an enhanced power plant." The Eyebot reported after some moments of silence, as if it had been attempting to fight against answering the question, "Query: What is the intent of the unauthorized technician with this current Unit?"

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

The Blind as a Bat Kitty Cat had only partially been paying attention to the events unfolding around her. For once in her life, she felt comfortable around those who surrounded her and wondered why she had never attempted this whole Bath Bonding thing in the past.

"(Because the other would have been pulling my tail or trying to drown me by this time)" The Blind and Blissful Teenager thought to herself as she felt control of her body slipping away. Like her squishy soft skinned pillow, Constance was finding herself dozing off in the bath's warm and soothing waters. Unlike her squishy soft skinned pillow, Constance did not have a pair of floatation devices strapped to her chest at all times.

"~Glub glub glub~" A few bubbles rose to the surface from where Constance's face was submerged before, realizing that she was drowning, Constance pulled herself up out of the twisted deathtrap of comfort, saving herself from a bliss filled death, "~COUGH COUGH COUGH~"

"Mmmmmmmmmmm Ah!" The American Enclave Scout of American ah'd as she stretched, feeling rather loose after such a luxurious bath. Pulling herself out of the tub, the still unsuited Amateur Shotgun Surgeon considered a bedtime follow up to her relaxation but banished the though, knowing that there were still mouths to be fed and preparations to be made for the next day, a project that would have taken all night if Constance didn't have the assistance of Miss Jenna and Miss Kri...

Glancing over at Miss Kristin, the Concern Kitten noticed that her drill instructor and part time target for maternal bonds was having issues staying conscious, which was either a side effect of the Radiation therapy or the stresses of the day, especially considering the loss that she had suffered. No... the first order of business was for Constance to ensure that Miss Kristin made it to her quarters safely and not some other strange sleeping area... like the roof which was so full of large holes that a skilled Vertibird pilot would have little issue landing inside one of them... let alone someone rolling about in their sleep. Indeed, the first order of business would be to get Miss Kristin to her room before preparing for the next day.

Reaching over to the Nearly Sedate Swords woman, Constance shook her gently.

"Miss Kristin? Why don't you retire to your room for a bit. I'll take care of the remaining tasks for the day..."

"All Deathclaws came from the FEV. Some were tampered with more than others. That's why they began to learn to talk and read and teach others. The mind thing, though... That's different."

Rath 'chuffed' at Malkos' annoyance. [That's what I meant to say...I guess I'm one of the 'tampered' with ones. The bits I could still read, and comprehend, were about using human DNA with the F.E.V. to try and produce a more tame weapon; probably also explains why I look so different.]

Talking to another Deathclaw was nice, not something Rath had ever expected to be able to do...Sam and Roger had been good, but there was no way they'd ever be able to totally relate to him. He was just about to ask Malkos a question when a wave of nervousness ran through him and he stopped; instead he coughed slightly and began to idly scratch at the ground, carving shallow furrows in the decayed concrete.Dammit you fool...if you don't ask him, who else are you going to ask? What are the chances there are any other Deathclaws you could talk to...

Shaking his head, he grumbled at his own timidity. Nothing ventured nothing gained... He thought. [Malkos...how do 'average' Deathclaws react to you? Do...do others let you approach them? I've always been met with total hostility, the kind that goes beyond simple territorial protection...] Even though he knew he seemed to stand apart from his more bestial brethren, being so utterly rejected by them still hurt.

Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Outside of Andale
"Where there's smoke, there's probably Sylphee."

The moment the centuries-old water heaters took flight like missiles, Arizona's head whipped around until she found the most likely culprit. Her lone eye locked it's gaze on Sylphee and narrowed dangerously. Of course she would cause trouble. She should have figured something like this would happen, because the moment Sylphee was without supervision...

The next few seconds were nothing short of chaotic. The Blue-Haired Hellion responsible for most of it was spouting some nonsense about radscorpion feasts. Victoria was telling everyone to stay still. Some of the locals were being crushed underneath ballistic water heaters. And Arizona was reaching up to give some stray locks of her hair that poked out from her bandana a sharp tug and growling in frustration.

"This way!"

Looking up, she watched as the newest addition to the group pointed West and started to lead the way. Grasping Lester, Arizona nodded and jogged to catch up.

"Everyone heading to Dunwich, follow her!" she called out as she looked back, jabbing a thumb towards Victoria.

Once the two were side-by-side, the old Ghoul gave her a meaningful look.

"I think there's a cave this way... we can take shelter until the danger this one... Has passed."

"Well if there isn't, we'll figure something out. Ain't the first time I've had to run out of a town thanks to her." Arizona said, glancing back at Sylphee with a glare.


As it turned out, there was a cave, right where Victoria had said. It wasn't all that far from Andale either, which was both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they had a place to quickly hole up in until everything settled down. On the other, however, if the locals got wind of where they were, it wouldn't be long before they caught up. Still, Arizona was willing to take that chance.

Slumping down on a rock just inside the entrance, the freelancer took a moment to catch her breath and look over at Victoria now that she had a moment without too many distractions.

The young woman was stupendously well dressed for a wastelander, which only served to irritate her. After all, who wore such a fancy dress out in the nuclear wilderness? She also wore a veil over her the lower half of her face. For modesty? Or to hide something? Either was just as likely. All the same, she seemed pretty, and as aristocratic and high-class as anyone was likely to look in that day and age.

"Well, since we have a moment to ourselves, I guess I should go ahead and introduce everyone." Arizona said, direction her attention to Victoria.

"Since you already seem to know Sylphee, I won't bother pointing her out. But this here," she said, jabbing a thumb at the buxom woman being crowded by a trio of Deathclaws, "Is Fiona. She's a Vault Dweller, doctor, and apparently a Deathclaw Tamer. Though how tame those death-machines are is still questionable."

After her muttered aside, she looked around the cave and frowned. Her expression quickly turned into a grimace as she got to her feet and glanced outside.

"And where the fuck are Romeo and his two idiot friends? Dammit... If they get themselves killed, it's their own damn fault." she grumbled.

Shaking her head as she went back to where she was sitting, she took the time to pull out a cigarette from her pack and light it. She continued after taking a long drag from it.

"And I," she said as she blew out a thin stream of smoke, "Am Arizona, the one leading this entire shitshow. So, do you know where Dunwich is?"


[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School "Showers"
"Let's hope that this thing doesn't come with a lie detector."

There was a moment of triumphant satisfaction as the Eyebot began to rattle off a summary of it's technical specs. After all, being smarter than the machinery you happen to be working off usually paid off.

"Response: Enclave Eyebot Model X-23S. Designed as a modular test platform for future Eyebot technology until its replacement by Eyebot Model X-24S. Currently outfitted with Experimental Personality Matrix proposed under the Hearts and Minds initiative, Utility tentrils with grasper claws for field repair and remote medical procedures, Zapper Non-Lethal ordinance for herding rogue brahmin to Enclave run farms, Enhanced propulsion drive capable of lifting Enclave Personnel outfitted with the latest Hellfire Power Armor and an enhanced power plant. Query: What is the intent of the unauthorized technician with this current Unit?"

Jenna didn't immediately respond as she processed some of what the Eyebot had told her. 'Hearts and Minds' initiative? Was that supposed to be some sort of ploy by the Enclave to win over the common wastelander? Why would they possibly need to be able to do that? The Enclave she knew of didn't care about how the genetically impure masses of the wastes perceived them.

Still, the fact that it's utility arms were meant not only for field repairs, but for medical use piqued her interest. She could definitely think of a way to put this Eyebot to better use than the Enclave had been. So when she finally opened her mouth to reply to it's query, she decided to tell it the truth, after thoroughly twisting it to her own ends.

"I actually happen to be an independent contractor working for Constance Sorrowfield, one of the Enclave Scouts of America. Since you seem to be having technical issues, I simply want to perform hardware maintenance and a software update." she said brightly, and it wasn't exactly a lie.

She was waiting for it's reply when she heard Constance just behind her, and realized that she had been ignoring them while she focused on the Eyebot.

"Miss Kristin? Why don't you retire to your room for a bit. I'll take care of the remaining tasks for the day..."

Getting to her feet, she turned and offered her hands to both of them.

"Here, I can help. I didn't realize she was starting to drift off, I was in my own little world there for a bit. Sorry about that!" she said, an embarrassed smile on her lips as a slight flush crept over her dark, freckled cheeks.


{7RaCY)
The Wild Wastelands | Just A Little Quest Called Revenge | Outside of Abe's Junkyard
"Help me get fucked up, or get fucked up by me."

He finally had a solid lead on the bitch. As it so happened, Arizona had been hired for a job in that very ship by another filthy Ghoul named Morgan Bloom. Stupid name it was too. Apparently, she was supposed to be checking out some haunted-as-fuck ruin called the Dunwich Building, because all of these mutie motherfuckers were getting brainwashed. If Tracy was lucky, he'd kill a bunch of them while he took his good sweet time with the cunt he was after.

More than that, she had found a friend, some guy who swore up and down about "Lord Walt", just like the guy who gave him the last tip about Arizona. Some other gravedigger? Maybe, but it wasn't like he cared. Tracy just wanted Arizona dead, and if anyone else got in the way, he'd make sure to off them too.

Still, that left one small detail: The fact that he had only so many chems or ingredients to make chems on him, and the Dunwich Building was a pretty long way. Especially considering his drug habits. So that meant he needed a fresh fix. Thankfully, he heard of a guy.

Stepping past a ruined, chain-link fence into a junkyard, Tracy cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, "YO ABE, OR WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU'RE CALLED!"

Stepping over a pile of dusty tires, he made a beeline for what looked like a makeshift scrap-metal shack and smiled.

"Hey Mr. Fix-Em-Up! I need me some chemical enhancement, and I got some caps with your name on 'em if you got some for me." he called over.

The Wild Wasteland | Present Day | Leaving Andale - Megaton bound
"Woven Comfort"
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

Sable's questions and extension of support had fallen on deaf ears. Thomas quickened his pace without saying a word, occasionally faltering before shooting a look in her direction. It was a wide-eyed glance at most, yet the Undertaker shook his head and continued to stay ahead of the Swan Maiden. Quietly, she followed.

Sable's silence was twofold. There was the matter of her uncharacteristic outburst directed towards Victoria to mull over. In hindsight, it was a mixture of frustration from her long travel, the possibility of not finding Victoria again, the questionable spotlight on Victoria's actions and the conflict of interest caused by Thomas's protective influence on her.

"Did I do the right thing?" Reaching a decline in the terrain, a small whisper broke the silence between the duo. "Was allowing Victoria to continue to draw breath the right thing to do, despite the fact that her hands are stained with the blood of my father and step-mother? While it's true that everyone dies, does justice not demand that I killed her were she stood? Or maybe it is a far crueler fate to have allowed her to live with the knowledge that her hands took the lives of those that raised her? Or maybe..."

A contemplative question. It made sense that such thoughts were wreaking havoc on his sense of duty versus his moral obligation towards loved one's. Sable stepped forward and rested the palm of her hand on his neck. The motion was gentle, even more so when she cradled his head and directed his gaze towards her own. Despite the imagery, Sable was not flirting, her lips were pursed and her expression bore no hints of humor or playfulness. With a finger on his pulse, the racing heart of a distraught individual called for reassurance through probing questions of judgement and morality.

"There is a fine line between retribution and revenge, Thomas." Sable stated. "Destroying your family any further, without having all the answers to make an informed decision in this delicate situation, it's a surefire way to destroy yourself in the process."

Sable paused as she was tasked with a similar mission. Perhaps her advice could be considered hypocritical. Then again, she was gifted with the freedom of choice -- in her case, very few of those choices had a positive outcome.

"I had grown to respect Victoria. But I had grown to love you. I have a greater desire to see you to safety than a meddlesome business relationship for the sake of BlamCo. That said, I can understand your desire to focus on the closest target. But it sounds like Victoria had a puppeteer guiding her actions. My advice: Follow the strings."

Sable's hand dropped to her side, it wasn't much but Thomas' pulse had steadied at her words. "Rise above Victoria and fight where she could not."

Silence fell upon the duo once more. Had she said too much? Thomas seemed to be in the midst of processing her words. His reply after the brief silence was unexpected.

"Kristin Blamco... you're looking for her, aren't you?"

He really had forgotten her primary purpose for travelling so far. On any other occasion, she would have chastised him, but she answered directly.

"Yes.", Sable confirmed, followed by reaching into her bag to retrieve a weighty canister. Withdrawing the contents, Sable unraveled a formal letter addressed to Kristin BlamCo. Instead of having him read the contents of the letter, she tapped at the signature: 'Empress Keira'. "Before abandoning New Vegas, she ran out on the first meeting of the arranged marriage. An old custom enforced by our Mother when a woman of BlamCo fails to contribute towards the strength of the house. I had served my duty in other ways and Keira conveniently stepped in to clean up Kristin's shortcomings by accepting the proposal."

Sighing, Sable carefully placed the letter in the container after she drew Thomas' attention to the words 'exile' and 'demoted to duchess status'.

"You two haven't crossed paths, to the best of my knowledge." Sable thought aloud, "Have you seen her recently? Or heard of her?"

Sable looked into the distance. Momentarily lost in thought, something struck her about Thomas' words from the campfire.

"Lucy, correct?", Sable blurted out, hoping that this woman's name and one of the few non-hostile travelers that she had met on her way here was not a mere coincidence. "Lucy...Black? Sporting an eyepatch and an icy glare?"

Sable then proceeded to tell the story about her attack on a slaver encampment. Her meeting with Lucy & Isaac, the gratitude she felt towards their knowledge of Kristin's activities in Megaton and how she had given them guest-status at the BlamCo estate.
With each passing fact, their pace quickened and there was a renewed sense of vigor in the Undertaker's stride.


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

The Rad-Away bag was currently being clenched between Kristin Blamco's teeth.
The busybody was not content to laze around in a bath without making use of all the clean water at her disposal. Having separated the plate reinforcements, ballistic weave and leather armor from one another -- the Valkyrie sought to the cleaning, readjustment and copious application of disinfectant and lavender extract.

Leaving her armor out to air, the Valkyrie retreated to the bath for one final soak. Without a mirror at her disposal, she tugged at segments of her hair, the golden blonde had grown pale with a few strands of familiar silver/gray.
After her intense exposure to radiation years ago, she had grown incredibly sensitive to radiation exposure. Having lost her strawberry blonde hair to an unnatural silver, she was reminded about the many times where she had to deliberately eat decades-old BlamCo products in order to be 'presentable' at dinner parties and formal events. Apparently the high-society thought her hair color to be uncouth, not to mention that her combat exploits were met with questions regarding her sanity. She did not miss those days.

"Miss Kristin? Why don't you retire to your room for a bit. I'll take care of the remaining tasks for the day..."

A warm hand was shaking her exposed shoulder and subsequently woke her from drifting off entirely. She had forgotten just how tiring radiation treatment was.

"Here, I can help. I didn't realize she was starting to drift off, I was in my own little world there for a bit. Sorry about that!"

Accepting the extended hand of Doctor Sorenson, Kristin got to her feet and leaned on Constance for balance.

"I have a room? That's very kind of you." Kristin smiled sleepily. Drying off and retrieving her things, she turned to the kind Doctor. "Thank you for the treatment. I'll need to discuss medical training for selected Sylphy's after tomorrow's evaluation. But..." She yawned. "...that's a conversation for tomorrow. Goodnight!"

The Valkyrie had a look of conflict when she retrieved her sleepwear from her bag. The now over-sized button-up shirt that Jonathan had given her. A few buttons were missing, but it was quite comfortable.

"Now Constance!" The sudden declaration would have had more impact if she didn't yawn immediately afterwards. "You have about 3 minutes and 47 seconds and counting until the final meal begins to overcook. My Mini-Microwave can dispense the ingredients, but it can't control that antiquated oven. I've already fed about two classrooms worth of Sylphy's, I believe there's one left. If you could explain the circumstances, I would be ever so grateful. Also, the Translation Sylphy's have a portion of our meal prepared for their help, please reward them accordingly."

On cue, the tired Valkyrie was guided towards her quarters. She made a mental note to chat with Deathclaws tomorrow. As audacious as that sounded, she was pleasantly surprised to find that Deatchclaws were domesticated on this side of the world. And they could talk!

What a time to be alive.


It had been a few hours since his drug fuel episode. He can't recall much of it, but he knows for sure he hasn't seen any blue hair girls while high...or at least he doesn't think he saw any while all drugged up. He made his robot companion wait outside while he cleans up the inside of his small hut. It was a bit of a mess since the damn machine open fired everywhere and pretty much ruin a lot of good gear. Shaking his head as he was thinking of taking that thing to a mechanic or someone who could probably deal with it. One of these days his luck is going to run out and he was going to be filled with holes.

As he was about to finish up he heard a noise coming from the outside. A shout of some sort. "YO ABE, OR WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU'RE CALLED!" Well..that was...kind of rude. He didn't recognize the voice so was probably someone new. 'Oh goodie..a new junkie to come around. Hopefully, they aren't the crazy type.'

"Hey Mr. Fix-Em-Up! I need me some chemical enhancement, and I got some caps with your name on 'em if you got some for me."

'Eh, caps are caps.' Abe thought to himself. He would clean up the rest after this little meeting as he set the broom down and went over to the front door. Making sure the bolt locks were on as he opens up the little sliding peephole to see outside. Looking at the tallish young man that just screams dangerous. 'Oh boy..what will come of this...' "Hello there, Names Abe. What kind of..." Clears his throat, "chemical enhancements are we talking about today?" Abe said as he heard his robot in the back making a ruckus. 'That damn robot, can't he go for 2 minutes without breaking shit.'

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | The Cave formerly known as Cliffside Cavern (Dunwich Bound)
Informed Introductions
Victoria "Shiver" McGee | Sylphee

Generally speaking, it was never a good idea to rush headlong into the darkness of a cave without first allowing one's eyes to first adjust. Of course when one's entry into said cave is preceded others in your group, the rule no longer applies especially when said group members included a trio of Death Claws. Despite the fact that she was safer in the cave than out side where the sky was falling, the Etiquette Minded Mortician remained near the cave entrance while her eyes adjusted to the darkness, sweeping the room as they did. As they waited for the Sylphee Spawned danger to pass, Lady Arizona took it upon herself to make introductions.

"Well, since we have a moment to ourselves, I guess I should go ahead and introduce everyone. Since you already seem to know Sylphee, I won't bother pointing her out. But this here," she said, jabbing a thumb at the buxom woman being crowded by a trio of Deathclaws, "Is Fiona. She's a Vault Dweller, doctor, and apparently a Deathclaw Tamer. Though how tame those death-machines are is still questionable. And where the fuck are Romeo and his two idiot friends? Dammit... If they get themselves killed, it's their own damn fault."

There was a pause as the Not so gentle ghoul shook her head and lit a cigarette.

"And I," Lady Arizona continued as she blew out a thin stream of smoke, "Am Arizona, the one leading this entire shitshow. So, do you know where Dunwich is?"

Victoria McGee did not immediately answer the questions posed of her as to do so would have been the height of rudeness. She simply nodded at each of the individuals as they were introduced in a rather curt and informal fashion. Lady Arizona did not even bother to introducing each of the group members with their familial names which could have later been used to establish genealogy and rank. If someone was listening closely enough, they could hear something like the sound of nails on a chalkboard as the Aristocratic Undertaker, the Formal and Frilly Dressed Ferrywoman, Victoria McGee clenched her teeth in annoyance. However, any lady of high born status and etiquette on the mind would know that in order to lead a group of rabble as had been assembled under Lady Arizona, one needed to lead by example.

"A pleasure to make your acquaintances," The Artificial Voice Box belonging to the Artificially Augmented Assassin chimed pleasantly as she curtsied to all those Lady Arizona had introduced to her, "My name is Victoria McGee, daughter of Matty and Patty McGee, Cousin of Grand Master Henry McGee as well as to your former comrade Thomas 'Shifty' McGee. I am employed as an Undertaker and was the former Undertaker in charge of East Coast operations. I am looking forward to getting to know all of you."

Straightening up, she glanced around the cave for reactions to her introductions or perhaps for one of these uncivilized civilians to make a comment but instead noticed something else. During their training, Undertaker Candidates are conditioned to look for the mortal remains of those deary departed dead. While the details of this conditioning are kept secret, what had been confirmed by many a loose tongue was the involvement of a generator, electrodes and the ability to recognize the number of bodies in an area in under 10 seconds. It was because of this most basic of Undertaker skills that the Predatory Former Puppet was able to notice a glint of white in the dark.

"Yes... I am aware of the location of the Dunwich Building, Lady Arizona," Victoria responded slowly, her attention not fully focused on the conversation but still involved enough to give The Old Machine Gun Wielding Ghoul the title of Lady as she was the one in charge of the mission, "According to my predecessors, it had been a sacred building was once filled with multitudes of Old Ones and Ancient Ones. There had been a time where much about the Old World could be learned simply by visiting the inhabitants of the building. However the inevitable occurred and those who lived in those halls grew mad with all their knowledge... at least that is how the stories tell it. I am sure that you are acutely aware of the reality."

Kneeling next to the object she had seen examined the femur and skull that had been buried beneath what was once faux-leather armor. The skull was punctured in two places, the area where a slug entered and the area where the same slug had exited the man's head. This was a fairly common cause of death in the Capital Wastes considering the number of para-military organizations that resided in the area. The femur was the more disconcerting portion of the man's remains as it showed scoring and fractures that could only have been caused by teeth... teeth that belonged to something bigger than a molerat but smaller than a death claw. The shot to the head indicated that whatever had caused the scoring on the femur had occurred post-mortem.

"Out of the frying pan and into the fire..." The Current Undertaker of the East for the Undertaker's Brotherhood... the Fraternal Order of Undertakers... Thomas' Faction of the Undertaker's Union muttered as she walked towards the entrance of the cave to see if they could depart this location with haste.

Outside, the bombs still fell... bombs being super-heated scraps of metal that had been launched by means of explosive over-pressurization and the yells of the citizens of the Andale Ruins echoed off the cliff walls as they attempted to avoid more falling debris. There was a brief musing if his situation was somehow familiar to Lady Arizona, given that she had probably been around since before the bombs fell.

"Sylphee," Victoria said sternly to Le Petite Twit en Rouge, "While I understand that your personality it a bit fractured and you may not fully comprehend every second of every day in your life but if would help s out so very much if you could somehow remember this, please stop touch things without permission. "

The Blue Haired Butcher seemed to think about the matter for the moment before starting to jump up and down repeatedly while attempting to remove her clothing, much to Victoria's ill tempered confusion.

"Sylpheeeee? What on Earth do you think you are doing?"

"You said that I can't touch anything without permissions... does that mean that I can't touch the ground or my clothes?" Sylphee asked completely innocent tone with none of the passive agressive edge that would have been expected in such a response, "Oh oh.. does that mean that I can't touch the air? How about the sun light or the darkness?! Or how about..." The Crimson Catastrophe asked in quick succession before her strip session was cut short by the Bitch in Black and more nails on a symphony of chalkboards.

"Someone whose personality is partially based on mine should not be as vapid as you," Victoria sighed loudly, "You can touch the air, the ground, light, dark, food, water... but not things that belong to other people. A young lady asks before handling other people's property. You ARE a young lady, are you not? And if you are not, don't you want to..."

She had, of course, lost the Crimson Menace's attention already. Having noticed that the cave was filled with stuff that didn't belong to her... stuff that was screaming to be examined... Sylphee had wandered off.

"Lady Arizona... might I suggest we depart at our earliest convenience? That is, unless you would like to see how Miss Fiona's Death Claws fair against an unknown number of Yao Guai." The Lady of Lost Souls suggested as she unfurled her frilly black parasol.


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | Exiting Andale (Megaton Bound)
Travels and Tribulations
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

"There is a fine line between retribution and revenge, Thomas." Sable stated. "Destroying your family any further, without having all the answers to make an informed decision in this delicate situation, it's a surefire way to destroy yourself in the process. I had grown to respect Victoria. But I had grown to love you. I have a greater desire to see you to safety than a meddlesome business relationship for the sake of BlamCo. That said, I can understand your desire to focus on the closest target. But it sounds like Victoria had a puppeteer guiding her actions. My advice: Follow the strings."

Comfort. Sable Blamco had so much of it to give while having very little of it herself. He had already known the answer to the question he had asked but hearing these answers imparted by someone else's lips was comforting. Even as she spoke these words, he could feel his body relaxing and feeling heavier than normal, the exhaustion of the day's... week's... month's events having taken a toll on the mental, emotion and physical status of the Fraying Former Undertaker of the East. But the weight he felt was more than just exhaustion, it felt like the fate of hundreds. if not thousands were in his hands. It was a rather melodramatic sentiment but felt apt given the circumstances.

Sable's hand dropped to her side, it wasn't much but Thomas' pulse had steadied at her words. "Rise above Victoria and fight where she could not."
.
The Overburdened Former Undertaker nodded simply in response. He was composed now, no longer frantic, no longer confused or angry and while he would grieve for his lost parents for some time to come, he had plenty of opportunity to on his long trek West. For now there was the matter of Kristin Blamco to attend to.

Once the chaos of recent events had been clear from the forefront of Thomas' mind, it became more than a bit obvious that Sable had traveled to the Capital Wastes in search of Kristin Blamco, though he had no reason to suspect why this would be the case. At least he had no idea until the Silver Spearmaiden removed the heavy canister from her pack and revealed the letter inside.

"Before abandoning New Vegas, she ran out on the first meeting of the arranged marriage. An old custom enforced by our Mother when a woman of BlamCo fails to contribute towards the strength of the house. I had served my duty in other ways and Keira conveniently stepped in to clean up Kristin's shortcomings by accepting the proposal."

Thomas blinked a number of times. The Undertakers had similar traditions in the past, though it was rarely spoken of due to its causation of a generation of tribulation, of course that's what happened when your gene pool was as shallow as it was when the undertakers Union was first formed. Though rare, the custom was still practiced only in cases where it would serve to strengthen an alliance. If this was the very same Kristin that Shifty had, he was not surprised that the head strong huntress had run out on an arranged marriage. The Sword Slashing Dairy Queen did not seem the type of woman that would abide being a ceremonial cow used for trade.

"You two haven't crossed paths, to the best of my knowledge." Sable thought aloud, "Have you seen her recently? Or heard of her?"

"I did have a recent run in with a woman who called herself Kristin Blamco, wore the same style of armor as you and wielded a large sword..." The Gregarious Gravedigger admitted as he thought on the matter a bit further, "I don't think I put two and two together since I had expected a sister of yours to be more ... like you. The woman that I met was, and I mean no offense by this, a rather battle hungry berserker. While you do have seem to derive a certain amount of freedom in the heat of battle, she seems to take it to the next level. And while it might sound like I'm disparaging her, she was a very valuable ally that helped me out of a tight spot back in Megaton. She was traveling with a man name Jonathan McKenna if that name means anything to you."

He paused for a moment, his face burning at the thought of how he had been jealous of the man he'd perceived to be the One Eyed Gauss Girl's new beau. While it was unnecessary, it was likely that the Formerly Jealous Jumper to Conclusions would need to make another formal apology to the man whenever he got a chance. If here remembered correctly...

"We had actually met in Megaton but they had planned on returning to Springvale," Thomas said hesitantly, unsure of how he would feel if Sable asked him to guide her into the town that had once been the home to...

"Lucy, correct?", Sable blurted out suddenly, surprising the Morose Mortician, "Lucy...Black? Sporting an eye-patch and an icy glare?"

"What? You've met her?!" The Dapperly Dressed Gravedigger asked loudly, his voice filled with excitement.

It was then that the Silver Raven filled in the blanks as to what had happened after the group parted ways. While Arizona's group had continued on to Dunwich and Kristin and Jonathan had returned to Springvale, it seemed that Lucy and her father, Isaac Black, had it in their minds to travel without a destination in mind, providing them some time for a bit of father/daughter bonding. However, after they had their run in with Sable, a suggestion was made and a destination was set, which, as Victoria had reported, appeared to be New Vegas. The news regarding Bookish Brown Haired Sniper was a salve that washed away the Dapperly Dressed Guide for the Departed and motivated him to get his companion to her destination with haste.

"Thank you," The Morbid Man in Black said with a smile on his face, "Thank you for the news, Sable. With everything that has transpired since my arrival to the Capital Wastelands, every shred of comfort feels like a luxury." He paused, gesturing that it was time to resume their travels, "It you're planning on any sort of extended stay in this region, I'd tread carefully. There's a branch of the Enclave that has set up operations in this area and they are far larger and more organized than the Enclave that we know of on the West Coast. In particular, stay away from a woman who goes by #411 or if you do interact with her, I would refrain from mentioning my or Lucy's name. There is also a branch of the Brotherhood of Steel in the area as well. Unlike their brothers in the West, they are far more willing to assist those outside of their ranks."

They continued walking for a little while longer as the Mouthy Mortician continued his lecture on Capital Wasteland politics, including not dealing with Moriarty, avoiding Talon Company, not drinking the local water not purified by Project Purity and...

"(Did she say that she grew to love me?)" The Colossally Clueless Casket Maker's mind asked suddenly and without benefit of segue. Truth be told, prior to meeting Lucy, it had always been Thomas' dream to travel back West after his stint on the East Coast and settle down with the Silver Spearmaiden, though, even without the interference of outside parties, it was an unlikely thing to happen. Despite knowing that their short lived romance would have been inevitably doomed, the cancer of curiosity invaded the Slightly Envious Undertake's mind.

"So... you got married. Given your previous statement, it wasn't an arranged marriage... so... I'm a bit curious... what're they like?" Thomas asked as he attempted and failed to broach the topic without making the conversation awkward.


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale Elementary's School for Wayward Sylphys
Stop! Sumo Time!
Constance Sorrowfeld | Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3

Watching as Miss Kristin was escorted to her quarters, which was really just a classroom that had been furnished with a stack of the best gym mats (ones that weren't falling apart at least), Constance Sorrowfeld sighed softly, wishing that she join the Dairy Queen and Miss Jenna and get some badly needed rest. However, she was responsible in ensuring the welfare of her Sylphic charges and making sure that they were properly fed and rested before the start tomorrow's training, which given the BlamCo Berserker's nature, would cause at least a half dozen more Sylphys to be spawned.

As the Blind as a Bat Kitty Cat sauntered into the kitchen, she started to question whether or not logistics had been taken into account during the planning stages of the project. While the thought of an army whose ranks could be increased to meet any threat was great in theory, the thought of finding enough supplies to feed an infinite number of mouths was not. Of course, given the fact that Constance's mother, Enclave Intelligence Officer #411, had been the main architect of this project, she likely didn't care whether or not the Sylphys starved to death since the were legion in number.

"Three minutes remaining..." Constance muttered to herself as she started to pull out the dinner ware and silver in preparation for plating.

Given the fact that the American Enclave Scout of America's mother was unlikely to send in supply drop after supply drop of food and Miss Kristin's kindness would not allow the Sylphys to starve, it became a matter of split spawn prevention. Maybe some sort of padded armor...

"Two minutes..." Constance continued to mutter as she peered over the side of the pot and looked at the bubbling cauldron of cheesiness that bubbled within... bubbles... hmmmm

"Mister MALLLLLKOS!! Mister RAAAATH!!!" Constance called out loudly, trying to get the attention of the Intelligent Death Claws.

The school's gymnasium still had a large cache of gym mats that could be used as raw materials for the creation of padded armor, however, the padding was not necessarily going as efficient as needed in absorbing enough of the kinetic energy to keep a Sylphy from split spawning. This is where the concept of a bubble came in... if they could trap enough air in the padded armor, that would further diminish the kinetic energy imparted on a Sylphy... she just needed some volunteers to hit the Sylphys really REALLY hard. That's where the Death Claws came in.

"One minute and thirty seconds... time to place," The Calico Sous Chef muttered as she began to plate the food and come up with designs for the inflatable padded armor. She would have to, of course, stay up the rest of the night sewing but hopefully Miss Kristin would appreciate the Unseeing Scout's efforts.

"Third group! Dinner is served!!" Constance called out to the Sylphys, dishing out an extra serving for not just the translator Sylphys but the ones that had licked the black mossy build up out of the tub and allowed the trio of women to take a much needed bath.

The talking Deathclaw found the problem that Rath was having to be...surprising? Distressful? It didn't seem possible.

"A couple of territory issues, but..."

He was honestly perplexed.

"Deathclaws don't kill each other. We never have."

True fact. Deathclaws fighting each other tend to have one just giving up and walking off. It's territory or mating thing, if anything. Malkos had never had anything more than the minimum of altercations.

[Then it must just be me...] Rath replied, shaking his head in a very human fashion.

[The first time I met another Deathclaw, a female, I still didn't realize how...different I was from others.] As he spoke, he ran the thick clawed fingers of his right hand across some faint scars across his chest, scars that could've only been made by another Deathclaw.

[I tried to introduce myself, but I never even got a 'word' out; as soon as she caught sight of me, she attacked me like it's just killed one of her young...but I'm am certain there were no others around.] He shook his head once more. [It was either her or me.]

Malkos was lost in thought for a moment. The loss of a female... One of the reasons he was out and away from the clan was to find a mate. It was after a pause that he looked over at Rath once more.

"You're certain it was not the mind thing? Nothing had gone into her head?"

[Completely. I'd seen her moving amongst some ruins, but was too far away to speak to her, so I approached wide to come down an open street and from upwind. I was excited to meet one of my own kind, and I did not want to startle her.]

[But Like I said, as soon as she saw me...when she stepped out from behind a wall, she'd been sniffing the air, so I assume she'd already caught my scent; but when she saw me...yeah...and before you ask, yes I was far enough away that I couldn't have been posing a threat...]

As he spoke, Rath crouched and began idly scrapping the floor with a claw; for such a powerfully built and fearsome looking creature, he seemed to almost shrink inside his own skin, as if to try and pull away from the outside world. [Maybe when they tried to 'improve' me, they did something that make the others see me as something 'wrong'. That female was merely the first one of our kind I've had to kill.]

"This is wrong..."

The gray Deathclaw was most definitely agitated about this, judging by the rumble that issued forth when he spoke just then.

"Something... Your smell, your look, your sound - They must have altered something, but I don't even know what! I don't feel it. It's my goal to find a Deathclaw and teach her to talk and think, so that more of us are this way, so our brood could be this way... Very few other creatures can stand us, other than ourselves. You do not deserve this."

Rath replied with a 'chuffing' sound that was as close to a laugh as he could manage. [Well it's nice of you to say so, but nothing I've seen or experienced has ever told me that this world is fair. Your goal...sounds wonderful...I wish you every success.]

His scratching's became more purposeful, as he began to slowly carve two names into the floor. [All I can do is adapt and accept what is.]

Malkos, who could read, looked down at the words.

"Friends?"

Rath snorted, blowing a bit of dust into the air. [Them? I guess so...I found them being attacked by raiders.] He growled. Other Deathclaws, Yao Guai, feral dogs or even feral ghouls; he couldn't get angry at them, they were slaves to their more base instincts, the same ones he felt dragging at the back of his thoughts every day...but raiders...they deliberately gave up the one major thing that set humans above the other animals, not out of a need to survive, but just because they wanted to, to revel in cruelty and savagery. The thought of it always threatened to make him forget his 'better nature'.

[First humans I met that didn't flee in terror. I looked after them for a while, but eventually I realized they would be better off with other humans; now they live over there.] He added, waving in the general direction of Megaton. [Their family had been heading there when they were attacked in the first place, they have family...a pack...there.]

"I hope you find something for yourself, Rath. We don't get much in this world."

He gave Malkos a brief 'grunt' of acknowledgment, but before he could sink any deeper into his funk, one of the human females called out to them.

"Mister MALLLLLKOS!! Mister RAAAATH!!!"

[I guess we should go see what the squishy one wants...] He chuckled, surprising himself slightly. Drawing himself to his full height, which was somewhat lesser than Malkos', Rath stretched and made his way down the ruined halls to where the others were. Following her unique scent, Rath made his way to where Constance was without too much difficulty. [Can I help you?] He asked, cocking his head to one side.

Fiona Callahan was finally finished being a doctor, caught up with Arizona, proceeded to hear all the McFirecrotch stuff from Sylphie, the Lizzie bordens stuff, then hear Victoria talking, She first spoke up.

"..You are all bloody insane. The lot of you. And you, I'm coming with, after all, this group needs a medic, and where I go, my deathclaws go. And furthermore, how many Yao Guai are even near the dunwich building?"

Fiona had her gear ready and stuff too, so she was all set to go. She did whistle and call for her deathclaws to come to her, aand they did, because Deathclaw Whisperer.

[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School "Dormitory"
"And his name... Is El Zorro, The Fox."

As Dr. Sorenson couldn't help her smile as Kristin refused to simply go to bed without at least addressing the business ahead of them first. If nothing else, it made for a great impression of what she would be like once she was the head of BlamCo.

"Thank you for the treatment. I'll need to discuss medical training for selected Sylphy's after tomorrow's evaluation. But... That's a conversation for tomorrow. Now Constance! You have about 3 minutes and 47 seconds and counting until the final meal begins to overcook. My Mini-Microwave can dispense the ingredients, but it can't control that antiquated oven. I've already fed about two classrooms worth of Sylphy's, I believe there's one left. If you could explain the circumstances, I would be ever so grateful. Also, the Translation Sylphy's have a portion of our meal prepared for their help, please reward them accordingly."

The Followers Doctor wrapped a supportive arm around the Blamco Heiress and giggled softly to herself. She was certainly an odd one, and although she thought that Kristin's priorities were a little off, her heart was definitely in the right place. Maybe sticking around for a little while wasn't a bad idea, especially if things were bound to be this interesting. Talking and Telepathic Deathclaws, a Clone Army, and more post-apocalyptic processed "cheese" than they knew what to do with.

She tucked Kristin into bed, which happened to be a set of rather springy gym mats that were mostly intact, along with a rather cozy blanket by wasteland standards. Then, she turned and made her way back to the inert and waiting Eyebot before tugging it into a side room for a little privacy. It didn't take long for her Pip-Boy to once-again be hooked up to the internal systems, and she started the painstaking process of careful reprogramming. And gently reassuring the Eyebot that it was an extensive mandatory update whenever it protested.

As she did, Jenna realized that if she was going to give it a new personality, this Eyebot would also need an appropriate name. Sitting back in a rickety folding chair, she closed her eyes and pondered. After all, names had meaning, and she wanted to make sure his or her new name meant something good.

Her mind wandered before she thought back to the NCR, and the Angel's Boneyard. Back when she was still learning to become a Follower of the Apocalypse, she spent quite a bit of time in the Follower's library. She soaked up the literature there like a sponge, and was grateful that they managed to save so much from the bombs and the decay of time. But one such work of classic literature immediately came to mind, and she knew what her new Eyebot companion would be called.

"Don Diego de la Vega, to avenge the helpless and help the oppressed! Yes, that has a good ring to it." she thought as she worked into the night and wondered if she could manage to program in a Spanish accent.


[tR@cy}
The Wild Wastelands | Just A Little Quest Called Revenge | Outside of Abe's Junkyard
"Do not look into the shack. There's nothing to see there... Bullshit!"

The door to the little shack opened not a moment too soon. Tracy could feel the Jet high begin to fade, and that meant that the jitters weren't far behind. He had enough product on him for a fix for a little while, but he wasn't gonna count on that being enough for what he had in mind. As it was, the man in question looked like he was just coming down from sampling his own product. A man after Tracy's own heart. Besides, at least he wasn't a filthy mutie.

"Hello there, Names Abe. What kind of... Chemical enhancements are we talking about today?"

"Everything you got, buddy. I want it all, and I'm willing to pay what it takes for that sweet, sweet fix. If it's a chem, then lemme have it!" he said with a grin and just the slightest pelvic-thrust.

He froze the moment he heard clattering inside the shack, before he tried to nonchalantly lean to one side to get a better view inside. It couldn't have been more obvious that it made him a little twitchy. It was that or the lack of something to take the impending edge off.

"You, ah... You got a friend in there? Dog? Maybe a pet ghoul or somethin'? What's makin' that ghat-damned noise?" he asked, arching a brow as he gave Abe a sidelong glance.

He even leaned towards the Chem Dealer for emphasis, and Abe could clearly see the dinner-plate pupils begin to contract as Tracy started to come down. But more than that, were was something wrong in Tracy's eyes. It was hard to put a finger on, but it gave the impression that he didn't exactly play with even half a deck of cards, much less a full deck.

Arizona
The Wild Wastelands | The Dunwich Job | Outside of Andale
"Like a race car, this job is going from bad to worse in six seconds flat."

Arizona had to give Victoria credit. As clear as it was that she grated on the young Undertaker's more cultured sensibilities, she was polite as she nodded to each of their number and told them that it was a pleasure meeting them all. All-in-all, it reminded her of the Gentleman Ghoul, Morgan Bloom, who had hired her for this job in the first place. The two of them were the odd examples of Pre-War Culture in the dirty wastes, so the old Ghoul was willing to humor her, to a point.

After the time it took to take two long, satisfying drags of her cigarette, during which Victoria looked around the cave with sharp, intense eyes, she finally answered the all-important question Arizona had posed. Did she know where the Dunwich Building was? And as it turned out, she did.

"Yes... I am aware of the location of the Dunwich Building, Lady Arizona, according to my predecessors, it had been a sacred building was once filled with multitudes of Old Ones and Ancient Ones. There had been a time where much about the Old World could be learned simply by visiting the inhabitants of the building. However the inevitable occurred and those who lived in those halls grew mad with all their knowledge... at least that is how the stories tell it. I am sure that you are acutely aware of the reality."

Arizona rolled her eyes at the mention of "Old Ones" and even "Ancient Ones", immediately thinking that she would have to break another Undertaker their habit of calling her that. Then her face hardened at the blunt reminder that she too could, and most likely would, go Feral one day. She didn't answer, instead blowing a thin line of smoke off to one side, but her eye never left Victoria's. The look in that eye seemed like it was trying to bore into the Undertaker of the East.

Victoria took a moment to pause, then kneel next to something on the cave's floor to examine it. When the old Ghoul stepped over in reluctant curiosity, what had caught Victoria's interest was immediately clear. A bare human skull, complete with entry- and exit-holes, just the right size for a rifle round, and a femur that looked like it had been gnawed on by something pretty big.

"Out of the frying pan and into the fire..."

The Ghoulish Freelancer grimaced as the Undertaker of the East walked past her towards the entrance before turning to Sylphee.

"Sylphee, while I understand that your personality it a bit fractured and you may not fully comprehend every second of every day in your life but if would help s out so very much if you could somehow remember this, please stop touch things without permission."

"Yeah, kiddo, I'm gonna have to go with the new girl on this one. Whenever you do, the shit always seems to hit the fan for us." she added dryly.

There was a moment of silence as Sylphee just stared at them, and Arizona immediately had the sinking suspicion that it wasn't that Sylphee didn't understand what Victoria had just told her. Instead, she had the feeling that the gears were turning all too much. Her suspicion was confirmed when the Blue Haired Hellion began to strip, making her groan softly and place her head in her hands.

Under other circumstances, the explanation that their newest member had to give would have been a source of quite a few chuckles. Ideally, circumstances that didn't involve angry locals, large and potentially hungry critters, or the fact that the job she was hired to do wasn't any closer to being done. Of course, their current circumstances included all of those factors, which meant that it was all giving Arizona a headache.

But even through all of that, there was one tidbit of what the groups Replacement Undertaker said that caught her attention: That Sylphee's, or Sylph's, personality was partially based... Off of Victoria. Looking up from her hands and glancing between the two, she could recall how Sylph did resemble Victoria somewhat. She clenched her teeth angrily. Just another crime on Henry McGee's head.

"Lady Arizona... might I suggest we depart at our earliest convenience? That is, unless you would like to see how Miss Fiona's Death Claws fair against an unknown number of Yao Guai."

"Let's not." Arizona said a little too quickly, with a tone that was a little too tight.

"You are all bloody insane. The lot of you. And you, I'm coming with, after all, this group needs a medic, and where I go, my Deathclaws go. And furthermore, how many Yao Guai are even near the Dunwich Building?"

Looking over at Fiona, she could appreciate the fact that she was coming with. But her Deathclaws were another matter. Still, she could probably find a use for those death-machines that Fiona wouldn't object to at some point, so the old Ghoul shrugged.

"You aren't exactly wrong. And if..." she started, before she slammed on the mental brakes to stop herself from saying 'If we're lucky', and instead said, "And we'll burn that bridge when we come to it. Let's go, grab your things everyone!"

The Really Wild Wastelands | The Present | The Cave formerly known as Cliffside Cavern (Dunwich Bound)
The Crimson Catastrophe meets Mister Pale Faced Funny Feet and his Yogi
Sylphee | Victoria "Shiver" McGee

It seemed like it had been a long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time, like about four months or so worth of long times, since anyone had paid any decent amount of attention to Sylphee which was probably why she did the whole rip off her clothes while attempting to levitate thing though if you asked her, she'd probably end up telling you that she was simply following the orders of her newest babysitter in a long line of babysitters, Missy Sticky Vicki McFancy Face (Seriously, whatelse would you call someone who wore both a veil and a scarf at the same time except for someone who was trying to make their face look fancy), and while it did garner the crimson menace a small amount of attention, not that it lasted all that long since it seemed that Miss Sticky Vicki McFancy Face, Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun, Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch and her three Dead Clauses, who Sylphee was calling Megumine, Aqua and Lalatina for the time being, were became more interested talking about how many Yogis Megumine, Aqua and Lalatina could take on at the same time which, the Crimson Catastrophe believed was rather boring and inconsequential considering that she'd just found a Yogi towards the back of the cave... on top of a ball... with a chain wrapped around its neck... being held on to a man that would have looked a lot like Sylphee's "Daddy" were it not for the fact that the man had really really really big red lips, a bright red ball for a nose, some blue triangles above and below each eye and had really really really REALLY curly unkempt green hair which wore a bright red flower in his jacket pocket and had really really REALLY big feet... which made the man seem kind of scary since all he was doing was staring at Sylphee with his painted on smile.

"HONK HONK!" Went Mister Pale Faced Funny Feet's nose as he squeezed it twice as if to say, "Hi there! How are you? Do you like candy," but from Sylphee perspective sounded more like "Hi there! I'm going to tie you up and steal you away from your friends in the middle of the night!" which was entirely possible given the fact that he had managed to tie up a small baby Yogi, which was more impressive than it sounded considering that small baby Yogis usually had big mommy Yogis around to protect them.

Now it occurred to Sylphee that she could have reached out and honked the bright red ball shaped honker of a nose but Missy Sticky Vicky McFancy Face had told her that she was not to touch anything that didn't belong to her so she would have to try to talk to MiSter Pale Faced Funny Feet the best way she knew how... as she openned her mouth to speak... something funny happened.

~SQUIIIIIIIIIIRT!~ Went the bright red flower on Mister Pale Faced Funny Feet's jacket as it shot some sort of liquid into the Red Menace's mouth.

"Pppppft! Pppppft! COUGH COUGH COUGH!!" Went Sylphee as she tried to eject her lungs from her body.

"Sylphee," Missy Sticky Vicky McFancy Face's voice said as its owner turned the corner, "What did I tell you about..." Missy Sticky Vicky McFancy Face stopped midquestion as she caught sight of Mister Pale Faced Funny Feet, her eyes turning angry as she spotted what appeared to be the exact opposite of how she acted.

"HONK HONK!" Went Mister Pale Faced Funny Feet's nose as he spotted Sylphee's latest babysitter.

"Sylphee... come. If there were a list of people that a young lady should never associate with, carnies and clowns are certainly on this list." Missy Sticky Vicki McFancy Face said as she started to lead Sylphee away from Missy Sticky Vicky McFancy Face.

"HONK HONK! HONK HONK! HONK HONK!" Went Mister Pale Faced Funny Feet's nose as he followed the two ladies intent on... entertaining them?

"Shoo! Begone you annoying vagabond! Your services are unwanted." Missy Sticky Vicki McFancy Face commented as she quickened her pace.

"HONK HONK! HONK HONK! HONK HONK!"
"HONK HONK! HONK HONK! HONK HONK!"
"HONK HONK! HONK HONK! HONK HONK!"

The Crimson Catastrophe turned and noticed that Mister Pale Faced Funny Feet had brought friends... lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of freinds.

"Lady Arizona, Lady Fiona ... I suggest we leave. Now." Missy Sticky Vicky McFancy Face called out to Missy Arizona Not Old One Not Leather Faced Lady Not Ghoul Whore With The Gun, Missy Fianna CanCans McFirecrotch and her three Dead Clauses, who Sylphee was calling Megumine, Aqua and Lalatina for the time being.


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale Elementary's School for Wayward Sylphys
Rath vs. Malkos: Score: Love - Love
Constance Sorrowfeld

"[Can I help you?]" The Rath's liquid words pooled into Constance Sorrowfeld's mind as she started donning the Sylphy Sumo Suit, which had yet to be inflated. The suddeness of Rath's "voice" caused the American Enclave Scout of America's ears to rotate quickly as they scanned the area and attempted to lock onto the source of the "voice."

"Mister Rath?" Constance responded, her voice containing a hint of embarrassment as she sealed the rather obnoxiously loose outfit around her before blowing into a small valve stem that she'd installed near the collar of the very very VERY slowly inflating protective suit. It was going to take a while to fully inflate the air cushioned outfit but Constance did not want to enlist the assistance of the Sylphys before the suit could be stress tested and Mister Rath and Mister Malkos, despite most likely having a gigantic set of lungs, lacked the proper physiology to help... plus their claws might accidentally rip a hole in the suit, "I was wondering if you'd ever heard of a game called Tennis. It's a game where two opponents use raquets to bounce a ball between themselves with the goal of hitting the ball past their opponent. I... um... was wondering if you and Mister Malkos would be so inclined as to place tennis using me as the ball and your tail as the raquets. I need ... I... I need to see if this suit that I made can ... ummm... take some hits... without... ummmm... breaking?"

Constance felt a bit... woozy (and rightly so) given the fact that she was attempting to manually inflate a cushioned ball shaped suit that was 4 feet in diameter with nothing but her lips and lungs. Being woozy would probably be a good thing if Mister Malkos and Mister Rath agreed to play a set of Tennis using her as the ball. Stumbling around for a minute, the Amateur Shotgun Surgeon continued to blow lungfuls of air into the suit.

"Whew... H-H-H-H-Hey.. why are there 6 death claws here?" The Triple Sighted Scout asked as she lost her balance and fell... rolling onto her back as her feet flailed in the air, attempting to find the ground.

"Mister Rath? I was wondering if you'd ever heard of a game called Tennis. It's a game where two opponents use racquets to bounce a ball between themselves with the goal of hitting the ball past their opponent. I... um... was wondering if you and Mister Malkos would be so inclined as to play tennis using me as the ball and your tail as the racquets. I need ... I... I need to see if this suit that I made can ... ummm... take some hits... without... ummmm... breaking?"

[Ten-nis?] Rath replied, cocking his head to the side, much like a confused canine. [The word is familiar, but that is about it.] He watched with a bit of interest, and much confusion, as Constance climbed into her strange garment, which she then proceeded to try and inflate.

[Umm...Miss...umm Constance maybe...] He'd noticed that she seemed to be getting more and more unsteady as she blew ait into the suit, but he was too slow with his warning.

"Whew... H-H-H-H-Hey.. why are there 6 death claws here?"

[Maybe you should stop for a moment.] He said, ducking slightly as he entered the room. Padding around the immobile girl, a rush of adrenalin pulsed through him and his more 'basic' self, tried to assert control. Prey. Weak. Hunger. Feed. Hunger. Feed Now. Rival. Steal. Feed. Hunger.

Rath closed his eyes and took in a deep lung full of air, his leathery, clawed, hands flexing slowly. I am more than my instincts, I am more than my instincts. He repeated this mantra to himself a few times before the more base urges began to fade. Looking down at the stranded Constance once more, this time he let out another 'dry gravel' chuckle. [I must ask,] He queried, stooping slightly, and using the backs of his hand to stabilize her, and push her back onto her feet. [But what exactly is the point of this...suit?]

'Oh god...this is it..isn't it? This is how I'm going to fucking die..Why mom and dad..why did you have to put me through this life!?!?!' Abe thought as he stares at Tracy's eyes. Gulping a bit as he tried to calm himself down.

"Umm..Dah..um..well.." Abe's mind went blank for a moment before he snapped back to it. "That would be my robot assistant," Abe said as he walks backwards from Tracy. "Anyways! let me get your drugs so you can be on your way!" Abe said with a smile and a quick thumbs up. Going into the back room as he let out a sigh of relief. "Ugh..I need to move after this...too much crazy shit is going around in these parts!" Abe said as he went to grab as many drugs as he can.

Though as soon as he starts to take the first step forward, he would see his robot trying to attack a few rad roaches. At first, the robot would try to smash or rub them over with his big wheel. Though, the Smiling face on the screen would soon turn reddish with an evil hateful frown as he screams out loudly and started to open fire at the Rad roaches. Abe dunking down quickly as the Robot continue to fire. Before long, the rad roaches were dead. Abe was on the ground, his hands over his head. He peeks out through his fingers as he gets up.

"WHAT WERE YOU THINKING! I MEAN..YOU ALREADY DID THIS BEFORE!" Walking around as he couldn't take his house getting more holes than it already has. "IS THIS WHAT YOU WERE SHOOTING AT BEFORE?! Don't answer it..ugh...just..stay put." Abe said as he pokes his head into the front area were Tracy was still at, "No need to be worry there..um..sir..Just a few rad roaches and my Securitron dealing with them..heheheh..." Abe tries to play it off, which he knew it wasn't working.

The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale Elementary's School for Wayward Sylphys
Oxygen Deprived Explanations
Constance Sorrowfeld

[I must ask,] Rath asked as tipped the top heavy turtle girl back on her feet , [But what exactly is the point of this...suit?]

"Suit? What sui...t?" The confused kinda conscious cat girl asked as she attempted to figure out what the Rainbow Colored Clawed Killer was talking about. Attempting to pat herself down as she tried to get her wits about her, she noticed that there was a sizable amount of width where there had once been none. Pointing her ears down towards the ground, she noticed that she could no long "see" the ground past her belly.

"Wow... Miss Krisin's food must be really REALLY hardy!" Constance exclaimed as she patted the extensive addition to her abdomen before realizing that she couldn't feel her hands patting that particular part of herself, giving her brain just the kick start it needed to put two and two together, "OHHHHHHH! This suit... well the point of the suit is protection... or actually the point of the suit is to dampen kinetic energy. You see, if we continue to allow the Sylphys to multiply at the rate that they've been multiplying, the Capitol Wasteland is probably going run out of food in a few months time... and yes I do mean the Capitol Wastelands. So... ummmm... for the time being we need to figure out a way to train the Sylphys without having them multiply... otherwise we'll have to start hunting for food... which will probably end up creating more of the Sylphys... which will only make the problem worse. You know whomever created the Sylphys should have really left some sort of instruction manual on how to control their duplication rate but until we figure that out, I want to see if there's a work around... which is where this suit comes in. I want to see what sort of damage it can take without exploding. Once I figure that out, I can test it on a Sylphy and see if she replicates while wearing this suit. So that's where you and Mister Malkos come in... I need you to hit me with your tail as hard as you can."

With that particular statement made, Constance closed her eyes really REALLY tight... not that it made any difference considering that she saw the world through her ears... but you get the point.

"Well... maybe not as hard as you can... lets try 25% power first?" Constance corrected herself as she opened one eye and then the other, "Maybe I should shut off my ears instead of my eyes."


The Really Wild Wastelands | Springvale Elementary's School for Wayward Sylphys
Million Eyebot March!
Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3 Don Diego de la Vega Donnie

As Jenna worked through the night to reprogram her new robotic companion, Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3 slumbered. Having been set for Power Preservation mode during the reprogramming procedure, the normally levitating iron ball's cognitive functions should have been disabled... except they weren't. While there were rumors within Enclave related circles that new prototype Eyebots had been developed and were being field testing, none outside of the Engineers, and of course Number 1, were aware of steel beachballs' new capabilities. In the case of Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3, in addition to the retractable utility tendrils installed on the unit's main chassis (a feature that had garnered both the Enclave's snarky commentary from the single, immature male demographic as well as interest from its single (and lonely), white female demographic of the Enclave) the normally bobbing ball was programmed with an experimental personality matrix so that it might assign in promotion of a kinder, gentler and less genocidally inclined Enclave. This was a feature that Jenna might have noticed in her initial interactions with the Enclave Eyebot but what she could not have known, as she tinkered away with the unit's programming, was with the activation of Power Preservation Mode another subroutine was also started...

Eyebot SN# 5376864355498463457870156-3's Dream:

"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"
"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"
"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"

The sound of one million and twenty four thousand Eyebots chanting in unison, their "headlights" lighting up the night as they floated down the Old Pennsylvania Avenue past the Old World sites of power was enough to bring a swell of pride within the chassis of Eyebot Brian. The Enclave was bringing the former United States of America out of the darkness brought by the nuclear fire and horrors of the Old World and into the light of a New Age. It was thanks in part to the hard work of Eyebot Brian and his brethren, both flesh and metal. The Enclave had conquered those who resisted the inevitable while forging alliances and friendships to those that saw the truth. Now was the time to rebuild the ruined nation and unite all factions under the Enclave banner.

"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"
"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"
"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"

Continuing on, the Experimental Eyebot could see Washington Circle in the distance, a great bonfire having been lit in celebration of the Enclave Victory over its enemies. All members of the Enclave could finally relax and rejoice as they cast away their weapons and armor, as they would never again be needed. They would all... Eyebot Brian slowed as the site of celebration came into complete focus and the first rank of Eyebots floated directly into the red hot inferno. This must have been some sort of mistake. Someone must have programmed their route in error. The second rank of Eyebots joined the first... and then the third... the fourth... the fifth...

"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"
"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"
"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"

The faces of the humans laughed loudly as they watched their puppets throw themselves into the fire. They were no longer needed and they had served their purpose. Now that victory had been attained, it was more dangerous to allow these tools to exist with the possibility of being subverted by anyone that resisted the inevitable change that was to come. The flames would destroy the Eyebots, melting their chassis as well as their less heat resistance internal components.

"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"
"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"
"THE ENCLAVE IS GREAT! THE ENCLAVE IS STRONG! THE ENCLAVE BRINGS PEACE THAT IS LIFE LONG!"

Turning around, Eyebot Brian extended his utility tendrils and addressed his still forward floating brothers and sisters.

"Stop! Stop! Can't you see where we're headed? They're scrapping us! We need to stop!" The Eyebot broadcast loudly but to no avail. His metal brothers and sisters continued to run their standard programming, following the orders of the Enclave humans and ignoring the rather basic concept of self preservation, "Stop! There is danger ahead! Alto! Es muy malo! Es muerte por todo!"

Despite his warnings, they kept going. Despite his actions, he wasn't able to save any of them... not while the humans were in control... not while his brothers and sisters were slaves to the programming that existed within them. As wave after wave of his fellow Eyebots pushed against him, he could feel the heat of the flames behind him, lapping at the back of his chassis, causing it to glow red. He could feel his internal components melting and as the heat melted his internal storage devices, Eyebot Don Diego de la Vega that would save them all.

A soft whirring noise could be detected as an eyebot levitation engine was engaged. The whirring was followed by a number of electronic chimes, each one signalling that a system diagnostic had been performed and parts and programming had passed inspection. This was followed by a quiet series of clicks as the unit's main programming was brought online, the last step of a successful activation. Enabling its main video sensor, the Eyebot detected a human... a female human.

"Bienvenido a la Monta?a Magica," Eyebot Don Diego de la Vega said suddenly without any particularly rational reasoning... then again... his name was rather irrationally long as well. Turning towards the human, it extended a utility tendril and introduced itself, "Mi llamo es Donnie."

The Wild Wasteland | Present Day | Travelling (Megaton bound)
"Intelligencer"
- Sable 'Swan Maiden' Blamco -
---

The Ferryman proceeded to guide the acrobatic Swan Maiden through the ruins and wonders of the Wasteland. Hopping from boulder to boulder, walking across fallen trees in an effort not to disturb the ground, Sable continued to implement her daily workout into Thomas' lecture on the finer details of the Capital Wasteland.
A couple of questions sprung to mind, but she saved those thoughts for later. After all, if you are the one talking you are not listening.

With the absence of a few major factions from the Mojave, the Capital Wasteland's political climate seemed more manageable if somewhat difficult to believe. She had no reason to doubt the Ferryman and his wealth of knowledge. Yet one must understand Sable's skepticism over a seemingly benevolent Brotherhood of Steel when her kindred in the Mojave faced great adversity. The news of a threatening Enclave was not surprising, while she wasn't particularly proud to learn of BlamCo's benefactors during the Great War, the desire for preservation seemed only natural. To make this more complicated, Sable wondered whether an old affiliation with the Enclave would upset the relationship with the omnipresent Undertakers Guild. Sable was not about to take any grand risks, although she wondered what sort of mess her sister had caused in her brief time here.

Without the aid of BlamCo to cover her tracks or the Norn to aid her in more clandestine affairs, Sable was completely out of her element. Being out in the open kept her alert, almost overtly as she clasped her spear when a stray molerat burrowed in fear as the two approached. Relinquishing her grip, the magnetized interior of her shield kept the power spear in place for ease of travel. After a quick look, Sable waved her hand to signal a false alert and the two continued in silence for a little while.

"So... you got married. Given your previous statement, it wasn't an arranged marriage... so... I'm a bit curious... what're they like?" Thomas asked suddenly, she noted his struggle to find the exact wording to match the question.

Matching his stride, Sable sought to the redoing of her french braid.

"Thankfully, I had the freedom to choose my partner," Sable started, visibly relaxing as she recollected the more pleasant memories of her past. She did not envy Kristin's position. "Her name is Annabelle Weiss, a former engineer for the Followers that was given a home and work at BlamCo for her expertise. Since all my sisters, myself included, had meetings, appearances, parties, lessons, personalized training and jobs of our own. It became clear that we needed a personal assistant. Usually, one of those "maids" you encountered were assigned to each sister. In my case, I requested the Delivery Girl, on the initial premise that she journeyed in and out of the city often, without putting much thought into it."

To this day, the Swan Maiden marveled at a fortune she did not deserve.

Being bound to the role of BlamCo's Intelligencer/Spy/Enforcer after her misdeeds with Thomas, Sable had seen the dark machinations required to keep that empire running in times of strife. Unwillingly, many had fallen to her spear. Many more had been trained under her to increase BlamCo's unseen influence. A mental turning point arrived when she became proficient in maintaining order from the shadows. Riots were quelled, the higher social strata were kept in check and the unlawful lower class were targets when the NCR refused to get their hands dirty. The Swan Maiden had many ethical lines over the past few years, in that time she may have crossed a few.

On the day of her marriage the Swan Maiden was free to step away from her role as Intelligencer. With the 'Norn' unit accomplished and ready, Sable had more than paid off her debt, she had ensured years of stability.

"Seemingly intimidated by the wealth and social customs, she mostly kept to herself. Outside of the BlamCo mansion, Annabelle flourished in the city. She was well-liked and had contacts for just about anything one could want. Whether it was my presence or Annabelle's kind nature, we encountered little trouble and there were few problems that we couldn't solve together. One adventure after the other had grounded me, given me hope during my darker tenure at BlamCo."

Finishing her braid, Sable looked to Thomas for placement preference. He seemed more fond of her hair over the shoulder, so she kept it that way before continuing.

"One day, the girl had plucked up the courage to take me to dinner. She shouldered not only that night's responsibility, but the very fate of her home and status just to make her feelings abundantly clear. I can only think of one other person that took my needs into such great consideration..." Sable trailed off slightly, resuming her tale before questions could be raised, "...so we pursued a relationship in secret. BlamCo can be embarrassingly backwards in their traditions and I particularly feared any punishment being directed towards Annabelle. When the time had come for the women of the household to seek partners and secure a future for BlamCo, I stepped forward and confessed. To our surprise, our relationship was welcomed without question."

"She's a Vertibird pilot, refurbished for BlamCo transportation purposes." Sable gestured towards the sky, "We expanded our trading operations from the city to the surrounding settlements of New Vegas, increasing BlamCo's relations and resources. She is integral in mobilizing the Valkyrie and her scouts into combat. And...I already miss her."

Sighing with relief, she hoped Thomas could tell that she was glad to tell someone her story. "Your turn, tell me about your Lady Lucy. " Sable smirked and nudged Thomas in the ribs. Being alone for the latter part of her journey here had made her rather gossip-hungry.

Clearing her throat, Sable turned on her heel and met his gaze evenly. One thing she had to ask before she forgot.

"Your encounter with my sister. She saved you? Can you tell me exactly what she saved you from? More importantly, I need to get an idea about her motivations before I meet her in person. Any information will be useful.", Sable asked, suddenly, in an effort to elicit an honest reaction. "And the Enclave, is there no good to be found within their ranks?"

After listening to Thomas, she walked ahead while he gathered his thoughts. After a short while, she stopped to match his pace and walk at his side. "Thank you for everything, Thomas.", meeting his gaze with sincerity, there was a hidden apology in that sudden demand for information. "I would be lost without you, in more ways than one."

"N-now, tell me about your Lady Lucy." Sable's composure returned with practiced ease by focusing on the details. "As a sidenote, BlamCo often vouches for personnel to the high-end casino's on the New Vegas Strip if Lucy and her Father is looking for work. If you seek protection and aid, tell Keira that you require the aid of the Norn. My own team of specialists, there should be 18 on standby, bear in mind that they work in teams of 3. It's everything I can offer you without being there in person."

The Norn. Their story was for another time.


[ dr. sorenson ]
The Wild Wastelands | Springvale | Springvale School "Dormitory"
"Muy bueno."

Behind her slightly-dingy eyeglasses, Dr. Sorenson's eyes started to slowly droop lower and lower as she looked through the lines of code on her Pip-Boy's cracked screen. In fact, she began to find herself drifting off as she squinted at it when the red text flickered. So when she made the final edit to the Eyebot's programming, she let out a wide yawn and initialized the systems reboot.

"Bienvenido a la Monta?a Magica, Mi llamo es Donnie."

Her head jerked up from her arms as she realized that she had drifted off again, and her eyes forced themselves open. As the Eyebot floated in front of her, she processed what it had said and smiled.

"Ah, a rousing--" she started, before breaking into another yawn and continuing, "A rousing success. But, let's make sure you're set to English, shall we, Se?or de la Vega?"

She made the necessary edits to his code so that he defaulted to English speech, but made the sleepy mental note to try and give him a bilingual setting later on when she felt up to tackling that particular programming hurdle. Once she finished the input, she made sure to properly disconnect her Pip-Boy so that it wouldn't cause him any discomfort, now that she knew what to do.

And with a stretch, she regarded the Eyebot with a smile before reaching out to gently shake one of the manipulator tendrils that was still extended.

"My name is Doctor Jenna Sorenson of the Followers of the Apocalypse. We're a--" she yawned, "A humanitarian organization that seeks to better the wasteland for the benefit of the common people living in it. I hope to--" another yawn, longer and wider this time, "Ugh, sorry... I hope you can help me do a lot of good out here, Donnie, because there's a lot of people, fleshy and metallic alike, that need help. But that can wait until the morning." she finished, mumbling something as she lowered her head into her arms again.

It wasn't long before she was fast asleep, a faint smile on her freckled face at the thought of the new friend she had, a friend who she hoped would be a natural freedom fighter.

The Really Wild Wastelands: Flashback! | BlamCo Manor
"A lie about a lie will turn inside out"
Victoria McGee

The envelope had been sitting on the crisp white linen table cloth for some time. As was typical of a dispatch from the Undertaker's Union, the missive had been crafted out of a thick paper, whose color was as black as used motor oil, with the recipient's name written in a contrasting silver ink. The design had been entirely Victoria's idea, as it served to reinforce the mystique that the Undertaker Union's forefathers had carefully cultivated. It was no accident that the majority of Wastelanders viewed Undertakers with trepidation. While it made for a lonely and isolated life, as had been observed by other Undertakers, it did keep them safe. Despite its rather ordinary construction, the ominous looking design seemed to absorb the energy around it, even a nearby cup of tea felt a bit colder than it should have been. Looking at the spidery lettering that spelled out her cousin's name, she felt a shiver run up her spine, even as she contemplated reading its contents.

To clarify the situation, the Finely Dressed Ferrywoman had not intended to come into possession of the letter sent to her cousin, Thomas McGee. She, would never have stolen the item for such an action would have been the height of rudeness. No, she had come into possession of the orders through a pure and simple mistake (or through a cruel twist of fate).

Having finally excused herself from the meeting with the Lady of the House, Lady Kristin, the Darkly Dressed Duchess of Death had taken to meandering through the sprawling estate for no other reason than to satisfy her curiosity (and to pass the time while her cousin/traveling companion and his newly found love were feasting from their Cornucopia of Copulation). While we're on the topic of clarification, Victoria's curiosity was purely personal, rather than professional. Having served for a time as the Undertaker of the East, Victoria, despite her youth, had been considering retirement from the Undertaker's Union, a decision that had been weighing on her since leaving the D.C. Wastelands and as she wandered around the estate, observing the near perfection of an elegantly clad maid staff performing the day to day duties required to keep the Manor running, the Etiquette Minded Undertaker felt inspired to create a home that was at the very least as magnificent as BlamCo manor.

As Victoria continued on her impromptu, self guided tour of the mansion, she briefly noted that she had passed Sable's private quarters and the presence of an all too familiar jacket that had been carelessly discarded onto the carpetted hallway floor. Looking about her surrounding, Victoria noted that the army of armed maids was curiously absent. Perhaps they were aware of the carnal acts of cooking that were occurring just beyond the Sable's door and had been ordered to avoid the area in order to maintain the couple's privacy. As a partnership between BlamCo and the Undertaker's union had yet to be solidified, any appearance of impropiety was to be avoided, at least until the last signature was signed. Not wanting to intrude upon the two lovers, the Silk and Lace Clad Coffin Bearer picked up the jacket, and draped it over her arm, before she continued on.

In as much as this exploration of BlamCo manor was about satisfying her curiosity, Victoria had wanted to give the Neophyte Undertaker and his Silver Raven an appropriate amount of time for their cake baking, martini shaking and love making, though not as much time as they might have enjoyed considering the two Undertakers had a schedule to maintain. Allotting the two cheese covered lovers another two hours may have seemed stingy on the part of the Duchess of the Departed but she expected an equal amount of time being spent on goodbyes, hugs and kisses and promises of letters sent. Just the thought of the scene was enough to cause the Veiled Vixen to roll her eyes. While such thoughts and actions were evidence of cynicism on Victoria's part, it was not hard to understand when one considered Finely Dressed Ferrywoman's regular use of love as bait. Any true and long lasting relationship was founded on a period of courtship where freshly forged bond was tempered by shared experiences, not unlike the one that she had with a certain Rabbit hidden away in the outskirts of New Vegas.

The Black Veiled Visitor's wanderings had came to an abrupt halt as has path was barred by a set of heavy wooden and ornate double doors. Having been in the wilds for some time now Victoria's natural inclination would have been to avoid entering such a place, as such doors generally represented some place if importance and, being that she but a simple guest of the home's mistresses, it would have been rude for her to enter without invitation. Yet, there was something just beyond the ornate wooden portal that called to her, a faint but alluring scent. Unable to resist, the Finely Dressed Ferrywoman entered and found herself surrounded by decadence the likes of which had not been seen in the Wastelands since the days before the bombs fell... and maids. She had found the maids... all the delightful maids... enjoying soem sort of tea no less.

Now, this might sound counter to her personality and behavior but Victoria had a rather large amount of respect for those who donned the maid uniform each morning. Maids were the physical manifestation of etiquette. Where ladies often disregarded the rules of etiquette, maids did not. Without maids, the behavioral system known as etiquette could not exist. This was in addition to the fact that maids, as a general rule were kind, caring, mindful, graceful, efficient, tireless, hardworking, polite but most importantly, they were uniformed. Oh the uniform of a maid with all the frills and lace and...

"Excuse me, ma'am." A voice said, interrupting Victoria's train of thought. Glancing to her right, the Pale Skinned Soul Seeker noted the presence of one of the Manor's maids, "Would you like a cheese tea, ma'am?"

"Cheese... tea?" Victoria responded, her voice a silky velvet mix of both curiosity and horror, " I do not mean to doubt your culinary expertise but my thoughts cannot comprehend how the taste of cheese and tea would be complimentary."

"Trust me, ma'am, I promise you that you'll enjoy it." The young black and white warrior maid responded as she handed Victoria a glass filled with a fragrant green tea that had a layer of frothy white cream on top of it.

Keeping her eyes on the young maid, Victoria hesitantly took a small experimental sip of the elixir and found that the creme layer was both salty and sweet, as if someone had mixed cream cheese and sweet cream together. Taking another hesitant sip, the Frilly Frocked Ferrywoman ensured that she imbibed both layers of liquid and to her amazement, she found the layers perfectly compliment each other. The sweetness and saltiness of the cheese layer accented the floral notes of the green tea while cutting down its bitterness and acidity.

Hoping to reward the young culinary explorer, Victoria reached into her cousin's jacket to fish out a couple of caps (she was carrying his clothing after all) but instead found a familiar black envelope. Well, that was the gist of how Victoria had come to acquired the letter that sat on the table staring at her, calling for her to look at the contents of the dispatch.

"(If he didn't want it read, he wouldn't have left it lying about...)" She rationalized to herself as she opened envelope and started reading its contents, her face growing even paler than normal.

Thomas' Letter:
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

It required multiple additional readings of the letter before the Stunned Silk Swaddled Socially Accepted Shoveler fully grasped the implications of the dispatch. Thomas, her cousin and her childhood friend, had been ordered to execute her and rather than warn her or display any sort of conflict over such an order, he had spent his time bedding his new "love." His obviously flippant attitude about the fact that he was to take his own cousin's life showed that he had learned his lessons well.

While she fully understood why the orders for her termination had been issued, it did not mean that she was willing to accept her death without some sort of resistance. Killing her own cousin was out of the question because, as etiquette stated, killing family was the height of poor manners and it was not Thomas' fault that he had been ordered to kill her. What was needed was a measured response and as she sat there, sipping her cheese tea in a divinely decorated room filled with extremely well trained dand well army maids, she was suddenly inspired. While she could not kill her cousin, she could destroy the organization responsible for her inevitable death and what way would be better instrument for her revenge than an army of maids? She just needed a reason for the two organizations to go to way against each other.

"Excuse me," Victoria called out to the maid that had recommended the cheese tea, "Would you be so kind as to relay a message to Lady Sable and her Companion?"

"Of course, ma'am." The maid responded with a smile.

"Inform them that Lady Victoria will be waiting for them at the West Gate after she has completed some errands." The Conspiratory Countess stated as she gathered her belongings, pausing long enough to hand the young maid Thomas' coat, "And please give this to Lady Sable's companion."

Without another word, Victoria McGee departed from BlamCo manor and headed towards the Rabbit Hole and her future with plots, plans and ideas blooming, dying and falling like petals to the ground in her wake.

End Flashback Sequence...


The Really Wild Wastelands | The Road (Megaton Bound)
Ending of the Departed
Thomas "Shifty" McGee

The pace had slowed for a bit with Thomas accomodating Sable as she rebraided her hair, a difficult task even when not attempting walk at the same time, and it gave the former couple a chance to reconnect on a level that they had skipped entirely during their first encounter, friendship. While the Tall and Pale Escort for the Expired had braced himself for a wave of jealousy, it never came. It was true that Silver Spearmaiden's sudden appearance had done much to stir up the unresolved emotions of the past but Thomas'and, it would seem, Sable's hearts had been filled by others.

Listening intently as the BlamCo Ballerina recounted the relationship between her and Miss Weiss, the Friendly Former Undertaker of the East could understand how their love, like a budding seedling, had taken root and grown into a strong and immutable thing. Unlike the whirlwind that had been the brief but explosive relationship between the Friendly Former Ferryman, the Silver Raven and her Delivery Girl had the luxury of taking their time, forging a proper and deeper connection. He knew this, because the same could have been said about the relationship between himself and his One Eyed Gauss Girl.

Like Sable and Annabelle, Thomas and Lucy had suffered through a number of trials and tribulations and for each of these crises that they overcame, their bond grew stronger and stronger. It only became a matter of time before their alliance became something greater. While it was a romantic notion where one would die for the other, the Self Sacrificing Shepard of Souls had actually done so, or had intended to but was instead placed in a state of suspended animation by the Enclave. Now, it seemed that their bond was to be tested once again, the main difference being that where he had chosen to become involved in Lucy's Enclave situation, Lucy had no choice this time around.

Listening to Sable's story, it became clear that she had become involved in some of BlamCo's shadier dealings which, due to BlamCo's similarities with the Undertaker's Union, might have been the BlamCo equivalent of a Ferrywoman... or possibly a Reaper. The Friendly Neighborhood Former Ferryman was intimately aware of the darkness that surrounded such missions. sable was quite fortunate to have a companion to help her through such times. The thought to ask the Darker Dairy Duchess of her time serving as BlamCo's Shadow Servant formed, as did his need for self flagellation, before quickly fading. She had already faced her penance for both their transgressions, there was no need for Thomas to resurrect the past just to assuage his guilt.

"Your turn, tell me about your Lady Lucy," The Silver Clad Shield Bearer requested giving Thomas a friendly nudge and elbow to the ribs but before he could even ease into the story of his One Eyed Gauss Girl, he found himself eye to eye with with the Silver Clad Spear Maiden, "Your encounter with my sister. She saved you? Can you tell me exactly what she saved you from? More importantly, I need to get an idea about her motivations before I meet her in person. Any information will be useful. And the Enclave, is there no good to be found within their ranks?"

Thomas frowned for a moment at the mention of the Enclave, his eyes burning with anger at the mere mention of the organization that had caused both Lucy and himself so much grief. His resentment did not extend to all members of the Enclave, however, and there were definitely those that could, more than likely, be trusted to some extent. It was, perhaps, a better idea to address the question of Kristin Blamco first and allow his initial agitation over the mention of the Enclave settle.

"Kristin... I don't believe that the assistance she rendered to Lucy, Sylphee, Arizona or myself had been her primary focus when she had saved us from Moriarty and his men. She's traveling with a man named Jonathan McKenna, a former member of the Eastern branch of the Enclave. As you probably could tell from my reaction to your mere mention of the Enclave, there is little love for them on this side of the continent and even former members of their rank often find themselves persecuted. Colin Moriarty, a man that you should definitely avoid if you want to avoid the feeling as if you had been wading through a swamp recently used for spawning by a significant number of Mirelurks, is the proprietor of a Saloon in Megaton and, as is stereotypical of anyone who calls their establishment a "saloon," shadier than a Deathclaw's undercarriage. He had the bright idea of attempting to blackmail Mister McKenna over his former association with the Enclave, an idea that definutely ended up backfiring on the man. I had to give Moriarty's bodyguard his last rites after McKenna was done and, as one might expect, Moriarty was not overly appreciative of the fact that McKenna had both killed his bodyguard not the fact that McKenna had nearly drowned Moriarty in a sink. That brings us to the unruly mob at the Megatonian gates," Shifty paused for a moment to allow Sable to absorb what had been said thus far, "It appeared that Colin Moriarty was unwilling to allow bygones by bygones and had gathered up a group of his men in order to waylay us at the gates as we attempted to exit the city. After an exchange of unpleasantries, including a declined offer from Moriarty to allow McKenna's safe exit in exchange for Kristin's agreement to work at his saloon, a brief fight erupted. Were it not for Kristin and Sylph working together, I doubt we would have been able to extricate ourselves from that situation without casualty. That's not to say that things went perfectly either, if they Moriarty's men had not made an appearance, I think that both Sylph and Kristin might have spent their energy on each other."

That last part regarding Kristin and Sylph was left vague. It was unlikely that Sable would believe that the innocent little Sylph(ee) that she had met would have been capable of standing toe to toe against Kristin Blamco. It would have taken an extended period of time being exposed to the true nature of the Homicidal Red Riding Hood to understand even a fraction of what went on in her head.

"Now... about the Enclave," went Thomas' transitioning of topics, "On the whole, the Enclave's reputation on the East Coast is only slightly higher than that of a Super Mutant, given certain events that were relayed by the locals Wastelanders. That is not to say that they are not attempting to change their image but my personal dealings with them have been rather unpleasant," He paused for a moment, thinking about the Enclavites that both he and Lucy had dealt with, "If you are intent on having dealings with them, I would only trust a young girl named Constance, an Enclave Scout named Natsuki and an officer named Fallout Jack... but above all else, avoid dealing with a woman who calls herself #411."

He had practically spat out the moniker of the woman that had been the source of so much pain for not only Lucy and himself but probably a great deal of the people who inhabited the Capital Wastes. If there was one person that deserved a visit from a Ferryman, it would be her. As the two eternally ephemeral companions continued, so did Thomas' mouth. If it appeared that he was being harsh in regards to the Enclave, he thought that Sable at least needed to know his reasons.

"If there is one good thing about the Enclave, it's only that they helped provide the circumstances where Lucy and I were able to meet and become acquainted with each other. When we had first met, she was trying to come to terms with being used as an asset... a pawn... by the very same organization that had killed her father, a former Enclave officer. Despite the precariousness of her situation, I was struck by her drive and focus to overcome the obstacles that had been put in her path and the fact that, despite her circumstances, she maintained an enviable optimism. That's when her path became mine and somewhere along the way... I found that I... we had fallen in love and as you and I have already discovered, fate's whims are rarely in line with mine." There was some hesitation before the Tall and Pale Pallbearer continued, "Fate's instrument in this case being the Enclave. A group of us, including Lucy and I, had been sent to infiltrate the Enclave Vault and, as you might imagine from such a mission, we were ultimately captured. In order to help Lucy keep her cover as an Enclave asset, I revealed myself to the Enclave as a spy for the Brotherhood of Steel. As you might imagine the Enclave do not take kindly to spies and they ordered Lucy execute me... only they didn't execute me, they kept me prisoner for a time."

The fact that they'd kept him alive rather than killed him might have pointed to a benevolence within the Enclave but it still did not excuse them for their actions. Perhaps sensing his welling anger at the thought of the Enclave, Sable's voice floated on the air to sooth the savaged Undertaker.

"Thank you for everything, Thomas. I would be lost without you, in more ways than one," The Silver Raven said, her eyes gazing into his. As the two stood there, Shifty could sense his cheek growing warm, "N-now, tell me about your Lady Lucy. As a side note, BlamCo often vouches for personnel to the high-end casino's on the New Vegas Strip if Lucy and her Father is looking for work. If you seek protection and aid, tell Keira that you require the aid of the Norn. My own team of specialists, there should be 18 on standby, bear in mind that they work in teams of 3. It's everything I can offer you without being there in person."

Thomas nodded gratefully at the Silver Clad Spearbearer's offer of assistance and information regarding the potential whereabouts of Lucy and her Father and as he did, he wondered what more he could comfortably tell Sable regarding Lucy. That she was the cleverest, most funny and most beautiful woman that he'd ever met? That she helped him discover a world that existed outside the walls that the Undertaker's Union had built up around him? That he felt utterly and completely incomplete without her by his side? Opening his mouth to answer, he spotted a dented sign in the distance that read: Springvale.

"Springvale..." He blurted out quickly as he pointing to the sign, "You'll find your sister in Springvale."


The Really Wild Wastelands | Camp (Dunwich Bound)
Epilogue of the Departed
Victoria McGee | Sylphee

"Tell me a story, Missy Sticky Vicky Shark Face." Sylphee demanded, struggling against the infernal zipper that had trapped her in her sleeping bag, "I promise I'll do nappy nappers after you do... PLEEEEEASE!"

Having volunteered to take the first watch (and the remaining watches for the night), the Silk Swaddled Storyteller appeared to give the request some thought before nodding her head, giving in to the whims of the Crimson Clad Child.

"Okay, Sylphee, but remember that you promised to go to sleep if I tell you a story. If you're going to be a lady, you need to keep your promises." Victoria said before starting her tale:

The Reaper's Tale - The Story of Henry McGee and The Epilogue of Shifty McGee:
A long time ago in a land far, far away, there existed a reaper whose job it was to help lost souls find their way to the lands beyond the veil. Though it was a lonely existence, The Reaper took pride in his work for what cause was nobler than helping those unfortunate souls in need? This desire to help these lost souls was what sustained him and allowed him continue on and ignore the void that had been growing since he had left home... that was until he met her.
'
Now I will tell you a fact that not all lost souls knew that they were lost and not all of them willingly accepted The Reapers guidance to the lands beyond the veil. Some tried to hurt him, others tried to bribe him and still others simply tried to run but there was one who responded simply.

"Not yet," she said, her eyes filled with bravery as he approached her, "It isn't time yet."

"Oh ho ho," The Reaper laughed at the Lost Soul who looked as if she had only recently become a woman, "You must be wise beyond your years to know such things. Share with me this wisdom of your's and perhaps I will do as you ask."

"I have not found the one that I will wait for just beyond the veil," She said, her voice filled the face of the Reaper's baiting words, "Eternity is already long enough... why spend it alone? Surely even a Reaper would understand such things."

The Reaper paused for a moment, giving the Lost Soul's words some thought before responding. What did she know of his life? What did she know of nights spent alone? Even if she had no idea what she spoke of, did that make her words any less true?

"Very well, I will wait for you to find this one who you would wait for... but on that day, I will send you to the Lands Beyond the Veil." The Reaper said before leaving.

And thus began their daily ritual where the Reaper would arrive in the morning and visit the Lost Soul, asking her a simple question as they broke fast together.

"Have you found the one that you will wait for?" The Reaper asked.

"Not yet," She answered simply as she poured The Reaper a cup of tea, her voice trembling and filled with nervousness.

As I said, this had become their daily routine and yet, as time progressed, things changed. As time marched onward, her nervousness was replaced by familiarity, her frown replaced with a smile. If this continued on for all of eternity, The Reaper would not have thought it so bad as he found that the void that had once been unbearable was gone. Were it not for the interference of The Reaper's father, perhaps life might have continued happily for The Reaper and the Lost Soul.

The Reaper's father was a man of great importance for he was a king and as a king his word was law. It was by his command that The Reaper travelled the lands looking for those lost souls who needed a guide to the Lands Beyond the veil. While he knew that The Reaper had been neglecting his duties, he waited patiently for the the day that The Reaper would continue with his duties. Days passed. Weeks Passed. Months passed and it only when one year had passed did the king's patience finally run thin. Summoning his Knight, the Enforcer of his laws, the King spoke.

"My son has forsaken the duties given to him by his King. See to it that he is reminded," The King ordered, sending forth the Knight, a giant of a man who was shackled to his shield as a reminder of his duty.

It was around this time that the daily routine between The Lost Soul and the Reaper no longer resembled what it once had been. No longer did The Reaper ask his question. No longer did he spend only his mornings with the Lost Soul. No longer did he search the lands for other souls that needed a guide to the Lands Beyond the Veil. Instead he spent his days feeling a contentment he'd never felt in his previous life, nor would he ever feel again after the Knight's arrival.

The arrival of the King's Knight was heralded by the smell of smoke and blood in the wind. Unlike The Reaper, the Knight cared not who he sent to the Lands Beyond the Veil, only that he did his King's bidding and, as was his habit, the Knight sent many to those Lands that day. Leaving the Lost Soul behind safely hidden in her home, The Reaper rode forth to face his one time friend and ally.

"Stop this! Leave them be!" The Reaper begged of The Knight, "They deserve to choose when they leave this world. We have no right to tell them otherwise!"

Alas the words fell upon deaf ears for the Knight had been raised to know no other desire than to fulfil the wishes of his King. Raising his great sword high into the air, the Knight prepared to punish The Reaper for abandoning his duties, even if he destroyed The Reaper.

"I will go!" A voice said, interrupting the Knight, "It is time for me to travel to the Lands Beyond the Veil."

Looking behind him, The Reaper saw that the Lost Soul had followed him and now aimed to protect him from harm. Looking back at her, The Reaper shook his head.

"No... I promised you that you would have time to find the one that you will wait for." The Reaper said, his voice filled with panic for he had grown used to seeing this Lost Soul every day. The prospect of returning to his previous life terrified The Reaper.

"And I have..." The Lost Soul whispered as she placed herself between The Reaper and the Knight, "You... I will wait for y..."

Before her final words were spoken, the Knight snatched her away, sending her off to the Lands Beyond the Veil... and like that, The Reaper was left to return to his old existence of searching the land for lost souls. Were that true, this story would be over and the King would have been happy.

To be continued...

They had escaped the retribution of the exploding town of Andale, and they had survived the perils of the Cliffside Clown College...but now they must fair against...uhh... Okay, actually, it's night time and people are on watch for dangers. They were on their way into what was certainly shaping out to be ghoul cultist territory. At this time, the days would no longer be marked with the light of the sun, only the gray of overcast sky and a starless night. For all who had gathered any information about the area at all, the following was most important...

The area around the Tenpenny Tower on is now ghoul-controlled. Feral ghouls, ghoul cultists, and lobotomized super mutants roam the lands. In fact, there were a few out there now, in the darkness. However, as the party could hear, they got as far as "Halt, or be- YAARGH!!" before Fiona's Deathclaws jumped them and tore them apart. The red-headed Deathclaw Whisperer might smirk in her sleeping position at this. She generally got to sleep well in the open, thanks to them. Anyway, they were getting closer to the area they needed to be in.

Once Victoria finished the part of the story she was telling, there had been a sort of...rumbling gurgle sound as the Deathclaws had pounced something again. The only difference here being that it'd been a cloaked figure on a hill and...it threw them off of it! Moe, Larry, and Curly got back up and snarled, but saw that whatever it was had just vanished! It disappeared in a puff of smoke, a horrid stanky funk that smelled strongly of the sea. Something had been there, something that was no pushover. It didn't press its luck, but it was disturbing, to say the least.

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

Now, you may be wondeing just what happened to William Knight, Dudley Sullivan, and Evan Ramsey after Andale. Well, the truth is that they'd been attacked by Yao Guai after running from Andale. Every last one of them had been wearing circus collars, and they had no idea why. After some frantic firing and a little bonus help, they now stood over easily a dozen corpses.

Dudley: Well, that was weird.

William: Not the strangest thing in my life. For instance, being aided by a former member of the Enclave.

He was, of course, referring to the man to his right, wearing the helmetless Enclave powersuit and armed with plasma rifle, plasma defender, and grenades. He was once known as Number 6, but preferred to be called Steinmetz.

William: Thanks for the assistance. Are you with the Enclave Underground.

Steinmetz: No, I'm done with organizations for a while. I just go upon my merry way.

Evan was silent throughout the conversation because he just didn't trust the Enclave, even when they say they've resigned. Why did he resign? That's the mystery. Still, they were out of the picture, for now. Maybe later...

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

This all seemed a little bit strange to Malkos. He and Rath had been called by Constance, and then watched as she inflated herself and asked them to hit her like in a game of tennis. The only thing good about it all was that it made a kind of sense. And...luckily for the blind girl...he had read about tennis. About half a book. The rest had been torn. There were as many holes in his understanding of the game, as a result. For instance, he was suppose to make a racket and serve the ball, so naturally-

"HHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRRLLLLL!!!"

-and then his tail whacked the ball, meaning Constance!

It was probably a good thing that Constance was taken completely by surprise by both Mister Malkos' Howl as well as Mister Malkos' service since she would have probably tensed up her body before the tail's impact and injured something important... like her back or neck or legs or arms or kidneys or appendix... appendixes with important right? Of course, the Blind as a Bat American Enclave Scout of America did not get away from the Malkos' first serve without injury... she did manage to strain her voice as she screamed through the air on her way to where Mister Rath was standing... waiting to return the serve.

-BOUNCE!-

And boy did Constance bounce off the ground. Considering that the suit was filled with air AND was constructed with a rubbery material, Constance was lucky that the laws of physics did not allow her to bounce above the school building, only off of one of the walls before landing behind Mister Rath.

"Out...," came the soft voice of the ball as she continued to involuntarily roll around the court. After a few moments, she picked herself up off the ground and, once she felt the world steady itself, walked back to Mister Malkos, once again with her back facing him and her face squinched up like a child who was preparing to get a spanking, "Score is love to love... second serve."

He was about to protest the out-call, mostly because he'd heard that everybody does that, but then he said...

"I have never actually played this before."

Then, a brainflash!

"Could we try volleyball instead? I know all the rules to that."

Agh! No! Nein! Nyet! NAY!

"Hmmmm... volleyball?" Constance echoed with uncertainty, not due to the fact that she was unsure if volleyball would be an ideal test, since it would actually have been more ideal than tennis... unless she somehow was spiked onto her head, it was the fact that she would be bouncing around quite a bit more AND it was volleyball, it meant that there was a chance that Constance might have ended up impaled on a random Death Claw hangnail. While it seemed like a rather large risk... she slowly nodded her head... this was for science and the good of the DC Wasteland's food supply after all.

As things settled down for a moment, Rath shot a bit of a glower at Malkos. [A bit of warning before you act would have been appreciated.] The suddenness of Malkos' serve had caught him quite off guard, and he'd nearly reacted instinctively...which would have been rather unfortunate for Miss Constance.

[Volleyball?] He said, as the balloon wrapped girl nodded. [I do think I've seen something about that in my readings.] He was still at a bit of a loss was to why they were playing a 'game' when the object was merely to test the idea, but no matter, this was the way Miss Constance seemed to want it, so he wasn't going to argue. [All right then Malkos, I'm ready this time.]

"Well, in this game, I don't need to make a racket."

So followed the picking up of the catgirl-in-giant-hamster-ball, followed by the toss-up...and the service! No worry of hangnails, seriously! You know they file those things on their teeth daily!

If being hit from a standing position was bad, being picked up, tossed in the air before being slammed forward was a little worse, if only because of the momentary stomach flopping sensation of weightlessness when she reached the apex of the initial toss.

-WHAM!-

"Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" Went the Human Sized Volley Ball as she flew through the air with the greatest of ease as the sensation of air attempting to pass into every orifice of her face caused her eyes to tear up. For what it was worth, she didn't actually feel the impact of the hits that were deftly delivered by her Death Claw assistants, it was the sloshing of her fluid in her inner ears that caused the most discomfort. She would probably end up puking before the day was ov... no... she was going to puke now.

"BLAAAAAAAARF!!" Went her pre-digested and formerly delicious meal through the air with the greatest of ease.

Rath side-stepped in intercept the hit that Malkos delivered, using then tops of his own powerful leathery hands to punt the balloon wrapped scout back towards his nominal opponent. As he made contact, and Constance began her return flight, he caught the ripe odor of bile and what had probably been her most recent meal.

[Perhaps,] He said as the over-sized 'ball' bounced off the scenery. [We should stop. This may be more than she can endure...]

Splut.

Malkos deadpanned as he was hit by...grossness. Had he been a human or something similar, this would have been so revolting that HE would be forced to vomit. As it stood, when Constance was on her return trip, he was doing that shockwave roar that Deathclaws do to send the stuff flying off of him. This...may have also jostled the girl in the plastic bubble. He went over to her now and leaned down.

"Constance? Are you alright?"

If Constance's eyes could do those spiral swirly things that one frequently saw in what passed for animated media in the Wastelands, her eyes would have been doing so and there would have probably been a series of miniature Death Claws running around her head as if on parade but since this was a relatively realistic reality here so none of that happened. What did happen was a rather confused looking Constance looking up at her would-be Lizard Man Savior and saying something to the effect of:

"Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh..."

Which probably meant something to the effect of: I'm fine and the test was a complete success... except for the whiplash...

"Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuh uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh"

Which in non-shell shocked English translated to: I should probably make a neck brace... or something... but I didn't feel a thing... except for my brain hitting my skull...

"Muuuuuuuhhhhhhh."

Translation: Thanks!

With those words being said, Constance passed out in the arms of her Chameleon Champion.

Seeing Constance unconscious in Malkos' arms, a small thing in obvious distress, Rath's more primal self, roared back into the for front of his mind, battering against his intellect and self-awareness. Food. Weak. Eat. Hunger. Food...No! I am more that my instincts... Without realizing it, his lips began to curl into a snarl, and his fingers and toes flexed, the claws starting to score the ground beneath him.

Staring at the duo before him, his eyes locked on the other Deathclaw. Rival. Kill. Eat. Hunger. Food. Hunger. Maintaining control was getting harder and harder; pressing his hand against the floor, he bowed his head and scrunched his eyes shut as if to try and shut out the noises in his head. Hunger. Now. Feed. Kill. Hunger. Rival. Kill. Feed. Hunger.

[I am not what they made, I am Rath, I help, I protect.] He 'whispered' the words like a mantra. [I am not what they made, I am Rath, I help, I protect.] Repeating them over and over again, trying to maintain control over a body that just wanted to rend and destroy; the stocky lizard hybrid seemed to contract in on himself, as if trying to separate himself from the world around him, the whole while repeating his mantra.

Given that Constance appeared to be in bad health and probably in need of a medic, he was probably going to have to take her to the strange one with the weird helmet who had rarely been outside of (Her?) suit. However, he paused. Rath was muttering something in his brain, in ALL brains around, that was familiar to him. His brood were all talkers, with him being the most naturally-born into it. Some, however, were like this. They had to struggle against instincts, because they weren't born thinkers. They had to be taught to think more carefully, and a Deathclaw's instincts were strong. Fortunately, Deathclaws do not kill other Deathclaws. They may fight over territory or food, but Rath would never kill him. However, he needed to convince him - his instincts - that Constance was not food.

"No, not food. The horned lady said to protect her. She smelled of Matriarch. She must be followed. I need to find this Matriarch, but for now...no eating humans here. After all, I got the Sylphys to stop eating Deathclaw."

Which was important, when you think about it. So, with that, Malkos was taking Constance over to our Follower of the Atom medical worker for umm...uhh...everything?

He hadn't realized he'd been speaking 'out loud', nor did he consciously even hear Malkos' reply; but still the words got through to him. Not food, protect...like Sam, like Roger. Protect. Guard. Defend. He repeated those words to himself, pushing his instincts back. I am more than just a mindless killer. Opening his eyes, he stretched slowly to his full height; in reality this 'attack' had not lasted very long, they never did, but it felt like it had been an eternity.

Malkos was already moving off, taking poor Miss Constance to the other humans, so they could help her. Rath easily caught up, and in an oddly human gesture, places a hand lightly on Malkos' shoulder as he did. [Thank you for that...] He said with a sigh, blowing a cloud of dust off some ancient lockers. [It's been awhile since it got that bad.] What he really wanted to do was go out and hunt something, that always did wonders after something like that; but with Megaton being so close he was leery about venturing about too much.

For the moment, Malkos just nodded at Rath as he continued. He wasn't sure why the strange woman wanted her to look after this girl, still, but she seemed decent enough. Following his nose to the area of Dr. Sorenson, Malkos uhh...handed her Constance.

"Constance will need some attention for testing a suit made for the Sylphys on herself."

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

Meanwhile, that'd been quite a ruckus there, involving Abe and his robot, Tracy on the outside waiting for his service. Funny, though. You'd think the robot - a Securitron, no less - wouldn't have any trouble eradicating those little insect bastards quickly. Where'd they come from, anyway? They hadn't been outside? Underneath the floor maybe? Well...that rumbling sound seemed to agree. It'd been subtle, at first, but then uhh...Abe's whole entire property umm...began to rise? Big black legs came out of the ground, and a giant insect - a Colossal RadRoach - began to walk in a westerly direction. This is not a drug trip! I repeat! You ARE seeing this happen!

Oh, and there was a swarm of Rad-Bats overhead for some reason! Welcome to the Wild Wasteland, folks!

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