The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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Much like Sylphee's happiness, William's aggression was infectious and had served to stir up a certain rage inside her as well.

Lucy cradled an unconscious Sylph in a tight grip that faltered as she started shaking in anger. From her perspective and the observation of William's actions, that wild gunfire earlier was responsible for bringing the crumbling wall down upon Sylph.

It was one thing to be reckless - ?

"I'm alright." the low register of the nearby whisper indicated that Sylph had emerged.

Rising with Sylph at her side, Lucy grit her teeth as she watched the savage beatdown that Johnny received and the unstable madness that Johnny had openly displayed.

"I have half a mind to go up there myself and shove this rifle up Johnny's ass!" Lucy shouted, vocalising her thoughts more to herself than anything else. "I don't care who he is to you, Sylph..."

Lucy turned her eye on the Recovering Menace next to her, Lucy's expression was a conflict of outrage and concern.

"It's one thing to be reckless." Lucy growled while raising her own injured hand. "But you cross the line when you can barely control yourself..." Lucy furiously pointed at Johnny with her rifle, "...and make yourself a threat to everyone around you!" clenching her fist to emphasise her point.

It was clear that she couldn't leave - no, she couldn't leave Sylph - not like this, not in these conditions, not without someone looking out for her. Enclave be damned! It was a hell of a lot better than being surrounded by an unstable man hosting a demon or a elderly women with questionable motives regarding the 'possession' of Sylph.

"I was going to leave you, Sylph. Leave the group..." Lucy hesitated as she wrung her hands anxiously, "Staying around me is dangerous. But for your sake, these people might be even worse...w-would you come with me?"

Resting her hand on Sylph's shoulder for a moment, Lucy walked over to the Catgirl that she had largely ignored in her emotional rage earlier. Perhaps leaving Sylph to mull over her thoughts might be ideal.


DC Wastelands: Campsite

Lucy turned around and found a nearby campsite presumably prepared by the Catgirl.

"Um... excuse me... do any of you know how to make a fire?"

Lucy had snapped at the girl earlier, she was feeling apologetic and she did need the distraction.

"H-Hey there, maybe I can help with that - "

Alice had approached her and the Catgirl and offered her help with making a fire. Content with Alice taking charge, Lucy decided to follow Alice's example to collect some of the ruined books in order to aid Alice's effort. It felt strange to burn books, considering her affinity for reading back in the day.

"I have to go. Take care of yourselves."

Once the work was done, mostly spearheaded by Alice's expertise, Lucy came back with a few books in hand to feed the fire.
Lucy nodded respectfully at Alice, "Take care of yourself, Alice. And thank you for everything."

It was sad to see Alice go, but she seemed like a woman with a purpose. Not unlike herself, Lucy could relate and didn't stop her. She merely wished for the best.

Lucy directed her attention back at the Catgirl, the firepit and new feed of books she had scrounged up. She had an idea to create another heat source.

"Invert Controls: The Beast!"

Painfully, Lucy allowed the rifle to release a few bursts of steam through the restraint bolts that had emerged from the exposed innards. With the internal components creating noise while it revved and superheated the gauss bolt in preparation for fire, her rifle practically growled for release.

"Disengage!"

Once the steam burnt pain grew too much Lucy's operating hand she disengaged the alternate fire, quickly flicked open the ammunition port and tipped the glowing superheated bolt into the fire pit. The flame grew steadier as the heated bolt fed on the new books.

Tired from the physical toll that Beast Mode took upon her, Lucy sat down across from the Catgirl, tending to her hand with the miracle salve. Frustrated and more than a little sore, Lucy's pain was unmasked, but she tried to be polite for the sake of conversation. "I thought I might contribute as well. I'm Lucy for the record - ...not whatever the hell my sister sometimes calls me. And you are?"

The Thorns were tending to what little business they had, conversing, telling amusing anecdotes, and dirty jokes. Such was guard duty for Megaton.
Jake was going cataloging the Lone Wanderer's old stuff and identifying what needed to be fixed. Moe was hauling the stuff that needed to be fixed over to the workbench where Sam was fixing them. John was fiddling with the radio in order to get Galaxy News Radio to come through clearly.
Jake: "..."Any day except Thursday." So the Initiate asks "Why not Thursday?" to which the Elder responds "Thursday's your turn in the crate."
Moe: "In the version I heard, it's a merc group instead of the Brotherhood.
Sam: "Dirty jokes transcend setting."
Moe: "I've got one. So there's three Mirelurks in a pond. A guy walks up to them. "What are you doing?" The first Mirelurk says "I'm just sitting here blowing bubbles." The second Mirelurk says-"
Suddenly a tall lanky young man opened the door.
Chuck: "Hello...?"
Jake: "Hello, can we help you?"

Despite the seemingly incongruous nature of the group, it seemed that there were still surprises to be had. Being a fanatic of all things Enclave and Enclave related, Constance was surprised to find a member of this particular brand of strangeness in possession of Enclave Technology, even if the program was scrapped long ago. There were a number of possibilities were not limited to Constance's top three possible conclusions: One: This woman was an Enclave Deserter and should be brought to Enclave justice as soon as possible. Two: This woman was a member of the Enclave Asset program from which Constance had recently found herself to be a beneficiary of. Three: This woman stole this piece of classified Enclave Technology.

Sensing that the woman who was called Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy by Sylph had started the fire, Constance held her hands out to gauge her distance away from and intensity of the newly birthed campfire. Despite the fact that Constance could read every letter etched on the Young Woman's Gauss Rifle, she could not see the flames of the fire.

"I thought I might contribute as well. I'm Lucy for the record - ...not whatever the hell my sister sometimes calls me. And you are?" Said the young woman politely.

"I'm Constance... Constance Sorrowfeld." The Young American Enclave Scout of America responded with a smile, glad that she was still wearing the pilfered Junior Brotherhood Scout of Steel uniform. Given that two of the conclusions that she had reached favored Lucy as being non-Enclave affiliated, it was safer not to reveal too much information in their introductions.

"That's quite the Gauss Rifle you have there. I've never seen anything like it." Constance added as she kept one ear focused on Lucy while the other one checked on the others. It appeared that "Daddy Johnny Shakes" "Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar" and "Mommy Meryl Barrel" remained on the periphery of the camp doing whatever they needed to in preparation for beating a hasty retreat from Talon Company at first light.

"And it looks like, given your friends, that you all have quite the story." Scout Sorrowfeld added, hoping that she was making her attempt to gather more information on the group much less obvious than how it sounded in her mind. Hoping to dispel any suspicions that the group had about her, Constance added a quick apology in regards to her behavior.

"Sorry about call you and your friends a circus freak show, it's ... it's been a really long day."

Looking into the room, Charlie counted four men either sitting or standing within. Taking in what they were wearing and all the gear and junk scattered around, Charlie's breath caught in his throat and his eyes widened until they resembled saucer dishes.

"Power armor? Check. Strange looking guns? Check. Various other explosives and supplies? Check. Look of professional soldiers? Check. Holy crap... THEY MUST BE BROTHERHOOD TROOPS! This is too good to be true!"

"Hello, can we help you?"

Giving his head a quick shake to clear his thoughts, Charlie doffed his cap and looked at the man who had spoken.

"H-Hello Sir! My name's Charlie Cannon and I heard from Mr Hatchet that you were in here. I've actually kinda been looking for the Brotherhood you see, although I didn't expect to find you in Megaton of all places. Anyway, what I wanted to ask was..."

At that moment, Charlie stepped through the door to allow it to swing shut behind him. In his nervousness however, he got his feet tangled and tripped over, falling flat on his face for the second time today. One of his homemade dynamite sticks was shaken free from his pack, and it rolled out and along the floor until it came to rest up against a table leg.

"Oops."

Marlon laughed. "I got nothing against ghouls. From a business point of view, it's kind of stupid to anyway. They're gonna last longer than a lotta human customers. 'sides, you don't get too picky about who you sell to if you wanna actually make money. That's bad biz."

He settled back into his seat to gaze out the window as they motored along towards Rivet City. Morgan Bloom huh? Sounded promising. He'd need to make sure it was. With any luck his views on business were more in line with Marlon's and a little less in line with his family's way of doing things. It was pretty obvious that Bloom was the top cat around here and if he went to the same school as Ma' Van Graff it didn't look like it was going to be a very fruitful encounter. Still, given that the Brotherhood seemed to think he was decent enough to not take out, maybe he had nothing to worry about.

And then there was Rivet City itself. What he'd heard about it sounded pretty impressive. An old warship made into a fortified town? This he had to see.

The young man appeared to be frothing with barely contained childlike glee.
John came down from upstairs as the young man removed his hat.
John: "All the fiddling I did with the radio did nothing. I think it's something on their end."
Charles: "H-Hello Sir! My name's Charlie Cannon and I heard from Mr Hatchet that you were in here. I've actually kinda been looking for the Brotherhood you see, although I didn't expect to find you in Megaton of all places. Anyway, what I wanted to ask was..."
The young man stepped into the house as he spoke, and the door hit him on the ass, knocking him over.
As he fell, a stick of dynamite rolled out from his person.
Moe, John, Jake, and Sam: "SHIT!"
John threw himself on top of the explosive, while Moe threw himself on top of the boy, both to protect him from the explosion, and to prevent him from escaping should it turn out to be intentional.
Granted this would be quite unpleasant for the boy considering that as their melee specialist, Moe was already a very large man, and a T-45D was 170 pounds.
...
...Nothing.
John and Moe got up.
Moe: "You all right?"
Moe helped the young man up.

The D.C. Wastelands: A Distance Away from Team Lucy

A fair distance away from the makeshift came that His Pet's group had erected, Undertaker Henry McGee observed the group through the feed that his vulture drone sent to his data pad and grinned, at least he would have grinned had his jaw not been replaced with an artificial prosthetic after that incident with his brother. Even then, the Undertaker's sense of vanity forced him to wear a steel mask, shaped to look like a skull, which disappeared into the darkness of the Undertaker's cowl.

He had been watching His Pet's group for some time now and had not acted upon them until moments earlier when he sent one of his Vulture drones into a steep dive and unload a dart towards His Pet's collar before crashing into a portion of a building, causing it to collapse upon His Pet. He had even managed to shift the blame upon his Pet's new master, Johnny Truant. Knowing that now that the choker was damaged, Henry knew that His Pet would come seeking him unless she didn't mind having her companions' blood staining her hands.

For now, he sat back and enjoyed watching as His Pet's master was pummeled by one of very own his companions. It was a shame that one of the newer members had left the group, however, as Henry enjoyed making new acquaintances, as short lived as those tended to be. He guessed that he would have to settle with the young blind girl, an appetizer before the main course that the Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 had asked for him to bury.

But for now, he would wait. Waiting always added to later enjoyment.


The D.C. Wastelands: Campsite

Sylph's stormy blue eyes surveyed the camp unsure of what to do, the same uncertainty that she had felt since she had found herself no longer able to retreat back into the darkness of her mind. She had helped Master(?) Johnny Truant to the camp, unrolling a bedroll for him helping him onto it, the beating that William Knight had given him seemed more severe than it actually was. She had place Mistress(?) Beryl Craw's things out for her, a glass and a bottle of Whiskey that Sylph had found inside her pack.

Walking to the outer reaches of the glow of the campfire, the Red Menace sat and surveyed the terrain that surrounded the camp, looking for the signs that Father was nearby and saw nothing in the fading sunlight. Sighing briefly, she turned to look at the campfire, at Sister Lucy Black and Constance Sorrowfeld, who appeared to be deep in conversation.

Briefly she wondered how long it would be before she had to leave them, before she had to seek Father out.

William stood near the camp, but kept his distance. When the red mist/dust had cleared after the fight with Johnny, there was a tangible tension about the group. William had seen it before, many years ago, when the survivors from his destroyed home had reached crisis point. This could all end soon, everyone could go their separate ways. Thought William, as he looked at each member of the group. They were mostly staying away from each other.

Sylph had put Johnny to bed, an odd sight for anyone, and decided to wander off herself for a bit. William thought she was ready to leave, as if there was some unfinished business waiting somewhere that she had to deal with alone. That gem around her neck is broken, who knows what's going on inside her head? Lucy had said some words about leaving, not to William but he had faintly heard her say something. As for Beryl and Johnny, William didn't know if they would stay or go. Where would they go? I haven't the faintest idea. But they wouldn't be the first people to leave for pastures new without knowing exactly where they were going

What about the newcomer? Where would she go if the group split up? I honestly don't know much about her. William mused, there had been so much going on that he had quite forgotten to say hello. For that matter where will I go? I need to get to Rivet City, or the Citadel and get this collar off. And after that, I don't know?

"Oof!"

The air rushed out of Charlie's lungs as one of the very large and very heavy men jumped on top of him in what appeared to be an attempt to shield him from the non-forthcoming blast. As this happened, another of the paladins had jumped on the unlit explosive.

...

When it was obvious that there was no immediate danger, the two men got up and the one that had nearly crushed Charlie offered him a hand. Charlie gladly accepted it, coughing a little as he stood up.

"You all right?"

"Yea, I'm okay. Feels like I might have a couple bruised ribs, nothing too serious. Oh man, I am so terribly sorry for that, it was completely accidental I assure you. I seem to be developing a habit of making a fool of myself today..."

Charlie quickly bent down and stuffed the dynamite back into his pack. Taking a deep breath, he stood up straight and looked the man who had jumped on him right in the eye.

"Let me start again. My name is Charlie Cannon and I would like to join the Brotherhood of Steel. I was hoping that you would be able to help me with that."

The D.C. Wastelands: Campsite

"That's quite the Gauss Rifle you have there. I've never seen anything like it."

"...Huh?" Lucy responded distantly. "Oh this..." Her eye had stopped darting from person to person.

Today's events had taken a toll on everyone, that much was clear. Any hope of this group happily travelling together was smashed along with Sylph's damaged collar.

"It was a gift from my Father." Lucy responded despondently. There was once a time when the presence of this rifle had torn her family apart. Why did she cling to it?

Lucy turned her eye on the young Constance, now with the fire to illuminate her appearance. Lucy recognised the very familiar Brotherhood insignia patched onto the uniform, what she didn't recognize was the addition of a 'Scout' title stitched under the insignia.

"Since when do The Brotherhood have scouts?" Lucy recalled an image of Gilford's Recon Armour. "You're dressed a little light." Lucy got to the task of reloading her rifle after she let her hand rest.

"And it looks like, given your friends, that you all have quite the story."

"Life outside the Vault is less than ideal, but some of us will make it work." Lucy regarded the rough ground below her. "I'll miss my room and bed though...thanks for letting us rest here for a little bit."

Perhaps it was a combination of fatigue and anxiety, but Lucy chose not to filter her words around the young Brotherhood Scout. The young female would know nothing about the Enclave Vault or the nature of a Gauss Rifle Plus, so it was fairly safe to keep things ambiguous.

Getting to her feet after William had arrived at the corner of the camp. Lucy made her way towards him, momentarily stopping at the injured form of Johnny Truant. Taking one more glance back at the crumpled wall that had injured Sylph. Lucy could only look at Johnny with disgust before she felt the sting of Sylph's physical and emotional distance.

Had she offended Sylph in her rage earlier? Most likely. However, Lucy took the responsibility of being Sylph's guardian. A task that honoured Shifty's final wishes. Could she truly and honestly fulfill such a request? Nobody said it would be easy.

Reaching William, Lucy stopped before him. Extending a tender hand to momentarily rest on his shoulder, Lucy slowly removed her eyepatch under the cover of darkness. It wasn't quite 48 hours yet, but Lucy would endure the pain. With her back to a nearby wall and her new eye out of sight, Lucy spoke up.

"Thank you for fighting for Sylph." Lucy cocked her head slightly to get a better view of Sylph's back turned to her. Sighing heavily, "She probably doesn't see it that way though."

Flexing the fingers on her injured hand, Lucy mentally thanked Alice once more for the miracle salve that had tended to her steam burnt hand.

"I'm thinking about Rivet City and maybe The Citadel. I think I have to clear my name with the B.O.S. and I would really appreciate someone to vouch for me." Clenching her fist, Lucy turned to face William directly.

Unknown to Lucy, William would notice that the iris of Lucy's left eye was now a sharp red in colour. A stark contrast to her right eye's characteristic blue.

"I won't forget what you did for me at that Vault. You saved me." Lucy blinked with clear concern, a little more happy to have the use of two eyes. "Are you okay?"

The D.C. Wastelands: Camp of Team Lucy

Sylph's stormy blue eyes observed the camp from afar from where the Red Menace was perched on the outskirts of the makeshift camp. She saw that both William Knight and Sister Lucy Black appeared to be unsure of what to do next, though the possibility of disappearing in the middle of the night was a possibility. She watched as Sister Lucy Black conversed with the newest member of the group, Constance Sorrowfeld, though her membership was likely temporary given the strangeness that followed the group.

Sitting in and staring into the near blackness, Sylph tried to foresee her future, whether it would be with Master(?) Johnny Truant, Mistress(?) Beryl Craw, Sister Lucy Black, William Knight and Constance Sorrowfeld. It was a fruitful as trying to milk a Death Claw - at least it was until she heard someone or something moving through the darkness.

Was it Talon Company, already here despite assurances to the contrary? No. Whatever was moving out in the darkness was by itself and whatever it was, it seemed to mock her.

"Syyyyylpheeeeee." The voice said as the darkened form shot past her field of vision, "Syyyyyyyylpheeeeeeee."

There was something - familiar - about the voice and about the manner that it moved in the darkness, as if it wasn't trying to hide its position. There was also an irregular pattern to its movements.

*Crunch - cr - crunch - cr - crunch*

Standing up slowly, Sylph waited for the figure to pass once again, ready to pounce.

"Syyyyyyyylph -- SYLPHY!!" It yelled as the Red Menace leaped towards the figure, tackling it to the ground. Whomever it was, The Stormy Blue Eyed Psychopath found that it was human as she started pummeling away at its face, her wrist blade still jammed from earlier.

"SYLP-" *CRACK!* "SYLPH-" *THUD!* "SYL-" *POW!*

Sensing that the person was dazed but conscious, Sylph stopped, her curiosity forcing her to cease her assault. How did this person know who she was and why did this person seem so familiar to Sylph?

Dragging the figure into the light of the campfire, Sylph noticed that the person was wearing a dress very similar to the one that Sylph had worn prior to the uniform that Sister Lucy Black had given her and had blue hair, very similar to Sylph's own hair and had a face that was identical to Sylph's own.

"Sylphy?" The Doppel-Sylph murmured as she tried to clear her head from the beating she had just received, sitting up slowly while Sylph stood in the light of the campfire, too stunned to move.

"SYLPHY!!!!" The Doppel-Sylph yelled as she tackled and hugged Sylph in an all too familiar manner, flinging them into the light of the campfire for all to see.

"SYLPHY!! SYLPHY!! SYLPHY!! SYLPHY!!" The Doppel-Sylph squee'd before spotting the rest of the group and smiling extra extra big for them.


The D.C. Wastelands

Observing the group through the sensors mounted on the high flying Vulture Drone, Henry McGee suppressed a harsh laugh as he watch one of his Clone Pets violently hug his Original Pet. Infiltrating Vault 108 had been a waste of time, the Undertaker reflected as he tucked away his shovel and the bag of Caps that he had collected. Without an original sample of His Pet's DNA, he had been forced to rely on what was more than likely corrupted genetic material resulting in an army of Useless Clone Pets that had spent the entire day launching Raiders, Scavengers and the original inhabitants of Vault 108 out of a School Bus.

Putting his Data Pad away, Henry looked up to admire his handy work. The small detachment of Talon Company had only been a scout group for the main group that was headed towards His Pet's location. Killing them would delay the main group for a few additional hours but it would hopefully allow His Pet's group to get to safety, not that he cared for their well-being of course, he would have preferred eliminating them himself.

Marlon laughed. "I got nothing against ghouls. From a business point of view, it's kind of stupid to anyway. They're gonna last longer than a lotta human customers. 'sides, you don't get too picky about who you sell to if you wanna actually make money. That's bad biz."
Danielle had conflicting feelings on ghouls. She had met many ghouls. Most of them were perfectly nice people, but they were also smelly and radioactive. Some of them were assholes, but the same could be said about almost every group. Danielle tried not to treat ghouls differently, but she did try to limit her exposure to them.
"When we get to Rivet City, you might want to procure some apparel that doesn't have your family crest on it. We're going to be attempting a negotiation with the Outcasts later, and one group of people they hate at the negotiation is already going to be problematic."
The truck stopped, and the back-gate to the trailer opened.
"We're here."
They got out and walked up to where the bridge used to be.
"So now what?"
Two of the men in construction power-armor threw another man in construction power armor across the gap.
"Well, you can wait several hours for us to fix the bridge, or you can get tossed over. The choice is yours."
Danielle turned to Marlon.
"How do you feel about being tossed?"
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Charles: "Yeah, I'm okay. Feels like I might have a couple bruised ribs, nothing too serious. Oh man, I am so terribly sorry for that, it was completely accidental I assure you. I seem to be developing a habit of making a fool of myself today..."
Charlie quickly bent down and stuffed the dynamite back into his pack. Taking a deep breath, he stood up straight and looked the man who had jumped on him right in the eye.
"Let me start again. My name is Charlie Cannon and I would like to join the Brotherhood of Steel. I was hoping that you would be able to help me with that."
Jake: "We take most anyone who's at least semi-competent. The catch is that you have to go to the Citadel to join. We're not going there any time soon. The trip's bound to take you past some raiders and mutants though, plus wildlife is always a factor, and there might be run-ins with Enclave troops."
Sam: "You could always tag along with a water caravan, they'd take you pretty close."
John: "You didn't hear? ...Of course you didn't, you were unconscious when we got the news. Rivet City was under heavy siege by behemoths. We ran the caravan together with Rivet City security, so I doubt water caravans are coming by anytime soon."
Sam: "Well that's problematic."
Moe: "You could always find a trade-caravan to tag along with. Assuming they'll take you. Should bring you relatively close to the Citadel. You could also hire an armed escort if you're particularly wealthy, but judging from your attire, I don't think that's an option."
Jake: "However you decide to get there, it's almost directly south-east of here. It's a big pentagonal fortress. If you're crossed a river, you've gone too far east. But as we've already said, they won't take you if you're incompetent. Do you have any skills?"
Jake had no desire to know if this young man could sing, dance, farm, juggle, wiggle his ears, or list pre-war state capitols.
Jake: "...Specifically; useful ones."

Do you have any skills? ...Specifically; useful ones."

"Well I'm no slouch in a fight, I can take care of myself. This machete here got some use when a couple of thugs tried to mug me a few days ago, let's just say I think they'll think twice about attacking a random stranger next time. My real specialty however is explosives. I love to experiment and come up with my own designs, like that dynamite I, uh, happened to drop just then. I basically just put them together from whatever I can find, but they're pretty effective.

I am certain I could be useful to you guys, all I ask is for a chance. I would be the most dedicated, hard-working trainee you ever had!"

Even though he was trying to appear serious on the outside, internally Charlie was singing with joy. He had a chance! Now all he had to do was get to the Citadel. Although from the sounds of it that might be a bit trickier then the journey to Megaton had been.

"Is the trip from here to the Citadel really that bad? I'd prefer to get going sooner rather than later, but I'd rather get there in one piece if you know what I mean..."

Chuck: "Well I'm no slouch in a fight, I can take care of myself. This machete here got some use when a couple of thugs tried to mug me a few days ago, let's just say I think they'll think twice about attacking a random stranger next time. My real specialty however is explosives. I love to experiment and come up with my own designs, like that dynamite I, uh, happened to drop just then. I basically just put them together from whatever I can find, but they're pretty effective."
John: "I love explosives! You'll have to show me before you go."
Chuck: "I am certain I could be useful to you guys, all I ask is for a chance. I would be the most dedicated, hard-working trainee you ever had!"
Sam: "I'm sure you could, but again; we're not in charge of recruiting."
The young man was trying his best to maintain a serious facade, but was frothing with barely contained glee.
Chuck: "Is the trip from here to the Citadel really that bad? I'd prefer to get going sooner rather than later, but I'd rather get there in one piece if you know what I mean..."
Moe: "Well obviously. Nobody sane enjoys dying or grievous injury."
Jake: "The problem is that the area around the Citadel is quite a bit more urban. Lots of places for raiders to ambush you, lots of fortified positions to be attacked from. The rest of the wasteland is flat empty plains and hills, you'll see any threat coming out there. Plus there's the Super Mutants. They're pretty heavily concentrated in DC. We've been bogged down in urban warfare with them for years."
John: "Your most likely bet is to wait in front of the gates for a trade caravan, and ask them to tag along for a bit. I'm sure they wouldn't mind the extra set of hands."

"I love explosives! You'll have to show me before you go."

"Yea definitely! I'd be honoured to show you."

"Your most likely bet is to wait in front of the gates for a trade caravan, and ask them to tag along for a bit. I'm sure they wouldn't mind the extra set of hands."

"I guess I'm stuck here for a while then. If things are as bad as you are saying I don't think many caravans will be moving through the area in the near future."

Charlie was a little disheartened by this turn of events, but the prospect of showing off his creations cheered him up a little. Grabbing several out of his pack and strewing them on the nearby bench he began rambling as he described them to the interested Paladin.

"This one I couldn't find enough bottle caps to fill it, so I replaced them with..."

Oh, right. Yeah. The Van Graff crest. Danielle was right. That could cause issue with the Outcasts, mad bastards that they were. It'd been hard enough getting on decent terms with the brotherhood as it was and while he would love to see some outcast scum get fried six ways to sunday, now was sadly not the appropriate time to antagonise them. Not while the Enclave was still looming.

But before he'd be able to pick up any new clothing and look marginally less offensive to a group who hated or was at best dismissive of anyone who wasn't them, there was the problem of the bridge into the city.

"Well now, so long as I get there in a state where all my parts are still working and there's no splatter on the decks, I can deal with being tossed." he replied to Danielle's query. He wanted to get in there posthaste as well. And hell, this ship was pretty impressive looking for someting the capital wasteland and its more significant wholesale destruction than back home in Nevada.

Wait a tick though.

"We are still talking about crossing the bridge right?" He smirked. "Almost sounded like that could've been another one of your pick up lines."

Chuck: "Yea definitely! I'd be honored to show you."
The boy was clearly upset at the problematic nature of venturing through the wastes.
Chuck "I guess I'm stuck here for a while then. If things are as bad as you are saying I don't think many caravans will be moving through the area in the near future."
The boy sat down at the workbench where he began to show his work.
Chuck: "This one I couldn't find enough bottle caps to fill it, so I replaced them with..."
John: "...So the fuse... ...blast yield... ...or it will end up going off for no reason..."
While Johnathon and Charles talked shop, Jake motioned the other Thorns over.
Jake: "So I was thinking..."
...
John: "...So we've got the raider boss tied up over a table and he said "You can't get me to talk!" so I slid a grenade up his ass and said "This is a model 0531 incendiary grenade. You can tell by the cylindrical shape, and the distinct pin and lever." I then pulled the pin out and watched as he clenched the lever with all his might. After about a minute he told me where his gang was keeping the leader of my trade caravan and the captured Brotherhood Initiates. So I start heading off to where they're being held, and the Paladin asks "What you're just going to leave him like that?" and I say "Oh, don't worry; it's just a flash-bang." Upon hearing this news, the raider un-clenched, only to suddenly explode in a fiery blaze. It would seem I was wrong, and it was incendiary. It was an honest mistake, as incendiary grenades are shaped very similarly to flash-bangs. ...So I told him "Rectum? I killed 'em!" and that was how I joined the Brotherhood."
Jake: "We've been talking, and while you could wait for a trade caravan bound for Rivet City once the situation there is mopped up, we've devised a way to determine if you're Brotherhood material, and get you to the Citadel. We'll kit you out with some supplies that are stashed here, and you'll head out solo. If can't make it to the Citadel with what we're giving you, then you're not qualified to handle life in the Brotherhood. Hence why we've decided to give you the following from if you agree:
1 Suit of combat armor. You'll need protection if you want to survive a firefight.
1 Combat armor helmet.
1 Laser Pistol. You'll need a firearm, and since you're good with explosives, it's useful for remotely detonating them. There's no dropoff, and you don't need to take wind into consideration. It doesn't have much punch though, so you're not going to do much to anyone in combat armor or better.
150 energy cells for said laser pistol. That's five magazines. Should be far more than enough to make the trip.
20 stimpacks. If you get shot up so much that you need more than 10 without special circumstances like Enclave patrols or Behemoths, you probably won't be able to survive life in the Brotherhood.
3 Stealth boys. If you encounter the Enclave, or Super Mutant Behemoths, just use them to disappear and book it out of there.
10 Frag mines.
20 Frag Grenades.
1 pair of sunglasses that were labeled "Lucky".
1 8 ball that was labeled "Lucky". Apparently the guy who lived here in addition to being a serious hoarder really enjoyed using a label-maker.
1 Pre-war map. I've labeled Megaton and the Citadel on it for you, and even drawn you a few of the best paths.
1 Compass. What good is a map if you don't know what direction you're going?
So what do you say?"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Well now, so long as I get there in a state where all my parts are still working and there's no splatter on the decks, I can deal with being tossed."
The Bloom worker chimed in.
"My friends on the other side will catch you. It won't be comfy, but you won't be seriously hurt.
"We are still talking about crossing the bridge right?" He smirked. "Almost sounded like that could've been another one of your pick up lines."
"My innuendos are never that bad! Now let's go."
Danielle was the first to be thrown. It was an odd sensation, but she was thrown as if she weighed almost nothing to them. Other than the uncomfortable landing, it was kind of fun.
"Your turn Marlon!"

..."Rectum? I killed 'em!" and that was how I joined the Brotherhood."

When John finished his story, Charlie burst out laughing, so much so that he almost fell off his stool.

"Oh man, that is the funniest thing I've heard all week! Must have been a beautiful sight to see."

Still giggling a little, Charlie looked up as the other Paladins came over to the bench. His mirth faded as he listened intently to what they were saying.

"So what do you say?"

"That sounds gosh darn wonderful to me! That's extremely generous of you, thank you so much. I'm sure I can get there with all of these, I'll put them to good use, I assure you."

This really was turning out to be the best day of Charlie's life. Sorting through all of the gear he had been donated, he couldn't help but grin as he marveled at the quality of it all. He stripped down quickly and donned the combat armour and helmet, which fit surprisingly well. He stuffed the map, compass and glasses into pockets, put some grenades and ammo into the attached pouches and strapped the laser pistol holster to his hip. The rest went into his (now bulging) pack.

"No one will be able to touch me with all of this, hehe! As long as I don't shoot myself in the foot with this pistol, I might need to practice a bit with that. I'll grab some food and water for the trip and then I can set off!"

All kitted out and ready to go, Charlie got up and shouldered his pack. Walking to the door, he turned to face the Paladins.

"Thank you guys so much for this, I really appreciate it. Hopefully next time we meet I'll be one of you! Catch ya later."


Outside of Megaton:

The sun was setting as Charlie walked along the road, compass in hand. Spying what looked like an abandoned shack about a hundred metres off the road, Charlie went to check it out. Finding it unoccupied, he sat down and began preparing some dinner, intending to spend the night.

"Best. Day. Ever."

Lucy had approached William, laying out her plans for the next few days. Rivet City and the Citadel would be ideal, William was sure to find someone who could help him get the collar off and delivering the data he had stolen would finish his business with the Brotherhood of Steel. Do I really want to call an end to that? I can't ignore the Enclave anymore, not now I've seen what they can do.

Lucy looked at William, he saw mismatched eyes of sapphire and ruby stare at him. The effect was odd to say the least and William wondered how well Lucy could see out of her damaged eye. Then she asked the last question William wanted to hear.

"Are you okay?"

William suddenly became very aware of his legs, as if he had forgotten how to stand up and was having to concentrate fully on something so simple. He looked at Lucy and looked away again, he didn't have a proper answer for this, "I don't know, I just don't know any more because what's happening right now has happened to me before. The fights and close calls take their toll and I think this group might split up." William declined to say he had considered leaving before that happened.

"I think we need to wait until morning, then decide what to do. We all need the sleep after a hectic day." Before William or Lucy could say another word, something threw Sylph into the light of the fire. Not again. Not after today.

==========================================

Dudley snoozes on a chair.

"No not the rabbits! NOT THE RABBITS!!!" Screamed Dudley as he tried to run from Enclave soldiers armed with Rock-It Launchers. Dudley had seen these contraptions before, they fired absolutely anything you could get your hands on and turned a scrap heap into an ammunition supply.

Dudley was in the middle of the DC Scrapyard and was being slowly corralled into a corner. Enclave soldiers tore chunks of twisted metal off the hunks of junk that littered the place and fired them in all directions, but mostly at the feet of Dudley to make him move. The squad leader was the only one aiming at Dudley and he was loading quite a different bit of ammunition into his Rock-It Launcher: Rabbit toys.

Suddenly Dudley backed into a pile of cars too high to climb over, there was no escape. The entire Enclave squad blocked any way out and advanced on him. Each one shot Dudley with a stuffed rabbit toy and he put his arms up to defend himself.

"Hold him down!" Ordered the Enclave Squad Leader, and four soldiers sprang into action. Two grabbed the arms Dudley had raised to defend himself and pinned him to the ground. The other two got his legs to stop him from kicking. Dudley writhed and squirmed all he could, but to no avail. The squad leader put his power armoured boot on Dudley's chest and pointed the Rock-It Launcher at his face before speaking, "I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six rabbits, or only five? Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I've kind of lost track myself. But being this is a Plush-Co toy rabbit, the most cuddly stuffed animal in the world, and would blow your head clean off you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well do you punk?" Before Dudley could do anything the soldier holding down his left leg pointed something out.

"Hang on sir, the Rock-It Launcher is single shot only, you've been reloading after every shot. We all have."

"Dammit #334 I know that! I was just trying a line out, I saw something cool the other day and I wanted to have a go mysel- you know what? Forget it, moment's gone anyway. Damn #334 you had to ruin this for me didn't you, I still hadn't forgiven you for getting me that awful birthday present. Who wants a stupid snowglobe collection these days? Those things are worthless." Said the squad leader, unaware that certain individuals would pay good caps for his collection.

"Al-alright sir, I'll get you something nicer next year." Said #334, who sounded very upset because finding all of those snowglobes had taken him days.

"Yeah you'd better, what were we doing again? I was totally going somewhere with this. Oh right, Do you feel lucky punk?" Barked the squad leader, pressing his Rock-It Launcher against Dudley's chin. The squad leader loaded his last rabbit toy into the Rock-It Launcher, "Sayonara sweetheart." His finger squeezed the trigger and time seemed to slow down to a halt, Dudley could hear the rabbit speeding towards his face, then he could see it coming closer, its little face got nearer and nearer.

*THUNK-SSSSHHH!!!!*

Dudley pitched backwards in a chair he had been snoozing on in the Citadel and it gave way under him, he toppled onto the floor and as he sat their dazed but out of dreamland barely a few words escaped his lips, "Mommy, I want a snowglobe collection."

Chuck: "Thank you guys so much for this, I really appreciate it. Hopefully next time we meet I'll be one of you! Catch ya later."
John: "I hope you have a safe, uneventful trip."
Moe: "Stay away from anything glowing, assume it's radioactive."
Sam: "Assume every doorway is trapped."
Jake: "Good luck."
And with that Charles Cannon left the former home of the Lone Wanderer.
John: "That was quite a bit of stuff you gave him."
Jake: "We can spare it. You were screwing with the radio when I did inventory, but this place is stacked. We've got hundreds of stealth boys, thousands of medical supplies, enough ammo and power-cells to arm a very trigger-happy army, lots of armor, and an irresponsibly large stash of explosives. The robot took the spare parts though."
John: "Well that's comforting. What odds would you give the kid on making it to the Citadel?"
Jake: "Before this Enclave business? 75%. Now? 66.6%.
John: "I'd probably give him 80% now. The boy knew quite a bit about making things go boom, and he made it here unscathed."
Moe: "I hope so. He seemed like a good kid.

Good enough for Danielle, good enough for him.

Marlon allowed the construction worker to toss him across the gap to the other side where Danielle and the potential market of Rivet City waited.

True to the worker's word, it wasn't comfy, but he'd be lying if he said he didn't enjoy the ride, even if the landing was a bit jarring. Brushing himself off after touchdown. "Well...we made it here easy enough. What's our next move, chat to the powers that be on this tub and pick me up some new duds so I'm not wearing a big lion emblem when we speak to the tinheads?"

He looked around a little. It was a good view from up here and the hull seemed sturdy for the most part. A shame there was such a big split down the middle though...if it could be repaired, ooh, the possibilities. Something to consider maybe when he got his business up and running. Of course, he'd surely need the backing of Mr. Bloom for that. Looks like construction was his bag. Which'd make sense given he seemed to be THE business man of DC.

Marlon smiled. He was looking forward to meeting him.

Marlon was thrown relatively safely, followed by the B-Thorns.
"Well...we made it here easy enough. What's our next move, chat to the powers that be on this tub and pick me up some new duds so I'm not wearing a big lion emblem when we speak to the tinheads?"
"That's the plan."
And with that, they entered Rivet City, Marlon with a smile plastered on his face, and Danielle without a readable expression because of the helmet.

"Father Crawver! This is a sign! Surely our sufferings are at an end!"

"..."

"Father...father Crawver?"

"...My son, did I ever tell you that with faith comes the testing of faith?"

"..."

"It heavies my heart to disappoint you, my son."

"Perhaps our sufferings end here, our faith unrewarded."

"Now, now. No need for sorrow, my son. We do not have faith for to be rewarded."

"but...but what are we to do?"

"...We shall pray."

"Children! A trying hour is upon us! Let us pray. Come unto me and bow in prayer. You too, Abraham."

"..."

"Father! I feel his gaze upon my back! I...I..."

"Father! She collapsed!"

"Leave her! Do not interrupt the prayer!"

*recording ends*

[Flashback]Frank had arrived in BloomBurg.
This place was somewhat more alien to Frank than Rivet City, and he didn't know many people nearby, but Rivet City had grown uncomfortable. He'd miss his friends there, he'd miss being near his friends in the Brotherhood, and he'd certainly miss Gabrielle, but he couldn't stay after Victor's death.
"We've arrived. I'll see about getting you some lodging and a place to work."
"Thank you."
"Feel free to look around. It shouldn't be a problem to find you once everything's set up."
And with that, the Bloom worker set off on her errand.
It wasn't long before Frank found something that caught his interest; people in construction armor arm-wrestling.
[Perception]On the table the pair were arm-wrestling on was a pile of paper. It looked kind of like pre-war money, but somewhat different.
Frank recognized some of the faces on the bills. Morgan Bloom was on the ones labeled 100 and Colonel Christine Finn (The founder of the pre-war security company that would become the Fat Cats) was on the twenty.
"What's with the papers?"
The winner of the match responded as he gathered up said paper.
"Bloom-Bucks. Bloom wanted to try and standardize a currency he could control. Every business here is required to accept them, and we get half our pay in it, but nobody outside of here takes it, so we mostly just use it between us."
"Can I have a try at arm-wrestling even if I can't bet on it?"
"Don't see why not."
The worker who lost got up, and gave his chair to Frank.
Frank sat down and locked hands.
[Strength]While Frank was quite strong, people in construction armor could lift a car with only moderate effort, and Frank was thoroughly defeated.
[Perception]The sensation was different than arm-wrestling someone in the T-series. It was a relatively even, constant force, without the subtle inconsistencies of the T-series. Most likely due to the fact that this was all-servo as opposed to a synthesis of the strength of the wearer and the strength of the armor.
"Impressive. How do you feel about regular wrestling in that stuff?"
"Worth a try."
"If I were to gamble, what's the exchange rate for caps to Bloom-Bucks?
"We usually go 10 bucks to a cap, but I'm feeling sporting so I'll give you 2-1 odds in my favor."
"100 caps says I win."
Frank and the Bloom worker found a good place and locked up.
[Second Skin]While the Bloom worker was distinctly stronger than Frank, Frank was significantly more mobile in his armor. He flowed around him, and before the Bloom worker knew what was happening he was pinned.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By the time the Bloom worker Frank came in with had made all the arrangements and found Frank, Frank had a sizable stack of Bloom-Bucks.
[/Flashback]

The warship? Fuck it, it was sinking by now. Any crew not currently being eaten by Vorn were jumping ship...which may not have been the best of ideas, considering how many irradiated sea creatures their might've been. Let's just say some giant sharks would be glowing tonight. Still, they weren't doing enough damage to this thing, and Jack personally couldn't bring the heavy guns to bear on it for some reason. Or could he? He decided to make a call...

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

And now, the full Frank VS Scott fight, in all its awesome glory.

At the speed he was dropping, it was hard for Frank to tell where exactly he hit. It was somewhere centered, though. He knew that, because the moon buggy flew apart around him as both he and the black powersuit were thrown into a tumble a marginal distance away from their personal goals, that being the rubble pile containing the MGB. FalloutScott tumbled farther because of the way the seat flew out and parts of the buggy were scattered forward-ish. The rocket engine was separated from its fuel source and both of those landed not too far from either of them. Scott's Rage-type spider drones were lighter and flung a bit farther, left and right of Scott's position as the two men got up with enough space in between them to be just inside normal speaking range. Scott looked back at what hit him, a custom-made Brotherhood Paladin who was also recovering from the crash. The black-with-yellow-highlights Enclave engineer was not pleased.

FalloutScott: Ack! Frank Rose, hell an' damnation to all things vehicular! I might've known!

"...You've heard of me?"

(Scott's Uber-Sledge, the nastier version of the super sledge, rested at his shoulder now.)

FalloutScott: Aye, I read the reports. Ya think you could leave maybe a wee tricycle intact in the wasteland, laddie?

"I despise tricycles. You learn to ride a bike by falling off it. training wheels are for chumps! Nobody gets through life Scott-free."

The Scott-man tilted his head now.

FalloutScott: Wait, YOU heard of ME?

Beat. What? Frank was confuzzled now. Somehow, they who wear powersuits can convey this to others with powersuits, at least.

"I've never heard of you."

[Perception]The man had highlights to his armor, like boob and schmuck. This man's were yellow as opposed to Boob's orange, and schmuck's blue.

"Are you affiliated with FalloutBoob and Schmuck perchance?"

FalloutScott: Oh, so ya go out callin' me by name with a proper look at me armor, and ya wonder who I work with! The name's Scotty McLaylen, Fallout Sector's top engineer in the Enclave, ya dafty! Yer Brotherhood's been away from the 'clave so long that you've forgotten simple obvious things!

"I never mentioned your name. Or if I did it was coincidental. You could be named "And" or "The" it's not my place to judge. My parents gave me the middle name "Danger" after all."

FalloutScott: Should've tried 'Vehicular Homicide' Rose. Seems ta' fit. Whaddya want, with yer fallin'-outta'-the-sky-and-hittin'-mah-ride, then?

"I interrupted a very important errand regarding a large robot to deal with you, so I'd appreciate it if you'd just comply and I could let you live."

"1. Are you responsible for the lunar robots?"
"1.5: If so, could you kindly shut it down?"

FalloutScott: It's funny ya mention errands, on account of the one I was gettin' to. So, to put simply, laddie: {1} Aye, I did that. {2} Learn ta' count, ya no-account roughneck. And {3}, not really. I didn't design them for shutdown. I designed 'em ta' be hell for whoever found 'em. Guessing that was your lot, after all. Ya really shouldn't ought to poke yer nose where it doesn't belong.

"Our nose belongs everywhere. I left Boob's crotch looking like a used bannana peel, do you really want to find out what I'll do to you?"

Frank had never seen a real bannana peel, but he'd seen them in cartoons. Scott's giving him a WTF?! look now.

FalloutScott: Ya know, I may have a thick accent, lad, but even I'M having trouble with that one. Boob's crotch? Banana peel? What the fuck are you on?

"FalloutBoob. Orange highlighted armor? Speaks some Espanol? Has a massive dent in his crotch in the shape of my knee? Ringing any bells?"

FalloutScott: Oh, BOB! *Shrugs* He got better.

"I'll have to fix that."

Frank walked over to one of the robots, but of course the Enclave elite had something to say about that.

FalloutScott: I do the fixing 'round here.

Both of the four-legged spider-robots responded by firing on the custom Brotherhood man with AP ammo from miniguns. They had had MORE than enough time to right themselves after the impact and had been waiting on a signal from Scott to open fire. Scott, in the meantime, was dropping out two more and going for the rocket engine now, picking up the fuel source on the way. Frank went to kick down one of the robots and then take a flying leap at Scott, but he only thing he met was a well-placed Uber-Sledge to knock him away. Honestly, he has that hammer for a reason. For the record, an Uber-Sledge is an even-tougher hammer based on an older model Super Sledge with the old sonic gun technology to enhance the hits. Frank was homerunned. The three other drones continued to follow BoS member with gunfire as soon as he was out of the area around Scott, who now reached the rocket engine and appeared to be messing with it. Tinkering... From wherever Frank landed, there was an audible "Ow.", as his armor was raked with minigun fire. He leapt out to pogo-jump on the Scott's drones.

It's a'me, Frankio! Frank crunched spider-drones with his displacer feet, given the fact that such small and convenient minigun-using spiders couldn't be TOO well-armored and act as items in Scott's inventory. Their ammo and power supplies burst underfoot like impromptu mines, and then he went for Scott...who backed up with the rocket engine and fuel source configured in a way that couldn't be good for the receiving end. The man had changed the thrust power into fire-shooting power, and thus a high-powered flamethrower unit was fired at the oncoming Frank! How? Well, you see FalloutScott's main trait is [Miracle Worker], the man with the machine expertise. However...

"HOBOKEN!!"

Frank's plasma fist is made out of spiky plasma pistol parts. Still workable as a trio of plasma pistols, pointed into the interior of the rocket. Past the ignition, where it's full of flammable fuel. Well, kudos to Frank for detonating a large flamethrower device after charging right into the flames and then shoving a hand in there too while naming a city as his attack name. Yes, detonating. The device exploded and threw both of them across the landscape where they pick themselves up for the second time in only a few short moments. Both of their suits would be smoking from the burning, though it was a little less obvious of Scott's because his suit was ALWAYS black.

FalloutScott: Oh, so ya do equipment too? How's it that yer suit even works, ya gremlin?

"Take something that works, attach it to something else that works. It's my central design philosophy."

FalloutScott: Aye, and it's not bad at that, but what I don't get is how come you're still alive after making everything explode. Granted, this was just a wee explosion 'ere, but you get what I'm saying.

[Perception]That explosion had drawn some attention. Attention in the form of a vertibird with a brotherhood paintjob.
Well, that was probably a bad idea on their part. Given how many Enclave vertibirds have exploded in this RP, it makes sense that Scott would be able to whip out a Railspike Rifle and fire two shots at the engines of said vertibird, penetrating them and causing it to crash.

FalloutScott: This is a fight between men, lad. If you let your friends interfere, I'll sic the big man on the Citadel right here an' now. That's a promise.

"Big man?"

FalloutScott: Ah what'd ya THINK the top engineer was coming out here for? To get me suit waxed?

"Knowing that with certainty would require being aware of every event in the wastes. I'm brilliant, not omniscient. By the big man do you mean the building robot?"

FalloutScott: Aye, Metal Gear Box. Big marvelous killer robot. I see you've met.

"I was heading off to finish the job I started. Like most things, it will be done with a large explosion. Which piece of it will you send after the Citadel? The largest one that's no smaller than a baby's fist?"

FalloutScott: Oh, so it's an explosion ya be wantin'? I think I can accommodate, Mr. Smarty-Pants. I can't be havin' ya take on me favorite invention without him sayin' so.

Scott patched in his channel on radio and keyed in a startup system on his suit's wrist-comp. They weren't exceptionally close to the building rubble, but somewhere in there the MGB's startup sequence had begun. Frank, you've just been put on a time limit. Have fun!

Frank responded to this by basically rushing him. Granted, it was a jet-packing, displacer-feet-running, kind of a rush...but that was basically what it was. He decided to tackle FalloutScott.

"GIANT SACKS PATRIOT!"

Normally, when one sees a big running man in armor charging at them while said man is being loud as all hell, you would expect the target to merely sidestep and allow said battlecharger to fly on by rather comedically. However, Scott was not really a combat expert. He was an engineer. He brawled well enough and he could certainly shoot, but he was by no means an expert in this sort of field. He was hailed more for his technical expertise. So, after he was a bit distracted by his work, he looked up in confusion and said...

FalloutScott: Giant sack of wh-

CLANG!

This may be due to the two different mindsets, but the weird shouting Scott heard as he was hit thing didn't register as anything but garbled nonsense, so no sooner had he finished work than the heavyset black armor was hit and the two rolled as per tackle-plus-Newton rules. We'll waive the Captain Kirk fighting music and just bring you Scott whipping out one of his high-powered cutting torches to stick it in Frank's side and switch on. The green plasma flame of the precise cutter would be almost effective as the rose-cutter. He was also cussing a long string and ramming his powersuit knee into Frank's powersuit groin as long as they were this close. The tumble would stop with them both on the ground in this tussle.

[Unarmed] Muay Thai was the martial art of using eight limbs instead of the traditional four. The additional four striking parts came in the form of knees and elbows.

"TIGER KNEE!"

Frank's spur shot his bladed knee into Scott's crotch at phenomenal speeds. Ordiinarily, this would be horrifying to watch, except perhaps that this was the absolute-worst person to try and shove a bladed-knee into. Oh, Frank makes contact, but he doesn't get the oomph behind it. Scott's powersuit seemed rather tough, now that we think of it. Probably because he's an engineer and not a combat expert like Jack or the other Fallouts. It shouldn't be surprising that the man who heralded to be the top man of the machines down at the Enclave base would have an even tougher suit than the others, mechanically-speaking. Frank's leg was suddenly caught in a vice that is Scott's own legs. He's also being plasma-cut in the side as stated, which must've caused a breach by now. He has the moves, but Scott is a tank. Getting near the guy on the ground was a REALLY BAD IDEA. Scott now pulled back his unoccupied fist and attempted to force it into Frank's mask HARD to break it. Frank...chose to ignore this.

"If you're not left handed, you will be!"

Deciding instead to deal with the arm using the plasma cutter burning him instead, he improvised a cross-punch with his plasma-spiking hand at the elbow pit of Scott's occupied arm. It's a little awkward trying to do that in close proximity with plasma cutting through his suit and Scott aiming for his head, but Frank manages to score the hit and the flinch of the elbow points the plasma cutter more towards his armpit. Definitely hurt something there, though it hasn't met flesh yet. Of course, this is all academic when the lights go out.

SMASH!!

Huh? Yeah, remember how Brotherhood-type suits have that goggle-and-breather look? Well, they ARE made to filter out the wasteland's impurities, use vision filters via the gear attached to the helmet, and so on. Much as Frank was upgraded, those would have remained still. So, the suit's eyes and breather would still be kind of important as Scott gave them the poke of doom. Being an expert, and with his suit's strength besides, he could mess up the whole mask with ease. This is even despite the fact that the goggles are thick and - according to information - have a wire mesh behind the glass to reinforce it. Frank probably should have done similar to Scott, given that even on an Enclave powersuit, the face has to be the weakest part of the whole machine, especially the eyes. But unfortunately, Scott invoked Falcon Punch first and managed to separate himself from the now-blind Frank as there was this far-off rumble-ZAP sound... Yeah, it seems that Metal Gear Box was blasting its way out with its ray guns. Now, as the man picked up his dropped equipment and headed for the rubble, he received a sudden call...

FalloutScott: Yes, Jack!

-Scott, tell me you've got the Box back online.-

FalloutScott: Aye, he's having a fit gettin' free, but he's awake.

-What? Oh good. Patch me through to his command line-

FalloutScott: Aaand...done.

-Good. This is an executive order, authorization FalloutJack. Recognize voice-print and powersuit code. Unlock nuclear warhead capabilities now.-

WHAT?! Oh shit... The giant robot surfaced just enough now and - on Jack's orders - opened one of its compartments on the back-mounted rack. Then, a moment later, the tactical nuclear missle launched...out to somewhere at sea. Scotty watched this going on, though he had forgotten Frank for a moment. After all, Frank wasn't dead or anything. He had only to either take off his helmet OR switch to his auxiliary scope, the one Brotherhood agents use to look over walls through their helmet's HUD to avoid headshots. Even still, it was a sight to see...if he could.

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

The missle launching would be noticed for miles around. It kind of had to be, since it was actually a lower-altitude strike. The Citadel would see it, as would anybody who didn't have a bunch of buildings in their way (so that actually leaves out the DC Ruins people). They saw it at the Empire of Dave, and so too would Doctor Bastion, the Uber-Mutant, who was King Konging his way around Old Onley while trying to deal with David Davidson.

"AN ENCLAVE NUCLEAR MISSLE?! YOU FINALLY DID IT! YOU BLEW IT UP, YOU BASTARDS!!!"

Neverminding that he didn't know what the hell the target even WAS, he was kind of distracted with his Charleton Heston impersionation and got sniped in the face from a window not three stories above him, causing him to lose his grip and fall. Yeah, that was gonna hurt. It wasn't Empire State enough, though, so the battle would continue...

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

Dealing with Ferdinand was something that the boys in the BoS decided to hand off to Evan as the two of them discussed Ferd's apparent appearance there and his...weird comments. Don Quixote? Radiation super powers? What the hell was this guy on? Heh...that might've been the problem. Evan decided to test that theory, actually, and pulled out his own kit.

Evan: Listen, guy. I know the temptation to take those wild cocktails out there is strong, but you have to fight it. I should know. And you should know the only 'super power' granted by irradiation to humans is ghoulification, which hasn't really been a boon to them.

We don't even need to go into details on the amount of animal and plant life that's been affected by the rads. They were STILL analyzing that Scarecrow-thing he brought back... Evan decided to take a quick blood test of Ferd and find out with his- Okay, not with his Pip-Boy. William still had it...and he was gone. Well, there was still his computer. He did a quick test while Dudley was...talking in his sleep...and found no chems.

Evan: Well, you're clean, anyway. So! What can the Brotherhood of Steel do for a weirdo like you?

Just then, another Scribe - this one in uniform - ran in with an important message.

"The Enclave just launched a nuke!"

Evan: Oh, god no... Where? Where did it hit?

"That's the weird part. It went out to sea."

Evan: It...err...WHAT?!

Using his computer and the information of where the nuke came from, Evan punched up some numbers to determine flight path and, yes, it did indeed go out to sea. What the hell were they trying to hit? No, nevermind that... These people were dangerous. There was only one place that nuke could have come from, and that was the giant robot everybody saw. He turned to the big man again.

Evan: Say, Ferd. Wanna go capture an Enclave VIP?

Uh oh... He's got that devious look in his eye...

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

The museum robots were no match for Talion and Laura. Unlike those two, these machines were improvised hell-makers for anyone they crossed. A normal human opponent would be in trouble, even in powerarmor. However, a frigging cyborg justice man was a bit more than that. He blasted away and either out-fought, out-tanked, or out-tactics'd the automations. When FalloutScott worked on these things, he didn't make 'em uber-advanced or anything. He made them shoot anything that wasn't one of them that moved and armed them up with equipment he'd killed off of super mutants. So, Talion made his way in deeper and found the pinned-down Brotherhood members, who were having trouble moving around because of a couple injured party members who - while they'd received field medical treatment - were slowed down from suit damage causing a fault in mobility. However, as the cyborg approached and didn't appear to be drawin its big gun on them, Edwards took advantage of the situation.

Edwards: Concentrate your fire NOW!

They fired at the robots, all of whom had taken immediate notice of Talion - big walking tank that he was - and reduced their numbers even as the big guy would fight them. They would shoot around him, just to make sure. Once the immediate fighting stopped, Edwards looked around. The Lunar Lander was out of sight, but he could hear it maybe a couple rooms away in a presentation hall or something. He ordered a cease-fire for the moment.

Edwards: Identify your bionic butt and don't spare me the details!

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

The Garys seemed to want Nicole to enter the Super Duper Mart with them. This was emphasized by the fact that the one calling her had handed her a...strange badge. It looked like a modified police officer's shield with the word "GARY!" burnt into it with a torch or something. Holy crap... They DID just make her their chief! Inside, there was some bustling about, as a number of Garys were setting up targets that looked like blue-haired females who wore red dresses. Among them all, a few very-confused characters who had stopped in here for a break. Of course, Nicole wouldn't know a damn thing about them, but they were the same people who had appeared from a glitched room somewhere north of the DC Ruins.

Jonesy (The Human Shaman), Coyote (The Cybered Elf), Speck (The Big Cyclops), and Joe Slayer (The Orc Shaman-Mix) were all sitting around a table, having previously been playing a few rounds of poker as they rested up at an improvised table. Nearby were three resting forms that looked like...large horned canines of some sort. Now, they were looking at all of this a bit weirdly. This world was strange, even to them!

Joe: The hell's going on?

Jonesy: Dunno. I'll ask. Hello? What's all the hub-bub?

"Gary!"

Jonesy: No no, Jonesy.

"Gary?"

Jonesy: Jonesy. Jo-Nes-Y.

Speck: Yer talkin' a different language, fella.

Jonesy: I'm gonna try something different.

He seemed to concentrate just then - his eyes going distant for a moment - and then return to normal after a few moment.

Coyote: Well? What'd you see?

Joe: Any easier than the dragon?

Jonesy: Yes, alot. They're clones, and they're at war with another batch of clones, the Garys against the Sylphys. And apparently...they've elected that woman their new leader.

Joe: Don't get any funny ideas, chummer. We're in deep enough as is.

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

While a Walrex is not exactly the fastest critter on land, it could be said that any sea creature willing to flop around on land to get at their prey was a tenacious bastard indeed. That is precisely why Crawver Senior, Dr. Crawver's biological father, was still on their trail even after they were on the retreat. He was an animal, a crazed irradiated killer, and he had stamina like you wouldn't believe. Some of this might've actually been Dr. Bastion's fault, but we'll never know, as Bastion is out playing the Fallout version of Rampage. Anyone who was left behind would find themselves stomped flat under its floppy weight or gored by those huge damn tusks. Thus, did the trials and tribulations of Abraham and Dr. Crawver - and their followers - continue under the ire of the Cult of the Great Wet Ones.

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

At last! Marlon and Danielle were in Rivet City and on their way to see Morgan Bloom, the Gentleman Ghoul. They were inside when the nuke went flying, though, so it was the ship's comm-tower that caught the news. That would soon filter down into the rest of the city. It was a sign of something ominous. However, there was one piece of information that Rivet City could gather that nobody else at the moment could. With an unobscured view of the sea and a really good telescope, they could see that out there was...some kind of ship or something. They were firing on something out in the ocean. An enemy? Rivet City called that one in to GNR, and the BoS lady and the Van Graff would soon hear...

"This is Threee Dog! Aaaaaaaooooooo!! Coming to you with an important news flash, children! It has been reported that a nuclear missle has been fired out to sea, presumably by the Enclave. Reasons why ARE sketchy, but one source indicates that there is - or should I say WAS - an unknown vessel out on the waters. Now, who could the boys in black be firing on that needs one of THOSE things? More news as it develops. And now...music!"

It was only matter of time before a couple of men who bore the 'GG' symbol of Bloom came up to Danielle and Marlon.

"We were told you were planning to see Mr. Bloom on some sort of business. He's on the bridge right now. Follow us when you've settled afairs here."

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

With the coming and going of Charlie Cannon, things in Megaton began to calm down, thus allowing Larry to get to work on his designs. The Thorns of Rose had gone and stocked the young traveller wanting to join the Brotherhood up with some gear and he was already on his way. the shack he stopped off at was not, however, out of ranger of the Megaton spotters. This is important because after he had decided to rest up there, something weird and troubling happened. It started with the sight of something large-ish - big and muscular - moving around, possibly a super or a duper mutant. And then, the music started...

The spotter called down say there was some weird mutation out there, wreaking havoc! The first that Charlie would know of it was, of course, the music, followed by the at-first muffled tones of an Elvis-like voice going "Whoa...MOMMA!" as a car was thrown at the top-half of the shack, taking out the roof and part of the wall! What was it? It was this big muscular mutated blonde-haired guy in sunglasses, a black shirt, and blue jeans! It faced him and let out a loud shout of-

"Hey, kid! Gimme a dollar!"

-and charged!

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

Time passed for Alice after she went to sleep. Time passed and things moved on. She might've heard - at some point - an Elvis Presley song wander by outside along with some heavy stomping, but it didn't involve her, so no worries. She was allowed to sleep, properly, rest her eyes without disturbance...for a while. It was hours later when there was a...hissing down. Didn't sound normal. It wasn't snakes and it wasn't those freaks from back west that were lupine reptiles either. It was something else, something different... There were footsteps outside, and also...orange flashes of light as a spitting sound was heard. Was that a fire or something else? The first she could see of it was just barely through an old window, a humanoid form with a fat-and-round head and a pointy hat. It looked like a Scarecrow, made more obvious that the hissing down coincided with an orange blaze where the face lit up like a jack-o-lantern! These things had been reported by GNR before, strange walking plant-things! There must be a bunch outside...and some of them want IN.

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

Yes, it seemed that after a day of really hectic and trying stuff for Team Lucy to deal with, there was once more a weird issue to deal with. What was it? Well, after a brief tussle in the dark, Sylph had revealed the presence of a...of a... God, I don't even want to say it: A SYLPH CLONE!! Yes, that's right, a clone of Sylph, known pretty much as a 'Sylphy' because of its insistance in using only that word as a means of speech. It was, therefore, the Sylph-equivalent of a Gary... Dear lord in heaven, what did that mean for the bus-launcher?! Well, we'll find out soon enough, because just then...the sniper from before came and asked Constance to follow her. How strange... Well, we'll leave these guys to handle this and move over there! After all, Talon Company isn't coming just yet, right? Uhh...right?

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

Someone tapped on Constance's shoulder from behind. She would find that it was the sniper from before, who was kind of looking from the Sylphy scene to her right now. She spoke with a Texan accent.

"Say, could I borrow you for a moment?"

Constance was standing with her Shotgun in hand and finger on the trigger, ready to blast a sizable hole in the chest of the strange... new comer... that appeared like an exact twin of the poly-persona-possessing Sylph, this one possessing what could be described in polite company as a rather acute speech impediment.

"I... um... sure." The American Enclave Scout of America said exuded Constance's desire to throw her hands up to the skies before fleeing as far as possible from this Herd of Carnies before falling behind the strange sniper with the Texan accent. Whatever the Sniper had in store for Constance, it could not have been as surprising as what had just unfolded in front of her.

The sniper led her to a different building that was in only somewhat better shape than the last that she'd been seen sniping from. They had to leg it through a window on account of the blocked doorway.

"I happened to notice you've got these ears like radar dishes and I thought 'Well, that'll come in handy with the thingy that's launching the raiders around. Figure I get an idea of what's going on over there before I even get in eyeshot of it. Safer, ya get my drift?"

They were going up, up, up...to the roof for the best vantage points. Scout Sorrowfeld was hit with a sudden bout of paranoia at the Strange Sniper's comment regarding her ears. To most people, Constance's cat ears appeared to be adornments mounted on top of her head and yet, the Strange Sniper knew that Constance used her ears to see. The paranoia was quickly brushed to the side however when Constance remembered the accuracy that the Sniper had displayed earlier, a display that revealed that the Sniper was keenly observant of her surroundings. Besides, the Texan Sniper's idea was sound, even though the American Enclave Scout of America already knew what it was that was launching the Raiders and Scavengers skyward, Constance had no idea what was causing this mass die off.

"That was quite the shooting exhibition." The Scoutish Cat-Girl commented as they reached a landing and hopped over a broken gap in the stairs. Truth be told, Constance was quite impressed by the Strange Sniper and would have ranked her third in Constance's list of best Sniper's ever, behind Miss Natsuki Manriki and her Father, Mister Cornelius Jack.

"And that was some damn decent athletics earlier."

Yeah, the sniper had seen her doing THAT before, which was kind of hard to miss when you think about it. They were a number of stories off of the ground when they came up to the roof, high enough that Lucy would've had to use her scope to get details, which would've been hard from the ground unless they were closer to the edge. The sniper looked at the ruined surroundings of the area now, then seemed to decide on something before turning to Constance.

"Before we get down to brass tacks, I wanna make sure of somethin'."

And at this, Constance could see a smirk developing now as the sniper dropped the fake accent.

"Aren't you #411's kid?"

THAT VOICE! WHERE HAS SHE HEARD THAT VOICE BEFORE?

A thought had passed through Constance's mind regarding what could have and could not have surprised her more than what had transpired with the Clown College that was roosting in the small Camp that American Enclave Scout of America Constance Sorrowfeld had built far below her and the Sniper's current position. She was sorely mistaken. The statement had been made as Constance stepped onto the rooftop and had so preoccupied her mind within that moment that her right foot made as if it was about to mount another step and for one horrible second, the Cat-Eared Scout thought she might plant her foot through the exposed and rotted boards of the roof. Stumbling forward, the Scout quickly regained her composure as she realized a number of things. First, the Texan Sniper had been aware of the function of Constance's Cat-Ears. Second, the Sniper had intimate knowledge of the Enclave roster, specifically the numerical designation of her mother. Thirdly, the voice...

"Y... Yo... I... You.... I... can't... I can't ... be... bel... believe... oh... my..." Constance stammered as she beheld Miss Natsuki Manriki standing right in front of her. The wide-brim hat and visor were removed to reveal the horned, pink-haired and lavender-eyed appearance of the Diclonius same. Of course, color was a serious issue for Constance, but she would have no doubt to the identity even if she somehow forgot a face or a now-non-Texan voice, as the two removed items were being held by vectors, which she COULD see.

Natsuki: Sorry about the subterfuge, cadet. Low profiles and all that. I'm keeping an eye on this madhouse and it's good to have a little cover, I think you'd agree.

She waited for Constance to recover now. It took a serious moment for Constance to stop doing her best spastic imitation in front of the most legendary member of the Enclave ever but it was not like the young girl could help it. Firstly, Miss Natsuki was an example of what people like Constance could achieve despite their limitations, though Constance was wrong since Miss Natsuki had full control of her vision. Secondly, Miss Living Legend Natsuki knew of Constance, even if it was not by name.

"S...Sorry." The Young Enclave Scout dressed in a Brotherhood of Swine uniform apologized after regaining her composure, "Yes, Miss Natsuki, ma'am, a little cover is definitely a good thing."

"No need to apologize, Miss Natsuki, ma'am." Constance added before looking into the distance towards the location of her transport and the source of the flying Raiders. She was not trying to be rude but getting on task was the one thing that kept her from making a display of herself by worshipping the very ground that Miss Natsuki Manriki stood upon.

"I'm sure you're already well aware that the source of the flying Raiders is the American Encalve Scouts of America's Short Bus Transport, Miss Natsuki, ma'am," The Cat-Eared Scout said as she focused her "vision" on the bus, a process that involved her cat-ears reconfiguring themselves to focus the radio and sonic waves they emitted into a narrower area.

In the distance, Constance saw not only her Transport, but she saw a madhouse of a different kind. It seemed that the Doppel-Sylph was not alone. There was an army of them surrounding the Short Bus. A horde of Sylphys. Focused in as she was, the young scout could see that some of the Sylphys were on the ground, bowing and worshipping the Short Black Enclave Bus while others were carrying captive and stuggling Raiders high above their heads towards the Bus' Driver's seat, where they would be placed and launched into the sky.

"Oh my." Scout Sorrowfeld muttered as she watched another Raider being flung high into the sky. Natsuki was now using the visor she'd had on before - in fact, a compact version of the Enclave powersuit HUD - to look up #411's statistics, because while she knew the woman's real name - Charlotte Sorrowfield - she only recognized this particular Enclave Scout because she had certain identifying characteristics. She'd just gotten it when Constance began to talk about the short bus.

Natsuki: Actually, I wasn't lying about wanting an idea of what's going on before getting into view of it. I spotted you and knew immediately what your implants could do in these circumstances, which pretty much leads us to the here and now. That said...

She gave Constance a Look. You know the kind. It said 'Pay attention here'.

Natsuki: Drop the 'miss' and 'ma'am', alright? It's either 'Natsuki' or 'Lieutenant', the latter especially when in polite company.

And with that, the Look vanished and she was back to business as usual.

Natsuki: Anyway, if that's one of our vehicles and people are getting launched...

As if on a cue, there be flying raiders, once more.

Natsuki: ...then that means it's a hydraulic ejection system being way misused. You got a fix on who's doing it?

The Sorrowfeld Scout was quite enamored by the fact that Miss Natsuki Manriki was actually asking for Constance's help. Finally there was something that Constance could scratch off her bucket list, though she would have been quite happy if Miss Natsuki had asked her for a cup of coffee. Constance was so ecstatic about the situation that she only felt mildly embarrassed by the "Pay Attention Here" expression that Miss Natsuki gave her.

"Yes Miss... I mean Lieutenant Natsuki." The Scout responded professionally as if trying very very hard to make a good impression with her idol, "You remember the second Sylph that entered the camp before we left? It doesn't look like she's the only one. There're a good number of them surrounding the Transport and loading Raiders onto the ejection system."

Scanning the surrounding area, The Young Sorrowfeld noted a makeshift pen that held a number of Raiders as well as Vault Dwellers... each of whom looked identical.

"There's a group of others... um... worshipping the transport."

She nodded at the mention of the second Sylph, the 'Sylphy'. That put a rather uncomfortable feeling in the Diclonius' mind, as it sounded a bit too familiar to her. As an operative of the Enclave, she of course knew what the local Vaults contained, as a rule. When Constance reported the worship of the bus, Natsuki was somewhat surprised, but then when she mentioned other worshippers...

Natsuki: I have a bad feeling I know what's going on, but I scarcely want to put it to words, only that I know for a fact that Vault 108 has an out-of-control cloning machine.

She now put back on her disguise, as well as her fake accent, which she picked up from her father when he was talking about the initial Lobo incident.

Natsuki: Well, let's saddle up and move on out!

She began to head back downstairs and get around to the area of the bus...

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

The trek to the site of the Enclave transport was relatively short as Natsuki and Constance were able to keep their presence secret from the local Super Mutant Populace, not that they had to worry as many had been chased off by the Blue Haired Devils that had taken up residence around the Enclave Short Bus. While most people who lived in the Wastelands would hesitate to move about the skeletal remains of the the once thriving District of Columbia, neither the full fledged member of the Enclave nor the Enclave wannabe had issue traversing the rough and uneven terrain.

"How are there so many of them and why, of all things, did it have to be that Sylph girl?" The American Enclave Scout of America asked her superior officer and idol as they walked, closing in on what sounded like chanting.

"Syl-phy! Syl-phy! Syl-phy!"

Not that they really needed stealth. You know Natsuki. See a mutant, slash it up. However, the distinct LACK of super mutants was almost as bad as their presence, especially as the chanting came into range. Natsuki answered Constance's question in full now.

Natsuki: Well, it seems that the people of Vault 108 developed - of all things - a cloning machine, one which seemed to produce nothing but a bunch of guys named Gary would could only SAY 'Gary'. What went wrong, we may never know, but the whole Vault was overrun and the people were either killed or fled to the wasteland. Then, at some point, I think the machine overloaded and Garys began to surge out into the wasteland en masse.

That pretty much brought us to current events, minus the Sylphys. Natsuki only had one theory on that front, though.

Natsuki: Someone must've reprogrammed the machine with her DNA.

Constance frowned in the darkness as she moved to a higher position to get her bearings relative to the chanting and to see if there were any of the Crimson Chanters near enough to pose a threat. Despite Enclave scout's opinion that Sylph was about as stable as a bramin missing its two right legs, she had noticed the signs of a recent skirmish back at the camp...which brough up another interesting question.

"If you don't mind me asking, Lieutenant Natsuki, what's the importance of the group back there that you were sent to monitor them. If you'll excuse this American Enclave Scout of America's opinion, it seems like wasted resources when your talents could put to good use elsewhere." The Young Cat-eared girl said, letting a bit of her Natsuki fangrrl out. Keeping her head behind cover, Constance checked the surrounding areas, allowing only her ears to be exposed.

"I mean I did see that Lucy woman's weapon was of Enclave design... is she a deserter?" Scout Sorrowfield asked, satisfied that none of the Blue Haired Devil Girls were near.

The Diclonius was stealing quick glances with the visor she had with her when the Scout asked her about business.

Natsuki: Well, I'll tell you, scout, but it IS confidential. Lucy Black is one of our unwitting Assets. She may think she's a rebel, but in reality she and her friends are going to lead us to the Enclave Underground, who are basically remnants of the old guard that didn't want to follow Number One.

Oop! There was a Sylphy doing cartwheels into a wall.

Natsuki: We have a friend of hers and we have it on good authority that her mother's penned up with the EU, so that and William's bomb collar is going to draw her inexorably towards each other. Of course, that's going to take a while and I needed to stretch my legs, so I thought I'd see what happened to them in the meantime while Talon Company's heading in and the Brotherhood thinks Lucy's a traitor to their cause.

The Diclonius was snickering just a little at this. Constance felt more than a bit honored that the revered Miss Natsuki Manriki (ma'am) had confided in the Scout with Classified information, the sensation caused the Cat-Eared Scout to swoon on her feet a bit, almost causing her to topple over were it not for the fact that Constance was keenly aware of her proximity to her childhood heroine. Catching herself, Scout Sorrowfeld twirled her left ear over to Natsuki to make sure that she had not noticed the Scout's sudden lack of balance and battle again weak knees. Constance was a member of the American Enclave Scouts of America and her professionalism would be maintained, with or without the cooperation of her knees.

"I can't believe that there were people foolish enough not to follow Number One." The Scout said quickly, her mind unable to think of anything else to say as her ears caught sight of a trio of Sylphys playing Double dutch. The closer they got to the Sylphy Camp, the stranger things were bound to become.

As if summoned by the though, Constance found herself face to face with a Sylphy that dangled upside down from an exposed pipe attached to the ruined ceiling above herself and Lieutenant Natsuki.

"Sylphy?"

*CRACK!!!*

A vicious right hook from Constance sent the Sylphy tumbling to the ground but not before letting out a yelp of pain.

"SYLPHY!!"

Standing still, Constance hoped that the cry had not brought them any unwanted attention.

Natsuki: Yeah, you'd think after faulty presidents and crazy computers, they'd listen to a guy who can organize.

For the record, no, Natsuki didn't notice Constance fangirling around her. Too busy watching these Sylphys. Her vectors would be on standby, just in case. And yet, it was the Enclave catgirl who whacked the first target, causing it to tumble and yell out. However...if any of the others were paying close attention, it wasn't obvious. These girls were rough-housing and making noise all over the place. The Double Dutch ones were suddenly breaking out in 'London Bridges Falling Down', replacing the words with 'Sylphy'. Natsuki decided to try something. She picked up the downed Sylphy with her vectors and put her on her feet, then - with a shrug - spoke to her.

Natsuki: Uhhh...Sylphy-Sylphy?

Complete shot in the dark. NO IDEA how it was gonna turn out. Whatever Natsuki said, it seemed to have an effect on the entire populace of Sylphys as the sound of what could have been hundreds or thousands of chattering, jabbering mouths suddenly went quiet enough that you could hear a nearby bloatfly recite the bloatfly pledge of allegiance.

"I pledge allegiance to the Queen and her entire state of Bloatiness and to the kingdom for which she stands, one kingdom under her bloatiness, indivisible with garbage and filth for all"

The silence did not, hoever, last forever as there was a sudden uproar of Sylphys at their voices rose up as one and the two Enclave members found themselves surrounded on all sides by a sea of Sylphys that looked ready to rip the two apart limb from limb.

"SYl-PHY! SYL-PHY! SYL-PHY!"

Well, Natsuki's first foray into the language of the Sylphy was a flop. For all she knew, she had just told them what her hovercraft was full of eels. Distinctly possible, but not proper conversation by any means. In no time, they were surrounded by Sylphys and one Bloat Fly who strangely knew how to speak english. Natsuki was about to go to work when Constance asked her not to.

"Wait. Don't attack them." Constance said suddenly as she listened intently to the chanting. Underneath the seemingly simplistic vocalulary was something else... words spoken in harmonics.

"Put them in the bus! Put them in the bus! Put them in the bus!" The Sylphys were chanting.

Natsuki: Wait, don't tell me. You actually understand them, don't you?

This, she picked up from both the look of intense concentration on the girl's face...as well as some of her father's ability to break the fourth wall.

Natsuki: Well, if I'm not killing anyone, you'd better make a diplomacy check and fast.

"Well, I kind of understand them." Constance admitted.

"Put them in the bus!" was obviously an over simplification of what the Sylphys were saying as they had the same tendency as the original Sylphee to personify and over describe any and every object that was mentioned in a simple comment. That being stated, the Scout was able to determine through body language that the Sylphys wanted her to get in the Enclave Transport... namely they pointed towards the Short Bus.

"[Alright! I'm going I'm going]" The Scout said in Sylphyan before heading towards the Black Armored Enclave Transport knowing that nothing was going to happen to her due to the pneumatic ejection security system The Sylphys were another issue entirely.

"Miss Natsuki, ma'am, if something happens to me, use the distraction to get out of here and say hi to my mom. It's been a while since I've seen her." The scout said as she got on the bus and sat in the driver's seat. Natsuki expected the scout to put that newfound ability to good use. However, as the girl headed over, what she said struck the Diclonius rather hard. Natsuki may be a career soldier, but she was not without a soft-spot. Constance's words were touching and also kind of sad. It made Natsuki think of her own mother. Not the human one, the Diclonius, Lucy. She did not speak as the catgirl was taken to the bus, only nodded.

"Enclave Pneumatic Ejection Security System online. Scanning Subject. Subject is female. Disabling Security System." The Bus chimed as the engine started. Looking out the door, Scout Sorrowfeld saw the seething mass of Sylphys with their sky blue eyes staring at her. Nothing happened, of course. The short bus was hers, and it soon recognized its owner, disabling the security system. The Sylphys were in awe... Natsuki smiled and parted the crowd to approach the bus herself as Constance inquired what to do next.

"Okay... now what?"

Natsuki: you know, Constance, I think you have some definite talent. I'm thinking 'The Girl Who Would Be King' of the Sylphys, for openers. You game?

Oh, but that was quite a mischievous grin...

"King of the Sylphys?" The phrase was a bit of a shock since she found the original, let alone her many clones, to be terrifyingly unpredictable... who knew if she could be relied upon for anything other than distraction in a battle scenario. These Sylphys, while perhaps having enough intelligence to walk upright... most of the time... would be useless for tasks that required abstract thought. Perhaps she could send them to the town of Minefield for mine clearing duty... the old fashioned way. Constance was being rude, the Scout finally realized as she turned to Natsuki. There was a grin on the Diclonius' face that seemed to tell the younger girl that everything was going to be alright and not to worry. Smiling weakly, Constance finally nodded.

"I'm up for it. Us American Enclave Scouts of America are always prepared for anything."

Famous last words, Constance my dear.

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

Vorn did not appreciate the nuke to the face. When the strange helicopters - Familiar too! - bore down on him, they were not so bad. They were hurting, but he was gaining strength and stability. The devoured lives and the energy supped from their very cores were good nourishment. It was only when the choppers left and the missle came that things went a bit out of control. The missle was fast, but not fast enough. Vorn wanted to knock it out of the sky and absorb its energy as well. Alas, it could not be done. Upon geyser-spitting at it to halt its progress, the thing triggered and a massive explosion would light up the waters east of the Capital Wasteland. Surviving Red Army Ghouls would find themselves stranded as their ship and - seemingly - the monster blew up.

However...Vorn did not expire.

The ritual had allowed him to push against the dimensions, project more and more of his essence into the world, and that had been the unstable and incomplete Vorn. The nuclear warhead was more than enough to silence it, but it means that he was displaced back to the place of power, to hang as a perpetual horrid-and-squid-faced stormcloud over the cult's home base, the Dunwich Building...

"ALL HAIL VORN!! ALL HAIL VORN!! ALL HAIL VORN!!"

The Wild Wastelands: Team Lucy's Makeshift Camp

*SHOVE!* *WHIFF!* *WHIFF!* *CRACK!* *GRUNT!* *WHIFF!* *TRIP!* *THUD!* *PINCH! PINCH!*

"SYLPHY! SYLPHY! SYLPHY!"

The resulting melee that ensued after the appearance of the Doppel-Sylph didn't exactly go the way that Sylph had planned it in her mind. Despite years of training and conditioning, there are some thing that absolutely cannot trump blind stupid luck. From her current vantage point on the ground, Sylph tried to piece together the series of events that had occurred that had left her in this particular position.

The Red Menace remembered shoving the Red Menace wannabe off of her and following up with a flying punch that should have incapacitated the cloned idiotic girl or at the very least caved in her face - only the unfortunate placement of Sylph pack caused the Doppel-Sylphy to trip backwards and Sylph's punch to miss entirely and impact against a rather hard piece of ruined wall. It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for a block of rubble that landed on Sylph's head, causing her to see a myriad of stars and her legs to turn into rubber and eventually give out on her. If things weren't already bad enough, the stormy eyed girl landed face first in her pack - or rather face first in the pack that was home to one rad-scorpion minus its stinger. It did, however, still have its claws which were used fairly effectively to pinch one of Sylph's cheeks as well as her nose.

Indignantly sprawled out on the ground as she was and piecing together how she had ended up in that position, Sylph felt a deep bout of anger and annoyance well up from deep inside her body as she stood up, drawing the Katana that Sister Lucy Black had gifted her back at the Enclave Vault. The Stormy Blue eyes scanned the darkness for her target.

"Sylphy! Sylphy!" The Blue Haired Retard of a Clone blurted out from the other side of the camp fire where she stood clutching Master(?) Johnny Truant's leg, looking to him for protection.

As furious as Sylph was, she knew that she had lost this battle with the Doppel-Sylph as Master(?) Johnny Truant would more than likely stop Sylph from separating the Cloned Idiot's head from her body. Realizing that there was nothing else she could do, Sylph quickly turned and walked off into the darkness, leaving the group to puzzle over the Surprise Sylphee.

"Damnable annoying twit." Sylph muttered to herself as she settled down on a rock and looked out into the darkened sky, not noticing one of E.D. #209's Eye Bots spying on her.

Undisclosed Location: Amy Kane's Perspective

Amy Kane, Mother to Lucy Black, had an assistant.

This assistant did not have a name, mostly because Amy never cared to ask. Anytime the assistant's name was brought up, Amy's eyes glazed over. A threatening glare was usually enough to get the message across that her assistant was no more than another tool, not a person.

"Ma'am, it's ready. However - "

"This again?" Amy tapped away at her keyboard, intent on waking Spider-bot from it's sleep mode.

"I - I just think that you will be risking our exposure for this...this reckless experiment!"

"Do you now?" Amy smiled. That was never a good sign. "My daughter will become one of the most powerful assets to our cause. In order to do so, she must be broken and reconstructed to fit my mold."

Spider-bot was now online. It wasn't difficult to locate the group once more through the long-range scope. Amy made note of the new individuals, quickly tapping into any open network connections sent through a pip-boy. The encryption for the first was a custom build and the second was of a standard variety.

"Ma'am, outside communications are strictly forbidden withou -"

Amy took this moment to shoot her assistant with a withering glare. "Do not take me for a fool! These messages will be erased within 30 seconds after their arrival. Both targets will not be able to detect the source of the message and the message will override all current functions."


Getting up from her chair, Amy smirked at the arrival of her latest tool. Waving a hand dismissively for her assistant to leave the room, Amy's hands expertly gripped her latest design. Pulling back on the release bolt mechanism, Amy uttered the first and final control phrase for activation.

Continuous voice-activation was a poorly implemented design choice back in the day. Now it only required once-off command and the use of a physical bolt action mechanism from that point onwards.

"Invert controls: Domination!"


Team Lucy's Regularly Scheduled Melodrama

Perhaps it was a terrible idea to remove the eyepatch, because Lucy's vision (slightly blurry, yet strained as it was) had to be playing tricks on her at this point.

Two Sylphs could not exist at the same time - well - two Sylphs in separate physical bodies could not exist at the same time, right?

The brutal brawl that had taken place was almost too quick to follow, this was Lucy's first time seeing Sylph effectively fight for her life after all. Needless to say, Lucy was stunned at her ferocious nature. Of course, she had not intended to merely watch, but the bloodthirsty spectacle had stunned her and for the first time...frightened her to an extent.

Was that the same person that believed Lucy to be her sister? Was that the type of attack she should expect some day, if her sisterly duties crossed any favoritism boundaries?

Clenching her teeth, Lucy drew her rifle once the fight had drawn to a close. Wary of this Sylph-imitator, Lucy shot a glare at the supposed-imposter and held her hand up to signal to Johnny that he had to stay where he was. Anyone watching would notice that Lucy was following the real Sylph into the darkness, a clear sign that this ordeal was better handled privately.

With her eyes on the katana still firmly gripped in Sylph's hand, Lucy holstered her own rifle. Trying very hard to maintain her creeping uncertainty surrounding Sylph's current state. Right now, Lucy felt that Sylph had seen enough conflict, she didn't wish to aggravate her further. Watching The Red Menace uncharacteristically settle down on a large rock, Lucy slowly sat down next to Sylph. Perhaps she did have a death wish after all!

Under the heavy cover of darkness, it was difficult to make out any details from a distance, but now that they were relatively close, even Lucy's eyes could see the mixture of agitation and emotional weight buried in Sylph's expression.

Sitting for a few moments in silence, Lucy figured if she wasn't being attacked at this point, then she was at least doing something right. Turning to face her slowly, Sylph would discover Lucy's mismatched eyes furrowed under a brow of concern. While unconsciously wringing her own wrists, Lucy's anxiety was also made known.

There was no bravado to be found and no forced courage to be expressed. Stirring the authority of an Enclave Asset persona was even too much to muster at this point...this was Lucy at her simplest form; unsure of her future and clinging to what she had left. No matter how misaligned that bond may seem on the outside.

Her crimson eye met Sylph's and faltered, her voice was wracked with blatant confusion, "What was that thing? It might look like you, but - ... "

Lucy brought her knees up to her chin. That was too strong of an opening. Softening this time, Lucy voice dipped to a near depressive manner.

"I'm not going anywhere unless you want me to. Actually no, I'm staying either way." Lucy stared into the darkness with Sylph, mustering up her courage in face of uncertainty. "Are you okay...really?"

The D.C. Wastelands: A Distance Away from Camp Lucy

Undertaker Henry McGee was rather enjoying the spectacle that was being broadcast to his data tablet compliments of a drone that had perched near His Pet's Camp, so much so that he allowed himself a small chuckle when the Cloned Pet entered the camp and caused his original Pet to hurt herself during the clumsy melee. As with all things enjoyable, however, the broadcast was interrupted by an unexpected and encrypted message from an unknown caller. The Undertaker frowned for a moment as he reviewed the unwelcome distraction. The encryption was simple and standard protocol that was easily decrypted in moments.

I've been watching you. I have a proposition for you. Whatever you may have planned, show your acceptance by sparing my project. The eye-patched female is mine to mold. A substantial reward will be offered

- A concerned mother

"Well isn't this a bit of a tizzy?" Henry muttered to himself, his smile returning beneath the mask that hid is features from the world. He was already being paid handsomely to take care of the Young Woman once she had located the Enclave Underground. His contact, #411, had not outlined a time table for which she would allow this to be done, allowing the Undertaker to accept the second job for his own personal reasons.

It seemed that Concerned Mother and Henry McGee shared a hobby in common. Like His Pet, it seemed that Concerned Mother had a purpose for her Cyclopean Daughter and a means to prod her towards this purpose. The Undertaker found the mutual interest intriguing.

There was, however, a final bit of curiosity to indulge upon: The sender of the message and her location.

Sending a trio of his Vultures into the skies, Henry responded to the message from the mysterious sender.

To Concerned Mother,

Agreed. However, if you allow me observe the method in which you mold your daughter, I will leave her unscathed free of charge.

-H.M.


The Wild Wastelands: Outskirts of Camp Lucy

When Sister Lucy Black happened upon the seated Sylph, the Red Menace was in the process of attempting to remove Snippy the Stingerless Rad-Scorpion from her face, a sight made more pitiful by the fact that Snippy was attempting to sting the Blue Haired girl but instead was getting Rad-Scorpion gunk all over Sylph's face. She could have killed the insect and put it out of its misery since even if she released it, it would never survive without its stinger and yet she let it live as she pried its claws open and placed it back in the pack.

It wasn't until she had placed the Rad-Scorpion in her pack that she realized that she wasn't alone, that Sister Lucy Black was nearby, hesitant to approach her.

"What was that thing? It might look like you, but - ..." Sister Lucy Black started to say, stopping herself mid-sentence before speaking once again,"I'm not going anywhere unless you want me to. Actually no, I'm staying either way. Are you okay...really?"

Sylph didn't quite know how to explain it but she knew that the blue haired doppelganger that had appeared in the middle of the camp was, for lack of a better phrase, part of her. Turning her back to Sister Lucy Black, Sylph pulled up the back of the Crimson Uniform and revealed her scarred back hidden underneath. Looking closely, Sister Lucy Black would have seen not only the scars from a lifetime spent under the care of Father but also a series of smaller scars that looked like bore holes - the type of scars that one would get from a tool used to remove tissue samples.

"She's me." Sylph said slowly her face hidden in the night's gloom, "Father had said that he always wanted me to have sisters. I think I know what he meant now."

Suddenly self conscious, the Red Menace pulled the back of her shirt back down and turned back to Sister Lucy Black. Despite the darkness of the night, Sister Lucy Black could see that there was something on Sylph's mind, something that Sylph was reluctant to admit.

"I think I miss her. Despite all the ways that she annoys me and even though I call her all sorts of names, I think I miss Sylphee." Sylph finally admitted. Perhaps it wasn't a sudden surge of homicidal rage that caused Sylph to lash out like that. Perhaps it was something as simple as missing her other eternally happy and optimistic self and not knowing if Sylphee would ever be back.

William's pip-boy bleeped softly with a message received, hang on can it do that? William quickly scrolled to the notes section and saw a new one not made by him.

Take care of my daughter, Lucy. Her concerned mother.

Did that mean somebody is about to attack? William's eyes scanned the darkness, but he saw nothing. He went to check the message again but it was gone. The next thing to do was to tell Lucy. She hadn't spoken much about her mother and William had seen so sign of a woman at her destroyed house. Come to think of it, Lucy had never mentioned her mother dying in the attack or even living with her.

William approached Lucy, who was speaking to Sylph. William caught the tail end of their conversation as Sylph admitted she missed the crazier part of her personality.

"Lucy, just a quick heads-up. I just received a message instructing me to look after you, from your concerned mother. Thought you ought to know." William left it there as he didn't know what sort of reaction it would provoke from Lucy.

Not Too Far From Megaton:

Sitting on the floor of the abandoned shack, Charlie delicately removed the frag grenade's shell, exposing the explosive material and detonation mechanism within. Setting the shell aside, he took a closer look at the internal mechanism. Impressed by the efficient design, Charlie continued to disassemble the explosive until he was distracted by a strange sound.

"Is that... music? Where the heck is that coming from?"

Whoa... MOMMA!

Charlie nearly jumped out of his skin as a car smashed into the shack, taking out the roof and part of a wall! The young man stared wide-eyed at the hulking blond giant who climbed through the gap, accompanied by some rather excellent entrance music.

"Hey, kid! Gimme a dollar!"

Charlie yelped as the giant grabbed him and threw him out of the shack! Crashing to the ground a considerable distance away, Charlie looked up in time to roll away from the sheet of scrap metal that was flung after him.

"The hell is your problem dude?" Charlie yelled, scrambling to his feet. The only reply he got was more of the shack thrown at him, which he ducked under narrowly. His hip was on fire from the impact of being tossed, but he forced himself to move, running to a pile of rubble and taking cover behind it. Peeking around the side, he saw the handsome giant running directly towards him, ground shaking with every step!

"Alright guy, you wanna play? I'll play."

Grabbing a grenade, Charlie pulled the pin and tossed it into the giant's path. It exploded with a satisfyingly loud bang, kicking up a cloud of dust. Charlie grinned, only to have it wiped from his face a second later as the giant roared in fury, jumping through the cloud with little shards of shrapnel sticking out of his face.

"Oh no, I only made him angry!"

Suddenly feeling incredibly scared, Charlie turned and legged it. If he'd been clever he would have run towards Megaton looking for assistance, however for some reason he ran in the exact opposite direction, towards the DC ruins. Thunderous footfalls and blaring music chased after him, slowly closing the distance.

"Oh crap, oh crap, what am I going to do? Wait, I know!"

A desperate plan forming in his mind, Charlie pulled out another grenade and rolled it behind him. The explosion succeeded in slowing his pursuer down, buying Charlie enough time to find one of his stealth boys and strap it to his wrist. Not entirely sure how it worked, he poked at it until it activated and he vanished from view.

Seeing his target disappear, the giant came to a halt and looked around confused.

"Where'd you go kid?"

Scratching his head, the giant turned as he heard a noise. It sounded like it came from behind a nearby wrecked car, so he wandered over to investigate. He stepped behind it and...

'Beep.'

A deafening explosion engulfed the giant as not one, not two, but three landmines detonated, absolutely obliterating his legs. His upper body fell to the ground as he screamed in agony, thrashing and writhing.

Charlie reappeared a small distance away. As the adrenaline rush faded, exhaustion hit and his hip ached something fierce. He was alive though and his plan had worked, so he wore a big smile on his face. Making a mental note to thank the Thorns for the equipment the next time he saw them, he walked over to inspect his victim.

Getting close enough for a good look, Charlie's good mood evaporated and was replaced by slight nausea. He'd blown up plenty of creatures before, but he'd never seen quite so much blood. The screaming didn't help either.

Drawing his machete, he stepped up and stabbed the giant through the eye, ending his pitiful struggles. Wiping the blade clean on the giant's shirt, Charlie stepped back and looked at the corpse. Why had this guy attacked him? For that matter, how had he known he was in that shack?

Troubled by these questions, Charlie turned away and looked to the east. Ruined buildings were visible in the distance, according to his map those would be the DC ruins. Ignoring his body's protests, Charlie injected a stimpack into his hip and set off in that direction, eager to put some distance between himself and the corpse.

The Wild Wastelands: Outskirts of Camp Lucy

The only practical thing Lucy could do was focus on problem-solving.

Sylph wore scars that made her own pale in comparison. It was a horrifying sight, made even worse by Sylph's confessions. It wasn't outright stated yet - "Your father made a mistake. He doesn't know that you already have a sister. One is more than enough."

Lucy herself couldn't quite explain that defiant declaration. Not right away at least, all she wanted to do at that moment was to comfort Sylph.

"Is it really that bad being unshackled?" Sylph's unique nature was still fascinating to Lucy, "Even if she isn't around right now. That doesn't mean you can't remember how she makes you feel. You can take comfort in that at least."

Lucy crossed her legs and sighed, there was still the strange matter of the Sylphee-wannabe.

"What do we do about the fake sisters?" Sylph wasn't the only one that was treated like a test subject at some point. "You are not alone in this. Besides, you're all I have left."

Before Lucy could offer her first smile of encouragement, she was interrupted by William.

"Lucy, just a quick heads-up. I just received a message instructing me to look after you, from your concerned mother. Thought you ought to know." William announced his presence with a message that sent a chill down her spine.

Lucy Black held many beliefs and personal motivations close to her heart. Her sheer determination and will to live served as a testament to her character's resilience. Now it was no secret that Lucy's long-term plans had either fallen flat or failed in their execution, it was simply in her nature to think on her feet.

However...

An individual's past can be a dangerous and often hostile area, to say the least. This was especially true for Lucy, she had never quite learned the virtue of moving beyond her problems. They stayed with her, molded her, drained her, enhanced her and more often than not, her past relished at the notion of tightening the leash around her neck.

Lucy's heart was pounding and visible only to Sylph, her hands had started to shake.

"She's watching." Lucy's eyes widened with fear. "I was meant to - I...I don't know anymore."

Taking a few moments for herself, Lucy's eyes darted between Sylph and William. Her mind a maelstrom and her voice a conflict of fear and agitation. "Promise me. Please. Never let her take me away again."

"Even if you have to kill me."

The Wastelands: Enclave B.A.R.N.

Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 was having a rather difficult night and needed some sort of distraction from the thoughts, however simple they were, that pinged around his head like a low velocity/low caliber bullet. The day had been going rather amazing since he witnessed the Red Whore being shot in the stomach and being buried under rubble BY HER OWN ADOPTIVE FATHER FIGURE. The day would have was about to get even better, if that was possible, had he been able to colony of Blue Haired Bitches that appeared to be doing weird stuff around the abandoned American Enclave Scouts of America Short Bus. It was when he was about to send his full compliment of Eye Bots to wipe out the Sylphys, 411's daughter and some stranger when who should call but E.D. #209's dream woman herself, Enclave Intelligence Officer #411.

"E.D. #209 what do you think you're doing? You're not about to send all your Eye Bots for a clean sweep are you?" #411 asked over the communications array, her voice sounding as if she already knew the answer to the question she posed.

"Uh. Yeah. So?" The Massive Armored Enclave Officer responded as his finger hovered over the button.

"You're aware that Natsuki Manriki's down there right? You wouldn't want a repeat of what FalloutJack did to you last year would you?"

"Wait. FalloutJack's kid is down there?" #209 asked, his voice tinged with fear, "How do you know that?"

"I'm an Enclave Intelligence Officer. I'm supposed to know these things. Don't you dare send that attack or there'll be hell to pay and you've already used your allotment of Sick Days."

"But - but - but - "E.D. #209 sputtered as he saw his moment of joyous destruction slipping through his fingers.

"No buts. Out." And like that #411's voice vacated the communications center of the Barn-esque Armored Recon Nest.

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

Which brings us to now. Enclave Dominator #209 was standing in front of the B.A.R.N. facing a line of prisoners that #300 and #310 had rounded up on a recent sweep on suspicion of being Illegal Aliens in Enclave Controlled Territories. Walking down the line of the criminals, Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist addressed the lot with a smile that was hidden by his helmet.

"I truly, truly, TRULY despise you insects, invading our country and draining our resources like a bunch of blood sucking ticks. You don't even have the common decency to become an American citizen." E.D. #209 said sternly towards the vermin that he spoke to.

"Eh. We're from the Commonwealth. You know - what used to be Canada. We're Americans alright? So what's this all aboot?" Said the First Scum Sucker in line.

"You don't even have the common decency to learn English!" E.D. #209 said infuriated.

"But we're speaking English man! Canada was annexed by the U.S. We're citizens!" The Second Illegal Alien stated in a voice filled with confusion.

"What did you say? I can't understand you! Why don't you try 'Parlez Anglais!'" The Enclave Dominator yelled as he pulled out a knife and tossed it on the ground in front of the group of four Confused Illegals.

"Tell you what. We don't have time to deport you all. Last one standing gets deported." #209 said before walking off, #300 walking next to him, "Get the main cannon ready. Whoever wins, load them in and shoot them back to the Commonwealth."

"Heh. That was awesome how you made them think that you couldn't understand them." #300 said in his best Canadian accent.

"What'd you say?" #209 said turning on his subordinate before slapping him on the back, "Just kiddin'."


The Wild Wastelands: Outskirts of Camp Lucy

"Is it really that bad being unshackled? Even if she isn't around right now. That doesn't mean you can't remember how she makes you feel. You can take comfort in that at least." Sister Lucy Black said in an attempt to comfort Sylph though the truth of the matter was that Sylphee, despite her annoying nature was a sort of safety net for the Homicidal half of the Sylph coin.

Think, if you will, of a life that has been spent first in slavery, forced to fight for the amusement of others who relish the acts of pain committed upon your body and then spent in the service of a man who taught his lessons in a rather brutal fashion. One would seek whatever escape from this life one could find. That was what Sylphee was for Sylph. Escape. Now it seemed that Sylph no longer had the luxury of avoiding the anxiety that she felt whenever she was let out for too long.

"What do we do about the fake sisters?"

Sylph looked at Sister Lucy Black for a moment. The impulse to wipe the whole lot out of existence, as would have been Sylph's habit, was on the tip of her tongue. But the fact that they were, in some form, Sylph's siblings caused her hesitation. Like Snippy, Sylph's mind overrode her habit and urged her to spare them.

"You are not alone in this. Besides, you're all I have left."

Sylph would have responded to her Sister Lucy Black's admission were it not for the untimely interruption of William Knight. The crunching of gravel caused Sylph to pull down the back of her Gifted Crimsom Uniform and cover the scars that she had, moments ago, revealed to the world.

"Lucy, just a quick heads-up. I just received a message instructing me to look after you, from your concerned mother. Thought you ought to know."

The reaction that William Knight's message left upon Sister Lucy Black was near instantaneous and obvious even to Sylph despite her lack of interpersonal experience. The open and naked fear displayed on Sister Lucy Black's face caused Sylph to flinch almost as much as Sister Lucy Black's next request.

"Promise me. Please. Never let her take me away again. Even if you have to kill me." Sister Lucy Black pleaded with the two.

"I won't let your mother take you." Sylph said flatly as she rolled up her sleeve to examine her broken wrist blade, hoping to make repairs before whatever was coming came. When it came to Sister Lucy Black's request, Sylph could relate to the sensation. Despite her conditioning, there was the faintest of hopes that Father wouldn't find Sylph or attempt to reassert his control over her. There was still the matter of her debt to Sister Lucy Black. For some reason, the Red Menace had not told Sister Lucy Black that her friend the Undertaker was still alive and in Enclave custody. Because Sister Lucy Black had taken it upon herself to honor her friend's final request and help the Blue Haired Sociopath escape the Enclave Vault, Sylph owed her. This meant that no matter what, Sister Lucy Black's mother's days left in this life had just been reduced significantly.

"No matter what." Sylph added, emphasizing her statement as she cleared her wrist blade of the debris.

"You're not alone in this either, Sister Lucy Black." Sylph echoed the earlier sentiment. Instinctively, yet awkwardly, Sylph gave Sister Lucy Black a firm hug.


The Wild Wastelands: Camp Lucy

"Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy!" The Doppel-Sylph Sylphy'd as she went though the contents of Johnny's pack, looking for the most interesting things possible that she could play with. Now, had anyone been paying attention to the cloned menace in their midst, they would have realized that she had gotten her hands on an inhaler of some sort - a JET inhaler.

"Sylphy! Sylphy!" Sylphy continued to Sylphy as she examined the small canister.

*PURSHHHHH*

*Blink --- Blink --- blinkblinkblinkblinkblinkblinkblinkblinkblink*

"SylphySylphySylphySylphySylphySylphySylphySylphySylphySylphy" Sylphy continued as she found herself stricken with the sudden urge to bounce up and down on her non-existent tail.

Ferdinand is a rather simple fellow, when you get down to it, despite being immensely complex. In many ways, he's like a incredibly redundant AI with a pistol, except not very.

"I'm probably crazy, you know. Except that if a man says he IS crazy, then he probably isn't crazy, because it shows he's capable of understanding what crazyness is. Except he might be..." he said, as he began to idly playing with his sling, "I don't need drugs to come up with odd stuff, just √-1." he said.

"As to the thingy, why not?" Ferdinand said, pulling out his broadsword, flourishing it like a rapier, and said, "So, we stab him?" he asked, "Or does he have an army? Should I hit the Nuke with my sling?" he pondered, "I'm actually pretty good with a sling, and you have no idea just how dangerous this thing can be in the right hands.

The horse began to attempt to eat the nearest thing to him.

There is nothing quite like traveling the Wastelands of the District of Columbia in relative luxury. The wind blowing through your hair, the cracked asphalt speeding under four fully inflated tires and the ability to sing at the top of your lungs. Of course there was nothing worse than traveling the Wastelands of the District of Columbia in relative luxury singing at the top of your lungs when there was a small army of blue haired clones with a severely limited vocabulary singing at the top of their lungs. Someone had given the Sylphys the bright idea of singing "Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round," only the song ended up being "Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Syphy." Though Constance would never have accused her idol of such a thing, the American Enclave Scout of America suspected Natsuki of teaching the Sylphys the song.

Staring that the long stretch of road in front of them, Constance motioned towards one of the Sylphys to move to the front of the bus as the Teenager's curiosity regarding the origin of the clones was perked. So how was it that the Sylphyan clones ended up worshipping the American Enclave Scouts of America transport? That was a good question.

"So how was it that you Sylphys ended up worshiping this American Enclave Scout of America Transport?" The young woman asked as she turned an ear to the Sylph while keeping her other ear to the road. Not only was she curious as to why the Sylphys were so interested in her Bus, she wanted to understand why she was made their ... leader? Constance was not even sure what her position was. She could have been elected Clone Colony Bus Driver for life for all she knew.

Shaking the thought from her head, she listened to the story that the Sylphy told her.


In the beginning, when the first of the Sylphy Sisters was hatched from her Cloning Vat, the world was a cold and lonely place. Looking around her new surroundings, the First Sylphy saw that she would soon be joined by others like her and this was good.

It was not too long before the Cloning Vats produced more of the Sister Sylphys and soon the halls of the Cloning Chamber were filled with the voices of the Sylphys and this too was good.

One day, a particularly curious Sylphy went exploring out of the Cloning Chamber that the Sister Sylphys had claimed as their home and discovered that they were not alone in the world. Another group had claimed the remainder of the world, at least that was what the Sylphys knew as the world, as their own and guarded it jealously against all others and this was not so good.

Upon discovering the Sylphys, the evil Garys began to attack the newly born Sylphys and tried to kill all the Sylphys and this was not good, not good at all.

The War between the Sylphys and the Garys was long and caused much suffering among the Sylphys. One day, another of the Sister Sylphys was being chased by a group of the malevolent Garys and when she was cornered, the nefarious Garys came upon the Savior, whose metal skin seemed to absorb all the light from its surrounding, whose four wheels gripped the Earth like a Brahmin that had been velcroed to the ground. Seizing upon the opportunity to discover a new method of Death Dealing, one of the Evil Garys mounted the Black Bus and this had the potential to be very, very bad.

It was at that moment that the Monolithic Vehicle showed that it was created to protect the Sylphy Sisters by sending the Evil Gary high into the sky, never to return again. Surprised and afraid by the unforeseen actions of the Black Bus, the Garys went into full retreat, sparing the Sylphy who brought the surviving Sylphy Sisters to their savior. And this was good indeed.


"So what you're telling me is that you nimrods worship my Bus because it saved one of your 'Sister Sylphys' from a group of other clones called 'Garys?'" Constance asked with a voice that could barely contain the confusion that saturated her body.

"Sylphy Sylphy!" The Sylphy said, nodding her head.

"And now you think that I'm ..."

"Sylphy!"

"Um... really?" The Scout responded with a weird smile on her face that stated very blantantly that the girl was about to crack, "You think I'm your mom."

"Sylphy!"

"Oh! Phew! I'm your leader? You're serious?"

"Sylphy!"

"And I have absolutely no say in this? I can't resign?"

"Sylphy Sylphy?"

"Oh suuuure. A clone army of women that can only say Sylphy? Who in their right mind would ever want to resign?

"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!"

"That's sort of crass isn't it?"

"Sylphy!"

"Alright. Well I think I should talk to Lieuenant Natsuki first. She can best figure out where we should go. As much as I want to lead the ... um ... Sister Sylphys into glorious battle against the 'Garys,' Lieutenant Natsuki and I have plans... I think."

Turning to her Number One Idol in the Entirety of the World, The Scout looked rather unsure as to what they should do.

"So... Lieutenant Natsuki... ma'am. Where should we go next? This Sylphy said that there are a bunch of Gary Clones at the Super Duper Mart. Otherwise, Lieutenant Natsuki, we have your mission to fulfill... keeping an eye on that Mobile Insane Asylum that surrounds Lucy... right?"


Not far down the road, a group of Super Mutant spotted the Enclave Short Bus and began gleefully setting up an ambush, all the while daydreaming of dismembering some stupid screaming human. Mortars were setup and trajectories were called out. Machine Guns were loaded and aimed. There was even a couple of Super Mutants carrying chain guns, ready to buzzsaw the human occupants of the incoming vehicle in half.

Only by the time the Enclave Short bus had reached the site of the ambush, no ambush came. It seemed that the group of Super Mutants had a run of fatal bad luck.

The mortars, as it turned out, were not aimed as well as had been hoped and ended up hitting a group of machine gun wielding Super Mutants. During the explosive chaos, the Machine Gun Mutants concluded through a majority consensus that the Mortar Mutants had been ambushed by a stupid bunch of humans and were now attacking them. Whether or not that Mortar Mutants had been ambushed or not turned out to be irrelevant since, due to the downpour of explosives, the Machine Gun Mutants began firing in the wrong direction, shooting the Chain Gun Super Mutants. This was quite unfortunate since the Chain Gun Mutants fired back in the direction of the Machine Gun Mutants. With the volume of projectiles being passed from group to group, it was inevitable that a long stray bullet hit a lone Death Claw, whose only goal that day was to bring back sufficient nesting materials as its Matriarch demanded, materials which unfortunately included a mini-nuke.

Missiles out to sea? Marlon's mind immediately went back to the briefing on the chinese ghouls by Lyons. At this point, it'd be damn near his best bet as to where that missile was headed...And if they were about to get commie ghouls hitting the shores, it left them with another problem. They might actually need those enclave bastards to stop them. Just like they'd need the outcasts to stop the enclave. Same bloody cycle all fucking over again. Cure's as bad as the disease. With the added downside that he didn't know a lick of chinese.

He shared a look with Danielle as the report came in. Not that he could see her face behind the helmet, but it wasn't much of a stretch to assume her expression was pretty similar to his at the time.

No time to discuss it now though. The suits were here. GG. Bloom's boys. And he was already waiting for them. Savvy.

Marlon smiled. "Mister Bloom likes to stay informed huh? Good. I like that. Expected it, sure, since you don't stay ahead in business unless you are, but good. Glad to hear he's on top of the game. We'll be sure to head up there soon. I'm lookin' forward to meeting him."

Before that though, it'd pay to swing by the market here and see what could be grabbed as far as some clothing to hide the Van Graff armor and its lion emblem. He figured maybe some trousers with some decent pockets for odds and ends and maybe a jacket that could neatly cover the emblem. Body armor underneath a jacket wouldn't look out of place.

That was the planned order of business anyhow. But on the other hand, Bloom was important and he was waiting. It didn't do to keep important waiting. Perhaps the clothing could wait til after the meeting. Marlon looked to Danielle. This was her mission detail after all. "You wanna go chat business first? We can always get the supplies afterwards. You're the boss."

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