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Fallout: The Long Road (Closed)

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Czenikov
Political Columnist
 
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Founded: Jul 03, 2019
Ex-Nation

Fallout: The Long Road (Closed)

Postby Czenikov » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:02 pm

Image

War. War never changes...

In the early 20th Century war consumed mankind and it was announced at the eve of peace that the ‘War to End War’ was over. In the ensuing centuries however tensions only rose until atomic fire consumed the earth. As survivors made their way out of the ruins they once again proclaimed that same sentence that the war to end war had happened and once again humanity formed new societies ready to start again.

In the Mojave, a preserved relic of the old world became a beacon in the wastes to those seeking to profit from the misfortune of others. Survivors warred over control of its buildings time and time again until the lights of the Lucky 38 Casino awakened and an army of robots led by the enigmatic Mr. House retook the city resurrecting it as a haven of vice amidst the wastes.

Over time more and more have flocked to this platinum city creating lives for themselves where the lights of the Vegas Strip give them hope of the world that can come. Not all have come alone however and it wasn’t long before the Bull and the Bear took notice.

It has been 5 years since the first battle of Hoover Dam and war once more looms over the Mojave. Months ago, news of Mr. House’s death at the hands of a lowly courier spread across the desert igniting the powder-keg of tensions that has long been festering. To the west the bloated New California Republic stands ready to claim the great city for itself, and to the east a renewed Caesar's Legion bang the drums of war, while at home news continues to spread of the mysterious Courier who beat the House with many believing they now hold the power of the securitron army in their pocket.

As the final march to the Dam begins, most wastelanders are preparing for a new age of chaos. Towns close their doors and stockpile arms, raiders prepare to take out old grudges and the wealthy surround themselves with all the luxuries in the world, ensuring their final hours are well spent.

Where some see ending however, others have found opportunity….

Amidst the sprawl, eyebots have been seen delivering cryptic messages to various wanderers of the Mojave, offering great rewards for their participation in a mysterious mission. These pariahs gather at a strange address in the North Vegas Square for a mission that will change their lives forever…


____________________________________________________________________________

This is a Fallout RP for the nations of Latica, the characters in which have been agreed collaboratively. It is closed, but if you read on, are a semi-skilled RPer and think you'd like to contribute please send one of us a telegram. This thread will not be used for OOC posts.

As an aside this RP may contain some themes that could be considered adult in nature, including mild sexual references, violence and gore. Please go away if such themes might offend you. We do not own Fallout, Bethesda do - in case there was some doubt. If you have any questions about the content of this RP please TG.

Participants:
Cheye
Sarrin
Czenikov
Last edited by Czenikov on Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:05 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Sarrin
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 131
Founded: Dec 21, 2016
Anarchy

Postby Sarrin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:08 pm

The Cobalt Company Headquarters, North Vegas Square - Day -1

It wasn’t easy to find a quiet place in New Vegas. Between the final troop movements of an increasingly desperate NCR and the ever growing boldness of the Fiends, Powder Gangers and other raiders, safe spaces were disappearing faster than a trooper’s caps in Gomorrah. Harlan wasn’t phased however, he’d been waiting for a moment like this and had chosen the North Vegas Square in anticipation.

The invites hadn’t been easy either. For decades he’d gathered profiles in search of his crew, every time trying to find the perfect hand, but never managing to quite find what he wanted. Then, as the bull and the bear prepared to tear each others throats out, a royal flush fell right in front of him. Each member had been personally chosen, with the exception of some unfortunate ‘tag-alongs’, and each received their personal invitation from an eyebot designed by his latest acquisition. Now as they stood together uneasily in the conference room he could feel a sensation rush over him that he hadn't felt in centuries. A sensation of success.

Outside

“This place is a real shithole, hombre.” Javier said as the pair entered North Vegas flicking some of the wasteland dust off the shoulder of his SSCF jacket as he passed the makeshift junk walls.

“Looks can deceive.” Romero replied with the same slightly distracted tone that he’d been holding for over a month now. Unlike his young friend, whose purple attire had recently become instantly recognisable around Vegas as that of an ex-convict, Romero wore a full suit of T-51b Power Armour with the exception of his helmet that he clutched in his left hand.

“What is with you lately? Even at the Casinos you weren’t invested in the putas, usually you at least enjoy the view!” The younger man’s voice now simmering with a degree of pent up irritation. He ran a finger through his fringe making sure his black hair was still swept to the side.

“Is that really what you believe?” Romero asked looking straight at Javier. It was always hard to get the full meaning of Romero’s words, his already ghoulish vocal chords often intersected with fansical idioms and references.

“You said the boy on the Long 15 was nice.” Javier said with a shrug, checking to see if his switchblade was readily accessible in its pouch under the vest. He knew what happened in areas like this and expected everyone to be only slightly better than him.

“I said he was nice for you. As you’ll recall I was quite content with my tequila…” Romero said as he put on his helmet, almost as a default response to seeing Javier’s impulses kick in. It was hard for him to believe sometimes that they were related but the data was clear and his story matched up with what he knew. “The dancer we met near Novac was nice.” He finally added in an effort to salvage the conversation.

“That puta was way too nosey.” Javier snapped back, turning to see what he’d agreed to call his ‘cousin’ clutching tightly onto his laser rifle. “Turn that damn torch down anyway, we don’t want the whole neighbourhood to see, hear and smell you.”

Romero chuckled with the same pained cough he always gave creating an oddly intimidating sound through the helmet’s voice modulator. “I can see someone up ahead, think we should scare him off?”

Javier squinted his eyes slightly catching a slide outline of a duster in the shadows “Scaring ain’t gonna make me caps today…”

“Don’t fucking follow me!” The shrill voice of a young woman called out from a nearby doorway.

“I’m not following you!” The silhouette up ahead declared turning towards the doorway and in so doing flashing the ‘cousins’ the view of a well-built man in a tattered duster coat.

“Well it sure looks that way to me!” The voice from the doorway hissed. “What’s the matter Jon, you afraid I was gonna’ leave without giving you a thank you for your protection? A cap for your spent rounds? Maybe even a goodbye kiss?”

“It isn’t like tha-”

“Save it. I know you tried to follow me down to Primm after the job. Thought I’d shaken you off near Sloan, surprised you're not deathclaw faeces to be honest…”

“I never followed you anywhere?!” The man pleaded.

“Well you sure have now…” She scoffed. “...And you sure smell like deathclaw faeces.” She mumbled.

As the man was preparing to reply, a blinding flash lit up from Romero’s helmet torch and Javier began speaking in an almost rehearsed manner “Empty your pockets pendejo and leave the pretty thing alone, otherwise you’ll have survived Deathclaws just to end up a flat mess under my amigo’s boot.”

“...Seriously!?” The large man groaned. Turning very slowly to face the two interlopers.

A girlish giggle erupted from the doorway.

“Do I look like the kinda man who wants to repeat himself, pendejo? It’s your unlucky day yada yada, hand over the caps already!”

The man’s eyes darted between the pair, sweat began to form on his dark forehead. He slowly reached into the pocket of the duster, which, now illuminated, was clearly sleeveless and tattered much like the man’s scruffy shirt underneath that was peppered with several holes that could have come from stab and/or bullet wounds.

“It’s my unlucky day, huh?” The man mused as he jingled the caps at his belt. Then in a fluid motion he withdrew a glowing plasma pistol and levelled it squarely at Javier’s face.

The weapon fell from his hands before he knew what was happening. A loud thwack ringing out in the night as a black stun-baton smashed into his knuckles. The man groaned as a small electrical current jolted through his wrist and forced him to jump backwards away from the weapon which the young woman who had until now been tucked in the doorway deftly kicked off to the side of the road. Raising the baton high for another swing if he tried to retaliate.

“Give the man his caps, Jon.” The young woman said in a mocking tone, before poking her tongue out at him in jest and stepping back to the doorway. She had pale skin and flowing jet black hair, a pair of square-framed eyeglasses resting on her face. Her brown coat and starched white shirt hid the glint of a metal collar around her neck.

Turning to the convict she pointed the baton and added; “You can thank me later.” Before folding her arms to watch.

Romero chuckled again letting out his signature pained cough turned war growl through the voice modulator as he looked over at Javier; “I was wrong about the boy on the Long 15. That one there is perfect for you.”

“Which probably means you're all perfect for my rifle here.” A voice whistled out as Javier felt the barrel of a rifle press against the back of his neck. “And don’t be clever Paladin, I’ve got a pulse mine under your feet that’ll scramble you long enough for me to shove a knife under that steely head of yours.”

“Now we’re talking.” Jon nodded, his eyes already drifting to the dropped plasma pistol.

“Reach for it and you’re next, bear.” She hissed, a reflection of Romero’s light reflecting through a window to illuminate a flash of her dark ginger hair and bright blue vault suit.

The dark haired woman with the baton backed slowly into the shadows of the doorway.

“You ain’t the law then?” Jon groaned again. “Maybe you were right crim’, maybe this is my unlucky day!” He protested with a gesture to Javier, emphasising the un as he spoke.

“How about you let me go if I give you a night of passion, chica?” Javier said as he attempted to slightly shift away from the barrel that tracked his movement flawlessly.

“I’ve told you before that Power Armour isn’t built for quick turns Javier...” Romero said with a sigh, it wasn’t the first time Javier had tried to create a code-word for a sudden attack and it wasn’t the first time Romero had explained his limitations. “Might I suggest we all de-escalate this before it becomes a massacre?”

“A massacre? Really? And we weren’t invited.” A suave voice called out from around the side of the building, where seconds later a man in a dirty but undoubtedly well-fitting business suit and striking green tie strolled into view. “Or… maybe we were invited, perhaps because someone powerful wants you all dead for some reason? I couldn’t care less really! But please, drop the weapons.”

As he spoke he simply raised the palms of his hands as if pleading them to do so, almost making no effort whatsoever to show any actual threat.

“More street cleaning than a massacre sir, just move along to your home now” The ginger haired woman said before a bright light shone from her pip-boy towards the new arrival.

“You think I’m a local?” The stranger smiled; “That’s… cute, but err…” The figure stepped closer, into the light, and opened his mouth widely, displaying his teeth and imitating biting; “...Too many teeth.”

There was a loud noise behind the ensemble and a low whirring sound that began to rise in volume.

“My friend here on the other hand… He doesn’t have so many teeth. And he’s the one who’ll be turning this into a massacre if you don’t lower the weapons, please.”

The loud noise rang out again, the more perceptive members of the group realising it was a footstep and turning to look, the whirring sound grew closer as it repeated again and again.

Suddenly out of the darkness a hulking Super Mutant slowly appeared, the shrapnel-barreled minigun in its arms already spinning as it drifted the weapon across all of them. An ill-fitting militia hat stretched across its head.

“That is why you don’t mug random strangers Javier.” Romero said as he lowered his rifle, finally turning towards the woman behind them illuminating her in his light. She was younger and more slender than he expected but wore the telltale signs of a wastelander in the gentle wear of her features. Despite that she was surprisingly beautiful even if still threatening to kill his ‘cousin’ at any moment.

Jon raised his hands up high and Javier emphatically stowed his switchblade, though the woman with the rifle kept it pressed to the back of his head as he did so.

“And you Miss...” The suave man said, though he wasn’t looking at her, instead his eyes were fixed on the doorway where the woman with the stun baton had been shrinking further into the shadows. “Step out here.”

She pretended to ignore him.

“And here we were so close to a peaceful resolution. Do you know how hard it is to get blood out of a grey suit? Mr Green prepare to layer the doorway with bullets... and try not to hit me if you can.”

The mutant grunted, turning the minigun towards her.

“Fine….” Came a growl from the doorway as the young woman stepped out, unslinging a heavily modified Laser Sniper Rifle from her shoulders and lowering it to floor along with her baton. “Hey! What about her?” The woman pulled a face and pointed at the other woman, still holding the rifle. “No fair!”

“I never claimed to be offering you all equal opportunities here!” The man in the suit smirked. “The way I see it, whoever invited Mr Green and I here to this little soiree; wants at least some of you dead, and it seems our friend over there with the rifle is thinking along the same lines… I’m not going to argue with her with so many bounties for us to claim.”

“I’ve had worse odds.” The young woman grunted back.

The crass vegas voice of a ghoul boomed out from an upstairs window. “Shut the fuck up and come inside, You think I’d waste time bringing you smoothskins to my house if I wanted you dead? Bunch of fucking idiots.” As soon as he spoke the window through which he had shouted slammed shut giving no one a chance to glance at their benefactor, but from inside the house loud stomping down a staircase could be heard through the partially opened door.

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Cheye
Envoy
 
Posts: 264
Founded: Jun 21, 2014
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Cheye » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:10 pm

The Cobalt Company Headquarters, North Vegas Square - Day -1

“Now sit the fuck down! Wasteland’s finest my arse…” Their benefactor muttered gruffly. The ghoul wasn’t what any of them had expected, his fine pinstripe suit contrasting with his uncouth manner. He had a surprisingly full head of hair and groomed moustache for a ghoul, though it was unclear whether it was all his original hair. Since bringing them inside he’d shown little courtesy going so far as to take a bottle of whiskey on his way to the conference room and proceed to pour himself a glass as everyone reluctantly took their seats. Only Romero and the looming super mutant who had had to squat down just to enter remained standing at the end of the table and despite their obvious reasoning both received a judgemental gaze.

The house was surprisingly well maintained given its drab exterior. Paint clung to most walls many of which were decorated with assorted pre-war paintings and artifacts that showed an unexpected level of taste for a home outside the Strip. The conference room itself was in extraordinary condition with what appeared to be fresh paint on the walls and elegant drapes covering its windows. The large table across its center showed clear pre-war carpentry skills and was decorated by a pre-war map of the north-western United States modified to include the NCR, Caesar's legion and a few of the large surrounding groups.

As the group sat awkwardly waiting for their host to speak, the man in the green tie gestured idly about the room and said; “Lovely decor, but perhaps we should begin by going around the room and introducing ourselves, My name is Mr. Gr-”

“Shut it Smoothskin, I’m conducting this meeting. Now which of you had the smart idea of starting a mexican standoff on my patio?” his voice scratched with the coarseness of a shattered ghouls vocal chords in the Mojave desert.

“That’d be him.” Jon said, gesturing with his neck towards Javier across the table.

“Technically it was you, Jon.” The woman in the glasses sniped back from the far end; “You were the one who caused that trouble by following me here.”

“For the last time I wasn’t following you! I got an invite!...” Jon turned to the ghoul in the suit as if for reassurance as he added; “...Right?”

“Sweet fucking christ.” The ghoul groaned, ignoring him before lifting his glass in a vague pointing gesture towards Javier; “Now you definitely weren’t fucking invited... but given you’re here you can fix a truck up for us.”

Javier chuckled slightly “I come with the big guy jefe, don’t think you’ve much chance of getting a truck though, NCR’s requisitioned everything even half-functional with a wheel for their war.”

The ghoul sighed taking a large swig of his whiskey. “Alright fucking introduce yourselves then, you, with the glasses, tell them what you bring to the table.”

The woman frowned for a moment, not expecting to be put on the spot, then she pulled out her baton and placed it on the table with a cute shrug; “I bring.. an electrified stun baton... I guess?” She giggled nervously as the others eyes bore down on her, silently watching. The man in the green tie smirked at her joke which seemed to calm her as she composed herself and began explaining; “Well I made it. Because I have a soft-spot for violence and technology, but that isn’t the only toy in my box.” She grinned, nodding her head slightly to the modified laser sniper rifle strung over her back. “I’ve been set up in the Mojave for a few months now... Some of the mercs out there talk about a stone cold killer called Black Baton? Well…” She giggled again innocently; “That’s actually me. But if we’re going to be working together you can just call me Ella.” She paused, her cheeks reddening slightly from how long she had been talking, then she added with a curious glance to the ghoul; “We are working together right? That is why we’re here?”

“Obviously.” He replied sarcastically; “You’ve all recieved my eyebot and I’ll explain the details of your job in a moment but suffice to say the payment will cover your ‘individual’ needs.” He had a sly smile as he finished, quickly shooting a glance over to the ginger woman in the vault suit ‘Speaking of which, care to introduce yourself ranger? Decided to come in your pretend get up I see.”

The woman snarled slightly putting down the 5.56 round she had been tightening the cap of as she looked up at him. “Call me May, I’m here to pay off a debt and I assume you either want my pip-boy or for me to kill some raiders, bears, tribals or other bastards for you. Am I about right Harlan?”

The ghoul winced slightly at his name being said as if taken off guard “How informed you are Ms. Dulcer.” His eyes drifted towards the suave man and his large super mutant companion. “Greenie, your turn.”

“I thought you’d never ask!” The man in the green tie smiled, adjusting it and sitting up straight. “My name is Mr. Gr-”

“Didn’t invite you Smoothskin, sit down and do whatever it is you do quietly.” Harlan hissed with a cutting glance before looking back to the super mutant.

The mutant frowned, looking between the ghoul and the suited man he’d arrived with confusedly.

“I Mizter Green!” The Mutant declared, gesticulating with his hands the way his companion in the suit had been. “I kill many man wi’ Mizter Greene!” He pointed to his associate. “Shiny robit say come ‘ere, so Mister Greene say we come ‘ere. Which is ‘ow Mister Green ‘ere!” The mutant nodded proudly to Harlan as if he felt he had just communicated a very clear answer to the room.

“Yes...” His associate in the green tie said flatly, nodding slowly. “As I was trying to say, my name is Mr Greene, and this lump of walking radrot is my erstwhile colleague and companion, Mr Green. There is a difference in spelling...” He sighed. “...Anyway I could hardly let him come alone when you invited him here now could I? The kinds of trouble he gets into… you can’t even begin to imagine…”

“I wasn’t informed a super mutant would be joining us!” Romero exclaimed as the pair were finished, his voice still modulated behind the mask. “Given all you seem to know about us, that didn’t seem like something worth mentioning?”

Harlan shot the power armoured figure a glance before looking over at Mr. Green and back at him “Take the fucking mask off when you’re indoors, no one’s going to shoot you in here. You want your payment you’ll work with him, otherwise you’re back to square one.”

Romero hesitated for a moment before removing the mask to reveal his ghoulish features. “Just know I don’t like it!”

“Oh, he doesn’t like you either.” Greene said curtly.

Romero rolled his eyes as he continued “For the rest of you I am Romero García, former Paladin of the West Coast Brotherhood of Steel, and this is my… ‘cousin’ Javier. He’s good at repairing old world tech and I’m good at keeping him alive. Though I migh-”

“I’m gonna stop your preaching now steely. Your ‘cousin’ has some use so he can come along but only at half pay until we need him which given his propensity for theft might be sooner among the tribals than later… Guess it’s on you now pussycat.” Harlan said clearly processing Javier’s uses even as he looked over at Jon.

“Half-caps my ass, I’m getting a full share you pendejo!” Javier shouted across the room soliciting Romero to weigh a heavy hand on his shoulder exerting an unclear amount of force on his colleague. “Half-caps will be quite reasonable, please go on Mr...Pussycat.” the paladin added uncomfortably.

“Pussycat sure beats bear.” Jon grunted, shooting a glare at May, clearly not having moved on from her earlier comment to him. For her part she had now arranged 7 bullets in front of her. Jon continued; “But yeah, I’m Jon Dawes. I did some time with the NCR, but before you get any ideas Miss May, know I ain’t proud of it. Anyway, I thought at the dam, ran with a caravan up to New Reno, survived that cess-pit and then made it back with another caravan. I’ve survived tribals, raiders... err.. rad-storms… radscorpions,” He glanced at Ella as he added; “erm… deathclaws. Pretty sure that’s why I got an invite.”

“How very astute…” Harlan said drolly before reclining in his chair in a manner that seemed to echo with rehearsed, and somewhat lacking, command. “Now that the pleasantries are done we can talk business. You’re going to take me and my kids to Eastport.”

“And where in the wasteland is Eastport?” Mr Greene asked curiously, stroking the trimmed goatee on his chin.

Harlan shot the man a snarled expression before standing from his chair and leaning over the map gesturing towards the border of the old world states of ‘Nevada’ and ‘Idaho’ that had been painted in a pale blue. “We’ll be taking a long route to avoid the White Legs and Eighties and will be returning after a short stay. It shouldn’t take more than a year but I know for a fact none of you have any commitments that’d make that a problem.”

“Up there?” Jon raised a brow, seeming not to have heard the remark about commitments and solely be focussing on the map. “Road to New Reno would be safer. It’s a straight run north and then you’re almost there.”

“Typical bear, wanting to travel through your precious Republic where we can get ambushed by half the raiders in the wasteland and charged a hundred of your useless dollars for a sip of clean water.” May snapped sending a snarled glance towards Jon before looking back at her pip-boy where she seemed to be inputting some kind of code based off the map.

Jon looked physically pained by her statement but otherwise fell silent.

“Yeah Jon.” Ella smirked.

“Come now, I’m sure Harlan here has a perfectly valid reason for wanting to take a longer route and wind us all up on crosses?” Mr Greene asked chipperly.

“Hey no one said we were crossing Legion territory, I ain’t into this shit pendejo! I told you this sounded off Romero, lets just go meet Chavez at the Correctional Facility, we can hook ourselves up good with his crew there.” Javier said frantically as fear seemed to spread instantaneously across his face.

Ella turned and seemed to frown in Javier’s direction at the mention of the Correctional Facility, but otherwise she remained silent.

“Canyon isn’t legion territory idiots. We’ve more reason to worry about the damned tribals than Caesar’s lot round those parts especially if you believe this nonsense about the Burned Man. We’re going through New Cannan so I can pick up some old world tech that got left behind when it was destroyed, more than that is none of your fucking business. Any more stupid fucking questions or are you happy to accept the job?”

The mutant Mr Green cleared his throat and raised a hand dramatically; “I no like dat you callin’ Mizter Greene n err... Haveea... eediots. Mizter Greene smart, leejon is big, leejon is bad. Dey often be…” There was a long pause. “...Sneakin’...” Green exhaled, gesticulating as if trying to find the words to continue his point.

“What I think my friend is trying to say is that even if your route doesn’t take us through legion territory the dangers attached to heading in that direction are substantial. If not the legion, then as you say, tribals… I assume the pay will cover the danger?” Mr Greene asked curiously, drumming his fingers on the table.

“Given your role seems to be as an english-english translator you can have half the doctors pay which is a sixteenth of a normal share. If you want to swindle your ‘associate’ you are more than welcome to take his share as well but I’m paying the mutant quite enough for the danger as it is.”

“I no want a ‘share’...” The mutant said, literally gesturing in inverted commas as he said the word. “I want meat! And I want Mizter Greene to ‘ave wot he needs to eat an fight as well!” The mutant said, stepping around the table and approaching Harlan with an outstretched hand.

“Oh good, we’ve not left the building and already the abomination’s admitted to cannibalistic dreams.” Romero said exhaustedly as Harlan shook Mr Green’s index finger.

“Wait just a minute Green!…”

“You alwayz said ‘I word is I honour’.” Green smiled at Greene, half-quoting his companion.

“Now the estafador’s share is free, I’m willing to admit I might have a few toys hidden away for a larger share...?” Javier slyly remarked leaning into the table and shooting a wink towards May as she glanced at him with disgust.

Harlan grumbled slightly before reaching under the table and dropping a large bag of caps on the table. “There’s 2000 caps in there, get yourselves what you need tomorrow for the journey, we leave the sunrise after from the Horowitz Farmstead. If you’re late we’ll leave without you and my associates will hunt you down and gut you in the street for crossing me.” As he finished he picked up his bottle of whiskey and left the room cursing under his breath.

“Yeah Jon.” Ella hissed playfully, using the baton on the table to gingerly flick some of the caps towards her.

“Stay away from me.” He growled at her, pocketing a handful himself before turning to leave.

Javier and Mr Greene exchanged glances as the bag sat between them “I’ve got a paladin amigo, let the caps go.”

“I’ve got a mutant.” Greene replied with a shrug; “How about we split them 60/40 to you given my pet monster can at least feed himself.”

Javier glanced over at Mr. Green, who had folded his arms and was watching them carefully, seeing in detail the deformed features of a super mutant up close for the first time before turning back to Mr. Greene “I know a good brothel if you wanna ditch the monsters to play fight for the night?” he said dexterously skimming a few caps off the top of the bag as he spoke.

“Not my scene I’m afraid.” Greene replied, rising to split the caps as agreed. “But if you want to get a drink when you’ve finished up there I’ll be more than happy to join you… Going to need a stiff one after the way Green just negotiated…”

“I do good?” Green asked, smiling.

“Yes.” Greene nodded slowly. “Very good. Always wanted to be paid for a job in meat and bullets. Thank you.”

“I do good!” The mutant grinned, punching upwards in celebration and hitting his hand into the ceiling.

“These are the people you choose to spend your time with?” Romero said quietly as the two Greens spoke. Javier turned to him with a warm smile that gave light to his otherwise dark brown eyes.

“Mi hombre, these are the kind of people I choose to swindle.”

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Sarrin
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 131
Founded: Dec 21, 2016
Anarchy

Postby Sarrin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:15 pm

The Atomic Wrangler, Freeside, New Vegas - Day 0

“I want someone who’ll make a difference. Someone they’ll notice and curse about if they’re missing.”

The Atomic Wrangler was more packed than usual as Freesiders sought to drown their woes in whores, whiskey and the roulette wheel, each clinging to the ideal that they might earn enough to find safety in the walls of the strip.

On days like this May could usually spot a few NCR recruits hoping to blow off steam but she knew she was just looking at locals. Poor innocent locals. She could practically taste their fear but she knew she couldn’t save them no matter what she did. Maybe she could have once, maybe if they’d survived. Maybe if they were all together. Maybe before the NCR tore them apart.

“Most folk like that are at the dam you dig? Even Camp McCarran is looking empty these days, word is the Fiends are getting real hungry for some payback there though, maybe take out one of their big dogs and do the freesiders a favour?” Her drinking companion remarked. He was a classic Strip type with sleek brown hair groomed to perfection both with and without it’s accompanying fedora and a pre-war suit that might as well have been freshly designed. Silvano had never made any attempt to fit in with the people around him, in a strange way May had always respected that even if everything else about the man repulsed her.

“Fiends’ll kill themselves if they’re stupid enough to launch an attack like that. I want NCR and I want someone proper, there’s got to be some officer left behind to oversee mobilisation, someone who can make a difference.” May said after shooting back her whiskey shot an underlying rage building beneath her voice.

“You know I might know a guy if ya got the caps to pay, ain’t gonna come cheap though. Course if ya don’t have the caps we could always think of some other ways for ya to pay me back...sure one of these shithole rooms aint clap ridden…” Silvano gestured to the rooms above as he spoke but May had tuned out after caps. It wasn’t the first time Silvano had tried to make a whore of her, his first attempt was how they’d met, she was pretty sure it’d be his last though.

“I’ve got caps but considering what I'm about to do for you shouldn’t it be on the house?” the rage now seethed clearly into her voice as often happened in prolonged conversations with Silvano.

“Figure they’re separate debts and you aint in a real position to haggle, sugar pie.” Silvano said with a sly smile clearly checking her out as he spoke. May snarled slightly before dropping her share of the caps on the table, it hadn’t been easy to take them after Mr Green and Javier had started their counting but she knew they weren’t going to question it. Silvano just smiled widely as he did the quick maths of what he was seeing.
“Sergeant Mason Adams should be leaving the Sharecroppers Farm about sundown tonight with a delivery of hollow point rounds in the last NCR truck. Be a shame if something were to happen to him.” Silvano had a habit of sounding like a philosopher when he gave her tips as if he was preaching the explanation to all the world’s quarrels.

“You can pay the tab.” May said as she stood from her chair and walked to the door. She had her target and as chance had it she also knew someone who could double the damage.

User avatar
Cheye
Envoy
 
Posts: 264
Founded: Jun 21, 2014
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Cheye » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:33 pm

The Water Pump, Freeside - Day 0

“Come now, for today and today only I will make a special offer!” Mr Greene called out, waving to the ragtag collection of caravaners, locals and gang members who were passing through this dilapidated corner of Freeside. “Mr Green and I are leaving this fair city tomorrow and we need supplies for the road... That means you need to come and lose your caps to us - preferably before lunch time! Any takers?”

A few strangers began approaching, curious about the disturbance he was causing. He clapped his hands together excitedly, trying to ignore his aching hangover. He had made good on his offer to meet Javier at the ‘bar’, if the liquor store in Westside constituted that label, and the pair of degenerates had stayed up into the early hours drinking before Javier had headed back to the Casa Madrid to ‘take the party to the next level with the dual angels of ass and psycho’.

That was the kind of fellow Mr Greene respected. Someone who knew what he wanted. Greene would have joined him even, but after an awkward encounter at a brothel just over the border in the NCR, Greene had sworn off paying for sex.

During that particular encounter his mutant counterpart had begun asking too many questions and had to recieve a comprehensive lesson in sex education from Greene and the prostitutes, only to almost kill one of them with what the mutant had tried to do next. The pair had ended up chased out of town by the local sheriff and had to explain themselves to an NCR Ranger when they crossed the border back into the Mojave with an angry mob on their tail. Fortunately the Ranger knew the pair by reputation and was willing to give the mutant the benefit of the doubt.

Many in the wasteland were not as tolerant. Greene watched now as the approaching crowd began eyeing his companion suspiciously. Mr Green sat on an upturned barrel flexing his muscles, an empty explosives crate in front of him with another stool sitting unoccupied across it.

“Yes, get a good look folks - that is Mr Green; the most savage civilised super mutant in the whole wasteland!” Greene watched, pleased as they moved closer, their curiosity peaked. “This Super Mutant, has only ever been bested once in an arm wrestle, by the mysterious legend you all know as ‘The Courier’!” Greene lied, but the name was enough of a distraction from the idea he had seeded in their heads, the idea that just factually wasn’t true; the mutant could be beaten.

“Make a wager with me and see if you are as strong as ‘the Courier’ and beat the mutant fair and square!” As he finished, Greene caught sight of Tapper, the Kings’ resident lackey who operated the water pump for the gang. Tapper was grinning as he leaned against the pump, this was a nice bit of entertainment for him, in a day that’s usual highlights would consist of turning away those who couldn’t afford water and otherwise standing around guarding the pump.

Greene smiled back at him, he had always had a good relationship with the Kings, he used to even be one for a time, though he’d never tell anyone that now. There were few left who remembered him from those days, and Tapper wasn’t one of them, but the King himself was and that meant Misters Greene and Green were under the gang’s protection in Freeside.

“Have you all gone soft?!” Greene chided, several rougher looking members of the crowd were eyeing Green as if they might take the challenge, but it seemed they didn’t like their chances. “Well I have to say that New Vegas is fucked if you pansies are all that’s left when Caesar takes the dam!

”What’d you say, lout?!” A toothless local jeered, he was pretty well-built, or would have been if it wasn’t for the malnourishment slowly wearing down his complexion.

“I said you… Yes, you.” Greene pointed directly at the heckler; “Are. Fucked. If. Caesar. Takes. The. Dam.” He said again, enunciating each word slowly in order to make his point. Before the man could shout back he shrugged and added; “Or you know, beat the mutant in an arm wrestle and prove me wrong.”

“I’ll do that!” The man roared, rolling up what was left of his tattered sleeves. A couple of other locals clapped and patted him on the back.

“Finally!” Greene grinned. “What shall we say… twenty… no, no I’ll payout thirty to one if that man wins! Place your bets here!”

Several members of the small crowd began chatting and nodding amongst themselves before a couple stepped forward to make bets.

As the local flexed his muscles and walked over to the stool by the explosives crate, Mr Green leaned towards him and said; “Caesar bad. You smart to train strengths to beats ‘im.”

“Straight from the mutant’s mouth folks!” Greene called out as he pocketed a bag of caps offered up by a passing caravanner who clearly couldn’t wait to reach the Strip before he started gambling. “Smart to train strengths! If anyone else would like to have a go so they are in tip-top shape when the legion rolls into town, there’ll also be two hundred caps in it for the one who wins!”

Greene smiled as the queue of those wishing to bet began to grow longer. He might not be getting proper pay for the upcoming job, but if he could keep pulling tricks like this out of his hat, he wouldn’t need to be. As one gambler in a suit, who clearly had more money than sense, reached the front of the line and offered up a small case worth of caps, Greene had to fight back a chuckle. Perhaps he should have turned con-man a long time ago, it certainly paid better than merc jobs and bounty hunting. With all this he’d have enough for supplies and then some…

“Let's do this!” The local goaded, placing his elbow on the box and dramatically fixing his feet into the ground.

“Now?” Mr Green asked, matching the man’s posture, his huge arm easily twice the length of the human’s and more than three times as thick.

“On three.” Mr Greene smirked, as the crowd moved in closely around the pair and prepared to watch.

“One... Two…. Three!”

The pair locked arms swiftly, the human grunting as the mutant’s vice like grip closed in around his fist. The crowd roared with expectation.

“Nice little racket you’ve just set up, baby.” A voice came from over Mr Greene’s shoulder. “You gonna’ cut the King in on the take?” It was Tapper.

“The King and I go way back... baby.” Greene muttered. “I’m sure he won’t mind our antics, and like I said, we are leaving tomorrow.”

“Well that’s a shame.” The ganger said. “I was hoping you wouldn’t have his favour and would try and resist so I could have an excuse to overpower you.”

Greene turned to glance at the man who had crept up somewhat close beside him now. There was something about his tone as he said that…

“You can have a go at overpowering him?” Greene smirked, gesturing to the mutant who was making himself look like he was actually trying to put effort into resisting as the local went all out, groaning as he tried to move the Super Mutant’s arm even an inch.

“Not my type.” The King said with a chuckle. “You on the other hand… I’ll be at the pump till late, but come find me at the wrangler when you’ve put the mutant to bed and I’ll be waiting. If it’s your last night in Vegas you have to make it special.”

Mr Greene smiled to himself, trying not to blush, he had thought Tapper had been watching him because the young King had been bored, now he knew better. He didn’t reply, mulling over the offer as he watched the arm wrestle.

“Arghhh!” The local wrestling with Green’s arm cried out suddenly, as the mutant tired of playing defensive and twisted the man’s wrist around before slamming it down into the crate. There was a bone-shuddering crunch as something definitely broke and the local cried; “Fuck!”

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

West Vegas Sewers

“Fuck!” The exclaimed grunt echoed through the cistern.

Ella felt the man’s fingers digging between the metal collar and back of her neck as he gripped it tightly, the action pulling back the sharpened edge of the collar’s front to sharply cut across her throat and restrict her airflow.

She closed her eyes tightly, enjoying the feeling and then exhaled as he released his grip and pulled away.

She collapsed forward into the long-decayed mattress, adjusting her glasses with one hand and squeezing the comfy linen pillow above her head with the other.

The cistern had been modestly converted into a small living and sleeping area for several people. In the centre a barrel had been filled with wood and pre-war papers to burn a fire that kept the occupants warm, the smoke of which was filtered up through a crudely cut hole in the ceiling that connected to an old drainpipe. Around the edges of the room, bedrolls and mattresses lay scattered. A few, including the one Ella now lay in, were pressed into crevices in the walls, where old pre-war filters and other tech had been stripped out, these beds at least afforded their occupants some degree of privacy as well as with thin scavenged curtains having been fixed into place around them. Though it was hardly the lap of luxury.

“You’re… you’re still crazy in the sack…. Black.” The muscular man who knelt at the end of the mattress panted.

She ignored him, rolling over away from him to pull up the tattered blanket that had once been a NCRCF prisoner’s jacket to cover herself.

“What got into you?” He asked, throwing a tight fitting vest over his head and adjusting his pants.

She sighed loudly; “I’m leaving.”

“What?!” He asked, reaching out to pull her towards him.

“I’m leaving.” She said again flatly, still lying on her side away from him; “Don’t be a dick about it.”

With one thick arm he rolled her over to face him; “But what about me?”

“Eh…” Ella shrugged her shoulders slightly. “You’ll be fine.”

“I thought we had a good thing going Black?! Since NCRCF we’ve been tight?”

“Quiet!” A voice from beyond the curtain called out loudly.

She lowered her voice as she answered him; “Yeah… but it’s time to move on. This…” She gestured to the stained curtain and the cistern beyond; “...This has been fine for a while, but I’m... well I’m bored of living in a sewer.”

“Well if that’s the issue I can go with you?” He asked almost pleadingly.

She looked at him then, her green eyes behind those square-rimmed eyeglasses carefully scrutinising every centimetre of his chiseled face.

“No.” She said flatly.

“Why the fuck not?!” He shouted.

“Shut up love-birds!” The voice from the cistern cried irritably.

Ella shrugged. “I might be bored of living in a sewer Jack, but you belong here.”

“Come again?”

“You’re a rat. You always have been, even back at the prison.”

“Why the fuck did you hook up with me then?!” He growled loudly.

“Because you’re a hot rat. And a hot rat was just what I needed after Eddie.”

“Fuckin’ Eddie.” Jack hissed, his face reddening with anger; “You were always more into him than me!”

“Don’t make me tell you again!” The voice beyond shouted out.

“Yeah?” Ella shrugged, ignoring it; “He was less of a rat and more of a... “ Ella trailed off for a moment, thinking; “...Cazador. He had... you know… power.”

“You fucking whore!” Jack growled, his temple throbbing as Ella quickly slipped out from under the jacket and quickly began to dress.

“Hey!” Ella turned to frown at him as she did up her shirt; “I said he had power. That’s not really an insult. I could have said that he fucked like a champion. Which you know… he did.”

“I’m gonna kick y-” Jack began, lunging towards her, but was interrupted as the curtain was suddenly pulled back and a large hulking man who shared the cistern with them loomed over them with a callous glare.

“I fuckin’ warned you two!” He shouted, already raising a fist.

Ella was nimble, grabbing her coat and pack from where it leant behind the pillow and darting off the mattress before either man could catch her. The aggrieved man from the cistern brought his fist down towards Jack instead and Ella heard the sound of knuckle connecting with face as she scurried out through the cistern.

A pair of malnourished teenagers glanced up at her from a nearby bench as she went by, pausing their game of caravan to get a look at her, there was no privacy in this place. As the sound of Jack taking a beating worsened, more eyes darted out from the corners of the sewer and Ella smiled awkwardly and whistled as she slipped away, ready to join the group leaving Vegas once and for all…

User avatar
Sarrin
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 131
Founded: Dec 21, 2016
Anarchy

Postby Sarrin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:33 pm

Casa Madrid Apartments, Westside

Romero often wondered why he bothered to keep the air filtration unit on his helmet functional, he had lofty ideas about giving it to a worthy heir one day, in the Casa Madrid Apartments however he was happy about the extra protection. Something just seemed… diseased about the air. His only solace was that no one came within a half-mile of Javier’s room while he stood guard outside and that meant no one was going to touch him either.

“He’s all yours cuz, don’t know if he’ll be talking or walking for a while though...” Jimmy said as he left the room. Romero felt a shiver run down his spine, maybe it was the ghoulification, it was hard to tell. There was something disgusting about a prostitute calling him cousin. Inside the room Javier lay in his bed surrounded by chems, alcohol and torn sheets. His eyes were glazed over and a pile of dirty clothes were thrown across the floor. Romero closed the door as he entered before walking over to his safe which he carefully opened to remove a stimpack he’d modified with some addictol to make a potent sobriety chem.

The glaze vanished as Javier took a desperate breath, feeling the stim shoot through him. He shot a fiendish gaze at Romero “I was in the zone hombre! The fuck did you take me out fo that for!” he shouted.

“You trust that savage to administer you narcotics?” Romero replied a disappointment resonating in the ghoulish scratch of his voice.

“He is a savage in bed alright! Speaking of which one of those pendejos in the caravan better put out or I’ll have to get me a pet tribal… Come to think of it a tribal could be one hell of a ride.” Javier said collapsing again into his bed as the stim’s effect ran out.

“For all your posturing I still believe there something more to you cousin, life isn’t just about drugs and sex.” Romero said walking over to empty the contents of his safe into a bag on a dresser beside it.

“That is where we have to disagree amigo, bulls, bears, casinos and towns. They always try to cut your life short or lock you into some punishment, it’s the things they don’t let you do when in captivity you know are the things that matter. Besides, what else is there?” Javier shut his eyes as he spoke trying to find the lingering remnant of his chems despite his full knowledge that they’d been flushed from his system.

“There are causes worth fighting for. Ideas given to us by great men that should be followed even after their passing.” Romero replied somberly.

“Fuck causes, Rattlesnakes had a cause in Baja and look where that got me.” Javier snapped, as much for realising the chems effects had gone as for his suggestion.

“Killing the NCR because you like drinking with the people doing it isn’t exactly a cause…” Romero quipped with a slight chuckle zipping the bag containing his meager possessions.

“Thought you Brotherhood boys went to war with the Republic, shouldn’t you be encouraging my behaviour?” Javier replied as he started to get dressed putting no effort into concealing his nudity as he did so.

Romero sighed as he turned around quickly undoing his mistake as he replied “I didn’t say killing the NCR was wrong just that it’s not exactly a cause.”

“Seems like a pretty valid cause to me” May said as she opened the door. “You realise this lock’s shit right?”

“Usually have a power armoured ghoul outside it.” Javier replied as he finished doing up his trousers. “You here to finish me off?” he added slightly checking her out as the comedown started to kick in.

“I’ve got a job for us actually, give you a chance to steal a truck for our new employer.” She replied shooting a wary glance to Romero who watched her carefully with one hand on the energy rifle that had been resting beside the dresser.

“What’s the pay?” Javier asked as he simultaneously tried to suss out her angle and deal with Romero’s ‘medicinal comedown rush’ that let all the effects pass through his system in a matter of minutes.

“You don’t have to walk to New Cannan.” May replied bluntly. “Load of free hollow point rounds too if you can sell ‘em.”

“What caliber?” Romero asked

“5.56mm knowing the NCR, but they might surprise us.” May replied. “So you in?”

The ‘cousins’ exchanged glances before Javier answered “We’re in, but grab be some mentats as payment from Dixon, he’s usually got a couple stashed.”

User avatar
Cheye
Envoy
 
Posts: 264
Founded: Jun 21, 2014
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Cheye » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:37 pm

The Grub n’ Gulp Rest Stop, South of Vegas - Day 0

Dust billowed out from the rear end of the truck as it slowly crawled down the road, carefully avoiding the craters and wrecked vehicles that lined the route south towards the rest stop and eventually the 188 Trading Post and Boulder City.

Jon Dawes downed the rest of his beer as the sun set in the distance, and chucked a few caps to cover his tab on the bar, before standing and turning towards the roadside.

“Going somewhere, soldier?” Lupe, the co-owner of the rest stop called out as she scooped up the caps.

Jon ignored her, simply adjusting the ill-fitting NCR Trooper armour and marching away towards the road.

The military truck drew closer, carefully rounding a broken and scorch-marked red rocket truck and a motorcycle that had clearly collided when the bombs dropped, only to lie dormant for centuries since.

Jon checked the note in his hand, written in the hand-writing of Corporal Chadwick, his old buddy from his NCR days, who had been crippled at Hoover Dam and reassigned to managing inventory at the sharecropper farm; ‘Truck A-62; 6 crates, 5.56 hollow point, 2 crates frag grenades, 1 case fusion cores, 1 half-crate 5mm, 2 x repaired miniguns, 1 half-crate repair kits, 1 box gas masks. 1 box San Francisco Sunlight Cigars. Sergeant Mason Adams and Private Jane Southerland supervising. Shipment heading for Hoover Dam - this is for old times sake Dawes. Use it well.’

Jon always liked Chadwick. For a long time he had assumed that like the rest of his squad, the young Corporal had been killed at the first Battle of Hoover Dam, but upon returning to the Mojave after his last merc job, Jon had been shocked to find the Corporal shepherding NCR farmers about near Freeside. It hadn’t taken long for them to catch up and for Jon to realise that in many ways Chadwick was disillusioned about his service in the NCR just as Jon had been. The Corporal had smuggled him a few tid-bits out of the sharecropper farms when Jon had been down on his luck, and now Jon was leaving and needed supplies for this trek up to New Canan, Chadwick was the only person he could turn to.

A whole truck for him to rummage through - That was some tid-bit. All Jon needed to do was get on board.

As the truck drew closer he waved to the driver, stepping out in front of it slightly.

It slowed, a head poking out of the left window as the brakes squeaked.

“Give a soldier a lift?!” Jon called, emphatically pointing to the NCR logo on his dusty breastplate. He hadn’t worn the armour in years, but it hadn’t completely faded.

“What’s your unit?” A man’s voice called from the window.

“32nd Infantry.” Jon shot back, it wasn’t a lie. Though he hadn’t actually been a serving member of the regiment since the first battle of Hoover Dam, but they had no way of knowing that.

“Poor grunt.” He heard a woman’s voice mutter from the passenger seat. “32nd always get shafted somehow.”

“Amen.” The man, who was wearing the same mantled NCR armour that Jon was, albeit in better condition let out a gruff chuckle. “We can probably give you a ride, Sergeant..?” His tone turned quizzical as he noticed the rank on Jon’s uniform.

“Sergeant Dawes.” Jon said, figuring it had been a long enough time since anyone would have recognised his name from the wanted posters. Deserters were ten a nickel these days.

“Sergeant Adams.” The man replied with a nod. “11th Logistics. The least we can do is give you a lift to the dam. Where’s the rest of your squad?”

“We got separated on the way from Camp McCarran. Blasted Fiends wanted to take a bite before Caesar got to the table.” Jon sighed, not enjoying how easily the lie came. The irony was it was completely plausible and had probably happened to some poor troopers heading to the dam, just not his made up squad.

“Fair enough.” Adams nodded. “Make yourself comfortable back there.”

“Will do.” Jon nodded, heading around the back of the truck and hopping aboard swiftly.

As the vehicle lurched forwards, he grabbed on to a handrail before eyeing the crates and deftly setting to work. It was time to grab what he could. The truck would have to slow down again at the 188 Trading Post, and when it did he needed to be ready to bail off and haul that shit up to the Horowitz Farm, ready to join his new companions...

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

Twenty Minutes Later

“So there I am ignition not working and a deathclaw coming my way...”

Jon had been listening to the pair talk for a while as he searched the crates for what he wanted. There was something nostalgic about hearing NCR soldiers rattle on but he also remembered where they were going. He remembered that this would probably be their last day on earth.

“I try the engine again, desperate this time, and see this big horned basta-”

Jon ducked instinctively processing what happened only after he was already on the floor. A hole ripped through the canvas of the truck. It was thick, a .50 cal maybe? He heard screaming from the front but only a female voice. Then the hole at the front of the truck went dark and he clocked on.

Sergeant Adams was dead.

Jon stayed sill, processing what this meant. Was it legion? They didn’t use .50 cal. Fiends? They never had anything high grade before. He looked out the back and saw the truck still moving. ‘Shit!’ he thought gripping a crate just in time to steady himself against the shock as the truck crashed suddenly coming to a halt. He heard scrambling from the front, then the side.

“Dawes you - Oh shit! Don’t shoot I’m from the Hub, my brother’s one of you guys I’ll give you anything you want!” The private shouted from beside the truck her voice riddled with panic.

“Mierda! Where’s the key’s pendejo!” a voice replied from outside, it sounded familiar if muffled as if covered by a bandana.

“Thei...thei… their in the truck still, please just let me live.” The private pleaded. Jon knew he could save her but whoever this thug was he had some heavy support. Then again, if he attacked the truck, he was going to check the back sooner or later. Jon took a breadth and moved behind two of the larger crates as he quietly doffed the NCR marked armour taking care to steady a weapon on the entrance of the truck.

Then he saw it, a veteran ranger creeping alongside. They didn’t see him, or at least pretended not to. ‘This is good’ he thought ‘they can take out the thugs’. It dawned on him, the only people he knew who used .50 cal rounds where veteran rangers.

“Now your in for- OW!” the privates voiced said first with relief then pain as Jon heard her be struck across the face and then smacked against the side of the truck.

“Are you fast private?” a muffled voice said, it was a woman’s voice and Jon knew from the modulator that it had to be the Ranger’s.

“Ye..Yea...Yes ma'am, please, we’re on the same side.” The private pleaded her voice caked with desperation.

Jon heard a pained grunt and felt another smack against the truck “Where are the Rangers hiding out?” the ranger asked, the modulator barely concealing her anger.

“J..just outside Boulder ma’am, we..we.. We were to stop off and give them supplies on the way to the dam.” The private was struggling to breath as she spoke.

Jon heard a smack of a body hitting the ground and a sharp breath.

“Find Ranger Dalton, give him this note and don’t send a patrol after us.” The ranger said sternly.

Jon dared a look through the hole on their side, it was a veteran ranger alright but it was hard to make out details in the moonlight. She must have been a deserter, or maybe one of those frumentarii his old squadmate Private Appleyard used to go on about. Jon used to think that if Appleyard had been more worried about the Legion troops in front of him rather than them being disguised and hidden all around, he might have survived Hoover Dam. Now he wasn't so sure...

He heard the private scramble to her feet and begin running. A few moments past. Then a gunshot shattered the tension.

“That’s no way to get a letter delivered chica.” The original voice exclaimed, it was clear now, no longer muffled and Jon knew it. It was the latino thug from the meeting last night, but what was he doing with a veteran ranger. What was his name? Josef? Chavez?

“They’ll find the letter when they come, besides your cousin says there’s a patrol inbound. He’s moving to intercept but your going to need to pick up the pace so we can take this truck.” The Ranger said sternly.

“Take it? This truck’s done for without my workshop chica, best I can do is rig it to explode and we steal some crates from the back especially with the law on our tail.” The latino replied, his voice getting closer to the truck. Jon caught a glimpse of his name tag through the whole. ‘Javier’.

“What use are you if you can’t-” She cut herself off as a burst of static emanated from her helmet, then she corrected herself; “It’s not a patrol, it's rangers. Loot the car and rig it to blow. I’ll support Romero.” The so-called Ranger’s voice seemed oddly calm, NCR Rangers had always elicited fear in the wastelanders Jon had met and all the talk he’d heard claimed even the legion was worried.

Jon sprung into action, throwing off the rest of his armour, already half-doffed, and packed it away quickly. Javier and whoever this Ranger was had obviously been tipped off about the score just as Jon had been, if their aim was to hijack and/or loot it that ruled out Legion involvement.

Once he'd packed up his armour, Jon began unpacking the crate he had leaned on during the crash, and he loaded the pockets on his belt with as many boxes of 5.56 hollow point rounds as he could carry. He ripped open a smaller box next to that crate and found the gas masks. Deciding they could be useful for his new companions, he tipped over what was left in the ammo crate, and placed the box of masks inside.

Methodically, Jon opened the next crate of 5.56 rounds and poured a couple of dozen boxes into the crate, then he searched for the 5mm, remembering that the mutant Mr. Greene had shown up with had been carrying a minigun.

“ETA JAVI?” a coarse voice boomed from beyond the truck maybe 40, 50ft away at most. Sounds of gunfire quickly followed nearly submerging Javier’s response under a cascade of noise.

“JUST MAKING IT GO BRIGHTER, KEEP ‘EM BUSY” There were mixed messages in the gangsters voice as the underlying pleasure of his work contrasted the clear fear of the gunfight. While the mysterious Ranger seemed at home to fight with the NCR’s finest this was clearly not shared by his future associates.

Jon quickened his looting, kicking open the red crate by his feet to find it stacked full of frag grenades, several of which he pocketed and placed into his personal pack before piling more into the crate.

After that he found the repair kits, which wouldn’t all fit in the crate, as laden as it now was with ammo, so he decided to empty out some of the 5.56 rounds to make more space, restacking the crate with a little bit more care to fit more into it.

The metal case which undoubtedly contained the fusion cores he ignored, but only because it would be a pain to carry on top of the crate. He also didn’t need to take a second look at the miniguns for the same reason. Those guns would probably fetch a decent price at Mick & Ralph’s or one of the less reputable vendors in Vegas, but that wasn’t why he was here. He needed supplies, and his crate was now chock-full of them.

As he dragged the crate towards the back of the truck, he stopped and saw the small box of cigars, he wrenched it open and pocketed a couple of individual cigs before using one of the matches from the box to light it. It was a reckless thing to do given the quantity of explosive material he was now hauling, but it felt good doing it and as the smoke washed through his senses, it made him far more at ease with everything he had just heard the mystery ranger do to those poor NCR soldiers. He put the match out carefully though.

“LETS MOVE!” a coarse voice boomed from the shadows as the ghoul, Romero, ran up to the truck, his dark power armour almost appears to appear from the shadows.

“Where’s crazy?” Javier asked before slapping down the truck bonnet and running round to the back jumping in quickly before fully noticing the other man standing there, his military boot resting on the crate of looted gear as he puffed a cigar.

“She’s staying, now let's move, move, move!” Romero shouted as a bullet ricochet of his shoulder pad and he turned to fire a cascade of blasts from his laser rifle into the shadows behind him where the sounds of gunfire had only escalated.

“Gringo?!? That crazy bitch got you in on this too?” Javier shrieked as he searched the mess Jon had made, only fully turning to face him as he grabbed hold of the fusion core case.

“Dunno’ what you’re talking about.” Jon answered honestly, taking another puff of the cigar. “But man, you sure know how to get yourself into trouble…”

Javier’s face was far from calm as he quickly turned and scrambled back down the truck just in time to see Romero swing back a grenade with his laser rifle as if it were a bat. “RUNNING OUT OF CELL’S HERE!” the power armoured ghoul barked signalling for Javier to begin making his way into the wastes.

Jon turned back to the mess he had made and grabbed and handful of grenades from the floor; “Hey, zombie!” He called, gently throwing a cluster of them in his direction.

Romero shifted his gaze just in time turning to catch the grenades with his enormous power-armoured right hand as his left sheathed the laser rifle on his back. In the same movement he flung the grenades into the darkness his index finger just holding one of the grenades ring as he launched them. “RETREAT NOW SOLDIER, THAT’S AN ORDER AND I SURE AS SHIT OUTRANK YOU!” Romero continued as he began his own retreat into the wastes turning off his helmet flashlight as he did.

Jon jumped down, pausing only to check that his crate of ill-gotten gains was secure before heaving it up and attempting to jog after the ghoul.

As bullets ricocheted around him, he let go of one of the handles, instead allowing the crate to drag through the sand behind him as he broke into a run and disappeared into the night...


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