So, I've played most of the Fallout games, even the older ones. Ever since I started, I've wanted to write something about Fallout, y'know, contribute to the story a little. The main character isn't anyone from the games, nor do you really have to be all that familiar with fallout to understand what's happening, just know that it's post-nuclear Apocalypse, and a little like Mad-Max. Enjoy
Edit: 12-8-11 I'll continue posting the new chapters/sub-chapters in separate comments, but I'll keep a master copy of all the chapters here in the form of spoilers. Edit: 12-11-11 If anyone's up to making a Fallout RMXP game with me, I'd be totally on-board with that...
"Can you pass the potatoes?" There was a distinct air of tension over the dinner table that night. A school dispute, between Emily and another girl ended badly, and she was being punished for it. Her lips were silent, and pursed out, she crossed her hands and cocked her head, defiantly. "Answer your father, Emily." A meek, shrewdly woman said, across the table. Intending to keep the promise she made, that very afternoon, she silently, and aggressively, handed the potatoes to the tall, dark haired man next to her, without muttering a word. Not taking the issue seriously, The Man simply said "Thank you, Little One." "Humph!" These matters, no matter how seemingly insignificant now, are our most cherished memories...
Chapter 1: A walk in the Dinosaur
The ground was hard, and let out a dry crack as a lone, dark figure drudged over the horizon. Sounds of dust storms and gunfire echoed throughout the canyon, and his pack grew heavier with each passing sign of civilization. He had been wandering for a while now, waiting for that final oasis. That Eden of the Wastes. So far, his search had bore no fruit, and is now forced to take a break. "Sir-" The Wanderer noticed a flash, coming from a strange structure. He was being watched. "There appears to be a waster coming close to town." "Is it a fiend?" Slowly, a white flag rose from the shadowy figure. "Seems friendly enough." There had been accounts, earlier that year, of fiends coming from the north, bearing no signs of drug use. They come into town, buy a few supplies, and leave. A few days later, a squad of scrimmagers to test the defenses. "You there! Show your hands and slowly approach the gate!" A voice soared over the loudspeakers. It seems these people were, at least, on an electrical grid. Maybe something left over from the Helios station. The large, makeshift gate opened vertically, revealing three heavily armed men, all with their guns trained on The Wanderer. One of them lowered his weapon, only to remove the bags hitched upon The Wanderer's back. He followed to unscrupulously rifle through their contents, dumping them on the ground. The Wanderer's gaze, behind the reflective gas mask, never left the tallest man. "What's your business here, Stranger?" He asked, motioning for the others to lower their weapons. "Shelter." A cold, electronic voice whispered from out of the mask. "You have quite a lot of guns here; you're not planning on using them in our quiet town now, are you?" "Unless I'm given reason to..." He bent down to gather his armory that had been spilled unto the ground. "No." On that word, the two with guns still drawn, began back towards the gate, however the taller one remained. "Good. Keep to yourself and you're welcome here as long as you like." As The Wanderer was led into town, the large gate shut behind him. The whirr of machinery bellowed, sending a sense of nostalgia to the man in the mask.
Taking no notice to the figure looming in the doorway, a small woman continued filling the room with the sounds of typing. The Wanderer approached the woman, setting his still-unorganized bag on the counter. "Welcome to Zone Three, what is your name and occupation?" She said in a dull, unenthusiastic tone. Without breaking typing speed, she looked up to him. "Roland. Mercenary." "Are you looking for Citizenship, Roland?" "Looking for lodging." Not taking his 'Badass Desert Merc' attitude to heart, she simply replied "Room three." Setting a rusted key on the counter. Roland grabbed it and his bag, and left. An interesting turn of events, this town had a key maker. Granted this was an old key, the groundings in the teeth were fresh, and done with a plasma-cutter. Not only have they electricity, but enough to generate plasma rods. And that girl was working on an actual computer. Even now, those are still scarce and hardly anyone knows how to operate them. Those that did are mostly dead now. After turning the lock, and hearing an ever-so-satisfying crack of tumblers, he pushed open the door to find a room far from his expectations. There was a bed, with springs and cushioning, a drawer, and a working lamp. The air wasn't exactly fresh, but didn't smell of death or lice-rotten carpeting. Confident in the working lock, he decided to leave his less-valuable bag on the bed, and scout the town. Walking just in front of the gate in which he had just recently entered, Roland turned his attention to a group of men, none of them armed, working a dark-brown, patch of dirt. Dirt. Not sand. Honest-to-god Soil. They had actually begun to re-cultivate the earth, there were even budding sprouts and patches that look like had once contained a plant. Perhaps potatoes? Each of them, preforming different tasks, or helping others with theirs. These men, who, in a wasteland of war and drugs, came from nothing, were born nothing, and had developed the life-blood of an entire town. Not one of them looked like they'd rather be anywhere else. However, something bothered him. Other than the one at the hostel, there were no women, or children to be seen. Putting that thought aside, he continued on scouting. Hoping to find some reason to keep on his journey for Eden.
It felt like he was melting. Roland tried and tried, but as strong as he was, he couldn't fight the tar-trap he was in. His legs felt like huge, iron weights and he couldn't move them at all. He knew the horde was coming, he could hear them. He could make out the sounds of bone scrapping on the ground and the weak, yet frightening moans. He could even smell them... He sweat so profusely, he felt his large, black coat was sticking to his chest and arms. As he raised his large, ten millimeter gun towards the mob of pink and grey that was growing larger, and ever closer, his arms seemed to grow heavier and heavier, making it harder to aim, and he finally dropped it into the black sludge he had fallen into himself. It would be a matter of seconds before he would be torn into a thousand pieces, he couldn't accept his fate, he couldn't die now. But his resolve did nothing; the monsters were atop of him. As he began to feel the first bite into his forearm, he awoke in his bed, raised up and weapon drawn at the invisible targets. His breath loud, his body heavy with sweat, and his heart beating hard enough to hear in the next room, he lowed his gun, and turned the safety back on. Roland waved his long, slender fingers through his short, dark hair and took a long, deep breath. The desert air actually smelled good, when it wasn't irradiated, or filled with gunshot residue. "Third time, this week..." He softly muttered. The scars, covering his body, felt a sting whenever he thought of the feral ones, of their foul shriek, came to mind. He took off the broken, mechanical device strapped to his wrist, and walked to the window. He could see the night guards making their rounds, the moon sitting on the night sky, like an angel watching the earth.
After putting on his mask, and coat, Roland decided he wasn't going back to sleep. He couldn't get the sounds of scraping and chewing bone out of his head and his pillow felt like a sack of potatoes. He'd grown fond of this particular path around town. There were hardly any people out at this time, the only real time of the day that the desert is actually a comfortable and hospitable place. Out of the corner of his eye, Roland noticed a flash of black fur and paws. A dog had pounced on him, his knife had already been drawn and was less than an inch away from the canine's throat, when he stopped. "Poochie! No! Bad dog, get off him!" A tiny voice shouted, over the sounds of the evening. "I'm really sorry, mister..." "It's fine." Roland stood perhaps two full heads taller than this girl, she was gritty-faced and her smile was filled with gaps, but seemed no threat. The Wanderer, so spurned by the desert, sheathed his weapon. "What's his name?" He asked, bending down to pet the dog. "Artemis, sir." She said, not looking at the Wanderer. Roland remembered no children, or dogs for that matter, being outside during his scouting in the days before. "Where are your friends? It's rather late to be playing outside." The Wandered asked, trying to sound as sincere as possible, through the electronic speakers on his mask. "The other kids are in the kennel, sleeping with the dogs." She said, still keeping her eyes fixed on the dog. "You don't sleep with the rest of the town?" Roland asked. "No, we have to sleep with our brothers and sisters in the kennel, sir." Her eyes flickered towards a building just east of them. The girl let out some clicks and whistles, and the dog, Artemis, turned around and slowly walked with her. Roland was left there, to stool in his curiosity. He wanted to see what this girl was talking about. "Why did she look over there?" He thought, looking to the building. It seemed to be uninhabited, there were no lights on, there were pieces of metal covering up the windows and doors; it looked like just an old shack to him. But the desert often plays tricks on our minds. Making us believe something is what it isn't.
An Orange Death
A cold shock ran through Roland's spine, the hairs on his neck were on end and his weapon drawn. He'd been trying to find a way out of this old factory, and thought he'd found an exit. He opened the door and saw them. Their almost invisible wings, their bone-like, black arms and legs, their teeth... His hand shaking, he dare not fire. The last thing in the world the wanderer wanted to do was piss off these monsters. Roland had to play every move, very carefully; he had to get past these things. He had finally gotten a lead. A few miles from here, at a place called "Vault"; there was rumor of a device that can create worlds. Not only might he find his Eden, he might even discover, or make, a new world. "Damn it." Roland's heart was pounding so hard, it felt like it was in his throat. He noticed, across the room, an open window, the only problem was getting to it without letting the Cazadores know he was there. Their buzzing and clicking was so loud, he'd thought it might cover the sound of his footsteps, but he couldn't be sure. Their poison wasn't fast-acting, but being so far from Zone Three, he couldn't take that chance. Desperately looking around for anything he could use as a distraction, he saw something like a cylinder on the opposing wall. A fire extinguisher. "I could shoot it; it might cause a big enough explosion to take out a few of those flying bastards." Roland took out his 10mm and installed the silencer to the barrel. He took out the mag, "Three rounds..." He couldn't miss; he needed to get it on the first try. Lining up the shot was easy, pulling the trigger was the hard part. Out of all the desert experience he'd had over the years, after all the people and critters he's killed, the Cazadores were the most ruthless and violent killers of the Mojave. Sweating from his brow, and trying not to breathe too loudly, Roland began the pull, and before he could think, an ear-shattering pop sounded off throughout the factory. He opened his eyes, and noticed he'd hit the target, the creatures were agitated and were sounding off to each other, however, it didn't cave the building in, like he'd hoped. Cursing under his breath, he headed for the open window, slowly. This was his only option left, and he had to be careful, but as his foot hit a crack in the floor, the whole section of floor began to shake. "Really? Right now?" He thought, as a huge section of the pillar fell off and struck the ground, cause the building to shake even more. As dust and sand were seeping through the holes in the roof, crack began appearing where the extinguisher had blown up. They grew larger and larger, until section of the wall began to fall down. The Cazadores were buzzing around more and more violently, their exit was blocked by rubble, so they began towards the open window. Roland was as a statue; he dare not breathe, let alone move. The flying horror's wings snapped and whirred against the glass and concrete of the hollow building. It only caused the walls to decay faster, as much as he needed to be still, Roland's window of opportunity was closing. Literally. As the very next stone fell, a chain reaction began, the whole building was coming down on top of the Wanderer. From the outside, all that could be seen was an enormous cloud of dust and tons of black dots, the Cazadores. They shot out of the concrete deathtrap and began to hiss and click, aggravated. The sounds of settling stone and falling sand was all around the downed Wanderer. He slowly staggered to his hands and knees, coughing and wheezing in the vacuum the fall had created. He was alive, but if he didn't leave this rubble site, he'd find himself facing a lot of pissed off bugs. Now was the perfect time to make his leave.
Given a minute to breathe, and count his blessings, the Wanderer checked his body for cuts or shrapnel. In the heat of the commotion, he couldn't tell, but he'd hit his leg so hard it felt like he'd jammed a potato in his thigh. "I hate bugs..." He grunted, looking through his bag, for bandages and antiseptic. "At least I finally found the part orders... I can start looking for the 'Vault'." On his journeys, Roland had heard of the Vaults. They were supposed to be huge, underground fortresses that the people, before the Fall, had occupied. Supposedly some held powerful pre-war weapons and armors, while others, like the one he was looking for, sent people to another world. All he need find is the Vault named "402". It was supposed to be somewhere in Southern California. "The Divide..."
Chapter 2: Torrential Sands
"Take a deep breath, Mr. Fitzgerald. Your BP is jumping around." The room was a pale-white, with many machines and apparatuses connected to a frightened, half-naked man, who was nervously looking around the room. "How much longer, Doc?" He managed to mumble. The doctors behind the one-way glass could be heard, talking incoherently to each other, pulling switches and reading virtual readouts of Mr. Fitzgerald's vitals. "Okay, sir, you may step down, off the pedestal. Come into the prep room and we'll bring you your clothing." A metallic voice echoed throughout the room, only adding to the Man's queasiness. He slowly sat his body up, tossing his legs over the edge and slipping on the hospital slippers he was given. They smelled of rotten potatoes. Struggling to open the steel doors into the preparation area, Mr. Fitzgerald found his clothes lying on the teak table. An old, faded-blue work shirt and torn-up blue jeans. As he slipped out of his revealing patient cloak, his strait-jacket, he could feel the cold eyes of the security camera staring at him. They had them everywhere; he knew they had to have a sense of safety in the hospital, but they had the cameras in the Operating Rooms and the Storage Rooms. A horde of white coats entered through a tiny door, at the other end of the PR. "So, Mr. Fitzgerald-" "Please, don't skip around; I just want to hear the results..." He said, cutting the doctor off. "Ah-hem. Of course..." The mustachioed, portly man, of easily forty-five years, ruffled his coat and fidgeted with his clipboard. "The Blood tests and plasma clarity tests have both come back positive." the doctor said, ever so matter-of-factly. Fitzgerald didn't seem fazed. "What does that mean?" He said. "Well, that means the compatibility between your blood, and your daughter's blood is exact. A rod-transfer could be possible in the future." Two arms wrapped around his stout, white coat and clenched. Tears streaming from his eyes, Mr. Fitzgerald was nearly asphyxiating the good doctor. "P-please! Roland, contain yourself!"
A strange heat was rising from the cracking road ahead; it seemed to distort all the crumbling buildings and dead cacti littering the desert. The Wanderer's eyes were tired, his feet beaten, but he clearly saw the caravan of red, crossing the unforgiving wastes. He flagged them down. "You need anything, waster?" A hulking man asked him, brandishing a small firearm. "Is this a crimson caravan train?" The mechanical voice cracked. He reached into his pocket, making the man draw his gun. "Relax, it's my wallet." He said, pulling out a brown, leather sack. It jangled with the familiar sound of metal known to these kinds. "Sorry, sir, you know how it is out here." A smaller man said, waving the mercenary off. "What can I do for you?" He said, wringing his hand around. The Mojave was an unforgiving and unrelenting a place, making monsters out of the most decent of men. The Wanderer was no exception. He'd heard the stories of Caravans, even those better equipped to handle raiders, had fallen to the hands of seemingly harmless wanderers like himself. "Have you, or your friends, heard anything about the Vaults?" He asked. The group exchanged glances of confusion, then replied; "Yeah, they're big, metal caves where the survivors of the war lived. Everyone knows that." "I was more interested in a particular vault. Have any of you heard of a Vault called '402'?" The Wanderer had almost no leads, the last man he asked claimed he'd seen a map containing all the locations of the Vaults; he also claimed he had the soul of a carrot and needed to "Kill all the ground-dwellers". "402? The Vault numbers don't go that high in this area. You have to go back up through the Divide to find numbers above 200." Another dead end. "Thanks." The Wanderer said, handing the man a few chunks of red metal. "Anytime, stranger, anytime." A quick motion of his hand, and the caravan was back on its route to the Mojave. The Wanderer was lead in another direction. He'd been asking about the Vaults at nearly every outpost, village and campsite, and had asked every trader he'd seen. Still he had no concrete directions, however it's a good bet that 402 was in California. "It'd be nice if I had that map..." How crazy a theory would it be to map out all the locations of the vaults? It's what any sane person would do; make a map to the treasure. But The Wanderer knew better; he'd dealt with Vault-Tech in his travels, and it wouldn't surprise him if the whole company wanted the secret to die with the vault-dwellers.
As The Wanderer drew nearer to the great tower, he felt a familiar chill of discomfort run up his spine. Roland knew the insignia on his vest might grow dimmer on his journey through the desert, but it would never fade away. It was inevitable that his path lead him here, once more... The gate to Zone One.
An Auld Song
The high walls of the decaying buildings loomed over his head. The Wanderer felt the many invisible eyes leering at him, waiting for him to show signs of hostility. It wasn't a foreign feeling, this sense of insecurity. He knew it well. His time spent in this city of death had taught him never to forget it. Roland's shadow rest at the feet of a great gate, one that put the gate in Zone three to shame. It stood no less than 60 feet high, made of old-world car parts and buses, it was decorated with three large, black letters. "M. L. A." The Wanderer read them in his mind. They symbolized all that he had lost in this world, and all he stood to loose in the next. Clang Clang Clang. The knocks were heard echoing throughout the ghost-town. It was a few minutes before any response was had. "What?" A pair of eyes grunted through a hole in the wall. Roland flashed the familiar three letters, embroidered on his leather coat, to the man. "Name." The eyes again said, "Fitz." The masked man replied. The pair of eyes disappeared for a moment, then returned with the sound of heavy tumblers creaking. The monster of a gate began to rise off the ground. Walking through it revealed nothing different from what was seen outside. Crumbling buildings and cracking sidewalks littered Roland's path, and were filled with a brown-faced audience. "What's you're business here, 'Fitz'?" The eyes revealed themselves, they were attached to a scrawny child, holding a 7.62mm Assault rifle, aimed at The Wander's head. "I'm just resupplying. Only be here for three hours, tops, then leave VIA the Northern Gate." Roland tried to speak as little as possible, his reputation wasn't exactly the best in this city. "Fine, take a pass." The boy said, tossing a black card at to Roland. The card displayed two golden lions, facing away from each-other and wearing the masks of comedy and tragedy. There were two numbers as well, both of them read "8‚™†". The Wanderer, now Fitz, quickly and quietly went on his way.
There was a distinct air of tension that arose nearly the instant Rolands dark figure peered through the double-doors of the building labeled "Phoenix Feather". There was a girl, no more than 18 years of age, striking a red-hot piece of metal flat with a large, iron hammer. The Wanderer tried his hardest to move into the store without making noise, but the ears of the smith hadn't lost their edge through her profession. The girl spun around, not a single movement unintentional, and pointed a silver revolver with the inscription; "My Dearest" darkening the barrel, towards the man that now aims his gun as well. "What are you doing here?" The girl asked blankly. "A new blade." Slid the words from under his mask. The girl's glare faded, and her gun lowered, ever-so slightly. "What happened to the Kukri I made?" She asked "It's probably still under about five tons of concrete." He said. The girl finally sheathed her weapon and returned to her work at the furnace. The room stayed silent, save for the constant ring of the hammer hitting the metal. Rolands gun remained drawn, and aimed towards the girl. He didn't move an inch, and his gaze never changed. "I came to buy a new one." He said, tightening his grip on his 10mm. The girl stopped her hammering. "What?" She said softly, her back still turned to the wanderer. "A new-" His words were cut short by the sound of gunshots from the girl, the wanderer took refuge behind a large, steel cupboard. Two shots were spent into his armor, and four shots into the shelter in front of him. "What did I tell you, last time you poked your head in this store?" The girl said calmly, and reloaded her gun. "What did I say I would do, should you loose that knife?" She pulled the hammer back and began walking. Roland threw his jacket around the cover and ran at the girl, two round went into it as he closed distance between him and his assailant. Once close, he knocked the gun from her hand and began pinning her on the ground. "Let go of me! I'll kill you!" Screamed the now-pinned teen. Roland struggled to keep her, but she remained trapped. "I believe the exact words were; 'I'll take this raw material, shape it into a ball, and shove it down your throat if you come back with a broken knife again'." He said, taking off his mask. The struggling girl slowed to a stop and looked away from him. "You better not let me up, Roland." She said, frowning. A few minutes later, with some of the anger gone, there was a silence as Lucy sat across from the Wanderer. She crossed her arms and pouted her lips, Roland loved it. "How long has it been?" A gruff, tired voice spoke from under a thinning mustache. "Almost a year, now, Bastard." She said in a venomous tone. "Wow. You've grown up a lot. How old are you now?" Roland asked, and took a sip from a brown liquid. "Sixteen." Lucinda had been just a girl when she had the awful luck of meeting the M.L.A. her entire town was taken over, a town of California Republic Civilians. "I'm only here for the next hour and a half, or so. I brought caps with me." Roland had been in an outfit that was under instructions to "reform" the town and it's populace to M.L.A. ways. "Hmph." There was a revolt, and the remaining soldiers tried to overpower the Liberators. They failed... "Business looks like it's been good, you have new clothes and that looks like a new furnace..." Lucy's father was killed during the Legion war, before she was even born and her mother was tending to the sick when the same Legionaries firebombed the medical tent. "I guess." She said. Roland found her, not even ten yet, and her entire town was nothing but ash. He brought her with him, to a town that used to be called "Goodsprings", there was a Doctor there he knew. That town could be trusted. "Have you been keeping up with Sunny? I know she misses you a lot." Roland was reminded of that day every time he saw Lucy's boyish, yet beautiful face. "I'm not going to make another goddamn Kukri. I even inscribed that one..." She said, sounding defeated. "I can't trust anyone else's knives, you want your old man to die?" He pointed at the silver and ivory sticking out of her heavy, brown apron. "What if I make you another gun?" He asked. Lucy's exp‚€‹ression shifted, she seemed less angry and more tired. She drew her gun, and set it sideways on the table. "I had a bad dream the other night." She said, her eyes still laying on the gun. "What about?" Roland asked, "It was about you." Her gaze thinned to a close. "I saw you, out in the wastes. You were covered in black. At least... I think it was you..." She looked at the gas mask on the floor, the one The Wanderer had been wearing. "I saw that. It was covered in a black veil, and sinking into the sand." "There were monsters all around you, I tried to call out." Her eyes grew red, and swelled with tears. "I called out your name, but only the sounds of screaming and the cries of ghouls were audible." Roland stood up from his chair and crossed the table to wrap his arms around her. "I couldn't stop them..." Her arms slowly rose to match his, and Roland let out a few, soft, reassuring words. "It's okay Lucy, I'm here."
An Auld Song: Part Two
As long as the pass was in his possession, Roland was able to stay inside the city walls all he liked. He was only here for some supplies and repairs, but he ended up with something more... "You want to come with me?" The Wanderer asked, in a condescending tone. "Come on, I'm old enough now, I nearly killed you in the office." The small girl was now following Roland down the dusty street. "Every time I come to town you either shoot at me, or beg me to let you travel with me." He said, pressing his hands against his helmets temples. "And this time you did both..." "But you even said it yourself, I've grown up!" "The answer is still no." without stopping, the Wanderer looked to Lucy. "Listen, there will be a time when you are ready to travel the wastes, and I'll take you on my search..." He raised his hand to be set on her scrawny, yet toned shoulder. "But until that day, you're safer here." The girl swatted his hand away and gave Roland a glare. "I'll make you another knife." She offered. There was a reason Lucy lived in the Zone One stronghold, and not still back in Goodsprings. The knives and long blades she made were legendary throughout the wastes, and are used by nearly every Mojave Army soldier. After joining the MLA, she was stationed here to make blades for them, and given a store, to make some money from the travelers who passed through. Roland paused before answering. "What about your military contracts? Your business?" Deserters weren't smiled upon in the Mojave Army, and debts were usually paid with blood. "My TDY is almost over, I'll be a free woman in a matter of days." Lucy said, The Wanderer made sure to be away from prying ear before posing his proposition. "Say I take you with me." He said quietly. "What would you do?" Lucy looked confused. "Wasn't it you, the Wanderer of the Wastes, the famous MLA sharpshooter, who taught me to use a gun?" "It was." Roland said, inflating his ego. "And you're asking me what I'd do?" She seemed amused. "Surely you can't be serious." "I am serious." Roland sighed, resisting the urge to say more. "Just because you have a gun, and have aim, doesn't mean you know how to survive in the hot desert sun, or stay warm during the freezing nights." He took off his coat and raised his armor above his chest, showing two gaping scars. "You ever hear of a Deathclaw?" Lucy grimaced and motioned for him to lower his shirt. "Okay, so you're a badass, I get it." Roland re-equipped his gear and let out a defeated sigh. "How am I supposed to learn how to fend for myself if you won't teach me to?" She asked, sincerely. Roland wasn't sure how to answer that one. If he could go back in time and start over with someone who knew what the fuck they were doing, he'd be a lot better off. "Okay." He said, finally. "You can come with me to the West Oasis." a scream of excitement roared into the Wanderer's mask. "Thank you! I knew you'd let me come, this time! I knew it!"
The blazing sun was setting on the Mojave Desert, and most living things were burrowing in and readying themselves for the cold night. However, our two companions were making there way through the mouth of the beast. Roland, now with all his provisions re-filled, was being tailed by a smaller, yet almost identical cloak and gas mask. "You could've at least waited for your tour to be over." He said, secretly smiling. "Yeah, but then I would've slowed you down. This way we'll be long gone before the Military even knows where I am." The two headed for a nearby shack, obviously built post-war. "We're gonna sleep in there?" Lucy asked, disgusted "Yeah, sorry it's not five-star, your highness." He approached the door cautiously and motioned for Lucy to shut up, ignoring her obvious disapproval. He checked around for any signs of booby-traps or landmines, and drew his newly-acquired shotgun. As he reached the door, he knocked on it softly and waited. There was no response. "Nobody's home." Lucy said. "Quiet." Roland said plainly. He pressed on the door from under the knob and slowly peered inside. It was hard to see, but he noticed a thin line of light glistening on the floor. "Come here." He said, motioning her over. "What is it?" She asked, peeking inside. "Look there, on the floor." He pointed to the tripwire "Do you know what that is?" he asked. "Uhm. Some rat shit?" "No, the thin shred of light above the rat shit." He bent down and focused her attention. "What is it?" She asked. "Stand back." Roland said, standing up and handing her his bags. He walked over to a cactus and tore off a branch. "This is your first lesson." He threw the branch at the door. As it swung open, the sound of shotgun was heard throughout the area. Lucy nearly jumped out of her pants, and covered her ears. "What the fuck?!" She screamed. "Most people, no matter who they are, will set traps at random houses so they can scavenge what they didn't blow up." Roland pointed to his helmet. "These are bulletproof, but are also very goddamn expensive." "So please," He said, taking his bags back, "Don't get shot." "Duly noted..." She muttered. The two took their bags off, and after thoroughly checking the premises, put them on the floor. The Wanderer started to take his cloak and helmet off, revealing his scarred body. Lucy looked at his back, noticing the many cuts and burn marks that made his body look older than she thought it was. "Do they hurt?" She asked, softly. Roland turned to her, and didn't realize she was watching. He smiled and said "No, not anymore." "What happened?" she had never seen or been with anyone but those who lived in Goodsprings and Zone One, so she knew little of the outside world. Scars were relatively foreign to her. "Well a few of them are from when I came to..." He quickly corrected himself "From when I came to the Mojave. I got attacked by some ghouls. That's what the burns are from." He thought about each of the marks. Having to relive all the stories told by his body. "The rest are just bullet holes." He smiled "Your old man is well-traveled." "Will I be like that?" Lucy asked, looking at her arms. "I'm gonna try and prevent that as best I can, but your fate is in your hands." He finished taking his armor off and was left in some old blue jeans and his boots. "Why did you undress?" She asked, realizing how cold it was getting. "It'll reach -12 Degrees in a few hours, do you really want to be covered in metal and iron?" He grabbed the coat he had put on the ground, and laid it out like a mat. "I didn't think about that." She said, beginning to take the armor off. "I put a blanket in your bag, it should keep you from freezing to death for tonight." He laughed. "It's not like it's any warmer in the city..." She said, defensively. "No, you just have nuclear generators and electricity. Of course it's colder in there." A few hours passed, and there wasn't a sound to be heard aside from Lucy's shivering. Roland rolled over to face her and sleepily asked "I told you to take off your armor..." In a rush, Lucy forgot to pack any kind of undergarments. She'd be sleeping in the nude. "Nice t-t-try... you p-pervert..." "Your lips are blue, it's gotta be like, 10 below out there." Roland sighed and got up. He put his blanket and coat on her. "B-but won't you g-get cold?" Before she could finish, the Wanderer was already getting into her sleeping bag with her. "H-hey! What the hell?!" "Shaddap. You want to freeze?" Lucy wanted to protest, but the feeling of his inexplicably warm body was too alluring to allow her to. She simply grunted and punched his chest.
Chapter Three (In-Progress)
Chapter Three: A relapse
Through a hole in the roof of the shanty that the two had chosen to sleep in, Roland could see a universe full of bright lights and constellations. He took a deep, cold breath and exhaled. The smell of sand and plantlife filled the air of the rusty shack and reminded him of his days in the army. "Move it, Fitz." A demanding voice bellowed in his head. A younger-looking Roland, alarmed, caught up with a group of soldiers. "Yes, sir." He said, obediently. "Bastard." There were five of them, not including the Wanderer. Two in front, two in back and Fitz's CO in the middle. He was a tall, brownish-grey man that went by the name of 'Bitter-Root' and he stood about the same height as the Wanderer. "Alright boys, listen up." He said, stopping the crew at an old-world trailer. "Our target is a place people used to call 'Searchlight'. The remnants have recently taken up refuge there, and the brass is telling us to either assimilate or terminate the residents." "Isn't that a little harsh?" Said one of the smaller recruits "They hardly seem like a threat..." "So did Mr. House, Private." None of them said a word. "Now, Fitz, I want you to take your rifle and climb up onto the top of this thing." "Sir?" He said, gauging the distance of the town. "That's nearly a mile." "And?" Bitter-Root said, looking at the man with a scowl. "You think I'd have brought you along if I thought only four out of the five men in this troop could be trusted?" "N-no, sir!" Fitz said and quickly began up to the roof. "If anyone fires a gun, all targets become hostile, do I make myself clear, private?" He looked up to the roof. "Yes, sir!" A voice came from the window. The Sargent rallied the others and kept on towards the camp. The five bodies began to slowly fade out of focus, until they were simply grey dots in the Desert. Fitz crept down to prone and laid his rifle on a chunk of metal. He zeroed his sight in on the troop and affixed his scope. "Damn, they're taking forever." He mumbled, and relaxed his arms. The desert heat was nothing to laugh at. In his kevlar and leather body armor, it easily reached 140 degrees. The dry air wasn't doing his lips or throat any good, so he took a long swig of water. "This tastes like bile." He grunted, closing the canteen. "I bet the Remnants aren't even here. This place is supposed to be lethally radioactive..." The sniper quietly took off his right-hand glove and clicked his fingers. "It's where I'd hide." said the voice in his head. Suddenly, he heard a soft 'pop' from the distance, he looked through his scope and saw the five dots still where they were, and none seemed alarmed. "Where the fuck did that come from?" He panicked, turning around and looking for the source of the shot. Pop! The sound was closer this time and seemed to be coming from all directions. "Damn these canyons..." He cursed in his head. Fitz felt the need to draw his sidearm, but remained calm. He had no indication that the shooter even knew he was there. The Sniper slowly and cautiously checked around with his binoculars. After closely listening, the shots became apparent. There were tiny flashes coming from a farmhouse a few hundred yards away. "Got you." He whispered as he scoped in on the target. It seemed to be shooting at his comrades, but was apparently missing, for the five soldiers still stood. Fitz didn't feel like taking his chances in a sniper duel, he had to headshot his rival with one round. The Sniper calmed his breathing, he closed his eyes and listened to his heartbeat. Looking through the scope, and taking the wind into account, he cocked his rifle and squeezed off a single round. It only took about one second to reach his target, and it seemed to hit the mark, a large splash of crimson filled the air around his enemy, and it's silhouette vanished. Fitz pulled the bolt back and let the spent shell hit the roof of the trailer, then pushed it back in. Never taking his eyes off the farmhouse, he reached for his binoculars and peered through. Still nothing. "I guess I got hi-" He saw a flash and ducked his head. "Damn it!" He cursed in his mind. Looking through the scope, he saw nothing on the roof of the farm, but again, saw another flash, this time from the lower-story window. Fitz quickly slid down the side of the trailer, to the ground. Crawling on his hands and knees, the Sniper tried to get to the tiny brush of tumbleweeds at the foot of the wreck. "I must have only wounded the asshole." He said, trying not to think that there might be more than one enemy sniper. When an MLA squad like the Sniper's is sent out to a town, it's usually to just assimilate the populace to the Mojave Government. Fitz couldn't help but think, what with the Snipers, that there was something more to this particular mission. "Where are you?" He whispered, still looking at the farmhouse. There was no movement. Trying to move in kevlar was hard enough, standing. On the ground it was damned-near impossible, but Fitz made it behind cover. He took the biggest piece of scrap metal he could find, and chucked it over the trailer, keeping a careful eye on the farmhouse. As the hunk made it over the top, another flash, followed by an echoing 'pop', and gave the enemy's position away. "I almost can't believe he fell for that..." He thought, and squeezed off a round. Another cherry pie, blood sprayed out of the window and onto the dry earth below. The Sniper knew better, he didn't move an inch. Pop! Sure enough, another flash of light came from the farm. "There's just no end to these guys..." He groaned, then felt a flash of pain to his cheek. "Ow!" Fitz dodged himself back into cover and dared not move an inch. Pow! Pow! ... Pow! Pow! ... This was definitely a different sniper. The last two were Novice, at best, this one however, had certainly been trained by more than just action movie holodiscs. "Hnnmmn..." Lucy shifted in the sleeping bag, and let out a sleepy noise. "Whoops..." Roland said, ceasing his movements. "Guess I got a little excited." The tired Wanderer again closed his eyes and returned to his fantasy.
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