Hidden 5 mos ago Post by 2sky11
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2sky11 Embrace the Fallout

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Colonel Samuels – Fort Independence

"Atom's blessing to you, Colonel Samuels. I am Zealot Thiel of the Children of Atom, acting on behalf of the Grand Zealot. What business do our allies in the Commonwealth have here in the Capital Wasteland, so close to our holy city? Please understand, we do not wish for trouble, but we must remain appraised of all goings on so close to Holy Megaton. If your intentions are noble, we intend to follow through on our side of our alliance by providing communication and coordination while you remain in the Capital Wasteland."

The Colonel nodded, “Welcome Zealot Thiel. I’m sorry for the intrusion so close to you… ehm… Holy City. We had to move quickly.” The Colonel pointed at one of the Crusaders and snapped his fingers instructing him to come.

The heavily armored crusader moved towards them, his heavy footsteps thudding on the ground. He carried a large case. The three zealots that accompanied Thiel grasped their weapons tighter as the crusader approached. He stopped in front of Thiel and dropped the box. The box thudding as it hit the ground kicking up some dust. The crusader turned and walked back to his post.

Col Samuels cleared his throat and smirked, “Excuse him, our Crusaders are not accustomed being in the presence of those of other faiths… Now let’s see.” Samuels leaned over and unlocked the case. He turned it to face Thiel. Inside were rods encapsulated in what looked like almost glass, stamped with a radioactive symbol

“Our representatives in Bethlehem send this gift from the Limerick power station, with warm regards. This little expedition is only setting up an FOB from where we can prepare and launch an attack on Point Lookout. The Cult has its dirty fingers grasping at it, thanks to the civil war with the Most Serene. Please take these nuclear rods as an apology, and payment for the use of this Fort”
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Elgappa
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Elgappa

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T H E C U L T O F U G - Q U A L T O T H



Iron-Jaw Indianapolis



The attack of the Cult, had been like a wave hitting the shore during a storm. It appeared fast, crushing everything in its path, yet now as losing power quickly. With the charge gone and the shock of their attack passed, the lack of numbers and tactic quickly showed. A second wave, planning to assault from a new direction, meanwhile was fighting for dear life in the tunnels, as the mechanic fury of the brotherhood overcame flesh and teeth.
In the Chaos, the miasma fueled militants fought with fanatical devotion. When their Cutter-guns ran out of bullets, they stormed into the fight with their blades. Men having lost limbs, roared with laughter as they hacked blindly around them, while others, howling with fury, pulled out bonnets of MFC-grenades from below their armor. "PH´NGLUI SOTH!". Gore and shrapnel rained down onto the surrounding combatants, as one particularly brave militant tossed the separated head of a legionary at the arriving knights in power armor. "SHOW ME YOUR FUR..." His words were cut short, as he disintegrated into dust, before being blown away by the wind.
The monolith, the eldritch manifestation of the will of a dreaming god, had burned all fear for death from the Militants minds, yet their bodies still were mere flesh. The wave had hit the beach, its water sinking into the sand.




Iron-Jaw circled his opponent for just a second, before his gigantic riding beast reared up, snarling loudly. "I will build a second skull monolith with the legions SKULLS!" Then the two were charging at each other, the world around them turning into a chaotic mess. A horse was being mauled to death by a rat, a Bodyguard of Iron-Jaw was wrestling with a Pretorian on the ground, another bodyguard fell from his saddle as a lance had been buried into his chest by a fast rider, who in turn was jumped at by the now master less molerat-mount. It was utter chaos, and Iron-Jaw adored every single glorious detail of the surrounding slaughter. His howl tunred into the growling warcry, as he turned his mouth, stopping the charge, before jumping out of his saddle, leaping onto the horse Wrestling it to the ground, he snapped the beast neck, before stepping back. "Go on beast...feast to your hearts content!" Growling, the molerat climbed over the horse, where Iron-Jaw suspected Vulpes to be helplessly trapped below his own mount. Yet a whimpering scream, and a cut on the head of the molereat clearly showed, that he had been in the wrong. Spitting out, the Warleader pulled out two grim looking blades from his belt. "Should have just remained..." Doging from a charing Pretorian, who had lost his horse, before ramming his blade below the guard of the helmet. The mask betrayed no emotion, as the red blood of the guard flew down. Tossing the body aside, Iron Jaw spat out again, before licking the blood of the blade. "I will carve out your heart with this very blade later on...Vulpes abandoned Son of Mars!"



T H E R E P U B L I C



Captain Franklin "Franky" Kowalski Stonecroft Inn - Lobby




It all had happened in mere seconds. An order was an order, and the arrest did not seem so unrealistic, with all the madness that was going on in the IRD at the time. Securing the first floor, the men had taken position, with Kowalski even having been offered a cup of hot coffee, the first hot drink he had in weeks. Neither he, nor his men knew what to make of the situation, yet they all knew General Stone, as a man with a reputation. There could be no doubt about the truth of these allegations...or could it?

One of his men, turning on the radio in a seating area, had hoped for some music to lighten up the mood, and Sergant Miller already was making his way to deal with the man, as the News came, hitting the Lobby with more force, then a direct hit with a bomb could cause. For a few seconds, there was not a sound, as Kowalski dropped his coffee. Then his eyes moved onto the nearby policemen. He wanted to see shock on the face, the same helpless fear as he felt inside himself...yet he could see that the policemen knew!
"YOU BASTARDS!" He screamed out in fury, as the two reached for their weapons, yet the soldiers were faster. Firing quickly, before hitting the deck, the men quickly had cleared out the lobby. "Miller! Secure the door! Nobody is entering this building! Shoot, then ask questions.." Realizing the sound of fire from upstairs, Kowalski quickly rallied a handful of man, before pushing towards the stairwell.

"Hold you goddamn fire... Jackson, give me that cane...yes, that damn towel as well!" Waving the makeshift flag, the captain waited for the response, before entering the stairway. It was a risk, yet by now, he simply was to tired to care. Too much betrayal had been in the last week. "I am Captain Kowalski! Former 23th Toledo Rifles, now 3rd Windsor emergency Brigade..." A sound of steps came in behind, and in a quick turn, Kowalski raised his gun once more, aiming at one of the young troopers that been placed under his command during the long retreat north. Normally, Kowalski did his best to remember the name of all his men, yet the chaos had made it an impossible task. "Sir,HQ its gone! They blew it up.." The mouth of the captain felt dry, as for just a moment, he turned, facing the wall. His mind, soul and spirit had taken a blow, that this time was close to shattering it. They would lose the city...

The decision came, with the grim determination of a man who simply no longer had anything to lose. Turning back to the stairwell, he shouldered his rifle. "We are in this together it take...fuck it! TO HELL WITH IT!" Glaring at the door, he raised his hand to his head. "I respectfully request permission to attach myself and my men to your commander!"
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Crimson Paladin
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Crimson Paladin Blessed of Sheogorath

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Zealot Thiel- Fort Independence

Theil looked closely at the rods, radiant with Atom's glow. She hadn't been sent to exact tribute, and it was a pleasant development that their allies had been willing to pay. The Pontiff would be pleased with this gift.

More pressing, however, was the revelation that this was being used as a staging point to invade Point Lookout, a hotbed of Cult activity that the Children of Atom had learned to avoid as they sailed up and down the coast. Boats in that region were given a wide berth, and many even avoided sailing past the place at night despite- or because of- its still-functional lighthouse.

"We thank you for this tribute, Colonel Samuels," Theil said, looking back up at the man. "I will relay these to my superiors and inform them of your mission. We will not hinder those who seek to strike at the cult. But before we go, allow me to give you our radio frequency so you may communicate with Megaton if need be..."

---

Grand Zealot Richter- Megaton, Cathedral of Atom

Richter sat in Tektus' office, regaling his story to the Inquisitor.

"This disrespectful insolence cannot stand," Tektus announced as the Grand Zealot finished his account. "If these heathens do give the proper respect to Atom and his faithful, they cannot be allowed to persist in Atom's kingdom."

"So long as hide in Raven Rock, it will be extremely difficult to remove them. The best we can do is to isolate them and deny them passage into or around our holdings" the Grand Zealot spoke.

Tektus nodded silently, acknowledging the Grand Zealot's assessment. He tried to keep stoic demeanor, but his countenance betrayed the anger hidden within, anger born of the blasphemy that was the Brotherhood's fortress, built to withstand Atom's power. "What about what you said about the computer, Grand Zealot? Do you think we could use it against them as you suggested?"

"I'm afraid not," Richter answered. "The Brotherhood has full control of Raven Rock's defense systems, meaning Eden must have been destroyed or shut down. If he existed in their systems in any capacity, that warning shot of theirs wouldn't have missed. Eden would not have suffered a deserter to live." Richter appeared to be slightly pained as he spoke these words.

"It is of no matter. We will find..."

"Inquisitor, Grand Zealot, the Pontiff has requested your presence," a ragged acolyte of Atom interrupted.

"We will continue this conversation later," Tektus instructed as he rose to his feet. "Let us not keep the Pontiff waiting."

---

Pontiff Cromwell- Megaton, Cathedral of Atom

The Pontiff sat on a scrap metal throne in his quarters in the rear of the cathedral. His quarters were adorned much as the rest of the cathedral was- radium-embedded banners hung at the walls, illuminating the symbol of Atom, suspended above tables that displayed a variety of canisters and cylinders, many of which glowed green. A heavy book of aged material sat atop a desk in the corner, its radium writing standing out from the brown pages. Near throne sat two hastily placed chairs for his coming meeting with the Grand Zealot and Inquisitor.

There was a knock at the door and an acolyte peeked in.

"Pontiff? The Grand Zealot and Inquisitor are here, as you have instructed." The acolyte's soft words reverberated across the room, demonstrating the lack of consideration for acoustics when it was constructed.

"Excellent, acolyte. Bring them in," Cromwell commanded. The Grand Zealot, clad in the heavy armor of one of Atom's zealots, and the Inquisitor, wearing the robe and headdress of his station, walked in.

"Take a seat, my sons," the Pontiff greeted them warmly. "We have much to discuss, about the Brotherhood and about the Free Commonwealth. I have read your reports and have been communing with Atom as to the next steps we must take."

"Yes, Pontiff," replied Tektus as he sat down. "The Grand Zealot and I are already working on a plan to deal with the Brotherhood heathens. I assure you, they shall not be allowed to threaten what we have built."

"No, Inquisitor, I have no desire to fight the Brotherhood" Cromwell gently rebuked him, "They may have fallen on hard times and adopted a hard stance, but did much good for the wasteland, and for Atom's faithful, when they were in power. Their presence was a boon to us, as misguided as they may be."

"Forgive me, Pontiff," Richter spoke, "But they do not come in peace, not anymore. We cannot trust them to respect our authority or our role in the Capital Wasteland."

"The Brotherhood are prideful beyond reckoning, there is no doubt to that," the Pontiff conceded, "But I can assure you, they are not the enemy. Their presence means a safer wasteland, and I would even say a windfall to us. For it shall allow us to focus on spreading Atom's glory and opposing His true enemies."

Tektus raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean, Pontiff? Are you referring to the Commonwealth and their plans to crusade upon Point Lookout?"

"Yes, Inquisitor," Cromwell answered, unsurprised that Tektus already had gleaned that conclusion. "Sister Theil's account was enlightening, and I intend to reach out to our allies in the Commonwealth to aid them. Once our affairs with the Brotherhood are straightened out, we may commit to aiding them."

"Pontiff," Tektus protested, clearly agitated, "I still do not see how the Brotherhood can be made to aid us. They are a prideful, godless lot with no respect for Atom."

"I assure you, Inquisitor, I have dealt with the Brotherhood before." Cromwell patiently reassured. "I remember when they protected Megaton, they never harmed us or hindered our worship of Atom. To the contrary, they protected Megaton from Super Mutants, raiders, and other threats at the risk to their own lives. They may not worship Atom, but they always respected our right to do so, and if they are willing to help protect the wasteland as they once did, it will allow us to oppose those who would not allow us to worship Him."

"But let us focus on other matters, my sons," Cromwell continued. "What do you know of the Obelisk?"

"I've never seen it, but I know it is a holy object of the Cult," Richter answered. "I don't know if it spreads their madness, but they seem to think it does."

"It is the Cult's most treasured relic, a stone monolith of unknown origin," Tektus explained. "It only appeared after the Cult overran the Capital Wasteland, and I believe they came here to find it. The Cult believes it has evil powers, powers that are an affront to Atom."

"Yes," Cromwell nodded. "But we are building a holy relic of our own, a conduit of Atom's might, and a symbol of His glory. It is a standard carved from the wondrous material recovered from Three Mile Island, thanks to the gracious aid of our Commonwealth allies, and I wish to see it brought to Point Lookout, to cleanse away the Cult's taint and inspire Atom's faithful to carry out His will."

"So we are truly doing this," Richter spoke. "We will be heading to Point Lookout?"

"Yes, Grand Zealot," Cromwell answered. "In fact, I wish for you to lead the expedition. Let me worry about the Brotherhood. As for you, Tektus my son, I need you for another matter. There are rumors of piracy off the coast, and I need you to take the submarine and investigate. I need you to ensure that the coast is secure, both for trade, and for the liberation of Point Lookout. I will brief you further on the matter later, but for now you are both dismissed. Go with Atom."

Tektus and Richter exited the Pontiff's quarters. There was much work that would need to be done.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Andronicus23
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Andronicus23 Rogue Courser

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Legatus Aurelius of Phoenix - Onboard MWBOS Vertibird

"It looks like it's beginning", Wilson said calmly, "Lancer-Sergeant Kyle will take you where you wish to go, I am vectoring in another Vertibird with a squad of Knights to provide your Praetorians cover...I can also patch you through to your Headquarters if you wish."

Aurelius watched as his men battled below, the fighting quickly turning into a desperate brawl as the ambushed Legion forces did what they did best when faced against such a foe: counter-attack. A pain of guilt and shame struck him as he realized the deep error he’d unwittingly committed.

“No need,” Aurelius said finally, “My Centurions are already reacting. They need not wait for my command. I thank you for your forewarning Paladin-General.”

Aurelius then returned the receiver to the co-pilot and turned to the Lancer-Sergeant,

“Set the craft down at the nearest secure landing zone.”

“I don’t want to contradict you Legate but shouldn’t we…” Sergeant Kyle began to say.

Aurelius shot him a glare before turning his attention back to the battle below, it was clear he was not interested in the Sergeant’s rationale.

“I’ll find a spot immediately Legate.”

Vulpes Inculta

"I will build a second skull monolith with the legions SKULLS!"

Vulpes spurred his mount forward and charged, meeting the challenge that the Cult’s warlord offered to him. The two raced towards each other as the fighting around them raged fierce and bloody before finally colliding. Vulpes’s mount was knocked from under him as the sheer strength of the warlord was brought to bear against the beast’s neck, snapping it instantly. They tumbled to the ground, with the creature nearly pinning him against the street below. Vulpes could feel the hot stinking breath of the monstrous rat as he loomed overtop ready to devour what was left of him. With a swift lunge, Vulpes sent his blade plunging through the creature’s lower jaw and through the top of its head. Blood from the monster ran like a river, pouring over him: but he rolled away and lept to his feet, just in time to meet the gaze of the warlord.

"Should have just remained..."

A charging Praetorian fell to the warlord’s wicked blade, run through until the blade was slick with red crimson. The cultist then uttered another challenge to Vulpes

"I will carve out your heart with this very blade later on...Vulpes abandoned Son of Mars!"

“We shall see who is favored by his god and who is not, slave to the monolith.”

In one swift movement, Vulpes drew one of his throwing knifes and hurled it directly at Iron-Jaw’s head. Despite the surprise of the attack, the warlord was able to knock it aside with his blade just a hair’s breadth away from plunging into his skull. Vulpes dove toward the body of one of the fallen Praetorians and quickly picked up the spear that the legionary had once held. In lieu of his gladius, it would make an acceptable weapon. He twirled it skillfully in his hands feeling its balance and getting a feel for its length. He approached Iron-Jaw slowly who gave a disgustingly wide grin, eager for blood and battle.

Without a word Vulpes lunged at his exposed throat but his blow was knocked aside, a swift return kick sent Vulpes careening back and into a crouched position on the ground. Like a coiled snake he struck upwards, putting the full force of his body behind it. It was the cultist’s turn to be staggered back as he nearly struck his mark, catching Iron-Jaw off balance and allowing Vulpes an opening as he followed up with a blow from the steel-tipped butt of the spear. Iron-Jaw snarled and slashed at Vulpes in a rage, his blade inches from cutting into the neck of the Frumentarii. Vulpes jumped back and struck again, each quick attack he made probing for some weakness in the brute’s defenses.

Locked in combat, heedless of the slaughter around them the Son of Mars and the Servant of the Monolith continued their battle. Vulpes’ was the more agile of the two, his light armor and fighting style far more adapted to swift movements and quick attacks. Yet the warlord maintained his swift, brutal slashes with an endurance that would have seemed impossible for any other fighter of his stature. Victory for either rested on a single fatal mistake from the other.

Yet as the two fought, the battle around them began to slow. The Praetorians had taken the fight, and were finishing off the last of Iron-Jaw’s minions. One of the Praetorians ran a cultist through with his spear while the zealot lay helpless on the ground, blood pouring from his chest as the steel pierced his armor and then his heart. Seeing their victory at hand, a cry went up,

“Sons of Mars! Glory to Caesar!”

Vulpes gave a menacing smile as the remaining Praetorians began approaching the duo, weapons at the ready,

“It is over. Submit and face the cross, or die here and now. You have no other choice.”

Vegas - The Lucky 38 Hotel and Casino

“8:00pm on the dot,” Thomas casually said as he glanced at his wristwatch. He, along with Cait and the Coursers stood outside the doors of the Lucky 38. Right on cue, the doors began slowly opening up. Curious passersby stopped and stared, interested to see who might be getting an audience with the fabled Lord of The Strip: a rare honor by any standard.

“You weren’t kiddin’” Cait quipped as the sliding doors came to a final halt, and a securitron ushered them inside, “He’s punctual.”

“I’ve never known him not to be,” Thomas couldn’t help but give a grin, “He obsesses over precision to the point of madness sometimes. But it's that sort of insane attention to detail which made RobCo the industrial powerhouse it was in my time.”

Stepping inside the Lucky 38 was like traveling into a time capsule, or perhaps more accurately, a well preserved tomb. Everywhere were relics of a bygone age, and it looked as if the casino might very well have never left the world before behind. And perhaps in many ways: it hadn’t.

“Well howdy partners,” A friendly voice eliminated from beside the elevator. A securitron with the face of a cartoon cowboy greeted them, “Boss is waitin’ for ya upstairs Mr. Milburn. Hope you don’t mind, but he’s asked that you come on up alone. The rest of ya’ll can wait down here in the lobby. I’d be happy to fetch some refreshments for ya too!”

“That’ll be fine,” Thomas nodded to the two Coursers signaling for them to stand down before he turned to Cait, “I’ll be back shortly after Robert and I have caught up a bit…” He said, giving her a kiss.

“If anything happens, I’m blasting through these buckets of bolts.” Cait muttered under her breath.

“House is an old colleague: a different class of individual from a different time. He wouldn’t be so crass as to harm a guest and a friend. But in any case...I’ve come prepared,” He whispered the final words with a sly grin before stepping into the elevator and giving a wave while the doors closed.

“Penthouse Floor!” Came the announcement from the cowboy robot seconds later, the doors opened to reveal House’s spacious penthouse suite. A luxury that was pretty much exactly as he’d been expecting. Elegant: but simple. A securitron with a female face greeted him this time,

“Welcome to the Penthouse. Mr. House is right over there sugar. He’s waiting for you…”

“Thank you,” Thomas nodded. He was about to walk away when he realized something rather odd, and turned back to the robot, “Your name….it wouldn’t happen to be Jane would it?”

“Why of course it is sugar! How good of you to know!”

“Of course it is,” Thomas chuckled with a shake of his head, “Robert..still fanning old flames.”

He descended the stairs down to the bottom floor of the Penthouse, and to his surprise he found yet another large monitor much like the one in the El Dorado: once again House’s picture was displayed on screen. He could only assume this meant that, far from the screen being a long-distance method of communication, it was perhaps House’s only method.

“I’d hoped to meet you face to face this time Robert….but then I assume this must mean that the method of your survival past the war was not...ideal. If there ever can be such a thing in the first place. What happened to you Robert?”

Diamond City - The Mayor’s Office

“McDonough! Get out here! Lemme through! Ow, don’t touch me!”

Even without looking up from the stack of papers she was pretending to be busy working on, Geneva knew exactly who it was. Two hands slammed down on her desk, and Geneva gave a heavy sigh before looking up at Piper through her dainty reading glasses,

“Hello Piper, what is it this time?” Geneva sniffed the air around her and recoiled, “Christ Piper have you been drinking Bobrov’s moonshine again? Tsk tsk. You know Pip-pip, you’ll never get a good man to take care of you and that sister of yours if you keep acting like this…”

“Can it. I don’t need a lecture from a girl who’s only real job here is to be the Mayor’s pincushion.”

“Why you little…”

“Enough you two, Piper what is it?” The voice of Mayor McDonough came from the doorway of his office.

“I need to speak with you. NOW.” Piper said. She glared at the Mayor with such intensity that he didn’t need to ask what exactly she meant.

“The mayor is very busy Piper I think you should come back…”

“Its alright Geneva. Piper, come with me,” McDonough motioned for Piper to follow him. Piper lifted her hands from Geneva’s desk and entered the office, ignoring the sneer the angry secretary was giving her.

McDonough closed the doors to his office and turned to walk down the hallway to the private area: his own personal quarters. Piper followed suit, and once they were both behind yet another pair of closed doors. McDonough sat down and turned to her,

“Alright let’s hear it. Let it all out...”

“Your masters better damn well tell me what is going on. You tell them I know what they’ve been doing, but I want to know why. Get on whatever phone, send whatever signal, or shit send a homing pigeon….however the hell you communicate with them. I. want. to. know. And you tell him….you tell Thomas tell him he has to come down here himself and tell me. Got it? I want him to tell me in person, you understand? I want him to look me in the eyes and tell me….he has to tell me...”

Tears, unwelcome and unbidden, began to well up in Piper’s eyes. She couldn’t help it, even though she hated herself for acting like this.

“Tell you what? That he’s sorry? That’s not going to happen Piper, you know that’s not going to happen.”

“No,” She muttered angrily through her tears, “I don’t care about what he did to me. I don’t care what he did to Nick. Not anymore. That ship has sailed long ago,” Piper lowered her finger accusingly at the Mayor, “I want him to tell me what he’s doing with The Commonwealth. There’s rumours all around that The Institute is up to something. People have seen strange lights and there’s been sightings of white-clad synths all over The Commonwealth. Raider gangs are getting popped left and right. And you know the weirdest thing I heard? Nobody has seen or heard from The Gunners in weeks. I heard from a trader that used to work with them that he was over at their HQ recently. Its abandoned. What the hell are they up to?”

“Your guess is as good as mine Miss Piper,” McDonough grinned, “I would not worry. If The Institute is indeed behind these things, as you suggest, consider that perhaps they have a greater plan in mind for all The Commonwealth.”

“Bullshit,” Piper yelled, “Don’t give me that crap. One word: Goodneighbor. Huh? Have you forgotten Goodneighbor?” Piper reached over and grabbed the Mayor by his suit jacket, “I know what happened there. Thomas thinks he can lie to me and tell me everything is fine, but I know. He massacred the entire fucking town and replaced them with his toy soldiers. With...with YOU!” she pointed at McDonough, “He’s a monster. One I helped to create...if I had known then what I know now, I would have put a bullet in his head the moment he walked into my office with that sob story about his son.”

“Don’t jump to conclusions Piper, and don’t start talking crazy. Or have you forgotten that you still need him? Frankly Piper, without the Director you would have been marked for termination long ago. I’m surprised you’re still alive after the latest fiasco to be honest, the ghoul? You remember of course. The dapper gentleman that visited your office. You’re lucky that Father spoke up in your defense, and that the effects were mitigated.”

Piper lowered her gaze, sneering angrily “Don’t call him that. Don’t fucking call him that,” Piper clenched her fist, “He’s no one's ‘father’.”

“On the contrary...he is my Father,” McDonough said sternly, “And soon everyone will know him as such.”

Without another word, McDonough reached down into his side table and pulled forth a small pristine white box. It's only markings were a serial number designation printed on the cover,

“Now that you’ve got your usual soapboxing out of the way, let's return to the real reason you’ve come here Piper. Here, this is for you. Your sister’s next batch of medication. Compliments of Dr. Volkert.”

Piper took the box as if she was being handed a priceless artifact, and gingerly ran her finger along the serial number. The bite in her voice was gone, and a soft, even timid, tone now took hold,

“The same as before then?”

“Yes, twice a day with food. If her condition changes in any way, you’re to let me know immediately. I’ll inform the doctor.”

“Thank you,” Piper said, as she clutched the box to her chest. She stared down at her feet, unable to look the Mayor in the eye now.

“I assume we’ve once again come to terms then?”

“Yes,” Piper replied quietly as she shuffled out the door.

“Excellent. And please Piper, next time skip the usual trip to the Dugout Inn before you come barging into my office. Its unseemly, and people are starting to talk. Surely you can manage this transaction without needing to be intoxicated...”
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Cifeiron
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Cifeiron

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Charlie Porter brewed a hot kettle of water mixed with chaga powder, adding a sizable dollop of honey for good measure. The resulting beverage, from what she could recall from prior knowledge she received from the lessons of her childhood tutors, closely resembled the coffee and tea of the ancients. Pouring herself a cup, she sat in her radbison leather chair, lit the beeswax candle atop the desk, and began to put the nib of her green fountain pen to paper, nursing the drink all the while. At the crack of dawn she cheerily finalized the wording of the proclamation needed to annex the squatter community just outside the western reaches of Fargo's walls into the fold. For decades their inhabitants have petitioned for legal citizenship, and today they would have just that. It might be an uphill battle at first to justify the sidestep of the council's authority, but she couldn't put it off any longer. There may have been a period of time when her people could keep to themselves, but she knew with a great certainty that it had since passed. And if they fail to change with it, they too will invariably pass from the world. She applied the golden horse head seal of the Porter Family to the document as soon as she had the wax nice and melted.

A light series of knocks sounded at her office door. Charlie neatly folded the paper and got up to answer her morning caller. "Ms. Porter? Do you happen to be busy at the present moment? Captain Taylor has at last returned from his hunting expedition and is here to see you now, as you've requested."

"The both of you can come on in," Charlie replied, unbolting the door and ushering the two men into the room, "I have a need of your services this hour, Mr. Dillon, but first things first," she clasped her hands together, "I trust the remaining deathclaw nesting sites of the badlands have been wiped out, Captain?"

"No casualties. Deathclaws predictably tried charging us when they realized where the shots were coming from. Minefields made short work of the bravest. Rest, mostly the young, broke for the open plains. I'd give the ones that managed to run our horses into the ground until winter to live." Captain Taylor said as he rummaged through his bag, producing two burlap sacks, one larger than the other, that he placed onto the desk just as Charlie went to sit back down. "Thought you might appreciate some souvenirs. I left a head with a taxidermist for stuffing and mounting, too, if you'll be interested in decor," he grinned.

Charlie put the burlap bags aside for later, failing to hide her growing smile at her friend's curious, and thoughtful gifts. She would have to return the favor when the opportunity came along to catch him pleasantly unaware with a present. "Thank you, but do please keep the other trophy you've taken. It's your kill; so it's your story to tell, not mine to appropriate. Now, you must be wondering why I brought you here, so I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Are you familiar with the KVLY-TV mast by any chance? It's a little ways north of here, halfway to Grand Forks, taller than anything you could possibly imagine."

"My father used to take me up that way when I was still fresh to the saddle. Every fall we made the trip without incident. It's beautiful, quiet country, an area where you can easily forget the apocalypse ever happened, aside from overgrown old world ruins. At least, that's how I remember it." He informed.

"I need someone I can depend on to escort a work crew up there so we can restore the structural integrity of the facility and install some radio equipment. We'll be able to establish communications with civilizations across what's left of the Thirteen Commonwealths. Feel up for the job?" She spoke.
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High Elder Gladstone – West Coast Brotherhood of Steel – Santa Fe

Gladstone listened raptly as Brother Martin laid out the present situation as concerned the war against the cult. He nodded, taking in all the man had said, pondering in silence for a few moments before replying.

“The North would seem to me to be the best front for my troops. As the sector closer to Pittsburgh, it would enable a forward air base to be established from which to begin a strategic bombing campaign against the heart of the cult. Might I enquire as to what our knowledge of the east coast is? I can only suppose the midwestern brotherhood is liaising with resistance groups there or even nations that are hostile to the cult?”

A pause from the High Elder, a small internal struggle, before he decided to press on.

“I have to admit, our last communiques from the east by Maxson made note of a number of organisations in the east. The cult of the atom, the Pennsylvania commonwealth, the free state and the keys and prior to his death, an apparently extremely technologically advanced organisation known as the Institute. I recall at the last convention some of these groups were represented, perhaps dispatches should be made east to confirm the status of nations east of the cult, to see which are at war or considering war against the cult? And from thereon, to organise a full war effort with the aims of forming a total noose around the cult, thus containing it lest it escape a full extermination such as is the aims of a scourge?”

Elder James Mallard – West Coast Brotherhood of Steel - Electric City Committee Chambers

“To state for the record, this meeting of the Appropriations Committee is decreed confidential. The project before us is that of Project Hermes, Head Scribe Waverly of the Montana Chapter acting as spokesperson for this project. Waverly, you have the floor.”

It was perhaps surprising that an organisation such as the Western Brotherhood of Steel had a political-financial machinery. It was assumed sometimes that it did not possess such a thing, that the society existed in a state where monetary policy was non-existent. In truth, the Brotherhood possessed a long standing system of monetary policy. Of credits and scrips, 100 scrips to 1 credit, simple enough, the economy itself was also rather simple. A rapidly growing automated industrial base, along with an increasingly automated agricultural sector. Machines would do most of the menial work for the Brotherhood, leaving more time for waging war and ensuring the security of their fledgling nation.

“Thank you Elder Mallard for granting the time to consider the proposal my colleagues and I have spent a significant period of time preparing. The proposal itself is named Project Hermes, in honour of the Greek god of messengers and suchlike and would focus on the initiation and development of a long range Missile Programme. The project itself would be divided into two sets, a cruise missile programme and a ballistic missile programme. We feel that both should be pursued with the aim of the cruise missile programme having conventional warheads to focus on military targets, such as the cult in our upcoming war against them. And the ballistic programme to focus on EMP weaponry in the event of a campaign against a more technologically advanced enemy. With the ability for the ballistic programme to allow for the development of a satellite program to increase our intelligence and communication capabilities in the coming years and decades.”

Head Scribe Waverly had stepped forwards to speak once Mallard had finished speaking, a short frumpy man, past middle age, bald and with simple rimmed spectacles in Scribe robes and hands clasped behind his back. His eyes cast around the room, flitting over the denizens within as his calm voice spoke softly on the details of his brainchild.

“A timeframe for this project estimates a successful programme within ten years, allowing for acceleration if we begin securing local pre-war missile silos and scientific installations, to allow for the collection of data to help our own project. The project would have many benefits, affording us a military capability which other nations do not possess as far as we are aware, and if they do, would enable us to act on a level playing field against them. Appropriations of land for missile testing and construction of test facilities will compose the bulk of the budget for the initial period, but as a one off investment, will help to pay dividends for cost savings over later years. Overall, the project would ideally have a budget of a million credits initially, dropping to a per annum rate of two hundred and fifty thousand. Such a budget may be subject to increases and decreases respectively once a more solid picture forms as to the difficulty of missile development.”

The Head Scribe fell silent, bowing his head and stepping back, raising his head after a moment to espy the gathered and murmuring figures of the appropriations committee. A hush fell over the room, before finally it was broken when Elder Mallard cleared his throat, a signal for Waverly to step forwards again. The elder leaned forwards, speaking into the microphone in a calm and clear voice as he delivered the verdict of the committee.

“Let the record state that Project Hermes has been approved, the preliminary budget will be the one requested, subject to review should this committee find the project delivery not up to par. I hereby declare this session adjourned.”
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Andronicus23
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Far Harbor, Maine

The frigid spray of the sea stung at their faces as the Harbormen heaved at their nets, laden with the day’s catch. The sun had already set and the night air beckoned them back to their warm beds and the piping hot bowl of vegetable soup their wives had no doubt been preparing. Just a few more traps to check and they’d be home safe and sound before the Harborwatch doused the lanterns.

“Oi that’s a beautiful lot of them ain’t it?”

“Plenty of big fat un’s here too Jon. None too irradiated. Should fetch a fine penny at market. Martha will be wanting me to bring a few back for her cookin’ of course.

“Best watch’er or she’ll take the whole pot! Har!”

The two harbormen laughed as the pulled in the final net, reeling in the last of their hard earned quarry. As they were pulling it in however, one of the men turned to the sea, a greenish glow emanating from below the murky waters caught his attention,

“What in hell’s fire is that?”

The two men turned, watching it grow larger and larger. Fear struck them and the strange taste of metal hit their lips. Something crested the water, a large dorsal fin appeared briefly before disappearing once more. The glow passed beneath their boat, and something rocked it so fiercely that they nearly lost their footing, while their net was torn right from their hands with such a force that it splintered the wood of the railing.

Suddenly the thing disappeared, as quickly as it had appeared. Leaving nothing but the ripples of the brackish water in its wake. Without a word, the two men looked at each other with terror in their eyes, each understanding that it was best if they returned to shore as quickly as they might.

Suddenly a great foghorn sounded out, and they turned to the sea. From beyond the mist the hellish horn sounded once again, this time a great green glow illuminated the shape of a massive ship it in its wake, bow to stern bristling with guns, shambling figures aboard. The sounds of a disjointed shanty seemed to travel through the night air, sung by the chorus of a hundred cracked throats. They could nearly feel the heat of radiation emanating from the ship, the unearthly glow seemed to pour from every crevice and porthole of the vessel. More ships appeared from the mist, no less well armed than the first, each engulfed in that sickly light.

The men had heard tell stories, legends their grandfathers had told them of such sights. Of a great decrepit fleet sailing the coast, crewed by the damned and the dying. Its appearance a signal of bad omen and the very waters it traveled upon ever after tainted by poison and mutation.

Horror gave way to paralysis, and the men felt unable to move, unable to turn their ship and sail back to the port that awaited them. Perhaps deep down, they knew that no such port would offer safe haven with such a monstrous enemy on the prowl, no escape could be found from the very reality that was their boyhood nightmares and ghost stories come to life before them.

So transfixed were they, that they didn’t notice the multitude of necrotic hands gripping the rails of their ship behind them, and pulling themselves aboard. Nor did their see, until too late, that the fleet was not merely passing by…...but waiting to meet those coming from the shore.
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Santa Fe, President of the Confederation and Governor of New Houston Robert Harris

@Andronicus23@Tiberius67
"The state of affairs in the Key Republic is quite alarming to me", said Barnaky, "Especially as it appears to have been instigated by the Cult....it's my understanding that Suttbray is a open worshiper of the Cult's so-called "God". That, of course, means I am at war with him already, whether he is aware of that or not. I think you should know that a faction in this Insurrection, the 'Southern Liberal Concordat', is currently attempting to open diplomatic channels with me." Barnaky turned and gestured at Martin, who handed him a document from his briefcase. He then turned back to President Harris and handed it to him (OOC it is the text of Sault's offer), then continued. "They are offering me access to New Orleans and the Gulf, as well as a trade agreement, in exchange for weapons and support."

Harris shivered briefly and imperceptibly as the implications set in, and then he cursed himself. Texan intelligence hadn’t acted quickly enough to fully inform him of the situation in the Gulf, it seemed. He had felt the strange power of the Cult at the conference in New Vegas, so to hear it’s influence was that weighty so close to Texas deeply concerned him. And then there was the Sault’s offer to the Midwest. As much as he sat across from Barnaky diplomatically, they were not allies by any means. The Midwest was an old enemy that was only growing in power. Their influence in Nawlins had to be curtailed.

"While these are long standing strategic goals of mine", Barnaky continued, "I don't consider them worth the price of helping the Cult tear apart the Key Republic. It has also occurred to me that accepting this offer would contribute to the disintegration of a member of the 'Co-Prosperity Sphere', which would rightly earn the enmity of the other Nations in that Pact, as well as neutral powers such as the NCR." He nodded at General Garcia then continued, "That again would only benefit the Cult."

The Co-Prosperity Sphere as it was, which was not much. With the sudden political chaos in the Keynesian lands, Texan ambassadors had been frustrated in getting anything from the Keys about their plan. Though he knew a meeting with Bartholomew was happening soon. If it wasn’t him who was there, it would be one of his subordinates. The Texan intervention had to be coordinated.

"As this communication reached me on my way here, I have not had the opportunity to consult with Caesar about this matter yet," Barnaky said, "But my assessment is this. The Cult cannot be allowed to conquer or destroy the Key Republic, or to divide us on this issue. If the Key Republic falls into their hands, it's a direct threat to both my people and yours. To that end, I believe that all parties involved should decide on a joint course of action to put down this Insurrection and excise Cult influence from the Key Republic while it can still be saved. To that end", Barnaky continued, "I am prepared to assist in this endeavor. We've been monitoring the situation and I have a small but powerful force upriver at Vicksburg that is in position to lend direct aid, there are also other ways we can assist....I'm sure His Serenity still has loyal subjects in New Orleans willing to fight for him if provided with arms and leadership. The Concordat wants to purchase weapons and ammunition...but the River south of Memphis is a dangerous place and in spite of the unceasing efforts of my Fleet piracy does still happen in the lower River from time to time.

"With that said", Barnaky said, "I want to make one thing perfectly clear. The only outcome of this Intervention acceptable to my Government is that the territory held by the rebels calling themselves the 'Southern Liberal Concordat' is returned to the jurisdiction of His Serenity as soon as practicable, once the rebellion is put down, of course."

Barnaky continued into his offer of support against the Keynesian rebels, framing the issue as one of a joint effort against the Cult and for the loyalists. His support of the Bartholomew’s government was curious, but he suspected the Midwest wanted to advance into the Gulf with informal trade, or was perhaps hoping for a stronger bargaining position once his stormtroopers were marching in the streets of Nawlins. “I concur with your goal of reestablishing the legitimate authority of His Serenity in Nawlins and his rebels. The Confederate Texan Army is preparing on the western border of the Concordat. As you probably know, Texan formal influence is already moderate in western Louisiana, with Texan settlements spreading along I-10 and spilling over from the nearby Houston. Motorized troops can reach Nawlins in only a few hours. And securing the sovereignty of the Most Serene Keynesian Republic is our paramount geopolitical interest. I have Texan Intelligence pursuing any leads of exploitable dissent in Nawlins while the army is mustering. Military aid would be appreciated in the coming battle.” He paused briefly, wetting the drawn flesh of his mouth’s interior. “As for this Cult’s influence in the war, you believe they are sending troops to this Suttbray? I remember him briefly from the prior Conference. If he is spreading the influence of the Cult in Florida, he should be stopped as well. I would like to hear your intelligence on the wider Cult and your war with it. We’ve received a spattering of refugees and conflicting reports from the north.”

"I would also like to request at this time, Mr President", Barnaky said, "Your aid in securing a audience between Brother Martin or I and His Serenity, to discuss how we might be of assistance to him in this dark hour, and the future of our relations as well. While we may disagree on several issues, many of which admittedly stem from the form of Government events forced me to Institute in my lands, there is no reason we cannot live in peace with each other."

“Yes, I believe The Free Confederation of Texan States and the Midwestern Brotherhood can ultimately cooperate in trade and dealing with these threats to the stability of America. I was also in the process of organizing a meeting with His Serenity, though it will probably fall to Governor Riviera to meet with you as my schedule is becoming full. Either of you could join, and we can discuss the means by which this will be carried out later. We should also try to establish a reliable means of coordination and communication, as we cannot afford to have a conference like this everytime we need to coordinate.”

“If it would please your eminences Caesar and Barnaky", Gladstone said, "Might I have permission to withdraw with your aides for deliberations over when and where the Western Brotherhood’s military forces will enter the fray against the cult?”

So the Brotherhood is united on the issue of fighting the Cult? He found that interesting. They must be a truly severe threat. Histories of the Brotherhood had been procured in the New Austin archives and they often showed the Brotherhood typically only mustered against existential threats to humanity. Though the Midwestern Brotherhood was certain proof of change, with their organization of a nation. Then Caesar spoke up as Barnaky sent away a representative to speak to Gladstone.

“I sympathize with the Ruler in the South who fights these cultists….I’ve not had the chance to speak with Bartholomew myself, but rumours of his reputation proceeds him. However, I am concerned with over-extension of our forces. More than 20,000 sons of mars are now deployed to the east with my finest commander at their head. And if the information coming back to us from the front is true, the Warmaster is on the move. The actions of the Cult in stirring up disorder in the Keys via this ‘Suttbray’ could very well be a ploy to draw more men away that could be sent against them. Blood that is needed east will be sent south, its an old tactic, but not without merit does a stratagem become such.”

“It seems the Cult has connections across Eastern America”, Harris mused. “They seem to spill over into any opportunity for increased influence like a mold finding food scraps.”

Lucius nodded then continued. “I agree that allowing the Cult and the rebels to tear apart the Keys, or any stable nation neutral to these affairs, is not desirable,” Lucius continued, “But our focus must be kept to the east. I am willing to send a small force to help intervene in these Southern troubles and aid his Serenity in securing his position, but we should not distract ourselves. If the Keys fall, it is unfortunate, but should we burn Pittsburgh to the ground...and if we can silence The Cult forever by sticking the head of their blind prophet on a stake and raising their ‘Monolith’ to rubble….then it is a trade worth making. That is our true objective, and I wish to ensure we do not lose sight of it. That would be all I have to say on the matter.”

Harris was silent for a moment, calculating the matter in his head. He was rapidly realizing that this Cult that had once been an ominous oddity was the existential threat to humanity the Brotherhood and Legion pegged it as. If the Legion was willing to cross half the country to fight the Cult, then what should Texas do? If they occupied Florida, it wouldn’t be long before the Cult became dangerously close to Texas. He had felt a twinge of what the Cult could do in New Vegas. What if they used their strange power on New Houston’s ghoul population? The city would burn. He had to do something. Though it wouldn’t earn him many friends back home, he would have to send a force to help. It might only be him who knew it for now, but facing this Cult would be a part of the legacy he left behind to Texas. “Your small force is welcome, Caesar.” He pronounced it as was proper in the Legion. “I would also like to send a small expeditionary force to aid in your efforts to the north. A detachment of Texas Rangers and elite infantry seem appropriate to me, but what is it the war effort is in most need of? Though I can only do so much now. Texas is sleeping right now and many in Congress and in the major cities would oppose sending a large force that far north.”

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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Tiberius67
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Palace of Caesar - Santa Fe

“The North would seem to me to be the best front for my troops", Gladstone said, "As the sector closer to Pittsburgh, it would enable a forward air base to be established from which to begin a strategic bombing campaign against the heart of the cult. Might I enquire as to what our knowledge of the east coast is? I can only suppose the midwestern brotherhood is liaising with resistance groups there or even nations that are hostile to the cult?”

"We're arranging transport", Martin replied, "From Cheyenne, we can move your force directly to Indianapolis by rail. Indianapolis's airport has been secured and is operational, we have plenty of room for your air units there. Grissom AFB has also been taken, but it took a direct hit during the War and the fueling facilities there are a total loss."

“I have to admit, our last communiques from the east by Maxson made note of a number of organisations in the east. The cult of the atom, the Pennsylvania commonwealth, the free state and the keys and prior to his death, an apparently extremely technologically advanced organisation known as the Institute. I recall at the last convention some of these groups were represented, perhaps dispatches should be made east to confirm the status of nations east of the cult, to see which are at war or considering war against the cult? And from thereon, to organise a full war effort with the aims of forming a total noose around the cult, thus containing it lest it escape a full extermination such as is the aims of a scourge?”

"We have a Mission in the Capital Wasteland", Martin replied, "Contacting the Children of Atom is one of the priorities of that expedition. Progress is being made, but they take issue with our nuclear non-proliferation efforts...they consider it a form of Iconoclasm though their leader, Confessor Cromwell, has taken a reasonably pragmatic attitude towards it. As for the Cult, they are sworn enemies....they invaded the Capital Wasteland in force, the Children used tactical nuclear weapons to repel them. Currently we are not in direct contact with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but I am organizing a diplomatic mission to them. At present, our sources in the IRD and Capital Wasteland indicate the Commonwealth is actively fighting the Cult along it's Western border, and we are getting reports they are planning a joint offensive with the Children of Atom in Eastern Maryland."

"As far as the Institute", Martin continued, "Records we've found in the Pentagon, or Citadel as the Eastern Order called it, refer to such an organization, believed to be in or near Boston. We found a survivor of Maxson's Expedition recently, he tells us that they had been there to find this Institute, but had never found any hard evidence it even existed before they were attacked and overwhelmed by the locals. Any information about this group or the Expedition in general you could share that Maxson provided you would be greatly appreciated...Maxson was young for an Elder, but hardly a novice and well advised. It beggars belief that there is nothing at all to his suspicions."

Main Conference

“Your small force is welcome, Caesar.”, Harris said, using the correct Latin pronunciation for Caesar, “I would also like to send a small expeditionary force to aid in your efforts to the north. A detachment of Texas Rangers and elite infantry seem appropriate to me, but what is it the war effort is in most need of? Though I can only do so much now. Texas is sleeping right now and many in Congress and in the major cities would oppose sending a large force that far north.”

"The forces you propose would be ideal, and greatly appreciated", Barnaky said, "Their habit of denuding the areas they control of all resources makes them dependent on supply lines from their strongholds. Rangers operating in their rear areas would cause the Cult no end of problems."

"Also", Barnaky said, "I will make arrangements to have you, or your representatives, briefed on the Cult and it's activities. I believe you'll agree these people are a threat to any sort of civilization."


Memphis-Warehouse district


"Heah they are", Hicks drawled as he gestured at the rows of green, oblong boxes stacked five deep in the center of the cavernous old warehouse. "Ah presume you'll want to inspect the merchandise."

"Yes", Lefevre said tersely as he produced a piece of chalk and approached the first row of boxes. "Those were my instructions, and as it's my neck, that I will do. One in ten satisfactory to you?"

"Y'all can check 'em all foah all ah care", Hicks replied. "You...and Miss Saults...won't be disappointed."

Lefevre walked among the stacks, marking with his chalk an X on the boxes he wanted pulled for his inspection. Once he had chosen twenty five boxes at random, he nodded at Hicks and stood back as Hicks ordered some creaky robot stevedores to extract his choices. He did not forsee any issues as Hicks, and his employer, stood to gain considerably for their assistance to House Saults in this matter. It was a refreshing change from the endless frustration of dealing with the Damn Yankees from the Midwest. Oh, they had responded positively to Miss Saults's offer, of course they would. Horace IV had hated the Brotherhood, and did his best to keep them out of the Gulf. Though well-intentioned, there was far too much money on the table for the Embargo to be practical, a reality that Miss Saults had accepted. the problem was, they were willing to trade for everything but what the Concordat needed right now....arms and munitions. He had secured contracts for quality steel that their shipyards desperately needed, among other things, but that would do them a fat lot of good if Bartholomew or possibly the Texans invaded. They claimed that all arms production was going to the War effort...apparently Barnaky had decided to swallow up Indiana, the talk of the so-called Cult was undoubtedly some sort of bullshit pretext to justify their land grab...and they couldn't spare any modern weapons. While it was at least somewhat true...he'd had to rely on the extensive web of contacts his families had acquired over two generations of smuggling goods up and down the River to make this deal happen...he knew it wasn't the full truth. Lefevre was convinced that the Brotherhood was waiting to see who would win before taking a side....it was just like them.

Lefevre walked to the first box and opened it. Inside, he found what he expected, 20 R-91 rifles, packed individually in thick clear plastic bags. Picking one at random, he cut the bag open and pulled it out. It was a Pre-War weapon, marked "US PROPERTY". He quickly field-stripped the weapon and examined it. Not new, but it had been refurbished by someone who knew what they were doing. Packed with it, in small bags, was a bayonet, sling and cleaning kit. He'd have preferred .308 rifles, but these would do. Over the next hour, he checked each of the twenty-five boxes, in all of them the sample weapon he chose to examine was exactly as advertised.

"You, sir", Lefevre said to Hicks, "Have a deal."
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T H E C U L T O F U G - Q U A L T O T H



Sledge Northern Detroit



The sound of the bodies climbing onto the side of the vehicle, scratching over the surface before finally coming to a hold, reminded Sledge of flies that crawled over a carcass. Chewing on the dried meat, he gave a kick to the driver in front of him. "Forward!" The ghoul Morris grunted, as the engines of the tank howled, as the beast moved forward. The treads crawled over the asphalt, as the commander of the tank could hear the sounds of roaring battle in front of them, which was strange, as the only other sound in the tank, was the eternal roaring of the engine in front and behind them, making all talking impossible and the use of the tin-can radios necessary.
Climbing through the narrowness of the vehicle, he opened the lock of the tank, before pulling himself up, staring at the fire in front of him. The narrow streets were filled with corpses, wounded and captives, as the militants pushed onward. "Praised be the Prophet, brother!"
A cheer went through a group of militants, that had huddled around a fire, roasting a large chunk of meat, still dripping blood into the flames. Next to it, an IRD soldier was hanged upside down, while four tubes provided an injection to wounded warriors, groaning in pain, their heavy chest plates removed, and their bodies, scared by radiation, combat and their training, as pale as snow.
On the other side of the street, the captives were pushed onward, in a long narrow line, towards the center of the captured city. Women and children mostly, a whimpering huddled mass. They soon would be sent off, onto the long march east, towards the holy city.

A close explosion and a flash of light turned the attention of Sledge back to the matters at hand. "GET YOUR LAZY ASSES OFF MY TANK, YOU DOGS!" His harsh shouts were followed by him grabbing a warrior by the neck and pushing him down on the ground, before he slid down into the secure hull of his tank. Reaching for another piece of dried meat, he leaned into the periscope, the world now even narrower, then the streets had been. Behind his tank, a line of warriors would have formed, eager to use the protection to cross the street, before their miasma fueled wrath would be unleashed. Pushing onward, the first shots connected against the armor, but were not able to penetrate it. Sledge could easily spot the source, and reached for the tin-can speaker. "Gunner, you see that building ahead of us? Red bricks and a blue door?" The crackling of his own voice made Sledge once more aware of the creeping sickness in his body. He needed the Miasma! "I do brother!" With two taps on the back of the driver, he made it clear that he wanted the tank to hold, before once more speaking into the tin-can. "Good, for i do not wish to see it any longer! HE-Ammunition, two shots."

The building broke down, as the second shot broke through the door, collapsing with a deafening whimper, as the dust coated the street. The men behind the tank howled out a crude war cry, before rushing past the tank, using the dust of the collapse as cover. Sucking on the dried meat, salty and rough, Sledge reached for his own rebreather. "Just a single breath....it will help me stay awake.." The sudden sound and the shaking of the ground made him hit his head against the side of the tank, as he pressed his eyes against the periscope. Where the group of militants had been advancing, was now just a bunch of mangled corpses, as a shot had broken through them. The rest was huddling back into the cover, cursing and screaming, while one of them crushed back, trying to pick up a wounded militant, holding on his bleeding chest. Another shot followed, that turned the warrior wanting to save his friend into red mist. In the distance, he could spot two cars, one with a machine-gun on top still firing at some other street, while the other had turned towards them, the soldiers on the back reaching to reload the long tube mounted on the car. The sight of the heavy rocket launcher made Sledge feel a cold terror, as he gave the ghoul-driver a hard kick. "GET US BEHIND THAT BUILDING! HURRY!" Reaching for the Tin can, he could see more IRD soldiers advancing into the breech. The hissing flash of a rocket then appeared behind them, as the gunner from the car had let loose at them.
Finally, the two machine-guns on the side of the tank returned the favor, unleashing their fire into the street and ruined building, driving the IRD soldiers back into cover, while the rocket flew past the tank. "Gunner! HE-shell onto that car over there! And tell the two fuckers on the side to keep the fire going " Once more, Sledge cursed the lack of ability to communicate with half of the crew of the tank he was driving.

Turning to the side, seeking cover behind another building, Sledge could finally see the front, as a group of militants were firing onto the other side of the street. Spitting out the dry meat, a new explosion shook the tank, as debris was hitting the tank like rain. Then, cracking contacts against the side, as something suddenly was climbing onto the tank. Growling in anger, Sledge reached for the cutter-gun, before pulling himself up to the hatch above. It was pulled open above him, as he glared into the face of a bearded IRD militiamen, holding onto a bundle of grenades. Wasting no second, Sledge emptied half the clip into him, the recoil shaking his arm violently, while the flashing light drew a grotesque picture of the red spilling into the inside of the tank. The sound of the firing was all around him, painfully entering his ears leaving him half deaf with a violent ringing inside them. The militiaman fell forward, the explosive still in hand. Cursing loudly, Sledge pushed him over the side, as the first shots came down onto him. Hissing near him, like angry bloatflies, he quickly ducked away into the tank, closing the hatch, as the silent explosion to the side shook the whole vehicle once more, yet this time, the engine gave out a pathetic croaking, before turning silent. "Gunner, why are you not firing?" Pushing himself lower into the tank, he found the gunner struggling with the main gun, as the loading hatch did not close properly. The gunner was saying something, yet Sledge could not understand a single word, the ringing sound of his gunfire drowned out anything around him. Yet could see the jammed loading mechanism. Without a word, Sledge reached down and pushed with the gunner, finally closing the hatch. Breathing heavy now, he "NOW FUCK THEM UP!"

The turret above them turned, and with a huge recoil, the beast fired onto the car with the heavy rocket launcher. Sledge grinned, as he watched it went up in flames. Reaching for the tin-radio, he coughed, before once more shouting into it. "Get the engine running again! We cross this street.."




It was hard to tell, when dawn came in the battlefield that was Detroit, as the smoke of the battle constantly drenched out the sun, yet the crew of the beast was blessed with some rare rays of sunlight, as they finally retreated back behind the cult lines. By now, their fuel had run low, their ammunition had been spent and Sledge ears had begun to bleed. Helping Morris and Gunner out of the tank, Sledge had a hard time keeping on his feet, as he jumped down from the tank. Stretching himself, as he took in the burned air, he glared at the streets before him, while Morris and Gunner went out to organize some food and water. "Tankmaster!" A deep metallic voice came from behind and as Sledge turned, he glared at the power armored frame of the Warleader. Dosh-Novan was wearing his helmet, metal spikes attached to it, while his cloak was striving over the ground. Sledge raised an eyebrow, as he realized, that the backstabber had taken an IDR flag as his new choice of garment. "Warleader, how can i serve?" Sledge bowed his head in front of the power armor wearing traitor, who towered over him, like the tank behind Sledge.

Behind the Warleader followed a retinue of around twenty men. Most of them were veterans, their armor decorated with grim trophies, some new, others old. Yet in the middle, he could see a group of purple robed, masked ones, accompanied by slaves scribes. One pitiful creature had the task of being a walking desk, holding a terminal upright, while the masked robe behind him typed away on it. "What news from the northern front? We get mixed reports and i came to see it for myself. Tell me, what is going on." Sledge could hear the self-satification of the Warleader, as he walked past him, to overlook the street, where militants jumped to attention, as slaves rushed back and forward, their collars beeping, to remind them of the price of flight. "The heathens have massed up near Highland Park, where a great mass of their civilians have fled. They put up heavy resistance, and fight street for street. We could flush them out easily if you would grant us more tanks..."
The warmaster stopped in his tracks, before turning to Sledge. "I am not here to discuss strategy with you, driver! Tell me, what about Redford?" Sledge frowned, as her moved his hands behind his back. "IRD heathens have established themselves in that area. They have mined the houses and somehow been able to activate a great amount of Robots. Mostly Protectron and Junk-rigged ones, yet i have heard rumors about multiple sightings of Sentry Bots." The backstabber shook his head, as he once more turned on his heel. "The faithful that have infiltrated this corrupt republic have made sure that there are no heavy machinery around. The one that is, will soon fall into our hand, when the advance in the south will crush the rest of IRD resistance. Tell the men to lay of the Miasma for once."
Turning to Sledge, the Warleader gave him a short pat on the shoulder, with his cold, power armored hand. "I thank you, for your Intel, Tankmaster. You rest now! Have some food, water, booze...hell, look among the captives for some entertainment!" Chuckling, the Warmaster walked past, as Sledge leaned against his tank.
He did not share the Warmasters confidence for a quick victory, not after what he had seen the fight the IRD had put up in the streets.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by 2sky11
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2sky11 Embrace the Fallout

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Colonel Samuels – FOB Fort Independence

The Colonel watched as the Children of Atom departed. Their vertibird raising a large cloud of dust as it took off. He turned and headed back to the fort as his Crusader Guards followed close behind. As he went for the door, one of the troopers ran in his direction. The Crusaders clutched their guns, but Samuels raised his hand, and they nodded.

The trooper stopped before Samuels and leaned over as he caught his breath. Samuels walked towards another soldier and took the canteen of his belt and handed it to the runner, “I take it you have a message for me?”

The soldier eagerly took the canteen and greedily drank its contents, “Sir, Capt. Rogers has arrived, and is bringing up the cargo. We can soon launch first attack.”

The Colonel smiled and looked out and saw Brahmin carrying large steel containers. They bypassed the fort and kept travelling to the south east, “Very nice. Our attack shall soon commence. We shall show these heathens what it is to cross Pennsylvania.”

-

The Brahmin kept a steady but quick pace. The men accompanying the caravan tightly gripped their rifles. They kept a distance from the containers, but kept their eyes on them. Keeping a watchful eye, fearing their contents.

They reached the marshes and swamps that surrounded Point lookout. The Brahmin were having a harder time pulling the containers, as the swamps bogged them down. Some of the escorting soldiers pulled on the chains, trying to assist the Brahmin, and carriages gave way after a long struggle. Loud growls and screams could be heard from the containers as they shook. A fog covered the area, and the men were weary.

They got to a point where the wheels would no longer give. Captain Smith, the leader of the unit, gave the command to halt. He was reviewing a terrain map obtained from forward scouts, and from the looks of it, this would be as far as their caravan would be able to travel. He motioned for the carts and containers to be moved in position. They aligned the carts so that they formed a crescent facing one direction. The containers had extra doors on the outside that worked as flaps.

“Sir, if I may ask, why are we doing this? Aren’t these our brethren? Our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith?” One of the soldier asks the captain as he placed a crate on the ground and opened it. He grabbed one of the electric prods and hesitated.

“These things are no longer our brethren. This decay of their skins and their minds is due to their sins on this earth. They turned away from the word of the Good Book. The almighty has punished them and cast them out from his presence. Not even fit to burn in the pits of hellfire. Cursed to roam the earth.” A priest walked toward the soldier and picked up one of the prods. At the banging sound of cymbals, the priest put the prod into a cavity in a container, and turned it on. The container shook as the creatures screeched at the sound electrical current travelling through the metal walls. “Do not pity them as they deserve none. This is an act of kindness. They get to serve their Commonwealth for one last time. If you were accursed as they are, wouldn’t you seek an end?”

The men stopped prodding the cages and began to retreat. A Brahmin was let lose, in the direction of Point Lookout. A small set charge on each of the containers went off, causing the doors to fall. As they fell the Ghouls began to move out of their confinement. As they moved a shot rang out from one of the containers releasing a flying cymbal toy, which began clanking. As soon as they heard the sounds the ghouls worked themselves into a frenzy and began chasing it as it began to fall. As it fell, a similar device had been attached to the Brahmin what also began clanking.

As the captain stopped in his tracks he looked backed as the sounds of gunshots echoed. Soon there was total silence. He wondered if he heard nothing due to their distance. His men had left the murky swamp and retreated to a clearing on the outskirts. He stood on the edge of the swamp. He had ordered his lieutenant to carry on and meet up with the rest of the company.

The captain doubted the efficiency of this act of senselessness, he was just following orders. What weighed him down was the acquisition of the ferals. He began to remove his equipment slowly, tossing aside his uniform. He watched it slowly sink into the mud. The flag of his Commonwealth slowly disappearing. He abandoned his Kevlar vest, his helmet and his weapons, lay them down, letting them sink. He began walking towards where they had condemned the ferals to their doom.

His mind raced towards a few weeks earlier, when they had acquired the ghouls. Many of them were sentient ghouls that led lives in a settlement or another. Unlucky one’s that crossed their path. Not enough ferals had been acquired, they didn’t have enough. The officers debated as to what action they should take. As a former researcher Capt Smith made a controversial proposal. He proposed grabbing ghouls and expose them to high levels of radiation. He knew that the ghouls became Feral as radiation ate away at their bodies and minds.

A silence took the room. No one had considered such a course of action. It seemed as some were about to protest, but one of the priest stood up. He half expected the priest to condemn his actions and excommunicate him from the church. On the contrary he began to clap and agree with his idea. He gave the same speech he had just heard him give to that soldier. Ferals and ghouls are nothing but animals that no longer are human.

He had carried out the plan he had come up with, but it weighed on his soul. For a moment of praise he had doomed innocents to their deaths. For what? For a promotion that may be given? He had sold himself out. He despised the priest for not having condemned him, for praising him, for calling him righteous. He now sought penance for his actions for what he had done. As he walked, a fiery sensation hit his body. He had been shot, and that soon was followed by waves of pain and more fiery burning. The captain fell to his knees as his body began to give. His head soon hit the ground, falling next to a feral. Their two eyes met, but the captains vision went blank as he died.

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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Gingy
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Gingy Schizophrenic Coffee Mug

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Robert House – Lucky 38 Hotel & Casino

Thomas descended the stairs down to the bottom floor of the Penthouse, and to his surprise he found yet another large monitor much like the one in the El Dorado: once again House’s picture was displayed on screen. He could only assume this meant that, far from the screen being a long-distance method of communication, it was perhaps House’s only method.

“I’d hoped to meet you face to face this time Robert….but then I assume this must mean that the method of your survival past the war was not...ideal. If there ever can be such a thing in the first place. What happened to you Robert?”

Mr. House faintly chuckled behind the monitor. “If such a thing… ‘face-to-face’… was possible, I would have preferred it. A meeting of old-world minds such as this has more bearing on the world than the middling, short-minded ones below could possibly know. But this is the best I can do.”

Jane rolled in from the hallway, holding a platter bearing two glasses of champagne. Clearly, one was meant for Dr. Milburn, and the other a forlorn symbolic gesture for a man who had not been ambulatory in two centuries. Harrowing echoes of crooning—Dean Martin, in particular—resonated from the other room from a weak speaker. Mr. House seemed to have at least temporarily dodged Thomas’ questions pertaining to his own longevity. “Step out to the windows, Thomas, and take a look.” The lights of New Vegas, from the highest precipice, were exhilarating and blinding to behold from above. “This is what happened to me. I’ve stayed breathing through the centuries to create this.”

House slightly dimmed the lights in the penthouse, giving the sense that he’d planned this meeting to be more of a quiet reunion than a summit. “You might ask – what was the use of wiping the dust off what many consider to be a relic of old-world vice…but you were a bright contemporary of mine. I am sure that you’ll come to the same conclusion as I have. For you to have gone for centuries unnoticed—and I do mean completely unnoticed—shows a difference in stroke. I will be the first to admit that I am far less subtle. This city is the greatest forge of wealth that has ever existed in this new world.”

Robert then pivoted Thomas’ question into reverse. “Your means of longevity, unless my terminal eye is mistaken, is unbelievable. I will put aside my pride for but a moment and admit that it outclasses even mine. Whatever you are building for yourself…between this, between -teleportation- of all discoveries…it is impressive. It is on coincidentally perfect time that our worlds have discovered one another.” He chuckled. “And I see that you have brought someone else to my home, as well. An -Irish- woman, from the looks of it. My curiosities aside, I do hope that she is finding everything to her liking as well. You will be in possession of the most lavish accommodations in New Vegas during your stay, I can assure you.”

This entire evening was a bit of an odd and almost out-of-character gesture; Robert House had become so comfortable and relaxed—so confident in the future of his slice of the old world—that tonight, he’d allowed himself a quiet, casual reminiscence with an old friend.

Kate Rowsell – Hawkshaw Apartments, New Vegas

“…Vegas is a paradise, and rightfully the greatest city in all the wasteland! Yet I do think, that our little church does provide a certain service this city needs, yes...craves! We do so gladly, and for those who cant afford it, free of charge. Nobody needs to feel lonely, for there is a greater community around us all, even if we cant see it!..."

The static-molested words reverberated through the apartment. Kate turned off the television and sank into the shining purple armchair next to her bed. They’d even found their way onto the only bit of public-access television that gave her any sort of amusement or relief anymore. They were everywhere. The Church of Starry Glory seemed to have closed in on her from every direction. Not because of any shortcoming or bit of malevolency. They seemed like fine people. In fact, they might have been her last chance. She finished the colorful cocktail she’d brought to her room and stirred the naked ice with her finger.

Kate seemed to have had a good run, but it was fading. She was losing. New Vegas, underneath the lights and the splendor, was a vacuum. It had taken everything special and irresistible about her and commodified it until she’d hardly recognized her own reflection. She stood, set the empty glass on her bed, and slowly walked to the balcony, dragging the bottom of her bed-wrinkled glittering party dress along the carpet with her. The Hawkshaw Tower stood on the opposite side of the Strip from the Lucky 38, a recent renovation and addition to House’s unstoppable momentum. The shining jewel of New Vegas was swelling. It coated everything in its path with shining old-world glamour until what had stood before was no more. She stared at the impossibly tall and luscious Lucky 38. This could not be her last stop. She had to find something.

Church of the Starry Glory, Westside

Westside had been greatly renovated since 2281, but it was still without a doubt the poorest sector of Vegas proper. She looked like a fish-out-of-water in her comparatively high-society attire—a long white dress and a high volume of jewelry—but nonetheless, she’d come to this place with purpose. There stood the ‘church’. It was not as gorgeous, clean, or irresistible as anything on the Strip, but she welcomed this detail. Still, the place did not look in the least place inviting. The dust-ridden steps bore no guardsman nor devoted admirers. There was only Miss Rowsell and the door.

Kate slowly ascended the steps and after almost an entire several minute of staring at the behemoth of a door, she knocked. She waited.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by MagustheRed
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MagustheRed

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High Elder Gladstone – Western Brotherhood of Steel – Santa Fe Conference

"We're arranging transport from Cheyenne, we can move your force directly to Indianapolis by rail. Indianapolis's airport has been secured and is operational, we have plenty of room for your air units there. Grissom AFB has also been taken, but it took a direct hit during the War and the fueling facilities there are a total loss."

Gladstone nodded his assent at the plan. His voice a soft rasp as he made his thanks and thoughts known.

“That would be most agreeable Brother Martin. I’ll order forward air units to be there hopefully within the next forty eight hours to be aerial reconnaissance and precision strikes in preparation for the full scale campaign. Furthermore, I’ll have a team of scribes and the like sent forth to evaluate Grissom air force base, to see what elements it might be possible to station there, if any.”

The conversation then moved to the status of the east coast, at least that which did not lie under the shadow of the cult.

"We have a Mission in the Capital Wasteland. Contacting the Children of Atom is one of the priorities of that expedition. Progress is being made, but they take issue with our nuclear non-proliferation efforts...they consider it a form of Iconoclasm though their leader, Confessor Cromwell, has taken a reasonably pragmatic attitude towards it. As for the Cult, they are sworn enemies... they invaded the Capital Wasteland in force, the Children used tactical nuclear weapons to repel them.”

An eyebrow, or at least Atticus’ remaining eyebrow, rose to display a visible sign of both surprise and amusement at the thought of a faction utilising tactical nuclear weaponry against the tribal marauders of the east. He’d have to see if covert contact could be made with the Children of the Atom, Maxson had noted the group in his communiques west, dismissing them as religious fanatics, then re-evaluating them later on as a credible threat. And besides it wouldn’t do to allow the Midwest a free hand in the east, even if the only presence his brotherhood could establish would be a fingernail-hold there.

“Currently we are not in direct contact with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but I am organizing a diplomatic mission to them. At present, our sources in the IRD and Capital Wasteland indicate the Commonwealth is actively fighting the Cult along its Western border, and we are getting reports they are planning a joint offensive with the Children of Atom in Eastern Maryland."

That sounded promising, he’d have to see about establishing relations with the Commonwealth as well. Multiple groups in the east boded well for the Western Brotherhood, and allowing himself a small hum of thoughtfulness, Gladstone nodded his thanks to Brother Martin for a most revealing debrief, the best of which had yet to be revealed.

"As far as the Institute, records we've found in the Pentagon, or Citadel as the Eastern Order called it, refer to such an organization, believed to be in or near Boston. We found a survivor of Maxson's Expedition recently, he tells us that they had been there to find this Institute, but had never found any hard evidence it even existed before they were attacked and overwhelmed by the locals. Any information about this group or the Expedition in general you could share that Maxson provided you would be greatly appreciated...Maxson was young for an Elder, but hardly a novice and well advised. It beggars belief that there is nothing at all to his suspicions."

Curiouser and curiouser. Gladstone nodded slowly, voicing his agreement with the midwestern assessment of the situation.

“Yes, it beggars belief indeed. Maxson thought the Institute an incredibly advanced faction, more advanced than any faction of the Brotherhood. And more advanced than the Enclave at their peak. The reports he made to me were he admitted a mix of rumour, and unsettling evidence. I bid him investigate carefully, however, the boy in his haste seems to have taken to looking at every problem as a nail, and his ascendant order as a hammer. The forces he marshalled for the expedition were formidable, his last report stated that he was moving north with considerable force. And I mean considerable, armour, aerial and robotic elements all. An aerial aircraft carrier, vertibirds, power armoured contingents, and a nearly operational pre-war superweapon, all at the boy’s disposal.”

Atticus’ eyes flicked upwards to meet Brother Martins.

“Would it be possible to view the report this itinerant eastern survivor made? To make comparisons to my own reports from Maxson himself. Whilst the man was likely not in full possession of the facts, and neither am I, I am however in possession of the thoughts of Maxson himself. Or as close as any of us can come to the boys thoughts following his unfortunate demise.”
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Wampower
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Wampower I Did It My Way

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In the murky waters of Far Harbor...

“It doesn’t look like much, does it?”

“Trust me cap’n, them Commonwealth crates will be in port. Jackson saw the same ship back in Salem. Pennsylvanian trade touches even tiny places like Far Harbor.”

She lowered the ‘scope she’d been looking through. “I believe you, Levi. Get on dock ahead of Locke’s boys and commandeer the vessel.” Her face twisted into a sour expression as she once more drew on her old rage. “The Quaker cargo is our rightful take and I don’t want them interfering.”

He nodded as he always did. “Aye, Sarah”

The last conversation he’d had with Sarah fluttered through his mind as he glided through the cold murky water towards the Far Harbor docks. Of course, only he was allowed to call her by her actual name. It was only on account of him being her First Mate and last friend from the old days. Most men could only refer to her as “Captain”, “Captain Clarke”, and she would allow them to whisper the infamous title “Green Widow”. She wasn’t one for theatrics, but she knew the use in letting legends grow. He was usually called First Mate Bradshaw, and he couldn’t help but like his moniker: “The Bearded Ghoul”. A lifetime ago, he had to shave all the time. Now, his sturdy, braided, and grey beard stuck with him through his mutation.

Though it was what once cursed him, the radioactive water now strengthened his desiccated body. It also soothed the painful patches of skin that sometimes regrew on his cancerous body, only to fizzle with pain on his brownish flesh. With powerful and skilled strokes, he pushed silently forward through the water to the dock. Five of his best men followed his lead through the harbor. As they rapidly approached the dark shape they knew to be the dock, a glowing shark passed under him. The light it gave off revealed the savaged flesh of the beast, hinting towards much larger creatures lurking in the depths of the brooding and diseased sea. It was deep enough to not raise the alarm, but it was a sign that Locke was moving quicker than they had figured earlier.

When they reached the dock, his men and him all swam to different points around the dock. He quietly pulled himself out of the water for a quick peek before swiftly getting down. Three Harborguards were lazing around, sitting on boxes playing a card game and occasionally glancing up at their surroundings when they fancied it. There was little moonlight tonight, so the senseless guards used their lanterns to illuminate their cards. Despite their relaxation, it would be hard to kill all the guards silently with them in a circle. And the dock was a tiny thing, near enough to the town that if the alarm was raised or an attack was detected a horde of armed fishermen would come running. They had to be quick. He made a specific series of tiny, nearly imperceptible, splashs to signal his men to go ahead. He almost felt sorry for the boys on guard as three near-skeletal beings rose silently up from the water, clutching wicked knives and silenced junk pistols. The guard stood no chance as the ghouls dashed to their prey, faster than the men could process the strange shadows they saw behind each other in the hazy lamplight. All at once, bony hands covered their mouths and unceremoniously slit their throats. The lamps were snuffed out. While the three ghouls clutched at their prey as it died to keep it quiet, he and the two others wasted no time.

He rose from the water and dashed to the Commonwealth ship. The wooden steamship was conspicuous amongst the ramshackle vessels used by the desperate locals. As he watched, his other two men skillfully scaled the ship and took care of the one guard on the boat and went to the crew cabins to exact a bloody toll there. He boarded the gang plank and went to the captain’s quarters, assuming that the ship layout would be the same as other vessels of this type they’d raided. It was, but the captain was nowhere to be seen. Probably in the local tavern sleeping off his drunkenness or balls deep in a serving wench. The Quakers abroad were like that, abandoning their precious biblical code the second they were away from their homeland.

Just then, the faint sound of a foghorn went off with a long wailing cry. He cursed under his breath. Mordred Locke was coming with his all-out attack and if they didn’t move quickly they’d be caught up in the chaos. He ran down to the cargo bay and it was just as they expected. The ship had come in late and the captain had decided to put off unloading their cargo. The captain and half the crew was probably asleep in the local tavern. He went up to driving cabin to see if he could start the vessel. The steam engine would take more time to start, of course, but he needed to see if the captain was as stupid as he suspected and left the key in the cabin. After sifting through drawers, he found the keys. The next minutes were occupied with the ghouls flying around the ship, getting it ready to sail. Despite the steam engine remaining hot from its prior voyage, it was in no condition to leave immediately. Rather, they’d have to take advantage of the wind and tide and the engine would kick in at some point. Risky balances of oil soaked coal were being tossed into the engine to make it start quicker, but any riskier and they would explode. Soon enough, a favorable wind and somewhat favorable tide came. They all thanked their choice of drowned deity and started to depart.

It looked as though they would get away scot-free in perhaps one of their most triumphant raids yet. Then, as he and one of his crew went to lift the gangplank, there was what sounded like a mighty explosion. The shoulder of the man next to him shattered into bone fragments and blood and he dove behind cover. His first thought was that it was the engine going off, but he soon realized it was a Harborman on the dock wielding a lever action, firing high at the crew. And he started shouting.

“Mainlander pirates are coming to take wha-Ahh!”

He didn’t finish his sentence before Bradshaw lifted his silenced bolt action pistol, aimed, and fired. He could tell his shot merely wounded the bearded man (OOC: Allen Lee). The two others on deck hissed and fired as well, but the man had taken cover. He spared no time for the injured man as he had to move and one of the others would see to him, but he felt the man would live with an arm replacement. They pushed the boat off and sailed away from the impending struggle. They had put the town on alert and Locke would be none too happy about it, but from his view it mattered little. The eerie glowing fleet was already nearing the sleepy town of Far Harbor, he could see the mutant horde crowded on the decks as they passed by, ravaged faces of ghoulish pirates and other mutants twisted into grins. They showed the proper hand signals and weren’t blown out of the water or harpooned. As they passed by numerous ships, speed boats, and skiffs with their prize already won, he felt the rush of victory that sustained him through all the years. He twisted the wheel and guided the stolen ship towards the dark flotilla on the shadowed horizon as the blazing glow was left behind them in Far Harbor.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Andronicus23
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Andronicus23 Rogue Courser

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Thomas Milburn, Lucky 38 Penthouse Floor

Mr. House faintly chuckled behind the monitor. “If such a thing… ‘face-to-face’… was possible, I would have preferred it. A meeting of old-world minds such as this has more bearing on the world than the middling, short-minded ones below could possibly know. But this is the best I can do.”

“Ah, understood,” Thomas said simply, knowing his guess of House’s biological condition was likely on the mark. He decided not to pry further, not unless Robert wished to speak more himself, and gladly took the glass of champagne offered to him by Jane.

“Step out to the windows, Thomas, and take a look.” The lights of New Vegas, from the highest precipice, were exhilarating and blinding to behold from above. “This is what happened to me. I’ve stayed breathing through the centuries to create this.”

Thomas stepped up and took a sip of the champagne, savoring its taste as he observed the New Vegas strip from a vantage point few had ever seen.

“You might ask – what was the use of wiping the dust off what many consider to be a relic of old-world vice…but you were a bright contemporary of mine. I am sure that you’ll come to the same conclusion as I have. For you to have gone for centuries unnoticed—and I do mean completely unnoticed—shows a difference in stroke. I will be the first to admit that I am far less subtle. This city is the greatest forge of wealth that has ever existed in this new world.”

“Your means of longevity, unless my terminal eye is mistaken, is unbelievable. I will put aside my pride for but a moment and admit that it outclasses even mine. Whatever you are building for yourself…between this, between -teleportation- of all discoveries…it is impressive. It is on coincidentally perfect time that our worlds have discovered one another.” He chuckled. “And I see that you have brought someone else to my home, as well. An -Irish- woman, from the looks of it. My curiosities aside, I do hope that she is finding everything to her liking as well. You will be in possession of the most lavish accommodations in New Vegas during your stay, I can assure you.”

“I assure you we both are,” Thomas smiled, “It was nice to come here and travel back in time, if even for a little while. Despite my appearance, my means of survival has been no less traumatizing I assure you. I needed this. A final, quaint, reminiscence before those memories are lost forever. I know we may disagree on many things Robert, I know in the past we had our differences...I distinctly remember many a heated discussion cascading down the halls of engineering lab. But perhaps we can agree to work together once again...it would be a fine thing to have my old colleague back. Just like the old days...”

Thomas turned back to the monitor, swirling the glass around and allowing himself to let his thoughts flow freely,

“The Institute, our Institute Robert, has made strides in technological advancement that most could only dream about. My predecessors to the Directorship, including my own son, believed that the advancements we made put us above the surface world and those that inhabited it. They espoused the notion that The Institute should stay hidden away, and safeguard its secrets carefully like a locked treasure box. Initially I came believed that myself. From the moment I stepped out of that Vault, I hated the surface and the world it represented. All of my memories, and all of my loved ones cherished and held dear: long dead and gone, and the remnants of the world I used to know treated like nothing more than trash and the odd curiosity to line some vulture scavengers pockets. It disgusted me. More than that it enraged me. From that moment forward, I resolved to focus on The Institute and safeguard mankind’s future there, leaving the surface to rot in its own ignorance and filth. What need would I have to try and wallow through such degeneracy? Why should I care for those that disgraced the world I once knew? I was such a fool then….too in love with the past to see the way forward.”

“But then a curious thing happened. The Brotherhood’s assault on Boston made The Institute realize that we could not remain blind to the surface and the threats it posed. So as I extended our eyes and ears, to observe far more than just The Commonwealth and the surrounding area: I came to learn more and more about what was up there. Rumors of great nations and sprawling cities: places with civilization and technological advancements that held the spark of the old world.”

“And then I heard talk of your great conference” Thomas smiled, “Your survival alone was a surprise to me, and I knew that perhaps if anyone could help me to navigate this new horrifying world. It would be you. And so I sent those spies to observe, to see if you and others might have been able to rise above what I’d thought was a quagmire of stagnation, and I was not disappointed.”

Thomas took another sip of his champagne, and stared out the windows of the Lucky 38 towards the lights and sounds of the strip below, and the signs of industry flourishing in the Mojave. He took in a deep breath and exhaled, as if drinking in the distilled essence of a time long gone, but yet recreated exquisitely before him. He wished he could bottle it and preserve it, but he knew that would solve nothing. He’d just remain as he had been: lost in the past, a man out of time. Unable to move forward.

“And then I knew I’d made a mistake. The wasteland was not beyond saving. It hadn’t neglected the past…quite the contrary...it was trying desperately to hold on to it. Just as I was. Each group I saw did this in their own way of course. The NCR and Texas look to the country we once knew for their law and governance. Other groups hold to more archaic notions, like The Commonwealth or this ‘Caesar’s Legion’: trying to find meaning and worth in civilizations even older than our own. The Brotherhood, well they look to the past in other ways don’t they? Hoarding technology and believing themselves the arbiters of all...unwilling to let others do what needs to be done. Stifling progress because they fear what that entails. And you...you my dear friend, you and I suffer from the same condition. We look to the past with nostalgia, and try to surround ourselves with things that remind us of the men we used to be. Of the lives we used to have. But we must force ourselves to leave that past behind, to realize that it can dictate our future. We saw the world that came before, and more importantly, know its failures. We can lead the world to a new and brighter future, and eradicate the mistakes of the past forever.”

“Perhaps we can achieve that,” Thomas finished with a grin, “Forging a new world….a better one. That is what I plan to do my friend, that is what I believe my purpose has now become. And I’ll see it through. But The Institute, as it is now, can’t do it alone. I need allies in this world that might share our goals for a new tomorrow….and desire the destruction of those that would hold us back.”

“So I came to you, personally to ask you one question: will you help me Robert?” His eyes fell on the monitor, waiting for his old friends response.

The Institute, Lower Levels

The elevator door to the Institute’s newly constructed lower levels opened to a massive darkened storage room, the only lights visible were those closest to the elevator itself. Max Loken and Alan Binet stepped out, flanked by two Gen-2 synths and single female Gen-3 who bore a dead expression in her eyes.

The two scientists looked at one another and then at the Gen-3, eyeing it with some confusion,

“We’ve spent days running diagnostic after diagnostic, there’s nothing wrong with the unit,” Loken said with a sigh, “I just don’t understand what might have happened. We’ve gone line by line, looked at every scrap of code executed during the incident. None of it out of place. In fact, it doesn’t appear like she was even following the programmed procedure…”

“Maybe she wasn’t,” Dr. Binet replied as he stared at the female Gen-3, “I know you don’t want to hear it Max...but…”

“No I don’t. And neither does The Director.”

“I’ve had a number of talks with Father and actually allowed me to voice my concerns regarding the issue of Synth sentience. If more people…”

“Spare me,” Loken sighed, “Regardless I don’t want to hear about it now. Father wanted us to look for a source of malfunction, mechanical or software based. We haven’t been able to find one yet. And Phase 4 is rapidly approaching, we have no choice but to clear the Gen-3 line once we’ve put into place the new safeguards that The Directorate is enforcing.”

Dr. Binet didn’t reply, but simply turned to the Gen-3, unwilling to argue further,

“A3-18, engage storage procedure”

A3 immediately began walking towards the darkness as Dr. Loken pressed a button on a nearby illuminated panel.

The lights in the storage room began to turn on one by one revealing rows upon rows of Gen-3s. Thousands of them lined up and backs straightened: packed together like crates of toy soldiers, each with the same deadened expression that A3 bore.

“We’ll have to get these suited up soon enough…”
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Crimson Paladin
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Crimson Paladin Blessed of Sheogorath

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Children of Atom FOB, SE of Washington DC

Southeast of the Capital Wasteland, not far from the Free Commonwealth's forces, stood a hastily constructed outpost of scrap metal, walls engraved with the symbol of atom and lined with charms and fetishes. Within the base was a plethora of Atom's faithful, ranging from volunteers in ragged robes to power armored Zealots. Several power armored figures were currently hoisting a small radio tower, while other men and women worked on the walls with welding torches. A few Brahmin sat in a pen near a few crude wagons formed from automobile chassis, next to a pair of mostly intact military trucks.

When a Vertibird was seen on the horizon, carrying some sort of cargo on a hook underneath, the ranking Zealot barked orders for those within to assemble. With the exception of those working on the radio tower, and those standing guard outside, all within the base dropped what they were doing and scurried to the center of the outpost. By the time the Vertibird had landed, most of the outpost's inhabitants were neatly assembled and awaiting the arrival of the aircraft's passenger- the Grand Zealot himself. It first dropped off its cargo- a wagon covered with a heavy tarp- and then landed next to it. Somewhere in the base, a geiger counter began ticking, indicating the arrival of something steeped in the Glow.

Richter stepped out of the Vertibird and looked over the base and those standing before him. These were merely the vanguard of Atom's forces- more Zealots were mobilizing, and he had no doubt that many fanatics and flagellants of Atom would answer the call to arms as well. The men and women before him were hardly the conquering force needed to liberate the swamps from Ug-Qualtoth's dark influence, but they would form the core of it. He walked to the front of where they stood and removed the helmet of his Hellfire armor.

"Faithful sons and daughters of Atom! We have come here for a purpose- to free the swamps of Point Lookout of the foul Cult, to cleanse this place of their corruption in Atom's holy Glow! I must warn you, however, that this will not be easy, and victory will likely be costly. These lands were not subjected to the Great Division, and as a result, the corruption here is ancient and deeply rooted. The inhabitants within are mutated by Atom's light, changed by His disfavor for their evil ways, and utterly steeped in the ways of the Cult. They are killers and hunters of men, who know these swamps inside and out and will fight to their last breath. This is not a war of conquest, this is a war of cleansing, where the only victory is when the last of the swamp folk breathes no more! The Free Commonwealth stands with us against this foe, but we cannot rely on them for victory- we must do what must be done to scour these lands of corruption, at whatever the cost!"

The assembled Children of Atom cheered vigorously, inspired by the Grand Zealot's words. Richter wasn't much of a speaker, but his words had definitely moved them. After the cheering died down, Richter spoke up again.

"To instill the resolve to carry out Atom's will, we have assembled a standard, built from the blessed material of the power plant that the Free Commonwealth has graciously given us access to." Richter gestured at two Zealots, and they pulled the tarp from the wagon, revealing a standard in the image of the symbol of Atom, rising out of a sculpture of Megaton's bomb.

"This was crafted from the remains of a lesser Division preceding the Great Division. With this standard, you can be assured that we carry out Atom's will and carry His favor with us!" The crowd broke into another cheer. Richter feared that this would be an ugly campaign, and Atom's faithful needed all the inspiration that they could get.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Crimson Paladin
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Pontiff Cromwell- Megaton, Cathedral of Atom

Within the Pontiff's quarters, Cromwell and an acolyte stood in front of a weathered two-way radio. Among the holy relics in the quarters, this represented pre-war reverence of Atom, as indicated by the faintly still legible "Radiation King" engraving upon its frame. And as the Pontiff later learned, once properly repaired and hooked up to an antenna that adorned the cathedral rooftop, it allowed him to communicate with his flock from within the cathedral.

"According to the Grand Zealot, this signal should allow us to communicate with Raven Rock," the acolyte explained, adjusting the knob.

"Excellent. But why have we never contacted them before?" Cromwell asked, curious.

"We never knew the frequency, or the encryption they used, your holiness" answered the acolyte, still fiddling with the radio. "Fortunately, the Enclave left behind all that information in Raven Rock. And...there we go. All you need to do is hold the button and talk into the microphone, and if I did everything right, it should work."

"Fine work, my child," Cromwell praised the acolyte. He took the microphone in his hand and held the button down.

"This is Pontiff Cromwell to Raven Rock. Do you hear me?" He looked at the acolyte, a bit confused.

The acolyte whispered to him. "Try asking it a few times. The message may not have gotten through, or they may have missed it."

The Pontiff cleared his throat and spoke again "This is Pontiff Cromwell of the Children of Atom to Raven Rock.
I must speak to Sarah Lyons. I repeat, this is Pontiff Cromwell of the Children of Atom. I must speak to Sarah Lyons of the Brotherhood of Steel."

---

Inquisitor Tektus- Potomac River Docks

The Inquisitor, flanked by two masked underlings, made his way to the docks south of Rivet City, where the Vessel awaited. He made his way up the pier and into the interior of the submarine. A wetsuit-clad Children of Atom mariner greeted him as he stepped inside.

"Inquisitor, I received word of your arrival. What are your instructions?"

"First, my child," Tektus began, "What is the status of the Vessel?"

"Engines and ballast are fully functional," the crewman answered as they descended. "We are nearly fully fueled, and the remaining missiles and torpedoes are ready to fire at your command. A few lights have been malfunctioning, but nothing more serious than that."

They finally reached Tektus' quarters where his throne stood, awaiting the vessel's master. Tektus sat down and sighed, pleased to be back in his seat. "Set a course for the Island. We depart immediately."

"Yes, Inquisitor." The crewman hurried off to relay Tektus' orders. A a few minutes later, the Vessel stirred. The engines fired up, and Tektus could feel it pulling away from the dock.

"We're off, Inquisitor. Setting a course to the Island," spoke the voice on a grainy intercom. There was nothing quite like the feeling of this metallic leviathan bring brought to life by Atom's power. And through the Vessel, there would be nothing quite like what Atom's power would bring to His enemies.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Andronicus23
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Far Harbor, Maine


The foghorn blared yet again, and the horrifying battle cries of the ghoulish pirates resounded out through the bay. Far Harbor was wide awake now, the alarm had been raised and the Harbor Watch called to arms. Harbormen and women barricaded themselves behind makeshift walls clutching whatever weapons they might get hold of as the pirates streamed ashore, all of them drenched in the salty spray of the harbor night and some still garlanded by seaweed. It was a truly nightmarish sight, something straight out of the old monster movies from before the war. Radiation scorched faces twisted into devilish grins looked back at them from the the shore, eager for loot and plunder. The ghouls were armed and armored in piecemeal armor, bits and pieces of maritime equipment attached to them, not unlike the Trappers the Harborfolk were used to fighting, but these new terrors were something entirely different. Childhood ghost stories had been brought to life before their very eyes.

The pirates stormed ashore, pulling their boarding craft up and onto the harbor’s broken beaches and wading through icy waters. They brandished cutlasses that glowed green with radioactive sludge dripping like poison from the blades and makeshift laser muskets held tightly in their necrotic hands. They rushed towards the walls of the seaside town: the large bulwark the locals called “The Hull” and took up positions behind rocks, broken trees, and the debris of the old pre-war town. The men and women of the Harbor watch gripped their weapons and silently watched the ghouls, beads of sweat forming at their brows as they anticipated what sort of fierce fight for their lives they might be in for.

Through the mist, they could still see the silhouette of the glowing vessel which had been blaring the foghorn as it held its ominous position in the bay. It sat like a silent sentinel in the murky waters of the Atlantic, watching and waiting for its chance to strike. They could see it was an Old World military craft and all they could do was hope that those great guns yet visible on its foredeck had fallen silent long ago. Otherwise their sleepy town stood little chance at resisting such a barrage that those weapons of the past might bring down on them.

Rotted boots hit the sand on the shore as a ghoul dressed in a tattered black frock coat and tricorn hat came ashore. A heavy pipe pistol was holstered in a leather baldric strapped across his chest. The ghoul sauntered up towards the direction of the town, as if he was taking no more than a noon-day stroll, whilst weary eyes from beyond the Hull kept a keen eye on the mysterious figure. The dapper ghoul faced the defenders, and raised his hands upward like a conductor ready to direct a grand orchestral performance,

“People of Far Harbor,” he began in a loud dramatic tone, his deep graveled voice easily carried across the no-man’s land between the pirates and the entrenched townspeople, “You may all count yourselves fortunate, for you here now bear witness to the grand tattered fleet and its legendary admiral. He is The Heart Eater, The Terror of the Seas, Bane of The Commonwealth, Harbinger of the Great Glow, and Pirate-King of Ghouls: Lord Commodore Mordred Locke. Everyghoul you see before you is his loyal crew, bound to him until their bodies become dust. For none can escape the grip of the Heart Eater: serve him willingly or slave for him in the ranks of the ferals. It makes little difference. I myself am but a humble Captain in his mighty navy, yet I speak for him now to you all. Hear his words: lay down your arms: give up your gold, your trinkets, the pick of your fastests vessels, and as much liquor as we can carry….and none of you will be harmed. This we swear, and let no man take the Lord Commodore for an oathbreaker should a bargain be struck: know this as well however, should you refuse this offer: your town will burn, and you’ll all become feral chattel. ”

At these words, the ghoul captain gave a signal, and suddenly there was a clanking of chains as two feral ghouls with the tattered remains of fishing gear still clinging to their bodies rushed forward towards the hull. They screamed and thrashed with the stubs of recently severed arms as they tried to get at the smoothskin defenders before being flung to the ground as their heavy chains dragged them down. The ghoul captain drew his pistol and fired a shot at one of the ferals blowing through its head cleanly and leaving the remains of the poor wretch twitching.

“What say you?”

The defenders didn’t reply, instead looking to one another with apprehension. None of them thought they might be able to make such an agreement. Many wished instead to fight, or rather to go down fighting like true Harbormen and Harborwomen. The air was tense and the moment was ripe for someone, somewhere on that forsaken wall, to do something stupid. And yet a lone voice cried out up and over the murmurings. The voice of stalwart Captain Avery.

“The gate stays closed. You guarantee every man, women and child’s safety in Far Harbor?”

“Aye!” The ghoul captain replied, “None will be harmed. Agree to the terms, and there be no need for bloodshed.”

“Very well,” Avery said through gritted teeth, “Suppose we don’t have much choice.” She then turned to her fellow townsfolk atop the hull, “Give the scoundrels what they want.”



The flesh may be rotten and the heart may be cold, the decks maybe be rusted, and the powder be old, but a deckhand of Locke still love’s he gold! Har!


Setting off from the shore the landing boats of the ghoulish pirates were laden with chests full of whatever trinkets the townsfolk had stashed away (and more than a few barrels of Harbor swill). A bit less loot than they’d been expecting but a few of the townspeople claimed that some of their cargo from the docks was missing: it’d already been stolen by some bandits in the night. One of them had even shot the town weapons merchant. While the ghouls had feigned anger and even given one or townsfolk a good thrashing just to send home the message, they all knew who was responsible for that little bit of trickery. Yet there was no hard feelings, honor amongst thieves: take what you can and ask no forgiveness. Besides, they’d still made off well and good without hardly firing a shot.
“Back to the ships!” the ghoul captain commanded as he fired a celebratory shot in the air. Captain Avery and a few of the townsfolk stood by the docks, bound and gagged watching the necrotic crew making off with whatever hadn’t been nailed to the floor. They could, at least, count themselves lucky that they weren’t part of the cargo themselves: to go through whatever horrid process had turned those two fisherman ferals. They’d been spared that nightmare at least.

“Tell those Children of Atom smoothskins that the Heart Eater sends his warm regards!” The captain shouted back to the shore.

Back on the deck of the glowing ship, a solitary figure watched as the boats sailed back. The figure himself was aglow with radiation: it seeped from every crevice of his body. He was an ancient glowing one that’d somehow still managed to hold his sanity: at least partially. A dead radgull lay strewn across his feet, the results of flying too close to the vast aura of radiation that surrounded him. He gently picked the carcass, the skin of the dead creature nearly burned under his touch, and he tossed it over the railing.

The Heart-Eater grinned and turned to his rotted crew,

“We sail south,” He said simply, as he walked backed to his cabin.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Elgappa
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Elgappa

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Thunderfoot Interstate 15 - Towards Vegas




Salt Lake City burned bright in the darkness of the morning, as the 80s left the city. Thunderfoot knew, that in a year or two, the ash would have given birth to a new city, growing rich of the trade. But today, he had sacked and plundered like his father had, leaving behind nothing but a feast for the crows in his wake. His host had grown, but still would be no match even for a single Khan army. The fall of the city had been a mixture of luck, cunning and the underestimation of the Khans. This would be a mistake Papa Khan would not repeat. Thunderfoot knew, that the old Jackal would never forget the slight he had suffered by the son of Thunderbird and his death would be long and painful, should he fail. Yet he also knew, that his death would mean the end for the 80s as a people.

They rode slower than ever before, now that thousands of slaves were walking with them and the carts and trucks filled with loot. Driving past Shinji, he could see him laughing and shouting, his hand wrapped around the young woman, he had taken for himself during the raid. "Shinji, that is my name. Named after the greatest and wildest rider that ever lived. He rode to the north and south, making the whole world his highway." The woman either didnt understood, or didnt wanted to talk, but Shinji kept talking, as if there was one topic he never grew tired of, it was his own name. "While others climbed mountains, he rode up on them, like a true 80. Traveled the whole world, just to find a mountain to ride up on. Now he rides with all our ancestors and feasts in the halls of the painted host and the freckled maid." Thunderfoot knew that the girl could have found a worse owner, but most likely also a better on. Shinji would not abuse her, but then again, still take her freedom from her. "Would you like to be chained? Never to ride the highway again?" The words of the slave once more resounded in his head, as he swallowed. But his host needed slaves, for it was his peoples way.

Pushing his feet into the gas, Thunderfoot pushed on, away from his host, onto the empty highway in front of him. The air rushed past him, as his hair flew open in the wind. Faster and faster he pushed on, his red bike below him roaring loudly to a cheer of his 80s behind him. For a bit, he feared that Shinji would give chase, but Thunderfoot knew, that he would not tempt a race he could not win.
He was alone, the highways in front of him was his. The sun rose in a deep crimson in the dusty and hot air of the young morning, yet Thunderfoot felt as refreshed by it, as by a cool shower of rain. He was alive, against all odds of the last few days. He could feel the Immortality once more, as he closed his eyes. His heart beat faster as he opened his arms, before shouting out loudly. A long cheer. He had not failed, not died and not forsaken his people. The path was long and dangerous, but he had withstood the first hurdle in his path.

The next challange would be the crossing of the border into legion territory, yet Thunderfoot had his hopes. The legion was fighting a war on the other side of the sacred highway, and he brought gifts and hostages. He had send his trusted slave forward to negotiate a deal for secure passage through legion land, with a promise of peaceful intentions.

T H E C H U R C H O F S T A R R Y G L O R Y



Prioress Cabot New Vegas, The Church of the Starry Glory, Westside


The sermon was running like clockwork by now. A warm communion of the faithful, with the common masses down below, firmly pressed together in the limited space, yet still comfy enough not to cause panic of fear. "So many of you are afraid of what tomorrow brings. So many cant stay wake without worries, seeking the thrill or escape, just not to fathom another thought of the worrisome yet inevitable." The young handsome preacher was standing on a balcony, multiple lights shining at him. His cut hair and sharp suite made him look like a salesman, yet there was a honesty in his voice, that was so rare in vegas, as snow. "But here we are, united to find solace in the embrace of a caring community, warm and welcome. We withstand the tide of sorrow and loneliness. How? By embracing what we are. Stars, bright, glorious and strong. A pillar, who can not be harmed by the aeons. We are unbreakable, unshakable...we are one!" Countless voices became one, as arms were raised, forming the knot with their fingers. "WE ARE ALL ONE." There were a few seconds of silence, as the layman once more raised his voice. "Faithful... enlightened... ambitious... brethren, united in this void of purpose, fear, or duty... we shall at long last be free!




The Prioress was watching with a smile, up in the highest loge. There was a hint of prominence already present, yet her tree had yet to grow. It was a delicate matter, an intricate game of chess, she had to play, but if a Cabot had one thing in plenty, it was time. The layman preaching had been one of her first converts, a young and talented showman, hoping to strike it big on the strip, but lacking the instinct nor guts to really make it. She had picked him up, before the city would have destroyed him. Now, he was her voice, soon to create other voices. The plant was growing, slowly but steadily, stronger and stronger each day. "Behold the concept, the idea of enlightenment. For a sign will come one very day, that will grant us all a new insight into all the secrets of the universe. A glimmer of immortality. For immortality of our very being, our essence, this is true freedom. All our struggle for material goods, for prestige and recognition is just a childish delay to our true purpose. A purpose that one day, will become abundantly clear."
It was a root, carefully planted in the minds and hearts. The cult had done so before and would do so again countless other times. A root that would grow more and more, preparing the soul for true enlightenment.

She could feel the glow of the piece of the monolith so far below, calling her. For hours, she could look upon it, and lisen to the voices it woke in the back of her mind. How foolish of her brother, to dig in the desert for clarity when it was just here, waiting for him to be understood, not to be found. "Ready your mind, ready your heart and ready your soul. For the day may come, when each one of you, will be required to make a choice. To choose the happiness and eternal satisfaction of true enlightenment, or the pitiful and pathetic existence as a slave to once own cruel and limited reason? Why, i know what i will choose. To be part of a community, to be part of us. The unity that welcomes all!"

The prioress wanted to clap, but instead just sipped her water with ice, before hearing the knock on the door. Nodding to one of her guards, the door was opened. Lead by another guard, the prioress smiled warm, as she spotted the new fertile ground, for the plant to root in. "Miss Rockwell, i am so glad you could make it. Please, take a seat and have a drink. The sermon has just started and my dear friend Mister Howard has such a moving homily prepared for us. I would be most pleased to introduce you to each other afterwards. We host a modest meal afterwards and would be most happy if you, as a new friend, would join us!"
Hidden 5 days ago Post by Andronicus23
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Mahkra Fishpacking, Northeast Commonwealth

“Secure the entryway.”

“Yes sir.”

The sharp voice of the young Lieutenant cut through the stale air of the old fishpacking plant. His escort, two Enclave troopers in Advanced Combat Armor and a shock trooper in APA, carefully scanned the area as they entered. Forward recon had shown the factory to be abandoned: little to be found left here but rusted machinery and brittle fishbones. Yet this unassuming, and quite dilapidated building which still seemed to reek of fishguts and stale saltwater 200 years after such stenches should have long since dissipated, were where the coordinates they’d been sent had led. Sent by whoever, or whatever, was calling itself ‘The Institute’: the organization which Enclave High Command had formally attempted to contact and offer their terms of amnesty and annexation under their authority as the acting Government of the United States of America. A rare opportunity for anyone outside their citizenry, and an offer which was ultimately non-negotiable. A number of wayward Vaults had been given the same chance in the wake of The Enclave’s recent misfortunes: those that had refused had swiftly learned that the offer was merely a formality. While some had to be dragged kicking and screaming into their ranks, they’d all come eventually.

From what they’d heard, The Institute was nothing like the usual wasteland rabble that they’d had to contend with, and even more valuable than an unopened control vault in terms of technology and information. Its scientists were supposedly the brightest minds to be found in the post-war world, although there was some question as to whether or not they even existed. Many in The Enclave had assumed that the tales of boogeyman snatching people up in the dead of night in a flash of blue lightning were tales made up by the ignorant. The minds of wastelanders, addled as they were by radiation and degeneracy, were easily taken in by such fantasies. However, the reports were too widespread and too specific to easily ignore. And if rumours of The Institute had reached all the way to the Capital Wasteland then there must be at least a kernel of truth to them. It had certainly been true enough for The Brotherhood of Steel to have sent a large contingent of their forces to investigate at least. The Brotherhood had entered The Commonwealth with enough firepower to seize The Commonwealth and rule it as a fief of their own, however they’d found nothing but death as the end result of their quest. The tactical precision and totality of their forces annihilation implicated The Institute’s involvement in some way, although accounts did vary. Truthfully, High Command had its doubts that an ostensibly non-militaristic group would have the necessary strength to destroy such a strong Brotherhood force so completely, but if the scientists had indeed had a hand in The Brotherhood’s downfall, it was quite possible that they might be amenable to The Enclave’s offer considering their own past with the organization. The enemy of my enemy after all…..even if they had no intention of this being an equitable partnership. The Enclave didn’t make alliances….it absorbed those that were useful and, in their eyes, pure. Everyone else was an obstacle in their path to reclaim their nation from the filth that had stolen it from them.

Lieutenant Wayne had been tasked with a small force consisting of a single verti-assault squad to investigate the coordinates. The Enclave’s military presence on the East Coast had all but vanished, and so they’d been forced to hop from abandoned outpost to abandoned outpost in order to make the trip to The Commonwealth, scavenging what supplies they could along the way. Still, they prospect that The Institute might be willing to agree to their direct ultimatum was reason enough to make the trip. Their steady decline since the time of Richardson meant they were short of manpower and resources, and The Institute could very well serve as a latchkey to reclaiming their former glory.

The APA trooper stepped forward, scanning the darkness closely as they became to delve into the old fish plant. Lt. Wayne and the two grunts followed closely behind, their weapons drawn and at the ready.

“Lieutenant,” The APA trooper said suddenly, his voice distorted by the power helmet as he pointed towards a set of ancient packing equipment,

“Someone’s been here. Machinery looks like its been in operation recently.”

He was right. Recent repairs had clearly been made to the machinery: some of the parts appeared brand new and there was even fresh oil dripping from one of the panels. Something virtually impossible in a 200 year old factory that hadn’t been in use since before the bombs dropped.

“A sign we’re in the right place perhaps….” The Lieutenant replied, “Keep moving forward. Head down those stairs.”

A set of concrete descended to a lower part of the factory. The space directly at the foot of the stairs appeared to open up, but the darkness made it difficult to see what exactly was there. It appeared to be their only route forward however, and so the troopers advanced.

The lights from the shock trooper’s helmet illuminated the path as they moved foward, however as they grew close to the bottom. It became increasingly apparent that they were not the only source of light. The bottom of the stairs, they could now see, led to a large utility hallway, and halfway down it there appeared to be a single solitary room emanating a soft white glow.

Cautiously, the Enclave squad made their way towards it. When they stepped into the light of the doorway, a curious sight greeted them,

“Welcome.”

A solitary woman in a white uniform sat directly across from them, seated at a table surrounded by several chairs. The furniture was in stark contrast with the dilapidated surroundings they found themselves in, and looked as if it’d come from another world entirely. Bottles of water stamped with some sort of strange symbol were clustered to the side on a serving tray.

Lieutenant Wayne blinked several times and stared with mouth slightly agape, confused by the surreal situation he found himself in. He swiftly regained his composure however, and proceeded forward,

“Lieutenant Eli Wayne,” He said sharply, “I assume I have the pleasure of speaking to a representative of The Institute?”

“You do indeed. Please sit Lieutenant.”

Wayne took off his officers cap and sat down in one of the contoured chairs, he eyed one of the bottles of water suspiciously but did not reach for it.

“Refreshment?”

“No that won’t be necessary,” He replied shaking his head. In truth he was quite thirsty, but he’d no intention of taking anything offered to him by an unknown party.

“I’ll be blunt ma’am, we’ve already made our offer of amnesty and re-unification to the United States to your superiors and have yet to receive an official response to the terms. I can only assume that by sending us these coordinates you wished to meet with us to discuss the terms further. Perhaps to finalize the offer? High Command would be quite pleased if I was able to return to them with news of your acceptance.”

“Quit the opposite Lieutenant, I’ve been tasked by The Directorate to inform you of their absolute refusal. The Institute does not recognize The U.S. Government’s authority in any capacity, not the least of which regarding our sovereignty. Your claims are firmly denied.”

Wayne scrunched his face in displeasure,

“I see, so then you’ve led us here on a wild goose chase, intending nothing more than to mock us? Is that it? Or did you think that by informing us in person that somehow you were doing us an honor? Well I can assure you that is not the case. On the contrary, my superiors will consider it an insult and take that into account when deciding how best to proceed with our next course of action.”

“No, the SRB wished to meet with you for another reason. Your organization intrigues them, and they followed your progress in the D.C. region with great interest. However, information on The Enclave is scant. More data is required. You will all prove to be quite useful in that regard.”

Wayne stood up, and hovered his hand over his plasma pistol. The APA trooper and two guards next to him likewise appeared on edge, the shock trooper stepping forward with heavy footfalls towards the seated woman,

“I don’t appreciate your tone. Think about your next words very, very carefully. They could very well mean your life.”

“My life is inconsequential Lieutenant,” The woman replied, “If you wish to shoot me, I have no recourse to stop you. However, nothing will be solved by you doing so. The loss of a single Synth is hardly meaningful.”

“Synth? What in the hell are you talking about?”

The woman smiled warmly,

“You’ll know soon enough.”

The sounds of a dozen or more stealth fields disengaging filled the room, Coursers surrounded The Enclave forces and began opening fire. Countless flashes of blue light filled the hallway beyond, as Gen-1 and Gen-2 units came streaming in from the doorway. Lieutenant Wayne grabbed his plasma pistol and fired a bolt at the woman, striking her and sending the Synth sprawling to the ground as the hot plasma burned into her chest.

The APA trooper bashed Synths aside left and right with the easy and strength that his power armor afforded him. However, Gen-1’s latched onto him like insects swarming a piece of meat blocking and restricting his view and access to his weapon. One of the Coursers strode up and attached a device to the APA, and quickly activated it. An intense electrical pulse coursed throughout the power armor and the APA trooper yelled out in blind fury and pain before the systems of his suit began to fail catastrophically.

Lt. Wayne and the other two troopers had fallen back to another corner of the room. Blasting away at any Synths that attempted to go near them. However with the APA trooper down, the attention of the Synths now turned firmly to them, and the two combat troopers were swiftly cut down in a hail of blue laser fire. Lt. Wayne raised his plasma pistol to his head, and prepared to fire,

“God bless The Enclave.” He yelled out.

A blast of blue laser shot away his pistol and sent it careening against the wall. The Courser who fired the shot approached the Lieutenant, grabbed him and lifted him up with little effort.

“A9-45. Mission complete. Ready to relay back with subject of interest.”

“Idiots,” The Lieutenant said with stoic defiance, “Do you think the Remnants of the United States trains its officers to be cowards? You won't get anything out of me.”

“We won’t need to.” The Courser replied simply as a flash of blue light engulfed them.
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