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Hidden 24 days ago 24 days ago Post by Andronicus23
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Mags Black

Mags allowed the blood covered knife to slip from her hand and onto the broken gore-soaked ground of The Hole. The body of the Trog she’d just slain lay eviscerated in a heap at her feet, its sickly discolored blood running in rivulets through the soil . Exhausted beyond measure, Mags barely registered the voice of the announcer above the roaring sound of the crowd above: ‘ASHUR ASHUR ASHUR’ they chanted like a raucous chorus.

“And the Trog falls! Welcome Mags! Welcome to Ashur’s Army! You’ve earned it!”

She collapsed to her knees, triumphantly raising one hand. This was it, she thought to herself with a wide grin; she’d passed their test, she’d earned her place. Now she could work her way up: now she would finally get that audience with Lady Ashur.

From here on out, she would be in her element. Finally things might go her way.




“Inspection! Fall in for inspection you newbie bastards!”

Mags barely had time to wash the Trog’s blood off her before she’d been practically dragged into formation before her new Raid Boss: a tough one-eyed son of a bitch named ‘Reddog’ who wore super-sledge slung to the back of his spiked Gamma shield armor. There were at least fifty of her fellow raiders standing at loose attention before him as he passed back and forth, giving each of them a discerning look with his one good eye.

“Congratulations assholes, you’re all in Ashur’s Army now: The Army of The Pitt. But before you all get big heads and starting thinking some bullshit about how you’re special or ‘chosen’ let me make one thing straight to you bastards.”

Reddog raised a hand, his right ring finger was missing: chewed off at the knuckle by the same creature which had removed his eye. He held up his index and middle before them,

“This don’t make you shitheads special, all it means is two things, “1: You ain’t trog food and 2. You ain’t a slave.”

He looked right at Mags, his eye seemed to bore into her,

“And if that’s enough for you….then good you’ll fit right in here. But you want more? You gotta EARN it. Ain’t nobody got to the top of Ashur’s gang without going through hell. You all best remember that.”

Reddog paused, unsheathing his super-sledge and slamming it head-first to the ground in front of him,

“Alright for anyone looking for that chance….let me give you some good fuckin’ news. We’re headed to the Ohio River with the rest of the army, and guess what? Our crew gets the best assignment of all: we’re gonna be right at the fuckin’ front.

Mags tightened her grip on the R91 assault rifle she’d been issued; the weight of the heavy ammo bandolier she was wearing seemed to be trying to drag her quivering legs to the ground. She realized she was feeling true fear for the first time in a good long while.

“Move out scrum! Let’s go kick some mutant ass. For Ashur! For The Lady of The Pitt!”




Krenshaw - 10th Street Bridge Overlook

Standing atop one of the downtown high-rise buildings, Commander Krenshaw watched the army departing alongside Abaddon and the recently arrived ex-Paladin-Lord Hector Traven. It was like a surging tide, thousands of raiders marching across the tenth street bridge to be shipped by rail, barge, or long march to the forward defensive line. Things were in motion now, and all that was to come was the inevitable battle.

Krenshaw lit up a cigarette, exhaling a thin trail of smoke out into The Pitt’s perpetual twilight sky. He could practically feel the nervous tension oozing from the two former Brotherhood men next to him.

“Will your forces hold?” Abaddon asked bluntly, the aged scribe’s wrinkled face contorted with worry.

“My raiders will hold,” Krenshaw grimaced, taking another puff of his cigarette, “You just worry about those reprogrammed factory bots of yours.”

“This won’t be anything like they’ve ever faced before…” The now former Paladin-Lord of Cincinnati added. Traven was still wearing his Brotherhood robes, which unlike Abaddon’s red scribe robes were tinged the gold-orange of a ranking leader of the Midwestern Brotherhood.

Krenshaw gave Traven a side-glare, before flicking the half-finished cigarette off the roof,

“The fuck you know about what my soldiers have gone through?”

He strode up to Traven, looking him square in the eye. To the Paladin-Lord’s credit, he didn’t flinch in the slightest, meeting Krenshaw’s gaze with a glare of his own. Krenshaw grinned, encouraged to see that the latest Brotherhood deserter amongst The Pitt’s ranks had an actual backbone: unlike Abaddon. Good, he’d need it.

“Nothing,” Traven replied simply, “But I do know your enemy, and that you should be afraid.”

Krenshaw scoffed, “Can’t afford to be afraid. Either we win or we die. Fear ain’t a factor here,” Krenshaw then turned to look out over the marching army once more, letting out a deep breath, “Those deserters of yours ready to put up a fight Paladin-Lord?”

“Exiles,” Traven corrected, “They didn’t break any oaths…their honor is intact.”

“Unlike yourself, of course,” Krenshaw pointed out with a smirk.

“Indeed,” Traven nodded, clear shame evident in his eyes, “Two companies of Knights, three companies of C-27 bots, twenty pacification class robots, and one Behemoth class….” Traven rattled off, “They’ll do their duty, I assure you.”

“Well we’ll need em’,” Krenshaw grunted, as he pulled at the folds of his long coat jacket, “We’ve mobilized every soldier we got, called in all the favors we’ve ever had with every pissant gang from the Erie Stretch to The Commonwealth. Hell we’ve even got some of those Children of Atom zealots fighting with us. It's the largest force The Pitt has ever fielded - certainly the biggest fuckin’ army I’ve seen in my life.”

“Don’t assume numbers alone can win this fight,” Traven interrupted.

Abaddon gave a sadistic smile, “We’re not without our cards to play…we’ve got enough ordinance to level the entire Ohio river valley. The mutants will receive an artillery bombardment that will rival The Guns of Anchorage.”

“And I hope for all our sakes that its enough.”

“Cut it with the doom and gloom…let's get to work,” Krenshaw replied with a click of his tongue. He turned around and quickly brushed past Abaddon and Traven; giving Traven a hard slap on the back as he passed, “Best suit up Paladin-Lord, we’ve got an express train to Steubenville to catch.”
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Hidden 24 days ago Post by Tiberius67
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The Glowing Sea - Site Prescott - a few minutes later

"Are you sure about this, sir?", X6-88 asked, "Atom cultists are extremely dangerous. We can relay in a strike team and secure the facility easily."

"I am sure", Nathan replied serenely, "We're going to walk in there and secure this facility without a shot being fired. They want what we want, all that needs to be done is explain that to the Children and they'll cooperate gladly...you'll see".

"Very well, sir", X6-88 reluctantly agreed. He had seen Grandfather do some amazing things out in the Wasteland with his own eyes, and heard stories of others from his human traveling companions, but in his opinion convincing Atom Cultists to willingly give up what they held to be sacred relics was ambitious even for him, which is why he had quietly assembled a strike team prepared to relay in on a moment's notice if he was wrong. As the old saying went, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission, and Grandfather's life was his personal responsibility.

"Let's go", Nathan said, then strode towards the old pre-war installation without any attempt at concealment. X6-88 followed, scanning the area as they walked. "Remember, let me do the talking, and don't produce a weapon unless I tell you to."

As the pair approached the crumbling guardhouse at the ruined perimeter fence, a very young woman dressed in the sackcloth robes favored by the Children of Atom darted out to confront them. In her hands was an R-91 assault rifle in surprisingly good condition. While it wasn't pointed straight at them, she was clearly prepared to use it.

"Stop where you are strangers", she said sternly, "This is Holy Ground, there is nothing here for unbelievers that is worth dying for!"

X6-88 noticed a glint from the top of the pyramidal facility that had to be a sniper. Or worse...the Children had no compunctions at all when it came to using atomic or even nuclear weapons, even if they or their fellow cultists were caught in their own blast. His training told him he should order the deployment of the strike team, but his gut told him that it was too late for that, he could only trust Grandfather and see how events played out.

"You but speak the truth, Sister", Nathan replied gently as he held up a odd, crudely fashioned wooden figurine of a woman with her arms at her side, "but for the Faithful, dying to protect the relics of Atom inside is a Sacred Duty".

The effect on the woman couldn't have been more profound, immediately the suspicion and hostility drained from her face, replaced by shock, then reverent awe, then contrition in rapid succession. Her arms went limp and the muzzle of the rifle drooped to aim at the ground and tears began streaming down her face, leaving tracks in the everpresent dust coating her face.

"I...I had no idea you were the Herald of Atom", she sobbed, "P-Please forgive me for threatening you!"

"You have done nothing to be ashamed of, child", Nathan said comfortingly as he gently wiped away the tears running down her face, "your willingness to face a stranger in power armor with just a rifle only proves your devotion to Him." He glanced up at the pyramid the back down into her eyes. "The brethren on the roof..."

"Jessica, my name is Jessica. Oh, yes..almost forgot", she exclaimed. She then turned around to face the facility, and held her rifle over her head and waved it in a elaborate gesture. The glint disappeared, followed by three flashes from a flashlight or spotlight. She whirled around, her demeanor back to reverent awe an continued, "They understand you are one of us, you may enter in peace. They will take you to Brother Henri, he is Atom's Steward here. Atom keep you!"

"And Atom keep you as well, Sister Jessica", Nathan replied.

"Sir, X6-88 asked as they strode towards the front door, "May I ask how you did that?"

"Far Harbor. It was before we met", explained Nathan, "I was helping out Nick, ended up joining the Children myself and living with them for a time". He chuckled at X6-88's reaction and continued. "Nick's assignment required we entered the old sub base they lived in, and the only options to proceed were to join or shoot my way in. As the leader..and trainer...of their fighters was once a high-ranking member of the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood, I would have gotten lit up fast so I went on their quest to join. And someone or something led me to this icon. They call her the 'Mother of the Fog'. I'll be frank, I saw some things on that quest that I still cannot explain. But anyway, when I returned with it they thought I was the neatest thing since sliced bread. It's come in handy ever since....I used my status with the Children and the Minutemen to broker a peace between the Children and the rest of the Commonwealth. For the most part, they are only a threat if persecuted."

"I'm impressed", X6-88 replied, "Kellogg would have used....different methods."

"Correct", retorted Nathan with a hint of cold ferocity in his tone, "That is why I'm still kicking and that cocksucker is dog shit!", after a pause he continued in his normal tone, "Kellogg and his methods were very nearly the Institute's undoing, I think Shaun realized that on some level. Before he passed, I had wondered why he didn't take the trash out himself..I only understood once I inherited the Directorship and could see the situation from his point of view. He didn't have the political capital to get the Directorate to let him take out their favorite Enforcer. It must have been pure hell for him to have to work with the bastard that murdered his mother when he wanted to paint the nearest wall with his brains so bad he could taste it. He then added flatly, "But what he could do is unleash me...I found a microfiche copy of my real service record in his papers, which apparently Zimmer found in the Pentagon before he disappeared...he knew what would happen."

"My point is", he concluded, "and I've spent the last decade driving it home to the Directorate, is that we can't afford the enemies we were making. We have to work with the surface dwellers, not rob them and use them as lab rats, and don't get me started on the Watcher program. Eventually someone would have found a way to strike back and everything we've done to preserve and advance science would have been swept away in a tidal wave of hatred. It doesn't have to be that way, my policies are starting to bear fruit and in the end both the Institute and the Commonwealth will be better for it." Nathan added as they reached the door, "Showtime. This will actually be the easy part, they see us as brethren now so they will hear us out."

Site Prescott - Control Room - a few minutes later

Nathan, having left his suit inside the door to reveal he was now wearing the robes of a Child of Atom, and clutching the effigy to his chest, and X6-88, who removed the helmet from his hazmat suit, were shown into the control room. Awaiting them there was a tall, almost skeletally thin bald man in the robes of a medium high member of the Children of Atom. His eyes, set in his weathered face, had the glint of a true fanatic. In a corner was an Assaultron, the white star painted over with the symbol of Atom. It was studying them, but was not in alert mode.

"I am Brother Henri, Steward of Atom for this Sacred Place", he intoned in a friendly, but curious tone, "Sister Jessica signaled that you were of the Faith, whom do I have the honor of addressing?"

"I am Nathan, Brother," Nathan replied, "I am from the Church in the North, the Nucleus in Mount Desert Island. My companion, X6-88 is seeking the Truth".

"You have come far then", Henri said, impressed that he had traveled so far, "have you come to make a Pilgrimage?"

His mind clicked on the fact that Brother Nathan's companion was a synth, but he was distracted when he noticed what Nathan was holding to his chest. He then spoke again, his voice trembling slightly.

"Brother Nathan", Henri asked, gesturing respectfully at the effigy, "If it's not too impertinent, may I see what you are holding?

"But of course, Brother", Nathan replied as he placed it reverently into Henri's outstretched hand.

Henri studied the effigy, his face lighting up with awe and transcendental joy brighter every second. He then handed it back with extreme reverence. He had expected them to be pilgrims, a joyous event to be sure, but not this. His years of faithful toil had been rewarded. The Herald of Atom had come, and Atom's mighty gaze was upon him.

"I have lived for this glorious day for twenty years", Henri said exultantly, "Pray tell me, what is Atom's Will?"

"You, and your Brothers and Sisters, are part of Atom's Plan, Brother", Nathan replied, "Your charge, which you have faithfully carried out, was to keep the relics here safe until they were needed. That time has come. To the West, a blasphemous force has arisen, determined to force mutation on every man, woman and child on this continent, if not the world, and cut them off from Him forever. Even now they are marching on the Pitt. It is the Will of Atom that the His city, The Pitt, and the infant Church there, stands! The relics here, and other places, shall be readied and unleashed to fulfill the purpose Atom set for them long before his first Child was born, to bring down upon the heads of the so-called, blasphemous "Unity" the irresistible brightness of Atom's Light, and the scourging touch of the flames of His Wrath. By this Act of Faith we shall save both His Church and His Children, as well as those unbelievers who may yet be brought to His light!"

He then folded his arms, still clutching the effigy, and intoned with all the authority he could muster.

"Thus", Nathan said, "is the Will of Atom!"

The room was dead silent, except for the occasional beep from the consoles and whirring of motors in the Assaultron. Coursers don't scare easily, but given all the Children who had filled the room behind them, and the stairs leading up to the Control room, silenty digesting what Grandfather had said and waiting to see how Brother Henri responded, X6-88 was well aware that if Henri gave the word, they'd be torn to pieces before they could react....there were too many, too close. He was clearly considering what he had just heard, but the impassive expression on his face gave no clue to what he would do.

After a full minute, which seemed like eternity, Henri threw his arms out wide and exclaimed in a voice that carried out into the stairwell, immediately spreading to the entire room as the others, including Nathan and then him, joined in.

Behold! He is coming with the clouds!", Henri shouted with a voice only someone with absolute conviction could use, his face lit up with transcendental joy, and tears of joy streaming down his face, "And every eye will be blinded by His Glory, and every ear shall be stricken deaf with the thunder of His Voice! Let the men, women and children of the Earth come forth to gather and witness the power of Atom! These ancient weapons of war were hidden here long ago by Atom for our salvation! They are the very symbol of Atom's Glory! The blasphemers shall exist no more, they will be washed away by Atom's Glow, burned to ashes in the fire of His brilliance!"

Henri was beside himself with joy. The years of isolation and loneliness and toil, which he had suffered gladly, were irrelevant now. Atom had bestowed upon him the greatest reward he could receive next to Division. He was aware of the Unity, the Prophet had summoned all the Faithful not needed to secure and tend to the Holy sites in the Commonwealth and it's environs to the Pitt to aid the secular ruler, Marie, who had been clearly received Atom's Blessing and more, in defending His city. She was clearly part of His plan too, and it was his sacred task to aid her.

"Atom has spoken", Henri said to Nathan, "And we will answer. But restoring the systems in this place requires materials and skills we don't have....unless Atom provides."

"The Institute will provide both", Nathan answered. "A team is ready to survey the facility and determined what is needed, then a repair crew will work with your technically minded Brothers and Sisters to restore this facility to operational status. As far as the others, this sacred ground must be protected more than ever. Being mutants, the Unity can enter the Glowing Sea, so we must take the possibility of a ground attack into account. We'll provide any weapons you require."

"We could use some heavy lasers", Henri replied, "As far as guns our brethren in the Pitt buy them and send them to us. What we really need is good armor, Combat or Marine armor. It's frowned upon for those with the Gift to use power armor, as you know. Atom's Glow is too severe here for those without the Gift to survive as a permanent member of the congregation. We simply lack access to enough Radaway and Rad-X to support new converts dwelling among us, just Pilgrims."

Institute - Dr Li's Quarters - Later

"You mean to tell me", Dr Li said skeptically, "that he just walked in there and convinced them to hand it over."

"Yes ma'am", X6-88 replied, "I did not believe it possible, but he proved me wrong. Though it would be more accurate to say he convinced them to agree to share it with us. They are providing security as well as assisting in the reactivation effort. Initiating a launch requires two keys, one is held by their leader and the other by X5-14, we do not assess them as having the technical skill to override the pre-war PAL system. In the worst case scenario they will not be able to overcome our force there and initiate a launch before strike teams can be relayed directly inside to stop them".

"It doesn't surprise me", Brian said, "he has a web of friends, contacts and favors all across the Commonwealth. Look at me, he made sure I survived comfortably until he could convince the rest of the Directorate to pardon me. Our predecessors should have disposed of Kellogg and woken up the three of them....he'd have the surface eating out of our hand by now. God knows what he's managed to achieve down here....you and I can't be the only people who owe him one."

"What did he do before the War?", Dr Li exclaimed. "according to his service record he was a common infantryman who served in Alaska and the Canada Annexation, he got a Silver Star at the Battle of Winnipeg....which I think is in Canada....why would they assign a man with his talents to a front-line infantry unit? Even the idiots running the country into the ground weren't that foolish."

"He hinted that that was not his actual service record", X6-88 replied, "He said something about finding his "real" service record amongst Father's papers after he passed. Said Dr Zimmer had forwarded it before his disappearance. He also said he believes Father released him from Vault 111 to avenge himself against Kellogg."

"I reviewed his papers before we turned them over", Dr Li said, "there was no dossier like that in Father's effects like the one we retrieved from the VA branch in Boston, just some old pre-war...", her eyes widened as something clicked and she sat down heavily. "..microfiches. Which I didn't bother to review. Damn it, I had it in my hands!" She folded her arms and crossed her legs, disgusted with herself.

"Does it really matter at this point?", Brian asked, "It's been two centuries."

"Probably not", she replied, "I generally agree with his policies, we have a responsibility to the people above that none before him were willing to shoulder. And no one else could have secured that pardon, Clayton and I were the only two lobbying for it before this "Unity" mess began. Ayo even went so far as to send Kellogg to kill you, Brian...fortunately Grandfather found him first. But he's been Director for ten years now and he is still as unknown a quantity as the day he found his way here. I don't like that."

"Grandfather?" Brian asked, "Is that his title now?"

"The synths started calling him that five years ago", Li answered, "It's catching on amongst the faculty more and more. It's true from a technical aspect so there is no point in complaining about it."

"X6-88", Li said, "You're dismissed. And not a word of this conversation to anyone, even the Director."

"Yes, ma'am", X6-88 replied.






















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Hidden 10 days ago 10 days ago Post by Andronicus23
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The UNITY


The Behemoth Lord

Braxton stood watching atop a hill watching the marching host before him. The army of The Behemoth Lord was on the move, carving a path of destruction through Midwestern lands - chasing after fleeing Midwestern civilians and soldiers alike in the wake of Cincinnati's fall. The former Brotherhood Knight turned Chosen no longer felt any kinship towards the humans that he was once sworn to protect. His memory was clouded and muddied, and although he retained some scant knowledge of his former life as a human, most of it was completely consumed by some unknowable presence which wormed his way into his thoughts like some great serpent. It was always there, never dominating or all-consuming, but always present never-the-less.

UNITY. UNITY. UNITY. It would chant endlessly.

There was no point in attempting to block it out, and indeed by this point Braxton welcomed the intrusion as a form of liberation. He was no longer alone - no longer an individual - but a part of a greater whole.

He would serve The Unity, from now until the end of his immortal life.

Braxton turned his head to see the great form of the Behemoth Lord striding into view, pushing aside trees as it made its way through a dense forest like it was passing through nothing more than tall grass. The massive hulking form of the behemoth warlord was awe inspiring. Old heavy car parts and pieces of metal roofing had been crudely crushed and shaped into armor around the Behemoth’s form, and in his left hand he wielded an uprooted power line that was studded with rebar stakes like some sort of large spiked bat. Behind him marched his own personal guard of four behemoths that were just as large as he, though not nearly as intelligent as their leader.

Braxton bowed before the giant mutant commander, waiting with some trepidation as to what the creature's next command would be. Braxton knew better than to speak first, he’d seen the Behemoth Lord smash mutants that displeased it into pulp with a single swing of its fist for no other reason than the whim struck him.

“Send. Scouts.” The Behemoth Lord said finally, its voice deep and hollow, “Find the enemy. We kill. For Unity.”

“Yes Lord, I’ll lead them myself,” Braxton nodded eagerly, “We will find them.”

The Ghoul Eater

The rising brackish waters of Lake Michigan lapped at Zant’s feet. The pale-green mutant stood like some freakish totem, covered in bones and the shriveled heads of decapitated ghouls. His stomach was delightfully full, he and his gruesome host having feasted on the scattered inhabitants of Mantiwoc for the better part of a week. His forces' denial at both Chicago and then Milwaukee had been bitter, and so they’d taken their frustrations out on the isolated port town.

The fact that the poor fisherman and tradespeople of the ruined town had nothing to do with the Midwestern Brotherhood or its military ploys had mattered little. They were all human, all meat - so they’d been dealt an appropriate, collective, punishment.

Now Zant, The Ghoul Eater, turned his gaze lakeward. Beyond the great waters before him lay the unspoiled port towns along the coasts of the Great Lakes, along with the promise of the wealthy trade cities of Ronto and Luth. He had no use for their money of course - but their flesh would do quite nicely. Some to be dipped, some to be roasted - but all destined to feed his army one way or another.

Zant turned to the makeshift ships hap-hazardly assembled by the mutant host. Calling them “ships” would be generous indeed, they were more like floating heaps of scrap, but that wouldn’t matter as long as the mutant host managed to make it across the water. His army had heavy weapons aplenty and miniguns and missile launchers made for effective weapons on the sea just as well as on land. If they encountered any Luth merchant ships or otherwise, the floating hulks would only need to get them in range: nothing more.

Seizing the Great Lakes region would be an immense victory for The Unity if it could be accomplished. It would cut off trade and communication between the lake nations and the world beyond, and most of all the valuable supply of raw ore to the forges of The Pitt. According to The Master’s integrated connections to the Vault Tec Network, there was also at least one large unspoiled Vault in the region of northern Michigan: a large new source of prime normals that could not be ignored.

The Master had commanded Zant to take this region, and he would accomplish its will.

“We are ready,” one of his mutant commanders said suddenly, walking up to him with a large complement of 1st Generation mutants.

“Each of you take a vessel,” Zant ordered, “Attack any ship in your path…seize what you can, send any prime specimens to the Great Procreator - eat the rest.”

The Pitt


Vikia

Vikia eyed the lumbering mutant in the cross-hairs of her scope as it strode through the undergrowth . The dim-witted creature wasn't as stealthy as it thought it was, and it was almost comical watching the mutant plodding alongside a group of ghoul slaves-soldiers hunched over and creeping like it actually thought it couldn't be seen. She almost had some pity for what was about to happen to it - almost.

Vikia let out a deep breath slowly, and felt her finger lightly squeeze the trigger. A shot from her .308 sniper rang out before a bullet tore through the mutants skull - taking part of its brain with it. The creature immediately collapsed and before the accompanying ghoul soldiers could even react to their slave-master and commander's untimely end, infiltrator shots followed up in quick succession from Vikia's hidden scouts, tearing through their ranks. In a matter of seconds it was over, and the entire patrol was wiped out. A few of the scouts made their way over to the clearing with rifles raised to ensure that the job was finished, and to loot whatever valuable intel the patrol happened to have on them. Rarely did they find anything worth their trouble though.

"Like shooting fish in a barrel..." one of Vikia's scouts, a gruff heavily mutated raider named Zachariah whistled as he reloaded his infiltrator with a fresh magazine. He and a small group of his kin had been made their way north to the Pitt from a place called 'Point Lookout' far to the south. The people there all apparently shared his mutations to one degree or another. Despite their appearance, they were all good fighters and unparalleled experts at living off the land making them natural scouts - their inclinations towards cannibalism not-with-standing.

"Its too fucking easy," Vikia growled as she looked up from where she was laying and surveyed the area, "These bumbling idiots can't be their vanguard. How dumb are these mutants?"

"Well whatever they is, if they keep sending em' we'll keep making mincemeat out of them, "Zachariah replied with a toothy grin.

"Something's not right..." Vikia continued, tightening her grip on her rifle. Her gut instinct was screaming that this situation was all wrong. She'd learned to listen to that gut feeling over the years, and it was the only reason she was still alive now.

As if in answer, Vikia suddenly heard shouts followed by several explosions from the area where the mutants had been downed. All she saw was smoke and fire in that direction, and immediately she knew what must have happened. They hadn't been any kind of vanguard at all, but walking bombs - their bodies had been booby-trapped with mines. They were nothing more than fodder.

Then Vikia heard the sound of a stealth field de-materializing, and her heart froze.

Vikia whipped around only to see a hulking blue mutant wildly swinging a two-handed bumper-sword towards her. She rolled away just in time to watch it slice its way into the ground before the mutant swiftly pulled it up and swung it again in an upwards strike. Another of Vikia's scouts was caught by the blade, and the raider did even have time to scream before he was sliced in half sending blood spraying all over her.

Zachariah, to his credit, reacted without hesitation raising up his infiltrator rifle and firing several shots at the mutant assassin. The unarmored mutant suddenly staggered back, only to immediately take more bullets from the surrounding raiders and collapsing to the ground.

To Vikia's horror, the creature was still alive though -and it reached for its blade once again in some vain attempt to get back up and fulfill its mission. Zachariah quickly ended that though, drawing forth a finely sharpened wood-axe and burying it in the Nightkin's skull.

"Holy shit..." Vikia muttered in shock, wiping blood from her face, "We didn't even hear that thing at all until it deactivated its stealth boy..."

"That thing came her for one reason and one reason only," Zachariah remarked with a grunt as he pulled his now bloodied axe out from the mutant's forehead and pointed it at Vikia, "To take that pretty little head of yours clean off Ms. Viky. I don't think they be as dumb as you think."

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It was the first time the entire squadron had been mobilised in twenty years. Twelve birds, four platoons; red, white, blue, and gold. No light, all heavy. There was no chalk element, no slicks, no stopping of any kind. Just punch off everything in two passes—assuming that there was even a target of opportunity. Just like the run over Paradise Falls, back when he didn’t have any greys, or the later runs on the Baltimore gangs. In short, a good old-fashioned, all-American, aerial massacre.

The plan was a modification of the old SIOP; the general plan for war with the Brotherhood of Steel in the west. It had been assumed that any offensive from them would utilise the I-50 for logistics. Mutants, being mere creatures, would likely use the path of least resistance when transporting large elements over land—again assuming that they would continue any kind of advance further west.

They passed little settlements on the way, friendly smoke trail from cooking fires and light industry, and later another long column of refugees who stopped to wave at them as they burned over head.

“Castle, this is White Lead. We’ve just over… Clarksburg. Nothing since the last refugee column.” Hillenkoetter said, looking at his copilot who had the map. “Nothing in sight over.”

“Rodger that White Lead over.”

Hillenkoetter looked behind him, at Wilkins on the big gun. Command had been clear on this, Last Watch only in the seats and FNGs from the New Troops on side gun for some action. It wasn’t really fair since 1st troop was already two years into deployment. For all Hillenkoetter Wilkins could be one of his; all the samples had been anonymised, nobody had the stomach for families anymore—they didn’t even have fore names, just aft-names for their tags pulled from a DC phonebook.

“You okay their bud?” He asked.

“Fucking-A Sir,” Wilkins responded; he’d not taken his eyes from the sights of the .50 for the whole ride.
They kept on going, minor chatter between the leads and Castle as they ploughed forward to Cincinnati.

“All, all. This is White Lead. Greens ahead. Over.”

“Castle Rodger. Green?”

“Green mutants. They’re scattering. All Leads target the one with the antenna. Over.”

There was a chorus of ‘Rodgers’ and a scattering of gun fire over the comms. The mutants had some kind of scouting party with a radio.

“All leads, this is White Lead. Confirm tango-down?”

Comms came in; nobody could confirm, just fire down on the area as they passed but nobody was staying around to confirm.

“All Leads, we’re assuming advanced scouts for a column. Heat ‘em up and prep for contacts. Break into contact formation. Over.”

A chorus of ‘Rodger thats’ came in as the Vertibirds platoons broke.

It didn’t take much longer. A mutant column, a veritable sea of green.

"Contacts ahead, they’re breaking south into the trees. Gold-Blue leads break off.”

Assuming the orders were followed, Hillenkoetter centred on the road. The mutants were still scattering, tugging at ghoul-drawn carts.

“Firing.”

The command was echoed over the comm as the road exploded into so many little smoke plumes. Rockets were loosed as they passed over, through there was no telling the damage done. White and Red pummelled the main road as Gold and Blue went port to strafe the scatters.

“Taking Fire. Taking Fire.”

Not unexpected. It had been the plan of attack, come in low with the morning sun behind them and trust the mutants couldn’t maintain a good firing arc. Hillenkoetter felt the dings reverb through the aircraft as the bullets hit. The mutants could sport a minigun in-hand, and rockets, the entire operation was based on them being unprepared for an air-attack so hit them hard once whilst the element was present.

They passed over. Being lead-lead, Hillenkoetter wouldn’t see the full aftermath till the AAF.

“This is White Lead, all Leads. Sit-Rep. Over.”

The news was good. They ploughed ahead, leaving the mutant train behind before whirling back for the second pass.
“Firing. Firing.”

It had been a few minutes, the dust plumes gone and mutants reorganising as they let loose again with whatever was left.
“Rockets! Rockets!”

“Evade, evade!”

The second pass continued, rockets and micro-nukes deployed over the remainder.
“This is Blue-Two, we’re hit. Hit!”

“Clear comms. Keep Moving. Blue-Two status.”

“We took a rocket. Starboard. I’ve lost starboard wing control. Huns’ get back and check. I can’t move the right wing Castle, stuck on forward.”

“Blue-One slow and visualise. Damage report.”

“Blue-Two you’ve lost—”

“Keep him in! Keep him in! White-Lead. Menzel is hit.”

“This is Papa,” the voice suddenly came over the comm, cool and authorative. “Is anyone hit? Blue-Two talk.”

“Menzel is hit.”

“What’s his status. Status.”

“He’s dead, Menzel is dead Sir.”

“Rodger that. Blue-Two how’s it looking?”

“Blue-Two. This is Blue-One behind. You’ve lost starboard landing gear.”

“I’m pulling starboard.”

“Blue-Two. Slow down to minimum. Blue-Lead take point, Blue-One stay behind. We’re prepping emergency landing at Harpers. Over.”

“Rodger that Castle.”

“Fuck,” Hillenkoetter cursed. Menzel was a side-gunner. “Castle this is White Lead. Orders."

“All leads, belay Blue. Gun it back to Castle-town. Blue-Lead, Blue-Two take fore and aft respect, look after this guy okay.”

“Rodger that Castle.”

“Blue-One prep how are you fairing?”

“Still pulling starboard Papa. Maintaining.”

“Prep Plan-D, keep it airborne. Can you clear the Blue Mountains? Over.”

“Rodger that,” Blue-One lead said, muffled around the glass ampule. “We can go forward with a list, getting a lot of vibrations here— steady on it dude.”

“Blue-Two sit-rep.”

“You're losing fluid Blue-One."

"Close the feedthoughs! Castle this is Blue-One, we've lost all hydraulics confirmed in starboard wing."

“Rodger that Blue-One; keep it going and keep us covered.”

The wind pulled at Blue-One, pulling her starboard as she limped back towards the Blue Mountains.
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Hidden 1 day ago 1 day ago Post by Andronicus23
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The Unity


Nightkin Warlord Sammel - Near Clarkstown

Sammel heard them before he ever laid eyes on them. It began as a distant hum, which quickly evolved into a terrible roar as the rotors of the aircraft tore through the sky overhead. Sammel knew what was about to come, but he did not have time to issue orders to his overextended army. He could only watch with rage as the attack began all along the column.

Fire and death rained from the sky, as the vertibirds of The Enclave ripped through their ranks with heavy machine guns, missiles and a carpet bomb of mini-nukes. He saw limbs flying detached from torsos whilst blood and gore soaked the ground alongside the charred remains of his mutant kin. It was a slaughter, and the broken ground of the highway became a charnel house of mayhem and death.

“Find cover! Fire back! FIRE BACK!” Sammel roared over the chaotic din as he tried desperately to maintain order in his ranks.

Some of his most loyal mutants attempted to follow his command, some grabbing discarded missile launchers or manning heavy machine guns while others fired back with little more than hunting rifles in a desperate attempt to deal some sort of punishment against the attacking squadron. They fired haphazardly however, without proper coordination, and so their response was mostly ineffective - although the return fire did force the flying menaces into evasive maneuvers.

A 2nd Gen mutant next to Sammel raised his launcher after reloading to prepare to fire once more, but before he could pull the trigger an explosion from an incoming missile ripped the pale-green creature in half and sent Sammel flying a dozen feet to the ground. He felt a sharp pain in his side, and when we rolled over realized that a chunk of metal shrapnel was now firmly embedded in his torso: a fine gift from Sutler - he would need to repay it in kind.

Enraged beyond all reason by pain, Sammel raised himself to his feet and grabbed a missile launcher from another of his nearby kin. With a steady hand, he aimed squarely at the closet Vertibird giving it an appropriate lead.

He fired, and the missile streaked through the sky before it struck home: landing a hit on the right side of the craft.

That seemed to be enough for the squadron, one of their own being hit was like a signal to the entire attack to stop. They immediately began to retreat in formation with the stricken aircraft limping along behind like a bird with a broken wing.

Sammel smiled cruelly then winced with pain as he felt the sharp piece of metal twisting inside him.

“Have the scouts follow the trail of the wounded bird,” He barked to one of his nearby lieutenants - if it goes down, I want the crew taken alive.”

The Pitt
- Guns of The Ohio-

High atop a hill outside of East Steubenville, Krenshaw surveyed the opposite bank of the river through his binoculars, watching the approaching dust cloud in the distance growing ever closer. He likened it to watching the dark churning clouds of a storm rolling in on a clear wasteland day - a dire portent of what was about to come.

“Your tin-can boys ready?” Krenshaw remarked as he lowered the binoculars to look over to Paladin-Lord Traven, now armored fully in a set of painted T-60 resplendent in the Brotherhood’s livery.

“They’re ready to deal death to the mutant filth…” Traven replied through the speaker in his helmet, “I’m about to join them now.”

“If the mutants break through it’ll be here,” Krenshaw chuckled darkly as he looked over at the partially exposed riverbed, “The Ohio is at a low point here - gets strangled on its way south before it swells further downstream…..they can practically walk across it.”

“A natural choke point though..” Traven remarked, “Provided we hold.”

“Yeah - ‘provided we hold.’” Krenshaw echoed darkly as he looked over the ruined landscape on the opposite bank. The entire area had been cleared - buildings demolished, trees cut down - anything and everything that could possibly provide an inch of cover to the mutant host had been leveled. There would be no protection from the storm they were about to unleash.

“Get to your men m’Lord,” Krenshaw ordered, tossing the binoculars to a waiting Pitt officer before giving his Brotherhood counterpart a half-cocked salute, “Let’s fuck em’ up.”

Mags Black

Mags clutched her assault rifle as she took cover behind a trenchline that extended the length of the riverbank as far as she could see. Beyond her lay a deadly no-man’s land within the dried river-bed that was covered in traps, barbed-wire, and mines. Anyone who looked at such defenses would have rightly assumed that the mutants were going to be charging in to suicide - but the veteran Midwestern soldiers had grimly informed them that such deadly waves were in fact a favorite tactic of the mutants - sending forth hordes of ferals and enthralled humans to clear the way for the eventual mutant assault.

The former gang-leader of the Operators had to stop and take stock of how she’d ended up in this predicament. Forced out of her territory by the machinations of The Institute - now at the front line of some terrible continent-spanning war. Not even commanding troops as a gang-leader either, but slogging it out as a lowly foot grunt that was little more than a single cog in the industrial war-machine that was The Army of The Pitt.

She’d tried to join The Pitt because she hadn’t wanted to leave the raider life behind her and she believed herself tough enough to take on anything. But if she survived this war, she promised herself she’d give it all up the first chance she got. Settle down somewhere and live a quiet life like her parents in Diamond City had always wanted. They’d finally get their stupid wish.

Right now though survival was looking anything but likely.

“Yo Mags, can I bum a cig?” One of her crew mates, a young raider nicknamed ‘Dig’ asked as he slid down into the trench next to her.

Mags nodded, and fumbled at the half-crushed pack of cigarettes in her pocket before shakily handing one to him.

“I’m hearing it's about to start…those uglies won’t know what hit em’,” Dig replied with a smirk as he took the cigarette and lit it up. Mags grimmaced as she noted how fucking fearless the punk was. Whether it was bravery, a lack of experience, or just sheer stupidity she couldn’t say - but she pitied him regardless.

Mags peeked out over the top of the trench behind her, and saw that the mutant host was assembling directly opposite them - guns and heavy weapons at the ready along with whatever artillery of their own they’d dragged from Cincinnati. Things were about to go to shit real quick.

Suddenly there was a commotion within The Pitt’s lines, and Mags watched in awe as she saw The Pitt’s guns being uncovered from their hidden positions along the back hill line. There were hundreds of artillery pieces of varying sizes, some of them scavenged and repaired by The Pitt from pre-war national armories across their territory, others brought in by The Midwestern Brotherhood forces retreating east.

Somewhere upon the hill a flare was fired up into the air, and the signal was given. The bombardment began - shaking the ground with its fury and filling the air with a deafening roar that forced Mags to plug her ears. She smelled smoke and felt the teeth-chattering vibrations as a hailstorm of ordinance exploded upon the mutant lines. Raiders and Midwestern Brotherhood artillery crews continually fed their guns; loading shells and refiring with a practiced precision.

If the mutants hoped that the rain of shells would be short-lived, they were sorely mistaken. Troops of raiders and Brotherhood robots continuously ferried shells up from the rear lines where they were unloaded from waiting train cars fresh from The Pitt. The barrels of the guns themselves were more likely to melt before the Pitt would run out of ammo.

Everything moved like a hellish but well-oiled machine. Despite her fear, Mags couldn’t help but share in Dig’s enthusiasm as the mutants scrambled to return fire and take cover on the opposite bank.

“FUCK YEAH GIVE EM’ HELL!” He yelled.

Mags was about to join in herself when she felt the ground literally shake beneath her. A shadow passed overhead, and Mags and Dig both turned to their right to see a hulking robotic monstrosity moving up to the front a short distance down the line. The six-legged Midwestern Behemoth raised its head and aimed its quad .50 cal guns at a wave of approaching ferals who were charging down the opposite slope into the riverbed. It opened up on them, spraying a hail of bullets down range that tore through the ferals and ripped apart several mutants caught with them.

Mags sank back into the trench, stunned at the sheer firepower being brought to bear here. An all or nothing gambit had been thrown down.

Maybe there was a slim chance of survival after all.
Hidden 20 hrs ago 19 hrs ago Post by Mr Enclave
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The first thing that he felt was the cold. He choked on the air of a great rattling breath before descending into shallow, pitiful gasps. There was a great sound of clanking around him, servos whirring.

“Sir. Sir. Sir.”

It was the sound of a woman somewhere. A grasped his own, warm even through the fabric. He wanted to pull away, but his entire body felt like lead.

“Sir. Sir. Sir.”

It was always like this; went you were in for too long. He felt needles and tubes being pulled out of him; all he could do was focus on breathing.

“Sir. Are you ready to have the blindfold removed sir?”

“Yes,” Sutler gasped.

He felt the warmth of hands near his head, and the rustling of fabric, before everything became a blurry white haze.

“Here sir.”

He felt the tingle of real moisture and took great rasping pulls from the damp cloth pressed to his lips.

“Get the gurney,” the voice said. “He’s ready for transport.”

He felt more hands—so warm—envelope him as he was lifted from the cradle into the gurney. The wheels whistled and rattled as the gurney was moved. He felt something over him, getting closer, and felt the wrap the plastic arms of his eyeglasses around his head.


It was an unusually iron sky over Arlington, appropriate for the events. It had taken Sutler three days to be properly rejuvenated—endless rounds of massages and drip-feed bags—which had allowed time for the 1st Troop to be recalled to the capital. Menzel lay in a simple box draped with the flag. Fortunately, Sims and Rivas had survived the crash landing. Blue-One had come down hard in the designated area. Broken bones all around and an expedited ticket to permanent internment in the simulation. Blue-One herself was done—an irreplaceable loss. Sutler, Granite, Fuentes, and the rest of the Old Guard had come out for the occasion.

The whole of 1st Troop, with representatives from the others were arranged in formation on the other side of Menzel. The great American flag which flew over the Commandery flew at half-mast. Sutler had even permitted some members of the Party to be present. Observers rather than participants, they were off somewhere to the left keeping solemn silence.

Sutler loathed their presence, but understood the realpolitik that they had to see that the Enclave did lose their own for the Peace. More so, he knew that they were awed too by the ceremony of official events—every action had purpose and tradition and weight. The Peace Force had its own traditions, its own marches and salutes and styles, but Sutler had invented them in a single afternoon somewhere between an after-action report and an evening agenda. They held no weight.

When it was time, he alighted the podium.

“You lost your compatriot. It hurts me as much as it hurts you. I sent him there. And I’ve been there, I know what it is. Corporal Menzel gave his life for the future. For our future. And he will rest here, forever, amongst the heroes. We will right the great error of history. Remember always the words of the Good General. When you kill enough of them, they will stop fighting. We will take that that to it's logical conclusion. When we kill all of them, there will be no fighting.” He stepped back from the podium before giving the signal.

“Firing Party! Present! Fire!”

Sutler and the rest of the Old Guard stood to attention as the full 21-gun salute was offered. The flag was folded and offered to the standing Troop commander Cheeves, before the tinny music began from the assembled eyebots and they dutifully sung.

“Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm hath bound the restless wave,”

The whole thing brought back nasty memories—they hadn’t had to bury someone in five years. Recovering the bodies from the Purifier under the ceasefire terms he’d bullied Eden into. Finding Autumn’s shattered corpse, his badges and ribbon bar taken as ghoulish souvenirs by the Brotherhood. Sending him into the furnace later. Sobbing into Lucy’s shoulder back in their quarters before becoming so blinding angry that he’d actually scared her.

“Who bid'st the mighty ocean deep, its own appointed limits keep;”

Just before the battle of Adams, his intended swansong, they’d euthanised the non-coms—the last four women and children in America at the time. They cremated them in a crater on the runway atop a mattress of all the remaining flags folded and the Declaration of Independence; the camp doctor shot himself afterwards. He remembered Granite’s face the day before when he’d been given his orders; when he’d listed them as bullet points on the last lot of materials to be scuttled somewhere between some old archive material and a bunch of spare generator parts.

“O hear us when we cry to Thee, for those in peril on the sea.”

“If I should die for some reason,” he said to Granite. “Don’t put me in the soil… or the air. Keep me on ice; you know where I want to go.”

“Yeah Alan. I know. How long are you staying out for?”

“I’m not sure. But since I’m out, I’ll show my face for a while.” He glanced over at Chair Moria Brown and the other Party officials in the distance. “Put some stick about amongst the rabble. Let them know I’m more than some glowering portrait. I am here. And I exist now as much as ever.”

“Of course.”

“I’ll make them fear. This is a world of terror, as much as a world of triumph. Until we can get rid of them. Send the photos of the raid north to Pittsburgh, with a redacted AA report, perhaps it’s time I met with this Queen of Pittsburgh.”
It was so ludicrous a thing to say, he regretted it given the setting. He felt a monstrous urge within him rise up, only to be settled.

The members of the 1st troop filed past Menzel’s box, each tapping it twice. After it was lowered, they returned to the Commandery—beating the retreat to a sole bagpiper playing Auld Lang Syne.
Hidden 20 hrs ago Post by Mr Enclave
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