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Visibility was key. The paladin stood watch several yards from the warehouse doors. Surrounded by the rusted out hulls of pre-war cargo trucks offered some shred of comfort. Enough cover to take shelter from whatever threats hid beyond the hills without straying too far from his comrades inside. They were taking a while, McDowell and Grimshaw. Moss tried the squad com to no avail. He glanced to the hills, curious and hopeful the young knight scouting was faring better.

As if on queue, Estevez appeared. He wasn’t alone.

"Hey! I found something! I saw a bit from the vertibird, I got the Knight-Sergeant's hammer out of a crate and I found my rucksack. I think if we keep going past the creek that the box was stuck in we might find the bird or... well, what's left of the rest of our team." The young Knight called out, stepping in to the warehouse ready to give the hammer to Gregory who he was expecting back by now. But Paladin Moss seemed interested in staying outside, looking for or at something. Daniel leaned the hammer on a wall inside the warehouse before stepping back out to trace the gaze of the Paladin. “Oh. Sorry, Sir. Didn’t notice them on my way back.”

He unslung his M14, extending the bipod and attaching his optics before placing his gatling laser on ground beside himself. “I’m sure they told you Sir but I’m a good shot, hit bullseyes well beyond the effective range of my weapons back in D.C.. I can pick off a few while they’re getting here and once they’re in range you can help out. If there’s much left the Gatling Laser will deal with them and if not I’ll use my recharger or knife, maybe McDowell’s super sledge. No point wasting ammunition. Let’s get some cover inside, alright?”

Assuming the Paladin had no objections Daniel took his gear inside, setting up his rifle on a window facing the raiders. Satisfied with both bipod and optics he would take aim at a raider, centre mass. His rifle was long barrelled and spat .308s, and as such he didn't waste time aiming for the head. He wasn't interested in showing himself off, rather in preserving bullets. A headshot would be more impressive of course, but if his weapon would more than deal with what makeshift armour Wastelanders in such a shithole could have then centre mass would be the ideal target.

So Daniel took aim, and pulled the trigger. Only as the bullet flew it dawned on him he was taking his first human life.

The shot sounded like the bottle cap flicking off of a Nuka Cola. A strange way to begin a firefight, but Moss had little choice about that now. His young comrade moved hastily into combat. Fired the first shot. No thought to diplomacy, not that the paladin would have entertained that anyway.

Moss took a position behind a cargo truck parked with its length shielding them from the incoming raiders. He could see the M14 peeking out from a window in the warehouse as well as the sparks from enemy fire. None of it close to Estevez. The silencer had done its job.

Seconds passed before the first of the raiders came around the truck. They wore a blend of thick fabrics and scrap fashioned into a metal cuirass. Despite the dirty, makeshift nature of it, the material might actually be an issue for his laser rifle. The raider ran with their pipe pistol forward, firing twice. One shot flew high above his shoulder, while the second glanced off the thick chestplate of his armor. Moss stepped forward and swung the butt of his rifle. It caught the raider on the ear, knocking them into the truck before the rifle fell directly onto their crown. The paladin heard a sickening thud as the raider crumpled onto the ground.

Others ran by the truck without notice. Some shaking in mid ran, as if electrified, before falling into the dirt. Others fortunate enough to avoid Estevez’s attention, instead finding cover behind the other vehicles. Moss dealt with them as needed.

The field had nearly cleared when one of the smaller vehicles caught flame. Suddenly the raiders concentrated their fire on this single target and, before Moss could act, it erupted. The explosion flung him back several feet onto the rusted remains of another car.

A breath, a squeeze, and a bullet spat. It seemed to Daniel as easy to kill these raiders as radroaches, he was told it would be hard to take his first human life and it worried him that it wasn't. But when you're at threat of being killed that neither here nor there, and so he repeated the cycle. Breathe, squeeze, adjust.

But as he was picking off the targets, it seemed the raiders weren't as stupid as Brotherhood leadership described Wastelanders. The car the Paladin's cover was by became the target of the foe and after moments of heavy fire it exploded sending the men momentarily airborne.

Daniel knew he had to do something, lest they swarm his stricken leader and end his life. The Knight lowered his rifle and with an exercised motion unscrewed the silencer, before flicking his rifle to fully automatic. Returning it to its bipod he took aim at the largest grouping of raiders and held the trigger down until the magazine was exhausted. Hopefully this would suppress the foe along with killing a few. It might even scare them off entirely, but if not then at the very least he hoped the sudden cacophony would being the attention onto Daniel long enough for Paladin Moss to recover and possibly even flank the raiders.

But now that the attention of the Raiders would be on Daniel he knew he wouldn't want to catch their bullets. His magazine was empty and so he removed it before slapping in another. But he was feeling clever, perhaps in a burst of arrogance. He propped the barrel of his rifle on the sill of the window to make it appear to those on the outside he was taking cover behind it, while in truth he sprinted on to a window further away with his recharger pistol drawn. He would wait for the sound of more shooting (with luck at the position of the propped rifle) before once more peeking out and unleashing laser fire on the raiders. With even more luck, they would be now at a distance that his pistol would not lose any efficacy due to range.

So the young knight wasn’t so green after all. The paladin ignored the stiffness in his back and rolled off the bed of rusted steel. It wouldn’t be long until the raiders recognized the tactic. While Estevez let loose onto the field, Moss found a defensible position.
They’d lost ground. Whatever tricks Estevez was using were certainly keeping him alive, even at the absence of the M14’s report left Moss unnerved. Still, the tide was pushing against them. The trick with the vehicles won the raiders more ground and there were plenty more of the pre-war relics to set off.

Moss glanced back at the warehouse long just long enough to salute. Slapping a fresh cell into his rifle, he spun out from cover and charged into the field. The raiders had taken up scattered positions, perhaps a strategy to avoid falling into their own traps. It also made spotting them quickly a challenge.

A round sparked off his left pauldron. He whispered a prayer of gratitude and lifted the laser rifle high enough to fire. The red beam seared his assailants metal cuirass and severed their exposed bicep. He caught a glimpse of the arm falling away as a clank on his right alerted him to another raider. Once again he turned and fired from the hip. The shot flew low, catching his opponent in the knee and sending him tumbling. He cringed. Normally the paladin would fire again, mercy more than anything, but it wasn’t yet clear if he had the shots to spare. Besides, another raider was calling.

The paladin dropped to a knee behind a small cement barrier, his freshly bludgeoned foe still twitching on the ground beside him. They’d made a dent. A second to reload, then onward. It was slow work, but between Estevez on overwatch and their superior armor it seemed to be working. He stood, promptly firing at a raider dashing to cover.

Heard a heavy thud. His left shoulder jolted back before the rest of his body followed. Bits of metal, of his pauldron pinged off his helmet. Something had broken through.

Moss rolled back behind the cement barrier. Pulling the fresh corpse on top of him, praying the young knight acted fast.

It seemed Daniel wasted a whole lot of .308 for nothing, as the men did not scatter in fear for his automatic burst. But, at least his trick with the propped rifle worked. Shots rang out hoping to hit his previous position, but he wasn't there and thus got a chance to let out a burst of laser fire from his pistol to the crisping of much flesh, and the noise sickened him. But it was necessary.

He muttered "Ad Victoriam." as the Paladin saluted him, until the faintest bullet trail came into vision at the same time as the racket of a high calibre rifle. The shot slammed into the shoulder of Paladin Moss, making the Knight drop to cover. They had a sharpshooter with a weapon that would with just a few lucky hits turn any man even with power armour into one of the dead.

Hurriedly the Knight crawled to his rifle, glad he didn't try to save time not reloading it earlier. The Paladin was in trouble now and he had not a second to spare. He didn't bother with the bipod simply resting his rifle on the window sill, scanning the battlefield for his prey. He caught sight of his mark and after getting him in his crosshairs fired.

The young Knight missed. The fellow was clearly not just a jet-for-blood lowlife of the wasteland, he zigged and zagged before stopping to return fire. The. 50 flew fast, hitting the Knight square in the chest. It would have hurt a lot if not for his Recon gear underneath the power armour but instead it was just a punch or kick.

But while this was his first rodeo the young man wasn't an idiot to underestimate what he dealt with. He skipped two windows before taking new cover. He unfolded the bipod this time to take proper aim. The rifle's optics scanned the scene, eventually coming upon the threatening raider. He fired, and his bullet hit flesh. Problem was, Daniel didn't realize the raider he hot was already dead. The high-powered rifle he was holding was swiped aside and a shot flew at the Knight's chest again. It ricocheted, flying upwards to lodge itself in his helmet just nanometres away from having been deflected into his throat. The slightest shift, and Daniel would have been dead.

He dropped back to his cover, sitting against the wall. His breath was getting faster and faster as his hands got a definite shaky quality. Cold sweat rolled down the soldier's face while bullets whistled on either side of him. The mind of Daniel tried to control his panic, and through it decided to contact the Initiate and Knight Sergeant. He didn't know how far they were but he had to try. "Get up here, now! – in combat!"

Hearing his own voice steadied Daniel's nerves, and as he scrabbled for his Gatling Laser he contacted the Paladin: "Sir, I'm sorry. Their Marksman is too good. I'll use my laser to lay down some cover, get back here fast. I… I can't deal with them like this, they're too good. Let's get them inside or at least closer, get in a situation our armour makes more difference okay?" though Daniel was still perfectly articulate, the Paladin would more than be able to hear the fear in the young Knight's voice.

As he held his Gatling Laser the lad looked side to side wondering where to strike until an idea struck him. He walked back to build up some momentum, before running forth and bursting through a wall. The moment the lenses of his heavy weapon saw the light of day it instantly began to spew searing beams across the landscape. He didn't hit much, all of this intended as just cover for Moss to get back. He noticed a cluster of raiders hiding behind a car and momentarily focused his fire on it resulting in another explosion.

"Hurry, Paladin!" Daniel cried out, keeping up the hail of fire as he slowly retreated himself to the depths of the warehouse.

The small fireball gave way to a plume of smoke. At least this time Moss was clear of the explosion, save the bits of debris sprinkling down from the sky. Warning helped. Let him brace, even if the shock of the thing still frazzled his senses.

Taking advantage of the haze, the paladin scrambled to his feet and ran back toward the warehouse. Ahead of him, far too the left, a chunk of the ground seemed to burst into the air. A failed attempt at his life. He ran faster, struggling through the growing resistance in his power armor’s joints. He couldn’t endure another shot. Estevez was right, this guy was too good.

But fortune was the side of the paladin. He barreled into the warehouse, sliding a stop and slamming the doors in one motion. A hole punched through the door a few feet from his head. The size of a mutfruit.

“Get down here and help me barricade these doors,” Moss shouted, anger and embarrassment flaring. "Yessir." Came the quick reply of the Knight, who rushed over with what debris he could grab and - just in case - some satchel charges.
As the Knight kneeled by the Initiate he looked up to see McDowell rebuke him angrily to which Daniel gave a non-confrontational "Sorry, Sir." before returning his attention to Grimshaw. "Good!" he replied when she said she was indeed alright, helping the woman to her feet. "Don't worry, Initiate. You'd have done the same if you had the opportunity. Ad Victoriam." he said, before following his two comrades to rendezvous with the Paladin.

Daniel saluted to Moss, calling out his name and station reporting for duty as had Laura and Gregory. The Paladin gave them their orders to look through the warehouse, before turning to Daniel. “Esteves, I want you to explore the perimeter. See if you can spot the wreckage. Keep an eye out for signs of activity, who knows what we fell into here. I’ll stand guard in this position. Check in. We’re not losing anyone else today.” Elliott barked, to which the Knight quickly responded with a "Sir, yes Sir!"

The Knight was unarmed save for the Recharger pistol and combat knife with him, but he was also in power armour. He held both weapons in either hand before going off to explore the Wasteland. Truly this was a vile landscape, every single step through it incrementing the reading of radiation given to him by his helmet. His targetting HUD picked up a few readings of enemies in the distance, but it was mere radroaches, molerats and bloatflies which he ignored for the most part. The few that he came upon in his travels would easily be dispatched with a single swipe of his knife or a pull of the trigger. But there was much worse in the locale. Much larger bugs were flying about, stuff he did not want to interact with. He didn't know if they could get past his power armour but he wasn't particularly interested in finding out. At the very edge of his sight range he saw the all too familiar ghouls and Deathclaws.

Yet, in spite of the all out hostility of the land there were signs of civilization. But not just the relics of the Old World across all of America, somebody was here recently. Remnants of tent pitching, trashed fire pits, cans of foodstuffs with moisture still in them. There was even a rucksack that looked very similar to his. He approached it with his headlight shining upon it, and upon further examination it became clear it was in fact his. He rejoiced momentarily at having found his gear, quickly looking through it to make sure all was intact. Satisfied, he put away his pistol and knife and took out his M14.

The find invigorated Daniel, and with renewed strength he sped along the ground. He headed towards the red clouds finding much more of the same as before, the buttstock of his rifle used as a club to splatter what bugs impeded him. He considered turning back until eventually he came upon a creek of sorts, with much metal bits lying about in it. It was pristine rather than rusted by this wasteland and this made the lad hurry over to it. It was some sort of crate from the Vertibird which after stowing away his rifle he heaved onto dry(ish) soil. With little effort the man opened it, and voila there was McDowell's hammer. What had he called it again? Atomic Anne, yes that was it. Well, it certainly was a beauty of pre-war technology. He gave it a light twirl and a few experimental swings. Yes, Daniel was a marksman but with his training he could certainly appreciate the brutal efficiency of the weapon. It almost made him want to seek out foes on his way, to journey on and find something to splatter with each strike on a heroic search for the Vertibird.

But this was mere fantasy, he had orders and he would follow them. This weapon had to be returned to Gregory and he had to report his findings to the Paladin. In truth, he thought he was figuring out what had happened to the previous expedition. If they had flown the same way Moss's squad had then chances were they too came upon this radioactive hellhole and malfunctions would have struck them in a similar fashion to this squad. Since nobody would willingly live in such a place, the fact that there were signs of human life could only point to the presence of the Brotherhood of Steel.

Super-sledge in hand, Daniel sprinted back to the warehouse witch each footstep hitting the soil to much noise produced. True, he might arouse the interest of some local fauna but as remarked previously he had a subconscious interest in this. The warehouse entered his vision, but the built-in Geiger counter of his helmet seemed to spike far more than it had on his way to the creek.

Strange, perhaps, but soon apparent as to why. From the earth sprang a radscorpion, one glowing green. It didn't roar of course, bugs didn't tend to have the vocal chords to do so but it most certainly chittered menacingly. The young man was momentarily lost, but quickly resolve entered him and with a broad overhead swing the super-sledge hit the beast and flattened it's exoskeleton. Ichor splattered all over the Knight which he quickly wiped off for he knew lead plating wasn't an excuse to keep wet radiation upon himself.
It was a very, very satisfying encounter. But he had wasted enough time and quickly got to sprinting back towards the warehouse. He entered it hammer in hand, calling out to his team.

"Hey! I found something! I saw a bit from the Vertibird, I got the Knight-Sergeant's hammer out of a crate and I found my rucksack. I think if we keep going past the creek that the box was stuck in we might find the bird or... well, what's left of the rest of our team."
After Laszlo's appearance, Castigus didn't right away get his chance. Krynne seemed to deal with some sort of communique, before immediately after an Ogryn - clearly a Khornate of some sort - entered the scene. What with the ripper gun, the horns, and the cry that was either a demand or a praise of blood and skulls it was clear he was a Khornate. Well, another sack of muscle was nothing to be scoffed at. Then a man of some sort of frontier world came in, who after giving him a quick glance he dismissed for the most part. Just a grunt, he'd have to keep an eye out for him since he'd be far wiser than either of the ogryns and would certainly have a higher potency for deviousness but there was nothing about the gunslinger to say he'd be either a great asset or obstacle to the Alpha Legionnaire.

At last Castigus had his chance, and he spoke up. It was a short and quick introduction, as was expected. The Legionnaire knew that all this lack of bloodshed was taxing on the Night Lord. Nostroman Astartes were born to kill. It was their nature and to deny it was as cruel as any sort of torture. But Laszlo reasoned internally that this was necessary, and his cousin's abstinence from slaughter would soon be rewarded with great slaughter. After all, he didn't expect someone like Eromulus to be actually creative enough to assign anything beyond that to the Marines, even if Slaaneshis pretended to be great patrons of the arts.

Another figure followed, a woman who was clearly a Slaaneshi of some sort. He gave her a quick glance, and much as the gunslinger dismissed her. Of course the modifications in his head did their work making a more handsome visage under his helmet lest he need to ask something of the mortal woman, but he wasn't very sure he'd ever find his work parallel to her's and it was unlikely or impossible he'd get a chance to ask her of her services. Not that he'd want to, given the nature of anyone particularly devoted to any Chaos God save Khorne. Khorne in his simple, violent villainy was reliable and almost unchaotic in nature.

Almost on cue of his thoughts regarding Khorne, what he initially thought to be a Daemon stepped in. But... something was off about the bull headed beast. Slowly but surely the realization of what was before him dawned, and a single pulse of laughter came from him accompanied by a heave of his shoulders. He looked back to Castigus, and the fact his monstrous comrade was still somewhat taller if not exactly larger than the Khornate mutant Marine.

Regardless, it was time for work. The promise of slaves was not very enticing, the Alpha Legionnaire had no need for a few fleshbags that he wouldn't be able to so simply mould into operatives. At least, not quickly enough for the investment to not be easier to have been made from scratch. However, after this job, he imagined that Eromulus Krynne would indeed make for a potent ally. He followed Laverna into the shuttle, standing by his Brother with his combi-bolter at the ready.

He faintly listened to whatever chatter might emanate from the degenerates just in case it would come in useful in the future. But that was quite quickly interrupted. The ship came into some sort of turbulence which (given the realm they were in) was most likely anti-aircraft fire. The mortals flew, stumbling and striking the walls of the shuttle which elicited a hearty laugh from the Space Marine. In truth there was nothing humourous about the situation but the laughter was made to put all the airborne fools in their place. It was to make them feel small, to to make them feel insignificant and demeaned.

But in spite of this, the situation had to be saved. For starters, the people within the shuttle needed their pilot back. As though picking up a toy he lifted Laverna by a shoulder and then he placed her back into her seat and used a hand to brace her still to make sure no AA fire would again get her out of place.

"Get us down. Now. We'll do the job and then get vengeance on whoever did this." Laszlo said.
One by one the team filled up, other Knights coming in alongside another Lancer, Scribes, an initiate, and the gargantuan figure of Paladin Moss. The Scribe brought a dog with her, which Daniel was very tempted to play with. But he knew it wouldn't be seen as something very professional and thus he quickly set to rationalizing not playing with it in his head. He was in power armour, the little thing might not be friendly, its owner might not let him.

In truth, this all rang very hollow. As a child Daniel's reading informed him of kittens and puppies and quite understandably he felt they should be part of his life. With hopes of receiving one as reward little Daniel did his very best in his studies and training. Yet, he still did not receive the desired pet. In retrospect it was understandable of course, but Chowder still reminded the young Knight of unfulfilled childhood. He didn't ask for play time, he did not ask for comics or radio or anything of the sort. The boy just wanted a fluffy friend yet he got none. Maybe one day, when I am Paladin. That was a lie of course, and he knew it. His adolescent dream wouldn't be incarnate, he knew he'd continue the spartan cycle of his family.

The flight happened. There was chatter of course, but Daniel didn't participate. Moss's emphasis on God raised alongside the Elder raised and eyebrow from the Knight. His parents always had a cross manufactured pre-war in their quarters and among the books they made Daniel read was the Bible. But beyond that he never received any religious instruction. Given all that happened in this world, it really did seem some divine judgement had come upon Earth. But for all the things Daniel didn't know, he knew he wasn't a Mormon like it was said Moss was.

He looked at the landscape below with much curiosity, but also apprehension. He didn't let his fingers off the minigun for he knew at any moment he might have to unleash a lead storm from its barrels. Though no targets came into his eyesight or the targeting modifications of his helmet there were other things to give the Knight pause. The colour of the sky changed, and the landscape too. Much faster than it should have, and very nastily. It was a hellscape exactly like what Daniel had read of before and he didn't like it one bit.

Not much time passed before Daniel's wariness proved fruitful as great turbulence hit. He was flung upwards hitting his head on the roof of the Vertibird and he knew if not for his power armour he would have had his neck snapped. After the hit it was clear he was falling out, and quite powerless to do anything about it. Mid-air he scanned the veritbird, noticing Grimshaw was meeting the same fate as him.

"Initiate!" he roared, a hand shooting out to yank her by a limb before wrapping his arms around her protectively, the pair plummeting helplessly to the ground.

Daniel's eyes opened, but they saw only darkness. Now he knew he wasn't dead, he'd either feel nothing, feel pain or feel joy depending on who was right regarding life after the grave. Instead, that nothing he saw was punctuated by the HUD of his power armour, false positives left and right by virtue of the mud upon it. His hands rose to touch his helmet, clearly covered in mud. With a roar he took it off, the action followed by a very slight increase in light and a soft hiss.

A bit better.

He touched his head which hurt a little, before looking about. The Knight noticed Laura and Gregory in the same building while Paladin moss was outside. Daniel came further and further to his senses, and realized in part his recent error. He cleaned out the visor of his helmet, before putting it right back on and noticing there was a very noticeable reading of radiation. Thankfully his suit was modified with lead plating, and so he was more or less safe from the RADS around him.

Then he looked to the Initiate who hadn't been nearly as fortunate as him. Walking over to her Daniel made sure her gas mask was fastened properly lest she inhale a cancerous death delayed by a decade. That done, he gave her some meaningful taps. "Hey there, wake up Initiate. You alright?" he asked. She looked okay and he believed he could get to looking for his rucksack soon but Daniel didn't know what she might have contacted in the skid along this new wasteland dirt with him. "Something happened with the Vertibird. Paladin Moss, the Knight Sergeant, you, and I all fell out of it." the man said by way of explanation.
Daniel broke out of his thought, looking upon what - from his time in the wasteland - he at first assumed to be a beggar of some sort that snuck on board somehow. He faintly cocked his head to examine the fellow, in disbelief at the words the man uttered. “For… for real?” the Knight asked, the mask of military strictness he put on quickly shattered by this walking, talking spit in the face of the known order. Having lived with Roderick, Daniel knew more than enough about the states of alcohol based intoxication and this was one of them. “Are you sure?” came the dumbfounded followup. Sam looked like shit to Daniel, given how easily he made parallels to Roderick — this made the young man reach to his bag to offer the man water just as to distressed Wastelanders. At least it would help him pass the last of the booze….

Sami paused in an awkward shock, like a Radstag in the spotlight. His cover was clearly blown. 'You're losing your charms, you fool', he thought to himself in a reprimanding tone of self-critique. He had to win over this soldier, he couldn't be thought of a drunk for this mission, because he honestly wasn't one. He'd just indulged a bit too much on his last hurrah.
In replacement of a handshake, the Knight offered a bottle of water, which Sami was happy to accept instead. He opened the bottle and let the lukewarm water gush down his dried-up throat. Much better. He returned the bottle to the Knight, who returned it back to his large holdall once more.

"Don't worry about me, man. I just had a good night last night. I can still fly no problem... if you give me a little bit of time to recover."

As he said that, Sami sat down on his tool bag and yawned. Hopefully there'd be a copilot that would allow him to catch up with existence, but there was no guarantee. He'll be fine. He just needs to shake it off.

He turned to the Knight and said "I didn't catch your name, big man."

“Oh, alright then.” Daniel replied, mollified. He didn’t have it in him to consider maybe Sam was bullshitting him, and so he unquestioningly went along with what his counterpart said. The Lancer just needed a quick breather, that was all!

But then he yawned. Now the Knight wasn’t going to bring this up, but he didn’t like it. There was given how the world worked an equal chance the man had recently awoken to be like this… or he was deprived of sleep by the very same “good night last night”. But though he didn’t say anything, Daniel knew he was much like Socrates and knew he knew nothing about poker faces. So to hide away the inkling of dread he’d crash to the ground thanks to a quick mid-air snooze from the Lancer he instantly got to talking. “Daniel, Sir. Daniel Estevez, Knight. Ad Victoriam.

Sami was so busy battling his hangover that he the Knight's proclamation of his name was dulled, as if coming from another room. But he heard it well enough. The name Estevez didn't ring a bell, but plenty bells were ringing in Sami's head that would have drowned it out regardless.

[i/]Ad Victoriam.[/i]The Lancer didn't give a shit about the phrase. The Brotherhood's signature catchphrase went rarely spoken by him, Sami thought it was pretentious and dorky. However the people behind the words were usually not to be trifled with, so he kept his mockery to a minimum while surrounded by angry men in power armour. However, in his state he didn't find the strength to repeat the words back, as is the custom. At least not fully.

"Yeah, Ad Victor-whatever", grumbled Sami. "Brown's my surname. I don't think I've heard of you, Estevez. Where you from?"

As he spoke, Sami studied the soldier before him. He looked fairly standard for a Knight, bulky but not gargantuan, and had a plain appearance. He certainly wouldn't turn any heads outside of his armour, but he wouldn't repel them either. Sami wondered why he felt Daniel's appearance so important, he'd just gotten laid and he was far from that desperate. Overall, Daniel Estevez appeared to be a standard Brotherhood soldier on the surface, although a bit young. The Knight had let slip a little of his personality through the use of "Sir" when it didn't need to be said, as they are equal in rank. A polite and well-mannered lad, it seemed. A nice change from the usual rank-and-file hothead that was typical of a Tin Can Man of Steel.

Chances are, there'd be one of those soon to arrive. Knight Estevez didn't look like the sort of soldier who could be fielded alone to get a job like this done. He was young, green and naive in his youth, no doubt. Sami pondered what sort of characters would be making their way to the Vertibird bay momentarily, or so he would expect

Surely they can't all be as hungover as him, right?

Daniel for his part raised an eyebrow at the man’s casual dismissal of the motto. He didn’t hold it sacred but it had fairly powerful symbolism and one’s attitude to it was telling of other things. This Sam clearly wasn’t an ideologue, he wasn’t a believer in the cause. While this obviously didn’t detract from his abilities, it made him suspect and unreliable in the long term. If it was found that somebody had sympathies outside of the group, this would be a prime candidate.

Again to mask his thoughts he quickly replied to what Sam had asked with his own question. "Pardon, what do you mean where am I from?" then he remembered that much time had passed from bunker days, and it wasn't a default that everyone was born into the Brotherhood of Steel. "Oh, Lost Hills Bunker. Born and raised by the Brotherhood. Yourself? It's my first time hearing of you too."

Ah. A Bunker Boy. That explained a lot. He often forgot that many in the Brotherhood led very sheltered lives inside their hidden subterranean domiciles. This often led to narrow-mindedness and a xenophobic sort of naiveté, but sometimes to a misplaced wonder of the dangerous and often cruel world above. No doubt we'd soon see which type Daniel was.

"Rivet City. My pa was a mechanic in the lower decks, so that's what I was too, for a time." Sami rarely thought about home or his past. The chaotic whirlwind of his existence didn't usually offer much time for reflection, but he felt some heartstrings tug at the mention of his home. He wondered what his parents were doing now, as he waited for the activation of what could have been a suicide mission. He didn't know if they'd even still be alive, or whether they'd drank themselves to death long ago.

Rivet City? That must have been nice.” Daniel replied, though he knew it wasn’t and merely said what he did out of politeness. He hadn’t been there, but he knew it was a veritable shithole. A lot of recruits to the Brotherhood came from there and in all the training and sparring those emaciated and irradiated people would get their asses beat quite handily by the well fed and trained Daniel. It seems the grass was greener in the city than the open wastes, but it was even greener when you could witness it through the lenses of power armour or a vertibird.

Sami's mind snapped back to the present as he cleared his throat, refocusing himself. "Anyway. It's good to meet you Daniel". Sami wasn't exactly sure where he was expected to be when the presumably hard-ass commanding officer showed up, so he asked Knight Estevez, who seemed to be the type to read between the lines of even the most mundane and simplest of orders or dossiers.

"You think we should hang around outside, or get on the 'Bird?".

Likewise, Samuel.” The Knight said. “Let’s get in, I suppose. No time to waste.” Actually, there was. Both of the men had come early, but time not wasted was time added to use later. He placed his helmet on his head and sealed it, before effortlessly sliding open the door of the Vertibird with the soft noise of servos and hydraulics. A metal hand gestured for the Lancer to get in. “After you.” Daniel said, before getting in himself and grabbing a seat. He opened Henry the Eighth, but then closed it thinking back to his dream. With a sigh he shuffled over to take the responsibility of gunner.
Fuck I had such a good joke just for this
@Lo Pellegrino all good on my end
@Cazzer1604 from @Lo Pellegrino
Folks still working on character sheets: I will continue to read submissions. If your character brings something new and fresh to the team you've got a chance. Once we leave the Pyrdwen that door will close until later on.

In essence if you can make one before the GM posts again and the CS is cool then you got a shot.
I posted and may I say excellent shit so far lads
The Knight didn’t know exactly what was in store for him, but it didn’t matter much. He was given orders and they’d be followed to their very letter. He looked over his shoulder to see if old Roderick was there but… alas, he’d never be there. Daniel smiled in gratefulness that he wasn’t there to have seen the missive being read out, until feeling a strong shame stab into his heart. “Poor lady.” the lad muttered under his breath as he massaged his temple. He was a great Knight, the man shot better than Daniel in spite of his practice from youth. But what excellence he had in the field did not translate to a better nature back here. He did not have a high alcohol tolerance, but that didn’t stop her from drinking more than those that did have one. He’d almost fallen over the railing in the past but he didn’t take that as a warning apparently. He had a feeling the man would be having a serious talk with a Paladin soon but that was neither here nor there. Well, he still had a fair while and the schedule he’d prepared for himself was thus still in effect. He grabbed his rifle, a few magazines and his bag before heading off.

The Prydwen didn’t have anything like a dedicated shooting range, but with a little thinking one could improvise. He knew nobody would be using the flight deck right about now, and thus it was a perfect place to get in the practice mandated by his parents all those years ago. A metal plate was propped up just perfectly to insure it wouldn’t fall over upon being shot, and then Daniel walked up to do just that. He placed his M14 on its bipod before taking aim and pulling the trigger in an ever practiced manner. BANG-Tink, came the report. The bullet struck fairly close to the drawn on target, but not the bullseye. A magazine was expended before at last the desired red smidge of paint in the centre of the plate turned grey with flattened steel. Daniel exhaled with satisfaction, standing up and walking over to the chunk of metal. He took out a roll of old tattered cloth and put it on the plate. A match was produced and lit, before being brought down upon where the bullets had hit on the metal below. The cloth was taken off before being compared with a similar piece to a frown from the young Knight. His grouping had worsened from his last session and that was very much a nuisance to the Knight. After flipping over the plate he went back with some determination to his position, loading in a higher capacity magazine and flicking his select-fire. Fifty bullets in five seconds spat out from the weapon’s barrel, earplugs just barely protecting the Knight’s hearing from the monstrous sound. He went over again to the plate, taking out a different roll of cloth and was about to repeat the same little routine when it occurred to him he wouldn’t be here tomorrow to repeat this. It was a feeling that brought some unforeseen anxiety, but also much excitement. Quickly he went out of his daydream and compared the grouping of his rifle’s automatic fire with yesterday’s. At least here he was approximately the same as before, perhaps improving by a hair or two. Daniel packed up his things, and then went off to his quarters.

Roderick was back it seemed, or at least a snoring lump about his size on Roderick’s mattress. Shaking his head Daniel went to maintenance of his rifle. Parts were taken out, brushed and then returned. A longer brush was produced to go down the bore of the barrel cleaning out every rifled groove and then a swab was used for other bits he couldn’t get out more easily. A regimen of exercise followed; rusty weights bobbed up and down with the strain of muscles. Both aesthetic and practical parts were trained the tone visible from forearms to biceps to pectorals to the gluteals all the way down to his feet. A pillow was thrown at him by Roderick, something on the themes of “shut the fuck up” coming from his neighbour. Shaking his head Daniel used it to wipe himself off, before throwing it back. “Sorry, boss.” He said, with some sincerity. Anyone else would have called Roderick an asshole, but Daniel took him on calmly. Daniel drained his canteen and then promptly went to bed himself.

Daniel awoke. Or, well, so he thought. He combined yawning and stretching before rubbing his eyes like a princess in a pre-War film. It was dark, but only past a perfect circle of light from an unknown light source above. “Roderick?” Daniel called out, standing up on his bed to look at the bunk where his roommate would be. Gone, apparently. Daniel sat in his bed, only to get quite the startle. He was quite literally surrounded! Ghastly figures surrounded him, figures of soldiers many of whom were in old uniforms and armour he only saw in books. A few were present who weren't soldiers, but all present bore wounds that were most certainly enough to bring an end to their receivers.

"Look at him." A voice said.

"Pathetic." came another.

"Sleeping away his failures? Won't be, can't be, how?"

Pffft, as if.”

“The little shite hasn’t thought of that, no. He accepts his incompetence!”

“Though you’d be bigger, boy. Our family always had a great stature.”

As the words were said, a creeping suspicion came over Daniel as he looked in the assembled unlifery to find a familiar face he had seen but once in a photograph. Yes, the unmistakable moustache from cheek to cheek of Alexander Joaquin Estevez — this was the grandfather of Daniel Estevez and he seemed most grim of all.

“What the hell are you talking about?” the young man demanded, making sure he seized the initiative from the berating spectres. “Leave me alone, you’re all just my imagination… just shit flowing wrong in my head!”

’Cor, at least you’re honest with that last bit!

“Shut up!”

“Quiet lads, we don’t have much time. Aye, but a few moments of his sleep, let us get on with it.”

“With what???” Daniel screamed.

“Quiet, you’ll wake the bugger above! Now, shut up and listen!” A voice exclaimed, the latter part a chorus of all those present.

“You failed, today. Your shots wer-don’t try interrupt me you worm!” this came from Anne Becker, grandmother to Daniel.

“You’ve not a lick of war my boy, let alone a real taste. The end of days has come and passed yet somehow you who is to go on some great mission have not even fired at a man. You’ve never beaten a man who wanted to kill you with your fists. I cannot rest knowing you can let down those whose lives depend on you. Do you think we had room for failure when we fought the fascists?” This part of the tirade came from a man with an exaggerated intercontinental accent, a foraging cap on his head whilst one hand was occupied keeping his liver from falling out of torn ribs.

“The communists!” Cried a man in pre-war power armour.

“Heathens o’erseas!” Boomed a man behind Daniel, his translucency not preventing his Knightly full plate from gleaming as if it were real.

“You are as we. You do not have the right to give up, the right to surrender. What will you do when the real world comes forth, what of you when your feeble body is set upon by supermutants and ghouls?”

“You’ve not earned rest, Danie. Have you seen how the Paladin Moss looks at you? Men give better glances to shit they stepped on! A soldier’s life is for the hardest and you are not of the hardest you are of the weakest yet it is your’s. It is too late to turn back coward, and you shall not know rest, peace or solace until you join our ranks.”

“Defeat it! Stop it! End death with death!”

“Go, now. Sleep. Recover what you have lost and think upon what you heard. Do not fail us, do not fail those you serve with. Our honour is on the line, and though you are but a single grain of sand in the dunes of time, the fate of all humanity is in part borne upon your shoulders.”

Daniel wanted to ask them questions that started with “what the fuck” or “how the fuck” or “why the fuck” but he was hushed. Fading hands were placed upon his shoulders, and gently he was pushed down towards his bed. His eyes were closed by cold hands, and the depths of sleep came to him.

He awoke with a start, sweat coming down his forehead and cheeks. Cautiously he got off of the bed and circled the room to see if ghosts of the past were here to talk more shit but he found only the sleeping Roderick who may or may not have soiled himself. Stumbling over to his desk Daniel rooted around in the mostly impeccable arrangement until he came upon a can. He looked upon it, until he found what he deemed the culprit of his dreaming. A hole was in the top, ever so tiny! Yet it would surely have been enough to over the centuries make its contents go rotten enough to give fever dreams.

But… something of his supposed ancestors’ message did take root in him. He once more took to his rusted weights, before reading through the manuals of maintenance for all of his weapons.

Perhaps he accepted the message of his forebears, but he certainly acted upon it far from how they wanted.

After the quick attempt to right himself Daniel took to preparing to finally leave. He shaved his head absolutely clean of hair save that on the very top which he trimmed and combed. Cans were stuffed into bags along with stimpacks and Med-X. He grabbed his rather unimpressive savings in caps before working on stowing his galting-laser away. He dressed in his Recon Armour, wrapping long bandage-like cloth around his feet: the knee high footwraps-puttees were much more comfortable and lasting than some shitty socks when going into boots. So far as he could tell that was everything. He’d have to run over to grab some water for the journey and don his power armour but that was about it.

“I’m not going to be about for a while, Roderick.” he said, nodding in thanks at the gurgles he hoped were an “I’ll miss you.”

He went to refill his canteen and water bottles before going to the power armour station. The Knight gave thanks to the Scribes and Initiates present for fixing the servo in his left arm, stepping into the suit. It felt fine, and great in fact and thus he stomped along to Proctor Teagan for his dog-tag and gasmask. It was still an hour until 0400 but Daniel nevertheless came to the waiting Vertibird. After all, the Knight didn’t want the boys from his dream to have another excuse to mosey into his head.
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