Legatus Aurelius of Phoenix - Onboard MWBOS Vertibird
"It looks like it's beginning", Wilson said calmly, "Lancer-Sergeant Kyle will take you where you wish to go, I am vectoring in another Vertibird with a squad of Knights to provide your Praetorians cover...I can also patch you through to your Headquarters if you wish."
Aurelius watched as his men battled below, the fighting quickly turning into a desperate brawl as the ambushed Legion forces did what they did best when faced against such a foe: counter-attack. A pain of guilt and shame struck him as he realized the deep error he’d unwittingly committed.
“No need,” Aurelius said finally, “My Centurions are already reacting. They need not wait for my command. I thank you for your forewarning Paladin-General.”
Aurelius then returned the receiver to the co-pilot and turned to the Lancer-Sergeant,
“Set the craft down at the nearest secure landing zone.”
“I don’t want to contradict you Legate but shouldn’t we…” Sergeant Kyle began to say.
Aurelius shot him a glare before turning his attention back to the battle below, it was clear he was not interested in the Sergeant’s rationale.
“I’ll find a spot immediately Legate.”
"I will build a second skull monolith with the legions SKULLS!"
Vulpes spurred his mount forward and charged, meeting the challenge that the Cult’s warlord offered to him. The two raced towards each other as the fighting around them raged fierce and bloody before finally colliding. Vulpes’s mount was knocked from under him as the sheer strength of the warlord was brought to bear against the beast’s neck, snapping it instantly. They tumbled to the ground, with the creature nearly pinning him against the street below. Vulpes could feel the hot stinking breath of the monstrous rat as he loomed overtop ready to devour what was left of him. With a swift lunge, Vulpes sent his blade plunging through the creature’s lower jaw and through the top of its head. Blood from the monster ran like a river, pouring over him: but he rolled away and lept to his feet, just in time to meet the gaze of the warlord.
"Should have just remained..."
A charging Praetorian fell to the warlord’s wicked blade, run through until the blade was slick with red crimson. The cultist then uttered another challenge to Vulpes
"I will carve out your heart with this very blade later on...Vulpes abandoned Son of Mars!"
“We shall see who is favored by his god and who is not, slave to the monolith.”
In one swift movement, Vulpes drew one of his throwing knifes and hurled it directly at Iron-Jaw’s head. Despite the surprise of the attack, the warlord was able to knock it aside with his blade just a hair’s breadth away from plunging into his skull. Vulpes dove toward the body of one of the fallen Praetorians and quickly picked up the spear that the legionary had once held. In lieu of his gladius, it would make an acceptable weapon. He twirled it skillfully in his hands feeling its balance and getting a feel for its length. He approached Iron-Jaw slowly who gave a disgustingly wide grin, eager for blood and battle.
Without a word Vulpes lunged at his exposed throat but his blow was knocked aside, a swift return kick sent Vulpes careening back and into a crouched position on the ground. Like a coiled snake he struck upwards, putting the full force of his body behind it. It was the cultist’s turn to be staggered back as he nearly struck his mark, catching Iron-Jaw off balance and allowing Vulpes an opening as he followed up with a blow from the steel-tipped butt of the spear. Iron-Jaw snarled and slashed at Vulpes in a rage, his blade inches from cutting into the neck of the Frumentarii. Vulpes jumped back and struck again, each quick attack he made probing for some weakness in the brute’s defenses.
Locked in combat, heedless of the slaughter around them the Son of Mars and the Servant of the Monolith continued their battle. Vulpes’ was the more agile of the two, his light armor and fighting style far more adapted to swift movements and quick attacks. Yet the warlord maintained his swift, brutal slashes with an endurance that would have seemed impossible for any other fighter of his stature. Victory for either rested on a single fatal mistake from the other.
Yet as the two fought, the battle around them began to slow. The Praetorians had taken the fight, and were finishing off the last of Iron-Jaw’s minions. One of the Praetorians ran a cultist through with his spear while the zealot lay helpless on the ground, blood pouring from his chest as the steel pierced his armor and then his heart. Seeing their victory at hand, a cry went up,
“Sons of Mars! Glory to Caesar!”
Vulpes gave a menacing smile as the remaining Praetorians began approaching the duo, weapons at the ready,
“It is over. Submit and face the cross, or die here and now. You have no other choice.”
Vegas - The Lucky 38 Hotel and Casino
“8:00pm on the dot,” Thomas casually said as he glanced at his wristwatch. He, along with Cait and the Coursers stood outside the doors of the Lucky 38. Right on cue, the doors began slowly opening up. Curious passersby stopped and stared, interested to see who might be getting an audience with the fabled Lord of The Strip: a rare honor by any standard.
“You weren’t kiddin’” Cait quipped as the sliding doors came to a final halt, and a securitron ushered them inside, “He’s punctual.”
“I’ve never known him not to be,” Thomas couldn’t help but give a grin, “He obsesses over precision to the point of madness sometimes. But it's that sort of insane attention to detail which made RobCo the industrial powerhouse it was in my time.”
Stepping inside the Lucky 38 was like traveling into a time capsule, or perhaps more accurately, a well preserved tomb. Everywhere were relics of a bygone age, and it looked as if the casino might very well have never left the world before behind. And perhaps in many ways: it hadn’t.
“Well howdy partners,” A friendly voice eliminated from beside the elevator. A securitron with the face of a cartoon cowboy greeted them, “Boss is waitin’ for ya upstairs Mr. Milburn. Hope you don’t mind, but he’s asked that you come on up alone. The rest of ya’ll can wait down here in the lobby. I’d be happy to fetch some refreshments for ya too!”
“That’ll be fine,” Thomas nodded to the two Coursers signaling for them to stand down before he turned to Cait, “I’ll be back shortly after Robert and I have caught up a bit…” He said, giving her a kiss.
“If anything happens, I’m blasting through these buckets of bolts.” Cait muttered under her breath.
“House is an old colleague: a different class of individual from a different time. He wouldn’t be so crass as to harm a guest and a friend. But in any case...I’ve come prepared,” He whispered the final words with a sly grin before stepping into the elevator and giving a wave while the doors closed.
“Penthouse Floor!” Came the announcement from the cowboy robot seconds later, the doors opened to reveal House’s spacious penthouse suite. A luxury that was pretty much exactly as he’d been expecting. Elegant: but simple. A securitron with a female face greeted him this time,
“Welcome to the Penthouse. Mr. House is right over there sugar. He’s waiting for you…”
“Thank you,” Thomas nodded. He was about to walk away when he realized something rather odd, and turned back to the robot, “Your name….it wouldn’t happen to be Jane would it?”
“Why of course it is sugar! How good of you to know!”
“Of course it is,” Thomas chuckled with a shake of his head, “Robert..still fanning old flames.”
He descended the stairs down to the bottom floor of the Penthouse, and to his surprise he found yet another large monitor much like the one in the El Dorado: once again House’s picture was displayed on screen. He could only assume this meant that, far from the screen being a long-distance method of communication, it was perhaps House’s only method.
“I’d hoped to meet you face to face this time Robert….but then I assume this must mean that the method of your survival past the war was not...ideal. If there ever can be such a thing in the first place. What happened to you Robert?”
Diamond City - The Mayor’s Office
“McDonough! Get out here! Lemme through! Ow, don’t touch me!”
Even without looking up from the stack of papers she was pretending to be busy working on, Geneva knew exactly who it was. Two hands slammed down on her desk, and Geneva gave a heavy sigh before looking up at Piper through her dainty reading glasses,
“Hello Piper, what is it this time?” Geneva sniffed the air around her and recoiled, “Christ Piper have you been drinking Bobrov’s moonshine again? Tsk tsk. You know Pip-pip, you’ll never get a good man to take care of you and that sister of yours if you keep acting like this…”
“Can it. I don’t need a lecture from a girl who’s only real job here is to be the Mayor’s pincushion.”
“Why you little…”
“Enough you two, Piper what is it?” The voice of Mayor McDonough came from the doorway of his office.
“I need to speak with you. NOW.” Piper said. She glared at the Mayor with such intensity that he didn’t need to ask what exactly she meant.
“The mayor is very busy Piper I think you should come back…”
“Its alright Geneva. Piper, come with me,” McDonough motioned for Piper to follow him. Piper lifted her hands from Geneva’s desk and entered the office, ignoring the sneer the angry secretary was giving her.
McDonough closed the doors to his office and turned to walk down the hallway to the private area: his own personal quarters. Piper followed suit, and once they were both behind yet another pair of closed doors. McDonough sat down and turned to her,
“Alright let’s hear it. Let it all out...”
“Your masters better damn well tell me what is going on. You tell them I know what they’ve been doing, but I want to know why. Get on whatever phone, send whatever signal, or shit send a homing pigeon….however the hell you communicate with them. I. want. to. know. And you tell him….you tell Thomas tell him he has to come down here himself and tell me. Got it? I want him to tell me in person, you understand? I want him to look me in the eyes and tell me….he has to tell me...”
Tears, unwelcome and unbidden, began to well up in Piper’s eyes. She couldn’t help it, even though she hated herself for acting like this.
“Tell you what? That he’s sorry? That’s not going to happen Piper, you know that’s not going to happen.”
“No,” She muttered angrily through her tears, “I don’t care about what he did to me. I don’t care what he did to Nick. Not anymore. That ship has sailed long ago,” Piper lowered her finger accusingly at the Mayor, “I want him to tell me what he’s doing with The Commonwealth. There’s rumours all around that The Institute is up to something. People have seen strange lights and there’s been sightings of white-clad synths all over The Commonwealth. Raider gangs are getting popped left and right. And you know the weirdest thing I heard? Nobody has seen or heard from The Gunners in weeks. I heard from a trader that used to work with them that he was over at their HQ recently. Its abandoned. What the hell are they up to?”
“Your guess is as good as mine Miss Piper,” McDonough grinned, “I would not worry. If The Institute is indeed behind these things, as you suggest, consider that perhaps they have a greater plan in mind for all The Commonwealth.”
“Bullshit,” Piper yelled, “Don’t give me that crap. One word: Goodneighbor. Huh? Have you forgotten Goodneighbor?” Piper reached over and grabbed the Mayor by his suit jacket, “I know what happened there. Thomas thinks he can lie to me and tell me everything is fine, but I know. He massacred the entire fucking town and replaced them with his toy soldiers. With...with YOU!” she pointed at McDonough, “He’s a monster. One I helped to create...if I had known then what I know now, I would have put a bullet in his head the moment he walked into my office with that sob story about his son.”
“Don’t jump to conclusions Piper, and don’t start talking crazy. Or have you forgotten that you still need him? Frankly Piper, without the Director you would have been marked for termination long ago. I’m surprised you’re still alive after the latest fiasco to be honest, the ghoul? You remember of course. The dapper gentleman that visited your office. You’re lucky that Father spoke up in your defense, and that the effects were mitigated.”
Piper lowered her gaze, sneering angrily “Don’t call him that. Don’t fucking call him that,” Piper clenched her fist, “He’s no one's ‘father’.”
“On the contrary...he is my Father,” McDonough said sternly, “And soon everyone will know him as such.”
Without another word, McDonough reached down into his side table and pulled forth a small pristine white box. It's only markings were a serial number designation printed on the cover,
“Now that you’ve got your usual soapboxing out of the way, let's return to the real reason you’ve come here Piper. Here, this is for you. Your sister’s next batch of medication. Compliments of Dr. Volkert.”
Piper took the box as if she was being handed a priceless artifact, and gingerly ran her finger along the serial number. The bite in her voice was gone, and a soft, even timid, tone now took hold,
“The same as before then?”
“Yes, twice a day with food. If her condition changes in any way, you’re to let me know immediately. I’ll inform the doctor.”
“Thank you,” Piper said, as she clutched the box to her chest. She stared down at her feet, unable to look the Mayor in the eye now.
“I assume we’ve once again come to terms then?”
“Yes,” Piper replied quietly as she shuffled out the door.
“Excellent. And please Piper, next time skip the usual trip to the Dugout Inn before you come barging into my office. Its unseemly, and people are starting to talk. Surely you can manage this transaction without needing to be intoxicated...”