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Thunderfoot Interstate 15 - Towards Vegas

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sledge Northern Detroit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iron-Jaw Indianapolis

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

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


Captain Franklin "Franky" Kowalski Stonecroft Inn - Lobby

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

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

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

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

"Raven Rock, this is Grand Zealot Richter with the Children of Atom. Do you copy?"

"Raven Rock, on behalf of the Children of Atom, I must speak to a representative of the Brotherhood of Steel regarding your order's return to the Capital Wasteland and your proximity to Fort Constantine. Will you comply?"

"Tell him to go to hell.." The Lioness crossed her arms, as she glared at the holo-table, watching the dots approaching. Her fingers tapped on the surface, while in the background the knight picked up the vox. "This is Knight Wong of the Brotherhood of Steel! You are entering a restricted airspace! Remove yourself from the area or we will open fire on you!" Cutting off the contact, the knight turned, as he looked at the Lioness, who picked up her own headset.

"Lance One, fire a warning shot! If the cultist keep coming, blow them up!" Her voice was cold, as her other hand kept tapping on the table below. "It will be done, Madame!" Taking a deep breath, the Lioness turned to face the monitor, waiting for the sound of the AA-Gun to fire. Deep in the bunker, it was just a muffled mumble, a the four barrels would turn from the hidden emplacement, giving way for a hail of fire onto the approaching aircraft. The fire was close, yet far enough to cause no damage, yet to underline the clarity of this warning. Knight Wong once more picked up his headset, dialing in the contact. "This is Knight Wong, this is your last warning, Grand Zealot Richter! Correct your course now, or we will blow you to kingdom come! Over and out!"

Vagari the Slave Interstate 80 -one mile east from Salt Lake City - The Sacred High-Way

The charcoal was brittle, yet still would easily move over the asphalt, as the slave was drawing the lines, muttering once more to himself, as the outline of the mid-west slowly appeared on the asphalt. "You really do it just out of your mind?" The slave did not answer for a while, before getting back on his knees and turning his rotting face to Thunderfoot. "Yes, my boy! But then again, i spend the entire first half of my life looking at books and maps. Discit in animum, etsi non anima!" Bending forward again, the slave drew the bull onto the land, before filling out the lines, marking the border of the territory of the legion. "Yo have been there! Seen coat to coast! How was it?" The slave turned, before taking a break as he got up, leaving the charcoal on the ground. "Impressive, i may say! The pacific is far larger then the Atlantic, yet you do not know that, when you look at the latter!" Thunderfoot walked past the slave, onto the map, careful not to step on the lines. "I have seen the ocean you call the pacific! It goes from horizon to horizon, yet it is a mere fraction of the size of the eternal highway in the sky! The highway my ancestors and my father roam right now, their eyes focused on me! I am scared, Vagari! I am so fucking scared of failing them..." It was not the voice Thunderfoot had, when he had rallied the 80s after his duel! It was not the voice he had when he had sat on the white-steel throne, commanding the subjugated and conquered. It was the voice of the boy he was!

"You are scared...this good!" Vagari picked up his charcoal, as he walked next to Thunderfoot, before giving him a pat on the shoulder. "How is it good to be afraid, Vagari? My father was never afraid! How can i be like him when i am scared?" For just a moment, Vagari looked at the young warchiefs face, his hand resting on his shoulder. He had his fathers hair, broad shoulders and nose, yet her eyes. "Your father, Thunderbird, was never afraid! Yet he also never cared for his men, like you do! You are the greater man, Thunderfoot, for you were afraid when you mounted your bike to the one-mile duel, yet did master you fear! There is no shame in being afraid...just in surrendering to you fear!" For a moment, Thunderfoot, did looked nothing like the moster that had his father been, but like the man Vagari had hoped, he would become! Then, the War-chief scrowled and stepped away, breaking one of the coal pieces below his boot. "No sense in talking about bravery with a slave anyway...get the damn map finished!" Walking back to his bike, Vagari looked after the boy, even as he vanished back to the smoking city, the roaring bike fading. "There is so much of you in him! I swore to you, that i would not let him become like his father...please, i am trying my best! Give me time.."

"There is a clear path for our mighty host!" The map was lightened by a fire, as twenty men glared at Thunderfoot, as he stood in the middle of the map. "By sacking Salt-Lake-City, we have truly woken the wrath of the Khan! One day, we will face him, and crush his armies..." A loud cheer rose from the men, with Shinji even letting out a long war-cry in excitement. The victory in Salt-Lake-City had woken an idea of invincibility in them, yet Thunderfoot knew better! "But this day is not today! Our host needs to grow, and like a the cunning coyote, we need to wait for the right moment to strike!" It felt like a hiss, going through the men watching him, yet Vagari could tell, that only a quarter of them really were eager for the fight, as the rest simply had to keep up the show of the warriors, not to lose face in front of their fellows. "The Khan can mobilize 15.000 men before the month reaches its end! I do not doubt your abilities as warriors...yet we will run out of ammunition before they run out of men!" A grim laughter went through the 80s, as Thunderfoot pointed at the map. "Utah and Colorado! Land of the sister of the holy I80, the I70! There, my brothers, i want to lead our horde! Into the land of the legion!"

An 80 displayed his fear differently then a normal man did. Vagari had learned how to easily read it, by watching the eyes and the hands. For it was clear to tell, that even the most veracious 80 feared the legions cross. Too bitter were the defeats of Shatter-Road who had challenged the Bull and payed the bloody price for it. "Warchief! You do not want us to fight both the Khans AND the Legion?" Thunderfoot shakes his head at the Road-Captain, as he knelt down. "The Bull is at war, and the 80s chapters at his border sniff the wind, when the bull has turned his gaze from them! We will not come as an enemy, but offer our hand in friendship...and pay tribute!" Now it was really a hiss that followed, as Shinji stepped up. "Pay tribute to the bull? Brother, do you wish us to walk down and kneel as well?" The man easily towered over the war-chief, yet Thunderfoot held firm, as he stood back up. "Sit down and let me speak, Shinji! Or have you forgotten about the hostages i have taken? For i will not kneel before the Bull, but offer him a deal of honor! Tribute in slaves and caps...for us to pass through his land, and deal with the problem of the 80s that will soon rise for them! If they accept, we will release our hostages one by one...if not, we will nail them to crosses for all of the legion to see!"

There was a silence among the 80s, staring at Thunderfoot in the light of the fire. "Pack up what you can find in the city, then burn the rest! I want that the Khans will have nothing to re-supply on, when they come past here! We will leave before the week ends! You..." His eyes moved towards Vagari. "You and ten of my best warriors will ride towards the border! The Legion has a chief at Redmond, who was born as one of us, yet became legion when he was taken! You speak their tongue and i trust you more with your skills in rhetoric then anyone else in the world!"

The ghoulish crew of the Eisernes Grab, earned little more then a glare, as they marched through the crowded streets of the harbor city of Bermuda, nor did their good Kapitän. Roaring men and women, chanting, drinking and cursing, pushes past them, from and to the countless ships at the water. It was a mixed and rowdy bunch, a wild spectrum of the scum of the sea, the pirates of the post-apocalypse, the children of the new golden age of piracy, with nations spread all over the map, rich trade and lacking navies!
Dark skinned Caribbean Cosairs, pushed shoulder to shoulder, with grim slavers of the monolith, who crossed paths with Freebooters of the Key republic. Island Hoppers, mixed with Scrappers and Scavangers, pilgrims and whores...all who traveled the sea up to no good, ended washing up in Bermuda.

Yet the Kaptain was not looking for what every other pirate would come to Bermuda. And while his men tickled away behind him, his pace steady, as the imposing figure, in the ancient attire had little trouble making himself a way. "If Herr Kaptiän does not mind the question..." The first mate, Johann Wagners rough voice, had trouble reaching the Kaptiäns ear, who did not slow his pace. " does look like a trap to me! Besides it has been more then 200 years." The Kapitän did not bother to respond, as the two remained, the rest of the crew having left them, to enjoy their rewards and spoils on shore leave! For it was not their revenge, for only the two had been there, down in the depth, cursing the name of the traitor who had sold them so long ago. "It could have been two thousand years, Johann! I have made my peace with the British, i have my peace with the Hansa...Gott, i even made my peace with the bloody Frogs! But there will be a cold day in hell, Herr Kaleun, that i will forgive a traitor!"

The damp room was small, so that the Kapitän had to bow his head, even while sitting, as the bend over figure in front of him, dreamy turned the spoon in his tea. "You have returned sooner then i have expected, Captain! I take it you, you have what i desired to trade the information for?" The broker looked up, his eyes hidden behind the thick glasses, milky from the steam of the tea. Picking the mug up, he took a short sip, before letting out a long sigh. "A high price i asked for, yes, but this information is pre-war you see! Hard to come by, even for a man of my reach and abilities!" The frown on the Kapitäns face did not vanish, as he reached for the pocket of his coat, pulling out the papers, packed away in a envelope of leather. "You are a man of class, for you didnt even try to insult me, by offering money! So many make this mistake and wake my ire!" The small hands of the impish broker snatched the envelope from the Pirates hand. The eyes, most likely rushed over the papers, a wicked grin moving onto the impish brokers face. "Mhhh...moves in the great games of the old world! Answers to secrets yet to be asked...and truths that are to be denied for the good of all! Very well! But are you really sure, that you wish to follow this path? For it will lead you to a continent ripe with war and death!"
The Kapitän grunted, as he leaned closer to the impish broker. "I have send the last three years, hunting down your price! I do not fear death, nor war. The sole thing i fear, is that this man will have died, yet not by my hand! So...has be perished in the nuclear flames? Or is he still out there, a wretched figure of a century long gone? Tell me where Stanislav is, Broker and do it now! I have hold my part of the bargin!"

The smile faded from the brokers lips, as he placed the papers back on the table, then finished his tea. "He is alive. Like you, he has endured the centuries, like you, he was locked away in a coffin and like you, he has been liberated from it! The man you seek, is in the land that once was the USA! A wanderer, on the look for someone himself, has unleashed him back onto this world, yet where he is now...

"...gib mir deine ne Hand! Deine fleischige Hand! Leb wohl, mein Schatz, lebe wohl... The men of the Eisernes Grab were chanting loudly in the Tavern, roaring out in the rush of life that came into them, when ever they made it into Port, with their pockets full of cash and the ship filled with bounty! Few cared about their strange tongue, and outlandish attire, when they were so lavish in their spending and so eager to share a drink. ...den wir fahren...den wir fahren...gegen Engeland!" Glasses were raised and a loud cheer went through the mass of ghoul pirates, as the door suddenly was pushed open, and a huge silhouette appeared in the door. Then, the booming voice of the first mate broke the rejoice. "STAND AT ATTENTION YOU DOGS! SHORE LEAVE HAS BEEN CANCELLED! REPORT ALL TO THE SHIP....WE ARE SETTING COURSE FOR AMERICA!"
T H E C U L T O F U G - Q U A L T O T H

Iron-Jaw Indianapolis

The warriors that the cult now mustered, were as different from the raiders Iron-Jaw once had lead out of the Pitt against the Scrapper-Union, as steel was to copper. For Iron-Jaw had seen the army of the Cult turn from the very rabble that had fallen like flies in Indianapolis, into a force that did not need to hide from the legion or the brotherhood of steel! In Cleveland, the warriors of the cult had been fearsome, yet then they had been without the monolith. Nowaday, each and every warrior had layed his eyes on the black stone, heard the whispers in the back of their mind and taken deep breath of the Miasma.

For raiders could not lay hidden, while their gang was picked apart, tormented and broken on crosses. Fear would overtake them, stripping them of their will to fight. They would crush under the burden of war, like vermin facing a true beast. A strong enough master, willing to use exessive force, could hold them in place, yet in the end, they never would be reliable to fight or follow orders in a true war. They were rats, while a Cult warrior was a half-mad dog on a leash. Wild, mad and unbroken, yet only half so. He could march, follow orders and think like a soldier. It was only when he was cut lose, his lungs filled with the miasma and his fury would overtake him, that his commander was no longer his master. He was a wild beast at this point, yet also the most effective shock infantryman short of a man in power armor or a super mutant! With the Miasma in his lungs, he no longer cared about wounds, the concept of mercy as alien to him as any thought short of cutting his enemies throat.

Had Iron-Jaw five thousand, he knew he could retake this city! The narrow streets with its ruins and tunnels were familiar ground, their ground. The warriors would fall onto the Legionaries in ways that would make their discipline and formations nearly useless, before hacking them down like lambs to the slaughter. It would have been a mighty slaughter, bringing honor to the monolith and the prophet, yet Iron-Jaw had only four-hundred men...

The Legonaries turned, yet not fast enough, as the giant molerat came upon them. A rain of claws and fangs came down on them, as the rider broke out behind it, from the rubble that had hidden the entrance to the tunnels below. ""PH´NGLUI SOTH! SLAUGHTER THEM ALL!"" A machete collided with the Warleaders armor, as Iron-Jaw turned, ramming his head against the Legonaries, the wet noise of a shattering nose filling the air, before he leaned over him, ripping open his throat with a ferocious bite of his iron jaw. The taste of blood send a shiver down his spine, as around him, his warriors broke out from the holes and tunnels. His hands twiched to join them, as he heard the screams, the warcries and the roaring of their cutter guns, unloaded on the ambushed. His own mount, snarlled as it feasted on the two corpses below it, ripping out pieces of bloody meat from the legonaries it had crushed below its paws. It would be so easy to join into the slaughter, fight and die with the warriors..

For Iron-Jaw had not taken the Miasma, his mind remaining cool and clear. There was no victory in Indiapolis, not for him, or his men. Their assault would take them by surprise, if none of the raiders had talked too early, which he was certain they would, but the moment their Miasma would run out, their exaughtion would set in and their momentum would be lost, their deaths were certain!

A grin moved over his bloodied lips, as he looked at his warriors, coming upon the legionaries and soldiers of the brotherhood from holes and rubble, tunnels and sinkholes. Firing down from the upper levels, while others charged forward, sharp machetes in hand. Others already had found themselves in bloody melee, their re-breathers filling their lungs with the blessed Miasma and their hearts with mindless fury. One was ramming his cutter, fixed with a bayonet over and over into the belly of a Brotherhood soldier, while another rider of a giant Molerat was breaking out from the entrance of a building, its beast snarling out loudly, while he lashed left and right. Across the street, he could see a bundle of grenades being tossed down, into a confused mass of soldiers, who were reduced to ash in the explosion of green fire.
For the first time in the war, both Legion and Brotherhood were facing the real soldiers of the cult. No mad cultists, fearful raiders or half-hearted raiders, but the warriors who had pledged their souls in front of the holy monolith itself. Armed and trained in the holy city itself and veterans of the war of the capital wasteland. More MFC grenades flew through the air, engulfing the ambushed enemy in flames of green fire, before more warriors broke out from a ruin, where the rabble had been placed to hide an opening to the sewers. Soldiers trying to pull their wounded comrades to safety were hacked down from behind, while two who tried to surrender in pure panic were beaten to death with their own weapons.

Iron-Jaw could watch the mayhem till its end, when the enemy would rally fully, and push back his men, where they would be isolated and cut down. It would be a triumphant death, a last show of force...yet he was not to die yet! The Prophet would need him, and fresh troops would wait for him with the main cult army! Wiping the blood from his face, Iron Jaw mounted his giant Molerat, before turning it over. He had chosen a handful of companions for his way back to the main army, a small guard of veteran warriors, reliable and seasoned, all on mounts . The beasts could easily make way over impassible rubble and so the group quickly vanished away from the madness, lead by the Warleader, who with a heavy heart cursed his duty to the prophet. A single, measly kill in such a battle, was nothing that would bring him any honor...

Rumbling down a slope, and through a burned out ruin, they once more were on a side street, yet Iron-Jaw could hear a noise above them. A noise he knew well from the campaign in the capital wasteland. "Watch the sky, brothers a..."

Then, for a moment, the incredible happened. Iron Jaws group, halted to watch the sky for the Vertibird, suddenly heard a noise near them and as they turned their heads, a group of horsemen came past them. The snarling of their own Molerat mounts made them easy to spot, and for just a moment, both groups just glared at each other. Then Iron Jaw broke out into a wide, bloody smile.. They were outnumbered by the horsemen, yet their mounts would not be used to the sight of gigantic, hairless rats, bloody and terrifying! Their riders were little less fearsome, their heavy metal armor decorated with spikes, skulls and other body parts, while their faces where half hidden behind rebreathers and helmets, equally decorated with spikes.


So they charged, howling like demons, waving their blades in an clear challenge, lead by Iron-Jaws blood smeared bold head.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry J. Stone Windsor - East Coast of the Detroit River

"Dear Natalia,
when you will hear this recording, i will had done a terrible, yet necessary deed, that will most likely will see my name forever become a synonym for treason. Future generations will denounce me as the man who stabbed our republic in its back, when it was on its knees, an legacy i will rightly deserve. As such, this explanation, will be just for your ears, my beloved daughter, not to justify my deeds, but so that you may find peace, in understanding why your father, did what he had to do! I hope, that one day, you may see things with my eyes, maybe even forgive me for my actions tonight!

I share the blame on the pitiful state of our republic! We could have been the beacon of hope and prosperity, in this sea of darkness. We could have put an end to brotherhood-technocratic tyranny and debased religious madness...but we didnt! We remained idle, grew far and heavily believed that our old might would keep any invader at bay. Our army, the one i served my entire life with pride, turned into a menagerie of nepotism and internal rivalry, resting on old victories against long forgotten foes.
I came into my post, hoping to reform and renew our army, only to myself, grew tired in this struggle. I cant even start to tell you, how high my hopes were, for Traowski! She could have saved our republic...if only she had time to do so!

Now, we reap the fruited of our inaction. Our republic bleeds and our cities run red with the blood of heroes! I tried to look the mothers, wives and children in the eye, telling them that their loved ones died heroically, yet i know the truth! I have seen the other side of the Detroit river...
I will not waste a single man more...

The cult cant fight a war against the whole world! The Brotherhood, and their barbarian allies from the south, are in this war, stretching their lines to an far degree. They need peace as much as we do! Traowski of cause would never agree to such an act, for she is a noble soul, brave...yet blind! For this war is over! Our forces are spread out too far and its only a matter of time, until our old enemies will rally behind this opportunity to fully crush our republic!

The price will be high! We will lose all land south of Toledo, tribute will have to be payed and their vile missionaries will be granted full access to our land. I am not so naive to believe that they dont have ways to enforce such an peace, and will try to make sure that we will never get back up on our feet, yet i know this republic! We will recover from this, we will return back from the dust! Then...then we will pay back the cult for their invasion! It is our only chance!

Tonight, i will lead a coup against the goverment of this republic. Men and women who´s loyal friend i have been for most of my life, will die on my order tonight. Their resolve not to surrender...their death sentence! May god forgive me and have mercy on my soul!
As dictator, i will only negotiate a peace, before stepping down and surrender myself to who ever wishing to take up the mantle of the hands will not lead it. I pray, that my execution may at least sate the anger for this war.

I deeply love you, my dear Natalie, just as you mother did, when she was still alive. I beg you to stay in Buffalo and to change your name. This is my treason, my crime, and i shall bear the guilt alone..

Your loving father,
Henry Janus Stone

Shots rang in the distance, as the smell of smoke was over the city. Martial Law was active, as refugees clocked up the streets, while national guard milita tried to create something resembling order. "FORM SINGLE LINES! ALL MEN FROM THE AGE 16 TO 45 ARE TO RAISE THEIR HANDS FOR DRAFTING! MARTIAL LAW CODE 23B IS ACTIVE! PLEASE COOPERATE!" Chaos was the answer, as families held onto their sons, husbands fathers, before a single shot into the sky returned the mass back to order. Am officer, slim and tired, with an revolver in hand took his helmet of his head. "We need every man in the city under arms...damn, every woman and child as well! NOW GET A MOVE ON! WE HAVE A WAR TO WIN!"
Rows of soldiers walked passed them, towards the fire and death at the river. "THE CULT HAS CROSSED THE RIVER! THEY WILL KILL US ALL!" A voice shouted, as once more chaos threatened to break out, yet a quick smash with the riflebut into the mans face, brought silence back. Once more the Officer grunted out an order, before climbing onto the back of a truck. "THE RIVERFRONT HOLDS! THE CULT HAS NOT CROSSED THE RIVER! REINFORCEMENTS ARE ON THE WAY! DETROIT IS NOT LOST YET!"

General Stone saw all that from the top of the building, as he once more guided his cigarette to his mouth. Once, this had been a proud staff house of the scavenging union, yet with the cult approaching, he had taken the building as his personal staff headquarter. Here he would endure the night of his treason, his finally attack on his own beloved nation. The smoke felt bitter in his lungs, as he heard the step from behind, the adjutant quickly rushing towards him. "Sir, it is time! Do we have your conformation for tonight orders?"
Tossing the smoke over the edge of the building, Stone glared into the distance. Refugees, soldiers and the distant battle along the river, where the Cult wanted to cross the river. There was no victory here...not at this place, not at this time.

"You have my confirmation! The operation is a go!"

Captain Franklin "Franky" Kowalski Windsor - East Coast of the Detroit River

The chaos on every level of the state-house was a mirroring of the chaos in the city. Officers and soldiers were rushing through the corridors, knocking on doors and quickly leaving, realizing that they had the wrong room. The static of radios was everywhere, as men blindly shouted at each other. Kowalski no longer had an ear for any of it.
The tiredness burned in his eyes, as he was still wondering when the last time had been he had slept more then an hour. It must had been before the battle of Toledo. Since then, hasty retreats, as the leadership had been unable to form any kind of real front, after the much famed and trusted "border garrison" had collapsed like a house of cards. It had taken days, until the high command even had realize the size of the Cult invasion, as it had seemed, that information had been actively delayed or even altered. Before Toledo had fallen, Kowalski had even learned that half the garrison had been send down the I75, to "combat an arriving raider force". This, and the incredible speed of the enemy, made it clear, that this could have not been a simple one-sided invasion. Once, Captain Kowalski had almost a hundred men under his command, now, his twenty-seven men were huddled together in front of the state house, silent and tired. Like him, they still could not believe it, that Detroit had fallen...

Even for a man of his size, close to six feet and four inches, it was hard to make himself a way. He recalled some faces, either from long ago, bright and friendly, or from the last week, pale and fallen in. Many were wounded, bandages around their heads. One man, his face so coated in bandages, that he looked more like a mummy then a human, kept slamming his hand against a locked door. "I aint leaving until i get my damn ammunition! My boys are dying out there..." Kowalski frowned, as he pressed himself past him. "ITS ALL YOUR DAMN FAULT! YOU INCOMPETENT BASTARDS!" A kick followed against the door, as two soldiers rushed towards the bandaged officer. Kowalski pushed on, he had to get back onto the street.

Hundreds waited outside of the statehouse, screaming out their demands or pleads at the occupants inside. Civilians demanding to know where their family-members were, men and women demanding to be armed and soldiers, venting out their anger. The city was close to mutiny, and only the president could hold it together. Kowalski had to force himself not to look anyone in the eyes, as he pushed through, crossing the street, to what had remained of his platoon. Twenty Seven men...

"Look Alive! New orders from HQ!" The tired bodies groaned, as they huddled back on their feet, holding onto their rifles and staring with empty eyes at the captain. "There is a Brotherhood Big-Wig in town, and we are to..." The sound of a loud explosion caused a major ruckus around them, as the civilians screamed, yet none of the soldiers even blinked. "Not the river, sir?" The gruff voice of Sargent Miller snapped in. "Not the river boys.." In some faces, Kowalski could spot relive, while others glared in silent anger. It burned on his lips, to tell the men the truth, that there simply was not enough supply in the city, as seemingly nonsensical orders had stripped the garrison and the way to the capital clean of supplies, capable officers and fresh troops. Treason had killed the republic. "We are to secure the hotel, protect the street and make sure that he does not leave the premise..."

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