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Brandy Brooks
Awesome I will get a sheet up as soon as I can.
The Jaded Empire – Calypso – The Topps


“Training my people would also be sufficient, as some on my people have proven to be quite adept at facing new challenges. I would be interested in acquiring more robots as well, for I do lack in the department compared to many other factions. A great deal of our prewar knowledge has, and does, come from the ghouls that reside within the Empire,” Calypso savored another piece of her steak and listened. She reached down and rubbed Martin’s thigh again, a touch miffed that he removed his hand from her chest.

"An Apache, hmmmm", Martin mused to himself, "I believe", Martin said as he patted her hand again, "that we have a deal then. We'll either repair your existing power plant in the vehicle, or provide a rebuilt one. I’ll forward the request at my first opportunity."

“This truly does please me, but, and correct me if I am wrong, you know of another Apache?” Calypso looked at Martin, her eyes filled with great curiosity, “I would also be interested in negotiating a deal for a second one, which would make patrolling and defending The Empire a great deal easier.” She dabbed the corner of her mouth with a cloth napkin, “I hereby cordially invite you and Lord Paladin to The Grand to discuss the project in greater detail. I will assemble my most noteworthy and capable members to hear your instructions. I did wish to speak about the infrastructure of The Empire; I am in awe at Mr. House’s extraordinary accomplishments here in New Vegas. I find myself wanting to improve our grid, to develop a much better system for which we receive power.”

Calypso paused, sliding her plate away from her and looked deep into Martin’s eyes, she overturned her hand in his, “Enough talk of business,” she graciously slid closer and took Martin’s hand to her waist, “Do I not please you Martin? I am willing to put off my other meeting if you so wish, for you have pleased me far more than I expected and I wish to show my appreciation.”

The Jaded Empire – Shelby – The Gomorrah


What the hell is going with her? Shelby looked at the puddle of fluids from Eliza, she was a little leery of Eliza, or rather what health problems the woman had as Shelby’s mind raced with questions. Is the tough chick thing just an act to cover up what’s really going on with her? Shelby shook her head in confusion and turned to the dresser; looking in the mirror she noticed that she still had blood smeared across her cheek. She walked to the bathroom and looked closer in the mirror as she washed her face and saw that her left eye had begun to bruise up, “Fucker,” she hissed under her breath as she looked at the results of Alex’s fists. She brushed her hair and returned to the dresser where her suitcase sat and pulled out a red nighty and slipped it over her head. She pressed her tongue against the inside of her cheek in a thought and went into the living room to see Eliza’s two people conversing and Aponi still frozen on the couch.

“Why don’t you go sleep in the other bed Aponi, Calypso will be pissed if you’re a zombie tomorrow if you sit there awake all night,” Shelby coaxed Aponi from the couch, that’s when she saw the bruise on Aponi’s wrists. “What happened to you? Did ya get tied up?” Shelby winked at Aponi.

Aponi looking ashamed, “Calypso said I could do what I wanted tonight, so I went and was watching the stars when…” she swallowed the lump in her throat, “Alex’s guys took me and drug me back to a shop outside of the strip. He offered me freedom, and said he would protect me from Calypso and her false gods.”

“That son of a bitch, who in the hell does this douchebag think he is?”

“I was afraid to tell Calypso, I did not want to upset her, and he did let me go like he said he would when he was finished,” Aponi looked up at Shelby, “Calypso may be…different, but she treats me good usually and makes sure I’m safe.”

Shelby put her hands on Aponi’s shoulders, “Yeah, I get it, and I will see what we can do about it. You are Calypso’s favorite servant, and she is pretty attached to you. Sure, she may flip once in a while, but you do as she says, when she says, and she likes that you don’t ever challenge her wishes. Go ahead and get some rest, we’ll talk about it in the morning since I’m stuck here.” Aponi nodded at Shelby and went and got ready for bed. Shelby turned around and looked at Eliza’s female soldier, “She is asleep, so what’s her deal?”

The soldier just shook her head, “I told ya, I said too much already, if you want to know more you’ll need to ask her yourself.”

“Whatever, I was just trying to see what I can do to help her feel better, but yeah,” Shelby turned and returned to her bedroom. She climbed into bed and wrapped her arm around Eliza as she slept.

A few hours later


Eliza tossed, turned, and mumbled as she slept. Shelby was awaken one time when Eliza’s hand landed on her cheek followed by a knee as she flipped over and let out a small scream. Shelby uncovered Eliza as the woman sweet profusely and Eliza settled enough for Shelby to fall back asleep. Suddenly Shelby was once again awoke when Eliza jumped from the bed, darting into the bathroom. Shelby wrinkled her nose, “What?” as she waited for a moment for Eliza to return. When she didn’t come back Shelby got up with a quiet groan and went to the bathroom to find Eliza slumped against the wall in tears, she knelt down and stroked Eliza’s hair, “You wanna talk about it? I have horrible nightmares sometimes too, and to be honest, you’re worrying the shit out of me.”

Shelby sat down next to Eliza after wetting a washcloth and putting it on the back of Eliza’s neck, “I see my parents a lot in my dreams, right before…before I killed them out of pure anger.” Shelby sighed, “If you let me in I may be able to help, and if I can’t, I might be able to find someone to help you. Since you’re coming back to Michigan, I can see this,” she motioned between the two of them, “I can see giving this a shot. I’ll make you a deal; I’ll talk if you talk OK?”
The Jaded Empire - Calypso - The Topps


"The Passage, yes", Martin replied, "The Lord Paladin is not opposed..in principle..to your efforts to control commerce in the Upper Lakes, but he doesn't like the idea of paying tolls to pass under the Mackinac Bridge. He's quite adamant about that, i'm afraid, and once he makes up his mind on something, it's almost impossible to change it. I know there have been incidents recently, and I fear his reaction if your subordinates actually fire on one of the Order's vessels while trying to collect a toll. He wouldn't take that well at all."

Calypso raised a brow and took another sip of her drink. "To that effect", Martin continued, "I have proposed a plan to the Lord Paladin that would defuse such tensions before something happens that everyone would regret. We have noted that your people are attempting to repair the Mackinac Bridge, but that is a daunting engineering task to say the least. What I am offering is this. We will assist you in repairing and maintaining the bridge....in return, we ask that you cease attempts to levy tolls on Order flagged vessels and allow them to transit the Passage without let or hindrance."

“Yes, it has certainly been proving difficult to say the least. But of these incidents, whatever do you mean? We had a breech from a settlement to the north, to which I shall address upon on our return home.” Calypso took Martin's hand in hers and placed it on the bare skin of her chest, “The aid in reconstructing my bridge back to it's glorious splendor pleases me greatly. But I must question when you say aid in maintaining it. Are you suggesting some of your people will be taking residence in the surrounding area?”

The waiter brought their dinner, “It looks exquisite, thank you.” Calypso cut into her steak, blood dripped onto her plate from the rare slab of meat. Calypso looked at Martin, “This can perhaps be acceptable, though I must ask, are you able to locate a turbine for my Apache? I would be ecstatic if si, as that would aid greatly against opposing settlements whom wish to breach our borders. In which case I would accept your offer and adhere to toll free passage in my lakes.”
The Jaded Empire - Swick - Track Town (Michigan International Speedway


The tornado siren began to wail causing quite a stir, without a second thought many of The Empress’s soldiers went into crisis mode, fetching their armor and weapons and reporting to the tunnel entrance. Swick ran into the broadcasting tower and grabbed the radio. “MAYDAY MAYDAY; THE U HAS BEEN ATTACKED, I REPEAT THE U HAS BEEN ATTACKED THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS.”

Swick recognized Heart’s voice, they had served Calypso for years and were good friends, “Heart, what the hell is going on?”

“We were delivering supplies to The U when we arrived two vertibirds flew off from right by the hospital and went north,” Heart sighed, “There is nobody left, they killed everyone. Walter was barely alive when we got here, he said the attackers were wearing black armor. He managed to knock a piece from one of the attackers shoulder.”

“Black armor? Power Armor?”

“That’s what Walter described, the kid has only seen Brotherhood power armor before.”

Swick swept his hand over his head, “Sound like the Enclave, but…”

“I know, they were wiped out in Grayditch and nobody has seen or heard from them since,” Heart agreed with Swick’s assumption.

“No way, you’re right, it was like they disappeared off the planet. Wasn’t there a ragtag bunch of Brotherhood misfits running around the CW?”

“Yeah, but if I recall they had painted their shit red, doubt it was them.”

Swick grabbed the track PA, “ASSEMBLE AT THE TUNNEL, BRING THE BUS AND JEEP I WILL BE RIGHT THERE.” This sped up the soldiers response, the old school bus fired up along with the Jeep and waited just outside of the tunnel.

“One more thing Swick, they were using energy weapons, lasers and plasma,” Heart’s voice became desperate, “There are ashes everywhere.”

“I am heading down to the tunnel, our ETA should be around an hour, Swick out.” He grabbed his armor and slung it on then grabbed his AR15 and put a few extra magazines on his plate vest. He descended the stairs and jogged to the tunnel to his assembled troops, “The U has been attacked, no survivors. At this time we are unsure who it was, and it seems as though the area is clear. Load up and move out, be on high alert.”

Lexy - The Grand


Lexy strummed her knuckles on the table as she listened to the chatter on the radio, Heart had managed to fill her in also, but the mystery guests left no clues other than ashes and the single piece of armor. “Lexy to Camp Grayling. I need all available aircraft in the air ASAP.”

Yeepppp,” a scratchy voice replied, “We have two available aircraft to fill your request, the others are undergoing routine maintenance. Lemme guess, The U?”

“Yeah, we have not seen any aircraft here at The Passage area, so split them up, one to The U and one on patrol. We have a chopper here to cover the northern area.”

“So what do we do if we find these birds, shoot them down with my good looks?” Johnson said with what grin he had left on his ghoulish face.

“Ha ha, you’re hilarious Johnson, just try to find them and we will organize a land attack,” Lexy smiled from the smartass comment, “I need to get ahold of Capital City and get the Sat-com set up to transmit to New Vegas so Calypso knows.”

“Roger that chica. I’ll order them up and have Sync enroute to Capital City to aid with the Sat-Com”

Capital City (Lansing) - Late Afternoon


Johnson piloted the old single engine plane; landing it softly on the Lansing airport runway coming to a stop in front of the waiting Satcom team.. “Johnson, long time no see.”

“How’ve ya been old friend,” Johnson reached out and shook Rick’s hand, the two ghouls had been stationed in Michigan since before the Great War. “I see you brought Sync along, good, we’ll need him to get this piece of crap going.”

Sync went to work immediately, the crew gathered whatever parts he needed to hook the Satcom back up to the small reactor. “The powersource is not sufficient for lengthy uplinks, do use it sparingly.” Sync informed the team as he pointed at a fusion core before inserting it.

“We will wait until everyone has collaborated their findings before attempting to reach Calypso.”

“It'll be a one shot wonder then?” asked Rick.

“Apparently so, Calypso needs to invest in better parts rather than lavish shit for her palace,” replied Johnson, the group all nodded in agreement, “I will talk to her about it when she gets back I guess.”

Back at The U


Swick kicked a pile of ashes, “Nothing,” he swept his arms around, “What was the point of this, there’s nothing missing.”

Two soldiers came running up to Swick and Heart, “Sir, the only thing missing from inside the hospital were all the documents from the research facility. Other than overturned furniture and carts, there seems to be nothing else missing.”

“Who would want some old research paperwork?” asked Heart.

“I have no idea, but we need to hightail it to Capital City, all reports from the other settlements have nothing to report, just like those birds vanished,” Swick looked around, “Round up and move out.” He led the group of soldiers to Capital City. By the time they got there it was nearly midnight.

Swick took a seat in front of the monitor and camera, they were going to send a voice only message alongside a video message in hopes at least one of them would reach Calypso. Heart handed Swick the piece of armor while Sync made the final preparations to connect to the satellite and flipped the breaker. The monitor flickered to life as the reactor hummed to life, “Unit is now operational Sir.” Heart stood behind Swick as the screen read, connecting followed by three dots that flashed one after another, after a few moments the system beeped and read, connection to satellite confirmed.

Swick cleared his throat and hit record, “We are The Jaded Empire attempting to reach The Jaded Empress Calypso. Yesterday afternoon The U was attacked by an unknown entity arriving by two vertibirds. The attackers were wearing black armor and utilized various energy weapons overtaking The U. The attackers arrived from the north and left no survivors, then vacated the area returning north. Where they came from and who they were are still unknown. The vertibirds were not seen after that, we sent out foot patrols and air patrols but to no avail. The search is still underway, but at this time the whereabouts of the attackers have not been discovered. Much of the settlement was burnt and ashes of settlers were strewn about the area. The only thing of interest that has been found was that the research center had been stripped of all documents. No major damage was done to the hospital other than overturned desks, carts and a few lab benches. I suspected The Enclave.”

Heart then held the piece of armor in front of the camera, “This was all that was found, everything screams Enclave, but they haven't been seen or heard from in years.”

“Sir, the core is rapidly losing power, the uplink will be lost momentarily,” Sync informed the men.

“Calypso, hopefully this works and you receive this message. We wi….shit!” Swick smacked the desk as the transmission was brought to an abrupt halt.
Aponi - Just outside The Strip


Aponi’s heart raced as her brown eyes went from soldier to soldier, she listened but acknowledged nothing. She knew what Alex said could possibly come to fruition, she had seen it before when others had lost Calypso's favor. But, like with Shelby, Calypso treated Aponi like her own child, to a point. She had also seen the NCR run over people, her own people before she was taken back east. Though tempting, all Aponi could think was that she would be by herself, surrounded by people who run through settlements to acquire more land. Along with bringing brahmin barons, like the one who did much worse to her than Calypso ever had. Hesitantly, Aponi very slowly got up off the couch, her wrists sore from the Ranger’s grip they had when they disrupted her peaceful evening. Her nerves were tense, she looked around at all if the soldiers again, then the ghoul, then Alex, “No,” she whispered taking a cautious step towards the door.

She stepped towards the door, grasping the doorknob firmly and inched it open just waiting for Alex to yank her back, but he did not, he allowed her to leave as he said he would. She silently slipped out, her moccasins barely making any noise, then suddenly she took off in a dead sprint until she reached the end of the building. Being Native American she was more than adequate at being exceptionally quiet and stealthy. She peeked around the corner and saw one of the Rangers come out and head her way. Running as fast as she could, Aponi got to The Strip entrance where she ran into Reggie and Waylon who were returning from McCarran after dropping some goods off at the vertibird. “What's up with you kid?” asked Reggie.

Aponi looked back, eyeing the Ranger in the distance, “I just want to get back to the room.” She felt more comfortable with the pair, but choose not to say anything to them yet about what had happened, partially out of fear of upsetting Calypso.

Reggie and Waylon looked back to see what Aponi was looking at but the Ranger was nowhere to be seen, they shrugged it off knowing how timid Aponi could be and escorted her back to The Gomorrah.

Shelby - The Gomorrah


What the hell? Shelby was somewhat confused by the woman's sudden actions and apparent emotional distress as she saw the trails of tears. Clearly the woman would be quite a challenge for Shelby. She wrapped her arms around the distraught woman, running her hand on the back her neck feeling a scar. “Just relax, it'll be alright…” she paused because the woman still had not revealed her name, “I have issues to. I don't know what you've got going on, but I'm not going anywhere until Mr. House lets me out of here so,” Shelby hugged the woman firmly, “You can talk to me if you want to. I'm no therapist but I've been through my share of shit.”

Shelby could feel the woman's rapid heartbeat against her chest, “C’mon Hun, let's go lay on the bed,” she coaxed the woman to the bed and they both laid down. She ran her hand on the woman back and felt a few good scars through her blouse, she sighed, “I was whipped by an asshole back home, I was beyond myself that my parents would allow that shit,” she took the woman's hand and placed it in her own back, “Feel those?” Shelby put her hand on the side of the woman's face, “You know an awful lot about me, why won't you tell me your name, maybe we can help each other. Besides, if you're going to be around while we are here in New Vegas, it would help me to trust you more.” Shelby wrapped her leg over the woman and smiled at her, “I mean, since you live out here and we'll be heading home soon, it'd be nice since I may not see you again after we leave.”
Calypso The Topps


"Calypso", Martin said as he took her hand and kissed it, then took his seat. "You look simply ravishing!" Ordering a bourbon and water from the waiter, Martin picked up his menu and opened it, looking up at Calypso, "Have you ordered yet, my dear?", Martin asked. "I hear the New Vegas Strip is excellent here."

She rest her hand on Martin's forearm, “Why thank you Love, you are looking quite dapper this evening yourself.” Calypso opened up her menu, “I have not, but perhaps I shall heed your advice and try the Strip.” The waiter arrived with Martin's bourbon and water then asked if they were ready to order, “Why yes Darling, I would like to try your New Vegas Strip, I would prefer is rare.”

Calypso smiled at Martin, “Why do you across from me Love?” She slid into the seat next to Martin, “There,” she gently laid her hand on his thigh, “This is much better, don't you think?”

She stared deep into his eyes with a touch of innocence, “I find myself eager to hear your proposal regarding The Passage my dearest Martin.” She took a sip of scotch with her free hand while lightly rubbing his thigh, “I do hope that we are able to come to an agreement that favors us both. After all, we are neighboring nations. I would also wish to discuss your opinion of the nation from The Keys. I am most interested in supporting space exploration as it once was, if the repair of the facilities needed would be feasible or not.” Calypso gave another smile, maintaining a non threatening stature demeanor.

Shelby - The Gomorrah


Nailed it , Shelby thought, bringing a grin to her face as beads of sweat began to show on the woman's forehead, “It's alright, it is a little warm in here,” she waved her hand as the woman shed her blazer.

The woman had become quite fidgety, puffing on her cigarette, running her hands through her hair she assured Shelby she had no ill intentions before she cut herself off. The woman suddenly scurried to the mini bar, taking a brief pause before fetching a bottle of water and downing it. Wow, wish I got this reaction every time. The red hue from the setting sun glistened off the womans sweaty chest after she had unbuttoned her blouse, her attempts to compose herself assumed Shelby on the inside.

Time to turn the heat up a little more and get a name, Shelby took the woman's blazer and hung it over the back of the chair and scooped up the red tie. She turned away and slipped the tie loosely around her neck then took a napkin and dabbed in the ice bucket until it was saturated and icy cold. “You know, I've always wanted to try one of these on, what do ya think?” Shelby grinned devilishly at the woman, squeezing cold water on her chest, “Chilly,” she shook slightly.

Shelby strut over to the bed as the woman continued to puff her cigarette, “Oh honey, you're a hot mess, here,” she wiped the cold napkin on the back of the woman's neck and around down onto the top of her chest. She tossed the napkin aside and ran her hand through her hair, she bent down, “You can help me, in a few different ways honey.”

Shelby removed the tie from her neck and draped it around the woman's and pulled her up and close to her, “All you have to do is tell me your name,” Shelby let go of the tie after giving the woman a quick kiss, she turned around and stepped towards the bathroom, “My offer still stands, you wouldn't want to miss a chance at this because you wouldn't answer a simple little question would you?” she slapped her own ass and took another step towards the bathroom.

New Vegas Strip


Fabulous,” gasped Calypso as she clung to Waylon’s arm taking in the sea of neon on The Strip, “This is most inspirational is it not?”

“Yeah, it is pretty impressive.” Waylon sighed as he was drug around by Calypso as she looked at everything. For Christ sakes woman, I just want a beer. He was his normal, emotionless, but acutely aware self as the couple perused what Vegas had to offer. He noted all the NCR soldiers he saw wandering around. Finally Calypso led Waylon to The Gomorrah, Aponi followed closely behind them.

“Do go enjoy yourself Waylon, I shall be fine alone with Aponi this evening,” Calypso turned to Aponi, “Come Darling, I must prepare for my dinner with Martin.” The door man showed them to their room across the hall from Shelby’s with the Securitron standing at guard. Aponi aided Calypso with her hair, putting it in long rolling curls before zipping her dress. Calypso vivaciously turned in the mirror, “I look simply ravishing Darling, simply ravishing.” The dark purple evening dress traced her elegant curves complimenting her long black hair Calypso indulged in her own image. Aponi gave a simple smile and nodded at the compliment.

Calypso retrieved a matching handbag from her luggage, taking the one she had been carrying and handed it to Aponi, placing a substantial amount of caps in it, “Darling you are truly a glorious servant, I wish to show my appreciation,” Calypso closed Aponi’s hands around the handbag, “Do take these caps and enjoy yourself Darling. I give you permission to use my wardrobe if you so choose, I wish for you to do what pleases you this evening.”

Aponi’s mouth opened slightly in disbelief that she was free to choose whatever she wanted for the night, “Th-thank you my Empress.”

“You are dismissed Darling.” Calypso left the room after checking the time. Aponi wished Calypso a good evening, once the door shut Aponi quickly changed into her tunic and moccasins before putting her black hair into a single long braid. She took the small black handbag and made her way out of town. A short distance between her and The Strip quieted the hoots and hollers of the visitors. She sat cross-legged on a boulder and just stared at the stars as they shone brightly in the clear night sky against their pitch black background.

New Vegas - The Topps 7:30 P.M.


“Welcome to The Topps,” the doorman offered Calypso his hand as her black stilettos clicked up the stairs and he opened the door.

“My dinner date, Brother Martin of the Midwest Brotherhood said we have reservations for 8 P.M.” Calypso informed the host.

The Topp’s host traced his finger down the notepad, “Yes, indeed he does, please, follow me.” He lead Calypso to a tidy table and pulled out the chair, Calypso smiled and sat down, “May I interest you in a beverage Miss?”

“I shall take a scotch on the rocks good sir,” the host left and a waiter quickly delivered the drink and asked if she would like anything else, “Thank you, I shall wait until my date joins me.” The waiter nodded and left Calypso to sip her scotch and people watch as she waited.

The Gomorrah


The woman waved off the wine, instead pulling a pack of cigarettes from her waistband, to each their own , Shelby shrugged it off. She looked as the woman took a long pull from the cigarette and exhaled allowing the smoke to encircled her head in the lighting of the room. The woman paused, as if she was thinking of something else before catching herself and returning to the conversation. Shelby tapped her finger on the brim of the glass as she listened.

“Okay,” Shelby shook her head, “Let's do it,” she looked at the clock, “Calypso set up a dinner date with Martin from the Brotherhood, let me write a note to her. Your people will have to give it to her otherwise she may quickly go on the defensive.” Shelby took a sip of the white wine the continued, “I still can't guarantee that she won't though,” she giggled a little. Shelby rummaged around for a notepad and pencil and scribbled down a note, while she was writing she couldn't help but ask, “You seem a little tense, nervous maybe the way you took to that smoke. This is no threat, but if you have something up your sleeve the shit could hit the fan… just sayin’

Taking another sip and savoring the flavor for a second before she handed the woman the note, “I did notice a lot of those NCR guys running around here, so any extra help if I really pissed that douchebag off would be nice. I mean, Aponi doesn't fight at all, and there's just Waylon and Reggie with us.” Shelby did not immediately let go of the note and stared into the woman's eyes, “I think I can believe you but….you best not try to screw us over. If this pans out, I'm sure we can do more business in the future.” She finished the glass of wine and sat the empty glass in the table, “I need to wash up, you can join me, hangout for a bit, or set up your people.” Shelby got up and unzipped the back of her dress and let it fall to the floor, “Whatever you decide, I'll leave the door open.”


The Jaded Empire - The U (Ann Arbor U of M hospital)


Walter poured a little water over his head; relishing the relief it brought as it trickled down his face. He and his workers had spent half the day breaking down the last remaining wall of a derelict building surrounding the old University of Michigan Hospital. It had been a daunting task as the former three story wall sat in several piles, reusable bricks and windows had been neatly stacked, items that could be used for other projects in rejuvenating the area to resemble its former glory sat in a pile a few hundred feet away. The scrap had been loaded onto wagons to be taken elsewhere. Walter and his small crew looked up to the sky to see two black dots approaching with a thumping sound. Meh... he shrugged them off after a small pause. Air traffic had been consistently increasing over the past few years; it was nothing uncommon so they continued to enjoy their rest. Walter stretched out his leg, rubbing his knee, the root of the reason he was moved to the inland territories at his age... He had fallen off the wall of his borderland settlement during an invasion from a rival raider tribe; tearing the meniscus in his knee. Unable to perform at the expected speed during initial attack training, but having proved a loyal servant and protector of The Jaded Empire he was placed in The U to oversee the reclaiming of the once prosperous hospital.

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Melissa and Sherry were gathering water from the river just east of the old hospital for their crops when they looked up, just as the rest of the settlement did as the two black dots cut through the sunny sky approaching from the north. They carried their buckets to the small crop area that had begun to spring up and went on about their business. It had been months of hard work to get the settlement able to produce for itself...somewhat. But harder was the transition from the borderlands to the inland life for Melissa, though she welcomed the peace and also that she was once again reunited with her older sister, she missed the excitement the borderlands provided. Both women had put in their time protecting the southwest corner on the territory and shared stories of their experiences while they worked the ground, watering the plants. The ramshackle settlement was the beginning of the next chapter in their lives as servants to The Jaded Empress.

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The two black dots morphed into vertibirds, garnishing no real attention other than flying relatively low. The busy little settlement of one hundred twenty three inhabitants went about their daily activities. The engines howled like angry Deathclaws as they banked hard descending quickly onto the old worn streets by the hospital. The sudden landing caught the people off guard; their nerves quickly rose wondering if Calypso had sprung a surprise visit as they watched nervously. When the doors of the mighty birds broke open, hissing as they lowered down. Neon green blasts erupted as black metal clad soldiers spewed outside onto the street.

Walter jumped to his feet, his eyes the size of plates as he motioned to his crew, “Run!!!” He winced as he sprinted as fast as he could to a nearby building, he turned to look back and his colleague was gone, reduced to ashes dancing on the ground in the breeze. Screams of sheer horror filled the air as the metal men ran through the settlers like they were nothing. Walter took cover, he could hear rifles returning fire, and the bullets just gave off a high pitched hum as they ricocheted off the attacker's armor. Wh...what the fu… his brain raced when a green charged put a smoldering hole in the wall above his head. He saw one of the workers fire axes leaning in the corner, crawling over he grasped it and hid in a corner behind the door. Another worker scurried around the corner, in a split second he was just a pile of ashes.

CLEAR,” one soldier called out to his partner, the metallic sounds of their armor quieted as they exited the building. Walter exhaled while he peered out ever so slightly to see one soldier standing just a few feet from the doorway taking aim to extinguish more settlers. He gripped the axe tightly with both hands, sneaking up behind the invader and swung the axe with all of his might. “WATCH OUT,” a second soldier yelled, making Walter’s target turn around quickly as the axe just missed his helmet tearing into his shoulder. The blow broke off a large chunk of the metal soldier's shoulder pauldron, it landed with a clunk. The second soldier blasted Walter in the knee sending him crashing to the ground.

The soldier that had been struck tore the axe from Walter's hands, “Disgusting mutant, may you all be cleansed from our earth,” the soldier raised the axe and sunk it deeply into Walter's lower back hitting his spine. The mirrored lense of his helmet watched as Walter screamed out in agony unable to move his legs, the axe burning inside his back brought an evil laugh from the soldier, “suffer mutant.” The soldier stepped down on the axe as Walter struggled with the excruciating pain before taking a deep breath allowing his head to rest on the warm asphalt.

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Their buckets of water crashed to the ground as Melissa and Sherry ran towards their makeshift metal shack. A wall of ten soldiers cut through their fellow settlers with the ease of a hot knife thru butter. “TAKE UP ARMS, TAKE UP ARMS, TA…” yelled Greg from the watch tower before being silenced by several red strings of lasers. Scattered gunfire tried to answer the attacker’s energy weapons but were met with dismal results. The two women sprang through the door to their shack, collapsing to the floor as they caught their breath.

“Rifles,” gasped Sherry pointing to a chest at the foot of her bed.

Melissa yanked out two SKS rifles; tossing one over to Sherry enabling her to pull out the ammo can. Feverishly the women loaded cartridges into the ten round magazines and rocked back the bolts readying the rifles. Several other settlers stormed into the shack’s floppy door, one a man called Pops. He was The Elder of the settlement, having seen his fair share of battles. Pops slammed his back against the door, “Grenades? Do you have any grenades?”

“NO,” Melissa yelled back over the sobbing settlers. A woman and her middle school aged child had been ushered in by Pops. Melissa looked back at Sherry and the others, she fixed her bayonet, “I got you Sis.” Before Sherry could object, Melissa ripped open the door and fired up towards the hospital emptying her magazine. She went to dip back into the shack to reload; looking at Sherry as she too was struck and melted into a pile of ashes; only her rifle lay where she had been just a moment ago. Sherry screamed out while Pops reached for the rifle. Pops went to stand upright when a metal elbow cracked him in the mouth landing him flat on his back. The metal arm tossed several grenades inside the shack as casual as could be, silencing the cries, blowing one of Pops legs off and filling him with shrapnel.

His hands shaking with intense pain, Pops managed to aim the rifle at a metal soldier as chaos ensued. The soldier kicked the rifle from Pops hands; raising his boot he smashed Pops head twice, wiping his boot off of Pops shirt.


The Jaded Empire - Supply Envoy



The trek along old Interstate 94 from Jacktown to The U wasn’t bad on horseback or by vehicle, but the Brahmin convoy made the trek downright miserable for Heart, Richie and Debbie. It was his job to see that supplies moved smoothly from settlement to settlement and the trip to The U would take hours walking the Brahmin. In the distance Heart saw smoke lapping at the blue sky, Great, now I’m gonna have to smell all that old shit they’re burning when I get there.

Several hours later, the smoke had grown larger but was now dissipating; Heart paraded the Brahmin through downtown Ann Arbor past the main campus towards the hospital. When they breached the top of the hill on Observatory Street he halted at the sound of engines rising in RPM. Heart waved Richie and Debbie aside, holding his AR15 firm in his hands he cautiously tried to get a closer look. “down,” he ordered as two vertibirds rose up close to the towering twelve floor hospital and disappeared heading north.

“The hell was that about?” Debbie gestured at the dots as the vanished in the northern sky.

“I...uh...I have no fucking clue, but this shit ain’t adding up. Tie up the Brahmin and let’s go,” Heart tightened his Kevlar vest and tapped his three extra mags. It quickly became clear, this was no friendly visit. Smoldering piles of rubble, woods and ash piles lay strewn all over the place, Heart stopped, “A fucking massacre.” His eyes burned as ashes dusted his surroundings. “Rich go hit the siren,” Heart looked on sorrowfully.

The tornado siren, now used as a way to alert nearby settlements of invasion wailed relentlessly into the skies. Moments later more could heard from other settlements as the message was passed on. Going from shack to shack they looked for survivors, “OH MY GOD,” Debbie shrieked as she stepped on the remains of Pops head and vomited upon the crunch.

“Nobody, they’re all gone,” Richie spun around.

Heart bent down scooping up a handful of ashes from next to a rifle, letting them fall through his fingers, “I’ve seen this before, but it can’t be.” He walked up towards the research center where he could see Walter laying there, a red fireman's axe standing from his back, "DAMN," he quietly spoke as he nudged Walter with his toe. He jumped back when Walter coughed; a small pool of blood fell from his mouth, "Walter?"

Walter painfully turned his to see Heart's foot, "Na...North, black," his words hardly audible, Heart kneeled down to listen, "Bla...metal," Walter stretched a finger towards the shoulder pauldron. Heart reached over and picked it up to examine it the piece of armor.

“Black metal?” asked Heart.

Walter coughed again and swallowed a lump in his throat, “Yeah, black metal armo…” he winced, “armor. Two birds came from the north, killed everyone.” struggling for air he continued, “Green energy turned us to ashes.”

There is no fucking way, The Enclave were taken out in Grayditch, Heart’s thoughts broke when Walter’s bloody hand touched his boot.

“Please?” Asked Walter, “Pa put me down, please,” his eyes filled with tears.

Heart nodded, pulling out his 1911 from his hip holster, held took Walter’s chin in his left hand; putting the pistol on his temple, “Goodbye my friend, see you on the other side.” His friend’s head weighed down in his hand as he holstered his gun, gently laying his head to rest.

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