War. War never changes.
Okay, for this Character Creation Contest I challenged people to create two characters, a protagonist and an antagonist, that lived in the post apocalyptic world of Fallout. http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout_Wiki
Everyone just happened to base their stories in Fallout New Vegas. Which is awesome.
Here are the entry's:
Frank Bison walked through the wasteland, leading a duo of brahmin (two headed cows) that carried his packs of merchandise. Limping along his side was Old Stumpy, a protectron security bot, whose mechanical left leg had been destroyed and replaced by a metal, peg leg Frank had found in a scrap heap.
He was a junk merchant. He had came from the Mojave wasteland, heading towards New California Republic (NCR) territory. The NCR was fighting a war with Caesar's Legion over the Hoover Dam. Frank had decided it was best to leave Nevada and head towards the greener pastures in California.
Frank was a heavyset, solid as a rock, black man who wore a long duster, a cowboy hat and carried a repeater rifle. He had worked as a ranch hand for thirty years, since he was ten, on brahmin ranches. Then five years ago he had made a career change and became a junk merchant. Better caps for easier work, he figured.
He always traded with bottle caps. It was wasteland currency. A couple times some NCR soldiers tried trading with him using NCR dollars, paper cash. Frank laughed at them. "Bottle caps are the real money in this world." he said.
Some 'new' world powers were always trying to introduce new forms of currency. Even Caesar's Legion had the Denarius and Aureus, which are more valuable than NCR dollars. Frank had vowed never to do business with Caesar's Legion. They were slavers who often burnt down towns and crucified those they did not enslave. He hoped the NCR would win the war against these monsters.
Frank came to a small town on the outskirts of the NCR called Mole Rat Hill. There he had set up shop for a few weeks, selling scrap metals, conductors, batteries and various othe junk. His best customer was a friendly ghoul named Cash, who seemed to have plenty of bottle caps. Frank also did odd jobs for old widow Jenny Jenkins, fixing her windmill, shooting mole rats that came around her farm and providing her with 'company'. He often felt that she was plenty capable of handling the first two tasks by herself.
One morning Frank headed back into town with Old Stumpy and his brahmin. The town had seemed empty and quiet, until he got to the dowtown area, where he always set up shop. There he saw about sixty people, the entire town, gathered around.
"What's this about?" Frank asked a boy named Ted.
"NCR soldiers are here. About six of them." said Ted. "One of em's Captain Creek. He's a hero from the first battle of Hoover Dam. He just arrested some ghoul."
Frank had Old Stumpy watch the brahmin as he moved through the center of the mob. There were six soldiers standing around a ghoul on his knees. He recognized the ghoul, it was Cash. Frank noticed the leader of the soldiers, Captain Creek, who had short, white hair, a scar slashing across his face, carried two pistol revolvers and had a deathclaw gauntlet on his belt.
"This ghoul has been defying the NCR for months." Creek said to the crowd, then looking down at Cash. "I kept telling you Cash, switch to NCR dollars. Stop using those damn bottle caps. NCR dollars go through our banks. They're taxable." addressing the crowd, "When you switch to NCR dollars you help the NCR. We're at war with Caesar's Legion. The NCR needs all the help we can get."
"Five NCR dollars are worth two bottle caps. It's not worth it." replied Cash, whose rotten face had been beaten. "I've been saving bottle caps for nearly two hundred years," ghouls lived a very long time, "I can't just trade them in now."
"You're in NCR territory. We use NCR dollars here." Creek said "I've given you enough warnings, Cash. I'm taking you to jail and confiscating your bottle caps."
"You can't do that." yelled Frank. The crowd around him dispersed. Captain Creek looked at Frank Bison, who continued "You can't arrest a man for something that petty. Then you're going to take his bottle caps? That ain't right!"
"You don't want to obstruct justice, brahmin boy." Creek said, his right hand hovering his pistol. Old Stumpy came limping to Frank's side, his twin lazer gauntlets pointing at Captain Creek, while the NCR soldiers stood facing Frank Bison. Creek relaxed his stance and smiled. "I can tell you're from the Mojave wasteland. Probably grew up in Goodsprings, right?"
"Primm." Frank replied.
"Ah, Primm. I was close. Grew up near the prison." Creek said. "Well, if you don't want to end up in prison, I'd suggest you go about your way."
"It's okay, Frank." said Cash. "I appreciate you standing up for me but I"ll be fine."
Frank looked down at Cash, then back at Captain Creek. "Fine." he said, as he turned and started walking away.
"One other thing, brahmin boy." said Creek. "I want you to go to the nearest trading depot, over in Fort Nix. Then I want you to switch all your bottlecaps over to NCR dollars. Tell em Captain Creek sent you. They'll be sure to take good care of you."
Frank stopped walking. He knew he'd get ripped off or robbed at Fort Nix. He also knew if he didn't do what Captain Creek said, the soldier would track him down, arrest him and rob him. Probably kill him. Frank decided to end it here.
He grabbed his rifle, spun around and shot Captain Creek in the chest. Creek flew backwards to the ground. Frank shot the nearest soldier in the neck, who was caught by surprise, then he scrambled over to Old Stumpy and hid behind the metal protectron.
Old Stumpy fired lasers from his twin gauntlets, taking down two of of the NCR soldiers, who began shooting up the old robot. Frank aimed from behind Stumpy and shot down another soldier, just as a bullet hit Stumpy's face plate, decaptitating the protectron and dropping him to the ground. Frank stood up, aimed his rifle at the last soldier and shot him between the eyes.
Captain Creek tackled Frank to the ground. Creek was wearing body armor that protected him from the rifle shot. He was also wearing his deathclaw gauntlet and began slashing at Frank, who rolled over to Old Stumpy's body. Creek slashes again at Frank, who dodges out of the way. Creek's deathclaw gauntlet impales Stumpy's armor and gets stuck. As Creek struggles to get the gauntlet free, Frank slides a device in Creek's pocket, then runs away.
Captain Creek yanks his deathclaw gauntlet out of Old Stumpy, hears a beeping noise and see's the bottle cap mine Frank stuck in his pocket. The explosion tears Captain Creek into a bloody mess.
"Pants exploded!" the boy,Ted, yells from the crowd.
Frank gathers his brahmin and decides to make his way back to the Mojave. He just killed six NCR soldiers. He'd be a wanted man in the New California Republic.
Frank sighed. "Guess I'll try my luck in New Vegas."
I hate going to Flagstaff.
But it’s a necessity. They have stuff, I need stuff. It’s just all the saluting and yelling ”Ave!” all the time plus the constant fear that if they find out I’m a former slave-son they’ll draft me into their lunatic army. How they keep it functioning is beyond me! An army made up of people who don’t want to be there.
Jerry, my half-blind wobbly donkey, brings me over the ridge to the massive castle complex that is the home base of the Caesar’s Legion. Giant red flags with yellow bulls fly from every possible pole, turret and corner. It’s kinda of impressive, in an oppressive kind of way. I get off Jerry and begin the long walk into the citadel. If I ride in they’ll presume I’m weak and try to hijack me into their army. So it’s an air of strength and superiority I’ve got to project but not too much as to get into trouble. It’s such a hassle coming here. But I’ve got two saddlebags worth of caps which should get me enough supplies to last at least six months before I have to do this again.
“Ave!” shouts a pair of legionaries beside the road. I return their greeting in parrot-like fashion. I can see them eyeballing Jerry so I shift my M199 assault rifle from my left shoulder to the right, just in case one of them tries something. Not that I have two shots in the damn thing, but they don’t know that.
“That bag of bones won’t get much,” laughs one of them.
Before I know it, my mouth opens and let’s fly. “Just enough for me to ride your mother!”
One laughs, the other begins to protest in anger as I keep walking. Don’t make a thing; please don’t make a thing of this. I just need stuff and to go back up to Grandview where you idiots aren’t. I keep going and thankfully nothing more comes of it.
“Let’s go Jerry,”
“Purpose?” The man whose knuckles drag along the ground grunts as he scans me up and down. I swear that somewhere in his family history that a grandmother or father was a gorilla or some form of monkey ape.
“Trade,” I say pointing to Jerry’s saddlebags. He nods and grunts. I swear he doesn’t actually understand but I don’t really care. Just let me in monkey boy!
After a few moments, my guess is the command from the brain to the mouth got lost in the cavernous void of his fat skull, he says. “Enter.”
Oh thank you oh armoured chimp, thank you for letting me into your city of military morons! Now to get in, get stuff and go. I head into the sprawling city, it feels like a beehive. Soldiers busy rushing back and forth all hot and bothered. Probably means they’re getting ready for another push into the NCR, which means I better be on double alert. I head down Aquila Way which leads me to their marketplace. It’s a bustling market though its main problem is the lack of ammo because these morons are all about hand-to-hand combat and physical strength rather than firepower. Personally I’d rather shoot someone in the foot and run.
“It has been many moons,” says Harbo the money changer. He’s as tall as he is round which is a strange sight indeed. “How is that bag of bones still alive?”
“Jerry’s a survivor, Harbo,” I reply as unburden Jerry. “Just like me.”
“There is no luck,” Harbo sniggers. “So how much this time Jason?”
“Well how about you count it all up you old shyster,” I reply dropping them on his table. “And none of that special counting.”
He holds his hands up in protest. “I don’t know what you speak of.”
“Yes you do,” I warn him.
“Rates four to one,” he says as he gets his scales.
“Two to one!”
“Caesar’s rules my friend,” he replies. “I don’t need special counting.”
“Pirate!” I mutter which I know Harbo hears coz he flinches like I poked him. He rummages through the sacks placing handful after handful on the scales. I carefully watch him because he’s a moneychanger and often he’ll change it into HIS money if he sees an opening. “You have three left over, odd number but I’ll round up just because it’s you.”
“You’re too kind Harbo,” I look around at the other stalls and booths and slap down some money in front of him. “Here. Look after Jerry,” I shove the money forward and head into the market.
“I am not a donkey motel!” Harbo complains.
I quickly move into throngs of people. Every man who isn’t a slave is eyeballing me because they’re all in this weird alpha male state of mind within this weird cult based on some old Italian hierarchy. My dad once tried to explain it; I got the basics which is mad guy in charge tells all the others to capture more to make the pyramid work. Which is precisely why I live alone!
“How much?” I ask the rope merchant.
I throw it back at him. “Try four and you’ll have a sale.”
“You’re not even trying to haggle,” I say as I walk off.
“FIVE!” he snaps tossing it back at me. I smile and hand over the five coins, the rope really is worth seven. Now for some canned goods and ammo.
A few hours later I head back to Harbo with my haul. How this primitive screw heads don’t keep more than three shots of the same ammo is beyond me? Well three is better than nothing, meaning that over winter I…
“What the…” I see a semi circle of people gathered around the moneychangers stall and in the centre is a guy dressed like a gladiator parading around with a bloody sword and JERRY’S HEAD! “What the hell are you doing?”
“Are you talking to me?”
“No, I’m talking to the OTHER IDIOT who killed my donkey!” I snap. “Harbo?”
“He paid for it,” Harbo replies dismissively.
“You sold Jerry!?!”
Harbo shrugs as the big idiot puts a hand on my shoulder. “Are you talking to me?”
“YOU OWE ME A DONKEY!” I hiss into his face.
“I put that miserable bag of bones out of its misery. It was weak. Weakness will not be tolerated!”
I step inside him, grab him by the throat and push back causing him to topple backwards onto his bottom. The crowd cheers and jeers him. He scrambles to his feet and begins swinging the sword like a madman. I jump back and swing my rifle round.
They all stop and look at the voice; I’m not one of them so I couldn’t give two figs who is yelling. I aim the M199 and fire, putting a bullet through the guy’s mouth which comes out the back of his head showering a few of them in pieces of brain and skull. The rest is a blur.
I come too partially because of the yell but mostly from the bucket of ice cold water that’s dumped over my head. I try to move but it seems some idiot has inserted a board into my he…stocks, I’m in stocks. Focus! Wake up! Look at the grinning idiot in front of you.
“Who are you?” I cough.
“Garmus,” he grunts tossing the bucket aside. “He’s awake.”
I hear footsteps and a man in a costume resembling a peacock with an armour fetish strides into view. “Hail Caesar!”
“And who are you?” I ask struggling to move.
“So this is the little insect who killed Dromidus?” he says like I’m not even in the room. “I was expecting more.”
“How about you let me out and I’ll show you who’s an insect!”
He pauses and looks me in the eyes, finally seeing me for the first time. “This one is dangerous Dolor. Be careful. Send for me once you’ve broken him. Hail Caesar!”
He leaves and who I thought was Garmus, is actually Dolor, smiles as he heats up some pliers.
“RECITE THE CREED!” Dolor yells into my ear. I wish I could, I want too but there’s a stubborn streak in me. He’s pulled out all my fingernails, all my toenails. I have cuts on my eyelids and I’m sure I’ll never pleasure a woman again…
“Four…scored…and seven…” I’m stopped by another hit. I barely feel it due to my bruises having bruises. I just keep my mind on Jerry. That stupid, stubborn, lame, blind, ridiculous beast of burden.
“RECITE! THE CREED!”
I don’t know how long this has been happening. Weeks? Months? Decades? I’m broken. I need to submit. I need to join the Legion. I’ve…Jerry. These bastards killed my…let go. Let it go.
“Recite the creed.”
Just say the damn thing idiot! “I…obey. Even unto death. I live…to serve the…greater good.”
“Good. Very good.” Dolor smiles then smashes me in the face. “And from now on in your name is Decimus. Once again.”
“My name is Decimus.”
Dolor looks deep into my eyes with a smile of satisfaction. I hate him! But through the moments of cruelty he’s been kind. I feel I know him better than anyone. We share a bond. I…am one of the tribe.
Dolor pats my cheek at my heartfelt cry to our leader and we embrace. I belong. I live to serve.
“I shall fetch Garmus,” Dolor spits.
I am one with the Legion. I am here to serve. I…have a burning undercurrent of hatred. I am conflicted. I have been broken and rebuilt. But you can still see the cracks from those cracks I reclaim my old life…though I live to serve the will of Caesar. They have taken everything and then made me belong, I want to belong.
But it’s not right.
I walk the market place for sword drills and pass the money changers. Something clicks in my mind as I spot a familiar face. Harbo. He doesn’t see me, too busy counting his wares. The damn shyster caused all my pain, all this.
You’ll keep for now. You’ll all keep.
“For outstanding service,” Garmus pins a medal on my chest. “Decimus, I award the heart of Taurus!”
My unit erupts in cheers. It has been nearly a year of me fighting my inner conflicts, accepting my place and doing the will of Caesar. We push into NRC territory, they push back. We take hostages to expand our army…well they do. I have become a killer. I think it’s because I don’t want anyone to become what I have, so it is better to kill them than let them live this hollow life I lead.
“Hail Caesar!” I shout.
Garmus smiles as we press foreheads together. “I had my doubts about you Decimus.”
“I live to serve!”
“And proudly!” He claps a hand on my back. “We return to Flagstaff on morrow.”
I pass with my unit through the market. There on the cobblestones is the faded grey pool where Jerry was decapitated. I come to a halt and stare at it. The others push past me leaving me to stand like a statue.
“Decimus?” Dolor stands by my side. “What are you doing?”
“I am planning my future,” I say.
“You speak in riddles Decimus,” he huffs and walks off but I reach out and grab his shoulder turning him to face me. “What are you doing?”
“I am righting a wrong,” I seethe as I drive my gladius up into his ribs. To everyone it looks like a manly hug. Dolor convulses on my shoulder. “You broke me. You made me into this thing. Today, live or die it ends. I hope you rot in Hell!” With a push I throw him back. It takes a few moments for people to realise he’s dead but by then I’m into Harbo’s tent. The little bastard doesn’t know what has hit him as I knock him to the floor.
“What are you doing?” he screams.
My gladius severs his right hand at the wrist. “I am freeing myself from a problem YOU caused.” I hold his throat closed to muffle his screams as I jam the amputated hand into his mouth. “You greedy little prick! You caused all this!”
It takes a while but he chokes on his own hand. I stand and turn to see members of my unit standing there, shocked at the brutal display lying around me.
I stand and walk forward, head shaking. “My name is Jason!”
Hunt for the Vixen
The men and women of the tribal village stood watching the invaders, clad in mail and armed to the teeth with spears, machetes and a wide array of antiquated firearms, as they dragged the middle aged woman across the square and bound her to the wooden t-bar structure with straps of black leather. Dismissing the pair of men who had removed her from her home, the most ornately dressed of the invading legion advanced on the bound woman, a thermal lance held in his gauntleted hands.
"People of El Paso, newest province of the Empire." The lance wielder announced as he stabbed the power tool into the woman's back. "For an age you lived in fear of witches, in fear of this woman the Teumessian Vixen, but no longer! You are now free to serve the glory of Caesar, the god king of the wasteland!!" He roared as he stabbed the tool into the woman's back once again, the 'Vixen' in question remaining stoic despite the pain evident on her face.
"Centurion Laelaps sir, we have sighted Hounds of Hecate on the western approach." A voice crackled over the radio strapped to the Centurions arm. "We are in need of some additional men to hold the prisoners while we engage them."
."Use the slaves in the first wave; should Mars wish for them to live past the setting sun, then they will live." Laelaps ordered as he handed the thermal lance to an attending veteran legionnaire. "Women are not to be used, their kind are weak and worthless fighters!!"
"Then why do you fear the 'Vixen'?" The bound woman asked, as a hooded blacksmith came to the front of the assembled legion, before passing Laelaps a chainsaw.
"Because women are akin to all the other monsters in this desert, creatures to be reviled." Laelaps told her as he removed the fuel tank from the chainsaw and splashed a tiny spot of fuel onto the woman's arm. "Your kind is the worst of your rank and wretched species." He stopped and handed the fuel can to the same veteran legionnaire before retrieving his thermal lance. "In the name of the empire I charge you with witchcraft," he stopped and ran the lance down the arm, a river of flame following the tool's path, "assassination of legion personal, plundering resources, abduction..." with every crime he read out Laelaps drew the lance across the burn, more flames licking at the woman's skin, "...the casting of bones and idolising the fake goddess Hecate! How do you plead?"
"Guilty of all and none, you fear a name that is not mine." The woman groaned.
"Insolent wretch!" Laelaps hissed, as he turned to face his men. "Soldiers, take your spears and form ranks. I expect one stroke from each of you! Once done rush to the western approach and bolster the guard there. Now strike...strike in the name of Mars and Caesar!!" He roared as the first man marched forward and stabbed his spear into the 'Vixen's' back with a cry of 'For Caesar!’
One by one with a scream, a spear thrust and the cry of 'For Caesar!!' the legionnaires left the square until only the guards holding the villagers, Laelaps and one single recruit were left staring at the dying woman.
"You're name recruit?" Laelaps asked as the legionnaire got into position, to add his spear to the others.
"Vulpus, Centurion in honour to the commander who liberated our people from tribal barbarism." Vulpus answered in a quiet, almost unsure voice.
"Then Vulpus you get the honour of ridding Rome of this wretched woman." Laelaps stated, as Vulpus took a step forward and stabbed his spear into the woman's neck.
"Centurion," The radio crackled, "We have been overrun, Mars blesses Hecate's Hounds and Daughters on this day and field."
"Impossible but the Vixen is dead, their will should be breaking." Laelaps snarled, before seeing Vulpus remove 'his' helmet to reveal long red hair and a feminine face. "Impossible, women are foul and fetid..." Before he could finish a spear shattered his faceplate and stabbed into his skull. As he fell the guards came rushing in only to be felled with swift gunshots as the vixen drew her sidearm and fired.
"As for you..." She hissed, as she walked over to the hostages, only stopping to pick up the fuel can. "You cowards allowed the elder to suffer for you, allowed her to die. May the goddess curse this village and all who dwell here."
"Please Vixen, what can we do to...,
"You can burn." The vixen whispered, as she handed one of the villagers the fuel can. "Redemption will come to you only through fire."
"You ain't from around here are ya, smoothskin?" asked the ghoul.
"What gave it away?" I asked dryly.
"Well, that mostly," he answered, as he looked over my shoulder at the ship.
"I woke up to this godforsaken world in that ship. I thought it best to bring it with me," I said perhaps a little too annoyed.
"Woke up to it?" the ghoul asked. "Just how long were you 'sleep, exactly?"
"I'm not really sure," I admitted with some nervousness. "This might sound strange, but...what year is it?"
There was only slight hesitation before, "We don't rightly know, t'be honest," said the ghoul with what may have been confusion. It was hard to tell, as their faces generally looked annoyed or confused, or a combination of the two. "You'd really have t'ask a vault dweller, if y'c'n find one. They're the only ones who have kept any kind of track, other than the Enclave. But they've been gone for some years now."
"It's 2289," came a voice from behind me, "although I may have slept a year or two myself, here-and-there. No later than 2295 though."
I spun to face the voice and was so overjoyed to see a familiar face- even his- that I blurted out, "Heiro-"
He clamped a hand over my mouth and cut me off with, "It's good to see you too, Roo." Looking over my head, he said, "Thanks, Wally, I'll take it from here."
"Y-yeah," stammered the ghoul. "Su-sure thing, Hiro. Y'take care now, hear? Nice chattin' with you, lady smoothskin," he added before shuffling off.
Waiting for the ghoul to get out of earshot before he took his hand off my mouth and started to lead me in the opposite direction, he said, "It's just 'Hiro' now. Legends abound in the Wastes, and unfortunately, I'm one of 'em. I was associated with the Enclave, so my legend is not especially favored by most," he said with a twitch of his handlebar mustache.
"This worries you, because...?"
"It doesn't," he said plainly. "It's just less hassle if folks don't know who I really am. That your ship back there?" he asked, clearly changing the subject.
I pulled my arm away from his hand at that point and stopped. "Yes! It is now! And why is everyone so interested in my ship?"
"You must not have met any Steel Knights yet," said Hiro. I shook my head. He continued, "The Brotherhood is gonna want to claim that as their own- it's clearly pre-war. Is that how you got here?" He stopped, did a quick count on his fingers, and as he started walking again, added, "You should be dead right about three hundred years at this point."
I couldn't hide my surprise, but answered, "I was trying to claim Gunn's body from cryogenic sleep aboard the ship when he was revived by an American. He recovered quickly, there was a struggle, and I got knocked into the cryo chamber. Next thing I know, I woke up in this...this wasteland."
"It's just called The Wastes these days," said Hiro as he pulled me into the mouth of an alley and stopped. "You said 'Gunn.' You mean..."
"Raymond Gunn," I clarified.
Hiro shook his head. "You wanna keep that name to yourself too. Folks blamed Ray's tech for all of this when it first happened. It wasn't him, but it's another legend that persists. You might want to ditch that ship too. Salvage whatever you can use off of it- especially weapons, survival gear, and if you have any kind of water purification system in it. Otherwise, you're gonna spend a lot of time defending it."
"It's actually pretty capable of defending itself- some kind of A.I.- but it's the closest I've got to a home at the moment, so I think I'll keep it."
Hiro shrugged. "Your choice. How long you been awake?"
"About six weeks. Is it...is it all like this?"
"Nah," balked Hiro. "Most of it's worse," he added with a chuckle. "Between what Mr. House started here and the influence of the NCR, this is downright civilized. 'Bout the only thing better are areas reclaimed with a GECK."
"A 'geck?' What's a geck?"
Hiro smirked. "You'll learn," he said with a wink.
"Are you with the NCR then?" I asked.
"Oh no," he huffed. "My alliance with governments ended with the Enclave. No, I'm with the Followers of the Apocalypse now."
"Doom-and-gloom? From you?" I said with more surprise.
"Humanitarian work, actually. And I need t'get back to it. It's good t'see you, Roulette. Find me if you need anything," he said as he headed out of the alley. "We can get a Nuka Cola and catch up."
"Hiro!" I called after him. He turned. "Russia? Is... is it like this too?"
He nodded. "Anythin' else?"
"Yes," I said hesitantly. "I remember you sounding...more proper, in the past?"
He winked, "Well, 'when in Rome,' lil lady. It helps t'throw off the legend. It wouldn't hurt for you t'try it either. Find a way t'get yourself some caps too." With that, he tipped his hat and walked away, calling over his shoulder, "Welcome to New Vegas!"
"Caps?" I said to myself.
The steel ball clicked and clacked as it bounced to a stop, and the croupier called out, "Twenty-seven! Red! Winner! You're on a roll tonight, Roulette!"
I laughed excitedly as I raked my chips in, and called back, "Wooo! Yes I am! Here's something for you, Arnie," I said with a smile as I tossed three chips his way.
The curly haired man with the thick mustache smiled as he said, "Thank you, Roulette!"
I smiled back, but before I could answer, a hand reached into the middle of my chips, and a man with a sneer said, "Well, well... seems like this is your game, huh? That's gonna turn into a lot of caps. Guess we know how you got your name," he said, looking at the five large-count chips he rolled in his hand.
I reached into my pocket and came out with a four-shot Derringer- a remarkably old relic in this era, but something from my personal equipment in my spy days. Pointing it at the man's head, I answered sternly, "Actually, I got it from a bit different game. One of these barrels is loaded- you want to guess which one, or give me back my chips?"
He let the chips drop on the table as he looked at my small gun with no small amount of fear. The sneer left his young face. One of the chips rolled onto a square, and the croupier called out, "Bets are in!" and spun the wheel.
I looked at the chip- it was sitting on zero. Looking at him furiously, I told him, "You danged well better hope that wins." I stood there looking at him while the ball spun around the wheel, and he looked back at me over my gun, sweat beading on his brow.
The ball made its final few revolutions around the wheel, clicked, clacked, and bounced over slots until it came to rest. "Eleven! Black!" called Arnie.
I clinched my jaw as I pulled the hammer back on one of the barrels. The man-boy's lip quivered, but before he could completely break down, a chip appeared in front of my gun site. "Perhaps this can settle accounts, ma'am? It would save our rugs too," he said seriously.
I glared at the whimpering fool on the other end of my gun for a few seconds before easing back the hammer and holding out my other hand for the chip. The stranger put it in my hand and introduced himself, "I'm Pennyworth, ma'am- the house manager's new butler. Thank you for your cooperation."
The man-boy sagged with relief as he backed away a few steps, then turned to go. "Hey!" I called after him. He turned back around with a start, and I re-cocked and shot him in the knee. Over his screams, I shouted, "From now on, y'keep your hands offa other peoples' danged money! Y'hear?" Looking to Pennyworth, I handed him his chip back with a demure smile, and said, "Sorry about your carpet."
He smiled back pleasantly and said, "The house manager would like to speak with you."
I gave a short, exasperated sigh. "Is it about my ship?"
He nodded once. "Yes, ma'am, it is," and motioned towards an elevator.
As we started that way, I grumbled, "It's always about my ship."
"Ah, Miss Roulette," called the house manager as we stepped off the elevator into the expansive penthouse suite.
"Just Roulette," I corrected. "Pennyworth here says y'wanted t'see me about my ship?" I asked, practicing the local speech patterns.
"Uh, yes. Thank you, Pennyworth, that will be all," said the short, pear-shaped man.
"Yes, Mister Holmes," answered the butler, and he receded to the kitchen.
"Miss...uh...Roulette," he corrected himself with a smile.
"I was wondering if you'd be kind enough to remove your ship from my roof?" he said with a bit of a pained look.
I raised an eyebrow as if it were the most preposterous thing I'd ever heard.
"In exchange, The House will happily comp you a very luxurious suite," he said, wringing his hands.
I seemed to be considering.
"Please," he practically begged. "Surely you'd prefer a suite to living aboard your ship?" he added with a nervous laugh.
"Hm, no," I said. "It's the only place I feel safe, really. What's the problem, Holmes? I thought we had an arrangement? You don't use the roof, and I'm paying you for its use."
"Well, yes," he laughed nervously, "but that was before the Brotherhood of Steel scaled my hotel again, trying to get to it," he said, hopping in place with distress.
"Those yahoos again?" I grinned. Mostly, I grinned just because the word "yahoos" tickled me. I started using it in a mocking sense about a week ago, but it was growing on me. "The Gunnship fended them off, right?"
"Well, yes, but the Steel Knights disturbed many of the guests as they scaled past their balconies, and later as some of them dropped past them again... screaming...to their...deaths," he said with dismay, wringing his hands over-and-over again.
As a robot whirred by on the terrace, I pointed over my shoulder with my thumb and said, "And? Ain't the Mister Handy's cleanin' it up like they always do?"
"And it is not getting tiresome at all," chirped one of the Mister Handy's as it rolled by the terrace door, carrying an arm and a leg.
Another whirred behind it with a head and another leg. "Nor is it repetitive!"
"Look, Mister Holmes, The Gunnship has a very sophisticated A.I. - maybe I can get it to come up with some kind of defenses for The House? Something that could stop any raids before they get to the roof? I mean, my ship's kind of made a landmark out of your casino, hasn't it?"
"Well, yes, but-"
I put an arm around the nervous man's shoulder and steered him to a couch, where we sat down. "Listen, Mister Holmes, what if instead of moving my ship, it made you some money, instead? Besides just the space rent, I mean."
Mister Holmes seemed only slightly less nervous, but tentatively intrigued.
"What if you made it a tourist attraction? Let people on the roof where they can get a close look at the ship? For a fee?" I smiled at him.
He looked horrified as he undoubtedly pictured screaming hotel guests falling to their deaths.
"I can talk to the ship- get it to differentiate between tourists and Brotherhood of Steel," I assured him. "But they can't go inside!"
Mister Holmes considered, stretching his chin so far upwards you could almost tell he had a neck. "How much of a fee?" he asked.
"You decide," I said with a smile, as I wrinkled my nose and pinched his cheek.
He laughed bashfully, then asked very seriously, "Fifty caps?"
"Why not?" I said approvingly, dabbing his nose playfully with my finger.
"And your percentage?" he asked shrewdly.
"Twenty percent," I said without hesitation.
"Fifteen," he countered.
"You drive a hard bargain, Mister Holmes. Done," I said with shrug and a smile.
He grinned, quite pleased with himself and the idea of this new venture.
I patted his arm and stood up. "Thank you, Mister Holmes. I have to be going now. Nice seeing you!"
"Well, yes," he said as I neared the elevator.
Pennyworth appeared at the elevator as if he stepped out of a hidden panel. Maybe he had. "Good evening, ma'am."
"Good meetin' ya, Pennyworth!" I said, slapping him on the shoulder as I stepped into the elevator.
I stepped out of the elevator and was heading for the street when a big man stepped in front of me, flanked by a couple of skinny protection bots. "You Roulette?"
"Yeah. An' who might you be?" I drawled for effect.
"You shot my brother," he said in answer.
"The twerp in the casino? He was bein' kinda handsy with my winnin's. I don't take very kindly to that. Didn't get his name though. Or yours."
"You are 'Roulette,' yes? It means 'little wheel?' So why don't you call me Big Wheel?" he said with an air.
"Ah, that sneer- I see the resemblance now. Anyway, not bloody likely that I'll call you anything but a doctor, if you don't get outta my way. I was in no mood for your brother, and I'm in even less mood for you." Trying to brush past him, I said, "Now if you'll excuse m-"
"I don't think so," he said as he shoved a firm hand against my shoulder. "You crippled my brother- Anthony is his name."
I brought the four shot Derringer out of my pocket and pointed it at his head, "And what's your name?"
He raised his chin defiantly and said, "I told you: Big Wheel."
I rolled my eyes in aggravation and said, "I mean your real na... Y'know what?"
"I don't really care what your real name is. Y'wanna guess if the next one is loaded, Big Willy?"
"You wanna try again? Or y'wanna step out of my way and move them bots off?" I reached into my other pocket for a stun stick and pulled it out by my side, telescoping it out.
Anthony's bigger brother with the bigger attitude rolled his neck to one side, making it crack, then spat next to my foot. "You go to-"
He dropped to the ground and I swung the stun stick at one bot, shocking it into overload, then aimed the Derringer at the other bot.
"Never was very good at that game," I said. Looking to the registration desk, I flipped a chip to the ghoul at the counter as I headed to the door, and said, "Tell Pennyworth I'm sorry about his carpet."
"Yes... ma'am," she called back weakly.
Meandering into the street, I said to myself, "Think I'll go find Hiro- take him up on that Nuka Cola."
I have come to be employed by a new gentleman, and it seems that he is a gambling man. My time started as a missionary, for the Abbey of the Road, a quaint group of Christians who still believe in all that even after the bombs fell. I was tasked with making my way to New Vegas, which I promptly packed my things and set off. However, I had no reliable source of travel, so I bar hopped and hitchhiked my way along the road, the whole thing was arduous, but I eventually made it to a small bar in the middle of nowhere, it had a rustic charm to it but I did not intend to stay longer than I had to.
Sitting at the bar I was approached by my future employer and he said, “Hello good sir, word around here is you are looking for a ride to new Vegas.”
“Yes as a matter of fact I am.” I replied.
“Splendid! I am making my way there myself, and I am in need of some assistance. Tell you what, you help me along the road, and I’ll give you a job when I get there.” He offered. I wasn’t exactly looking for permanent residence in New Vegas, however I did come to the realization that caps could help me get back home easier, and this gentleman seemed nice enough, so I replied, “If you’re offering a ride to New Vegas, that’s a deal I will take.” The man’s face glowed,
“Excellent, once we finish our drinks we’ll be on our way.” He said. I helped him pack his things, and we started the final leg of my journey towards New Vegas.
“So what draws you towards New Vegas Mr…?”
“Oh how rude am I? I apologize for not remembering my actual name, however you can call me Phillip.” He told me, “And I am going to New Vegas because I just procured a small little establishment from its previous owner in a game of chance, how ironic! I won a small casino from a card game.” He told me. I admit I had a hard time believing him, but I needed to get to New Vegas, so I went along with it.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your story?” Phillip asked me.
“Well sir, I am a missionary from the Abbey, spreading the good news in this dark time. My name is Austin, and I want to thank you for helping me.” I responded.
“Ah, a religious man, very good! Holding on to an ideal in this world is a very rare thing to come by, especially an idea of the old world, it really shows true dedication in a man.” He told me, which I admit got a smile out of me. We arrived at New Vegas after a couple days of travel, and I helped Phillip find his new place of work. We rolled up to the front door, and a rather burly man was waiting outside.
“Good day sir!” Phillip shouted, “Care to let us in to my new building?” He asked the man, but it was soon clear that he had no intention of doing so.
“Yeah, you aren’t getting in here, boss’s orders.” The guard replied.
“That squirrely little runt, he lost fair and square! Now he intends to strong-arm me out of our deal! I demand to talk to your boss right now!” Phillip shouted rather angrily, and I started to get nervous. He started marching towards the door and of course the guard move to stop him, and to my surprise, Phillip knocked out the much larger man in one punch!
“Ha! Let that be a lesson to you Austin, it’s not about the size of your muscles, but the placement of your punches.” Phillip said, to which I had a snarky reply but I kept it to myself. Phillip then shoved the doors open and made his way to the door that was marked “Boss’s Lounge”, and I hurried to follow him, not wanting to be by myself in a building where we clearly weren’t wanted. Phillip marched right toward a small, plump, man behind a desk and grabbed him by the collar.
“So, you lost a bet and you can’t be man enough to accept the terms you came up with Mr. Zhao?” Phillip said sounding very agitated.
“H-h-hey Phillip, didn’t think you would a-actually show up.” Mr. Zhao stammered. I saw him looking away from Phillip, towards a door in the back. Now, I had seen many bar fights during my travels in the desert, and I knew this was a signal. I moved to block the reinforcements so that Phillip wouldn’t be harmed. As I got to the door though, it blasted open, and I was unable to keep the massive man from breaking through. Phillip backed off of Mr. Zhao and took to fighting the burly man, and in the middle of that, Mr. Zhao sneaked out the back, so obviously I followed him.
“You’re not going anywhere man, you owe Phillip your establishment, and I will not let you weasel out of this deal.” I said.
“It’s not fair! He conned me out of my establishment, he’s a thief!” He shouted back.
“It’s not my fault you bet your whole business on something and lost, you owe him and you’re gonna pay up.” I replied. He face turned red and I could sense him getting ready to fight.
“You two are crooks!” He shouted, and ran off, and to be honest I really didn’t feel like chasing him, and I went back inside to check on Phillip, who had pummeled that giant man into a pulp.
“Did he run off?” He asked me, to which I told him what happened in the alley.
“Well, I entrust that you will be staying here to help me run things correct?” He asked me.
“I suppose I can spare some time here, I am in dire need of caps anyway.” I replied.
“Excellent, let’s get to work fixing this place up shall we?” Phillip said. A few months passed and business was on the rise. Word started getting out about our new little casino and of course this attracted unwanted attention. Mr. Zhao had caught wind that his business was succeeding without him, so he called in a few favors to the factions of New Vegas, and before we ne it we were under siege.
“Mr. Phillip, come out with your hands up and you won’t be harmed.” A loud voice outside demanded.
“He really did it now, couldn’t he just let it go?” Phillip asked.
“People will do crazy things to get what they want.” I replied. Phillip decided that it would be best to go out, since we had not soldiers of our own. I watched the brave man from the balcony, waiting to see what would happen next. Mr. Zhao grabbed a gun from one of the soldiers quickly and shot Phillip in the chest. He then walked into the building and started to take it back over, kicking out all of the patrons. This infuriated me, and in my rage I acted on instinct, I set the top floor on fire and set up time bombs throughout the lower level while the soldiers moved to put out the fire. I snuck out and grabbed my friend and ran away as fast as I could, seeing the explosion from a distance. A few minutes later he died in my arms, as I had no supplies to treat his gaping chest wound. With no money and no friends in New Vegas, I abandoned my original mission of spreading the word and moved on, becoming an aimless wanderer, searching for a purpose. Maybe one day I’ll head back to the abbey, but for right now I seem to be back where I started, in a bar along the road, when a stranger taps me on the shoulder…
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