|Fallout 3: The Wayward Soldier
Author: Fire Kunai PM
To find her father Alex will go to the ends of the earth. But she won't be polite about it. *Fallout 3 story with some tweaks and changes. Rated T for a bratty kid and Lone Wanderer/Burke* *Under COMPLETE reconstructionRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Sci-Fi - Lone Wanderer & Mr. Burke - Chapters: 11 - Words: 106,873 - Reviews: 133 - Favs: 82 - Follows: 69 - Updated: 07-20-09 - Published: 12-08-08 - id: 4703766
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello all! I give you "Fallout 3: The Wayward Solider" I loved the game so much I decided to write a variation of the Main Storyline. Please bear in mind that I have changed a few aspects of the game, tweaked the storyline so that you're not reading another walkthrough just with names. I've introduced new concepts of the Pip-Boy; make them more unique to each user, changed some dialogue and I have attempted to explore the nature of other NPC's as well as the leading role. Most of this story with written with a passive, narrative tone that I have found to be very challenging but fun to write. I tried not to get bogged down with overly descriptive paragraphs (Higher English taught me something) so the story looks a bit thin at the moment. This is a mighty big chapter (Zomg! It's over 9000!!!!) and I did try to break it down into two chapters but just seemed to mess up everything else I had planned (It's so difficult to write the escape from the Vault! I can see why most people skip it) So anyway, enough of my ramblings, Enjoy the fic!
All of my chapters are named after episodes from the 2003 remake of "Battlestar Galactica"
Flames will be used to keep my fire going this winter :3
Fallout 3: The Wayward Solider
Todays chapter is Inspired By:
"I will not leave a letter nothing at all
I'm sure you wont notice that I'm even gone"
-Crossfade, Already Gone.
Chapter One: Escape Velocity
"Dad? I'm home!" A disgruntled voice sounded off as the owner slid the door shut, leaning down to unlace her boots. Nimble hands unclipped the tool belt bucket around her stomach, letting it drop to the ground with a heavy thud. A metal vomit of Screwdrivers, wrenches and various nuts and bolts spilled out at the front door but the girl had neither the energy to care nor the patience to pretend otherwise.
"In here Alex," The father called from, if it could be called, their living room. The girl padded through to the sterile longue to find her father collecting up several bunches of yellowed paper from the coffee table, shuffling them out of sight. His scruffy, nineteen year old daughter, Alexandra Halsey sunk into an armchair opposite him.
"Hello sweetie. Have a good day?" A weary smile pulled at the young woman's lips.
"About as good as you can get shifting through ten years of shoddy wiring" she remarked, bitterness thick upon her tone. Her father suppressed a sigh and eyed her carefully.
"Wished you had taken the G.O.A.T seriously now?" he asked, reproachfully. Alex snorted with resentment, pulling a pair of old leather gloves off her hands; revealing rough palms.
"How seriously can I take a test that has 'The Overseer' as an only possible answer" The girl countered, brows knitted together.
"I guess you're right. Still, try and make the best of it honey," her father said softly.
"Mum is not going to haunt you now is she?"
"No need. Her daughter is a Technical Specialist at the age of nineteen. Hardly a garbage burner,"
"After today? I really wish I was a garbage burner." A low chuckle escaped her father's chest and he reached under the coffee table, fumbling about for something. A colourful box of Sour Rattlesnakes found its way onto Alex unexpectant lap. Nothing broke up the day like a box of sugar, carbohydrates and numerous amounts of E numbers.
"Here you are sweetie. A gift from the good Doctor. Came in this week's rations" And just like that, Alex's bad mood was squashed. The furrows on the brow of the girl disappeared, replaced with a grateful smile.
"This a feeble old man's attempt to cheer me up?" She asked, bursting the packaging and proceeding to devour the sugary innards at a rate of knots. The Vault's doctor chuckled and nudged his daughter with a booted foot.
"I would hardly call myself 'old' or 'feeble'" the man countered.
Alex did love him so. No one else could even come close. He was weathered but tidy, with once jet black hair now showered with streaks of grey. His face was stamped with kindness and compassion but his eyes hid a kind of resigned despair and regret. Alex had spent years trying to work out the mistakes hid behind those thoughtful brown eyes. His shoulders slumped like he was carrying a great burden upon them. Father and daughter were the polar opposites of each other, he being the quietest of the latter while his daughter was loud and expressive. The young mechanic had inherited her small stature and rich brown hair from her decreased mother, a tiny woman with a flaming disposition which she passed down onto her daughter.
"How are the repairs on the Vault filtration system coming along?" A scowl crossed the teenager's face that wasn't caused by the sour coating on her candy.
"Not at all. I'm off the project. Lewis is handling it now," Alex explained, squeezing one of her candies a tad too vigorously. James quirked an eyebrow in suspicion. Who had Alex irritated today?
"What did you do Alex?"
"Nothing! I swear" She protested, though it would do her little good.
"I know when you are lying to me Alex." The said girl winced at the warning in his tone.
"I struck a superior bitch." James released a pent up sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose. He had seen that coming.
"Getting into fights again? How old are you? Nine?"
"It wasn't my fault, Christine provoked me."
"It's never your fault is it? You can't get away with this anymore Alex. The overseer with end up putting you in the brig again."
"I like the brig."
"Oh Alex..." Her father started but his feisty little daughter bet him to the punch.
"What bugs me is that he lets the other Specialists do it but not me."
"Honey, you're overreacting again-"
"He doesn't trust me dad. I can see on his face, hell I can see it on all of them" Her father sighed and rubbed his dark eyes.
"Of course he trusts you. Why wouldn't he?"
"I don't know Dad, he calls me 'disobedient and insubordinate' at every opportunity. Not exactly high praise."
"Sweetie, we have been over this already. This Vault, I know you don't like it but it's a safe place. You don't like the Overseer I know but he...keeps us protected; safeguards our lives."
"Does that mean he owns them?"
"Alex, you know what I mean."
"Yeah, fine, I get it. I'm supposed to be on the early shift tomorrow so I'm going to bed." As much as Alex tried, she could not hide the bitterness in her voice. Her father heard it too and heaved a deep sigh. The girl stared at the carpet, refusing to look at him.
"Goodnight my love." he remarked quietly. It wasn't until Alex studied him properly that she suddenly like a brick was dropped into her gut. He appeared pale with red rings under his eyes as if he had been weeping moments before the young mechanic arrived home. How could she have missed it.
Alex struggled up from her warm seat ungracefully and caught sight of her appearance in a makeshift mirror bolted onto the wall. Messy russet hair framed her head, cut in an uneven fashion and hung just past her ears in neat, smooth tresses. Her hair style was the only remotely feminine aspect about the girl. Short and scruffy; Alex was often mistaken for a fifteen year old boy with an effeminate hairdo rather than a nineteen year old woman much to her dismay. Her nose was smaller and she had thicker eyelashes but the whole, she was very boyish looking. What little curves she had were hidden by the oversized overalls she wore to work. Like her father, her eyes were large but a bright bottle green and a mirror to her mind. The young woman was the type to wear her heart on her sleeve; "My Little Open Book" according to her father.
The girl left her father alone and trotted through to her dark bedroom. With a frown plastered on her lips, Alex flopped down onto the standard issue Vault bed and yawned in a very unladylike manner. Alex did not even bother getting changed out of her jumpsuit. Sleep would not come to Alex now, sugar flowed freely inside her veins and kept her eyes alert and far from the sandman's clutches. Alex laughed at what she thought was stupidity on his part. Beside the girl's bed, a small table sat – Iron like everything else in the room- with a few knick knacks spread across the surface. That included her Pip-Boy 3000; glowing a bright luminous green while "he" recharged. The Pip-Boys had been undergoing a full maintenance reconfiguration which included an enhanced V.A.T.S and personality overhauls. Now every Pip-Boy had a unique personality that was found in no other device.
It was late before Alex eventually dropped off to sleep, into the early hours of the morning and the late hours of the afternoon before the young girl awoke. The wakeup-call came not from her worn father but instead her wide eyed, frantic friend Amata. Usually, The Overseer's Daughter looked neat and tidy at every minute of every day as an "example" to the other dwellers. But today, her dark hair was messy and her equally murky brown eyes were highlighted with a glimmer of emotion that Alex had not often seen residing in her friend before.
With Amata's high brow creased in worry, the Doctors daughter stared blankly up at Amata from the rumpled bed.
"Amata? What's going on?" Alex asked foolishly.
"Hurry Alex! You've got to get up! Your father is gone and my father is looking for you," Amata explained quickly, grasping the brunette's hand tightly and pulling the shell-shocked girl to her unsteady feet. A flourish of betrayal blossomed within her chest and, inside the girl, an ocean of questions flowed freely in mind; each without an answer.
"What do you mean 'gone'?" Alex tried again, somehow managing to wade through her confusion.
"I don't know but he's gone! Left the Vault and my father....well he's kinda gone crazy!" Amata explained frantically as she picked up random supplies strewn across the bedroom, shoving them into an old leather backpack that had obviously seen better days.
"Amata, I've never seen you this upset before," her tone more detached than she would have liked.
"It's Jonas! They killed him! My father's men, they took him and....I'm so sorry, I should have done something" Amata sobbed, her dark knuckles turning white. The colour of Alex's face rapidly changed colour from white to sickly green and the betrayal became fury within the girl. A sensation of cold, hard distress eat away inside her and the girl wondered if this was what they called "mourning". Alex uncharacteristically steeled herself and made an effort to quell Amata's self loathing. The girl blamed herself for Jonas's death; though here was nothing she could have possibly done.
"It's not your fault Amata, not from where I'm standing", Alex soothed with cold reassurance and a look of surprise crossed her face and Amata's with her tone. Obviously, a vocal response coupled with a good few obscenities was what they were both expecting. Amata bit her lip as her only response.
"I know. I'm just sorry you had to find out like this. I know Jonas was your friend" Amata replied, fingering the leather bag in her grasp. "Listen, I know it's not any of my business but did your dad say anything to you about leaving?" Amata asked carefully, her tone sounded like she was treading on egg shells; as if she was expecting the shock suppresser on Alex's bad temper to buckle any moment.
"No, he never said a word about it." Alex replied regretfully, her green orbs eyeing the leather sack.
"You going somewhere?" Amata shook her dark haired head and pushed the bag into Alex's unexpected and lack hands.
"Not me, you."
"I'm sorry, but I think you should follow your father."
"But how do I get out?"
"Listen, I have a plan."
"Let's hear it then."
"In my father's office, there is an underground tunnel that leading right up to the door. You'll need to break into the office and hack the terminal. There are some bobby pins in the back pocket of that bag, that's how I always get in, along with some others things I think you would need for the outside. Oh, and here is my father's pistol. You will need it more than him"
"Thanks Amata. What would I do without you?"
"Not a hell of a lot. Now go, I'll try and meet you at the entrance but don't wait for me. Good luck." With that Amata gave Alex one last fleeting smile before running out of the room. In the distance, the scream of the alarm bells resounding throughout the halls. The girl's stomach clenched in a sickening manner; tying itself into a pretzel for several moments. Distant shouts ricocheted off the walls and the distinct scent of pandemonium clung to the air. It was as if Pandora's Box had been opened rather than just the front door.
Alex reached over for her charging Pip-boy and buckled him against her wrist with trembling fingers. There was something reassuring about having him on her person and helped ebb away her anxiety. The device stirred and the screen began to glow a bright emerald green.
"Hmm? What's going on lass?" The voice of her Pip-Boy asked with his Scottish accent heavy upon his synthesized voice. With her mouth fixed into a frown, Alex darted out the door; her steps light and agile against the metal floor plating.
"Dad has left the Vault and the Overseer is looking for us. We're leaving. Now" Alex whispered, pressing her back up against the wall before rounding another corner. The halls were surprisingly empty despite the blaring sirens that rocketed through the corridors. Biting her lower lip, the red head peeked around the bulkhead. A single security guard stood in the girl's way, dressed in standard issue Vault-Tec jumpsuit with a flakjacket strapped to his torso. Luckily for Alex, he was armed only with a police baton.
"So, we going on a little jig out into the wasteland aye?" The Pip-boy remarked from his position on her wrist, a little too loudly for his own good. Alex groaned as the officer spun around and raised his weapon.
"Hey! There she is! You! Don't move!" the security guard suddenly hollered. He opened his mouth to yell something else, only for his shouts to suddenly be drowned out by the sinister scuttling rapidly approaching their position. A squad of perfectly synchronised giant roaches stormed the corridor. They were Radroaches; huge and mutated bugs that were a constant plague to the residents of 101. Small and quick usually they posed no real threat on their own but in a group, they could cause all sorts of unpleasantness. However, they were a far from adequate distraction.
While the swarm attacked the security guard, the young woman stole her chance with a leather bound fist and darted forward. She jumped over several roaches and ran right past the distracted security guard, not bothering to look back. He would be fine, Radroaches were easy to take care of and the security training provided by the Vault wasn't completely useless.
The teenager had just turned the corner when suddenly her childhood bully Butch leapt in front of her, his eyes wide with uncharacteristic fear. Without hesitation, Alex's hand darted to the pistol at her hip and whipped it out; finger hovering dangerously on the trigger. The vindictive little bastard was one of the few people Alex would gladly store a bullet in the brain. Although distressed, Alex ignored his discomfort and glared openly at him; jade coloured eyes narrowed dangerously.
"Out of the way Butch. I don't have time for your games," Alex demanded, gesturing with her 10mm pistol at him. To her immense surprise, Butch raised his hands as a peaceful gesture though his eyes told a different story. Alex stifled a snort of laughter. What had gotten him so spooked?
"You have to help me! My mum is trapped in there with the Radroaches," Butch cried, trepidation cracking his voice. The brunette cocked an eyebrow and frowned, her weapon still aimed at the childhood bully. It would have been easy to simply shoot him and walk past. After all, he deserved nothing else after the way he treated both herself and Amata. Despite the mutual dislike they both held for each other, the young woman's trigger finger waver slightly.
"Why in oblivions name would I help you?" Alex demanded harshly.
"I know I have been a jerk to you and I'm sorry but please, help me! If not for me but for my mum" Butch countered, his voice breaking slightly. Alex rolled her eyes and lowered the pistol with some apprehension.
"Alright Butch, but I'm doing this for your mum. Not for you." Alex replied, her tone ice from the mountains. The said boy sighed with obvious relief and gestured to his living room for the girl to follow. Like the home of Alex, it felt cold and empty; devoid of life expect for the scratching and scuttling from the next room coupled with painful squeaks. The Pip-boy on her wrist, who had been silent for some time, finally spoke up.
"Aye, targets confirmed, three Radroaches and the old wifie from the looks of it", he piped up. As she reached for the doorway switch, Alex readied her pistol. The door slid open with a sick groan and Alex darted into the room. As her Pip-Boy had predicted, three large Radroaches were attacking Butch's mother as fiercely as they knew how.
The young woman blinked once and suddenly the cold rush of the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System enter the fight. Time came to a complete halt; freezing the Roaches with it. A translucent shine of neo green blanketed the girl's vision as several lines of code suddenly ran across her sight. A sudden pressure was placed upon on her neurons as the Pip-Boy connected its frequency into her brain wave patterns; displaying the status and position of the roaches across her vision. Percentages of probable hits shot up across the young woman's blurred sight.
The roaches exploded.
A round of bullets hammered through each of the rock hard outer shell of the Radroaches; cracking through the protective brown shell and painting the floor white with various internal organs. Smoke rose from the nose of her gun in an ominous manner. Alex holstered her gun with a satisfied smirk and turned to see Butch run through the door.
"We did it! My mum is going to be okay!"
"Hey, when I say I'm going to do something, I'll do it."
"Yeah yeah. I know it's not much but here, take my jacket," Butch said happily, shoving his leather tunnel snakes jacket into Alex's slack hands and retreated back into the safely of his quarters. The said girl quirked an eyebrow and made a mental note to destroy it at a later date; maybe even burn it. Never the less, Alex shoved it into her leather sack and continued on her way with a renewed vigour in her step. She needed to move, and move quickly she hoped to get out alive.
Alex rounded another corner, practically skidding down the hallway and losing her footing in her haste. She zipped straight through the canteen and was bombarded. But not by officers or roaches, instead memories of times once lost; those better days when life around them all was simple and constant. The young woman's mouth twisted into a smile as she recalled briefly the colossal black eye she managed to bestow upon Butch when he stole her sweetroll. The bully made her pay dearly later but her father's grin was unforgettable. She came across the body of Grandma Taylor and felt an unfamiliar pang of grief. Old lady Taylor had always been kind to her. Alex paused for a moment to pay her respects before darting off again.
The girl ran straight through the Atrium, passing Tom Holden and his wife Mary. Gunshots sounding off in the enclosed space caused Alex to jump suddenly. Like a blue bullet, the girl ran straight through and up onto the upper Atrium level; storing bullets in three roaches and impacting her boot on a fourth as she passed. Two of the security doors were locked so she rounded onto the third, relieved to find it open. She ducked through the arched hallways. It wasn't until the bright lights from the consoles poked her in the eye did Alex realise that she was standing in the middle of the maintenance department; her natural territory. The frozen face of Floyd Lewis stared back at her and wash of steel regret hit Alex. Floyd had taught Alex everything when she turned up two days after the G.O.A.T test, asking – though more like demanding a place in the Maintenance Department after her G.O.A.T. She checked his body and pocketed his lucky sunglasses. In his toolbox, she grabbed the scrap metal, a wrench and a paint gun before continuing on her way.
Alex came to an abrupt halt when the voice of Amata could be heard over the wailing emergency sirens. The girl inched forward and peered through the glass window. Inside was the Chief security officer, The Overseer and Amata. From the look of the situation, Alex could only guess that they were interrogating her. Over what and why would not remain a mystery for much longer.
"I told you! I don't know!"
"Now Amata, I know you helped her."
"She is my friend, I had to!"
"But would she do the same for you? Please Amata, don't make this any more painful that it already is. I just want to have a talk with her."
"I swear, she hasn't done anything." The words were like a bucket of ice In Alex's face. A sudden thump of fist upon flesh was unmistakable and Alex winced, looking down at her pistol; or rather Amata's father's pistol. There was not nearly enough ammo to take three security officers down. Heck, not even enough for one. Too much ammo had been wasted on the Radroaches thanks to her crap shots. Alex let out a strangled hiss through clenched teeth and ran straight forward; each step felt like a bullet to the gut. She was leaving her best friend to the wolves. Alex could not fathom why she was running from her ailing friend and for a fleeting moment, she wished she was in Amata's boots. At least Amata would not feel the betrayal that coursed through Alex's veins. Physical wounds were much easier to deal with. A punch in the face she could take. A slap in the mouth was almost welcome. Clean and hide a wound with a bandage, it would heal over time. Emotional wounds however, left scars that could run deep for years. When Alex fled from her friend, a piece of her honour was lost for good.
What kind of monster was she?
The traitorous kind.
The worst kind. Alex had helped her enemy before her best friend.
Alex was so wrapped up in her self-pity that she had not noticed that she had arrived in the administration complex. The still body of Jonas lay in a pool of his own blood; the sight caused Alex to let out a half strangled gasp. Dull, open eyes stared out at her from coke bottle glasses and hate blossomed again. She removed and pocketed his glasses then gently closed his eyelids shut. A holotape peeked out of his pocket, the crude sticky label addressed to Alex. Puzzled, the girl took the tape and stuffed it into her jumpsuit pocket before continuing on her way.
After quickly picking the lock on the door but snapping three bobby pins, Alex entered the Overseers office with little apprehension. Like any self-respecting problem child, she had been sent to see him more often than not when she was young. She closed the door behind her and hoped it would buy some time if security discovered her location. A quick raid for the locker near his desk revealed the password for the computer, one and twenty 10mm rounds and a pack of Mentats.
"Pop me in lass, I'll see if I cannae download some of the information from his box," her Pip-boy suddenly asked in his synthesised voice. His sudden intrusion of the silence made Alex jump almost three feet in the air.
"Don't do that to me," Alex demanded, pulling out the connection cables from the top of her Pip-Boy and slotting him into the union ports. The screen of her Pip-boy flared up in response as data trafficked back and forth inside his circuits; downloading all relevant information regarding the outside world.
"Sorry lass," he remarked, bright green text scrolling across the screen. Alex opened up the Overseer's file and clicked on the Overseer's Tunnel. A low rumble groaned from beneath her feet then the desk behind her became animated so suddenly that she jumped again. The platform rose up for another few seconds before it came to an abrupt halt.
"Right lass, I'm done. Unplug me," Her Pip-boy whirled. She unplugged him and fed the hacking cables back inside her Pip-Boy. Alex ducked into the tunnel and flicked another small switch, following dimly glowing lights right down to the depths of the tunnel. She met one or two Radroaches along the way and implanted a bullet in each; her pistol fresh with ammo. The girl soon came to the control room for the vault and she rested for a moment; the sensation of fatigue burning at her throat. The air was sterile and almost tasted stale on her tongue and the lifeless atmosphere of the room put Alex in mind of a crypt. The Vault door was cut in the shape of a giant gear and sunk a good few feet into the wall; accessed by a control panel nearby. A quick search nearby crates and boxes provided the girl with more junk that could be traded outside. Or at the very least thrown at someone if the need arose. Alex turned to the console and her fingertips danced across the panel and activated the Vault's entrance. The Door whirled to life and screamed in protest at being open a second time that day. Compressed air spilled out from the gaps as the Vault door slid forward with a sickening groan. Alex had been too transfixed to notice Amata suddenly appear next to her like she had just popped out of the ground.
"You did it! You really did it!" Amata cried happily. Alex turned and felt a twang of betrayal at the sight of her ecstatic friend. The bruise on Amata's left cheek was a painful reminder to Alex how cowardly she had acted.
"Well, I couldn't have done it without your help."
"No, you didn't need me. If anyone can survive out there, it will be you"
"I'm sorry Amata; I couldn't risk them catching me. I was almost out of ammo" Amata bristled somewhat.
"It's okay, I understand. Listen, If you ever find your dad out there, tell him I'm sorry; for Jonas, for the Vault, for everything." Alex quirked an eyebrow playfully.
"Why don't you come with me?"
"No Alex, I belong here. This is my home. I'll be damned if my father thinks he can chase me out"
"Where did that backbone come from. Well, goodbye Amata."
"Goodbye Alex. I'll miss you. Try not to piss anyone off too much." Alex snorted at the ludicrous thought.
"Everyone has a skill Amata." They stared at each for a second before Amata reached over and enveloped her friend in a tight hug. Alex, however, felt like somehow hauled a rusty knife through her gut. She had done nothing to help Amata in her time of need but yet the good natured girl was still stupid to care enough. Alex returned the favour as a small smile tugged at her lips. "Now, go," Amata urged, breaking the embrace and pushing her friend towards the exit. Two security guards rushed through the door, shoving Amata roughly to the side. Alex turned and ran straight out the door as quickly as her short legs could carry her. The security officers did not pursue, and hung back at the entrance. Puzzled, Alex took another few steps back only to see the horrifying sight of the door to Vault 101 sliding shut with another deafening screech. She was not sure how to think or respond and simply stood for a moment or two. Her ears were free from the incessant ringing of the alarm sirens and for the first time since Amata had hauled her out of bed, Alex felt sweet relief. The girl traipsed up the shadowed tunnel, apprehension eating away at the pit of her stomach. She forced a determined frown onto her face.
The world was waiting.
The moment Alex stepped out into the sunlight for the very first time, sunlight speared her eyes sharply. Instinctively, Alex threw her gloved hand up over her burning eyes. She had not expected the outside sunlight to be so piercing and she was paying for her foolishness. Through squinted jade hues, Alex slowly but surely allowed her sheltered eyes to adjust to the light of the wasteland. She spied a nearby signpost reading "Scenic Overlook" in faded white print and laughed at the irony. The "Wasteland" did not fail to live up to its expectations. Rubble littered the landscape; a patchwork of tragedy upon the worn quilt of a landscape. The Nuclear war had completely devastated the land, leaving behind husks of empty cities and former shells of townships. Roughly to the west, Alex could vaguely make out a great tower just peeking over the landscape and to the southeast jutted large collection of scrape. Alex felt some hope. Perhaps humanity had managed to survive even now. The thought alone quelled some of the anxiety in her stomach. Alex had not been looking forward to the concept of being the last human standing. She unzipped her jumpsuit and secured the arms around her waist tightly like she would a fleece or jumper. The last thing she wanted to do was get sun stroke so early in the game from overheating in the wasteland. The young woman heaved the sack higher upon her back, and set off down the slope towards the hunk of metal marring the landscape; taking care not to trip on the way down treacherous slope.
Heat beat down from the sky relentlessly Alex wiped her damp brow and looked up at the blinding yellow orb with obvious loathing. She fumbled in her jumpsuit pocket and pulled out Lewis's lucky sunglasses; shielding her green hues from the suns vicious attacks. She had been walking – more like stumbling for a good one hour so, listening to the stolen downloads from the Overseer's computer. From what her Pip-Boy could decode, it appeared that the Vault had been open sometime before either she or Amata had been born. Several documents explained some of the creatures that could be found roaming the wastes, the city of "Megaton"; a detailed report about a human settlement to the southeast and the economic crisis that gripped whatever was left of humanity. People used Bottle caps or just "caps" instead, of what she would have considered, money. Caps were used to buy medicine, food and other supplies in various other settlements dotted around the Wasteland.
Despite everything that had happened and the uncertainty for what lay ahead, Alex hoped that Megaton would have a shower.
The mechanic swiftly came to the conclusion that she did not like Megaton one bit. Once one got over the amazement of a town being built around an active Atomic Bomb, the town was a lot to be desired. The place appeared to be dark even in the daylight, smelly with very little in the way of shops and retail. The workmanship was substandard and poor; thick ropes of cables hanging freely here and there and the walls were crudely welded together with scrap metal. The walkways were in complete disrepair, a good few having to be closed off completely. The houses, no shacks, were just like the residents who resided in them – bleak and hopeless. People within Megaton kept to themselves and were uncooperative, surly and suspicious of outsiders.
Alex stopped abruptly and surveyed the area with obvious distaste lingering upon her face. Not exactly the High rise but it would have to do. If her father had been planning an extensive trip, surely he would have passed through this "Megaton" before setting off.
"Well hot damn, we've got us a Vault Dweller" A kind voice suddenly asked Alex. The young woman spun around, apprehension and confusion lingering in her stare. A good natured but weathered man stood before her, his dark skin wrinkled like a baked potato left in the heat for too long. He was dressed in an overcoat, sporting an old cowboy hat that had obviously seen better days and a pointed silver star was pinned to his chest. The mechanic would have scoffed if it hadn't have been for the Chinese Assault Rifle strapped to his back, warning enough to silence Alex's snide words. However, the meta-cowboy spoke before she did.
"Lucas Simms, Vault girl. Pleasure to meet you," The old cowboy greeted. An effervesce of curiosity bubbled within Alex's chest.
"Lucas Simms huh? Are you like the sheriff of this place?" The girl asked, nodding towards the star stapled to his chest.
"Well, I try to bring law to a lawless town so yes. You're not here to cause trouble are you?" He eyed her suspiciously. A playful smile crossed the mechanics lips.
"I don't cause trouble; I just have disagreements too violently."
"You seem like a nice kid so I'll let you off with that one."
"Wow, that's the first time someone has ever called me 'nice'"
"If you need anything, anything at all, you give me a holler"
"Can I ask you something?" The cowboy quirked an eyebrow.
"Have you seen my father. Middle aged kinda guy? He's from a vault like me"
"Sorry kid, can't say I have." The curiosity bubble popped and a storm of disappointment clouded Alex's features. The cowboy sighed and scratched the back of his head.
"Listen girl, I like you so I'll help you out this time. I did see a stranger pass through here not too long ago. Had purpose in his eyes, kinda like you but he doesn't match your description. I saw him last at the saloon" Lucas Simms explained and he pointed a finger towards the only speck of real light in the city; a seedy looking saloon at the top of town. Alex grinned gratefully, plotting a course up through the shackle of a town.
"Anytime. Keep out of trouble now, I'd hate to waste bullets on ya" With that, the brunette turned on her heel and bolted up the nearby ramp onto the winding metal tree houses of Megaton. Nearly everyone stared as the girl passed them, some even stopping to whisper to a fellow resident. If Alex was more in tune with her surroundings, she probably would have noticed their stares. With the sight of the saloon pictured in her mind, the young mechanic bounded up and along the ramps and pathways; hoping against hope that she would find her father leaning over the counter of the bar alive and safe. Well, safe enough until she was through with him. As she climbed the last of the steps and skidded to a halt outside the pub, the girl felt a sickening twist in her stomach. What if her dad wasn't in the bar? What would she do? Alex shook her head, chasing her doubts in traps and storing them somewhere else for a later date. He just had to be inside. He just had to.
The Vault Dweller wretched the door open. Walked in. Took one look around and could have died died on the spot. No weathered, kind doctor. No Vault-Tec issued suit jumping out from behind a corner. Nothing. Alex glanced around and let despair cross her face. Just like the town, the squalid saloon was rundown and dark. A cocktail of shame, sweat and alcohol clung to the air in a rather unpleasant manner. The young woman's skin felt like it was going to run off without her but at least it was warm. There were a few residents present in the pub; a man who appeared to look like corpse minded the till, a few people sitting at the counter clutched glasses filled with amber liquid and a woman who looked to offer her services to anyone with too many caps and lots of time. Too disappointed to care further, the young woman let a frustrated sigh escape her chest.
The girl padded over to a bar stool and dropped herself onto it; her feet dangling a few inches off the ground. The man behind the counter eyed her warily as Alex fished out what little money she had on her person. A dead mercenary had provided her with a several fistfuls of bottle caps, the national currency of the Wasteland. Alex glanced at the bartender, noted his singed flesh and rotting body wanted to say something mean but didn't. The girl had simply stopped caring.
"Hey smoothskin, can I get you something? Anything at all?" he asked, his words far too guarded and careful.
"Something strong my good man" her tone was somewhat polite but heavy with exhaustion as she dropped the handful of bottlecaps onto the surface. The...man behind the counter almost dropped the glass he was cleaning.
"You're not going to hit me? Yell at me? Even berate me just a little?" he asked, disbelief written across his mangled face. The girl arched an eyebrow.
"I wasn't planning on it, do you want me to?" The man put down the glass and gather up the caps with a weak smile.
"No, no. It's just a surprise. I'm used to every smoothskin in this town giving me crap just because I look like a corpse. Nice to know there are still some worthwhile people left in the world," he explained, sliding over her change. "He would have my ass if he caught me selling at a discount, but for you, I'd risk it. I'm Gob" He reached a hand over to her. Taken back slightly, Alex stared for a second before reaching up and grasping in palm into a shake; an unpleasant enough experience she wasn't sure she wanted to repeat.
"Alexandra Halsey. My friends call me Alex. At least they would if I still had any" she replied bitterly. Gob threw her a sympathetic glance.
"Life in a Vault not everything it cracked up to be?" Alex suppressed a disgruntled snort.
"I was, quite literally, thrown out. Rather chased out actually like some bad dog," the young woman replied, acid dripping off her tongue as she took a swig of the amber poison in her glass.
"Sorry smoothskin, that must have sucked. If you need anything else, give me a shout," Gob remarked before turning his attention to another customer.
It wasn't until the girl downed the last of her whisky and was left alone with her thoughts when she became aware of something quite strange from the corner of her eye. Someone was watching her intently and had been for quite some time. Alex shuffled around on the seat, glass still clutched in her hands while green eyes scanned the bar cautiously. Sitting in the corner was strangest man the young woman had laid her eyes on, save from Gob. He was such a immense contrast to his surroundings that Alex was amazed she had missed him in the first place. One thing was for certain, he was beckoning her over. Against what little judgement the mechanic possessed, she swung off the barstool and approached him.
"My my, just when I had all but given up hope." His voice was smooth, trusting almost; if it was not for the fact that there was a Silenced 10mm pistol clipped to his belt. The gentleman in question was wearing a pristine white pinstripe business suit, a pre-war brown hat and a dashing pair of tortoiseshell glasses. He wore a sly smirk that practically screamed "come hither." It was an unavoidable fact that he was quite handsome.
"You talking to me?" the teenager asked, attempting to keep her tone level and detached. They both knew the answer.
"Why of course, now, would you care to sit down?" he replied with an enticing smile gracing his lips. Not returning his grin, Alex simply frowned back.
"I prefer to stand thanks," the young woman replied dryly, folding her arms across her chest. To his credit, Burke's grin did not falter in the slightest. If anything, the blue eyes hidden behind his sunglasses flashed in dangerous amusement.
"My dear boy, I am very happy to make your acquaintance. I am Mister Burke," he introduced, knitting his long fingers together. Alex's jaw tightened in obvious annoyance.
"I'm a girl," She hissed. The man stopped, shamelessly trailed his eyes over her short figure then let out a chuckle of laughter.
"Really? The line between boy and girl seems to be rather blurred these days." The girl felt a surge of rage but forced it down, determined not to give the stranger the reaction he was looking for.
"Really? Well, the line between your face and my fist will become rather blurred as well," the girl threatened; an empty one at that. Burke's mouth twisted into a dangerous smile, like he was enjoying her heated reaction. A flutter of vulnerability hit Alex; a revelation that people might not have actually found her threatening.
"Now now, we must remember our manners. We wouldn't want our business arrangement to get off on the wrong foot."
"What business arrangement?" The man chose to ignore Alex's comment. Or perhaps he just didn't hear.
"So, I have introduced myself, it is only polite for you to do the same" Mister Burke asked, his tone lined with silver.
"Alex. Alex Halsey. What's it to you?" The mechanic enquired hotly, trying to sound as unimpressed as possible but failing miserably. To her intense surprise, Burke simply chuckled at her words; infuriating the young woman further. People were not supposed to laugh at her.
It didn't happen.
If Alex had been a bird, her feathers would have been ruffled beyond repair.
"Oh, you have a boy's name as well? How perfect." Alex attempted to rein in her anger and failed, the skin on her cheeks flaring up.
"Well if you must know, my first name is Alexandra. A girls name last time I checked. There, are you happy?" Alex fumed, steam practically billowing out of her ears. Burke let out a chuckle. He could hardly believe how easy it was to get this "Alex" character so worked up and he had barely known her for five minutes. She was going to end up on the bottom of someone's boot if she wasn't careful. And it was entirely possible that it would be his boot.
"Ecstatic. If you care to indulge me for a moment, am I right in assuming that you are indeed new to this 'capital wasteland'" he asked, dark eyes twinkling with curiosity. The Vault Dweller quirked an eyebrow.
"What gave it away? The big '101' stencilled on my back or the fact that I'm the only one out here who has heard of soap?" Alex retorted, kicking the ball back into his court. To his credit, the mysterious Mister Burke didn't falter for a second. If anything,
"Mind your manners. You'd do well to remember that out here, not everyone is as well manner as I" Burke shot back. Alex snapped her mouth shut and glared furiously at him.
"What do you want from me?" Alex scathed. The gentleman paused to surveyed the girl for a moment; eyes pausing on her features with interest before continuing.
"I'm glad you asked. I represent certain...interests. And those interests view this town, this 'Megaton', as a blight on an burgeoning urban landscape." Alex snorted.
"'Burgeoning?' You looked outside Megaton lately?" she asked shortly. Burke silenced her with a forceful glare before continuing.
"You have no interests here; no connections with cesspools affairs or fate. You could help us erase this little accident off the map. The undetonated Atomic bomb for which this town is named is still very much alive. All it needs is a little...motivation" Burke explained, his smooth voice thick with spite. At that moment, Alex was silenced for several seconds; allowing the implications of his words sink in. The girl swallowed the lump in her throat and wet her lips carefully. An action that did not go unnoticed by Burke.
"You're not planning on blowing up Megaton are you?" Alex asked with disbelief painted clearly across her features. The man chuckled at the naivety of the young woman.
"No no dear girl, I am merely the recruiter. You will get to have all the fun," he answered with a wicked grin. While shock stole Alex's voice, Burke grinned and leaned back in the armchair.
"Splendid, I have your rapt attention. Now listen closely. I have in my possession a fusion pulse charge, constructed for a singular purpose. The detonation of that bomb. You rig it to the bomb. And you'll get paid. Handsomely. What do you say?" A gasp escaped Alex's chest, attempting to suppress her shock but failing miserably. Her shock swiftly turned to outrage.
"What the hell kind of person do you think I am?" she snapped back at him, green eyes gleaming. The gentleman let out a short cough and eyed the teenager carefully, evidently trying to decide whether or not he would have to kill her when she left the Saloon.
Which he considered to be quite a setback.
She was attractive, in a scruffy kind of way.
Shame she was turning out to be such a vulgar brat.
"What have I told you about manners Miss Halsey? Or must I teach you a lesson in civility?" A swell of anger rose within Alex but she forced it back down.
"That a threat?" The girl breathed feverishly, damn tempted to hit him in the face. Or at the very least stamp on his foot. Alex's sweltering pride prevented Burke from receiving a broken toe. The girl resolved herself to the fact that the man was goading her into a reaction; wanting her to snap so he could poke fun at her a second time as nicely as possible.
Suddenly, Burke stood up abruptly from his armchair and squished Alex's confidence swiftly with a crushing stare. He was tall; much taller than her at least and easily towered over her. Startled by the sudden turn of events, Alex glanced around behind her to find none of the patrons in the bar the least bit surprised. Or just ignoring the situation completely. Alex glared openly at him, grumbling under her breath that he had stunned her into checkmate.
"Only if you desire it to be," he mocked with an unidentifiable edge to his voice that she could not place. He sat back down, as if retreating from the fight. "So, does my proposal interest you?" Alex snorted, her confidence clawing its way back with a vengeance. Such was her desire to put the stranger in his place that Alex ignored all logically reasoning, all alarm bells that screamed disaster.
Oh, I'll show you a proposal Mister Burke. Make no mistake about that.
The cogs within Alex's brain reeled away silently; adding up and calculating possible outcomes of the situation. Though Logical reasoning was hardly Alex's forte, she was smart enough to know that a good trap required good bait. Good "bait", the young brunette already possessed and the trap was a finely knitted web of words and enticing undertones. The young woman had all she required.
"Well, Mister Burke, I have a little 'proposition' of my very own. Would you like to hear it?" Behind shaded lenses, Burke's blue eyes flashed with sinful curiosity as he took the bait.
"Colour me intrigued. Go on," he replied, voice like liquid silk. The tigress moved in for the kill.
"Well that's the problem, lover, I live here and certainly you wouldn't want me to get hurt now would you?" Alex practically purred, a hand reaching up to play with a lock of brown hair innocently for the overkill. Her residence in Megaton wasn't exactly set in stone but he did not need to know that. The demeanour of Burke changed so rapidly that physicist would have been hard pressed to time it. A jumbled of mixed emotions danced behind his dark eyes and Alex was stumped to decipher their meanings.
"Well I...I uhm...I mean, no. Of course not. I must admit, I've never met a woman quite like you. This changes everything." A feline smirk pulled at Alex's lips.
"Now Mister Burke, what happened to 'boy'?" The said gentleman spluttered.
"I'm not sure what I'm going to tell Tenpenny, I'll think of something," Burke stated, his fluid and commanding tone all but diminished. He stared at her for a moment too longer than intended before he looked away; an indescribable look plastered all over his face. The plan worked flawlessly and Alex quirked her head to the side in an almost innocent manner.
Almost being the key word.
There was nothing innocent about Alex Halsey.
Nothing in the slightest.
"You wait here my dear. I have some important business to conclude in the wasteland. But you won't be waiting long, I will send for you soon."With that, Burke stood up to leave. As he left, his warm palm ghosted against the Vault dweller's bare arm. A sizzle of a connection sprang from his touch, causing warmth to spread up Alex's arm at impact. The girl shivered and Burke looked down sharply. The room around them suddenly felt smaller, contracting around them both. Alex extended out a slim finger and brushed it against his chest. The hitch of his breath was audible however faint it may have been.
"Take your time," she breathed, unaware of the equally intense stare lingering in her eyes. Burke let out a small, frustrated noise before miraculously backing off the fiery teenager and turning away from her. Unsure what to do with herself, the girl stuffed her hands into the pockets of her overalls and watched him retreat; completely unaware of the can of worms she had unwittingly released.
Alex recoiled back to her barstool, trying to avoid Gob's open stare. The girl trailed her finger across the top of her empty glass, studying a groove embedded on the worn countertop with a smug expression painted on her face. Alex was obnoxiously pleased with herself; her ego inflating as she recalled how quickly the tables had turned from Burke's favour. Alex stored the thought of the gentleman to the back of her mind, hoping she would never see him again.
"Hey Gob, know a place where a girl can get some sleep?" The ghoulish barkeep jerked his thumb towards the auburn haired woman in the corner.
"If your caps are good, Nova will set you up straight," Gob responded. At that moment, Alex's pockets chose to suddenly feel lighter.
"Probably only got about one thirty on me at the moment," Alex stated dryly.
"You would want to find some work tomorrow then."
"Huh, I'd have better luck getting back into the Vault." Gob shot what the girl assumed was a glare in her general direction.
"Kid, no one said life out here was easy."
"Isn't that the god honest truth?" With that, Alex slunk of the barstool and approached the ginger haired woman that Gob had gestured to. Pretty and spunky, Nova greeted the young brunette with a warm smile.
"Hey kid, haven't seen you about before," the woman purred, a hidden agenda blinking back at Alex. The said girl burrowed her hands into her pocket and scraped up the last of her bottlecaps. The bag supported on her shoulder was heavy with various items but the concept of exchanging worthless scraps of junk just had not occurred to her when she first stepped foot in the town. Her thoughts were not that organised.
"I just got here." Nova grinned playfully at her fellow brunette.
"I heard. You certainly did a number on that Burke character." A spark of interest fluttered in Alex's stomach at the mention of the mysterious man's name.
"What do you know about him?"
"Polite enough man I suppose. Makes my skin crawl though. There's nothing not quite right about the guy."
"Only that he was waiting for that certain someone to come along. Been here for a while, just waiting in that spot. Well, that's what Colin told me anyway"
"Colin? That someone I haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet?" Alex remarked, her voice knee deep with sarcasm. The corners of Nova's mouth tweaked faintly before being coupled with a breath of laughter. It was dry and weak; almost like the copper haired woman had almost forgotten how to laugh altogether.
"You're alright kid."
"So I have been told. Countless times I might add."
"So what can I do you for this fine night?" Nova's response came in a fistful of bottlecaps.
"I need a bed for the night. This enough?" The copper haired woman carefully counted by the handful of caps Alex handed over then looked up with an indecisive frown set upon her lips.
"Just enough for a bed and some company." Alarms bells rang and Alex quirked an eyebrow.
"No offence Nova but you're not my type." Despite her comment, Nova did not appear to be defeated in the slightest. If anything, her alluring smile changed into a suggestive grin that Alex was not entirely sure she liked.
"The mysterious, suit wearing guys more 'your type'?" Alex subconsciously folded her arms across her chest, cheeks a patchy red.
"So, can I have the key to the room now?" A worn key was held out the brunette accompanied with a warm smile.
"Upstairs, middle room with the better bed. Sleep well kid." Nova remarked, her lines sounding somewhat rehearsed.
"Any time sugar."
Alex took the key and headed up the creaking stairs towards the room that Nova had directed her to. She was completely dead on her feet; functioning on Autopilot alone. The young girl inserted the key and flopped into the room; taking care to lock it behind her. A simple double bed took up space in the center of the room; grimy and hardly up to Vault-Tec standards. The furniture was haggard and most likely broken. Alex wondered if the bed even had springs. The Vault Dweller wrinkled her nose in disgust but dropped her sack on a nearby chair. She struggled out of her clothing, and being such a tidy individual, left them strewn all over the floor without a second thought. She kicked her boots off and flopped down onto the bed.
The girl was asleep before she hit the pillow.
Zomg, I thought the first chapter would never end. It's so gosh darn long. Yeah, now that I read this over, there are a few things I'm not entirely happy about. Probably mostly the dialogue with Burke, describing when Alex first sees Megaton and the concept regarding currency. I should have fixed the fact that she knew about the currency without being out the vault for five minutes. But I'm just so darn lazy I can't be bothered fixing it. To do so, would mean that I would have to write lots more dialogue, more description and generally more nonsense. I want this chapter to end (I'm just fed up of this chapter to be completely honest) Been working on it for far too long D: Remember children, this is the Fallout Universe and not everything has to make logically reasoning.
I hope proofed. My brain is frazzled.
Thanks for reading children and have a lovely day!