Author's Note: I'm going to be changing some things up to fit my story better. Not too much, but enough. Also, I will be naming the chapters with titles or lyrics from songs I like. Because I can. I will list the song at the bottom of the chapter.
I will do my best, but I cannot promise regular updates. Because life. But the time between chapters shouldn't be too long.
Also, this is the first story I have ever written. So, please don't judge it too harshly. Comments are welcome!
The Saga Begins
This is the story of a girl. Actually, a young woman.
I mean, a teenage girl.
No. Wait. Let me start over.
This is the story of me. Of the things I've seen. The things I've done. Both good, and bad. Beautiful, and ugly. Amazing, and horrifying.
I could probably keep going with the descriptions like that. One of the great things about the English language is that you never seem to run out of synonyms. But, I'm here to tell a story. Might as well get to that, right? Right.
So, the story begins one fateful day...
"Molly! Wake up! Now!"
The yelling and shaking of my shoulder brought me out of a deep sleep. I lifted my face from my pillow and blinked a few times as my brain tried to get started. "Huh...what? Amata? What's up?"
"Come on, hurry up! They're looking for you!"
Amata Almodovar was my best friend. We were thick as thieves for most of our lives. Much to her father's displeasure. Anyways, hearing the panic in her voice woke me up faster. I sat up and rubbed eyes a bit. That's when I heard the alarms going off in the vault. That was...unusual.
"Looking for me? Who? Why?"
...okay, look, I didn't get much sleep that night. So my brain wasn't fully functional. Which is why my responses were pretty simple. I'm usually much more eloquent with my vocabulary. See? I used the word "eloquent".
Amata quickly glanced at my door, like she thought something was gonna burst through and attack us at any moment. "The security force! Your father left the vault, and my father is furious!"
That got my attention pretty quick. "Wait, what!? How the hell could my dad leave? Why would he leave?"
Amata gave a quick shrug. "I don't know. But my father is convinced that you know all about it, and he's determined to get answers from you."
That scared me a bit. You see, Amata's dad was the Overseer of the vault. The guy in charge. The head honcho. The big boss. And other fitting colloquialisms. And he wasn't always known for being the most rational or forgiving guy. Especially when it came to his daughter and the security of the vault.
I rubbed my forehead a bit, trying to process all of this. My dad left the vault. He left me! Why!? Why would he just up and leave without saying anything to me? It didn't make any sense.
"So they're sounding the alarms because he left? What, did he leave the door open?" By this point, I had gotten out of bed and started pulling on my vault jumpsuit. I know, a jumpsuit isn't exactly the most common article of clothing. And for good reason. Damn things got uncomfortable very quick. But, it was the only thing available to wear in the vaults. So, I wore it. Better than walking around naked.
Amata shook her head. "No, they're going off because a bunch of radroaches got in. Everybody but the security force is supposed to stay in their dorms."
"Shit." I zipped up my jumpsuit and thought about this for a moment. I had no idea why my dad left. Odds were good that the Overseer wouldn't believe me. And I really didn't want to find out what he would do too me when I didn't tell him what he wanted to hear. He scared me sometimes. Which really left only one option open for me. "Amata, can you help me figure out how to leave the vault?"
Amata's eyes widened in surprise. "What? You want to leave? Why?"
"It's my best option. I don't think you're dad is gonna believe that I have no reason why my dad left."
Amata sighed a bit. She loved her dad, but even she couldn't deny that he was, at times, unreasonable. "You have a point. But couldn't you just hide here for a while?"
I scoffed a bit. "Where? You're dad would tear this place apart to find me. Plus...I need to find my dad. I need to know why."
I must have let some emotion or another slip through my voice, because Amata looked a bit concerned all of a sudden. She took a breath, then nodded. "Alright. I'll help you."
I smiled a bit, and pulled my friend into a hug. "Thanks, Amata. You're almost a good friend."
She chuckled and swatted the back of my head. "Ass."
Okay, so at this point, you might have a few questions. And I think I can guess a few of them. So, let me answer those ones.
Back in the mid 21st century, the world was heavily dependent on oil. And, of course, it became extremely scarce. Rather than try to figure out ways to get by without it, the nations of the world started fighting each other over what little was left. This went on for a little over twenty years. Then, on October 23rd, 2077, the fighting reached its breaking point. Nobody knows who launched them first, but it wasn't long until the skies were filled with nuclear warheads all around the world. Death and destruction blanketed the planet that day.
Now, in the early years of the war, the U.S. thought that it might end in nuclear war. So, the government appointed Vault-Tec Corporation to proceed with their plan to build vaults throughout the country. The vaults were built underground, designed to easily house a thousand people each. They were made to keep a portion of the population safe when the bombs fell, so humanity could live on.
We all lived in Vault 101. The Overseer was the person in charge of the vault. When one died, their next of kin would take over. The vault door was locked when the bombs fell, and it had stayed that way for the past two hundred years. Nobody left. Nobody entered. We were born in the vault, and we would die in the vault.
I went over to my closet and pulled out a backpack, which I quickly started stuffing with what I thought I would need. Some clothes. Extra shoes. Some packs of snacks that I liked to hoard from the kitchen. A pocketknife my dad got my for my birthday a few years ago. I also grabbed another birthday present from my dad. Back when I turned ten, my dad somehow managed to get his hands on a BB gun. I now knew that it wasn't really much of a weapon, but back then, this was like finding a flying unicorn that had laser eyes. It was pretty badass to me. My dad and his assistant, Jonas, had set up a little shooting range in an unused area near the reactor room. Up to this day, I still went down there every so often. I actually found it to be a good way to clear my head and relax. All that practice was about to become useful.
I slipped the strap for the gun over my shoulder, then found the extra ammo and pocketed it. Amata watched me get ready with some concern. I could tell that she didn't want me to do this. But, she also knew that I had to. Once I was ready, I turned to her and said, "Alright. Let's do this."
Amata hesitated a brief moment. "Actually...here. You might need this." She reached behind her back and pulled out a 10 mm handgun, which she offered to me. I took the weapon and looked it over for a moment. It was one of the ones used by the security force. Did she already know that I was going to leave as well? Or did she just grab it because of the radroaches? I had no idea. I saw that it had a full clip, and Amata handed over another one as well. I stuck it into my pocket. "I really hope I don't. But thanks."
Amata nodded a bit, still looking a bit worried. "I know how to get to the vault door. There's a passage in the Overseer's office. I'll meet you there. The security force isn't looking for me." She hesitated again, then gave me another hug. "You be safe, okay? The radroaches are still in the halls."
I patted her head a bit and smiled. "Don't worry. I'll be fine. I'll see you in a bit." Then she let go of me and headed out the door.
I waited for a minute before heading out as well. When I got to the door, though, I stopped and went back to my closet. I grabbed the wooden baseball bat that was there. The vault had a couple baseball teams, and even though I hadn't played in a few years, I was a pretty good hitter back then. I even set the record for home runs one years. I figured a melee weapon would be handy in the close quarters of the vault.
Bat in hand, I headed out of my bedroom and towards the hall of the dorms level. I peaked into the hall, making sure nobody was there, before leaving. I got about three steps into the hall when Officer Kendall rounded the far corner. We both stopped when we saw each other, not exactly sure what to do. Then he raised his gun and shouted, "There she is! Hold it right there!"
I will admit, I panicked. I mean, sure, I was determined to do whatever I had to do to get out of the vault and find my dad. And if that meant fighting some people to do it, then so be it. But, it's one thing to have those thoughts while standing in the security of your bedroom. It was another thing to be staring down the barrel of a gun and trying really, really hard to not pass out in fear. Or piss myself.
So, Officer Kendall strolled down the hall towards me, his gun pointed at me, while I tried to keep my bladder from letting its contents go. Then, from a doorway on his left, a group of three radroaches scurried out and took the officer by surprise, latching onto his legs and causing him to fall, screaming in pain.
Radroaches were once normal, tiny cockroaches. After a couple hundred years of being exposed to the radiation outside, though, they were now the size of a bulldog. And they were mean. I guess centuries of being hated and exterminated would piss off any species.
"Ah! Get it off me!"
I snapped out of my daze and saw Officer Kendall try to fight off the creatures. His efforts were in vain. The bugs crawled over his body and went right for his throat, silencing his screams. This was my first experience with a violent death. I'd seen people die of disease and old age before. I'd never seen anybody killed. It made me sick.
No time to vomit, though. The bugs, having taken out the officer, turned their attention to me. Guess they just liked to kill for the fun of it. They scurried down the hall, making weird chattering noises with their mandibles as they went. I tightened my grip on the bat and got ready. The first one leaped at me, and I hit it dead center with all of my might, sending it flying down the hall away from me. It hit the wall with a splat, leaving most of its insides of the steel as it slid down to the floor. I didn't have time to watch, though, as the other two were quickly trying to succeed where their comrade failed. I kicked one down the hall, then brought my bat down on the third one, smashing it into the floor. The second one recovered and charged again. I repeated the previous swing of me bat and ended its life.
I stood there for a moment, taking in a couple deep breaths. Never really knew how fighting for your life could affect you until then.
I lifted my bat and walked over to the corpse of Officer Kendall. I didn't really know him very well, but I did know his daughters, Christine and Monica. I felt guilty about having just stood there and watched as the radroaches killed him. And also about what I was about to do next. You see, the security officers of the vault had riot gear. Simple body armor and helmets. And those would definitely protect me better than my simple jumpsuit. So, I did the logical thing. I looted his corpse. I really, emreally/em didn't like doing it. But I knew it was needed if I was gonna get out. I also took the ammo for his gun. Then, making sure the armor was on good, I continued my way down the hall. I didn't get far before I saw somebody that I knew. And didn't like.
To sum it up, Butch was an asshole. He loved fucking with people. He also lead a small gang, called the Tunnel Snakes. He was rude, crude, and found enjoyment in messing with people and generally causing trouble.
So, when he saw me and came came over, I gripped my bat tighter, expecting trouble. I really didn't have time for his shit. What he said when he got to me caught me completely off guard, though.
"Molly! You gotta help me! My mom's trapped in there with the radroches!"
Now, I really didn't like this guy. I had fought him a few times in the past because of his antics. Usually kicked his ass, too. But, after seeing what the bugs did to Kendall, I couldn't let that happen to anybody else. "Fuck," I said under my breath. "Fine. Follow me." I started walking quickly towards his dorm.
His eyes went wide with fear. "No, no, I can't! It's dark in there...and there's radroaches!"
In other situations, I probably would've laughed at that. Here's a guy that's full of himself, always bragging about how great he is and stuff. And now he's almost pissing himself over a few radroaches. However, at that moment, I just shook my head as I walked. "Fine. Wait here, then."
I entered his dorm to find his mom crouched down on the floor, crying as three radroaches harassed her. My bat was gonna be useless here. I'd probably hit her if I swung at the bugs. So I pulled out the pistol that Amata gave me. And that's when the V.A.T.S. kicked in.
Everybody in a vault is given a Pip-Boy 3000 when they turn ten. The Pip-Boy is a computer worn on your arm. Sensors on it contact your skin, and the computer can monitor your vitals. It can also be used to store a lot of data, as a communication tool, and as a radio. And it also had a program called V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System). It was a program to help the user target enemies and take them out. Which made no sense to me, since we lived our lives in the vault, and there weren't any threats down here. However, at this point, I was glad it was there.
Time seemed to slow down for me as I aimed at the bugs. I pulled the trigger once, and as the bullet sailed towards the first radroach, I was already targeting the next. Faster than any average person could manage, I took out the three creatures. Ellen cowered on the floor a moment more before realizing that the threat was gone. Butch ran into the room, a look of surprise and relief on his face as he saw the dead radroaches on the floor. Then he did something that surprised the crap out of me. He pulled me into a tight hug and started cheering. "Yeah, you did it! You saved her! You rule!"
I struggled to breath through his tight embrace. "Okay...welcome...let go!" He released me, a huge grin on his face. I took a breath. "You're welcome."
He slapped my back, almost sending me to the floor. "You're alright. Ya know what? Here, I'm gonna give you my jacket. You're a Tunnel Snake now!"
I took the jacket with some hesitation. I mean, I guess it was a nice gesture. But what was I gonna do with a jacket? "Uh...thanks." I stuck it into my backpack. By this point, Ellen had picked herself off the floor, found a whiskey bottle that wasn't empty, and was working on fixing that. I sighed inwardly a bit. Butch's mom had been an alcoholic as far back as I can remember. It was probably one of the main reasons behind Butch's attitude.
Once the jacket was tucked away, I headed for the door. "Right, you two stay here and keep the door shut. More of them might still be out there." Butch nodded, still a bit hyper from the situation. I left them alone and headed down the hall, towards the atrium of the vault. Normally, you could get to the main entrance from the atrium. But, the Overseer had probably locked it and put some people there to guard it. Which was why Amata suggested the path through the Overseer's office.
At the entrance to the atrium, I saw Tom and Mary Holden talking to each other. The young couple were debating about whether or not they should run for the main entrance. Before I could stop him, Tom went for it. He got the the hall leading to the entrance, and was immediately gunned down by the security officers there. Mary screamed out in pain and rage. I grabbed her arm, but she pulled free and ran towards her husband's body. She met the same fate as him.
My vision blurred with tears. I didn't know them well, but I liked them. They didn't deserve that fate.
I ran out into the atrium, drawing the 10mm as I went. "YOU FUCKING BASTARDS!" I screamed as the officers came into view. Using V.A.T.S., I sent a round right through the face shields of their riot helmets, killing them instantly. I held the gun out in front of me as their bodies dropped. The gravity of what I just did hit me hard. I killed two men. Yes, they were gonna shoot me. Yes, they had just killed two innocent people. Yes, in my head, their deaths were necessary. But...I still couldn't believe that I did it. I killed them. Their lives were now over because of me.
I almost vomited again. I did not like this at all. I cursed both the Overseer and my dad for putting me into this position. Not bothering to search the guards for ammo, I headed towards the Overseer's office. On my way, I went past the security center. Through the window, I saw something that made me stop dead in my tracks. Officer Mack and the Overseer himself were in the office. They seemed to be interrogating somebody. That person was Amata. The door was open, so, avoiding the window, I crept over to it so I could listen.
"Now, Amata, you need to tell me where she is." The Overseer was trying to sound pleasant. Like this was an everyday conversation. But there was a slight threat to his voice.
"I told you, I don't know!" Amata sounded scared. I clenched my fist at that. This was his own daughter!
"You better tell us what we want, if you know what's good for you!" Officer Mack sounded like he was enjoying this. I made a mental note to punch him in the face soon.
"Amata, if you don't cooperate, I'm afraid I will have no choice but to let Officer Mack try to gather the information." I sucked in a breath. Was the Overseer saying what I thought he was saying? Was he really going to let somebody beat his own daughter?
Amata seemed to reach the same conclusion as me, because I heard her gasp in surprise. "No! Father, don't! I don't know anything!"
The Overseer sighed. "Very well. You leave me no choice. Officer Mack, if you would."
I peeked into the doorway just in time to see Mack backhand Amata hard across her face. Amata cried out in pain. And my patience snapped.
I stepped into the room, hatred on my face. "Hey, asshole! Looking for me?" Both the Overseer and Mack turned around in shock. Even Amata seemed surprised.
"There she is! Officer Mack, subdue her!" Officer Mack drew his gun and aimed it at me. I don't know if he was aiming for my legs to cripple me, or if he just wanted to ignore the Overseer and kill me right there. I wasn't taking any chances. I activated V.A.T.S. and fired before he could. The bullet went into his forehead and out the back, and his body crumpled to the for. I quickly aimed the gun at the Overseer, certain he was gonna try to shoot me next. To my slight surprise, he didn't seem to be armed. He just threw his hands in the air and gave me a very intense look of disgust and hatred.
"Molly, don't! Don't shoot him!" Amata ran up to me. Despite the now red and swelling mark on her face, caused by her father, my friend still wanted to save the man. I kept my gun and eyes pointed at him. "I won't if he won't."
The Overseer sneered. "Why not? You've already killed several people today. what's one more, huh?"
Amata gasped a bit, and I sighed. "I killed people who were about to kill me. Unlike your officers, who gunned down innocent people!"
"They were keeping the vault secure!"
"Oh, bullshit! You're just a power hungry madman, afraid of his control slipping!"
"Enough!" Amata stepped between us, her gaze changing from her father, to me, and back. "Father, Molly is right. What you've done was wrong."
"What I did was to keep this vault safe! The outside is filled with nothing but death." He pointed at me. "You're father has risked all of our lives by opening that door! Now you're gonna tell me why he left!"
I scoffed. "Okay, couple things. First off, I'm the one with the gun, not you. Second, I have no fucking clue why he up and left. Third, even if I did know, why the hell would I tell you?" I paused a moment, still glaring at the Overseer. "So, what's going to happen now is that you're gonna go into the holding cell over there and wait. I'm gonna leave the vault. And you're not gonna stop me."
The Overseer stood there for a moment, still sneering at me. Then, calmly, he walked to the holding cell, never taking his eyes off of me. "I always knew you and your father were bad seeds."
Once I locked him in, I lowered the gun and responded by flipping him the bird. Then I turned back to Amata, who still seemed to be in some shock.
"Is it true, Molly? Did my father have people killed? Did...did you kill?"
I let out a heavy sigh. "Tom and Mary were gunned down when they tried to leave the vault. I...got a bit angry at that and killed the officers who killed them."
Amata looked at me with worry. And a touch of fear. Which hurt me. A lot. She took a breath, then turned and left the room. "Come on," I heard her say from the hall. I sighed and followed her to the Overseer's office, putting away the pistol. Just before the office door, we came across a sight that disturbed us both. Lying on the floor was the body of Jonas, my dad's assistant and friend. His clothes were torn a bit, and his face was bloody and bruised. He had three holes in his chest.
I clenched my fist as I felt my rage rise again. "They beat him...they fucking beat him and then shot him."
Amata turned away from the sight. "Why?"
"Probably to find out what he knew about my dad leaving." Something in the pocket of his labcoat caught my eye. I bent down and pulled out a holotape. I put it in my backpack, deciding to listen to it later. "Alright, Amata. Let's get this over with." Amata nodded, and we headed into the Overseer's office. Amata went to the main computer and started working on getting the secret tunnel open. While she did that, I decided to check out his other computer. I went through various files about general duties he performed. One of the files talked about him paying the Tunnel Snakes for something. I copied that to my Pip-Boy for future reading. I then came across a set of files that shocked me. They talked about a small group being sent out into the wastes decades ago. There were scouting reports, mentioning a small settlement nearby. And giant ants. There were even pictures. "Shit." So not only was the Overseer a power hungry tyrant, he was also a lying bastard. I copied those files as well. They might become useful.
Amata stepped away from the desk. "Alright, here we go." There was hissing noise, and the desk rose into the air, revealing a set of stairs going into a tunnel. We followed it to a large door, which opened to the room with the main vault door. This was actually my first time seeing it. I looked like a giant cog.
I went to the control panel, found the lever I needed, and pulled it. A klaxon sounded, and lights flashed. A large arm swung down from the ceiling and latched onto the back of the cog. With a horrible screech and lots of sparks, the door was dragged back a couple of feet. Then it rolled to the side. Beyond it was a dark, rocky tunnel.
This was it. The door was open, and I was going to leave the vault. To find me dad. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous. But, I had to do this. "Alright. Let's go."
Amata hesitated. "Actually...I think I need to stay here."
That caught me by surprise. I turned to face her. "What? You want to stay? After what your dad did?"
"That's why I need to stay. Clearly, he isn't fit to be in charge anymore. And there's no telling who else he will hurt. I have to stay. To do what I can to save the people here."
...in all honesty, her logic was sound. And I probably would've stayed as well. If it wasn't for the fact that I had to find my dad.
I let out a heavy sigh, then pulled her into a tight hug. "You be safe."
She patted me on the back. "You too. Find your dad, and bring him back."
I nodded a bit. "You bet your ass I will." I let go, then turned to face the tunnel. I took a deep breath, then walked forward. Down some stairs. And out of the only home I had ever known.
When I got about ten feet away, I heard the klaxon go off again. I turned to see Amata at the panel, waving to me as the cog rolled back into place. With another screech and more sparks, it slid shut. Closing me off from my world, and tossing me into the unknown.
The Saga Begins – Weird Al Yankovic