Note: So sorry for the delay, guys. Writing two stories at once is more of a challenge than I thought.
Who Am I?
The young woman woke with a start. The last thing she remembered was fighting for her life against a scaled abomination, before being rescued by that giant of a man. Now she was lying in a pile of hay covered in a warm (if be it rather foul smelling) blanket. She slowly sat up and took in her surroundings. She was lying on the floor in a large stone structure with caged enclosures on both sides. Both enclosures contained a dead tree and were covered in grass and a few strange looking glowing plants, indicating this must have been a habitat for some kind of animal. Her assumptions proved true when she heard a rustling sound to her right, and the young woman yelped in fright.
The creature was large and covered with hair, though there were many bald patches on it's body. It slowly made it's way over to her and stared at the frightened woman with curiosity. Even though she could not recall her own name, the young woman did recognize this creature as a gorilla, but something about it seemed….wrong.
That voice. She'd heard it before. It belonged to the man who had rescued her the night before. The gorilla turned and the man calmly walked over to the massive beast until they were standing nearly eye to eye. She could hear a series of grunts coming from the man and surprisingly, the creature seemed to understand and slowly walked back into the enclosure.
"No worry about Chris." The man said. "He no hurt you. You help fight monsters. That make you friend."
The young woman found herself staring at him. He was well over six feet tall and covered with muscles, and though he wasn't naked, the wildman rags he was wearing left little to the imagination. This reminded the woman that underneath the blanket she was still naked, and she felt her cheeks flush. "Thank you….for saving my life yesterday."
The man just shrugged. "Cito saw lady fighting monster. Lady good fighter….strong as Cito. Cito help lady." He reached into a small sack and removed some clothing. "Here, Cito find clothes on people that do not move for lady." He walked over and handed them to her.
People that do not move. 'I hope he's talking about mannequins', she thought. She took the clothing, careful to not let the blanket drop beneath her breasts. It was a tattered pair of blue jeans, sneakers and a white T-shirt with the words "Nuka World" written on it. For some reason, those words made the woman's eyes go wide….as if they had some meaning but she couldn't figure out what. "Thank you." She noticed that he was still looking at her, and she felt her cheeks go flush again. "Could I um….have some privacy?"
At first Cito didn't know what she meant, but then he suddenly began blushing. "Oh….Cito go over there." He turned and walked into one of the enclosures, and once he was out of sight, the young woman stood up and began to get dressed. The clothes were a little big on her, but she figured it was better than them being too tight. Once she was finished, she called Cito over. "Okay….I'm finished."
Cito slowly came out of the enclosure, and he was followed by five more of the strange looking gorillas. "This is the rest of Cito's family. You met Chris….he's the biggest and strongest. What is your name?"
The question caused a feeling of panic inside the young woman. It was the same question she had been asking herself since….waking up. Her mind was racing to come up with an answer, and she looked down and began to stutter. 'Why can't I remember?!' She noticed a small tag pinned to her shirt and she turned it upright to read the words on it. Lisa, Nuka World Employee.
It was as good a name as any. "Lisa. My name is Lisa."
"Leeee-sa." Cito struggled to say. "Pretty name."
Without realizing it, the young woman, now known as Lisa, began to smile. "Thank you….for everything."
There was a moment of silent awkwardness between them that seemed to last forever. Finally, Lisa spoke up. "So Cito, how did you end up here?"
Cito hung his head. "Cito very small when first family die. First family look like Cito. Cito not die, just walk….and walk. Find zoo place." He raised his head, and a slight smile appeared on his face. "Find new family. New family help Cito. Give Cito food….give water. Keep Cito safe. Now Cito big and strong! Cito help family fight monsters."
"What are those monsters? Do you know where they're coming from?"
Cito shook his head. "Cito do not know. Family in danger. Hide here from Monsters. Here only place safe. Here have no food. Here have no water. Cito go outside to help family. Monster try to kill Cito. Cito kill many. More Monsters come. Never stop. Cito scared Monster hurt family."
Lisa was beginning to understand. As long as those monsters roamed the zoo grounds, Cito and his family couldn't forage for food and water. Which means they would either be killed by the monsters, or stay here and starve to death. "It sounds like there's a nest nearby. If we can find it…."
Cito began to shake his head. "Cito have story. Story help stop Monsters. Cito eat with family. Wrinkly Man come inside home. Wrinkly Man hurt. Cito try help. Wrinkly Man say he make Monsters! Cito mad at Wrinkly Man. Monsters hurt family. Wrinkly Man sorry Monsters hurt family. He give Cito shiny thing. He say shiny thing help Cito stop Monsters. Cito try help more but Wrinkly Man die. Cito put Wrinkly Man in ground but keep shiny thing."
Now Lisa was confused. She wondered why Cito called him Wrinkly man. Maybe because he was old? And a shiny thing? "Can I see this shiny thing?"
Cito smiled as he handed it over. "Cito give to friend. Friend help Cito find monsters."
Lisa studied the object. "It's a holotape." She blurted out. Wait….how did she know that."
Cito gave her a puzzled look. "New friend use strange words."
Lisa continued to study the holotape. A computer. That' what they needed. "Do you know where this wrinkly man came from?"
"Cito see Wrinkly Man come from Big Triangle House long time ago."
"Can you take me there? I think we'll find a way to stop the monsters there."
Cito's eyes seemed to light up. "New friend help Cito fight monsters?"
Lisa shrugged. "You saved my life….the least I can do is help you to save your family."
Colter, the "Overboss" of Nuka World, stood in the middle of the now open Vault taking in the scene. When he'd heard about the latest disturbance he thought that Gage, his right hand man, was on a bad jet trip. But after seeing the dead and wounded outside, and now the shambles of this Vault he was beginning to rethink that assumption. He turned around and faced his five lieutenants. In addition to Porter Gage, there was Mason - a monster of a man who was the leader of the gang known as "The Pack". To his right were Mags and William Black, the brother and sister duo who lead the Operators. Out of everyone in the room, the Black twins were the last two people anyone would figure to be Raiders. Word is they were born to one of the elite families from Diamond City, but decided to turn to a life or raiding because they were "bored." Finally there was Nisha, leader of the Disciples. They resembled a cult of sadists more than a gang of Raiders, and their fanaticism to their leader was rivaled only by the Children of Atom.
"Someone mind telling me how this Vault was under our noses the entire time, and no one knew about it?!" Colter growled.
At first no one spoke. Finally, Gage turned to Nisha. "Bring her in."
An annoyed sigh escaped from the gang leader as she turned and walked out of the Vault. A moment later she returned….dragging Sierra Petrovita inside and throwing her against the shelves lining the wall. The young woman had a bloody nose and lip, and was whimpering as she cowered against the wall.
Colter menacingly stepped up to Sierra, who seemed to shrink in his presence. "Start talking!"
Sierra was shaking so badly it was difficult for her to speak. "P-please! I don't know anything!"
Colter shrugged. "Well then I guess there's no point to keeping you alive. Nisha."
To Sierra's horror the armored covered woman drew a knife and rushed over to her; intent on slashing her throat.
"WAIT, WAIT, OKAY I'LL TELL YOU!"
Nisha held the knife still against Sierra's throat. "We're waiting."
Sierra took a moment to try and get her breathing under control. "The Vault belongs to John-Caleb Bradberton, the founder of Nuka World."
"That head you've been talking to down here for the last couple of months?" Colter asked.
Mason stepped forward. "Then why didn't you tell us about it?"
"Because the only way it could be opened was if Bradberton died."
"What does that have to do with that woman who killed several of our people?" Mags asked in her usual stern, yet sultry voice.
Sierra hesitated….until Nisha cut a two inch gash into her left cheek. "I will carve you up if you don't start talking."
Sierra closed her eyes. "The woman….is Nuka-Girl."
Everyone's eyes shot wide open, and after a moment of stunned silence, it was broken by Gage. "You mean that woman on all the posters?"
Sierra responded with a desperate nod.
"This is bullshit!" William snapped. "She's either lying or crazy!"
"Please!" Sierra shrieked. "I swear I'm telling you the truth!"
Nisha cocked her head to the side as she studied the terrified woman's face. "Maybe you are, maybe you aren't. Thing is, that woman killed several of my people. Something like that demands punishment, and since you helped her that means you're responsible."
Nisha was about to strike when Mason stepped forward. "NO! She killed members of my Pack….she belongs to us!"
Nisha turned her head and stared daggers at the Pack leader. "Not until I get my pound of flesh, dog!"
Sierra stood in horror as the four gang members began arguing among themselves over who was going to kill her first. Her mind frantically searched for a way to get out of this, and being out of options, she steeled what little courage she had left and decided to bluff. "If you kill me there's going to be trouble!"
The bickering came to a sudden stop and the Vault was once again silent. Sierra could not believe that she had just blurted that out….and from the looks on their faces, neither could anyone else.
Colter leaned forward and got right in her face. "Do you care to repeat that?"
Sierra swallowed hard. "I'm a citizen of the Capital Union. I'm well known there….I run a museum and everything. If you kill me….they'll come looking for me." She paused for a moment and forced herself to look into his eyes. "And the government there hates Raiders."
The response she received was Mason's hand around her throat. "I don't give a shit WHAT you're a citizen of! We're gonna tear you apart…."
"Let her go." Colter said, he voice barely above a whisper.
You could've heard a pin drop inside the Vault. Everyone was staring at the Overboss as if he had two heads. Mason let go of Sierra and now faced off against his boss. "What was that?" He growled. "I don't believe I heard you correctly?"
Colter stood up straighter and stared Mason dead in the eye. "I said: Let. Her. Go! I don't want a war with the fucking Capital Union."
Mags, though she seemed the calmest of the gang leaders, crossed her arms. "And the woman who killed our people?"
Colter shrugged. "She's probably Deathclaw food by now. So unless you want to cut open the one who ate her….I suggest you all just accept that. The important thing is we have what's in this Vault. And as usual….you will all get a cut….after I take that sweet car that's down here." He began to walk past them out of the Vault.
"What about all of this equipment?" Gage asked.
Colter stopped and turned. "I don't care what you do with it. Sell it for scrap."
Gage didn't say anything as their Overboss made his way back to the surface. Nisha turned and gave Sierra the coldest stare she could muster. "If I ever see you again….I'm going to mail you back to the Capital piece by piece." She yanked Sierra by her shirt collar and threw her out of the Vault door. "Get out of here!"
Sierra ran as fast as she could. She ran out of the Vault, up the stairs into Bradberton's office, outside and continued to run out of the park. No one noticed the small holotape she had taken off the shelve she had been pinned against, and once she was out of site of the Raiders she tucked it away into her jacket. A part of her wanted to head straight back to the Capital…..but she had made a promise to John. Nuka-Girl….his greatest creation was out there, alone and scared.
No matter what horrors she had to face, Sierra was going to find her.
AJ was happy. It had been a good week of selling chems, and a new shipment had just arrived to his warehouse. Expanding his cliental to kids had been the smartest move he could've made, and at this rate he was going to expand his territory inside Goodneighbor. "Alright, let's get these boxes unpacked." He said to his six man crew. "I want to start distributing this stuff first thing in the morning."
One of his men, Mikey, took one of the boxes and headed to the far end of the warehouse and began to unpack the jet that was inside. He never heard the person who grabbed him from behind and snapped his neck.
Though there was no sound, one of the other gang members saw something out of the corner of his eye. "Mikey."
No answer. He placed the box down and slowly walked towards the dark corner. "Hey Mikey, you okay?"
He caught the glimpse of a shimmer spring from the corner, and unlike Mikey, he managed to let out a scream before being silenced forever.
AJ and the remaining four members of his crew heard the scream and drew their guns. "What the hell was that?"
The drug dealers spread out in the center of the warehouse, scanning the area looking for any movement.
Then, they heard a sinister laugh echo through the warehouse.
A chill went up AJ's spine. "WHO IS THAT!"
Then, a voice from the darkness said: "Peddling poison to kids, are we? Today you face, the Silver Shroud!"
AJ's mouth dropped open. Wasn't that the name of a comic book….
The smoke grenade exploded right in the center of the drug dealers, and before any of them could recover machine gun fire seemed to come from out of nowhere. Two of the gang members were killed in the first volley. AJ and the remaining two began firing blindly into the smoke, hoping for a lucky kill. For a split second AJ saw a glimmer moving through the smoke like a phantom and fired his pipe pistol until it was out of ammo. The phantom seemed to be everywhere and nowhere, and another of the drug dealers was gunned down.
AJ had had enough and managed to find the back door to the warehouse and ran down the alley. He could still hear gunfire, followed by a scream as she bolted around the corner and hid behind a dumpster. He was panting and shaking uncontrollably - so much so he was having trouble reloading his pipe pistol. Just as he managed to put in the last round, a pair of strong hands lifted him off his feet and slammed him against the wall. He forced himself to open his eyes….and he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
The man was wearing mirror reflective sunglasses, a black fedora and a black suit to match. His attire included a silver colored shroud neatly wrapped around his neck, and his hands were covered with black leather gloves. Though he couldn't see the man's eyes, AJ felt as though they were burning a hole inside of his head. "Listen….I'll give you anything you want, okay! All the money….the drugs….everything!"
The Shroud didn't say anything. He placed the silver plated .45 underneath AJ's chin and pulled the trigger.
Note: Before any of you ask, the Silver Shroud is NOT the Sole Survivor. He's a stand alone character. I hope you all like where this is going. Reviews are welcome.