Cletus was in a good mood.
Ever since he joined that cult, the COV or whatever they were called, his luck on Pandora turned right around! He went from having to fight skags for scraps of food to eating like a cannibalistic tink after a battle!
…cruel idea, but…not inaccurate.
Kicking over another dead Crimson Raider soldier, the bandit tilted his head as he eyed the dead man. The God Queen, Tyreen, said for him and the others to attack the meeting place for the Crimson Raiders and sack it; he thought they'd be a lot harder to kill, but he was surprised, to say the least.
Hey, it at least meant easy looting, right?
His attention was drawn when he heard the doors part. Looking over, Cletus paled when he saw just who arrived.
Four people; a guy, two girls, and a robot clearly. For a moment, Cletus thought they were just WEIRD bandits or offworlders…but something about them felt…off. He couldn't put his finger on it—
He cringed when a fucking skag smashed through the window, grabbing a tink on the bar counter and shaking him around like a damn chew toy! All at once, the room exploded into chaos, each of the newcomers fighting in new and chaotic ways that told Cletus, at last, why they felt so off.
They were fucking Vault Hunters! The sort of guys who ate bandits like him for breakfast! Sometimes, quite literally, in the case of a psycho gone Vault Hunting a while back.
Cletus ducked down behind the bar and covered his head, the bandit huffing and buffing as he watched a window get smashed out, the bandit using the opportunity presented and jumping out. He could see the shooting and mayhem transition outside, and he knew he had to get away, especially when the four Vault Hunters utterly obliterated the reinforcement vehicles.
He took off running and—
Cletus couldn't feel anything, but he was vaguely aware that he was on his back…and that he got hit by a bus. A bus that, amidst all the chaos, went unnoticed.
…it was a shitty way to die, but at least it beat being ripped apart by the Vault Hunters.
Zane adjusted himself on the bus seat, resting his hands on his thighs as he looked to the three other guys he met up with to find this…Firehawk? Lilith? He didn't really remember her name. Didn't seem important. What was important was the three other Vault Hunters he found were…well, for lack of a better word, weird as shite.
But, he learned pretty well in his travels that weird didn't mean bad…unless they were trying to kill him. Then weird meant bad.
"So," He rested his arm on the back of the seat and leaned over to look at the others. "You folks answerin' that weird flyer too? Or did I get on the wrong bus? Granted, it was the only bus, but…y'know, Pandora."
"I do not believe you are in the wrong spot, no," The robot spoke, Zane just now realizing he had a skag with him, the bot steady patting the creature as it nuzzled against his hand affectionately. "We all answered the call, for our own reasons."
"Uh-huh. Mind tellin' me why ya got a damn skag, though? Ain' they like…fuckin' shite to take care of?"
"Mr. Chew requires little maintenance. Nor do the others, Broodless and Meat-Thief."
"…others?" Zane just now realized a jabber was swinging about and a spiderant was curled up on one of the back seats. Seemed the robot was a regular pet hoarder, then…he'd have to be careful with him.
"Huh…alright, and what 'bout you fine ladies? Ya in the right spot too?"
"I am, yes." The muscular girl spoke up, casually leaning back in her seat, watching the scenery roll by. "I came to Pandora for new fights, and it seems like they'll save me the trouble and find me first." She was a fighter, then; Zane made a mental note to bring her to one of his favorite bars. See what sort of trouble she could stir while he got a pint.
"Well, that's neat. Ya got a name?"
"Amara, the Tiger of Partali, and you?"
"Zane Flynt. Don' ask 'bout my last name. Family was weird."
"I see. And aren't you a little old to be out here, Zane?" He could sense some tease to her voice, evident by the smirk Amara had. Zane just chuckled in response.
"Never too old to have some fun and shoot some guys in the face, if ya ask me."
"Agreed." He liked this one. "And what 'bout you, short stuff, you got a name?"
"Moze. Call me short again and I'll rip that shitty beard right the fuck off." He knew it was a threat, and he knew there was a good chance she'd actually do it, but Zane couldn't help but to break out into laughter as a result.
"HA! I've been threatened much worse in me travels, Moze, but fine. I won' call ya short…least not to your face." She grumbled and turned back in her seat. Zane chuckled again and turned his attention over to the robot. "And you?"
"I am FL4K. The greatest hunter in the galaxy."
"Oh, a hunter? Whaddya hunting? Animals? People? Animals AND people?"
"Whatever suits my needs for the time, and what will make worthy prey." Least he wasn't an assassin…was it weird to call the robot a he also? Zane didn't dwell on it for very long. Namely because he heard…something in his head. A voice, really, that clearly wasn't his own cause it wasn't saturated in Irish gold.
"Oooooookay, anyone else hear a voice in their heads? Cause I did, and I'm thinkin' the pint I had earlier might've been spiked."
"It's not just you, old man," Moze grunted. "All of us…I'm guessing that was Lilith, the siren we're off to see."
"On the topic of sirens," FL4K spoke up, leaning out from his seat. "Amara, was it, you are one also, are you not?"
"Hmph, what gave it away?"
"You do little to hide your tattoos. I was informed through my hunts that sirens are an exceptionally rare prey."
"We are, and you're wrong about the prey part. If anything," She cracked her knuckles, grinning as she looked back to the robot. "WE are the hunters, and everyone else in the galaxy's our prey."
Zane took it back. He definitely liked this one.
He felt the bus come to a stop, the Operative hopping up and heading for the doors, making sure he had his handgun with him and being the first one off.
This led to him coming face to face with a CL4P-TP unit. He regretted being the first one off.
"Greetings, Vault Hunters! You're all here to join with my glorious army, right?"
For once in his life, Zane was tempted to just shoot someone in the face and be done with things.
Moze looked over the ECHO device she was given, checking out all its features and what it could do. Truthfully, she never got her hands on one until now, mainly because her time was…usually very slim. Working for Vladof did that.
Clearing the small jump and walking behind the others, the former soldier looked away from the ECHO's screens to see a…well, a weird base up ahead. One that bore a banner saying 'Children of the Vault'…most likely, they were related to those fucks they smashed earlier.
"Moze," She looked up and flinched when she saw it was the robot who called her name, FL4K pointing their hand towards a rock that, seconds later, violently exploded.
"The annoying robot said he had an weapons cache there for us. We need to retake this base, and that is how."
"Ah, gotcha." She placed the ECHO on her hip and stepped over, seeing the asshole old guy and the siren already inspecting their firearms, Moze frowning when all she found in the opened chest were pistols.
"…really? Just weedy little pistols? You couldn't smuggle anything, I dunno, fucking useful?"
"Well excuuuuuuuuse me," The Claptrap unit beeped. "I did the best I could. And what was easy. And cheap."
"Fear not, Moze," FL4K reached down to pick the remaining two handguns up and offer her one. "In the right hands, even a weapon such as this can dispatch many foes."
"Yeah," She accepted the handgun, rolling her eyes. "But it'd be done faster with an assault rifle."
"Quiet, recruits! I must antagonize the bandits!" Moze restrained her urge to curse the robot out. Namely because he had rolled up to the metal door, shouting and calling to get the attention of the bandits inside. Moze could already count seven holes in that plan, but she didn't care enough to mention it.
"Is he certain that's a good idea?" Amara asked. "I'm one for a fight, yes, but this is just leaving yourself open to get shot in the face."
"Let him do it." Zane shrugged. "If it works, we do our thing. If it fails, he gets shot in the…wanna say face, and I laugh. So far, it's probably gonna be the latter." The doors suddenly dented inwards and Claptrap went flying, being stuck to a magnet that was rapidly receding upwards.
"…see, now it's just annoyin' again." For once, Moze had to agree with Zane. FL4K was already in action, pressing himself behind cover as they open fired at the bandits within, pets hanging back with him.
"Ugh, let's just…get this over with." Moze didn't hesitate to call up Iron Bear, jumping up as the mech digistructed itself around her, the Gunner's hands gripping the controls as she piloted the mech into the base, open firing at the bandits as she heard bullets ping off Iron Bear's hull.
Least they were dumb. Small-arms did jack shit to her mech.
Mowing down the bandits, Moze released the gun controls for her mech as she saw the area was, for the most part, cleared, the Gunner pushing up from her seat as Iron Bear digistructed away once again.
"We must push up," FL4K said, reloading their firearm and motioning towards the magnet. "And find a way to free the Claptrap before more bandits arrive."
"I mean…do we have to, though?" Zane scratched his head. "He seems fine up there…probably. I guess." Moze ignored the robot's screaming. Once again, she found herself agreeing with Zane…she hated that, a little.
Besides, he'd be fine. Unless that magnet turned off. Then it'd be a hard fall.
Amara stood over the bandit who called himself Shiv, rolling her neck and shaking her head. He was supposed to be tough shit; the head honcho of the place. She was disappointed he fell so fast, and left her itching for more.
"WHOOAAAAAA—ow." Thankfully, and unthankfully, FL4K got the robot down. She couldn't get a read on the Beastmaster, as they put it, but she found them okay.
Turning to step outside, she watched the robot roll to his wheel, and for distant shouts to catch her ears, her shield's flickering from a stray shot as, to her delight, more bandits poured into the area. Good. Now she had her fight.
The others stayed back to shoot as she sprinted forward, throwing her fist at a psycho and sending him to the ground with a brutal haymaker, ignoring her gun as she used her fists to beat down the intruders, a happy grin on her face as she relentlessly pummeled the bandits. THIS was what she came for, and she couldn't be happier! Sure, they were just feeble COV morons, but they'd sate her urge for a fight until they fought something…better.
And then the COV invaders were retreating. That wouldn't do.
"Hey! Get back here and fight me—" Something slammed down atop them, quite literally incinerating the remaining bandits. "…okay, here's a new fight—"
"Wait, stand down, Amara." FL4K stepped forward, turning their single eye to her before they turned to the dying flames. "She is here."
"Right you are." The flames died down and Lilith stood there, arms crossed. So, she was the other siren…she was impressive. "Hmm, more Vault Hunters. I thought we'd only get one of you, but I'm glad there's four of you."
"Yeah, we're a bit…weird, to say the least," Amara turned over to Moze who was disembarking from her Iron Bear mech, the siren silently wondering where she even stored such a thing whenever it was sent away. "Aren't there supposed to be more Crimson Raiders? Like, we can't be the only ones." Lilith frowned.
"Unfortunately, what you see here is what we have. The COV's been relentless in killing Crimson Raiders and anyone else who refuses to join their demented cult. For them, it's either join, or get wasted."
"And I take it it ain' the fun kinda wasted, either." Zane tacked on, the old man reloading his firearm and twirling it on his finger. "Either way, seems like they need their shite kicked in, and we're the lot to do it."
"It's…not that easy. The Calypsos keep them pretty hyped up, to the point where they have thousands of recruits daily, all for the purpose of 'pleasing their god queen'."
"And I take it we will meet this god queen soon enough?"
"If things go the way they're going. Until then, we'll have to make this the rally point for any Crimson Raiders still out here…so…you four can stick here until I get a lay of the area. So…don't break anything." And as quickly as Lilith arrived, she was gone, quite literally teleporting away in a spray of fire that left Amara whistling lowly.
She wished she'd get powers like that! One day. Perhaps later on.
…maybe with some Eridium…
FL4K was amused. The hunt was done, and they were victorious. Granted, the three others survived, but…well setbacks had to be made. The Beastmaster offered another cut of meat from one of the dead bandits, currently seated in a chair as the other Vault Hunters sat and chatted at a table, enjoying their downtime in a calmer, less hectic setting. FL4K's eye narrowed when Meat-Thief didn't hesitate to snatch it from their hand, the jabber living up to his title as the monkey scampered over to one of the nearby tables, wolfing down the meat and whooping loudly. The sun was beginning to set and there was still no sign of the Firehawk, but FL4K was fine with this. The beasts needed to be fed, and this gave valued time to do so.
"Oi, tinman, that jabber's safe, right?" FL4K looked over to the older human, Zane, currently with the misfortune of being seated at the table Meat-Thief currently stood upon. "It ain' gonna throw shite at me, right? Or rub its arse on anything?"
"Meat-Thief is housebroken and trained. He knows better than to resort to such methods when he has a handgun."
"…oooookay…and is givin' a jabber a sound idea either?"
"I know what I am doing, human." Fl4K dragged their knife along another severed arm, removing more meat and tossing it to Broodless, watching her messily devour it as the Beastmaster reached down to rub at her head.
"So…pets, huh?" FL4K looked over to Moze, the Gunner fiddling with her ECHO device as she looked at them. "How'd you train 'em? I always thought it was impossible to really train skags, and that spiderants stuck with a hivemind or something. And don't even get me started on jabbers."
"Mr. Chew was the first I domesticated, through time and patience. It was…harsh work, yes," FL4K remembered the many times the skag bit them. "But it was rewarding to have my first hunting companion. Broodless came to me following the death of a queen spiderant, and she had a wounded leg following an attack by some bandits…far too injured to be healed. So, I fashioned a replacement, and healed her. As for the jabber…he came to me. I do not recall the details, but he was the only one to approach me, for food I'm guessing, but proved himself to be a useful pet." FL4K had fond memories of his hunts with his beasts. Enough to where, if the circumstances were different, they would eagerly aid the Firehawk with the beasts as opposed to the humans and siren.
But beggars couldn't be choosers, and besides…if things came down to it, FL4K saw them as potential meat shields.
Moze turned to walk away, leaving FL4K to continue feeding their beasts. The Firehawk could take all the time she needed. They had a feeling a glorious hunt was ahead, and FL4K wanted to savor and relish it all they could before moving on to the next hunt.
If it could top hunting a death cult, that was…
(So, it's been a long while since I've posted here, and especially for something Borderlands related. Honestly, I didn't plan to do something like this at all, but the creative bug was biting hard, and I ran through a few plot ideas before I came to a fair conclusion: why not do a "novelization" of the game's events? Granted, a few elements and things will be changed, such as dialogue, actions, and a few other things, primarily because I don't remember all the details of the story, but...gist. So, I'll try to keep working on this, both as a creative new venture and as a way to exercise my writing ability; we can go ahead and call this a test chapter, to see if I can really meet the Borderlands style again. Who knows?
Thanks for reading, and have a good day!)