As their internal timers went off the two synths awoke at once, perfectly rested after several hours of sleep.
"We really needed the rest," Sally said as they got up and adjusted their clothes before checking their weapons, "I should have realized that myself."
"That's what happens when you rush," Linda replied with a shrug, "but then we were told this was a high priority mission so it's understandable."
Sally nodded. "I'll remember it in future missions."
"Good," Linda said cheerfully, "now let's see if the kids are ready."
The two synths stepped out of the bedroom to find the two children sitting at the coffee table in the living room with spheres of energy hovering over their outstretched right hands.
"I don't quite have it yet," The Leewit admitted, allowing her fireball to evaporate.
"You'll get it," Harry encouraged her as his ball of light vanished.
"Maybe," The Leewit said thoughtfully. "Your spells seem to take a lot of effort the first time you use them and then get easier, my patterns aren't quite the same as they usually don't take a lot of power, though it does go down a bit with use. That large knot of klatha in your chest might do more than just give you some extra healing."
Harry shrugged. "I'm sure you'll come up with something similar, the fireball is a lot more useful in the cold and can start a fire, which my light spell can't."
"I'll get it eventually," The Leewit replied, amused that he was trying to make her feel better when he knew she didn't feel bad about him having different talents, just curious. "What spells have you got now?"
"The light spell, the cleaning spell and…" he chewed his lip as he searched his mind to see if his pattern had given him any others, "a repair spell."
"A repair spell?" The Leewit asked, surprised. "You mean like how I can mend metal by reshaping it?"
"I don't think so," Harry said thoughtfully, "this seems like more than that."
"We'll have to see what it does when we get to the girls' place, don't want to tire you out before we set out," The Leewit decided.
"So are you two ready?" Linda asked cheerfully, eager to finish their mission and get the kids somewhere safe. The crow that was watching them hopped from the back of a chair onto her shoulder.
"Let me get everything packed," The Leewit replied, neither of them surprised as they'd both sensed the girls waking up a few moments ago.
Harry jumped up to help and the two were quickly squared away.
"Why a bow?" Linda asked the young witch as she adjusted her bow on her shoulder and made sure her quiver was easy to reach on her pack.
"It's quiet, easy to make ammo for, and can keep you fed in the wilderness," The Leewit replied.
"Once maybe," Sally said with a nod, "but there isn't a lot of wildlife up here and what there is would ignore arrows to eat you."
"Yeah, I expected a completely different environment," she agreed as they left, closing the apartment door behind them.
"Didn't have any information to go on?" Sally asked curiously as they descended the stairs.
"No, this was a complete surprise," The Leewit said honestly.
"Do you know why the war happened and who was involved?" Harry asked.
"Well, everyone was involved," Linda said, recalling what they'd been programmed with, "but it started with China and America going to war with each other. Even now we can't really say what caused it, but it was probably over land and other resources."
"Like most wars are," Sally agreed.
"Kinda silly to go to war for anything less," Linda said with a shrug, "but I'm sure mankind has at some point."
"Did London make it or is it like this?" Harry asked, gesturing around then at the damaged building.
"I'm not sure, but someone at the institute would know," Sally said confidently.
"Glad to hear it," Harry said, "not knowing has been bugging me."
It was hot and bright as they stepped out onto the street and the crow leapt off Linda's shoulder to take to the skies. The sun was almost directly overhead and you could see the heat shimmer above the pavement.
"I'll take lead, you watch the rear," Sally told Linda, unslinging her institute laser rifle so she'd be ready in case they were attacked.
Harry perked up, recognizing a futuristic ray gun when he saw one. Hopefully they'd have a range he could practice shooting at.
The Leewit rolled her eyes, but was still leaking amusement at Harry's fascination with ray guns, "How far are we trekking?"
"Two hours, maybe a little more," Sally said thoughtfully, "depends on if we have to make any detours."
"We'll need to stop after an hour and drink some water," The Leewit decided, "so plan for a rest break at the halfway mark."
Sally nodded. While The Leewit was a child she was still a human and knew what they needed better than she would.
The four set off at a brisk walking pace, the two synths keeping their eyes peeled for trouble. Harry and The Leewit kept quiet as they could feel the two girls' concern and determination to get them to safety.
After about half an hour the two humans had worked up a good amount of sweat and The Leewit passed Harry her canteen when both of them felt a heavy tingle, like the air before a storm, though Harry wasn't sure if he'd actually felt it or just felt The Leewit feeling it.
"Danger incoming," The Leewit spoke up, "we need to find cover."
Sally looked surprised and a bit doubtful, but a crow swooped down and croaked out, "Duck and cover," so she scanned the area. "In there," she ordered, pointing to a burned out department store who's front window had been shattered long ago.
The four scrambled inside and crouched behind the counter, which while charred, was still large enough to hide them from view.
A tense few minutes passed before the sound of footsteps could be heard and a small group of raiders crossed in front of the store, dressed in leather, chains, and spikes. Open sores were visible on the raiders exposed skin and those with hair wore it long, unwashed, and coming out in patches. Even Harry, who had no medical training, could recognize radiation poisoning of that magnitude.
"Do you think these pants make my ass look big?" one of the female raiders asked one of the other raiders.
"Nah, black is slimming," another said.
"I don't know, I think I might be putting on some weight," she argued, "the last settler we caught was kinda fat."
"So don't eat his entire thigh next time," the other said.
"You know Jet makes me hungry," she complained as they slowly passed out of sight.
The two pre-teens bit back feelings of nausea from what the raiders had said and what they could feel from them.
Harry wasn't sure if his urge to cover the entire group in a thin web of klatha and yank on it was an instinctual thought or not as Leewit was also in favor of the idea.
They waited in silence for another three minutes before a crow swooped in to land on the counter. "All clear," it croaked out before launching itself out of the store.
"Wastelanders," Linda said with a shudder.
"It's okay," Sally told the two, trying to reassure them, "before you know it we'll be at the Institute and you'll be safe."
"Can't wait," The Leewit said, eager to be away from such foul minds.
"Now we're all covered in ash," Linda complained as they exited the store. "I hope this stuff doesn't stain."
"Scourgify," Harry cast, having practiced it enough that he found it only a little tiring at this point.
"Whoa!" Linda said examining her jumpsuit. "There are psychic abilities for cleaning?!"
Harry grinned and cast it three more times. "There are magical ones," he said smugly, as he caught his breath and decided that next time he'd wait until they were safe to use so much magic at once.
The Leewit wove a pattern, flicking her fingers so the two girls would know she was doing something. "Lightened our bags. It'll only last an hour or two, but it should help us make better time."
Harry smiled as the mood of the group seemed to brighten as well and they moved a bit quicker through the not quite so abandoned city.
The Director played the footage they'd gotten on the two pre-teens on the large monitor for the division heads. "As you can see, both subjects are either from an unknown vault or from another continent. They possess technology that we do not have and seem to have stable psychic gifts."
"Radiation induced abilities are never stable," Dr. Holdren pointed out. As head of the Bioscience division he'd done a thorough study of the subject.
"Which makes the question of how they have stable enough gifts to develop and pass down techniques even more important," The Director said, stroking his short gray beard in thought.
Dr. Li leaned back in her chair, and made a note on her clipboard, as head of the Advanced Sciences division she had been absolutely fascinated by the tablet the children were using. With just a fraction of the processing power it had shown she'd be able to finish the auto targeting systems she was designing to improve weapons accuracy. "It's strange that what technology they've shown is so advanced when everything else about them seems so primitive, I mean… a bow?"
"Considering the strength of their psychic abilities, if it is a hereditary trait, they may not carry advanced weapons because they have no need to," Justin Ayo pointed out while trying to figure out how big a security risk they were and was frustrated by the lack of information.
"Get blood samples when you give them a check up to make sure they haven't been harmed by their trip to the wastelands," The Director ordered. "I want a full genetic workup on both of them."
"I'll see to it," Dr. Holdren said.
"I can sense something," Harry said slowly, "but normally you sense things first."
"Had to block that so you could develop your own ability to rell things," The Leewit told him. "Now, what are you relling? Feel for it."
"It's not a human… or smart… it's… a scorpion," Harry said with a grin. "It's hiding underneath that burnt out car ahead."
"You're learning quickly," The Leewit told him with a smile as she took her bow off her back and cocked an arrow, as the group stopped she leaned close to the ground and released it, sending the arrow flying underneath the car nearly half a block away.
"That got it," Harry said with a smile.
"Wow, that takes some serious skill," Sally said, impressed.
"Not really," The Leewit said, "I was aiming to scare it out so you could shoot it, that was just a lucky shot." She laughed.
"I hadn't thought arrows would be that effective a weapon," Linda said, "it usually takes at least half a dozen shots to put a Radscorpian down."
"An arrow in the right place can put down most anything," The Leewit said smugly as she approached the car and held out her hand, telekinetically pulling the insect's corpse from beneath the car. At a gesture the head of the giant insect fell into cubes of chitin and meat, allowing her blood stained arrow to float to her hand. She cleaned the remaining blood and viscera off with a rag and started walking once more. "Plus you can use an arrow more than once, which is more than can be said for energy weapons or slug throwers."
"You can use slugs as weapons?" Linda asked, confused.
Sally and The Leewit let out near identical sighs.
"She means guns who use bullets, lead slugs," Harry explained with a grin.
"That makes much more sense," Linda said cheerfully.
"Is unit B2-51 operating normally?" The Director asked.
"No major malfunctions have been noted," Justin said, "she's just… unusually cheerful for the most part, which is why I chose her for this mission, children respond well to her."
The Director nodded thoughtfully. "We have seen evidence of that from their interactions. I'd have to say you made the right choice."
"Thank you," the head of the Synth Retention Bureau said with a nod, before turning his attention back to the screen.
"Why did you sense the raiders at a greater distance than the Radscorpion?" Sally asked, as she scanned their surroundings for threats.
"Premonitions are when you sense something in the future," The Leewit explained, "it's sensing something using time as a distance so actual distances doesn't mean much. Sensing things in the present or relling them with klatha is a different skill. The raiders were a serious threat while the Radscorpion wasn't, so no premonition."
"Radscorpions can be pretty dangerous," Linda pointed out.
"If you are armed and know about them in advance, they are easy to deal with, so this one wasn't a real threat, thus no premonition," The Leewit said.
"So… if we ran across a super mutant, but it wouldn't bother us, you wouldn't get a premonition," Sally guessed.
"Not sure what a super mutant is, but yeah," The Leewit agreed, "things that aren't going to be a threat you don't get premonitions about."
"Super mutants are Wastelanders who have been mutated by the Forced Evolutionary Virus," Sally explained.
"A dozen feet tall, green skinned, enormously strong and violent," Linda added. "You'll know one if you see them."
"Precognition of that strength would make a vault almost untouchable," Dr. Fillmore said. "If their people all possess such a gift I can see why we have no knowledge of them, they'd instinctively avoid us."
"So either the children have weaker precognition or we're not a threat to them," Justin said with a frown.
"If we can give our synths precognition even half as effective as what the children possess, they'd win every battle they entered and complete every mission without losses," Dr. Holdren said, excitement in his eyes.
The division heads fell to discussing theoretical uses for precognition and the mechanics of its operation while watching the four safely traverse the desolate wasteland above and finally reach the molecular relay, hidden inside the remains of a water treatment plant.
"What's the delay?" The Director asked curiously as The Leewit was arguing with Sally on the use of the machine.
"B2-50, hold position while I have the molecular relay checked by maintenance," Madison Li ordered through the console.
"Standing by," came the quick response.
"Why did their people let them wander the wastelands?" Justin asked with a frown while workers went over the relay's receiving pad.
"We'll need more information before we can figure that out," Dr. Holdren said, "it could be something as simple as a rite of passage to weed out weaker talents or something complex as using the two as scouts before deciding on further action in the Commonwealth."
"Checks came back as fully operational, but The Leewit insists her precognition is warning her not to use it," B2-50 reported.
The Director snapped his fingers to get everyone's attention. "The two are to be treated with every courtesy as if they are members of the Institute. I trust you all understand why."
The division heads looked at one another before reluctantly voicing their agreement.
"The Leewit says it's safe to proceed now," B2-50 reported over the console. "Activation in thirty seconds."
The Director nodded with some satisfaction. "Proceed," he ordered.
Typing by: fyrewolf5
TN: I was wondering why they didn't swim away earlier, since while not completely full of dicks, the Institute does have some rather immoral people, and have done a fair amount of horrible research to test and find out how things do or don't work, but seems like having the director on hand, has eliminated the worst options, so it's safe-ish at least for the kids.