Disclaimer: I obviously don't own Fallout. Bethesda Game Studios does, and as one of their loyal followers and forum members, I would never dare claim ownership of any of their works.

A Field of Crimson

Chapter Four

Billy ran along behind the wastlelander as they hurried towards whatever town he was from. "So what exactly is the name of this place? And what kind of opposition can I expect?"

"It's Ashing. The name of the town is Ashing. As for resistance, I have no idea. As soon as I heard the gunfire, I ran for help. I mean, there were some raiders that were threatening us before, but I didn't think they'd actually attack us."

"And how far is it to this town called Ashing?" Billy asked. Truthfully, he had never heard of the place, which meant that it was either really small or really new.

"Not too far now. We're almost-"

The waster was cut off as the crack of a rifle dropped him. He fell to the ground screaming in pain as he clutched at his stomach and as blood pooled around him. Billy dropped into the prone position and aimed his assault rifle in the general direction the shot had come from, but he couldn't see anything. Even though it was daytime, there was a vicious storm overhead which kept everything drowned in water and darkness. After a few moments, he heard someone shout and then, footsteps. He rolled over into a nearby ditch as two raiders walked straight past him.

"Damn! Did you see the range I made that shot at, Marie? Freakin awesome! Now lets loot this sucker before the others get done with that pathetic excuse for a town. If this guy has any valuables, we might be able to hide em before the boss shows up," the male raider said as he walked up to the wounded waster. He finished him off with a shot to the head, then the female raider bent down and began searching his body for anything valuable.

Billy then decided to pop up out of his hiding spot. He emptied his entire clip into the two raiders, riddling their bodies with 5.56mm bullets. They never stood a chance as they weren't even looking in Billy's direction. He walked up to them and relieved them of their spare ammo and caps, then left their bodies, as well as the body of the wastelander, to rot. He walked off in the direction the raiders had come from, assuming that they had left the town.

In a few moments, he was proven right, as he came into sight of the town of Ashing, if it could even be called a town. It was just a row of three houses, made up of rotting wood and scrap metal. Outside the middle house stood five raiders. One, who was apparently making threats to the inhabitants of the house, held an assault rifle. The four behind him held some pretty pathetic looking pistols, .32s if Billy had to guess, and some baseball bats. Any group of mercs, or even some scavs could have outmatched this bunch.

Billy pulled out his magnum and watched them through his scope. After a few moments, the raider with the assault rifle appeared to get tired of yelling and removed a grenade from his belt, then pulled the pin. For Billy it was a perfect shot. The raider's head exploded in a shower of gore and the other raiders looked shocked, until the grenade hit the ground. Then they blew up.

Billy smirked and put his magnum back in it's holster as he made his way into the small town, passing a large green sign with the words, 'Welcome to ashing' printed on it. Billy noticed that several letters seemed to have faded away on the pre-war sign.

The inhabitants of the three houses opened their doors and looked out, and saw Billy sifting through the thoroughly destroyed corpses. He bent down and pulled a bag that made some metallic clanging noises from the lead raider's body. He opened it up and smiled even more broadly at the sight of several hundred caps. "Jackpot!"

When he turned around, he found himself being stared down by a brown haired woman. Her little daughter was clinging to her skirt, her eyes focused on the ground. "Thanks for the rescue and all, but what the hell do you want? No one helps anyone without mention of a reward out here."

Billy smirked at the lady. "Well you see, this waster came up to our group and promised some caps if we rescued this little hole in the ground. Poor guy got his brains blown out. By the raiders, I mean. Not by us."

The woman paled at that. "The only person who wasn't holed up in the houses was my husband, Jamie. Are you saying he's dead then?"

"To be blunt mam, he couldn't be deader. He's missin a head for God's sake." Billy glanced around her at the house and saw a whole lot of nothing. These people were dirt poor.

"If you're looking for valuables, we don't have any. Whatever caps Jamie promised you, we can't pay."

Billy lost his smirk and stared down at the bag he was holding. He looked from the bag, then back up to the women. After a few moments of thinking, and a few curse words, he tossed the now very surprised woman the bag.

"What-"

"You can pay me now. Fifty caps."

"But-"

"Don't complain. It's not every day someone hands you free money."

"Why?"

Billy looked away for a moment, as if he were thinking about that himself, then he turned back and looked at the little girl.

"Cause I like kids, and the little girl deserves better, especially since she just lost her daddy. So there ya go. Hand me my caps, and I'll be on my way."

The women smiled and gave him his caps, then turned and walked back into the house, seeming to already forget about her dead husband with her sudden increase in wealth.

"Hey, out of curiosity, what's the little girl's name?" Billy called out after her.

"It's Maggie."

"Well then enjoy the caps Maggie. Jeez, I must be out of my mind..." Billy muttered under his breath. Then he began walking back towards the base, where he would wait for his teammates to get back from their mission.