Cort wasn't too happy about where her priorities had shifted. Yesterday her biggest concern had been finding a holotape she hadn't played out for the umpteenth time, or trying to keep Butch from snapping her bra when Mr. Brotch wasn't looking. Today however, was a tossup between being shot to death and her current position; yowling in a ditch and wondering if she'd been blinded for good after opening the door to a faceful of searing light.
"I thought sunshine was supposed to be a good thing!" Cort wailed, drumming her heels over the hardpan in fits. "What am I going to get out of rainbows, an enema?"
Cort rapidly pushed and slithered backwards until she found herself wedged in between two rocks, shoved sunglasses over her eyes, ripped her hair loose over her face and promptly jammed the security helmet she salvaged from her escape down to her ears. This made things better to the point where whimpering was a sufficient complaint. Unfortunately, this provided enough clarity for the rest of her predicament to hit her. The quiet sobbing turned into snoring sometime around early afternoon. She woke up a few hours later screaming and flailing a baton at nothing.
Cort had had a decent, if pedantic life up until this morning. Born into Vault 101, she was raised by her father James, the Vault doctor. It wasn't that bad, really. She was bright enough, had at least one friend in Amata, the Overseer's daughter, and some of the boys before puberty hit and their brains dropped into their shorts. If she was seen as a sucky know-it-all and teacher's pet after that, it was only because 99% of her own age group bored the everliving beans(but most definitely NOT the pants) off of her. She figured part of this was to do with having her father and Jonas providing an expanded education beyond what Mr. Brotch had in the standard Vault-Tec lesson plans, and even he hadn't been too bad, with the extra notes and criticisms returned with her papers once he figured out she wasn't a total ditz. Stanley Armstrong had let her play around with fixing unimportant things after she had fussed so much over her new Pip-Boy. Even Amata's father Alphonse had been some good, if only for the realization that manners and knowing that withholding information could get you a long way in certain circumstances.
He had certainly withheld quite a lot, according to the data entries Cort had found in his terminal. The vault had been opened multiple times in the past, it seemed, and they were still all alive. Nobody had mutated, or melted, or grown extra parts(that she could see, anyway). On further reflection, Cort decided that it really wasn't puzzling that her father was able to get out of the vault, but pretty goddamn puzzling that he had, and left her with a bunker full of spontaneous lunatics. Like John Kendall.
Cort had stumbled out of her living area and straight into John being attacked by radroaches. The bugs didn't bother her, she'd been taking potshots at them down in the utility corridors since she was ten. What did bother her was Kendall trying to bash her head in after she whacked them off of him. The 10mm Amata had thrust at her wasn't that much harder than her BB gun to aim, especially up close. She shot the injured guard in the throat, considered, removed his armour and promptly threw up in her new helmet. After that, things got rather fuzzy.
Later, Cort supposed it was shock, and was partly grateful and resentful at the same time. She vaguely remembered saving Mrs DeLoria from more bugs, and supposed that was why Butch's jacket was tied around her hips. Grandma Taylor was dead(and Cort dearly regretted this, since it seemed she had been outside in this blinding hellhole before), Stanley and Officer Gomez were most likely not totally crazy, although she wasn't ruling out partial insanity after the wake up routine she'd just danced through with everyone. She wasn't quite sure how many other people she'd...killed, stumbling over the word murder to that much more agreeable one in her mind, but considering there wasn't currently vomit caked on her scalp, she assumed at least one security guard. With the somewhat repaired state the uniform was in, probably a few more. Dimly inspecting the gashes and purple blossoming in her arms and legs, she decided they hadn't come pre-battered by radroaches like Kendall had. The sunglasses came from Floyd Lewis, but she couldn't remember if they had been a present or not. Other bits of Vault detrius ranged out along her backwards crawl from where she had collapsed upon exit.
She remembered busting in on Amata being raked over by her father and Officer Mack. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time, and Cort supposed it still was. Amata had warned her about her father leaving, about the Overseer turning against her, armed her, and she'd always been a friend. She'd even had time to be kind when telling her about...
Jonas. Jonas was dead. Officer Mack had killed him, which is why Cort had shot him in the legs; although that's pretty much all she had to aim at after he had punched her to the floor. "I did something else too," she said out loud. "I beat him until there was nothing but pink and white chunks up there. Then I told Alphonse to go to hell, broke into all his personal shit, and got the fuck out of Dodge. Haha!" Her laughter scaled up and down, making her wonder if that was what wind chimes in hell would sound like, which only made her bray harder. One big gulp of air managed to suck in a mouthful of the hair still covering her face and she hitched and spat and hiccuped until she calmed down again.
"I wish I could remember Jonas' alive-face." came out on one of her hiccups. Cort sighed, half considered beating on the Vault door with the baton or baseball bat, or one of the delightfully colourful signs abandoned in front of it, concluded she was above such an emotional response(nevermind that she wasn't sure her arms would lift past her shoulders), then lurched up out of her hole and started twirling the dials on her Pip-Boy.
"Well Dad, if I'm an adult now -and hey! Thanks for the note, it really made the massacre homey- then I can find you and ask WHAT THE HELL YOU WERE THINKING!" she screeched. "You're probably going to this Megaton settlement. It was in the report, and barring annihilation by giant ANTS, it's probably my best bet."
Cort flipped her hair to the back of her head, jammed her helmet back on, grabbed her scattered belongings and started tottering down the hill into a wobbly southeasterly track.