Wow! First thing I've posted in a year. O_O; I just wrote this one up last night for my sister and she told me to post it. It's based on a few conversations we had while playing New Vegas over the wisdoms of putting so many people with different personalities in a small space together (namely the Lucky 38).
The door slowly creaked open, flooding the darkened room with light from the hallway. A human-shaped shadow took its place and made its way further into the room to the bed inside. "Arcade?" someone whispered gently. "Arcade wake up! We've got a problem." Veronica gave Arcade a sharp poke to the ribcage with her power fist when he didn't respond.
Arcade flinched at the assault. "I'm awake…I'm just pretending to be asleep so you'll leave me alone," he replied, his annoyed voice muffled by his pillow. He sat up so his voice was more intelligible and held his arm out in front of his face to block out some of the light. "What's wrong that can't wait until morning to handle?"
"Well, Cass had a little too much to drink tonight…" she explained.
"And that's news? She's a walking brewery!"
"You didn't let me finish," Veronica added a bit agitatedly. "Well she was drinking like usual, and then she found this baseball bat somewhere, and then she started beating ED-E and shouting something about a piñata…whatever that may be."
"She broke ED-E?" he replied a little too enthusiastically. "Um…I mean…how terrible."
"Yes, and now Raul's trying to fix him, but he says he doesn't have much experience with robots and he needs help."
"Why try to fix him? Those old robots are bad luck." Arcade's strong displeasure for the little eyebot was made more obvious by his tone.
"Because the Courier's going to be upset when he finds out. He's always had ED-E around, longer than any of us," she pointed out.
Arcade considered the situation a moment. The Courier did do a lot with that robot. It tended to follow him everywhere like a little lost puppy. He figured it was just programmed to do that, but the Courier didn't see it that way, viewing it more like a family member than a barely sentient hunk of scrap metal. "And where is he now?" he asked almost as a second thought.
"Boone stopped him at the elevator and took him to the Strip to keep him busy while we try to fix it," she replied.
So he didn't even know yet…great. "Alright, I'll see what I can do," he gave in reluctantly. "It's not like I have anything better to do, like sleep or anything."
Lily was walking out of the room nearest them, scolding Leo for something, when they stepped out into the hallway of the Lucky 38's presidential suite. Just inside, Raul had ED-E's fragmented pieces spread out on a table. Most of the damage seemed to be too severe to have been caused by a baseball bat. Veronica's startled reaction seemed to be proof that it indeed wasn't Cass's handiwork.
"You dismantled him?"
Raul looked up, having just realized they were standing there. "Uh, no. I was busy replacing this piece here when Lily came along and said that some guy named "Leo" wanted to help, and before I could stop her, she completely took him apart." He picked up a panel and sighed when some wires and a battery tore away from it and fell to the floor.
"Looks unfixable. How tragic!" Arcade said, struggling to hide a smirk.
Raul examined ED-E's remains carefully. "No…I'm sure we can manage it before the boss gets back. We just need some replacement wire, a few spare parts, and hope that the sniper guy can keep the boss distracted for about three years or so."
Veronica sighed and glanced at Arcade. "Will you please at least try to help?"
"Fine. But I still say this thing is bad luck to have around," he complained before examining what was left of the eyebot to see what he could do. "Okay, first we need some wire…"
"Already got some," Raul replied. He handed Arcade a handful of slightly used-looking wiring.
Arcade looked at the wires suspiciously. "Where did you get this from?" he asked. Veronica and Arcade looked to the corner when they heard whimpering. Rex laid there with a back panel screwed off and some wires missing, his rear legs now immobile.
"Raul! You can't just pull wires out of the dog!" Veronica scolded.
"You're right, sorry. I know someplace else I can get wires, hang on." Raul walked out into the hall while Arcade reattached Rex's wiring. The cyberdog quickly retreated into another room before Raul decided to try that again. "Here you go! This should do nicely!" the ghoul said upon returning.
"Why does mah butt feel a draft?" they heard Victor ask. They glanced out into the hall to find him reaching around to his rear at the missing plating.
"Raul!" Arcade and Veronica both shouted at him in unison.
"Well where are we supposed to get parts then?" he demanded.
"I don't know! Is there somebody that no one would miss?" Arcade inquired.
"Wow! I sure am glad you invited me up here so that you can dismantle me for parts!" Yes Man said excitedly.
"That's great, Yes Man," Arcade replied as he unscrewed several of his components and helped Raul place them on ED-E.
They'd both finally gotten the robot together into a recognizable form and were currently in the business of trying to turn him back on when they heard the *ding* of the elevator in the hallway behind them.
"No really, you don't want to go in there!" they heard Boone's slightly panicked voice.
"Yeah? Why not?" the Courier replied. Arcade and Raul traded nervous glances and worked to get ED-E online faster. "Did everyone throw a party up here that I'm not supposed to know about?"
"No, of course not. I uh…just love spending time with you," Boone lied.
"Boone, two days ago I could barely even get you to talk to me and now you're smothering me! That seems more than a little suspicious," the Courier pointed out accusingly. He glanced out the elevator and noticed Yes Man standing just outside the room where Arcade and Raul were trying to fix his eyebot, several shredded wires hanging loosely from missing panels and a few other miscellaneous parts scattered on the ground around him. "Why is he here?"
"Well because he's…he's…" Boone gave up on an explanation and shrugged. "Hell if I know. Why is he here?" He added the last part loud enough for the others to hear.
"Ronnie! Go!" Arcade whispered loudly, shooing Veronica into the hall to distract the Courier.
She looked at Yes Man nervously and tried to think up a good explanation. "He's here because…um…"
Yes Man, being the ever-helpful soul that he was, decided to help explain it for them. "They brought me here so they could use my parts to fix your robot that they broke!"
"They what?" Arcade and Raul's groans were loud enough to be heard from the elevator. Veronica nervously backed into the room.
"Cass broke it! We're just fixing it!" Arcade corrected the securitron.
Sensing that it was going to get awkward fast, Boone decided to sneak off into the other room where Cass and Lily were both hiding from the Courier's reaction. "And where do you think you're going?" the Courier asked him when he noticed.
"I left the curtains on fire," Boone replied before disappearing into the other room.
With Boone gone, the Courier decided to turn his fury on those fixing his beloved eyebot. "Let me see ED-E!" he demanded, trying to push his way into the room.
"Don't let him in!" Arcade instructed. Why wasn't the stupid thing turning on? Maybe it was irreparable.
"Yes sir!" Yes Man replied enthusiastically before blocking the doorway.
"Yes Man, move!" the Courier demanded aggressively.
Yes Man quickly moved out of the way. "Right away sir!"
Raul glared at the securitron. "Remind me never to depend on you in a gun fight."
The Courier looked horrified when he saw ED-E's motionless form on the table. "What did you bastards do to ED-E?"
"Well boss, I can easily explain…it was all Arcade's fault," Raul replied, pointing at Arcade to accentuate his point.
"And speaking of gun fights," Arcade replied sarcastically.
"I'm sure ED-E's fine. He's probably just…sleeping?" Veronica suggested weakly.
The Courier hastily examined his robot. "You broke my best friend, you bastards!" he screamed at them, lunging for Arcade. Veronica quickly caught him and held him back. "Let me go!" he demanded.
"Not until you calm down!" she replied firmly. "Or would you rather I got Grandma Lily in here to give you a time out?" The Courier went limp at this threat. Veronica finally released him but remained on edge in case he tried it again.
"Didn't you say he was broken when you found him? Maybe you can fix him again," Arcade suggested. He pushed ED-E across the table and closer to the Courier.
The Courier shook his head. "I have no idea how to fix robots!"
"Then how did you fix him to begin with, boss?" Raul asked.
"Funny thing, that…I was just sticking some random pieces here and there, pretending I knew what I was doing…and then I spilled some of my soda on him which caused him to spark and seemed to jumpstart him," he replied.
Arcade, Raul and Veronica stared at him a moment. "So basically you managed to do something smart by being really, really stupid?" Arcade stated bluntly. Veronica clasped her hand over her mouth to muffle her laughter.
"Well I wouldn't put it that way," he replied, a bit offended. "But yeah, pretty much." He lifted ED-E up so that he was sitting upright on the table and let go, watching him clunk back onto his side. "So now what?"
"You can always just try pouring soda on him again!" Yes Man suggested. When everyone glared at him he added, "On second thought, that might make him all sticky!"
Curiosity overwhelming him as to what everyone was crowding around the room for, Victor joined Yes Man in the doorway. "Well howdy friends! What seems to be the problem here?" he asked.
"They killed ED-E!" the Courier replied using the saddest sounding tone he could muster.
"We did not! Cass did it!" Arcade corrected once more. "We're just trying to fix it!"
Victor approached the table and looked at the limp eyebot placed upon it. He flipped it over onto its other side and noticed a button. "And the "on" button didn't work?"
Arcade stared at both robots, drawing a blank. "There's an "on" button?"
Raul suddenly looked guilty. "Oh yeah…I noticed that when we were putting him back together…I guess I forgot…" He shrunk back against the wall when everyone in the room glared at him.
Victor pressed the button and took a step back when ED-E started beeping and managed to get himself back in the air again. The Courier made a rather effeminate screech and hugged the little robot close. "You fixed him! Thank you!" he said excitedly before hugging Victor as well.
"Hey! We fixed him! Victor just pushed a button!" Raul pointed out.
The Courier didn't even seem to hear him. "Come on ED-E, let's go on an adventure!" he said before marching off towards the elevator. ED-E beeped several times and followed after him.
"I love happy endings!" Yes Man said once the door closed.
"Well this was an eventful evening," Arcade sighed. "I think I would have been better off staying at the Fort…"
Boone walked into the room holding up a charred piece of cloth that was still smoking. "Don't worry. I put them out," he stated.