Capital Wasteland-November 2278
"Come on you assholes, we haven't got all day. Your new owners are waiting!"
The four slavers in mercenary garb were nervous and had good reason to be. The Capital Wasteland was not so tolerant of their kind anymore since the destruction of Paradise Falls and they knew it. Trouble was that travel across the wastes hadn't got that much safer in the last year and it was painfully slow progress with eight slaves. They'd hoped to be at the Pitt train tunnel and home free by now. Due to a lot of rests and other problems they'd only reached Northwest Seneca station and didn't look like getting much further.
As it turned out they would be getting no further. The Asian slaver at the back was in the act of kicking a slave who'd gone down exhausted when his head exploded. The second one next to him barely had time to realise this when a second shot rang out and he was catapulted backward several feet to land dead on his back.
"Oh shit it must be...!" A third shot literally cut off that sentence and the third one's head leaving only the panicked leader pointing his assault rifle in every direction...until a fourth shot blew his left arm off.
"OH FUCCKKKK...MY ARM!"
"Guess we can call the Mk 2 Recon Armour a success then."
Leon Kallan, the Lone Wanderer, turned off his new black armour's stealth field a short distance away as he walked over to the awestruck slaves and started deactivating the cheap explosive collars they wore. It was a cross between the standard Recon Armour and Combat Armour and better yet had a stealth field incorporated into it. Coupled with the head covering mask it had attached the wearer ended up looking like a modern day ninja and it made Leon a fearful sight to his enemies.
"Oh you're still alive?" Leon spat at the slaver. "I thought you fuckheads would have learned after what I did to Paradise Falls."
The slaver's eyes became dinner plates. "Oh shit..."
"You said it." Leon looked over the slaves his eyes narrowing even further as he saw three of them were kids. "Sorry I can't give you everything you deserve but this will have to do!"
The slaver didn't have time to scream before Leon's fifth shot shattered his head into bloody pieces. He spat on the corpse as he holstered his Blackhawk and went by to escort the freed slaves safely back to Big Town.
Next day- Citadel
GNR...Three Dog...all you need to know.
Leon had switched on GNR to help pass the time while repairing his armour and several other suits down in the Forge at the Citadel. The sore truth was he did everything and anything to pass time so he didn't have to think that much anymore. It might have been the best year the Capital Wasteland had ever known but for him the last six months had been barely passable. He'd not heard anything from Amata or Vault 101 since he'd put her in the Overseer's seat and Dogmeat had passed away in his sleep 2 months ago. Fawkes and Charon were living in Underworld and had their own lives to lead. Aside from his casual friends in Megaton and his comrades in the Brotherhood he truly was the Lone Wanderer now and he was starting to feel it. Although he was constantly coming up with new designs and weapons for the Brotherhood and doing wonders cleaning out the Super Mutants from the DC ruins it felt like his life had lost any sense of direction.
...now I know that I've been a little light on news lately, but we all know who's responsible for that don't we children? If Mr 101 had never shown himself or simply didn't care, we'd be in one hell of a mess. As it is we've got fresh water, a lot less jolly green giants and best of all no more Enclave fascists.
Leon smiled a little at that. The one bright spark was that no one had seen or heard anything of the Enclave since he gave them a requiem at Adams Air Force base. Either they had finally got the hint that their self styled 'America' wasn't wanted or they'd simply died out. Leon, not surprisingly, was hoping for the latter. He'd never forgiven the Enclave for what they'd done and nor would he ever.
"You're still working down here?"
"Yes I am Sarah," Leon replied without looking around. "And I'm going to be for awhile yet."
Sarah Lyons sighed. "This isn't healthy, Leon. You can't spend the rest of your life fixing armour and being a one man police force for the wasteland."
"And what am I supposed to do instead then? You tell me."
"Try and live a little," Sarah advised. "At least take it a little easier. Rothchild might appreciate you slaving away down here and we all appreciate you killing mutants in the day but..."
"I know, Sarah! Don't you think I know that? But I don't know how to do anything else. And I don't think I'm ready to 'live' a little as you put it yet."
"Well if not now...when?"
Sarah's question was gentle but it hit hard. Worse yet she didn't have much of an answer either. She knew full well he didn't want to settle down anymore than she did. Both of them were warriors and wouldn't give up that role. She also knew that he wasn't over Amata yet and not interested in looking for relationships elsewhere. Given these cold hard facts there were only one or two options left.
"Well if you're not ready to live yet; are you ready for a drink or two? You, me, some of the Pride and Paladin Tristan. How about it?"
Leon sighed indifferently. "I was going home after finishing this off..."
"Fine, then we'll have it in Megaton," Sarah's tone indicated he wasn't getting out of this. "Finish up, clean up and then meet us topside. Consider that an order, Knight Commander!"
Leon seethed inside as she left grinning. So much for a quiet night.
Settlement of Baltimore Haven- 40 miles NE of the Capital Wasteland
Baltimore Haven was well named, being the largest and safest settlement for miles around. It was unusual in a few ways. First it was huge; over three times the size of Megaton. It was built inside what was left of the west side of Baltimore, which hadn't been hit as bad as Washington, and had several intact pre-war buildings and apartment blocks inside its walls. The best part was the intact vault, Vault 99, located in the middle; in fact most of the settlers were descended from the original vault dwellers.
Vault 99 had been a happy standard vault in its day and had operated just as the Vault-Tec brochure said it would. But upon opening the doors to a hostile environment, the vault dwellers decided not to explore too far. They'd simply repaired and developed the apartment blocks that remained and walled off the area with walls of rubble and scrap metal. 200 years on the settlement was still intact and thriving. The vault's water systems still functioned so that was never a problem and between home grown allotments and scavenging neither was food. The only major threats in the area were Raider gangs and feral ghouls. But these had been less of a problem since the arrival of the settlement's newest residents: the 200 Enclave troops that had arrived from the Capital Wasteland.
These troopers, led by Major Gary Houser, weren't exactly Enclave regulars. They had been considered misfits and troublemakers by the leadership but this was not due to any lack of skill or loyalty to the cause. The difference was that they actually cared about the wasteland and its people, which was how they'd all been reassigned from the main division in the Capital Wasteland and sent northeast to Baltimore on scouting and fact finding duties. On finding Baltimore Haven they'd been quick to establish relations and then spent most of the last six months securing a new outpost for themselves there. All had gone well for Enclave and residents alike...until now.
Since three months ago people had been disappearing from the settlement, just completely vanishing with no signs of a struggle or any warning. It had been subtle, only one or two people at a time, but it was getting worse and it didn't seem to matter how many guards got posted (whoever it was just got by them) or what sensors and cameras were put up (these were found to be hacked or erased). Total so far was 60 people abducted including 5 Enclave.
"Still no response?" The silver haired 51 year old major was feeling double his age as he headed for the vault entrance for a meeting with the settlement council and his officers.
"Sorry sir, still nothing." Lieutenant Kayla Thomson wished she had better news. "I just hope Dan has better news when he gets back."
"I hope so too. He's been gone too long as it is. Something must have gone wrong back there."
Desperate for news and reinforcement from the Capital Wasteland Houser had sent his other main subordinate, Captain Daniel Kerrigan, back in one of the three Vertibirds he had at his disposal. He knew he was violating orders by doing so but he needed more help here desperately and after weeks of no replies to his radio calls he decided he had no other option. The fact that he'd been gone a day and a half only increased Houser's worry. By Vertibird it only took half an hour to get to Washington from here. He was still pondering what to do next when one of his soldiers intercepted him.
"Sir, we've got a Vertibird coming in from the south."
Houser's heart lifted a little as he saw it was the one he'd sent out. It quickly plummeted again when he saw his Captain getting out of the Vertibird. His face was as grim as a mortician's.
"Dan, what happened? You're well overdue," Kayla beat Houser to meeting up with Dan. "Is help on the way?"
"No, no help at all." The raven haired 35 year old Captain looked whipped as he said this.
"What? You're kidding me! You mean to say that son of a bitch Autumn's sending nothing?"
"There's nothing to send, Kayla. We're all that's left." Dan nodded his head at the box he was carrying under his left arm. Both recognised it instantly as the 'black box' data core from Raven Rock, the kind that was jettisoned for recovery in the event of a base self destruct.
Houser's face was ashen. "Captain, you mean that we're..."
"...all that's left of the Enclave on the whole coast? Yes sir, we are. We're also in deep shit wouldn't you say?"
Moriarty was starting to think Christmas had come early. The Brotherhood platoon, consisting of Dusk, Glade, Kodiak, Vargas, Tristan and Sarah, had gone through 2 rounds of drinks already and they didn't look like slowing down. There was only one problem, at least as far as Sarah was concerned; Leon was a no show at the bar. He'd come out of the Citadel without a complaint, went to his house to change clothes again once they'd arrived and 30 minutes later still nothing.
If he thinks he's getting out of this he's got another think coming! Sarah thought darkly. She was halfway to the door intent on dragging Leon there when he came in on his own. But he certainly wasn't in party mode as he was decked out in his customised Hellfire Armour and sporting his Metal Blaster. This made Leon look like he'd ascended straight from the pits of hell. He'd taken a standard Hellfire suit, emblazoned the Brotherhood logo onto the arms below the shoulders and, for psychological show, he'd riveted combat knife blades over his shoulder pads and down the front to his chest and from the elbows as well. He'd also replaced the standard helmet with a T-51b helmet which he'd painted black. Most Raiders ran clean away without a shot when they saw him in this suit.
"Leon, what are you..?"
"Sorry Sarah, party's going to have to wait. I've got a problem I need to take care of."
"Ok, what sort of problem?" Sarah asked as the rest of the group came over to join them.
In response Leon punched several buttons on his Pipboy.
THIS IS AN EMERGENCY TRANSMISSION FROM VAULT 101:
"Leon, I hope you can hear this. I can understand if you never wanted to see me again but I really need your help. The Vault needs your help. We weren't ready for facing the outside world like you did and we need you again. The code to the vault door is now your name. The Vault needs a hero and...from what we've heard on GNR you are one. Please help us and come home."
Leon turned off the message and snorted. "Yeah right...and I'm the next Enclave President."
"That was Amata, wasn't it?" Sarah asked starting to catch on.
"Yeah but you heard her voice there, someone was forcing her to say that crap, and given the way I left do you really think she'd invite me back just like that?" Leon looked round the table for opinions and all he got were nods of agreement. "So I'm going back but it won't go the way they think it will; and if they've hurt Amata or anyone down there..." Leon raised his hand and closed it into a fist for show.
"Good thinking," Paladin Tristan smiled at the man he'd mentored and considered the best the Brotherhood had. "So what are we waiting for? Let's go kick some ass!"
"Wait a minute! We? What do you mean we?" Leon was taken aback.
"You're one of us, kid. In case you hadn't noticed," Vargas chimed in. "I don't know what things were like in that vault but we look after our own."
"Too damn right!"
"Count me in!"
Despite Leon's protests every single one of the platoon was adamant about going in with him. As he thought more about it the more he liked it. Whoever was pulling the strings down in the vault was expecting just him but what they'd get was him plus the Brotherhood's elite; enough to sterilise the Vault ten times over. Yes, he was starting to like this idea a lot.
Five minutes after collecting all their helmets and guns they were on the road through Springfield.
"What kind of resistance should we expect?" Tristan was asking.
Leon scoffed. "Pathetic. Cheap vault armour and cheap 10mm pistols, Raiders could do better than they've got. One or two of us could clean the place out without breaking a sweat. All that worries me is what's happened to Amata and the others in her group."
"Well since this is your turf and your friends are involved you can lead this op," Sarah suggested.
Leon stared at her as though she'd gone mad. "Me in charge of the Pride?"
"Speaking for myself I'd follow you into hell."
Leon waited for objections from the rest of the group. He was stunned when there wasn't any and all the others just stared at him in expectation waiting for his orders.
"OK, fine. Helmets on. Let's do this!"
It was close to 21:00 when they reached the outer Vault door illuminated in the moonlight.
"I'll go first, let them think it's just me then if there is any trouble we'll give them a surprise," Leon ordered coldly.
The first surprise, however, was that the main door was already open and the second was the heated argument that they could hear just inside. From what Leon could hear it was Butch and one of the old Vault guards that he'd left alive during his escape, Officer Park.
"...you always were the slow one, Butch. It wasn't Amata who sent out the signal."
"Then who the fuck did?" Butch's loud voice was unmistakable.
"The rightful Overseer, Allen Mack."
At that Leon's eyes narrowed hard. Although he knew he wasn't all that popular in the vault Mack was one of the few who'd outright hated him and his father. The feeling was mutual. Both James and Leon had had nothing but contempt for Mack. 'An overrated sycophant' had been James's description of him. Leon had no doubt the only reason Steve Mack had been allowed to join the vault guards was his father's ass kissing to the Overseer. This meant, as far as Leon was concerned, that Allen Mack was just as culpable for Jonas's death as Alphonse Almodovar had been.
That son of a bitch thinks he can just overthrow Amata and lure me back into a trap? Leon pulled the Metal Blaster from his back and armed it. Mack was about to get a serious Capital Wasteland lesson that most had learned well over a year ago: do not fuck with the Lone Wanderer and expect to get away with it with no consequences. The Enclave had learnt that the very hard way. It would be interesting to see how Vault 101 would do...
Author's note: Love/hate or somewhere in between? This is my first attempt and I'm still finding my feet so feel free with constructive criticism/ideas and I'll get the next part up ASAP (assuming I don't get too hooked on New Vegas).