Where The Sun Is Always Shining
Chapter One: Blindness
The first thing that comes over her when she flees the vault is a searing blindness. She pushes herself through that flimsy wooden door that no one dared to follow her through, and then she runs right into nothingness.
She is terrified.
Her thoughts are a jumbled mess. Oh God, the Overseer was right. There isn't anything here. Nothing survived outside of the Vault. It is here you are born, it is here you will die.
It is here you will die.
She falls, and she feels like she will fall forever. Something hard hits her knees, and her hands fly out in front of her wildly to grasp it. She feels something grainy and non-permanent between her fingers. Slowly, the world around her comes into focus. Sloping, jagged hills fill her vision. She stares into an endless sea of brown. She squints, trying to discern if anything lives in this new form of nothingness. She shakily pushes herself up, brushing off her knees, and wiping tears from her eyes.
"God damn it, Dad."
"Good morning, madam!" an unusually chipper, mechanical voice greets. She groans, and rolls over in her bed.
"Hey Wadsworth," she mumbles. After a few moments, the robot asks,
"Are you going to get up, madam?"
"In a minute," she says. After the promised minute has passed, she sits up, and swings her legs over the edge of the bed.
"How may I serve you, madam?"
"Purified water. All you can make. I'm going out today," she says with a conviction she doesn't feel.
"Certainly, madam!" Wadsworth chirps. As he processes the condensation to make the water, she stands up to ready herself.
Two months. She has been here two goddamn months, and the closest she had gotten to finding her father were the cryptic words, "Go to GNR." Yeah, GNR.
In super mutant infested D.C.
She came across a super mutant once, and had run her ass back to Megaton as fast as her privileged, Vault-dweller legs could carry her. If she were to be completely honest with herself, she was simply stalling. She was stalling because she was scared. Fucking terrified, if she wasn't in the mood to mince words. She was frightened of every damn thing in the Wastes, from molerats and radscorpions to mirelurks and super mutants. This world brought her to her knees when she first fled the vault, and she isn't sure she ever got back up.
She rummages through her filing cabinet, pulling out some leather armor. She shrugs into it and holsters her weapons. Shotgun on her back, pistol on her hip, knife in her boot. She walks down the steps of her derelict house, and sighs. She grabs a pair of sunglasses from the lockers, idly wondering if she'll need them today. Wadsworth greets her at the door.
"Here you are," he says, depositing five bottles of water into her outstretched hands. She grumbles her thanks, grabbing her pack from beside the door, and leaves. She inhales sharply as the sunlight hits her eyes. She could have never imagined anything as bright as the sun back on the vault.
She makes her way top Moriarty's to say goodbye to Gob and Nova. Jericho shoves past her before she can reach the door handle.
"Get lost, kid," he says, his breath smelling like whiskey. She stares him down for an intense second before he mutters a curse and stalks off. She lets out a relieved sigh as she slumps against the door. She thought Jericho was an asshole, but she was still terrified of him. After steadying herself, she pushes the door open. Gob shoots her a weary smile as he continues to wipe off drinking glasses.
"Mornin', Sunshine," he greets. She involuntarily winces, still unused to another voice calling her by the nickname her father used. Uses, she corrects herself firmly. She plasters on a smile.
"Hey, Gob! Rough night?" He shrugs.
"No rougher than usual," he answers. She decides not to notice the stiffness of his posture, or the tightness of his voice.
"Where's Nova?" she asks. He casts his eyes downward.
"Still asleep," he answers softly. "She had a busy night." Sunshine feels like kicking herself.
"Well then," she says awkwardly.
"Yeah, how about that," Gob grumbles. She swallows, trying to wet her dry throat. Gob sets his glass down.
"Wanna drink?" he offers. She nods, and he takes the glass he just wiped down. "Water, right?"
"Right," she answers, trying not to focus on the stains still on the glass. He sets it in front of her and she dutifully takes a gulp.
"What brings you here so early, anyway?" Gob asks. She swallows, holding the glass in both of her hands. The water instantly becomes more interesting than Gob's face.
"I'm going to go look for my dad," she answers finally. "I've come to say goodbye." She sees Gob's resulting wince out of the corner of her eye.
"How long will you be gone?" he asks quietly.
"I have no idea," she answers honestly, moving her gaze from her water to the floor. Gob sighs, and the glass he was wiping down clinks against the counter.
"Right," he says tightly. "Goodbye. Be careful and all of that." She nods, setting her glass down. Suddenly, she isn't so thirsty anymore. She moves to leave, but makes the mistake of looking back at Gob. His eyes are downcast, and a frown creases his already ruined features.
"Hey," she says softly. "I'll come back. Pinky swear." She holds her pinky out. He smiles, but his eyes don't light up. He wraps his pinky around hers, and they shake on it.
"I'll hold you to this," he says. She nods, and her first real smile of the day breaks through. It falls quickly from her face when a laugh devoid of any mirth echoes through the saloon. Sunshine cuts her eyes up to see Moriarty laughing. He shakes his head, and walks down the stairs. Gob tenses as Moriarty walks behind the counter, but the man pays him no attention. He gives them another look before snorting, and closing the door to his terminal behind him.
"Ass," she mutters under her breath. She resists pulling Gob into a hug, and instead leaves two stimpacks on the counter as she leaves.
Lucas Simms catches her at the gate.
"Mighty fine thing you did for this town," he says, and his face has a gentle expression. "Never did get a chance to say that to you." She laughs nervously.
"Where are you headed today?" She inwardly balks at the question.
"I'm going away for a little while. To find my dad," she explains. Simms nods sympathetically.
"Did you ask Jericho to teach you how to shoot yet?" he asks expectantly.
"Uh, well, you see," she stammers. He sighs, placing a hand over his eyes.
"You didn't, did you?"
"That would be a no," she answers. He lets out a long suffering sigh.
"Look, now I know the two of you aren't on the best of terms," he begins, but Sunshine interrupts him.
"I hadn't noticed," she grumbles.
"But," he interjects firmly. "You can't just go running around the wastes handling a gun the way you do. It'll be a damn quick way to get yourself killed. Now, come on," he scolds. Sunshine grumbles to herself all the way to Jericho's house. They were practically neighbors, but there wasn't anything neighborly about the ex-raider. She is sure Jericho would rather shoot her himself, and blame it on a hangover, then teach her how to shoot. Simms knocks on Jericho's door. A muffled curse rings out inside, along with the shattering of a glass being thrown against the door.
"Now, Jericho," Simms starts. "I know you ain't the friendliest man in the bunch, but I let you stay here anyway. The way I see it, you owe me a favor. " Another curse rings out, which is then followed by a vehement,
"I don't owe you shit!" Simms sighs, and rubs his temples.
"Jericho, stop being difficult and open the door." A long silence follows before a red-eyed and angry Jericho answers the door. "See, that wasn't so hard, now, was it?" Simms asks serenely.
"Why can't you teach me to shoot?" she almost whines.
"Because Jericho is a crack shot. You would be hard-pressed to find to find a better man to teach you here in Megaton," he answers.
"Means he's too busy to teach you, kid," Jericho pipes in. Sunshine glares at him, and tries not to whimper when he glares back.
"You two get along now," Simms calls over his shoulder as he walks away. As soon as Simms is out of earshot, Sunshine offers,
"I won't tell if you won't."
"Deal," he answers, and slams the door in her face.
And so, the Lone Wanderer enters the Wasteland once again, with nominal shooting skills, and a generous amount of luck.