The sun had set almost an hour ago, and the scorching heat of the day was quickly being replaced by the blistering cold of night. The extreme temperatures were common place in the Mojave Wasteland, but the young Courier never quite got used to them.
Her name was Nanami. She was a tall, slender Asian woman with a long black ponytail. She wore a ragged and dirty leather shirt and matching pants. It was an uncomfortably muggy outfit for the desert – but it provided good protection during a fight, and Nanami was no stranger to those.
Nanami's wanderings through the Mojave Wasteland had taken her away from the hustling city of New Vegas, and towards the humble mining camp of Sloan. Sloan was a small encampment, but once it had provided a good living for the quarry workers who settled there.
Those days had ended recently. Across from Sloan was the winding path that led up towards Black Mountain, where a group of rugged Super Mutants had taken over an old radio station, and had been broadcasting rambling, incoherent rants over the airwaves.
The mountain and its mutant inhabitants were not the source of Sloan's troubles, though. The mutants left the people of Sloan alone, so long as they did not venture up the mountain trail.
Yet, the quarry outside of Sloan was now abandoned, and the miners refused to return for fear of their lives. They had a good reason to fear – the very best reason to fear that anyone in the Wasteland could ever have.
A brood of Deathclaws had moved into the quarry.
Nanami stopped dead in her tracks and shuddered, feeling a cold shiver run from her shoulders all the way down her spine. She had traveled the wastelands for a long time. She had been exposed to radiation, battled wild ghouls, super mutants, raiders of every shape and size. She had done battle with the Enclave, and she had even been abducted by aliens once long ago.
Yet nothing in her journeys had ever struck the same sort of fear as Deathclaws. Gigantic beasts, scaly and bony, they were the most feared killers in the post-apocalyptic America. Even the smaller Deathclaws were easily taller than most humans, twice as heavy and several times faster and more agile than their size would indicate.
Massive claws, powerful teeth and jaws, and enormous horns that caused them to resemble something demonic added to their terrifying appearance. Yet Nanami did not fear the Deathclaws because they looked scary – she feared them because she had tangled with them before, and she had seen their fury.
A Deathclaw had once broken her arm in three places with a single bat of its massive claw. Nanami reciprocated by breaking the Deathclaw's horn off and stabbing it to death with its own razor-sharp bone.
That had been a long time ago. Nanami had learned much about fighting since that experience; but she still carried a lingering distaste for Deathclaws. They were simply too fast, too powerful and too painful.
Yet, for all that she loathed the beasts, she had agreed to exterminate them.
It started twenty minutes earlier. Nanami had reached the mining town of Sloan, and decided to pass clear by. She was not usually the type to make small talk in small towns, and she had a date with destiny in New Vegas. Benny, the man who had shot her, was in Vegas... and she owed him a few bullets to the brain.
Yet as she tried to go down the road, one of the locals from Sloan blocked her path.
"Whoooa missy, don't go down that road. There's Deathclaws swarming all over the quarry." He had warned her.
"... Deathclaws? Shouldn't the NCR take care care of that for you?" Nanami questioned the miner. She knew that Sloan was an NCR camp, and usually the NCR army was quick to drive away dangers from their citizens. Though... she also knew that the average NCR soldier was no match for a Deathclaw.
Very few people were.
"Well, I reckon they should missy... but the NCR doesn't come down this way often, and they're busy dealing with the Legion. We're stuck... and I can't let anyone pass this road in the meantime."
Nanami silently swore under her breath. She knew that this road was the quickest way to Vegas, and she had matters of urgent revenge to deal with. If she did not make haste in finding Benny, he could move on to another location, and then she may never find him...
"I can handle those Deathclaws for you." Nanami told the miner.
The old miner raised an eyebrow. He looked Nanami up and down a few times. She was a young woman, looking to be in her early twenties. She carried a large knapsack over her back, and had a pistol strapped to her waist. While she had a more 'seasoned' look than most of the youngsters who passed by Sloan, the miner was in disbelief.
"Lady, have you ever seen a Deathclaw? They're the biggest, meanest brutes in the entire Mojave... just one can take down a whole team of soldiers... and that quarry is swarmin' with 'em. No offense, but do you think you could survive a whole brood of those hellspawns?"
It was a question Nanami had asked herself. She had fought Deathclaws on several occasions in the past, and had become as skilled at killing the beasts as anyone could ever hope to be. Yet, she had never fought more than one or two at a time... and the idea of several of them... frightened her to the pit of her soul.
"... I can get rid of them for you." Nanami repeated, her voice icy cold and full of confidence. Even if she mentally doubted herself, Nanami was never one to show even the slightest hint of fear.
The old miner scratched his scraggly gray beard as he thought about Nanami's offer. This girl seemed complete insane in his eyes... but he knew that the quarry needed clearing. It was cruel that he was so willing to let this young woman head off to her demise, but such was life in the Mojave Wasteland.
"Okay. Look. If you can kill the Deathclaw Alpha Male, and the Mother Deathclaw, then the others should scatter... but I'll be honest, I don't know how you could pull that off. Oh... and one other thing... if you see any babies... don't kill 'em if mama is around."
After that brief conversation, Nanami had headed off towards the quarry. She walked quietly, her every footstep cautious. From behind her black-rimmed glasses, she peered in every direction, trying to spot any hint of movement in the distance.
She was only on the outer edge of the quarry. A narrow path led through the mountains, to the middle of the quarry pit. She knew there was a processing facility there, as well as several pieces of construction equipment. She also knew that rushing in blindly would get her killed.
Instead, she was still outside of the narrow path. The only bit of construction equipment she saw was a crashed bulldozer, leaning against the rock wall. Graffiti was scribbled on the side of the bulldozer.
'DANGER AHEAD – DEATHCLAWS! TURN BACK! DEATHCLAWS!'
Nanami briefly considered heeding the warning; but she knew she could not. She gave far more consideration to simply walking past the quarry, and running towards the road in the distance... She knew she could make it; but it would mean leaving the people of Sloan to wait on the NCR army.
They depended on that quarry for their livelihood... and if the NCR decided exterminating the Deathclaws was not worth the small mining camp... then those people would be doomed.
"Damn it." Nanami kicked the sand in front of her. Sometimes, she hated that she could never turn her back on someone in need. It had gotten her into trouble more times than she cared to remember. Then again, sometimes she wondered if it was her self-sacrificing nature that kept her alive.
Reluctantly, Nanami headed towards the quarry.
The slender path through the massive natural walls of the quarry split off into two directions. One headed on level ground towards the processing plant in the center of the quarry. Nanami could make out a few vehicles and some large metal containers in that direction – and she saw it as an exposed area out in the open.
Nanami chose to head up the side path, which was a steep climb up a hill. When it finally leveled off, she was several feet higher than the main path. On one side of her was the drop back down, on the other side was another of the high rock walls, carved out by the quarry workers.
She took a few cautious steps, staying close to the wall, and then she spotted it just ahead of her. Nanami gasped at what she saw.
Up ahead, about five meters ahead of her, was a pick up truck lying on its side – and a massive Deathclaw stalking around beside it. The giant spiky-headed beast was sniffing the dirt, and Nanami froze.
Had it caught her scent?
Nanami slowly – ever so slowly – took her knapsack over her shoulder and lowered it by her feet. She knew the 9MM pistol on her belt would be nothing more than an annoyance to the Deathclaw.
She reached into the knapsack and drew out a long barrel Trail Carbine, a powerful rifle capable of firing magnum rounds. She had taken the rifle as a souvenir from a band of obnoxious Vipers the other night. It was not ideal for this situation... but if she could just remain hidden long enough, she could take the Deathclaw down before she was in danger.
Nanami raised the rifle slowly, taking aim with the sights. She hoped to shoot the Deathclaw in a vulnerable spot and take it down.
However, as Nanami steadied her aim, the Deathclaw looked up, locking its yellow eyes on the girl. With a roar, the Deathclaw jumped several feet into the air.
Swearing, Nanami rolled to the side as the Deathclaw came down just feet from her, slashing a massive claw into the dirt and gutting the sand and rocks as easily as a laser beam through a cactus.
Nanami continued rolling down the side of the hill for a moment, and then stopped on her back and brought the Carbine up. She fired off three shots in rapid succession, blasting at the Deathclaw's face and neck. The powerful magnum rounds managed to make the beast stumble in pain.
She did not waste the opportunity. Nanami jumped up, and ran – towards the Deathclaw! It was dangerous, but at this point her options were slim. She jumped, spun and kicked the Deathclaw in the chest with both feet. Nanami ended up falling to the ground on her back; but the impact knocked the large beast off the hillside, sending it tumbling down the rocky sides and to the lower path of the quarry.
For good measure, Nanami forced herself back to her feet, and fired another two shots at the fallen Deathclaw. She never took changes when it came to these monsters.
Nanami took a few steps away from the edge, catching her breath, but it was a fleeting result. She could hear the sound of running footsteps – the rest of the Deathclaw brood had heard the gunshots, or perhaps smelt the blood of their fallen comrade.
Whatever the case, Nanami knew her situation was now growing grimmer by the second. She snatched her Carbine back up and ran towards the knapsack she'd had to discard earlier. She had a far superior weapon inside – and while it was not ideal for large groups, she needed real firepower right now.
Nanami ran as quickly as she could and dove to reach the knapsack in time. She threw her Carbine down and frantically dug in the bag, taking hold of another gun's stock. Then she heard a loud crash above her and looked up to see a Deathclaw standing over her.
"Shit." Nanami could only bluntly swear at the sight. The Deathclaw batted its arm, catching Nanami with the back of its massive claw and sending her flying. Somehow, she managed to hold onto the weapon from her knapsack as she smashed into the side of the hill and rolled down, towards the lower path.
In a cruel twist of fate, she ended up landing beside the body of the Deathclaw she'd already killed. She could see the one who had just attacked her on the upper path glaring down at her with hungry eyes; and she heard the sounds of more rapidly approaching.
Ignoring the immense pain shooting through her left side at the moment, Nanami raised her weapon – a Gauss Rifle! A powerful electromagnetic gun that propelled bullets at immense speed, producing devastating results. She barely had time to aim before squeezing the trigger – but her shot flew true, impacting the Deathclaw in the chest and knocking it backwards.
This time, she had no doubt that the beast was dead.
Nanami quickly moved to reload the rifle. It was powerful, but could only hold one shot at a time. She saw them now – two more Deathclaws running across the Quarry, coming from the other side of the processing plant. Nanami swore at her bad luck and fired the Gauss Rifle; the closer of the two Deathclaws was felled in one shot.
She did not have time to reload.
The second Deathclaw was upon her in an instant, with a roar it racked its massive claws across Nanami's body, knocking her back into the quarry wall. This was the reason Nanami ihated/i Deathclaws. Even the most experienced warriors in the Wasteland could never escape a Deathclaw encounter unscathed.
She was bleeding profusely, her leather shirt was ripped and she had a feeling that her arm might be broken. She also had no time to worry about any of that, as the Deathclaw was rapidly approaching her for a second attack.
Nanami jumped up, and while he arm hurt, she was thankful to see it was not broken. She grabbed the 9mm – the only weapon she had time to ready – and jumped at the Deathclaw. The massive monster opened its jaws to take a bite out of Nanami's head. Nanami raised the pistol and squeezed off six or seven shots as quickly as she could.
While normally such a small gun would do nothing to a Deathclaw, shooting it in the open mouth was a different story. The monster had time to smash into Nanami's side, knocking her down once more before it collapsed atop of her and died.
"... This is what happens when you try to help people." Nanami sighed to herself. Her arm was still burning with pain, and worst yet, she had dropped her gun. Being smacked aside by something as large and powerful as a Deathclaw made it very hard to keep a grip on a weapon.
And while this Deathclaw was dead, she knew there were more – and then a thought struck her and she swore under her breath. She was here to kill the Mother and the Alpha Deathclaws – the two biggest, meanest and strongest Deathclaws in the brood.
Nanami pushed herself up, first onto her knees, and then finally she stood up. Shaking her head, she headed back up the hill, looking for the Gauss Rifle she'd had to drop earlier. After a few moments, she had collected her pistol, the rifle and her knapsack, and taken a spot behind the bulldozer to tend to her injuries.
Nanami's father had been a doctor, and she had studied medicine her entire life. It was a handy skill to have, and one that had saved her life more than once. She quickly and sloppily addressed her wounds in the best way she could; a few makeshift bandages and injecting herself with a Stim Pack.
Stim Packs were a potent blend of adrenaline and some drugs that delivered a rapid healing to minor wounds. One of the great advances in medical technology back before the great war that had reduced the world to savagery and radioactive barbarism.
Nanami decided to head for high ground. She placed the Gauss Rifle back in the knapsack and slung it over her shoulder. She wanted to move in her usual cautious style, but decided to take a chance. She was injured and she did not want to leave a blood trail. She knew she'd already spent too much time camped behind the bulldozer, and soon enough more Deathclaws would pick up the scent.
So she peered over the side of the bulldozer, saw the coast was clear, and then bolted. She ran as quickly as she could towards the processing plant in the center of the quarry. She jumped up onto the conveyor belt that once carried pieces of stone to the top of the silo. Once she'd reached the top, she bent down on her knees and peered over the side. She was exposed up here, but luckily the only way up was those conveyor belts – and the Deathclaws were too big to walk them.
Nanami leaned back against the top of the processing plant and closed her eyes for only a brief moment. The Stim Pack helped, but she was still in quite a bit of pain. There was no time to worry about that, though. Nanami stood up and braced the Gauss Rifle on the railing of the plant top.
"This has got to be one of my worst ideas ever." Nanami criticized herself, but she had no regrets. She knew that the people of Sloan needed someone to deal with these monsters, and by the time the NCR had the freed manpower to do so, Sloan would be bankrupt.
Peering down into the quarry around her, Nanami finally caught sight of her prey. The Mother Deathclaw. Matriarch of the Brood, and the biggest, meanest Deathclaw of the lot. Nanami remembered the words of the quarry foreman when she'd first come this way.
She took aim. Even her Gauss Rifle likely could not fell that monster in one shot, unless she managed to catch it in a vital spot. That would be tricky at this distance, but she had made tricky shots in the past.
Taking aim, Nanami prepared. She breathed in slowly, trying to line her shot perfectly so she could strike the Mother Deathclaw in the face. Her finger wrapped around the trigger, and she was ready to squeeze it.
Then, the Mother Deathclaw turned around and sniffed the air. Nanami swore and fired, but the Mother Deathclaw moved too fast and the shot sailed wide. The Mother Deathclaw jumped, wrapping its arms around the processing plant. It could not climb to the top – but it was strong enough to leave the entire spire shaking.
Nanami aimed the Gauss Rifle at the massive Mother Deathclaw, which was scratching and biting at the processing plant tower, trying to knock it over. Nanami squeezed the trigger, propelling the bullet into the back of the giant Deathclaw Matriarch. The monster roared out and stumbled back, but Nanami knew that would not be enough.
She also had a decision to make in a split second. Could she reload the Gauss Rifle in time, or would it be better to grab something else from her knapsack? Given the beast was already racking the processing tower with its claws, Nanami decided to go for her knapsack.
She reached inside, praying that she still had something left to bail her out of this situation. Her fingers fumbled inside the knapsack before closing around a cylindrical device. She held back the sigh of relief as she pulled the incendiary grenade out of her back and pulled the pin.
The Mother Deathclaw was smashing against the tower. Nanami knew it would fall soon, even if she killed the beast... and once again she found herself having to do something borderline suicidal for any chance of survival.
Nanami jumped from the top of the tower, right towards the Deathclaw Matriarch! She kicked her feet against the Deathclaw's shoulder, attracting its attention and as she pushed off and fell back, she tossed the incendiary grenade into the monster's open jaws.
As the Mother Deathclaw chomped down, the grenade went off, spraying white phosphorous over the monster's face! The chemical quickly ignited, burning brightly as the Deathclaw Matriarch roared in blistering pain. Nanami ended up falling and having to catch herself on the side of the damaged processing plant tower.
She winced out in pain; her already injured arm was not helped by having to grab hold of the tower to save her life. However, as she dropped to the ground, she knew that it was better than being dead.
The Mother Deathclaw was burning as it stumbled back, clawing at its own face in a pathetic attempt to extinguish the flames. Nanami stood and turned once more to her knapsack. She was running low on weapons, most of them having been scattered about. She grabbed a box-shaped laser pistol from the knapsack.
Nanami was very skilled using energy weapons, but she liked to save them for desperate measures. This was one of those times. She raised the pistol and fired several times, cutting holes into the massive Deathclaw. Finally, the Matriarch of the Deathclaw Brood collapsed over on her side and let out a final roar as it died.
Breathing heavily, Nanami stood up. She knew there had to be more Deathclaws around, but they were not attacking yet, likely because their leader was slain. Nanami clenched her teeth from the pain in her arm, and she hooked the laser pistol to her belt where the 9MM had once been.
She let out a groan and stepped forward. In the distance, she could see a old construction crane. She darted towards it, despite the pain she was in. She knew if there was another attack, she would be in bad shape to defend against it.
She caught a break, and reached the crane safely. She wrenched open the door and jumped inside, slamming the heavy door shut behind her. She let out a deep sigh and leaned back against the uncomfortable driver's seat. The pain in her arm was intense, and her hasty makeshift first aid from early had done little in the face of the continued fighting.
Nanami knew that with the Matriarch of the Deathclaw Brood dead, half of her job was done. The quarry foreman had been quite specific – killing both the Mother Deathclaw and the Alpha Male would disrupt the brood enough that they would move on from the quarry.
"One down... one left." Nanami groaned as she tied a new tourniquet around her shoulder. Nanami knew that the Alpha Male was every bit as dangerous as the Mother Deathclaw.
She panted heavy, and looked into her knapsack. Most of her stronger weapons were scattered through the quarry. She had a few grenades, her laser pistol and the 10MM pistol she had taken off of some Vipers a few days earlier.
"How the hell am I supposed to take down any Deathclaw with these?" Nanami muttered to herself. She had only managed to finish off the Mother with the small laser pistol thanks to the incendiary grenade. Yet she feared to try pushing her luck to get close enough for the same move to work again.
Then, she heard a roar and looked up. In the distance she could see the giant Deathclaw Alpha Male, charging her way. It was gigantic with blue scales and it seemed to be dripping drool from its jaws as it sprinted towards the construction crane.
"Shit!" Nanami had to act fast. She looked down, to pick a grenade, when she noticed something that astonished her.
"... What are the odds?"
She saw the key in the ignition of the crane. The quarry workers had left it here when they fled, and it was Nanami's saving moment. She quickly twisted the key and then heaved a lever, swinging the front of the crane around just as the Alpha Deathclaw was closing in.
The end of the crane smashed into the side of the Deathclaw Alpha Male, sending the monster toppling over onto its side. Nanami twisted the lever again, raising the crane. If she could just bring the end of the crane down on the Deathclaw's head, she could hopefully kill the beast.
As she started to bring the crane down, the Deathclaw moved and grabbed it! With its massive claw, it pulled on the end of the crane. Nanami felt the entire cabin of the crane shaking, and she could feel the treads on the wheels slipping.
"This was a bad idea." Nanami growled. Then, a thought struck her. "Well... may as well make it worse."
She hit the accelerator on the construction crane, and moved it forward! The Deathclaw below her was pulling the crane, and with the gas now driving it ahead, the crane shot forward, slipping off the cliff and crashing straight into the Alpha Male!
The crane smashed into the Deathclaw, knocking it back and pinning the scaly beast beneath the destroyed construction equipment. The windshield shattered, showering glass out towards the Alpha Male. Nanami smashed into the side of the crane door, only adding to the pain in her arm and shoulder.
She felt shaking as the Deathclaw struggled! It was still alive! Nanami swore loudly, fumbling with the laser pistol clasped to her belt. She was in an awkward position, fallen against the side of the smashed crane cab, struggling to get the laser free.
The Alpha Male was moving, trying to push the crane off its body. Nanami knew if the crane fell away and she was injured even further, she might not survive this battle. Finally, she got the laser pistol unclasped and jumped up, opening fire through the destroyed windshield!
The lasers flew with a loud 'pew' noise, striking at the monsters chest. The Alpha Male roared loudly and pushed at the crane. Nanami felt it slipping and falling, and she did the only thing she could think to do – she grabbed her knapsack and launched herself at the door, wrenching it open and falling out onto the Deathclaw! The crane fell off to the side, smashing into the ground and ripping apart.
Nanami now found herself laying on the body of the bruised and battered Deathclaw Alpha Male. She grabbed another incendiary grenade out of her knapsack, yanking out the pin and throwing it at the Alpha Male.
There was an explosion, flames and burning chemicals spraying all over the Deathclaw's head. It roared out in pain, and Nanami jumped from its stomach, rolling through the dirt trying to get away.
She had left the Deathclaw a present. The knapsack. She had pulled the pin on a second grenade inside the bag, and left it sitting on the creature. When the grenade exploded, it caused the remainder of her grenades to explode with it – and the blast was enough to tear the Alpha Male apart in a massive blast!
Nanami ended up on the ground. Her glasses were broken, she was covered in the monster's remains, and her arm hurt even more. Yet, the young Courier felt satisfied. She had managed to kill both of the beasts, and hopefully it would clear the quarry.
"I need a vacation."