So my internet decided to crash for a few hours just as I was going to watch Doctor Who on Netflix, and I got really bored cause I had just finished playing on my xbox so I had to find something to do. I thought I would write something ridiculous to pass the time. I wasn't even planning on publishing it. But then I started writing and this came out. When I was done, I looked it over, changed the title, and decided to publish it. I think it came out alright, especially considering the utter lack of prior planning involved, but I'd like to know what you think of it.

Disclaimer: I do not own Fallout or anything fallout related, apart from copies of all the games (minus F:BOS)

PS: I'm sorry it's taking me so long to update What Is Real?. I will try and work on it tomorrow...or today, I suppose, since it's already 4am here. As for my other stories, if you read them, I wouldn't expect anything new from any of them. I never even bothered to figure out how those stories were going to end before I started writing them. Plus, I think I actually finished one of them and then forgot to push the "complete" button...oops.

What's in a name?

Strider slowed his pace somewhat when he caught sight of the alien beacon that would return him to his ship. He walked slowly down to it and stopped. After several minutes passed, he turned around and looked up at a large rock at the top of a nearby slope. "Are you going to sit up there all day, Sarah?"

Sentinel Sarah Lyons nearly fell over. How long had he known she was trailing him? Feeling a little embarrassed and a little annoyed, she stood and walked down the slope. "How did you know it was me?"

Strider smirked. He was wearing a brown duster, sunglasses, and the same cowboy hat he had on the first time they'd met. "I could tell from the sound that it was one person in power armor, and I managed to get a glimpse of your hair about half an hour ago. There aren't a lot of people who have your hair, wear power armor, and don't wear a helmet. That and you started tailing me right after I left the citadel."

Sarah was dumbstruck. And pissed. She had just spent an hour and a half trailing a man who knew she was there the whole time but waited until they were in the ass end of nowhere before letting her know. "Why didn't you say anything sooner?" she asked through gritted teeth.

Strider chuckled. "I thought you might stop following me if I did."

Sarah blinked. He liked her following him? Why? She shook her head. "Why did you want me to keep following you?"

"I wanted to show you something." Strider turned to face the beacon.

Sarah walked up next to him. "What is it?"

"A beacon."

"Why did you want to show it to me?"

Strider shook his head. "You really think I would go all this way to show you this?"

Sarah turned to face him. "Then what?"

Strider looked at her with a kind smile, but a devious glint in his eyes. "Close your eyes."


"Do it. Close your eyes."


"Trust me." Sarah hated when he said that. Because she trusted Strider implicitly, and whenever he said that, she couldn't help but go along with whatever he had planned. It wasn't that he had ever let her down, or taken advantage of her trust, it was just that she didn't like anyone having that effect on her. Still, she complied with his request and closed her eyes.

After Sarah closed her eyes, Strider waved his hand in front of her face. Satisfied that she wasn't peeking, he took her hand and activated the beacon.

Sarah felt Strider take her hand. She wondered briefly if he was going to kiss her or something. She mentally slapped herself for even thinking that. Or she would have, had she not noticed the sudden weightlessness and paralysis she felt. She could see a bright light through her eyelids. Almost as soon as it had begun, however, it was over, and Sarah could feel her feet back on the floor. Wait, floor? Wasn't she in the middle of nowhere? Where did the floor come from? She was about to open her eyes when she heard Strider's voice. "Not yet, Sarah."

Strider carefully led Sarah through the doorway to the bridge, thankful that the bridge was empty. He led her to the staircase in the front of the bridge. "Okay, we're about to go down some stairs."

"Where are we?" Sarah asked, starting down the staircase with Strider.

"You'll see." They reached the bottom of the stairs and Strider led her to one of the windows so she could clearly see the Earth below. "Okay, open your eyes."

Sarah opened her eyes and promptly closed them again. What she saw wasn't possible. She opened them again and shut them even tighter this time. It couldn't be possible. She slowly opened her eyes a third time and the reality of what she was seeing sunk in. She was looking out of a window at the Earth. She was in orbit, flying over her planet. She opened her mouth several times but was unable to say anything.

Eventually, she tore her eyes away from her planet to look at Strider, who was gazing down at their world with a smile that she couldn't remember ever seeing before, but one that seemed very familiar all the same. He looked…content. He glanced at her and his smile widened. "What do you think?" Sarah still couldn't form words. Strider placed a hand on her shoulder, well, her pauldron, at least. "Yeah, that was my reaction, too." He looked back down at the Earth. "Nothing like being in orbit to keep you grounded."

"W-what?" Sarah managed to stutter out.

"When I'm in the wasteland, I sometimes feel like I've become something larger than life. I start to believe some of the things Three Dog says about me. When I start feeling like Messiah might be an appropriate title, I come up here and remind myself just how small I am."

Sarah was speechless. She had never heard him talk like this. Then she remembered where she had seen that contented smile before. It was the smile he wore as he recited a bible verse in the Jefferson Memorial, just before activating the purifier. After she had woken up more than two weeks later, she had forgotten the moments before the explosion. But all at once, the memories returned.

"I'll do it," Strider said. "I'll start the purifier."

"You don't have to do this," Sarah said.

"Yes, I do." Strider began walking into the airlock, but stopped at the threshold, taking off his hat. He turned and smiled at her. "I'm not coming back, am I?"

"No," was all she could say.

"Then I guess I'll never have to live this down."

"Live wha…" she was cut off as Strider grabbed the front of her armor and pulled her towards him, pressing his lips against hers. After a few moments, he pulled back and let her go.

"Strider…" she whispered.

"Malcolm," he corrected, putting on his hat.


"My name. It's Malcolm."

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she reached for the airlock controls. "Goodbye, Malcolm."

"Goodbye, Sarah." She hit the switch and the airlock cycled. Strider didn't so much as cringe as radiation flooded the air around him. "I am Alpha and Omega," he said, stepping towards the controls, a smile of pure content on his face, "the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." He punched in the code and activated the purifier. Sarah watched as he collapsed on the floor, eyes closed, that smile still on his face.

Tears once again rolled down Sarah's cheeks as she looked back down at the Earth. Finally, she spoke. "Thank you for showing me this, Malcolm." He reached his arm around her shoulders as best he could, considering she was wearing power armor, and pulled her towards him. She wrapped her arm around his waist. Neither knew how long they stood there, staring down at the Earth, and neither cared.

Hope you liked it. Even if you didn't, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

So really, you can just ignore this whole paragraph. By the way, I'm toying with an idea for an interFallout crossover, but I can guarantee that it won't impede the progress of What Is Real? as I would have to finish New Vegas before even starting to write it. In fact, I'm only really writing this for my own benefit so I don't forget about the idea before I'm ready to start writing it. So really, you can just ignore this whole paragraph. I think I'll paste that at the beginning so you don't have to read the paragraph just to find out that you don't have to read it.