A/N: This is a series of ficlets that take place within the game timeline. Enjoy, and do tell me what you think. Any sort of feedback is greatly appreciated. :D

I: Unforgivable

The Courier leers through the smoke. She has just had the brief acquaintance of one Oliver Swanick, lottery winner. His ramblings about winning has left her very confused, and now she finds the townspeople bound to crosses, delirious and near death. A great fire burns just ahead, forming a pillar of smoke high into the sky. She barely stifles a cough as soot enters her lungs. What the hell just happened?

Beyond the smoke, she sees men clad in crimson. Legion. Shit, should she run? The last place she wants to be in is in a circle of Legionaries with a sore ass.

Before she could take a step back, the man who seems to be their leader approaches her. His gait is proud and his eyes are just barely visible behind those dark goggles. He's the picture of calmness and intellect. Perhaps she can reason with him. She ignores the twist in her gut and decides to keep moving forward. She can't look frightened now.

"Don't worry. I won't have you lashed to a cross like the rest of these degenerates. It's useful that you happened by," he tells her. She's about ready to vomit on him. It must be the stench of burning flesh and blood. It's not fear. It can't be fear.

"I want you to witness the fate of the town of Nipton, to memorize every detail," he says almost poetically, "And then when you move on? I want you to teach everyone you meet the lessons Caesar's Legion taught here, especially any NCR troops you run across."

She asks him just what kinds of "lessons" are being taught here. Then comes the story of the lottery.

"Your crimes are unforgivable." She's surprised her voice came out even with the red she's seeing.

"As are all crimes. If you feel strongly about it, attack us, and soon you won't feel a thing."

Lilka brushes the two scars on her forehead. She is clearly outnumbered and they're just waiting for her to pounce. There's no way she could make it out of this one alive, no matter how lucky she is. She still has a score to settle with the man who gave here these scars. She didn't make it out of that grave in Goodsprings to lose to this bastard.

For now, she can do nothing but watch them walk away.

Well, there was one thing.

When the Legionaries are out of sight, the Courier turns and sets her eyes on the crucified victims. She pulls out her .22 silenced pistol and aims for their heads. One by one, she relieves them of their misery.

Lilka then surveys the town for any survivors. In the general store, she finds Boxcars.

Her anger peaks, and she finds one other thing she can do.


Vulpes has sent his troops ahead to the Legion Raid Camp nearby to round up the new slaves. Without question, the legionary recruits leave him behind. He makes his way back to Nipton. His finely trained intuition tells him the woman with the scars isn't done with him just yet.

Unforgivable. That's what she calls it. Vulpes allows a small smile to creep to his face. He's heard worse things from a woman, none that lived much longer afterwards. Granted those women weren't armed to the teeth. Neither did they walk with purpose in the face of death. It's admirable… for a woman.

Back in Nipton, he finds each person on the cross dead with one shot between the eyes. Clean shots. No hesitation. She has good aim. A few casings of .22LR rounds litter the ground beneath the crosses. The town seems to have been swept of any remaining supplies. She's scrounger as well, not too different from any other profligate.

The Legion mongrels in the town hall have been left alone, however. No sign of any other conflict is present. The broken man still skulks to himself inside the general store. He's looking a little better but otherwise unbothered. Not worth her time or his, he judges. She's chosen not to engage any of his men in combat either. It seems she only shoots at things that can't shoot back. He expects nothing more from the fainthearted.

The woman herself is nowhere to be seen. She's most likely made her way to the Mojave Outpost down south to do exactly what she was told. Vulpes feels a small sense of achievement. A woman could only put up a front before they yield to a Legionary's command.

Deciding he's learned enough, he returns to the Legion Raid Camp to rendezvous with the rest of the recruits.

Except there are no recruits to return to. They lay dead on the ground with shots between the eyes. Clean shots. No hesitation.

The newly acquired slaves are gone, and their supplies have been taken. Not too far from camp, he finds a used Stealth Boy and more casings of .22LR rounds. This is her work. The head of the Frumentarii isn't sure if his fists clench from fury or fascination.

A woman has outdone Vulpes Inculta.