Author's Note: Here's chapter 2! Thanks for reviewing and following, it helps me out more than you would believe. I won't be doing the episodes in any particular order (aside from the next several coming some time after this one), so if you've got ideas, lemme know! I've only got a couple of future episodes nailed down, so I'm out looking for more ideas right now. Enjoy!
Huh, not a bad start...
Gaige's stomach rumbled again. It'd been going at it nonstop for the past forty-five minutes, like food would accidentally fall from the ceiling if it rattled enough. Gaige was sitting in an abandoned room at the Happy Pig Motel, a scenic little area with just a few less bloodstains than was typical of the rest of Pandora. That, and the bandits seemed to prefer to avoid the place. Gaige had briefly wondered why, but decided not to question a good thing.
Finally, she got up off the bed. She had been recording an echo to her dad, letting him know she'd gotten to Pandora nice and safe (aside from the bullymongs, Hyperion robots, freezing weather, train crash, Hyperion robots, bandits, skags, even more Hyperion robots...), and tell him she loved him. She'd used her echo link to see how his "distraction" had went off after she'd gotten away from the authorities on her home planet, and it looked like he'd gotten away clean. Unfortunately, the enormous bounty she now had on her head made him a top information resource, so he was on the run too. He had decided not to risk Pandora, though, so her hopes of seeing a familiar face on the hellhole of a planet had unfortunately been pounded against the sidewalk until their brains had spilled out.
"Dinner time!" She called. "Come on Deathtrap!"
Deathtrap was stacked up against one of the bedroom's walls, trying his best to remain functional and self-repair while still preventing both his arms from falling off simultaneously. He groaned in response and shot her the laser-eye glare, so she put her hands up and backed out of the room, deciding to leave him to his devices. She'd finally gotten the robot back out of her own robotic arm after several tense minutes with a screwdriver and a large amount of cussing.
She looked around at the scene. Had it not been for the planet being so completely hellish, it would've made a good postcard. Glacier-topped mountains enclosed a green valley, wild skags and bullymongs frolicking around. Until one of the bullymongs picked up a skag and tore its head off, which kind of ruined the image. She walked over to one of the Marcus vendors across the clearing, deliberately avoiding looking at the only other open room whose only inhabitant was smeared over the walls. She thumbed a few buttons on the vendor, hoping to get a little bit of food out like a normal vending machine would serve, but instead only got the prerecorded message No Refunds! every time she hit a button without putting in money. The giant cartoon of a pistol on the front, combined with the big "GUNS!" headline made her think there wouldn't be food to be found there anyway.
Her stomach growled again. Gaige stomped her foot and snapped at it, telling it to be quiet. It groaned louder instead. She was about to go dumpster-diving (she'd done it before out behind hardware stores, hoping for free parts) when she smelled something delicious. Actually, it smelled pretty nasty; like fried septic tank roasting over a fire of burning rubber. But the only two words she took in from that description were fried and roasted. She fished around in her storage deck to find her pistol and jogged towards the fire.
At the top of the first hill she paused, already out of breath. She was in pretty decent shape, but she was hungry and hey, it was a tall hill. At the bottom was a shack built out of spare sheeting and probably held together by bubble gum and lost dreams. Outside were 5 men surrounding a fire, hooting and howling and occasionally throwing punches at each other as they spit-roasted a skag. They'd skinned it first, so the brown flesh underneath glistened with fat. Gaige's mouth watered. As it turned out they were roasting it over burnt rubber, but that wasn't going to stop her. She walked down the hill towards the men, who stopped talking and all turned to look at her. She regretted getting their attention immediately. They were all quite well armed (the smallest weapon among them was a submachine gun that looked too heavy for her to even lift), and if previous experience was any indication, probably not very friendly to outsiders.
The only sound was the creak and scrape of the skag over the fire, the natives staring at her. After about 20 seconds of this, she decided to break the silence. "Um... hey guys! Don't suppose you'd let a hungry girl share some of your... dog thing? Heh heh..."
The men just kept on gawking for a minute, like they'd never seen small, relatively defenseless teenage girl on Pandora before. Gaige broke the silence again, already pretty seriously uncomfortable. "Actually, you know what? I'm not that hungry anymore!" Her stomach growled in disagreement. She hissed at it "shut up! Are you trying to get us killed?" Looking back at the bandits, she said "So, uh, I'm just gonna, you know... go! Enjoy your evening!" She started backing up when the bandits (she'd decided they were definitely bandits, or at least, it was more than likely) finally registered what was going on.
"No! No. Wait! Just... uh, stay just a few minutes!" A really skinny one said. They all had masks on, so she just assumed it was the skinny one. The voice certainly wouldn't have fit any of the others. "You can have some of our tasty... tasty skag! And we get to EAT... wait! We get to meet you!"
Thinking fast, Gaige pointed at the fire "Your meat's burning!" She said, almost urgently. The bandits all simultaneously looked and Gaige raised her pistol, firing wildly. Every shot missed except one, which embedded itself in a bruiser's shoulder. Go figure it'd hit the biggest one in the group. He didn't even look phased. "Get her!" He shouted. And Gaige ran.
The bandits all shouted and scrambled over each other trying to run after her, Gaige booking it back towards the Happy Pig. If she could just get into her room (hopefully), she could get her partially operational friend Deathtrap to work (possibly) and face down the bandits for her! All five of them... with guns... that fired bullets. OK, maybe not. But a bad plan was better than no plan. She tripped over her own feet as she crossed the road outside the motel and behind her she heard the skinny bandit again. "Wait! Stop! We just want to eat you!"
Gaige ran inside her room and slammed the door, Deathtrap looking up at her with annoyance from his corner. "Ooooh boy! Oh boy!" She explained to him, leaning up against the doors. Outside, the bandits were shouting at each other. The skinny one was already at the door, banging on it and telling her to open up. "Oooh boy!" She continued. "Bandits! Food! I wanted some food and the bandits want my food! I mean me! I mean..." She paused again "They want to eat me!" Deathtrap, disinterested, looked back down at his body, using his eye laser to continue his repairs. "Cmooon Deathtrap! Help me out here!" Gaige begged. "I did build you for this, after all."
Finally the robot gave a creaking moan that sounded somewhat similar to a sigh, than used one arm to pull off the other. Only a couple of wires had been holding it on in the first place. He waved it around a bit as if to emphasize the point, then tossed it to the ground and shook his head. He took his place next to the door and creaked a confirmation at her. She signed in relief. "Thanks bot!" She said. The pounding on the door was getting more intense, pushing her back briefly before she could force the door back in place. "Ready..." She said, waiting for another round of pushing. "Now!"
She jumped out from behind the door and dived behind the bed, pistol at the ready. The door burst open not a half a second later, the skinny crazy bandit in the doorway. Deathtrap pushed himself up against the wall, ready for a surprise attack. The bandit was confused. "What?" He shouted, jumping into the empty room. "Where'd ya go, little girl?" He started to cackle, then Deathtrap lashed out with his good arm. It had been declawed in the explosion (Gaige hadn't been able to repair it yet), but a half-ton robot hand driven by 2 tons of force was still enough to give the bandit the last bitch-slap he'd ever receive. He crumpled under the blow, a decent portion of his body turned to jello by the force of the impact. His weapon of choice, a completely unremarkable grey shotgun, skittered towards Gaige and laid still next to the bed.
Outside, the other bandits were shouting at each other in confusion. The bruiser shouted "Get 'er!", and the other three charged in. Seeming to have already forgotten about the heaping pile of robot floating next to the door, one was treated to another slap, the other pounded into the floor by a balled fist. The third got past and jumped behind the bed, where Gaige met him with a blast from her brand new scattergun. His chest exploded into a satisfying red mist upon the introduction of buckshot, and he fell to the ground with a scream. Gaige took a moment to think about how she was probably going to have to move to a new room, because she was not about to clean the remnants of the guy's major organs off of her walls.
Outside, the bruiser was pretty pissed that a 16 year old girl had just killed all his friends. He was smarter, though, and instead of running in like the others, he shouted "Come on out, little girl! Time to die..." He pulled a grenade from his belt and rolled it inside.
Gaige looked up from her cover just in time to hear the grenade beep once before exploding. She screamed and took cover behind the bed, covering her head as a blast of shrapnel flew into the wall behind her.
Outside, the bruiser grinned and chuckled. He wasn't interested in eating the girl like Crazy Marty had been, but he sure as hell wanted her dead. Inside, Gaige's bed had been reduced to a pile of scrap, with her still cowering behind it as she struggled to clear her head from the blast. Deathtrap was creaking and moaning against a wall, trying to get his own bearings after taking a chestful of shrapnel. Luckily the grenade hadn't been corrosive, or they would've had a whole slew of new problems to deal with. The bruiser confidently strode inside, pointing his weapon at the ruins of the bed. "Time to die." He repeated. Gaige responded by breaking cover and giving him a shotgun blast to the face.
"Gah!" He shouted, staggering back. His own shotgun went off wildly, spraying the wall to the room but widely missing Gaige. He covered his face with his hand and roared "You're going to regret that you little brat!"
Gaige gave him another blast, this time to the chest, before her gun clicked empty. The bruiser must have head the click, because he laughed and sprayed the room in response, his face still covered. Gaige only narrowly dodged, but that was all she needed to do. Deathtrap had finally regained his bearings, outstretching his hand and tripping the bruiser, who fell to the ground with a dull pound. He shouted some profanity before Gaige ran up and stole the shotgun, firing the remaining two rounds into his head and reducing it to little more than a pile of gore.
She gasped and sat down next to Deathtrap, and after catching her breath started pulling shrapnel from his body. Absentmindedly, she hoped the skag those bandits were cooking hadn't burned yet. She looked at Deathtrap, who creaked slightly as he once again began self-repairing. Gaige shrugged. "Not a bad start." She said.