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redsrock
post Nov 20 2008, 02:01 AM
Post #1


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Joined: 7-August 07



BLOOD BROTHERS

Chapter One: Gun Control

The carcinogenic smoke rose through the air, a bundle of death resting inside of its cloudy depths. The smoke came from a nasty cigarette, and the cigarette itself came from an old abandoned grocery just a few miles to the southeast. David knew this because he and Jericho had just looted it for anything that was worth selling for caps. The two were mercenaries of the Wasteland, two extremely close friends with totally different backgrounds and morals.

“Jesus, Jericho, do you have to smoke that now? Why not wait until I go to sleep in a few hours? You have guard duty tonight anyway.”

David couldn’t stand it when Jericho smoked because it almost always led to a headache. Smoke from cigarette had always had a negative effect on him ever since Jericho let him try one after their first official contract together.

“Hell no, kid. I gotta have it now. You don’t understand…sometimes I can’t just wait to take a smoke. And definitely not three [censored] hours, that’s for sure.”

Jericho continued to smoke his Monty’s Best cigarette, so David rolled his eyes and took out an orange he had stolen from the grocery. Normally he would have to suffer through the smoke, but this time he had something to help. He took out an orange that he had stolen from the grocery, and then cut in half with a hand-me-down switchblade his older brother had given to him long ago.

“Sonofa[censored], kid, what the hell are you doing with that?” Jericho asked. “Those get us about five caps, maybe more depending on who we’re sellin’ to!”

“Yeah, well…I don’t like the smoke. It gives me a headache, and I don’t want a headache tonight. I want to actually be able to sleep this time. The smell from this orange is the only thing I got that’ll block out that smelly [censored] of yours.”

Jericho shook his head and continued to smoke the cigarette for a few more minutes until there was nothing left to smoke. Then he tossed it to the floor and smashed it with his right foot. He looked at David, who was looking at into the distance from the broken-down bus they were resting in, and saw the orange still close to his nose. He chuckled at this, shaking his head once more. “Kid…you’re an idiot sometimes. If you ask me, you might as well go ahead and get used to smoking. Cause we ain’t gonna retire anytime soon. Besides, it’s been what…seven months now? I figure you’d be used to the smell. It ain’t that bad anyway.”

“To you it’s not, but to me it is.”

David tossed his friend a half of the orange, and the two ate it up within seconds, not having eaten anything the entire day. Jericho threw what he didn’t eat, which was mainly the outside skin, out of the bus. “Say, Kid…we can’t keep eating our food like this. Megaton ain’t but about ten miles away. We can wait till then.”

“Ten miles?” David asked curiously after throwing his own orange away. “Are you sure about that?”

“Yeah, cause we passed that old vault not too longer ago. Why, what are you thinking?”

“Hell, if it’s that close is there really a need to sleep? We should be able to get there before the sun rises if we leave now. It’s only eleven o’clock.”

“[censored]…you’re right. Let’s move.”

The two stood up from their torn bus seats, strapped their backpacks and gathered the rest of their gear—including the loot bag that held all of the items they’d be selling, most of it weapons and ammo from dead Raiders and anyone else willing to step in their way—and started on their way towards Megaton in to the east.

About halfway along the trip it began to rain. At first it was only a few droplets here and there, but within minutes it started to pick up. It only worsened from there, to the point that neither could see more than a few feet in front of them. Jericho was cussing up a storm, blaming David because he wanted to travel through the night. David blamed nobody, because he had enough sense to realize it was by chance that the rain had found them. They marched in the rain for no more than ten or so minutes until they eyed a tiny, one-story house to their right, next to a few other houses that were almost completely destroyed. It looked old and uninhabited, but none of that mattered to them. At this point they were willing to pay caps to stay if anyone was living inside.

“Come on, kid, let’s knock on the door,” Jericho said as he shielded his eyes from the monsoon of sharp rain hitting his skin. They both ran to the door and Jericho knocked. At first there was no reply, but after he knocked once more, a shrill voice came from within inside.

“Gimme a minute, will ya’?” The door swung open, and there stood a little old man no more than four feet tall. He was grabbing at his long gray beard as he looked Jericho and Dave up and down for several seconds. Then he smiled a wide grin. “Whatcha’ doin in the rain, fellas? Come on in!”

Without hesitation, the two entered the house, happy to get out of the storm. Thunder boomed through the sky violently, shaking the house and making David jumped. Jericho chuckled, and then turned his attention to the little man. “Thanks for letting us get outta the rain. Can we stay for the night?”

“Why of course!” the old man exclaimed cheerfully, his large stomach bouncing up and down. “The name’s Rex. Rex Bavadine. It’s good to see some of you fellas out here. I don’t see many mercs around these parts anymore.”

Jericho and David exchanged confused looks. “What makes you think we’re mercs?” David asked.

“Come on, boy! I may be short, but ain’t stupid! You’re carrying guns, first off all, and-“

“Everybody in the Wasteland carries guns,” Jericho interrupted, hoping to one-up the old man. “If not, then they’re [censored]in’ stupid.”

“Yes, that is true, young fella. But…you’re carrying an awful large pack, and you’re wearing armor. You are mercenaries, and don’t try and tell me no different than that! I used to be one m’self,” Rex answered proudly.

“Oh really?” Jericho asked, smiling at the man’s size and trying to imagine him as a mercenary.

“Oh, you betcha’! What I lack in size I make with me sheer will to succeed. My old crew used to call me Mighty Midget.”

Both David and Jericho cracked up laughing; David because he couldn’t help himself, and Jericho because he thought it was hilarious.

“You laugh now, fellas,” Rex said, laughing along like a good sport would. “But I tell ya’…one of you fight with me and see what happens.”

Jericho and David just kept laughing, not entirely sure as to whether Rex was serious or playing around.

“I mean it! Challenge me…any one of ya’! We’ll make a friendly bet out it. I tell you what….both you fight with me…no weapons, just fists only. If I give up first, you get my house and everything in it, and I’ll just be on my merry way. But if I win…if I win, I get all of your loot.”

Rex stepped back a few paces and crossed his arms, the widest smile spread on his hair face that David had ever seen.

“You can’t be serious, old man,” Jericho commented, the laughing having already ceased.

“Oh, I am. I most dearly am.”

“How old are you?”

“Fifty-two and not a day older. Come on…ya’ scared?”

“[censored] no!” By this time Jericho was getting louder, feeling that the man was paying him major disrespect. “I just don’t wanna hurt you. I mean come on, you don’t even rise above my thermos!”

Rex never faltered, he just kept on smiling. “Words can only get you so far, boy. I know your kind. All talk and no walk. Come on…try me.”

David didn’t like where things were going. It seemed so easy, beating up a little old man. But he knew something was wrong. Something didn’t feel right.

“Jericho, let’s just leave. Megaton isn’t that far away.”

“[censored], kid…you may be scared of this little [censored], but I ain’t.” He dropped his backpack to the floor and scooted his supplies off to the side. “Come on, Davie, he’s a midget! What’s to be worried about?”

David didn’t know how to answer, because he didn’t even have one. There was simply something about Rex he didn’t like. “This doesn’t feel right. He’s hustling us. I just know he is…”

Jericho shook his head from side to side, his angered eyes glaring right into Rex’s calm eyes. “No, this little [censored] is gonna get what he deserves! After we’re through with him he’s gonna [censored] regret it!”

Jericho suddenly charged Rex, who was still as calm as could be. When Jericho raised his fist to punch, Rex kicked him in the stomach. Jericho bent over and then Rex kicked him in the mouth. Jericho fell to the floor, spitting out blood from his mouth. He tried tackling the man, but Rex sidestepped the attack, and then jumped on Rex’s back. He grabbed his arm and pulled it, and Jericho screamed out in pain. That’s when David ran over and kneed the man in the back of the head, knocking him off of Jericho. The two mercenaries and were on one side of the small, cramped room, and Rex stood on the other.

“I’ll let ya’ quit now if ya’ want, but this is your last chance.”

Without answering, Jericho pulled out his .44 magnum and pointed it at Rex’s head. “You mother[censored]in’ cheater…you kicked me! You said fists only, midget honoured user!”

Rex titled his head sideways, and then sighed heavily. “Hmm…it seems you’re right, boy. I did cheat. But I swear I didn’t mean to. I must’ve been the competiveness in me. I do hope you’ll forgive me. How about we just call the whole thing off and forget about it? I shouldn’t have even done this. Lucy used to tell I was too rowdy...before the dogs took her that is.”

“No!” Jericho yelled, still pointing the gun to Rex’s head. “Give me all your [censored] caps or I’ll blow you mother[censored]in’ head off!”

“Jericho!” David yelled, taken back by his partner’s rage. It was normal for him to cop an attitude, but to threaten an innocent man’s life? That was not normal. “Let’s just go!”

The three stood there, no one smiling or laughing this time. Rex was seconds away from dying, and he knew this. “Listen…I didn’t mean any harm, fella…I swear to ya’. I only have about thirty caps to my name. But if that’s really what ya’ want I’ll give ‘em to ya’. Just don’t kill me. Please…”

Jericho moved closer to the man and touched his temple with the pistol. Then he whispered just loud enough for the whole room to hear, “Not so tough now, are you, midget? Not so tough with a [censored]in’ gun against your head, are you? I should shoot your sorry boat and take whatever you got here. I’d be doing everyone a favor. No one likes a [censored]y midget.”

Rex was starting to tear up, the tears running down his rosy red cheeks. His entire body was trembling. He didn’t want to die.

“Jericho, leave him alone!” David pleaded. But Jericho wouldn’t listen. He wasn’t finished yet.

“Tell me why I shouldn’t blow your mother[censored]in’ head off, will ya’? I really want to know…cause it’s gonna take a lot for me not to. I don’t take [censored] from no one. I sure the hell wish you would have found this out sooner.”

“Please...please just leave,” Rex pleaded, bawling now.

Finally David had had enough. He took the gun from Jericho’s hand before he even knew what was going on. “Dammit, Jericho, let’s go! Now!”

At first it appeared Jericho was going to hit David. But he thought about it, and then turned back to Rex, who was still trembling just as much as before. Jericho spit at his shoes, picked up his gear from across the room, and then headed towards the exit of the house muttering something under his breath. But before he actually left, he turned around and looked at Rex. “You’re [censored]in’ lucky Davie was here to bail you out. The next merc that comes through here won’t be quite as nice. [censored]in’ [censored]…” Then he walked out of the house, slamming the door behind him.

“Thank you, thank you!” Rex said as he tried to hug David. David simple stepped back and said, “He was right, you know. You did cheat, and you have been a [censored] to us, especially Jericho. I don’t know if you meant it, but just watch yourself from now on. Jericho was right…the next merc won’t be as nice.”

Without letting Rex respond, David gathered his gear and headed outside to meet up with Jericho. Ironically enough, the rain had for the most stopped, and was now more of a slight drizzle than anything.

“You ready?” he asked.

“Yeah, let’s get the [censored] outta here.”




They walked in silence for most of the way. Then, as they reached the top of a hill, they could see the nightlights of Megaton just a few miles away. The light illuminated the sky so brightly, so bright that David almost felt drawn to them in a way. It was so amazing to him how well people could live with each other in one large community. He himself had grown up in the southwest of the Wastelands, where there were mostly small settlements here and there; but for the most part it had been every family for themselves. David admired the people of Megaton. So much that he hoped to be one of them someday.

“I couldn’t help it, kid, and you know it,” Jericho suddenly said, snapping David back into reality.

“Huh?”

“Back there at that midget’s house…I couldn’t help myself. I just…I was so angry, you know? The [censored] would have deserved it though.”

“Oh…that. Well, you do get angry sometimes. Just…just try and gain control of yourself. He wasn’t a truly bad man, Jericho. Just lonely, that’s all.”

“I know. But I used to be a Raider, remember? And we did [censored] that I never want to think about again.” He shook his head several times, as if shrugging off a bad nightmare that wouldn’t go away. “It felt so good holding that gun to his head, having all the power. You know what I mean, kid? A gun is a powerful weapon. More powerful than words. More power than control. A gun is control. Remember that, alright? Who knows what’ll happen to me. With my quick mouth I’ll probably get my boat shot sooner or later. But hell…I’m still alive now, right?”

“To be totally honest, Jericho…you really are one intimidating sonofa[censored]. There’s a reason most people at Megaton don’t like to be around you. It’s mostly because you piss them off,” David said laughing. “But I do think part of it is that they know you used to be a Raider. Unfortunately enough.”

“Yeah. Bastards think I’ll just suddenly snap someday out of nowhere. You think that’ll happen? I think about it sometimes…I dream about it to, you know.”

“I wouldn’t look too much into it. It’s been what, ten years since you Raider days? If you haven’t done anything by now, I’m pretty sure you’ll be alright.”

David patted Jericho on the shoulder, who in turn just nodded. “Yeah…that’s what I keep telling myself.”


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redsrock
post Nov 21 2008, 02:15 AM
Post #2


Knower
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Joined: 7-August 07



Chapter Two: The Good and the Bad

Because of their unexpected encounter with Rex, by the time they actually made it to Megaton the sun was already starting to rise from the depths of its nighttime hiding spot. Still, it was only a quarter past six, and the shops didn’t open until eight; except for the clinic of course, which stayed open all through the day and night. But neither the shops nor the clinic were the two mercenaries’ destination.

Jericho and David walked up the small hill that led to the city, passing by Deputy Weld, Megaton’s Protectron “greeter”. “Hello there, humans! Welcome to Megaton! Please wait while I check your threat level assessment.” The two waited patiently for the few seconds in took for the robot to check their threat levels, a regular procedure performed on everyone wishing to enter the city. “Threat level minimal. You may enter Megaton. Have a wonderful day!” Deputy Weld said in his cheerful robot voice.

The two entered through the city gates, passing under a long metal bridge suspended above them and supported by two large metal beams. A lone man was sitting in a chair on the bridge, holding an old hunting rifle and listening to some song on a radio. His name was Stockholm, and he was a sniper that kept the wild animals and creatures from entering the city. He had always been there when Jericho and David made their way into the city, and as he always did, he waved at the two mercenaries as they passed through the entrance.

Inside, the city was just only beginning to wake up. There were only a few people milling about, most of them workers heading home, having already had drinks at Moriarty’s Saloon after finishing their nightshift. Lucas Simms, the African-American Sheriff of Megaton, walked up to the two and tipped his hat. “Mornin’, boys,” he said, his deep and ageing southern-voice rumbling from his mouth.

“Good morning, Sheriff,” David offered politely. “Anything happen while we’ve been gone?”

“Nah, not much. A couple of bar fights here and there, but what else is new?”

“Nothing, I suppose. How’s Hardy doing?”

Harden Simms was the Sheriff’s son. Hardy’s a tough little boy himself, destined to someday take over where his father will eventually leave off. “The usual. He’s about to turn thirteen in a few months, and he already thinks that he knows everything. I ain’t looking forward to his teenage years, especially if they are anything like mine were.”

David laughed at this, but Jericho merely forced out a chuckle and then walked past the two. “I’ll be at Moriarty’s,” he told David as he walked off.

Once he was out of earshot, Simms asked David, “When’s he gonna learn he don’t have to be a hardass around me?”

“He doesn’t mean anything by his hostility, Sheriff. It’s just the way he was brought up.”

“Yeah…and that’s what I don’t like. I know he ain’t a Raider anymore, but he sure the hell used to be. I’ve heard the stories about him, and I don’t like any of ‘em.”

“Sheriff, we’ve been passing through here back and forth for an entire month now. I assure you he won’t do anything wrong. He’s a changed man.” David was slightly lying with that last sentence, and he knew it himself. But he wasn’t about to tell the Sheriff about their run-in with Rex. Not when the Sheriff was looking for any excuse to boot Jericho out of town.

“I like you, Davie, you know that. But I don’ like him. I know the feeling is mutual, and that’s all good and gravy. But you know I have my eye on him. You best better do the same, and keep him from hamster cave up. Cause if he does, I swear I’ll end him. I have to protect my town, no matter what the costs.”

“I understand, Sheriff, but again…there’s nothing to worry about.”

“Very well. I should be getting to my rounds now. See ya’ around, Davie.”

David nodded and then walked up the ramp to Moriarty’s Saloon, where his partner was waiting for him. It would be fair to say, though Sheriff Simms would never admit it, that Colin Moriarty ran Megaton. His saloon was by far the most successful business in the city, and he himself was the most popular person. The ladies adored his charm and the men enjoyed his cheap food, and even cheaper alcohol. He had worked hard to gain what he has now, and the result has power that not even the Sheriff holds. Jericho was already speaking with Colin when David walked through the door and into the saloon.

Colin was telling some joke that Jericho was laughing to. Jericho wasn’t much of a talker outside of David, but he did seem to enjoy Colin’s company. Like Jericho, Colin was somewhat of a smartalic. But unlike Jericho, it was usually done in a playful manner. “Hey, Davie! Good to see you back! Jericho tells me everything went smoothly. Is that so?”

“Yes, sir, it is.”

“Good, good, good!” he said, rubbing his hands together. “Come with me to the back and we can discuss matters privately.”

Colin led the two behind the counter, and back into his private office. Decorated on the walls were a few posters of women with barely any clothing on, as well as an extremely old Brooklyn Dodgers pennant. Three empty whisky bottles were on his desk, and beside them, a small, locked wooden chest. David knew exactly what it was. It was payday.

“Here you are, boys! I thank you for taking care of that honoured user, Timothy. I simply can’t let anyone rip me off and get away with.” Colin handed the box to David, who found that it was rather heavy, or at least heavier than he expected it would be. “One thousand caps, just like I told ya’,” he said in his thick, Irish accent. “I bet that’s more than anything you’ve gotten so far, eh?”

“It sure the hamster is,” Jericho said as he snatched the box from David and proceeded to open it. He took some of the caps in his hand and just started at them as if they were gold, which was ironic since most of the caps were from old bottles. “Now we can stop rentin’ rooms here, and we can finally buy that goddamn vacant house by the entrance.”

“Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking,” David said. At last, as he wanted it, he would officially be part of Megaton. To truly be part of a community was very important to him, for reasons he did not yet know. “Let’s go ahead and talk with the Sheriff. I’m really tired.”

He and Jericho thanked Colin for the caps, and then excitingly left the house to find the Sheriff. Or rather, David left to find the Sheriff. Since Jericho didn’t want to talk to him, he stayed behind, ordering a round of beer for everyone present, including Colin himself. David found the Sheriff talking with Jenny Stahl, the part-owner of the bar “The Brass Lantern”, along with her husband and his brother. Once the Sheriff realized David wanted talk with him, he left Jenny and walked over.

“Somethin’ on your mind, boy?”

“Yeah. Jericho and I want to buy the vacant house up there on the hill. How much is it?”

“I take it this would make you and your partner permanent residents of the city, eh?” He asked, and David knew he was thinking about Jericho in particular. The Sheriff didn’t have any immediate problems with David.

“Yes, at least for the time being. There’s always jobs for people like us, though.”

Simms chuckled. “Yeah…people like you. Well, I guess I can sell you the house, but it’s gonna cost you. It’s the last house in the city available for purchase.”

“Yeah? House much?”

“Eight-thousand caps I’m afraid. And I can’t go any lower than that,” he replied, a sly, devilish smile spread about his face. He knew exactly what he was doing.

“What?” David asked, not quite believing what he was hearing. “When we arrived here a month ago you were offering it for eight-hundred!”

“Yes, but that was a month ago. Things change,” he responded, his smile fading not a bit.

great compassion…you just don’t want us here. That’s what this is all about. “That’s not fair, Sheriff. I know why you’re doing this. You don’t want Jericho here, that’s what.”

“No, I believe you’re mistakin’, boy. But watch your tone; I don’t quite like it right now. You know…I suppose I could give you the house for, say, five-hundred caps. But only cause I like you, Davie.”

“What’s the catch though?”

He chuckled again. “Well…now that you mention it, there’s a cave filled with Raiders not too far from here.” He smiled because he knew what he was getting Jericho into if David accepted the proposal. Though he and Jericho had killed plenty of Raiders on the surface, they had never traveled into one of their lairs. Jericho didn’t want to…he couldn’t.

“You sonofabitch,” David whispered, just loud enough for the Sheriff to here. “No…we can’t do that. And we can’t afford eight-thousand caps either. Why are you doing this, Sheriff?”

Simms just continued to smile. “I need to protect my city, boy. You two are mercenaries, so I figure you can handle the job. If not, I guess that house is gonna have to stay empty.”

David shook his head and walked away before he said something he’d regret. As he was walking away, the Sheriff said, “The offer’s still on the table, boy. You know where to find me if you change your mind.”




“WHAT THE hamster?”

To avoid trouble, not to mention the fearful stares, David had taken Jericho out of the city to break the news to him. He knew how angry he’d be, and he didn’t want Jericho to cause a scene with all those people around. “What do you mean eight-thousand caps? It was only eight-hundred when we first fuckin’ got here!”

“I know, Jericho. He obviously doesn’t want us actually living here. And we obviously can’t do what he wants us to do, so-”

“No…we’re fuckin’ doing it, that’s for sure!”

“What? Jericho, it’s a Raider lair. Do you honestly think you’d be able to handle it? Think about it for a second…”

“I can do it, kid, don’t worry about me. It’s been years since then anyway. Besides, I need to do some killin’ to get rid of this anger.”

“Jericho…”

“Goddammit, don’t give me that look! We’re doing it! Besides, if we don’t do it, we’ll be letting Sheriff Shithead win. And I can’t let that happen.”

“So this is about your own personal vendetta with him? Is that it?”

“No. Just fuckin’ listen for a second, kid. You are really good with hacking computers and fixing locks. You’re not bad with a gun either, but I know your kind. You’ve told me your life story, about how you grew up living richly with mommy and daddy up north. You haven’t lived in the Wasteland like I have. Sometimes you just have to do things, and you really don’t have to have an answer for it. This is one of those. We can’t let this prick control us. Like I said, we’re doing this. Go tell the Sheriff to give us the location of the lair, and we’ll leave this afternoon.”

He proceeded to walk back into the city, and David called out, “Where the hell are you going now?”

“To get another drink.”

David didn’t want to go on this mission. Not that he was scared, but rather he was afraid for Jericho. Through this thick skin, there was a bit of softness. David had asked a lot of questions about his Raider life when they first met up, and Jericho never really liked discussing any of it. He spoke of evils that he would never be able to forget…things so bad that it gave him constant nightmares. But Jericho had made his decision, and David knew there was no turning back.

He walked back into the city and found the Sheriff not too far away from where he had talked to him earlier. “We’ve changed our mind, Sheriff. We’ll do it.”

“Good,” he replied with that same devilish smile. “Follow me to my office, and I’ll give you a map that’ll direct you towards their hideout.”


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redsrock
post Nov 23 2008, 01:37 AM
Post #3


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Joined: 7-August 07



Chapter Three: Extreme Accusations

According to Sheriff Simm’s map, the Raider’s lair was located just a few miles northeast of Megaton, inside an old abandoned car factory. Simms didn’t give any additional information, other than David and Jericho were to expect heavy resistance. Before leaving, David was actually able to strike an alternate deal with the Sheriff. Simms agreed to pay them five hundred caps each for the head of Raider’s leader, as well as the key to the house in Megaton. David’s part in the deal was the five hundred extra caps each, and Simm’s part was the head of the leader so that he knew they weren’t lying.

“Sounds good to me, kid. You always have been good with words. Why is that? You some kinda fuckin’ nerd and never told me?”

The two mercenaries had already left Megaton and were roughly halfway between the city and their destination. Before leaving, both had purchased assault-rifles from the general goods store, Craterside Supply. They both had their magnums and sawed-off shotguns, their preferred weaponry during combat, but they also know they’d have to have some extra firepower for the mission ahead.

“I don’t know, I guess it depends on what you consider a nerd to be. If you think that a nerd is someone who holds their education extremely important to them, then yeah…I’m a nerd.”

“Geez, kid, you don’t have to get all defensive about. I’m just shittin’ around anyway. About this defensiveness though…did kids make fun of you or somethin’? Cause we can go blow their heads off if you want to.”

David smiled at that, and then even chuckled. “Well, I wasn’t exactly the most popular kid, that’s for sure. I had my friends though, but we all sort of kept to ourselves. All three of us.”

“Three of you, eh? And what happened to these friends?”

“We…we went our separate ways. It doesn’t matter either way, because it was a long time ago. The last time I talked to my dad, which was years ago of course, one of them was murdered by some drunk. His name was Enrique, and he was accused of cheating some guy in Texas Hold ‘Em.”

“Did he cheat?”

“Yeah…probably. It just pisses me off is all. Everything’s messed up nowadays.”

“No, everything is painted up. I’ve told this a million times, kid. You have to get used to compassion like that. I mean, no offence or anything, but it sounds to me like your little friend deserved what he got.”

“Over a game of cards?”

“Hell yeah over a game of cards, especially these days! Hold ‘Em, not to mention other games, are good ways to gain money. I’m not surprised he was killed. Hell…I probably would have done the same thing if I was the guy who got cheated. It’s nothing personal kid…it’s just life. But you’re still young. You’ll understand things eventually.”

“I’m already twenty-three years old…”

“Yeah? Well that don’t mean compassion down here in the Wastelands. Maybe up north with mommy and daddy it meant you were old and mature, but down here it means you’ll only fuckin’ lucky not to be dead! It’s the way it is, kid. Look at me. I’m thirty-nine years old, and I’m gonna turn forty in a few months. You know that’s gotten me? Fuckin’ nothing, that’s what! Nobody cares how old you are down here, they only care about if you got caps. And if you do, more than likely they’re gonna try and take them from you. It’s fuckin’ survival of the fittest at its best. Goddamn Herbert Spencer would be proud.”

“Too bad Spence isn’t the one who where it originated from. He got most of his ideas from Charles Darwin. Besides, how the hell do you know who Spencer is anyway? Isn’t he a little too…nerdy for you?”

“hamster you, kid,” Jericho laughed. “I ain’t as stupid as you think. My mom used to read compassion when I was a kid, and I remember her telling me about random compassion all the time, most of which I never understood.” He paused and the continued to walk. Then, out of the blue, he said, “It really didn’t come from Spencer?”

“No, it came from Charles Darwin. Except Darwin called it ‘natural selection’. Me personally, I think Spencer called it what he did just to get people’s attention. This isn’t to say he’s stupid. Quite the contrary; the man was very intelligent. I just don’t like it when people say he invented the very concept itself.”

“Whatever. It doesn’t even matter. My point still stands, Davie. And I’m fuckin’ serious with this, so listen up. The only thing that matters out here is if you’re tough enough. If you are, then you ain’t got nothing to worry about. But if you’re not, your boat will probably be dead, and you won’t even see it coming. But you got talents, kid, that’s for sure. Hacking, lock picking… I can’t do any of that compassion. I like blasting my way through stuff. I think you’ll be alright, just as long as you keep eyes out for everything around you.”

“I’m glad I have such a wonderful teacher,” David teased.

“You’re right…I am sort of your teacher, aren’t I? At least I can teach you the ways of the Wasteland. It’s only been a few months since I met ya’ up in Greenwood. But so far you’re doing good. What I want to is, how the hamster are well off with a gun when you come from goody-goody Greenwood?”

“It’s a long story, and I don’t really feel like explaining it right now. But don’t you know most of it from the way you found me in the first place?”

“Yeah, I guess so. But I think there’s a lot more to it than that…”




About an hour or so later the two arrived at the entrance of the Raider cave. On the door was a symbol that only Jericho understood. It was a green spray-painted open-palmed hand. In the middle of the palm was a bright yellow…something. David couldn’t quite make it out, but to him it looked like a tiny star. David saw it as some weird symbol of something that he didn’t understand, but Jericho saw it for what it really was…because he was once part of it. He had sprayed that powerful symbol plenty of times himself. But David knew none of this, because Jericho never told him. He never told him about the symbol, because he couldn’t even explain it to him anymore. Years had passed by, forcing him to forget certain things, the symbol among others. But now that he was seeing it face to face once more, it was all flooding back; a long flood of horrid nightmares and ghastly memories.

Jericho slowly reached towards the symbol, his hand shaking immensely with fear and anxiety. David watched as he did this, confused, but not entirely perplexed by his partner’s fear. He was simply unaware of the magnitude the symbol on the door represented. He knew this “reunion” was going to be a tough one for Jericho, even if he wouldn’t know any of the Raiders they were about to kill. The top of Jericho’s index finger touched the paint, part of it coming off. “It’s still wet,” he whispered, and David was aware he was talking to himself. He watched as his partner stared at the wet paint on his fingers, for what seemed like hours. Then Jericho whispered again, “After all these years…it still lives.”

“What still lives?” David asked.

Suddenly Jericho shook his head, as if he were waking up from some kind of daydream. “compassion…sorry, kid. It’s…it’s this symbol here. It means something to me.”

“What is it, a mark of territory?”

“Yes…but it’s much more than that. It stands for the Raider way. You see the hand there, and the star inside of it? The open hand stands for freedom, the fact that the Raiders roam free, without any rules to follow. And that star there, that star stands for blood, the blood they take from their victims. It’s symbolic of course; Raiders ain’t blood drinkers or anything like that. The blood signifies their harsh way of life. Murder…is the Raider way.”

Jericho spoke as if he were in some kind of trance. David didn’t like it because it was very creepy to him. He wasn’t use to seeing Jericho acting so nervous and fearful. “Are you sure you can do this?” David asked.

“Yes,” he answered softly, not looking back at David. “I have to…”

And with that he opened the door, leading to a fairly long hallway, and then another closed door at the end. A single dim light on the roof in the middle of the passageway was all the light they received, other than the natural light from the sun of course. After all, it was barely past noon. The two crept down the hallway carefully, making the least amount of noise that there combat boots would allow. Both also had their assault rifles ready, in case they were ambushed as soon as they crossed into whatever room awaited them behind the closed door. David noticed that Jericho’s hands were shaking, and he didn’t like that. Jericho had always been there for him whenever things got exceptionally bad. Now, unfortunately, David had a feeling those roles were about to be reversed.

Without saying anything, Jericho slowly opened the door. On the other side was a large room, filled with old, long-dead cars, and random parts strewn throughout. The room looked to be large enough to fit Megaton itself in, but the cars lying everywhere took away from the true size, which was definitely saying something. There was a nailed-shut door at the far end, so there was no going through there. But to the door’s left, at the very end, was a ramp that led to an open space that was missing its door. That is where Jericho and David headed, taking small, careful steps the entire way.

When they got to the open space they found it led to yet another hallway, but this one was different. Trails of blood started from close inside the hallway, and led to the very end, where there was another door. There weren’t any bodies, but the blood looked fairly fresh. “Watch your step, kid. I got a bad feeling things are about to get hot.” He held his ear to the door, trying to hear anything from the other side. “I think I can hear chatter…but I’m not sure. Load your gun just in case we gotta shoot quick.”

Sighing heavily, he opened the door. Behind the door was a much smaller room, with stairs to their immediate right. Standing on the other side of the room where three Raiders wearing their normal makeshift armor, seemingly made out of junk metal. They had the usual strange, outlandish Raider hairdos, and before they could even move Jericho began firing at them, David following just seconds later.

The bodies fell within seconds, and before Jericho or David could do anything else, they heard voices from their left. A door swung open, and out came five more Raiders, one wearing a red-painted helmet. They assumed this one to be the leader. The Raiders fired at the two mercenaries with their rifles and shotguns; Jericho and David dodged to their right, behind an old broken down car to use as their shield. Through all of the screaming and bullets hitting metal, Jericho yelled to his partner, “Lob a grenade, kid!”

David just that. He cooked the grenade, and then tossed it quickly before going back behind his cover. They heard an explosion, and the room shook. After several seconds, after the debris settled, they heard no more screams or bullets. Jericho poked head out and said, “Nice fuckin’ throw, kid. I think you got ‘em all.”

They walked out from their cover spot and then inspected the area from where the Raiders came from. Sure enough they were all dead, including the leader with his red-painted helmet.

David noticed that Jericho was no longer shaking, and that was a good thing. His fears had seemed to subsided, possibly from finally facing his fears. But the fear was not yet over. Not by a longshot. “Sheriff Shithead says we gotta take his head, right? Well…you might wanna look away for a second.”

Jericho showed his thick, long combat knife, and David immediately turned away.




They made it back to Megaton shortly after six o’clock. But when they entered the town, both men knew something was wrong. Sheriff Simms was walking up the metal-tile path from the market area, accompanied by two of his deputies, men that David and Jericho knew only by face. “Jericho, I’m placing you under arrest.”

“Eh…what the hamster was that?” Jericho asked, not sure he heard the Sheriff correctly.

“I said I’m placing you under arrest. Hands behind your back, son.” The Sheriff was speaking with a chilled calmness. “I don’t want any trouble now, but I won’t hesitate to use force if you cause us trouble.”

“And what the hamster am I being arrested for?”

“On charges of rape, brought upon by Miss Lucy West.”

“What? I ain’t even talked to that umbrella seller in weeks!”

It looked as if Jericho was reaching for his magnum, and so Simms and his deputies took out their own revolvers. “Hands up, motha’hamster lover!” The Sheriff yelled.

Jericho, seeing the weapons being pointed at his face, actually took out his own weapon this time, and pointed it directly at Simms’ face. “You got the wrong guy, Sheriff! Something about this smells compassionate!”

Before anything else could happen three fellows from behind, that neither David nor Jericho were aware of, tackled Jericho to the ground. They took his magnum, and then tied his hands and feet with rope. “Ya’ sonsabitches! Davie, I didn’t fuckin’ do it! I didn’t do it!” Jericho yelled, but it was no use. Once they had him tied, the Sheriff came up and kicked him square in the back of the head. This knocked Jericho out cold.

David started towards the Sheriff, but Simms raised his revolver and pointed it at him. “This has nothing to do with you, boy. I suggest you leave now and rethink things before coming after me. Jericho ain’t goin’ anywhere. I can’t be letting men run around raping people at random. He’s lucky if I don’t shoot ‘im between the eyes.”

“Sheriff, this is great compassion and you know it!”

“I’ll decide that. But Jericho stays in prison, and he’s lucky if I don’t kill him for the compassion he’s pulled. Don’t interfere, boy, or else you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt.”

“What…what the hell, Sheriff! Where is the proof any of this happened?” David was yelling at the top of his lungs, but without his hands anywhere near his magnum’s holster.

“It’s not of your concern. I’ll repeat myself one last time, do NOT interfere with official business. I won’t make you leave since I’ve never had a problem with you, but don’t think that won’t change if I find you sneakin’ around asking questions. My decision on Jericho’s arrest is final, and there is nothing else to say about it. Good day.”

The Sheriff and his deputies led Jericho away, and David could do nothing but stare in disbelief. He didn’t know what to do. They went from the soon-to-be owners of a house in Megaton, to Jericho being accused of rape. And David just knew it wasn’t possible. The two had barely been in the Megaton area, so it just couldn’t be true. Lucy West was David’s next destination. He had a couple of questions to ask.


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redsrock
post Nov 24 2008, 01:29 AM
Post #4


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Joined: 7-August 07



Chapter Four: The Plan


Lucy West’s house was located extremely close to Moriarty’s Saloon, underneath it actually. One level below the saloon there were a few houses, Lucy’s being one of them. David didn’t know much about her, but he had heard Jericho talk about her a while back, when they first met. He said she had come from the city of Arefu, a small makeshift settlement on top of a broken down highway that looms high above the ground. Apparently the two had met in a bar, hit it off magnificently one long night, and that was it. Jericho had used some choice words to describe her, but then again he did that with almost everyone. Besides, David figured that both of them were too drunk to know what was even going on, especially Jericho.

When he neared her house, David noticed two of Sheriff Simms’ deputies guarding the doorway leading inside. The door was closed, and it was also padlocked tightly with a fairly long chain. David was to the deputies left, and there appeared to be in their own little world at the time, for they did not seem to even notice he was standing a mere few feet away from them. But then one of them wised up and saw him. He nudged his partner’s shoulder, who then also snapped back into reality.

“This house is off limits. I advise you to stay away,” one of them said; the one who had first noticed David.

“Where is Lucy West?”

“That is none of your business. Like I just said, I advise you to stay away. We’d sure hate to waste bullets on your sorry boat.”

David stood there for a few moments, trying to figure out if there was a possible method of buying his way into the house. But then he figured that was too risky, and that the faithful deputies would immediately turn him into to Sheriff Simms. So he walked away, heading for Moriarty’s place. If anyone could dig up information it was him.

He found Colin cleaning some of his wine glasses, humming the tune of one of the songs that played in the saloon’s jukebox. The jukebox was not on, but the sound coming from Colin’s mouth was almost just as loud. When he saw David walk into the saloon, he dipped his head down straight away and then turned around, as if he were trying to hide from David. David could have sworn he whispered something to his ghoul bartender, Gob, because Gob looked at David, and then nodded back to his boss. That’s when Colin left the area, retreating to his private quarters and shutting the door behind him.

Gob paid David no attention, not even when he approached the counter. There was no one else in the saloon, for it was actually past closing time, and Gob was cleaning the last bit of dishes before he’d head upstairs to his permanently-rented room. “Excuse me, Gob, can we talk for a few seconds?”

Still he did not look up from his dishes, but Gob was trying to do his best at keeping a normal face. “Sorry, Davie, the saloon is closed.”

“I know, but I’m not here for a drink. I’d like to talk to Colin for a few minutes.”

Gob laughed, a forced laugh, and said quickly, “Come on, Davie, you know Moriarty doesn’t like to be bothered after closing hours. Couldn’t it wait until later?”

“No, actually it can’t. It’s rather important you see. So, could I please talk to him?”

David started to walk around the corner, but then Gob got upset. “Davie, he can’t be bothered, alright? Just leave…”

“What’s wrong, Gob. Is there something bothering you?”

Gob opened his mouth to say something, but then stopped. He looked over his shoulder, as if to make sure Colin’s door wasn’t opened then looked back at David. “Davie, you gotta leave,” he whispered softly. “Moriarty doesn’t want you here. I don’t know why, but he’s awfully upset. Please, just go. He told me not to let you in at all costs. Like I said, I don’t know why, but please leave.”

David could sense the fear and panic in his voice. What the hell is going on here in Megaton? “Fine, I’ll leave. I suppose I can wait until morning,” he said, trying to sound as normal as possible, even though he knew it was no use. Besides, he had another plan.

David left the saloon and headed outside of the city. He found an abandoned house about a quarter mile away and simply rested on the living room couch. There was no roof, giving him a gently breeze that somewhat helped to soothe his nerves. He would wait a few hours until everyone was asleep, and then he would sneak back into Moriarty’s. He would then wake Colin up and force him to tell him what was going on. David had already decided Colin knew something that he didn’t want David to know. That was obvious after seeing him leave as soon as David had entered the saloon, as well as David’s strange conversation with Gob.

But why? Why does the Sheriff want Jericho out so badly? Why has it taken it to this much of an extreme? David did not know the answers to any of those questions. The Sheriff had for the most part seemed like a down-to-earth kind of guy. He hated Jericho, yes, but so did the majority of the city’s population. It just didn’t make sense to him. Why do all of this all of a sudden? And know that Lucy West and Colin Moriarty were involved, things were even more confusing than before. One thing he did know for sure was that Jericho was innocent. He had to be. That of course begged the question as to why the Sheriff would concoct such a ridiculous claim that couldn’t possibly be true. What if the accusations had stemmed from months back? What if that drunken night with Jericho hadn’t been so innocent after all? Alcohol is man’s ultimate poisoning. Whether or not he’d admit it, there was always the chance that Jericho had attempted to rape Lucy West that night, and that she had been too afraid back then to tell. But there was no way to tell…not until David had cornered Moriarty and forced him to give up the information he had.

At one o’clock in the morning, David headed back towards Moriarty’s.




Rain had begun to shower down upon Megaton, as if to dampen David’s spirits even more. Though it was a nuisance to travel in the rain, especially without a hooded coat, at least it provided him a bit of extra cover. After all, David was positive that the Sheriff would be having his deputies keeping a close eye out on him. It was the true that the Sheriff had no qualms with David, but it was only a matter of time until that changed. The Sheriff was a man of principles, and nobody could get in the way of that, not even his friends. David knew he had to be careful not to slip up, or else find himself it the same position as Jericho.

He slipped into the city through a side entrance that he and Jericho had discovered a while back. The deputies were obviously unaware that David held this knowledge, for he faced no resistance upon entering the city. From there he snuck past the usual sentries, finally making his way to Moriarty’s Saloon. The door was of course locked, but that didn’t worry David a bit. He simply pulled out a lockpick and carefully fit it into the lock’s groove, moving it ever which way, attempting to find that sweet spot that would unlock the door. It was a difficult concept for most, but David was somewhat of an expert. He unlocked the door within several seconds, looked around to make sure no one was watching, and then crept inside as silent as a falling feather.

There were no lights on in the pub part of the building, save for a two tiny lamps in opposite sides of the room. The door leading to the upstairs part of the building, where Gob stayed, was closed and locked. David walked behind the bar table and tapped the knob of Colin Moriarty’s private room. The stiffness told him it was locked, but getting past this lock was going to be exceptionally lucky. By looking at crack underneath the door he saw a faint light, likely from a lamp or candle of some kind. But despite that, there was no way of knowing whether Colin was actually asleep, and therefore he would be taking a chance on attempting to pick the lock. But he had to do it. There was no other way. So he cautiously picked the lock, but it took him a good few minutes, as well a good few picks. Finally the locked clicked, and David waited patiently for Colin to come running out of the room wielding a shotgun. However, that did not happen, and David slowly opened the door.

Colin was sleeping in his bed at the end of the small, cramped room, snoring slightly with his left arm hanging off of the bed. David wasn’t sure how to safely awake him, so he looked around for something to aid him. He spotted a dirty rag on the table next to Colin’s bed, and he had an idea. David did not care that the towel was covered with so much filth, because he was now willing to do anything to gather any information that might be helpful to his cause. He then took the towel and wrapped it tightly and forcefully around Colin’s head, and around his mouth where he could not speak, let alone yell.

Colin immediately woke up, not having a clue what was going on. But once he realized it was David that had blocked his ability to speak, he stopped squirming around. “I’ll let this rag go if you promise not to yell or fight. I swear I won’t hesitate to blow your head off if you make even the slightest move,” David whispered. “Do we have an agreement?” Colin nodded his head, and David let go of the rag and then stepped back a few feet.

For a moment Colin simply started at him. Though, it should be noted that there wasn’t any emotion spread about his face. He was a lot calmer than David had expected he’d be, and he assumed this was likely because he had been expecting this time to come. “You’ve finally arrived, eh?” Colin said, his face still as neutral as could be. “I was surprised Gob actually got ya’ leave.”

“So you know what I am looking for, right? I won’t have to force it from you?”

“Well…that depends. What do you want, and I’ll tell you if that’s what I was thinking.”

“Why is Lucy West’s home guarded by Simms’ deputies?”

Finally Colin cracked a smile. I tiny one, but a smile nonetheless. “Yes, I was right. The Sheriff told me you’d be coming eventually, which is why he took the liberty of giving me this here button.” Colin pointed towards a metal sheet with a red button attached to it. “I press this and I alert him, not to mention every deputy in Megaton. They are all carrying small radios in their pockets, you know.”

David almost stopped breathing when he saw the button. Then he looked at Colin, who was by now smiling wide ear to ear. “It sure would be a shame if I happened to push it, wouldn’t it, Davie?”

“You do it and I hit will shoot you. I swear…”

“Will you? I don’t really think so. You’re nothing like Jericho, aside from being a mercenary of course. Other than that, you two have nothing in common. He would shoot me, and think nothing of it. You? I don’t think so…not by a long shot. It’s not in you, boy, and for that you should be proud of yourself.”

David pulled out his magnum and pointed it at Colin’s face. “You think so?” He wasn’t sure what to think. Was Colin right? Was David really too kind to be able to shoot him? He had never before killed an innocent during his short life as a mercenary this far, but Jericho had. Most of the time David would reprimand him for it, but that was it. Besides, Jericho didn’t care. And David realized that was who he never wanted to be.

“Yes, boy, I do think so. It’s not a bad thing. Not by a long shot.”

David continued to point the gun at him for several more seconds, but eventually lowered the gun and put it back into its holster. He had been defeated.

“I thought so,” Colin said, chuckling afterwards. “But that’s okay. Because I’m a business man, and sometimes business have to break the rules they were asked to follow.”

David looked up at Colin pleadingly. “You mean…you’d be willing to help me?”

“I believe so, but only for the right price. I don’t do anything for free though.”

“Yes, what is it? I’ll give you whatever amount of caps you want!”

Colin put a finger up to his mouth to quiet him down. “Hush, boy! It’s not captions I’m after anyway.”

“No? Well what do you want then?”

“Before I tell you that, let me tell you why I was formerly ‘working’ for the Sheriff in the first place. You see, word doesn’t easily get around here in Megaton…unless it is I who seeks it. I’ve done a good job with this saloon, and I’ve made a lot of friends in the process. One of those friends happens to be a deputy of the Sheriff’s. I will not tell you his name, but he and I are as close as two friends can be. He tells me things when I ask them. So, when I asked him about Lucy West’s home earlier today, he told me truth. After I learned what happened, I was shocked that he told me to begin with. And not to long after I came back to my saloon, I received a visit from Sheriff Simms. I have no idea how, but somehow he knew that I knew what he had done to Lucy. I think it was probably more of a hunch than anything, since it is publicly known that I like to gossip. What can I say? It’s a bad habit of mine.

“Anyway, the Sheriff took me behind the saloon and offered me ten thousand caps to keep quiet about what he did to poor old Lucy. He gave me half of it on the spot, but I think that’s only because he never really had intentions on giving me the other half. So, I agreed to it, but the funny thing is that we never went into details about anything. It was as if…he just knew. It’s very creepy, and deep inside fear for my friend’s safety. Because, whether you know it or not, the Sheriff is getting crazier and crazier by the day.”

“I’ve noticed, but not until this morning when he arrested Jericho. Colin, there’s no way he [censored] Lucy!”

“Of course there’s not. It was all a lie, boy. A lie to get Jericho in jail. And there’s no way Lucy could have told him…because Lucy is dead.”

“Dead? How?”

“Unfortunately I don’t know that. My friend told me she was killed to make way for Simms’ plan, and that’s all he would tell me. My logic tells me it was Simms who did the killin’, but alas I don’t have any way of knowing that for sure.”

David sat down on a stool and stared at Colin in disbelief. “I…I can’t believe it. How could he do such a thing? Over one person? This is...this is crazy!”

“Yes, but the Sheriff is crazy himself. He’s been getting a bit loony in the head for some time now. He’s extremely paranoid, and my friend told me he’s always talking about people who want to wreck Megaton. Of course, it’s all nonsense…and the Sheriff is going insane. And that is where I come in. Once you rescue Jericho and leave the city, I want you to take me with you. My time here is up, for I fear for my own safety now.”

“That is all you want?”

“Yes, an escape from my own hell is all that I want.”

“This is just so crazy, Colin. It’s just so unbelievable.”

“Like I told you, boy, the Sheriff is becoming insane. There is no other explanation for it I’m afraid. So…do we have a deal?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Good. And I have an idea how you’ll get Jericho out of his cell. Leave here out the back and then sneak behind the jail building. I will leave the city and travel to the old abandoned Springvale School just to the northeast of here. Once I’m out of the city far enough I’ll push the button, alerting the Sheriff and his deputies. If they are as dumb as I think they are they’ll all flock to my saloon here, giving you time to free Jericho. I would think there would be a few guards that you’d have to take care of, but that shouldn’t be a problem for someone like you. How does this sound?”

“It…it sounds full proof.”

The two shook hands, and then David left the saloon, heading straight for the city jail.


--------------------
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redsrock
post Nov 24 2008, 05:15 PM
Post #5


Knower
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Joined: 7-August 07



This is the last chapter. I think it's somewhat fitting. The story feels....incomplete in a way. But in all honesty, I think it's best if I don't drag this one out...

Chapter Five: The Judge and his Mallet of Emotion

It took no more than an hour or so until the signal was given. There was no sound to this signal, or at least nothing loud enough for David to hear. All he knew is that suddenly the doors to the jail opened, and a plethora of deputes began running up the ramp towards Moriarty’s Saloon, not to mention the other deputies that were making their nightly rounds through the city. Once the coast was clear, David slipped into the jail. He knew that he had to act fast, because it would only be a matter of time until the Sheriff and his deputies figured out it was a false alarm.

Suddenly the door to the city jail swung open, and roughly a dozen or so deputies came pouring out, all of them brandishing various conventional weapons (most people in Megaton were too poor to pay for laser and plasma weaponry), and all of them running up the city’s ramps, heading for Moriarty’s Saloon. In the haste of their exit they had left the door open. David poked a head inside and saw a deputy man sitting in a chair at the far end of the relatively medium-sized room. This man was not much older than David, probably in his mid to late twenties, and appeared to be guarding a closed door. David slipped inside the building and knelt down, crawling behind a small cubicle, one of some ten others scattered throughout the front part of the room. Just as he was in place, the young deputy finally noticed that the door was still open, and this was likely because the howling winds from the storm were throwing papers ever which. He got up from his seat to close the door, and on the way back to his sentry, David snuck up from behind and wrapped one hand around the man’s neck, while holding his magnum with the man’s temple with his other hand.

“Holy [censored]!” the man yelled, frightened so much that he was already shaking. “Who are you.”

David took no notice to the man’s question. “Give me the keys to the holding cell. Now,” he said in a calm voice. It was important for him not to upset the man.

“There aren’t any keys, it’s kept sealed by a mechanical lock. And that lock is kept sealed by a computer terminal.”

David was surprised by the man’s open information, but then again, fear of death could do wonders to a man’s mind. “Then give me the password to the terminal.”

“Who are you?”

“Keeping asking questions and you’ll never find out. Just give me the damn password.”

He pressed the gun to the man’s head with greater force, and he finally caved in. “Alright, alright! Don’t [censored] kill me, man! Please, I’ve got a wife and two kids. I-“

“I won’t shoot you if you just give me the [censored] password!” David was surprised by his use of the F word, but such things mattered not to him at the moment. He knew it wouldn’t be much longer until the deputies, and likely the Sheriff himself once he realized it was a false alarm, came walking back into the city jail.

“The password is Jangles The Moon Monkey, and every word is capitalized.”

David walked over to the terminal at the end of the room, still holding onto the man tightly, and punched in the password. The door opened, and inside were at least a couple dozen cells (only a few of them filled), stretching down a seemingly endless hallway. Fortunately, Jericho was the third one on the left.

“Davie!” he yelled. “What the [censored], man? How’d you get in?”

“No time to talk, Jericho, because there isn’t much of it. Sheriff and his goons will be back any minute now.” Then he asked the deputy, “Do you have the keys to unlock this cell?” The man nodded. David turned sideways so the man was closer to Jericho. “Jericho, reach through the bars and grab his gun.”

“With [censored] pleasure…”

Once that was done, David turned his attention back to the deputy. “Open the cell with your keys. And don’t tell me you don’t have any, because I can see them on the side of your belt.” The deputy unlocked the cell. After Jericho walked out, David shoved the man in, and then locked the door. Before leaving he asked the deputy, “Is there is an alternate exit out of here?”

“Yes, down the hallway.”

David looked down the hallway, and saw a door at the very end, something he had not noticed before. “Good. Thanks for cooperating.” And before the man could even respond, David and Jericho left the city jail as fast as they could. Once out of the city David explained to Jericho what had actually happened, about Lucy’s wrongful death, Moriarty helping them out, and the alarm that had been set up to catch David. Jericho, although somewhat impressed by the Sheriff’s scheme, was still angry all the same.

“What [censored]. I knew that [censored] was crooked,” he said. “But I don’t think he and I are through with each other. Not by a long shot.”

“What do you mean?” David asked.

“What I mean is that I can’t just leave now. I’ve got to back and kiss some boat.”

David stopped walking, as did Jericho. They weren’t that far out of the city, only about fifty yards or so. “What the hell are you talking about? I just saved your life in there!”

“Yes, and so I guess you’ve proven to me what you really are, which is the best friend that I’ve never had. I never did want to make too many friends, because you can’t trust anyone these days. But you…you’re different. When I found you next to that gal’s body, I just saw something in you. I can’t explain it, but I knew you weren’t the murderer that you looked like. When we started working together I realized that quickly. I don’t want you to explain to me what exactly happened back in Greenwood, because I don’t even want to know. What matters is that you’ve been nothing but a good friend to me. And I know I don’t usually say this to anyone….but thanks. I know you’ve only been with me for a few months, but I doubt I’d be here right now if it weren’t for you.”

“I still don’t understand. You can’t go back in there, Jericho! You’ll die!”

“Yes, kid. I have to. And I yeah, I know I’ll die. But I can’t let Sheriff [censored]head get away with me. I can’t let him [censored] me over like that.”

“Oh my god, Jericho! Just put away your pride for a second and listen. You-“

“Goddammit, kid, don’t give me that [censored]! This is me, kid! This is who I am! Have I ever let anyone get away with screwing me before? Hell no, of course not! But I realize this is different. This time, when I get my revenge, I won’t be coming back. There’s too many of his [censored] deputies in there, so once I kill him, I’ll only be able to get a handful of the others before they take me down. But that’s alright.”

“I’ll go with you!” David pleaded. And as much as he didn’t want to, he was starting to tear up. “We can take them on together!”

“No kid, that won’t work. The whole city itself is brainwashed by Simms’ [censored] attitude. He has them in the palm of his hand, and there’s no doubt in my mind they’ll try and come to his rescue once they see he’s in trouble. You’re not going in there with me.”

David wanted to protest. He wanted to tell Jericho how stupid he was, and that pride wasn’t the only thing important in life. But, unlike most others, David wasn’t selfish. While he did not like the feeling of being alone, he was not going to put his wants in front of Jericho’s. That was the kind of person he was, and that was why Jericho took him under his wing in the first place. Back in Greenwood, Jericho had not only seen a kid who was handy with a lockpick and a keyboard, but also a kid whom he could trust.

The tears were now falling down his face uncontrollably. Jericho chuckled at this, but didn’t give him a hard time. Even he, the smartalic tough guy that he was, knew how difficult the situation was for David. By leaving Greenwood David had also left behind everything he had ever loved, his friends and his family first and foremost. “Listen, kid…this is as hard on me as it is for you. And I know you’ve probably heard this phrase hundreds of times in all the [censored] books you read…but everything must come to an end. This is what it has to be. And I think you sort of know that yourself, because I can read it in your eyes.”

It was true that David knew this was what it had to be, no matter how stupid and confusing it was to him. He just didn’t want to believe it was true. “Yeah, I know,” he said softly, finally able to get a hold of himself. “I’ll give Moriarty your thanks.”

“Yeah, do that. And stick with him, kid. The man’s a genius…and a clever sonofa[censored]. Those two assets are great to have. Good bye, kid….”

The two shook hands and Jericho left to renter the city. But this time he entered through the main entrance, for Stockholm was not at his usual sniping nest. David figured he had responded to the alarm’s call as well. David waited a few minutes after Jericho was inside. Gunshots suddenly went off, and they lasted for almost a full minute. Then everything was silent, except for the screeching crows that had since scattered after hearing the gunshots. David took one last look at the city of Megaton. Then he turned around and walked away, never looking back.


--------------------
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darkynd
post Nov 28 2008, 10:50 PM
Post #6


Evoker

Joined: 9-February 07
From: CA



I've read through Chapter One, and here's my thoughts, for whatever value you put on them...

Pretty good, for a start. The beginning is a little herky-jerky, I guess is the way I'd put it. First off, you have something of a tendency to tell the reader what you want them to know, instead of showing. For example, from the opening paragraph; "The two were mercenaries of the Wasteland, two extremely close friends with totally different backgrounds and morals." That's a lot more than needs to be said, and is intrusive narration. What I mean by all this is instead of using the characters and their interactions with the environment to tell the story and illuminate what these people are like, the author instead flat out tells the reader. It can break the flow and immersion you might have in a story. This is pretty common, but easily solved.

Using the cigarette to illustrate differences between these characters was a much better way of telling us about these guys, but that came with some of its own problems. For starters, this is the beginning of a new story, correct? It's usually important to at least give a passing description of their physical attributes. Now, that's not always necessary if the emphasis is on dialogue and personality, but it's still nice to have some of that. And a lot of what you say in the narration between Jericho and Davie talking might easily be incorporated into their dialogue. For example, instead of saying "David couldn’t stand it when Jericho smoked because it almost always led to a headache" you might have had David say "'You know those things always give me a headache; put it out!'"

Or something like that; I'm not trying to put words into your characters' mouths.

As for the dialogue itself, I thought the use of [censored] was pretty annoying. Now, that could easily be the site's language filter, but I do think that if you're going to be posting your story to a place with a language filter, you might as well write the story without swear words. It breaks flow and makes it harder to imagine the story in your hard as you read along (that's how I read).

The last thing I'll mention that I noticed (since I believe I'll be coming back soon) is your story lacks detail. Descriptions of setting, of physical attributes like I mentioned, of facial expressions, of mindsets, description of a person's tone...it lacks a lot of detail. And detail is where a story can be made or broken; details help the narrative stand out among a crowd. Austerity and brevity are virtues in writing, of course, but there is a point where that is taken too far. I believe that you may have crossed that point. When Jericho was just getting into it with Rex, for example, you barely spared any lines describing how his face might contorted into a sneer or his fists clenched or his eyes narrowed - you only used dialogue to give us hints into what he was thinking. Which is one way of doing it, but I think you'll find that strong details are not only fun for the reader, but also reinforce all other aspects of your writing, including dialogue.



And now, a quick run-through of some simple mistakes I saw, just to make sure you're aware.

QUOTE
Jericho continued to smoke his Monty’s Best cigarette, so David rolled his eyes and took out an orange he had stolen from the grocery. Normally he would have to suffer through the smoke, but this time he had something to help. He took out an orange that he had stolen from the grocery, and then cut in half with a hand-me-down switchblade his older brother had given to him long ago.


QUOTE
He looked at David, who was looking at into the distance from the broken-down bus they were resting in



That's all I have to say, for now, but I would like to close with this statement; I do not dislike this story. The above were my impressions of the first chapter, and, for the sake of criticism, I focused on aspects I felt could use improvement. If you feel like I was too abrasive or something of that nature, feel free to tell me; I can easily tone it down.

This post has been edited by darkynd: Nov 28 2008, 10:51 PM
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redsrock
post Nov 28 2008, 11:48 PM
Post #7


Knower
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Joined: 7-August 07



QUOTE(darkynd @ Nov 28 2008, 10:50 PM) *

First off, you have something of a tendency to tell the reader what you want them to know, instead of showing.


Yes, you are definitely right. I do have a bad habit of that. Someone at TES Fiction noticed that as well.

QUOTE
For example, instead of saying "David couldn’t stand it when Jericho smoked because it almost always led to a headache" you might have had David say "'You know those things always give me a headache; put it out!'"


I totally agree with that, but there's only one problem. If I start doing that, then I'm going to have a ton of dialogue, and not much regular text. That gets on my nerves. I just need to find a good balance.


QUOTE
you might as well write the story without swear words.


No, that's something cannot do. Cussing is Jericho's character. Have you met him in-game in FO3? If so you'll know exactly what I mean. So, there's really nothing I can do about that.

QUOTE
The last thing I'll mention that I noticed is your story lacks detail.


Yeah, after re-reading it, I noticed that as well. Especially the town of Megaton. It is such a cool place, yet I didn't really say much about it. The same goes for everything else in the story I suppose, even when Jericho and David were at that Raider lair.

Thanks a lot, man. smile.gif And no, you were not too abrasive at all. This is what I like, not praise, but rather feedback that will actually help me. Don't get me wrong, praise is cool too. But praise won't help me become a better writer. You know what I mean?


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*Hey everyone, TES Fiction is looking to revamp its very talented group of writers. So, if you love to write (TES or non-TES), come on over! Whether its stories, poems, song lyrics, etc, it doesn't matter!*
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