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"Alright then, Mongoose. See ya tomorrow," she said tiredly.

Keara noted that he'd left the remainder of his whiskey sitting on the bar. She helped herself to a hearty swig before heading up herself. It didn't sit well in her stomach. She needed sleep.

"C'mon, Lucky. Let's go."

She trudged up the stairs with Lucky in tow, dropped her rifle on the floor, and collapsed face down on the bed. The Regulators, Mongoose, Laura and the crew; they all faded from her mind as she passed into sleep.
jack cloudy
Marcellone, aheadskippin time (Also, the headquarters I found on the wiki was a tad small for my tastes, so I replaced it.)

Their journey back to base was mostly uneventful. Sure, the oldtimers stumbled a few times and there was the realization that the garbage bags needed some breathing holes, but mostly uneventful. Still, Marcellone couldn't supress a sigh of relief when he spotted the crumbling churchtower that marked their home. Built within the catacombs, the hideout had been dug out further and rebuilt over time to the point one could hardly recognize its original purpose. The regulators under his command were more vocal in their appreciation.
"I'll be glad to drop this stinker."
"I just want to close my eyes and kick back."
"Yo bill, wanna play the cards?"
"No way James, I still remember the last time you swindled me of all my caps, you cheating honoured user."
"I wasn-"
Marcellone let out another sigh. The raiders were almost more likeable than his own band, at least they knew when to shut up.
"Shut up everyone! Gah, take the men and women inside and have them processed by the prison warden. Don't take off their bags till they're safely behind bars. The Ghoul goes to the medical ward to be treated. As for their gear, Put it in a crate in the store room for now. We'll see what to do with all that stuff later."

Prisoners in tow, Marcellone's group moved to the entrance whose guards let them through after a swift nod from Marcellone. They knew the regulator and even drank with him at a quiet evening. As such, they were willing to skip the needless formalities and let him through without any hassle. Inside however, Marcellone almost tripped over the hooded ghoul waiting just beyond the entrance. Only the gleam of gold had alerted him to the thing's presence in the dark.

"Greetings, who are you....Prime Normals?" The Ghoul asked as he noticed the arrival. His question was not aimed at the regulators who he knew already, but at the prisoners.
"I'm Brian," The Ghoul added as he pulled back his hood.

"Hello Brian, I'm Jonathan Guntherson. A pleasure to make your aquaintance." The lanky man answered and bowed, still with a garbage bag covering his head. Marcellone shook his head. The guy seemed to have forgotten he was a prisoner.
"Can it. Get them to the cells already. Brian, you can visit them later if you have to. Alright, move it people! The sooner you get your jobs done, the sooner you can drink yourself into a stupor, get swindled at the cards or whatever you do in your spare time." He yelled at the men behind him and walked away.
"I'll have to report to Nichols." Marcellone muttered as he passed the Ghoul.
Lord Revan
Damon Wyeth

Damon rose from the ranger grave he'd dug last night. His sleep was never good after getting drunk, at least he never drank enough to suffer a hangover. The sun was still beneath the horizon, but time was a luxury in the Capital Wasteland.
He kneeled in the dirt, setting his inventory out in the morning darkness. Damon counted out 5x twenty-round magazines for his M16A2 (three were unloaded), 40x rounds of .357 Magnum, 3x road flares, and 5x smoke grenades. He made some notes in his Pipboy and packed everything back up.
As the sun rose, he began to look for a place to take shelter until Craterside would be open.

Keara awoke much earlier than expected, due to the urge to throw up. She rose quickly and poured out her guts into the sink. There was no way it was from the whiskey, though it may have played a role. This was jet withdrawal, and she couldn't afford it now.

She rummaged through her belongings; she had a few caps that she'd scrounged from the warehouse the previous day, and she'd been to Megaton enough to know Leo Stahl. She gathered her things, left the saloon, and headed towards the Brass Lantern, with her aching legs complaining the entire way.

"Leo," she greeted when she finally arrived, seating herself on a stool, "Long time no see."

"You don't look so good," he replied, "I take it you need something from me."

She placed all her caps on the counter, "Yep."

Leo scooped up the caps, "Meet me outside the gates in an hour. I'll have it for you."

"I'll be there," she said, though Leo had already walked away. Her eyes were closed and she rubbed her temples in a futile attempt to quell her raging headache.

"Greetings, who are you....Prime Normals?" came a voice from inside the building.
"I'm Brian".

After Jonathon said his reply, they were were moved further into the building. Raymond heard the voices of others, whether regulators or prisoners, he couldn't tell.

You'll be separated, but after your "Talks" with our interrogator, you'll be shifted around." Their captor told them. "Now, lets get those bags off your heads."
Chris 'Mongoose'

It was early morning. The room looked exactly as I rented it last night; plain, and untouched. The chair I fell asleep on was about the only thing really adjusted for me, as my ruck was right by the chair, ready to move out. With a flip of the wrist, i unveiled my pipboy, as I checked the time.

"Oh...." I yawned "Its almost time to meet with the girl and her dog." He exclaimed. Adjusting my trusty m14, I never kept my rifle anywhere but slung around my neck and sling. I adjusted my gear, quickly and quietly breaking down my weapon while slung on me. I had a knack for being able to lube, clean, and ready my weapons for immediate use. Slapping the bolt back in place, I lubed the chamber.

Taking count of all my magazines, I made sure that each one was stocked up to 20 rounds. 'One....Two....' I counted in my head. Checking my Ka-Bar, and pistol, I placed the ruck on my back, and stepped off.

I was downstairs, as I passed the ghoul that was the bartender. Adjusting my face mask, and shades, I gave him a nod, as I rolled two hefty nuggets of gold across to him. "What the...." he mumbled, as I exited the saloon.

"Now" I said, looking into the light breeze of dirt and cool air "Where....Did that girl and her dog go?"

Keara walked back towards Moriarty's; she had an hour to kill, after all. She found Mongoose standing outside, looking ready to go.

"Morning," she said, doing her best to sound cheery despite how awful she felt, "We're leaving in about an hour, if you're still in."
Chris 'Mongoose'

My whole body was in another world. The mask usually dispensed a nerve agent into my nostrils and lungs, helping me operate off the more animalistic senses. Adjusting the mask, then my shades; I was caught off guard as the girl flanked my peripherals.

I snapped to her with my whole body. With my rifle at the ready; I canted it to the side, I slapped the bolt forward and set it's safety to semi.

I could feel my self calming down. My attention brought me back to earth. A passive nod, and I came to her. That nostalgic feeling of being lost, being young. The girl was not much younger than i, but the chem use showed, as I smiled from under my mask, giving the young lady a nod.

OOC- ^.^ I just did 10 pushups with my 2 nieces and my lil nephew.
Lord Revan
Damon Wyeth

The owner of Craterside Supply was nice enough, but Damon felt uneasy spending a minute longer than he had to in her store. He had 20 caps left, but plenty of 5.56mm and rations to last awhile. As he shut the door, Damon noticed the girl from last night with the masked man.

Both looked ready for expedition. Damon was about to call out to them when the masked man brought his rifle to bear on the girl. Instinctively, he drew the schofield and about to loaf of bread it before the man relaxed and aimed his rifle away. "The hell's wrong with you?" He shouted, advancing on them, schofield still at half loaf of bread. "Didn't anybody teach you not to play with rifles?"

OOC: I hate auto-censor. "half loaf of bread", really?
OOC: haha, it took me a while to even figure out what it was you were actually trying to say.


She was wide-eyed, unexpectedly staring down the barrel of Mongoose's rifle. Her hand was on her pistol, but she knew that if Mongoose wanted to fire, she'd be dead before she could even get it off her hip. The moment was over as soon as it began, as Mongoose smiled and nodded.

"What the-" she tried to yell at him before she was cut off. The one-eyed man was on them, revolver at the ready. He seemed to be shouting at Mongoose for her.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," she said, holding her hands out to keep space between the two men, "Relax, everybody."

She still wasn't sure of Mongoose's intentions, or the one-eyed man's for that matter, but at least the newcomer appeared to be on her side. Nonetheless, once the situation calmed enough, she pushed Mongoose in the chest with both hands.

"What the hell was that?"
Chris 'Mongoose'

The nerve agent was usually regulated through my pip-boy. Raising my now relaxed hand, I tried to show them the reasoning behind my sudden reflexes. I could never really talk right under my mask, as I kept my talking to a minimum to conserve my own energy.

Slowly, I tapped at my left hand with the right, showing them my pip-boy's screen saying; 'Wireless access. Sedative set@ 25% dispersion every 5 hrs. Speech will be impaired for first 15min of medication'

Adjusting my rifle, I flicked the m-14 to safe. I combed my dusty hair back, eying out the girl and her new companion.

Lord Revan
Damon Wyeth

He eyed the man's pip-boy. Sedative for what? Damon wondered, turning the schofield's cylinder until the hammer rested on an empty chamber. Holstering the sidearm, he looked to the girl. "I miss anything exciting?"

Keara couldn't believe her luck. The one-eyed man showed up again, just as they were about to leave, and she had one last chance to recruit another pair of hands.

"Actually, you did," she said, "You missed my job offer. You wouldn't be interested in some work would you?"

She hoped he would come along; the little incident with Mongoose made her a bit more wary of him than she had been before, and the newcomer seemed a bit more stable. What could she do though? She'd only known Mongoose for a few hours, and she was too desperate for help to turn anyone down.

I'll let them come along because I have no choice, but I can't let my guard down. There's a lot of scum in the wastes, waiting to take advantage.

The thought crossed her mind that she might be included in that scum, but it didn't matter; the survival of her and her friends did.
Lord Revan
Damon Wyeth

"What did you have in mind?" He asked. I may be short on caps and need to get the hell out of dodge, but I'm not desperate... not yet anyway.

Damon's natural eye studied the girl. She looked strung out. Looks more like a favor than job offer.

"It won't be easy, if that's what you mean. My crew was captured by some other mercs," Keara began, feeding him the same story she'd given Mongoose the night before, "I escaped, so it's up to me to get 'em out and I can't do it alone."

Somehow it didn't seem like she was offering much incentive, so she decided to bluff.

"As far as caps go, we have a stash hidden somewhere. It's the payment for our last two jobs, except what we had to use for supplies. The only problem is that my boss is the only one who knows where it is. She dies, we stay broke. We rescue her, we all get a cut. If you're in, meet me outside the gate in about an hour."

She eyed both the newcomer and Mongoose in turn, "I don't have a lot of time. I'll be leaving with or without you, got it?"

For now, she hoped the promise of caps would do the trick. For later, she knew that the story wouldn't hold forever. Eventually they would figure out that the 'other mercs' were Regulators, and that there was no stash. She decided to cross that bridge when she came to it.

I'm doing all I can, Laura. I only hope it's enough.
Chris 'Mongoose'

It was awkward standing between these two converse. I decided to step back.

"So, yeah." drew from my mouth. I was suited, loaded, and ready to perform a 3 man operation.

"This...operation." I hissed of the built in mic, "It isnt some run of the mill job; Is it, missy?"

I felt calm. Relaxed, but still worried about the newcomer and lil ol' Keara. Lowering my rifle down, I gave them a hard stare.


"It won't be easy, if that's what you mean," she replied, "I never meant to act like it was. I have to go back to where I last saw them, track them for God knows how long, get on with the rescue, and most importantly, get out alive."

"If we can pull it off, though, I promise my crew will make it worth your while."

She didn't like lying to them, but there was no other option. Keara learned a long time ago that favors were few and far between in the wasteland, she had to have something to offer them, imaginary or not. A year ago, she'd have no qualms about stringing men around on promises of non-existent caps; in fact, she'd done much worse. But here and now she felt...guilty?

Gotta be the withdrawal. I can't afford to go soft just yet. They'll figure it out sooner or later anyway. I'll just have to do my best to make it later.
Chris 'Mongoose'

Wearing shades provided a good amount of protection from the elements, as well as being able to help me read people. A gust of wind blew by us, as I examined Keara. She seemed in discomfort to me, maybe even wanting or needing.

"What is the plan then?" I said. "What can you tell us about the situation?"

She left me always wondering about her. Young and lost, was what she seemed to me. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best is what i say.
((OOC:Sorry about that absence ladies and gents. Lifes fairly back to normal until I move in a weeks time so i'm gonna make the most of it))

Laura shook her hair loose as the bag was removed from her dead, ridding herself of at least part of the dirt and grime of the past day. The regulators were already relaxing, apart from their commander, which meant wherever they were the men felt secure. This probably meant they were deep in regulator territory, which didn't bode well for any escape attempts.

"You could have at least cleaned out the bags first" She complained, as she looked around at the rest of her company. The walk had been a quiet one, but they all seemed to be fine, apart from Alexei but that was to be expected. If he had died they would have dumped him on the journey so it was likely he was gonna pull through.

"Nice place you have here, could use a bit more lighting and a bit less ruin, and maybe some cushions!" Laura declared, failing to keep the sarcasm out of her voice. "I'm sure we'll all be treated fairly won't we. Because it would do awfully poorly if the news of any mistreatment at the hands of regulators got out. Especially with your wonderfully saintly repute."
jack cloudy
OOC: No problem smile.gif

Jonathan Guntherson

The first thing he did upon being relieved from his unwanted head-cover and the equally unwanted cuffs, was to fill his lungs till they felt as if they were about to burst. He was no claustrophobic but walking over uneven ground all day with a filthy garbagebag over his head was definitely unpleasant. All he'd been able to see during the journey was vague shadows and the glare of the sun piercing the plastic.
"I wonder if everyone else is alright. I don't think anyone got left behind, the regulators would have said anything first. But still." He thought and just as he was about to open his mouth, he heard Laura's voice coming from off to his right. At least she was alright and going by her words, in high spirits. Turning his head, Jonathan saw her, trying to brush the dirt and grim from her hair. Beside her stood Raymond, also in one piece. The only one he didn't see was Alexei, but he'd overheard the order to take the ghoul somewhere else.

Jonathan looked around. His eyes were already used to the dark, but he still couldn't see too much. Wherever they were, the only light came from a pair of lamps mounted on the wall. The walls were a mixture of old cracked stone patched up with newer wood, but the floor was simply packed dirt. There were no windows as far as he could see. In all likelihood, they were beneath the ground in an ancient cellar.
"Nah, too big to be a cellar. Multiple rooms and corridors, alcoves in the walls. Don't know what this place used to be, but it definately isn't a cellar or storm shelter."

An unarmed regulator was invading Laura's space. He was unarmed but everything in his attitude screamed "I'm in charge here". Jonathan rolled his eyes.
"Ah right, the posturing begins. Can I be placed in a cell already?" He mumbled, shaking his head. Someone forcibly removed his coat and another pair of hands were fumbling with the clasp of his toolbelt. The two regulators didn't speak a word, but simply tossed the two items in one of the alcoves.
"Are you going to take my boots and underpants as well? It's damned cold and wet in here you know!" The mechanic complained. The two nameless regulators grinned.
"You can keep those, for now. We don't want you lot to get too uncomfortable here. That might make the interrogation 'less effective'. Besides, no one wants to see your wrinkly boat." One said and both laughed.
"Right...that's subtle guys, very subtle." Again Jonathan shook his head.

"So no tools, no guns and no labcoat. At least I still got my glasses and..." Jonathan bit down on his tongue to keep from grinning himself. In one of his arguably less sane and more drunken moments, he had inserted a variety of objects into the soles of his boots. From paperclips to the head of a small screwdriver, his footwear had become a tiny and rather limited toolbelt themselves. He had regretted it in the past but had never replaced his boots since. Now he was glad he'd done it. He had the feeling they wanted to keep their stay here as short as possible.
"Though I have no idea what any of my stuff would be useful for. I'll just have to hope a situation presents itself where I can make myself useful."

OOC: I don't know if you guys want Laura and co to have an active role in the breakout themselves, so I deus ex machina'd some tools just in case.

"That's a damn good question," she answered, being honest for once, "I don't know where they've been taken, or even if they're still alive. I'd like to do it quick and quiet, but I really don't have enough to go on just yet."

"For know, we need to get on the trail. Lucky here's got a good nose and I know exactly where to start. Once we have some clues, I think a plan will come."

Lord Revan
Damon Wyeth

"Not much to go on." Damon muttered, rolling his shoulders to relieve the biting straps on his shoulders. He liked to trust people and the girl seemed concerned enough for her story to be true. It's not as though I'm not on the end of my tether either.

"But I'm a might unwelcome around this place at the moment." He said, offering the girl his hand. "Call me Wyeth, sounds like we've got some hiking to do."

"I know the feeling; I'm unwelcome about everywhere," she said, only half joking. She shook Wyeth's hand when he offered it, doing her best to keep her own from shaking.

"Keara's my name," she said, looking straight into his good eye, wondering if it was the same one that had been uncovered the night before, "My hairy friend is Lucky, and this guy calls himself Mongoose."

"If you guys can get along for a few minutes, I'm gonna go pick up some supplies and I'll meet you outside the gate later."
"Get some rest. The boss wants to see you tomorow, so you better get some beauty sleep." Their captor joked, pushing raymond into his cell. Across from him was Jonathon, while Laura was taken down a different corridor, and Alexei was most likely in the medical room.

"Of course, don't get too attached to your cell, we'll make sure you get moved after your 'interrogations'" The regulator said, before returning the way he'd came, leaving Raymond and Jonathon alone.
jack cloudy
Jonathan Guntherson

"Of course, don't get too attached to your cell, we'll make sure you get moved after your 'interrogations'" The jailor said over his shoulder as he vanished back in the direction of the entrance, leaving Jonathan and Raymond alone. With a sigh, Jonathan sat down on the cold floor close to the bars. In the gloom, he could barely see gramps in the opposite cell.

"So they're moving us...Guess that means we won't get the time to dig a tunnel out of here with our toenails. Anyway, how are you holding up, Raymond? Got any idea where we are?" While talking, Jonathan felt the bars till he found the door he'd been shoved through. The cell didn't look like the most luxurious and well-maintained affair so just maybe...No, the hinges might be a bit rusty but were more than sturdy enough to resist his feeble muscles. As for the lock, he'd already given up on that idea. Picking locks wasn't his thing and while he could learn, he was more likely to cause an irreparable jam than open it. Especially if he couldn't see the damn thing.


Keara turned to leave, snapping at Lucky so he would follow. She made her way towards the town gate, and waited outside for Leo to show. It wasn't long before he came strolling out. The dealer thrust two inhalers into her hand.

"There's two only because I owe you for last time," he said bluntly, "Don't expect any more favors."

Keara nodded gratefully, knowing that she would need it to get through the next few days. When Leo walked away, she took a small lungful of air; only enough to take the edge off of the harsh reality of withdrawal. She was going to have to ration, and she knew it. Feeling a bit better, she took a seat on a nearby rock and waited for the others to show. It was almost time.
"I'm fine" Raymond grunted to his teamate. "I've been captured before. At least here I haven't been crucified. Let me tell you, that wasn't fun."

Raymond could only just make out the outline of his partner. From what he could make out, Jonathon was sitting near the bars. Raymond sat against the wall beside the bars and asked "How do you think Keara's doing. Do you think she made it to Megaton?"
jack cloudy
Jonathan Gunterson

"Ouch...that sounds bad. How did you g..." Jonathan began but Raymond had already shifted the subject to Keara. It didn't matter anyhow. Whatever means the old man had employed to free himself, they likely wouldn't apply to their current situation. Best thing they could do was either wait for Keara to come haul them out, or try and get in contact with the rest of the company and come up with a plan.

"Keara?" Jonathan repeated for himself and shifted into a more comfortable position.
"The lass was the first to bolt, along with her little companion. And we tied up most of the regulators with our diversion. Come to think of it, I don't remember being joined by some regulators that split off from the main group and they seemed rather happy about themselves. I guess they either didn't notice our girl or didn't care." He shrugged.
"So as long as she doesn't get herself eaten by an overgrown lizard or something, she'll make it. The bigger question is if she can get enough guns to bail us out."

Jonathan glanced at the direction the jailor had vanished. The man was out of sight and there were no footsteps to indicate his imminent return. So the mechanic leaned closer to the bars and whispered, hoping Raymond could still hear what he was saying.
"And I was just thinking. There has to be a way to get back in touch with Laura and Alexei and figure out an alternative escape route. Just in case Keara doesn't get here soon with the cavalry. I don't want to stay here till I die and all but to just try to get out on our own isn't what I want either."
Laura was unceremoniously pushed into her cell, the door swinging shut behind her with a clang, the lock closing with a satisfying crunch of rusted metal on slightly more rusted metal. The prison didn't look like it had seen much use, or if it had the prisoners did not stay here long. Her jailor had already left without a word, and Laura was on her own.

She smiled to herself, an oversight on the jailors part. He must've been used to raiders and scared farm boys, not proper mercs. First thing Laura did was measure her cell in strides, it wasn't roomy, but the area hadn't been built to hold people in, likely an old cellar, which gave her enough room to breathe in. The walls were old, but sturdy, same as every other building that had survived the war. While the age was showing in the flaking mortar, they were thick and strong, not something that would be easy to bust through without some help.

Finally Laura checked the floor around her, it was damp in places, speaking of either busted piping somewhere or it had been recently cleaned. It felt solid, no chance of an underground room to break into to escape through. All in all the room was fairly sufficient to hold her, especially without her tools. That meant she'd have to talk her way out or hope one of the others managed to find a way out of their respective cells. Raymond and Jonathon were together which was good, the two always worked well, Raymond having the patience to let Jonathon bounce ideas off him. Alexei was likely out in the medical room, or restrained in some way. He wouldn't be stupid enough to try and break out of the med bay, as his size likely meant he was under heavy watch.

That lef Keara, the girl had got away or the Regulators would have mentioned it. But it was whether the girl would cut her losses and run, or whether she'd come back for them. Laura hoped for the latter, but the girl was skittish and the meds she used could make her unpredictable. Laura sighed, for now there was nothing she could do except make the most of her time, and decline her captors some of the advantages they'd hope to gain. She started with her stretches, interrogation technique hoped for her to be tired, in pain from not having room to move and anxious with pent up energy, best to solve those now incase they dragged them out of bed in the middle of the night.

It was the waiting that bothered her. Keara was never good at waiting, only good at acting. Acting only required instinct, while waiting always brought about thinking. The more she waited, the more she thought, and the more she thought about her current situation, the more anxious and fearful she became. She was about to trek across the wastes with two complete strangers, one of whom had already leveled a gun barrel in her face. Who was to say that they wouldn't rob and kill her in her sleep, or worse turn her in to the Regulators? Especially after they learned that she'd lied to them.

Why was she even going back for Laura and the others? The thought left a guilty feeling in her gut, but it couldn't be ignored. She thought back on her time with the Company, remembering the looks they gave her, wondering why she still hung around even after paying her debts to them. She remembered Raymond's scope on her every time she went scouting, and always living under Laura's watchful eye, trying time and time again to be accepted. And had she been? Would any of them; Raymond, Jonathan, Alexei, or even Laura honestly call her friend? It was a question she couldn't answer. She had good memories with each of them, to be sure, but for the most part there had always a distance between her and the rest of the crew, a lingering mistrust that she'd never been able to shake.

I wouldn't trust me either, I guess. she finally admitted to herself, I've only ever been good at lying and stealing.

So she decided to make good on her promise to them, be something other than a junkie for once, and finally leave them be afterward. Assuming she avoided death at the hands of Regulators or her new traveling companions, of course.
Chris 'Mongoose

Like a snake in tall grass, I closed in on Keara using the small crowds of megaton residents as cover. From the way she shifted around on the rock she was sitting on, I could only assume that something was weighing down on her mind, or that she was on jet again.

I took a knee a few feet behind her, as I beconed her dog to me with a peice of canned jerky. 'Psst! Come here, lucky!' I whispered.

I truly hoped that the dog would accept my friendly gesture. I haven't had a moment to stop and enjoy the minute things we have left to admire on this planet. And there I go, lost in thought.

OOC: sorry for the lack of participation. Been on the search for writing inspiration.
Uleni Athram

OOC: *You see a note taped to your nose. Confused at this sudden sight, you read it.*

Gone to take some of the escaped Liberty. In other words, this post would probably ruin the whole RP, leaving you guys/gals/IDKs to plot my demise and actually do it out of the burning hatred for the guy that killed your darling little RP. Ha! tongue.gif -U.A


A lamp flickering in a rotting shack. Some bloatflies buzzing outside, hungering for some meat that they would die to have. Two males ignoring the music of the swarm. One large teenaged boy with puppy blue eyes and lightbrown hair watching with gusto as the older man cleaned a rather heavy-looking gun and maintained its integrity. The old gray man had the hard lines of age on his face, and harder knowledge on his marble-black eyes. He had a duster the teenager so adored. Silence. Silence, except for the dirty rag that worshipped the RPD. Silence, except for the dirty rag cleaning the sharp bullets. Silence.

The rotting shack, housing the dying lamp and the males, groaned and shuddered as somewhere in the distance an explosion erupted. The shockwave of it went through the cracks of the poor shelter, and the lamp flickered near extinction. Silence, after that. Except for the dirty rag that cleaned the RPD.

The older man looked strangely at the boy, as if the teenager was an impatient little brat looking to rest. He stopped his cleaning and carefully leant his RPD against the chair on which he seats. The brown-haired freckle-faced teenager looks at the man with sudden confusion.

"Alexandr," the man said his gruff, yet affectionate, voice. "Alexandr, why?"

Alexandr looks at the man, staring at him with those puppy blue eyes. With those puppy blue eyes, he asked for a silent explanation. The Regulator catches this invinsible question and he sighed a terrible sigh that would make one's heart melt. It was a terrible sound of extreme sorrow and, oddly, recognition of something that should not be recognized.

"Shall I have to spell it out for you," the Regulator asked when he finally accepted whatever it was that was intruding on his heart. "No matter. Perhaps this would help you understand."

He made a motion of wiping his face and Alexandr screamed a soundless scream. The Regulator's temple deflated an inch, and his face became pain itself. This mangled mesh of flesh and bone gave way to a fountain of blood that dripped from every hole in the regulator's head. His right eye hanged from his bloody socket. His duster became a torned-up dress fit for lowly scavengers. He had no fingers and his feet faced the wrong way.

The old man reached out for Alexandr, but the boy wrenched himself away. In doing so, he fell from his chair and landed on .. nothing. Direction became nil. The shack vanished out of nowhere. And so did everything. The world became dark, and only the lamp gave light. And the lamp is flickering dangerously.

"You are dying, Alexandr. Dying."

A voice from the darkness and the teenager screamed and shrieked, as an unthinkable pain spread throughout his body. Its source was from his belly. The boy frantically took his dirty shirt off and became whiter than the imaginary snow he always heard from his parents. A large wound on his belly, spilling out blood in alarming quantities like it was poison from the devil itself. He tried to stem the bleeding but found out he could not move a muscle.

"You are still a boy and you are dying." Flashes like thunder erupted suddenly and Alexandr's surroundings became blinding white, whiter than the imaginary snow he always heard from his parents. Then his mind became blank with fear as HUNDREDS of people, people he did not know, surrounded him from all directions.

They were bloodied in many gruesome ways, and on their hands were lamps. Long, extinguished lamps. Each of it bearing a flame-shaped window that leads to nothingness. At the center of this horde, was the Regulator.

He, too, had a lamp. A dead lamp. Pain and fear, pain and fear. These were the only things Alexandr's blank mind registered. His puppy blue eyes widening as the Regulator, his surrogate father, once more reached out to him with a fingerless hand.

"Live, boy." He said. And he guided Alexandr's towards the flickering lamp, the only lamp that still has its fire, and clenched the boy's fingers on it.

"Live, boy." Someone in the horde said. Another one said the exact thing. Until all of them were like the earlier bloatflies, buzzing for something they desired. The repetitive sound drove Alexandr nearly insane and he did what he thought would silence them:

He threw his lamp at this horde of the dead.

It landed on someone.

And lit him on fire.

And it spread to the woman beside him.

Until it consumed everything and everyone.

"Live, boy," said Alexei's mentor before being engulfed by the omnipresent flame.


With a grunt, Alexei dragged himself harshly from dream to reality and woke up. The first thing he could register in his mind was that an impenetrable light hovered over him, two blurry shapes of what he thought to be men doing something he could not see. He closed his eyes for a minute and opened them when he got used to the light.

With clear vision, he could observe two men needling up his wound, occasionally muttering about the smell. Alexei knew better than to struggle like an animal the minute he was able, so he opted for the subtler choice. He flexed his hands to see if it could move, and just as he expected, it did not.

He looked at his surroundings and found himself strapped on an operating table in a dirty, yet organized, room. With various medical thingamajigs, Alexei supposed this was some kind of medical bay. And then memories came flooding like an avalanche. The contract, the recon of the settlement, the gunfight...

He muttered a pathetic 'No' and just like that, the two doctors looked at him sharply and backed away as if he was a Deathclaw. One man rang a bell and three men came rushing in, armed to the teeth and wary, followed by a blonde man with an appearance anybody would begin to detest, even though it rivaled Apollo itself. He had an evil sneer painted on his face, and Alexei felt the urge to punch it off.

"So," the blonde Lucifer said while motioning for the doctors to 'get-the-hell-out'. "The giant finally awakens and with it, the risk of everybody's death at your hands."

He took out a pack of smokes and ignited one, taking a long drag and trapping the smoke in his mouth for a minute before blowing it out on Alexei's direction. The ghoul silently snarled, the Apollo snarked a laugh. He leaned in closer to look into Alexei's eyes, his nose scrunching up a bit at the scent of ghoul flesh.

"Your company of rabble-rousers made my day WORSE than it already was. I am going to make sure you lot pay for it." Alexei said nothing, only curling his lip in disgust. Avery Nichols raised his eyebrows at this expression of defiance and disposed his cigarette on Alexei's cheek.

The ghoul saw red, but he did not scream. The wound sizzled up smoke.

"You're one tough nut, and I will enjoy breaking you."

He pistoned his right fist at the giant's jaw, and Alexei blacked out.

When he woke up again, Alexei found out he was being dragged by two burly men to God-knows-where. He resisted once, and that earned him a wack on the head that very nearly made him unconscious for the third time. He let them drag him to where they were headed, which was the prison, judging by the cells they passed. One particulary cell contained two men that resembled Grandfather Raymond and Jonathan, but with his blurry vision and the inky darkness, it was hard to tell.

Minutes passed by and finally, they deposited the giant in another cell unceremoniously. He landed on his stomach, and he stayed that way. He was frozen by shame and self-hate. He knows Lara is with him on this dank prison, and it made the emotion raging inside Alexei's chest worst.

He could not meet her eyes. Out of a sense of failure, he just can't.

After all, his gut told him he was the reason of why the Company was captured in the first place. And Alexei? Alexei believed his gut 200%.
Lord Revan
Damon Wyeth

The former SRB agent stared out at the Capital Wasteland, his back propped up against his rucksack, legs splayed before him. Damon checked the calender on his Pipboy, 3 years, 5 monthes, and 8 days since he'd left the Commonwealth. Three years in the cesspit that once was the capital of a super power. Then, Damon fiddled with one of the M16 magazines, once again consumed by the rut his life had plunged into.

He was dirt poor, yet again. All his remaining caps could be held in one hand. The Capital Wasteland seemed dead set on eating him alive, picking at him with every passing year. Damon turned his head back toward Megaton's main gate. The girl, Keara, sat on rock nearby. Damon's implant picked her out in sharp relief, her eyes dull of uncertainty. Deep in his gut, Damon figured this whole situation would end with a molerat burrowing its ugly snout into his corpse. But Keara seemed to be genuinely concerned about her compatriots. That was reason enough to aid her. Course, I've been a dead man walking since I rode in here. Might as well go out doing something right.

Damon hauled himself up and slung his pack over his shoulders, resolve replacing his resignation.

Keara had her rifle on her lap, and was engrossed in using her switchblade to awkwardly tighten some screws. The gun was operable and still dangerous to an enemy, but its functionality was decaying rapidly and Jonathan wasn't around to help. The cells had become increasingly difficult to load, and hitting it really hard just to shove one in wasn't going to cut it for long. Her plasma pistol was more reliable, but she only had a handful of shots left in it.

"Damnit!" she exclaimed, after her knife slipped trying to tighten a particularly stubborn, rusted screw. She was holding her bleeding finger in her mouth when she heard someone behind her. She turned to see Lucky happily eating jerky from Mongoose's hand.

"Looks like we're all here," she said, giving up on the screw and slinging her rifle over her shoulder as Wyeth approached.
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