Ok so before you start I like to try and make things as realistic as possible. For this weapons from all fallout games will be here, and buildings and towns are bigger as well.

Chapter 2 The Minutemen.

The lift neared the top. As it came closer Ashley covered her eyes as the light met her eyes. Years in cryo must have affected her eyes because she needed to cover them. But when the lift stopped, her arm loosely fell to her side to behold the devastation in front of her. The world she had known was gone forever and this new world was all she had. Her home was only half a mile out and she could see the broken buildings. She breathed slowly looking at the scene in front of her. While she could see the horror of the war, the serenity was oddly disarming. Shaking her head, she turned and follow the path that she used to get here to get back home.

Walking passed the billboard she saw the gate she came through. Skeletons were piled all around the gate with their clothing seemingly burned to their skin. Images appeared in her mind on when people were trying to get through the gates. The three soldiers, two in power armour and one ticking people off. Civilians trying to get through before the bomb fall. Ashley could only imagine what happened, looking ahead she continued on down the past walking through the wooded area behind sanctuary. Walking images of her… Nate and Shaun running through it all came to mind. It was hard to believe that it was such a long time ago. But… how long?

She was so lost in thought that she didn't notice that she had made it back home and bumped into a lamp post. She fell backwards with a grunt, looking up at the post, all she could see was rust and worn away paint on it. Sighing she stood and looked to her left. All she could do was stare down the street at the once populated village. Images filled her eyes as she sat this street in the sun, cars and vans moving passed parent's taking their children for a walk or back home… home. She walked for a few moments before breaking out into a run.

Home, where she gave birth to Shaun, she ran. Where Nate broke his leg and had a laugh… she ran. Where Max and a pregnant Kelly had fun with them... she ran. The 10th house on the left side of the road, she had made it as tears fell from her eyes like rain. Looking at the once blue house, it was still standing, parts of it were gone but it still stood. Her knees gave in and she fell onto them as relief flowed over her like a wave. Wiping her eyes, she stood and looked at the house. It was in ruined and in disrepair, but she was home.

Entering images of her cooking with Codsworth while Nate was playing with Shaun, all three of them watching cartoons, having breakfast, lunch... all of her old memories came flooding back. Once they had gone the true state of her use was shown dusty old and rusted, but nothing that couldn't use some repair work. As she walked in she looked down the hall to her and Nate's bedroom. She walked down it, to the right as the master bedroom but her left was her baby's, Shaun's. Unwillingly she walked in, the room was as bad as the rest of the house the only thing left standing was the crib. Walking up to it her tears fell once again and she fell to her knees and touched it before outright crying. She didn't know how long she cried before she gritted her teeth.

"Mama's coming for you, honey. Just wait for me." she said.

But as she said that, she heard something coming from outside. Her combat instincts kicked in and braced herself on a wall standing with her pistol in hand. She edged to the door frame before moving out into the hall her back against the wall again. The sound of a jet and arm gyros met her ears... could it be? If it was, did the programming degrade or did the logic circuits fail? She moved up to the living room and took a deep breath before moving out into the open. For a few moments, time slowed down as her eyes fell upon a Mr. Handy assistant bot.

"As I live and breathe… Miss Ashley? It's really you!" it said.

"Codsworth?" Ash asked in surprise lowing her weapon. "You're still here? So other people could still be alive."

"Well of course I'm still here!" he said proudly. "Surely you don't think a little radiation could deter the pride of General Atomics International? But you seem worse-for wear best not let the hubby see you in that state." he said before his eyes turned around a bit. "Where is Sir, by the way?"

"They came into the vault maybe you saw them did you see anyone is strange outfits?"

"Only Ms. Rosa's boy running around in his costume more than a week early. I swear the nerve of that woman leaving her brat unsupervised not like you mum. You're the perfect mother. And Sir… oh, where is Sir by the way?"

"Codsworth, he's not here. He dead, they killed him." she said trying to hold back her tears.

"Mum... these things you're saying. These... terrible things... I... I believe you need a distraction. Yes! A distraction, to calm this dire mood."

Ashley looked at the flying robot. Apparently GAI didn't account for unseen owner deaths or even when one of the owners tell it. Either through negligence or programming errors overtime.

"It's been ages since we had a proper family activity. Checkers or perhaps charades, oh, Shaun does love that game. Is the lad with you?"

"Codsworth... listen to me… carefully have you seen him? Have you seen Shaun?"

"Why, Sir had him last, remember? Perhaps he's gone to the Parker residence to arrange a play-date?"

Ashley shook her head. "It makes no sense. There's no reason why would someone take my baby." she thought out loud.

"It's worse than I thought! Hmm, you're suffering from hunger induced paranoia. Not eating for 200 years would do that I'm afraid."

When she heard that number she backed up a bit. "200 years? What? Are you-" she tried to say but couldn't get her words out. She just didn't know what to say.

"A bit over 210 actually mum. Give or take a little for the earth rotation and some minor dings to the ol' chronometer. That makes you, err, 200 years late for dinner! Hahaha. Perhaps I can whip you up a snack. You must be famished!"

"Codsworth... are you ok?" she asked.

"I... I... oh mum, it's been horrible! Two centuries with no one to talk to, no one to serve. I spent the first ten years trying to keep the floor waxed but nothing gets nuclear fallout from vinyl wood, Nothing! And don't get me started about the futility of dusting a collapsed house. And the car, the car! How do you polish rust?"

Ashley just smiled with a tear in her eye walked up and hugged his chassis. "It's okay, Codsworth, it's ok." she said calming him down and backed up. "Tell me what happened."

"I'm afraid I don't know anything mum. The bombs came and you all left in such a hurry. I thought for certain that you and your family were... dead. I did find this holotape. I believe that Sir was going to present it to you. As a surprise but then everything… happened."

Ashley just looked at the orange tape, she nearly held her breath about what was on it. "What's on it?" she asked as she took it.

"I believe that it's a private message for you. My etiquette protocols wouldn't permit me to play to it myself. Any standard..." he tried to say but Ash held her hand up.

"I know, Codsworth, I'm an engineer, remember?"

"Oh, sorry mum, my memory circuits aren't too good nowadays. Now, enough feeling sorry for myself. Shall we such the neighbourhood together? Sir and Shaun may turn up yet."

Ash looked at the holotape, her hand was shaking uncontrollably. She didn't want to listen to it but a part of her told her that she had to whether she wanted or not.

"I need to be alone for a moment, Codsworth." she said.

"Ok Miss Ashley... I'll be out here if you need me." Codsworth said as he looked at plants.

Ashley walked down the hall and into her bedroom holding the tape in her hand. Was this a confession for cheating or something else? Looking at her Pip Boy she opened the holotape slot and slid it in before closing it and listened as Nate's voice came.

"Oops, hahah. Keep those little fingers away... Ah, there we go. Just say it, right there, right there, go ahead. Ah, yay! Hi honey, listen I don't think Shaun and I need to tell you how great of a mother you are. But, we're going to anyway. You are kind, and loving, and funny, that's right, and patient. So patient, patience of a saint as your mother used to say. Look, with Shaun and us all being home together it's been an amazing year but even so I know our best days are yet to come. There will be changes sure, things we'll need to adjust to. I'll rejoin the civilian workforce; you'll shake the dust off your law degree. But everything we do no matter how hard, we do it for our family. Now say goodbye Shaun. Bye-bye, say bye-bye. Bye honey, we love you."

She couldn't hold the floodgates any further. Her tears were now flowing freely as she lie curled up on her old bed, crying for her dead husband whom she'd never see again. Crying for her lost son who was taken from her, and crying for her family and friends. All her old memories came rushing back.

"WINTER! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING YOU BLOND BIMBO?" a drill sergeant yelled.

Ashley looked up despite her tears she could see her old drill Sergeant standing in front of her. He knew that she wasn't a blond but a natural dark red head. Seeing him, her instincts came back and jumped to attention.

"Sir, I was lost in thought, sir!" she said quickly.

She was back in basic training, standing in formation with her battalion in the heavy rain. Around her were tents with other recruits running laps around the base. It was the second week of training because that was when it rained the hardest, and she nearly came down with a cold.

"Missing your family, bimbo?" the Sergeant asked. "Then maybe you'll love to running laps around the compound, NOW!"

'Now', those words echoed in her ears as she found herself back in her old bedroom. She finished crying, looking down on the bed she could almost smell Nate, the ready-made bed and the soft scent of candles in the air. Codsworth said it first, 'Time to stop moping'. She closed her eyes for a moment before taking a deep breath; she was ready to move out.

"Codsworth!" she said walking out of the house.

"Mum." he replied, coming to her.

"Did anyone break into my personal safe?" she asked.

"No, mum, that was the one thing that I was sure that no one could find. Despite a little rust, it is still intact." he said. "Right where you left it."

Ashley smiled and headed towards her car. She walked over to it and inspected it. An old Corvega car, destroyed and salvaged for parts, she didn't need it anymore so that didn't phase her. Placing her hands on it, she pushed it aside; having mostly been hollowed out by now, this was a difficult but not impossible feat. There was a familiar loose tile, and underneath it was her secret safe that only she and Nate knew about.

Taking out a key, wedged it into a loose part of the concrete, and lifted it from its position. Revealed for the first time in over 200 years, the safe did its job of keeping her belongings secure. Inside was three plastic bags, she reached down and pulled them out and opened them. Inside the first was her old combat webbing, the second was her old laser pistol, and the final one had the fusion cells to it. People called her crazy for it, but it was one of the old ironies of being prepared.

She threw her webbing on and fastened the clips on holding it in place. She then picked up the pistol and slid it into the holster on her left and the magazines of fusion cells into two of her pouches. Standing she turned to Codsworth.

"Ok, let's find them." she said.

"Right away mum." he said as his scanner engaged and he moved to the next door house detecting movement.

With her 10mm in hand, she followed the hovering robot. She didn't want to use her laser pistol as she had calibrated it to fire more powerful shots at the expense of faster cell drain. As she followed him into the house, the sound of buzzing met her ears. From the sound of it, it sounded like flies. But as she entered, a large bug-like monster came down the hall. Before she could react Codsworth unleashed a jet of fire at it, practically cooking the beast as he felled a couple more.

This time, her combat training took over. Her weapon raised and the scent of gunpowder filled her nose before she even pulled the trigger. She fired, double tapping the trigger and sending two rounds into the flying bugs. They both popped the first one's head. The beast fell onto the floor dead as Codsworth came up with his buzz-saw and cut the beast in half.

"Hmm, not here… Ah! My sensors are picking up movement." Codsworth before exiting the building with Ashley close behind him.

They moved up to a tree in the middle of a roundabout. As they passed it she looked up at it before Codsworth entered a building. She followed him into the building but as they walked in the sound of cockroaches met her ears and they came down the hall. Once gain pistol was raise but as Codsworth was in first he had taken care of two of them and finished the third with his flamethrower. Once he was done he came up to Ashley.

"Your family isn't here either. They're... they're really gone aren't they?" he said.

"Don't worry about it Codsworth I wasn't expecting to find them here." Ash said as she sat down.

What she had just said was a lie, part of her had hoped they were here but she knew that it was too much to ask for.

"Shaun's out there Codsworth, I need to find him."

"What about Concord mum?" he asked making her raise her head. "Plenty of people there. And last I checked they only pummeled me with sticks a few times before I had to run back home."

Concord was a small town not too far from Sanctuary hills, she went shopping there a few times for the basics before heading into Boston. She smiled.

"Thanks, Codsworth." she said as she stood and walked out of the house with her robot following her.

"Good luck. You'll find young Shaun. I know you will." he said. "I shall remain here and secure the home-front."

"Yeah, home." she whispered.

She walked along the road following it around a corner and onto a wooden bridge. Looking around she had to wonder if anyone could survive. The beasts she had encountered had clearly been affected by radiation. As she walked across the bridge two bodies came into sight, human body's. But she slowed her pace, old war stories came back to her. Chinese occupants lay down pretending to be dead as marines took a bunker, they then sprang up to kill said marines keeping control in their hands.

Stepping lightly, she got up to the bodies and looked at them. Bullet wounds from a .38 weapons they were dead, how long she couldn't tell but right know she didn't care. Getting down to one knee she pushed the body so that it was on its back. Again she saw the bullet wounds, he was dead. The outfit looked like Long Johns with a makeshift harness with pockets along the straps. Satisfied she slid her pistol into her other holster on her right and she opened the pockets of the corpse. Inside, she found two stim packs and three magazines of .38 ammo.

Taking the magazines out she looked at them with interest. They seem to have been handmade, looking down she found a weapon that seemed to be made from piping and wood. She picked it up and looked at it. It was a handmade, makeshift weapon with a great deal of rust. Placing the magazine down she took the handle of the weapon and looked down the sight's which looked like a small tube with nails hammered into the sides.

Shouldering the weapon, she squeezed the trigger as four rounds came out and hit the dirt. The mag must be empty, she took the mag out and slid another one in. But then she looked around it, most weapons needed to be cocked in order to load a round into the chamber. A screw in the side of the barrel next to a spring. Taking a hold of it she pulled it back before letting go and pulled the trigger and a shot fired.

"Ah, ok." she muttered to herself.

She slid the weapon into one of her back pouches before she looked to the other corpse. Moving over to this one was already laying on its back. The body was clearly female given two lumps in the chest of the same size. Shaking her head, she checked the pouches on her own straps, inside where 3 stimpacks and .38 magazines which she took and slid into her pouch before moving on. A hill was blocking her view as she walked along the road bust when she passed it she got a good look at Concord a good mile and a half out. Some of the buildings were still standing which she smiled at but there were flashes of yellow and red.

"Probably fires." she muttered to herself.

But she knew that part of her said otherwise. 'More than likely, gunfire and laser-fire.' she thought. Stopping she shook her head and looked again, more flashes of red and yellow, looking along the road she noticed a red rocket station about half a click from where she was. Salvage, was the only thing that came to mind. Looking from Concord to the station and nodded, best to find what was at Red rocket before moving to Concord.

She moved across the blasted field towards Red rocket. As she moved she couldn't help but smile, she remembered how long it used to take to get to Concord in her car. Now she could move twice as fast, the Red rocket station came closer and closer. But as she got half the way there something spluttered blood at her. She felt the warm liquid on her arm which made her react to the beast. Looking at where the blood came from, what she saw looked like some kind of overgrown mosquito. Her eyes widened as she backed up a bit as fear filled her. One of the things she was frightened of was mosquitoes. Gulping she broke into a run towards the Red rocket as fast as her legs would carry her.

The blur around her didn't bother her as she ran past the trees. She soon hit the back door to the Red rocket, kicking it open she ran inside before closing the door. Breathing heavily for a few moments the buzz moved around the station and into the refueling part. Before they could move a dog jumped at and bit one of the giant mosquitoes killing it. She walked up to the front to see what looked like a German Shepard feasting on the big bug. Seeing a predator, the other two buzzed off, once they had gone Ashley walked around into the refueling area and the dog looked up at her which a bit of bug meat still in his mouth.

"Hello, boy." she said getting down to one knee as the dog came up.

She moved the meat out of his mouth and whipped the blood of him he gave a playful bark.

"Wanna come with me, pal?" she asked.

The dog barked in response and ran in a circle making her smile.

"Ok let's stick together. Come on."

Ashley started to walk to Concord with the dog following close by. It took them around half an hour to reach the small town. As they got closer, the gunfire and laser-fire grew louder, she went over her combat training in her head. She pressed her back against the wall of one of the buildings and looked down the street, nothing. Looking at the tops of the buildings, she couldn't see any snipers. But then again, snipers would good at hiding.

But she had to move. As she scanned the area, she noticed a sign for the freedom museum. The gunfire and laser-fire she heard came from that direction, looking up and down the street there was no one, or at least no one she could see. Given the noises, following the signs where her best bet. She followed the street to the left and moved down main street fast then came face with the museum down the street.

As she moved she pressed her back against a building wall and moved slowly up. There was at least seven people dressed in similar outfits as the corpses she saw earlier. They moved around the street firing on the balcony of the museum. Looking up a red beam it one of the attackers. She had nearly 20/20 eyesight, she could see a man in a cowboy-like hat and a brown trench-coat holding some kind of laser weapon. The man took cover as a high calibre round hit close to him.

"COME ON, BITCH! BRING IT ON!" yelled one of the attackers.

Ash didn't know what to do, she came across two groups attacking each other and didn't know who to go for. Her eyes wandered until she saw a skull on the belt of one of the attackers. That to her was the only evidence she needed. Taking out one of the frag grenades she then pulled the pin and looked out, three of the attackers where near an old fusion powered car. She knew that those things would have fuel for the next hundred or so years. Throwing the grenade, she moved from the building and brought up her 10mm pistol and fired.

The attackers were focused in taking out the sniper on the ledge; when Ashley started to fire they failed to notice the grenade she threw. She fired five round when the grenade exploded along with the car. Four of the attackers went up in a small mushroom cloud when she hit cover. One of them was still alive but had their leg blown off. The dog ran up to the fallen attacker and bit his neck severing his windpipe killing him. One of the attackers noticed and aimed at the dog but he didn't see Ashley run up to him. When she was a foot from him she jumped up and used both of her legs to kick him in the chest.

The force of the kick sent him staggering as Ash landed on a nail that she didn't see. As she hit it she groaned in pain, a sniper then aimed at her but before he could get a shot off, the sniper on the balcony shot at him and turned him to ash. Ashley got up and pulled the nail out of her side, the bleeding wasn't bad so she took out a plaster from her medical pouch and rubbed it on her wound. She looked up at the sniper who was looking at a building to her right.

She looked at it too as a shot was fired and grazed her arm. Wincing, she dove behind the car wreck for cover as more shots came. The sniper could get a clear shot so it was up to her, she didn't want to use the other grenades as she might be able to sell them. Taking a deep breath, she slowly moved out of cover and aimed her pistol. As soon as the attacker came out of cover she fired three rounds in rapid succession. One hit her in the chest, but the other two missed.

The attacker was female, but from how she was still charging at Ashley, she was likely on Jet or Psycho. Ash lined up for another shot, but only heard click from her empty magazine. The dog jumped and got the attacker in the leg and brought her down to earth. Ash took out her next full mag, but the sniper took down her attacker before she could reload. She looked up at the sniper who waved to her.

"Hey there, raiders are about to break through the door! Grab the laser musket and get in here." he said before running inside.

"Laser musket?" she asked before looking at the bodies around her. "So, they must have been raiders."

Looking around she then saw something by the foot of the steps. She walked over to before cover her nose in disgust. The body had been dead for a few days at least, she looked up at the balcony, how long have they been up there? Looking down again she saw what looked like a makeshift rifle with laser items just slapped on. Picking it hip she holstered her 10mm and looked at the weapon. There was a leaver on the left which she took a hold of and spun it. A whirring sound met her ears and a red light in the glass cylinder appeared.

"Interesting, this laser uses a crank to generate a charge for the power supply." she muttered.

She then walked up the steps and into the museum. But as she and her dog entered round landed near her feet. She dived to the right for cover and pressed her back against one of the pillars. Round came raining down around her but it didn't penetrate the wood which was a good sign. It meant that if she played her cards right she may be able to get out of this without a scratch. There was a door on her left, but she couldn't risk it with that raider. She looked out to see what was left of the museum. The Raider fired at on her from top of the ticket booth. She came out from cover and fired, the laser beam connected with the Raider who screamed in pain as the searing heat burned his arm. She cracked the rifle as fast as she could before aiming and firing again, this time the raider died, allowing her and the dog to move through the door.

The dog followed close behind her as she ran into a few Redcoat mannequins and raiders. She dropped her rifle and drew her 10mm and fired several shots. Only one landed, but it took out his eye. Ammunition now becoming an issue, she ran up to the blinded raider and put him in a headlock and choked him out. She found herself looking at another raider as he was lining up his pipe rifle. "Crap," she thought. Thankfully, Dogmeat jumped on the raider and the shot went wide. Taking the opportunity, she finished choking the raider and readied her weapon.

She turned to see the raider and the dog wrestle with each other but then the dog lunged to his throat, clamping down on his windpipe, killing him. Watching this, Ashley made the assessment that while he was domesticated, his hunting instincts were undulled. This dog was lethal and loyal. After he let go of the raider, he turned to her, panting. She got down on one knee and stroked his head.

"Who's a good boy?" she asked playfully.

He barked playfully and licked her face. Smiling she walked over to the rifle and picked it up, granted it was useful but one shot before reload wasn't a tactical for close quarters. It had a shoulder strap so she threw it over her shoulder before moving on. They moved out into the open where there was a big hole in the ground made by rotten wood. Rounds then hit around her feet making her run across the foyer and up the stairs to the second level. She ran across the landing and fired at the other raiders across the building.

She dove into cover once again as another raider this one armed with a Chinese assault rifle came running up. The dog ran up and bit him in his most unprotected. He screamed like a little girl as he dropped the rifle as the dog castrated him. Ash picked up the weapon with her left and pulled the trigger. Several rounds hit him in the chest killing him instantly. She then dragged the body into cover before taking out 5.56 ammo along with the magazines. Sliding them into one of the pouches, this was a weapon she was used to, this was a weapon she can use with efficiency. Sliding the 10mm pistol back she saw a staircase leading to the third floor. That was where she could find the trenchcoat sniper.

Moving out of cover, she aimed with her new weapon and fired one round after another. While the weapon was automatic, she kept it to semi-automatic for accuracy. She aimed at the raider at the other side of the room. Four shots were fired at the raider, they all hit centre-mass, putting him down.

She then moved up a flight of stairs, to the third floor. A raider brandishing a sword came running from the landing at her and brought the blade down on her. Weapon at the ready, she blocked it with her rifle, leaving him wide open. Taking this opportunity, Ash delivered a hard kick to the nethers, crippling him before Dogmeat pinned him down. Ash then took out her 10mm sidearm and finished him off. Finally making it to the top floor, only two raiders were left standing. Seeing as how they were ducking behind cover and not shooting at her, they were out of ammo.

Aiming her rifle, she fired through the rotten wood and took them out. Standing back up, she then looked over to her right as door opened. Still on an adrenaline rush, she snapped her weapon at the direction, only to find the sniper and four others huddled inside.

"Man I don't know who you are but your timing's impeccable. Preston Garvey, Commonwealth Minute-men." the man in the trench coat said walking up to her.

Lowering her weapon, "Minutemen? Did I go back in time isntead?" she said with a little smile.

Preston smiled at that. "'Protect and serve at a minute's notice'. That was the idea. So I joined up wanted to make a difference. And I did, but things fell apart. Now it looks like I'm the last minute-man left standing."

"The world's changed so much." Ash said in nearly a whisper.

"You all right?" Preston asked hearing what she said. "Listen, we need your help. And then maybe we can help you huh? What brought you here?"

Ashley looked down letting a single tear fall. "My baby, Shaun he's been kidnapped. He's not even a year old." she said.

"That's messed up. I'm sorry, I know how this world can be. A month ago there were 20 of us, yesterday there were 8. Now we're 5, first it was the Ghouls in Lexington." he looked away from her as if in shame. "Now THIS MESS!" he said kicking a glass into the far wall breaking it.

"Ghouls? What are Ghouls?" Ash asked making him look at her with wide eyes.

"Wow, you really aren't from around here are you? Ghoul's are... irradiated people most are just like you and me. They look pretty messed up, and live a long time, but they're still just people. The ones I'm talking about are different. The radiation's rotted their brains; made them feral. They'll rip you apart just as soon as they look at you. Anyway we figured Concord would be a safe place to settle. Those raiders proved us wrong. But well we do have one idea."

"Let's hear it."

Preston then looked over to a man in blue overalls and goggles. "Sturges, tell her." he said.

The man turned to face her. "There's an old Vertibird up on the roof. Old school. You might have seen it. Well it looked like one of the passengers left behind a seriously goody. We're talking about a full set of cherry of T-45 power armour. Military-issue." he said in an accent that sounded southern to her.

"Sound's good, but if you had power armour training, then you'll be using it against these raiders." Ashley said.

"Well, now! You know your stuff. But it gets better. You get the power armour and rip the minigun right off the Vertibird. Do that, and those raiders will get an express ticket to hell. You dig?"

Ashley couldn't help but smile. "A minigun? Now we're talking."

"I know right, but there's one hitch. The suit's out of juice. Probably been dry for 100 years. It can be powered up again, but we're a bit stuck."

"A standard FC fusion core. Power armoured suits need them in order to operate." Ashley said remembering the operational procedures from her military service.

"Yeah, we know right where to find one." Preston added.

"But we can't get to the damn thing." Sturges said. "It's down in the basement locked behind a security gate. Look, I fix stuff, I tinker. Bypassing security just ain't my forte. Maybe you could give it a shot?"

"Can't be too hard. I'll see what I can do."

"Well, alright. Maybe our luck's finally turning around. Once you jack the core into the power armour, grab that minigun. Those raiders will know that they picked the wrong fight. Good luck." Preston said.

Ashley nodded and walked out of the room. The hole in the floor on the ground floor lead into the basement. Looking over the railings to see the engine in the basement. Looking over to the entrance gate, she could jump down to it then into the basement. She walked over to it then jumped down before jumping then sliding down the wood into the basement and in front of the security gate. The terminal activated as she came close. Walking up to it and typed a few words. In order to hack the system, she had to find the right word.

She closed her eyes as she thought. After a moment she then typed in 'free' and the terminal went to the options. She smiled as she opened the door. Walking inside the then took the fusion core out of its housing and into a pouch. She then walked up the fallen floor and moved up to the roof with the dog behind her. On the fourth floor like Sturges said was a crashed Vertibird with power armour right in front of it. It was turning dark so she needed to do this now but still she smiled as she walked up to it and took out the empty core and inserted the new one.

She then turned the wheel and the armour opened. Stepping in, she felt a little nostalgic as the armour closed around her. Walking up the Vertibird, she ripped the minigun off before running off the building and landing in the street with a thud. More raiders came running and firing at her. The rounds deflected off her armour as she brought up her heavy weapon. Pulling the trigger, the 5mm rounds then flew across the street and through the raiders. The raiders never stood a chance as they were mowed down under heavy fire.

The area was now filled with bodies. As she walked up the street, a rumbling made her stop. A grate up ahead burst open as a scaled beast came up from the sewers. She backed up as a large brown beast with horns and a tail stood on its hind legs before it roared. It turned to her and charged. A red beam then flew through the air, hitting it its head. Ash turned to see Preston and her dog standing on the balcony, the dog barked as Preston cranked the rifle in his hands before firing again.

Ashley turned to face the beast and pulled the trigger, spraying bullets into its leathery hide. It slashed at her, ripping part of her armour right off the frame. Staggering back, she just held the trigger down and kept pumping the beast full of lead. It slashed at her again, this time ripping off her leg armour, this time damaging the leg actuator. She fell over and the Deathclaw was now on top of her. Her gun had stopped firing. Did she let go? She pulled the trigger again and all she heard the dreaded dead man's click, causing her to break out into a panic. "I'm sorry, Shaun… mama couldn't save you..." But before the Deathclaw could finish her off, a laser lance pierced through its head, killing it. She was feeling her heartbeat again, which she was sure had stopped, as the adrenaline rush finally died off. Getting back up, she inspected the large beast. Whatever this thing was it was dead now, but she wasn't sure about it. This new world was terrifying whether she liked it or not. She brought her armoured boot down on its head, crushing it, and making damn sure it was dead.

Looking around, she then turned and walked back into the museum before taking the helmet off. The others were up against the ticket booth wall. She walked up to Preston.

"You guys going to be ok?" she asked.

"Yeah, for a while anyway. We can at least move somewhere safer. Listen, when we first met, you asked about the minutemen one thing you should know about us, we always help out our friends." he said as she handed her a pouch with something jangling inside. "So here, for everything you've done."

Ashley looked inside to see two fusion cells and 100 Nuka cola bottle caps. She raised her brow at that but she slid it onto one of her spare pouches.

"Thanks, I'll take all the help I can get." she said with a smile.

Preston smiled too. "Spoken like a true merc. Well, if you should ever feel like fighting for something other than yourself, you should meet up with us in Sanctuary. I could use someone like you. Someone who can get things done."

"What do I need to do?" she asked.

"You need to stay strong-" said a new voice.

Ashley turned to see an old woman somewhere in her 70's or 80's who was dressed in what made her look like those old gypsies.

"-like you've been. Because there's more to your destiny. I've seen it. And I know your pain."

"My destiny? What are you talking about?" Ashley asked.

"You're a woman out of time. Out of hope. But all is not lost. I can feel your son's energy. He's alive."

Grabbing her attention, "Where is my son? Where is Shaun?"

"Oh, I wish I knew, kid. I really do. But it's not like I can see your son. I can… just feel his life force, his energy. He's out there. And I don't even need the sight to tell you where you should start looking. The great city of the Commonwealth, Diamond city. The biggest settlement around."

"What's in Diamond city? Is Shaun there?"

"Look kid, I'm tired now. Maybe you bring me some chems later the sight will give a clearer picture."

"Mama Murphy, no. We talked about this. Those things will kill you." Preston said looking at the old woman.

"Oh, shush, Preston..." she said.

But Ashley stopped listing and sat down on the floor. She just needed to think for a while. Out of time. It sounded so wrong to her, this wasn't her time, nor the world she wanted. By all rights she should be dead, dead with the old world. Sniffling slightly, she had to find her son but as she looked up at the five got their stuff together. The dog came up to her and nudged against her making her pet him. Standing she then followed them.

"I'll help you get settled in Sanctuary." she said to Preston. "By the way, names Ashley Winter."

OOOOO

Somewhere in the southern commonwealth a small group of people in black armour with a white star and a sword down the middle on their combat armour where running. A group of men in green uniform chased them. While they had similar armour and uniforms they were different groups. That was the wasteland now, lawless with gangs and groups with guns. Each of the groups fired on each other with semi-automatic combat rifles and hunting rifles. But one group has laser weapons.

"COME ON, MOVE!" yelled a man in a red beret.

As they moved through a destroyed street one of the men in the green uniforms managed to shoot a high heat energy bolt at one of the black uniformed soldiers in the leg. The soldier screamed out in pain.

"KAI!" the man yelled.

"I'm coming Kai!" yelled another one holding a .50-cal anti-material rifle.

"COVER HAWK!" the man yelled.

The group then stood their ground as they fired at the green armoured soldiers as a Vertibird came down.

"COBRA, COME ON!" the pilot yelled as the aircraft landed.

Hawk then came dragging Kai with him. The group got onto the aircraft and they took off as a missile landed near them.

"Joe, get us somewhere safe!" Cobra yelled.

OOOOO

The group of six arrived at Sanctuary. Little happened on the way to the village. But when they arrived Preston looked to Ashley with a smile.

"I'm glad you decided to come with us, I should have listened to Mama Murphy all along. Pretty nice place she's found for all of us. I think we could settle down here, make it a place to call home. What do you think?" he asked.

"Yeah I used to like live here, before the war." she said.

Preston stopped and looked at her. "What do you mean? Before the war? Are you saying..." he tried to find the right words but Ash said them for him.

"I lived here... over 200 years ago. I was frozen for most of it. I just thawed out a few hours ago." she said.

Nearby Sturges spat out his drink before looking at Ashley with wide eyes.

"Damn. Like one of those pre-war Ghouls. Explains a lot. But was anyone else with you did anybody else make it out with you?"

"Just my son, he was taken while I was trapped in one of those pods. I need to look for him."

"Damn I'm sorry. I hope you find him. Let me know if there's any way I can help." he said.

Before Ash could answer one of the others she walked with came running up and slapped Preston across the face.

"YOU BASTARD!" she yelled. "There's no food here!"

Ashley then looked up at the hill where 111 was and thought.

"Look I didn't know about that." he said in defence.

As he said that Ashley exited her power armour and looked to Preston. "How good are you in underground spaces?" she asked.

"I'm fine with them. Why?"

"Let's get Sturges, it's time to go back into the vault I was in." she said.

Preston nodded and the two ran up to the mechanic.

OOOOO

Ashley, Preston and Sturges stepped into Vault 111. The two wastelanders just looked in awe at the marvel of the Vault while Ashley just moved up the stairs. Shaking their heads, the two followed her.

"So you were frozen here for 200 years?" Preston asked.

"Yeah, the equipment we need is in storage." she said not looking at them as she walked down the ramp. "When I was here over 3 hours ago the automated system downloaded the map and equipment inventory. Apparently I was to be on ice forever, but they still had food and other equipment to make sure the pods didn't fail."

"That sounds like it didn't work too well."

"You're right about that. Come on let's move." Ashley said just walking along.