Insomnia happened, and you all get this, ENJOY! Also yes Taylor's blurb at the end is meant to be a massive run on sentence/stray thought from a somewhat unhinged Warlord of the Mojave.
When I died in that filth filled locker in Winslow Highschool, I woke up in hell.
That really is the only way I could describe the broken remains of the city of Los Angeles I found myself in, naked and bloody in a dusty alley with nothing but a soot stained sheet and broken glass to protect myself with. I eventually oriented myself enough to realize I was now a denizen of a gang ridden fiefdom that was now apparently known as the Bone Yard that had once been LA two hundred years after a very brief, incredibly pointless nuclear war with China.
A shattered world where desperate preteen mothers sold their rape children like cattle to be raised as sex and or labor slaves; equality depended on the amount of ammunition you had, drugs came cheap, food was whatever wasn't rotten, and you were lucky if the water wasn't irradiated.
Enjoy the genetic decay and sterility inherent in living in said environment, but things would obviously get better, really. Be sure to vote for name your placeholder politician/gang leader in your quasi make believe democracy here, it after all matters in the end.
It wasn't like any sort of 'inherent up till when it was needed right the fuck now' ruthless streak would be the only thing that would save you from starvation, disease, and gang rape.
With that thought I tore my rebar shiv out of the junkie who had tried to jump me a moment earlier, his torn out jugular spraying arterial blood from his neck in a rather visceral and somewhat artistic manner while I took a step back avoiding the backsplash.
Seriously, teenager mindset aside, I really liked this jacket and did not appreciate the potential stains considering the lack of dry cleaners in this day and age, plus that spray on the wall sort of looked like the Titanic sinking and it'd be a crime to ruin that.
The thug swayed back and forth a bit then fell on the ground scrabbling about while gasping and twitching with the random spasm thrown in while clutching at the wound. I eventually lost my patience waiting for the idiot to die and slammed my combat boot clad foot down on his throat, grinding it down till he stopped moving.
I barely registered his passing as I rolled him and grabbed the caps and loose rounds from his pockets, eventually sighing in annoyance at how little there was to loot. Fucking Christ 10mm? The idiot was carrying a .32 snubnose revolver, neither of which the pistol or ammo helped me considering I was carrying a Browning 9mm and a twelve gauge…
"Go out of your way to threaten a random woman with robbing and raping and you don't even have the decency to have something worthwhile to loot off your corpse after I escalate the situation? What. An. Asshole."
I kicked his bent pipe cudgel away in open annoyance, and then his piece of shit revolver, then his face, only then did I deem it appropriate to walk away fuming in indignant disgust.
Brockton Bay born and raised here bitch, we have standards when it comes to our scumbags thank you very much.
Tossing the bloody shiv aside I wiped my hand clean on my pant leg then pulled the note I had received earlier that day from my pocket.
Reading it again all while ignoring the blood splatter across the repurposed receipt tape I nodded slowly. A job, a simple delivery to New Vegas, compared to the stupid shit I've had to deal with since…since the locker and ending up here… Well it couldn't be that bad of a work day could it?
I mean a simple delivery, no super mutants, no raiders, no rapists, just a straight shot from the Bone Yard to Vegas, simple, easy, compared to LA and all of its gangs and politics it would be a cakewalk.
It wasn't like anyone on this god forsaken Earth had any clue that I was a Tinker after all, so I was fairly confidant I could look after myself.
Seriously, what could go wrong?
Armsmaster was busy examining the locker before him with a sense of awe and trepidation. The radiation emanating from the admittedly disgusting enclosure was all over the spectrum, from the immediately life threatening to the esoteric reaching to the level of 'What the literal hell am I looking at?' without pause.
He grimaced as he silently acknowledged the fact that the Protectorate's current charity case was the cause of this entire situation and that really did not help matters in the slightest.
He had no baseline to operate off of on one Taylor Hebert, no data on the subject in question; almost entirely due to the fact that Sophia Hess AKA Shadow Stalker had done everything in her power to destroy her civilian life which he was still having to deal with despite the fact that he had been saying it was a bad idea to give her a second chance the entire time.
He grimaced at that thought and shook his head in annoyance as he turned back to the terminal before him, one failure at a time, he would deal with that self-entitled brat at a later date. He sincerely had limited hope that he would make any headway with that headstrong girl but even he could indulge in fantasies…
Though…he was enough of a realist to know that no such thing would occur...still...
He was ruminating at his failures as a mentor when the floor began shaking.
Eventually the rattling reached a point that it had him reaching for his now extending Halberd to slam it into the floor to keep his balance, then of course something else unexpected had to happen.
A bright white light soon flashed before him as a trench coated figure dressed in faded fatigues and battered body armor bearing a gas mask with glowing crimson lenses topped with a combat helmet stepped forward wielding what could only be a Tinkertech weapon that sparked and shuddered at random.
The figure looked back and forth, then paused a moment before twitching a finger making the glowing weapon disappear as she pulled back her helmet, pulled down her mask, and grinned openly as she gushed out, "Ohmygodyou'reArmsmasterholyshitwhatamIsupposedtodocanyougivemeanautograph?!"
Colin sighed then, this had to be a Tuesday.
He hated Tuesdays.
Mainly because there was a missing fifteen year old girl, who was clearly in her early twenties, gushing in excitement before him.
Emily stared at the monitor displaying a young woman happily eating a grilled chicken salad while cheerfully humming along to the Frank Sinatra song belting out from her arm mounted computer, which was currently resting on the table before her partially dismantled. The woman was heavily tanned, toned muscles covered in scars, and even in simple PT sweatpants and tank top she exuded the sense that she was the baddest most dangerous bitch on the east coast not feeling remotely intimidated that she had turrets aimed at her in a tiny armoured room, and cared so little about that fact that she chose to ignore it.
While it grated, Emily had to admit she admired Taylor Hebert, the woman reminded Emily of herself back in her heyday.
That...that was the problem. She had a battle hardened, obviously highly bemused what appeared to be war veteran in a holding cell, when as of three days ago said woman had been a psychologically traumatized fifteen year old girl who had been essentially murdered by a Ward.
All because Emily had been saddled with the psychotic hot mess known as Sophia Hess by the fucking Youth Guard and the PRT public relations department; both so obsessed with making the little homicidal bitch a success story that her handler ignored the fact that she was torturing an innocent civilian for the laughs up till the point she made said girl trigger. Said girl then tinkering a teleportation device out of nearly nothing and apparently ending up in an alternate reality in the future while bathing the area in cancer inducing radiation in the process.
Emily took in a deep breath and silently wished she had put a bullet in that brat Hess's head herself, it would have been better for everyone involved, including said brat.
Because the woman munching on tomatoes and lettuce while happily bobbing her head to "My Way," was quite frankly an S Class threat ready to happen according to Armsmaster.
...Maybe she would still shoot Hess...no one would care and it would be fairly therapeutic...
"I know that look boss, and no as much as I agree with you we can't execute Shadow Stalker."
She glanced back towards Assault and scowled, "How are you so sure that is what I'm thinking?"
He scoffed then met her gaze evenly, "You honestly think you aren't the only one considering it? The other Wards hate her, she had at least a double digit body count before she was conscripted into the Protectorate, and she is the most ridiculously massive aggressive idiot I've had to interact with outside of Hookwolf, Cricket, and Stormtiger since I triggered."
Ah, cape and smart ass aside Ethan may be, but he was not one to mince words if he couldn't make a joke out of a situation for his personal amusement. He had a soft spot for the Wards as well, so Shadow Stalker's constant bullying of her peers grated on him almost as much as it did Miss Militia. All things considered, it was not a surprise he was siding with miss Hebert despite the fact she was now quite clearly an adult.
Battery, who had up till this point remained silent hushed her husband as she pointed at the monitor, "Looks like Hannah's ready to make her move."
Assault looked away from Emily as he focused on the monitor, "Well, lets hope Em an' Em's is able to keep this civil.
This was Nirvana, all I needed was dad to give me a hug and Veronica to snuggle and I'd die content. A hot shower, a tasty fresh meal without any fear of being irradiated by it, clean clothes and automated turrets for me to tear apart and turn against their masters and take over their base just for the shits and giggles?
The door then suddenly opened and I snapped my head up to look upon the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and I was so not letting Roni' know I thought that. Dusky brown skin, pronounced cheekbones, wide caring eyes and...wow am I jealous of her ass and tits...I'll rescind that thought if she let me play with them though...
No! Bad Taylor, we're loyal to our girl despite the fact she might never find out about it and nonononono stop! She forgave us for that thing with Cass because it involved whiskey and Cass and Cass being Cass, this wo-
"Miss Hebert? I am Agent Hannah Washington, are you up to speaking on record?"
Shit, is she a fed? Shit shit shit what would Julie do?!
Err...be polite and answer questions clearly and concisely actually... Wait what would Cass do!?
Alcohol and explosions ran through my mind a moment before I had to let out a resigned mental sigh.
Shit...ok Julie wins this round...damn the Followers of the Apocalypse for making me responsible and everything...ugh...
"Of course, I'm after all a guest to your hospitality."
I mean, I know I'm a technical prisoner but that dick waffle Elijah was proof positive of how well that ended up for my captors so I really wasn't that concerned about my safety. Not like I couldn't shoot my way out of here and level half of my hometown if I wanted to.
Luckily I did in fact actually not want to do that, direct opposite actually and oh shit she was still talking and I haven't been paying any attention to her.
Rude Taylor, very rude, time to be honest about not paying attention because any relationship based on lies will never last and you so totally want to see her face between your-
UGH! SHUT UP LIBIDO WE HAVE SHIT TO DO AND A GIRLFRIEND THAT WILL PUNCH OUR FACE IN!
I blinked rapidly before interrupting the Kurdish hottie, "I'm sorry, what were you saying? I got distracted, it happens alot ever since I got shot in the head. I mean I got better, Doc Mitchell did his best but I fully admit my attention drifts now and then."
HA! Perfect excuse, good job Taylor, thank you Taylor.
"Oh...I...I'm sorry to hear about your injury, it must have been fairly traumatic on top of everything else that happened to you."
She really had no idea, plus her consoling gaze was breathtaking and-
FUCKING HELL TAYLOR PAY ATTENTION!
"It's alright, it happened years ago and I've more or less gotten over it, heh, after the shit I went through at the big empty it seems almost like a love tap... Anyway you had questions?"
Hannah coughed and apparently noticed my rather...amorous? Yeah, we'll go with amorous gaze as she replied kindly if somewhat curtly.
"Well, for starters how old are you currently?"
Loaded question there, meh, whatever.
"I'm twenty-four, although apparently I'm also technically fifteen which all things considered I'm glad it's the technical bit. I really don't want to go through puberty again...though it may actually be enjoyable this time around considering I wouldn't have to deal with the threat of gang rape and being confused by my own sexuality..."
Hannah sat up in shock as she quickly spoke out with, "I, were you-"
I raised my hands quickly shooting her a smile and wink, "Oh no no...they tried...but nothing happened. I made sure that was rather...permanent."
Ah, heat knives, the gifts that kept on giving.
"I ...see... Well what can you tell me about what happened to cause you to shall we say, vanish into thin air?"
I laughed at that while slapping my now clean and reassembled Pipboy on my forearm while leaning back and kicking my feet up on the table.
"Well, when Sophia and Emma shoved me into a locker filled with rotting waste leaving me to die I kinda snapped, tore my wristwatch and thermometer apart, I had been running a fever all week you see, and I guess I built some sort of teleporter? Meh, whatever, I ended up in LA, in an alternate timeline and in the future. Oh, by the way? The future sucks, but I managed to avoid getting murdered and or raped and managed to survive with my dignity more or less intact. So a long story short I eventually ended up with a job to deliver a poker chip to New Vegas and ended up getting shot in the head for it and left in a shallow grave. When Doc Mitchell put my head back together I decided you know what? This is bullshit, I'm gonna find the mother fucker who shot me and execute him with the gun he used on me, which I did and the look on his face was...heh heh... I think the only thing that topped that was when I beat House to death with his own golf club... Anyway looking at the state of the Mojave I decided to wipe out all of gangs and establish a reasonable government to protect the people and handed it over to the New California Republic. With the understanding that it was kept under my thumb with the threats of orbital death lasers, murderbots, and local crazies with a B-52 at their disposal keeping things honest."
Hottie was staring at me wide eyed as I sighed and shook my head slowly, "After that I hooked up with the Followers of the Apocalypse and that was when shit started getting really weird and annoying and...hey, you ok? Why are you crying?"