After Mama Murphy overdosed, Nora gave cleaning house serious thought. It was probably aberrant behaviour but considering her psych evals, it was probably also 'characteristic'. She had wondered what the headshrinkers had meant by that non-comment. Unfortunately by the time she had got hold of her own medical file, the psychologists who had cleared her for Spec Ops had been two centuries dead.

So she waited for a Raider attack and shot Marcy between the eyes. No more snide comments from that bitch. Nora didn't expect her to be grateful, she didn't expect anyone to be grateful to be alive in this wasteland because Hell knew she wasn't, but Marcy just wouldn't stop. Complaining. Accusing. Taking her grief out on everyone else.

If the pain was really that bad, there was always a 9mm.

Nora had contemplated a fast exit herself but her furnace of anger had yet to grow cold. Ironically, Marcy had stoked that fire nice and hot with her last comment. Along with gratitude, Nora didn't expect sympathy either. Everyone had problems. You just shuffled along dealing with what was in front of you. She'd answered Preston's question, he cared, he was nearly spent from caring, about her baby.

Yes, she'd found him. Shaun was an old man with that grey undertone to his skin like Nate's dad had got when his pancreas started failing. Father hadn't needed to tell her he was dying. She could see it. He hadn't needed to say he'd woken her from cryo either. Nora took one look at her prize, a child copy reset and mute, and had as they say in holy writ a Revelation.

She'd told Preston and the other survivors that she'd found her baby and he'd grown up without her, unloved and used. Marcy had snapped something like 'at least he's alive' before stalking off to weed the gourds. Nora had stood there still twitching from the molecular relay and the urge to show that wretched cow there were worse things than death.

But it was important to be tidy. Important too not to get caught. So Nora had waited for the next attack. There was always something stupid enough to try sacking Sanctuary. The Raiders had hit in the small hours. She probably hadn't even needed the Stealth Boy.

She could've gone for Jun too. Everyone was running around half-asleep, the assault coming from two sides, the turrets blasting. The settlers were getting better, their training progressing but the first couple of minutes was always headless chicken until the defenders got their act together. Jun was miserable. However he kept his mouth shut while trying to put himself back together again. So she didn't end him too.

He did that for himself a week later.

Nora was regretful albeit not sorry about that. She was a liar not a hypocrite. She wasn't ever going to be sorry for shutting up Marcy. She was even sleeping better without that bitter whine cutting the quiet. Hurting Jun had been collateral damage. He might have been able to endure it. He might even have been relieved. But he hadn't and he wasn't so she cleaned him up herself, laying him to rest beside his wife.

Preston dealt with it. Dogmeat was a little mopey afterwards but other than Sturges the Quincy survivors hadn't had much to give anyone else. So her dog hung around the workshop and played fetch with Codsworth and everything was situation normal until she started being read in on Institute briefings. She'd dropped the ball there. Hadn't contained the situation. The Brotherhood got hold of the list of synths.

It was Covenant all over again. She had actually run out of bullets fixing that problem.

She had thought she could work around the paramilitary zealots, using them for their assets while avoiding/ignoring their political agenda. Then that pompous little mouthpiece Maxson blew his stack over Danse and ordered her to liquidate the paladin. Ordered her. Ordered. Her! To clean his house like she was one of his tin can minions.

The Prydwen burned because of him. Collateral damage hurt worse this time, the squires, but she would never have brought kids into a war zone. And she knew fascism when she heard it. Lord knew she had heard it enough getting her 'law degree'. Nate had understood. He'd had to wade through stupid too. The Anchorage campaign had been one bad call after another.

Maybe she should think of the Prydwen as a Viking funeral and put it aside. Into the same box as X6-88 dying on Nordhagen Beach after she'd purged the Institute. She'd liked him and had things been otherwise they could've been comrades. But murdering and replacing people with slaves wasn't ever going to be a good idea.

For all that killing Kellog had been satisfying, there was still a lot of rot to cut out. Sometimes you had to do surgery with an axe. Sometimes it felt right to salve your itches with napalm. And Nora slept well knowing she could build a better world just as she liked it.