WARNING: SPOILERS FOR UMBRELLA ACADEMY SEASON 3! IF YOU HAVEN'T CAUGHT UP TO SEASON 3 YET, THEN BE WARNED THAT THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
Also the first time I'm uploading from a PC since I'm used to working on a tablet.
Also to remind all you lovely readers that I don't read reviews. If you got any comments, PM me instead.
Other than that, I hope you enjoy!
Something didn't feel right.
Luther knew someone shouldn't feel right after dying, but something strange was going on and he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Having only recently died in a matter of a couple of hours, it was only natural that he was still getting accustomed to death, unlike Klaus who was an expert on the subject.
Luther eventually figured out what the strange feeling was. It was the feeling of hard pointy rocks digging into his back from where he lay under the hot sun. If he was alive, that wouldn't be much of an issue, but one of the big features of being dead that Luther was quick to discover was that the dead don't feel much of anything. Heat, pain, and even touch were lost to those who passed on to the other side.
Yet, Luther could feel the slight discomfort of the rocks poking his back.
Confused, Luther opened his eyes and immediately regretted it when the scorching hot sun hanging above his prone body threatened to burn out his retinas. "Yup, bad idea" groaned Number One who rolled himself over so he could push himself onto his feet and not stare at the burning sun. The sensation of his hands touching the hot gravel only confirmed he regained his feel of touch again. The uncomfortable heat from the sun reminded him of it further.
After pushing himself up to his feet and with his hopes high, Luther reluctantly pressed his index and middle finger against the side of his neck. A second later, he breathed out in joyful relief when he felt his pulse and nearly cried on the spot. Dead people didn't have pulses.
Somehow and someway, Luther wasn't dead.
While Luther would like to know how and why he wasn't dead, he was just happy to no longer be among the deceased. He'll worry about the details later. Luther held his face in his own hands, simply enjoying the touch of his own skin. It was only then, did Luther notice something else that was different about him. "Woah... I look good!"
Luther moved his hands away from his face and held out his arms so he could look at them. Years ago, after suffering a life-threatening injury from a biochemical threat, his father administered an experimental serum that saved his life but also changed his body's biological structure into something similar to an ape's. His arms and torso had grown in size, becoming broad and bulky whilst his skin turned leathery and hairy.
Now though, his arms and torso have slimmed down and while still muscular, they were more proportional to an actual human's. Luther then pulled on the collar of his blue turtleneck sweater so he could get a look at his chest. Instead of hairy leathery skin that could be found on an ape, he only saw hairless abs and pecs.
Luther couldn't believe what was happening. His body had reverted to before the biochemical threat. While delighted to have his body returned to normal, he can't help but wonder how it happened. Even in death, his body was still ape-like, so why now did it return to normal?
As much as Luther would love to figure out the latest mysteries surrounding his resurrection and body, his focus shifted to the subject of his family, specifically his wife and siblings. Luther soon became aware that none of his family was with him.
Finally taking the time to check his surroundings, Luther noticed how he seemed to be in what looked like a destroyed drive-through theater that was in the middle of a scorched wasteland. There was nothing but dust, tall hills, and mountains in the distance with the occasional dead tree.
"Sloane!" Luther shouted, cupping his hands in front of his mouth to amplify his voice. "Sloane! Five! Klaus! Is anybody out there!?" Luther turned in every direction while he called for the others, not that it did any good. Luther was all alone in the middle of a wasteland that looked to have gone through its own brand of the apocalypse. He doesn't know where he is, where his wife and siblings are, or even if they're still alive.
Luther slapped himself. "Don't think like that. Sloane is safe. They're all safe. You just got to find them" he said to himself, trying to believe his own words of encouragement. Hopefully, wherever they are, they're somewhere better than this barren wasteland he found himself in.
Just when Luther was about to randomly walk in a random direction, he spotted smoke rising in the distance behind a heap of rocks. "Smoke! If there's smoke, then there must be a fire, and if there's a fire, there must be people!"
With nothing else to go on, Luther jogged in the direction of the smoke, inwardly praying that someone was there.
"Don't worry, Sloane. I'm coming!"
"Son, you alright?"
Diego woke up with a gasp and raised his head so fast that he nearly headbutted the man standing above him.
"Woah! Take it easy. You're safe" said the older man, holding his hands out to show he didn't mean any harm.
Diego's eyes quickly took in his surroundings, finding himself in a tent tall enough for a man to stand in and for four people to sleep in if they didn't mind lying too close to each other. Diego then focused his attention on the man standing beside the cot he was lying on.
The man was adorned in what looked to be a military uniform made up of a khaki field jacket, khaki breeches, khaki gaiters, arm wraps, fingerless gloves, brown combat boots, and a camouflaged cloth wrapped around his shoulder. On his head was a green beret with a pin of a two-headed bear on it. The man himself was tanned from being outside in the sun for too long, had a long, but trimmed beard, and had tired eyes that matched the tired smile on his face.
"Where the hell am I?"
"You're in Camp McCarran, son. Some troopers found you and your friend unconscious close to Fiend territory. Thought you were just another pair of dead bodies until they realized you were still breathing. They brought you and the missus back here to get you two patched up. You're both lucky my boys found you before the Fiends did. That wouldn't have ended well" told the soldier, grimly.
While Diego failed to understand what the soldier meant by Camp McCarran and Fiends, the mention of someone being with him had Diego grab the soldier by his collar to pull him close. "The woman who was with me, where is she!?" he demanded, reaching for one of his knives to threaten the soldier with, only to find them missing.
Before the soldier could respond and force Diego's hands off him, a female voice interrupted the two. "That's enough, Diego. Let go of him before you do something you'll regret."
Diego turned in the direction of the familiar voice and visibly sighed in relief at the sight of Lila, the same smug knowing grin plastered on her face.
A cough had Diego turn back to the soldier who glanced down at Diego's hand which still held a tight grip on his uniform's collar. "Shit. Sorry about that" apologized Number Two, letting go of the soldier.
Smoothing down his uniform, the soldier coughed into his fist. "No harm done, but it'll be best that you keep that temper of yours simmered, son. With the rise of Fiend attacks as of late, the troopers around camp have gotten a bit trigger-happy. Wouldn't want them to mistake you for a threat and fill you up with lead."
"Don't call me 'son'."
"Oh, for the love of god" Lila sighed loudly. "Sorry about him, Major. Diego was dropped on his head too many times when he was a lil' babe. Poor guy can hardly read at the best of times."
"Watch it" warned Diego who pointed his finger at Lila, only for him to notice something about the hand he was pointing with. "What the shit."
Lila's smug grin widened ever so slightly. "Finally noticed it, did ya? I'm honestly surprised. Would've expected it to take a couple of days before you figured it out."
Diego ignored Lila's teasing, far too distracted by the fingers on his left hand. The first time he and Lila encountered a Guardian in the alternate version of Hotel Obsidian, it resulted in him losing the ring and pinky finger from his left hand. Yet, by some kind of miracle, his fingers have grown back. There's not even any scarring or sign that they were ever sliced off.
"I'll give you two space to talk. If you need me, I'll just be outside" told Major Dhatri who nodded toward a footlocker at the end of Diego's cot. "You can find your knives in the footlocker over there. Word of warning, don't be messing around with them outside. Troopers are tense enough as it is without a civilian walking around the base with knives."
"Don't you worry, Major. Diego will be on his best behavior, won't you, Diego?" stated Lila, throwing a warning look at Diego who looked away from his restored fingers long enough to notice.
"Uh, right, sure."
"I guess that's all I can ask of ya" sighed Major Dhatri who walked out of the tent to leave the two alone.
Once the tent flap closed behind the Major, Lila's grin faded and a worried expression quickly took over. "Shit! Shit! Shit!"
Diego looked at Lila, startled. "What's got you in a fit?"
"Your fool of a father, that's what!" hissed Lila, wanting nothing more than to shout until her voice broke, but she can't with soldiers just outside the tent.
Diego's face hardened into a scowl. "That man isn't my father."
"Not like that shit matters now," said Lila, pacing around the tent. "While you were conducting a remake of Sleeping Beauty, I've been gathering as much info as I could from the locals. To put it simply, we're fucked!"
Diego swung his legs over the edge of the cot before standing up. "Lila, honey, what's wrong? What's going on?"
Lila wished she could just punch Diego in the face to try and help relieve the building stress in her body, but hearing him call her by that pet name with so much love drained the will to use his body as a punching bag.
Sighing, Lila sat down on a dingy metal chair in the corner of the tent and leaned back against it. "Do you want the good news or the bad news?"
"Any good news would be a welcome change of pace."
"Good news is that we aren't dead. Whatever your father did, whatever Allison did, it seemed to... I guess the best explanation would be that it reset the universe."
Reginald did say that ringing the so-called 'seven bells' would return the universe to what it once was. That is good news, which is why Diego wasn't looking forward to hearing what the bad news was. From the troubled expression on Lila's face, it must be pretty grim. "And what's the bad news?"
"The universe we reset in isn't exactly how we left our old one."
With their track record, that sounded about right. Diego couldn't help but ask. "How bad is it?"
"Bad. It's the year 2281, over 200 years since the Great War that fucked the planet into an apocalyptic wasteland. Radiation had spread all across the globe and what it didn't kill, it mutated into bloodthirsty monsters. I don't know what a Deathclaw is, but from what I've heard, I'm not keen on finding one anytime soon."
That was a lot for Diego to take in, so much so that he had to sit back down on the cot. Diego grasped his hands and looked down at the floor, sweat dripping down his face. "Shit."
A moment of silence between the two lasted for a few seconds before a smiling Lila jumped back onto her feet. "Shit is right, but there isn't anything we can do about it. All we can do is move on and live the rest of our lives here. All three of us."
Lila's words reminded Diego that this wasn't just about him and Lila, but also their unborn child. Protectively, Diego stood up to Lila and placed his hand on her abdomen as she wrapped her arms around the back of his neck. "The baby. Is it...?"
"Got checked by the doctor here. Kemp. Nice guy. Says the baby is still alive and kicking. With us as its parents, that's no surprise."
Diego lets out a mixture of a sigh and a laugh. "We are pretty badass, aren't we?"
Playfully, Lila shrugged her shoulders. "I am anyway. Not too sure about you though."
Diego rolled his eyes. "Haha, come here you" Diego dryly laughed before he pulled Lila into a kiss, which she happily returned.
When they pulled back for air, Diego frowned. "The others, are they here as well?"
This time, Lila couldn't stop the concerned expression from reaching her face. "I'm sorry, Diego, but there hasn't been any sign of them. Major Dhatri said it was only us they found. Nobody else."
Diego suspected that might've been the case since they would have surely made some kind of scene by now, especially Klaus. Not knowing where his siblings are made him worry, as they could be on the other side of the world for all he knew, and from what Lila told him, there were all sorts of dangers out there.
Knowing that Diego was hurting, Lila pulled him into a hug to comfort him. While she might be new to showing affection, she needed to push back her insecurities to help Diego. Right now, she's all that he has and the same can be said about her to him. "Don't you worry, we'll find them."
Diego could only return the hug and close his eyes. Wherever his siblings may be, he hoped they were alright, but for now, he needed to focus on Lila and their child. "I'm sure they're fine. We're the Umbrella Academy after all. What's the worst that can happen?"
"You did not just say that."
"Yeah, it sounded cooler in my head."
Allison regained consciousness with a sore throat and a case of slight dizziness while laying in a bed that wasn't her own. As she tried to figure out where she was, she recalled the events which led her here in the first place.
Allison remembered seeing the Guardian stand back up after a resurrected Luther tossed it aside like a ragdoll. How their father ordered everyone to stand on the seven star-shaped tiles that Five figured out were the key to saving the universe, or at least that's what everyone believed. She also remembered how her father stopped her from stepping on one of the stars, forcing Five to do so in her place.
Then Allison remembered the painful cries of her siblings as the Machine held them in place and seemingly sucked the life out of them, powered up by using her siblings as living batteries. Allison can still recall how their cheeks sunk with every second that passed by, how their skin turned deathly pale. Father explained that her siblings were to charge the Machine, at the cost of their lives. "Everything in life has a price" he had said, not caring that what he was doing was torturing them or that it would kill them. While it may have killed the Guardian, the payoff didn't seem any better if the Machine was just going to kill everyone off anyway.
True, Allison's relationship with some of her siblings wasn't particularly at its best, but she didn't want them to die, not even Victor. Five warned her that their father had killed Luther and tried to kill Klaus, showing her how far Reginald was willing to go for his plans to succeed.
In her panic to save everyone, Allison used her Rumor ability to force her father to stop the Machine but was caught off guard when her power had no effect on him. While surprised, she couldn't waste time since every second that passed threatened to take the lives of her remaining family and she refused to let that happen.
With no other choice, Allison took the sickle that belonged to the now-dead Guardian and with a single swing, sliced out a chunk of Reginald's head. Surprisingly, it wasn't the act of killing her father that greatly disturbed Allison, but the sight of green blood and blue brain matter spilling out of her father's skull. Thankfully, killing Reginald had shut off whatever was killing her siblings, causing them to collapse, weak and tired, but alive.
Afterward, Allison could recall how the flashing button from the Machine called out to her, promising her everything she desired. The husband and daughter she had lost. She knew she should have waited until everyone recovered and regained their strength after the ordeal they suffered, but her impatience led her to press the reset button, despite the protests of everyone. Everyone but Victor.
Allison remembered there being a flash of bright light that blinded her and the next thing she knew, she was here, waking up in a stranger's bed.
"Ah, you're awake. That's good."
Weakly, Allison turned her head to the side and saw an elderly man walk up to her with something in his hand. "Who- *cough*" Allison fell into a coughing fit, only now realizing how dry her throat was. It felt like she swallowed a cupful of sand.
The elderly man took a seat on the chair positioned beside the bed. "Easy there. Give your throat a rest. Here." He offered her a glass of water and to Number Three, it may as well have been the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
Allison didn't think twice when she accepted the glass of water from the stranger. The sensation of cold water dripping down her throat immediately made her feel a lot better. "Thank you" she said, already feeling her throat getting better.
Now with her thirst quenched, Allison could think more clearly as her dizziness somewhat faded. The first thing she did was look her host up and down to see if she could get a feel of him.
Said man was dressed in a black long-sleeve shirt with suspenders, brown rolled-up pants complete with a red scarf, and black gloves. The man was elderly, Allison guessed him to be around the same age as her father, give or take a couple of years. The elderly man lacked hair which pronounced the wrinkles lining his forehead. He also owned a handlebar mustache which had turned silver with age but was finely groomed.
"Don't mention it. Name's Doc Mitchell, but everyone just calls me Doc" smiled the elderly man. "I hope you don't mind me asking little lady, but what were you doing sleeping out in the middle of the cemetery? You're lucky Sunny came across you when she did before the bloatflies got to you."
Allison furrowed her brows in confusion. "Graveyard? Bloatflies? What are you talking about?"
Doc Mitchell tapped his chin, now looking concerned. "Well, that's worrying. Tell me, do you remember your name?"
A bad feeling was growing in the pit of Allison's stomach and she didn't know why. "My name is Allison. Allison Hargreeves."
"Okay then, Ms. Hargreeves, do you remember how you found yourself unconscious in Goodspring's Cemetery? Sunny said she found you passed out beside the gravesites."
The bad feeling in Allison's stomach only worsened the longer the doctor spoke. "I don't exactly remember what happened. I remember being with my brothers and then there was a flash of light before I woke up here."
That wasn't entirely the truth, but it's not like she could just tell the doctor her family battled against strange samurai monsters in an alternate version of a hotel so they could save the universe after they unknowingly caused a Kugelblitz that resulted in the universe collapsing in on itself.
By the look of things, they succeeded. Whatever the Machine did, it looked to have fixed everything, just as Reginald said it would.
The past few days had sucked what little hope Allison had of getting her daughter back after they messed up the timeline, but Reginald told her that she could have both Grace and Ray back if she were to help him convince everyone else to agree with his plan. Luther's death wasn't supposed to happen and while she felt that she played a part in causing it, she bottled up those agonizing feelings and tried to look forward to being reunited with the family she lost.
"Flash of light? I wouldn't know anything about that, but I'm afraid to say that we didn't find any of your brothers. Sunny found you by the graveyard on your lonesome" told Doc Mitchell.
As much as Allison wanted to contemplate why her siblings weren't there with her, she needed to focus on getting home. She needed to get Grace and give her the biggest hug she could. Pushing herself up, Allison swung her legs over the side of the bed and after making sure that she could hold herself up with her strength, she pushed herself onto her feet. "Thank you for everything, Doc, but I need to get going."
Wearing only her black jeans and black top, Allison found her jacket hanging on the end of the bed. She took it and put it on as she walked away to find the front door.
Doc Mitchell wasn't far behind her. "Miss, I wouldn't recommend that. You're still very dehydrated! You need to stay in bed for at least another three days to gather your strength!"
"I'm fine" replied Allison, waving off the doctor's concerns. So what if she felt dizzy or a little weak? That wasn't going to stop her from seeing her daughter. "I'll take a cab to the airport and rest there." Allison stopped by the hallway where she saw what she believed to be the exit. "By the way, what's the closest airport from here?" she asked, walking towards the door.
Doc Mitchell's concern for the woman only worsened when he heard the gibberish coming out of her mouth. "I guess that would be Camp McCarran, but that's beside the point! You're delirious from dehydration. You need to get back into bed this instant."
Allison's hand gripped the handle of the front door and pulled it open. "I told you already that I'm fi-" Allison lost her voice once she opened the door and came face-to-face with a nightmare.
Doc Mitchell's house was located right on top of a small hill that overlooked the town of Goodsprings. From her place by the front door, Allison had a good view of the town which consisted of houses that were covered in dirt and had the occasional boarded-up window. The buildings looked like they should've been abandoned years ago, but the people walking in and out of them showed that they weren't.
Beyond the houses, Allison saw a building that looked to be a shop of sorts and it was in the same condition as the houses, if a little better. Beside the shop was what seemed to be a bar named the Prospector Saloon plastered on the front of the building. Connecting all these buildings was a chipped and cracked road that looked like it hasn't been repaired for the past few hundred years. The disturbing lack of cars or other vehicles made Allison's already dry throat even drier, but it was the strange big horned creatures that did it for her.
"No! No! No! Not again!" thought a horrified Allison. At first, she wanted to believe that she was in some far-off country on the other side of the world that she never heard of, but the flag hanging off Doc Mitchell's front porch only confirmed her worst nightmare. It may be battered and weathered after many years, but Allison recognized the flag of Nevada.
Allison was still in the United States of America, but not her version of it.
Slamming the door shut, Allison turned to Doc Mitchell who jumped when he saw the dangerous look in her eyes.
"I heard a rumor that you told me everything you knew."
A sleeping Klaus woke up with a cough after somebody roughly kicked him in his side.
"Wake up, capture."
Groaning, Klaus pushed himself onto his hands and knees while rubbing the spot where he got kicked. "You know, there are nicer ways to wake someone up" he groaned, looking up to see who woke him so rudely.
Now that he was awake, Klaus realized he was no longer in the hotel. Instead, he was trapped in a holding pen, surrounded by a wired fence. Standing above him and who must've been the one responsible for kicking him awake, was a short-haired man dressed in what looked to be a mix of sports equipment, ranging from football to baseball. The outfit included a leather skirt of all things and it was all painted in a mixture of brown and red. "Gotta say, I love the skirt."
Klaus's comment wasn't welcomed if the backhand to the face was any indication. "Dude, what's your problem?" Klaus moaned in pain while holding his sore cheek. He wouldn't be surprised if it was to bruise. While rubbing his cheek, Klaus felt his hand touch something metallic around his neck. "What's this thing doing around my neck?"
"That is an explosive collar, capture. If you try to run, cause a fuss or annoy me in any way, all I have to do is press a button and your head will be blown to pieces" told the Legionary and slave master, Canyon Runner.
Klaus pushed himself to his feet. "Okay, first off, the name's Klaus so you can stop with that whole 'capture' business you got going on, nice to meet you by the way," remarked Number Four, sarcastically. "Secondly, would ya mind telling me where we are, 'cause last time I checked, th-" A punch to the stomach forced the wind out of Klaus's lungs. "Be quiet. Yup, I got it" he gasped, giving the Legionary a thumbs up.
"Know your place, capture" spat Canyon Runner in disgust. Oh, how the Legion Slave Master hated captures who talked back. As much as he would love to make an example out of this capture and string him up onto a cross, he held potential as a possible slave. The capture lacked the muscle to make a useful working slave or a soldier, but his pretty face and lean build would make him a desirable bed slave to quite a few high-ranking Legionaries in Arizona. He'll have to beat the disobedience out of him first, though.
Canyon Runner dropped half a roll of bread and a bottle of water onto the floor by Klaus's feet. "Eat. You'll need your strength for when I process you. Once I've deemed you worthy to be a slave for the mighty Legion, you will finally be given purpose and virtue. Be grateful" told Canyon Runner who then turned and walked out of the holding pen where another Legionary opened the gate for him to exit before it was locked again.
Klaus blinked, watching Canyon Runner walk away from the holding pen. "I hated every part of that sentence." Slave? Legion? Virtue? What pack of crazies did he land himself with?!
"That was pretty foolish of you, young man."
Klaus turned in the direction of the voice and saw that he wasn't the only person locked in the holding pen. Sitting on the other side of the pen were three others who all shared enough resemblance to mark them as family. The one who spoke was the older woman who must be the mother of the family. The young man and woman sitting beside her were likely her children. And just like himself, they each had an explosive collar strapped around their necks, marking them as 'captures' as well.
"Guy is just playing hard to get. Don't worry, I've got him on the ropes" joked Klaus with a carefree smile that made the daughter of the family blush while the brother glared.
"From what I've heard, if Canyon Runner takes a liking to you, it isn't considered a good thing," said the mother of the family with a frown.
"Canyon Runner? No way is that his name" Klaus laughed a high-pitched laugh. "That ain't normal."
"Those Legion folk are the farthest thing from normal. Savages in uniform and every other way that matters. I just wished we hadn't moved to Nevada when we did. Then we wouldn't have been captured by these bastards" spat the mother, glaring at a passing Legionary who was openly leering at her daughter. The daughter shrunk under the gaze and the brother wrapped an arm over her shoulder to offer what little comfort he could.
Klaus's brows rose high in surprise. "Nevada? How the hell did I get to the other side of the country!?"
While Klaus may not be the brightest bulb when compared to the rest of his siblings, even he could tell that something was very wrong here.
Father told them how there was a Machine that could fix the universe after they so royally fucked it up, but something unexpected must've happened that not even their dearest father could've predicted. Not that it stopped Allison from pressing the 'reset button'. Honestly, he expected that kind of recklessness from himself, not Allison who was supposed to be the more clear-headed of the group.
Anyway, perhaps the Machine was supposed to fix the universe somehow and while technically, it did its intended purpose, the decrepit buildings, dead soil, and crazed slavers told him that the universe wasn't entirely fixed.
They're not being devoured by a Kugelblitz, so at least that's a step in the right direction.
"M-Mister, are you gonna eat that?"
Klaus turned to the young woman of the group who looked at the food by his feet, hungrily. Shrugging, Klaus tossed the bread and water to the young woman. "Go nuts."
As the young woman shared the bread and dirty water with her brother, the mother of the family smiled at Klaus, although strained because of current circumstances. "Thank you for that. We're the Weathers. These are my children, Kenny and Sammy."
Klaus's easygoing smile never once wavered. "Name's Klaus, and don't mention it. Poor thing looked like she was gonna drop any second."
"That's because we've hardly eaten a thing since we were captured. A Legion raiding party took us straight here, only stopping to pick you up after we came across you in the middle of nowhere. By the look of it, you were unconscious, probably from heatstroke. Bad luck that is" said Mrs. Weathers, pitifully.
"Bad luck may as well be my middle name. Every time something looks like it's about to go my way, the rug gets pulled from under my feet" stated Klaus, sounding serious for once. "Speaking of bad luck, where exactly are we?"
"Cottonwood Cove. It's where the Legion traffic people back to Arizona to spend the rest of their lives as slaves."
"So these boy scouts in skirts are slavers? I don't like the sound of that" said Klaus, rubbing his chin while thinking. "These Legion fellas, what can you tell me about them?" he asked, nodding his head in the direction of a pair of Legion soldiers walking by.
The Weathers family looked at Klaus in disbelief. "What you mean 'what can you tell me about them?' They're the Legion. Caesar's Legion!" stated Kenny Weathers, as if that should be enough for Klaus to know who they are.
"Sorry, I'm not from around these parts" answered Klaus with an unapologetic shrug.
Shaking herself out of the stupor the naïve young man put herself in, Mrs. Weathers leaned forward so she could tell Klaus all she knew of Caesar's Legion. He needed to understand the severity of their situation before his rebellious attitude got him killed by the slavers.
"I wouldn't know all there is to know about the Legion, only what I've heard from traveling caravans. From what I've been told, they are the worst of the worst. Caesar's Legion-"
For fifteen minutes, Klaus stood there and listened as the matriarch of the Weathers family told him what she knew of Caesar's Legion. As Mrs. Weathers explained to him what the Legion is and the evils they commit on a daily basis, Klaus's carefree smile slowly started to fade until he was openly frowning. Once Mrs. Weathers finished with her explanation, Klaus sucked in a lungful of air while he brushed his fingers through his long hair.
It's not often that Klaus was filled with loathing, as he tended to not take things as seriously as the rest of his family. Nonetheless, Klaus was filled with loathing for Caesar and his Legion. An army of brutal savages who march through towns and tribes, killing, stealing, raping, and enslaving without remorse. That they have a habit of crucifying people only upset Klaus even more, to the point where he was glaring at any Legionary who stepped close to the holding pen.
It was easy to say that Klaus Hargreeves hated Caesar's Legion and everything it stood for.
"Do you understand the situation now, Klaus?" asked Mrs. Weathers, hoping she got through to the young man.
Klaus turned to the mother while still frowning. The frown didn't last for long as a smile returned to his face, although it wasn't as carefree as before. There was something dangerous about that smile of his.
"I do understand the situation, ma'am. I understand that we need to get out of here. Well, who's ready for a good ole' fashion prison break? Can I get a hoorah!?"
The Weathers family looked up at Klaus, thinking that he might actually be insane. One had to be after openly declaring that he was intending to escape, whilst in the middle of a Legion camp. Nearby Legionaries turned in their direction, having heard Klaus's loud declaration.
Knowing what would happen if they supported Klaus's plan, the Weathers family looked away in silence. With their eyes off of Klaus, none of them noticed Klaus's hands emit blue wisps of energy.
Everyone jumped from the thunderous roar of what sounded like hundreds of people, responding to Klaus's cry for freedom. Neither the Weathers family nor the Legionaries knew where the source of the loud shouts came from, seemingly coming from every direction, though it did cause panic among the Legion soldiers.
One of the nearby Legionaries was calm enough to walk over to the holding pen and point at Klaus. "Sit down and be quiet capture or you'll soon find yourself hung on a cross!"
The threat of being crucified might have worked on most others, but Klaus merely grinned. "You guys killed a lot of people, didn't you? I can tell."
"I said sit down and shut up capture!" shouted the Legionary, hitting the fenced wall with his machete.
The Weathers family flinched, but Klaus didn't. "All the people you killed are crying out for vengeance, to be given the chance to right the wrongs you did to them." Klaus's grin widened ever so slightly. "And what kind of Prince of Darkness would I be if I didn't help them do just that." Klaus thrust out his glowing blue hands.
The Legionary had enough of the capture's mad rambling and was about to go into the holding pen to beat some manners into him, but a flash of blue light in the corner of his eye caught his attention. Turning, the Legionary blinked when he saw the glowing blue body of an NCR trooper, just standing there like as if he wasn't in the middle of a Legion camp.
The Legionary only then recognized the NCR trooper as one they had captured and crucified just a week ago. Trooper didn't last three days before dying of hunger and thirst. His body was still hung on the cross for all to see so how was the NCR soldier standing right beside him?
Multiple flashes of blue light began popping all around the holding pen as ethereal men and women, some dressed as regular civilians whilst others dressed as NCR soldiers, emerged from out of thin air. At first, there were less than five of them. A second later, there were a dozen.
Two seconds later, the sounds of gunfire and battle cries engulfed Cottonwood Cove.
Five woke up in a comfortable bed, which immediately put him on guard.
He knew Reginald had been up to something, not believing for a second that he wanted to use the Machine to simply reset the universe back to what it once was. No, there was always some deeper meaning when it came to his father's plans. Klaus telling them that Reginald had killed Luther and tried to kill him was all the confirmation Five needed to prove he was right.
Unfortunately, the chaos caused by the Guardians and then losing an arm had distracted Five from dealing with his father. Luckily, Allison was smart enough to kill Reginald before his plan could kill them all. Unluckily, Allison was too impatient to wait for them to gather their wits before she pressed the 'reset button'.
"The boy is awake, Doctor" said a raspy voice, obviously female.
"That's good. Could you bring the boy a glass of water and some food, Calamity?"
Narrowing his eyes to focus his blurry vision, Five turned to look at the man who walked up beside his bed, whilst looking over a clipboard. The man was elderly, older than Reginald if the many wrinkles on his face were any indication. What little hair he had left had gone grey and was swept to one side. The elderly man's tanned skin spoke of him spending lots of time outside under the grueling sun. He was dressed in a white t-shirt, brown cargo pants with pouches attached to the belt, boots, and carried a small brown satchel bag. His attire was completed with a pair of worn glasses.
Five didn't know who the old man was, but at least it proved that the Machine did reset the universe as intended.
"How are you feeling kid?"
"Never felt better" answered Five, holding back his snark, for now at least.
"I highly doubt that. Lily found you half-buried in a pile of snow up the ridge. If she didn't get you here as fast as she did, you'd have frozen to death. Hell, you're lucky to not be suffering from hypothermia."
At least that explained the chill in his bones. Looked like Five owed this Lily character a thank you. Five was gonna ask the doctor about his siblings, but he lost his train of thought once he noticed his left arm had been restored as if it was never cut off by the Guardian in the first place. "It really did reset everything."
Realizing that he was staring at his restored arm far longer than he should've, Five put it down and shook his head. "I'm fine. By the way, this Lily, did she find anyone else with me?"
The doctor shook his head. "Afraid not. Why, were there others with you?"
"My family. Brothers and a sister."
"Well, I can tell Marcus and have him keep an eye out for them. If they're around, they may wander here themselves to look for ya."
"I've brought the food, Dr. Henry."
Five turned to the doorway of the bedroom and widened his eyes at the sight of the woman. Well, he believed it to be a woman, although she looked more like a walking corpse dressed in a lab coat. She held a serving tray in her hands that had a bowl of soup and a glass of water.
Dr. Henry didn't miss the child's reaction. "I take it you've never seen a ghoul before, have you?"
"No, I have not" muttered Five, his fifty-eight-year-old mind going a mile a minute as he realized the repercussions of what the Machine did. From the doctor's tone, a ghoul must not be considered a rarity. Being as intelligent as he is, it didn't take long for Five to come up with a conclusion as to what happened. The universe isn't as it was before the Kugelblitz swallowed it up. This was an entirely new universe.
"No need to be afraid of me, young man. I'm not gonna eat your brains or anything of the sort" joked the ghoul, placing the tray of food on Five's lap. "Name's Calamity. I help Dr. Henry with his research."
Five wasn't worried about the ghoul, but rather about the ramifications of what Calamity's existence meant to the newly reset universe. "This might sound odd, but could either one of you tell me what year it is?"
Dr. Henry and Calamity shared an odd look before the ghoul answered. "Last I checked, it's still going on 2281."
Having spent most of his life as a time-traveling assassin, Five had traveled across many time periods, including the 2200s, but there was no knowledge of ghouls of any sort in that time period. He'd know if there were folks walking around, looking like the undead.
"Are you sure you're alright? Maybe I should give you another CAT scan, in case I missed anything" said Dr. Henry, wondering if the young boy had hit his head. In his old age, it wouldn't surprise Henry if he missed the injury during his scans on the child. It would explain why the boy was unconscious when Lily came across him.
Five shook his head to ease the suspicions. "No thanks, I'm fine. Hungry, that's all." The lovely smell from the bowl of soup on his lap made his stomach grumble. What the soup was made of, he wasn't exactly sure, he didn't recognize the scent. Smelled similar to beef, but it wasn't.
"Well, I hope you enjoy your meal then. A nice bowl of Bighorner beef soup should fill that belly of yours and keep you warm at the same time" smiled Calamity.
"We'll give you some time to yourself to get your head on straight. After you've eaten and gotten some rest, we can discuss how to get you home. Jacobstown isn't exactly the safest place for a little boy like you" told Dr. Henry with a conflicted frown.
While annoyed by how the doctor was talking down to him, he couldn't exactly fault him. He may be fifty-eight years old, but he was still in his thirteen-year-old body. Dr. Henry thought he was a lost child. Five was more interested to know why Jacobstown was considered so dangerous.
Calamity nodded to Five. "We'll just be in the other room. If you want anything, just give a holler."
Both Dr. Henry and Calamity then left Five alone, closing the door behind them. Five could hear a third voice beyond the closed door, sounding deeper and angrier, but the hushed voices of the doctor and his assistant seemed to calm whoever it was.
As hungry as he was, Five needed to get a basic layout of his current location, just in case he needed to make a quick getaway. Placing the tray on the bedside table, Five jumped out of bed, and ignoring how his body shivered when his bare feet touched the floor, he walked over to the window.
When Five brushed aside the curtain, he was met with a staggering sight.
By the look of the snowy climate and rocky mountains, Jacobstown is a ski lodge resort, or was before it was renovated by its current occupants. To the right of the lodge, there was a pen filled with what looked to be oversized sheep with massive horns. Likely the Bighorners that Calamity mentioned. To the left, there were bungalows. A wooden wall surrounded the ski lodge, leaving an entrance by the front.
Five was particularly interested in studying the occupants of the lodge. From the window, Five could see towering beasts of muscle, colored either an olive green or a dark blue. The smallest of them was well over 7 feet tall, making even Luther look small in comparison to these muscular behemoths. Each wore all kinds of scrap for clothing and armor, but he was more worried about the large weapons they each carried. Rocket launchers, miniguns, and large clubs decorated the hands of each of these monsters.
"Congrats, Reginald. Dead and you still manage to fuck us over. Typical" grumbled Five, casting one last glance to the mutants outside before returning to his meal.
If he's gonna walk out into a world infested with zombie-like women and muscular monsters, he may as well do so with a full stomach.
Ben didn't much care for the overbearing heat that he was being subjected to once he woke up. He especially didn't care for it when he found his hands tied behind his back so he couldn't even use them to try and block the sun from his face.
A normal person might've panicked after finding themselves tied up and someplace they don't recognize, but Ben wasn't a normal person. Taking in his surroundings, Ben noticed how he was in what might've once been a house, although it was mostly made up of dilapidated walls now. There wasn't even a ceiling, which meant there was nothing to block the boiling heat from washing over Ben, fueling his temper.
Ben's growing temper only worsened when he recalled how his father was so ready to sacrifice him to activate the Machine. Sacrificing the Umbrella Academy, he could understand, but to sacrifice him and Sloane? His children?
All he wanted was to make his father proud, to prove to him that he could be Number One instead of Number Two. To now know how dispensable he was in the eyes of his father had hurt him more than Ben cared to admit.
"That's bullshit! He's worth at least 200 caps!"
"I don't give a flying fuck. We don't want the chink, just the girl and the woman."
"Come now, let's be reasonable. We're not even asking for payment for the father, you get him for free. The other one is a rarity, though. How often do you find someone of his descent in the Mojave?"
So lost in his thoughts, Ben only now figured that he wasn't alone, if the loud shouting was any indication. Ben turned to his left where he heard shuffling and came across the surprising sight of an entire family tied up alongside him. A mother, father, and daughter were each tied up and gagged, just like he was. The mother and daughter were frightened beyond belief, cuddling up to each other close, despite their limbs being tied up. The girl also had a weathered teddy bear on her lap. The father on the other hand was too busy glaring daggers at their captors while shouting muffled curses through his gag. Ben could give it to the man, if looks could kill, the captors would be dead ten times over.
Ben was gagged as well, but it was tied poorly enough that all it took was a little shifting for it to fall down his neck, freeing his mouth. Once the gag was removed, Ben turned to the ones speaking, and they sure made quite the image.
Standing close to them were two dark-skinned men, one dressed in a jumpsuit with a police hat on his head while the other was wearing what looked to be farmer clothing. While odd, it was the men they were arguing with that weirded Ben out the most.
There were four of them, all dressed in the most random assortment of gear he had ever seen. Leathers, metal scraps, and hell, one had actual severed hands tied to his chest. On their heads, they all wore what looked like the skull of an oversized goat or something. Each of them carried a weapon of sorts, although unlike the other three who held either a machine gun or rifle, one had chosen a pool cue as their weapon of choice. From their bloodshot eyes and constant fidgeting, Ben also suspected that they were high on drugs. Number 2/6 didn't like the idea of being tied up with a bunch of armed drugged-up creeps nearby.
"You think Cook-Cook cares? He'll roast him with the father and be done with them! We'll pay for the woman and the girl, but not the men" told the leader whose teeth chattered when not speaking.
The little girl cried into her mother's side while the father turned red in the face as he spat more curses at their captors from behind his gag.
Ben was quick to figure out what was going on. The two dark-skinned men were the ones who tied up the family and himself and were trying to sell them to the group of drugged-up psychos who apparently work for a man with the stupidest name in the world. Who the hell calls themselves Cook-Cook?
The slavers, Saint James and Dermot, as well as the four Fiends, all turned in the direction of Ben who was looking up at them, mockingly.
"The fuck did you say?" questioned Dermot, glaring daggers at Ben who smirked up at him.
"You heard me, shit for brains."
"Why you little-" Dermot growled and went to punch Ben, but Saint James held him back.
"Cool it. The guy is just trying to rattle you" told Saint James, trying to calm his partner.
"Hahaha! This one got a spine. Maybe we will buy him after all. Cook-Cook so does enjoy breaking spines" laughed the Fiend leader, alongside the other Fiends.
"Spines will break, but it won't be mine" stated Ben, voice dripping with bloodlust.
"Yeah?" replied the Fiend leader, confidently stepping up to Ben who was perched up on his knees. With no weapon and his hands tied behind his back, he wasn't in any way a threat to the Fiend. "And whose spines will break? Ours?" he asked, laughing.
The sound of flesh being ripped apart filled the ears of everyone in the surrounding area.
The Fiend leader's smirk was quick to fade when a tentacle skewered him through his stomach and out his back, lifting him off the ground. The Fiend leader looked at Ben's smirking face in confusion, not fully comprehending what was happening. Neither could anyone else as everyone watched in muted horror, staring at the tentacle that emerged from Ben's torso, which had also cut off his bindings.
With a flick, the Fiend leader's body was tossed aside, flung straight through a dilapidated wall that collapsed. The violent end of the Fiend had the slavers and other Fiends reach for their weapons, but Ben was faster.
Before anyone could pull a trigger, multiple tentacles flew out of Ben's body and knocked away anyone standing. From beside Ben, the gagged mother and father looked at him with different expressions of horror. The same couldn't be said for the daughter who looked up at Ben and his slithering tentacles with wide eyes.
Saint James groaned, feeling his bones crack after the rough landing he had just taken. "W-What the fuck was that?" he asked himself, pushing himself onto his hands and knee, nearly jumping in fright when one of the Fiends landed right beside him with an audible snap. The Fiend didn't land as gracefully as he did, seeing as their neck snapped upon impact. Staring into the dead eyes of the Fiend for a moment, Saint James then turned to the mutant abomination he stupidly brought along.
When he and Dermot kidnapped the family from the Aerotech Office Park, they found some guy unconscious by a pair of dumpsters outside. Thinking that they could make an extra few caps selling him to the Fiends when they went to sell the family, they tied him up and brought him along with them. Obviously, that was a big fucking mistake.
"I'll rip out your head and skull fuck you!" shouted one of the two remaining Fiends, having gotten up after being tossed and grabbed their varmint rifle. The Fiend shot at Ben, but one of the tentacles acted as a shield and sucked up the bullet. Ben flinched in pain, but that didn't stop him from thrusting another tentacle at the Fiend.
The Fiend didn't have time to blink before they were wrapped up in the tentacle. The Fiend's gurgled cry faded after the tentacle squeezed him hard enough that his body popped like a balloon, blood gushing out of his eyes, mouth, and nose.
Saint James was about to make a run for it but stopped when he heard Dermot's angry shout. Saint James saw his partner open fire at the abomination with his 9mm submachine gun.
Ben heard the slaver's cry well before he heard the gunshots, giving him plenty of time to dive under the cover of a wall that was barely standing.
"I'll kill you! You hear me!? Filthy, disgusting, mut-"
Dermot's cries were soon silenced when a tentacle shot through the wall that Ben was using for cover and pierced him through the chest. Dermot didn't realize what happened, having been killed so quickly.
Saint James cursed, but he didn't attempt to avenge his partner. A fool would have run in, gunning and screaming for vengeance, but he wasn't a fool. His partner was dead, along with the Fiends. He wasn't gonna wait around for the monster to turn its attention on him.
With only the thought of survival running through his mind, Saint James turned and limped in the opposite direction. There were more flatlands than buildings in his surroundings, but he hoped to use what little buildings and rubble were nearby as cover to hide from the monster's gaze, at least long enough until he got to the safety of Westside. The slaver could hear the remaining Fiend shoot at the monster, but the sound of tearing flesh and the Fiend's pain-filled cries told him all he needed to know that the Fiend was unsuccessful in killing the freak.
Saint James made it ten feet before he felt something wrap around his right ankle and trip him. With a surprised cry, he fell onto the dusty floor on his stomach. Looking over his shoulder, the slaver widened his eyes when he saw a tentacle wrapped around his ankle. Then the tentacle started to pull him back. The slaver screamed and dug his fingers into the earth until they turned bloody, but nothing he did slowed him down.
The tentacle raised him into the air and Saint James soon found himself hanging upside down, face-to-face with the man who he tried to sell to the Fiends.
"And where do you think you're going?" asked a grinning Ben, finding particular joy in seeing the terrified expression on the slaver's face.
"N-No, w-wai-" begged Saint James, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. A second tentacle wrapped around the slaver's other leg before they started to pull the two limbs in the opposite direction.
The family watched as the man who was gonna sell them to the Fiends screamed in unholy agony, writhing in the air as the tentacles pulled his legs apart. Soon, the sound of tearing skin and flesh filled everyone's ears. With one big pull, the slaver was ripped in half with each tentacle now holding nearly half of the slaver. Blood sprayed everyone with some getting on Ben, not that he cared.
Dropping the pieces of what used to be Saint James, Ben turned to the family who was shivering at the sight of the blood-soaked man that had tentacles receding into his back. All except for the daughter who looked up at Ben with eyes alight in awe.
"Don't worry. The Hero is here to save the day."
Victor groaned once he regained consciousness. When he opened his eyes, he had expected to see the high but luxurious ceiling of Hotel Obsidian. Instead, he saw stalactites pointing down at him from the rocky ceiling of the cave he mysteriously found himself in. Some gaps in the ceiling allowed sunlight to slip into the cave, lighting Victor's surroundings enough for him to see the workbench, boxes, and other odd items that were in the cave with him.
"Good morning. How are we feeling on this lovely day?"
Victor nearly jumped from his spot on the bedroll when he heard the unfamiliar voice. Umbrella Academy's Number Seven looked in the direction of the voice and found a man sitting by a makeshift table on a large flat rock. Victor had to crane his neck up from his place on the floor just so he could get a good look at the stranger.
The stranger wore a white collared shirt with rolled-up sleeves embroidered with tribal markings of some kind, heavily patched and stitched blue jeans with a hole in the left knee, a snakeskin belt with magazine pouches, and a Salt Lake City police department SWAT ballistic vest. However, his most noticeable feature was the many wrappings that covered every part of his skin, except for the gap between his eyes.
"How are you feeling?"
"O-Oh, I'm good" answered Victor, having been distracted by the man's odd appearance.
"Good. Follows-Chalk found you unconscious outside the camp and brought you here to recover. You were lucky that he did before the White Legs found you."
Victor stood up and looked at the bandaged man, curiously. He had so many questions. "White Legs?"
"A tribe of raiders who revel in destruction. Their entire existence is based on barbarism. Unlike other tribes, they lack the survival skills to survive on their own, so they resort to raiding other tribes. They kill without mercy and without shame."
The stranger's answer only left Victor with even more questions. He thought the Machine was supposed to return the universe like it was, so why was he hearing stuff about tribes that raid other tribes? "This might sound a bit off, but where exactly am I?"
The bandaged man who was in the middle of taking apart and cleaning some .45 Auto pistols stopped what he was doing for a second to look at Victor. Despite having the power to strip him down to his atoms, Victor felt a little unnerved by the man's gaze. It was as if the bandaged man could stare deep into his soul and see everything that made him thick.
"He's dangerous. Very dangerous" thought Victor, keeping his guard up. He didn't know how, but his instincts told him that the man wrapped in bandages was powerful. Perhaps he had powers like the Umbrellas and Sparrows?
"You are in Zion Valley. Home to the Dead Horses, Sorrows, and unfortunately, the White Legs. I'm Joshua Graham and I am the acting war chief for the Dead Horses."
Now, Victor knew something went very wrong with the Machine. How on earth did he get to Zion? Wasn't that in Utah? And when did Utah have tribes that fought each other?
"Nice to meet you, Joshua. I'm Victor Hargreeves. Joshua, this might sound even weirder, but what year is it?" asked Victor with a nervous smile. They ended up getting lost in time once before. Wouldn't surprise him if it happened again, knowing their luck.
If Joshua was surprised by Victor's masculine name despite his biological body, he didn't show it, not that Victor could tell with all the bandages wrapped around him.
"You are a peculiar one, aren't you?" stated Joshua, studying Victor, as if looking for something. "Well, if my sense of time is correct, we should still be a few months in 2281."
Yep, Victor should've stopped Allison from pressing the reset button. The Machine weakened him, but he still could've used the remains of his strength to force Allison away from the Machine. Instead, he naively allowed Allison to use the Machine, all to fix their relationship one last time.
Back before he had discovered his powers and before the siblings bonded over their repeated attempts to try and stop apocalypses, Allison had always been the nicest of the siblings. Allison always tried to get Victor included in everything, which was why it hurt so much knowing that she now hated him. The hurt only worsened after Allison so obviously attempted to manipulate him into agreeing with Reginald over the plan to defeat the Guardian and activate the Machine.
Victor allowed Allison to use the Machine as one last ditch effort to try and mend the damage done to their relationship.
Looking around the cave and then at the bandaged man, Victor was starting to realize that he might have made a mistake.
When she regained consciousness, the first thing Sloane noticed was how she didn't have Luther's arms around her like he usually did when they slept together.
Then the memories of the past day resurfaced and Sloane felt her heart rip open once again. She remembered seeing Luther's corpse, cut up and bloodied. She remembered the pure rage she felt when Reginald told her of how the Guardian was the one who killed him. She remembered entering Hotel Oblivion, looking to avenge her husband. She especially remembered how Luther saved her from the Guardian at the last second, having been brought back by Klaus's powers, if only for a moment. Sloane also remembered her husband's final words to her before he faded away.
"I will love you forever."
Sloane felt a small cry escape her lips, closing her tearful eyes to try and block out the pain, not that it worked. All she felt was an aching hole where her heart use to be.
Barely holding back a sob, Sloane pushed herself up from the weathered couch she was lying on, hoping to find Ben or any of Luther's siblings. Taking in her surroundings, Sloane saw that she was inside a small wooden house of sorts that was made up of one big room and a smaller one that she guessed was the bathroom. There were some lockers and boxes, but she didn't see any sign of anyone else.
Then one of the two doors to the building opened. Sloane expected to see Ben or any of her step-siblings but instead saw an elderly woman dressed in a jumpsuit and a flight jacket. Following behind the elderly woman was a younger woman who was dressed in military armor and had a rocket launcher strapped to her back. Despite the rocket launcher being a heavy piece of weaponry, the woman carried it without issue. Both of the women also had some sort of device strapped to their wrists.
"Nice to see you awake, child. I was afraid you were never gonna wake up" greeted the elderly woman with a smile. A smile that soon faded when she saw Sloane's quivering lips and red eyes. "Are you alright, dear?"
"N-No, I'm fine" lied Sloane, sniffling while she wiped the tears away. She pushed herself up so she was sitting on the couch instead of lying on it.
"If you say so, child" answered Pearl, although she didn't believe her. "My name is Pearl and I'm the elder of the Boomers. This cheery gal beside me is our Master-at-Arms, Raquel."
Sloane met Raquel's hardened stare and was honestly in no mood for it. "I'm Sloane. Sloane Hargreeves."
"Well might, child" nodded Pearl, smiling.
"If you don't mind me asking, where are we?" asked Sloane, looking around. When the Machine reset the universe, she would've thought they would've returned to Hotel Obsidian.
"You don't know where you are?" asked Pearl, sharing a glance with Raquel.
Sloane shook her head. "No. I was with my brother and my husband's siblings, but then there was a flash of light and I awoke here." There was a lot more to that, but she couldn't go into detail with these strangers. They wouldn't believe her, and she was wary of the woman carrying a rocket launcher.
"Well then, let me be the first to welcome you to Nellis Air Force Base, home of the Boomers. You are the first outsider to ever set foot past its gates" told Pearl, spreading her arms out as if to showcase the grandeur of the base.
Sloane had her thoughts disrupted after being told where she was. "Nellis Air Force Base? Isn't that in Nevada?"
This time, Pearl frowned and Raquel's stare hardened even more. "Of course, it's in Nevada. Where else would it be?" said Pearl. "Oh dear, I hope you didn't hit your head too hard."
"My guards found you within the perimeter and I want to know how you got in without anyone spotting you" demanded Raquel, folding her muscular arms across her chest.
"I told you, I don't know where I am or how I got here" answered Sloane, glaring back at Raquel. She then turned back to the elder. "Was anyone else with me when you found me?"
Pearl answered with a shake of her head. "I'm afraid not. You were on your own when we found you."
Sloane looked down at her hands and gripped them to try and stop them from shaking. "Oh."
"I'm sure there's nothing to worry about, deary. They're probably out there looking for you this very moment" said Pearl, trying to reassure the young woman before her. Raquel believed this woman to be a threat, but after getting to talk with her, Pearl didn't see a threat. In fact, she may very well be the solution that Pearl had been waiting for all these years
Sloane looked up at Pearl's kind eyes and couldn't help but smile back. The elder's comforting words did help ease her thoughts a little. "That's right. If I got here, then so should everyone else. I should probably look out for them."
Pearl placed a gentle hand on Raquel's shoulder. "Could you give us the room?"
"Elder?" asked Raquel, looking like she wanted to argue.
While not happy about it, Pearl is the elder. Casting one last glare at Sloane, Raquel left Pearl's Barracks and made sure to close the door hard behind her.
Pearl shook her head. "Girl has a good head on her shoulders, but she has one hell of a temper."
"You could say that again" muttered Sloane. "What did you want to talk to me about in private?"
"Child, I think you could very well be the answer to all our problems," told Pearl in complete honesty.
"Excuse me?" asked Sloane, tilting her head.
"We Boomers like to keep ourselves secluded from the rest of the world. I'm the only one who lived long enough to remember what the outside world was like before we locked ourselves in this base" said Pearl, reminiscing about the time she and the rest of her group left Vault 34 and made a home in Nellis Air Force Base. "The young ones believe that seclusion and our weapons will keep the outside world away, but I think the opposite. Neon lights in the distance, patrolling robots, NCR army marching about. If we don't open up, even just a little, to the outside world, we'll eventually be consumed by it."
Sloane patiently listened to the elder, even if she didn't understand most of what she just said. "Okay, but what does that have to do with me?"
Pearl smiled. "It has everything to do with you, child. I've waited five long years for an outsider to make it past the howitzers. I don't know how you did it, but you did and I hope to use this to show the youngsters that not every outsider needs to be blown up. We've got a lot of work ahead of ourselves."
Sloane didn't like any of what the elder just said to her.