"Peanut" A Minuteman Story

Discussion in 'Non SS General Forum (Chat Here)' started by RayBo, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    Ok, I look at this and I think "absolutely crazy." :crazy I can't write. :lol
    Still, a while back ago "June" @MrCJohn said he needed a favor. hahaha, he wanted a minuteman story. Thinking about it now, in hindsight it is likely this is not what he was expecting. I am sorry, @MrCJohn if this isn't what you were looking for but this is the character I wanted to write about. :sorry

    For better or worse this is what came out. I did what I said I would do, but with a twist. I wrote a minuteman story, from the perspective of an NPC, not so much a Player Character or General. :bye

    I am sure it is horrible, riddled with errors, and proofread as if a second grader wrote it. Still, it's done. I wanted it to be something different. It isn't lore or fallout cannon. It was a little fun and I am ready for a break.

    This isn't what I thought it would be when I started. :scratchhead Such is life. :crazy Maybe just a little too hard of a project for old Raybo, and much too long. :punish
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  2. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    ~ Peanut ~

    A Minuteman Story

    Scene 1.0

    The Caterpillar

    [30 October 2287, somewhere near Starlight Drive-in]

    A hero isn’t some great person who magically arrives and does great things. A hero is an ordinary person who by living through extraordinary circumstances, accomplishes great things. Through hardship and sacrifice, they endure great challenges and obstacles. In so doing, when they act with uprightness and their actions of honor transform them and the world around them. They become that which we cannot forget. An ordinary person who becomes a “Minuteman.”

    ~The General, date unknown

    In an adolescent rage, Peanut chased Toby to the stairs of the ancient drive-in theater screen. The boy had just smashed a rotten, smelly, and sticky multifruit on the back of her head. The juice even now was clinging to the skin of her back and running down between her shoulder blades. It felt like the putrid larval goop that shot out of the ass of a bloat-fly. It wasn’t funny; the jerk had smashed it in thoroughly too. Then, the human by-product of a boy had ran-away laughing like an obnoxious squirrel for no apparent reason other than he was a son of an inbreed Molerat. Well, she would show him and everyone in their little settlement just how tough she was. When she kicked his ass. Peanut wasn’t going to let a prank like this go. She would have vengeance. At least that is what her inner voice told her. Hell, she had just washed her hair a week ago. She would have her payback on the prick. Soap was expensive and hard to find, and water was always in short supply for things like washing.

    Her mother had told her that the local boys might be giving her a little more attention of late, and she was right. She knew her body had been changing, which she attributed to the better food and water. Many human children in the commonwealth didn’t make it or grow up healthy because of starvation. The Starlight Settlement had been seeing some limited prosperity being on a trade route and the number of settlers allowing for some shops, not just subsistence farming. They had even gotten some better clothes, better rags at least. Life had been getting better until about 90 seconds ago.

    Peanut and her mother had moved here after her 6th birthday. She didn’t remember all that had happened about that time. Later, her mother had filled in the gaps saying how her father had loved electronics and old-world gadgets. One day a traveling scrapper had told him about an old but near intact electrical hobbyist ruin to the south. He was so excited that he left the next morning with her older brother, still just a meager twelve years young to see what they could find.

    They never returned, and no one ever went out to see what had happened to them. The commonwealth wasn’t like that, “cooperative.” It was a dangerous place, and if you couldn’t look after yourself and your’ s then well, you died. Things got tough for her and her mother during that time. Living alone in the commonwealth wilderness, a young woman with a young child, you were more likely to become sex slaves to a band of raiders or lunch for some of the native nasties. Starving Peanut’s mother traveled north, and two sisters took them in at Oberland station where her mother helped on the farm. A year later a merchant had told them that a new settlement was opening in Starlight. So, later that spring they traveled north again and settled here. Living in Starlight was good, and things seemed to settle down. At least her mother seemed to cry less at night as she mourned over the loss of her father and older brother. Something Peanut knew that her mother never really recovered from losing her husband and son. It was only made worse for her as she would never know their fate. Still, they had a community now, and that was good. Everyone seemed to know what to contribute to the communal to survive, or at least they figured it out. Most importantly, everyone helped with defense; everyone had a gun and looked out for each other in so much that numbers mattered. Numbers were significant in the commonwealth, more so the “number of guns.”

    Her mother had a small strip of land with five Multifruit trees they tended for food, which provided a little leftover to trade if they went a little hungry. They had a large and cozy home with three whole sheets of corrugated iron for a roof and some wood boards for walls where they could tie blankets up to keep the worst of the drafts out when the storms were cold. It was home, and all they had, and Peanut would protect it. Now this insult from a little punk of a boy. If this is what her mother meant by attention Peanut could do without it.

    Their feet made a metallic echo as Peanut chased her quarry up the dilapidated metal stairs inside the stairwell. As it was, Toby was a dummy for running into the ancient structure. Everyone knew there was only one way up. For Toby, there might be two ways down. The way they got up or the hard way when Peanut threw him off the scenic deck on the top. She would corner him, it was inevitable, and she intended for Toby to be using the alternative way down.

    She rounded the top of the stairs and the brightness of the afternoon almost blinded her. She had been working stockpiling produce in the shadow of the giant screen with a few others all morning. That was before Toby had executed his little prank. The actual brightness of the late morning hadn’t set-in yet down below where they worked in the shadow of the ruined structure. So, she squinted her eyes as they adjusted. But not even blindness would stop her now, her feet they knew the way, so her pursuit wasn’t slowed by the glare.

    Toby, having no choice stopped when he reached the end of the metal catwalk that capped the entire length of the dilapidated structures upper walkway. The walkway also served the settlement as an observation platform for early warning and guard duty at night. Hands-on the rails Toby just stood there facing off toward the south. He paid Peanut no attention as she approached; he didn’t even turn. Peanut also slowed as she came up behind him, sensing that something was amiss she tried to see over his shoulder, curious at what had so distracted him from her pursuit of fury?

    It was then she realized the world had become very quiet. Then two distant pops, nothing special, familiar sounds in the commonwealth. Toby jerked and turned to look directly at her. Peanut screamed! He had a hole on the right side of his face just below his right eye. Bone fragments visible jutting out from under a dangling eye and erupting gore from the socket. He collapsed like one would drop wet clothing and didn’t move other than to twitch, nerves denying that their brain was dead.

    All at once, everything went into slow motion; even sounds drew out as if the air itself had thickened into some surreal nightmare. Through force of will, Peanut tried to pull out of it and turned to the side. Turning and grabbing the rail facing into the center of the settlement, she intended to shout a warning as the popping sounds became more frequent and distinct. She could see the other settlers running to the north side of the settlement trying to reach the derelict central building that was long ago the control tower for the ruin where she stood now. They were not making it. One by one they were falling doting the old asphalt in little heaps.

    No, no, no, no, she thought when she saw her mother standing in her warn green dress in the center of the asphalt yard that was the courtyard of their settlement. Making eye contact, Peanut groaned in agony, seeing her mother start to lift her arm as if to wave, Peanut was close enough to see her expression. Her mouth was moving as if saying something, and her eyes held Peanut’s eyes, her mother’s face distorted as if holding something painful back. A word formed on her mother’s lips though not heard it projected its intent, “please.” Simultaneously Peanut could see the impact of the bullets as they tore through her mother’s dress, followed by the sprouting bloodstains. The fingers of blood blooming like grotesque flowers through the fabric growing more pronounced in the center of her torso and on her back, bullets having passed entirely through. She held herself for a moment, never looking anywhere other than at Peanut as the first raiders ran by. They paid the dying woman no attention. Slowly her mother fell to a knee looking lost and sad then just collapsing, her tiny form lost in the billowing cloth of her old dress.




     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  3. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    RESERVED 3
    Scene 1.1

    The world exploded again, and it startled Peanut back from her nightmare only to push her into another one of surreal sights, sounds, and movements. An absolute kaleidoscope of chaos. Peanut completely overwhelmed, screamed and fell to her knees in abject horror and disbelief. She lay there on the hot metal deck frozen and in shock. The sounds and screams too much to endure she escaped inward again laying there. Inside her mind, she could only hear her mother’s voice as the terror engulfed her. It was like her mother was making a statement. “Please,” she said slowly at first, then more deliberately. It was neither a plea nor a question, but more a command. The image strong in her mind of her mother, in her green dress, bloody holes expanding through the fabric and repeating the word “please,” it became a shout “Please.” It was then that Peanut echoed “please” with own her voice. Softly at first, then with something more. It meant something. It meant that this had to stop one way or another. Somehow this focused her, each time she said it, and she became more coherent. She repeated it faster and faster “please, please, please” giving her strength and she crawled to the center of the metal catwalk and found a rifle and can of ammunition the settlement leaders had placed there for the night watch.

    She put the rifle in the crook of her elbow and crawled on her stomach, pushing the ammo can ahead of her to the top of the stairwell. There she loaded and charged the weapon and sighting it down the stairway. Then, she waited. Unconsciously, under her breath, one word repeated again-and-again. Her mother’s last unspoken word, “please.” Peanut chanted it again and again as near a prayer before death as one can get when facing the unknown of her mortality.

    Eventually, a curious raider considered exploring stairwell. Peanut shot when he silhouetted himself in the opening. Her shot struck a little high, and loud ricochet pinged as the bullet hit the top of the metal doorjamb at the bottom, then lodged itself in some unintended but softer location. Given the age and condition of some of the weapons in the commonwealth it took a shot or two sometimes for the shooter to get things zeroed, after that most folks in the commonwealth could at least shoot competently in your direction. After that first shot and at this distance it was expected the next shot would be more accurate.

    These raiders were not so stupid as to believe otherwise. The price would be higher than they would be willing to pay if they attempted a rush to the top in near single file, given the 200 ft staircase and claustrophobically enclosed sides. Their better judgment ended any attempt at bothering with a lone settler left alive at the top. That settler being Peanut. The day had continued to grow hot, and the physical and mental shock Peanut had endured set-in as the long afternoon dragged-on after the attack. Peanut just laid there, trance-like for hours, focusing on the staircase.

    At a much later hour, dusk and the darkness enveloped her. Nevertheless, she remained there prone waiting for her attackers, though they were all long gone. The music of animals and insects began their evening prattle in the distance with the failing light. The melody overshadowed by the ever-consistent gunfire, which was the backdrop of life and death in the commonwealth. Only then did Peanut stop whispering “please” and lost consciousness with her last semi-conscious thought she whispered something new. Perhaps from despair, maybe a resurrected universal truth from inside her soul, she whispered “mercy” and then she blacked-out exhausted, falling eternally into a vortex of space and time.

    The universe seemed to pause for a moment as if thinking and an unforeseen connection formed. Had innocence just spoken, callout even? If one listened to the ambient noise of the surrounding nature, it seemed as if something old and forgotten had woken and had joined in the harmony, it chanted “mercy,” and the tiniest of creatures of a corrupted world collectively joined in her symphony. And, the vortex spun, its tip reaching out and others reaching for it as if in welcome.

    A dog gazed at the silhouette of a ruined old-world drive-in screen from the small ridge next to a burned-out settlement. He whined a bit and laid down in the dirt. The dog watched the moon rise behind the ruin. Tonight, he would sleep here. There was a chrysalis taking place, and so much for a dog to listen too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  4. RayBo

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    RESERVED 4
    Scene 2.0

    Trudy

    The butterfly must awaken

    [Halloween 31 October 2287, somewhere near Drumline Diner]
    “please” and “mercy” simple prayers for simple soldiers. All you ever need when you mean it. Besides, you’ll not have the time for anything else when it really matters.

    ~Unknown

    I woke with a start to “clang – clang” of something in the stairwell. I tried to move and get my rifle at least pointed where it should, like down the stair shaft. My body was not cooperating very well. I was still at the top positioned at the mouth of the stairs where I had been since yesterday, looking down, I tried to get my wits about me. Then, another sound from down below. Something had hit the metal steps at the bottom. The clattering reverberated as it bounced around on the surface of the metal steps. A rock maybe? “Hey anyone up there,” a young man’s voice echoed up. “Who are you I croaked?” My voice not near loud enough, throat parched from not drinking anything since yesterday. I tried to swallow and get some moister back to my throat to no avail.

    Fortunately, my earlier rasp was enough of a noise for the folks below to know that the person who was making it probably needed help. A few seconds later, an older woman stepped into the opening. I thought I recognized her? Trudy? The old merchant from Drumline Diner stepped into view. She had just pushing what I knew to be her gangly son Patrick out of the way as she looked up, stepping into the stairwell. Her voice was gentler than I ever heard it before but confident and firm.

    She called “don’t shoot.” Then asked, “honey you ok, is there anyone else up there with you?” I tried to stand only making it to my knees before I heard Trudy pattering up the stairs. Then, she was next to me. The lady was much more agile than her age would have indicated. Reaching me, she gently pushed me back and telling me to sit. She pushed some bottle of florescent azure liquid to my lips and told me to drink. It was sweet and tangy. I gulped it down, coughing up a little at the end from the carbonation. She patted me on the back, kneeling in front of me, lanky Patrick walking past with a pistol in view. She looked into my eyes and said honey, “it's ok now, I am going to take you home where it is safe. Your mother is dead along with everyone else, but you’re ok. It’s going to be ok.” I sobbed then, and she held me. Her head was next to mine. She just held me and whispered in my ear “mercy-baby-mercy” I have you my little butterfly.

    I stayed for a few days with Patrick and Trudy at Drumline while I recovered. Trudy was good to me, and I had some time to grieve without worrying about my survival. I probably wouldn’t have lived if it hadn’t been for Trudy and Patrick coming over to look for survivors that morning after the raiders massacred everyone.

    Trudy had heard through Carla, a traveling merchant that Sanctuary Hills was opening-up and needed help. Plus, they had some Minutemen there protecting the settlement. There was even a rumor that Carla had told, of magic homes called “plots” and training for all kinds of jobs. All just given out freely to new settlers, along with protection from someone called the General.

    Trudy was adamant that I would be better off on a real settlement like that. Better than some obscure trading post like Drumline. Trudy said that she had arranged for me to travel there with Carla and there would be no argument from me. I argued a little, but Trudy insisted that her small trading outpost was no place for a young woman. I would always be welcome but not safe. She said that when Carla next passed through, I would be traveling with her to Sanctuary. If the rumors were true, then I should stay there. If not, then I was to come back with Carla on her next run, and Trudy would figure something else out. I felt grateful, but I thought I would have been okay here. That is until I saw Patrick checking me out, in a creepy way, and I decided that Trudy might be right.

    Over the next few days, I helped around the trading post and got to like Trudy even more. Patrick was a little disturbing, so I kept my eye on him, but Trudy and I were becoming friends in a strange mom-daughter kind of way. Sometimes she even sounded like my mother had, making me pause and needed to inhale like I had lost my breath when I thought about her.

    Carla arrived several days later in the late morning. Carla and Trudy took to a diner booth and clucked like rad-chickens for an hour or two, drinking coffee and sharing old folk information and trader gossip. Patrick staffed the store, and I stood out back pretending to load scrap into a big metal bin. Once I caught Carla looking at me as I gaze through the trees. I had been trying to see the back of the drive-in screen. I don’t know why other than I had known it as my home for so long. When I looked at it, I had a feeling that I might not ever see it again, that the course of my entire life was about to change forever. When I glanced back her direction, Carla was still watching me. She nodded to me once with an understanding and reassuring look in her eyes. Somehow, that made me feel better and not so alone. I wondered why these ladies seemed to be watching over me as if they had been doing that my entire life, just as a family would have?

    The next day arrived like all the others. We said our good buy’s and Trudy gave me a big hug. Carla had started walking toward the road, but as I tried to turn, Trudy held my hand a moment longer than I expected and looked at me. I told her when I got settled-in I would send word. She just continued to hold my hand and not letting go. With a somber expression, she replied, “please do,” and with that, it was like a pulse of energy traveled up my arm and shocked my heart, and I let go. Breaking eye contact and hoping I wouldn’t tear-up I tried to go. Then she reached out and did the unthinkable. She messed my hair. I pulled back and fussed a little. What is this, messing with people’s hair? With that, I hustled to catch up with Carla, hearing a warm chuckle from behind me as I left.

    When I caught up to Carla, she called out to what had looked like a stationary robotic relic standing in the woods near the Diner. Electricity crackled when she called to it. “Packy! Lead the way,” she said, “Sanctuary Hills route: Charlie Romeo one-zero-zero-one.” Packy nosily came to life. The robot made quite the racket, all actuators, hydraulics, and servos as he lumbered ahead of us on the road leading North. She looked at me and said in a smoked-out voice, “come-a-long little-sis this old girl needs her exercise.”

    Once the noisy thing got far enough ahead for two people to have a conversation, she smiled at me, and we made small talk. She was a funny lady and told stories of her old set-up with a Brahmin that smelled horrible and caravan guards who smelled even worse. She told me about how she would wake up after staying overnight in a settlement to find her Brahmin “Daisy she called her” on the roof of a house or in spaces inside of buildings that should have been impossible for Daisy to enter. It had gotten to the point that once Daisy had wondered into a space like that, it was nearly impossible to get her out. Then one day Daisy got herself into a spot that we just couldn’t get her out of, she said sadly. I asked her what happened? She just smiled and said “Brahmin is some good eating.”

    She said caravanning was better now; she traveled alone except for Gunter he could carry everything she needed him to and had some impressive armaments that helped with the hazards of moving around. I told her I had never seen a robot like it, and she explained that the “@Yagisan Robot” or sometimes called a B-9 or M-3 G.U.N.T.E.R it is a legendary construct made by what she called the “Great Builders” in a place called the Nexus. Carla said she wanted to name it after a man that had a fancy for her when she about my age, but the name Wilber didn’t take with the Robots AI, so she just called it “Packy” and the nickname took.

    She then told me the story of her long-lost love, “Wilber.” She said he was a man that had a thing for her when she was about my age. He had been some mercenary or soldier and had left with her from a place called California. She said the trip to the commonwealth had taken her four years. They fought ghouls in Utah and Super Mutants in Colorado. I asked, “what about him, where is he now?” She just chuckled sadly. Oh, he didn’t make it. A coven of witches killed him in a place called Kansas. I was shocked, Witches? Were there such things? Sister, she replied, your sixteen, there are things in this journey that you can’t imagine, and your road, it's long from here.

    Changing the subject, she asked, how old are you, sweetie? “Sixteen?” She guessed, and she was right. I would be on 17, on the upcoming 4th of July. Seventeen is what most folks in the commonwealth considered an adult. Then she reached out and did the unthinkable. She messed my hair. I pulled back and fussed a little. What is this thing with older people messing with people’s hair? Carla laughed good-heartedly. You know sister one day you might like that.

    She was quiet then, and I could see by her stare, off into nowhere that whatever she was seeing was miles and miles away from the road we traveled. We walked on the rest of the morning, in silence.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  5. RayBo

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    RESERVED 5
    Scene 3.0

    Preston

    [30 November 2287- May 2288, Sanctuary Hills]

    When we help others, we fix ourselves.
    “the wounded healer.”

    When we try to fix others, for our own egotistic and selfish reasons, we hurt ourselves.
    “shot by one’s own arrow.”

    ~DAK



    When I arrived in Sanctuary Hills, a Minuteman name Preston discovered that I had learned my numbers and letters. He immediately assigned me to a “communications station.” He also got me what was called an internal plot in a dormitory on the second floor of new a building with a roof. It was so much more than just a bed. It was a for-real little home for me. I was issued better clothes, and mostly, I had enough clean water and food. It was so grateful I would almost tear up at times. I promised Preston I would always do my best to deserve all the kindness. He just said, thank the General.

    In my job, I learned to help folks called salvagers triangulate on beacons the General herself would set out in containers at locations termed caches. The General herself would stuff them with loot she had acquired and flip on a thing called a beacon. Then, I would dispatch a team of settlers to collect the items the general had left, and the team would return the loot to a settlement allied with the General. I would sometimes get a radio transmission of where she wanted the supplies to go. Sometimes the general would even ask me, who I thought would benefit the most from the items she had acquired.

    Me not knowing what folks needed went on for a while, but all I could say was, “I don’t even know?” (IDEK) One day I thought to myself it might be nice if I knew what folks needed? So, I did something amazing. Instead of waiting to be told by someone what they wanted, I asked! I impressed everyone then, even the General, said something like, “huh, I never saw a settler show initiative like that.” I asked all the settlements allied with the General to send me lists of what they were most in need of every week, which they did. It was then I realized that the salvagers were doing one thing and the provisioners were doing something similar. So, I talked to crazy Harley, our provisioner, and we started working together, and everything changed. All the settlers were grateful as they had the supplies they wanted when they needed them. Being the Generals salvage dispatcher was a fantastic job and so much fun. I got to meet so many people and started to have real friends like crazy Harley. All the Salvagers loved me and brought me neat things. Like clothes and shoes and other trinkets and my little plot room became very homey.


    I had just one problem that was difficult to leave behind. I would think to myself how blessed I was and how good it was to be safe and happy, but I couldn’t shake the feeling there was still something I was missing. Something more I needed to do. Then I would dream about my mother reaching for me as she and the others were massacred by the raiders. My Mom, always reaching for me yet holding me in place as if by some invisible force. “Please,” her soundless words kept coming from her lips like a stern warning telling a child to stop some mischief.

    No matter how happy I was and how much better things were for me, my heart ached, but I hid it well. If only I could share with my mother, my family, the happiness I was finding in my life now; then, I thought maybe I might find peace, but I couldn’t. Their loss seemed to grow in me as time passed. So, while many things were better, I kept meeting and seeing folks who just like me had lost so much. Their loved ones taken, their spirits shattered, and lives broken; to the point that when we took them in they seemed to wander the settlement aimlessly for days or collect in groups to stare for hours at seemly nothing or worse stare at something odd like rad-chickens or the little fuzzy bunnies that ran about the settlement.

    I also began to watch the settlement militia drill around Sanctuary. I always got up early so I would see Preston out drilling them. They were so organized and seemed to have a purpose to their lives that was more than tending to their own little plots. It was comforting seeing folks who were willing to protect me but, why I wondered? What made them want to risk themselves for someone like me? Then it dawned on me, and I had to sit down and think, my insight engulfing me. I had been in so much fear and felt at times broken like these others. I thought now, “what if I helped others, even protected them from what I had experienced?” Would helping others help to fix me, my fears and my past? Something told me that it would, that it was the only way and my path to my own redemption.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  6. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    RESERVED 6
    Scene 3.1

    Peanut’s Charge

    [30 November 2287- May 2288, Sanctuary Hills]
    Great soldiers don’t need to be remembered; they sacrifice that. To do what was right, anyway.

    ~Unknown



    Then one morning, it happened. I was meandering the settlement like I always did before taking my post at the salvage desk. I heard gunfire and a few Minutemen rushed past me lead by Preston. Then it seemed all the settlers were armed and sprinting past me. I followed. I don’t know why. I had no gun, but I followed anyway.

    Once we were in sight of the bridge, all hell started to break loose. The settler at the watch station by the bridge was down, and two Super Mutants were in the road with miniguns spraying the settlement indiscriminately with weapons fire. I plastered myself behind a corner of an old house looking for cover. The settler right behind me exploded, blown to smithereens. What remained of old Harold flying as a spray of bloody-body shrapnel for feet in all directions. Harold’s severed head rolled up to me and touched my foot.

    It was all happening again, and I screamed as the decapitated head looked up at me, lifeless eyes pleading, mouth seeming to say, “no.” Reality broke for me then and split into the pieces that once were Harold. No, it tore me asunder, torn apart again from the inside out. The world moved in slow motion, and all was silent. I saw the stain on the ground of the once old farmer Harold. It was like his body had exploded like a rotten multifruit on a shooting range, but his blood had just fallen to the ground. In the center of the gore, splatter was a gun. I raced out and grabbed it. I looked to my right. I saw the minutemen pinned down exchanging fire with Super Mutants fording the river in force. The two Super Mutants with miniguns were down, and other settlers were hacking them apart with machetes and knives. It was chaos.

    Then I saw her. Crazy Harley was trying to come across the bridge. She was limping, dragging her leg, obviously seriously wounded. The bridge guard post was now un-manned, and there was no one to help her. Behind her were two mutant hounds and two more Super Mutants! One with a sledgehammer, the other with a rifle and they were bearing down on a wounded Harley. I screamed her name, Harley! “no.” I screamed again inside my head, “please, please no.” Even the words inside my mind distorted into some stretched out to form, a “slower mimic of real pictures and sounds.” I don’t remember working the bolt on the rifle. I don’t remember picking up the extra magazines from a stunned settler. Everything was slow now, not spontaneous, and though my instincts had taken over it was like someone else was at the controls as my actions were deliberate with no wasted motion. There was a vortex and “I” at this moment was its eye.

    In the walls of the vortex scenes of my life played in slow motion. My mother reaching, murdered at Starlight along with the rest of the settlement dominated those scenes. I was apart seeing my life as if I was living it a second time, and I was able to see my insignificance and irrelevantly of my first go at it. I asked for mercy. The vortex replied, “redemption.” I became resolved, and I was moving, shooting, and killing as I advanced, I seemed to float toward Harley. I felt graceful, my motion smooth, in absolute control, tranquil even in the slow-motion world of my vortex.

    Not pausing my sprint, just fluid running, shooting and charging the bolt-home for my next round. Magically, the first bullet took one hound in the face just before it slammed into Harley but knocking her down. The second round took the other hound in the shoulder, stunning it long enough for me to kick it in the side as I ran past, causing it to fall on its side. The Super Mutant at the end of the bridge had stopped, and I saw it aiming at me. The sound of his weapon firing and my jerk to the side were near-simultaneously, and I felt something brush by my arm, feeling like someone had indirectly hit me with a small but heavy rock. No matter, I just pointed my weapon at him and fired back, point-blank into the center of his torso. I did not stop. I ran past him as he stood there looking down, confused look on his face as his blood squirted from his chest. The last Super Mutant was charging across the bridge, a large specimen maybe eight feet tall and then some, 500 pounds of hate. I was empty, no thought of my impending death as we sped towards each other. The Brute with his sledgehammer held high above his head in a two-handed grip roaring like a mythic god of war, moving at full speed to pound me like a stubborn nail into wood.


    That is when I tripped. I was so focused on Mutant that I missed the fact that half of the bridge had a rather large hole in the Treadway. Down I went, as he brought his super-sledge down on me, still only where my head had been. To him, it must have seemed like I magically disappeared. Unfortunately for me though, where the Treadway was missing, the support underneath was not, and my forward momentum caused me to make a headfirst dive into a very ancient but hard support beam, and that was it.

    I woke to a surprising sight. Mama Murphy was sitting next to me with a hand on my bandaged head. Dearie that is a mighty big bump on your little old head. My eyes unblurred, and I looked back at her, and she smirked back at me, saying; “you are a lot like me when I was a younger woman.”

    Preston stood over me then too, and what he said shocked me. Peanut, that was amazing. The way you charged across that bridge to aide crazy Harley and defended your settlement. I told the General last night what you did and how fearless you were. She wished she could have been here to tell you herself, but another settlement needed her help. For some reason, Preston got that eerie look again and smirked. Then he recovered a bit. So he went on, I get to be the one to tell you. The general instructed that a plaque be erected on the bridge when it is repaired. The inscription will be this, in her own words:

    By Decree of the General

    This site has been sanctified in blood as Hallowed Ground

    And henceforth will be known as the location of

    The Battle of Peanuts Charge

    Where joint forces of Sanctuary Hills, the Reformed Minutemen and one lone girl's courage turned the tide of the battle, overcoming a superior attacking force of Super Mutants.

    May 2288

    Preston said, “You’re a hero Peanut,” and both he and Mama Murphy looked down on me with care and respect in their eyes.

    Then Preston got a stupid and very creepy look on his face. Reaching out he did the unthinkable, he messed my hair. I tried to pull back, but I was in a bed and couldn’t pull-back, so he got his full fuss-on with my captive head. “What is this thing, people messing with other people’s hair?” Worse, half my head was bandaged due to the giant bump on it? Who would think that touching it was a good idea?

    Mama Murphy replied for me saying, “what the fuck, Preston?” Preston just said, “sorry, I just thought your hair needed my help?” Preston and I glared at each other for a moment in silence, him not knowing what to say, which was even more creepy. Then, that-was-that and I either fainted or passed out from his perverse fondling of the bump on my head. Only to dream of a minuteman hair-stylist chasing me while skipping around and yelling, “Peanut your hair needs my help.” Please, let me fuss with your hair.” I didn’t wake for a very long time, and it was a very terrible nightmare.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  7. RayBo

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    RESERVED 7
    Scene 4

    PFC Peanut Brittle

    You are selected to volunteer
    “action begets action, not a title”

    Minutemen often don’t know that they are minutemen. It isn’t duty that calls them, but the cry for assistance. Hearing the plea, they act without concern for themselves. They go to the aide of those who can’t aide themselves. At that moment they decide who they will be, maybe that is why they are called “Minutemen?”

    ~Unknown


    I thought - I was going to be a normal minuteman. In a standard minuteman highway team patrolling the roads. These were the minutemen I had seen; familiar faces those. These minutemen would have seen nights in the wild as the route patrols were usually hustling into a settlement well before dark, and drunk by nine.

    Instead, somehow, I was selected, and I volunteered to be a scout. I know that sounds confusing, and maybe it is?

    The way it worked is I could only volunteer after they selected me as qualified. They said it is a special kind of unit needing professional soldiers. I thought I want to be unique? So, because of my spur-of-the-moment decisions, to become something neat, “a Scout” and the prestige of being special sounded so great I answered “yes, why not” when given a choice.

    Now I wonder, what have I done? Unique isn’t what I am and what I am becoming is really hard. Worse, I don’t feel special. I feel a lot of things, and none of them are special unless of course, you mean pain.

    Still, now my honor, my mates, and duty keeps me here. “Oh, good-lord I am so screwed I could cry.”

    ~PVT Peanut


    Scene 5.0

    PFC Peanut Brittle

    [December - January 2289, The Greater Boston Wilderness]

    On the Job Training

    “A soldier’s trust in the fundamentals of operating within a combat environment is one of the most critical elements of their survival. Nothing in their training can substitute for the repetition of these skills in practical exercises.”

    ~Ronnie Shaw




    It was cold and wet and made near intolerable because I was so still. I was becoming painfully numb crouched in a bush, unmoving, in the middle of nowhere. Water kept blowing into my eyes as gusts of wind seemly changed direction with no account blinding me. I wanted to sit, but the water pooling beneath me would have made it even worse. My job? Watch the road. I was trying not to shiver, and my knees had never hurt as severely they did now. The point where my control and endurance that was my stillness had left me long ago. Now I was apart from my body’s weakness, separated. I was loathing the moment when I would move next almost as much as the stillness I was enduring now. I knew I was far beyond the point where moving would have made it feel any better. I fell again into my weightless void and existed to watch and listen. I prayed to unknown forces “please,” but for what I asked, I no longer knew.

    ~PVT Peanut the Scout Observer
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
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  8. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    RESERVED 8
    Scene 5.1

    PFC Peanut Brittle

    [January 2289, The Greater Boston Wilderness]

    Letters, numbers and practical exercises

    “Listen, shit-stains! If I had my way, we wouldn’t even issue you your weapons.”
    ~SGT Rocker

    The facts are: the fast-moving target is easy to see but harder to shoot. A slow-moving target is hard to see but easy to kill. In this job, either way, the moving target is a dead one.

    Here and now you will begin to learn how being still can make you near invisible, this is what I am teaching you. Your function is not combat, nor reconnaissance-in-force. We are scouts; you will learn to do what I call “going to ground.” You will become that which surrounds you. We don’t shoot. We get in, get hidden, get still, and we wait and wait some more. You observe, record, and report.

    The number one rule here is this “We are never to be Spotted or Engage the enemy! If this happens, then we have failed in our mission, and we have allowed the enemy to reconnoiter us, our forces, and our position. More folks than you will probably die because you or some other fucken moron thinks being a soldier is about jumping around and killing things. Will, it isn’t. It is about doing your damn job. Doing it as a small part in the bigger operation. You will learn to do it perfectly, even at the expense of your own life. Carry out your orders; this is what it means to be a scout.

    ~SGT Rocker


    My unit is the 4th reconnaissance team. There are just three of us as that was how the reconnaissance teams are organized. I am the observer PFC Brittle, that is what the name tag on my uniform says. I was so proud of that because my mother would have been so proud of it; that was her name too, “Brittle.” Folks rarely used last names “family names” in the commonwealth, but at least I had one. Some troopers had to make one up as they didn’t know theirs, but with that name on my chest, I felt like I carried a piece of my family and their memory with me everywhere I went.

    When I took my enlistment oath back at the Sanctuary Preston had administered the ceremony, and the General had honored the other volunteers and me by pinning a single chevron on our lapels. Thinking back, I am still curious why the General had looked like she was holding back a laugh when Preston read my full name, PVT Peanut Brittle?

    Now, as the observer for our team, I am responsible for getting in close and doing the observing of our targets. In our training exercises the Sergeants said; I was small, I was agile, and silent when I moved. Perfect for the observer position.

    My job is to move ahead of the other members of our team when we get to our objectives, get into a covered and concealed spot and relay what is happening in the area that we were scouting back to the trooper doing the recorder and communications job. The recorder is the next member of our team, Corporal Tad Pole. He records lots of stuff and operates the units one radio. He thinks he is a synth and says so all the time. I don’t know about that? I have made him bleed a few times when we are practicing our hand to hand fighting drills. He bleeds real to me and not like the prosthetic looking synths that I had seen recently, with holes in their skin and mechanical parts all showing.

    The last of our team is Sergeant Hairy Rocker. No one calls him Hairy, just Sergeant Rocker. Sometimes I have heard other Sergeants calling him just Rocker. He is the team’s leader. He does everything, including training Tad and me. He is mostly grumpy but sometimes ok, even patient. At least until Tad or I screw up and make him cranky again. When he gets grumpy then, he is a real Mirlurk Queen. Don’t tell him I said that, I think I would die.

    His role unless he switches with one of us is the team’s security. The security role means when Tad and I are doing the observing and reporting, he is pulling overwatch. He’s always making sure no one sneaks up on us while we are observing or recording target information on our objectives.

    SGT Rocker says that everything in the military has a structure and a purpose. He is always reminding us of our mission, and he makes us repeat it back to him endlessly. “A recon team is not to engage hostile’s but to infiltrate into hostile territory undetected and observe and report.” He has even threatened to take our ammunition from us saying that we still don’t completely understand what a scout trooper is all about and what undetected means.

    Every day since leaving Sanctuary Tad, I and the SGT have been drilling in things like hand-to-hand combat, unconventional weapons, fieldcraft, land navigation, and orienteering, explosives and math. Yep, lots of math. I could have never imagined that soldiers would have to do so much math, but we do it all the time. Trigonometry, distances, angles, conversions all of it and so much more: “bullets, water, weight, synchronization of time and speed” it never ends. The SGT says we’ll be dead before our training ends. That worried me at first, then he explained it a little better. That even he was still training, and always would be. A soldier can never know enough about his craft. The best thing to know he said is to “know that there is always something more.” I felt somewhat better after that. Somewhat.

    A big part of me being ready for our real missions is something called hand signals and sign language. Who would have thought I could talk with my hands and it could have so many nuances? I had started off slow in learning it, but I have been picking it up well-enough over the last month or so. Somedays the SGT won’t even let us speak while we are training and demands we used the signals and signs. The signals are more like abbreviated sentences where one signal might mean something like “the enemy is 200m over there” or “go somewhere and get ready for something when I tell you.” Even “do you see that over there at three o'clock?” Though it is a lot to learn, it seems that SGT Rocker is satisfied with my progress so far.

    Today he said my fieldcraft was inadequate, “I had problems finding good water for the team, but at the same time he seemed to approve of my critter tracking ability, food is a big motivator. He says my eyes are sharp and I differentiate colors and tones near and far better than Tad. Tad challenged the SGT about this and pointed out that he could see things move in the distance just as good as I could, and the SGT agreed, but he said, “Tad what color is the target?” Tad looked hard squinting, but still got the color wrong, but I could see it. The Sergeant said that was the difference between killing an enemy or killing your friends, “fratricide?” He went on, just seeing a target wasn’t good enough, seeing who’s uniform they are wearing was better and Peanut is better at it than you are. Tad dropped it after that.

    The SGT also thought I had a good “stomp” as he puts it. A stomp being the way one walks and lays their foot on the ground. It seems I was natural. That might be the only thing I had going for me, being naturally light and quiet, also a big part of why he had picked me over the other recruits back in Sanctuary. With the Sergeants instruction, I could probably sneak up on a Rad-Stag now, and if I wanted and maybe jump on its back before it even knew I was there. He also said my hearing was the best of all three of us. The Sergeant makes a point of making me use bits of old cloth and then stuffing them in my ears when we have our weapons exercises. Say’s it will help preserve it for a while longer.

    The oddest thing in our training so far is when he makes Tad, and I blindfold ourselves and tells us to see in the dark with our ears, noses, and memory. He does stuff like this all the time, like when we sit down for a rest. He makes us take off our sweaty hats, hand them to him, and then tells us to close our eyes. He then holds the caps or something else at a distance from one of us and asks, “who’s hat am I holding in front of you?” Sometimes he is a real molerat; he isn’t holding anything just some strange often smelly item. When we get it wrong, he assigns us some additional menial camp task as punishment.

    I understood this smell testing the least. When Rocker explained it. Peanut he said, you might be on a mission one day and where you go will be very dark, darker than you think possible. Your hearing may help you find or avoid your enemy like we have been training you, but if you are unlucky and the enemy has gotten in close, their sounds can fool you. It is your sense of smell that will tell you as a last resort if it is your battle mate coming up next to you or if an enemy is about to slit your throat. I started to understand then and wondered about our sergeant and if he had learned that from someone else or by experience?

    After that I took it a little more seriously and to my surprise, I did start to notice just how differently other folks smelled. When one day I caught the Sergeant observing me as I was sniffing some settlers we met on a trail; he gave me a little smile and a nod. He told me it would be useful when I can smell them coming and from what direction. That is when I understood just how important he thought it was. After that my nose has started to open a whole new world to me. One that I had never really paid attention to before but had always been there. Wow! Just wow.

    ~PFC Peanut the Scout Observer

    Super Trooper :)

    A Letter to Trudy
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
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  9. RayBo

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    RESERVED 9
    Scene 6

    The General

    [February 2289, Ten Pines]

    Pizza, Plots and Johnny Cash

    “I am going over there to the grove of multifruit and do my best “eating a cake in bush” Johnny Cash impression.”

    The response of the General after fixing a "bed situation."

    ~Piper Wright


    Mr. Pines was all kinds of worked up, and his nickers were really in a bunch, “a wad even.” The General had arrived late last night while he and his wife were asleep in their leaky, rickety, little shack. When the General was last here she had set-up, these things called plots. Mr. Pine hadn’t cared so long as he could keep farming his tato crop, he was happy. What happened next, he did not foresee. Settlers from around the commonwealth had started to arrive at the settlement and using the plot technology and materials provided by the General had erected some substantial homes and businesses. All of which were better than his own.

    One of the businesses was something special. A pizza parlor. It was so popular and delicious that the fat-ass trader Lucas Miller had told others about it. Mr. Pine wondered how someone who walked everywhere could be so fat? Now, Settlers were coming from everywhere wanting to settle at the farm, just so they could eat that pizza. The cannabis plot next to it wasn’t helping matters either. Now Mr. Pine needed more beds and more farming supplies, more of everything to keep the pizza plot trader happy.

    Besides, Mr. Pine got a cut of the proceeds stashed away in his workshop, so hungry settlers just meant he was losing money. Additionally, he wanted one of those cool plot thingies for himself and the Ms. Some of the plots the new settlers had constructed had turned out very nice. Much nicer than his pathetic, filthy, little shack, and this was creating problems with him and his little lady.

    When Mr. Pine saw her, the General was standing next to the pizza parlor with that nosey reporter gal, Piper. It was mid-morning, so a couple of settlers were ahead of them engaging with the merchant and the general. Now was his opportunity! Mr. Pine headed straight toward the General, and after having to navigate a couple of nav-mesh issues, he arrived. He pushed Piper aside so he could stand directly in front of the General. This unexpected behavior had interrupted whatever dialogue the general was having with the settler she had been talking to. Completely screwing-up the general’s trade options, thus stripping the poor settler of all her items and leaving her standing there naked. Confused the general frantically moved the mouse around but could not restore the trade screen. Pissed at having to start over equipping the naked settler, the general turned to the clueless NPC who had just messed everything up.

    Mr. Pine had planned this so well in his AI. He started with the immortal line, “Easy livin’ this ain’t,” the general gave him a blank look. So, he followed up with, “the farm’s not much, but it is something” and the General blinked-harder. Then he came to his Coup de grace, “some people have been complaining about the “bed” situation.” Adding his own two bottle caps of dialogue, “and my wife wants one of your fancy-pants-plots, with clutter, also.” Still not satisfied, he continued for good measure, “Ms. Pine says you owe her as she gave you your first quest making you the General.” The General had the blankest look on her face he had ever seen. She just blinked and blinked again. All he could hear was some kind of tapping sound, that he had no idea where it was coming from? Mr. Pine just waited for some sort of reaction.

    Suddenly, without preamble, it came. The general reacted, and holy-fuck did she react. She flew! Not flew as into a rage but actually flew-away. Into the sky! Stranger still, her body had disappeared, and it was just her head flying about. Was it something he said, and what voodoo was this anyway? The flying head sped like a bloat-fly to Brahmin-shit toward his shack. The head-without a body paused above his shack, and the shack suddenly disappeared, then the beds, then one-by-one his tato plants! His world was magically eliminated before his eyes. Everything he had ever known had just gone, taken magically by the disembodied head of this minuteman General.

    He felt lost like his meager AI was melting. He looked to Ms. Pine, and she was just aimlessly wandering off toward the cliff at the back of the settlement, her reason for existing, gone! Likely, she just realized that she was shacked-up with a pinecone of a husband. Either way, she was headed for the cliff.

    Just as quickly as the general’s head had left, the disembodied head flew back. The general's body rematerialized above them; then, fell from the sky landing right back next to Piper and himself. Piper, as if on cue, turned with a piping hot and bubbling mirelurk pizza-pie in each hand. She handed one to the General, saying, “here-you-go, blue.” The General thanked her, then turned back to Mr. Pine and said. “Listen, dumb-ass, if you could count you would know that you have twelve open plots here, I put in last night. Now go assign yourself and consider yourself lucky! The only reason I am here is I got a distress signal that this wonderful pizza needed liberating.”

    Mr. Pine was confused as he had not been able to hit-her up with another quest asked, “who sent you that pizza message General?” The General looked at her pip-boy, looked something up, hmmm, and said. “ @Tinuvia sent it,” says, “the @Myrmarachne had made a mirelurk deep dish that @uituit would kill settlers for.”

    “Now listen” the general continued, “go assign yourself and Ms. Pine to an open agricultural plot and that combo-residential plot tight there. She pointed. Check the plaque on the plot for the one by @RobotsSmell; it’s a combo. Perfect for you and the Miss. You’ll be fine.” I am going over there, to the grove of multifruit and do my best “eating a cake in bush” Johnny Cash impression!

    Those words became pizza legend at the Ten Pines Pizza Parlor the moment the general spoke them. The words have even become sim settlement lore of sorts.

    “I am going over there to the grove of multifruit and do my best “eating a cake in bush” Johnny Cash impression.”

    ~The General

    Now, some even say that the general’s special pizza can give you the power to fly and speak to bloat-fly’s. But, that might be due to the @innocentAlpha cannabis plot next to the pizza plot providing the special spices? Who knows?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
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  10. RayBo

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    RESERVED 10
    Scene 7

    Ivy

    [March 2278, Bradford Station]

    Like taking candy from a baby

    It was a sunny afternoon, and Ivy stripped near everything off except her underwear as she waited next to the trail, sitting beneath a tree on a very curvy bottom. She caressed one of her nipples through the lacy smoothness of her bra as she watched the lone Adventurer and his dog come wandering down the trail. If only I had a bit more time, Ivy thought? But, she had promised Curie and Darleen that she would be a good girl after Curie had proposed to play Doctor with her if she did “exactly” what Darleen was instructing. That was one thing that Ivy could not resist, playing patient to a sexy doctor with a French accent. So, here she was just her and her nipple, waiting.

    The instructions were simple. Ask the Adventurer to carry this backpack for poor tired Ivy to the house about a mile further down the trail. For this, she would give him fifty caps. When he got to the house, he should drop the pack in the middle of the road. This way, she could find it when she got there herself. As the Adventurer would have carried it to her destination for her.

    Ivy was getting impatient. She was looking forward to having Curie give her an exhaustive examination. She would be very – very sick for Curie. The Adventurer approached, and Ivy turned her feminine wiles up to “max-setting,” her synthetic pheromones nearly dripping off her sweaty, slick and silky skin as her nanites kicked into production overdrive.

    This guy had no chance. He dumbly looked Ivy up and down when she stood up and stretched, running her hands up and down her flanks and bottom as to brush off anything that had decided to stick to her very curvy and moist body. She approached and began to explain her predicament to him. By the time she finished, her maiden-in-distress performance, he was putty in her hands. So-much-so that the poor Adventurer literally could not form words. So, Ivy handed him the caps, and he said some gibberish in return as he picked up the backpack.

    Ivy thought she might have to turn-it-down a little next time as this guy was all but incoherent in his actions as he picked up the backpack. Once the pack was secure Ivy pinched him on his cheek, blow him a little kiss and in the most exaggerated way, mouthed the words “thank you” as she struck her innocent little girl pose. The adventurer blinked a few times then just started walking away, if a bit stiff-legged. Only his dog looked back, Ivy winked at the dog and sat back underneath the shade of the tree. The dog, knowing better yelped at her, turned and hurried to get ahead of its master and away from Ivy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
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  11. RayBo

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    RESERVED 11
    Scene 8

    PFC Peanut Brittle

    [March 2278, Bradford Station]

    The SandBox

    I will never forget the General at that moment. She looked around, seeking eye contact with each of us. Taking a deep breath, her demeanor seemed to instantaneously sharpen as if finding some spark within her; then, exhaling she said this.

    “Just one of you, just one will decide if we live or die in the assault tonight.” She lifted a finger and pointed at all as if one, her eyes flashing in the artificial light of the lanterns.

    “That one is you.”

    Though there was at least 30 of us surrounding the sandbox representing the assaults order of battle I am sure that none of us thought she had spoken to anyone else. It was clear she had just spoken to each of us individually as if only the two of us had been in the room.”

    ~PFC Peanut, a letter to Trudy


    The SGT Kicked my boot and said, get up private your coming with me tonight. I gathered my things and slinging my rifle over my shoulder. Usually, the Sarge didn’t include us in his meetings when we were in bivouac “a tactical camp” when we were refitting, resupplying, and reorganizing. I glanced over to Tad, and he just shrugged, so I got up, got squared-away and hurried to catch up to the Sergeant.

    He said nothing as we passed through the brush until we got to a tent set into a small clearing. I had seen it before in other minutemen bivouac camps. The tent meant that this meeting was central to the grander operation. As we got nearer, I could see the large tent had a smaller tent right in front of it. We entered the more modest tent, and I wasn’t surprised to find it pitch black inside except for a line of light at the other end indicating the flap where it attached to the main tents entrance. Light discipline around the command tent was standard operating procedures for us now when in bivouac. The command tent “as it was called” would be erected after dark and typically disassemble before morning. It meant the General was here and here to give orders.

    Inside there were two lanterns at each end. The center of the floor sectioned off with strings tied to nails in perfect squares, making a grid, and under that grid, the ground was shaped into miniature depictions of locations around the commonwealth. Studying them, I could see familiar places from around the commonwealth. It was like a child had created an elaborate sandcastle realm with roads and villages and hills and forests. All if it depicted accurately, in miniature with sticks, branches, and dirt carefully formed to make a portrayal of the northern commonwealth. The architect of this sandbox had left enough open space in the front and around the sides, creating a “u” shape to the room where two files of observers could see the sandbox. At the head of the “u” stood the General, alone. She made small talk with the minutemen already in the room and graciously acknowledged several of the new ones as they funneled in. A few minutes later when it looked like about 30 of us were in the tent one of the Generals mysterious Thrall, “we called them wraths” entered the tent and stood in front of the entrance flap. A thin and fit lady that could not have been much more than four or five years older than me. Her brown hair done up in a bun on the back of her head and seemed to be the kind of person who would cut a joke in the face of death itself. She had an open and friendly smile, but the scar on her chin told another story, one of a survivor. Like so many of us, survivors her scar told a story. Going along with her look, she had the most amazing weapon sling of over her shoulder. An immaculate assault rifle with double clips taped together seated in the weapon's magazine well. She announced, “they are all here, general.” The General responded simply, “thank you, Heather.”

    The General stood off-center of the room, the only person standing on the map itself. She was magnificent. Beautiful, confident, and a bit sad all at once, but the desolate look came only from her eyes adding little crow’s feet to their edges. She exchanged pleasantries with a few of the troopers patting them on their shoulders and shaking hands in some cases but always making eye contact with the individual she focused on. The general gracefully disengaged herself from the troopers and carefully walked across the map, making sure not to disturb the carefully crafted representation at her feet. The general moved to the center of the depiction, the room stilled, and the murmur of voices ceased.

    Then, the general looked down like someone summoning something like courage. A trait that none of us thought the general lacked. She took a deep breath and exhaled, and it seemed as if the rest of the room simultaneously held their collective breath. Then she started to speak and said the words that would frame my attitudes towards being a minuteman forever. Her face sought each of ours, her eyes sparking to life, the fire from the lanterns reflecting as if it was coming from the inside and she made eye contact and spoke from the soul to my soul.

    “Just one of you, just one, will decide if we live or die in the upcoming battles.”

    “Just one of you, just one, can decide the fate of the entire commonwealth.”

    She lifted a finger and pointed at all as if one, her eyes flashing again, even brighter with the orange fire of the lanterns.

    “That one is you.”

    The world froze for a moment and time itself paused as if to pay attention. Though there was at least 30 of us surrounding the sandbox, none of us thought the general had spoken to anyone else. It was clear she had just spoken to each of us individually as if only the two of us had been in the room. It was as if something more, something greater had just been here. Then it was gone, fading away slowly and silently. It took seconds to come back from within “us or ourselves” to the here and now. That is how deeply the Generals words had sunk into me. Looking around, I think it was no different with anybody else, not even with the seasoned troopers. I found that I shook a little, but it was not from a chill.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
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  12. RayBo

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    RESERVED 12
    Scene 8.1

    I did not understand everything that happened next, but oddly, I did understand what the General was saying when it applied to our team and me. I also began to understand the bigger picture and what would be happening around me when it happened. I could see it in my mind as she danced and pointed across the map as she spoke. Repeatedly, she talked of something called a “Hail-Mary.” I never figured out the metaphor, but her sweeping gestures across the northern commonwealth seemed to convey that she intended for us to advance rapidly across a broad area.

    “We will move swiftly to remove all resistance in the following targeted locations of the Northwestern Commonwealth: Outpost Zimonja, Greentop Nursery, and Breakheart Banks in a strategic hail-Mary operation. Concluding the first phase, we will consolidate at the Slog. At the Slog the minutemen will establish a blocking position at the bridge going East, and our main thrust will turn south to liberate the settlement of Finch Farm and County Crossing. Thus, providing a base of operations to retake the Castle. Phase two will conclude with the minutemen reasserting control over the castle and this surrounding area.”

    The room stirred visibly with excitement at her words, yet no one interrupted the General though she paused as if expecting it. To my surprise, she then turned to SGT Rocker and said, Hairy can you fill us in. I almost went to complete shock by her use of SGT Rockers first name, but he took a single step forward and solemnly nodded to the General who stepped back, and SGT Rocker began to speak.

    “The Enemy Situation is as follows in our sector of advance:

    Outpost Zimonja. Raiders, three-light and one leader – heavy weapons and power armor.

    Dark Hollow Pond South. Sightings of Super Mutant patrols 3 to 4 in number, at least one heavy weapon in each patrol plus some bands have a Super Mutant Suicide Soldier in addition to the typical team.

    Breakheart Banks. A significant Super Mutant strongpoint. The noncombatants are dead and hanging in lunch bags. At least one Super mutant Boss, established guard posts, obstacles including surface laid mines. Multiple heavy weapons and the Green skins are equipped with improved armor. Expected resistance forces to be around ten, including the hounds.

    Greentop Nursery had only two neutral noncombatants. Here we have started to see Gunner patrols probing the area as if looking for something and increased Super Mutant Activity.

    The Slog. Eight to nine noncombatants. Significant threats nearby, known and unknown.

    Saugus Ironworks. Significant Raider Strongpoint. Observations indicate from the supplies brought in it is likely to have around 30 combatants, well-supplied, armed, armored and organized. The strongpoint is well fortified and guarded with limited access points.

    The Sergeant then nodded to the attendees and stepped back next to me, indicating he was finished with his information dump. The General thanked him and stepped forward again.

    In a clear voice, she continued. The concept of the operation is simple. A strike force lead by Heather and myself will move ahead only stopping on each objective long enough to consolidated and hand-off the target and any causalities to a follow-on force lead by Preston who will occupy and establish defendable logistics bases. Piper will accompany Preston’s force to help with civil affairs and organization.

    A vanguard team consisting of Curie, Ivy and Darleen will arrive at each objective before the arrival of the strike forces and establish an observation point then reporting back to our operational rally point before each attack and perform final forward scouting of the objective before each assault.

    Sergeant Rocker the scout forces will reform under you into a screening force. Your troops will screen East of Dark Hollow Pond and along our axis of advance.

    Once we secure the Slog, select individuals and I will form a thrall and remove the forged from the commonwealth.

    The general held up her hand. Now we have much planning to do and questions that need answering, but before that, I want to add two things.

    The first thing I want to do is confirm one of the rumors that have been floating around. Cait, at this moment, is escorting a contingent of exiled minutemen up from the south. Accompanying this group is the legendary minuteman, Ronnie Shaw. A minuteman for at least 40 years she is probably the last living minuteman to have a working knowledge of forgotten technology. A tech that has been lying dormant all these years hidden inside the Castle. She has told us that she still possesses that knowledge and will help us reacquire the technology. The tech I am speaking of is the blueprints and parts for artillery, specifically cannons, really-big ones.

    At this point, the general stood a little taller and stepped back as if to look at us all again. “Minutemen of the Commonwealth I tell you today that soon the enemies of the commonwealth will feel our reach and the boom of our cannons. The cannons of freedom and they will rain justice upon those who wish the commonwealth harm.” The room remained silent as mouths were left open and speechless. I didn’t even think I knew what a cannon was, but I had heard the word before, something about a big thing shooting another big thing out and over a distance. When several of the troopers started to grin, the shock of her words wearing off and an agitated murmur began to rise the General just said, “at ease” and everyone quieted down and refocused on her. Thus, she prevented the eruption of energy that had been building as some of the troopers started to realize what this revelation meant. Seemingly this was not the place nor the time for noise, but it did instill into each of us that there was hope for our eventual victory if we're successful in securing the Castle and getting access to these weapons.

    Smiling smugly, she said this leads me into the next issue. The general was “clearly” trying to suppress her a grin as she went on, but the tone in her voice betrayed her satisfaction in the assembly’s reaction. Now, we need to identify troopers who poses the aptitude to operate such weapons. Mathematics, knowledge of the terrain, communications, disciplined, and unshakeable control. To this end, we need to start somewhere. That somewhere is here, tonight. Tonight, we establish the 1st Commonwealth Bombardiers. The first assignment will be a full minuteman corporal with all the responsibilities and privileges of that rank. These troopers will employ weapons that are in my time as “The King of Battle.”

    The First is the first selection and assignment in the establishment of our new Artillery contingent, “the King of Battle as is has come to be known in military history. The first trooper that we have selected for assignment to this formation will be Corporal Peanut Brittle. Peanut, please step forward and receive your new rank and insignia, which is effective immediately. Once we take the Castle and Shaw arrives you two will form the core of this new contingent of the minutemen, the 1st Commonwealth Bombardiers. A near-silent cheer broke loose from the assembly, and PFC Brittle’s smile represented well the combined emotion and of hope of a brighter future for the commonwealth in all present.

    Except for the one attendee that slunk further back into the corner of the tent, Hairy pretended not to notice, but he did. He did, and so did the German Shepard that laid quietly in the dirt on the edge of the map. Dog, appearing only to be watching the generals every movement with pure admiration; saw the man who withdrew. The man's heart was beating so quickly the dog thought he might faint.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
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  13. RayBo

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    RESERVED 13
    Scene 9

    Curie, Ivy, and Darleen

    [March 2278 near Outpost Zimonja]

    Like eating candy from a stranger

    Later, that night. Actually? Early the next day, in the crisp hours before dawn Boomer was snoozing in his power armor frame next to the fading campfire. He and his band had been tracking a wondering Adventurer all afternoon the day before, but the fucker had a dog which seemed to have alerted the Adventure that he was in jeopardy of getting hijacked and the Adventurer had gotten away. To Boomer's satisfaction, the lone Adventurer had dropped his backpack; probably, to lighten his load and escape the threat following him? The pack had been burdensome, cumbersome as it was full of boos, drugs, and food, and all the good stuff that bad-asses like him and his crew loved. Hell, the contents alone must have been worth hundreds of caps. Thus, Boomer and his posse had celebrated hard, really-hard with their easy won, but ill-gotten gains that night. Maybe just a little too hard.

    Three Wraths wrapped in skin-tight leather moved as unearthly shadows of darkness, descending into a lonely raider camp somewhere in the hills north of Boston. No guards except for a lone raider in a power armor frame stood in a drunken stupor near a dying campfire. Curie, Ivy, and Darleen, the latter two using their onboard thermal sights each selected a primary and secondary target. Curie held back in reserve in case something went a miss. As if performing a synchronized ballet knifes penetrated the throats of the first two raiders, driven upward under their jaws so that the tips of the combat knives could sever the back of their brain stems where they connected to the spinal cords. The moth bouncing on the one powered light in the camp made more noise. Seconds later the same, and two more souls joined the first two in their journey to hell.

    Boomer felt what seemed like a warm fresh puff of air on his ear as if someone had exhaled or intentionally blown on it. Was he dreaming? The puffing sensation came again, on his nose this time, it smelled like oranges. That is if Boomer had known what oranges smelled like? As he woke, blinking his blurry bloodshot eyes opened to find a red-haired woman clinging to the torso of this power armor not two inches from his face. She spoke softly like a lover would, “I-m Darlene.” Boomer inhaled in surprise then, realizing this was not a dream but stopped breathing just as quickly unable to exhale as both lungs froze in convulsions. Two combat knives penetrated the gaps in the power armor frame, one on each side. Darlene twisted both adjusting her perch on his torso to get a bit higher and rotating the knives a little more. Boomers inhaled breath now escaping through these new improvised exits. Darlene bit his nose as his eyes widened in realization, and she said one more time, “I am Darlene.” A Moment passed as Darlene admired her face’s reflection in the dead man’s eyes, the light of the dawning sun reflection off her face into the glazing orbs. Smiling, she appreciated that reflection; it was pretty. When she was sure, his fire was out, “being she could detect no brain activity with her sensors.” She blew another puff of air at his face; this time, Boomer did not blink, but his eyes were still very open and still very startled. She would leave him that way. She whispered to the dead Boomer one more time, just to make sure he knew, “I’m Darlene” then hopped off her perch.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  14. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    RESERVED 14
    Scene 10.0

    CPL Peanut Brittle

    [April - May 2278, Lake Quannapowitt, Dark Hollow Pond and Old Gullet Sinkhole]

    You need all six inches

    We had been the 4th reconnaissance team. In all, there had been twelve recon teams. Now under “Sr” Sergeant Rocker, we reorganized into squads consisting of two fire teams to a section, and two sections to a squad. Each of the three squads had a Sergeant, and each team had a Corporal. Where our mission before was to move unnoticed and observe, now we were a screening force, and I was about to learn that there was a lot more to the craft of being a soldier than I had imagined.

    Where before there was only three of us and we were sneaking-around all the time, and mostly at night. Now there was over forty of us — all with differing skills, training, and equipment. Until three days ago I hadn’t seen these many troopers in one place. SGT Rocker wasted no time in organizing the gaggle and implementing his training plan. He called it “small unit tactics” and immediately started to relentlessly train us in what he said was “relearning how to think.”

    In the following days, Rocker drilled our new formations unconventionally. We had ever experienced anything like the things Rocker had us do. That made me wonder where had he been to learn stuff like this himself? To say he worked us hard was not accurate, but it was still valid. First, Rocker made it very clear to us that we would be training to fight and operate at night because it was the most difficult and most dangerous environment he could create outside of real combat. He made it clear that if we could master what he was teaching us at night that we might not kill each other in a fight in broad daylight. Often after saying that he would chuckle. No one wanted to ask him what was so funny.

    Our training was not Minuteman mulita training in Sanctuary, nor scout training in the wild or settlement rout security patrolling. We had no set sleep schedule, and our training started in the afternoon with instructions, rehearsals, and walkthroughs of what we would do that night. Then, as dusk fell and without a word, we would form-up, teams already knowing our different responsibilities and move out for the nights “antics.”

    At the specified time and sequence, we would all just silently evaporate into the surrounding woods. Each of the teams knew just what the others were doing when they would do it, and why they did it. The excitement came at the end of each night’s operation. All of them concluded with us finding and killing one of the local nasties. Afterward, Rocker pulled everyone together by lantern light and reviewed how all of us did that evening. Then we would move back tactically to our bivouac site, establish security, and recover.

    In this way, we learned how to coordinate our movements, move together, and know without seeing what other teams were doing in our formations and different situations. Sergeant Rocker emphasized the importance of taking a spontaneous situation like “enemy contact and making it into a deliberate reaction. To move, act and kill, deliberately as a coordinated team, supporting each other with our fire and movement. Each day my confidence increased as I became more aware of the fighting organization we became as we worked.

    Scene 10.1

    We broke bivouac two weeks later. As we moved out our formation was a “Vee” formation with one squad in the middle and further back (2d Squad) and two forward (1st Squad) on the north side of (2d Squad) and (3d Squad) the one I was in on the south side of Rocker and (2d Squad). The tips of the “V” were each lead by a single trooper experienced in tracking. SGT Rocker stayed with the middle 2d squad. My team Carole, Sam and I were one of the four fire teams in the (3d Squad). Just like a recon team, a fire team fought, operated, and lived in 3 trooper subdivisions. It is “that us troopers lived or died by the rule of three.” As I was now a corporal, I was leading a fireteam. I was comfortable with my two troopers Sam and Carole as they had spent a little time as guards at Abernathy Farm then Sam had been a militia unit patrolling a trade route, and Carole had been in one of the other reconnaissance units. They weren’t green, but Rockers training had made us confident in each other. I wouldn’t call any of us experienced given the stories I heard from some of the grizzled veterans. Still, we became much more prepared for whatever laid before us. I began to wonder if there was more developing between the two of them than met the eye, but unless they made that my business, it would stay their business.

    Tad had a new team of his own. Being a corporal, he was leading his fire team in (1st Squad). I also noticed, that when SGT Rocker had reorganized his forces for this operation, he hadn’t kept us together but spread his old team out into each of the new ones under his command. I chuckled, SGT Rocker was always deliberate, so I knew that his placement of us into each of his units was by-design. Likely, to facilitate communication if things went to shit. I remembered SGT Rockers rules of combat training as it was critical to our last job he called them “how to think.” He was always hammering into us to “prioritize, organize, and communicate.” Given my understanding of his logic, spreading us out made sense.

    His second rule of combat was “to make the spontaneous – deliberate.” I asked what he meant by that; he just smirked and thought a bit. Then, he said, “you are less likely to kill your comrades by accident when you are killing an enemy deliberately. When you are under duress and need to kill spontaneously, the opposite happens. It also means that you were surprised and staying surprised will get you killed.” So, then everyone is dead, and the enemy is happy. That is why deliberate is what you need to be; it fixes those problems.

    Then he would remind us and say, “you need to understand and use the first rule in-order to accomplish the second rule.” As we walked across the countryside, keeping an eye on our surroundings, my mind wandered a bit, and I realized that I had never asked how many rules where there? If trooper logic was real, then there should be three rules at least, given the “rule of three?” Was I one rule short? I would have to ask the Sergeant when I next had the opportunity.


    Scene 10.2


    Later that night, I got the opportunity, and I asked the Sargent if there were more rules? He was sitting in the dark on a fallen log scribbling illegible lines into the dirt with a stick. He just said, “take a knee, trooper.” In a few moments, he finished doodling with his stick and said, “there are many rules some written some just experienced. Some rules change, and some don’t, but what I say are “rules, aren’t rules,” they are a way to think. A soldier from the old world, before the great war, said.

    “The most important six inches in any battle is between your ears.”
    ~Mattis

    That Peanut is what is what I try to teach you. To use the space between your ears to the best of your ability. Every every trooper has two brains, almost like Brahmin just without the actual second head. The conscious and the unconscious. Deliberate action needs the conscious one, and I teach you how to Prioritize, Organize, and Communicate. A spontaneous activity uses the unconscious side, and its normal reaction is fight or flight. I train you to React appropriately, Report, and Reevaluate). I am teaching both your brains how to think and make your spontaneous reactions change quickly into deliberate responses that I hope will save your life or save the lives of the soldiers around you one day. Your hunches or instincts are still there. I am just improving them, teaching you how to harness them to stay alive.”

    He asked if I understood? I started to reply but instead made a fist held it a chest level and signed “yes” by nodding my fist as if it was a little head. The grin on the Sergeant’s face was so broad I could see his teeth reflecting in the moonlight “he had taught me something hadn’t he.” He responded simply by turning one palm upright as if holding a plate and swiped once across the top with his other. Indicating that, “I was dismissed.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  15. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    RESERVED 15
    Scene 10.3

    Sitting there in the dark, Sergeant Rocker watched the little trooper go. Her shadow fading in the starlight, he listened; “Fuck,” he thought. That trooper could move soundlessly, and she had a lovely silhouette while doing it too. Smiling to himself, then thinking better of it, he said to himself, “yeah deliberate,” and another shadow crossed his mind from another place and another time. He looked away, but that image wasn’t one that faded into the night’s darkness. It burned in a hellish nightscape of smoke, fire and horrific smells. He pressed his eyes shut for a second as if to reset the image he saw and under his breath, he said to no one in particular, “please.”

    Then a moth hit his forehead, and he swatted it away. Tomorrow they would move into more dangerous terrain. As he thought about the inexperience of many of the troopers, one thought repeated again-and-again in his mind, “mercy” and this was very loud tonight. Loud enough to overcome natures melody, the night song, and all its little voices.

    Scene 10.4

    In the wee hours of the morning, we passed Lake Quannapowitt to our left. It was still dark when the signal pasted that we were at the Line of Departure; everyone knew what to do as we had rehearsed it. 1st Squad broke off to secure Radio Tower 3SM-U81 as the organizational Rally Point for the main Assault on Breakheart Banks. 2d Squad and was to continued east to secure the Mass Fusion Containment Shed location for Preston and the follow-on force to set up a logistics base and 3d Squad with my team headed Southeast to secure the Old Gullet Sinkhole supporting our Objective of screening the south for the main advance of Greentop Nursery, Breakheart Banks, and the Slog.

    Scene 11

    CPL Peanut Brittle

    [June 2278, Malden and Old Gullet Sinkhole]

    “No plan survives the first contact with the enemy. What matters is how good is the commander’s intent and how well can subordinates adapt and act-autonomously within the boundaries of a commander’s intent in the chaos of battle.”

    Take Command & lose Control
    ~The General


    The Battle of Boredom

    Peanut was feeling drained but not from exertion but boredom. In Peanut’s mind “screening to the south” had meant moving through the wilderness hunting anything that could disrupt the generals “hail-Mary” in the north. Containing an objective that didn’t move was crazy to her, worse was her part in that containment was now operating a checkpoint on the road to nowhere.

    When they had first gotten here about four weeks ago, it seemed like it was going to be exciting and they would be doing lots of tactical stuff. They had discovered Death Claws and Ghouls in their sweep of the sinkhole which would have been dangerous if they had blundered into it unprepared. Then, a bit more disturbing was when they swept south of the sinkhole, just north of the Malden ruins. They had encountered an unusual number of Super Mutant hunting parties. Once reported, the General had felt clearing the area of the native residence at the sinkhole, and the noise it would create would draw the Mutants north. Not to mention putting trooper lives at unnecessary risk in a clearing operation that wasn’t critical to the primary mission further north — assessing that the native nasties in the area were no threat to the main advance to the north and a deterrent to Super Mutant reinforcements. The General and her other leaders had decided that containment and observation were the desired course of action. Breakheart Banks, Greentop, and the Slog were the strategic priorities. Supporting this, Rocker had told them to secure the road directly east of the sinkhole, between the sinkhole and Greentop nursery, and to make sure no nasties came up from the Malden Area. Screening the flank of the main effort had turned into a static mission to control a road for Peanut and her team.

    Only now, Peanut felt forgotten. Though she saw her squad leader and the other four corporals every day, they hadn’t moved for almost a month, and the checkpoint duty was mostly uneventful except for the occasional rogue bloat-fly or radroach that wandered too close.


    Scene 12

    CPL Peanut Brittle

    [June 2278, Malden and Old Gullet Sinkhole]

    “Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakens.”
    ~C.Jung


    A few more days went by, just like all the others. Hot and melancholy, and Peanut would start to daydream at times realizing that soon she would be 18 and hoping that when she eventually got assigned to the artillery unit, met Ronnie Shaw that her life would somehow pick up pace. She felt she needed some stimulus to figure out who she was. It was then that she first got the feeling, maybe it was all the daydreaming, but in her heart, she felt like she could be something more than a settler after all the fighting was over. Someone more than a part-time soldier, something more permanent. This wasn’t bad. In fact, it was better than she could have ever imagined just a few months ago. It was like her soul was trying to speak to her, but it was hard to understand what it was saying.

    These thoughts were strong and getting stronger as the days dragged on. More and more, it became apparent to Peanut; as the long hours of guard duty turned into meditations on the meaning of her life. It was like some internal voice of fate was now speaking to her and Peanut being Peanut, she listened. These thoughts helped her pass the hours and, in these hours, she thought maybe she could be strong enough to define herself and her fate? Perhaps even she could have a unique destiny somehow, “whatever that destiny was.” Then she had her epiphany. She knew she had it. The meaning of her life for her! The purpose of her life was that she needed to give it one. She needed to give her life the meaning she sought and that it needed. It was her responsibility.

    Now she needed to figure out how? Then again, perhaps she was just lonely and confused, and this boredom was playing tricks with her mind. She longed to be around people once more and see new things, and she wanted to learn new things. She was ready for the “what next” in her life. She hoped that being an artillery trooper would help fill the gap in “how” to she would give her life meaning. Inside she knew she had resolved the big question. Her life did have a purpose, and that was, “she needed to give her life its meaning.” That night as if destiny had heard her lamentations, a currier came from Breakheart Banks.

    Later that afternoon after debriefing the sergeant the currier came down the old road together. Peanut was not aware of who accompanied them until they got closer, and of all people, it was “crazy-Harley,” her friend from Sanctuary “white pigtails and all.” Harley wore corporal rank Peanut was wearing. The Sergeant smiled at Peanut. Good news we are being relieved tomorrow and Rocker has ordered us to do a handover of the position here and for you to meet him at Breakheart in 48hrs for further reorg.

    The corporal here, the sergeant motioned to Harley will be taking up the post here with her team. Please show her the ropes. Peanut saluted her sergeant smartly, and he rolled his eyes as this was a long unpracticed gesture, more so in the field and never between NCO’s. Harley giggled at the humor in the situation and the light-hearted joke that NCO’s don’t salute each other. The Sergeant turned to head back up the trail, but as he left, he turned and winked, “you corporals don’t stay up too late talking operations, got it.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
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  16. RayBo

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    RESERVED 16
    Scene 13 – R16

    CPL Peanut Brittle
    [4 July 2278, Breakheart Banks]
    We kill all the caterpillars, then complain there are no butterflies.

    Peanut was so happy to be together again with Tad and Sergeant Rocker. She thought that today might be her actual birthday? Hard to know for sure in the commonwealth? Folks often had different recollections of the time. Sill, what a great reprieve to be together with friends, and tonight they would be eating tarberries and maybe even get to sleep on a cot.

    It was a glorious late afternoon walk to the Slog and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for it. Peanut was glad the stroll would be short though. She was anxious to visit the Slog and spending a few caps before the shops closed for the night. The Slog was known for its shops, wares, and friendliness toward travelers. Peanut had been in the field long enough now that even with her meager pay she had “caps to burn.”

    The word had spread quickly of the liberation of Breakheart Banks, and as a result they had agreed to escort two ghouls who arrived the day before on their little journey to the Slog. It was more a favor to the new Breakheart Banks / Slog detachment, “armed settlement escorts were always the SOP after the minutemen occupied a region” and they were a little shorthanded until more local volunteers were recruited. These ghoul children no matter their actual age were still a little squirrelly as young ghouls typically are, and they stayed that way as long as they survived or did not further develop or go ferial. The mental age of a ghoul was almost always frozen at the time of ghoulification. When their intellect wasn’t frozen in time, things could get a little creepy, and they almost always became outcasts or ferial. The development of the child's brain could not cope; thus, becoming even less human due to their longevity and corrupted physiology. Those unfortunate children didn’t survive but became hunted not just by other races but even by the adults of their own kind. The rumor was, “that left to their abnormal development they became unnaturally intelligent but dangerously evil, some even developing paranormal powers.” Fortunately, these ghouls seemed fine, possessing only the powers and humor of a ten-year-old.

    As it was, the little ghouls were of good spirits. The smaller of the two, a feisty girl named Ilex was somehow related to a ghoul at the Slog who was the underwear merchant. Peanut, called out to the little ghoul “Ilex, who is it you need to see, and what does she sell?” Ilex replied as she played grab-ass with the other ghoul, kicking up dust as one tried to use SGT Rocker as a barrier. “Holly is her name.” Holly is my Auntie, and she sells lingerie and ghoularoos.” Peanut giggled, she liked saying that word “lingerie” it sounded funny and for some reason, “exotic.” She was curious to see this shop, it was widely known to be where they manufactured and sold “ghoularoos - the best nicker’s in the commonwealth.”

    Peanut sighed to herself, she had been having a feeling inside herself that over the past months she was missing something? She had continued to fight the thoughts off in the preceding weeks. Now, on this dirt road the warmth of the late afternoon giving way to a cool breeze coming up off the lake, the soft shadows of the trees all around adding to the shade of the road she felt something was opening for her. A new chapter may be, and she reveled in this hopeful outlook for the future? She felt like it was indeed her birthday, maybe because it was and in ways more than her age? She felt awake – like she had just woken up refreshed and everything seemed brighter even the world around her seemed to have more color to it than before. Taking in a deep breath of the early evening air She “felt” different. “No,” smelt!
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019 at 11:25 PM
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  17. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    RESERVED 17
    Scene 13.1 – R17

    Smelt! Super Mutant. At the same moment not even trying to be quiet, Rocker growled, “run” he was already reacting weapon trained south into the woods. Tad followed Rocker’s orders and physically picked up Ilex and started running east using the trench on the far side of the road for cover. Peanut turned to the other ghoul named Adler who looked confused still, so Peanut pushed him in Tad's direction and with a sense of urgency in her voice Peanut forcefully said, “please - I mean it run - RUN,” and then Adler ran “all knees and elbows” down the road following Tad and Ilex. There was no time to argue or be noble, and by the sound of the branches breaking, followed by the pops of un-aimed but directional gunfire there was no time. Peanut knew there were numerous Super Mutants coming down on them. They were moving at a full charge through the underbrush, not wanting their quarry to escape.

    A form of telepathy forms between people at times, hard times, times where you have depended on each other in situations like combat. Peanut wavered in her training for some unknown reason and looked back at the Sergeant. Peanut saw his shoulder flinch, and one foot stepping back stabilizing his stance in the soft ground of the ditch he was now standing in, and Peanut understood. Rocker was going to stay and fight, covering their escape from the ambush. Conviction welled up in Peanut and she turned back toward Rocker ignoring his direct order to flee. He caught her eyes and though obviously angered with her disregarding his instructions he gave her an evil grin and nodded. His eyes simultaneously glancing toward the wrecked transportation trucks behind him. In a flash of intuitive awareness developed over the past months Peanut ran then jumped up and behind one of the wrecked trucks that were on the north side of the road of the little ravine. She perched on the far side of the truck cab and positioned herself where she could fire through the broken-out windows of the wrecks cab.

    She was no sooner in position when the first Super Mutants burst through the ground cover from the other side of the road. It appeared they missed seeing Rocker below them on the slope as he was lower than their line-of-sight. Peanut started to fire then, her position apparent, at the same elevation as the emerging Mutants. Being the Mutants were running and just clearing the underbrush their shots were horribly inaccurate striking the side of the wrecked cab of the truck opposite to Peanuts position. It was the perfect firing point to keep the Mutant’s attention as they exited the brush and pull their attention away from the Sergeant who as of now, was unnoticed.

    SGT Rocker at the bottom of a little slope had moved off the road and crouched at the bottom of the hill's incline, in the weeds of the roadside ditch he was easily missed. As the Mutants cleared the crest of the little embankment Rocker opened fire with deadly precision, at point-blank range. “Up close and personal” as Peanut remembered him saying on occasion. Rocker, with this angle below the super Mutants and Peanut from near eye level with them but across the road, had given about as good of firing positions as one could get in the time they had to react. It was almost a crossfire. Peanut firing for suppression, being she was in something of a covered and concealed position; thus, making the perfect distraction for Rocker to surprise them up close with precision and surprise. It was as near as two soldiers could get into turning the tables of this ambush into one of their own. Still, these Super Mutants were in full battle rattle and not a casual raiding or hunting party out for easy meat. Without really knowing how or why Peanut understood the tactics she and Rocker were employing “needing to employ.” She was the distraction and the suppressive fire. She didn’t need to aim to kill, so she quickly popped-off 1-2 round bursts just trying to hit each of the beasts in their center-of-mass and get them bleeding, pumping-up their blood lust, and drawing their attention. She was the spontaneous reaction that Rocker needed to become a deliberate reaction. A deliberate killing machine targeting vulnerable gaps in their armor up-close, personal, and efficiently.

    Rocker, close as he was; was devastating, hitting soft spots between there armor plates with his rifle fire. As the first Mutants collapsed or fell down the slope, Rocker drew his pistol in addition to his rifle. Rifle in one hand firing up the hill, pistol in the other hand “bullet to the head” finishing them off as they slid down the slope. Then, as quickly as it all started the noise relented and everything became incredibly still except for their breathing. Three Mutants lay at the bottom of the hill and two more laid motionless halfway down the grade.

    Seeing Rocker reload, Peanut ducked behind the door of the truck and did the same. From the eye of the void that incased her perceptions at that moment, she heard it. The electronic beeeeep-beeeep-beeep of a Mutant Suicider. She flung her gun up firing madly at the sound coming from the brushes below the tree line, she could see the ever so slight reflection of the red blinking light in the shadows of the tall trees. Inside Peanuts' mind, her inner voice pleaded “please – please - please” in pace with each trigger pull and corresponding pop of her weapon, and the world slowed. Rocker roared a battle cry that Peanut had never heard “incepto ne desistam” he yelled as he franticly charged up the soft dirt of the slope. Slipping, he used his pistol hand like a climbing spike to help him push forward and up; rifle held high in the other as he struggled wildly to climb the slope. Above him, an 8-foot-tall Super Mutant Suicider emerged from the brush directly above him. Throwing out his arms and exposing his plated torso the Mutant bellowed his battle cry in reply, as both Rockers and Peanuts bullets slammed into his chest armor. The Mutants roar eclipsing all other sounds. Then, the world exploded.

    Confused, Peanut tried to look around as her lungs spasmed for air. It was like she had been underwater for too long and had somehow broken the surface after the point of breathing the suffocating waters. Peanut kept gulping for air trying to get her lungs working again as she became more aware. She couldn’t hear anything other than a loud whistle in her ears. She tried to sit up, but only her right arm worked. Even more disorienting, she was further down the slope with her body and head oriented downward. She rolled to her side and got to her elbow. She looked at her legs. Though attached, her left leg was so horribly mangled that it flopped in the wrong direction. From the looks of her leg, it was mostly still attached because the pant leg of her uniform was made of sturdy stuff and still intact in places to enough to keep the limb from pulling free. She held still, breathing deeply she tried to remain conscious and cried softly “please.” As she slowly got her wits, she heard it; the “stomps” through the whistling in her ears. The stomping of giant feet making heavy steps coming down the hill. She saw her rifle about 10 ft further down the slope and started to tug herself closer, pushing with her right leg in the soft and sandy soil. She couldn’t push fast enough. From behind she could tell a brut of a Super Mutant was moving down the slope quickly. Reaching her, it kicked her in the side. She tumbled and flopped further down the slope; her void pulled her in protectively.

    When her tumble ceased, she was even further down the slope, only coming to rest in the muddy soil at the bottom at the lake's edge. She felt the water of the lake kissing her face softly. The vortex inside, keeping her apart from the pain her mutilated body was enduring. Peanut blinked her eyes, the cool water somewhat clearing debris from one of them. She saw the Super Mutant as he stood over her. She weakly mouthed the word “mercy.” Speaking as much to the Super Mutant as to the voice of her mother, she said “please.” Was her mother asking her a question or the mysterious voice calling to her from the center of her vortex? She was becoming confused.

    Peanut vaguely heard the Mutant approach through her semi-conscious state. She also knew what was next when she heard him stop, his feet sloshed in the mud next to her head. Peanut heard the Super Mutant say, “Silly Human” and she did her best to look at him and watched as he plunged his bumper sword into her chest.

    Peanut stared back defiantly, unblinking and lifelessly at the face of the Mutant as he leaned over her body.

    Peanut left then.
    Dreaming, following, flowing away perceiving only that which was within her.
    A round-and-around, deeper-and-deeper she swirled and fell.

    In the center of the vortex, the Dragon watched her come
    It thought to itself, “good child” come look into my eyes and learn thy name.

    Come to me oh-little “Butterfly”
    You are the “Surrection!”


    “Tamen ampla sensatis datur novum populum”
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019 at 11:26 PM
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  18. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    RESERVED 18
    Prolog 1000

    Charles

    [East Evirate Estates]

    Dead Meat

    “You are what you eat.”
    ~Unknown



    Later that night. Charles, the Super Mutant, was relaxing next to his fire barrel with a few friends. It was on the north end of what was once was a human settlement, but the tribe had been operating out of this location for as long as he could remember. Charles had just finished an enjoyable meal of a particularly tender and delicious human leg. He sucked the thighbone clean longingly, wishing there had been more.

    The clan had raided the entire area north when they heard that puny humans had attacked Breakheart Banks and killed the tribal-clan that was there. Though they had counter-attacked today and killed several humans and a ghoul, they hadn’t been able to retake their northern outpost. But, Charles had survived the battle and brought his kill home for dinner. The silly human had been tasty, but too tiny for his appetites.

    Content, Charles looked around noticing his remaining clan-members were already asleep. Odd, they weren’t even snoring. He tossed the femur he had been sucking on in the direction of the hounds. As he turned to get his lumbering mass up, it crossed his sullied mind that the hounds were not fighting over the discarded bone.

    Then there was an ever so soft puff of air on his ear, it tickled. It made Charles think of the smell of tarberries? He lifted his hand to swat at the bug. His hand never made it to his ear. Instead, the entire arm fell to the ground. His body landed on top of his arm a few seconds later.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019 at 11:15 PM
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  19. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    RESERVED 19
    Prolog 1001

    Ivy

    [Malden]

    The tooth fairy

    Ivy pranced through the night as a child would when listening to an inaudible tune inside their inner fantasy. She was a princess at play in her own fantasy land. Tonight, Ivy was imagining being a fairy princess. She giggled, a tooth fairy of sorts. Day or night it didn’t much matter her systems were on auto-pilot and there were no threats detected. Her compulsion tonight was a rather peculiar one. Tonight, she had visited a super mutant camp. Her only mission was to collect two severed heads, once identified by her onboard DNA scanners. She was to return them to Med-Tek Research Hospital and place them on the table. Which table? She would see it marked for her once she was close enough and her local Hud kicked in.

    The mission, to retrieve the heads of a young girl maybe 17-18 years old and the other of a man around 28-30. She regretted that it was only their heads as she thought the male's head was kind of handsome. Another thing that was odd to her; the mission was compelled by: “01000100 01101111 01100111 0001010.” That’s new she processed? It usually was “01010100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01101000 01101111 01101100 01111001 00100000 01000010 01110010 01100001 01101000 01101101 01101001 01101110 0001010”

    Ivy went back to imagining herself as a? Oh right, sex pixie of the night, not much unlike a tooth fairy? She had only this one delivery and then maybe? - She playfully thought it might be helpful to bring back some coffee and doughnuts to her mistress after she dropped off her package tonight. It is just around the corner from Med-Tek after all, so why not?

    Maybe she could get some physical attention in the morning if her mistress was pleased with her gift. Breakfast in bed, then Ivy in bed? Ivy’s mind went to thoughts doughnuts and holes, other ones. Ones that well, “you know” she might be able to fill. How could her mistress resist that?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019 at 11:14 PM
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  20. RayBo

    RayBo Well-Known Member Patreon Supporter Community Rockstar Support Team Vault Librarian

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    RESERVED 20
    Prolog 1002

    Darlene

    [County Crossing]

    Processing

    Darlene looked at the dog from the rock she where she perched. She huffed a little puff-of-air out as she squatted down to process her assessment of it. She had done this before. It really was a very odd dog. She could never delineate what made the dog so different other than that when she scanned it, her own system would react randomly outside of protocol.

    Her artificially enhanced senses swept over the animal, her onboard digital-Hud, giving her the details of vitals and statistics. As normal, when she scanned the animal, her text screen would light up with the typical random chatter she had become accustomed to. The as always origin “unknown.” Not even a signal direction. She was bored tonight. So, she let it run, watching the random digits playout. Often, they made no sense, tonight was no different, just repeating crazy gibberish like:

    “01000011 01101000 01100101 01110010 01110101 01100010 01101001 01101101 0001010”


    “01000001 01110011 01100011 01100101 01101110 01110011 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100111 01101111 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101101 01100101 01110010 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100001 01101110 01110100 01100101 01100100 00101100 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110011 01100101 00101110 00100000 01000001 01110011 01100011 01100101 01101110 01110011 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100111 01101111 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101101 01100101 01110010 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100001 01101110 01110100 01100101 01100100 00101100 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110011 01100101 00101110 00100000 01000001 01110011 01100011 01100101 01101110 01110011 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100111 01101111 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101101 01100101 01110010 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100001 01101110 01110100 01100101 01100100 00101100 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110011 01100101 00101110 00100000 01000100 01101111 01101101 01101001 01101110 01101001 01101111 01101110 01110011 00100000 01010111 01110010 01100001 01110100 01101000 01110011 00101100 00100000 01100001 01110000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01110110 01100101 01100100 00101110 00100000 01000001 01110010 01100011 01101000 00100000 01001011 01101110 01101001 01100111 01101000 01110100 01110011 00101100 00100000 01100001 01110000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01110110 01100101 01100100 00101110 00100000 01000111 01110101 01100001 01110010 01100100 01101001 01100001 01101110 00100000 01100001 01110000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01110110 01100101 01100100 00101110 00100000 01000001 01110011 01100011 01100101 01101110 01110011 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100111 01101111 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101101 01100101 01110010 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100001 01101110 01110100 01100101 01100100 00101100 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110011 01100101 00101110 00100000 01000001 01110011 01100011 01100101 01101110 01110011 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100111 01101111 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101101 01100101 01110010 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100001 01101110 01110100 01100101 01100100 00101100 00100000 01010010 01100101 01110011 01110101 01110010 01110010 01100101 01100011 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100011 01101111 01101101 01110000 01101100 01100101 01110100 01100101 00100000 01110111 01100001 01110010 01101110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110111 01100001 01110010 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01010011 01110101 01110010 01110010 01100101 01100011 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100010 01100101 01100111 01110101 01101110 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010”

    Darlene shut it down and did what she always did to make herself feel better. She would repeat the same thing over-and-over again; I’m Darlene, Im Darlene, I’m Darlene, Im Darlene. At some point during the night it subtlety changed and every so often it became “please” I’m Darlene, Im Darlene, I’m Darlene, Im Darlene “please”.

    On the mini-Hud, something passed unseen.

    01001001 01101101 00100000 01000100 01100001 01110010 01101100 01100101 01101110 01100101 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110011 01100101 00100000 01000100 01101111 01101101 01101001 01101110 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01010111 01110010 01100001 01110100 01101000 00100000 01101101 01100101 01110010 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100001 01101110 01110100 01100101 01100100
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019 at 11:14 PM
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