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New California Dreaming - A Fallout Universe Fic

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Summary: An NCR Ranger in the Capital Wasteland, and he didn't travel 3000 miles to play post-apocalyptic tourist.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Sci-Fi(Current Donor)HotpointFR1824119,938208353,48429 Jan 104 Jul 12No

Chapter Thirteen

The Fallout Universe belongs to someone other than me. No infringement is intended, no profit is to be made and I'm just not worth the hassle of suing anyway unless you want a share of the wages of an underpaid Civil Servant.

Potomac River – Columbia Commonwealth – June 2277

Tobar, owner and Captain of the Duchess Gambit put on his most winning smile and persuasive tone of voice. ‘Are you sure I couldn't interest you in an exciting journey of adventure to the mysterious Point Lookout?’ he asked the stranger again.

‘No we just want to get to Rivet City like I told you the last four times’ Sydney interrupted before the increasingly annoyed looking Coyle punched Tobar on the nose.

‘And I can't interest you in purchasing some more delicious Punga Fruit?’ Tobar checked.

‘We've already bought half a sack full of the damn things and we've given you twenty-five caps to take us across the river so can we please just get going?’ Coyle requested impatiently.

‘We'll get underway as soon as the caravan arrives to pick up my cargo’ Tobar told him, indicating the crates of both refined and wild punga fruit which now sat on the wooden dock waiting to be collected. ‘They're due any time now’ he promised.

‘You said that an hour ago’ Coyle complained. ‘It'll be getting dark by the time we arrive if they don't get here soon’ he noted, checking his watch and then looking up into the sky.

Tobar shook his head. ‘I wouldn't be risking the Duchess sailing close to shore risking hidden rocks in the dark’ he said. ‘We might have to wait until dawn’ he announced. ‘Of course back in the days when she was in better repair and we regularly sailed the coast as far north as the Institute...’

‘And as far south as the Broken Banks...’ Sydney interrupted, having heard Tobar's tales of the sea more than a few times before. The last time she had been on the ferry she had been delivering a number of small glass jars he had asked her to source for him. She didn't manage to get a straight answer when she asked what he wanted them for though.

‘Indeed’ Tobar confirmed, nodding. ‘Well in those days I wouldn't have feared but her timbers these days are more fragile’ he said sadly.

‘You know what’ Coyle said, deciding to just accept the situation and not get any more wound up about it. ‘I'll just go up top and chill out with a Nuka Cola’ he decided, remembering he had a few in his rucksack.

‘A slice of punga fruit in a glass of Nuka Cola adds a new dimension to the flavour’ Tobar called after him as Coyle headed for the stairs up to the upper deck of the old riverboat.

‘Why am I not surprised’ Coyle said to himself, rolling his eyes as he stomped up the wooden steps. Tobar had already previously claimed that the fruit was high in vitamins, good for an upset stomach, a proven aphrodisiac and lowered your radiation.

Already on the top deck and sitting on one of the wooden bench seats up there Allison was looking out over the river towards the Jefferson Memorial. ‘Do you want some fruit?’ she asked Coyle, the sack of punga they had purchased sat next to her on the bench.

‘Not right now’ Coyle replied, heading for where he had earlier dumped his rucksack and opening it. ‘Give one to Dreamer if she wants it’ he told his guide, looking across to where the raider girl was sat on another bench herself staring into space.

‘I already did’ Allison replied before smiling at him. ‘Nice of you to think of it though’ she said.

‘Moment of weakness’ Coyle responded before finding a bottle of Nuka Cola in his bag, twisting off the cap and taking a swig with satisfaction. ‘Ahh, I needed that’ he said, finding a spot to sit down himself and taking off his helmet.

Allison yawned and stretched. ‘I was talking to Tobar earlier while you were discussing rifles with Sydney...’ she began.

‘Did he sell you any more fruit?’ Coyle asked.

‘No but he tried’ Allison replied, laughing. ‘He said there used to be a lot more boats passing this way bringing in food and trading for salvage from the city but times are hard these days, what with more and more raiders and super-mutants, so sometimes Rivet City can go weeks or even months without getting supplies.’

‘Profit margins not good enough’ Coyle reasoned.

‘He said that the Commonwealth has more to offer in trade so the boats which can make the journey bringing goods from further south go there instead’ Allison told him.

Coyle took another mouthful of Nuka Cola. ‘What do you know about the Institute?’ he asked.

‘Not much’ Allison admitted. ‘Pa used to say that folks he met said the Institute was a source of wonders’ she said. ‘Gadgets such as even the Brotherhood didn't have.’

‘Got to be MIT’ Coyle reasoned. ‘If they had their own bunker they might have made it through the Great War and they would have had a lot of very smart people.’

‘MIT?’ Allison asked.

‘Massachusetts Institute of Technology’ Coyle told her. ‘Pity Caltech didn't survive too or the NCR would own everything to the Mississippi by now’ he said regretfully. ‘Might have to go up there and take a look-see after I've properly looked around this place’ he thought aloud.

Allison appraised Coyle, not for the first time by any means. ‘Sometimes it seems like you know an awful lot about most everything’ she told him.

‘I used to read a lot, my father encouraged me because he was worried my Mom's influence would mean I'd end up ignorant of everything but spear-throwing’ Coyle told her. ‘I do throw a mean spear though’ he said, smiling.

‘You said before your Pa was from a Vault and your Ma was a tribal’ Allison recalled.

‘My home town was founded by two groups, one tribal one straight out of Vault 13’ Coyle explained. ‘They tried to marry off between them to help tie everyone together’ he said. ‘I was one of the first products that came out of the experiment you might say’ he continued. ‘It was clearly an overwhelming success as you can testify.’

‘Yeah, right’ Dreamer observed sarcastically.

‘Not under oath I couldn't either’ Allison told him, trying to keep a straight face.

Coyle gave Allison a look of displeasure. ‘Et tu, Brute? as they say in Legion territory’ he complained.

‘How old are you?’ Allison queried, realising she wasn't sure.

‘I turned thirty-three a couple of months back’ Coyle replied.

Allison looked a little surprised. ‘I thought you were younger than that’ she told him. ‘I mean you look younger.’

‘I probably had a better diet growing up than most people you’ve met’ Coyle told her. ‘Better access to general medical care and anti-radiation drugs too.’

‘I'm coming up on nineteen’ Allison decided to tell him.

‘About what I thought’ Coyle replied.

‘I'm twenty-two’ Dreamer announced.

‘Nobody asked’ Coyle responded flatly.

‘You didn't ask her either’ Dreamer pointed out.

‘I like her’ Coyle retorted. ‘So shouldn't a Blue Ridge Mountain Gal like yourself be married with half-a-dozen kids by now?’ he asked Allison.

‘I was betrothed to someone but he died’ Allison replied. ‘Didn't really know him too well, it was just something my folks arranged with a family from the next valley over’ she said. ‘When I lost my Pa and my brothers I had to get the job at the bar I told you about to keep myself and then because everyone thought that all the girls there went with the customers, and I had no big dowry or nothing neither, nobody else seemed to want my hand.’

‘I'll bet plenty wanted the rest of you though’ Coyle surmised.

Allison blushed. ‘Had a boyfriend I thought was going to take me away, he said he would, but he just left one day and never came back’ she said. ‘I heard later he shacked up with a young widow that owned a farm.’

Coyle finished off his Nuka Cola and pocketing the bottlecap threw the empty bottle off into the Potomac. ‘He must have been a lucky bastard to get you in the first place and a stupid one for letting you go’ he said chivalrously.

‘That's real sweet of you to say’ Allison told him, beaming.

Dreamer snorted with derision. ‘Shit, after listening to that I'm queasier than ever’ she muttered.

‘I've still got one hand I can slap you with that won't hurt when I do’ Coyle warned the raider.

‘Like hitting women do you?’ Emaline’s voice interrupted them. She had been on the lower deck sorting through the heap of raider armour they had carried to the Ferry but she must have finished the task.

‘In the same way as I like hitting men’ Coyle replied. ‘Only when they deserve it’ he said.

Emaline was directing a suspicious, mildly hostile gaze at Coyle which was hard to ignore. ‘Cassidy doesn't beat us or anything if that's what you think’ Allison told her quickly.

‘That's what... someone I used to know used to tell people when they asked her about the bruises she was wearing’ Emaline replied, unconvinced.

‘He takes a strap to my back all the time’ Dreamer declared. ‘He beat me so bad day before last I could hardly straighten up.’

‘Ignore her, she's just playing you after sensing an opportunity to get away’ Coyle advised Emaline.

‘Says you’ Emaline responded curtly, wondering if she should call Sydney up here as backup.

‘Just lift the back of the shirt she’s got on and see for yourself’ Allison suggested.

Dreamer grimaced, should have thought further ahead there she thought. The Jet withdrawal wasn't aiding her thought processes. ‘I heal fast, the cuts and bruises might be all gone’ she said quickly.

‘Okay, now my bullshit detector is going off like an oversensitive Geiger-Counter’ a now distrustful Emaline told Dreamer.

‘It was worth a try’ Dreamer said dejectedly.

‘What are you going to do with her anyway?’ Emaline asked Coyle and Allison, they had previously explained she was a captured raider.

‘I guess we'll come up with an idea we can both agree on eventually’ Coyle replied with a shrug.

‘If you handed her over to Rivet City Security they might just shoot her’ Emaline said. ‘The Regulators would for sure.’

Coyle sighed. ‘I won't sell her, slavery goes against the grain, and Little Miss Conscience from the Blue Ridge there isn't go to go along with us killing her or letting someone else do it so we're stuck with her for now’ he said. ‘I can't let a drug-addicted, unrehabilitated raider run free.’

‘Doc Preston at Rivet City can probably cure her addiction at least’ Emaline told him. ‘He's got some great medical gear’ she said. ‘Fix your hand up properly too.’

‘Hey I don't want to be clean, I just want some Jet’ Dreamer said hurriedly.

‘You don't get a say’ Allison told her before Coyle could.

‘Be cheaper to drown her in the Potomac’ Coyle noted. ‘Alright, alright we'll go with the other plan’ he said when Allison scowled at him.

‘I think the caravan just arrived’ Sydney called out from the lower deck where she had been talking to Tobar about all the relics that might be found in Point Lookout.

‘Great!’ Coyle said happily. There was still plenty of time before sundown so hopefully Tobar would ferry them to Rivet City now instead of insisting on waiting until the next morning.

‘You know I've never been sailing before’ Allison said brightly.

‘It's a paddle-steamer, no sails’ Coyle pointed out. ‘And it's not exactly a cruise or anything’ he said.

‘It's still fun’ Allison continued, her enthusiasm unabashed. ‘Do you think we could go down to Point Lookout ourselves one day?’ she asked. ‘Tobar said there was an old amusement park and everything.’

Coyle chuckled. ‘I'm not here on vacation.’

‘But it would be nice to go somewhere where we didn't get into gunfights all the time for once’ Allison wheedled. ‘And we can explore, you like that kind of thing.’

‘I'll think about it’ Coyle told her. Maybe it would be nice to get away from it all for a while after properly scouting the Capital Wasteland, he thought to himself.

The Duchess Gambit had definitely seen better days but it didn't let on water and the paddles propelled it up to a decent speed once it cast off from the riverboat landing and Tobar set course for their destination.

Nearing the beached aircraft carrier now known as Rivet City, the most populated township in the Capital Wasteland it seemed, Coyle first registered it was broken into two uneven pieces and then noticed there was still aircraft lying up on the flight deck.

‘I guess they stripped any parts worth selling from those jets years ago’ Coyle reasoned.

‘Jet, did you mention Jet?’ Dreamer said, suddenly paying attention after spending the last ten minutes wallowing in self-pity.

‘I mean the jets up on the carrier you stoner’ Coyle explained, pointing at them.

‘Where?’ Dreamer said, trying to see what he was talking about.

Coyle had taken his sunglasses back from Dreamer some time ago and when he looked at her now he immediately spotted that she seemed to be squinting her eyes.

‘Nearly there’ Tobar called out. ‘I'll have to sail right past her and then put into shore to let you off’ he said. ‘Sorry if you get wet feet’ he apologised. ‘I can't run the Duchess up onto dry land’ he said. ‘It'll tear up her hull.’

‘We can throw the armour ashore, wade there ourselves’ Sydney suggested as they neared the old carrier, a few people now watching the paddle steamer approach from up on the flight deck.

When they arrived, only a few dozen yards past Rivet City, Coyle jumped off the Duchess Gambit first to check the depth of the water and finding it only went to his knees he told the others it was okay before wading to shore and starting to catch the raider armour Emaline began throwing to him. Even after leaving some of it behind when they had fought the raiders from the library there were still sixteen sets in decent condition, which would hopefully fetch perhaps nearly a thousand caps between them, and that had certainly been worth hauling it all to the ferry.

The mixed collection of firearms and bladed weapons the raiders had been toting had not been in good condition but by stripping some for parts and cleaning a few more Sydney reckoned she could get another twelve-hundred for them if only because she occasionally helped out the two arms merchants in the city with gun repairs. Not wanting to throw them too for fear of damage they had put them all in a hessian sack which Coyle now waded back out to take from Sydney who passed it down to him from the boat.

After taking the sack of weapons ashore and putting it on top of the pile of armour and then retrieving his heavy rucksack which Allison and Dreamer together passed to him Coyle decided to play gentleman and offered to carry any of the ladies from the boat to dry land themselves. Sydney laughed and just jumped into the shallow water, as did Emaline, but Allison took him up on the offer.

Dreamer waited on the Duchess until she realised Coyle clearly wasn't going to carry her too and so after Tobar waved his magnum revolver at her in a less that subtle indication she had to get the hell off his boat she ended up with wet socks and boots full of irradiated water like most of the others.

Laden down with their various baggage and with Sydney leading the way the small party trudged along the quayside towards the entrance to Rivet City. Tobar waved them off as he put the riverboat in reverse and headed back out into deeper water, also calling out a final reminder to tell their friends about Punga Fruit and his ferry service to Point Lookout.

‘Did you pass on that message from Grandma Sparkle?’ Allison suddenly remembered.

‘Yeah but he didn't seem too happy about giving her that good of a deal on the fruit because he's got other customers he thinks will pay more’ Coyle replied. ‘Stay where I can see you Dreamer’ he warned the raider before she wandered off.

‘If I wasn't carrying all this shit I'd be giving you the finger’ Dreamer responded from beneath the pile of raider armour piled on top of her.

An open metal tower made of girders with ramps running up the inside of it provided the way to get into the city. At the top Sydney pressed a button on an intercom and talked to someone on the Aircraft Carrier who immediately recognised her voice and started a crane which swung a gangway over to them. ‘Comes with its own moat courtesy of the Potomac’ Coyle noted, also checking out the armed guards over on the other side.

‘Raiders used to try and attack the city but they never had a chance of taking it’ Sydney told him. ‘Super Mutants have tried too but Rivet City Security is packing plenty of hardware and they've even got an old Combat Robot as backup’ she said.

‘Not like they could sink the ship any more than it is already’ Coyle joked. The bow and stern sections of the Aircraft Carrier were both resting on the bottom only a couple of dozen yards from dry land.

‘They keep watch on the whole area from up there on the bridge’ Emaline added herself.

‘High ground is important’ Coyle agreed, looking up at the control tower of the rusty vessel. Unless you had artillery or outnumbered the inhabitants to an absurd degree it would clearly be a bitch to try and storm this place he decided.

Once the gangway swung into position they trooped across being stopped at the other side by a woman wearing black combat armour and a helmet with a clear plexiglass visor. ‘Friends of your Syd?’ she asked the gunsmith come Relic-Hunter querying the identity of Coyle and his companions.

‘Only met them earlier today but they saved my ass and Emaline's from a big bunch of pissed-off raiders’ Sydney replied. ‘I'll vouch for them if you want’ she said. ‘Coyle, Allison this is Lana Danvers, she's second-in-command of security here.’

‘Get all that armour from the raiders I guess?’ Danvers asked.

‘They weren't using it any more’ Coyle replied.

‘I guessed that from the fact they wouldn't run around naked by choice and some of it having even more holes and blood on it than you'd expect from raider gear’ Danvers responded with a wry smile of her own. ‘If you want to sell it on tonight you'd better get a move-on because the market closes at eight o'clock’ she advised.

Approaching closing time the Rivet City Market was less bustling than normal with some of the storekeepers already starting to close up shop but the arms merchants, who were perhaps just a tad too appropriately named “Flak” and “Shrapnel”, were still willing to trade perhaps because in their line of work it paid to keep things sweet with a gunsmith like Sydney.

Keeping away from the deals being made, letting Sydney handle the bartering herself, Coyle found himself idly checking their inventory of weapons and it was more impressive than he would have expected with a good collection of firearms and explosives in varying degrees of condition. They didn't have much ammunition for his FN-FAL however, Coyle had asked Sydney to include any 7.62x51mm or .308 Winchester they had as part of the deal but they had little in stock, so taking the custom R91 off Sydney’s hands definitely looked like it was a good decision so far.

Moving away from the arms on display Coyle turned around. ‘Don't let Dreamer near the drugstore, she might try and swipe some Jet’ he instructed Allison who was watching their prisoner.

‘She'll regret it if she does’ a tall man in Rivet City Security uniform interjected in a serious tone. ‘I'm Harkness’ he told Coyle. ‘Chief of Security here’ he continued. ‘I like to greet visitors, especially ones wearing combat armour and carrying hardware like that.’ he said, indicating the FN-FAL slung on Coyle's back.

‘Name's Coyle’ the NCR soldier informed the man. ‘We won't cause you any trouble it's just that Dreamer there is a jet addict and it's best not to let her get in the way of temptation before we can get her clean’ he said.

Harkness nodded. ‘The Doc here should be able to sort that tomorrow’ he replied. ‘Clinic will be closing now but he opens up early.’

‘So I've been told before but thanks for the advice anyway’ Coyle responded, there was something not quite right about the man but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. The cold, hard eyes reminded him of the thousand-yard-stare of a man who’d seen a little too much action so maybe Harkness was just harbouring a touch of PTSD he wondered. ‘You seem to have a lot of guards working for you and their gear isn't so shabby either’ he noted.

‘This is a nice community’ Harkness told Coyle. ‘As long as you don't cause any trouble then Security will keep off your back so don't go thinking Rivet City is some authoritarian hellhole like most places, we're governed by popular consent with an elected Council and everything’ he said. ‘Mostly my job isn't keeping people down, it's keeping murdering assholes out.’

Coyle smiled. ‘I've no problem with a democracy having plenty of firepower to keep itself that way’ he told Harkness.

‘If you're going to be staying here a while, or even just overnight, you can get a room at the Weatherly Hotel on the Upper Deck’ Harkness suggested. ‘I don't think you'd be best advised to venture out again and leave the city after it turns dark’ he warned. ‘I had word earlier that a bunch of Super Mutants are building some kind of fort or something not too far from here and they like to go patrolling after dark looking for fresh meat.’

‘Thought I might spend a few days here anyway, I'll find that hotel you suggested and book myself in once Sydney closes the deal we've got going with Flak and Shrapnel there’ he said, half-nodding towards the two arms dealers who were still loudly thrashing out the price they were willing to pay for the raider armour with Sydney.

‘They're mean, and they don’t have the best manner with the customers, but they’re fair or I wouldn’t let them carry on business here’ Harkness replied. ‘Guess I'll see you around then’ he said. ‘I'd best be on my way’ the Security Chief told him, giving him a nod of acknowledgement which Coyle returned before he walked away.

Emaline had gone off to tell Abraham Washington that she and Sydney had failed to retrieve the books he had asked them to recover and she returned just as Sydney closed the deal with Flak who was the friendlier of the two arms-merchants if not by much. After splitting the money, deducting the value of Coyle's expensive ammunition purchase and then giving Sydney the agreed price for “Wanda” Coyle and Allison were still left with several hundred caps.

‘You two staying at the hotel as well?’ Coyle asked Sydney and Emaline.

‘No, Washington lets us crash on a couple of fold-out cots at his museum when we're here’ Sydney replied. ‘If you're going to be at the bar later you'll probably find us there’ she said, jangling her bag of caps.

‘It's been a long day, I might just get an early night tonight’ Coyle replied. ‘Most likely be propping up the bar tomorrow night though’ he added.

‘Us too again most likely’ Sydney told him. ‘No point in having money if you can't enjoy it’ she said. Half the cash she had earned today would go towards the stake she was putting together to go into business, buying and selling ammunition most likely given her contacts, but the rest would mean she could have fun for the next few weeks.

‘She only keeps me around to help her out in fights and carry her home when she's drunk’ Emaline stated, always amused by her friend's hedonistic streak.

‘Could be worse’ Allison commiserated. ‘Sometimes I think he only keeps me around to laugh at his unfunny jokes’ she told the redhead. ‘Even worse, plenty of them are at my expense’ she complained.

Coyle shook his head. ‘That's not true’ he denied the accusation firmly. ‘I also keep you around because I'm shallow and you look great in that outfit’ he told Allison, giving her bare midriff, tight leather pants and low-cut top ensemble a lengthy and dramatically exaggerated look of appraisal and obvious approval.

Allison had reached the point where she wasn't always going to blush when he said something like that so she smirked instead. ‘You can look but you can’t touch’ she told him.

‘And she wonders why ever since we met I keep shooting people in front of her’ Coyle said, feigning sadness. ‘It's the unresolved sexual tension woman’ he told her, trying to sound earnest and sincere but not quite managing it.

‘Thanks for letting me know’ Allison replied. ‘I might just go and buy some lingerie from that other store over there because I guess if I did by the end of next month there wouldn't be a raider alive from here to The Pitt’ she theorised.

Sydney and Emaline looked at each other for a moment. ‘That could be seen as either abject cruelty and attempted genocide or an act of public service I'm not sure which’ Sydney told Allison eventually.

‘Not so long ago she was a wastelander wearing not much more than rags, with a broken rifle and the worst spear-throwing technique this side of Ronto’ Coyle said incredulously. ‘After travelling with me for a little while she's turned into some kind of machiavellian schemer taunting me with her feminine wiles while she plots to decimate the Capital Wasteland for the greater good in some utilitarian slaughter, using me as the instrument of bloody mayhem.’

Allison didn't understand half of what he was talking about but the overall message was still fairly comprehensible. ‘Maybe you just bring these things out in people?’ she suggested, giggling.

Coyle frowned. That might explain why so much of his military career had consisted of being sent on solo-missions to the back-of-beyond. Maybe the officers were cleverer than he had ever thought and they were deliberately keeping him away from other people for a good reason? He had been voted “Most likely to start WWIV by accident” in his high school yearbook after all.

Nah, couldn't be, Coyle decided. There was no way in hell that the NCR Officer Corps were in any way smart or the Republic would be invading Arizona right now instead of waiting for the Legion to come to them. ‘See you tomorrow’ he told Sydney and Emaline. ‘Let's find that hotel’ he said to Allison. ‘We'll let the porter carry our bags up.’

‘The porter being me’ Dreamer quickly surmised, already sick of carrying his fucking rucksack and anything else they sought to burden her with.

Coyle grinned. ‘And they say Jet rots the mind’ he quipped.

‘If I was really a porter I'd get a tip’ Dreamer muttered.

‘Here's a good tip, don't piss me off’ Coyle advised her as they headed for the door that was signposted as the main stairwell.

‘I was going to say that!’ Allison exclaimed. ‘Oh no, I think your sense of humour is rubbing off on me’ she said in horror. ‘And don't say there's something else you'd rather rub off on me’ she told him sternly.

Coyle frowned again. ‘Okay, new rule’ he said. ‘You don't speak ill of my family, my country or my singing and you don't steal my material either... especially before I've had the chance to even say it’ he told her sternly.

‘You're not the boss of me’ Allison replied.

‘Yes I am, I pay you’ Coyle reminded her, opening the hatch and stepping through with Allison following.

Allison pursed her lips. ‘Well then... I want a raise’ she told him.

‘Price yourself out of the job and one of these days you’re going to wake up and I'll have given it to Dreamer there’ Coyle warned her. ‘Try and buck the market and the market will buck you’ he said.

‘Good, then when that happens she can carry the fucking luggage’ Dreamer complained, trying to fit through the hatch with Coyle's rucksack and a couple of other bags making that difficult.

Allison helped the other girl get through the hatch. ‘I'll talk him into letting you go once you're off the drugs’ she whispered.

‘Don't want to risk really getting replaced?’ Dreamer replied, smugly. ‘If you don't put out he won't keep you around forever.’

‘I'm only working for him until he gets me to Canterbury Commons’ Allison told the raider.

Dreamer smirked. ‘Bullshit, you want him bad but you want to keep him so you'll only fuck him after you get some commitment or shit because you think screwing a guy so you can live off his money makes you better than a girl that screws a guy for the money directly.’

Allison's jaw dropped. ‘You're a bitch’ she declared.

‘I live in the real world’ Dreamer retorted.

Coyle coughed to interrupt them, they had got louder and louder and their voices increasingly angry in tone drawing his attention. ‘If this is going to escalate into a fight I'd rather you wait until we get to the hotel room and you can both strip down while I go find some Jell-O’ he said, chuckling to himself before heading up the stairs.

‘What the fuck do you see in him anyway?’ Dreamer wanted to know. She knew that she wasn't perhaps an unbiased judge of the man, considering how they had met, but it was hard to see the appeal unless your type was gunslinging jerks with random mood swings and a big ego.

‘He just needs...’ Allison began to reply then paused as she searched for the right word. ‘Domesticating’ she said. ‘You know, breaking in a little’ she added.

‘You'd be better off getting him fixed’ Dreamer opined.

Note from the Author:
Tobar, the owner and captain of the riverboat Duchess Gambit, operates out of the riverboat landing in Arlington some way past the Pentagon. He imports Punga Fruit to the Capital Wasteland from Point Lookout and also ferries passengers there for a price. Geographically there isn't any reason why he couldn't run you over to Rivet City but you can't actually do that in the game.

Rivet City, an old aircraft carrier, is the largest settlement in the area. It has a market with several stores including "Flak 'N Shrapnel's" which sells weaponry and usually has a good selection on offer.
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