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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)HotpointFR1824119,938208353,57729 Jan 104 Jul 12No

Chapter Two

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.

The Wasteland - Virginia – June 2277

In a bygone age Coyle would have been a karaoke ninja, or at least that's what he thought as he started the second verse of his version of an old classic.

The West Coast has The Glow
And the girls all get so tanned
I dig a fur bikini
... OH SHIT!

Fortunately the three Raiders manning the makeshift barricade around the slow bend in the road were apparently expecting a trade caravan of shambling brahmin, rather than a motorcycle doing a respectable thirty miles an hour, because they seemed almost as surprised at the sudden appearance of the machine and its passengers as Coyle was at nearly crashing straight into them. They did however have an advantage in that their response was mild shock rather than jerking a handlebar to the left and causing a bike to topple over sliding along the roadway on its side like Coyle did, Allison being catapulted off, rolling and somersaulting away.

Sparks flying up from both the motorcycle and his armour scraping across the asphalt, and with his left leg pinned underneath, something in Coyle’s subconscious took over and while his conscious mind had him practically screaming in shock and pain. As he scoured his way down the road his right hand released its iron grip on the throttle and it reached down to grab hold of something else.

The most exposed to view of the three raiders manning the low stockade of wooden fence-posts and beat-up metal road-signs was wearing a leather helmet with brightly coloured upright feathers fixed to it. He was only just starting to react with anything but amazement when the motorcycle finally slid to a halt and was just starting to open his mouth to cry out when it registered that the guy half stuck under the bike was now pointing a machine-pistol directly at him.

The thinking-part of Coyle's mind snapped back into focus and took control again just as his MP9 lined up with the raider, well the scruffy leather armour outfit certainly screamed “Raider” to Coyle anyway and if the guy was merely cursed with lousy dress sense then it was just his bad luck because shoot-first, introductions later was usually the best policy in the wasteland.

It wasn't the ideal firing stance so only about half the short burst of ten-millimetre jacketed-hollow-point rounds struck the raider even though they were barely five yards apart. This was piss-poor marksmanship by Coyle's usual standards and his old comrades in 1st Recon would have mocked him savagely but at the time grouping his shots wasn't exactly a high priority. With only his upper torso and head of his target visible over the barricade thanks to the angle the raider himself would have likely judged it a decent display of shooting skill if he had been a more disinterested party. As it was when the third and forth bullets impacted his jaw, shattering it before ploughing on up and through his head and eventually blowing his brains out the back of his skull, he was in no position to offer praise.

As the first raider went over backwards out of sight Coyle swung his MP9 across towards the next target, clamping his finger down of the trigger and emptying most of the rest of the magazine in a couple of seconds. Unfortunately this second raider was more concealed by the barricade, and also had more of an opportunity to get out of the way, because Coyle missed completely, only managing to put the man's head down as he dived for cover and shaking him up more than a little.

Raider three collected her wits and made a dash for the beat up hunting-rifle she had put to one side earlier. ‘Come on then’ Coyle bellowed, trying to pull his leg free while saving the last few shots in his MP9 in case either of them appeared again. If they both popped up at the same time he knew he was almost certainly dead even if he stood a fair chance of getting one before the other got a round off, ‘don't hit the gas-tank’ he hissed quietly to himself, almost in prayer as he tried to apply what limited leverage he had with only one arm available.

‘We're going to fuck you up man’ the second raider declared loudly as he drew his old Chinese made automatic pistol and waited for his girl to get ready with her rifle.

‘Bite me’ Coyle yelled back, instantly regretting his choice of words given the number of raiders who were also cannibals. His leg must be caught up he realised because he wasn't getting anywhere in his attempts to pull himself clear. ‘Screw it’ he said and fired the last few rounds over the top of the barricade before dropping his MP9 and after killing the engine, which had still been idling until then, he reached for the rifle tied to the right side of the bike which was still within reach.

The second raider waited until the third had retrieved her hunting rifle and had worked the bolt chambering a round. Although typically dismissed as being psychotics raiders had enough sense to band together and use a modicum of teamwork and he knew that if they both did this together it would work out much better. ‘He's got armour on, try and aim for his head’ he advised his female counterpart.

The raider girl nodded, they were so close her rifle should go right through the assholes helmet and end it there she realised, and the range was so short it wouldn’t even be a challenge to hit the mark.

‘How's your friend, did I clear his sinuses’ Coyle called out, baiting them.

‘Fuck you’ the second raider responded.

‘No’ Coyle said with a grin, ‘fuck you’ he declared, pulling the trigger on his M72.

Although haphazard the barricade was sturdy enough and would have stopped most bullets, certainly the 5.56mm or .32 rounds most prevalent in these parts, but it wasn't remotely thick or strong enough to stop a hypersonic gauss-rifle round and as soon as the raider verified his position by speaking again Coyle promptly blew a hole in it, and him.

The dense, small-calibre metal slug punched clean through a pair of foot-thick wooden posts, three steel road-signs and a broken piece of old furniture before it struck the raider, his metal-studded leather armour and indeed his flesh only a minor additional impairment to the path of a projectile designed to penetrate powered-armour or light tanks. Having been both slightly flattened and made to tumble by what it had already travelled though the slug tore an even more destructive path in the raiders torso than it would have done usually and by the time it exited the far side in a spray of blood the hydrostatic shock had thoroughly minced his internal organs.

‘Oh God!’ the raider girl exclaimed then instantly realising her folly dodged sideways as a second gauss-rifle round shot through the barricade where she had just been. ‘Eek’ she cried out, moving again as a third and then fourth slug from Coyle’s M72 followed her movements.

‘Stay still’ Coyle yelled at her, ‘It's hard to find 2mm EC ammunition in the wasteland and it’s a waste to use it wasting wasters like you’ he declared, starting to find the situation suddenly much more entertaining.

Smart enough to stay quiet the raider girl got down as low as she could and started to crawl away, maybe if she got clear she could get an angle on the son-of-a-bitch, shot him and get that damn super-gun herself she hoped.

Sometimes you've just got to take a risk Coyle decided and put down his gauss rifle now using both arms to try and free himself, pushing with all his might as he pulled on his trapped leg. He felt something tear and hoping that it was just his pants being ripped he finally managed to free himself, retrieving his M72 as he initially sat up then readied himself to pop to his feet, rifle up and ready to fire if he had a shot.

Another female voice interrupted his preparations. ‘Coyle!’ Allison called out.

‘Not now’ Coyle spat back loudly.

‘I'm hurt’ she replied, this was not too surprising a revelation to Coyle given the way she had come off the bike. She might even be considered lucky to be alive, or at least conscious, but he had more pressing concerns right now.

‘Shut the hell up!’ Coyle thundered as he stood up, his formerly trapped left leg objecting strenuously to the sudden jerky movement. Looking over the barricade the two raider corpses were visible but their playmate was nowhere to be seen as Coyle moved closer and slightly to one side to change his angle.

‘Look out!’ Allison screamed and Coyle instantly dropped and turned as a bullet cracked past his ear. He spotted the now almost totally panicked raider girl kneeling on the ground just off the road to where she had presumably crawled and watched her now desperately trying to work the bolt of her rifle again, a look of terror on her face.

With a trajectory flat as a pancake the M72 fired again, striking the raider girl right between the eyes for an instant kill. ‘Quick and clean just like you taught me Uncle Cassidy’ Coyle said to himself calmly and after looking around for a few moments in case there was a fourth one of the bastards hanging around he went to retrieve his submachinegun. He put down his gauss-rifle and took off his helmet to rest beside it before fishing a fresh magazine of ten-millimetre rounds for the MP9 from a pocket to reload the automatic weapon with. ‘Thanks for the warning’ he told Allison, walking over to her where she was laying sprawled on the roadway, the girl partially propped up by Coyle’s backpack which she still had on.

‘That really hurt, were those raiders? Are they all dead?’ Allison responded, before moaning loudly.

‘I’m pretty sure they were raiders and I'm positive they're dead’ Coyle replied. ‘Can you move?’ he asked.

‘I could be paralysed’ Allison replied.

Coyle frowned. ‘Can you wiggle your toes?’ he asked.

Allison tried. ‘Yes’ she confirmed.

‘You should be okay I think’ Coyle replied, ‘not that I know much about injuries other than knife or bullet wounds to be honest’ he admitted.

‘We could have been killed’ Allison complained, gingerly trying to sit up and finding that although she was obviously sore and bruised her limbs all still worked. ‘Riding that thing is dangerous.’

Coyle shrugged. ‘Shit happens’ he said unsympathetically. ‘Don't usually find raider barricades or ambushes this far from what passes for civilisation’ he observed, ‘nobody to steal from or murder.’

Allison rubbed her right shoulder, she had hit the road pretty hard at that point and it was probably only her brahmin-leather jacket that prevented the asphalt ripping her to shreds. ‘A couple of trader caravans use this route, they were probably gonna hit them’ she suggested.

‘Goddamit woman, if I'd known this wasn't the road less travelled I'd have been more cautious’ Coyle told her in annoyance. ‘My leg hurts like a bitch’ he muttered.

‘It's alright for you’ Allison retorted, ‘you’ve got armour on I'm not even wearing a helmet’ she pointed out.

‘If you don't mind wiping off the blood and bits of brains there's one on the raider back there’ Coyle replied, nodding back towards the barricade. ‘My bike had better not be all bent up’ he said sadly.

‘I'm not getting on that thing again’ Allison declared.

‘Then you'll either have to stay behind or run really fast to keep up because if it still works I am’ Coyle replied. ‘I forget how heavy the damn thing is’ he said, putting more weight on his still protesting left leg. ‘My other rifle had better not be bent either’ he added, his FN-FAL had been on the side of the motorcycle that hit the road. ‘Are you getting up or not?’ he asked.

‘Give me a minute couldn’t you?’ Allison requested.

‘Oh hell, take five, I'm going to see if those pricks had anything worth taking’ Coyle reponded, turning and heading back towards the barricade, limping slightly.

‘If they've got any caps on them, half are mine’ Allison told him, getting up quickly.

‘Say what?’ Coyle responded incredulously, turning back towards her with an expression of disbelief on his face.

‘We're partners’ Allison told him, ‘fifty-fifty’ she said. ‘And I saved your life by calling out when I saw that skank about to shoot you’ she noted.

‘We're not partners’ Coyle replied flatly.

‘But I did save your life’ Allison responded.

Coyle rolled his eyes. ‘You can have half of anything she had’ he offered, reasonably he thought.

‘That gives you five-sixths of the spoils, that's not fair’ Allison protested.

‘I could take all of it’ Coyle stated, giving her a dark look.

Allison crossed her arms, regretting it because she found additional sore-spots when she did. ‘Half of her caps and I get her rifle’ she said with finality.

‘Can you shoot better than you throw a spear?’ Coyle asked sardonically.

‘Yes, much better’ Allison told him earnestly.

Coyle sighed with resignation. ‘Okay you can have the rifle’ he conceded.

‘Then it's a deal, partner’ Allison declared with a beaming smile.

‘For the last time we’re not partners, friends, team-mates, co-workers or colleagues’ Coyle told her. ‘I'm the boss, you're the increasingly overpaid hired help’ he said. ‘If anyone asks I'll say you’re riding on the back of the bike to stop me getting shot in the back as a cheap substitute for better armour.’

‘People will think you own me’ Allison noted.

‘If they do I'll tell them someone threw you in with the bike’ Coyle replied with a laugh. ‘Go on, search the raider chick and try not to get too much blood on you’ he advised.

Allison nodded. ‘That was a really good shot you made’ she observed as she reached the girl and saw just how well placed it had been.

‘That's nothing, I once did a Khan raider at over eleven hundred yards’ Coyle replied proudly. ‘Last thing he never saw’ he added with a smile, partially quoting the motto of the NCR's 1st Recon Battalion where he had served for a while after his marksmanship and war record got him transferred from the 13th Infantry to more specialist work. Later with many more kills to his name, plus a reputation among the officers for being a little too maverick on occasion, he had been selected for the Rangers, one of the replacements for the hideous losses they took spearheading the offensive that drove the Brotherhood from their headquarters bunker in Lost Hills.

‘She wasn't very old’ Allison told him, the raider might be younger than she was she thought.

‘She's as old as she was ever going to get’ Coyle replied flatly. ‘Live by the sword...’

‘Die by the sword’ Allison finished for him as she started going through the dead girl's pockets You couldn't grow up in the wasteland and not end up hardened to violence and to Allison's mind the raider had brought it on herself by choosing the lifestyle she had.

Five minutes later as they continued to search the raider corpses, putting anything of value to one side, Coyle found that one of them had a couple of packs of Rad Away and after looking at them for a while threw one to the girl. ‘I'm guessing you haven’t taken one of those in a while’ he reasoned.

‘No, couldn't afford them since I lost my job in the bar’ Allison admitted. ‘I try not to drink water that I think's got too many rads in it though’ she said. ‘I filter it good’ she told him.

‘Take that stuff before we get going again’ Coyle told her, ‘I had a doc sort me out a week or so back so I don't need to take any right now’ he said.

‘Are you going to take this out of my pay?’ Allison asked suspiciously, looking at it.

Coyle looked thoughtful. ‘Well I hadn't thought about it but now you mention it...’ he began before grinning at her. ‘It's a present, from me to your future children’ he joked.

‘And now people would think I’m a well cared for slave’ Allison told him, putting the radiation cleansing pharmaceutical to one side while she checked her new rifle. ‘Did you ever own a slave?’ she queried. ‘A real one I mean?’ she asked curiously.

‘No’ Coyle replied. ‘Slavery is illegal in the NCR’ he said, not adding that when on detached duty he actually used to hunt slavers on a regular basis, either gunning them down on the spot or occasionally dragging them back for a fair trial and a fair hanging. The latter was done publicly to help dissuade others from taking up the always lucrative trade in human beings.

‘Really?’ Allison asked in surprise.

‘Yes really’ Coyle confirmed with more than a hint of pride in his voice. It was things like that which made the New California Republic so worth fighting for to his mind, it was things like that which meant that years before when the call went out to every town and settlement that the Brotherhood was trying to overthrow the Republic, and that government by the people for the people was in dire peril, that tens of thousands across the western wasteland took up arms almost immediately and rallied to the defence of their nation. Coyle wasn't blindly patriotic, he was well aware of the faults in the NCR and that corruption, stupidity or malevolence was hardly unknown amongst the senate, but at least the damn politicians back home were elected and that made a big difference.

Allison pursed her lips. ‘But who does all the shitty jobs?’ she asked.

‘People who don't pay enough attention in school’ Coyle replied with a chuckle, ‘and ghouls get a lot of the crap jobs too to be honest’ he admitted. Although outright discrimination against non-feral ghouls was technically outlawed they didn’t exactly tend to fair too well at job interviews given their appearance. The ones that found jobs in nuclear plants, or other places too radioactive for ordinary humans, could make decent money but an awful lot of ghouls ended up sweeping the streets or working in sewage plants. The NCR didn't have slavery but it did have an underclass of sorts.

‘My feet are about her size I'm taking her boots’ Allison told him, changing the subject as she pulled the leather boots off the raider-girls corpse. ‘Hey she's got a combat-knife stuck down this one’ she discovered. ‘Aww, it’s kinda blunt’ she discovered sadly.

‘I've got a whetstone you can use if you want to sharpen it’ Coyle told her.

Allison smiled then looked thoughtful. ‘You're being nicer to me all of a sudden’ she said. ‘Is this a trick to get some?’ she wanted to know.

‘No, I'm in a good mood because I'm alive and these three aren't’ Coyle replied honestly, ‘but if you feel like offering when we're both less beat up just let me know’ he added.

‘So you do want to have sex with me’ Allison declared, she knew he would.

‘You're female, grown up, not mutated and you’ve got a pulse’ Coyle replied, ‘that's pretty much my entire criteria’ he told her.

‘Well you don’t match my criteria’ Allison told him indignantly. ‘And you could have at least said I was pretty’ she complained.

Coyle grinned. ‘I didn't say you weren't sweetheart, I just don't have that as a core requirement’ he replied with a chuckle. ‘Look I'm not going to try anything without an invitation but if your high standards ever drop let me know’ he requested.

‘Are you just having fun with me?’ the girl wanted to know.

‘Apparently that's not on the cards so no’ Coyle replied, still amused. ‘Check those metal boxes over there while I check on my bike again’ he told her, he had given it a brief inspection earlier and it looked okay but he wanted to be sure. ‘And stuff the two pistols they had in the top of my backpack, I'll sell them when we find a town’ he said.

‘There's a little place maybe ten miles further on that has food and beds’ Allison told him. ‘You could rent us a couple of rooms’ she suggested.

‘Or I could rent one and you could sleep on the floor’ Coyle countered. ‘I'd offer to share the bed but you've started to put out this sexual-predator vibe that has me worried’ he deadpanned. ‘That and you need a bath’ he added, walking back towards his motorcycle.

Allison ignored his wisecracks and looked at the corpses again. ‘Are we going to bury them?’ she asked.

‘Passing cannibals gotta eat same as worms’ Coyle replied, vaulting over the barricade at a point where one of the roadsigns had been splattered with blood from a raider. ‘Get your ass kicked on Route 66’ he said, starting to laugh at his own, unjustifiably unrecognised to his mind, comedy genius.

Note from the Author:

The wasteland is a very violent place, Raiders are extremely common and like to hit Trade Caravans and unwary travelers. Brahmin are the two-headed mutated cattle of the post-apocalypse, used as sources of meat, milk and leather as well as beasts of burden.

For those only perhaps familiar with Fallout 3 the M72 Gauss Rifle Rifle from Fallout 2 (and Fallout Tactics) is a very different weapon to the Chinese Gauss Rifle featured in Fallout 3. The most commonly seen rifle in the Capital Wasteland is a .32 Calibre Hunting Rifle. Two centuries after the fall of civilisation they are not typically in good repair but they're still considerably more powerful and accurate than the likes of the war-surplus Chinese Pistol or the 10mm N99 Automatic.

The 1st Recon Battalion of the NCR Army is an elite unit featured in Fallout: New Vegas the latest game in the series. "New Vegas" is set in the Mojave Wasteland in 2281 (a few years after Fallout 3 takes place) and by that point the Western Brotherhood has been soundly thrashed by the NCR although the remnants of them are still around. Lost Hills Bunker was the main base of the BoS in California, taking it would have likely been very bloody indeed!

Thanks to extremely large quantities of nuclear fallout radiation is a constant problem in the post-apocalyptic world. Failure to take it seriously can lead to radiation poisoning and eventual death but there are pharmaceuticals that can help the survivors cope. Rad-X increases your resistance to radiation and Rad Away clears some of the radiation from your system.

You'll be finding out more of the backstory of both the main characters as the Fic progresses, including the story of Coyle's journey across the country and his (mis)adventures in the Mid-West, and I'll also be giving more of the history of the NCR and BoS (I've come up with a fanon timeline that manages to fit in FO1/2/3 and New Vegas plus a fair chunk of Fallout Tactics and Van Buren).

Oh, and yes I know that the road into DC from the west is Interstate 66 not Route 66... Coyle was just being funny :-p
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