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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)HotpointFR1824119,938208353,47829 Jan 104 Jul 12No

Chapter Twenty

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.

Canterbury Commons – Columbia Commonwealth – July 2277

Coyle woke up lying on his side on a bed in an unfamiliar room facing the window and there was a naked girl spooning up to his back. It was in fact the same girl as it had been the last time he had found himself in this situation, only now he wasn't stricken by a hangover and his memories of the previous night were much clearer.

‘She's too good for you so don't fuck this up Cassidy’ Coyle whispered to himself before grinning.

With the town having more accommodation than people these days Mayor Roe had willingly given them the use of one of the abandoned houses for the duration of their stay, saying it had belonged to a caravan master who had left six months ago seeking better prospects in The Commonwealth. The furnishings of the pre-war brick townhouse weren't exactly in pristine condition, the floorboards creaked and the stairs up to the master bedroom at the front of the house were rickety but the bed itself was in decent repair with a mattress in good condition and that was pretty much all Coyle had cared about to be honest.

Outside dawn must have come a while ago and with the sun climbing in the sky the thin curtains in front of the window weren't enough to keep out much daylight. ‘Are you asleep?’ Coyle asked, rolling over to face Allison who opened her eyes to look at him.

‘I was before you woke me up, talking to yourself’ Allison replied, smiling at him before yawning. ‘Don't worry I won't hold that against you’ she told him.

Coyle moved in closer and kissed her, a gentle peck on the lips developing into something more passionate that lasted a while. ‘If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold that against me?’ he asked with a sly smile after they eventually broke off the kiss.

‘I thought I already was’ Allison replied, giggling. ‘You need to shave’ she informed him. He needed a haircut too for that matter but at least his increasingly shaggy blond hair wasn't scratchy against her skin.

‘For you, anything’ Coyle replied then paused. ‘Can we have sex again first?’ he asked hopefully.

‘Depends’ Allison replied noncommittally.

‘On what?’ Coyle queried.

‘The time’ Allison told him. ‘I said we'd meet Dreamer for breakfast at eight-thirty’ she said. Dreamer was staying with Machete on a spare bunk at the town's police station, Dreamer having the idea that it might be hard to get any sleep if was in the bedroom next to Coyle and Allison somehow.

‘You're not seriously telling me that breakfast takes precedence over us having sex?’ Coyle queried, not sure whether to be incredulous or indignant.

‘I can get sex whenever I want but they stop serving breakfast at nine’ Allison replied, amused by the expression on his face.

‘Who says you can get sex whenever you want?’ Coyle wanted to know.

‘This guy’ Allison replied, reaching down under the blanket, frankly amazed at her own boldness.

‘Let go of that’ Coyle told her immediately. ‘I haven't checked the time yet and it’s cruel to start something if you're not going to finish it’ he said, frowning. ‘Where's my damn watch?’ he asked, looking around.

‘On the nightstand next to the bed on my side along with your Desert Eagle’ Allison replied, she hadn't let him put it under the pillow where it would have been normally.

‘Okay, so you check the watch and if we don't have time for sex do me a favour and put me out of my misery with the automatic’ Coyle requested deadpan.

Allison laughed then rolled over and reached for the wristwatch. ‘How much time is enough time?’ she asked.

‘Depends’ Coyle replied. ‘Is the foreplay optional?’ he asked.

‘No it's not’ Allison replied curtly before picking up the watch and looking at what it said. ‘It's not even seven in the morning yet’ she told him.

Coyle grinned. ‘Awesome’ he said happily.

‘Just don't make a habit of waking me up this early for sex’ Allison told him, putting down the watch and turning back towards him. ‘Leave it to at least seven-fifteen’ she added coyly before they started to kiss again.

The sound of some kind of commotion going on out on the street immediately interrupted them. Shouted abuse and the clattering of metal far too loud to ignore resulted in Coyle snarling and jumping out of bed. Still naked he drew the curtains, opened the window and leaned out to see what was going on, his modesty only hidden from the street by the window being just above waist-height. ‘What the fuck?’ he exclaimed, nonplussed.

‘What is it?’ Allison asked from the bed, he really did have a nice ass she thought to herself looking her new beau up and down.

‘There's a chick out here wearing what looks like some kind of fetish outfit yelling at a guy on the other side of the street who's got a bucket on his head’ Coyle replied, half turning back towards Allison with a suitably confused expression on his face. ‘If I was back home in one of the big towns like Shady I'd think it was either street theatre or two S&M enthusiasts having a public argument’ he told her before looking outside again.

With the window open Allison could now clearly hear what was being said outside but that didn’t mean it made much sense. ‘Here alone AntAgonizer?’ a man's voice asked, his grand tone clearly intended to try and project gravitas and authority but in reality it just made him sound extremely pompous. ‘Unable to replace your minions after the last defeat I inflicted upon you?’ he added sarcastically.

‘My armies grow in number every day Mechanist but yours must be dwindling for each time we face each other at the head of our forces I see less of your pathetic robots’ a woman replied. ‘I, the fearsome and terrible AntAgonizer, only come here by myself to scout alone today because no worthy leader is unwilling to undertake a task they would assign to their soldiers’ she stated imperiously.

‘I need not my eternally loyal troops at my side to face you Antagonizer’ the man replied. ‘Know that I repair each of my noble machine warriors after battle so that although they may fall they rise up again in the cause of righteousness.’

‘Those two are really hamming it up’ Coyle observed.

Allison pursed her lips. ‘I think Mr Roe mentioned something last night about a pair of kooks around these parts that were nuttier than a sack of squirrels’ she recalled. ‘Said they came into town sometimes and caused trouble fighting each other but most folks were too sorry for them to gun them down.’

The Ranger sighed at the shenanigans in the street. ‘Would you two idiots keep it down’ Coyle called out to the quarrelling pair outside loudly. ‘Don't you know what time it is?’ he asked in annoyance.

‘Silence knave or I will dispatch you myself as a warning to all that seek to challenge me’ the woman called back to Coyle.

‘Do not fear stranger’ the man wearing the bucket on his head interrupted. ‘I will protect you from this villainous harlot’ he said. ‘For I, The Mechanist, am the sworn protector of all that dwell in Canterbury Commons!’ he declared.

‘Ha’ the woman calling herself “The AntAgonizer” responded dismissively. ‘This pathetic town will fall to me like a ripe mutfruit’ she continued. ‘Today Canterbury Commons and tomorrow the World!’ she declared, holding a large kitchen knife aloft like it was a sword.

Coyle rolled his eyes at the pretentiousness and pulled his head back inside the room. ‘Can I borrow your hunting rifle?’ he requested of Allison.

‘Sure honey’ Allison replied. ‘You're not going to kill them are you?’ she asked nervously.

‘Mom always said it was bad luck to kill lunatics’ Coyle responded, picking up Allison's rifle from where she had left it and working the bolt to chamber a round. ‘That was why I didn't shoot you when we first met.’

‘Why did you think I was a lunatic?’ Allison wanted to know, pouting.

‘Because I had a sub-machinegun and you were threatening me with a switchblade you weren't even holding right’ Coyle explained, going back to the window. He leaned out of it again, took aim with the hunting rifle and fired a single shot.

‘My costume!’ the woman outside screeched.

‘Just get lost before I shoot off the other one’ Coyle yelled down at her. ‘And as for you bucket-boy’ he continued, now addressing the man, ‘If I have to come down there I'm going to take a hammer to that tin hat while you're still wearing it’ he vowed.

‘Do you have any idea how long it took me to put together this outfit?’ the woman complained loudly, now sounding more indignant and whiney than she did haughty. ‘There will be a reckoning for this infamy’ she pledged shaking a fist in his direction.

‘Just stick it back on with some wonderglue’ Coyle advised. ‘Now fuck off!’ he added before pulling his head back inside and slamming the window closed.

‘What did you do?’ Allison queried.

‘I shot one of the antenna-looking things off the stupid helmet she's got on’ Coyle replied, putting down the rifle. ‘So where were we before we were rudely interrupted?’ he asked rhetorically, getting back into bed.

‘You're even more ornery when you’re horny’ Allison told him, giggling at her choice of words.

‘Sex and violence’ Coyle responded, pushing a stray lock of her hair out of the way of her face. ‘It goes together like milk and cookies’ he said before started to kiss her again.

From the door of the police station Dreamer had been watching events unfold with Machete. Like most of the rest of the town they had been woken by the commotion outside. ‘If I was you two I’d leave because the next bullet he fires is likely to be into someone’s ass’ Dreamer called out to the AntAgonizer and the Mechanist who were still stood around looking like they didn’t quite know what to do.

The wannabe super-villainess and super-hero looked at each other before the AntAgonizer made the first move and put away her knife before bending down to pick up the ant-like antenna which had been shot off her bug-eyed helmet. ‘Until next time Mechanist’ she said to her would-be nemesis, making sure not to say it too loudly.

‘Until next time evil-doer’ the Mechanist replied, also keeping his voice down before they both headed off in different directions.

Machete yawned. ‘Normally they show up with a load of ants and robots which kick the shit out of each other until one side gets the upper hand and the other one runs off’ she told Dreamer. ‘Dominic won't let me deal with them properly, he says they're not really dangerous, except to each other but they're bad for business too so I reckon eventually the Mayor will ask us to solve the problem one way or another.’

‘What's their story anyway?’ Dreamer asked.

‘The girl's family were killed by ants when she was a kid and it gave her the idea that ants were superior to humans’ Machete replied. ‘Somehow she learned how to control them and started attacking the town which is when she managed to kill a robot that belonged to Scott our town mechanic’ she continued. ‘Scott blew a gasket and decides he's going to become a super-hero in order to stop her, he puts on that metal jacket and the bucket and they've been fighting each other ever since.’

‘If I'd made up a story that lame back in Lamplight they'd have changed my nickname’ Dreamer replied.

‘Yeah, I've heard better from Sticky’ Machete agreed. ‘Do you remember that annoying little shit?’ she asked. ‘He must be nearly sixteen by now, getting ready to get kicked out of Lamplight.’

‘Difficult to forget him’ Dreamer replied. ‘Always wanted me to make up stories with him in them as the hero’ she remembered.

‘That guy you're tagging along with is a hell of a good shot’ Machete commented, yawning again before heading back inside.

Dreamer yawned herself, damn things were contagious. ‘That was nothing, if I'd invented that guy as a character in one of my stories you'd have all said it wasn’t plausible that anyone was remotely as good with a gun as he is’ she replied, following Machete. ‘That's the problem with fiction, it's got to make sense because otherwise nobody will accept it’ she said. ‘Real life just isn't as restricted’ she added, closing the door behind her. Real life had less bad things happening to good people and less happy endings too she thought to herself sadly.

Back when Canterbury Commons had a lot more people there had been more than one place in town to eat but now Joe Porter and the diner he owned had the default monopoly. Fortunately Porter was a decent enough cook, and he didn't abuse his lack of competition by overcharging, so nobody objected too much to having to eat there breakfast, lunch and dinner.

With Manny Koch and three other townsfolk out searching for his sister Cheryl the small township was even quieter than usual, at least now the two local lunatics had made themselves scarce. As a result there was no problem for Allison and Coyle in getting a booth in the diner when they finally arrived for breakfast, finding Dreamer already there talking to Mayor Roe's nephew Derek and Mayor Roe himself engaged in an animated conversation with lawman Dominic D'Ellsadro at the other end of the diner.

Joe Porter was frying up catfish fillets which had been rolled in cornmeal and they smelled fantastic so at Allison’s insistence Coyle ordered three servings for breakfast, Dreamer joining them at the booth. Like many wasteland creatures the catfish which had lived in the tributaries of the Potomac before the Great War had mutated to a great size but predation by Mirelurks kept their numbers low and Porter could only get his hands on them occasionally.

‘So how are you this morning?’ Allison asked Dreamer as she sat down opposite herself and Coyle in the booth.

‘I'm okay’ Dreamer replied. ‘How was your night?’ she asked sweetly.

‘Pretty good, not great, but pretty good’ Allison replied, trying to keep a straight face when Coyle narrowed his eyes at her.

‘You know for the sake of my fragile ego you should have said that I rocked your wasteland’ Coyle complained. ‘Several times’ he added.

‘Your ego is about as fragile as a four-foot thick vault door’ Allison responded. ‘I was understating his performance though’ she admitted, grinning before planting a kiss on his newly shaven cheek.

‘Spare me the details’ Dreamer requested as Coyle put his arm around Allison. ‘This town is dying’ she said, leaning forward across the table and keeping her voice low.

‘Well it's certainly no burgeoning metropolis’ Coyle agreed.

‘I was talking to Machete and she says that the population has dropped by nearly two-thirds since she got here not much more than two years back’ Dreamer informed them. ‘The only reason it hasn't died completely is because the local trade caravans base themselves out of here and bring in just enough caps to keep the place going.’

‘Money makes the world go round’ Coyle observed, looking up as Joe Porter approached carrying three plates. ‘If that tastes half as good as it smells you're in the right line of work’ he told the cook as he placed the catfish fillets in front of them. ‘I don't suppose you've got any coffee?’ he asked hopefully.

‘Nope but I can get you three mugs of yaupon-holly tea mixed with chicory’ Porter offered.

‘Yaupon-holly?’ Coyle queried.

‘They sometimes call it cassina, it gives you the same buzz as coffee’ Porter explained. ‘The chicory helps with the taste.’

Coyle smiled. ‘Can't resist trying it if it's called cass-something’ he said. ‘What about you two?’ he checked with his companions.

‘I like chicory, I'm in’ Allison replied, Dreamer nodding to indicate she'd try a mug herself Porter returning with three mugs of the beverage while they tucked into their catfish.

Sipping at the cassina and chicory drink Coyle decided that it wasn't too bad, certainly better than the roasted coyote tobacco and honey mesquite brewed in the Mojave to make so-called “Black Coffee”, and he wondered if he could get the holly to grow back in California. It certainly had plenty of caffeine in it which was a benefit for a self-professed Nuka Cola addict.

‘So are we going to stay here long?’ Dreamer asked after swallowing a mouthful of catfish.

Allison thought about it. ‘I think we can afford to stay a few days can’t we Cassidy?’ she checked.

‘Maybe three or four’ Coyle replied. ‘Getting on okay with your old playmate then?’ he asked Dreamer.

‘I always liked Machete, she was fun and mean as hell’ Dreamer replied. ‘She ended up here because she thought Big Town would be too soft for her.’

‘Isn't that place supposed to be under constant raider, slaver and super-mutant attack according to that other Lamplight girl you met at Rivet City?’ Coyle queried.

‘Yeah, Machete had heard as much already from travellers and merchants before I told her about Trinnie but she’s made a home here now’ Dreamer replied, putting down her fork and picking up her mug.

‘What do you want to do after breakfast?’ Allison asked Coyle.

Coyle looked thoughtful. ‘We should really do some proper weapon maintenance’ he replied. ‘If you don't know how to strip down and clean your combat shotgun I'll show you’ he offered to Dreamer.

‘Sounds like fun’ Allison replied sardonically.

‘It's more fun than having your gun jam on you during the middle of a fire-fight’ Coyle responded chidingly. ‘After we finish that I'm going to talk to everyone in town and see if they know anything more we haven't already picked up about the Enclave, the Super-Mutants or the Brotherhood.’

‘Good place to do that’ Allison agreed. ‘The travelling merchants working out of Canterbury bring back all the news, rumours and gossip.’

‘Yep’ Dreamer agreed. ‘The kid was telling me just before you two got here about a big fight that took place not long ago in Fairfax between the raiders and the Brotherhood Outcasts’ she told the others. ‘Sounds like it was a hell of a battle, loads of dead raiders and a couple of Outcasts too despite their power-armour’ she said.

‘Maybe we could go for a picnic outside town later’ Allison suggested. ‘That would be nice don't you think?’

Coyle shook his head. ‘Too many ants’ he replied. ‘Damn things always ruin picnics’ he continued ruefully. ‘Maybe if they weren't eight feet long...’ he considered, trailing off as he sipped on his cassina and chicory again.

Later that morning after stripping down, cleaning and oiling their guns Coyle began talking to the people of Canterbury Commons, starting with Mayor Ernest Roe who not only ran the town he basically ran, or at least coordinated, most of the trade routes still operating in the Capital Wasteland.

Four merchants plied their wares in the area, Lucky Harith, Crow, Doc Hoff and Crazy Wolfgang, all following the same trade routes which took in the most populated and important locations in and around DC. Each specialised in a particular line of goods; weapons, armour, pharmaceuticals or miscellaneous items and they all had their own little personal quirks too. Roe was however strident in his opinion that although at least a couple of them were “eccentric” they were all honest traders, albeit ones that didn’t mind too much who they did business with he admitted.

Now that the super-mutants had made recovering salvage from DC and getting out alive a problematic enterprise the main driver of commerce in the Capital Wasteland was slavery it seemed, with most everything else feeding off the profits and requirements of that business. Paradise Falls sold slaves onto Pittsburgh with “The Lord of The Pitt” paying for them with a mix of caps and newly manufactured ammunition from the factory complex there. Local raider gangs meanwhile needed ammunition to maintain their antisocial lifestyles so a barter system had developed in which the gangs brought any prisoners they took to the raider’s main camp at Evergreen Mills and the prisoners were then sold onto the slavers in return for bullets fresh from the ammunition presses of The Pitt.

Slaves flowed out of the region and caps and bullets flowed in, with a few middlemen taking their cut of the profits. There was a good reason why both Paradise Falls and Evergreen Mills were on the trade route followed by the travelling merchants of Canterbury Commons, they were where the money was.

Lucky Harith and Crow traded in weaponry and body armour respectively, the raiders and slavers always seeking to get their hands on those. Doc Hoff made most of his money selling drugs to the raiders, salving his conscience by overcharging them and using the difference to allow the undercharging of decent people, even sometimes giving medical supplies away. Crazy Wolfgang meanwhile dealt in “junk”, or rather the miscellaneous items and little luxuries which people needed just as much as they did armaments or pharmaceuticals.

Canterbury Commons was supported by dirty money, caps earned through the blood and sweat of slaves and the suffering of wastelanders at the hands of raiders all over the Capital Wasteland. For a man raised in the vehemently anti-slavery and pro law-and-order NCR the realisation made Coyle more than a little uncomfortable but Ernest Roe himself rationalised that without the trade in slaves, arms and drugs there wouldn’t be the economic base to support the few remaining settlements like Megaton or Rivet City. Seeing the disapproval in his eyes Roe also invited Coyle to tag along with a merchant in order to see first-hand the good they did and the people they helped on the way.

If talking to the boy's uncle had been saddening then the conversation Coyle had afterwards with fifteen year old Derek Pacion was fun, at least the part after the boy mentioned both his parents had been killed by raiders in separate attacks anyway. Young Derek was a comic-book obsessive and thanks largely to Crazy Wolfgang bringing them back the boy had a surprisingly complete collection of pre-war Grognak the Barbarian comics, along with a selection of others.

Derek had been amazed to discover that brand new comics were being produced these days on the other side of the country but to Coyle's chagrin he thought that some of them sounded really dumb.

‘Captain California sounds like a blatant rip-off of Captain Cosmos’ Derek stated firmly, crossing his arms.

Coyle shook his head. ‘No the origin stories are totally different’ he stalwartly defended the greatest fictional hero of the NCR. ‘Captain California was originally a US Army Air Corps pilot assigned to the USSA as a Test Pilot whose Delta IX rocket crashed and they partially re-built him with pieces of combat armour’ he began. ‘He transferred from the Air Corps to the Infantry and became a decorated hero fighting the Chinese in Anchorage before being badly wounded again by a Hēi Guǐ assassin with a gauss-rifle’ Coyle continued the tale. ‘He was just barely kept alive with bio-med gel before being injected with an experimental super-soldier serum developed by scientists in Mariposa and Big Mountain Research and Development Centre’ he said.

‘Are these real places?’ Derek asked doubtfully.

‘Yes’ Coyle confirmed before continuing. ‘So after giving him the serum which saved his life, and made his organic parts almost as powerful as his cybernetics, he was reassigned to Sierra Army Depot in Nevada for evaluation’ he said. ‘When the Great War began General Clifton the base commander ordered that he be placed in frozen cryogenic suspension and told Skynet to thaw him out when America needed him again most.’

Derek frowned, it all sounded a little too far-fetched even for fiction. ‘What's Skynet?’ he asked.

‘Skynet is an Artificial Intelligence which managed the Sierra Army Depot and was later downloaded into a robot fitted with a special cybernetic brain’ Coyle explained. ‘Well anyway in 2243 after the Chosen One blew up the Poseidon Oil Rig...’

‘Who’s the Chosen One?’ Derek queried.

‘My cousin, big hero where I come from’ Coyle told him patiently before continuing again. ‘So like I was saying in 2243 Skynet returns to Sierra Army Depot and having seen the state of the wasteland first-hand it decides to thaw out the super-soldier and after explaining what's going on in the wasteland, and who the good guys and the bad guys are, the soldier travels to Shady Sands, that’s the capital city of the NCR, and long-story-short he eventually becomes Captain California, fighting for the old world values the NCR has brought back, like democracy and the rule of law.’

Derek frowned. ‘A frozen super-soldier from an old war in the past sounds like a stupid idea for a hero’ he opined.

‘No he's awesome’ Coyle enthused, remember how excited he had been at Derek's age when the latest issue would arrive in the mail from LA Comics in New Adytum. ‘Later on in the series Skynet salvages the flying saucer the Vault Dweller found his alien ray-gun in and uses parts from it to make Captain California a flying surfboard to get around on.’

‘Now that's really stupid’ Derek maintained. ‘And who the heck is the Vault Dweller?’ he wanted to know.

‘My great-grandfather’ Coyle told him, ignoring the slight to Captain California's flying surfboard. ‘He's also a big hero where I come from, there's a statue of him outside the NCR Senate Building.’

‘I suppose you're going to tell me that you're a big hero where you come from as well?’ Derek asked sarcastically.

Coyle shrugged. ‘Well I've been awarded the Star of the Sierra Madre twice, and the NCR Distinguished Service Cross four times, but we weren't talking about me’ he replied. ‘And watch your tone kid’ he warned.

‘Okay so what are the best issues of Captain California do you think?’ Derek asked more politely this time, his parents and his uncle having tried to raise him to be civil and respect his elders.

‘Well most people say number twenty-three from the “Captain California versus the Enclave” arc when he fights the three clones of Frank Horrigan’ Coyle replied, ‘but personally I think the best Captain California comic ever was number fifty-three when he infiltrated Lost Hills Bunker to sabotage a new prototype vertibird gunship the Brotherhood was making and while he was there he met Jeremy Maxson by chance and punched him in the face’ Coyle said, grinning.

Derek pursed his lips. ‘I still think that Captain Cosmos would kick Captain California's butt’ he decided eventually after some consideration.

‘Reasonable men can differ’ Coyle replied. Dumb kid he thought to himself but planning to ask for something from the boy he sensibly pretended to respect Derek's heinously ill-informed opinions regarding the relative merits of comic-book superheroes. ‘So can I ask a favour?’ he inquired. ‘There’s a few caps in it for you’ he added, gaining the kids full attention.

Dreamer had ended up spending most of the previous couple of hours with Machete and Allison, talking about childhood in Lamplight and how it compared with Allison's experiences growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but as they made their way towards the diner to get a cold drink they were intercepted by Coyle going the other way who thrust an old sack had been carrying over his shoulder into Dreamer's hands while keeping hold of some kind of small rifle himself.

‘What's in here?’ Dreamer queried, shaking the old sack which was half-full of something that rattled.

‘Old tin cans’ Coyle replied. ‘I borrowed the kids BB gun’ he continued, showing the small lever action airgun to her. ‘I'm going to teach you how to shoot’ he told her.

Dreamer took a better look at the BB gun. ‘With a kid's toy?’ she responded, raising an eyebrow.

‘Got to start with the basics and the ammo's cheap’ Coyle said. ‘Once you can start hitting tin-cans every time at ten yards we can move onto something with a little more kick’ he continued. ‘I first learned how to shoot plinking tin-cans with one of these.’

‘How old were you?’ Dreamer asked him.

‘Six’ Coyle replied.

Machete laughed. ‘At least he didn't start you off with a slingshot’ she said to Dreamer who scowled at her in response.

‘I'm too old to play with BB guns’ Dreamer protested.

‘Are you getting any younger standing there arguing with me?’ Coyle asked her.

‘No’ Dreamer replied.

‘Then you're just making it worse for yourself every second’ Coyle replied. ‘Now suck it up and come with me’ he told her, leading off towards the outskirts of town, Dreamer following after a moment’s indecision.

‘If you hit all the cans you'll win a teddy-bear’ Allison called after Dreamer, laughing herself.

‘Don't laugh too hard honey’ Coyle called back. ‘After this I'm going to get her to teach you how to knife fight using rubber knives made from an old tyre I saw earlier’ he informed Allison.

‘Ha!’ Dreamer exclaimed. ‘Prepare to get rubbed out hillbilly’ she said.

‘Enjoy your play-date with my boyfriend’ Allison retorted loudly. ‘Make sure to share your toys you two’ she added before something occurred to her. ‘That's the first time I've called him my boyfriend’ she realised. ‘Felt right’ she said, smiling to herself. ‘It's hot out here, maybe I should bring them out a couple of Nuka Colas’ she suggested to Machete.

‘I'd give them half an hour, she should be missing less by then’ Machete advised.

‘Good plan’ Allison agreed. ‘So can you give me any pointers on knife-fighting?’ she asked. ‘I mean I figured what with the name...’

Note from the Author:

In FO3 Canterbury Commons is cursed with a wannabe super-villain styling herself "AntAgonizer" and her equally pesky "nemesis" calling himself "Mechanist". They're both more delusional than dangerous but they're still a pain in the neck for the townsfolk. I hope readers liked Coyle's suitably direct (and comedic) response to them interrupting his newly-acquired love-life.

They were going to have a mirelurk-like mutated catfish in FO3 at one point but didn't in the end. I've just brought them back as a food-source appropriate to the region. Yaupon Holly (Cassina) and Chicory are both coffee substitutes with a history in the Southern United States. The wasteland brew "Black Coffee" is a drink from the Honest Hearts DLC to Fallout: New Vegas.

Derek Pacion, nephew of Canterbury Commons Mayor Ernest Roe, is a big comic-book fan. Any similarities between Coyle's childhood hero "Captain California" and any other superheroes is purely coincidental (I've never heard of NASA Astronaut Steve Austin AKA "The Bionic Man", Captain America or the Silver Surfer... what are you trying to imply anyway?). Anyhow, Mariposa Military Base was where FEV was invented (Fallout 1 and 2), Big Mountain Research & Development Center is featured in the Old World Blues DLC to Fallout: New Vegas, Sierra Army Depot is where you find Skynet in Fallout 2 (and you actually do find a soldier in cryogenic freeze there from before the Great War), and you can get cybernetic upgrades in FO2 made from Combat Armour (also from FO2 is Frank Horrigan an FEV-mutated end-boss who wears customised, oversized Enclave power-armour). One of the special encounters you can have in FO1 is finding a crashed Flying Saucer from Area 51 with an Alien Blaster in it.

Seriously, for a fictional character in a fictional comic invented for a fanfic written about a fictional universe Captain California has a great back-story (which works surprisingly well within Fallout canon) and in my opinion people should start writing Captain California stories immediately!
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