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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)HotpointFR1824119,938198349,17229 Jan 104 Jul 12No

Chapter Twenty-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.



Wheaton Armoury – Columbia Commonwealth – July 2277

‘Exactly how many unexploded atomic bombs are scattered around here anyway?’ Coyle wanted to know as Doc Hoff told him about the next location his caravan passed, the aerials on top of the old military complex already evident on the skyline ahead.

Hoff smiled. ‘Well if the stories about Fort Constantine to the north are true quite a number’ he replied. ‘As for Wheaton there's an ICBM in there which was caught on the ground when a small counter-force nuke set to surface-burst landed nearby’ he explained. ‘The shock-wave collapsed most of the buildings and damaged the missile in the silo enough for the warhead to break open and irradiate the hell out of the rest of the bunker.’

‘Are we going to have to take some RadAway in the near future?’ Allison asked nervously.

‘Nah, the Doc says the radiation isn't that bad anymore unless you go underground’ Pete the caravan guard reassured her. ‘Anyhow we don't stop here very long and only skirt the perimeter of the base, we don't go inside.’

Hoff nodded. ‘Between the plutonium from the damaged warhead and the background radiation from the Chinese bomb it used to be a lot worse’ he said. ‘Even the ghouls stayed away because they didn't want to end up Glowing Ones and there were plenty of safer places to go scavenge through first’ he continued. ‘A raider gang moved into Wheaton once the count outside the bunker itself dropped from lethal to merely “you'd have to be mentally deficient to stay here long” and they've been making a living occasionally hauling out crates of weapons ever since.’

‘Wouldn't that involve going into the bunker?’ Coyle queried.

‘They draw straws to see which one gets to go in when they need a few more rifles to trade’ Hoff replied. ‘If you get the short straw you don't have to do it again for at least six months.’

‘That's an unusually smart policy by raider standards’ Coyle observed.

‘They're not really your typical gang any more now that they make their money selling guns not looting and pillaging’ Hoff replied. ‘They're also the only one that I sell a lot more RadAway and Rad-X to than Jet or Psycho’ he said. ‘Crow makes money selling them radiation suits too and Lucky Harith buys the guns from them.’

Coyle frowned. ‘Aren't the guns a mite radioactive themselves?’

‘He makes sure they're dusted off before he takes them but Lucky also has a policy of selling them on to slavers and other raiders as fast as possible’ Hoff told him.

‘Fuck those guys’ Pete commented with heartfelt conviction. ‘Looks like they're coming out to meet us Boss’ he pointed out to Doc Hoff having spotted a small party of three raiders emerging from the east gate of the complex.

‘They're very heavily armed so please try not to provoke them’ Hoff requested as the converged with the group heading their way.

‘Is that a flame-thrower?’ Allison asked nervously, seeing what one of the raiders was carrying on his back.

‘It's the other dude with the sniper-rifle that stayed by the gate who’s concerning me more’ Coyle told her.

‘They've usually got someone with a rocket-launcher as backup too’ Pete noted. ‘These guys don't fuck around and remember we're on their turf.’

They met the Wheaton raiders about a hundred and fifty yards out from the gate, no range at all for the sniper-rifle, and Coyle made sure to take off his sunglasses to look less threatening because he didn’t want to provoke anything. The raider with the flamethrower moved off to one side so he could bathe Hoff and the others in fire if necessary without endangering his friends and the other two were carrying R91’s in good condition. ‘Hey Doc’ one of the raiders, presumably the leader greeted him.’

‘Good day to you Mr Lynx’ Hoff replied with a nod of recognition.

‘Like I keep telling you Doc, it's just Lynx without the Mister’ the raider replied. ‘Who are these three?’ he asked, indicating the heavily armed stranger and the two girls.

‘They're just travelling with me for mutual protection’ Hoff replied. ‘Did you hear about the Super-Mutants over near Germantown?’ he queried.

Lynx spat on the ground. ‘Fucking monsters are turning up everywhere these days’ he said. ‘Guess I can see why you'd want a few more guns with you’ he said, looking Coyle in the eyes, sizing him up. ‘You a Merc?’

‘I get paid money to fight in wars’ Coyle replied, obfuscating slightly as this was technically true for a professional soldier like him as much as it was an actual mercenary. The difference was that the latter fight other people’s battles while the former fought their own, or at least those that their government told them to.

‘Thought so, nice gear’ Lynx replied, looking over Coyle's weaponry and armour before turning back to Hoff. ‘We're after some RadAway’ he told the merchant. ‘Billy took a bad dose after the dumb fuck tore his radiation suit.’

‘Twenty-five caps each, twenty-two if you buy ten or more’ Hoff replied. ‘Need any Rad-X too?’ he checked.

‘Nah, Billy also forget to take any before going in the bunker so we're still okay for that’ Lynx told him. ‘Told ya he's a dumb fuck’ he continued, grinning. ‘We'll take ten and a couple of Med-X to tide him over because the boy’s in pain.’

‘Stupid fuck hurt his back too carrying out a whole crate of rifles on his lonesome’ the raider with the flamethrower explained, laughing.

‘I told him to lift with his knees’ Lynx said, rolling his eyes. ‘Still he did the job I suppose so I guess we should look after him because if we don't the next guy that draws the short-straw won’t go’ he rationalised. ‘Don't suppose you’d take an R91 as part-exchange for the drugs?’ he asked Hoff hopefully.

‘Sorry, caps only’ Hoff apologised. ‘Lucky would be pissed if I bought any guns from you, I'd be intruding on his bailiwick so-to-speak.’

The raider leader nodded his understanding even if he didn't have a clue what a balliwick was. ‘I get that. Guns are his thing, drugs are yours’ he said, getting out a large pouch of money and starting to count out caps as Hoff retrieved the pharmaceuticals from his pack-brahmin.

After they left the raiders, heading off south to skirt around the edge of the Wheaton Armoury following an old road, Allison took out a water-bottle and drank some before offering it to Dreamer. ‘They were nice enough’ she said.

‘Downright civilised even’ Coyle agreed.

‘If you hadn't been with me they'd have shot the shit out of you’ Hoff stated flatly. ‘When they run out of hardware to salvage they'll go right back to their old ways, mark my words’ he said. ‘A wise man once said that society is only three meals away from anarchy’ he continued, ‘once they can't support themselves by selling old guns they'll just use the ones they still have to take what they need.’

‘That's a little pessimistic isn’t it?’ Allison replied.

‘A pessimist is what an optimist calls a realist’ Hoff told her.

Coyle turned down the water-bottle when Dreamer offered it to him so she returned it to Allison instead. Hoff and his guard had their own water. ‘He's right about the meals’ Coyle agreed. ‘Fact is, agriculture is the basis of civilisation and it always has been’ he said. ‘Hunter-gatherers do nothing but that but if you've got a reliable food surplus thanks to crops and domesticated animals you can increase your population while still investing man-hours into other things like improving technology, raising the overall standard of living and building infrastructure for the long-term’ he continued. ‘People say that the best thing my great-grandfather ever did for the NCR was driving off the Khans that were raiding Shady Sands but in reality it was probably teaching the settlement about crop-rotation.’

‘His Pa's a teacher in case you were wondering why he sometimes talks like this’ Allison decided to explain. ‘It’s like he gets the occasional urge to educate people instead of shooting at them’ she said. ‘His Ma's a genuine gecko-skinning, shaman-believing, face-paint wearing tribal.’

‘I had a slightly schizophrenic upbringing but as you can see I turned out fine’ Coyle interjected, not necessarily all that convincingly. ‘And Mom only wears face-paint on special occasions like family weddings these days’ he corrected his girlfriend.

The tribal influence would explain the spear-throwing expertise he used to hustle Crow out of a free meal Hoff reasoned. ‘We'll be stopping for the night at the next point of call, it'll be getting dark by the time we arrive’ he told the others. ‘I'll bet Agatha will be thrilled to spend some time with new people’ he said. ‘She doesn't get out much these days.’

‘Who's Agatha?’ Coyle queried.

The rest of the day’s journey wasn't entirely uneventful, they ran into the path of a pair of radscorpions that Coyle thought would make for good target practice for Dreamer although after she missed with half her assault-rifle magazine he began to think he should have made her practice a lot more with the BB gun.

‘Can somebody help me please’ Dreamer pleaded as the huge insects continued to bear down on her, the others watching from further away.

‘I'm shooting it’ Pete said, raising his own assault rifle.

‘Don't, she needs to learn a lesson’ Coyle told him. ‘Dreamer. Use the damn gunsights and aim for the face of the nearest one’ he told her, unmoved by her request for assistance.

‘You asshole’ Dreamer yelled at him but did as she was told. Lining up the front-sight with the two in the rear and aiming between the eyes of the closest radscopion. ‘Short bursts’ she said to herself, pulling the trigger.

Three rounds impacted with the mutated creature but failed to even slow it down, they were built very tough and thickly armoured. The second burst had more effect and the third and fourth seemed to have stopped it but by then the customised R91 was empty and the other radscorpion was nearly in striking distance. ‘Oh shit!’ Dreamer cried out, dropping her assault rifle and reaching behind her for the combat shotgun hanging from her pack.

Allison's hunting rifle fired, the bullet impacting the radscorpion and penetrating its exoskeleton deeply enough to be noticed, distracting it from Dreamer for a moment.

‘Fuck you!’ Dreamer swore at the thing, pulling the trigger of her semi-automatic shotgun over and over again at near point-blank range, blinding it, blasting its face apart and then mashing its brain.

As the radscorpion collapsed Dreamer span around to face Coyle. ‘And fuck you too!’ she shouted at him angrily, heart pounding and adrenaline surging through her veins.

‘Nice shot, you shouldn't have helped her though’ Coyle told Allison. ‘They got that close because you lost mental focus and forgot everything I taught you when the heat was on’ he informed Dreamer placidly, ignoring her fear-driven seething rage.

‘I could have been killed you asshole’ Dreamer screeched.

‘I'd have taken them out myself if that looked likely, absolute worst case scenario one dose of venom, probably not enough to be lethal’ Coyle replied, the continuing calmness of his own voice diametrically opposed to hers. ‘You can shoot, not that well but you can’ he said. ‘What you need to do now, besides practice your aim, is not let your fight-or-flight reflex override the rational part of your mind’ he told her. ‘Also that first radscorpion is getting back up’ he warned her.

‘Eep!’ Dreamer cried out and spun around to see the giant insect shakily trying get back on its feet. ‘Stay down!’ she said, walking up to it and then finishing it off with her 12-gauge.

‘Okay, now as Dad would have said, that's a lesson that should stick’ Coyle declared, ‘and for homework I want you to strip and clean both your firearms’ he said. ‘Miss your mark like that again though and you'll be writing out “The gunsights on my rifle are not there for decoration” two hundred times in detention’ he told Dreamer sternly.

‘Would you be really pissed if I shot your boyfriend in the hand again?’ Dreamer asked Allison in a way that meant Allison wasn't sure if she was kidding or not.

‘How about I don't sleep with him for a week instead’ Allison counter-offered an alternative punishment. ‘She's right, you are an asshole’ she told Coyle.

‘I prefer to think of my teaching style as a combination of tough love and negative reinforcement’ Coyle replied. ‘And you're joking about the not sleeping with me thing aren't you?’ he asked with concern.

‘Nope’ Allison replied. ‘I prefer to think of my teaching style as a combination of no love as negative reinforcement’ she told him, scowling.

Coyle's face twitched, she was too sharp for comfort. ‘Got to stop falling for the smart ones’ he muttered to himself as Pete chortled.

‘The poison glands in those bugs are worth something’ Doc Hoff noted. ‘I'll give you fifty caps for them’ he offered.

‘Thanks’ Coyle replied.

‘I was talking to the young lady that killed the things’ Hoff told him.

‘She used my rifle, I gave her the shotgun and I paid for the damn ammunition’ Coyle protested.

Dreamer snorted. ‘No you didn't, mostly you took it off dead raiders.’

‘I paid for the other ammunition I shot the raiders with’ Coyle persisted, everyone pointedly choosing to ignore him. ‘Doesn't anyone else see the inequity in it costing me money as well as time and effort to advance her education?’ he asked rhetorically. ‘I mean the ingratitude I could cope with, Lord knows I'm deeply unappreciated in my time, but...’

‘Give it up Cassidy’ Allison interrupted him, mid-whine. ‘Honestly, you're like a child sometimes.’

Coyle's jaw dropped. ‘Am not!’ he denied, voice rising in pitch.

When they eventually arrived at their destination Agatha turned out to be an old lady living in a house nestled in cliffs surrounded by rocks and only accessible via a rope bridge spanning a chasm. It was a very isolated location and highly defensible which helped make up for the fact she had a very tall and rather noticeable radio transmission tower in her front yard.

Agatha's husband had passed away some years before leaving her with the transmitter, some wonderful memories and a large quantity of arms and ammunition most of which she had sold off over the years, keeping his favourite scoped magnum revolver for sentimental reasons. To Coyle's shock she was also the only sweet old lady he had ever met who kept her own nuclear deterrent in the form of a micro-nuke her husband had “put by for a rainy day”. She didn't have a launcher for it but figured that threatening to “hit the damn thing with a hammer” if uninvited hostile guests ever intruded on her peaceful retirement would do the trick.

Doc Hoff and the other merchants looked after Agatha, bringing her supplies and acting as company when they visited, making her feel less lonely. Sometimes as today they would camp there overnight too, fixing up a canvas lean-to tied to the transmitter outside, and sharing a meal with the old lady before she played them a tune on her violin.

‘I was expecting something more up-beat when she produced the fiddle’ Allison whispered to Coyle after Agatha finished playing a short piece from Bach, bowing to applause led by Doc Hoff.

‘You mean with harmonicas, a Jew's harp and a washboard for accompaniment’ Coyle replied sardonically.

‘Thank you, you're all too kind’ Agatha told them, beaming. ‘Any requests?’ she asked.

‘Something from Paganini perhaps?’ Coyle suggested, his own musical tastes were quite broad although they didn't stretch to something you'd listen to while chowing down on roadkill marinated in moonshine like he suspected his girlfriend's did.

Agatha laughed. ‘Very well, you'll forgive me for not attempting Caprice No. 24 now that I'm getting on in years though’ she said, starting to play a rather less demanding solo from his 5th Violin Concerto.

‘This is an oasis in a cultural desert’ Coyle declared when Agatha finished, applauding wildly.

‘I only wish my instrument was better’ Agatha responded apologetically after taking a bow. ‘If I had my great-great-grandmother's Stradivarius I could do the music more justice but I'm afraid that with this pale imitation I can only render a shadow of the beauty of the composition’ she said.

‘Sounded pretty good to me’ Dreamer told her.

‘You're sweet’ Agatha replied, smiling at her. ‘Would you like to hear anything Doctor Hoff?’ she asked the merchant. ‘It's the least I can do after you brought me those delicious punga-fruit.’

‘Perhaps some Dvorak before we turn in?’ Hoff requested hopefully.

Agatha brought her violin back up to her chin. ‘Always a man of such good taste’ he praised his choice before beginning.

Later after the old lady had gone to bed Allison and Dreamer sat with Coyle by the rope bridge, Hoff and Pete having already bedded down for the night under the lean-to. ‘So people play that kind of music a lot where you come from?’ Allison queried, keeping her voice low so as not to disturb the sleepers not too far away.

‘Not really but there's a symphony orchestra in Shady’ Coyle replied just as quietly. ‘Only part-time musicians of course, there's not that much of a following for classical, but they're not bad’ he said. ‘I went to an outdoor concert they held in the desert outside of town once’ he recalled. ‘Ended up slugging a guy that got drunk and thought it would be funny to heckle’ he added, wisely opting not to mention he had later ended up taking the guy's hot-looking date back to the barracks where he was staying.

‘Do the stars move?’ Dreamer asked randomly.

‘What?’ Allison responded, surprised by the question.

‘The stars, they're sorta in patterns’ Dreamer said, pointing up at a group of them. ‘Do they move?’ she asked again. ‘Think about it’ she said in annoyance when the other two looked at her nonplussed, ‘I grew up in a cave and my eyesight sucks without these glasses, just answer the question.’

Coyle chuckled at her expression. ‘The constellations, the star patterns I mean, keep the same shape but they move together through the sky as the year progresses’ he told her. ‘Although it's more the Earth moving around the sun rather than the stars moving that does it’ he noted. ‘That one there is Polaris, the North-Star, and that stays put’ he told her, pointing it out, ‘It's useful for navigating by because it's always...’

‘North, I get that’ Dreamer interrupted him.

‘The constellation it's in is called Ursa Minor, that's “Smaller Bear” in Latin’ Coyle translated. ‘The one next to it is Ursa Major, or the Great Bear’ he continued. ‘Some of the tribes in California regard them as being sacred because our flag is a two-headed bear’ he said. ‘For that matter tribes outside the NCR sometimes call us the “Bear People” and say our success in war comes from having such a powerful totem animal.’

Dreamer stared at the constellations in question for a while. ‘They don't look much like bears’ she said eventually.

‘You have to use your imagination but I agree, they don't really’ Coyle replied, smiling. ‘You're still pissed-off about the radscorpions aren't you?’ he checked.

‘Yes’ Dreamer confirmed.

‘Thought you would be’ Coyle replied. ‘Shooting star, make a wish’ he said, pointing at a streak of light off to the west.

‘Sorry?’ Dreamer responded in confusion.

‘If you see a shooting star you make a wish and if you don't tell anyone what you wished for it comes true’ Allison explained. ‘Or it's supposed to anyway, I've made wishes on shooting stars that didn't.’

‘Are you certain those were real shooting stars not just two-century old satellites from before the Great War re-entering the atmosphere?’ Coyle asked her.

Allison frowned. ‘They do that?’

‘Sure, loads of crap still up there in gradually decaying orbits’ Coyle replied. ‘You can see them with telescopes’ he said.

‘So how do you tell if they're real shooting stars not falling junk?’ Dreamer queried, pursing her lips.

‘Perhaps the test is whether or not the wish comes true or not’ Coyle suggested. ‘Still angry about the radscorpions?’ he checked again.

‘Yes, and stop asking’ Dreamer replied.

‘It's getting late we should go to bed’ Allison decided.

‘Together?’ Coyle asked hopefully.

‘Yes but only because I'll have to be there to stop you snoring and waking everyone up’ Allison told him.

‘So you're both still angry about the radscorpions then?’ Coyle verified.

‘Yes’ they said together.

Coyle sighed. ‘You're not going to like the deathclaw wrestling when we move onto the next part of the curriculum’ he said glumly, getting up and heading back to where he’d put his bedroll.

When she woke up the next morning Allison found that Coyle was missing although his backpack and rifles were still there. Where he'd got to was answered not long after when he appeared carrying the body of a large molerat over one shoulder and with his combat knife tied to what used to be the shaft of a garden rake in his other hand. ‘Heard a couple of them snuffling about nearby earlier’ he said. ‘I'll just go collect the other one’ he continued, throwing the dead molerat down on the ground before heading back to the rope bridge.

Allison looked at the animal, Coyle’s spear had gone right through its neck. ‘Planning a big breakfast?’

‘They're mostly for Agatha’ Coyle replied. ‘Meat should keep a while, she's got a generator and a working refrigerator’ he said. ‘Oh and when I get back with the other molerat I'll need someone to come help me carry back the Yao Guai that was hunting them too.’

‘Yao Guai?’ Allison repeated.

‘Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you’ Coyle said, voice fading as he headed off with a distinct spring in his step. ‘Unless you're one of the bear people that is in which case the bear is fucked regardless of what day it is.’

Dreamer had been woken by the conversation. ‘What's going on?’ she asked, sitting up yawning and stretching.

‘Cassidy's been hunting’ Allison explained, indicating the molerat. ‘Do you want that or Yao Guai steaks for breakfast?’

‘Yao Guai’ Dreamer answered without hesitation, bear meat could be chewy but molerat didn't digest too well.

‘Good, you just volunteered to help carry the thing’ Allison told her brightly. ‘I'll get a fire going, heat up a flying pan and put on a coffee pot’ she said. ‘There's cassina and chicory mix in Cassidy's pack.’

Dreamer yawned again. ‘And fresh brahmin milk to go in it too’ she noted, Doc Hoff's pack animal being useful for more than carrying trade goods.

‘Did I hear someone say they were going to brew up some chicory?’ Pete asked, getting up himself. ‘Damn, we should bring a woman or two along all the time’ he said.

‘And you just volunteered to carve up the molerat’ Allison told him.

As an intelligent man Doc Hoff was himself only pretending to still be asleep because that seemed to be the best way to avoid doing anything until breakfast was ready. Naturally he was stuck with washing everything up afterwards and was still bemoaning the fact he got bear-grease from the frying pan on his suit trousers when they bade farewell to Agatha and started out on the next leg of their journey.

Heading almost due-west it was only a few miles to reach the outskirts of what had once been Germantown and although the road the caravan took only skirted the town everyone was on edge because of the known increase in Super-Mutant activity in the area.

‘At first there were only a few of them’ Doc Hoff recounted as they studied the area from afar as best they could. ‘Crow decided to take a closer look not all that long ago and said it looked like they were trying to bait scavengers into town by putting stuff on show that might draw them in’ he told Coyle. ‘Now it looks like they're fortifying the whole place using the old police station as their headquarters’ he observed.

‘Baiting scavengers?’ Allison queried.

Pete was looking around cautiously, his rifle shouldered and ready. ‘When Three Dog started warning folks to stay out of the Downtown DC ruins most were smart enough to take notice’ he said. ‘The Frankensteins probably couldn't capture as many people as they needed any more so they started setting traps in other places using things like old computers that were still working and other valuable tech as cheese’ he continued. ‘Put the stuff on display and wait for some scavenger that's not wary enough to bite.’

Hoff nodded. ‘It only works a little while before word spreads to stay clear and then the Super-Mutants usually move on to somewhere else’ he said. ‘If they've decided to stay here long-term they must have a reason.’

‘We're not all that far from Big Town’ Pete noted. ‘I've heard they've snatched people from there before, maybe they've just decided to take the whole damn population?’ he suggested.

‘Certainly easier than trying to take other places if they're upping the ante like that’ Doc Hoff reasoned, thinking his bodyguard might have hit the nail on the head.

‘Big Town?’ Dreamer responded aghast. ‘You think they're going to take everyone in Big Town?’

‘They're only guessing’ Coyle told her. ‘I'm going to take a closer look, see how many of them there are and what they're packing’ he said, taking off his backpack. ‘If I come running back making a lot of noise I'm being chased and you'd be doing me a big favour by shooting whatever is chasing me’ he added, checking his weapons.

‘I think I'll tie the brahmin up behind that wall’ Hoff decided, indicating the remains of an old building.

‘It'll be best if you set up a crossfire’ Coyle advised. ‘Stay low, keep quiet and most importantly be careful not to accidentally shoot me too’ he said, before starting to move off towards the centre of town, moving from cover-to-cover and keeping low himself.

‘You know he didn't say anything about not deliberately shooting him’ Dreamer pointed out, finding a place to lie down where she could put down fire with her R91.

‘I think that was meant to be implicit’ Hoff told her, leading the brahmin away from the possible field of fire.

Dreamer sighed. ‘You're probably right’ she reluctantly agreed.

Up ahead, using the scorched remains of timber-framed houses and collapsed concrete and brick buildings for cover Coyle started to hear the Super-Mutants talking and moving around before he spotted one. Sneaking around behind some sandbags and barricades he managed to get close enough to listen in on their conversations something that confirmed his suspicions that these things were generally less intelligent than their cousins in the west and that some of them had the IQ of an eggplant with special needs.

‘Wish I had big club like behemoth’ one remarked to another as Coyle listened in. ‘Smash everything’ it declared.

‘You dumb’ the other responded. ‘Rifle better than club’ it said.

‘Rifle not fun’ the first stated firmly.

‘Rifle kill more humans, killing humans is fun’ the second maintained.

‘Club not run out of bullets’ the first pointed out and Coyle could swear that the thing sounded smug at presenting such a great argument.

‘That true’ the second super-mutant conceded. ‘Me bored, when we go fetch puny humans to put in green stuff?’ it asked.

‘When told by big boss with beam gun’ the first replied. ‘Want to hear joke I make up?’ it asked. ‘Already told others, they laugh.’

‘Okay’ the other Super-Mutant agreed.

‘Knock knock’ the first began his joke.

‘Who there?’

‘Humans’

‘Humans who?’

‘Kill all humans!’ the comedy genius delivered the punch line to raucous laughter from the other.

Coyle narrowed his eyes, even if he didn't feel obliged to stop them killing or capturing anyone else they surely had to die for that travesty of a joke he decided, sneaking up behind them. Softly putting down his FN-FAL he drew both his Desert Eagle and his MP9 from their holsters and standing up placed the muzzles of both weapons against the backs of their heads.

‘Knock knock’ he said coldly.

‘Who there’ one of the Super-Mutants responded, confused.

‘The one’ Coyle replied.

‘The one who?’

‘The one who you don't want to fuck with’ Coyle told it, pulling both triggers.



Note from the Author:

Wheaton Armoury is an old military facility that the trade caravans pass. It's held by well-armed raiders and the bunker underneath is more than a little hot in radioactivity terms although there's a decent amount of weaponry to be found there.

Violin virtuoso Agatha is looked after by the merchants and plays music for them. She has her own radio station which transmits classical pieces she plays, dedicating them to the merchants and others. One of the things her husband left her was a Mini-Nuke for a Fat Man shoulder-fired launcher. Agatha threatening to detonate the thing with a hammer as a last resort if raiders ever burst in on her just seemed a funny justification for her surviving so long alone!

Germantown and its police station are heavily fortified and infested with Super-Mutants who operate from there in order to snatch people from Big Town. There are several tents outside the station and a computer out in the open which just shouldn't be there any more two centuries after WWIII. Having them set up as bait for unwary wasteland scavengers makes more sense.

That was an actual Super-Mutant knock-knock joke from the game FO3 by the way. They need to die!
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