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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)HotpointFR1824119,938208353,50429 Jan 104 Jul 12No

Chapter Seven

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.

South of Oakton - Virginia – June 2277

The shattered remains of what had once been Interstate 66 going into DC loomed on the horizon as they neared their destination. The raised freeway had been broken in places into a series of collapsed segments by what Coyle guessed was a surface-burst nuclear detonation somewhere nearby, a localised artificial earthquake which the concrete structure just wasn't well-suited to withstand.

In seeking to keep their distance from the raider gang in Fairfax they had been forced to go over some very rough tracks and even the occasional rocky field during the last few miles of the journey and, although the motorcycle seemed to be handling it better than might have been expected, the riders themselves hadn't exactly enjoyed the trip.

As they neared the ruined Interstate, with the town of Megaton not too far beyond according to Allison, they found themselves facing a particularly displeasing prospect of a ride over a patch of even more broken ground and despite the fact it would mean pushing the bike up a not especially gentle slope Coyle decided it was time to get off and walk.

‘Coming up to six-thirty’ Coyle said, checking his wristwatch before he resumed pushing the motorcycle up the slope.

‘Not far now’ Allison replied, ‘we don't want to be out here at night’ she said earnestly. The bulk of the really nasty things in the Capital Wasteland mostly came out at night and they could also get a lot closer before you spotted them which was bad news given how fast a deathclaw could move.

‘A decent meal followed by a couple of beers sounds good right now’ Coyle decided, damn this thing weighs a ton he thought to himself, pushing the bike up the hill they were ascending.

‘Pa always said that The Brass Lantern in Megaton was a good place to get eats’ Allison told him ‘Lots of trade caravans still pass through this way because it's a safe place to stay overnight, re-supply and wash up if you don't smell so good so the town caters for visitors pretty good’ she noted.

As they neared the top of the slope Coyle heard distant yelling, a thunderous echoing explosion and then the familiar sound of gunfire. ‘Not so safe today maybe?’ he observed wryly, pulling his FN FAL from its saddle holster and pushing the bike onto its side. ‘Leave everything with the bike except your guns and we'll go take a look’ he told Allison who complied, putting down her bag.

Moving slowly and cautiously Coyle headed towards the top of the rise first, his assault-rifle ready for action and his companion following a few yards behind. As he neared the summit he squatted down to keep low then eventually crawled to a position where he could see what was going on without showing himself, a human silhouette was easy to spot on the skyline.

From his new vantage point it looked like the settlement was under attack. A large band of raiders had apparently tried to take the entrance by storm but judging by the number of them lying dead on dying in front of it that had failed miserably Coyle decided.

Coyle watched with interest as a raider tried to move from behind some rocks to a better firing position but he barely got five yards before a sharpshooter positioned on a platform above the town entrance put a bullet into him. ‘Nice shooting’ Coyle said appreciatively before he was surprised by the sight of a short burst of laser fire being directed at the other raiders by a robot positioned right in front of the gates. ‘Well that's something you don’t see every day’ he muttered to himself as Allison moved next to him also laying low.

‘Dad told me about the robot, they call it Deputy Weld’ Allison told him. ‘I didn't think raiders still tried attacking Megaton’ she said. ‘They've never got through the walls’ she added.

‘Well looks like they're determined to this time’ Coyle replied, frowning.

‘It's the water-purification plant, even more than what they can steal’ Allison told him. ‘If you control the water supply you control the whole area, everyone has to kiss your ass’ she explained.

Occasional bursts of automatic fire coming from the settlement were also doing a fine job of keeping the raiders pinned down, again it was well-aimed leading Coyle to the conclusion that they must have at least a few very skilled and indeed well equipped marksmen defending the township. ‘They must have tried a surprise attack when someone opened the outer gates but the people inside were too alert’ Coyle reasoned.

‘Why haven't they pulled back if the plan failed?’ Allison wondered.

Coyle looked thoughtful. ‘They're positioning themselves so the ones that have rifles can put down cover fire’ he said, looking at the disposition of the raiders. ‘Come sundown they'll shoot out any lights and then have another go’ he told her.

‘Why don't they close the outer gates?’ Allison asked, the inner gates weren't nearly as strong.

‘Take a closer look, I think that explosion we heard was someone detonating a decent sized bomb which jammed the mechanism’ Coyle replied, ‘see how that lifting gear connected to the jet engine they're using as the gears is a mess’ he told her. ‘It wouldn't take much to fix it but you'd have to do it from outside which means getting shot by some psychopath.’

‘What are we going to do?’ Allison asked.

‘We're going to hope that the good people of Megaton reimburse me for the ammunition I’m about to shoot into the raiders down there’ Coyle replied calmly. ‘You stay here and watch my back’ he told her.

‘I can help, I'm not a bad shot’ Allison responded.

‘You'll help me by staying here and yelling out if some asshole I haven't seen is trying to flank me’ Coyle told her. ‘I'm going to move around to a better firing position, I think I can probably shoot at least half of them in the back from over there’ he said, pointing to another spot that better overlooked both the entrance to Megaton and the raiders attacking it.

Allison nodded slowly. ‘So how many people do you kill in an average day?’ she asked him semi-seriously.

‘I don't wake up in the morning intending to hit a quota or anything, I just keep running into dudes that badly deserve having a chunk of hot lead shot in their ass’ Coyle replied defensively. ‘I only killed three guys and one crazy bitch with a machete crossing the whole of Wyoming’ he said, before frowning again. ‘Of course that was a high proportion of the people I actually met crossing Wyoming’ he admitted.

Down where the action was the leader of the raider gang attacking the town was pissed that his first plan hadn't worked one-hundred percent, but at least the outer gates were fucked-up like he intended. Getting the stupid assholes who were trying to dig their way into that still closed vault nearby to give up some of the old landmines they were using for blasting had cost him most of his stash of caps but it was worth it if they could get inside that town, Boppo knew for certain.

Holing up in that school and hitting the trade caravans heading for Megaton had been a sweet gig for a while but the town itself was the motherlode. It would take months, maybe years to get into that fucking vault, but cracking Megaton just took one guy with the brains needed to work out how to get inside and a couple of dozen dumb-fucks to do the dangerous shit Boppo knew.

‘Save your ammo you assholes’ the leader of the raiders yelled out angrily. One problem with bossing a bunch of crazies was that they sometimes got so excited they'd use up all their bullets and then be screwed when they really needed them, Boppo thought to himself sadly, like when they hit the inner gates tonight.

That prick inside who called himself the sheriff and mayor, Simms, was going to get his when the sun went down Boppo thought determinedly. He went around in that stupid hat playing lawman like a badge meant anything out here anyway, what a load of crap. That Chinese Assault Rifle he carried was nice though, it was going to be a great feeling taking it from his corpse the raider knew, grinning at the prospect.

Jericho wasn’t going to get off so light though, Boppo decided, all those years raiding together as wolves and the turncoat bastard decides to retire and sets up home with the sheep, he thought with derision. Yep, Jericho was going to get taken alive and then he was going to get fucking crucified, his corpse placed over the entrance until it rotted to nothing. A few of the other townsfolk might join him if they wouldn't accept the new management too, maybe that kid that belonged to Simms included? It would really show people you meant business if they had to walk under a dead kid to enter Megaton. No, fuck that name, it was going to be Raidertown from now on he thought with a grin.

They should make decent money from the slaves they'd take, although Boppo already planned to keep that girl Lucy West for himself. He had seen her once when he scouted the town in disguise a month back and that sweet piece of ass was definitely going to keep him entertained for a while. Running into Jericho in there had been a surprise at the time but fortunately for the raider Jericho had been drunk and was too distracted coughing his guts out after decades of heavy smoking so he didn't recognise his old buddy Boppo in a wastelander’s clothes.

The sun would be setting in a couple of hours and then Boppo would end this. He had riflemen in the right places to give cover fire when the other raiders made their move and he still had enough mines left to blast through the inner gates. Most of his gang only had pistols or the occasional sawn-off shotgun but once they were in close that wouldn't matter and his own combat shotgun would be fun fun fun once he got into the town. A few frag grenades going off would have them quaking in their boots, women screaming, children crying... shit, it was going to be a hot time in the old town tonight.

Having moved into position and lying prone half concealed by a rock Coyle took aim at one of the more distant hunting-rifle armed Raiders hunkered down perhaps two-hundred and fifty yards off. This one was only partially visible but unlike many of the others she would be able to take proper cover once the raiders realised there was a sniper behind them so Coyle wanted to take her out first, most of the rest weren't so fortunate as regarded protection from the rear.

Coyle took a breath, held it and squeezed the trigger on his FN-FAL. The report of the single shot was distinctive but it was still lost amongst the sounds of several other weapons of different calibres being fired and nobody seemed to notice when the 7.62mm round blew a hole in the raider-girl’s torso just under her right arm, going through a lung before practically blowing her heart in two.

Lining up his next shot on a closer target Coyle shot a raider wearing what looked like an old motorcycle helmet in the back of the head, the bullet deformed by the improvised head protection but not slowed or deflected anywhere near as much as it needed to be to stop it turning his brains to mush after slamming through his skull.

It was when raider number three was shot dead centre between his shoulder blades, the man collapsing beside one of his friends who yelled a warning, that Boppo realised there was now some son-of-a-bitch behind them whacking his crew one by one. He watched as a fourth member of the gang, the one who had raised the alarm in fact, was gunned down and then started screaming at his remaining raiders to get down.

‘Ducks in a barrel’ Coyle said to himself with satisfaction as he took aim on a raider wearing some ugly spiked armour who was looking around trying to see where the bullets were coming from. The man probably saw the dust the FN-FAL kicked up in front of itself when it was fired again but the supersonic round was already going through his chest before he could tell anyone.

Coyle heard something behind him and spun to find himself looking at a raider he had missed pointing a crappy looking revolver at him, before he could swing his assault rifle around the raider pulled the trigger and Coyle felt and heard a bullet smack into his Combat Armour and ding off. “Next one is going in my face” thought Cassidy Coyle as the raider took better aim.

A bullet hit the raider in the shoulder causing him to scream and drop the pistol, Coyle nearly had his assault-rifle pointed in the right direction to do some more lethal damage when a second bullet from the same direction hit the raider in the throat, his screams turned into a spray of blood as he reached futilely for his neck to try and stem the flow of blood from the ragged hole that had been shot right through it.

Coyle turned and saw Allison seventy or eighty yards off with her hunting-rifle shouldered. ‘Jesus, she really can shoot’ he said to himself in surprise before remembering what he was supposed to be doing. While a raider bled out almost right next to him, the distracting sound of blood gurgling was soon drowned out by the NCR Ranger's FN-FAL firing again.

Unfortunately for Boppo raiders on the whole are far too undisciplined to deal well with a situation like the one they now found themselves in and when a second sniper started firing on them, Allison having decided to take an extra couple of pot-shots herself, they broke and ran.

Getting up from what cover they did have was not a sound tactical move however. The guy up on the platform above the entrance was the first to take the opportunity to bag an easy kill but then the two other people shooting from inside the town opened up in earnest with their assault rifles and raiders started to drop like flies.

‘Stay down you idiots’ Boppo howled out to no avail as his gang was ruthlessly gunned down.

Allison had already killed one man today, she had spotted the one sneaking up on Coyle and had made the call to help her west-coast companion directly rather than just warn him. Now with the raiders such easy targets she shot another one, a girl in pigtails this time who might be about the same age as she was. It wasn't as hard as she thought it would be, just aim and pull the trigger like you did hunting for food, maybe the bad feelings about killing someone came later she decided as the adrenaline flowed and she tried for a third.

If his ammunition hadn't been so hard to come by Coyle might have potted a few more himself but other for gifting himself one extra-sweet opportunity shot that presented itself he settled for watching other people shoot the raiders in the back as they fled. He did however notice one of them who hadn't tried to run away and who instead had crawled to better cover during all the confusion.

When all the raiders were either on the floor dead or dying, or in a small number of cases had managed to get away, Coyle watched the inner gates slowly open and a pair of men cautiously emerged. They had their assault rifles shouldered and ready, one was wearing dark leather armour, much like the cannibal hunters he and Allison had met earlier in the day, but the other was wearing a cowboy hat and a long duster coat.

‘Watch out there's still a live one!’ Coyle yelled in warning as the raider looked like he was about to make his move.

Boppo tried to bring up his combat shotgun but before he could start shooting Mayor Simms in the duster had already started pulling the trigger on his Chinese Assault Rifle. The first two shots missed but the third in the burst of fire the Megaton lawman had sent his way caught the raider right between the eyes, one of the other raiders still close enough to see had turned back when he heard Coyle call out his warning and watched Boppo go down. When he reached their base at Springvale Elementary he would tell everyone that the old boss had “died like a bitch”.

‘Nice shooting’ Coyle called out.

‘Who the fuck are you?’ the one in the leather armour responded suspiciously.

‘I'm just a guy that wants to get into town to trade’ Coyle replied.

‘Why did you help us fight the raiders?’ the one in the cowboy hat asked. ‘Not that I'm complaining about that or the warning you understand’ he added.

‘They were just in my way’ Coyle replied, ‘I'm getting up now, don't shoot at me or I'll shoot back and I've already proved I'm good at that’ he said, starting to get up so he could be seen, holding his rifle over his head.

‘Walk towards us slowly’ the one in the cowboy hat told Coyle who obliged. ‘There's at least one other shooter out there’ he noted.

‘Allison, come join us and keep your finger away from your trigger’ Coyle yelled out.

‘Okay’ Allison called back.

‘Names Simms, Lucas Simms Mayor and Sheriff of this town’ the one in the hat told Coyle when he arrived. ‘So who are you?’ he asked.

‘Coyle, Cassidy Coyle, visitor to this town’ Coyle replied with a smile. ‘No thanks necessary but if you don't mind we'll help ourselves to anything that belongs to the raiders we killed’ he said.

‘Sounds fair’ Simms agreed.

‘I got three’ Allison declared as she approached, she noted that the sharpshooter up on the platform now had his rifle trained on her. ‘Well two for definite and I think the one I winged went down over there’ she said, pointing towards some rocks.

‘I got nine’ Coyle told them.

‘With how many bullets?’ Simms asked, intrigued.

‘Eight’ Coyle replied. ‘I wasn't going to fire again after I was sure they were all turning tail but couldn't resist the shot when two of them lined up as they ran away’ he said.

‘Bullshit’ the guy in the leather armour declared.

‘I can prove it’ Coyle responded. ‘My FN FAL here puts out twice the muzzle energy of what you're using’ he said, indicating his rifle and then their own Chinese-made Assault Rifles ‘the crappy armour these guys are wearing doesn't even slow it down’ he told them proudly, good quality NCR engineering he thought happily.

‘Plenty to share out anyway Jericho’ Simms told the other man wearing the leather armour. There were dozens of dead raiders scattered around and the protectron robot Deputy Weld wasn't going to get a share of the spoils.

‘I want the ammo I fired reimbursed too’ Jericho told Simms.

‘Not a problem, I'll give you a box of replacement 5.56mm from the armoury’ Simms told him.

‘Right, then I'll start stripping the ones I killed’ Jericho declared, walking towards a pair of raiders he had practically cut in half with his assault rifle earlier when the raiders first tried to storm the gates.

Simms held out his hand to shake which Coyle took. ‘Much obliged’ the sheriff told him.

‘Don't mention it’ Coyle replied.

‘This your woman?’ Simms asked, indicating Allison.

‘She's my guide’ Coyle told him. ‘I'm not from around here’ he added redundantly.

‘You from out west?’ Simms asked.

‘Any further west and you're in the ocean’ Coyle replied.

‘I'm Allison Brenner’ Allison introduced herself, ‘my Pa used to come here to trade’ she said. ‘Jack Brenner was his name.’

‘Walked with a sort of bouncy limp’ Simms recalled. ‘That the feller?’ he asked.

Allison smiled and nodded. ‘Some people called him Jackalope because his name was Jack and he...’

‘Loped’ Coyle finished for her.

‘I don't interrupt your stories’ Allison protested.

‘Mine are funnier or more exciting, usually both’ Coyle replied.

Allison glared at him. ‘Jerk’ she said.

Simms looked from one to the other, if it wasn't for the different surnames he'd think they were married. ‘You say you came here to trade?’ he asked Coyle.

‘Yes, and for food and a bed for the night’ Coyle replied.

‘That won't be a problem, in fact I reckon the town owes you both a free meal and a beer’ Simms told him.

‘That's mighty nice of you Sir’ Allison replied, beaming.

‘Least we could do, those damn raiders are a pain in the ass’ Simms stated. ‘Seems like more and more of them all the time’ he said. ‘Course after word of this gets around I reckon we won't see a raider gang try and attack Megaton again for a while’ he decided.

Coyle turned to Allison. ‘If I show you the raiders I took out you start clearing them out of anything valuable and I'll go fetch our stuff and the bike’ he said. ‘Is there any market for raider armour?’ he asked Simms.

‘There's a trader that comes around every so often named Crow that'll buy it’ Simms replied, ‘if you sell it to Moira in the town store Craterside Supply she'll trade it on to him’ he said, ‘I don't like to ask, or interfere with a mans livelihood, but I reckon he sells it back to the raiders.’

‘I'll strip 'em too then’ Allison said.

‘Turning out to be a profitable day’ Coyle observed. ‘What are you going to do with the bodies?’ he asked Simms curiously.

‘Haul them a ways off and let the wasteland have them’ Simms replied.

‘I'll give you some help with that once I’m back here with our stuff’ Coyle offered, ‘don't want corpses stinking up the place or attracting wild animals so close to town’ he said.

‘You do that and I'll stand you another drink myself’ Simms told him.

The robot walked over. ‘Welcome to Megaton’ it said. ‘Friendliest town around’ it declared.

‘A warm reception always guaranteed’ Simms announced, as Coyle turned and looked over the bodies again with a wry smile on his face.

Note from the Author:

Megaton is a walled community built around an old crater that serves as a trading hub of sorts. It's mainly constructed from old pieces of aircraft and has a very haphazard design and appearance. What it also has is a Water Processing Plant that produces the safe drinking water that is in short supply in the Capital Wasteland so the desire of raiders to take over the place is understandable. However as well as the walls Megaton is protected by a number of well-armed citizens with the double gates defended by a pre-war Protectron robot they've named "Deputy Weld" and a sniper positioned high above the entrance called Stockholm.

Boppo the raider who led an attack on Megaton some time before the start of Fallout 3 is mentioned on the data logs you can find in the raider base in Springvale Elementary School situated near Megaton. It says he was shot in the head by the Megaton town Sheriff Lucas Simms but doesn't say much more.

The still sealed Fallout Shelter Vault 101 lies close to Megaton. The raiders based at the school were trying to tunnel into it via the basement using Land Mines as blasting charges. Having Boppo know Jericho, the ex-raider who now lives in Megaton working as a hired gun is entirely my invention, I just thought it was a nice touch.

The trader Crow who was mentioned by Simms does, like the other caravan merchants, visit the large raider camp at Evergreen Mills as part of his trade route. I saw that as indicating that the ongoing market for raider armour in the Capital Wasteland is entirely due to them purchasing the stuff back to equip new raiders with (who else would want it?). The Megaton town store, Craterside Supply is run by Moira Brown, other noteworthy places to visit in Megaton include outdoor eatery The Brass Lantern and the bar called Moriarty's Saloon.

In real life Oakton is north of Fairfax on the other side of Interstate 66, I'm placing Megaton in that area for that reason (geographically it seems about right). I've been trying to work to the actual map of the area as well as the Fallout 3 Map, the distances are therefore much greater between eveywhere than they are in the game (which shrinks the region by a factor of sixty for gameplay reasons).
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