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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)HotpointFR1824119,938198352,34129 Jan 104 Jul 12No

Chapter One

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.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please don't worry if you know nothing about Fallout, there are author's notes and hyperlinked references aplenty to help you out!

This is not strictly a crossover, although it could be argued that the games Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 are so different, with the former much more rife with moral ambiguity and being outright darker and more adult in tone, that it sort of is despite the fact they take place in the same universe merely being set on different sides of the country a few decades apart.

The Fallout games are set in a post-apocalyptic United States years after the Third World War wiped out most of the population of the planet (most of those that did survive had been inside gigantic Nuclear Bunkers called Vaults) and left most of the country a blasted, radioactive wasteland. However this is not our future, the Great War of 2077 happened in a parallel Earth which diverged from ours after World War II and the pre-war culture and society was different enough to ours to make it an almost 1950's version of the future... with nuclear bombs dropped on it. This story takes place in the ruins of Washington DC and the surrounding region (known as the Capital Wasteland) the setting for Fallout 3 (set in 2277) however it starts two months earlier than the game does and features original main characters one of whom is from the West Coast where Fallout 1 (set in 2161) and Fallout 2 (set in 2241) took place.

In Fallout 3 the descendents of the old United States Army, now known as the "Brotherhood of Steel" are revered for holding back the atrocities of the wasteland. Fighting Raiders and Mutants. On the East Coast they are seen, and see themselves, as Knights in Powered Armour fighting for truth and justice... on the West Coast however they're usually called the "Steel Plague" after they launched a war of aggression against the New California Republic seeking to annex the only free nation in the wasteland.

Now into this mix of mutated monsters, murderous savages, divided loyalties and ideologies you can now throw in the remnants of the old corrupt United States Government itself in the form of the brutal, genocidal and self-serving Enclave, defeated on the West Coast but back in force and back to their old tricks in the East.

In the wasteland life is cheap, slavery is the norm and even cannibalism is common. Murderous psychopaths loot, rape and pillage at will, preying on the weak. There is no real law and order, no justice... no hope.

Welcome to the world of New California Dreaming, welcome to the Capital Wasteland in 2277.



The Wasteland - Virginia – June 2277

Coyle wasn't certain if his assailant was a raider or a slaver, her clothes at least said destitute wastelander for what that was worth, but regardless of affiliation it was pretty damn certain she wasn't firing on all cylinders because instead of running away she had instead pulled a switchblade from her bramin-leather jacket and adopted a threatening posture. ‘They were right’ he muttered to himself, drawing his Heckler & Koch MP9 from its holster and levelling it at her, ‘the further east you get, the lower the IQ's drop’ he said with a resigned sigh. The knife would barely scratch the Recon Armour he was wearing, although being sans helmet at the moment she might go for his throat he supposed.

‘I'll cut you’ she said, the threat not exactly backed up by the way she wasn’t even holding the small knife properly. She had previously thrown the spear she had at him but missed by a mile, disarming herself and simultaneously annoying him, neither a good move to be honest.

Fortunately for the girl Coyle's Mom was a superstitious type and had always told him that killing a crazy person was bad luck. Conversely his father might have argued that eliminating the loon from the gene pool before they could breed was a public service but on the other hand Dad would have also baulked at the waste of ammunition so Coyle decided to try reason instead of violence. ‘I'm aiming a firearm at you’ he pointed out in the tone he reserved for children, the insane and junior officers. ‘Go away’ he instructed her patiently, shooing her off with his free left hand.

‘You can't have my water’ the girl insisted.

‘I don't want your water’ Coyle replied evenly. ‘I'm just looking around to see if there's any whiskey in any of these buildings’ he said, now sweeping his left arm about to indicate the shattered ruins of the small town he had come across, finding it solely inhabited by a crazy female in maybe her late teens. ‘Chances are any water you've got glows in the dark anyway and I'm hoping for kids with the right number of fingers and toes someday’ he added.

The girl looked suspicious. ‘My Pa and my brothers will be here soon’ she told him, ‘you'd better leave before they get here because they're crack shots’ she declared.

Coyle was unconvinced by either statement but deciding she wasn't likely about to try and stab him any time soon he holstered his MP9. ‘See, I'm all peaceable’ he told her. ‘Okay, how about if you've got any whiskey I'll buy it from you’ he suggested. ‘Or from these reputed family members that are surely now just moments away.’

‘You talk funny’ the girl observed.

‘It's called a vocabulary’ Coyle replied sardonically, ‘and that word means...’

‘I know plenty of words including that one’ the girl responded, clearly aggrieved by his implicit accusation she was some dumb tribal or something. ‘I meant your accent’ she said indignantly.

‘I'm from out west’ Coyle explained.

The girl looked doubtful. ‘You mean West Virginia?’ she asked. ‘I've known plenty of traders that came from there and they sure didn't sound like you’ she stated.

‘Further west than that’ Coyle replied patiently.

‘Ohio?’ the girl queried.

Coyle groaned. ‘I'll save you the next half-dozen states and skip to the one at the end’ he said. ‘I'm from California’ he told her.

The girl raised her eyebrows, she had seen a map of the old United States and knew where that was. ‘Are you with the Brotherhood of Steel?’ she asked. ‘I heard tell from some folks they hail from way out that far.’

‘No I'm not from the fucking Brotherhood of Steel’ Coyle responded angrily before his expression shifted to a look of intrigue. ‘Are there any of them around here then?’ he asked, looking very interested all of a sudden.

‘Why do you want to know?’ the girl queried. ‘And is the knowing worth anything to you?’ she asked.

‘How many caps for the information without me having to answer the first question?’ Coyle replied.

‘Fifty’ the girl told him.

‘You're kidding?’ Coyle responded. ‘It's worth beating it out of you to save that much money.’

The girl looked alarmed. ‘My Pa and brothers...’

‘Yeah, yeah’ Coyle interrupted her dismissively. ‘Twenty-five’ he counter-offered.

‘Forty’ the girl replied. ‘And I'll let you have three bottles of whiskey for fifteen caps each’ she continued. ‘It's the good stuff, goes down smooth’ she promised.

‘I'm not going to drink it’ Coyle responded flatly. ‘Thirty-five for the information and another thirty-five for the whiskey, that's sixty-five caps all together’ he said.

‘That’s seventy’ the girl responded angrily. ‘You trying to cheat me?’ she asked.

‘It seemed less immoral than beating the crap out of you and saving all the money’ Coyle replied with a shrug. ‘Okay seventy and put that damn toothpick away, if anyone saw me handing you a load of caps while you're pointing it at me they'd think I was letting you mug me and my reputation as a badass would take a nosedive.’

The girl looked around the deserted ruins and wasteland beyond. ‘Who the hell is going to see you out here?’ she asked reasonably, putting the switchblade away.

‘Hey you might not think it but there's radscorpions from here to San Francisco that would sting themselves rather than take me on’ Coyle deadpanned. ‘And deathclaws tell their kids that if they’re naughty I'll come and eat them.’

The girl looked Coyle up and down. ‘Yeah, right’ she said eventually, clearly unconvinced by the veracity of his admittedly unlikely claim.

‘Would you believe they warn them I'd give them the worst indigestion ever?’ Coyle asked with a grin, he thought he was funny at least. ‘So where's the whiskey and where did you see the Brotherhood?’ he asked.

‘Show me the caps first’ the girl insisted.

Coyle nodded back the way he had come walking into town earlier. ‘Back there with my bike and the rest of my stuff’ he said.

‘Your what?’ the girl asked in surprise.

‘My bike’ Coyle repeated himself, ‘my motorcycle’ he said. ‘You didn't think I walked three thousand miles to get here did you?’ he asked rhetorically. ‘That's why I need the whiskey’ he explained, ‘I'm nearly out of fuel and I didn't want to have to put the good scotch in the tank.’

‘You've got a working motorcycle?’ the girl queried in obvious amazement at such a notion.

Coyle laughed, it never ceased to amuse him how backwards things really were once you left the borders of the NCR far behind. Whilst it was true that most of the travelling was done by steam-train back home, with still only a few old fusion-powered cars and trucks on the road, ethanol burning internal combustion engines weren’t even all that rare these days. You could even find filling-stations owned by the Wright Corporation on a few of the main highways, the originally Reno-based family-owned business was expected to overtake Crimson Caravan as the wealthiest business empire on the West Coast within a few years. ‘It's taken a battering getting here but it still works’ he confirmed.

Twenty minutes later Coyle had counted out the seventy caps from the bag locked in the left pannier on the back of his bike and after handing them over had received the whiskey which he was now pouring into the fuel tank. He had tested a mouthful, saying this was only to verify what proof it was of course, and though he hoped it wouldn’t eat through the bottom of the tank if anything it was better quality than the stuff he had been running it on back in civilisation, some redneck in these parts must have a hell of a still he decided. ‘Okay so where's the Brotherhood?’ he asked, putting on the Recon-Armor helmet which had been hanging from the handlebars. He had already put on his backpack which had been resting on the seat.

‘Ninety miles East, you’ll find them in the Capital Wasteland’ the girl told him. ‘They used to call it Washington DC before the war but it got blasted good’ she said.

‘You should see the LA Boneyard’ Coyle responded, climbing aboard his bike. ‘They had enough warning to shoot down a lot of the Chinese Bombers and Missiles heading for the East Coast’ he noted. Adytum, a town within the sprawling ruins of the Boneyard, had grown over the years since it joined the NCR but it still only covered a fraction of what had once been Los Angeles, the old metropolis remaining mile after mile of twisted, blasted wreckage for the most part.

‘I've never seen guns like that before’ the girl noted, indicating the two rifles in the leather scabbards strapped to the sides of the machine.

‘I could tell you what they were but I'd have to kill you’ Coyle told her in amusement, the FN-FAL wasn't really anything special, apart from the fact this one had a night-vision scope fitted, but the M72 Gauss Rifle was probably worth enough for people to hunt him down for it. He had considered not bringing it on this mission at all but if he was going to conceivably ever end up exchanging fire with some prick in powered armour he wanted to be firing something that wouldn’t bounce off.

The girl looked awkward. ‘I could show you the way’ she offered, ‘I mean if you paid me’ she said.

‘Shouldn’t you check with your Pa before playing tour-guide?’ Coyle asked with a chuckle.

‘He's gone, my brothers too’ the girl admitted.

‘I'm shocked’ Coyle replied, ‘you really had me convinced’ he lied. ‘I can find my own way thanks’ he told her.

‘I know all the traders around here, and where it's safe to hole up for the night’ the girl responded, ‘my Pa used to scavenge all over the place, and rode with loads of caravans, he told me all about it’ she said earnestly.

‘Didn't he tell you not to accept rides from strangers too?’ Coyle inquired.

‘You seem okay to me’ the girl replied, ‘I mean you didn't shoot me or anything and you paid up like you said you would... although you did try and screw me out of five caps’ she noted. ‘So what's your name?’

‘My name's Coyle, and for all you know the only reason I didn't shoot you was because I'm out of bullets’ he pointed out. ‘You're too trusting to be out here, I could be a slaver, or worse, for all you know.’

‘Pa said I was a good judge of character’ the girl replied defensively.

Coyle looked at himself in one of the mirrors fitted to his handlebars, dirty, unshaven, he badly needed to clean his armour and his hair had so much crap in it you could barely tell he was blond. ‘You obviously don't judge on appearance’ he observed.

‘If I can get to Canterbury Commons, that's in the Capital Wasteland’ she explained, ‘my Pa knew a man there who worked with some traders, I might be able to get a job’ the girl said. ‘I'd never get that far on my own, I've got my little brother’s old rifle but it's busted so bad it's not even worth carrying because anyone looking at it would know it was broken’ she continued, ‘and I've only got a few bullets for it left anyhow because I sold the rest’ she told Coyle. ‘I worked at a bar next town over till last week but I wouldn't go with the customers so the boss threw me out.’

‘Everyone's got a fucking sob-story’ Coyle complained. ‘Okay, if you promise to stop telling me yours I'll take you along but if you get us lost I'll sell you to a slaver, or maybe some cannibals’ he vowed.

‘No you wouldn't’ the girl replied confidently, then frowned ‘I won't sleep with you’ she told him seriously.

‘You smell worse than I do and I got laid a couple of days back anyway so I’m still choosy’ Coyle retorted. ‘Now don't go thinking you get to take a load of crap along, my shocks won't like carrying two of us anyway’ he told her.

‘I've just got a small bag back there where we met’ the girl told him. ‘And I need to collect my spear too’ she added. ‘I got a mole-rat yesterday, there's still some left if you want to eat’ she offered.

‘I've seen you throw that spear, did it die of old age?’ Coyle asked sarcastically. ‘Shit, I'll push the damn bike down there, save some gas’ he said, getting off and starting to wheel his motorcycle back to where they had come from.

‘What does that number painted on the back of your helmet mean?’ the girl asked him, following on.

‘It's how many super-mutants I've killed in hand-to-hand combat’ Coyle replied wryly.

‘I don't believe you’ve killed thirteen super-mutants with your bare hands’ the girl responded.

‘My opinion of your intelligence is going up’ Coyle told her, ‘pretty soon I'll think your IQ is that high.’

Not knowing what an IQ was the girl ignored him. ‘So what does thirteen mean?’ she asked.

Coyle sighed. ‘Thirteenth Infantry Battalion, Army of the New California Republic’ he told her. ‘Arroyo Volunteers.’

‘Who's Arroyo and what did he volunteer for?’ the girl wanted to know.

Coyle stopped pushing the bike, and stared blankly into space before shaking his head sadly. ‘They called us the “Arroyo Volunteers” because almost everyone in the battalion was from the town of New Arroyo’ he said. ‘The number meant a lot to us so we all signed up for that unit when they asked for recruits to fight in the war’ he told her.

The girl looked at him intrigued. ‘What war?’

‘You ask a lot of questions’ Coyle complained, starting to push the bike again.

‘What war?’ the girl persisted.

‘The war between the New California Republic and the Brotherhood of Steel’ Coyle replied, deciding he could either answer, be badgered about it or shoot her and while the latter option has its positive side he really could use a local guide.

‘So you used to be a soldier and you're from a town in California called New Arroyo’ the girl said. ‘Well at least you're not a dumb tribal’ she said.

‘My mother was a tribal’ Coyle responded, turning to glare at her. ‘I get to call tribals dumb if I want, you don't’ he told her sternly.

The girl broke eye contact. ‘So do you have any tattoos then?’ she asked, lots of the primitives did. ‘Was your Pa a tribal too?’

‘I've got a couple of unit tattoos on my right arm’ Coyle answered, ‘a rattlesnake on my left forearm, my father was from a vault and you don't get to ask any more damn questions for the next two hours.’

The girl pouted. ‘You haven't even asked my name’ she moaned.

‘It would make it harder to beat you to death if I knew it’ Coyle muttered.

‘It's Allison’ the girl told him quickly. ‘Allison Brenner.’

Coyle thought about that for a while then eventually smiled. ‘No, as it turns out it wouldn't be any harder to beat you to death now I know it’ he decided happily. ‘You'll have to wear my backpack if you're going to sit on the back of the bike’ he told her. ‘And hold on tight because I don't want to lose it if you fall off.’

An hour later Allison still couldn’t ask any questions but as they rode down a relatively intact stretch of Route 66 and she gradually got used to the idea of travelling this way she did learn one more thing about him, he liked to sing.

Well East-Coast Raider Girls are hip
I really dig those spikes they wear
And the Reno girls, with the way they talk
They cuss me out when I’m out there
The Mid-West Reaver Daughters really get you in their sights
And the mutant girls, with the Rads they take
They make their boyfriends glow at night


I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California
Girls


He was onto the second verse when they ran into a gang of Raiders and Scout-Sergeant Cassidy N Coyle of the New California Rangers got to demonstrate why the Republic chose him over all the other volunteers to find out what the hell the damn Brotherhood was up to in the Untamed Wild East.



Note from the Author:

You don't have to have played the Fallout games to enjoy this story I hope but greater familiarity with the universe will help you appreciate it far more. There are quite a few in-jokes and references that only fans of the Fallout games will likely get but I've tried to make the characters interesting and entertaining enough in themselves.

If you're not a Fallout aficionado, or even if you are and you just lack my ability to remember obscure facts about fictional universes, I heartily endorse the Fallout Wiki for all your Fallout Universe information needs. I'll be adding hyperlinked references to the author's notes that will typically link back to the Wiki myself to help out.

Here are a few links to be getting on with that will hopefully give even the totally uninitiated a basic grounding in the universe when the games take place:

The world of Fallout

Timeline of the Fallout Universe

Interactive map of the Capital Wasteland


I'm going by the fallout timeline including the unreleased game Van Buren (what was originally to be Fallout 3) which has the "Brotherhood of Steel going to war with the New California Republic some time after the events of Fallout 2. The BoS had better weaponry but the sheer size of the NCR population (700,000 citizens, a vast number for the era) means that its military made up for in quantity what it lacked in quality and the war stretched on for years.

My original character Coyle is a veteran of the of the war who transferred from the NCR Regular Army to the elite New California Rangers (paramilitary police who roam the wastes wiping out raiders and slavers and looking out for enemies of the Republic). His father was one of the Vault 13 survivors and his mother a tribal from the original Arroyo, both rescued from the Enclave by the Chosen One in 2242 (thirty-five years before Fallout 3, he's in his early thirties by this point).

The NCR knows that the BoS have sent people to the East and they want to know what they're doing, suspecting the Brotherhood is looking for advanced weapons to obtain some new advantage. As far as Coyle is concerned the Brotherhood is no better than the Enclave, they attacked his country (New Arroyo having joined the NCR) and tried to overthrow its democratic government to turn it into a neo-feudal state under their rule so he's definitely not above plinking random BoS guys with his Gauss Rifle.

The currency in Fallout 1 (set in 2161) consisted of bottlecaps taken from Nuka Cola bottles. As civilisation re-established itself on the West Coast however real coins made of gold and silver replaced them (the gold being mined from Redding) and by Fallout 2 (set in 2241) caps were no longer used as money there. However the East Coast is not remotely as well recovered from the war in terms of re-opening mines and factories so caps are still used as money in the Capital Wasteland as of 2277.

The 10mm Heckler and Koch MP9 submachinegun is a constant fixture of the Fallout games. The 7.62x51 NATO FN-FAL however only features in Fallout 2 where it is noted to be back in production in NCR service. In Fallout 3 the standard US assault rifle is the R91 firing the considerably less powerful 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge.

There are a ludicrous quantity of whiskey bottles to be found around the Capital Wasteland, it was that that made me think of Coyle riding a motorcycle running on the stuff. The Wrights were bootleggers from New Reno in Fallout 2, I had the notion that they changed their business plan and realised there was money to be made in supplying fuel to the growing economy of the NCR. Wright Ethanol in quantity enabled the Republic to bring back the Internal Combusion Engine in decent numbers.
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