A Burning World
Disclaimer: The characters/worlds of Buffy, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas belong to their respective owners. If you recognize it I do not own it.
Timeline: pre/current Fallout 3/New Vegas universe and post Twilight in Buffy.
A/N: Thanks for reading and for the reviews. Sorry for the wait. This part is a bit darker than the others: just a heads up.
When they finally reached the exit to the tunnels day had long since begun and ended. Night glittered coldly overhead, sands stirred lethargically, and the wastes spread out an unending darkness walled in with the dead husks of old world architecture. What little light the sickle moon above may have shed was dimmed by passing wisps of scattered clouds. Her sight suffered little under the weak illumination, a perk from her slayer powers, Charon on the other hand…
The ghoul crouched stealthily, his careful movements allowing him to remain unnoticed even as it allowed him the extra moments to discern his most immediate surroundings. A strategic stall tactic that allowed him to appear as if he could see more than he could. He stumbled less moving as slowly as he was while being able to play it off as a skill, a tactic that let him keep face in the presence of the slayers nonchalant stroll through the dark.
Charon held his combat knife, a monstrous blade that failed to catch the moons faint beams to send out its normal sinister gleam. And although Buffy held no such weapon in her hand they were never far from her reach. Something that would catch any casual, or not so casual, observer by surprise as the only weapons noticeable were the Chinese officers sword, the hilt of which protruded casually from over her shoulder, and the belt bisecting her chest which held her assault rifle. The rest of her weapons were stashed out of sight on her person.
The stretch of road they had emerged onto had obviously been recently cleared. Broken windows, pits of darkness, watched out from the towering ruins. Abandoned barrel fires crackled and wafted foul odors that caused her to breathe through her mouth. Smoke coated her tongue and the stench grew till she swore she could taste it. But in the darkness that filled these spaces the denizens of the wastes remained silent. Unusual where swarms of baddies should be calling out words of hated, taunts to lure victims to their death.
Boards nailed through with shards of metal laid in the flickering light, old hunting rifles, castaway unused grenades, and a gatling gun littered the byway. Discarded in hurry the weapons painted a gruesome picture of an impossible battle. That was until she spotted the scorch marks. Halos of ash marked the sidewalks beside the abandoned fires, the tang of explosives mingled with whatever the scent was from the flaming barrels. A sent that grew more familiar in her mind the longer she was exposed to its stench.
Her shoes slid on the ground, a small displacement that she counterbalanced before she lost her footing. With a sticky sucking sound her foot lifted from the ground and she had no need to look down to know what had caused her unsteady step. Someone had gotten their hands on a mess of explosives and the result of their actions lay smeared beneath her heel.
Through the dancing illumination of the barrels she could now make out what she hadn’t before, what she might not have seen unless she had been looking for it. The remains of the massacre of numerous super mutants lay all around her. The blast marks, the viscous smears, the foul odor, not to mention the lack of bodies, all indicated one thing in her mind. There was only one entity that she could think of that would likely cause this type senseless of destruction. Not even at her darkest had she resorted to the savagery she could see now.
It was unlikely that demons had caused this horror; most of them had long since fled Earth or had been destroyed under the fire of the bombs. Besides, for the most part, those demons that could make things go boom didn’t leave behind the smell of chemical made explosives. Nor did they spend the time to clean up their mess by disposing of bodies in fire barrels. No, what she suspected was human. What she suspected had only been recently unleashed.
She wondered if she would have to put any effort into tracking the vaultie with the type of trails he was leaving behind.
They hadn’t been expecting to stumble onto their preys trail so soon after leaving the sanctuary of the underworld. She was glad in part because it meant that she, and by she she meant both herself and Charon of course, didn’t have to trek all across the desert to try and pick up the vaulties tracks from Megaton. As it was she simply found herself a little miffed that Three Dogs had evidently reported the Megaton bombing far later than it had obviously occurred.
If you couldn’t trust reclusive radio personalities that were one dog short of four dogs whom could you trust?
It was convenient then that, although they couldn’t rely on the radio to track their target for them, they could rely on said target painting them a bloody arrow to where he was headed.