Saturday, July 31, 2010

Never. Ends.

Idk if anyone else has had this problem, but using the FO3Edit master update causes a crash when I enter Vault 1 (not the entrance tunnels, but the vault itself). Ive found that removing the esm flag from this plugin solves the CTD issue. Anyone know whats causing this?

Must... not... throttle...

1) It says in the fucking master readme not to fucking use fucking masterupdate, for fuck's sake! FUCK. Am I writing documentation for my fucking self here?!

2) To me, the solution would seem obvious, and I am so very tempted to imitate Groucho Marx every time someone posts some stupid help request like this. Anyone else ever see that bit?

"Doctor! It hurts when I raise my arm this high!"

"Well, then don't raise your arm that high."

Another one on the master entry is using something called "RRCV1.esm" and complaining it doesn't work. Hate to break it to 'em, but that ain't one of mine.

Stupid people on the left of me, stupid people on the right...

I begin to long for New Vegas to go gold. It will hopefully draw away the lion's share of the dipshits.

RRCV1.esm sounds familiar, though... Unfortunately I'm ten minutes away from dead at the moment and can not get the sieve I call a mind to make with the information. Maybe after some sleep...

Friday, July 30, 2010


While I'm on a non-gaming kick anyway, I want to note for those of you unaware that Six Feet Under's covers of Purple Haze, Smoke On the Water, and TNT are all made of fuck and win, as the kids on the internets say.


As long as you're listening to Six Feet Under anyway, you must check out their perennial classics Lycanthropy and Still Alive. And no, it ain't the Portal song, Kiddies.

Some days I think I need help. Then, I decide to just embrace the insanity. At least that way it's more fun.


So, my Dark Master is apparently still out there somewhere, and hasn't totally forgotten me.

Got my rebate check from Benelli today.

Still pissed about that SBH... but oh man do I love finding money in the mailbox.

Sexy Italian auto-shotgun + two bills in cash back = temporarily not-miserable NosCo CEO.

Of course, knowing me I'll turn around and put the two hundred bucks into an extended tube to get it up to the US.Mil 7+1 capacity... but what're ya gonna do?


Shit! I just thought of something. This being in a good mood thing is going to totally hamper my ability to go all Lord of Darkness on that shop clerk later this afternoon.

Good one, Universe!

RR Companions Vault, v5.64 Final?

I mentioned in comments last night that I'm thinking 5.64 will be the "final" version of the main master, barring any new bugs and such.

Rather than just throw it out, I wanted to explain a bit; as well as deliver the potentially sad news that you likely won't be seeing the voiced companion system.

I'll start with the voices. I know a lot of people wanted this, myself included. The sad fact is, it's too big a project for me at this time.

There are some ten thousand voice files in Fallout 3; along with an equal number of .lip files - the file that tells the NPC how to move their mouth while the sound plays.

These ten thousand files are named like this: "convbigtown_hello_0003d8a5_1.ogg"

This, to me at least, is damned near incomprehensible. Meaning that to find out what it is, I have to listen to each file, decide if it's useful; rename sound and lip files if useful, delete if not. I have to rename them to something that will allow me to tell what in the holy hell the file is at a later time.

Once all ten thousand are sorted and the keepers renamed, they have to be copied and renamed again. Each line of dialog in the game has to have its sound file named specifically - there is no "select sound" option that allows using one file for multiple dialog lines. This has to be done not once, but once for every voice in the game. Excepting children and uniques, there are still some eight or so voices to be done; and I know if I do it for the standards, someone is going to bitch in my general direction to do it for uniques and pedo... I mean "child companions".

Then, there's still rewriting the several hundred lines of dialog in the master to match the sound files.

When I said I was embarking on the project, I had no idea of the sheer scale. By the time I had waded through a thousand voice files, and saw that I wasn't even half-way through the first female adult voice, my enthusiasm waned.

So, hate to do it, but going to have to admit my lack of worthiness and bow out of that feature, at least for the foreseeable future.

Now, on to other things.

5.64 will include the latest follower reliability enhancement I've worked out. I noticed that most of the follower problems in crowded areas were the direct result of the companion(s) getting waylaid by some NPC wanting to have one of those random conversations. Oftentimes, they seem to get stuck in the conversation. Having mingled at an event or two myself, I can feel the companions' pain there.

I've modified the 1VaultGuardPlayer package accordingly, to prevent this from happening. They'll still chat vapidly while in sandbox mode, but not while "on the clock". This has, in my testing greatly improved following performance in crowded, non-hostile areas. Rivet City's market, especially.

This will, unfortunately, also mandate that I update the following distance plugins, to reflect the new changes. When I do so, I'm going to put them directly into the master archive, and remove the separate download.

I'm also planning a revamp of the Master's NPCs. The vault inhabitants, as well as the five companions. I'd left them alone for so long... not really even sure why. Regardless, I've decided they've looked like shit long enough. Instead of a minor tweak, I'll be giving them a complete overhaul. Ground-up, if need be.

Next, I'm also considering modifying the guard packages. Currently, it's set up to guard current location only. I'm not sure I like that. What I'd like to do is set up five guard markers, that can be placed anywhere in the game world indoors or out by the player. The command will then consist of guarding location and a number. Sort of similar to a home marker - which I'll probably also add while I'm at it.

This will allow a fair bit of companion moving from dialog alone.

Lastly, I think I'm going to put the vault mirelurks on a leash, as it were. Apparently they're still getting out of the tank for some people, despite the navmesh being broken between lab and tank. I think I can fix this by putting them on a set patrol path, rather than a free sandbox. They'll just swim in a pattern. If I remember correctly, I can set the starting point of the path to random, so they shouldn't all swim in an identical line.

Beyond that... we run into the reason I'm intending this to be a final.

I just don't know where else I can take the master. The companion system works. The vault works as well as I'm able to make it, given the circumstances. There aren't many options left to add, and most of the ones that are lacking just aren't practical from within in the engine.

I can't alter the vault to make it better laid-out, or split into multiple cells to ease system load, as doing so would cause considerable problems for Refurbished.

So on that front, at least, I'm relegated to making my improvements in my Remodeled plugin, where I don't have to worry about conflicts.

Ditto for other ideas. The quest mod I mentioned to Herculine once is completely out, as it would be totally incompatible with Refurb. Expanding the Vault's influence into Springvale doesn't look practical, either, as it would conflict with not only a slew of other mods, but apparently Broken Steel, as well.

Not only have we reached a "where do we go from here?" moment, but with so many people planning to jump ship like rats from the Titanic the nanosecond New Vegas goes gold, I have to wonder if I should even bother trying anything grandiose.

Granted, some of Oblivion's best mods came out after FO3 hit, but that's not quite an accurate comparison. FO3 and Oblivion were the same engine, but different genres; oftentimes different fanbases. New Vegas is the next in the Fallout series. If it works even remotely well, I have to believe that FO3 is going to quickly become a ghost town.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


The universe still fucking hates me.

Don't expect to see much in the way of posting the next couple days - I just got kicked in the teeth yet again.

Was with my dad in one of the local toy shops this afternoon, while he did the paperwork on a NM Blackhawk in .357 mag that he picked up to stand in for a light carbine.

Spied a 4-5/8" Super Blackhawk 44 mag, looked at. Trigger job, target hammer; excellent cylinder gap. Most of the bluing gone on the barrel, but mechanically in near new condition (for those of you not used to inspecting firearms, this means it'd been carried a bunch and shot almost never). I decide to hell with it, and blow most of my wad 'o savings on the thing.

Take it up to the range, and off the bat it shoots about a foot and a half to the freaking left at 21'. Eventually, I get it more or less sighted in; but it still isn't grouping real spiffily. Considering the 44's traditionally have a practical range out near a hundred yards, seven yards and not grouping is not a good sign.

Figure I need more practice. Get it home, start inspecting under a good light (and with my clear indoor glasses on) and immediately notice why the thing wasn't sighting in right. It's not a 4-5/8" SBH.

It's a 4-1/2" SBH that someone cut down from a 7-1/2". They did not use a lathe to do so, either. The damned muzzle isn't square, and to top it off the lazy shit didn't even get the front sight brazed on square or TDC.

I am not amused.

So, I have a couple choices. Being as I have no lathe myself, nor anywhere to set up my Oxy-MAPP torch here in the apartment, I can't do the fixing myself. I can send it to someone else to have un-fucked; taking a few months and costing a couple bills. I can trade it off at the store I usually do business at - an option that will cost me a hundred and fifty bucks. Or lastly, I can go back tomorrow and try to get the shit-kicker that sold it to me at the local shit-pile masquerading as a shop to make it right. They used to have a twenty-four hour bring-back period.

Used to. I have no idea if it's still in effect. I have no idea if it's still in effect because I don't do business at this shop, aside from having handguns bought at good stores transferred in (stupid interstate laws). I don't do business there because every time I do, shit like this happens. Every time. For ten years.

A piece of advice: never buy a used firearm in the Pacific Northwest. Just don't. 95% of them are traded off or sold because the previous owner fucked it up somehow. Spend the extra twenty percent and buy new.

I had been tossing around the idea of delving back into the RR master... but my mood is shot completely to shit now. I'm going to eat my microwaved excuse for dinner, and go kill time until the new episode of Burn Notice.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Boorrrrrrreeeeeeed this morning.

How bored? I'm taking internet quizzes.

In the interests of sharing and letting you all get to know me a bit better, I figured I'd share the results here. Now, where'd I leave that 'Getting to Know You' theme song...

You are 0% hippie.

Ok, you conservative soul. Do you even believe in global warming? Loosen that necktie a little, and try some organic food. It actually does taste better. And go to a farmer's market--they're fun.

Are you a hippie?
Take More Quizzes

*cackles maniacally* For the record, I won't go near a Farmer's Market! Around here, eating out of those places will get you a nice fat e. coli infection...

Ancient Warrior Quiz
Your Result: Spartan

You are very disciplined, loyal, and very brave. You fight in a phalanx, with hundreds of other men like you, trained since they were six years old. Very much like the Three Hundred that stood by Leonidas against the Persians. Have fun killing, man.

Ancient Warrior Quiz
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Really thought I'd have scored Viking, here. Must be from not drinking and/or raping?

You are a 83% True Southerner

A true southerner but you need to bone up on your terminology. You could probably make it anywhere in the south.

Are You a Real Southerner
Take More Quizzes

Hey, screw you! My vocabulary's just fine. I lost points because I don't like sweet milk, thank you very much. I'm probably one of twelve people north of the Mason-Dixon that know what polk salad is.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The South
The Inland North
The Northeast
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Gah, foiled again by my insistence on enunciation...

What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

You have odd obsessions that you cannot seem to control. You may even perform rituals to make you feel better. Counting and continuously obsessing over things happens frequently.

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
Manic Depressive
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
What mental disorder do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

No surprise there.

What is your immortal name?
Your Result: Nero

Your immortal name is Nero

You're quiet and deep
You're filled with steep
Memories and souls
Connected with the ghouls
Your blood is black
You have no pack
You're not polo
You stay solo

What is your immortal name?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Oh, great, now I have to learn to play the fiddle?!

You know the Bible 73%!

Wow! You are truly a student of the Bible! Some of the questions were difficult, but they didn't slow you down! You know the books, the characters, the events . . . Very impressive!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Take More Quizzes


Well that's a surprise. I haven't touched a bible in like seventeen years... Never let it be said that the ability to play the odds on a multiple choice test cannot carry you through to victory!

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Take More Quizzes

Aced it! ...There are people who don't know this stuff...? And to think, I agonize over the proper use of the semicolon from time to time...

Which God or Goddess are you like?
Your Result: Goddess Sekhemet

You are Sekhemet. You are loving and caring, but when need be, you are fierce and protective. You love the color red and you are no vegetarian. Your feirce nature makes you somewhat like a rebel, but you like it that way. Congratulations!! You are Goddess!!

You are your own God or Goddess
God Zeus
Goddess Bast
The Christian God
Which God or Goddess are you like?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Oh for fuck's sake... "Satan" is a title and not a proper name, you academic slackers! Secondly, he is not a God.

But yeah, I am totally opposite-end-of-the-scale from Buddha...

You have a 85% chance of surviving a zombie outbreak

You most definately will live through the zombie attack making you a lean-mean zombie killing machine. You would save the day and probably end up doggystyle with a hot chick you saved, later having a giant statue made in your honor. Jerk.

Zombie Survival Test
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Of course I would. No mere zombie apocalypse can stop me! Now a nuclear zombie apocalypse... that might be a bit trickier...

You Are 61% Strange!

Based on your score, it seems you do have a healthy dose of strangeness. You aren't THAT far out, but you are somewhat bizarre. Congratulations on being different and having some quirks. It makes you an interesting person!

How Strange Are You?
Take More Quizzes

Only 61%? Pah.

You are 86% Evil

You are pure evil! you may soon start armageddon high priests probably get mad when they see you because your so evil you may rule the world......hehe.......

How Evil Are you?....
Take More Quizzes

86%? What's a guy got to do, try to enact genocide? I've been busy, okay?

How will I die?
Your Result: You will die while having sex.

Your last moments in this life will be enjoyable indeed...hopefully. Do not fear sex. Try not to become celibate as a way of escaping death. You cannot run from destiny.

You will die in a car accident.
You will die in a nuclear holocaust.
You will die while saving someone's life.
You will be murdered.
You will die from a terminal illness.
You will die in your sleep.
You will die of boredom.
How will I die?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Yeah, that's what my girl keeps telling me. Wonder if she has something planned I should know about...?

How Old Is Your Soul?
Your Result: Transcendent Souls

You're so evolved, you're not even here. Congratulations. These are people who are on their way to the next dimension and probably spend a lot of their time there already.

Old Souls
Baby Souls
Mature Souls
Young Souls
How Old Is Your Soul?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

...But at least when I get to hell after that last... blast, I'll apparently qualify for the seniors' table.

Okay, enough time wasting for me! I'm off to... waste time on some other pointless endeavor...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Nos' Adventures, 8-20-77

August 20, 2277:

After the… excitement of yesterday, today seemed positively laid back.

Last night before going to bed, Ria sat me down at the table and cut the errant piece of shot out of my arm. Fortunately, it was steel and not lead or it might have penetrated deep enough to damage muscle. As it was, cutting the pellet out did more damage than it did going in.

We let it bleed awhile; to clean the wound out, then staunched it and finally disinfected via a solid pour or three of hundred proof vodka.

That, I should add, hurt like fucking hell squared.

After bandaging it up, we went on to bed.

This morning, my headache was going again in full force. I had forgotten it yesterday what with the killing and all, but today it would not be ignored.

I’ve had plenty of headaches before in my life, but these since leaving the vault were new. It felt almost like my skull was two sizes too small for my brain.

Of course, alerted to the malady, Ria administered her favorite treatment for most of life’s ills… twice. That certainly knocked the edge off.

Eventually though, we decided to stop being lazy and actually leave bed. After breakfast, we stuck our heads outside.

The day was clear and damnably sunny. It was going to be another hot one; and worse yet our new place didn’t have any sort of air conditioning.

“You know, something’s bugging me.” Ria announced, standing in the shade next to the front door.

“What’s that?”

“That boarded-up place. What in the hell’s in there, you think?”

“No idea. Probably lots of dust and some garbage.”

“I’m not so sure…” She muttered, half lost in thought. “The place is boarded up from the outside.”

“Which, I will note, is traditionally done when one wants to keep something in.” I added.

“Come on. I want to see what’s inside.”

“Oh, fine.”

Stepping back inside, we retrieved weapons, armor, and several of the melee implements we had taken from the cannibals – for use as prying tools.

After a quick glance over the exterior of the nearby school to be at least passably sure no one had moved back in overnight, we set about removing the boards on the door facing away from the school.

The boards were nailed in quite solidly, and it took the better part of an hour to get them all out. By the time we were done, it was past noon; and consequently miserably hot out.

The brass hinges on the door were corroded nearly to the point of being solid; but the handle itself was unlocked. The door, unfortunately, opened outward; so simply turning the handle and giving it a solid blow or six was out of the question. We ended up removing the pins, and using our melee implements to beat and pry the halves of the hinges apart; then simply turning the handle and pulling the entire door out of the frame.

We entered with weapons raised. Inside, we found… a kitchen.

Stove, fridge, counter, sink, shelves, table and four chairs. It was a normal suburban kitchen.

The interior of the house was fairly cool; and the air smelled stale, but not as though anything was rotting inside.

Much like the other house, this one apparently still had full power, as well. Interesting that there was apparently still at least a fully functioning power plant in the area.

A doorway opposite from us led through into a sitting room; where we could see the other exterior door on the opposite side of the house.

Doorways on either side of the sitting room led downstairs. The place looked to be designed with most of it below ground, for whatever reason. There weren’t even any bedrooms on the ground floor.

Downstairs, we found that either staircase led to a bedroom off to one side.

While a central hall led to the master bedroom and a den of sorts.

At the far end of the den was another staircase. This one led to the bottom level, which contained a small medical facility, and a workshop.

In all, we found no one living or dead. There were also two bathrooms; both of which were clean-ish. The water was cleaner than it had been in the other house, at least – whether this place had a filtration setup or not we weren’t sure.

Supplies were less than well-stocked. We found a few articles of clothing, and a handful of weapons in the walk-in closet off the master bedroom, and a small stash of medical supplies in the various first aid kits, but beyond that only a few toys and some food in the upstairs kitchen.

“Seems like a serious improvement.” Ria opined, standing with me in the kitchen.

“I agree… but who’d just walk away from something like this?”

“Could well have been two hundred years ago – or any time in the interim. There’s no telling. Judging by the way it was sealed up, though, I’d say they had designs on keeping other people out as long as possible.”

“Well, I suppose we could just deal with the situation when and if someone shows up claiming ownership…”

“That’s the spirit! Come on, let’s get our stuff and move out of that damned dingy closet of a house.”

And we did. Fortunately, even after cleaning out the school, our possessions were still fairly few. It didn’t take long to move everything – though we did keep an eye out, to make sure there was no one around to watch us.

We found a half-round mill file down in the work room, and used it to knock the vast majority of the corrosion from the door’s hinges. We re-mounted the door, and got it working passably well. It still wasn’t smooth as butter, but it was preferable to leaving the doorway totally open.

Without even stowing all our loot, we locked the re-mounted door, and headed for the master bathroom; where we indulged in a long and blessedly hot shower. There was even soap and shampoo left in the bathroom.

Afterward, we found a fresh set of sheets conveniently located in the closet, and stretched out on the bed to relax.

I have to admit, neither of us had ever been a bed this large before. Despite the heat above, we were more than ten feet below ground; so it was cool and comfortable in our new bedroom.

So comfortable, in fact, that we abandoned any notion of venturing back out, at least for the day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I have officially been working in vaults too long now.

How do I know this?

Because I just made one out of a suburban home.

Silver's place just is not cutting it in my current game. Lack of storage, no space for extra NPCs, and just a general feeling of being tiny and run-down. Reminds rather strongly of a couple apartments I've lived in, actually.

That said, I don't want to fast-track the story into access to Vault 1; which leaves me in a bit of a predicament.

Now, I could download someone else's depressing little "realistic" wasteland home, but I don't like most peoples' setups in such things. They usually either go high-realism and look like shit, or go over-the-top luxury. And of course there are the multitude that combine the two in some unholy union of suck; often with a bad navmesh and lack of idle markers sprinkled over the top to complete the mediocrity.

So, hell with it, I'll make my own like I always do.

Decided to use the boarded up house next to the school. Seems the previous owner was a bit of a survivalist, and constructed his own impromptu vault. Two sub-levels below ground; three bedrooms, one bath; basic medical and a work-room on the bottom level. Probably throw in a den, just for kicks.

Doubt I'll ever upload it. There's probably fifty mods already that put a house there, and this one won't exactly have a hook to make it stand apart from any others.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Amongst other slackings-off of late, I've also been neglecting my Nexus tracking list; the listing of files' new screenshots, changes to files, and so forth.

Glancing through the list this morning, updated Owned, wondered yet again what EARACHE42 is on that's caused his modding so many problems with the eXCALIBR Munitions Shop (v2.4 was pulled today).

On reading down the list, I happened to notice Little Sister Robyn - one of Polarbearcub777's companions - had gotten a new screenshot, titled innocently enough "Time to sleep".

Took a look... and apparently the uploader used the sleep command I created to get her to go to bed.

Fuck me but it's creepy seeing an eight year old in a nighty.

I'll confess, when I originally wrote those options, there were virtually no "child" companions at that time. In full honesty, it never occurred to me that so many people would be creating these things.

Makes me waffle a bit. I am so very tempted to make a further modification to 5.64 that I've been playing on the past couple weeks, and replace the sleep system items with something more... conservative.

I'm generally about as amoral as they come... but I just do not like the idea of enabling pedophiles, even inadvertently...

I wonder if Blackie or ZableBlaze ever have days like this?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nos' Adventures, 8-19-77

August 19, 2277

It was nice to get some real sleep, again. Not quite as safe feeling as being back in the vault, but definitely more so than sleeping sitting up in a burned-out building.

We woke up just after four in the morning. Thankfully, all was quiet outside.

Not a creature was stirring. Not even a… come to think of it, are there still mice? Well, not a Radroach was stirring, at least.

Ria – as she usually is when we wake up in a private bed – was feeling frisky. I know it was a waste of calories we may not be able to replenish in a couple days… but it’s not like I was going to say no.

Afterward, we pulled on some clothing and settled in for a breakfast of Sugar Bombs and slightly irradiated water. We decided to split some kind of meat-on-a-stick we found in the refrigerator as well, to get at least some protein into our systems.

When breakfast was over, it was about fifteen to six. We killed the lights, and stepped outside. The sky way alight, but the sun hadn’t yet risen above the horizon; casting the world into an eerie sort of reverse-dusk.

Stepping back inside, we stowed the extra equipment and supplies we had found into various places, and loaded up with what weapons and ammunition we had.

We couldn’t lock the door behind us, but hoped that our meager store would be secure for the short-term at least. It wasn’t as though people were standing ten deep outside to move in.

That done, we moved on and explored some of the immediately surrounding area. There were a couple more burned out houses, one that was solid but boarded up so heavily that we couldn’t get in, and what looked to be an old school.

Passing by one of the burned out houses, I happened to look in one of the mailboxes… and found three grenades.

Yeah, surprised the hell out of me, too.

They looked like standard military fragmentation models. The M67, or “baseball” grenade. I wasn’t trained specifically to use them – the vault’s arsenal didn’t include grenades, as far as I know – but had seen them plenty of times in magazines and old movies. Pull the pin, throw the grenade, drop the pin, run like hell. As long as you don’t mix up steps two and three, everything should be fine, right?

Unsure of just how useful they’d be, I kept the grenades. I wasn’t going to ignore a resource like that, and if nothing else they’d be great to trade.

While wandering along the street, we were jumped by an apparently insane woman with a submachinegun. Fortunately for us, her being insane meant that she was either not smart enough, or too detached from reality to bother using the reflex sight that someone had gone to more than a bit of trouble to mount onto it.

I should note here that while our vault-suits were technically armored… that armor is not exactly what one would consider bullet proof, strictly speaking. Once upon a time, the vests had carried an NIJ rating of IIIA – proof against most common 44 Magnum rounds fired from a handgun. That, however, was more than two hundred years ago. One thing they don’t always tell you is that Kevlar decays, over time. I’d be surprised if the vests would have stopped even the pistol caliber bullets that the woman was throwing our way. It had never been much of an issue in the vault, as only security had firearms; and such things as assault were extremely rare – murder had never happened in the history of Vault 101.

…Well, at least before the Overseer had Jonas shot. I think that fucked up his perfect record a bit. The trail of corpses Ria and I left probably didn’t help, either.

Our aimed return fire prevailed over her wild spraying in short order.

She hadn’t been armored at all, as far as we could tell. The woman had been using a STEN MKIII – a weapon originally issued by the British during WWII. How in the hell one ended up in the DC area was beyond me. An even better question was how someone managed to get a red-dot mounted to the receiver.

Pointless questions aside, we found two full magazines, and a third in the weapon that had eight rounds left in it. 9x19 ball – old, corroded crap that wouldn’t have been considered viable defensive ammunition even when it was new. Still, it beat harsh language, and several hundred of them a minute were bound to up the lethality index.

The woman had also been carrying some drugs of some sort. Again, I didn’t recognize the names; but the injectors were all empty, so she must’ve been fond of the stuff. This body we left lay, and moved on. If she had friends about, we didn’t need to be seen toting a body around…

Moving closer to the school, we began to hear voices. Not the happy-go-lucky “kill everyone!” psychosis voices, either. These were real, although I think the psychosis voices would be less troubling.

We managed to get up to the wall underneath some open windows without being noticed, and listened in.

Time and again we heard references to “caps”; what a share of them would be spent on, speculations as to the group’s total haul, and so forth. It looked like Ria had been right in her sarcastic prediction. They really did use the fucking things as money.

The men and women we overheard were probably cohorts to the one we had just killed, and were apparently exactly the type of insane barbarians we had been expecting to run into. A few nearest the windows began to idly discuss a recent raid on a merchant caravan. Apparently they had made off with little enough in the way of sellable swag, but had managed to wound and capture one of the guards – a young woman.

The things they mentioned doing to her are best left unrepeated here, but I’ll say that the festivities ended in eating her… and not in the way that women traditionally enjoy being eaten.

Great. Not just psychotics, but cannibals, as well.

There were also bitter complaints about the nearby town of “Megaton”; complaints about not being able to go near the place. That seemed to signal that the place might be safe for us to try and pick up some supplies.

This knowledge secured, we retreated back the way we came, and took up position behind the boarded-up house.

“Leaving this many, this close to our place isn’t a good idea.” Ria noted.

She’s never been one to take the subtle path.

“I don’t think we’re armed well enough.” I contended. “We don’t have even a firm idea of their numbers, or armaments. If we had a couple of rifles at least, maybe…”

“I agree.” She nodded. “Still… how long do you think it’ll be before someone notices us – provided they haven’t already? That dead whore may have had some sort of arrangement, but we damn sure don’t, and I’m not keen on doing anything that would be required to forge an accord.”

“You’re not exactly disagreeing with me, here…”

“It’ll be simple. From that ridge…” She pointed to an overlook, on the other side of the house. “You can see right into the windows. It can’t be what, fifty meters? You can make that with a pistol, can’t you?”

“It’s not out of the question…”

“Down two or three; then we pick off the others as they come out to see who’s shooting at them.”

“And if they have a rifle in there?”

“We retreat.” She shrugged lightly. “Pull back; haul ass for Megaton. By the sound of it, they’ll be loathe to pursue us too close. As long as we don’t go near our place, they won’t have any idea where we came from.”

I mused on the idea a few moments. It relied heavily on our ability to place accurate fire against untrained psychopaths who in all likelihood would move like a herd of cats.

I didn’t like the idea of so much hinging on my personal skills… but I also didn’t like the idea of having to sleep with one eye open; perpetually wondering if this would be the moment six or eight of them decided to come calling.

Neither option was good. We’d have to clean out the outpost sooner or later, and we did need the supplies…

“You’re insane, you know.” I finally replied.

“I thought you liked my insanity?” Ria asked, smiling sweetly.

I recognized that smile. I saw her give it to Butch, once. He had recognized it, too, and had paled and retreated within seconds of its display. I had always assumed it was the same smile Ria gave just before she broke his jaw.

If I knew my girl’s tells well enough, her blood lust was in full swing, and would only get harder to control. I knew she’d never hurt me because of it, but I also knew that repressing those instincts frustrated her greatly.

At the bottom line, what difference did it make? These weren’t my people. Hell, my people had tried to kill me…

Why cut these cannibals any slack? The worst we had to risk was blowing through some ammunition, and having to lay low a day or two until they got bored and went back to the school…

“Fine. You win.” I finally conceded.

Ria looked happy. If you have to die, it may as well be in the cause of giving some joy to the one you love.

We moved over to the edge of the hill, where we could look directly into a few of the windows.

I could see two of them, wandering back and forth in front of the windows.

Ria had situated herself at my ten o’clock, just past the crest of the hill, and slightly below me in elevation.

I sat back, braced my left wrist on my knee, and took careful aim. I got lucky; my first shot was a solid upper torso hit, and the cannibal fell to the floor. We waited for retaliation.

None came.

After a few minutes, the other one wandered into view again; and didn’t seem alarmed.

I could only assume that these people were either stone deaf, or drugged out of their minds. Either way…

I fired on the second, but had to outlay three shots to put him down. Still, no yelling; no rushing to defense; no counter attack.

As we watched, another psychopath appeared suddenly from the ruins – apparently having decided to charge us. We both fired, and both placed solid hits, but the man didn’t go down. Whatever these people were on, it was one hell of a pain blocker.

Heart holed through, the man was already dead; his brain simply hadn’t gotten the message yet. Unfortunately, this breakdown of communication gave him time to pull the pin on a grenade and throw it our way before collapsing.

We both dove over the crest of the hill, and slid and/or rolled as far down the slope as possible. Amazingly, we managed to get below the grenade’s blast radius in time, and came through unscathed – aside from Ria’s scuffed palm from sliding down the rocky hillside.

We moved closer to the building, no longer hearing anyone talking.

As we neared the gap in the wall to move in, another made his appearance. This poor bastard was armed only with a knife, and quickly found out why smart people don’t bring knives to a gun fight.

Before looting the dead, we swept through the ruin, making sure there were no more stragglers.

Ria went up to the second level to check the bodies in the windows, while I looted through some desks. She came back down some minutes later, holding a revolver in both hands, examining it.

When we met, she handed it to me. I recognized it immediately. I had spent nearly all of my formative years reading pre-war copies of firearms periodicals, after all. The revolver was a six-shot, single action job chambered in .22 Magnum. They were made in Germany, and imported into the US in truly massive numbers for several decades. The quality was abysmal by normal standards, but apparently they still shot.

I should’ve expected this to be the sort of thing that would have survived the war. No, it couldn’t be something useful like a stockpile of USP Elites or Gold Cups… it had to be the damned rimfire SAA-knockoffs.

Ria and I drug all the corpses inside the walls, and stashed them down in the basement, just incase someone should wander by.

The basement, it turned out, was at one point the locker room. Unfortunately now lacking in showering facilities.

Shame, we could’ve used one – slightly irradiated water or not.

We sorted through the dead cannibals’ possessions, and through any containers we could find around the room. We found precious little of actual value. Another of the cheap revolvers, thirty odd rounds of ammo for them. The heavily-worn submachinegun with its remaining magazine and a half of ammo rounded out the “arsenal”. Several crude implements of melee violence were among the pile of spoils, but most were rusted almost to uselessness. One was what appeared to be a pool cue.

Nearly all the dead cannibals had been carrying several empty auto-injectors apiece, and dozens more were scattered around the room. I still didn’t recognize any of the trade-names, but it was pretty clear to us that they were whacked out on something. Multiple somethings at once, in many cases.

We took any full injectors we found. After all, practically any drug has a legitimate medical use; and if not for us, then someone in the nearby Megaton might be interested. Whatever these people were on, it was pretty good shit, as they say – and such shit would have to make the day-to-day wasteland life more bearable…

I have no intention of becoming a drug dealer, but it wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible supplementary income.

We were still on the bottom level, discussing what to do next, when the nearby door into the building opened.

Ria threw the most beautiful kick I’ve ever seen, and pinned the unfortunate man to the wall by his throat. Judging by the lack of noise he managed to make, I had to conclude she cut off his windpipe cleanly.

I took position in the doorway with my STEN, and waited. He was apparently alone, though, as no one else appeared.

After several seconds the man went limp. Ria eased him to the ground, and quickly slashed his throat with a knife she had liberated from one of the others. She was even careful enough to aim his throat away before opening it up.

It’s so rare to meet someone who always keeps the details in mind.

We threw his corpse with the others, and left the door open.

“We need to clean it out, too.” She declared.

Inside? Out here we at least had somewhere to fall back to… In there we’ll be against a wall.”

“Put on some of their armor. These bastards can’t have an IQ of even room temperature… I doubt they’ll notice we’re not friends until we’re already in the process of killing them. Besides, they’re going to come looking as soon as someone else comes out to find this group.”

Ria knelt over one of the corpses, and began pulling pieces of armor off.

Realization struck me.

“You’re enjoying this.” I noted.

“I am.” She confirmed, softly. “So many years, Boy. So many years I’ve had to hold it back. Keep it locked up. No hurting… no killing… Now, we’re free! Look around this place! There are no governments! No police! As long as we’re better than the other guys, we can do anything.”

I’ll confess I had always known Arianrhod possessed certain… anti-social tendencies. Okay, she’s actually a card-carrying sadist.

Still, lack of civil authority or not, this had the potential to cause problems.

I bent over, and grabbed her around the waist, pulling Ria up into an embrace from behind.

“I’ll do it, if you really want; but I want you to remember that it wasn’t your cute ass that won my heart. I’m not going to be happy if you end up a raving psychopath.”

Ria laughed softly, and laid her head back against mine.

“I won’t. Promise. I just have lots of pent-up frustration to release.”

Accepting her word, I let Ria go; and we changed clothes – leaving our vault-marked jumpsuits behind, and wearing instead mismatched, piecemeal “armor” collected from the dead cannibals.

I didn’t think the idea would work too well. For one, neither of us could be smelled from ten feet away. It would probably throw them off balance for a few seconds, at best.

As a concession to survivability, we pulled the armored vests on over the other pieces. Better a bit more potential protection than a known nothing at all.

Now at least more suitably attired, we moved to the nearby door to the interior. There were three, all in all. One on the ground floor, one below in the basement, and one on a second level above. They say, that given the option you should always clear a building from the top; that working down stairs is preferable to up. I like to think that every rule has its exceptions, and this fell under one of those times.

The fact was, we had no idea what sort of shape the load-bearing structures of the building were in, and what we could see in the ruined and now open area we were in did not inspire confidence in that regard.

We opted instead to start at the bottom. The floors would be solid, if nothing else.

Inside, we found ourselves in what looked like utility rooms. Shelving on one wall, what appeared to be a backup generator on another. Lighting was low, and the air was heavy and stank more than a bit. Hard to tell exactly what the prevailing scent was – but after two hundred years, the list of what it wasn’t would probably be shorter.

Judging by the exterior’s intact size, and the condition that what we could see appeared to be in, it looked like it would take hours to fully inspect, possibly days – and that was assuming there were few enough cannibals inside to be taken care of by the two of us and our limited armaments.

Ria had swapped her 10mm to a secondary position, and had her new revolver placed into a ready location in a make-shift holster at her waist.

That girl loves revolvers. I’ve never been able to understand why… but she does. Back in the vault, she had a pull-out picture from an old gun periodical – one of those centerfold type things. It was of a truly massive Smith and Wesson: one of their at-the-time new “X-Frame” revolvers. Ten inch fluted target barrel, bipod, and a telescope – the fucking thing was a rifle without a buttstock, I swear. I forget what the chambering was, now.

She kept that two-page spread like a teenage boy keeps a pull-out of a topless cheerleader. I used to tease her about it being a masturbatory aid.

This cheap piece of Deutsche pot-metal was sure as hell no X-Frame, but it was still a wheelgun; and I suppose that was enough.

We were only inside a couple minutes, and had barely begun to look around before we met one of the cannibals: a large, unkempt man in simply filthy piecemeal armor similar to what we had scavenged from the ones outside.

He rounded a corner, and immediately demanded to know who we were; who had sent us. It took me only a moment to realize our mistake. I was wearing glasses, and Ria’s lovely red hair was still mostly clean, and had been combed.

We may as well have stuck with our Vault suits, and not risked picking up body lice.

Again, Ria displayed a grace and speed (and unhesitating willingness to brutality) that I could never hope to match. She sprang forward, quickly closing the two odd meters before clamping one gloved hand over the man’s mouth, and slashing his throat with the other.

The man fell without a sound. Judging by the way his head lolled on the floor, it looked to my admittedly non-expert medical senses like she had cut clean through his trachea, and at least to the spinal cord – if not into it. The impressive spurting suggested a cleanly severed artery, to boot.

Ria used her boot to twist the fallen man’s head; also twisting what was left of his neck and aiming the intermittently spurting blood away from her. She knelt, and took his revolver – another of the cheap little rimfire magnums. She quickly checked that all its chambers were loaded, and slid her new acquisition into the left side of her belt – pocketing all the extra ammunition.

“Remind me never to piss you off.” I noted, coming to stand behind Ria.

“I thought you already knew that was a bad idea?”

“I did, but the idea seems to be getting worse by the second, of late…”

“We obviously don’t pass for them.” She mused softly. “No point with the pretense, then. Come on.”

Ria stood, drew one of her revolvers with each hand, and led off down the hall the now dead man had come from.

I double-checked my STEN to make sure the bolt was locked back in the ready position, and followed.

It wasn’t long before we met another cannibal. Ria simply raised both hands, and shot him once with each.

Interestingly enough, while the 22 magnum in singles is pretty week, when moved up to doubles it was surprisingly effective. Ria had effectively given herself the 19th century equivalent of a two-round burst selector. One hundred percent ambidexterity certainly had its advantages.

The gunshots brought others. Another cannibal – a woman, this time, came up from behind us.

I wheeled on her and fired, but this STEN was a less than impressive specimen. The trigger pull must’ve been near twenty pounds, and the barrel had to have been shot out – provided it was even rifled in the first place. I began to suspect that exceedingly poor marksmanship wasn’t the only reason the woman who attacked us with it had failed to land any hits.

Fortunately, this woman was armed only with a switchblade, and so my couple of false starts didn’t cost me my life. The third time, as they say, is the charm – and that was when I managed to work out how to use the trigger to get the thrice-damned thing to fire a decent three round burst. Two of the three managed to even hit her – though landed nearly ten inches apart, even across the scant ten meters down the hallway.

I know beggars can’t be choosers, but I’d really have killed – if you’ll excuse the morbid pun – for a real rifle. Seriously, even a damned single-shot, as long as it shot straight!

As I muddled along, covering our rear with my rapidly dwindling supply of Parabellum ball, Ria pushed ahead; continuing to put down cannibals left and right in a manner that was quite frankly frightening to watch.

For their sakes, I hoped that these people were truly whacked out of their minds on drugs, and had no idea what was being done to them.

After the third cannibal, I ran dry. I slung the STEN, and switched to the thirty-two caliber revolver. I had a partial magazine for my 10mm left, but wanted to save that in case we should happen to end up in a legitimate gunfight.

The thirty-two was marginally more accurate than the STEN had been, but was of considerably lower power – and considering the STEN fired 9x19mm ball, that’s saying something.

Nonetheless, it was accurate enough for me to reliably place upper-torso hits, and so worked fairly well. Better still if I’d had access to some hollowpoints, or even a drill press to make some of my own.

The one up side was that as old and filthy as the lead-roundnose ammunition I did have was, even if I didn’t place a good kill shot and someone got away, they’d drop dead of a secondary infection a day or two after the fact.

We kept moving, always moving – seeking the enemy out, rather than letting them come to us and potentially pin us into a corner, where sheer weight of numbers could carry their victory.

We left the corpses where they lay, save for picking up glaringly obvious firearms and ammunition they may have been carrying. We also left containers be, for the moment; opting to completely clear the building before trying to loot anything.

On the bottom level, we ran into a locked door. No sign to detail where exactly it led to. It, too, we left for the time being. We had no lockpicks or other means of breaching doors save for our grenades. Not only did I not want to waste them, but touching off an M67 in a hallway less than six feet wide was tantamount to suicide. If we’d had time to improvise some kind of shaped charge, maybe; but we didn’t.

Instead, we pressed on, clearing the ground floor, and then eventually the top floor.

On the top floor, we ran into our first opponent worthy of pause. The apparent leader of the band, this woman had not only a firearm, but a bed and a desk with a computer on it.

Unfortunately, the fearless leader had armed herself with a double-barrel shotgun that had been cut down into a pistol. While it doubtless scared the hell out of her underlings, it was not terribly well suited to fighting armored opponents down the length of a hallway.

Past the leader, we found the hall blocked off by rubble. Not small amounts, either; but enough that it was effectively impassable without heavy tools or carefully applied explosives.

The leader’s deeply seated sanctuary had been the last room to be cleared; aside from the locked door in the basement, we’d found no other areas where someone might be hiding.

Feeling at least reasonably secure for the moment, Ria and I decided to spend a few minutes relaxing.

We took the opportunity to eat and drink something, and tend to our minor wounds. Scrapes, bruises and such. I had a smattering of what appeared to be hits from bird shot on my right arm. They didn’t even break the skin. Such are the joys of a shotgun made into a handgun, firing ammunition made for killing quail.

Had we been at conversational distances, it would’ve been different… but from thirty plus feet away? I think the wad was more dangerous than the shot.

On closer inspection, I had one pellet embedded in the skin; the rest would just be bruises. We opted to leave it, until we could get someplace better to work – it was hardly life threatening, and we had more than enough high-proof alcohol back at the house to sterilize a knife before digging it out.

After a rest of the odd half hour, we started our looting. The dead leader had had a key on her that I was willing to bet good money would open the door in the basement. She also had a half dozen shells for the shotgun, and a hunk of some kind of meat that smelled like it had been left in the sun for a week.

A couple of nearby cans had some ammo in them. All rimfire: a couple dozen magnums for Ria’s revolvers, and about the same amount of plain 22 long rifle – hardly an inspiring find.

The computer held precious little of worth. Some logs about an excavation – they were apparently trying to find a way to tunnel into Vault 101.

That would have surprised the Overseer. The cannibals, too, when they met the Vault’s security force.

There was a reference to some ants. Didn’t think colonies got big enough to get in the way of excavation work.

Moving back down through the building, we began cleaning out containers, and rifling through the possessions of the dead.

We found mostly junk. Some old electronic components, scrap metal, cleaning supplies. The nurse’s office held a few useful supplies, but nothing incredible by any stretch. There was food and water in what appeared to be a teacher’s lounge; some of the water was even clean.

We came across little in the way of new weapons and ammunition. A couple of old Ruger 22LR pistols – one of which had what appeared to be an integral sound suppressor. I decided to definitely hang on to that one, in case we should ever need to surreptitiously remove a sentry or guard dog. Beyond that, little. A third rimfire magnum for Ria, a few clubs, knives, and some brass knuckles. No real rifles, and no more ammo for my STEN. No more grenades, either.

The computer log had made references to a stash of explosives used for the excavation, but we didn’t find any of them.

We did find what appeared to be a few makeshift cages. Areas that had been walled-off into detention cells. These were filled with skeletal remains. Judging by the size, they looked to be pre-pubescent children.

I’m not sure what happened in this school after the war; and quite frankly, I don’t want to know.

While on the ground floor, we happened across a Nuka machine that was apparently still functional. Inside were a few bottles, which we took. Glancing over, I noticed another bottle of Nuka, this one glowing. I had no idea why it was glowing, but my curiosity got the better of me. I jumped the gap onto the top of the cage, and threw the bottle back across to Ria before returning, myself.

The label declared it to be Nuka “Quantum”. I had no idea what that meant, but glow-y things tend to sell pretty well to barbarians, so it was worth carting back home for later trading use, if nothing else.

It was probably two more hours before we had fully swept and looted the building fully, save for the locked door in the basement. We had lashed several pieces of clothing together to form makeshift bags to carry our loot in, and decided to leave them outside the locked room.

Door unlocked, we moved inside the room. The floor had been breached, leading into a tunnel down into the earth below.

Moving along, we began to hear odd scraping sounds. Readying weapons, we pushed ahead. After turning the next bend in the passage, we saw them.

Ants. Massive ones. These things must have weighed thirty pounds or more each… and they were hostile.

While their mandibles looked to be large enough to sever a limb, their carapaces weren’t thick enough to stop bullets, it turned out. After killing the first two, I put away my thirty-two, and switched to my 10mm – knowing that the extra penetration would be a serious boon, here.

The ants went down easily to single head-shots. We pressed on, feeling more than a bit silly for being as unnerved as we had been, at first.

I guess all those years of movies about giant radioactive bugs do have an effect on you, after all. After some time, and some more ants, we eventually reached a dead end. A larger, more open chamber that appeared to be the ant colony the logs had referred to.

There were a pair of corpses, nearby – along with several clusters of what looked suspiciously like eggs.

My only hope at this point was that these ants were too large to exist in colonies of thousands upon thousands, like their smaller cousins.

The dead people here weren’t dressed like the cannibals above. One wore a set of leathers, the other an almost normal outfit consisting of overalls and a shirt underneath. Under one of the bodies I found an old military issue assault rifle, and a couple extra magazines.

It was in seriously rough shape, but looked to be salvageable.

Suddenly, we heard more of the scraping sounds that we had learned portended ants. Many of them.

They ended up coming at us from two directions at once. Ria continued displaying amazing prowess with her revolvers, putting a pair of the little full metal jacketed bullets into each ant’s brain. I, being a mere mortal, decided to instead be a pragmatist, and used my new rifle to discourage the ants’ interest with considerable prejudice.

All told, we killed nearly two dozen before they stopped coming. Whether that was the end of the colony, or simply all the guards they had had handy to throw at us at once, I wasn’t sure – but I didn’t plan on hanging around to find out.

We quickly stripped the two dead humans of anything that looked even remotely useful or valuable, and hastily returned to the school; locking the door behind us.

We stowed the newest loot into our makeshift carryalls, and left the school.

It was nearly dark outside. I hadn’t realized we had been inside the entire day, but in retrospect, it does take quite awhile to kill twenty people, then search and loot three floors and a mining tunnel.

Once we reached the house, I happened to turn back…

It may not be the vault I grew up in… but there is certainly something to be said for the view out here.

We dropped our bags inside, and stood outside awhile, watching the moon. Two hundred years without civilization to speak of had certainly done wonders for clearing up the DC pollution. As we stood, Ria laid her head on my shoulder softly – the bloodthirsty killer who had ravaged the school was nowhere to be seen, now. We traded some pointless but heartwarming romantic comments while we stood that way.

Maybe… this exile to the wasteland won’t be so bad, after all…

Monday, July 19, 2010

FO3 Weirdness

Since starting my new FWE games, I've noticed something out of place.

A cellar door, in one of the burned-out houses in Springvale. This has been driving me up the wall, and tonight finally got to be enough and I went a-searchin' for what in the holy hell it was.

Since I hadn't seen it previously I assumed it was an FWE thing - some ratty basement player home the guy integrated with all his other swiped mods.

I started looking through plugins, and after twenty odd minutes had come up with nothing. The Springvale "cell" of the wasteland wasn't even showing as being modified by FO3Edit (Steeeeeeeerike 947 for that wonderful program).

As I'm reading trees and muttering profanity, my girl cheerfully reminds me that I can use the console in-game to get the load order code for the item from its hex ID.


Yeah, I feel smart. I mean, hell, I've only been modding for Fallout 3 for a year and a half, and using the console since the day the game hit stores...

So, after reminding her how blasted smart she is, I fire the game up, get the code, and compare it against my FOMM load order.

Turns out the cellar is part of Broken Steel. Has something to do with the Church of Atom - though I didn't look through quests for specifics. Weirder still, there are a couple dozen statics in the house that show in the GECK, but not in the game. I had though I had a conflict override problem going on with something else, until I noticed one of the statics had an Enable Parent set up. Sure enough so did the others. They're not going to appear in the game until I meet whatever's required by some quest or other.

Strikes me as a bit odd, really. I can understand the other stuff not appearing, but leaving a key-required cellar door in the wasteland for the entire game with no clue as to what it goes to or why? Why not have the cellar door covered by rubble or something; and only noticeable when the other stuff appears? Seems cleaner that way, but it could just be me, there. I have odd sensibilities, I know.

That does bring me to another wonder, though: when creating Broken Steel, did Bethsoft just go nuts and include everything they had written on cocktail napkins and shit? I mean, this DLC modifies a shit ton of the game, most of which has nothing to do with the main quest or its eventual continuation into further mediocrity.

I guess it's just RPGs in general, huh? All about the side-quests. Universe fucking forbid you write a compelling and well thought-out main story, and make the side stuff secondary; or just leave the player alone to sandbox it for the most part.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Nos' Adventures: Casting Intermission

Okay, we're here, Girls. Would you mind telling me what's going on, now?

Don't look at me. I wanted to do this in the bedroom; but noooo - "blood stains marble too easily."

...Wait, what?

Smooth, Demon-Girl. Maybe next you'd like to confess your part in the Holocaust?

Shut up, Pip-Squeak.

Focus, please.

We've been talking...

Three words that always signal an impending bad day...

Something's got to be done about Ria here. She's getting you injured far too often for our taste.

I'll have you know I'm making progress!

Not fast enough, you aren't. You botched the Super Duper Mart so bad that it was painful to watch! If Nos wasn't as fast with a carbine as he is, you'd have gotten him fucking killed.

Yeah! You really suck, you know that? We would've been able to handle the increase-increase spawns in the school.

Hate to agree with these two shorties, but they're right. Any one of us could have decimated those raiders, even with this shitty excuse for equipment that FWE passes out. I went hand-to-hand with two Enclave soldiers who were both in full power armor, once.

And how well did that shit work out?

We're not communicating via Ouija Board, are we?

Heh, yeah I remember that time. Maeva held their attention long enough for me to shoot them both down with my pistol. We were like level three at the time. I ended up using all my ammo on the soldiers, and had to beat the MKIV turret into scrap with this lead pipe I found.


Face it, Honey: Big Sis, Maeva and I aren't even human. You just can't compete.

So what, you're going to fire me?

In a manner of speaking...

...And now I know why you wanted to have this meeting in Springvale instead of sitting in front of the armored-glass windows down in the bedroom...

Don't get any ideas! I can handle myself...

Riiiiiight... Excuse me a moment, I think I need to piss myself in terror.

You know Dear, while I still find it endearing when you claim me with extreme prejudice like this... don't you think this was a little over the top? It's not like I was actually sleeping with her.

As evidenced by the fact that you're still breathing.

We've sworn to protect you. Whether that means Muties or Cannibals or even ditzy Vault-Chicks, we'll take care of it with equal determination.

Stupid bitch. Anyone with half sense would have run like hell. We're the best companions to ever walk the wasteland. Did she really think she had a snowball's chance in hell? Didn't even take more than one of us to down her...

Took me twelve rounds of ammo, though. I'm getting out of practice.

You put six of them into the car; shot the rifle out of her hands twice, and blew off her arm and her head. I'd say you managed pretty well.

So you're not mad, then?

I think it was a waste... but not mad. You know how long it took to get my damned arm to heal after the school. What now, though? I seem to be down a traveling companion; and I can't very well retcon you all in.

As they say: "If you want something done right, do it your fucking self."

This from the woman who wanted me to hire on Ria because she didn't want her name disclosed to the audience. We won't even talk about the lingerie issue...

Immaterial. The character Arianrhod is established, all I have to do is play her, now; and the skanky vault photos are already taken.

Why do I suddenly get the feeling you planned this.

Eh heh... would I do that? I'm a good girl, you know...

That's your opinion. I still say you're probably the Third Antichrist.

Guys! Little help, here?

So, how about we ditch the dead bitch and get set up for the next episode? It's the school, right?

*sigh* Yes. Even if it was all written, I'd still have to re-take all the photos, since the old ones don't seem to apply, anymore...

Cheer up. It could be worse. At least FWE doesn't fuck up our AI?

Yeah, you're right. Though it never ceases to unnerve me when the Demon is the optimist of the group. Alright, someone give me a hand - we'll drag the corpse over to the Potomac and feed her to the 'Lurks. Gods know I don't want to smell corpse for the next couple weeks...