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  • Fallout Prophecy Title-0

    Courtesy of the Retroriffic Man

    War... War never changes. Violence has always captivated the human mind. From the dawn of time, since the first flame was kindled, man has waged war upon itself, determined to eradicate those different, in opposition, or simply because they had the power to. And at the end of the 21st century, humanity showcased its ultimate power in one amazing display that ended the world. But as the clock ran out for mankind, in Seattle lay a different story. Seattle clawed its way out of a beginning as a lumber town and rose to a powerhouse famous for gold and built on a thriving technology industry. With skyscrapers built to last the test of time and an economy that never faultered Seattle was a beacon shining into the future, a diamond in the rough, an Emerald City. But despite persistent growth in the City of Goodwill, well it’s war, war that never changes…

    You are a new comer to the lands of the Royal Wasteland, it’s border drawn by the line of the Cascade Mountain range. On the West coast of the United States, stranded alone with hundreds of miles of uninhabited wastelands in every direction, lies the remains of Seattle. In the decaying husk of what was once called the Emerald City, rival factions vie for power, some trying to protect the wasteland’s inhabitants, while others want to rule or enslave them. These same factions will desire to use you to their own ends as a free agent, in order to promote their agendas, either to preserve or to destroy the Royal Wasteland. All the while something sinister moves in the background. What happens next is up to you, this is your story.


    Seattlemap

    To help you navigate this new and exciting world you have a RobCo Pipboy 2000 or 3000. Which contains a map of the area and its surrounding settlements. (press the map to enlarge)

    Space Needle: It is home to a mysterious monastic order, who have fortified the outside and made it near impossible to enter. They only let in who they want in, and very rarely do they let visitors enter or join.

    Bug Safari: A place no one comes back from. It is given a wide-berth, and legends have begun to crop up about it. Before the war, it was a children's museum.

    Troll Warren: A peaceful Super Mutant community, created by remnants of the Master's army who had journeyed north. They are aligned with the Cause.

    Mercer Island: Guarded extensively by well-trained soldiers. A large settlement is on it. Visitors are allowed to the island, but only with permission from the guards. Trespassers are shot.

    Queen Anne's Hill: An abandoned neighborhood. Scavengers poke around it, but it is usually ignored.

    Fort Lawton: An old military fort with it's robotic defenses still intact.

    General Atomics International West Coast Headquarters: The headquarters of General Atomics, as Seattle had a booming tech industry before the war.

    Fort Williamette: The stronghold of the Brotherhood of Steel operating in the Royal Wasteland.

    Beacon Enterprises: Taking it's name from Beacon Hull, it is a mysterious organization that operates out of an old castle high in the mountains, built to resemble one from the European Middle Ages. They supply various high-tech weapons and armor to those who can pay well.

    The Undercity: A city of it's own. What remains of the Seattle underground has evolved into a massive settlement. The darkness has led to battery-powdered lights being lit all over the Undercity, which is in a perpetual state of party.

    Pioneer Square: Before the war, Jackson Street of Pioneer Square had twenty one Jazz clubs. Recently, they've all be reclaimed by the descendants of the Vault 212 dwellers, and most have been fixed up and opened as clubs of their own. Pioneer Square has been imbued with it's own vibrant life. It is aligned with the Cause.

    These are only a few of the many locations to explore.


    Rules:

    1. The Date is: 2287 (Ten years after the events of Fallout: New York “At World’s Fair”, one year before Fallout 4)

    2. The Races you can be: Human, Ghoul, Supermutant

    3. You can have a pet, be it a dog or something more exotic.

    4. Don't get too many characters, just as many as you can handle.

    5. Don't be OP (should speak for itself)

    6. VATS is disabled

    7. Guns and gun wounds work like real life. You cannot survive three bullets to the head...etc. Armored characters be it metal or skin obviously have the edge.

    8. New Frontier, New Characters... I count on you people to interact with our self-made NPCs. They don't need a backstory per sé.

    9. Large bodies of water are irradiated (the lake and ocean)

    10. No random Teleportation

    11. You can be in any faction that already exists here or in the Fallout universe, aside from the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel chapter (you can be in a chapter not from Seattle). You may create your own faction, but don’t make it some kind of secret society bent on conquering the world.

    12. (Optional) add points to your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. or Tag Skills. Feel free to customize it anyway you wish, just don’t make your character ridiculously overpowered, so to speak. This is just for me to have a better idea of their strengths and weaknesses.

    13. There is one radio station, the “Seattle Broadband Emergency Frequency,” with a repeating message.

    14. Given how far away Seattle is from the East Coast, the events of Fallout 3 and other Tales of the Wastes have little to no effect on the Royal Wasteland. Interpret that any way you wish.


    Character Card

    Name:

    Age:

    Sex:

    Race:

    Appearance:

    S. P. E. C. I. A. L. (Optional):

    Tag Skills (Optional):

    Equipment:

    Background:


    Synopsis:

    William Van De Poorter comes to the Royal Wasteland, in order to explore the wonders of the Emerald City. Instead, he runs afoul of Kheiro in Mt. Hood and is warned of a 'prophecy' by a wise old man. Incidentially, Kheiro infects William with a deadly virus in order to force the former secret agent to complete the prophecy for Kheiro, whatever that might mean. Heading to Pioneer Square in search of seven adventurers who came together under strange means. The Apocalyptians arrive in the Royal Wasteland in search of a raider gang to kill, but it may have simply been a lie told to them by their leader to get them here to investigate something different. They join Rick Deere and Duncan in Queen Anne's Hill and immediately murder Mathias, although their reason for doing so was likely entirely justified. They head from their to the Cause's HQ, being brought in by a Causer to investigate a strange message being broadcast over the radio, a phrase they keep hearing: "Four men come to the Emerald City." Timothy Ashford is also brought to the Cause, after being rescued by the Royal Army from Brotherhood of Steel knights. There, they are hired by the Cause to investigate the strange message, and now all eight of them have descended on Pioneer Square to track down the message's source.

    Jim Hailey mets with the High Lama of the Shambhala in the Seattle Space Needle, and was sent to meet up with the group at Pioneer Square. Together, the Outsiders head for Vault 253, which Old Jack revealed to them to be the probably source of the signal. Along the way, they pass through the abandoned area north of the Emerald City and Lake Washington, dubbed the Badlands. There, they run into the Frumentarii and are forced by their leader, Praetorian Gracius, to capture a Legion criminal hiding out in a roadside pub. The group suspects Gracius is withholding information, and are unsure what to expect, until they are forced to confront the psyker Hades. After a scuffle, the group uses a psychic nullifier, given to them by Gracius, to capture Hades. Gracius attempts to double-cross them, but Tim unleashes Hades, which results in the Frumentarii's demise. Hades, feeling merciful and wary of the group, leaves after this.

    The Outsiders headed for Vault 253, where they encountered the oddly dressed denizens of the Vault. Dressed like vikings, and living side-by-side with Siberian tigers, the Outsiders had to plead to their leader, Queen Tigris, Mother of Beasts, to enter the Vault. The Vault proved a danger, but the ground made it througn mostly unscathed. Discovering the Prophecy of Four for what it was, they left the Vault by nightfall. They spent the night at Alois Don's campsite, and the Canadian acrobat joined the party. In the meantime, Duncan had stolen a tiger cub from the vault, and gave it to Deaphanie as a gift, which the pair named Morty, despite soon learning the cub was a female. Desiring more information, William led the group to the Issaquah Nation, so he could meet with the Indian's elder. The Elder explained the meaning and story behind the Prophecy of Four to them. The Prophecy of Four tells of four chosen individuals who will defeat the evil spirit Chahalheel, or raise it from hell.  Kheiro believes he can achieve the latter.  The group wanted to learn more about Kheiro and what his true motivations were. The Elder directed them towards the Crimson King, the leader of the House of Devane. There, on Mercer Island, not only would they fulfill part of the prophecy, but they could also learn about their enigmatic enemy.

    On the road there, they ran afoul of a Brotherhood outpost. Deaphanie was taken captive, although had little concern, as the Outsiders were right on her heels to take the outpost out. They managed to defeat the Brotherhood, but two Knights escaped to report back in. William learned of some sort of Brotherhood plot, involving them placing many similar outposts all over the wastes, but nothing of substance. They pressed on to Mercer Island. They were stopped at the bridge across by the Red Hand, who demanded they hand over their weapons. However, Sergeant Pepper, a Handsman who Tim had met previously, allowed them to enter with their weapons, vouching for them. Inside the Crimson King's palace, the group met the eccentric and enigmatic Yellow Jester, who proved no small irritance for the Outsiders. Sent to guest rooms to wash up and dress for dinner, an assassin was sent after William. On a covert foray through the palace, William learned from the Duke Adamar, a high ranking office in the House of Devane, that his assassination attempt was some part of an elaborate game for the Crimson King's enjoyment. The Outsiders were invited to dinner, where they met Tanner who is currently hunting Hades, searching for any leads on the ghoul psyker. During dinner, the Jester revealed that, in order for them to learn about Kheiro, first they would have to pass the Trials of Worthiness, as he would tell them nothing before passing them.

    Although the eerieness of Mercer Island had passed, it quickly became clear the danger had not. Tim passed the Trials of Worthiness, discovering the Yellow Jester was in fact the Crimson King in disguise. As a reward, he earned an audience with the King the next morning, who revealed that Brotherhood was planning something big, Kheiro believes he can use the prophecy to do accomplish some grand plan, and the answers lay with the Cause. Returning to the Cause HQ, the Outsiders spoke once again with Abel. Whilst filling the Chief in on recent events and the what the King had told them, they were interupted by the sound of the Brotherhood of Steel's warship taking flight. Over the radio, Elder Christain Brosch delivered a menacing speech, explaining that he would use this warship to destroy the Cause and the Outsiders, both for attacking a Brotherhood outpost and because they were an obstacle in the way of seizing control of the Royal Wasteland. Chief Abel sent the Outsiders to Fort Lawton, to use the surface-air missiles there to shoot down the airship. However, they encounter a hiccup in Deborah, a Y-17 trauma harness with it's dead user still inside that attempted to convince the Outsiders it was human. Deborah, or the Deborahs, are apparently all under the control of a singular A.I, a ZAX unit designated ZAX 3.9.

    The Outsiders, meeting more of Deborah as they proceeded through Fort Lawton, realized she had full control over the base. Guided by her to the base’s operational command center, they attempted to have her remotely launch a surface-to-air missile from there, but the missile misfired because of expired fuel. Deborah refused to fail the group, however, and told them that she could instead use F-16 fighter jets to attack the airship. Capable of piloting them, she explained the jets needed human bodies inside them to fire, a safety precaution against the possibility of a rogue A.I. Thus, the Outsiders filled into F-16s and took the fight to the skies. After a lengthy battle with the airship, which resulted in Tyrus and Will crashing their jets, the Brotherhood’s flying death-dealing contraption was finally vanquished. However, Will and Tyrus were captured by Brotherhood Knights that had abandoned ship in their power armor, and Kheiro uses a signal jammer from afar to crash the rest of the Outsiders’ planes on the return flight home. Tim and Famian thwarted him, however, and after exchanging words with the Masked Man, managed to almost chase him down, wounding Kheiro. Meanwhile with the Brotherhood, Will and Tyrus were forced to play a tense, near-fatal game of Russian roulette, before they were rescued by Tanner, who had been sent by Deborah. The three returned to South Tower, to inform the Cause of their success, and recover from the fight. The other Outsiders had ejected near the Space Needle, and were invited up to meet the High Lama. Rick deigned to be the only one to do so, and was informed of a possible future fatality in the group. The High Lama said that, if four people not naturally from the Royal Wasteland did not die soon enough, a member of the Outsiders would. The High Lama apparently got this information from ‘his friend,’ but who that friend is he would not reveal. Abel explained to Tyrus, Will, and Tanner that the fight would likely end poorly. However, he knew of a weapon that could turn the tide, a ‘Doomsday Machine,’ built by Beacon Enterprises.

    Once reunited, the Outsiders headed to Becaon Enterprises.  There they learned that the head of Beacon Enterprises, named Beacon, had built Kheiro's mask--although he hadn't known if was for the Masked Man-- and that the bomb was with the Director of the Undericty.  Uncompleted, the Outsiders would need to fetch the bomb and return it to Beacon to be completed.  However, upon arriving at the Undercity and meeting the Director, the Outsiders encountered a shocking twist.  The Director was in fact Kheiro, who plans to use the bomb to free Chahalheel, supposedly, which also coincidently requires all the Outsiders to die.  It was also revealed that all the denizens of the Undercity are under Kheiro's control as his slave-soldiers, the Hundred-Hands.  After keeping the group stalled using his strange power, Kheiro left to go to Beacon Enteprises and complete the bomb.  A short confrontation with some of Kheiro's men ended with their demise, and the Outsiders than decided to scout out Kheiro's office there in the Undercity

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    • "Didn't you say you shot Kheiro?"  Tanner asked Tim.  "Maybe it hurt him more than he let on."

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    • Will opened the little bottle and gazed down towards the pills, obviously contemplating to take one. 

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    • (Oh goody a new thread)

      "I did, yeah," Tim nodded. "Thrice."

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    • The agent pulled out one of the pills and swallowed it. Even if they weren't the magical cure for his 'condition' at least they would be painkillers that got rid of his cracking headache brought on by mindcontrol, drugs and stress from earlier. 

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    • "Did you just pop that pill into your mouth without even knowing what they do?" Tyrus arched an eyebrow.

      "You are the worst agent I've ever seen."


      "Yeah, I'll just scream your name really loud until you show up," He grinned, giving her a peck on the cheek. 

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    • "They're painkillers." Will held the bottle up to Tyrus. It would be kind of weird if Kheiro had cyanide capsules among his personal belongings with a painkiller label.

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    • Deaphanie snickered. "Oh, you will? What if I am already there with you when you start screaming my name?" she said suggestively.

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    • Given that William wasn't frothing at the mouth and heaving up his own guts, they likely were not cyanide capsules.  It was too early to tell what the pills did, but likely in fifteen minutes or so he'd feel his pain lessen a bit.

      "It seems like we might need to split up."  Tanner said.  "That nullifier could help, but we need to head to Beacon Enterprises as well.  At the same time, we should probably do something about Kheiro's army.  It'll be a hollow victory if we kill him after he's destroyed the city."

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    • (If I take mentats will I suddenly be able to solve all the clues?)

      "City was already kind of destroyed, but I get what you mean." Will noted, putting the bottle down after giving Tyrus a bit of a glare for insinuating he was stupid. 

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    • Tyrus gave him a wink as he was glared at.


      "Well that'd be a helluva lot bettah', I think..." Duncan grinned before laughing. 

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    • "We going back in or are we staying out here?" she asked.

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    • "Let's head back in there," Duncan said. "We still got a loonatic to hunt down. Unless you'd prefer to stay out here, in which case, I wouldn't object..."

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    • "For a quickie, you mean?" she snickered. "Though that does sound enticing and tempting, I am afraid we don't have the time for even that."

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    • "That's not what I meant!" Duncan objected. "What kind'a guy do yeh' take me for?" 

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    • "The kind who would indulge me", Deaphanie teased.

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    • Duncan sighed before chuckling lightly. "I'll indulge you when we put down Kheira'," He said. "A little bit more paperwork won't hurt ya', will it?"

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    • "It won't kill me, if that's what you are asking", she shrugged.

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    • "A little more, than we can relax for a few," He promised. "C'mon. We gotta do this," 

      Duncan began to lead her back inside.

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    • "Alright, back to work." Will said, clapping his hands once to motivate himself.

      "Tyrus, do you have anything on this... Chahaleel thing in Dossiers?" He asked. 

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    • "Not that I've seen so far," Tyrus said, scanning through the dossiers once more to make sure. "This is just on people in the Wastes. Not sure there would be one for a God..."

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    • "His "friend", he called it." Will agreed. 

      (Time for Rick to maybe mention the High Lama also had a friend.)

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    • "We're not calling this thing a god."  Tanner said.  "I'm guessing it's some kind of radiated monstrosity Kheiro thinks is his god.  Because the alternative.."  The alternative was that there was an evil Native American spirit waiting to take over the world, which Kheiro could actually some how bring about.  The idea that was even possible was difficult for Tanner to wrap his head around.  Kheiro might've been crazy, but he wasn't stupid.  If he believed this 'Chahalheel' was real, there might've been some truth to it.

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    • (I thought Rick already talked about it earlier but okay.)

      "If we want information on this friend.... we may have to repay the High Lama a visit," Rick said, having scrolled through all the files he wanted to look through.

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    • "Well, if you don't want to believe the supernatural angle, how about this." Will sighed, knowing his ridiculous this was going to sound.

      "I've had dreams about Kheiro." 

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    • (he did, but too vaguely for anyone to pick up on it but kehiro)

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    • "What kind'a dreams?" Tyrus asked. "And Rick, what does the Lama have to do with this?"

      "The Lama claimed he had chats with a 'friend'. A god-like person. He said this person tells him things that would drive other people insane," Rick elaborated. "And the Lama told me that, this person told him, that the 4 people who have to die are not the outsiders we think it is. He doesn't think the 4 to drop dead are any of us. Because his 'friend' said it ain't any of us."

      Rick took a seat. "Still, this is a whackjob bunch'a treehuggin monks saying this, so..."

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    • Will first listened to what Rick had to say before continuing.

      "Yeah... A few days now. Every time I close my eyes I got the same dream. But each night it got more elaborate."

      "It was basically Kheiro's life story of how he grew up in the mountains not far from here, and how this chahalheel character influenced him, up to today. But I never saw the damn thing or how he got his powers exactly."

      "At first I thought it was just feverdreams but the information within... It can't be mere coincidence." 

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    • Tanner scratched his head.  The Royal Wasteland was insane.  He'd been through a lot, seen a lot over the years, but what'd been going on here was the icing on the cake.

      "Maybe it's this place."  He said after a moment, to Will, a surreal feeling overtaking him.  "It's like a whole other world in here.  Green grass, guys running around in suits of armor, Native American prophecies.  Maybe there's just something here that causes them.  A something that makes things different than the outside."

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    • "What are you on about, Tanner?" Will asked with a furrowed brow. 

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    • "There was this cave, outside of the Crossroads, and a bunch of tribals lived in it.  They called themselves the 'Beastlords.'  One day, they start walking up able to talk to animals, control them even.  There wasn't much an explanation besides 'radiation,' but last I checked, rads kill you, not give you superpowers.  What if it's sort of like this?  There's something affecting this place that doesn't affect anywhere else, and it's caused all this."  He gestured towards the ceiling, as if to site the current state the past, and present, Royal Wasteland as the result.

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    • "I think it's safe to say that you should always be ready for the worst when it comes to wandering the wastes."

      He then took it on himself to look through dossiers himself, looking for Chahalheel or "friend". Kheiro was obviously a control freak there was bound to be something in here about whatever it was he revered.  

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    • (ding. Quizmaster, can I get an answer?)

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    • (Whoops, sorry, thought I replied to you already.)

      Chahalheel was never mentioned directly, except for once, but the words "my friend" appeared quite frequently in two files-- that of Hades and the High Lama.  Hades seemed to have interest in Kheiro's "friend," although Kheiro wasn't 100% sure if that was correct, as Hades was quite unpredictable.  The High Lama's file included a long stream of explanations on who the High Lama's friend was.  Kheiro's guesses ran through that the High Lama was faking, crazy, was being manipulated by Chahalheel (this was the one time the name appeared), and even ranged to that the High Lama's friend was Chahalheel's inverse, Atmohken, although Kheiro didn't really appear to believe any of these.  It almost seemed like he was trying to convince himself he and the High Lama weren't talking to the same thing.

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    • "Your High Lama pal shows up in here, Rick." Will said, holding the document up as if he had to prove it.

      "If we want answers on this thing I guess we have to visit him. He's up in that tall building right?"

      Will was however torn on this. Every moment they lingered was a moment Kheiro was closer to his goal. He figured the man was taking his time though, under the impression his prophetic enemies weren't unbound. 

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    • "We could split up."  Tanner offered  "Some of us to the Space Needle, some to Beacon, another to get that nullifier, and a fourth to try and slow down his army."

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    • "Alright..." Tyrus said. "Here's what we'll do. Duncan and Ward, you two know how to raise hell. You two'll go and try to slow down that army. Rick, you'll go see the Lama with William. Pest and Fam, you two go with Lana and Tim and see if you can't get that nullifier back. Deaphanie and Tanner, we'll head out and try to get to Beacon in time."

      (I split these up so that there's more than two people in each thing. That way we'll always have someone to do one of the missions and we won't have to wait if someone gets busy :).)

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    • "Do we really need four people to go get the nullifier?"  Tanner asked.  "I'd think more should be sent to Beacon and after the army, since that's where the action will be.  You guys made it sound like the nullifier's sitting around somewhere."

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    • "Tim knows where the nullifier is. He and Lana are a team. And those two are good for scavenging," Tyrus explained. "We'll need stealth and quickness for Beacon, since I'm assuming Kheiro will beat us there. So unless they want to and fight the army with Duncan and Ward, this is our best option."

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    • "I would like to chase after Kheiro." Will stated matter-of-factly. 

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    • "No. Not with the poison in your veins," Tyrus shook his head. "You're already erratic enough. The last thing I need is you becoming more unpredictable and doing something incredibly short sighted to find your cure."

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    • "I don't remember when exactly we decided you would become the leader of our little group... but." Will held his hands up. 

      "You said you'll require stealth and quickness though. Both are things I posess."

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    • "Neither of which you have proven. You've dived in on a suicide mission into a blimp, that I had to bail you out on. You failed at sneaking up on the Knight with the mini-nukes. And you've hidden this poison from us for the entire trip. So why should I, or anyone else, put any trust in you?"

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    • William just had a hearty chuckle. He had nothing to prove to this upstart. He could point out how he snuck behind the goons earlier or how he infiltrated the Brotherhood camp unseen to save Deaphanie but it would be wasted breath. 

      "I'm sure you've been completely transparent with us then?"

      He sighed.

      "Look, it's not important right now. I'm a trained secret agent, if you don't want to believe me, then that's your loss."

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    • "I don't believe you," Tyrus said. "You're not going with us."

      "C'mon, Tyrus, let the lad do his work. Rick can go alone to Lama, or have one'uh the Desert team go with him," Duncan insisted. "He's pretty good at his job."

      Tyrus glared over at the scotsman, visibly irritated. "The man's got the tools and the wit for the job. Just because you don't approve of his style doesn't make 'em less qualified for the job."

      The sniper shut his eyes and ran a hand over his face to wipe some of the grime off. "Fine. Let me be clear, Porter. If you do anything stupid to jeopardize this mission and get caught, then I'll make sure there isn't any brain left for Kheiro to get information from. Understood?"

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    • "You don't need to threaten me." William said in a calm yet cold tone, very different from his usual defensive behavior which he usually kept up to avoid talking to people.

      Evidently his attitude had changed because he was forced to work together now. 

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    • "Apparently, I do," Tyrus said, not caring much for the change in tone. To him, this was still the same idiot who jumped on that blimp.

      "Now, we've wasted enough time as is. Let's get moving."

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    • William could quite easily dispatch of Tyrus in several painful ways right now, but decided it was best not to indulge in that fantasy right now.  

      He simply held his hand out to allow Tyrus to take the lead. It was a hollow gesture obviously meant to undermine his authority in a subtle way. The Dutch-american decided to keep an eye on Tyrus. He might be trouble... to him personally. 

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    • Tyrus glanced down at the extended hand and back up at William, before simply turning and making for the door. He grapped the rifle off of his back on the way out, which seemed like he was preparing for anything that might be targeting them, but also seemed like a warning to William. 

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    • The last sniper that had crossed William's path hadn't been exactly lucky so Tyrus' little show didn't exactly frighten him, but he most certainly got the message.

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    • Tanner frowned at Tyrus' back.  The man thought a bit much of himself, throwing orders around and deciding who came and went.  Tanner wasn't sure he liked that.  The Boss had been the same way, except Tanner had a been a bit more trusting and naive back then.

      The psyker ran back through his own thoughts, and wondered why he cared so much.  He wasn't here to like people.  He was here to dispatch Hades, and presumably Kheiro now--a man with powers like that was as much his responsibility as Hades was--as effectively as possible.  Not get bogged down in interpersonal dynamics.

      He took a quick swig of his flask to chase away the thoughts, then followed after Tyrus.

      The others would head out on their own, with Lana, Tim, Famian, and Pestin going for the nullifier, Duncan and Ward to handle the army, assumably at the Bug Safari exit, Rick to the Space Needle, and the rest to Beacon Enterprises.

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    • The Undercity still had the smell of drugs and sex in the air, but it was now practically devoid of people.

      "I wonder if they actually enjoyed themselves." Will mentioned, now that it was revealed the revelers had been under Kheiro's spell all along. 

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    • The sheer volume of the Undercity was stretched before them, now that it was empty.

      "It find it hard to imagine Kheiro's ordering his soldiers to do drugs and sleep around.  This could've been leave for them.  He let them loose for a bit, and they got enough of themselves back to party, knowing soon they'd be slaves again.  Or maybe being under his influence for so long broke them, and this was all they could do when he wasn't directly controlling them.  Eat, sleep, get high, and fuck."  He sniffed.  "Neither thought is pleasant."

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    • "Doubt it," Tim shrugged. "They seemed about as self-aware as a Feral Ghoul."

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    • Will didn't mind a bout of debauchery himself but concurred that Kheiro's influence had given the whole thing a sick perversion.

      "I suppose we're going the way we came?" Will asked Tyrus with feigned honesty. Tyrus had presumed to 'rule' over him which meant that in Van De Poorter's book he was game to teasing and baiting.

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    • "Of course. It's the quickest way back to Beacon," He said. He knew that this obvious question was designed to get under his skin, but he wasn't too bothered by it. It only proved his point more that Poorter wasn't fit to be here. 

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    • Poorter had to surpress a little smirk when Tyrus turned again. 

      They went back out.

      After a bit of walking they got to the stairs up and out again. Since Tyrus led, William asked. Seriously this time. If the coast was clear. Since there was probably still a war going on. 

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    • Tyrus speaked out over the staircase just to make sure the coast was clear...

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    • The sky was overcast and grey, making the streets dark and shadowy, but the coast was visibly clear, but they could hear the sounds of battle very close now.  Gunshots and laser fire echoed over from a few streets down.

      "Let's hurry."  Tanner said.  "Last thing we want is for the Brotherhood to overrun the city to the point we can't get back in."

      Suddenly, something struck Tyrus in the head-- a rain drop.  It began to drizzle, rain drops pitter-pattering on the pavement.  The air smelled thickly of electricity, the first signs of a coming thunderstorm.

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    • "There's a storm coming," Tyrus said, looking up at the clouds and trying to figure out how much time they had before the main part of the storm arrived. "We don't have much time before the brotherhood and rain are here. Move it."

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    • Will simply followed. On the lookout for any possible trouble.

      On the other hand it felt good being able to properly breath air again. 

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    • Deaphanie followed Tanner as instructed. "What a lovely change of leadership all of a sudden", she remarked with her usual voice, void of all tone and emotion. "Not that it matters. The curtain is about to fall very soon."


      Ward checked his revolvers and then looked at Duncan. "So, we doing this?" he grumbled.

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    • Duncan grabbed his grenade launcher. "Always ready... oh, wait...."

      He grabbed his bottle of scotch and took a drink. "There we go... you want a drink?"

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    • "That a wizard of Oz reference?"  The psyker asked Deaphanie, amused by the idea of it.

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    • William didn't know the Wizard of Oz, only that the prophecy had a small link to it, but other than that he had no idea what Tanner was talking about.

      "You done a lot of reading then?" He assumed, asking the Psyker in return. 

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    • "All I did as a kid."  Tanner said, almost wistfully.

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    • "I can understand not wanting to go outside in the Crossroads." Will sighed. "Winters are a fucking nightmare. Last one was especially cruel."

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    • Deaphanie chose to remain silent hearing the two men talk about all things mundane.


      "I don't drink before battle", Ward snorted as if he had been insulted. "Let's go."

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    • "Not much of a reason to leave the compound anyway.  Everything I needed was there."


      The closest exit for the Undercity was at Bug Safari.  The pair of them could head there.

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    • "I stuck to the city. Unless I had a job out in the wastes." 

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    • "You probably ended up there a few years after I left."  Tanner said.  "In the Crossroads."

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    • "Oh, come on, Lad," Duncan side, putting his drink away. "Fine... lead the way."

      ---------------------------------------------------------------

      Tyrus also listened to them, silently judging them as they reminisced on their younger years. He never saw the appeal of thinking on things were better or when things were worse. Neither did anything for you now except make you feel bad in the end.  Of course, he didn't have very many fond memories to remember, so perhaps this was more jealousy of them than anything. But he didn't think too heavily on it.

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    • (It's only Tanner who was younger.  William was in the Crossroads recently.)

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:
      (It's only Tanner who was younger.  William was in the Crossroads recently.)

      (Any time before now means he was younger.)

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    • Ward just grunted in response and took the lead, heading for the upcoming fight. With him he was carrying some gifts given to him by Pestin and Famian to showcase in battle.

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    • Ward and Duncan proceeded into the city.  They had to stick to the outskirts, for fear of being drawn into battle.  They could even see Knights trading fire with Handsmen at times--

      Handsmen holding an office building, and firing down at approaching knights, only to get wiped out by a mininuke fired from behind the front line.

      Knights spraying a street with gatling laser fire, forcing Handsmen to disperse.

      A squad of Knights wandering into an ambush, and being torn to piece by armor-piercing rounds, but not before radioing for reinforcements.

      A Causer leading a group of Handsmen into a suicidal charge at Brotherhood lines to allow a larger Red Hand force to retreat.

      A Handsman disarming a knight with a skillful shot, only for the Knight to charge in and tear the Handsman's arms off with enhanced strength.

      Bodies littered the streets, places where the fight had moved on.  Piles of dead Red Hand soldiers where a barricade had fallen and they'd refused to give up any more ground.  Power armored corpses frozen like statues in the street like statues, their owners dead but the suit still maintaining power, fluid leaking from punctures like spilled wine.  Civilians sprawled on their stomachs, laser marks on their backs.  In these places the emptiness of Seattle hit one hard.  Sometimes Brotherhood Knights moved among the corpses, stacking the dead.  Never did they see the Red Hand doing the same.  The retreated, leaving the dead where they lay.

      That was the important thing to remember about war.  The victors dug the graves.

      Bug Safari lay in front of them.

      A large statue of a little boy in an explorer's outfit stood over the entrance-- the staute was smiling, with it's hands on it's hips, and magnifying glass still proudly on the boy's chest.  The statue, which had been made of plaster, had been worn by the weather, and most of the paint had chipped over.  Half the statue's face had fell away, and most of one of it's arms had fallen off, leaving the statue with a ghoulish, semi-painted half-smile and a freaky lone hand stuck to it's hip.

      Multiple signs had been erected all around Bug Safari, warning away would-be explorers.

      DON'T ENTER

      DANGER

      EMINENT DEATH

      WOE BE ALL WHO ENTER

      The last one looked impromtu, as if someone had put it there as a joke, and was smeered with blood.  Those who had placed the signs were likely too afraid of the building to get close to it-- each sign was at least twenty feet from any part of the building, the "Woe Be" sign the closest of them all.  The doors of the place were missing, they weren't barred or blocked in anyway, leaving a gaping black hole into some kind of earthly hell in place that had once been filled with the laughter of children.

      Perhaps these signs had been placed by Kheiro to scare off those who would approach what was a concealed entrance to his Undercity.  Perhaps they had a very real purpose.

      That gaping hole invited them.

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    • "... You know, I'm startin' to think this wasn't a good idea," Duncan said. "But... I guess whatever we need is in there, so..."

      Duncan sighed. "Listen, eh... If I dun't come back from in here, tell Rick that I'll see him in hell, and maybe your sister there too," He said.

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:
      "You probably ended up there a few years after I left."  Tanner said.  "In the Crossroads."

      "I arrived there about... 9 years ago?"

      "I left earlier this year." Will again mentioned. 

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    • "Stop your yapperin'", Ward grumbled. "You aren't gonna die here. I think sister dearest is biased enough to keep you from her doorstep a good while longer. Besides, this is war. Which means that I am the one who's maintaining the casualty continuum here. Every bullet soaring by us will be an extension of myself."

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    • "My wife lives around there."  Tanner said.  "Kid too, I guess."

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    • William didn't exactly know how to respond to that. Having children had never really come into the picture for him. And apparently neither had it in Tanner's. 

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    • "It's not blown up or anything?"  Tanner asked, referring to the Crossroads, wondering what had caused William to leave.

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    • "Not exactly." Will said, remaining a bit vague.

      "Second City's still there."

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    • "But?"

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    • "I couldn't stay. Both because I couldn't stand the place anymore and because I made a lot of enemies." Will admitted.

      "You know the place, it's incredibly competitive. People from East and West trying to make lots of money."

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    • Tanner nodded his understanding.

      They passed beyond the city limits, the rain coming down a little harder now.  Beacon Enterprises became visible in the distant.

      The massive steel door had been blown off, a crumpled, wrecked heap lying nearby the entrance.


      Bug Safari waited for Ward and Duncan to enter.


      Rick had to press into the city, towards the Space Needle.

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    • "Alright... I suppose then I'll just... go in," Duncan said. This guy was weird.


      Rick did just that, pressing on towards the Space Needle alone. Though he really never was alone, for he always had his trusted shotgun in his hands.


      "Dammit..." Tyrone muttered. "Kherio's already there."

      He quickened his pace. "Come on, we gotta speed this up!"

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    • "The door's blown off. so the security system's probably been disabled as well. It's best we stick to the shadows.  Tanner can combat his influence but we can't. The moment Kheiro spots us we're done." The former agent meant him, Tyrus and Deaphanie. 

      Will already looked at possible ways they could survey the area without waltzing in via the front gate. 

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    • Tim, in the meantime, led his part of the team back out of town.

      "We really didn't need four people on this," he sighed. "All we're doing is taking a hike to pick up a glorified headband."

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    • "Like it or not, smartass", Pestin chuckled, resting his shotgun over his shoulder. "We are stuck together."

      "There better be food after this", Famian complained.


      Ward nodded. "I've got you from here. Let me know when the coast is clear and I'll take the lead next."


      "I am always a part of the shadows, honey", Deaphanie smiled, seating herself down as she began to load Requiem with some bullets that appeared to be custom made.

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    • Tanner pulled his revolver from his shoulder holster, and pulled back the hammer with his thumb.  His other hand fished a butterfly knife, one of pair that were inside either pocket of his trousers and, with a fancy manuover, flicked the blade out.

      There wasn't really much they could do in the way of recon, Will could note.  This was a highly secure fortress.  The only way to get a good look at it was the main entrance.

      "Why don't I just walk in and you guys can wait to see if I get blown up or something?"  Tanner offered.


      Bug Safari was still there... waiting.  Were they stalling?  Who could tell.


      Rick, before he could get to the Space Needle, noticed there was a Brotherhood checkpoint directly between him and the square where the Needle was located.  It was set up very similarly to the one in the grasslands between Vault 253 and Mercer Island, except this time in the middle of a six lane street and instead being staffed by half a dozen knights, there appeared to be about thirty soldiers in power armor milling about the place, grabbing gear and carrying out orders.  There was a watch in each direction.

      It seemed like he'd have to find a way around.  Buildings stretched along the block to either side of him, up until the open area where the Needle was located.  Manholes dotted the street.  The rooftops appeared clear as well.  These were some options available to Rick, although he could find his own path, if necessary.

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    • "Your powers are too important to be lost in an explosion," Tyrus said. "I'll take point."


      Duncan shrugged, and finally went into the Bug Safari.


      Rick prefered to keep his boots on the ground, so he elected to get to the otherside through the use of manholes. He opened up one of the covers and dropped down into the sewers.

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    • William sighed with slight exasperation.

      "Guess we go in now."

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    • Tanner would've explained to Tyrus that he was being faceious and was rather difficult to blow up, but the man seemed quite determined, and so he gestured to Tyrus to enter.

      Beacon Enterprises, from what they could see, looked the same as it did as before.  Except that this time, inside, there were no signs of life, and that seven door, one in the very back, was cracked open.


      Water dripped somewhere in the old children's museum, echoing through the decrepit halls.  The whole place was grimy, and dank.  There were two pathways to take-- straight ahead lead down the narrow exhibit hall, with ancient, now empty glass-cases lining the walls, which once held Bug Safari's pride and joy.

      To his left was a gift shop, more open, and he could see another door through there that led off into the bulk of the museum.


      Rick landed not in a sewer, but in maintenence tunnels.  Gas lines ran along either side of him.  The tunnel was pitch dark, no light to speak of.  The tunnel seemed to pass directly beneath the Brotherhood stronghold, towards the Needle.

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    • William appeared to be able to keep his footsteps as silent as humanly possible. Whether or not that mattered depended on Major General Custer in front of him, and the Psyker behind him. 

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    • "Should we split up?" Ward asked, although it sounded more like a suggestion.

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    • Tyrus also kept his footsteps silent, leading the group on forward through the cracked-open doors. He tried listening for any explosions or voices that would give away Kheiro's position. With the way this place was built, either would probably echo out to them...


      "I suppose we could cover more ground..." Duncan shrugged. He didn't seem too keen on the idea, given that splitting up in dark and evil fortresses like this one usually resulted in death or someone being lost forever.

      "Alright. You take the museum, I'll check out the exhibit hall."


      "Idiots..." Rick muttered, reaching into his pockets and looking for his lighter. "Back in my day, we had every route covered. These dumbasses would've... had their throats slit in one night by.... by Chinese spies, god dammit, where the hell is my lighter!" He spat.

      After a while of searching and curse words, he found his lighter and used it to illuminate the path in front of him. 

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    • There was nothing.  The place seemed lifeless.  No sound of whirring machinery or robots running around.  Only quiet.


      Bug Safari itself was deathly quiet, but tension hung in the air.

      The cases that once held insects were empty, some shattered, others just fogged and decrepit.  A few had the exoskeletons of ancient, long deceased bugs rotting in them.  Duncan was in a graveyard for ants.

      Down the exhibit hall, Duncan could hear a rustling,  The sounds of footfalls, wood scraping tiles, told Duncan group of people were moving things around.


      A faint, pulsating light illuminated the musty walls, and allowing rich to see about three feet in front of his face.  The air was suddenly heavy with the smell of gas, as he proceeded further through the tunnel.  Rick's lighter flickered as it touched the fumes.

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    • (do you mean we hear And see (beyond the cracked door) nothing or just hear nothing)

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    • "You don't think your talents are wasted here, searching for a nullifier out in the badlands?" Tim asked Pestin.

      He and the gang wandered on.

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    • "It's too quiet..." Tyrus said. "They might have already moved Beacon...."

      Still, he pressed onwards....


      "Ugh...Why is there still gas down here. 2 centuries of going unmanaged, and you've still got gas flowing through here," He hissed. He turned his lighter off as it flickered against the fumes, not wanting to start a fire down here and burn his skin up even more.


      Duncan moved much slower now with his rifle held tightly in his hands. "Here we go..."

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    • "Nah, as long as I get to shoot something, I am good", Pestin shrugged. "Or if I can pop a good smoke. You don't happen to carry any?"


      Ward never holstered his revolvers. He could already sense that this place was no good. But he trusted that Duncan would know how to protect himself as they carried more ground by splitting up. He began to approach the museum and peered around the corner of the entrance.

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    • (Hear nothing, Rowan.  As in it's very quiet.)

      The further he went, the more Tyrus could hear a faint noise coming from the back room.  It sounded like a person sobbing.

      "What is that?"  Tanner wondered aloud, apparently hearing it as well.


      Rick could barely see, down the way, but there was a rapture in one of the gas lines.  It smelled very strange, the further he went.  It was slightly ironic, that this Brotherhood outpost sat beneath something highly explosive, and had no knowledge of it.


      As Duncan peered around the corner at the end of the exhibit hall, he looked into a large room, that had once held varying displays.  The vaulted ceiling  and open, square floorspace had been to allow for tall or hanging displays.  The entire back walls of the place was missing, giving Duncan a good view into an employee's lounge.  Most of the floor was missing as well, in a half circle, agaiinst where the employers' lounge starts.  It was like something with a giant, perfectly sphere mouth had come over and munched out a part of the wall and floor, all in one bite.

      Some machine, perhaps, had dug a massively deep hole, that slanted down into the darkness of what could only be the undercity.  Hundred-Hands, in their formless, brown uniforms and concealing, gray gas masks, were coming and going from the hole, carrying up non-descript wooden boxes.  Others were stockpiling weapons.  There was also a massive, steel shipping container the color of polished gunmetal, taking up most of the room.  The doors of it were closed and bolted.


      Ward looked into a large, rectangular shaped room.  Unlike the exhibit hall, when Bug Safari had been opened, all the insects in this room had been dead.  Sealed glass cases showing off the wingspans of butterflies, and the size of giant beatles sat around the room, with little plagues describing how cool and fun some of these bugs were.  There were two exits, one directly across from him at the end of the room, and one to his distant right, which appeared to lead in the same direction Duncan had headed.

      Two radroaches skittered around the room, searching for food, paying Ward no mind.

      What drew his attention however, was the massive piles of eggs in the far corner of the room.  They were green, spuishy looking, and each one was taller than Ward's thigh, and thicker than a microwave.  About fifteen eggs in all, the pile nearly reached the ceiling.  The radroachs ignored the pile of eggs as much as they ignored the gunslinger.


      As Tim and his party arrived upon the scene in the Badlands from early, the smell of it hit them.  The Frumentarii had been sitting out in the hot sun for a few days now, rotting.  The best description for the rank, nostril defiling, scent that hung in the air was that it was if they'd opened a bag of extremely spoiled raw fish.  Crows were pecking at the corpses.  The Outsiders could note with distaste that not many of the Frumentarii had any eyeballs remaining among them, and specks of flesh were missing fron every corpse.

      The Outsiders could notice that, however, aside from the crows, there was something living here.  Someone had taken all of the Frumentariis' horses, and hitched them up outside the bar.  The glass that had been shattered by Hades' fight had been swept away, and it seemed like that same someone had tried to pile the corpses, before giving up.  A pile of vomit explained why.

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      "What is that?"  Tanner wondered aloud, apparently hearing it as well.

      "Trouble." Will sighed as he took his pistol from his holster.

      He was ready to shoot at anything that might come out of that door as they approached. 

      The sobbing become louder. 

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    • Nothing came out of the door.  Through the crack, William could see it opened to a very well decorated sitting room, with varished furniture and red, leather cushions.

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    • Will passed Tyrus' slow ass and leaned against the edge of the door. He lowered himself down so he could peek inside without being spotted. 

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    • There was a man lying on his side, wearing Beacon's clothes, although William's couldn't see his face besides of the poor view the crack offered, so he couldn't be 100% sure it was the inventor.

      The man was leaning against capsule of some kind, a smooth, sleak thing made of a  finely polished, silver metal.  It seemed to be Beacon who was sobbing.

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    • Will looked back at Tyrus and Tanner.

      "There's someone out there, crying, possibly Beacon but with what we've had to deal with so far I'm not willing to wander straight in."

      "Tanner, since you're immune why won't you go and check. Apart from the one guy blubbering there appears to be no one inside, we've got your back if anything goes wrong."

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    • Tanner rolled his eyes, stepped to the door, then pushed it wide open before stepping through.

      It revealed a comfortable room, complete with a very exquisite, rich-looking bed, a television with holotape player, a pinball machines, a gaming set-up, and other quality immenities.

      Beacon however, was leaning against the center piece of the room.  It was a cyrogenic pod set on it's back.  There was a beautiful woman inside, with flowing dark hair, a hair-shaped face, thick, surprised-looking brows, a slooping nose, and gentle, smooth features.  The pod's gas was frosted on the inside, although that was fading.  The glass had a massive hole punched in it.  Beacon had his his pressed to an unbroken part of the glass, was sobbing heavily, and mumbling something incoherent.  He appeared to be unharmed.

      "Look out, Will."  Tanner mocked, completely unaffected by the man's crying, but seemed to find it amusing that this is what everyone had been wary of.

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    • Will didn't appreciate Tanner's sarcasm.

      "You gonna start as well?" He asked as he got up and holstered his weapon.

      "If this is a trap don't say I didn't warn ya." 

      He approached Tanner.

      "What's up with him?" He asked as if Beacon couldn't answer for himself.

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    • "Bad day?"  The knight suggested with a shrug, tucking his own weapons away.

      "Hello?  Sir?"  Tanner raised his voice, but Beacon didn't seem to hear him.  He didn't even seem to have noticed the Outsiders had entered.

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    • William didn't cope well with overly emotional types, it made him uncomfortable.

      "Ah, come on. Sir... We don't have time for this..."

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    • Beacon sobbed harder, a bawling "Ahhhhh, hoo-hoo-hoo!" that was wince inducing..  He appeared to be have a runny nose as well.

      Tanner cleared his throat awkwardly, and his eyes landed on Deaphanie.  Women, the more emotional sex, would do a better job at this, he figured.

      The psyker looked meaningfully at Deaph, and then nodded in Beacon's direction.

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    • Deaphanie wasn't the slightest amused of Tanner's generalization, which she showed him clearly with a stone-faced expression, but nevertheless she approached Beacon.

      "Tell me what ails you", she spoke softly, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder.

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    • Beacon started looking back at Deaphanie with tired, confused, and reddened eyes.

      "Wha--?"  He looked past her, just now noticing everyone.  He wiped his nose and eyes on a sleeve, before turning back to the cyrogenic chamber.  It's occupant's, the woman's, eyes were shut in peaceful sleep.

      "Martha..."  Beacon murmured, touching his hand to the glass, struggling to stand up.  "I did this all for her."  He swallowed a sob that wracked his chest.  "The factory, the inventions, all of it, so I could one day fix her.  And that man he--"  Beacon couldn't finish, as it appeared he was about to start crying again if he continued, and instead just pointed at the puncture in the cyropod's glass.

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    • (Martha's the name of Batman's mother. Batman has a villain called Mr. Freeze, Mr. Freeze also cryogenically froze his wife, his wife is named Nora, your wife in Fallout 4 if you play as a man is called Nora. It's all connected!)

      "That man. Where is he now?" Will asked, showing some sympathy for the man but not much. 

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    • "He... he wanted me to give one of you this.  It's in Chinese I think.  I listened to it, couldn't make it out."  Beacon admitted. picking up a holotape which lay on the floor nearby.  "I closed the door, locked him out and... and he made me open it."  His voice hitched, as he remembered what had happened.  "He had one of my masks on.  I... figured out what he uses it for.  Just before he came, actually, I was working on something for you guys."

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      "Martha..."  Beacon murmured

      (WHYDIDYOUSAYTHATNAME

      I'd reply but these breaks are shorts so :p)

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    • William took the holotape off his hands, already having some notion as to for whom that message was...

      "Go on... Please." He said encouragingly to the inventor. 

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    • "Well see," the inventor began, throwing himself into his work to avoid thinking about his recent tragedy, "as I guessed, he spews radiation.  Only your body can't absorb it.  You could take a bath in it, and you'd be fine.  What does absorb it, however, is up here."  He tapped his forehead.  "The radiation easily penetrates your skull, and overrights your brain chemistry.  That guys emitting signals out of his mouth, and your mind's the reciever.  What it does, I guess, is make you extremely suspectible to suggestion, so you have no choice but to do whatever he asks next.  That piece of mask you brought me?  It was coated in that radiation."  He looked faintly proud for a moment, despite his sadness.  "And I built a few somethings that'll make you immune to it."

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    • William's light blue eyes lit up. 

      "Did you now..." His tone of voice was dark and implied he really wanted whatever it was.

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    • "Yeah..." he sighed.  "But it's no good.  I bet they don't even work.  And what's the point?  In a few minutes Martha'll thaw and the cancer will eat away at her again, and that'll be it.  Nothing's going to matter anymore."  He sunk back down to the ground in front of the cryopod.

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    • Will lowered himself down so he was crouching next to Beacon. 

      "There's always revenge." He offered coolly. 

      A hand landing on the man's shoulder.

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    • "What's the point?"  He asked again.  "Revenge won't save Martha."

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    • It was with that unsubtle hint that Rick got a horrible, horrible idea that would result in the death of countless brotherhood knights. And that made him very happy. 

      With a grin strecting from ear to ear, he went back to the ladder and climbed up until his head was just poking out. He then reached down and pulled free a grenade. "Fire in the hole, and up your asses!" He cried, pulling the pin and tossing it down the tunnel before quickly getting out of the hole.

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      "Don't let the death of your wife be for nothing," Tyrus said. "Where are those pills?"

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      "Poor lads... all brainwashed and what not," Duncan sighed, grabbing his rifle. Though they were stockpiling weapons, they didn't seem like they would be too much of a pain to deal with. As such, he grabbed his grenade launcher and simply walked out. He made sure to note important places of cover if they were able to return fire.

      "Hey lads!" Duncan yelled. "Bad news, Devil sent me up here to tell y'all your behind on payments. And he's collectin'!"

      With that, he raised his grenade launcher up and fired away at them.

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    • "No, but neither will sobbing about it." 

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    • The man paused, seeming to consider William's words, and they shook him out of his depression.

      "Not pills."  He said.  "Earmuffs.  Lead casing, and they emit their own, counter-signal to cancel out the guy's."

      The man rose to his feet.  "It gives me an idea actually..."  He began a shambling walk out of this room, back towards his workshops.


      Duncan's attack worked to extreme affect.  Several of the crates exploded, as they were filled with explosives, causing the room to shack and parts of the ceiling to collapse.  The resulting sharpnel sliced apart any Hundred-Hands that weren't already killed by the rubble or explosions.

      The steel crate took an explosion directly to it's front, was knocked over, and sent sliding across the floor on it's side.  The rocking floor knocked Duncan off his feet, shoving him back towards the exhibit hall.

      The ceiling collapsed over the hole, part of the wall as well, sealing the Undercity off, and burying any Hundred-Hands unfortunate enough to be in the way.

      The room became very still, large splinters of wood and pieces of concrete scattered across the floor.

      The steel crate suddenly began to shake violently, as something inside it began to pound at the walls, trying to escape.  Dent's appeared in the crates' doors, already rent by the explosion.


      Rick was standing in clear view of the Brotherhood Outpost.  Spotted  by the sentry, who pointed at him and shouted.

      "Intruder, east side!"

      Then, the outpost was gone.  The street collapsed beneath it, as if a single hole had opened up.  There was no sound, at first.  Simply one great inhale as the fire from bleow greedily drank in the open air.  The following sound was defeaning.  A shock wave rolled down the street, nearly sending Rick flying, and glass shattered in windows.

      Plumbs of dust rose from the resulting crater, smoke as well, and some bursts of fire from the still burning gas.

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    • "Earmuffs?" William asked, almost as if he didn't believe it.

      "Again?" 

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    • "What?"  Beacon asked, confused.  "You're not a fan of earmuffs?  I thought everyone likes earmuffs."

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    • (What an odd thing to say.)

      "Erm, no no... They're fine. It's just." Will excused himself, only now realising that again had been out loud. 

      "Memories." 

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    • (How is it an odd thing to say?  The man is merely assuming most of the populace does not dislike earmuffs, and he'd be right, probably.)

      "You've got bad memories with earmuffs?"  Beacon asked, not comprehending.  "Whatever.  Come in here."  He said, leading them into the workshop from earlier.  "I've got no way to test these, so they might work.  Or they might not."

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    • (Well 'I' found it odd!)

      As he followed into the workshop Will really had to try and surpress sarcasm right about now. But to say he was optimistic about this would be a lie. 

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    • Ward was no fool. He had been around the wastelands for long enough to know of the mutated horrors that had emerged from the nuclear holocaust. If those eggs were still alive, there was no doubt that whatever laid them was still around, most likely to look after its unhatched offspring.

      He stepped out and glared around with his dead stare. His gaze tracing the walls, the dark nooks, up to the ceiling and over his shoulder.

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    • There was nothing.  This room wasn't large enough to hide whatever creature laid those eggs.  The building shook sudden, as Duncan set off the explosives in the other room.

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    • "Huh..." Duncan looked at the gun in his hands. "Never gone that easily..."

      He then looked at the giant metal container that was shaking and rattling as something tried to escape. Duncan took a step backwards as he realized what was in it. "Ooooh, shite...." He grimaced.

      He didn't run, however. Everything that Kheiro had at his disposal needed to be destroyed. And so, he opened up his grenade launcher and began to load up a new set of grenades. "Yeah, come get some..." 


      "It's the only chance we have," Tyrus shrugged. "It's better than going in knowing that we are doomed..."


      Rick stood his ground, stumbling a bit but managing to stay upright during the shockwave, and stood back up on steady legs once it had subsided so that he may behold his work.

      "What was that?" He called out to the outpost. "Intruder? What intruder? And where's he intruding? All i see is a giant hole in the ground!" 

      He was met with silence.

      "Speak up! i can't here you!" He spat, before putting his ear down to the road. "Oh, what's that? Oh, you can't talk anymore? Because some maniac with a grenade nuked your goose-stepping cock-guzzling twinkle-toed ass into the road, and the only remnants of you left is the little scorch mark running across the fucking asphalt?!" Rick shrieked at the road. "Well, fucking hell, ain't that the craziest goddamn thing! Sorry, kid, I'll send a chunk of this road back to your momma, in a BOX!" He finished

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    • "By the way, do you have anything here that I can use to play this holotape?" Will asked as they entered. He took the little square disk from his pocket and held it up, waiting for Beacon's follow-through. 

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    • "There's a holotape player back there."  He said, jutting a thumb back towards the sitting room.  "Near the TV set."

      "The earmuffs are in here."  He said, leading them into the workshop, and then heading for one of the workbenches.  There were a pile of what appeared to be earmuffs, given the padding around the ears, but were composed primarily of gray, dull lead.

      "Should be more than enough.  They're not complicated to make."

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    • "I'll be right with you, fellers." Will excused, lingering so he could analyze the holotape while they got to fit earmuffs.

      -

      The secret agent turned back around and strolled over to the ancient TV set. At first he had to puzzle a bit with the tape, it had been a while since he had used this technology, but eventually he managed to fit it right in.

      He was curious. It had been a long time since he had heard or even spoken Chinese. 

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    • The holotape player made a grind noise as the tape was slow wound, and then began to play.

      "Nǐ míngbái ma, Wēilián? Wǒ de péngyǒu gàosù wǒ nǐ zuò de bǐ wǒmen gèng yōuyǎ de yǔyán, bùshì ma? Nǐ xiànzài zhīdào, yányǔ yǒu lìliàng, yányǔ rúcǐ mírén, jīhū shì diānfù xìng de. Nǐ céngjīng fúwùguò yīgè bǐ zìjǐ gèng dà de shìyè, zài wěidà de wénhuà de jīchǔ shàng, zhǐshì wǒ xiànzài zuò de. Yīgè yǔ wǒ mùqián fēicháng xiāngsì de mùbiāo dì yuányīn, jǐnguǎn guīmó jiào xiǎo, Wēilián? Nǐ kàn dào wǒ shēnshang yǒu shé me? Wǒ bù xiāngxìn wǒmen shì rúcǐ bùtóng, zài wǒmen xīnzhōng. Yīncǐ, lìng rén shīwàng de shì, nǐ yǒngyuǎn bù huì yuànyì jiēshòu wǒ de yuànjǐng, zhèngrú nǐ cóng wèi jiēshòuguò dì nàyàng. Wǒ zài zhège yōu'àn chéng lǐ shuō dé tài zǎole. Yóuxì hái méiyǒu wánquán guānbì. Lái dào wǒmen zhī jiān zhè yīqiè dōu kāishǐ. Wǒ de zhāngjié jiéshùle, nǐ de gānggāng kāishǐ. Nǐ zài nǎlǐ ne? Wǒ hái néng shìfàng zhù zài wǒmen jiǎoxià de rén ma? Dàn bùyào huí dào nàlǐ chǎngpéng shì wǒ zài nǎlǐ gàosù nǐ de méngyǒu wǒ zài qítā dìfāng, huòzhě dūncù tāmen qù zhàdàn. Huǎngyán. Wǒ bùzàihū dànshì lái dào húdéshān. Wǒmen yǒu wèi wánchéng de shìqíng, nǐ hé wǒ."

      William understood it as so:

      Do you understand this, William?  My friend tells me you do.  A more elegant language than ours, isn't it?  As you well know by now, words hold great power, and a speech as enthralling as this one is almost subversive.  You once served a cause much greater than yourself, on the basis of this great tongue, just I do now.  A cause with goals very similar to my current one, although on a smaller scale.  Do you see any of yourself in me, William?  I don't believe we are so different, in our heart of hearts.  Thus it is disappointing you would never accept my vision willingly, just as you never accepted their's.'

      I spoke too soon, in the Undercity.  The game is not quite ended yet.  Come to where this all started between us.  Where my chapter comes to a close and your's had only just begun.  Where is the bomb, you ask?  Where else would I free a being who lives below our feet?  But don't return there.  Hood is where I am.  Tell your allies I am elsewhere, or urge them to go after the bomb.  Lie.  I don't care.  But come to Mount Hood.  We have unfinished business, you and I.

      The player clicked, as the message came to a close.

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    • William pondered over this. If he did this, he would be walking right into Kheiro's hand... But the idea of being alone and dealing with this on his own appealed to the old man. 

      He sighed, scratching his beard. 

      He pulled the holotape from the player and strolled back out, still musing on what to do as he rejoined the others at the workshop. 

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    • Deciding that this chamber was obsolete, Ward headed back to accompany Duncan, reckoning that the man would require backup after those explosions had stirred up the place. He didn't let the eggs out of his angle of view however, as he left, expecting them to hatch anytime soon.

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    • Ward joined Duncan just in time to watch the steel's crates doors thrown from their hinges, and sent sliding across the room, throwing up spikes.

      One clawed, scaly hand reached out, gripping the side of the crate, followed by another.

      The Deathclaw shoved itself from the crate with impressive speed, and landed in a crouch.  It's right foot came down on a deceased Hundred-Hand, the body crunching beneath the giant lizard's weight.

      It's two beady black eyes locked onto Duncan, and opened a maw filled with razor sharp teeth that dripped saliva.

      It took off towards the two of them languidly, relaxed and effortless in it's agility, but frighteningly quick in how it covered the distance towards them.

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    • "You take the left, I take the right", Ward instructed calmly. "Can't keep focus on the two of us at the same time. Once one of us has its attention, the other will open fire to draw it there instead, and from there we will take turns."

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    • "Right!" Duncan spat, not as calm as Ward was, he darted off to the left and fired off a slew of grenades at the former Chameleon's face.


      Rick, finished with his rant, got up and proceeded on towards the Space Needle.


      "Did you find them?" Tyrus asked Will as he returned.

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    • "It was just Kheiro mocking me. Probably wanted to do it in a way he thought would impress me. Kheiro being vein and taunting us, what else is new?" Will sighed, holding the holotape as if it were garbage. 

      "You tried the earmuffs yet? Are they comfortable?" the agent grinned. 

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    • The Deathclaw calmly skittered sideways, avoiding Duncan's grenades with predatory grace.  It was engineered for this.  To hunt anything, to be completely unstoppable in it's death dealing power.  The apex predator, the ultimate killing machine.

      The lizard lunged, gaining air, claws extended outwards, straight for Duncan.  He could see it's blade like tongue stiffen as it's jaw unhinged to devour him.

      The building shook as something shifted in it, behind the wall to the gunslinger and the Outsider's left.  What could only be described as a giant spear punched through the wall, and impaled the Deathclaw directly through it's midsection.  The creature screamed brutally, arms still extended, the points of it's claws not a foot from Duncan's face.

      The building shook again, powerfully, as something utterly massive began to move around.  Plaster rained down from the ceiling, as the building's supports groaned and struggled.  The Deathclaw screamed in raw pain, it's cry shirll and awful in it's agony.  The spear--a large brown talon the height and width of a man, which started off thick and gradually grew to a thin point-- disappeared into the hole which it had created, pulling the screaming Deathclaw with it.

      The building shook again and they could hear pounding in the other room, pounding that they could realize was the footsteps of whatever that large talon had belonged to.

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    • "Ooooo-kay, I've seen enough!" Duncan said, turning and making for the door. "Ward, we are leaving, let's go!"

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    • Ward furrowed his brows and looked around for whatever could have caused such damage. It wasn't the weirdest nor strangest thing he had seen, but it was definitely up there among the top ten.

      "Hmph..." he just grunted reluctantly and followed, actually keen on engaging in battle.

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    • The door neared, entering their line of sight.  The light from outside was crisp and welcoming, despite the overcast sky.

      The wall in front of it burst, throwing debris, rubble, and showering the area with dust, as a massive creature broke free from it's lair with in the corridors of Bug Safari.

      BugSafariMonster








      The creature lunged towards the doorway, and reached out to the side with it's two talons.  It picked up a discarded slab of concerete, ordinary rubble that looked like it had been dragged in from outside, and placed it over the doorway, blocking the exit.

      The Mantis/Shrimp/Dragonfly creature then turned to them.  It's blue eyes shown with intelligence as it analyzed Duncan and Ward, claws raised.  Intelligence and rage.

      It chittered excitedly, and they got a good look at it's mouth-- the Deathclaw was stuffed halfway into it, being picked apart by the creature's maniables.  It made a crunching sound, as the monster ground bone and scales.

      It began a slow walk towards them, ten legs pounding across the ground in short but powerful steps.  It knew it had them, but apparently it wanted some fun first.

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    • Ward read the creaturer's intentions like a book. "Yeah, I like fun too, you red cunt."

      With a flick of his hand he fired a bullet towards one of its protruding eyes.


      Deaphanie was in no need of earmuffs, but she reckoned that it would be hard to explain as to why she didn't need them and so took a pair, which she carried in her pocket. Not that she would have to use them. 

      They didn't need to know that though, although Tanner had been a bit suspicious.

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    • The creature's eyes popped inside it's shell, shielded from Ward's gunfire, so that his bullet whizzed harmlessly over it.

      It made an enraged noise, since he'd just tried to blind it, and the creature began to bulldoze toward them, slamming the points of it's talons into the ground as it do so to intimidate them and gain speed.

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    • Tyrus grabbed a pair of Earmuffs. "Don't know yet," He said, putting them on and seeing how comfy they were....


      "Yeah, alright... you want some, you overgrown Prrrawn!" Duncan spat, raising his grenade launcher and firing just after Ward did. "Then you can have some too!"


      Rick still walkin' to the needle....

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    • "You're a fuckcunt." Will mumbled to Tyrus in a soft tone so the guy couldn't possibly hear it.

      After which he shot him a thumbs up and a smile. 

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    • The earmuffs weren't comfy.  They were lead, and made Tyrus' head feel strangely heavy and unbalanced.

      "I kind of like them."  Tanner said, wearing a pair as William rejoined them.  He pulled at them, adjusting the earmuffs on his head, before taking the things off and tossing them back onto the pile.

      "Why's he need the mask?"  Tanner asked Beacon.

      "He it needs so that his power works.  If he used it without the mask, he'd kill whoever he'd be trying to control.  Too much of his mind-altering radiation'll cause an aneurysm, and by the readings I got from the mask fragment, he's constantly exuding it."


      (Sorry Rick!)

      The ghoul finally arrived at the base of the Needle, destruction left in his wake.  The intercom and elevator were much as they were when he'd left before.


      The Dragonflymantisshrimp Monster ran right through Duncan's grenade, the capsule harmlessly exploded against it's shell.  It bore down on them, talons raised.

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    • Will also put on a pair. He assessed it was probably the best they were gonna get, so he wasn't going to complain. 

      He did start a soft cough. 

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    • "Cripe!" Duncan shrieked, jumping back. "Ward, what are we gunn'a do? That thing is armored as all hell!"


      "Alright, Lama boy... we're gonna have a chat..." Rick said, stepping into the elevator and going up.


      Tyrus gave the thumbs up as well. 

      "Eh... as long as they keep me safe, then I'll be fine with them," He muttered.

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    • Rick got the spectacular view of Seattle again as the elevator went up.  Even with the ugly weather, looking at Emerald City never got old.

      The elevator dinged out, and Rick was met with the sight of his guide from his previous visit.

      "Hello, Rick Deere."  The man said neutrally, in a polite tone.  "I'm surprised you've returned.  You left rather upset last time."

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    • "I'm not here because I want to be here," Rick said. "Where's the Lama?"

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    • "In his chamber."  The monk said, stepping out of the way so Rick could pass.

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    • Rick walked right into the chamber without much warning. "Lama, we gotta talk," He demanded.

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    • The old man was in contemplation where he had been before, his back to Rick, facing his tranquil setting.

      He lifted his head, to show he was listening.

      "Yes, my child?"  His voice was soft, and welcoming, as always.

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    • "Chahalheel," Rick folded his arms. "I need you to tell me everything you know about him or it. Now."

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    • "What do you mean?"  The High Lama asked.  "The spirit or my friend?  To Kheiro they are one and the same thing.  I believe differently."

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    • "What do you believe differently?" Rick said. "Tell me about the spirit, and the friend."

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    • "I believe they are seperate entities.  That Chahalheel is fairytale invented by the ancient Sammamish to embody their fears, and what they didn't understand about this world.  At some point, they encountered my friend, and attached the name to it.  But the Chahalheel of Issaquah legend--a dark spirit rising from hell to rule humanity--is just that, a legend.  The Chahalheel we're dealing with is much more... benign."

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    • "So.... this friend of yours, he's only been given the name. He's not actually a scary demon from hell..." Rick pondered.

      He then laughed hardily. "Oh my god, he's an idiot! Kheiro's a fricken idiot!" He howled. "He's... he's so stupid!"

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    • William's cough became louder.

      When he showed his hands they were bloody and red. 

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    • "What's wrong with him?"  Beacon asked, taking a step back.

      "He got poisoned."  Tanner said, eying William with a mixture of pity and worry.  "It's killing him."

      Beacon grimaced, and produced a filter mask from his pocket, which he then put on.

      "Look, I helped you guys.  Built you these earmuffs.  I... was hoping you could help me."


      "No."  The High Lama said, grave and serious.  "He's not.  In fact, he's far smarter than you give him credit.  My friend is benign because it cannot think on it's own.  It is the source of Kheiro's power, and my own longevity and knowledge.  But just like a tumor, what is benign can be turned malignant.  Were Kheiro to carry through with his plan, it would do exactly what he thinks it will.  Except, instead of everyone within range being enslaved to some mythical 'Chahalheel' they will be enslaved to him.  To Kheiro."

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh
      SkyrimsShillelagh removed this reply because:
      above
      02:32, July 18, 2017
      This reply has been removed
    • William collapsed to the floor, panting heavily. Clearly he appeared to be in a bad way. 

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    • "Oh..." Rick said. "Hm... well, Mr. Lama, if that's what it'll come to then I've got two people to kill. And you can direct me to that isn't Kheiro."

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    • "Christ, Will."  Tanner said, dropping to a knee beside the man, reaching his hands out, but unsure if he should touch him or not.

      The psyker looked up at Beacon.  "Can you do something for him?  You've got to have something in this place that could help him."

      The old inventor looked down at William for a moment, before heading deeper into his workshop.


      "Three people, actually."  The High Lama said. "Two of them you'll have no choice in, the third will be up to you and your people."

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    • "Ahh shit." William hissed, seeming disappointed in himself. Feeling especially stupid now, standing at the feet of Tyrus whom now had ample opportunity to mock him and rub in how much of a liability he was to this operation. 

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    • "There's eggs in the other chamber", Ward said. "If it came from this creature it would be intelligent enough to know when its offspring is under threat. Just go in there and let it know that we mean business. That its revolting spawn will die unless this cunt gets out of our way."

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    • "Got it!" Duncan said, trudging off towards the other chamber whilst he reloaded his grenade launcher


      "Give me names, Lama," Rick said. "The future of this city is on the line, and I don't have time to play guessing games. The ghoul back in the town was 1. Hades is 2. Kheiro is 3. Now who is 4?"


      Tyrus glanced down at the agent, coughing and hacking up blood all over his hands and the floor. He normally would have taken this time to berate the agent for saying that he'd be an asset to this mission, only to stand here choking his life away and spraying the contents of his body everywhere like a bloody sprinkler. 

      But, he refrained. Only for the fact that Will was a dying man as of this moment.

      "Try no to keel over before we get the antidote," Tyrus said, before simply walking off and following Beacon to his workshop to see what he needed help with

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    • "I'm not going any further." Will sighed. Seeming quite calm about what he just said and what that meant.

      "This is my last stop." 

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    • "What?"  Tanner was surprised.  "Just like that?"  It seemed very uncharacteristic of Will, to give up so suddenly, especially when they were so close.


      "Hey, who said you could wander around my workshop?"  Beacon asked Tyrus.  The man was at a large machine that seemed to be composed of several brass tanks and tubes.  Empty syringes and vials lay nearby in a neat row on a sterile tray.


      "If knew, Richard, I would tell you."  The High Lama said.  "As I've said before, I only know what I know.  Nothing more or less.


      Duncan had been far too slow in his retreat and Ward hadn't even moved, in fact both of them had really just stood there taking their time as the giant monster loomed over them.

      It's talons lashed out, catching Ward by his duster, and Duncan by his ammo belts, and lifted the pair of them up, towards it's mouth.  A purring chitter come from deep in shell, almost a laughter, as if it wanted to watch them struggle before it devoured them.

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    • "I've been running on fumes, these last few days. It was bound to happen eventually..." Will heaved.

      "Ah...Fuck." 

      The agent looked miserable. Dissapointed in himself too.

      "Get this guy for me." He then practically demanded. 

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    • Tim's team was still on the move.

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      As Tim and his party arrived upon the scene in the Badlands from early, the smell of it hit them.  The Frumentarii had been sitting out in the hot sun for a few days now, rotting.  The best description for the rank, nostril defiling, scent that hung in the air was that it was if they'd opened a bag of extremely spoiled raw fish.  Crows were pecking at the corpses.  The Outsiders could note with distaste that not many of the Frumentarii had any eyeballs remaining among them, and specks of flesh were missing fron every corpse.

      The Outsiders could notice that, however, aside from the crows, there was something living here.  Someone had taken all of the Frumentariis' horses, and hitched them up outside the bar.  The glass that had been shattered by Hades' fight had been swept away, and it seemed like that same someone had tried to pile the corpses, before giving up.  A pile of vomit explained why.

      (Red)

      "Well we have no idea where he is."  Tanner said, sounding frustrated.  "We came here for Kheiro, and he's already moved on. "You're sure that holotape said nothing we can use?"

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    • "I took it upon myself," Tyrus said. He nodded to the giant brass tank syringe thing. "What's that?"


      "Dammit, you useless tree hugger!" Rick stamped his foot. "Where can I find the answer then?"


      Duncan quickly aimed downwards into it's open mouth and quickly fired off just about everything he had in his clip. "Not like this!" He hollered, though it was more of a war cry than a cry of fear.

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    • "It was pretty cryptic..." Will admitted.

      "There was this passage: Where is the bomb, you ask? Where else would I free a being who lives below our feet?"

      "I don't know what to make of it though."

      The best deception was usually wrapped in some truth.

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    • Tanner slapped his forehead.

      "Duh.  Why else would Kheiro set up in the Undercity?  It's the closet he can get to his Chacha-friend.  If we'd stayed there, he'd had to have come right back to us."  Tanner thought on that for a moment, before blanching.  "If the bomb was set off under there, there wouldn't be a Seattle left.  It'll all collapse."


      "In the Prophecy, Rick.  It's all in the Prophecy."


      "Bodily fluids.  Blood, urine, the works.  Wanted to try and make an artifical body, thought I was Frankenstein or something.  Didn't work out." Beacon shrugged, filling a vial up underneath one of the tubes, a yellow-orange liquid pouring into it.  "This is adrenaline.  It'll stop whatever's happening to him for the moment, I think.  Shock his body into fighting a little harder."

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    • Rick balled up his fist in order to not strangle the life out of this hippy. 

      "Look, Lama... I don't have time, nor the patience, to throw together a bunch of hair-brained theories on who number 4 could be, okay? I'm on a goddamn mission to save this city. You may not care about having your tower nuked into the fucking ground, but I have a few good men here who will stay alive, you follow? You gotta give me something more than "It's all right there in the prophecy.","

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    • "Like a collapsing mine tunnel..." William muttered, seeing the ingenuity in how that would achieve maximum damage. 

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    • "I'll give it to him," Tyrus offered.

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    • The High Lama sighed.

      "I told you this before.  Outsiders.  The fourth death will be an outsider.  What's an important distinction is that it can be any outsider."


      Beacon picked up a syringe, stuck the needle into now filled vial of adrenaline, and pulled back the stopper.  When the adrenaline itself was full, he passed the syringe to Tyrus.

      "Just don't drop it.  Epinephrine's pretty hard to get, since I have to buy corpses to harvest it."


      "He might still be on the road.  He brings the bomb here, forces Beacon to repair it, then leaves for the Undercity.  If we leave quick enough, we might be able to catch him."

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    • "Okay," Tyrus said, heading back to the others


      Rick put some thought into it. "Any outsider, hm?"

      Then it dawned on him who it had to be.

      "Thank you, Lama," Rick bowed. "I'll see myself out."

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    • "Good luck, Richard."  The High Lama said.  "I sense you have a tough road ahead of you."

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    • Tim raised his nose (or, more accurately, the gaping hole where his nose was supposed to be) as the putrid smell reached the party.

      "Ugh... now where did I leave this damn thing? The sooner we're out of here, the better."

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    • William stood up again but it appeared to take a lot of effort. Any sane man could see he'd be useless to drag along. 

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    • The nullfiier seemed to be missing.  Through the cracked windows of the bar, they could the red-haired bartender, formerly Hades' hostage, tending to his counter.

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    • "Jesus, how is he still here?" Tim muttered, as he and Lana got towards the door as fast as possible to get out of the stench.

      "Hello again!" the man in the mask greeted, somewhat cautiously.

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    • The bartender looked up, and for a split was delighted he actually had customers, and then his face well once he realized it was the guys who wrecked his bar in the first place.

      "Hello." The bartender said, equally as cautiously.  "Can I help you?"

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    • "I hope so," Tim said, gesturing at the mess outside. "Did you see anyone come by recentl-"

      Tim was interrupted by Lana. "How come you haven't removed the stinking, rotting dead bodies right outside your building?"

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    • "Well I did move them."  The bartender said.  "Put them in a big pile far enough away that the smell doesn't get to me.  The reason I haven't moved them farther is because they're sticking, rotting, dead bodies.  I'm hoping something's going to come by and eat them or I might have to burn them all."  He explained.

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    • Ward wasn't the slightest fazed by the monster. He acted swiftly, pulling his combat knife from his belt as he slit open the palm of his hand, smearing its blood over one of the explosives Famian had given him, expecting that the beast would be fooled by its smell and taste.

      He then pulled the trigger, aimed for the gaping mouth of the creature and threw it in there with all his might. 

      "Enjoy the dinner, freak", he growled.

      He wasn't as much concerned for his own well-being as he was for Duncan's. He would be back... eventually. Duncan however just had a one-way-ticket. And Deaphanie would surely be upset if something happened outside of her control of the casualty continuum... at least for a while. He knew his sister so well.


      "Allow me, good sir", Famian said, before receiving a harsh slap at the back of his head by Pestin.


      Morty didn't want to stay still in Deaphanie's arms. Likely the cub could tell that something bad was about to happen.

      "Shush, little one", Deaphanie ensured the tiger. "You are with me now, and I won't let anything happen to you."

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    • The Dragonfly Monster took one big bite of bomb, it's senses telling it it smelled like food.  He flinched when the explosive went off in it's many toothed mouth, and it opened it's mouth to scream, allowing fire to rush out.

      Duncan and Ward were tossed to the ground, forgotten for the moment as the creature dealt with the pain, thrashing it's talons and stomping it's pronged legs in anger.

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    • "Now! Make for the eggs!" Ward growled as he readied another explosive. Its markings identifying it as some sort of proximity mine.

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    • The Dragonfly shrimp beast spewed more fire from it's mouth, upper torso thrown back. It settled, maw smoking, and seemed to single out Ward.  It's antannae twitched, 'eying' the gunslinger with trepidation, and seemed realize he was a more capable human than most.

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    • (Well?)

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    • "I'm going I'm going!" Duncan spat, making for the eggs.


      Tyrus approached Will, shaking his head. He knew he shouldn't have brought this man along, but he wasn't going to let him die here, either.

      "Sit down, Will," Tyrus instructed.

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    • "Can't do much else." Will groaned.

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    • Ward followed, rapidly setting up the proximity explosives behind him. If the creature decided to follow, it would be in for a nasty surprise. Unless of course it happened to have Ph.D in pyrotechnics.

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    • The Dragonfly Monster didn't follow.  Instead it cut to the side, scuttling a different direction.  They could hear it's heavy footsteps echoing through the museum's empty.corridors.


      (Waiting for Red)


      "He's probably better off here."  Tanner pointed out.  "Beacon's got the technology to take care of him, I bet, should it come to that."

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    • "Right," Tim muttered. "Anyway, did you see anyone pass through here since we were last here?"

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    • The bartender suddenly looked very nervous.

      "No, no one."

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    • "heh, are you gonna... hook me up on some machine, Beac?" Will asked somewhat jokingly inbetween heaves of exhaustion. 

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    • "Probably got a dialysis machine around here somewhere.  Can try giving you an injection of antibiotics too."  The old man shrugged, wondering if Tyrus was going to use that shot or what.

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    • "That'd be swell..." 

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    • Tim eyed the bartender quite suspiciously.

      "No one? Then where'd the headband we left here go?"

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    • "Don't flinch," Tyrus said, kneeling down and injecting the adrenaline into his arm. Let the record show that the power that be are quite busy exploring their new PC, and am sorry that they didn't get around to the shot either.


      "Yeah, whatever," Rick said, before turning to leave.

      He hated hippies like this guy.


      Duncan kept running. He was undeterred by the giant shrimp stomping above them and would not slow down for anything. 

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    • "Oh, that?"  The bartender asked.  "Well, I have that.  Thought it looked valuable so I scoped it up."

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    • "Kheiro's not hanging around, guys. You should go to the Undercity..." William spurred on.

      "I'd like to go down without you lot gawking." 

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    • "Well, we need it back," Tim said. "It's very important."

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    • "Just how important to you?"  The bartender asked, implying price.

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    • "Important enough that I'm not willing to discuss the price with you," Tim answered. He placed his hands on the bar and leaned closer. "Let me ask you, bartender, have you heard of a man named Kheiro?"

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    • The bartender looked very shaky at the mention of the name.

      "No." He promised Tim, leaning away from the masked man.

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    • "Alright, we'll pretend that you haven't," Tim shrugged. "Kheiro is a delusional maniac obsessed with carrying out a vague prophecy. In order to achieve his goal, he is willing to lay waste to the entire Royal Wasteland, which may very well include this diner you're running here. He'll slaughter men, women, and children to get what he wants, and we need to stop him. So please give me the headband, and maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to save your skin, and everyone else's along with it."

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    • "Come on, man, I'm trying to make a living here.  No one wants to go to the bar with the graveyard outside.  I'll give you the handband, but you can't give me anything at all in trade?"

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    • Tim sighed and placed a single magazine of his 5.56 rounds on the counter in response.

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    • "We'll you'll geT what you want," Tyrus shrugged, nodding to Deaph and Tanner. "Let's move out."

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    • "Yeah yeah..." Will sounded unimpressed. 

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    • "Man."  The bartender sighed.  He vanished into the stock room behind the bar, and came back with the head by and it's jangling bits.  "Here."  He set it on the counter. "Go save the wasteland now, or whatever."  He snatched up the magazine.  "I'll be here.  With my bullets."


      "We shouldn't leave him."  Tanner said, as they exited.  "The Boss used to have a saying: de oppresso libre.  Leave no man behind."  Although Tanner had left plenty behind, in his hunt for Hades.

      "Whatever.  The Undercity again.  We're like rats in a maze."


      The wall to Duncan and Ward's left imploded as the Dragonfly Monster tried to cut them off on their path towards the eggs.  It chittered loudly and made horrific noises, attempting to frighten them.


      "You were a man possessed coming in here."  Beacon said, coming around, back towards William.  "But now this is the end of the road for you.  Just like that, huh?"  His tone implied he didn't buy it.

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    • "Thank you kindly," Tim said as he picked up the nullifier. "Come on, let's get back before Rick blasts them all into oblivion or something."

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    • Will waited until the rest had left and then stood up.

      stretched his arms a bit and plucked the bit of glass he had pushed in his palm to conjure up blood out of his hand. 

      "Not exactly." He sighed with a frown that indicated as if this was something he was used to doing. 

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    • "None of my business."  Beacon shrugged.  "I gotta see if I can make repairs on Martha's capsule.  I sense you're going to do something stupid, so take what you need.  Maybe you won't die."  With that, he headed off into the main hall, to one of his other workrooms.

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    • "I'll take those muffs." William said coldly as he took them from Beacon's bench.

      "And you're right, it's not your business. But I'll make the guy responsible for this pay."

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    • "Make it hurt!"  Beacon recommended, over his shoulder.

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    • "You bet." Will smirked before he too left. Armed with ear-muffs and a grudge he went to Mt. Hood to go meet his tormenter... 

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    • "Yeah, fuck you too", Ward growled throwing another explosive towards the creature to make it keep its distance between them.

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    • The path to Mt. Hood was the same as it was when William had first come this was.  There was something poetic about this, William's journey starting where it had ended.

      The dirt trail led through an evergreen forest, to the logwooden walls of the town.  Hundred-Hands stood guard at the arched entranceway.  They were standing attention, rifles resting against their right legs, held by the barrel.


      The creature bore down on them, furious, but hesitating.  It knew what it that had come for, and could see the eggs were within their sights.

      It screetched and stomped it's forward talon's to intimidate them.

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    • Will had the mufflers across his neck. But he was ready to put them right in time.

      He approached the gate. There appeared to be little to gain by sneaking in. He was going to have to confront Kheiro regardless. 

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    • The Hundred-Hands were like statues.  They made no movement as he approached.

      The simple lumbertown had been cleaned up, the bodies cleared, but the bloodstains remained.  Hundred-Hands stood guard at intervals throughout, he could see from the entryway.  Some were patrolling, others standing lazily on front porches, or sitting inside the windows of shops.  It was unnerving, like a whole town populated by the clones of a single person.  This was the world Kheiro wanted.  A world where everyone was like him.

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    • In some degree Will could relate to this. It was like the Thongzi, they too wanted to control wastelanders. Apparently this was just something a lot of people wanted. To create order in a lang ravaged by chaos... By any means necessary. 

      "I'm here!" William yelled when he come to a stop at the village square. Breaking the uncomfortable silence that hung over this creepy hollow. 

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    • The doors to the town hall swung open.

      Out came three Hundred-Hands, two carrying chairs, a third a table.  They walked down into the center of the square, and set them up.  One pulled the chair out for William, and then all three, disappeared back inside buildings.

      A fourth person exited the town hall.  Kheiro walked down the two creaky wooden stairs that led to it, and then his boots fell into the swept dirt.  His hands were clasped behind his back, and he slowly approached the table.

      "Hello, William."  Kheiro greeted him, a dry, foreboding rumble.  "I see you came alone."

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    • William did not sit down. Instead he just put his mufflers on and waited for Kheiro to say something clever again. 

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    • Kheiro cocked his head at the earmuffs, but seemed to have some idea of what they did, or were supposed to do.

      "Are you waiting for an invitation?"  Kheiro asked, pulling his own chair out and taking a seat, then gesturing for William to take his.  "Do you drink tea?  I understand your former employer was fond of it."

      No suggestions.  It was as if Kheiro was bidding his time to see if his influence would work on William.

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    • "Cut to the chase." Will said, not buying the pretend niceties for a moment. 

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    • "There isn't a chase to cut to."  Kheiro said.  "I'm about to win.  I was interested in a little entertainment before I do.  And I was curious if you'd actually come.  There is scarce left in the world that surprises me, William.  But here you have, again, for that measure."

      Two Hundred-Hands exitted a home to Kheiro's right, bringing a tray containing a tea set, the pot steaming.

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    • "Unless that tea's got antidote in there I ain't drinking your stinkin' dishwater."

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    • "Please sit.  I insist."  Kheiro said.  The suggestion washed over William and...

      Nothing happened.  He was immune.  Kheiro seemed to notice as well, but didn't try to adjust the output on his mask like he normally would.

      One of the Hundred-Hands began to fill the cups.

      "Respect among enemies is important, William. Join me."

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    • Will did as he was told eventually. Perhaps his powers were working. 

      William didn't seem to enjoy sitting down at least. 

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    • "Don't you have something you want to ask me?"  Kheiro asked.  "How I know about Madame Chao-Xing?  How her men murdered your father, and for it you and your mother starved? How that dick Gregory bullied you as a child?  And how it felt when you killed him?"  Kheiro leaned forwards.  "Because Chahalheel didn't tell me these things, William.  I saw them."

      He lowered his voice to a conspiratorial level.

      "In dreams."

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    • Will was just about ready to kill Kheiro right now. And not in a way where the man would suffer. Just in a way that would quickly dispatch of this creature, this... thing, that knows too much about him. These were things he talked to nobody about. And William very much preferred to keep things that way.

      Still, the former agent appeared stone-faced and leaned forward a bit.

      "What are you getting at here?"

      Maybe he'd get an answer to why he had been experiencing Kheiro's life in dreams himself. 

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    • Kheiro sat back in his chair, tapped a finger against the edge of the table, not answering William's question.  William had no way of knowing how parallel his and Kheiro's line of thoughts were at the moment.  To the Masked Man, William knew equally too much.  He'd done even more to conceal his identity than William had.

      He reached out, and selected a cup of tea, lifting it up, appraised it. 

      "I believe I did something, on accident.  This abilities are new to me, understand, I've only grown used to them in last few years or so.  When we first spoke, I compelled you, one of the most complex I'd done.  I wanted you to remain independent, but at the same time carry out your intended duty.  It was an... exchange, almost.  Such as when one terminal sends a message to another.  Only, I believed I recieved something back in turn."

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    • "back problems?" Will remarked dryly. 

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    • "I believe it has something to do with Psychotronics.  Whatever amount of it your were exposed to by simply being in New York at the time some how has..." He made an ugly face, "infected me with your... filth.  Everytime I shut my eyes I'm reminded of it.  I thought perhaps, at first, you had done it purposefully, but soon realized you were as naive as me."

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    • "Psychotronics?" Will chuckled.

      "That's quite a while ago..." 

      He shook his head, really tired of Kheiro's theatrical flare. 

      "My filth is it?"

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    • "He's useless now. I would leave no man behind, but dead weight is dead weight," Tyrus shrugged, continuing on. "And we have no time to delay. We need to find that bomb."


      Rick waddled on. Somewhere...


      "Fuck off!" Duncan hissed, firing off another round of grenades.

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    • William wondered how Kheiro would drink that tea. 

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    • The monster advanced, allowing the grenades to explode harmlessly on it's hide.  But it saw the threat they posed to it's eggs.  It opened it's maniables, flashing terrible rows of little gnashing teeth on all sides of it's mouth, and screetched ear piercingly at them, trying to scare them off, but not willing to get close.


      "Yes.  And the longer I spend in this place the longer I believe I am somehow contaminated by it.  To tell you the truth, William, I can't wait until this place is ash."  He nodded at the ear mufflers.  "I noticed you developed a counter to my control.  You figured out why I wear the mask.  Only... you failed to account for one thing."


      Rick, as he headed north--he had to head slightly eastward first, through the destroyed Brotherhood checkpoint he'd taken out earlier--came upon the party of Tanner, Tyrus, and Deaphanie headed south.

      "Rick?"  Tanner was surprised.  "Did you meet with the Lama?"

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    • "And what's that?" Will asked, seemingly disinterested while in fact he was about ready to pounce. 

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    • He tapped the side of his mask with his empty hand.  "What if I took it off?"

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    • "You'd kill me."

      "And probably your men too." Will said, showing he knew what would happen.

      "But as far as I know, I'm still a dead man walking." 

      The agent calmly referred to the virus within him. 

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    • "Better all of you than me."  Kheiro replied.  "Is that what you're waiting for?  For me to reveal the cure?"

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    • "After you, buddy", Pestin shrugged.


      Ward fired a shot into the wall just above the eggs, letting the impact of the bullet sink in for the creature. It wasn't dumb by any means and so would realise that if continued this behaviour, the next projectile which the man now had aimed at the egg cluster would kill its unhatched offspring.

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    • "Among other things, yes." William pressed. 

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    • The Dragonfly Monster hissed, but retreated, taking up the entire back of the room, the building shifting as it's weight settled.  Ward had won, for the moment.  It was clear the thing was ready to attack at the first sign of weakness.


      "Perhaps you'll find out at the end of this, then."  Kheiro said.  "So?  Are we going to get to what you came here for?"

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    • William softly shook his head, it was kind of patronizing, like Kheiro was a child that just didn't understand something.

      "You, the Thongzi... You were right, they are sort of the same and have things in common... But both of you seem unable to acknowledge a simple truth... Humans aren't a singular entity that can be directed or steered by one man. It's chaos, and always will be chaos."

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    • "Until now."  Kheiro replied.  "It was chaos until now, when Chahalheel brought order to the world.  It's in it's nature to take many and make them one.  I have already done it," he gestured to his many Hundred-Hands scattered around the village.  "Now it need only be done on a larger scale."

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    • "I'm not that interested in history but... You don't need to be, to be able to tell that empires rise and empires fall."

      Will gestured to whatever was around him.

      "I mean look around. These cities they used to be part of a great empire that probably spanned the entire world. But it's gone now."

      "Your new order doesn't stand a chance."

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    • "It stands a better chance than whatever came before it.  There will be no empires, or seperate peoples, or unique nations.  All boundries will be shattered.  There will be one, singular entity, and all will serve it willingly.  An empire cannot fall if there is no one to knock it down."

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    • "Until you die." William stated abruptly, in a manner that made it sound like a very concurrent threat.

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    • "I will have imprinted my will upon the world by then, what I will do cannot be undone.  Besides, it appears my mortality will vastly decrease."  Kheiro chuckled.  "You've discovered much, I will grant you that, but you still haven't unveiled it all."

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    • "I know plenty about you... Tell me, Do you still have your precious cave bricked in or have you since removed that. Now that you don't have to 'pretend' anymore." Will prodded, but he made it seem like a very casual passing.

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    • The minute detail of the bricking, and that William was privy to Kheiro's own attitude as a child, seemed to shock the Masked Man.  His rust coloured eyes widened, in a mix of surprise and what appeared to be fury.

      "Chahalheel is everywhere.  That is the beauty of it.  Should I wish to comune with it, I need only dig down."

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    • "Six feet down?" Will asked dryly. 

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    • Tim and his team were marching along.

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    • "Time to get a move on, Duncan", Ward instructed. "Freak won't stay away for long."

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    • Tim spotted the meeting point of Tanner's group with Rick in the distance.  It would appear everyone had ended up at the most northeastern point of the city.


      The Dragonfly monster shrieked at them and gnashed it's maniables, saliva bubbling out, showing off how big and scary it was.

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    • Tim waved to catch their attention as he strutted closer.

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    • (Oh, I thought I replied on this... guess not.)

      "He told me about the 4 people who have to die. He's pretty sure that 3 of them are Kheiro, Hades, and that ghoul we killed in that old neighborhood. 4th guy is a toss-up, but seeing as how one of us is already on death's door and doesn't have a cure to get out..." Rick shrugged.

      "Oh, and uh... Chalaheely guy ain't actually a demon. He's some... dormant superpower, I guess? I don't know, he was vague about that too. But he's not at full power yet. When Kheiro gets him to full power, the western part the US is gonna bow down to their new Overlords..."


      "Oh, put a bloody sock in it, you little shite!" Duncan spat. "Mirelurk wannabe loser... C'mon, let's go..." 

      The scotsman had had enough of the shrimp monster.

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    • "We know where the bomb is."  Tanner said.  "In the Undercity.  Kheiro's going to sink Seattle and release his 'friend' all at once."


      The Dragonfly monster screamed once more and surged forward, but not at them.

      It leapt from the ground, the stubby wings on it's back flapping quickly and powerfully, gaining speed to the point they became an incomprehensible blur.  A loud buzzing nosie filled the room.  Over the egg cluster it went, and it's eight spider like legs dropped down, scooping up the eggs and holding them to it's belly.

      Then, it shot up, smashing head first through the ceiling, causing the building to shake and creating a brand new hole.  The buzzing faded as the Dragonfly slowly flew away.

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    • "Jesus H. Christ..." Rick said. "Well lets go, then! We ain't got much time!"


      "Uhhh... Okay, yeah... you, raise those kids well..."

      He turned around slowly. "Well, uh... that was fun, yeah?"

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    • It was enroute to the city that Tanner, Rick, Tyrus, Deapanie, Tim, Famian, Pestin, and Lana encountered their first issue.

      They were behind enemy lines.  Like Rick had seen coming into the city, the Brotherhood had outposts positioned on all the major through points.  They were slowly taking control.  The air was thick, the smoke and dust that filled it made it seem murky and heavy.

      "Brotherhood's probably got an army between here in the entrance."  Tanner said.


      "Much further."  Kheiro said.  "But the width of Chahalheel is more than you can imagine.  My village was just on the edge of it's reach.  It was a miracle I even found him by accident."

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    • "You know what's funny, if you hadn't poisoned me. I wouldn't have cared a damn about what you're doing here." William admitted.

      "But now you've made an enemy out of me. Which is always a bad move." 

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    • "It's a bad move to be your friend as well, I doubt the allies you've made would approve of this.  And it was likely you would some how interfer with my plans, eventually.  I only took the necessary steps to insure I would control the upper hand."

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    • "Did those steps lead to the gun I've been pointing at your balls since we sat down?"

      "I wouldn't make a sudden move. I can inflict damage or kill right here, right now. Seems like a pretty big upper hand for me, no?" 

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    • Kheiro didn't look very impressed.

      "You're going to threaten me into giving you the cure?"  He guessed.  "Not very imaginative of you."

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    • "How else would I have to go about it? You're not exactly someone who cuts to the chase." William humored. 

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    • "Then we'll be sneaky," Rick said. "We're a few good men, we can sneak, right?"

      "Easier said than done, Deere...." Tyrus said. 

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    • "Let's just hope the fucker doesn't come back to bite us in the ass", Ward said, deactivating the proximity mine. Chances were that someone else other than the creature would pass by there and get blown to smithereens.

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    • A few streets to the south, past Pioneer Square, they could hear gunfire.  It would appear there was a tense fire fight occuring.

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    • "They're fightin' hard down the street," Rick said. "Think we can try and steer clear of it?"

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    • "I don't think we have a choice."  Tanner said.  "Besides, maybe they can spare troops to help us fight our way in?"

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    • "Hopefully," Tyrus said. "Come on, it's now or never..."

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    • They crept down the street, careful to avoid Brotherhood outposts, and patrolling Vertibirds.

      A battle was raging down one of the main streets.  A large force of Red Handsmen had taken a fortfied position, and was exchanging fire with Brotherhood Knights further down the street.  It would appear the Red Hand had been pushed out of the city, and was now trying to penetrate it.  Notably, alongside the Handsmen here, were a good number of Causers, perhaps fifty in total.

      They were milling around, checking their gear.  Abel was there, dressed in his full suit of Causer power armor, calling orders and encouragement to his men.  From how he spoke, it appeared South Tower had been lost, and the Cause forced to retreat.

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    • (Come on fellers. Sometimes you just gotta squeeze until the job is done properly...)

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    • "This ain't good..." Rick said. "Maybe we should stick around and drive these bastards back..."

      "We aint' got the time. There's a bomb that's about to unleash some mutant monster from it's sleep," Tyrus pointed out.

      "And if we do stop that Bomb, it'll be another Brotherhood cesspool..." Rick said.

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    • (Don't really know what is expected of me. And I can't/won't interfere in the stuff that goes down between William and Kheiro.)

      Deaphanie said little, but made sure to reload her rifle. Wouldn't be much longer now...

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    • (The group's gotta get back to the undercity, but a whole army of Brotherhood is blocking their way.  The characters basically have to figure out a way there.

      No one's going to miss out of the finale though, don't worry)

      "Hey!"  Abel noticed the Outsiders, and came striding over, pavement crunching beneath his armored boots.  "I thought you'd all be long gone by now.  Should be.  We don't have much of a hold left on this city."


      "I have a few ideas."  Kheiro replied.

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    • "Humor me." Will pressed on.

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    • "Nobody will soon," Tyrus said. "That nuke you sent us to get? Kheiro has it. And he's about to turn Seattle into a crater if he gets to it in time."

      "And weeee're gonna stop 'em," Rick jutted a thumb at himself. "Blow his head off, diffuse the bomb, and sing hallelujah. Simple as that."

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    • "It's not going to be that simple, is it, though?" Tim said.

      Lana sighed. "It never is."

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    • William's glare turned into one as if he was daring Kheiro.

      "Come on... Humor me." The request sounded extra threatening.

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    • "If you're so curious, William, for starters I would've drinken the... tea."  Abruptly, the tea cup in Kheiro's hand turned brim first towards William, and the spy got a cupful of scalding hot tea directly in his eyes.


      "Not simple."  Abel agreed with Tim and Lana.  "There's a fortified army between you and where ever you're going.  Patrols, vertibird flyovers.  They've leveled a few buildings, so that they can better spot our infiltrators.  A group your size can't get in there."

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    • "Well, then I guess I'll have to go in myself," Lana shrugged.

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    • While Will could not dodge the tea, reflexively he pulled the trigger of his pistol he had aimed at Kheiro under the table. A shot rang out as a bullet peirced the man's lower abdomen taking his right kidney with it. 

      Van de Poorter's free hand clutched at his face, the right side of which had recieved the brunt of the hot beverage. He released a roar of pain while still disorientated by the attack.

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