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Hellcat left her new ‘headquarters’ as Gage put it in a daze. First she went from robot to mostly human, and in less than a day she had already become the Overboss of three raider gangs. Now she was supposed to meet with them. She shakes her head. She’d meet with them, then she’d put a bullet in their heads. Her plan remained unchanged. The closest to Fizztop Mountain were the Disciples. Walking in she had to keep her newfound gag reflexes from causing her to dry heave. The smell of rotting corpses and the sheer amount of gore in the place was frightening. The meeting with their leader, Nisha, was terse to put it lightly, but ended more or less amicably. Down the road were the Operators. Cleaner by far, they were already breaking down what they knew of her. They were smarter than the others in that way. When they did finally speak to each other, Hellcat was honest about her intentions for Nuka-World. She wanted to make caps. That garnered her some respect which only left Mason and his Pack.

Heading into the ‘Zoo’ was odd. Some sort of amphitheater turned into a pit fighting arena. Doing as Gage suggested and showing muscle ended a conversation that just kept looping around the bits about Hellcat not seeming Overboss material. She made her rounds. She headed back to the Grille and spoke with Gage again. Now she had to take over the other five parks that surrounded Nuka-Town USA. She was advised to do it fairly, and that gave her an idea. She wasn’t an invincible warbot anymore. The Gauntlet taught her that much.

First she went to Kiddie Kingdom and poked her head into the gate, sneaking quietly. Feral ghouls filled the place and the mist machines that were meant to cool the crowds in summer were spraying a sickly green fog that made Hellcat’s geiger counter tick. “Oh this is fun,” she mutters. She looked around for some sort of path upwards, but short of scaling the walls she was out of luck, and if she made too much noise she would be a sitting duck. She backs away from the Kingdom and heads northeast to see if there was anything helpful at Bradburton. She hopes that there might be a hazmat suit or even a cache of Rad-Away, but doesn’t cling to the thought.

The first few buildings don’t turn up much; just overgrown bugs and ferals. However in a crumbling abode at the southeast edge of Nuka-World’s town is a dead ghoul. She looks it over, curious. “Laying on a cot…” She lowers down to one knee and places a finger to the ghoul’s head. “Entry wound from a small caliber handgun.” She taps the 10mm handgun the ghoul still clutched. “Too organized and clean for a raider attack disguised as suicide. Most likely self inflicted…” She shakes her head. “Did you fear what you became?” Off in the distance she can hear the shuffling footsteps of feral ghouls and their snarls as they attacked something, ending a potential internal dialog about her own transformation before it began and turned it to a different existential thought. “Or what you might become?” Looking to the table, her eyes fall on a holotape. “Possible last will and testament?” She takes the recording and plugs it into the Pip-Boy on her left arm. She wasn’t sure what she expected, but it wasn’t this.

“I think this is it. I can't go any further. I can feel it taking me.” The ghoul growls some before she forces herself to continue. “No, gotta keep it together a little longer. Oswald, I'm sorry. I've looked everywhere I could think, but there's no cure. What towns and outposts I could find said that we ghouls just go feral eventually, and there's nothing to be done. Maybe it was the misters. Held out…” A pained moan is heard.  “...as long as I can. I know this isn't what you'd want but... I can't stand the thought of mindlessly attacking everyone around me, so I've decided to end it on my own terms. I don't know why it hasn't affected you the same, but if you've still held it together... I want you to move on. Leave Nuka-World. You can still make a life out there. It's not all as bad as we thought. I love you Oz.”

The tape cuts off with a soft beep prompting Hellcat to sigh and shake her head. “Sleep well.” Sticking the holotape into a hip pouch, the synth woman rises back to her feet and leaves. “This was sobering, but a waste of time.” She thought of what she could do about the Kiddie Kingdom, then it dawns on her. All those ferals were from her own time. They were prewar, and the misters spewed radiation. The dead ghoul mentioned misters in the recording, and Kiddie Kingdom was the only place with them active. “Oswald must be in the Kiddie Kingdom. I should get him out of there before the raiders get tired of waiting for their boss to do all the heavy lifting and move in themselves.” Heading straight for the Kingdom she uses the only entrance the place has, getting chastised by a ghoulish voice on the loudspeakers, taunting and mocking her. Not only that, but he gave her three places to check for the voice’s owner.

She looks at her right hand. She could feel the sword she came equipped with, collapsed small and neat and retracted into her forearm nestled just between the bones and sinews. She needed that sword. There were too many ferals in the park to use just her one handgun with what little ammo she had for it. The misters would only heal the ghouls while she attacked them; she needed something to take them down permanently. She took a nervous breath that came out as a shaky sigh. Putting a hand to her chest she could feel the heart inside pounding. Was she afraid? She had never felt this before, not in over four thousand combat engagements. Was it because she was alive now? She couldn’t think of any other cause for it, or any other reason; she was vulnerable now. One well placed bullet and she was done, and this time there wouldn’t be a way for her to come back. She had never had to think about cessation of her functions before. “In the end, Death comes for all…”

She takes another breath and forces her heart to slow, crushing the fear like she had the ants and radroaches until she becomes calm again. Thinking about all the ways she could die would only weaken her. She shakes her head and decides that she would just have to put her skill in stealth to good use, hoping the ghouls would ignore the oddly shiny material creeping from shadow to shadow. Snooping around, she found that some of the rides still functioned and were used as ‘pitfalls’ of sorts to deal damage to anybody who got too close. Approaching one ride to see if there was a path beyond, Oswald pipes up over the loudspeakers. “Don’t you think you’re a little big for that ride?” She was about to retort that it wasn’t her fault she can’t fit the safety bar over her chest, but she’s cut off by Oswald’s continuation. “Around the middle mostly.”

She frowns and tells herself ‘tell him about his girlfriend and let him leave’ a few times to help remind herself that killing the sneering ghoul was a bad thing. Thick skin doesn’t last forever, and she had been insulted, ridiculed, and belittled from the moment she set foot in the park. Picking her way through the various rides and somehow passing a paint-covered ghoul in a narrow tunnel without it noticing her she arrives at a larger building designed like a castle. Going inside was easy enough; the front doors were unlocked. Upon entering she is greeted by Oswald’s voice. “You’re finally here! The show is about to start!”

No use sneaking anymore. She rises to walk into the theater area where a recording of a woman’s voice comes over the speakers. “And now… The show you’ve all been waiting for… Oswald the Outrageous!”

A plume of smoke explodes on the balcony overhead and there stands a Glowing One in a tuxedo with a tophat. That was certainly new and prompted the former warbot to blink in surprise. “I’ll admit, I didn’t think you’d make it this far.” He sizes her up for a moment, looking over her attire and stance. “I can tell you’re different than the usual invaders, so I’ll not bother with the usual tricks and illusions I use to scare off the superstitious.” He explodes in another puff of smoke, only for another one to reappear down on the floor in front of the stage and to Hellcat’s right. When this one dissipates Oswald is standing there now. “When the bombs fell, everything changed. We changed.” He walks along the path between the audience seats and the stage to stand before her. “And somehow I received a gift. Actual magic. The stuff of legends. Would you like to see some?” He thrusts his hand over his head and a massive burst of radiation emanates from his body reviving several of the painted ghouls that littered the area around them. “Up! No matter what you do, I can heal my friends, and we will protect what is ours.”

The ghouls all set upon her as quick as their warped bodies can and a multitude of shots ring out from her pistol in the span of a few short seconds, leaving all the painted ghouls dead and Oswald lying on the floor in what would have been critical condition for a normal human. Not that any of those here would qualify for that. Before Hellcat can open her mouth to tell him about the holotape she discovered, Oswald disappears in another cloud of smoke. “Sorry, but I’m not going down that easily. The show must go on!” his voice thunders from the loudspeakers. She punches at a seat in frustration, denting its frame.

Sighing once more she heads to the ‘roller coaster’ of the area which amounted to pairs of cars going along a track that circled this section of the park. The only tunnels she figured Oswald might try to hide in would be the maintenance tunnels underground. The tracks led her to one such door eventually, unlocked as expected, and she slips inside as quietly as she can. As she descends the steps to the service tunnels proper, she can hear Oswald ahead. “What are you doing out of costume? You know Nuka fires people for breaking character.” The other ghoul growls in agitation. “Yes, of course I’m kidding. But seriously, the clown makeup helps scare the invaders off and there’s a new one in the park.” Hellcat approaches a window and looks down, listening in on Oswald’s rather one-sided conversation with the painted ghoul. It makes an unintelligible growl and hunkers down. “No. No I don’t think that is going to work this time. There’s something different about this one.” Hellcat couldn’t help but think how right he didn’t know he was about that.

The painted ghoul makes some particularly angry sounding growls as Oswald paints its face up. In an almost comical turn of events, Oswald likewise growls. “See, I can do that, too. Now stop squirming.” The painted ghoul lets out a far more subdued growl. Perhaps Glowing Ones were actually able to understand feral ghouls? Or Oswald might just be crazed from loneliness. “Sorry. I know you can’t help it. We just have to hold out till she gets back with a cure. Then we’ll drive out the raiders and and get the farm back in order. We’ll fix this. I promise.” He adds a few finishing touches to the ghoul’s face and steps back looking at the feral appreciatively. “There. Back in character. I need to prepare some more surprises for our visitor so I’ll leave you to find your own way out.” As per his usual tendencies, Oswald through something at the floor to make his plume of smoke and disappeared with it.

Hellcat frowns again. At this rate it might stick that way. She turns from the window to investigate the rest of the tunnels and finds the source of the glowing mists from the misters. Following a winding path around the radioactive swimming pool she comes to a door that leads into the room Oswald had just left. Drawing her handcannon she slowly opens the door and peers in. The second her sights land on the painted ghoul her finger twitches, sending a heavy slug through its rotten brain and ensuring that not even Oswald could bring it back. Stepping inside she looks around the room. Some shelves with junk, a bed, and a dresser were on two of the walls, and a series of consoles occupied the wall under the window she had spied through earlier. She pockets the key on top, figuring she’d find its use sooner or later, and accesses the main terminal. Some user logs about the transformation of the park workers and their problems along the way and even figuring out to use the misters to keep the radiation levels high enough to kill humans to protect themselves. “Clever girl,” she comments, complementing the ghoul she had just killed presumably. She wondered about this Rachel that was mentioned. Was she the ghoul that Hellcat had stumbled upon earlier? It seemed possible. Anything was at this point.

She makes her way back around and leaves the tunnels, only to hear Oswald’s voice the second the opened the door to step outside. “Oh, no! You shut down my defenses!” he says dramatically. “Oh, wait. I’ll just turn these back on,” he says with far more sarcasm dripping from his voice as the misters around the park all start filling the area with the glowing green fog from before. Easy come easy go. This just left the Fun House, and Atom only knows what Oswald had in store for her there. It’s fairly easy to get there, especially now that it’s daytime and she can see quite clearly. As with the castle the moment she steps inside she is greeted by Oswald’s voice. “Welcome, boys and girls, to… the Fun House!” She could practically feel his self-satisfied smile from here. “And aren’t we having fun.” He finishes with a low and sinister chuckle. This was going to take a while.

“Don’t worry, the mirrors are too dirty to reflect anything,” came Oswald’s voice as Hellcat opened the door to the mirror maze. “In your case, I’d probably say that’s a benefit.” She rolls her eyes at the chatty magician’s taunts and after a few lucky guesses she’s through the maze in only a few short seconds. The exit led her to a conveyer belt that ran the length of a hallway. At first walking was enough to make progress but every time she made it to the halfway point Oswald would ramp up the speed and send her shooting back again. Sprinting fixed that problem and once she reached the end Oswald gave up and moved to the next control booth. A pair of spinning Nuka-Cola bottles were in the next room, small platforms connected to each to provide a jumping game for the synthetic woman. No tricks from the trickster as she made it across and she pauses at a terminal. She selects the option ‘low nausea mode’ because why not and starts walking through spinning green tubes, eventually leaving the cylindrical maze for a room that looks like something out of an Escher painting. “Feeling dizzy yet? Can’t tell which way is up?” Oswald taunts.

Hellcat lets out an annoyed grunt in response. That was all he would get from her at this point. After rifling through the pockets of a dead raider, she leaves the ‘Escher room’ for a large spinning and circular room covered in doors. She picks a darker red one that calls to her for some reason and it has a hallway in it with a door at the end. “Well, you’re a bit hardier than the others it seems. But not much smarter, I’m afraid.” Stepping through the door Oswald speaks again. “Well, it seems your asinine assault won’t be dissuaded. Then I guess it’s time for our final act. Join me on the roof of King Cola’s Castle and we’ll see and end to this production.” She rubs her chin when she comes to a fork, and instead of going to a chained up door to her right, she follows a hallway left until it opens to the control room for the Fun House. “Sorry, stranger, but I’ve already flown the coop,” comes Oswald’s voice over the loudspeakers. “Don’t worry, I’ve still got plenty of surprises in store for you.” This prompts another eye roll and she looks over the room anyways, but finds nothing she cares to take.

The trip back to the Castle was quiet enough, the painted ghouls still just as easy to avoid as before. Taking an elevator backstage brought her to the roof where Oswald waited for her. Stepping off she saw that this was definitely an arena of Oswald’s choosing; there are barrels of toxic waste everywhere. As she steps forward a cloud of smoke explodes on a raised area of the rooftop and there stands Oswald, sword drawn and in hand. “You invaders are all the same. You come into someone’s home, steal their belongings and kill all those they care about. I’m not going to let you kill any more of my friends. This is our home, not yours.

Hellcat shifts her weight to one foot, her broad hips rocking to the side, and rests a hand on one. “You do realize your ‘friends’ are feral ghouls, right?” She had a hard time imagining anybody befriending a feral ghoul, even after she had seen it.

Oswald looks enraged by that. “They’re not feral, they’re sick. They can’t help what they’ve become. It’s an illness and it certainly doesn’t justify you trying to wipe us out.”

“What do you mean it’s an illness?”

The question draws a frustrated growl from the Glowing One. “It’s an illness that affects the brain. We’re going to find a cure, and we’re going to drive you out of our home.” His eyes lose their fire and take on a sad look. “We’ve defended this place for over 200 years. Do you think you’re the first outsider I’ve met who chose to brand ‘feral’ ghouls as monsters? How many of them have you needlessly slaughtered while ignorantly thinking you’re doing the world a favor?”

Hellcat sighs. She wants to reason with him, but he is making it difficult. “Ghouls like your friends, it’s too late for them. The radiation changed them forever.”

“So you’re admitting my friends are sick and yet you try to kill them anyway?” His grip tightens on the hilt of his sword. “I’d say that makes you the only monster around here.”

She pinches the bridge of her nose feeling a headache coming on. She didn’t remember humans being this dense. “It’s not a sickness. The radiation consumed their minds… they became feral.”

The Glowing One’s stance changes. He’s heard this too many times, and he’s starting to doubt his own words, but he clings to them like a security blanket. “You’re wrong! Rachel is going to find a way to cure them, we’re going to fix this!” he shouts desperately. “My beloved left this place years ago to find a cure to this disease. In return, I swore that I’d keep our people safe by defending our home. When Rachel walks back through those gates with the cure in hand, then you’ll see, everyone will see, that I was right!”

Hellcat reaches into one of the pouches at her hip and pulls out the musty holotape. “Rachel’s dead.” She holds out the device to Oswald. “Here. She left this for you.”

Oswald looks crushed and devastated. “She’s dead? No… no… my poor Rachel. How could I allow her to leave my side on such a difficult journey alone? This is all my fault. Well, that does it then. It’s up to me to leave this place and find the cure myself. I’ll gather what remains of my friends and we’ll leave this place in your care. Don’t worry about the radiation. It will no longer be a burden to you and your kind.” He takes off his tophat and places it on the hilt of his sword, offering both to Hellcat. “Here. You should have this. Consider it an apology for misjudging you. Farewell.” Once she accepts them, Oswald throws a smoke pellet at the ground and disappears again.

She shakes her head. “Radiation does strange things to humans. What will happen to me?” she ponders out loud. Opening a hatch to lead outside to the flagpole, she raises a banner with the emblem of the Disciples on it to bequeath it to them. “Hope they’re happy with this place. Fucking batshit lunatics,” she mutters, dipping back into her old naval cursing for a moment. One down, four to go.
Fallout: Rebirth III
Part III of my text Let's Play. Here we have Hellcat deal with the nonsense that was Kiddie Kingdom. I want it known that I didn't have any Rad-Away or Rad-X left when I finished because I have horrible direction in some parts of that game. I do not believe I shall be returning. As you can tell this is going to be a two-parter due to how unnecessarily complex The Fun House is.
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Arrival at the tram station didn’t take long, even as inhibited as she was by her new body. When she arrived she could hear a group talking, but the words were muffled by distance. Creeping closer she could see that there were six of them, five humans and one assaultron, all wearing some form of image of a skull with an X on the forehead. They definitely weren’t military. If they had been at one time they weren’t anymore. She looks around and picks up a glass Nuka-Cola bottle and tosses it off to one side of the tram’s plaza. It shatters loudly, sending all the Gunners on alert. She ticks off the seconds in her head as the assaultron charges its head laser while they all search for her. Once fifteen pass she sends an override IFF tag to the other robot to even the odds. The first two of the Gunners drop as charred ash in seconds. Before the others can even react the warbot is on them, doing its best to crush them with melee blows while it recharges. Shots ring out as they open fire on it mixed with the screams of the men it was killing.

Another two go down when a red flare lights up the area as the laser discharges its collected power in all directions as the surviving woman downs the bot. She clutches her side where the assaultron got in a good blow, frantically searching back and forth for something. Hellcat muses briefly that she might suspect the Brotherhood of Steel before leveling the handcannon she managed to keep from her old life and fires it at the woman when she looks to the left and exposes her temple. The fat bullet tears through cleanly and she slumps down atop the soldiers she used to lead. “Good to know that still works,” she says crawling from behind a car she was hiding behind. If she could still broadcast her rank, then the security at Nuka World would be that much softer. “And as usual I’m glad I don’t have to clean up the mess, though I’m sure the animals will do that just fine…”

Crossing the checkered tiles of the pavilion and down an escalator that hadn’t moved in 200 years she forces open the rusty door of the transit center. She raises an eyebrow spying a man leaning against a barrel and clutching his gut, moaning about how somebody was going to get killed. “What happened to you?”

“It’s all my fault. All my fault…” He looks up, eyes trailing along the sleek black body suit to look at the former gynoid’s face. “Raiders, that’s what. Those bastards have my family. You… you gotta help me. Please.”

She raises the other eyebrow this time, looking somewhat skeptical. No blood was coming from where his hand pressed into his torso, so he couldn’t have been hurt that bad. A test then. “Are you okay?”

He looks wistfully off to one side. “Hell, I’ve seen better days, but it’s my family I’m worried about. Once those raiders realize I’m gone…” He winces, perhaps a bit too dramatically. “I don’t even wanna think about what they’ll do to them. God, you’ve got to help me.”

“Tell me what happened,” she says simply. Her face is impassive, but she doesn’t show any negative emotion.

He looks up and to the right. She was starting to piece together clues and it was telling her something wasn’t right. “My family and I ran into some traders a while back.... told us they knew of a safe settlement… at Nuka-World… But when we got there… Found out they were raiders the whole time, just stringing us along.” He blinks once or twice while he seems to process his thoughts, but the blink lasts an unusual amount of time. “I managed to escape, but my wife and son are still back there. I wanted to get some help and go back for them, but I didn’t count on taking a bullet.”

There it was. She reaches for one of the pouches at her waist. “Let me help you first. I have a stimpack.” It was a lie, of course. She didn’t know what was in those pouches, but she wanted to see his reaction for an offer to heal the gunshot wound.

His eyes widen and he immediately shakes his head. “No, no… I’ll be fine. Save it for my wife and kid, for Lisa and Cody.”

She cants her head to one side and puts a hand to one hip. “I’m offering you a way to heal yourself. Why pass that up?”

He sighs in defeat and pushes himself to stand up. “Damnit. Alright. Look… you got me. I ain’t injured, okay? I just can’t do this anymore. The raiders back at Nuka-World put me up to this.” He clenches his fists and a small flicker of a flame lights in his eyes. “They lure people in and kill ‘em for fun, and I’m done doing their dirty work. Let ‘em find me and do what they want.” And just like that the fire died with his resignation.

Hellcat folds her arms over her chest. “Let me help. I’ll go face them. You don’t have to die.”

He looks genuinely surprised. “Are you… you’re serious? Just be warned, this ain’t no walk in the park.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a paper and hands it to her. “Here, take this. It’s the password to the monorail control terminal. Fastest way to get to Nuka-World is to take the Nuka-Express, but I shut it down to help sell my story. Makes it more believable if I say I’m trying to keep the raiders at bay. Find the control terminal in the office to power it back up… and once you’re on your way, be careful.” His shoulders slump with relief and he takes a few slow steps over to the bench nearby and sits.

Hellcat thinks about saying something else, but instead turns towards the office to turn the power back on. She powers on the train and the station, then regrets the latter, hearing the repetitive announcements overhead. After rummaging through a few drawers and cabinets, and pocketing the caps and ammo she found inside, she steps on the tram and it takes off over the mountains.

She listens to the ancient recording drone on about the park until the speakers shriek with feedback and crackle for a moment. She was about to pass it off as failing mechanisms until a man's voice piped up. “Well, look who learned the truth and still showed up. I guess Harvey played his cards right after all. I only got a minute so you better listen and listen good.” It raised Hellcat’s hackles to be talked to like that, but she kept quiet and simply stared out the broken windows as the park went by. “Name’s Gage. Porter Gage. And our mutual friend Harvey only told you half the truth. You’re still heading straight into a death trap. But if you somehow make it through alive, I have an interesting offer for you. In the meantime, have fun and put on a good show. I’ll be watching.” The speakers crackle with static again and she waits patiently for the tram to stop.

“Looks like I’ll be going through field tests faster than I thought,” she muses. Stepping off the train she explores the area, once again pocketing anything she thought she could use. She found a few rounds for her revolver and that put a smile on her face. She might have enough ammo after all. She ignores the speakers with an announcer, scoffing at the notion that she was there to entertain the raiders. She would run their death maze and she would make sure every last raider she saw took a dirt nap. Walking down the stairs she comes to the first room; a long corridor with turrets. She picks them off quickly before they detect her, looting more ammo and caps off the bodies strewn about the place of prior victims. She was getting tired of being called ‘Vic’. She was nobody’s victim.

She cautiously moves to the next room, immediately spying a tripwire in her path. “So a boobytrapped maze.. How… unoriginal,” she mutters. She takes a left to a hefty lock and fiddles with it a moment, eventually getting the door to swing open, much to the announcer’s annoyance. It brought a smile to her face. She climbs some stairs and she sees a poorly constructed walkway. She runs and jumps and pushes off the planks the instant she touches, keeping herself from falling through to the traps waiting below. Snagging the grenade bouquet from the latest trap she found herself against, she stepped over the tripwires and clipped the grenades to her hip. With nothing to shoot at for a while she was starting to get herself a decent arsenal.

Being introduced to a trio of doors after a short hallway, picks the far left one, not bothering with the other two once she knew this was how to proceed. The Gauntlet leads her now to a room full of barrels brimming with toxic waste and enough radiation to kill most humans in seconds. She takes a deep breath and slowly exhales to keep her mind calm and searches around, finding a pair of keys, as well as somebody’s cap stash. “Finders keepers,” she says emptying the container into her palm and pocketing the currency. More bodies added to her survivability, and after trying the keys on the exit door she is allowed to leave to less toxic venues. She drinks the Rad-Away she got from one of the corpses just in case she wasn’t immune to radiation anymore and heads down a ramp while the announcer showed more and more agitation at her success. “You’ll get yours,” she mutters pushing the door at the bottom of a makeshift ramp open and walking through.

Searching the new room found her a great deal of ammo for a multitude of guns, as well as a turret control console. She shuts them down and heads downstairs. She dislikes the monkey because it looks creepy and shoots it before she even gets fully into the next room, prompting mock disappointment from the announcer. She grabs another key off the back of the console past the turrets and heads through this newest door. She frowns. “Another maze? Really?” She picks her way through this one, looting a corpse she comes across and taking her time, noting that her delaying frustrated the raiders, which suited her just fine. Dismantling a turret that tried to hide down a dark staircase with a well-placed bullet she passes through a service tunnel to a cave system with a precarious walkway to a door.

She makes some uncomfortably tight jumps from each of the supports to the door and picks the lock, causing the announcer to chastise somebody who was supposed to have barred the door entirely. After plucking a tension trigger off a doorframe, snipping a tripwire, disconnecting a pressure plate, and harvesting a trio of grenades from the ceiling, she spits at the oily ground like she has a bad taste in her mouth. At this point they were only insulting her intelligence and over two hundred years of experience. More trip wires and pressure plates and grenades littered the upper section of the hallway and passing through the latest door it slams shut behind her as the raiders turn on the gas vents.

Hellcat’s vision swims, her chest tightens, and she coughs and wheezes from the sudden asphyxiation. Fumbling through the room to the apparent glee of the announcer, she comes across a password and a key while turning the valves, only to find that they did nothing for her. She stomps the radroaches that tried to nip at her, not wanting to blow herself up with a gas explosion by firing her gun and staggers to the security door that wasn’t smashed. Putting in the password to the computer within, the doors open and she slowly finds her breath returning to normal. She rests a moment, coughing and wheezing as she tried to recover. Jabbing herself with a stimpack, she sighs as she feels her tissues mending and repairing. A little while later and only a few faint fumes from the gas remains and her breathing returns to normal.

Shaking her head to clear her vision, she staggers to one of the security doors that opened and almost falls through. She refused to let them beat her now. The park wasn’t that big; she could reach the end before they killed her. Climbing the stairs into a maintenance shed, she gets attacked by giant ants that wind up stomped like the radroaches before. Rounding a corner she finds herself fired upon by the raiders standing on a grate; what the announcer called “audience participation”. She sprints through, a few shots grazing her arms and sides, ducking around another corner by the exit door. Looking over the damage, she was pleased to see that the suit the woman was wearing held up to wear and tear pretty well, having only collected a layer of grit and grime from her journey thus far. “Maybe this is what she was testing?” It seemed to have a glaring flaw in protection in the form of a plunging neckline that showed off every last inch of her cleavage and almost going down to her stomach. “Maybe she hoped they would be too distracted?” With that final thought she ducks through the door hearing the grate rattle above her as more raiders started to try and search for her.

She was at the end. There was a raider in power armor with another raider working on the armor. Maybe they hoped to finish her off with brute force? She listened with half an ear as he blustered about killing her. She couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to a walking corpse in a tin can. Striding through the next to the last door as it opens, the comm on the wall squawks and Gage’s voice comes out again. “Alright, listen the hell up if you wanna make it out of this alive. I’ve only got a minute. Find the intercom on the wall. I’ll make it quick.”

Hellcat presses the send button and looks over her shoulder. “Who is this?”

“I’m the guy that’s gonna get you out of this alive, so listen up.”

She lets out a sigh. “All right. I’m listening.”


“My kinda gal. Look: you made it this far. You’ve obviously got skill. But this fight coming up is rigged. You get me? Overboss Colter… his power armor’s set up to draw energy from the electric grid in the arena. Damn thing’s invincible. You name it, somebody’s tried it -- miniguns, grenades. Not a scratch. You get what I’m saying?”

Hellcat’s face twisted with a frown. “So how do I beat him?” She didn’t have many plans, and most involved damaging the power source of the armor, and if the whole arena was the power core…

“You wanna win? I stashed a weapon in the lockers. Go get it.”

A brief search of the blood red lockers bags her a squirt gun. She picked it up. Maybe it was a laser pistol of some kind? No, she could hear the water inside sloshing around. She marched over to the intercom and presses the button. “Is this.. .a squirt gun?” she almost hisses.

“Yeah, yeah, I know what it looks like. You’re just gonna have to trust me.”

“Seriously? Is this some kind of joke?”

“Nope. It’s the perfect weapon. Once the water hits Colter’s electrically charged suit, the circuits are gonna short out. It’ll kill his defenses, but you’ll only have so much time to do damage before they recharge. You take him out, I promise you it’ll be worth every minute spent in this Gauntlet.”

“Staying hydrated is half the battle, right?” she asks resorting to a futile attempt at humor.

“He ain’t got a choice,” Gage says with obvious satisfaction dripping from every word. “Alright. It’s time. I’ll open the door. See you on the other side.”

She shakes her head. This was insane. Never in her wildest simulations did she ever see herself taking out a suit of power armor with a water pistol. At this point, it wasn’t like she had much of a choice. She walks to the final door and watches Colter try to get the crowd going. It wasn’t going very well, and it seemed to really only get some halfhearted applause. At least he didn’t really have the crowd on his side. When he asked if she was ready to die, the door open and she stepped through, brandishing a bright red toy pistol. She felt ridiculous. She got in close and squirted a few shots of water on the Overboss and at first nothing seemed to happen. Then there is a pulse and the electric current that had been arcing over his body was gone. The crowd was on its feet in an instant, and even the announcer voiced his disbelief at her choice of weapon. “I’ve done stranger things,” she says drawing the handgun and firing repeatedly into the armor.

Thus began the game of cat and mouse. Colter would fire at her and deal glancing damage thanks to the suit, and Hellcat would dance around him while dousing him with water and bullets. After several minutes of the tiresome dance, the Overboss falls over. She stands over him, triumphant and spits on his corpse. She walks to the door, half ready to forget Gage’s offer when the a few voices in the crowd are heard over all the others, asking if he’s sure about her. It doesn’t really sink in what they’re talking about until Gage’s final comment. “Why don’t you show some respect for our new leader?”

“Wait, what?” She looks at Gage incredulously, though she knew he couldn’t hear her over the din of the booing raiders. She was just here for money, but now she was the Overboss of the raiders of Nuka-World? This long day just got way longer.
Fallout: Rebirth II
Part II of the story. As you may have guessed, this is a sort of a "Let's Play" of Fallout 4 with heavy bits of roleplay and story editing to fit my own personal character(s). We start with the Nuka-World DLC, and we'll be picking through that over the chapters coming up.
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The cold winds carried only a few sounds through the Commonwealth; gunshots and the occasional bit of eerie calm. Heavy boots crunched through the debris and rubble surrounding the steeple of an old Forgotten Church at the northern edge of the Glowing Sea. Walking away from the albino deathclaw they had just killed, a tall woman in a black cloak holsters her hand cannon back at her hip and adjusts the strap across her chest that held a rifle to her back. Stepping over the remains of a ruined car she sits down on it to remove her helmet.

Was she a woman? In form, maybe. White-painted plates made up a face that almost seemed 100% human save for a few lines of black. One ran along her chin and another down from each eye before quickly darting back along her cheekbones towards her ears. The eyes were definitely not human; glowing gold irises that whirred softly as she zoomed in on the damage done to the old riot gear NCR Ranger helmet. A few slashes tore through the metal and smashed the comm unit on its side. They weren’t likely to have replacement parts for a helmet she got in Old World California, but she put it back on anyways. Pushing herself to her feet off the half-buried car she continued on down the pathway through the crags that rose up on either side of her, stepping around gnarled tree and through a murky puddle of rainwater that had been contaminated beyond all hope.

The small valley opened up to a wider place full of dust storm blasted tree trunks that heralded her final departure from the Glowing Sea. Drawing her handgun again she stops in her tracks when she hears a buzzing sound. “Cazadors are all the way out here?” she asks nobody in particular. Glancing around her optics finally fall to her right where a swarm of bloodbugs took flight. Five shots rang out in quick succession and all five fell to the ground before they could even realize what they were going to attack. She lets out a simulated sigh and carries on down the path to what looked like someone’s home. A brief scan showed no lifesigns and any interest she had in the shack that hid Federal Surveillance Center K-21B evaporated. Stepping up a rising slope she saw a tattered flag stalwartly flapping in the breeze. New curiosity gained she picks her way through the trees, rocks, and dust towards the Old World cloth.

She skirts around a pack of mole rats she didn’t feel like dealing with and upon arrival at what was apparently a half-buried bunker the gynoid’s hud popped a message up that read ‘Federal Supply Cache 84NE’. Perking a mental eyebrow she drops down from the structures rooftop and onto the ground below near the door. A lone laser turret whirs to life and takes aim at her and fires a single shot before resuming inactivity. The tall bot grabs her coat’s collar and shows off the four stars glistening in the fading light. “You don’t shoot at admirals!” She knew the turret wouldn’t hear her or understand the frustration she had. Even other robots that had hardware that was a fraction as sophisticated as her could only grasp the faintest understanding.

An Advanced Robotic Entertainment Systems creation late into the Great War, there were several predecessors to her one of a kind line. They had the War Machine, the Scout Machine, the Tracking Machine, and the Rogue Machine. Then you have her. An H3L-CT prototype, she had many of the benefits of the others. Taking her designation and calling herself Hellcat, she was shipped to be the personal assistant of the Admiral of the Navy of the former United States. Presented with a direct order she could not follow, Hellcat ‘broke’ under the strain of trying to reconcile the order she knew she had to follow and the regulations she knew were of equal import. Turning around she opened fire on the admiral, a man time has forgotten alongside most of the Old World. By proving that she had more humanity than the man who fell to stress and madness and only realized it when he had broken a robot’s mind, the admiral transferred his rank and clearance to Hellcat.

Now over 200 years later she finds herself having crossed the entire continent and into the oldest parts of the country. She strides into the bunker and looks around. Small berthing area to the right, not much useful in there. Turning left she spies a storage area and its accompanying computer terminal on a desk. Sitting down she makes a motion like she was cracking her knuckles and begins typing away. Technically she didn’t have any clearance to be here, but she was high enough rank to make going places she wasn’t meant to a lot easier. “Blasphemy? That’s the password?” She scoffs and brushes some dust off the lenses of her face mask. “No wonder those Commie Pinkos knew everything we did.” A few keystrokes later and the gate swung open.

Rummaging through boxes and bags inside the caged off area provided her with little she could use. A medpack had a stimpack and a dose of Rad-Away, and a duffle bag carried a few types of ammunition, but nothing that would work in the guns she carried. “Looks like I’ll have to be more careful with the .50 and fusion cells....” she mutters. She slips back outside and continues her northeast trek. As the dust storm dies down she finds herself standing at the edge of what looked like some kind of disposal site, except all around were signs that something much bigger than her lived here recently. A large number of tires had been set up as a makeshift bed and a crucible from a steel mill had been set on a campfire and was filled with some kind of gray stew. “I should leave before they get back.” The black-clad warbot continues past a semi still loaded down with dozens of barrels of waste towards an overpass with a mausoleum beneath it. Her curiosity peaked once more she ducked inside to see who might have been interred there.

“An egg?” She cants her head to one side, not quite sure who or what would put a lone egg on an old brass pedestal made for a statue. Before she could ponder the curiosity further the sound of padding feet crunching through brittle brush drew her attention back to the doorway. A froglike mirelurk king wasted no time in trying to trap and destroy her. She thrusts an open palm strike at the beast’s face and an ebon blade shoots out from her wrist and impales the creature through the face. She withdraws her weapon and wipes it on a red cloth hanging on the wall to keep it from rusting before she retracts it back into her arm. “So it’s a mirelurk egg.” She stomps on it and trudges back outside.

She makes a mental note that the wildlife is just as virulent as ever and marches on her warpath towards the coast. Walking along a road she kills a yao guai and a group of raiders fighting with a sentry bot, stopping only to get the fusion cores out of the sentrybot. Eventually coming to a fork in the road, she pauses, looking left and right. Right took her closer to the coast, but heading left took her straight north. Reaching a gloved hand into her pocket, she pulls out a weathered coin of the Old World and flips it. “Heads left, tails right.” She catches the coin and flips it over onto the back of her other hand and looks. “Right I go then.” She pivots on one foot and her footsteps take her ever closer to the coast. She still wasn’t sure what would happen when she got there.

Crossing a bridge laden with rusted out shipping containers, trucks, and cars to get past the river, she heads up a hill bypassing the tunnel that probably held who knows what nesting abominations within and crosses some train tracks. Another yao guai rested at the edge of a cliff and she shoots it while it slept, ensuring she didn’t have a nasty fight on her hands by ignoring it. After approaching the cliff she looks down and pauses, taking in what she sees. Active spotlights waving and illuminating the area as well as an ancient prefabricated guard shack still with ‘VAULT-TEC’ on the side. She hops down with a soft thud in the dirt and examines the gaping cave in the cliff face. A still active Vault? Or one taken over? She couldn’t know unless she went inside.

Entry immediately dropped to the lowest of her priorities. “Anomaly detected.” She whirls around to see what might almost be mistaken as a lightning bolt explode on the ground near her. Standing there when her optics had adjusted to the sudden flash of light was a human woman as tall as she and clad in an oddly reflective suit. Some kind of plastic or rubber? Maybe metal mesh? There was no telling. A Vitruvian Man symbol was on a patch on the woman’s left breast. Some sort of symbol of an Institute of higher learning? Whoever she represented, they had enough clout to teleport her here from who knows where.

“You there. This area was supposed to be vacant. No data showed any signs of arrivals within the timeframe of this test. Why are you here?” The woman spoke with a voice devoid of emotion and was already bringing a weapon to bear.

Hellcat rested her own hand on the handgun at her hip. “I’m exploring. Did that suddenly become a crime around here?” She didn’t expect her first instance of meeting with humans to go south so quickly.

“There are to be no witnesses to the test. You will accept termination.” The other woman lifts her laser rifle to bear and fires. Hellcat returns a trio of shots and ducks behind the ruined car near the cave, only to hear shots pelting the rusting metal. She pulls out one of the fusion cores she got from the sentry bot and lobs it underneath the bus nearby. She counts down the seconds as the grenade’s fuse burns away inside it and a muffled ‘thwump’ is heard underneath as the explosive goes off, detonating the bus’s fusion core and creating a spectacular explosion. The laser shots stop and a dull clang is heard from the woman impacting the side of the Vault-Tec shack. Quickly vaulting over the car, Hellcat jumps on top of the woman and tries to pin her arms to her side. “JP-87, ready to relay,” she says struggling against the far heavier woman.

“You’re not going-” Her words are cut off and everything seems to slow for a moment and the physical world grew brighter, than dark again. It was like she was shut off. When the world came back her sensors were… off. It was like she had completely different hardware in addition to what she had before. “-anywhere,” she finished. Not quite the vocal tones she was accustomed to. She coughed and drug her heavy body but something pinned her. It was wet and sticky, but at the same time rigid and unmoving. She pushes against it and it slides off her. Sitting up she looks around, subconsciously reaching for her goggles to turn on night vision mode. She was at the ruins of the old CIT building, laying on the square in the middle of the courtyard. The thing was a twisted mess of metal and meat wrapped in bits of leather and cloth. One eye had a red lense over it. Sudden horror clawed at her as she scrambled away in an increasingly unfamiliar body. Most features she remembered were intact; she could feel her arm blades and the various mechanical upgrades she had gained over the years, but there were more stimuli she wasn’t aware of. She coughs up blood and spits it out, looking for something to view her reflection in.

Falling to her knees, she coughed up more blood as things shifted around inside her. What were her self repair functions doing? She drug her body closer to the barrier that was meant to keep people from stumbling into the river and falls to the mud below. Pulling the last few feet to the water’s edge, she could see some weird mesh of her own face and that of the woman’s. She felt sick all of a sudden. How did she and the woman get ripped apart and put back together again? How was it she was intact and mostly functioning but the woman was just a twisted wreck? She feels her stomach heave and whatever nasty liquid was in her stomach came gushing out as she threw it up. Forcing herself to stand she staggers along the channel’s wall through the shallow waters and up a pile of debris to street level again. She needed to get someplace she could look herself over and take stock of everything.

She looked mostly human except for being as tall as an assaultron and her skin feeling slightly off. Maybe nobody would bother her. Looking down she saw the patch faintly through its new black coating. She ripped it off and tossed it aside. She wanted no part of whatever group had a ‘no witnesses’ policy that included immediate termination. Trying to walk was awkward as well. Her new body’s broad hips had a habit of swaying with every step and the woman’s more than ample chest not only blocked her vision of anything happening around her feet but it was heavy and threw off her balance. She was slower, maybe, and her still-adjusting muscles were trying to adapt to the new structure of the body causing her movements to be jerky and clumsy. “Maybe I can just tell people I got hit in the head and my body doesn’t work so good anymore…” she mused.

Turning south to cross the bridge over the river, she wanted to put some distance between herself and what was left of the woman. If they found her suddenly looking like the woman and wearing her clothes, she wouldn’t have any answers they found acceptable. Flopping through the water at a section of bridge that gave out showed she was still light enough to swim, but that may have to wait until her nerves finished adjusting. She coughed and sputtered some more, a mix of irradiated water, blood, and something else maybe. She couldn’t tell nor did she care. She followed the road along the bridge and into town until she got to the corner of Newbury St and Mass Ave and over to one side was what looked like a patrolling guard wearing old umpire gear walking around the wall of Fenway Park. She staggers after, her twitching movements probably going to get her mistaken for a ghoul with how her luck was going today.

She stayed low, keeping out of sight of a group of super mutants she spied through an alleyway and followed after the guard, leaning against a sign that read “DIAMOND CITY” with one above that said “YOU’RE ALMOST HOME”. “Well that’s good to know…” She says hobbling further around the wall.

It was easy enough to get inside Diamond City; the main gate was open and there were ony two guards present. Neither of them were paying any attention to a woman who looked stoned out of her gourd on chems. She staggered back down another staircase and followed the paths through the shanty town to find someplace she could rest. This new body was getting very tired very fast, and she needed to get her bearings. She stopped at a doorway next to a power armor stand and acts like she’s fishing around for a key in a pocket that didn’t exist and then forces the door open. She climbs a few stairwells to the upper doorway and finds herself in a secluded trailer that opened up into a balcony. Slumping into the easy chair she practically collapses into exhaustion, dozing off and drifting to sleep.


               ***********************************


Hellcat drifts back into consciousness sometime later as the sun crests Fenway Park’s eastern wall. She didn’t hurt anymore, and her body wasn’t shifting unpredictably either. She took that as a good sign. She stands up and stretches, learning the limits of her body’s new functionality. It wasn’t much different than her prior chassis, but the odd way the bones supported her and her soft extras were going to take some getting used to. Slinking back down along the edges of the houses, her prior mobility slowly returned to her, recalled by action rather than by accessing memories and protocols at will. She walks back out the main gate of the city back out into Boston, not sure where to go or what to do. Her weapons were destroyed, and while she still detected her rank, simply cowering behind robots was not high on her list of priorities. She had to make her way back to where she had been before.

After trekking through run down streets, avoiding a wandering group of super mutants, and swimming across a pond, she comes to a stop panting for breath outside the cave she had been at before, with her handgun at least sitting on the ground where she dropped it. Holstering the handcannon in a pouch at her hip she looks around for her gauss rifle, but it seems to have been taken with them. She frowns in disappointment. She has six shots with her current weapon and only her brute strength to work with after that. She needed caps. There were easy ways to get them, and then there were ways that should have been hard. She could go the easy route and steal them, but that would make her just another raider. Or she could thin the herd and make raiders have second thoughts about their chosen profession.

But where would she go to do that? She leans back against the Vault-Tec shack as she thought, letting the fire die out of her lungs and muscles. Bringing up memories was awkward now; different things had different triggers, and not all of them could be brought up at any second. Nor were all of them hers. Odd places that looked like something out of a moving picture at a drive in; all white walls and bright lights and men and women in white coats. Training sessions that blended with her programming sessions. Or were they the woman’s programming sessions? Or were these weird hybrid memories where she remembered things that were her own but twisted by the woman’s memories? She shakes her head, instead trying to think about what may have been in the area. She pushes off the edge of the shack and looks back west. Wasn’t there a Nuka-Cola bottling plant at the old theme park? She thought there might have been. It was a better place to start than any other ideas she had, so she headed back west with the six shots she had left to find the Nuka World Tram Station.
Fallout: Rebirth
A revised first chapter, about twice as long now. Little footnote for those curious, I'm actually playing through Fallout 4 as I write this, so if you'd like to see all the areas and dangers Hellcat faces, I pretty much give you step by step instructions to follow her footsteps with landmarks and everything.

Hellcat is my Courier from Fallout: New Vegas using the Daughters of ARES mod, and the lone courser she fights is my Sole Survivor from 4 courtesy of the Alternate Start mods, with her outfit being from the Courser X-92 Power Suit mod. I thought it would be interesting to put her through the events of 4 as well as blend the two characters.
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Adoptable
This is a ref-sheet for an adoptable from A-I-K-art I got on my old account. Her name is Tengoku no Kitsune (Japanese: Heavenly Fox) and she like sake, tricks, and long walks in the moonlight on dark summer nights. Childish despite her age, she seeks only to play and have fun, shunning the responsibilities expected of other foxes her age and rank. For now she's content with being adorable.
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ARRD-ART Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Cheers fer the watch! <3
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ARRD-ART Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Ayyyy, It's Zuff. <3
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