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907781 No. 907781 ID: 06095b

The fastest means of travel between two points isn’t always a straight line.

*CLANG*

At least, that’s what you try to remind yourself every time your head rings against solid stone and your furry guide rattles off another string of angry condemnations.

“Chitter-Chitter! Chitter-Chatter-Chitter!” his masked snout barks back at you, three spindly paws padding silently at odd angles as the fourth waves a balled fist back at you.

“Yeah, yeah….” you sigh, offering an extended middle finger as you try to find some way to tamp down on the noise that’s made when metal chassis scrapes against rock. “I’m working on it.”

And truth is that you really are. It’s simply that you aren’t built for tunnels and navigating tight spaces. The DAVID by default never was, and your slapdash additions would have utterly doomed this operation from the start had you not included a way to disengage them in a pinch.

That would be why you are presently dragging your pile-bunker, jet boosters, and two eyebots behind you in a rucksack as you crawl your way ever deeper into the side of a mountain, presumably to the vault that is your sought-after location. Of course, you have no way to be certain given the language barrier between you and your guides. All you can do is trust in the fuzzy butt scrambling ahead of you and that your interpretation of the earlier round of charades was accurate… while also praying that the ceiling isn’t about to cave in over your head.

It’s several, miserable minutes of this and only a couple dozen feet of progress later when you hear something vibrate through the rocks, a long, high note, heavily muffled by your surroundings. It ceases for only a half second before starting up again, this time with one, no, two other notes at the same pitch adding to its volume. Horns: you realize.

The raccoon ahead of you seems to stop, bickering a second with his compatriot behind you before they both pause, as though bracing for something.

“GRRROOOOAARR!”

It hits like a sledgehammer on your sensors, a low, undeniably angry roar from the bowels of hell that you could swear shakes a few stones loose from the walls. It’s then joined by another and another, no new addition quite matching the first, but each amplifying the din to new heights as the horns once again blare and the cave fills with the echo and scrape of thundering paws in pursuit.

“They’re drawing them out for us,” the Major guesses, his eyebot beams flickering from the sack. “Dangerous work for a basket of fish, but guess we can’t complain.”

“I just hope they know what they’re doing,” Arya whines.

Whether they do or they don’t, they’ve already cast their own die now, the sound of paws growing ever more faint along with the continued trumpeting. In response, it seems your guides determine the need for stealth is greatly diminished, the two of them now moving much more quickly and forcing you to keep tempo as they worm and compress themselves through openings as if they were partially liquid.

That’s a lot less feasible when your joints are made of metal, but you do your best to keep after them, scraping and grinding away until you can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. For a second you wonder if that means your guides have lead you back outside again until you catch sight of the tell-tale veneer of a large siding of metal.
78 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 909169 ID: 13110b

rolled 89, 44, 62 = 195

>>909123
> [] Well, one trap worked. Wasn’t there a giant ant hill around here somewhere? [Roll 3d100]
>>
No. 909171 ID: 06095b
File 154106420756.png - (361.27KB , 972x717 , Giant_soldier_ant.png )
909171

>>909123
>>909160
>>909162
>>909168
>>909169

> 89: Aria
> 44: Ants
> 62: Bears

“Just stay calm,” you coax her. “One down, two to go. Now, did you happen to figure out where those giant ants were making their nest?”

“I-” Swipe. “THINK-” Swipe. “SO!”

A milder turn at the next tree actually has a more pronounced effect on her attackers as they turn too far in anticipation of another jackknife. That buys Aria a few precious feet, which she makes more than adequate use of as she darts, ducks, and dives through every unpleasant obstacle she can find, even skimming the surface of a small pond to cool her jets and sending up a wave of steam behind her.

Unfortunately, the bears seem to have nothing if not stamina and strength in spades, never slowing nor seeming to tire in the chase of their small, inedible target, paying little heed to any obstacle in their path. That is, until Aria bursts into a clearing with a mass of earth heaped over it, the surrounding greenery cut and clipped away like a well-harvested forest.

For the reason why, one would need to look no further than a few feet away, to the roughly dog-sized mass of chitin and mandibles hissing irritably at the sudden intrusion into its home, a chorus of other voices and skittering bodies swiftly joining it as it moves to intercept the bears that form the more obvious threat.

For all that trouble, the lead defender’s head goes soaring off its shoulders in an instant, head caved in like an overripe melon as the swifter of the two bears keeps charging after Aria. The slower seems to be of the same mind, but quickly changes its mind as the nearest trio of shapes pounce upon its back with irritable clicks.

> Two down, one to go…
> [] You can handle one yao guai, you’re pretty sure. Call her back. [Roll 1d100]
> [] There’s no sense doing work something else might do for you. [Roll 4d100]
> [] Other
>>
No. 909172 ID: 080aaf

rolled 52 = 52

> [] You can handle one yao guai, you’re pretty sure. Call her back. [Roll 1d100]
Surviving the dark days ahead involves more than just kiting your enemies into ant nests. Show those dogs our new tricks!
>>
No. 909175 ID: 363109

rolled 52 = 52

>>909171
> [] You can handle one yao guai, you’re pretty sure. Call her back. [Roll 1d100]
>>
No. 909190 ID: 9a3061

rolled 6 = 6

[] You can handle one yao guai, you’re pretty sure. Call her back.
The Major can harass the yao guai by shooting it from above its attack range.
>>
No. 909195 ID: 13110b

rolled 29 = 29

>>909171
> [] You can handle one yao guai, you’re pretty sure. Call her back. [Roll 1d100]
though the dice may think different...
>>
No. 909206 ID: 06095b
File 154112336674.jpg - (79.85KB , 564x797 , fd57ffef31d1dbf102385841a016557b.jpg )
909206

>>909195
>>909190
>>909175
>>909172
>>909171

> 52

You check the cameras, give the word, and Theodore disengages the Vault door, the clattering clangor of the whole process still fit to wake the dead and deafen the living. Fortunately, the coast still remains clear long enough for you to get yourself out, get the door locked back behind you, and to send a message to Aria.

“We can handle just one,” you assure her. “Now, get back here before you get eaten.”

“Thought-” She narrowly ducks another paw swipe. “You’d never ask.”

From there, all you have to do is wait, positioning Major over the lip of the cave entrance while taking up a sniper post toward the back. In all, it’s about a ten-minute affair before the sound of snapping branches becomes an audible din, the shape of an eyebot emerging like a smoking cannonball as Aria gives her engines one final push.

“GET SOME, YE COMMIE BASTARD!”

Major, for her part, wastes no time engaging the next arrival with everything she’s got, a hail of laser beams finding their target with impeccable aim as it comes barreling forward from the underbrush, smoke rising off its mutant ursine back.

You expect that and the noise to get its attention, for that little bit of pain to cause it to reprioritize its quarry and break off. Instead it just keeps coming, six hundred pounds of loudly bellowing sinew and fury moving in a blur as it continues bearing down on the fleeing Aria, and by consequence, hurtling directly toward you.

> Oh shit! [Roll 1d100]
> [] Open fire! You’ve been meaning to try out Sparrow’s sniper rifle anyway!
> [] Fuck that! Time for some jet-pack enabled evasive maneuvers!
> [] Time to get your hands dirty! It’s pilebunker time!
>>
No. 909211 ID: 080aaf

rolled 63 = 63

> [] Open fire! You’ve been meaning to try out Sparrow’s sniper rifle anyway!
Stopping power don't fail us now!
>>
No. 909216 ID: 5f089f

rolled 57 = 57

>>909206
> [] Open fire! You’ve been meaning to try out Sparrow’s sniper rifle anyway!
>>
No. 909230 ID: 989a71

rolled 76 = 76

> [] Time to get your hands dirty! It’s pilebunker time!
>>
No. 909284 ID: 06095b
File 154119764892.png - (428.30KB , 1600x544 , pipe_sniper_rifle.png )
909284

>>909206
>>909211
>>909216
>>909230

> 76

“POW! POW!”

You don’t bother wasting another second when it’s clear that your plan didn’t pan out, unslinging Sparrow’s rifle from your back and popping off two rounds with excellent precision. The first clips the bear’s ear on his left-hand side, nearly obliterating the flap of skin before the bullet finds a secondary home in his shoulder. The second hits dead center in his skull but ricochets off, leaving you the bear’s undivided attention and unrepentant rage as it completely forgets about Aria and begins bearing down on your location in front of the Vault.

“POW! POW-POW!”

You unload three more rounds in one go then, barely caring where the bullets land at this point as you attempt to just empty everything left in the clip somewhere in its body.

”POW-POW! P-TINK!”

With a sound not unlike breaking glass, the last bullet fails to fly, the super-heated barrel of the pipe rifle finally giving out as the warped metal explodes into fragments and leaves nothing but a useless piece of slag in your hands, one you’ve no choice but to quickly throw away as you finally come into the bear’s deadly reach.

> This is going to hurt!
> [] Roll 1d100
>>
No. 909287 ID: 83b43e

rolled 99 = 99

>>909284
Well, fuck. We just lost a sniper rifle.
>>
No. 909303 ID: 989a71

rolled 70 = 70

One Pile bunker upper cut right to the base of the skull.
>>
No. 909304 ID: 989a71

>>909303
Through
>>
No. 909351 ID: 080aaf

rolled 9 = 9

>>909287
Pipe rifle. Not a big loss, that. Easily repaired if we must.
>>
No. 909360 ID: e3e99e

>>909284
Don't throw it away!
SHOVE IT DOWN THE BEAR'S THROAT!
>>
No. 909370 ID: 06095b
File 154125651620.jpg - (20.23KB , 800x279 , Pile_bunker.jpg )
909370

>>909284
>>909287
>>909303
>>909304
>>909351
>>909360

> 99

Of course, throwing something away doesn’t mean getting no more use out of it, and so you choose to take aim at the bear’s face as you let fly, the snap of a stock striking snout ringing out and buying you just enough time to roll clear of its initiating paw swipe. However, there’s plenty more where that came from, a torrent of claws and gunshot-riddled muscle keeping you on your toes and continually moving as you try to find a window where you can counter-attack.

“FUCK YOU, YE OVERGROWN RAT! DON’T IGNORE ME!”

That opportunity makes itself apparent as both Major and Aria open up on the yao-guai’s exposed flank, the beast’s head turning to regard them just long enough for you to jam your thermal lance into its exposed neck.

“SSSSsss!”

Fat and muscle boil as you punch a half foot of burning steel into the mutated bear, a blow so horrifically fatal that in any sane world, that would be the end of it.

“GROOOAAAR!”

But this is not a sane world, you have to keep reminding yourself. This is a world where only the things strong enough or crazy enough to survive the apocalypse were allowed to thrive, one where a moment of indecision can be deadly.

And so, you don’t stop. You eject the spike directly into the beast’s shoulder, driving it in a couple more solid inches before whipping around to its now immobilized left, that quick maneuver the only thing that saves you from a paw swipe that would have taken off your head, before sliding in another stake.

“Just go down!” you roar as the yao guai pulls itself up on its hind legs, one paw dangling limp as the other whips down like a hangman’s axe. “Just-”

You don’t have time to repeat yourself, just time to step in and brace for one final thrust as the full weight of your opponent comes down on top of you. The DAVID’s frame, no stronger than a foot soldier at his peak, groans and shrieks in protest, one knee giving way immediately beneath the weight, but even so, your hand remains on target, one fist slamming into the bottom of the bear’s ribcage in a splintering uppercut before the driving force sends the spike plunging in toward the bastard’s heart.

“GRRRROOooarrrrr…”

Its paws continue to knead the air for long seconds after the growl in its throat has died to nothing, the reality of death coming slowly as whatever residual will in the body continues to fight for survival. However, without a functioning circulatory system, the end eventually comes, your pile bunker still burning at full blast as you finally topple the limp form off of you, disengaging the spike in its chest.

“Well,” you say, beginning to shake the burnt blood off of your arm. “That wasn’t so bad.”
>>
No. 909374 ID: 06095b
File 154125767871.jpg - (30.36KB , 740x400 , giant_bear.jpg )
909374

>>909370

THUMP. THUMP. THUMP!

Of course, you and your big, fucking mouth.

THUMP. THUMP. THUMP!

Of course, only now do you notice the pawprints heavy enough to leave impressions in the stone floor and remember the voice among the hoard that was loud enough to shake stone loose from the cave’s walls.

THUMP. THUMP. CR-RRACK!

“Uh, Chief, we got a problem,” Major says, the one of you with the clearest visual on the tree line before all three of you find yourselves running toward the front of the cave.

That… That should not exist.

It’s the only thought that comes to mind, the only rational mental response to what you’re seeing, as the mother of all grizzlies lumbers forth from the forest, a beast half as tall as the trees that surround her as she turns a nose to the sky and begins sniffing at the wind.

“I mentioned it was just the little ones that were chasing me…” Aria whispers timidly, “but I didn’t… I never actually saw- Oh God!”

Unlike the other yao guai who seemed to be equipped with minimal fur, this specimen sports a shaggy mane from snout to tail, one that goes so low as to sweep the ground. It gives the impression of something old, something ancient and terrible even before its glowing eyes suddenly turn earthward and lock with yours. An intelligent malice burns there amid a light like smoldering coals as it sniffs the air one more time, its face exploding in lines of fury and fangs coming bare as it comes to a conclusion and a hellish glow ignites over its entire body.

> Well, then… [Roll 1d100]
> [] Open fire!
> [] The bigger they are, the harder they fall! (Melee)
> [] Run! Just run!

> Reminder: Good strategy will usually net bonuses.
>>
No. 909384 ID: 2a7417

rolled 74 = 74

> [] Run! Just run!
Running away is a good strategy. Not for your busted knee, though. You've got to hide. Make it to the power armor if you can.
>>
No. 909404 ID: 080aaf

rolled 72 = 72

Fly, you fools! A cliff, a cliff sounds good. Maybe a lake in a pinch.
>>
No. 909417 ID: 5f089f

rolled 70 = 70

>>909374
> [] Run! Just run!
Check our map of the area and find a cliff. Major and Aria fly ahead of us and feed us terrain data so that we optimize our path.
Major takes shots at the grizzly's eyes if she can, try to blind it.

We don't have weapons that can kill it, but getting it to fall off a cliff could injure it enough that we can finish it off, and we can fly.
>>
No. 909464 ID: 5f089f

>>909374
>>909417
And shoot that grizzly with some of the tranquilizers we picked up. It'll take time to take effect, and it might slow the bear down just enough for it to be fooled into running off a cliff.
>>
No. 909509 ID: 13110b

>>909464
We'd probably need a much more concentrated dose, or a much more direct injection, like directly to the heart or major artery, for tranqs to work on an animal this large and hopped up on mutant juice. We'd probably be better off either trying to bleed it, or poison it, and we dont have any poison...
Actually, my thought on how to best get rid of this thing is to get it into a big enough pit we can just pelt it with explosives till it actually dies, Set it on fire, or lure it into a sinkhole or bog so we can drown it.
It may be a bear, or bear related, but there no way in hell something this big, dense and heavy is buoyant and can swim. Or at least not swim *WELL*.
>>
No. 909555 ID: 06095b
File 154135471255.jpg - (40.21KB , 320x480 , geiger.jpg )
909555

>>909509
>>909464
>>909417
>>909404
>>909384
>>909374

> 74

“I need you both to scatter!” you say over the purely mental channel. “Our present loadout can’t handle this!”

That fraction of a second is all it takes to get the message across, your fellow AIs going left and right as your jetpack fires up and sends you skyward. To an outside eye, it would look like a perfectly choreographed motion, almost a dance. Perhaps that would even apply to the titanic creature presently hurtling toward you.

However, one thing is for certain, and that’s that this audience isn’t going to stop for applause as it moves with a speed utterly incongruous with its size, leaping the twenty-foot lip of its cave in a single bound before taking another running leap at your retreating form. And right now, retreating is about the only thing on your mind, your thrusters struggling at full blast to keep you ahead of the rumbling death coming from behind as you bob and weave up an obstructed incline.

Naturally, your pursuer doesn’t have to do any fancy footwork. It just keeps running with the weight of a bulldozer behind it, trees and other obstacles crumbling away without a second thought as your Geiger counter rises commensurate to your elevation.

“Fucking ghouls,” you swear to yourself. “How the hell do they even-”

Your concentration breaks as something heavy narrowly misses clipping your torso, an old tree stump flying by with the velocity of a cannonball that sends it skipping up the slopes ahead of you with an explosive series of thuds.

“Chief!”

“This better be good news, Major!”

After all, you are running out of uphill and fast.

“Found a forty-foot drop,” she informs you. “No clue how we’ll get the bastard over it, though.”

“And I couldn’t find any cliffs at all,” Arya throws in, “but I found the armor and I think there are some landmines nearby.”

“Great, well-”

Before you can make a judgement call, the world disappears in a blur of motion, your David suddenly flying ass-over-tea kettle after a huge rock makes contact with one of your wing extremities. You barely have a second to process that before the rest of you then contacts the ground, a brutal, touch-and-go relationship that seems to last an eternity before you finally slide to a stop, inexplicably back on your feet after a series of rolls that would have killed anything made of meat.

Instead, you just find yourself mildly disoriented, clutching at your grenade belt, and-

> And HOLY HELL, you have grenades! [Roll 4d100]
> Then what?
> [] Find Major’s cliff and then worry about a way to throw this monster off of it.
> [] Find Aria. Where there’s one land mine, there might be more…
> [] Other
>>
No. 909558 ID: 5f089f

rolled 8, 52, 18, 93 = 171

>>909555
> [] Find Aria. Where there’s one land mine, there might be more…
Also, the area around the armor was pretty muddy and soft. It might not be able to handle the grizzly's weight, and it may sink.
>>
No. 909635 ID: 13110b

>>909555
>>909558
Good point.Seconding this.
> [] Find Aria. Where there’s one land mine, there might be more…
>>
No. 909636 ID: 13110b

rolled 60, 50, 61, 44 = 215

>>909635
argh
>>
No. 909643 ID: 080aaf

rolled 78, 67, 94, 72 = 311

> [] Find Aria. Where there’s one land mine, there might be more…
Bulldozers are very good for minesweeping! With their face.
>>
No. 909857 ID: 06095b
File 154155458660.png - (147.77KB , 551x574 , Fragmentation_grenade_(Fallout_4).png )
909857

>>909555
>>909558
>>909635
>>909636
>>909643

> 78, 67, 94, 93

Fortunately, it seems the beast lost sight of you sometime during your panicked spinout. Otherwise, you probably would have been dead before you had a chance to hit the ground more than once. As is, you have maybe one hundred feet between you and it and a total of eight grenades (half conventional frag and half incendiary) hanging off your belt.

That doesn’t leave any time to think. Even as you begin pulling the pins as rapidly as you can, the hulking monstrosity’s eyes are already on you, it’s bulk transforming into a red-tinted blur as it comes on with earth-shaking fury and a demonic roar that’s more shockwave than sound.

So, it is that in the end, a little over half the pins come free before you’re out of time, thrusters firing backwards and up with every ounce of energy you can spare as your bandolier comes loose with the snap of failing leather. That, the grenades, everything goes flying in a tangled mass as you heave it into the yao guai’s war path with all of your might, praying as much as aiming for any particular vital as you turn your full attention toward fleeing.

The explosion goes off a half-second later somewhere behind your back, the sound of the chain detonation less like good old American firecrackers and more like a single cluster of TNT going off inside a bunker. All manner of detritus goes flying into the sky as a result, chunks of dirt and rock arcing out ahead of you, raining down on top you, and threatening to FOD your engines from behind as you don’t bother looking back.

After all, that thing wasn’t finished. You’re as confident in that as you’ve ever been of anything even before the deafening roar of pain lets you know that it is still very much alive. Still, as you begin turning to make your rendezvous with Aria, you do spare yourself a glance back at the top of the mountain-side, to the titanic form even now emerging out of the dust and smoke, if nothing else to assess the damage.
>>
No. 909858 ID: 06095b
File 154155477402.jpg - (109.21KB , 1280x720 , fire_bear.jpg )
909858

>>909857

And its eyes are already on you: watching, knowing, burning from on high with that terrible incandescence. They give no hint of weakness, only seeming to shine all the more intensely as it stretches limbs now wreathed in fire from the smoke, fur blasted away in places to reveal bony plate and exposed muscle belonging to no natural creature.

“I will not die,” it seems to say, heedless as the conflagration consumes its face and crawls over its spine. “Not until the bowels of hell consume us both.”

It’s at that moment that you are very glad you took your head start, the bear’s speed as it charges down the mountain, a burning host of hell unto itself, incomparable to its earlier uphill climb. It barely leaves you time to seek the safety of the forest proper as your remaining thrusters scream from the exertion, your form narrowly a few yards in as the first trees unfortunate enough to be acting as your shield begin to fall at an alarming rate.

“Major, I need you to move your ass!” you order over the relay. “We’re gonna need every gun we’ve got to put this thing in the ground!”

“Roger!”

The going at first is comparatively easy, but only gets more dangerous as the trees thin more and more, your pursuer only seeming to gain in strength and speed as you draw ever nearer to the clearing.

> Alright. Show time! [Roll 4d100]
>>
No. 909859 ID: 080aaf

rolled 22, 76, 54, 88 = 240

>>909858
Remember kids, only you can outrun forest fires!
>>
No. 909860 ID: 5f089f

rolled 11, 44, 52, 27 = 134

>>909858
Get Aria to upload the mine locations to us so that we can make sure that our path has us going over them, and hopefully the grizzly steps on them.
>>
No. 909863 ID: e1d7dd

>>909858
>>
No. 909864 ID: e1d7dd

rolled 88, 23, 73, 14 = 198

>>909863
>>909863
Ugh...
>>
No. 909929 ID: 06095b
File 154163858418.jpg - (24.40KB , 603x377 , enclave_armor.jpg )
909929

>>909858
>>909859
>>909860
>>909864

> 88, 76, 73, 88

“Alright, Aria.”

It’s her turn now, but, where is she? On your final approach, all you can see is the armor still lying ominously there on its lonesome.

“Come on!” you bark. “I need a visual on those mines you were talking about, and fast!”

“Oh! They’re right here!” she pipes up, sending you banked snapshots and coordinates.

At least, they’re all clustered close together, but-

“I can’t fly very well, so I’m going for help!” Aria explains, cutting you off. “Just try to hang in there!”

“…”

Before you can formulate an appropriate response to that, a burning paw the size of your torso almost slashes you into ribbons, a second and third strike coming in to finish the job as the bear erupts forward in a whirlwind of claws and teeth. Unfortunately, dodging all of that calamity would be too tall of an order for anything corporeal. Yet, even so, you somehow manage to hold your own at the eye of the storm, body twirling and jets firing in every conceivable direction as you struggle to turn lethal blows into glancing hits for the few precious seconds it will take for you to successfully disengage.

“GET SOME, YE COMMIE BASTARD!”

The cavalry arrives just in time, unleashing a hail of laser fire targeting the right side of your opponent’s head and, more specifically, its eye, with terrible precision.
>>
No. 909930 ID: 06095b
File 154163866813.png - (480.63KB , 1049x709 , frag_mine.png )
909930

>>909929

The effects are as immediate as they are horrific, the beast letting out a primal scream of agony and its head slamming backward as half its world fades into blackness. You just do what you can in that moment and gain some distance, blasting a good ten yards into the clearing and ignoring the fuzz around your visor as you gun for the landmines.

“HA! THAT’S RIGHT, Y-”

Major’s voice goes quiet amid the sound of crunching steel as the massive creature regains its sanity and puts an end to her distractions. It then turns to you, fangs bare, eyes full of fury as it steps fully into the clearing, and-

Beep!

A light goes on beneath its feet.

Beep-Beep-BeepBeep! Beep-Beep-BeepBeep! Beep-Beep-BeepBeep!

Oh God. A chorus of chimes erupt as there’s suddenly lights everywhere now, a ring of them three wide encircling the clearing and… Is that a raccoon with a plunger popping its head up out of the power armor in the center? Is it about to-

> DODGE! [Roll 1d100]
>>
No. 909933 ID: 2a7417

rolled 48 = 48

>>909930
Looks like it wasn't haunted, it was infested.
>>
No. 909936 ID: a048a4

rolled 66 = 66

>>909930
Nooo! Eyebots cost caps!
>>
No. 909938 ID: 5f089f

rolled 3 = 3

>>909930
>raccoon INSIDE the power armor
What? Really? That trash panda's crazy or has some serious balls.
>>
No. 909943 ID: 080aaf

rolled 60 = 60

Eyebots aren't extra lives, Major! They are government property!
>>
No. 909999 ID: 06095b
File 154172356436.png - (457.88KB , 1024x512 , loading_screen01.png )
909999

>>909930
>>909933
>>909936
>>909938
>>909943

> 66

The world turns into a field of white, your sound sensors completely overloaded as your body goes flying with the force of the blast. Perhaps saved only by the fact that you were hovering above the field at the time of detonation, you still find the ground with spectacular force, your jetpack giving a notable crunch as you go rolling sidelong through the rocks and dirt.

“Fucking raccoons!” you swear quietly, pulling yourself to your feet over the noise of protesting servos before taking rapid stock of your present situation.

Naturally, it was too much to hope that the bear was finally dead, or maybe at this point, that anything could actually kill it once and for all. Even so, it only takes a moment to recognize the telltale signs of fatigue finally making themselves known, the beast’s breath coming in deep, ragged gasps now as its life’s blood pools beneath it.

However, even then, you don’t find yourself in a rush to re-engage, instead exercising the better part of valor and limping behind a nearby tree while it still hasn’t noticed you. Even beaten, burned, blasted, and winded, you don’t doubt that that thing can and will finish you the instant it realizes that you’re still alive. And so, you hide, leaving your foe’s undivided attention where it lay, focused entirely on the new arrival to this contest.

--
>>
No. 910000 ID: 06095b
File 154172371970.png - (124.39KB , 867x627 , x-02.png )
910000

At seven feet tall, it now stands: the blackened, mud-covered power armor, freshly exhumed from the earth and staring down the hell bear’s remaining eye with unflinching indifference. In fact, as the seconds tick by, it doesn’t seem to be moving at all. It just hovers there in a hunched posture, arms dangling freely, HUD showing no signs of activity.

Perhaps this had just been a ploy after all, a stalling tactic as the raccoons set up some other form of trap. If so, it’s certainly effective, the bear uncertain of the object set before it, of whether to attack or ignore this new potential prey as it sniffs and snarls to no apparent gain.

And then, it happens. So fast that you almost miss it, the armor moves, hand lashing out like a whip to embed itself in the bear’s remaining eye as the other grabs hold of its snout and sparks of electricity fly. A shudder runs through the behemoth’s body as you recall Major mentioning the suit had been tessellated, the bright blue cylinders flaring like torches now as the beast begins violently convulsing.

“Just die,” you whisper aloud behind your shelter. “Just die already, you bitch.”

But another defiant roar lets you know that this isn’t over yet, a flick of the monster’s head sending the armor flying away before the massive form rounds on it.

“This a bad time to mention my head’s full of C4?” asks Major over the relay link, you only then noticing that somehow the crazy bastard is still mostly intact, if completely immobile, in the center of the field.

> What now?
> [] Let the armor fight the bear. It’s got this!
> [] You could use a bit of C4 right now, but how?
> [] You have Lucius’ plasma pistol, a bum leg, and a combat shotgun. Time to rock and roll!
> [] Other
>>
No. 910001 ID: 080aaf

> [] You could use a bit of C4 right now, but how?
Can you extricate the explosives from the eyebot easily? is there any eyebot left worth separating anyway? Anyway, it should have a mouth big enough to launch that football of explosives down, or you could get the armor to spike it into the eye again. It'll get the gist of playing catch, right?
>>
No. 910013 ID: c37c72

>>910000
> [] You could use a bit of C4 right now, but how?
The BoS can build new Eyebots for us if we have the caps. So first, a quick diagnostic from the Major on her Eyebot; can it still maneuver if it’s in the air? Can she remotely detonate? Getting it down the grizzly’s mouth would be ideal, otherwise we could detonate it underneath it near it’s belly.
So we scoop up the Eyebot, and use the speakers on our DAVID to roar a challenge. With being blinded, I don’t think the grizzly will be able to resist roaring at us in return before charging. We take that opportunity to throw the C4 at the grizzly’s open mouth (which should be pretty big) and the Major detonates it when it goes in. Use all of our spare processing power to calculate the optimal throw, taking into account the damage done to our servos.
>>
No. 910072 ID: e3e99e

>>910000
Buckshot enemas are effective. It's biologically impossible to armor the digestive system, and the anus needs to be stretchy and flexible in order for it to work.
Further, bears are most heavily armored on their front. Their ass is not well protected.

If you can sneak up and get one clean shot there then its internals will be shredded and it WILL die.
>>
No. 910074 ID: c37c72

>>910072
C4 suppository?
>>
No. 910118 ID: 13110b

>>910072
>>910074
>>910013
So the consensus seems to be that the best way to take the thing out is from the inside then? In that case
> [] You could use a bit of C4 right now, but how?
So we either feed it to it, or stick it where the sun dont shine, either way, do we have a detonator?
>>
No. 910137 ID: 06095b
File 154182005310.png - (858.40KB , 1250x1050 , c4.png )
910137

>>910118
>>910074
>>910072
>>910013
>>910001
>>910000

“I could think of worse times.”

As you say this, you’re already on the move, your crushed left leg giving you trouble the whole damn way. However, with the two other combatants still very much preoccupied trying to rip out each other’s throats, you find ample enough time to hobble along the hundred or so feet to where Major lies. Immediately, exposed circuitry and wiring make themselves known through the gashed and dented-in side of the eyebot, roughly half of it having been flattened by a single, massive blow.

“Something tells me you aren’t flying any time soon,” you comment, assessing the damage as you try to find whatever access panel Major had stuffed the C4 into.

“I can probably still throw a spin on it if you give me a toss,” she suggests. “Otherwise, the main thruster and the left-hand stabilizers are pretty much shot.”

“And the C4?” you ask.

“Wired to the mainframe,” she replies. “You’d have to set up a secondary detonation mechanism to make it all work, and frankly, I don’t think we have the time.”

“Didn’t you say you had grenades?”

“Chief, that’s what I meant with the C4. I am the grenades.”

“Great.”

You watch out of the corner of your eye as the armor continues fighting the bear, both parties moving in feral blurs with the former’s joints seeming to spin round-and-around with no regard for any sort of natural order. In an almost skin-crawling display, elbows, wrists, and knees continuously dislocate, snapping into place at unnatural angles before dealing devastating counter blow after counter blow. Even so, with each missed swipe of its blinded opponent tearing deep gouges out of the earth, a single mistake could still very well spell the end for your unlikely ally. You don’t have much time.

> What to do? [3d100]
> [] Get its attention, throw Major, and aim a curveball right at its head!
> [] You need to hit this thing from the inside, but how?
> [] Other
>>
No. 910146 ID: 080aaf

rolled 1, 42, 40 = 83

> [] Get its attention, throw Major, and aim a curveball right at its head!
If you roar a challenge, it will roar back! And that's when we stuff an eyebot in its facehole.
>>
No. 910148 ID: 989a71

rolled 68, 84, 42 = 194

> [] You need to hit this thing from the inside, but how?
Still in favor of the C4 suppository since its face is currently occupied by our mysterious ally.
>>
No. 910156 ID: 5f089f

rolled 54, 32, 13 = 99

>>910137
> [] You need to hit this thing from the inside, but how?
Get around to behind the grizzly, and throw the Major's eyebot right up its butt. The thrusters should still be enough to give the eyebot a stabilizing spin, and to push the bomb right through its anus.

The problem with a C4 suppository is that the grizzly's anus is higher than our DAVID can reach, our jetpack is broken, but hopefully we can throw with enough robotic force to get through the anal ring.

Also, since the Power Armor is hitting the grizzly in the face, if we miss and the Eyebot doesn't get into the anus and instead just hits the rump, the grizzly can turn towards us and expose itself to more attacks from the Power Armor, something that it's unlikely to do even if it feels something impact its butt.
>>
No. 910200 ID: 06095b
File 154187758898.png - (1.01MB , 1024x619 , demon_bear_by_juhannuskostaja-d874tpa.png )
910200

>>910156
>>910148
>>910146
>>910137

> 1, 84, 42

“I don’t think you’re going to like this,” you inform the Major, “but I think our only chance is to hit this thing from the inside.”

“Through which end?” Major asks, immediately picking up on your train of thought.

“The one right ahead of us,” you say, looking at the bear’s backend with grim determination.

“Think an eyebot’s gonna fit up there?”

“Only one way to find out.”

And with that, your course is set, limping straight ahead with all due haste as you pray to God this thing doesn’t notice you. From afar you have no doubt that it would look quite comical, an effectively one-legged, tiny robot hastily stumping across a war zone with nothing but a bashed in eyebot in hand to combat a towering mass of burning muscle and radiation. However, at this point, you frankly can’t find it in you to give a damn about appearances or what imaginary people might think.

In the end, you probably get further than you have any right to in route to your destination, less than ten feet left between you and it before it whirls around with the squirming armor between its jaws. Fortunately, it seems that even its bite force can’t quite manage to punch all the way through with the suit’s ongoing electrical assault on its jowls. However, as you watch, it finds an alternate means of resolution and begins violently shaking your new friend apart, limbs flying free as they impact the ground before it sends the main torso and head flying away with a roar.

“Mouth it is then!” you shout, jets firing forward as you attempt to slam the compacted orb between its teeth.

What follows next can be best described as a mixed success, metal slamming home between pointed teeth the split second before a one-two combo of heavy paws flattens you into the mud. At that moment, with those empty sockets staring down on you and all of your systems going into the red, you’re left with a terrible choice.

> What to do? [Roll 1d100]
> [] This thing needs to die. Detonoate the eyebot and risk destroying the DAVID.
> [] Play dead and pray that it moves on. Aria will be back soon.
> [] Other
>>
No. 910203 ID: 2a7417

rolled 50 = 50

> [] Play dead and pray that it moves on. Aria will be back soon.
It may be clever, but I doubt it's fought anything like you before. You also may not be the only hardware left in the blast radius - what about that tesla armor?
>>
No. 910235 ID: 989a71

rolled 7 = 7

> [] Play dead and pray that it moves on. Aria will be back soon.
>>
No. 910238 ID: 5f089f

rolled 67 = 67

>>910200
> [] Play dead and pray that it moves on. Aria will be back soon.
Audibly send out a sound of systems powering down and go completely still.
We have no heart or lungs, so there's nothing for it to be able to hear.

And then once it moves its head away, we can detonate the Eyebot.
>>
No. 910255 ID: 080aaf

rolled 25 = 25

> [] Play dead and pray that it moves on. Aria will be back soon.
Steady, steady...
>>
No. 910271 ID: e1d7dd

rolled 93 = 93

>>910200
> [] Play dead and pray that it moves on. Aria will be back soon.
>>
No. 910283 ID: 06095b
File 154194545534.jpg - (37.57KB , 457x333 , angry_raccoon.jpg )
910283

>>910271
>>910255
>>910238
>>910235
>>910203
>>910200

> 67+10

After a moment of quick thinking, you determine that your best course of action is probably to just hold still, powering down your various systems in as smooth a fashion as possible so that no whirring gizmo or pulsating pump can be mistaken for a vital sign. You have no idea if it will work, frankly, but you bank on the beast’s inexperience with artificial lifeforms to see you through.

As gambit’s go, it’s an excruciatingly slow one to wait out, the growl not seeming to die in your captor’s throat as it debates whether you need another couple of smashes to stay well and truly dead and then if it’s willing to waste what must be a dwindling supply of energy on them. Still, eventually it seems to reach a conclusion, the eyebot dropping from its slobbering mouth as it turns its head toward the breeze to consider other potential concerns: most notably, horns on the wind.

From your present vantage, it’s a little bit difficult to guess as to where exactly they’re coming from or in what kind of numbers, and so you switch over to Aria’s camera and- That’s a lot of raccoons!

Like a furry wave, they come on, all shapes and sizes of the woodland denizens moving with one mind and over a hundred, chittering voices as they storm the clearing from all sides. Some are mounted, some have weapons, and others come on with nothing but their paws and their fury, but combined they produce at least enough noise and confusion for you to fire off your jetpack one more time, eyebot in hand as you go sliding through the mud.

There’s nothing left for it at this point, no time for a cleverer plan, and so you just chuck the sucker as hard as you can, aiming the throw so that comes down on top of the beast’s back before giving the order. In that moment, a shockwave goes out, the eyebot evaporating in a plume of fire and shrapnel that takes the monster’s spine with it. Right down the middle, the back end of it flattens to the dirt at an unnatural angle as you look on with grim satisfaction.

Then, your allies are on it, swarming over it like a hill of ants. With knives, with hatchets, with teeth and claws, the bravest among them take its back in a wave, heedless of the fire or the radiation as the better equipped open fire on its flanks with everything they have.

Even then, riddled with shrapnel, doused in fire, blasted, bloodied, chopped, and broken, the bear doesn’t seem ready to stop. It gives a deafening roar of protest, shoulders shaking with enough force to dislodge a few of its attackers, but as its paws move up to rake off the rest of the insects daring to crawl on its back, a host of grapnels are thrown out from the riders that ensnare them, ropes snapping taught around tree trunks and the bear’s two remaining limbs, forcing them out so that the assault can continue, uninterrupted.

> What to do?
> [] Let them finish this. You’ve done enough.
> [] This thing will be a long time dying if you don’t do something to end its suffering. What?
> [] Other
>>
No. 910295 ID: 5f089f

>>910283
> [] This thing will be a long time dying if you don’t do something to end its suffering. What?
Get up on its back, climb to the back of the head, and pilebunker it in the brainstem.
>>
No. 910325 ID: 080aaf

>>910295
This! For our own closure as well as its.
>>
No. 910343 ID: 06095b
File 154198629984.jpg - (129.64KB , 640x584 , bear_skull.jpg )
910343

>>910325
>>910295
>>910283

With its last means of doing harm denied it and its body damaged beyond repair, the ongoing violence ceases to be part of a necessary engagement and becomes something that ultimately needs to be put to an end. Call it old world decency, but for as much as your joints creak and your servos groan with every step you take now, you find it hard to bear the creature any sort of ill will.

Its existence had been inconvenient, certainly, and dangerous to some of your allies. However, that hadn’t been any conscious choice on its part. It had tried to kill you, sure, but only after you murdered its young, something no worthy mother would take lying down. No, as you mount the side of its charred and bloodied neck, the great beast even now trying to throw off its restraints and the fiends making slow work of its eventual death, your thoughts are only of mercy.

Today, mercy takes the form of a flaming spike delivered straight to the brain stem: once, twice, and a third time, blood hissing with every attempt as bone stubbornly refuses to give way. Still, your persistence ultimately proves the stronger, and relief finally coming as the half foot of steel disappears into its final resting place, the bear giving one great shudder and one last fading roar before it finally collapses and goes limp.

It’s at that peculiar moment of triumph that you notice a few things, not the least of which being what appears to be the power armor’s limbs running back to it on tiny, furry legs, but far more pressingly, you discover the eyes of the collective horde are now, almost exclusively trained on you. Whether that’s in fear, in admiration, or appealing for some answer to an unknown question is beyond you.

> Well, what now…?
> [] Victory chitter!
> [] Cry victory! (but in your native language for God’s sake)
> [] Other

> Also, feel free to specify actions that you want to take as this chapter comes to a close. Brokering alliances, getting repairs, playing with puppies. There are a lot of things you can presently attempt!
>>
No. 910347 ID: 080aaf

> [] Cry victory! (but in your native language for God’s sake)
"For AMERICA! Let this be a lesson: good will always triumph over bears!"
And now, retire to the Vault's repair bay before your servos give out in front of the crowd.
>>
No. 910349 ID: 5f089f

>>910343
>[]Other: Aria, please tell me you translated their language and that's why you were able to get them to come here, and you can upload that translation codex so that when I raise my arms in victory I say something cool like "VICTORY!" and not something embarrassing like "I like rolling myself in Mirelurk Goulash!".
>[]Victory chitter!

We need to try to get some repairs, Aria needs to be given time with a DAVID so she can play around with the puppies, and get a spare PupBoy for Shadow. We need to broker an alliance with the raccoons, and maybe trade that Power Armor for something that we have, like lots of food or maybe regular guns and ammo we can somehow procure. Because if we can get it to Lucius, he may be able to fix it, or we could potentially sell it to the Brotherhood.

We can potentially optimize and run software checks on the Mr. Handy's in the Vault, in exchange for the human equipment that they have, and trade those to the raccoons for their help and the Power Armor.

We also need to check through our Vault-Tech records for other Vaults and places where we could find a Water Chip and other Vault-Tec and General Atomics components.
>>
No. 910403 ID: 5f089f

>>910343
Oh, and we need to get that pipe sniper rifle fixed. It could come in handy.
>>
No. 910407 ID: 06095b
File 154203773713.jpg - (21.57KB , 400x357 , flag-raisingiwo-jima.jpg )
910407

>>910343
>>910347
>>910349
>>910403

This is an important moment best not left to chance.

“Aria,” you probe over the private network. “Please tell me that you’ve translated their language, and that’s why you were able to get them to come here. If so, is there any way you could pass me the information to shout something appropriate like ‘VICTORY!’ as opposed to ‘I like rolling myself in Mirelurk Goulash!’ or something else ridiculous?”

“Huh?” You see a question mark flash on Aria’s viewing monitor. “Oh, no. I haven’t figured that out yet. I just flashed some images on my screen until they got the right idea that you were fighting the bear and needed help.”

“Well, damn, guess we’re doing this the old-fashioned way, then.”

“Ahem,” you begin speaking aloud, one fist pumping into the air. “VICTORY!”

With no conception of what you might be saying, it seems that the tone at least translates, a host of furry paws shooting skyward along with a chorus of chittering voices.

“VICTORY!” you repeat. “For AMERICA! For the RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, who will never fall to tyranny or its symbols!”

The trash pandas, again, likely having no idea what an ‘America’ is or what the previous symbols of the Soviet Union might have been, at least understand when they are being encouraged. The voices get louder and more chaotic until eventually one uniform pattern emerges, voices surging before uniting in what must be a victory chant of sorts.

“Hey Theodore,” you say then, transmitting an image of the present scene to the Vault for his appraisal. “I think we just took care of your bear problem.”

“My word, I think you might be right!” he agrees, “but how many raccoons are out there?”

“Enough for an army,” you surmise, giving up on tracking the exact number of the shifting masses, “assuming I can speak their language.”

“I see, and are there any injured?”

That’s… actually a very good question. Some of the raccoons had definitely just gotten more than a healthy dose of radiation and you can see many of them, despite the upswing of victory, favoring less-injured limbs or nursing what might become grievous wounds if left untreated.

“Are you offering treatment?” you ask.

“Truth be told, I’m not sure that they’d understand the concept,” Theodore muses, “but we could easily provide triage on the upper levels within the hour, assuming that you could handle that bit of metaphorical heavy lifting.”

> Hmmm….
> [] Let Aria sort the injured and try to get the message across. You want to find that power armor!
> [] Focus on assisting the wounded. This is a chance for you to gain clout as a commander!
> [] Other
>>
No. 910408 ID: 5f089f

>>910407
> [] Let Aria sort the injured and try to get the message across. You want to find that power armor!
Honestly, with Aria's video screen, she probably has a better chance of communicating with the raccoons than we do.
>>
No. 910411 ID: 5da03e

>>910407
> [] Focus on assisting the wounded. This is a chance for you to gain clout as a commander!
An army's only good if it'll follow you.
>>
No. 910451 ID: 2a7417

> [] Let Aria sort the injured and try to get the message across. You want to find that power armor!
It fought valiantly, and apparently is some kind of composite organism? You should track it down before it goes back to sleep in a minefield.
>>
No. 910520 ID: 080aaf

> [] Focus on assisting the wounded. This is a chance for you to gain clout as a commander!
Metaphorical heavy lifting is about all we're good for right now. Maybe images of nesting will get the idea across best: they may not understand triage, but they do know you feel better after a rest.
>>
No. 910681 ID: e1d7dd

> [] Focus on assisting the wounded. This is a chance for you to gain clout as a commander!
Guess someone has to break the tie...
>>
No. 910760 ID: 06095b
File 154224376586.png - (35.03KB , 1024x682 , red-cross2-1024x682.png )
910760

>>910408
>>910411
>>910451
>>910520
>>910681
>>910407

“Aria, I’ll be on round-up duty for the injured,” you inform her. “You just try to get the ones I send your way accustomed to the idea of being treated by medi-bots and their needles, if you can.”

“No promises, but roger.”

“Maybe explaining things in terms of rest will be something they can understand,” you suggest as she floats back toward the vault. “After all, it’s not like they…”

You trail off as you notice something peculiar in the crowd, a younger-looking raccoon with what appears to be a roll of bandages and a patient. A weather-beaten lunchbox lies open on the ground between the two, you notice as you draw closer, this becoming a source of some contention as the would-be physician has to slap the would-be patient’s errant paw away from the half-full bottle of whiskey inside.

“Hissssss!” , the good doctor commands, apparently a compelling counter-argument from the way the other raccoon immediately straightens in their seat and submits their damaged limb for bandaging.

Of course, you don’t let that spectacle interrupt the mission that had brought you here, scanning the crowd for the available sick and wounded. In the process, however, you actually find many of them already converging on the spot of your own interest, though given the mass of bodies versus the miniscule size of the medkit, you have strong suspicions that the end result won’t satisfy anyone. More likely, intelligent raccoons, much like people, were not the most patient or rational creatures when in pain and immediate need.
>>
No. 910761 ID: 06095b
File 154224385130.png - (1.23MB , 2950x900 , combat_shotgun.png )
910761

>>910760

Unfortunately, that assumption proves correct. Even in the short time it takes you to get over to your prodigal medic, there’s already a small riot breaking out over resources, paws snatching for whatever they can grab as the realization hits home that there may not be enough for everyone. And naturally, from there it’s only a split second for the tussle over whiskey and pills to turn hot-blooded, claws and fangs coming bare for one brief second before you have your combat shotgun aimed at the sky.

“HIIIIISSSSSS!”, you bark at full volume, perhaps the only thing you can still manage at full capacity as you release a couple of rounds of buckshot into the air. “ENOUGH!”

That seems to get their attention, all of their attention, as they stop quibbling amongst themselves and turn their attention to the alien in their midst, a veritable giant looming over them at four and a half feet of imposing (if badly abused) steel.

“We aren’t doing this,” you inform them in a dangerous tone, one that seems to carry the implication but not the message as the guiltiest among them offers you the flask of whiskey with trembling paws.

You consider smashing it out of principle, but instead retrieve it for the medic, calmly returning the contents to the box before turning to address the crowd.

“You’re hurt?” you demand, pile bunker carving a raccoon face into the dirt and putting slash marks next to it. “Me too.”

You gesture to your many scars and broken leg.

“I’ve got friends who can fix both of us,” you promise, drawing a crude depiction of a Mr. Handy followed by another, healthier looking raccoon head. “Get it?”

There’s inevitably some chittering and chattering over what exactly you might mean with all this, but finally one hazards a guess, pointing first at itself, then at you, and then making a wave motion with its hand.

“Follow me,” you confirm, turning to leave.

However, just to make sure of matters, you then think to turn back, picking up the doctor by the scruff of her neck and the accompanying lunchbox before taking both with you. Whether that ensures more paws fall in step behind you is anyone’s guess, but you don’t think you leave an injured rodent behind as you begin hobbling your way back toward the vault.

> The raccoons will remember this, but what now?
> Write-in
>>
No. 910764 ID: 2a7417

Knock knock overseer, make sure that armory is childproofed.
How is the homefront holding up? Fred come back in one piece?
>>
No. 910782 ID: 5f089f

>>910761
Ask Theodore if the Vault has any fabricators or machines that can produce ammunition. Most Vaults had fabricators, I think, but this one might have only been given a few because of what they were supposed to work on.

And any other robots that we could access and use, such as Eyebots.

And make sure that the Armory and Security Rooms are locked down tight, because those trash pandas will find a way in.
And let Aria have some time with the puppies while we see if the Vault's central computer has a satellite uplink; we may not be able to run another SARA process on it, but we could see if there's anything useful, such as where a Water Chip might be found. We can also upload our veterinary database, so that the Autodocs can also handle raccoons and not just dogs.

While Aria uses the DAVID, we can use her Eyebot to search for that Power Armor.
>>
No. 910786 ID: 080aaf

Can we add the robots in the Vault to our network without taking them away from their jobs in the vault? A little backdoor never hurt anybody...
>>
No. 910867 ID: 06095b
File 154236966686.png - (457.88KB , 1024x512 , loading_screen01.png )
910867

>>910761
>>910764
>>910782
>>910786

Fortunately, from there things proceed rather smoothly. Without a jetpack or two functional legs, the road back suddenly became a lot longer, but with the bear having literally blazed a trail for you and the raccoons keeping merciful peace amongst their number, it isn’t all that unpleasant. The bigger test will be how they handle the Vault and its residents, you’re well aware.

In that vein, you do the best you can to make sure those first impressions are cordial, demanding the weapons of anyone seeking treatment before allowing them through the Vault door. Even then, you make it clear that they will go in groups of no more than five at a time, that number likely to be well within both Theodore and Aria’s means to handle.

It helps that the first batch of rodents can be selected in the aftermath of the Vault itself swinging open, the collective of unsuspecting creatures left shaken by various degrees and thus rendered more willing to allow small groups to be the first to test the waters. As those return better than they left, and the others summon up their courage, of course, it becomes slightly more of a nuisance to keep the by-five rule in place. However, somehow you manage, watching as the beaten and bloodied crowd you had brought in is slowly swapped out for a collection of partially mummified, if significantly cleaner and healthier-looking raccoons.

“It seems that our experiment really did somehow contaminate the area outside of the Vault,” Theodore confides toward the end of it. “Their neurological activity, blood, and tissue samples all show the clear hallmarks of our experiments… as well as something else.”
>>
No. 910868 ID: 06095b
File 154236969593.png - (23.73KB , 376x356 , Biohazard_symbol_(black_and_yellow).png )
910868

>>910867

“Something else?” you ask.

“It’s low grade FEV contamination,” he says simply. “Not curious in and of itself, as you’ve mentioned, but the way their bodies have co-adapted to the two mutations is intriguing to say the least. I see now why the research seemed to indicate that was the missing component…”

“Wait,” you say, stopping short as something occurs to you. “Theodore, how much do you know about FEV?”

“Why, everything!” he responds cheerily, seeming surprised you would even need to ask. “While obviously, the news of an airborne strain is fresh to me, you could say I’m something of an expert in applied genetic engineering and epidemiology… at least in theory.

“A lack of samples and thumbs are a prodigious handicap, you see, but otherwise, the Overseer’s curriculum was meant to incorporate the full scope of the experimental research being conducted here. That would naturally include a library of literature about the development of and practical implementation of the primary mutagen originally meant for our experiments.”

> He… He just…
> [] You can talk about this later.
> [] Those books, files, whatever, need to be destroyed, now!
> [] You might need a copy of that research…
> [] Other
>>
No. 910869 ID: e0ab05

>>910868
> [] You might need a copy of that research…
We NEED that research. FEV is a fact of life in the Wastes; EVERYONE is infected to an extent, so we need to understand FEV to project long-term effects and what it could do to Human-offshoots, like that Gillman we saw in the river.
>>
No. 910870 ID: 3674e7

>>910868
We need to keep all old world knowledge safe till the world can be able to use it again.
I say get a copy of it and store it in your databanks so that if the original is lost it is safe with you. I f the only people that know about it are you and the dog valt then it might as well already be lost to anyone else. Plus it could possibly come in handy to restore the world.
Just ask them to keep it a secret after getting a copy who knows what purposes (more educated than average or smart) bandits could use it for.
>>
No. 910871 ID: 080aaf

> [] You can talk about this later.
Destroy it? Why would you think of that, SARA? Jealous that robots can't become Super Mutants?
Anyway, that genie's long out of the bottle and you need to keep a steady hand on the bastard love children of Vault Tec and the Enclave's mad science.
>>
No. 910889 ID: e3e99e

>>910868
Why, in the name of the Omnissiah and all his machine spirits, would it even enter your head to destroy original research notes on the FEV that has effectively contaminated the entire wasteland?

You NEED that research!
>>
No. 910923 ID: 06095b
File 154242495107.png - (59.86KB , 590x288 , quad_helix.png )
910923

>>910869
>>910870
>>910871
>>910871
>>910889
>>910868

“You need to be careful who you mention that information to,” you warn him.

“Absolutely,” he agrees. “Believe me that though present company may make me seem incautious, I’ll not likely be as openly talkative about many sensitive subjects with future visitors who don’t come with so long a list of recommending credentials. I just believe that in this particular case, I can dispense with the formalities and be completely and openly candid. After all, you’ve hardly done me less courtesy.”

“I appreciate it,” you inform him, “and so I won’t bore you rehashing the implications of what the wrong mind could do with the right information when it comes to FEV, especially not now, as I’m about to ask for your permission to make a copy.”

“A copy?” he inquires.

“Like it or not, the Pandora’s Box known as FEV has already been sprung open on the world. Everyone and damn near everything has been infected or altered to some extent, with no clear understanding of what the greater implications might be. I’ll be frank, this may be the only facility in the world that has the necessary information all gathered in one place to begin deciphering that mystery, and should anything happen to it, that sliver of hope may very well die with you.

“I want to prevent that. It’s my -job- to prevent that, and so, I want to tender my request with the assurance that there are few places left in the world more secure than a SARA’s data repository.”

“Well…” The old dog scratches at his muzzle nervously for a moment. “I suppose when you put it that way…”
>>
No. 910924 ID: 06095b
File 154242506238.png - (140.26KB , 548x498 , High_powered_microscope.png )
910924

>>910923

The next thing you know, you are on your way down, further retreating into the depths of the earth in an elevator shaft secured behind blast proof doors. What lies on the other side when the pleasant ring ushers you onward into the slowly illuminating darkness would have been enough to drop your jaw if you actually had one.

“State-of-the-art” is the word that comes to mind in spite of the dust and neglect, white enameled work stations setting out in all directions with all manner of scientific articles laying on them untouched. Petri dishes, fume hoods, microscopes of every shape and size: these are just the lesser articles, mere window dressing compared to the center floor pieces and side chamber displays which boldly proclaim themselves as homes to MRI and X-Ray apparatus, operating theaters, and cryogenic storage.

“The computers on this level reside on their own private network,” Theodore informs you, stepping lightly in this place, as though ill at ease. “You’ll want a copy of the master records from the lead scientist’s terminal.”

With a wave of his paw over a specialized scanner toward the back, a wall-sized monitor flickers to life with grudging lethargy. It’s not long, however, before Theodore has it running through its paces with almost alarming speed, seeming to do no more than stare at the screen to execute dozens of simultaneous tasks.

“You’ll likely need quite some time to complete your download,” he reflects, seeming to conclude his activity as he politely shuffles away his front paws and meaningfully points his snout toward a previously unnoticed keyboard interface, “ but I’ve reconfigured the system to accept a more conventional form of input at this point, so I can probably leave you to it, if that’s acceptable.”

> What to do?
> [] Ask him to stay. Ask some questions.
> [] Let him get going. You’ll finish the job and then come up.
> [] Other

> Also, while on the subject of computers, installing a backdoor into Vault 59’s mainframe has been suggested. This is non-trivial and may have consequences. Proceed?
> [] Yes
> [] No
>>
No. 910934 ID: 5f089f

>>910924
> [] Ask him to stay. Ask some questions.
Things such as, would he accept a human scientist borrowing lab space here? Lucius is more of an engineer and physicist, but he may still be able to use some of the equipment here. And who knows, maybe Theodore has some experiments he's wanted to run but didn't have the hands to perform them?
Even better, perhaps, would be seeing if Lucius can use the equipment here to create cybernetic arms and hands that can link with a dog's brain, so that Theodore can have hands. That's tech more on the level of the Institute, but maybe Lucius has some idea of what they have.

>On the matter of backdoors
> [] No
Our honesty and generally not taking the cynical choice when offered it has worked well for us so far.
>>
No. 910936 ID: 080aaf

> [] Ask him to stay. Ask some questions.
Why not ask about his parents, adoptive and biological.

>I am SARA so backdoor is yes
Processing power for the processing god! Servers for the server throne! Really though, it will have lots of benefits, raw computing power included. It expands your effective reach. You could back up Lucius' research there was well as in your databanks. In case of some dire emergency at your core, your program could escape to the vault.
>>
No. 910937 ID: 3674e7

>>910924
>> What to do?
First ask if their is anything we should or shouldn't do while we are down here and they are gone. It would also be good to know when they would be back, so you can be let out when you're done.
Most of our questions will probably be answered by this computer anyway plus we can always ask him more after this is all over.
Other than that let him do as he pleases, if he wishes to go back and help he can.

>> while on the subject of computers, installing a backdoor into Vault 59’s mainframe has been suggested. This is non-trivial and may have consequences. Proceed?
Back door potentially allowing for the future crippling/destruction of this place, I say.... no. Because keeping friends alive is among our top priority.
>>
No. 911000 ID: 5f089f

>>910924
> [] Ask him to stay. Ask some questions.
Ask if, he's not using the lab facilities, if we can start the computers deciphering the language of the raccoons, as we have lots of their audio to work with.
>>
No. 911008 ID: 06095b
File 154248253362.jpg - (229.76KB , 512x512 , Cyberdog_poster.jpg )
911008

>>911000
>>910937
>>910936
>>910934
>>910924

“I don’t want to keep you,” you assure him, “but if you don’t mind, I did have some questions.”

With a casual air, you ignore the keyboard entirely, bending down to unscrew an access panel before jacking yourself directly into the mainframe. You’ll have to remind yourself to get an extension cord later, however, as this forces you to take up an awkward sitting position on the floor, arm outstretched.

> Estimated Upload Time: 1hr and 34 minutes

“No trouble at all,” he assures you, trotting off for a moment before returning with what appears to be a dog bed clutched between his teeth, flipping the weathered old thing between you before laying himself down. “Please, let me know what’s on your mind.”

“This place,” you say, taking in the lab. “Has it really been fifty years since the last human scientists were around?”

“Longer than that, truthfully. Though I said that I inherited the title from the previous Overseer some fifty years ago, the human occupants of the Vault seemed to have long since lost their taste for scientific inquiry before I was even born.”

“Did anyone tell you why?”

“Guilt, as I understand it,” he answers with a small whine. “A terrible sort of inherited guilt over how the first generation of scientists had left so many of my kind dead with their experiments. As a result, in the days of my youth, this level had more or less been relegated to use during only substantial medical emergencies.”
>>
No. 911009 ID: 06095b
File 154248271156.jpg - (55.72KB , 350x500 , bloom.jpg )
911009

>>911008

“What did they do with the rest of their time?”

“They farmed, mostly. Other than that, they lived, they loved, they took care of one another, and they took care of us,” he says wistfully. “Those were good times, peaceful, plentiful, and they did this thing behind your ear that… Err, ahem. Well, they ensured that we were all of us groomed and given ample affection.”

“So, why did they leave?”

“No really negative reason that I could name,” he admits. “Perhaps they simply missed the blue skies and the company of other humans. For others, no doubt, they felt a sort of moral responsibility to return to the world and to begin rebuilding in spite of the dangers. And so, one day, they finally decided to leave, taking half the armory, several of my brethren, most of the cows-”

“You have cows?” you question, excited.

“We have -a- cow,” he clarifies. “Her name is Bessy, and we also have a small supply of bull material cryogenically frozen for when she is old enough to calf. Now, where was I?”

“They had packed up for a long journey,” you remind him.

“Yes, quite. Well, they had several months’ worth of supplies with them at the time of their departure, enough to discover new lands and tide them over as they raised a settlement. Afterward, the plan had been that they would come back for the rest of us. Unfortunately, it seems they never quite managed to get that far, or maybe they did and simply never thought to turn back.”

He gives a rueful smile.

“In any case, an older man by the name of George remained for a time with us, the last human in a kingdom of animals. He was the oldest among his kind at the time of their departure, my predecessor as a matter of fact, and he found himself content to while away his remaining years in the place that had always been his home. He was… Well, he was a good boy… a good man, rather, and we mourned him terribly when he was gone.”
>>
No. 911012 ID: 06095b
File 154248280874.jpg - (5.12MB , 3765x2500 , dog_armor.jpg )
911012

>>911009

“I can imagine,” you agree. “It was a loss on almost every level for you, but at least he lived a good life and died peacefully, I would assume.”

You get a nod and decide firmly against pressing for further details.

“Looking toward the future, though, were I to find human habitants willing to settle in the Vault…”

“They would be welcome,” Theodore confirms. “We have the room and a strong need for qualified technicians. Even if we have to train them ourselves, warm and trustworthy bodies will do.”

“Well, at least one scientist I know comes to mind. He’d probably do backflips over the lab setup you have here and be a tremendous help toward getting this place back up and running.”

“Then, I’d be pleased to make his acquaintance.”

“It’s also worth asking when referring to my outside acquaintances, do you have anything that would make a dog smarter?”

“You mean a normal dog?”

“Yes, it doesn’t have to be by much, but a colleague has a dog that’s almost bitten the dust once before. A little extra intelligence could go a long way toward him keeping himself safe.”

“I’m afraid that we wouldn’t have any sort of convenient drug that could safely or permanently alleviate those concerns,” he informs you. “The only I could think that might work with anything short of totally fatal results would be a spinal fluid transfusion to introduce a small host population of the cohabitated bacteria to his system. Even that could prove catastrophic.”

“Well, it was worth asking.”

“You are, of course, welcome to a PupBoy for the poor thing. We have spares and the full-sized ones have an auto-injector for stimpaks and other such things.”

> Unfortunately, you don’t yet have the necessary samples to begin decrypting the raccoon language. You would likely need to dedicate an eyebot to a month of close study of their group to begin making headway.
> In light of that, was there anything else that needed doing?
> [] Write-in
>>
No. 911013 ID: 2a7417

Pet the dog.
Pet him. (Behind the ears)
>>
No. 911030 ID: 4d6f6d

>>911013
This so much.
>>
No. 911031 ID: 5f089f

>>911012
Give Theo a good ear-scratching.
Ask him if the Vaultdwellers gave him their plans, which direction they had intended to go. Maybe some of them had made it. And if they didn't, the Major will at least want to avenge the deaths of good American citizens on whatever terrorists and criminals that hurt them.

Oh, actually, there's the matter of Fred. Could a Pupboy and their vocalizer be adapted for a Deathclaw?
>>
No. 911032 ID: 080aaf

>>911031
We at least have more research on Deathclaw language than the radcoon's.
>>
No. 911079 ID: 06095b
File 154255407361.jpg - (17.86KB , 450x238 , tired_puppy.jpg )
911079

>>911012
>>911013
>>911030
>>911031

“Theodore?”

There’s a dozen different things on your mind right now.

“Yes?”

And before all this is done, you know that every last one of them will have to be seen to.

“Would you mind coming a bit closer? Say, right here?” You pat the floor right next to you. “I can’t quite reach you from here.”

“Why would you- Oh, I see… Of course.”

But for at least a moment, you put it all aside: all of the business and stress, the maintenance and future science projects. The world can wait a few minutes as one tired, old thing moves to comfort another, mechanical fingers carefully finding the area on the back of Theodore’s neck before beginning a gentle massage. Right over the scruff and behind the ear, just shy of the brain case, kneading that peculiar cluster of nerves causes the old hound to let out an appreciative sigh and sink deeper into his pillow.

How long had he been all alone down here, you wonder? How much longer would it have lasted had you not come along?

Naturally, you don’t ask, and he doesn’t say. You both just enjoy each other’s company for a long, quiet moment, his mechanical hind legs giving the occasional, involuntary twitch as he closes his eyes and allows himself to be less than what science and responsibility have made of him, a grey old thing with too many years and too many aches to count, one that needed another’s voice and another’s touch more than he probably could have ever admitted.

Dreams eventually take him while you wait there for the download to finish, but you don’t let that stay your hand. Perhaps in some way your ministrations will ensure that he dreams only of the happier times, of the days when the Vault was full of laughter and his limbs were full of that endless, youthful vigor. As with most things, you can only hope, hope and plan for a future bright enough to chase back the dark shadows of the present day.

> Chapter End
>>
No. 911080 ID: 13110b

Hey, tangent, but, shouldnt we do something with that Mother Bear corpse? Thats like the single beast Os far that has materials that I can see holding up better then anything we could make, including metal.
>>
No. 911081 ID: 13110b

>>911080
*so far
>>
No. 911092 ID: 080aaf

>>911080
Maybe, but we don't have time for it yet if we're to get any of our assets at the vault back in time for the siege.
>>
No. 911103 ID: 5f089f
File 154257397322.gif - (370.64KB , 820x520 , I waited for you.gif )
911103

>>911079
When he wakes up, ask Theodore which way the people of the Vault went, and if they said what Commonwealth/city they would be going towards.
>>
No. 912790 ID: 06095b
File 154380431099.jpg - (617.49KB , 1522x937 , Vault_112_TQ.jpg )
912790

>>911079

NEW THREAD!
>>912788
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