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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.
128 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
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
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.”
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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
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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.
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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.
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No. 912790 ID: 06095b
File 154380431099.jpg - (617.49KB , 1522x937 , Vault_112_TQ.jpg )
912790

>>911079

NEW THREAD!
>>912788
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