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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.
Expand all images
>>
No. 907782 ID: 06095b
File 154014528261.png - (2.31MB , 1600x900 , vault_tec_fallout_general.png )
907782

>>907781

The vault door, you realize, re-doubling your pace until you finally manage to press out into the open again, legs rolling underneath you as you drop from a barely visible crack in the rocks and plant down with a loud splash that has your guides once again cursing while you slosh your way clear. However, granted the loudest thing in the cave right now is their bickering and not the thunder of giant paws padding back your way, you instead turn your vision on the scene in front of you, trying to fit the pieces together.

A mostly pristine vault door bearing the letters “59” stands before you, little more than a touch of rust marring its surface after all these years. Despite this, it looks like a bomb went off in a trailer-like construction not far away, the ground immediately surrounding the vault door itself still covered in scraps of glittering detritus interspersed with the odd bit of cloth or plastic.

What happened here, and where was the- You freeze as you put two and two together. Something had destroyed the vault’s access panel!

> Shit, what now?
> [] The Vault’s camera system and comms are higher up and look intact. Maybe you can make contact with the residents.
> [] You can’t afford to waste time out here. With a little knowhow, you could probably sabotage the Vault’s hydraulic locks from the outside.
> [] Other
>>
No. 907785 ID: e3e99e

>>907782
Contact the residents. That will let you know what kind of horror was unleashed on these hapless victims.

If that doesn't work, you can force the door.
>>
No. 907786 ID: 13110b

>>907782
> [] The Vault’s camera system and comms are higher up and look intact. Maybe you can make contact with the residents.
Mmm, well, the residents might be hostile, but Im willing to risk that seeing as how we're expecting to have to fight eventually anyway, and if they arent, I dont want o get blasted in the face by something when we try to break in. Be sure to check if the cameras are being actively monitored if we can though.
>>
No. 907789 ID: eecec3

>>907782
> [] The Vault’s camera system and comms are higher up and look intact. Maybe you can make contact with the residents.
Did you report the previous thread as completed?
>>
No. 907800 ID: 080aaf

> [] The Vault’s camera system and comms are higher up and look intact. Maybe you can make contact with the residents.
Scout first! You want to know what's behind that door before jamming it open.
>>
No. 907835 ID: 06095b
File 154017085081.jpg - (2.96MB , 6800x5200 , sound.jpg )
907835

>>907800
>>907789
>>907786
>>907785
>>907782

You briefly consider ways to manually unlock the Vault door, but just as swiftly decide against it. Most of those methods would be far too permanent for your liking, and you don’t doubt that the Vault’s residents (if any) likely wouldn’t take kindly to those sorts of modifications being done without their permission.

Fortunately, whatever disaster befell the unlocking platform, it apparently didn’t quite reach up into the rafters above the Vault door. Assuming this place was built up to spec, those should still house the Vault’s external security features, including in most cases both a camera and speaker system. To verify, you release a couple of mildly disgruntled eyebots from your sack, Aria and the Major flying up to scan around either corner while you get to work reengaging your flight unit.

“They’re here!” Aria eventually calls back down.

“Yep!” the Major confirms a second later. “Though there’s no telling if they still work or not. The cave’s been holding water nearby for a while, and these sensors might not have been designed with that much moisture in mind.”

“Well, only one way to find out,” you call back. “Just to be sure, I’d like both of you covering all our avenues of communication. A little Morse code from your lighting fixtures and some controlled audio messaging should work just fine.”

“And if that don’t work?” the Major asks.

“We’ll take it one step at a time. We don’t want to blow the door and risk letting the yao guai in after us or let whatever’s in there out if it’s dangerous.”

“A SANE COURSE OF ACTION,” the voice booms from long unused speakers, a muffled cacophony that has your guides snarling and pawing at their ears. “BUT I-“

There’s a sudden pause and the horrid shriek of metallic feedback loud enough to wake the dead before whoever is on the other end resumes talking.

“Ahem. As I was saying,” comes a much reduced and almost pleasant sounding male voice. “I would prefer that you didn’t do anything drastic. We’re in no situation to go repairing the door should you damage it in any way, and… Well, damnation, I suppose that I’ve given away something vital there, haven’t I…”

“So, will you let us in, then?” Aria questions.

“No need to yell!” comes the voice. “I can hear you just fine from in here! What I can’t do so well is gauge your motives, I’m afraid. Not to be rude, but we don’t get many visitors around here, and it’s my job as Overseer to look out for the welfare of all of those presently housed in this Vault. What assurance can you offer me that your intentions are friendly?”

> What to say?
> Write in
>>
No. 907849 ID: 5f089f

>>907835
"I am the Sara, and I and my sisters are attempting to bring security to the region, and would like your assistance in doing so. We are currently in contact with a still operational RobCo repair shop if you have any robots that need repairs or maintenance.
"As for concrete assurances, there's not much I can provide. What do you suggest?"

Normally we would be cagey about what resources we have at our disposal, but this Vault was listed as having Mr. Handys and so they may need repair, something we could offer.
>>
No. 907923 ID: e3e99e

>>907835
"I am SARA. Your caution is warranted, but my purpose is to aid the residents of the Seattle area.
The exterior console has been destroyed. I wished to ascertain if this vault was occupied before opening the door - I could force it open, but doing so would likely cause it to fail in the open state. As your vault is occupied, that would be an unacceptable outcome.

First, do you know what sort of experiment Vault-Tec was using your vault to conduct?

Second, are you in need of assistance?

Third, there is a rather large mutant bear out here. Should you agree to open the door I would suggest setting up barricades and arming yourselves with high caliber weapons if possible in case its attention is drawn to the sound."
>>
No. 907928 ID: 080aaf

This is the Seattle Automated Response AI! Our purpose here is to coordinate emergency response in the greater Seattle area! Tell me citizen, are you in need of emergency services?
>>
No. 907967 ID: 5f089f

>>907928
Admitting our AI nature may not be wise. We especially don't want it leaking back to the Brotherhood.
>>
No. 908004 ID: e3e99e

>>907967
Alright, then.
"I wanted to know if anyone was home before opening the door, because while I can force it open easily enough, it may not be able to close if I do.
I've found that breaking somebody's front door is typically a poor way to introduce yourself.

I'm looking for trading partners, but it sounds like you have some problems. How about you tell me what's wrong, and I'll see if I have or can obtain something to solve it.

Also, you should know there are giant mutant bears nesting out here, and these vaults are loud when they open. If you intend to open the door at some point you're probably going to want to be ready for a fight."
>>
No. 908018 ID: 06095b
File 154025500663.png - (2.74MB , 1920x1080 , Vault_111.png )
908018

>>908004
>>907967
>>907923
>>907928
>>907849
>>907835

“Well, first things first: my name is SARA,” you begin, weighing the need for secrecy against bargaining power.

“A pleasure to meet you, SARA!” comes the chipper response as you decide to play it cautious. “And if you would, please call me Theodore.”

“Alright. Well, as I was saying, Overseer Theodore-”

“Up-up! Just Theodore, if you please.”

“Alright then. Theodore,” you correct flatly. “You’ll have to understand that I didn’t exactly come all this way carrying explicit proof of my mission, but please take it on good faith that I came from the greater Seattle area as part of my ongoing mission to bring peace back to the region and see to the welfare of its residents.”

“I see,” he says. “I’ll take it then that the world is not entirely at ease currently. Either that or things have been going so marvelously back in the city that even us stragglers all the way out here are now being brought back into the fold.”

“More of the former than the latter, sadly,” you admit. “It’s an ongoing struggle against environmental hazards, raiders, and inertia day-to-day, but the world ‘is’ slowly coming back together. That’s what’s brought me out this far, looking for survivors in need of aid or trading partners willing to conduct business. If helping the former can lead to the latter, so much the better.

“Unfortunately, there’s little I can offer as proof of my intentions other than the fact that I come minimally armed and fully willing to submit to whatever scrutiny you’d care to put me through on the other side of the door. In fact, should you be willing to let me in, I would go so far as to strongly recommend bringing all available personnel forward, weapons drawn, in the event that the yao guai return at the sound of the opening vault.”

“And, just a thought, but were I to let you in, how do you plan to get back out should the bears come back?” he inquires curiously.

> Err, umm… You might need to have a man on the outside.
> [] Leave Aria. She’s good with animals.
> [] Leave Major. He’s got the best strategic head for planning an evac.
> [] Other
>>
No. 908019 ID: 080aaf

> [] Leave Aria. She’s good with animals.
She can rally the radcoons against the teeming yao guai hordes! Besides, you need the Major on the inside more.
>>
No. 908032 ID: 5f089f

>>908018
> [] Leave Aria. She’s good with animals.
And we're all networked; it's not like we can't just swap Eyebots if we need to.
>>
No. 908080 ID: 06095b
File 154033881592.png - (270.91KB , 792x711 , Fo3_Enclave_eyebot.png )
908080

>>908018
>>908019
>>908032

“Aria.”

“Yeah?”

“I want you to stay out here while we go in the Vault. We might need somebody on the outside to run additional distractions for us when it comes time to leave. At the very least, having an extra eye on the outside can’t hurt.”

“Roger,” she says, and then in the peer-to-peer relay. “If there are puppies, though, I get to borrow the DAVID for a bit to play with them.”

“We’ll see.”

“Hmph! Razzle, frazzle…”
You can sense the disappointment as the globe totters off in a funk, only then realizing that with Aria’s reduced capabilities, she probably can’t be in two places at once. At the same time, you still think you may have made the right decision. After all, you don’t really want her getting her hopes up that the scene you find inside of the Vault will be some sort of family friendly puppy corral.

This is a Vault come the end of the day, and the person on the other end of the line, Theodore, while he might seem… well, normal, that fact alone has alarm bells ringing in the back of your head.

“Theodore?” Still, you came out here for a reason, and you won’t figure out anything else on this side of the door.

“Yes?”

“You mentioned that you were having difficulties with repairs, right?”

“Well, we certainly wouldn’t be in a position to go repairing the door mechanism were you to break it!”

“I know, I know. I promise that thought went out the window the second we realized there were people still inside. All the same, I imagine that you’ve been having a fair amount of difficulties with upkeep given the age of most of your systems.” Especially if you were the first person to make contact. “As part of my parlay for entry, I’d be happy to take a look around and tune up what I can. That may not be much depending on the materials at hand, but failing that, I have contacts at the RobCo facility back in the city proper that I’d be happy to put you in touch with.”

“Really!?” The man can’t hold back a burst of excitement. “I mean: hmm. Yes. Our maintenance staff has been running a bit short on spare parts, lately. In exchange, I’m sure we can find something around here they’d accept as trade. But what, though…”

He trails off in a voice almost too quiet to hear.

“Clean water? No, no. I’m sure they’ve figured out that much… I don’t imagine the going price on kibble is too impressive, though… Maybe eggs? Fish? Fish eggs?”
>>
No. 908081 ID: 06095b
File 154033891653.png - (2.31MB , 1600x900 , vault_tec_fallout_general.png )
908081

>>908080

“Theodore,” you interject, “as much as I don’t want to rush negotiations, we only have so long before the bears come back around and we lose the option of meeting face-to-face, altogether.”

“We’re all clear for now!” Aria informs you from her position hovering over the door.

“You’re quite right… Hmm… Now, which button was it?”

A siren goes off and lights flash, air hissing outward in multiple jets as latches and deadbolts untouched for years are pried loose. It’s louder than your entry into the cave, that’s for damn sure, loud enough to where your guides are soon huddling on the ground with tails tucked between their legs and paws over ears, and that’s before the pistons even kick in, some unseen apparatus inside pulling the door inward in a din of steel sliding over cement before the whole, great cog begins spinning away and out of sight.

“Pardon the mess,” comes Theodore’s voice, over the intercoms, the internal ones now audible along with the external as you walk forward into the light. “It’s been some time, and we haven’t exactly been expecting company.”

“Remember you told them to be ready to shoot,” Major reminds you as the initial glare of light gives way to a stairwell before you. “Best be ready for that eventuality.”

“It’ll be fine,” you assure the paranoid machine, turning off your external audio receptors as the door behind you now rumbles its way closed. “We’ve done nothing to antagonize these people, and in the worst case where they antagonize ‘us’.”

You subtly indicate your pile bunker but have no immediate occasion to use it as the next landing comes fully into view, the Vault security office from the looks of it, or at least, the facilities for it. The plexiglass windowed booths, the weapons lockup, everything is there, except the people who should be manning it.

“Where is everyone?” you question, first to yourself and then to the ceiling.

“Off-duty at the moment,” Theodore informs you, “but if you would be so kind as to discard your weapons at the door, I’ll be more than happy to buzz you through.”

> What to do?
> [] Comply.
> [] Refuse.
> [] Other
>>
No. 908085 ID: 080aaf

> [] Comply.
You're in a robot, you're never completely disarmed. Also you offered this as proof of your intentions, so followthrough is mandatory.
>>
No. 908097 ID: 5f089f

>>908081
>[] Comply
And remind them that the laser on the Eyebot is integral and can't be removed.
>>
No. 908161 ID: 06095b
File 154043055801.jpg - (38.89KB , 720x480 , eyebot2.jpg )
908161

>>908085
>>908097
>>908081

“Fine,” you agree, moving to disengage your freshly reattached pilebunker despite the Major’s objections. “If it will make you feel more comfortable, I’m more than happy to leave my detachable arms in the security room. However, some components (like the eyebot’s built-in laser weapon) are things I won’t be able to remove.”

“Understandable,” Theodore responds. “Because of that, might I suggest leaving your eyebot to see to your assets while we have our discussion? I promise you they’ll be safe enough from any prying fingers regardless, but this might provide us both a bit of added security.”

To your surprise, the Major doesn’t immediately reject this idea.

“Unsecured computers,” the Major says simply over the relay, mentally pointing out the three derelict units behind the plexiglass booths. “Plus, this’ll keep me within spitting distance of the exit in case we need to vamoose.”

“Also acceptable,” you inform the overseer.

“Well, then. That should be that.” The reinforced door exiting the security office opens with a gentle whoosh, a short hallway greeting you on the other side with what appears to be rows of shower spigots on either side. “If you’ll kindly step through the decontamination zone, we’ll be able to let you into the vault proper.”

You don’t bother raising your suspicions over this one. You just take a patient, internalized breath and begin a casual walk through the almost pleasant mist, wasteland dust and grime peeling off of you and leaving your various plates slightly shiny as you emerge on the other side.
>>
No. 908162 ID: 06095b
File 154043060072.png - (118.80KB , 640x640 , silvershroud.png )
908162

>>908161

“Now then, SARA,” comes the voice over the intercom. “Welcome to Vault 59!”

The grand pronouncement echoes as the door shuts behind you and lights flicker on in the common area, the electricity struggling to remember how to work for a moment before it kicks on in earnest to reveal the atrium: a modest thing by vault standards, and one as eerily empty as it is pristine.

“Now, now. Please don’t doddle,” Theodore implores. “Come up to my office! It’s up the stairs to your right or left. The door’s open!”

You have no trouble seeing the overseer’s office from where you stand nor the vague silhouette of what must be Theodore as he removes his hand from the intercom. However, curiosity holds your pace at something approaching lethargy as you stall for time.

After all, Vaults didn’t just empty themselves and the means by which they did so typically weren’t very gentle. There might be signs of a struggle somewhere, an uprising or a mutiny, and if so, you had to know that before going into this meeting.

So, as footsteps ring out over deafening silence, stirring dust not moved in an age, your eyes are busy scanning every corner of every surface your nightvision can illuminate, combing residence after darkened, empty residence’s entryway for any sign of bloodshed or a possible struggle.

However, all you can see are perfectly usable domiciles inexplicably left to the mercy of time, not a bullet hole or burn mark on any wall or doorway that might indicate a struggle. It’s the sort of bizarre thing that you are going to need an answer for and knowing no better source of answers in this case, you finally stop stalling and power your way up the last, creaking steps to the embossed door of the overseer.

“Come in, come in!” a voice insists from the other side with a laugh. “I swear, I don’t bite!”

You take a mental breath and open that door ready for anything, ready in-truth for something unimaginably horrible. What you find instead is… a dog? An old mutt looks at you from a swivel chair, his long snout split in a grin and his tongue lolling as he breathes in a way that make his tiny spectacles bounce in front of his eyes.

“Ah, and here we are!” the fluid filled dome above the dog’s head pulsates with a greenish light, limning the brain inside in a pulsing rhythm as the hound’s tail begins wagging excitedly. “Ms. SARA, a pleasure to finally meet you face-to-face!”

> Well, then…
> Write-in
>>
No. 908164 ID: 080aaf

How goes the grand experiment, overseer?
>>
No. 908172 ID: 5f089f

>>908162
"Huh. I knew that there were experiments with dogs here, and that the FEV shipment didn't arrive so you would have been spared that, but I...well, funnily enough, I *did* expect a dog to be Overseer, but I didn't expect you to have utilized a RoboBrain interface. Or is that a CyberDog chassis?"
>>
No. 908197 ID: e3e99e

>>908162
"Well, I suppose I'll get the obvious question out of the way. Almost all the vaults turned out to be horrific experiments that make one question if the old world had even been worth saving, so what was this one?"
>>
No. 908274 ID: 06095b
File 154051253924.jpg - (229.76KB , 512x512 , Cyberdog_poster.jpg )
908274

>>908162
>>908164
>>908172
>>908197

“Likewise,” you offer, not letting this latest development throw you for a loop as you politely take a seat opposite your host, your legs nowhere near reaching the floor due to the David’s short stature but Theodore remaining respectfully silent.

In fact, neither of you says anything for an awkward moment as you both sit there, one bizarre oddity trying to size up the other.

“So, um…. glad to see you’re taking this all in stride, then….” Theodore finally comments, a mechanical front paw scratching at his snout before stiffly returning to his side.

“Honestly?” You answer with a shrug. “You’re only about the fourth strangest thing I’ve seen this week. I’ll file it somewhere behind the walking dead, a genetically engineered dragon, and an entire clan of raccoons armed with shotguns.”

Theodore’s ears perk up at that, but you cut him off with a raised hand.

“I could go on and on about how weird the world outside has gotten, and trust me, I will. However, there are certain things that we need to discuss first, things that we have to get off the table.”


“And those would be?” he inquires.

“The fact that we both know this vault wasn’t built out of the goodness of Vault-Tech’s heart, that at its core, it wasn’t designed as a shelter for people or animals but as a sort of lab meant to conduct a very particular kind of study. Not just this place, mind you, every -single- vault that we know of was designed with some sort of twisted experiment at its center, one usually known only to its overseer, and sometimes not even them.

“What I want to know is what this vault originally set out to achieve, how close they got, and what the moral cost was. Your answers will have a significant impact on whether or not we can conduct business, and for obvious reasons, the empty vault doesn’t fill me with a lot of confidence. Still, I’m willing to hear you out, something I have a feeling is only possible due to the nature of whatever experiments were going on here.”
>>
No. 908275 ID: 06095b
File 154051263072.png - (2.81KB , 245x206 , dog.png )
908275

>>908274

“Yes, um… Quite… But where to begin?” A soft whine escapes the back of his throat as he pauses to think. “You see, the original purpose of this vault (as you suspected) was the creation of a more intelligent breed of canine, one capable of the sort of higher thought processes more often thought of as the sole province of humanity.

“To achieve this goal, many options were considered, some riskier than others, and of the over 190 initially proposals, eventually just three were selected for final implementation into the vault. Those included selective breeding, gene therapy, and prenatally induced symbiogenesis.”

“Run that last one by me again.”

“Essentially, a special genetically engineered bacterium was injected directly into the brains of various canine embryos with the end goal being the regulated production of an enzyme whose basic neurological effect would be the equivalent of what you would likely know as Mentats.”

“And so, I take it the latter proved to be a success, then,” you conjecture.

“Oh no,” Theodore says in a grave tone. “Every last one of the intended recipients of that treatment died. At best, the unlucky test subject would be born shaking uncontrollably, the victim of an unrelenting assault of seizures until its motor neurons finally fried themselves out completely.”

“Then, how are you-“

“While the initial results for the intended recipients was death, a form of crosspollination occurred unseen in the mothers which resulted in a more stable form of the desired mutation. Quite unexpectedly, this trait would lie dormant for several generations before becoming apparent in their descendants, albeit with a greatly diminished overall effect with regards to increased intelligence.

“I… Well, I suppose you could call me a mutant branch of that mutant tree, a finished product if not the only finished product to come out of so much pain and suffering. It’s by dint of that fact that I eventually inherited the title of overseer from the last human overseer somewhere in the ballpark of fifty years ago, and from there… Well, the ravages of time are cruel on a body rarely meant to see thirteen years, let alone thirty. Now, as I approach nearly twice that number, some ‘prosthetics’ have proved necessary.”

He sits up a bit straighter, head cocking slightly as he regards your unknowable expression.

“I do hope that answers all of your questions.”

> Does it?
> Write-in
>>
No. 908277 ID: 5f089f

>>908275
>Some more questions
"I see. Are there any other occupants and/or survivors, canine or human?"
>>
No. 908303 ID: 080aaf

Who assisted you with the augments? Robots?
Does the vault have a viable population remaining?
Did this mental mentats process somehow leak to the outside of the vault, spawning these radcoons?
>>
No. 908330 ID: e3e99e

>>908275
"First and foremost, how many survivors are left? I can fix the vault's systems, but that isn't going to do you any good if you can't maintain the staff required to run those systems in the first place."
>>
No. 908333 ID: fa6e4a

Since he said “only finished product” and “last human Overseer” I don’t think there are any dogs or humans left.
>>
No. 908404 ID: 06095b
File 154059540361.jpg - (462.90KB , 1909x1570 , raccoon.jpg )
908404

>>908275
>>908277
>>908303
>>908330
>>908333

“Not quite, Theodore. Now, when you say that you’re ‘the only finished product’ that came out of the vault experiment, what exactly does that mean? Are you saying that there are no other occupants in the vault besides yourself anymore, and if so, how did that comes to pass?”

“Oh dear,” the hound whines. “I fear I may have given you the wrong impression with that comment. You see-”

Before he can finish that thought, the blare of a siren floods the office, orange hazard lights revolving in previously unseen sockets as an automated voice begins intoning over the intercoms:

“ALERT! ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT! RESIDENTS OF LEVEL 2 ARE ADVISED TO TAKE COVER UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE! REPEAT! ALERT! ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!”

“Oh dear…”

Theodore repeats himself as his paws fumble at the console in front of him, a monitor nearby flickering to life and flying through a dozen channels before he finally settles on what must be the source of the disturbance.

“Ah, shit. We forgot about the damn trash pandas!” Major informs you, the other AI apparently catching wind of the incident about as quickly as you do from whatever access point he’s managed to seize.

Whether he’s seeing the exact same thing that you’re seeing remains up for debate, but you don’t bother wasting the time to confirm anything as the image of what appears to be two raccoons with teeth bared and grenade launchers in hand fills both you and the overseer with what can most charitably be described as a profound sense of discomfort.

“We need to go!” you inform him, but the old dog is already on the move, his paw jamming against an access panel and opening a hallway before his mechanical legs send him sprinting out of sight.
>>
No. 908405 ID: 06095b
File 154059557939.jpg - (1.67MB , 1920x1080 , Grass_Field.jpg )
908405

>>908404

“Little assholes!” you murmur to yourself. “Where the hell did they even get those from!?”

Maybe they crawled into an airduct and found an armory. Maybe they threw together some scrap and wishful thinking and decided today was a good day to give you a heart attack. Whatever the case may be, the answer isn’t important enough to slow your feet as you bolt down two flights of stairs after the overseer and immediately join him in a mad sprint over a wide-open space.

A part of your brain wants to immediately stop you right then and there, to challenge the sense of vertigo that hits home as a tremendous field of grass rolling out to all sides fills your vision, but the roiling throng of furry bodies that Theodore is running toward and, more pressingly, the two terrified figures who appear to be trying to hold a hilltop in the middle of it, takes precedence.

If you can just get to those idiots before they fire anything off…

“Chitter-chitter! Chitter-chitter-chitter!” comes the angry battle cry, a trill of pure defiance against the barking horde of what to them must look like predators.
“No!” you realize. “No, NO, NO!”

KA-CHUNK!

The first grenade flies off when you’re halfway there, followed in quick succession by another, then another as the terrified rodents- Are those fucking tennis ball?

The sound of igniting gunpowder seems to have not been fated for today as you manage to zoom in on one of the dreaded projectiles from your associate’s pilfered weapons, an object too round and green to be any conventional grenade and light enough for an over-excited dog to catch between its teeth long before it had any hope of hitting the ground.

> You… You are going to…
> [] Take a deep breath and get ready for some explanations.
> [] Cut their furry butts off and make hats out of them!
> [] Other
>>
No. 908410 ID: db18d9

>>908405
> [] Take a deep breath and get ready for some explanations
>[] Theodore, you wouldn’t by chance understand the chittering language of raccoons, or perhaps the scientists here developed a means of translating animal languages to human ones?
>>
No. 908411 ID: 080aaf

> [] Cut their furry butts off and make hats out of them!
Ooh, I do like hats.
>>
No. 908461 ID: 06095b
File 154065125747.jpg - (138.68KB , 1280x720 , Grass_Field2.jpg )
908461

>>908405
>>908410
>>908411

You don’t stop in your efforts to reach the troublemakers, not yet anyhow. You do, however, take the time to grab a few deep breaths mentally and take better stock of your situation, your surroundings in-particular.

What originally you had thought may have been a trick of your panicked brain or at least a trick on Vault Tech’s part to make the area seem more natural is in fact what it seemed, a field of plush, green grass giving way beneath your feet and stretching out a hundred yards in any given direction beneath the light of an artificial sky.

Here and there, the landscape does deviate, rolling up with hills or down into furrows, the pure green occasionally broken up by splashes of brown mud and the appearance of structures which might be obstacle courses or small, artificial forests. It’s a paradise of sorts, the vast field ringed in what appear to be scientific facilities or small domiciles fit for one or more canine occupants.

Perhaps that’s where the majority of the Vault’s residents yet reside if you’re lucky, though there’s nearly twenty-five excited hounds of various breeds excitedly bounding around your companions as it is. Tails wagging, rotating and shoving one another as they crowd in close, they still keep a bit of distance from the two increasingly confused and apparently not-so well-armed assailants, balls flying from their implements with increased rapidity only seeming to further excite the assembled horde.

Eventually, they click down on empty, their ammunition spent, leaving yourself and Theodore just enough time to make your way to the outside of the throng and for the old dog to turn a meaningful look your way. In response, you just sigh.

“Get them out of here,” you order, pressing aside a shepherd and a husky as you push your way inward. “Otherwise, I have the feeling they’ll do something really stupid.”
>>
No. 908462 ID: 06095b
File 154065136994.jpg - (20.94KB , 540x432 , whistle.jpg )
908462

Something really stupid comes about three seconds later as you see the launchers themselves take flight into the crowd and hear the tell-tale snick of knives being drawn from their sheathes. Fortunately, it’s at that point that you are only one furball short of breaking through the inner ring.

“No,” you state simply, the two raccoons looking at you with pleading expressions as they remain poised for a counter-attack.

“Chitter-chitter-ch-”

You deftly wrangle each of them by the scruff and unceremoniously slam their heads together, doing so a couple more times until they think better of trying to stab you to get free. It also doesn’t hurt matters that the high-pitched trill of a whistle begins blaring over the intercoms, forcing the little rats to cover their ears.

Just for good measure, you give them one more smack and then turn your attention to the surrounding hounds who have seemingly frozen in place.

PEET! PEET! PRR-EET!

Somewhere in the distance, a bell clangs, and the dogs immediately bound out of sight, tails wagging and muzzles baying as something new and exciting catches their undivided attention.

“Dinner time?” you question, looking to Theodore.

“Why, yes,” the cyberdog admits, apparently immune to the whistle or the bell. “An excellent guess. Now, what should we do about these two?”

“Not much.” You roughly place each one back down on its feet, the two shaking their fur indignantly. “After all, pretty sure that after this, they’re both going to be back on their best behavior. Aren’t they?”

“Chatter-cha-” the larger one begins to object.

“AREN’T THEY?” you insist, looming over them with all three feet of your height until they politely put away their knives.

“My word, do they speak English?” Theodore inquires.

“No,” you sigh, “and that’s part of the problem. You wouldn’t happen to have some sort of human to raccoon translator, would you?”

“If only it were that simple,” Theodore says, shaking his head. “You see, we do have vocalizers, devices that convert thought into the specific phonemes of human language, but without the actual knowledge of how to speak English, it would be rather useless. At best, you’d get them making twice the noise with half as much sense.”
>>
No. 908463 ID: 06095b
File 154065142621.jpg - (177.70KB , 669x404 , pipboy_3000_inspired_pepakura_by_ilikecheezes.jpg )
908463

“Not surprised,” you admit. “Still, that’s rather impressive technology. Speaking of which, were those dogs wearing PipBoys?”

You hadn’t had much time to notice things as you plied your way through the crowd, but one thing that has stuck out was what appeared to be a familiar display screen balanced between each set of canine shoulders.

“You mean the PupBoys?” Theodore questions.

Of course, they went for the pun.

“They’re standard issue for all Vault residents,” he explains, “and do everything from monitoring vitals to dispensing treats. They also dispense orders, but… Well, the younger ones don’t always listen to them.”

“So, just like a normal PipBoy,” you say. “I wonder if it also has VATS…”

“Ah, Vault-Tec Assisted Targetting,” Theodore recites. “I’m afraid due to our lack of thumbs, that simply wasn’t much of a priority in the PupBoy development. We do, however, have something called TAIL: the Tactical Avoidance, Initiation, and Logistics planner.”

“The Old World did love their acronyms…”

“In any case, you’ve seen the Vault, now, and seen its residents, such as they are. I’m more eager to discuss the terms of a trade agreement than anything else, personally, but I realize that you likely have many more questions that need answers before then. Do your worst, and I promise that I’ll do my best.”

> What now?
> [] You do have more questions. About what?
> [] The Major is indicating two more layers that you haven’t seen yet, the lab and an agricultural layer.
> [] You want to know more about the current residents.
> [] Other
>>
No. 908467 ID: 5f089f

>>908463
> [] You want to know more about the current residents.
> [] let us know when it's playtime; Aria wants to play with the puppies.
>>
No. 908469 ID: 5f089f

>>908463
>>908467
> [] Other: Did any of the other intelligence enhancement projects show promise, such as Mentat Dog Chow? We know a dog that could use a mental boost.
>>
No. 908496 ID: 080aaf

> [] The Major is indicating two more layers that you haven’t seen yet, the lab and an agricultural layer.
> [] You want to know more about the current residents.
If you have working robots or even spare parts, we are very much interested in them.
>>
No. 908549 ID: e3e99e

>>908496
They seem to lack humans.
We can supply thumbs and skilled labor.

Also, this would be a pretty damn good place for the non-combatants to hole up when shit goes down.
>>
No. 908555 ID: 626bba

>>908549
You know, except for the multiple yao guai that live here that need to be cleared out, and the miles of broken road with wandering ghouls and other yao guai, the river without a bridge, and the forest between here and the Metro.
>>
No. 908577 ID: 13110b

>>908463
> [] You want to know more about the current residents.
How many residents are they, and are they in good health?
> [] You do have more questions. About what?
Hows the food situation? They mentioned fish, AND trade earlier, and honestly, a steady food supply, however meagre, would be a great start.
Are there any tools or machines left Usable? We want to fix a lot of things and that would really help.
>>
No. 908656 ID: 06095b
File 154077580332.jpg - (51.37KB , 430x400 , 9MC0evc.jpg )
908656

>>908577
>>908549
>>908496
>>908469
>>908467
>>908463

“I imagine that isn’t everyone just now,” you remark offhandedly.

In fact, you can already see some other dogs bounding out of their homes and toward the dinner bell in a great, hungry wave.

“So, how many would you guess are housed in this vault in total? What’s more, how many Mr. Handy’s and other robots do you have running around and what state of repair are they in?”

“Hmm… The last full census we took of our general population showed a grand total of six-hundred thirteen canines with a roster of a little over seventy Mr. Handy’s on staff providing medical services, companionship, oversight, cooking, cleaning, and repairs as best as they’re able.

“The original staff size was meant to be double that, mind you, not including the human science and engineering teams who were originally supposed to provide the bulk of the upkeep for the facilities. As you might imagine, that’s meant quite a lot of hardship and sacrifices having to be made in other areas to keep bare necessities running, particularly with regards to the scientific facilities and the now derelict upper level. However, with a careful paw on the helm and several sleepless nights of planning, the pain has yet to be significantly felt by the vault’s population, not that you’d likely hear any of them complaining one way or the other.”

“I see. I imagine that for a vault of at least partial carnivores, diet is probably one of the more pressing issues. In light of that and the intelligence mutation they’ve undergone, do they need some sort of special dietary supplement?”

“You aren’t wrong on the former,” he informs you, “but as for the latter, not really. At least, there’s nothing that they would need that doesn’t come provided in their typical diet of whole grains, vegetables, chicken, and fish.”

“Wait, chicken and fish.” Now seems as good a time to segue as any. “I do recall you saying that you would be willing to consider trade in eggs and fish for what you needed, but any canned stuff would have to have gone bad years ago, wouldn’t it?”

“Was I thinking out loud?” he questions. “A dreadful habit, really, one you unfortunately develop when you haven’t had anyone to really talk to in the better part of a century. However, that is the gist of it, yes. We have something of an entire layer devoted to just agriculture. I just didn’t want to bore you shepherding you around a farm. After all, I’m sure you’ve got plenty of those back up on the surface.”

> What to do?
> [] Explain to him exactly how valuable healthy plants and animals are.
> [] Deny nothing for now. Negotiations will be easier if he doesn’t know the exact value of the things he’s trading.
> [] Other
>>
No. 908660 ID: 080aaf

>>908656
>Well, I'm not saying it's a blasted nuclear hellscape that never truly recovered from the war up there, but people mostly live in the urban areas now, so there's not much arable land.
Trading livestock will have to wait, but the Metro will definitely be interested in it. Assuming they don't die of radiation/mutate into basilisks the second they hit topside.
>>
No. 908662 ID: 5f089f

>>908656
>[]Other: As you can imagine, large swathes of what was once prime farmland has been irradiated and is still unusable, so while we've got plenty to eat, non-irradiated foodstuffs still have their value. Certain plants didn't take to the new climate, as you can imagine.
Don't outright lie (as that would hurt future negotiations), but don't tell him "OMG gib fuds plz". Remember that we have to consider the long-term business relationship, not just short-term profits.
Just let him know that enough food's getting grown that people aren't going hungry so food won't get him a lot of caps, but certain items might fetch him a good price because they aren't getting grown anymore.
>>
No. 908700 ID: e3e99e

>>908656
I'm thinking we should roll their entire vault into our portfolio as a settlement.
We have people, they need people.
They have a heavily secured facility with fresh food, we have people.
The Overseer seems amicable enough, and has been doing as best a job as can be expected. They should continue in that role.

This could turn out very, very well.
>>
No. 908717 ID: 06095b
File 154084798974.jpg - (481.50KB , 1200x690 , cornucopia-fruits-veggies-1200x690.jpg )
908717

>>908656
>>908700
>>908662
>>908660

“As you can imagine, large swathes of what was once prime farmland have been irradiated and are still unusable. What’s more, even those areas clear of direct contamination from bombing or waste spillage are even now still generally affected to some extent. That hasn’t so much meant a famine than that agricultural methods have had to evolve around the changing soil conditions.

“In general, they have. I’ll even go so far as to say that people tend to have plenty to eat, but non-irradiated foodstuffs will still have their value almost anywhere, especially if those are plants or animals that weren’t robust enough to survive the mass contamination of the environment.”

“I see…” Theodore muses. “That’s all very useful information to have. Still, I wouldn’t imagine you could tell me the cost of a chicken in dollars and cents versus the corresponding cost of sprockets, circuit boards, and lubricants.”

“That’s very much going to vary from place to place,” you inform him, “and while I could give you a price from the nearest settlement via radio in a couple of minutes, I’m afraid that wouldn’t do much good given the logistical issues of transporting whatever you’re sending through several miles of wilderness and unfriendly territory.”

“Unfriendly…?”

> What to do?
> [] Tell him about the Lurkers.
> [] Tell him not to worry about it. You plan on sorting that problem out shortly.
> [] Other
>>
No. 908724 ID: 3674e7

>>908717
You may want to tell him that they no longer use old world money (dollars and cents) anymore out there, instead they use bottle caps.
>>
No. 908727 ID: dc78c1

>>908717
> [] Tell him about the Lurkers
Mostly as an example of the lawlessness that is out in the Wastes.
>[] Other: also tell him about the wild animals and ghouls. And to be careful of anyone identifying themselves as members of the United States Government and the Enclave.
>>
No. 908730 ID: 2a7417

> [] Tell him about the Lurkers
The point of coming out here was to hopefully have something to show in the fight against them, if he can sic cyberdogs on the raiders then so much the better.
Also, old world money still has a value in caps.
>>
No. 908767 ID: 06095b
File 154085809582.png - (339.81KB , 640x653 , The_Wasteland_Survival_Guide.png )
908767

>>908730
>>908727
>>908724
>>908717

You sigh, realizing that this is going to take a while but also acknowledging that this may be the most important thing that you can do for Theodore during your short visit to the vault. And so, you don’t cut corners. You tell him everything you presently know about the dangers of the wastes, be they human, animal, mutant, or machine.

Frankly, the catalogue of “horrifying things that will kill you” had gotten even longer than what you suspected, dogs finishing up their suppers and gathering around in a circle as you struggle to let everything out in one coherent stream of consciousness without falling off on a tangent when the curious overseer inevitably asks clarifying questions. At least he doesn’t appear outwardly disheartened by any one thing you say. Given his species, it might just be more difficult to tell, but it seems to you that rather than becoming shell-shocked as you pile up each new piece of information, he instead becomes more thoughtful, calculating even as you go through ghouls, mirelurks, yao guai, and thunderbirds to eventually settle on the more complex issues of the raider colony presently occupying the shortest path between your allies and his homestead.

“So, I take it that they’re the present source of your regional dispute, then?” he conjectures with regards to the Lurkers.

“That’s about the size of it,” you admit, “but they’re far from the only threat in the region even if we just stick to the things on two legs.”

“As you’ve mentioned,” he affirms, “but in light of that, I can’t help but think that your intentions in coming here may have had less to do with fulfilling your role as a good Samaritan or seeking out unlikely trading partners and more to do with acquiring additional resources for when things inevitably come to blows with these uncouth individuals, likely in the near future.”

You hadn’t actually mentioned the firefight that was about to happen.

“Far be it from me to judge you for taking practical measures, of course,” he clarifies, raising a paw disarmingly. “You don’t seem the sort to resort to violence unless it’s strictly necessary from everything you’ve said. At the same time some things are simply inevitable, and I have to know: What do you expect from us?”

> That is the question… And a thousand curious eyes and wet noses look on as you weigh your answer.
> [] You need soldiers, plain and simple.
> [] Your plans changed when you realized the Vault was still tenanted.
> [] Other
>>
No. 908782 ID: 5f089f

>>908767
> [] Your plans changed when you realized the Vault was still tenanted.
> []Other: "I was originally hoping for some Mr. Handy's, and I'll admit, cyberhounds of the Mk II and Mk III line that could be convinced to fight for us, but you're civilians. I don't to put you in harm's way. Especially as even though I have the necessary medical files, I haven't the number of Autodocs needed to handle battle casualties."
>>
No. 908791 ID: 13110b

>>908782
This. Not that we'd say no to any individual volunteers if they were interested, but right now, were probably going to be looking for help of the non personnel variety.
On another note, given what he's said about their food situation, and theyre need of hands, maybe we could set something up between them and the raccoons? They seem handy enough if we could set up a clear dialogue.
>>
No. 908792 ID: 13110b

>>908791
Oh wait, if this was a breeding and experimentation facility, they must have at least some medical equipment here right, maybe some supplies too? Assuming we could blaze a trail, maybe they'd allow us to set up something of a hospital here, in return for fresh hands and trade?
>>
No. 908804 ID: 080aaf

> [] You need soldiers, plain and simple.
That would seem to mean the radcoons rather than the dogs, though.
>>
No. 908878 ID: e3e99e

>>908782
Agreed.
However, I would also point out that this place is secure, and being able to station people who are incapable of defending themselves here would help to reduce the risk of loss of life.

We have eyebots we can use to ferry people here in small numbers - likely one at a time in the middle of the night - so transporting civilians would be slow, but safe.

Also, it is literally your function to protect and assist the residents of the greater Seattle area. It is antithetical to your very identity to cause needless harm, with exceptions made for entities that seek to harm your residents. These uplifted dogs are people, and thus residents. Unless they turned to raiding or otherwise sought to threaten the lives of residents, you would be no less obligated to ensure their wellbeing.
>>
No. 908887 ID: 06095b
File 154089738543.png - (323.79KB , 687x693 , Mister_Gutsy.png )
908887

>>908767
>>908782
>>908791
>>908792
>>908804
>>908878

“I was originally hoping for some Mr. Handy's, and I'll admit, cyberhounds of the Mk II and Mk III line that could be convinced to fight for us, but as far as I can tell, you're all civilians. It would be unethical for me to ask any of you to put yourselves in harm's way on behalf of people you’ve never even met.

“Mind you, I wouldn’t necessarily say no if anyone here was interested in volunteering their support, but that would come with the major caveat that right now, even though I have the necessary medical files on hand, I simply don’t have what I need in terms of Autodocs to handle battle casualties should they arise. That would mean that volunteers who are injured out in the field might die out there in the field with no one to help them, something that normally would put an end to any discussion of cooperation, bar none.

“As things stand now, though… Well, I simply don’t have the luxury of turning down a spare hand, paw, or mandible offered in earnest, but I’ll be damned if I operate in bad faith by not making the risks absolutely clear from the get-go!”

With all of that off your chest, the world falls to silence, nothing but the unavoidable sound of panting muzzles, swishing tails, and the occasional tinkling of a collar ringing out for several seconds before Theodore responds.

“Hmm… Well put…” he confirms, tail striking a slow, steady metronome behind him as his brow furrows in concentration. “Well put, indeed… Can I assume then that you are the pre-War AI meant to watch over Seattle?”

> Clever boy…
> [] There’s no sense denying it.
> [] What makes him think that?
> [] Outright denial.
> [] Other
>>
No. 908888 ID: 080aaf

> [] What gave it away? The robot chassis? The acroname? the fact our eyebots can talk?
>>
No. 908898 ID: 892d14

>>908887
> [] There’s no sense denying it.
> [] What makes him think that?
"Really, what gave it away? I was trying for the 'talented hacker living in a Vault with Old World Values using robots to explore the Wasteland' act since AI's aren't exactly trusted out there."
>>
No. 908945 ID: 13110b

>>908887
> [] There’s no sense denying it.
> [] What makes him think that?
You really are a smart one. You'd probably be surprised how few humans even suspect, let alone ask.
>>
No. 908946 ID: 06095b
File 154093951660.jpg - (48.96KB , 640x353 , sat-ai-head-640x353.jpg )
908946

>>908898
>>908888
>>908887

“I might be,” you admit, “but what in particular makes you think that?”

In truth, you hadn’t been trying that hard to keep yourself anonymous, but it’s also not the most likely conclusion he could have drawn given the evidence.

“Well,” he begins. “I imagined at first that it was your intention to imply that you were ‘the’ SARA given you specifically addressed yourself as such, but for no initially obvious reason, you refrained from making an outright declaration of it. That, to my mind, was curious. Of course, had you said it outright from the beginning, I likely wouldn’t have believed you, but that’s something any competent con artist would likely well have known to steer clear of.

“The second thing such a person also likely would have known was the unique robotic courier for the SARA substations was the DAVID unit. However, finding a limited edition prewar vintage model to go with the improbable act and what’s more, maintaining it with a severe deficit of available spares, would have not only been extremely difficult but remote control made nearly impossible by the extra layer of precision controls required for articulation of the robotic fingers. To the best of my notice, you haven’t spared any complex hand motions or postural flourishes in our discussion, something that for a human operator would require specially made haptics and hours of practice to achieve.

“The final piece, other than your general expression of concern for the ongoing fate of this region and apparent newness to it all, is your voice.”

“My voice?” you question.

“Quite. You see, you likely haven’t noticed it yourself, but the linguistic software that you use to generate your voice uses predominantly monosyllabic soundbites put through a tonal syncing algorithm that makes your speech appear continuous and natural. It’s similar in almost every respect to what allows me to articulate my own thoughts, but in that regard, it shares the same general flaw.

“To put it simply, the technicians involved in clipping those soundbites were not terribly thorough, at least not to my ears which, granted, may be sharper than most. Microphone and other background noises haven’t been entirely cleaned from certain bites and the chop at the beginning and end of discrete packages are noticeable if you know what you are listening for, and trust me, I’ve had nothing but the sound of my own voice to listen to for quite some time.

“In any case, this all leaves me with two possible conclusions. Either you are a human in possession of a limited pre-war paramilitary robot with an abnormal speech impediment, abnormal knowledge of the pre-war era, abnormal skill in operating said machine, and a strangely generous mission aimed toward the benefit of your fellow man or you are some form of machine intelligence of surpassing complexity. Either way, I wouldn’t exactly mind being of what assistance I can.”

He offers you an open muzzle smile after a brief shake of his head, clearly pleased with this little mental exercise as he waits for your response.
>>
No. 908947 ID: 06095b
File 154093957150.jpg - (5.12MB , 3765x2500 , dog_armor.jpg )
908947

>>908946

“So, what now?” you ask.

“If these people are really as bad off as you intimated, and I can trust your moral judgement as to which side to stand on, which I hope I can, then it would be just as irresponsible for us to leave them to their fate as it would be to pursue any directly terminal course of action for ourselves. To that end, I would be willing to commit some of our population to the task of triage for the coming engagement with a much smaller number specifically sent for the purpose of engaging the enemy and undermining their efforts via espionage.”

“Espionage?” you question. “Really?”

As if on queue, the sound of dying stealth boys fills the air, a group of six armed and armored huskies materializing in the center of the circle as if by magic, their bodies firmly at attention even as their tails whip up a gale behind them.

“Make no mistake, ma’am,” Theodore admonishes. “We were born to this Vault in peace, but our lives have thereafter been spent in preparation for a war of survival. All I ask is that you bargain fairly for our services.”

> Once again, it comes back to barter…
> [] They should think of this as a chance to build diplomatic relationships, not a chance for profit.
> [] They need hands… Even tiny, horrible hands. Try to sell them on an alliance with the radcoons?
> [] They have a bear problem you could take care of…
> [] Other
>>
No. 908952 ID: 76c381

>>908947
> [] They need hands… Even tiny, horrible hands. Try to sell them on an alliance with the radcoons?
>[] offer the heavy firepower to deal with the bear problem on their front doorstep. We can do hit-and-run attack’s with the Assaultron to take down the yao guai.
>>
No. 908953 ID: 76c381

>>908947
Oh shit, almost forgot!
>Other: warn that the Lurkers have a pre-cognitive psychic mutant in their leadership, so espionage attempts may be very risky despite having StealthBoys.
We aren’t so prideful that we would send allies into a potential trap set by the man who outmaneuvered us.
>>
No. 908960 ID: 080aaf

> [] They have a bear problem you could take care of…
The radcoons are a volatile ally best kept at arm's length. Only trust them while your fish reserves hold out.
>>
No. 909042 ID: e3e99e

>>908953
This.

Also, Theodore said before that they have systems which need repairs which they can't manage on their own.
Having an idea of the scope of the problem would help. What systems are damaged? Do they need operational assistance or just repairs? As beings from domesticated stock are there unmet social needs for human contact?
What resources we allocate, how many people we send, and who we send are all important questions.

Also, can they assist in guarding a convoy of the people and supplies they require?
>>
No. 909049 ID: 06095b
File 154098896410.png - (2.43MB , 855x740 , FO4_Yao_guai.png )
909049

>>908947
>>908952
>>908953
>>908960
>>909042

“Well, right now, you’ll understand if I’m not carrying around 1,000 bottlecaps in a lunchbox.”

“Is that a thing!?”

“That’s apparently a thing...” Or so you’ve been told. “In any case, I don’t have much in the way of solid collateral on me at the moment, but I’m sure that you didn’t expect that. What I can maybe provide is a solution to the yao guai problem on your doorstep. Everything beyond that in terms of reimbursement, I think you’ll agree we can settle up as a matter of me sticking to my word and introducing you to the trade partners that I’ve mentioned.”

“That’s a tall order you’re setting for yourself,” he comments, “but if you can really manage to clear the way out for us, I can’t ask for much more. Still, I’ve had the mixed fortunes of catching glimpses of our upstairs neighbors from time to time and… Frankly, I wonder what you can actually hope to achieve with a DAVID and a couple of eyebots.”

You wonder that too, honestly, having seen the footprints and heard the roar of the alpha, one that no doubt dwarfs its lesser cousin back in the city. That alone would be a nearly impossible fight with your present load out, but then again, it wasn’t exactly by itself either.

“I’m going to need a plan,” you confirm, “and a good one at that. Almost makes me wish I had Johnnie on our side, almost.”

“Johnnie?”

“Oh right,” you sigh. “You’d best be careful out in the field, especially when getting near the raider encampments. I don’t really want to admit it, but it looks like they have a precognitive psychic in their leadership, a real one who could make a real mess of espionage attempts, Stealth Boys or no.”

“A psychic?” he questions. “But that’s absurd!”

“Says the talking dog with his brain in a jar.”

“Point,” he admits with a whine.
>>
No. 909050 ID: 06095b
File 154098900140.jpg - (1.07MB , 1541x2048 , raccoon_baby.jpg )
909050

>>909049

“In any case, whatever plan that I’m hatching will probably involve these little guys,” you say, pointing toward the raccoons. “Them, and the thirty or so others in their band still outside.”

“A small army,” Theodore muses.

“And one that knows how to use guns, if not necessarily when.” They may not know what you’re saying, but they must know you’re talking about them as one of the rodents sticks its tongue out at you with a sneer. “Honestly, had it not been for the chaos earlier, I might have earnestly suggested that you look toward them as a potential fix for your Vault problems, assuming it’s just a matter of lacking the thumbs to turn a wrench.”

“That’s part of it,” Theodore admits, “but we also need raw materials and replacement components for many of our Mr. Handy’s and environmental regulators. We do still have a repair automaton, singular, but they can’t do anything without spare wiring, circuit boards, or new bearings. The major systems are in somewhat better shape, thankfully, though the airducts need to be decalcified, the pipe fixtures tightened, and maintaining the fish farm through the year will likely require a new water chip and corresponding pump.”

You really did catch them right on the edge of something terrible, didn’t you?

“In any case, with a little work put into diplomatic relations, you might be able to get these little guys accustomed to the idea of working for pay. Especially since we’re still in winter up above, it’s looking like food is running short on their end, and a warm place to sleep would probably make for a powerful bargaining chip, assuming you can get across the language barrier and reach a common understanding.”

“I’ll definitely keep it in mind,” he assures you.

“Just be careful if you make the attempt,” you caution. “They’re smarter than they look, and they could be just as bad if not worse than raiders if you let them in and things get out of hand. After all, raiders can’t crawl through your airducts and hide out there for weeks.”

“Duly noted…”

> However, now, you need to plan…
> [] The Security checkpoint had an armory. You can load up there.
> [] Maybe you could leave the vault door just partially open somehow.
> [] Actually, you wonder what Aria is up to (Roll 2d100)
> [] Other
>>
No. 909053 ID: 3674e7

Can we ask for one of the deceased humans pipboys so we can program in a contact frequency for if they want to contact us in the future. (The pipboy May not be able to contact you now but it could be used as a reference or base for another machine for that purpose, plus it’ll probably come in handy if you can contact eachouther in the future).
>>
No. 909059 ID: e3e99e

>>909050
Other.

The Eyebots have an eye laser, and can fly too high for the Yao-Guai to reach. We can engage them without them being able to retaliate.

Alternatively, if there's an Anti-Material Rifle in this vault, that will take a Yao-Guai down in one shot to the head or torso.
>>
No. 909062 ID: fbe825

rolled 69, 29 = 98

>>909050
> [] Actually, you wonder what Aria is up to (Roll 2d100)
>>
No. 909096 ID: 2a7417

rolled 7, 21 = 28

> [] Actually, you wonder what Aria is up to (Roll 2d100)
Maybe we can use some animal calls on file again to lure them into a section of cave we then collapse on them. Definitely going to need an indirect method of confrontation here.
>>
No. 909097 ID: 13110b

rolled 22, 95 = 117

> [] Actually, you wonder what Aria is up to (Roll 2d100)
DIPLOMACY PLEASE
>>
No. 909122 ID: 06095b
File 154103115051.jpg - (46.50KB , 400x267 , newborn-german-shepherds.jpg )
909122

>>909097
>>909096
>>909062
>>909059
>>909053
>>909050

You and Theodore make your way back to the Overseer’s office to better monitor the situation up above, in the process agreeing on a set of hailing frequencies and corresponding encryptions that you can use to communicate with the vault and vice versa in the future. The old cyberdog also takes this opportunity to show you more of his home, leading you back via what must be the more conventional road to this level which passes scenically through several ball-throwing pits, obstacle courses, and a nursery filled to the brim with puppies of every shape, size, and coloration.

Eventually, this leads back to a set of stairs and (through a secured side-passage at the first landing) into the back of the armory. Unfortunately, there is no earth or hell bear-ending weaponry adorning the shelves that you can see. There isn’t even any plasma or laser weapons, just conventional ballistic arms and armor with a surprisingly humane bent that includes entire shelves of rubber bullets and tranquilizers.

Realizing that those might come in handy later at the very least, you make sure to immediately pocket a tranquilizer pistol and a fair amount of ammo for it before making your way out, this time exiting into the back of the security checkpoint where Major is very busy looking like she hasn’t just been tearing through every scrap of data she could find on the vault’s network.

“Got any bright ideas?” you ask.

“Plug those tranq rounds with the brain eating parasite version of what they gave the pups,” she suggests. “Pray to god it makes corpses and nothing else.”

“We’ll call that Plan Z…” you say, getting a harrumph from the surly eyebot.

In the meantime, you should probably see what Aria’s doing. Lord only knows what kind of trouble she’s gotten into.
>>
No. 909123 ID: 06095b
File 154103127080.jpg - (34.84KB , 423x350 , demon_bear.jpg )
909123

>>909122

--

“GROOOOOAARR!” comes a deafening blare over the shared network, Aria’s vision swaying side-to-side at a manic pace as she darts around tree trunks and through patches of brambles, leaves spraying in every conceivable direction.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Bear!” Aria calls back. “I didn’t want to wake you up from your hibernation, but-”

She threads the needle through a wreath of branches, her pursuers having no need as they send them flying in a hail of splinters.

“We needed to talk to the dogs, and-”

Her boosters give a high-pitched scream as she narrowly pulls herself ahead of an oncoming claw.

“AND I’M SURE IF YOU CAN JUST CALM DOWN, WE CAN-”

“ARIA!” you shout through her panicked babbling. “What the hell are you doing out there? Why are you flying so goddamn low?!”

“Oh! Uh- Hi, other-other me! I mean, other me! I mean- My jets aren’t really working, right now!”

“What?” you demand. “Why?”

“I think it’s from when I hit the net!” she guesses, ducking low and pulling a 180 that leaves her assailants, three bears roughly the size of cattle, running in the wrong direction. “The shock must have messed something up pretty bad, and- Wait! That gives me an idea!”

“Aria, what idea? Aria!”

But it seems her focus is entirely on the task at hand as she once again diverts course in a sudden, knifing motion, her diagnostics pressing dangerously into the red before receding back to… still dangerously in the red, likely from overclocking her propeller jets for what must be close to a couple of hours at this point.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what she’s doing or where she’s going at this point, the bot making a beeline straight to the trap she had stumbled into earlier and bringing the most insistent of her hostiles careening through it with a sound like sizzling bacon. Unfortunately, it seems that the locals have moved on since then, sparing the hapless creature a full accompaniment of shotgun blasts, but it at least takes that one out of the running as Aria continues bolting her mad escape.

“That was a nice one, but where are the raccoons?” you ask her.

“I don’t know!” she admits. “The little ones just came back sooner, and I thought I could distract them but-”

An old, dead tree gives a dangerous snap before nearly crushing Aria flat, a deft pivot and desperate blast of her engines narrowly getting her clear.

“But then everything got REALLY complicated!” she finishes in a tearful burst.

> What now?
> [] Tell Aria to come back to the Vault. You’re going to teach them some manners. [Roll 1d100]
> [] Well, one trap worked. Wasn’t there a giant ant hill around here somewhere? [Roll 3d100]
> [] Well, one trap worked. Maybe that creepy ass power armor really was trapped. [Roll 5d100]
> [] Other
>>
No. 909160 ID: 363109

rolled 67, 25, 5 = 97

>>909123
> [] Well, one trap worked. Wasn’t there a giant ant hill around here somewhere? [Roll 3d100]
As much as I’d like to send the bears to the power armor, I want to be able to salvage it too.
>>
No. 909162 ID: 5f089f

rolled 9, 19, 94, 72, 45 = 239

>>909123
>[] Well, one trap worked. Maybe that creepy ass power armor really was trapped. [Roll 5d100]
It's Halloween, let's go with the spooky option!
>>
No. 909168 ID: 080aaf

rolled 89, 4, 62 = 155

> [] Well, one trap worked. Wasn’t there a giant ant hill around here somewhere? [Roll 3d100]
On the one hand, haunted power armor wrestling bears, on the other hand, haunted power armor WORN BY a bear. No thanks.
>>
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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