A Better Mousetrap 2

Posted: April 25, 2016 in Fallout 4, Fiction, Gaming
Tags: , , , ,

Danse paced around the basement of the Memory Den.  Being here wasn’t just betrayal.  It was heresy.  He couldn’t believe he’d been talked into this.  Maybe he could make a run for it.  No.   Glory was at the door.  Besides, he’d given his word.  This was for the good of the Commonwealth.  He knew Ash, and he knew she wanted to help.  From the very first moment she’d set foot in Cambridge, she’d fought for the safety of strangers.  She’d doubtless done it before that.  He remembered that clunky old suit of T-45b she’d been wearing.  She’d waded into the ferals like a woman possessed.  He was proud to sponsor her entry to the Brotherhood.

Did machines feel pride?

He heard the thumping of power armor upstairs.  He clutched the laser pistol in his waistband.  Additional footsteps.  The quiet whoosh of a Mr. Handy.  The Brotherhood hadn’t found him.  Yet.  The noises came down the stairs and became the massive red flames and blue pinstriping of Ash’s armor.  She moved into a corner and ejected from her power armor.  As the back of the frame closed, Ash reached up and yanked the fusion core out.  Danse nodded to himself.  Smart. 

A Mr. Handy floated into the room, holding the end of a steamer trunk.  The other end was held by an Assaultron.  Danse pulled his pistol in a panic.  “Easy, Danse!”  Ash called to him.  He stepped back, but lowered his pistol.  “They’re friends of mine.”

“You have unusual taste in friends, dear.”  Dr. Amari came into the room.  “It’s a bit crowded in here.  Do you mind?”  Ash fiddled with her Pipboy and the two robots left the room.  “Thank you.  Now.  What ridiculous mess can I help you with today?”

“Dr. Amari, do you remember Curie?”  Ash asked.

“Of course I do.  I can still hardly believe that worked.” 

“I’m hoping we can do it again.  It’s complicated.”

“It always is, with you,” Dr. Amari said.  “May I?”  She gestured to the trunk.

“It’s another synth with no mind inside it.”  Ash looked at Danse.  “We’re going to give the Brotherhood proof that you’re gone.  Help me get your new body into the chair.”  Amari stepped back from the opened trunk so that Danse and Ash could pull the comatose body out.  As it unfolded from the fetal position, Danse caught a look at his new face.  He nearly dropped the body.

“Maxson?!” Danse gasped.  “What- how-?”  He let go, stepping back.  “What have you done?” 

“Maxson was a bloodthirsty monster,” Ash said.  “He may have held the Brotherhood together in a dark time, but he’s been preparing them for genocide.  I will not allow it!” Ash’s voice rose as she spoke.  “I won’t let him kill you.  I won’t let him kill Curie, or Nick, or Hancock.  I’ve already lost one family.”  Ash realized she was crying.  She sniffed.  “You’re going to be Maxson now.  We are going to give the Commonwealth a light show, and I am going to undo all the terrible things my… son… has allowed.” 

Nobody spoke.  Ash wrestled the body into one of the memory chairs.  She wiped her tears on her sleeve.  Dirt and soot streaked across her face.  “The real Maxson is dead.  I told him I’d find you, and he tailed me back to the listening post.”  Ash looked at Danse.  HIs jaw clenched and unclenched.  “The cocky bastard came with nothing but a knife.  I caught him with a sucker punch.”

“You’re no better than a raider,” Danse spat.  “You expect me to believe you’re the one to change the Institute, and you stab an unarmed man in the back?”

“He came with harm in his heart.  We both know that.  He was going to kill you for sure.  Maybe me too, when I refused.”  Ash spoke calmly.  “Do you know what I did to the man who killed my husband and took my son?”  Danse said nothing.  “Do you know what I do to raiders who kidnap a settler living in one of the settlements under the protection of the Minutemen?”  He looked down.  Ash continued.  “I’m not trying to win honor.  I’m not the hero of the Commonwealth.”  Ash’s expression turned from dark to absolute black.  “I am the angry, vengeful ghost of the innocent.”


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