Posts Tagged ‘trust no-one’

Desdemona was not happy.  She had played everything so carefully.  She had heeded PAM’s every warning, kept careful track of all of her assets, and burned oh so many resources with safe retreats.  It was all for nothing; everyone knew where she was and everyone had ordered the Professor to kill her.  On top of that, the Professor – a mechanized tornado of destruction – had hijacked her whole operation.  God fucking dammit.  It was like she suddenly didn’t matter.

Wait.  That wasn’t true.  If she didn’t matter, no one would care that she was alive and that clearly wasn’t the case.

Des took a long drink from the ancient wine bottle and leaned over the rail of the bell tower.  This would be her last breath of fresh air for a while, and she was determined to savor it.  She set the wine on the railing and pulled out a cigarette.  The one silver lining in all this was that the professor had gotten her some pre-war cigarettes.  There was a time when she’d have been concerned about the soft orange glow giving away her position, but the dual kill orders from two of the other big three players in the Commonwealth had made her fatalistic.  Besides, her executioner was busy setting up a scam of epic proportions.

She leaned on the railing, and blew a plume of smoke into the darkness.  Fuck it, she thought.  Yeah, they’d save a shitload more Gen 3 synths this way.  She did want that.  She started mulling over alternate names for the Synth Retention Bureau.  Synth Placement, maybe?  After all, the Professor wanted Desdemona to be the new head.

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The footfalls of the power armor shook silt from the ceiling of the ancient tunnel.  Ash felt just a little claustrophobic.  She felt that every time she came here, though.  The culture of paranoia that permeated this place meant she couldn’t use a runner, and she dared not tell anyone that she’d been hacking eyebots and tinkering with robots of her own.  They could have their secrets, and Ash would have hers.  Danse followed her, silently.  He probably felt exposed without his own bipedal tank.  Ash couldn’t blame him.  They were walking into the den of a known enemy of the Brotherhood.  Danse would act to save his life, but he was still loyal to the cause. 

Ash stopped outside the sliding wall.  She reached into a satchel hung at her waist, and pulled out some seemingly ratty clothes.  “You’re going to have to change.”  Danse looked down at his pilot’s uniform and back up at Ash.  He nodded and took the clothing.  He was surprised at the weight.

“What is this?” he asked her.

“Tinker Tom came up with it.  Concealed plates and kevlar.  It’s lighter than normal combat armor, nearly as strong, and invisible.  Until we get you a new frame and some plates, it’ll have to do.”  Danse grunted, impressed.  He pulled the trousers on over his uniform.  “And it wouldn’t hurt to have you looking a little more civilian until I’ve convinced them not to shoot you.”  Ash reached into a different bag, slung higher on the waist of her armored frame.  She pulled out a laser pistol.  Danse tucked it into the waistband at the small of his back before pulling on the dingy grey jacket. 

“Just in case, right?” he said.  Ash nodded.  Danse pulled off his pilot’s coif, revealing a tangled and sweaty matte of brown hair.  Ash turned to the sliding wall and spun the dial, entering the extremely juvenile code.  R-A-I-L-R-O-A-D.  With a click and a rumble, the bricks parted and revealed the entry to the Railroad HQ.

She thundered in, with Danse in tow.  The wall closed again, unnoticed.  Ash held her rifle at parade rest.  This place was a closely guarded secret.  Ash was breaking more than a few rules, but this wasn’t a routine mission.  The armor took up most of the hallway, providing Danse with some cover.  Drummer Boy came running up to Ash like he always did.  “Desdemona needs to…” he trailed off when he spotted Danse.  His hand went for his sidearm.

“Don’t.”  Ash’s voice came out hard and flat.  Drummer Boy froze.  “He’s with me, and this is dire.”  Ash watched his face as his intellect caught up with his courage.  He might be more scared of Glory than Ash, but it wouldn’t be by much.  Especially not when Ash dressed for the occasion.  “We can wait here while you tell Desdemona.”  Not that that would be necessary.  The armor’s speaker carried well in the relative quiet of the cellar.  Drummer Boy nodded and turned, but Desdemona was already in the hall, followed by Glory and Deacon.  Glory had her minigun out, spinning up.  Deacon had his hands at his sides.  Both were equally threatening.

“What the hell is this, Professor?” Des demanded.  “You’re going to blow our whole damn-!”

“Can it.” Ash cut her off.  “I’m going to save your whole damned operation.  Again.”  Desdemona stopped.

“I’m listening,” she said.

“The man with me is a synth.  He needs our help.  I want to give him our help.”  Ash looked back at Danse.  “And I think he can help me save the whole Commonwealth.”  Glory snorted.  Ash glared through her helmet.  Deacon smirked.  Ash forced herself to relax.  “I’d like you all to meet Paladin Danse of the Brotherhood of Steel.”