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Explorers of the New World


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Chapter 12

Barn Restaurant and Inn - 7:45 PM Cordova time -

The tension was thick like fog clouding the minds of those who took shelter in the Restaurant, the NCR included. Although the incident was partially resolved many doubts still lingered and the Alaskans had begun harboring feelings of anger and fear towards these strangers. No one besides the NCR was aware of what the word Enclave meant, why would they.

The NCR had their suspicions regarding Nathan, about if he indeed was an Enclave remnant and if so why he was in Alaska. None of them could fathom a reasonable explanation. The only thing they knew for certain was the locals weren’t as welcoming before.

Veilmont peered out the cracks in the window his face pressed against the wood nailed along it’s width. “There’s soo many of them. We can’t stay hold up here forever.”

“I agree.” Samuels spoke eyeing the other side of the room where the Alaskan’s kept to themselves. “They don’t like us now, this is really bad. And we don’t even know that this Nathan is Enclave. There’s no reason for them to be here, is there?”

“Not that I can think of.” Ranger Brick Moss said as he stood up from a bar stool.

- 7:53 PM -

As the minutes passed and dinner was being prepared, the NCR had moved into one of the back rooms so to give the locals their space.

“Sun's getting low, three or four hours from now and it’ll begin to set.” Buck spoke as she moved away from the window.

“Do Giant Hornets sleep?”

Veilmont walked over and spoke.”Let’s hope so. There’s a chance we could slip out, maybe. Depending on what entrances aren’t boarded.”

The sounds of light footsteps could be heard approaching the door, followed by someone rapping on the door. Samuels walked over opening the door with his left hand.

A young woman stood in the doorway, as she quickly but somewhat nervously glanced in the room before her eyes focused on Samuels. “Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes.” She paused looking at the strangers. “I don’t know what you have against my Grandfather, he’s a hard working man. He raised me ever since I was a child.”

Samuels looked her over.”You’re his granddaughter? Miss, it’s not so much your Grandfather more so what he could be affiliated with. Does the word Enclave mean anything to you?”

She paused. And took her time to respond.”None. My Grandfather is a good man, he’s done no wrong to anyone. Whatever you believe him to be is wrong. ”

“There’s a chance we are Miss. But the Enclave are dangerous, they plotted genocide once and would surely do so again. If there is a chance your Grandfather knows anything, something just a small as were he found that gun of his. It would help us stop them.”

Constance’s tone turned to mild anger.”He’s not involved with people like that, no one is. The Ranger see to that. If they’re as bad as you say, then leave it to the Rangers.”

“We don’t know Miss. If we’re right then there’s too much at stake for that.”

“You’re wrong!” Constance yelled.”You don’t know anything.”

Rushed footsteps came running down the hall. As an arm jerked Constance back. “Get away from her! You stay back now!” Nathan said holding back his granddaughter with his right arm extended pistol in hand.


“Get back down stairs Constance. These strangers are not to be trusted.”

“Bu-t.. Grand..” Nathan pulled her back.”No excuses, I want you back downstairs with the others.”

Constance stood flabbergasted looking at her Grandfather. But ran downstairs a few moments later.

“You people hold no power here, Murderers! The Old-World is no more you saw to that; leaving us relics to rot away.”

“So you are Enclave!” Buck sneered.

“No longer. The world would have been better off, my Granddaughter would have never experienced monster bees, or need to fear of Slavers.” Nathan yelled with a fury as he balled his fist.

The Troopers tried to move forward, go for their weapons but Nathan kept his gun aimed at anyone who budged.

“No matter who I was, you have no power here. Kill me and you’ll make enemies out of everyone in this state, there’s no Enclave here, no hate for them.” Nathan said as he waved his gun around trying to keep the NCR Troopers back.

“When the Rig and Navarro fell we heard the last transmissions we would ever receive. I’ve been here all my life, me and others went native. There was nothing left no reason to continue. Just a small number of us to repopulate after the slate was wiped clean. I never stepped foot outside of Alaska. No one did. I’m just an --”

Outside explosions erupted as gas enveloped the town. The Giant Hornets buzzed madly about before falling into a daze and nodding off to sleep. It was then that an impact shook the building. Nathan and the NCR rushed downstairs each forgetting momentarily what was said, as Nathan only thought of his Granddaughter.

A colossal spear, or arrow pierced the building; as large as a piece of rebar. It had outstretched hooks that sprung out and gripped the door.

Nathan stepped forward in absolute fear.”No.” Was the only word he uttered before the door was ripped completely off it’s hinges.

The people panicked and ran to the back of the building. Leaving only the NCR with their weapons drawn. Smoke filled the room as massive figures rushed inside past the gunfire holding giant plated shields. They knocked the NCR Troopers aside while the Rangers took position.

Through the smoke these towering figures set foot into the building, their eyes a golden glow. One approached with the others fiercely guarding it. As it left the smoke it’s features became apparent, long protruding horns like that of a Deathclaw; plated arms and legs with claws extended, and a thick coat of grey fur. It scanned the room before it took another step it’s claws clicking on the floorboard.

“YOU!” It said in English.”You are to come.”

The Rangers sat behind overturned tables. “And if we refuse?”

“You will be taken by force. We are a hundred strong.”

Veilmont looked to the others.”What will you do with us?”

“Our Clan head will speak with you, cooperate and no harm will come to you, resist and I will take great pleasure to rend your limbs apart piece by piece.”

Samuels and Buck convened quickly, coming to a conclusion.”We don’t have many options then, but what about the people here?”

“They are of no concern to us. It is best they leave while they can, the smoke will keep the Hornets asleep for now.”

“I guess we’re leaving with you then.” Samuels said.

“Your weapons will be taken from you, and you will follow closely. Leave our sight and the rest of you will be hunted down.”

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Chapter 13

The Forest - A Days Out from Cordova - 7:45 PM

Claire lead the Worca towards the tree line of the Forest while he watched Jonathan circle around waiting for Claire to get into position while he decided the best angle of approach. Jonathan knew that whilst he was formidable not every Slaver would succumb to his Psyker abilities; that is to say the immense fear his gigantic projected form assails upon his enemies. He would need to put his trust squarely in the hands of Claire for this battle to be in their favor.

The Docks were the Slavers worked was on a slight hill overlooking the waters’ edge, the ground extending from that the ground flattened out although rocks were littered about. A number of carts fashioned from the husks of cars and boats sat nearby with chains dangling from the sides.

Jonathan looked toward the Slavers through his binoculars, he could tell two, maybe three of them were inexperienced for this line of work. One of them a young man barely out of his teens thrusted his hips into the air in front of a helpless female captive probably trying to impress her or the group, she looked older but not by much. Another head clean shaven with some sort of tribal tattoos down the sides of his skull, he held his rifle with only a few fingers as it hung on his right side by a single hand. The last possible one is an unassuming male, he didn’t have any markings of a hardened Slaver, no inks or scars even his weapon was average an old varmint rifle. His powers would likely work on those three; It’s the last four that bothered him. He could tell by the way they dressed, and acted they were professionals. The four of them wore more protective armor, they even had pieces of combat armor imbedded into their gear. They held their weapons securely and took no interest in what the young boy was doing. Thier only concern was unloading the shipment. These were the ones to focus on, and Jonathan hoped Claire could pick them out.

On the other side of the clearing where Claire had set up, he had the Slavers in his sights as he took a moment to see Jonathan giving a few quick flashes from his flashlight. Claire opened fire on one of the leaders taking his left eye out and removing him as a threat. The Slavers were quick to react as they searched for the Sniper; Jonathan jammed a Slasher into his arm before he charged down the middle, his towering form sent the rookies into a panic as he aimed down his rocket launcher right into another veteran, the slaver looked in shock through his goggles as he tried to scramble out of the way. But the explosion took a chunk out of his leg, throwing him to the ground.

Claire had just finished off the last of the rookies, they had tried to run, the young kid tossed his gun and took off, but before he reached the forest a round tore through his neck. The other with the tattoos hid behind the carts. It took some careful shooting but Claire sent a round through his ankle leaving him writhing in pain and his head exposed as he tumbled to the ground. The last one had almost regained his bearings as he shot Jonathan a few times in the back, but the small rounds didn’t have enough penetration power to punch through the armor. A shot to his leg and another his lungs sent the Slaver to the ground crashing onto a large rock.

The other veteran took himself a hostage the woman from earlier. He held her tightly with his gun pressed against her temple, he yelled out through his teeth that were chipped away and broken.


The Slaver dragged her back along with him towards the docks, while Jonathan not wanting to risk rushing him tried to circle around. The Veteran from earlier with his leg blown off regained consciousness and although bleeding to death he reached for a grenade and chucked it over with all his strength. The grenade landed feet away from Jonathan as the other Veteran took off running towards the boat dragging the woman along by her wrist.

Jonathan had no choice but to seek out cover, whereas Claire had a better shot. The woman trailed to the right side of the Slaver leaving him exposed on the left. Claire shot a round into his shoulder blade, as he dropped over the side of the boat the woman ran towards the Rangers in a mix of terror and elation.

Claire left the trees and joined up with Jonathan as the woman fell to his feet. “There’s eight more of us on the boat.”

“Don’t worry ma'am, we’ll free the rest of them.”

Claire looked towards the boat as it bobbed up and down in the water; the Slaver’s head barely hanging off its edge. “We did good. Let’s free the rest of them and see if the Slavers of Santa’s Sweatshop left any goodies behind. I could go for a few cold drinks.”

“And we got ourselves a boat, should make reaching Cordova easier. Well let’s get to work.” Jonathan said as he strutted over to the docks.
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Chapter 14


Forests on the outskirts of Cordova’s Village - 8:10 PM - NCR


None of the Troopers liked this, these mutants, could speak english and walk upright like a man. They shared some features with that of a Deathclaw but remained wholly unique all their own. The group of them leading the front carried all the weapons in burlap sacks with what they assumed to be the leader not far ahead. Veilmont noted they formed a box to ensure full control at all times. Their alien yet humanoid appearance was shocking to say the least.


Samuels watched them as they walked, they stood on what appeared to be claws or hooves. And kept balance with their long tails. All while clad in thick furs and minimal clothing. He assumed those that had wrappings on their chests were to be female as they also seemed to have a smoother more human like face.


The forest became denser with roots bursting from the earth and rocks strewn about. Ranger Brick Moss decided it was high time they learned a little more about where they were headed.


He stepped forward only lightly before the mutants took an offensive stance whipping spear blades towards his neck. Brick had utterly stopped moving not a single finger budged as the sharp but crude blades inched up his neck.


“Hey now, just wanting some answers. You got my weapons so there’s no need to kill an unarmed man.” Moss said knowing the danger he placed himself in.


The Leader stepped towards him eyeing him suspiciously. And after a few words in an unintelligible language it had convinced the spear bearers to back down. “You! Keep moving! There will be no next time.”


“Wait, hold on a minute. Can’t you at least tell us where we’re going?”


It sneered just like a human would talking to a savage.”No!”


Spears towards the back of the group prodded the group to move on, Moss had only annoyed the creatures. Keller walked up to Moss still keeping formation as to not provoke their captors any further.”You alright Moss?”


“Yeah, a close shave there but I’m holding up just fine. Wish I knew what crawled up it’s ass and died.”


“They don’t seem to like Humans in the slightest.” Keller replied knowing that they were under watch.


“Guess not. Let’s just hope they don’t like the taste of human flesh.”


Moss’s actions severed as an example. And for the next few hours they simply kept walking silently.


The Mountains outside of Cordova - 10:03 PM -


The Troopers and Rangers had done nothing but walk for hours uphill in treacherous terrain, once the tree line thinned out again they could tell the elevation had changed. But it wasn’t long before they saw the first smoke reaching to the sky. And from that came the sightings of a village. Huts made from earth and clay with smaller mutants running about children as it were. Carcasses of massive Whale like creatures with armored beaks and mandibles caked in dirt were being butchered. The creatures kept them encircled as they moved through the small village towards a larger hut.


By then they had already picked out the leaders of the Party. They pulled aside the Rangers and sat the Troopers down while the leader dragged the Rangers off and into the hut.


A gray furred female awaited them around a fire where slabs of meat were laid out cooking on a metal top. “Sit.” She said as she turned over the slabs one by one.


The Rangers had no other choice but to obey.


It sat there staring at them with it’s golden eyes a strip of beads hanging off it’s left earlobe.


“You come to this land for what purpose? Our kind learned of your presence not too long after you stepped foot on this land. Why?” She said then turning her attention to the food before her, all of it was too much for a single human the Rangers couldn’t help but notice. Yet she sprinkled some sort of seasonings over the meat paying no mind to their wandering glances.


“I think I speak for us all, when I ask. What will you do once you find out?” Veilmond said cautiously.


She lifted her eyes then set down a spice jar.”It depends. I might well kill the lot of you. Depends on many things.”


“You could do that now, couldn’t you?”


“Don’t test my patience.” She replied sharply.


“Fine, Fine. We set out to chart unknown lands, to see what became of the rest of the world. Meet new people, make friendly where we could. And report back home with our findings. Now I have a question the obvious one aside who are you?”


She raised her head arching her back.”You mean apart from when you ask what we are, I’ll get to that. For introductions I am Schrodinger Zell, of Clan Zell. My Clan. And we’re considered friendly towards humans, I’m sure you’d consider otherwise. Any other Clan and you’d be skinned and hung like trophies or cook in a pot.” Schrodinger flipped the meat once more pulling out nearby plates.


“So there’s more of you. Well I suppose we have to be grateful you found us first.” Veilmont said as he noticed she was plating the food, for not just one but six plates.


“You should eat, while you can.” She said setting down a plate for each of them.


“I suppose this means you won’t be killing us?”


“For the moment at least. Now then, you’re here for one reason and one reason only. The Elder One wanted me to inspect your motives. He rules unofficially over us, over the Clans and Branch Clans. He and the Cserit convened about the decision. We are the Autleeir Tah, and we make up three dominant species. Those you seen thus far are the Huerra, Warriors who protect the boundaries between us and Mankind. The Cserit guide us in the matters of culture and politics.”


As she spoke the Rangers inspected the meat, at first glance it looked fine but when they smelled it there was a pungent odor of earth. Cutting it was far tougher even with the utensils provided.


Schrodinger had picked up a piece and pulled it apart with just her claws as she shoveled it into her mouth, chewing but a few moments.” Earth Whale is tough, but it is a sustainable creature and feeds ten of my kind per carcase. Now then you have advanced to the point that you can send surveyors and explorers into the world, tell me what Governance do you use?”


Moss spoke next as Veilmont was cutting into his meat.”We use a democratic federation, supporting principles such as democracy, personal freedom and rule of law. We’ve grown to encompass Arizona, California and parts of Mexico. As of 2285 we have ceased the acquirement of new lands to focus on our local growth.”


Schrodinger said naught a word but continued to eat, finishing off her plate well before the Rangers did.


“You’ll have your own guarded hut for the night, your men have all received something to eat by now. You will be returned to them and we will decide what to do with you in the morning, I should warn you leaving your hut is not permitted unless you need to relieve yourselves. During which you will be accompanied until you return. If we spare you you will receive more answers, rest till then.” She said as more of her kind escorted them away.


Minutes later another Tah had entered her hut, his horns were different they grew curling towards the back of his head and his claws were well trimmed.


“They’re still alive I see. We have much to discuss then.”


“Yes Roosevelt, sit. I will go over what I learned.”


“I was waiting for you to say that. They pose a fascinating new opportunity for knowledge. You did ask them about their own history of course?” Roosevelt sat before the fire, it’s glow dancing over his white fur.


“No. Those are questions only you would bother to ask. I only inquired as to what was important.”


“Shame. I can only hope they live long enough then.”


“Don’t let personal desires cloud your judgement.” She said snapping at him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter 15


Whittier 9:35 PM - Vanderbilt Gambling Hall.


Stoolman one of Vanderbilt’s men hesitantly and with good reason so, approached Barron’s Penthouse Suite. Certainly the fanciest room in the entire city, with lavish decorations all inspired by Old Time Gangsters. Brand new furniture, paintings of old, and cigar smoke filled the room. A knock rapped on the door, and Barron wearing a black velvet night robe stood up in his slippers and mosied along the wood laid floor.


Stoolman fidgeted nervously as the door swung open smoke wafted from the open spruce door and into the Hallway. There Barron stood hands tucked into the robe while he glared at Stoolman who had roused him from his lounge chair at this late hour.


“Boss, the well..” Stoolman said as he stuttered.


Barron crossed his arms in clear annoyance, Stoolman shook as he felt shivers down his spine.


“The, Party you sent to Cordova returned Boss. Empty - um - handed.”


Barron snorted as he chuckled. “That’s it? Empty handed, my best men returned empty handed. Ease up Stoolman, you look tense. Perhaps sit down for a bit.” Barron said as he whipped his left hand across Stoolman’s face.


“LEAVE IDIOT! NOW!!” Barron charged past Stoolman who was pushed off to the side while Barron headed off to meet with Smithe.


9:47 PM Vanderbilt Gambling Hall - Guard Quarters


Smithe walked along side Barron as he had the men standing at attention as they walked into the room. Barron strolled up to them taking a pair of brass knuckles out of his pockets as he stopped and turned to face them still wearing the same robe. “Can someone please tell me why, just why I don’t see any not a one, of the foreigners you were ordered to take into custody? Because I’d really love to hear your response, fascinate me boys. With whatever complex excuse your pea brains can create.”


“Boss. Cordova was infested with Giant Hornets, an entire nest. That we were unprepared for.”


“Giant Hornets?” Barron said as he chuckled. “Oh well that’s understandable.” He said as he looked towards Smithe.




He responded by breaking leather as his pistol cleared his holster and took aim at the underlings head.


“Now. Will someone explain to me what really happened.?” Barron spoke as waved his hand about.


“That is just how it went down Boss, I swear! We aren’t lying!!”


“Is it? You’re sticking with that?” Inquired Barron.


He nodded shaking and terrified. Barron gazed into his eyes, and then shot back a look towards Smithe who with one shot put a single 45 caliber round into the middle of the man’s skull.


“Right then, who’s next? How about you, the one with the shaved head right down the center.”


“I.. Uh. Freddy? Did you save one of those stingers?”


Barron glanced over to Freddy who stammered back. “Boss, Sir. I. Yeah, it’s just in my pack.”


“Okay I’ll bite, bring it out.” Barron said somewhat jokingly.


Freddy rushed over to his pack tucked just under his bunk. And rustled through it producing a large stinger.


Barron stood there looking surprised. “I guess he was telling the truth. Smithe. Well give him a proper burial later.”


“Noted.” Smithe said as he rasped out the word.


“Well then. There’s still the matter of you all returning empty handed. So you’re all going back out there. I’ll get you armed up, we’ll take some more boats with us. And this time we’re doing this right, my way! Bigger guns! Gather everyone up, well not everyone. Still need to protect the city in case the Russian decides to make a move on me.”


“Barron.” Smithe spoke.”You’re moving out personally?”


“Damn right. Time to show this ploughing lot how to get things done around here.”


Smithe walked over.”I’ll prepare the men while you get changed Boss.”

Chapter 16
(Long time coming, but the Fourth of July week has been hectic for me, so while this is a little short there's a little set up involved.)
The Mountains of Cordova - 10:48 PM
The tent the NCR troops were confined to was of moderate size to accommodate them, it’s support beams were simple wooden poles that held up the hide tent. Furs lay about round the fire pit, some had multiple arms others were clear. The Troopers had just finished the plates of Earth Whale they had been given as other Tahs moved to clear the plates and utensils when the Rangers entered through the flap over the entrance.
Field Medic Jessie Keller stood up and walked over to them checking them once over for any signs of injuries. “Ranger Veilmont, I don’t see any signs of abuse or torture. Do you know what they want from us?”
“Can’t say I’m all too sure. They’re a somewhat civilized lot that I know as tribal as they may be.” Veilmont said peering over his shoulder as the last Tah who left the tent glanced his way. “Whatever the case may be, we should get some rest while we can. I know not what they have in store for us..”
“Man why can’t they just kill us and get it over with?” Beckard moaned. “Quiet Beckard! We have no idea what these Mutants have in mind. Let’s not give them any ideas.” Buck said hoping to calm him down.
Alma Duran fidgeted nervously. “You don’t think they eat, human do you? They look like Deathclaws but more human. I bet they eat human..”
Solomon and the other Rangers noticed movement outside, they were under constant watch and none of them forgot that, but the fear still gripped their hearts. It didn't help that they knew nothing of these creatures’ motives. “Alright, let’s get a few things straight we know they are Mutants of some kind, Humanoid with their own culture and intelligence. I say it’s doubtful they eat human flesh, we saw the large animal carcasees so they hunt.” Solomon added.
“Humanoid my ass.” Harper yelled out.”Just look at them man! How in hell to they look remotely human!”
“CLAM YOUR ASS HARPER, before I ram my bootheel up it.” Veilmon said raising his fist. “Have you forgotten they posted guards on our tent, let’s not risk angering our captors any further.”
Elsewhere - 11:01 PM - Schrodinger’s tent
Schrodinger sat on her knees as she gently raised a cup to her lips. While Roosevelt discussed what to do with the Troopers. “I want to see what they do after this. They’re afraid unsure. And they’re letting their emotions flare.”
She let the cup rest on her lap as she calmly spoke.”That’s exactly what I want.”
“You aren’t testing them, you are aren’t you? Cleaver. For a Huerra that is.” Roosevelt quipped.
Schrodinger glared as she responded promptly. “Be careful what you say. You are in my territory, temporary as it may be. I will not hesitate to gut you.”
Roosevelt chuckled at the threat. “The Elder One would not be pleased in my passing, however I will note your threat.”
“They will be monitored throughout the night, I will see how they break under their fear.” Schrodinger said as she stood up. “Leave til sunrise, then we shall decide.”
“Of course. Then we’ll begin the second part of the plan.” Roosevelt said while he walked towards the tent flap.
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Chapter 17


12:23 AM - The Middle of Prince William Sound - En Route to Cordova by boat


Claire tightened the sails of the makeshift boat as Jonathan steered into the winds, the Worcas swam alongside the boat excellent swimmers much faster than the boat at full sails. However on the boat they stayed dry under the cold ocean breeze, as gusts of wind blew sea air caught the sails and propelled them forward. “Looking good, at this rate we’ll reach Cordova soon. Heh, check out the Worcas they look awfully happy.” Claire said as he tied a knot around the mast.


“They’re in their natural habitat, they deserve some time in the sea.”


Claire stood up and walked over to a Ham Radio.”Going to check in.”


As Jonathan carefully manned the wheel he yelled out.” Make sure to report the Slaver activity.”


“Will do.”


Claire turned the dials and lifted the receiver.”Ranger Claire calling Vault 118, service number 87-43-19. Pick up Archmage.” -- “Hey hey! Claire how’s it going. What you got for me?” Archmage responded.


“Making our way to Cordova, took out some Slavers from Santa’s Sweatshop who set up a small dock along the coast line. Managed to free thirty seven slaves and confiscated a boat. Which has expedited our mission.”


“Sounds good real good man!” - “kree-eee-ar!!” A loud hoarse rasping scream could be heard over the radio. - “Orc says hi as well.”


“That old Carrion Pigeon still kicking!” Claire asked.


“You betcha! Training up a few new ones, Orc won’t be around forever. Still Slavers are becoming more brazen. Well I’ll let North know what’s up.--”


“Hold on Archmage, there’s something up ahead, some boats docked over at Cordova. Gonna check back later.”


“Keep safe out there.”


12:47 AM Cordova


“Hey Barron, we got incoming.” Smithe said rasping out the words. “By water another boat.”


Barron raised a scope he had in his satchel and peered through the scratched glass. “Rangers, no doubt about it. Damn. Look friendly boys!! We got Rangers on the way.”


12:57 AM


“Ahoy! What brings the Vanderbilts all the way to Cordova!” Jonathan called out.


“RANGERS!! Good to see you, we have a slight problem. Some of my boys, were out. Fishing. Yeah earlier today when they saw some smoke coming from Cordova. Being the good natured folk we are they checked it out and found the place swarming with Giant Hornets. So I rounded up some men to save any survivors..” Barron said coming up with the best lie he could come up with.


Claire nodded noting the change in tone and speech pattern, clear signs of lying. “Didn’t know you were such a great guy Barron. Heart of gold right there.” Claire knew of course Barron was lying, but he could also see the town was infested and driving the Vanderbilts off by calling them out would just make things harder for them. “Well since we’re already here, what say we give you all a hand. It’s what we do best.”


Barron inwardly cursed at their presence, but he didn’t want to do anything that would incite the Ranger’s wrath. A part of him knew why they were really here. And he could guess they knew the same of him. Backing out now would just confirm those suspicions; working together was the only thing he could do at this point. He’d have to let the Rangers ahead of him or risk becoming their enemy.


“Mighty fine offer Rangers. I’ll take you up on that. We’re still setting up our positions, give us a hand before the Hornets take notice.” Barron said as politely as he could.


Jonathan looked at Claire and gave a slight nod as he handled the situation well.

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Chapter 18

1:17 AM USS Sovereign Enterprise - Supercarrier

Basilio Favale a man of few words and a constant furrow in his brow sat at his desk, the Commander of Manticore a renowned Mercenary group and one of the few Factions with a working Pre-War Aircraft Carrier. The USS Sovereign Enterprise had out at sea and nearly capsized when the shockwave beat across the port side hull, it was a miracle to be still afloat let alone that anyone survived. Basilio can trace his ancestors back to the original crew who amid the radiation decided to dock at one of the smaller islands Dutch Harbor where the locals greeted them as they emerged from their fallout shelters. Now the descendants of the original crew are Mercenaries for hire, and with a knock on Basilio’s door will be put to work once again.

“Captian! Message from Archmage of the Rangers Sir! He wants us to check the waters of Prince William Sound for Slaver bases. The pay is good Sir!”

Weary eyed Basilio raised his brows to meet the man.”It’s going to be another long knight. Commsman return to your post and inform the crew we’re leaving port.”

“Sir! Yes Sir!” He said as he sprinted down the narrow halls.

Basilio reached for a pipe and stuffed it with tobacco as he lit a match and gently held it while it ignited the wad. Smoke began to snake out of his Office and towards the hallway as he took deep breaths suffering from exhaustion. He reached for a Radio and tuned the channel.

“Commander Madison Ward, and Lieutenant Commander Cynthia Synder report to my Office immediately for debriefing. That is all.”

Basilio filled away a few paper as he inhaled puffs of smoke until the room had filled with a heavy haze.

1:32 AM

A large man stunted as he may be standing at only five feet five inches rounding the corner. Basilio took notice of him but waited until he had closer the drawer to his desk before he spoke.”Ward dressed in combat armor and ready to go I see.”

“Of course Captain.”

“Where’s Synder?”

“Just down the hall Captain she’ll be here any second..”

It was then that a redhead short haired girl barged into the room her chest racing as she ran the halls.

“ Lieutenant Commander Synder present for duty!”

“Ah Lieutenant Commander.. I.” Basilio’s eyes drifted to a corner of her lips where some liquid had been left behind smeared over her lips. “I know the hour is late Lieutenant Commander, but please clean yourself up after you’re done with after hour pleasantries.”

She immediately wiped it away with a cloth in her pocket.”Sorry Captain. Just finishing up.”

“Now then we’ll be heading to Prince William Sound to root out any Slaver nests I’ll be leading the attack, Synder get prepped for the T-45 suit.”

Synder’s face lit up like a Christmas tree as she couldn’t hold her glee.

“Captain, may I speak?” Ward calmly asked.

“You have permission Ward.”

“When's the last time you slept Captain? You look exhausted. If I may I’d like to lead the attack.”

Basilio set down his pipe on an ashtray. And looked sternly at Ward before relenting. “Too long Commander.”

Ward continued.”I wish to relieve you of duty until you’ve received a full nights rest.”

Synder quickly agreed.”I second that Captain. We’ve more rest than you do. Sit this one out Sir.”

“Fine.” Basilio said in defeat.”Ward you’re in command of the Bridge. I’ll retreat to my chambers shortly. You two are dismissed.”

“Sir!” The two said in unison. As they filed out of the room.

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Chapter 19

The Mountains of Cordova - Night Recap -

The Troopers of the NCR slept in nervous fear; they were uncertain what was to happen with them and although the Ranger put up a brave front they too barely slept. The morning sun crept over the camp signalling the new day and with it they would soon learn of their fate.

New Day New Time - May 5th 6:57 AM - Tah Camp

With the sun rising in the sky Troopers laid in bed hoping to catch a little more rest before their captors revealed what they have in store for them. A few Rangers were up and about as they needed to be. While the rest slept on.

Schrodinger’s Tent - 7:05 AM

Incense burned giving the tent a fresh fragrance as Schrodinger sat on her knees quiet and motionless, her chest rose and fell and she controlled her breathing. Her mind was at ease and she was in full control of herself knowing who she was and where she came from. It was the same morning ritual every

Huerra performed and it lasted for a full thirty minutes.

7:33 AM

Roosevelt pulled back the tent flap to Schrodinger’s tent as she started to rise; she had just finished the last of her meditations and had begun to wrap a tight cloth around her waist and chest area knowing full well of Roosevelt's presence.

“Are you you? Schrodinger.” Roosevelt cautiously asked.

“I am I. My faculties are under my own control.” Schrodinger said as she tied the last knot in her loincloth.

Roosevelt let loose a sigh of relief as he approached her. “How did they fare last night?”

“Poorly.” She said as she picked up a lone set of an earing and threaded it through her earlobe. “They are paranoid, far from brave noble warriors yet they don’t seem vile either.”

“So is there hope for them, for us?” Roosevelt said as he took a seat by the fire.

“Maybe.. I am not sure.” Schrodinger paused as she picked up a nearby rock and ran it down the length of one of her clawed fingers. “The Great Hunt perhaps. If they are noble warriors then we let the Great Hunt decide.”

Roosevelt stared wide eyed at her, as he fathomed the possibility. “Are you sure? Even for Huerras the Great Hunt is a serious undertaking, how many will you send?”

“Three of the Warriors, along with my Son and another Tah. Carnegie will watch over them, and Churchill will watch over Carnegie. We let the Great Hunt decide their worth may they be redeemed. Bring them here.”

“Don’t order me around Schrodinger, you have not the authority to do so.” Roosevelt snapped back

“You grind on my nerves, ARMSTRONG!” Schrodinger called out.

“Yes Clan Leader.” He said as he opened the tent flap.

“Bring the Warriors we captured.”

“Of course Clan Leader.” He said moving swiftly.

The five Rangers soon were brought before her as she glared intensely back at them. They mustered all their courage and met her gaze head on.

“You have two options, death. Or the Great Hunt. In the forest there are a great number of beasts, some more dangerous than the last. Three of you will leave under the watch of two of my own, the rest will stay. I believe you’ve met my Son Carnegie.” She said as she motioned to a familiar Tah, the one who found and lead them to their camp.

“He and the other sitting beside him will follow you, I need not remind you what would happen if you try anything once on the outside. You will be watched from the trees and reports will be sent back to me. You shall head out and bring down one of these beasts for your freedom, Carnegie shall lead you to your prey.”

Ranger April Decker spoke. “That doesn’t sound too bad, we should be able to handle that with our guns.”

A smirk spread across Schrodinger’s face. “There is one thing I forgot to mention, you may only hunt with what you find. Craft your own weapons or be lucky enough to stumble across a firearm. Your weapons will remain here with us.”

“Right. Forget I said anything.” Decker responded.

“Choose among yourselves who will go.” Schrodinger said.

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Chapter 20

The Giant Hornet Infestation of Cordova

All through the night the two Rangers had fought alongside Barron’s men as clips were emptied and explosives lobbed over the makeshift barricades many of Barron’s men lay wounded or dead as skilled as they were the truth was they were no more than over glorified security guards many of whom had yet to see actual battle. But here they were as the fighting raged through the night against what was an overwhelming number of giant insects the Rangers had offered advice as to how the fighting should proceed but Barron’s arrogance knew no bounds and refused any assistance in leading his army.

And while the town, the Village lay in ashes the remaining Villagers emerged from the nearby forests. Barron immediately took it upon himself to take all the credit for the victory although the Rangers had won all the key battles rooting out the Queen’s nest and personal guard of warriors. The Villagers were dubious of his claims and they had reason of course and the Rangers laughed as he embellished the story.

“Right well good on you Barron, you won back the town from a giant swarm of Hornets; your good deed done for the day unless of course there is anything else you needed to do here?” Claire said.

The look Barron gave was cold enough to freeze molten steel as he exhaled and smiled back.”You know I think we are done here, Boys! Were moving out, do thank the kind Rangers here for their aid..” Barron turned and strode towards the boat trampling off as the Rangers enjoyed their little victory. Smithe followed behind as Barron pulled him aside.

“I need a Military! I need a Commander who obeys my orders, one smart enough to lead my men on the Battlefield and one malleable enough to use as my pawn. Find someone! ANYONE! I will not let this embarrassment stand.”

Smithe nodded as he boarded the boat Barron stomping off to his room to crack open a bottle of Whiskey and unwind. Though for the rest of the day he would be avoided by all of his men..

The Rangers however began to question the townsfolk about what had happened here. Nathan had told them about the local boys who had tried to capture a Hornet Queen but succeeded only in bringing the entire nest upon them, and of the strangers they had saved until the Autleeir Tah had came to drag them off. Claire and Jonathan looked bewildered; what now if the Tahs had taken an interest they could be anywhere in the mountains alive or dead.

“I think our best course of action would to first report in to high command, perhaps there was some Clan movement days before that we knew about.” Jonathan said as he set his radio down on a table.

Claire on the other hand noticed the damage done to the radio tower in town and spoke up.”Might want to send a repairman to fix a tower, looks like the Hornets wrecked this one pretty badly.”

“Will do.. Archmage this is Jonathan service number 56-71-11 please respond.”

“Hey hey! Jonathan what can I do you for, need a little magic to keep things going?”

“You can say that, we’re in Cordova and Barron’s forces are in the retreat. I doubt he’ll show up again for a while, but enough about that. We have a broken radio tower here that needs fixing, and here comes the bad news. The Autleeir Tah have captured the NCR scouts.”

“Whoa whoa man, that ain't good. You boys need to be careful around them; don’t need another long and bloody war between them.”

“I know that Archmage, I was hoping you heard about some strange movement regarding the Tahs days prior? Anything that could tell us where they are?”

“Sorry my man nothing that I know of, but hey there is one thing. A few days from now the Tahs come down the mountain to do some trade with us in the Hub just off of Glennallen and Richardson Highway, it’s a small gas station and strip mall place. Double time it there and you could ask the Tahs there if they know anything.”

“Thanks Archmage. It’ll have to do for now.”

“Sorry I don’t got more for you guys but be careful, heard some Lythropes were seen near Tonsina off the Richardson Highway. Alright if that’s all I’m signing off mate.” The receiver fell silent as Jonathan and Claire looked towards each other they had a possible clue, not a good one but t was the only one they had.
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Chapter 21

(I totally had this all planned when I wrote the first chapter.. So not making this up as I go along. Nope certainly not. Also 787 words.)

7:01 AM Prince William Sound - USS Sovereign Enterprise

Commander Madison Ward stood on the bow of the ship as the waves splashed against the hull while they made their rounds. The docks was right where the Rangers said it’d be but they knew the boat had come from somewhere as lookouts kept watch over the bank. As the Mercenaries of Manticore patrolled the seas on land the NCR talked amongst themselves.

7:45 AM Zell Tah Camp

The Rangers had been returned to their tent and told the others the bad news. It wasn’t the first time they encountered Tribals no they saw their share of them in Seattle and Vancouver, though Vancouver had far more civilized lands, even a working Government calling themselves the Salish. So Tribal Culture was nothing new, but it could be tricky to navigate safely. Usually they could run if things got rough, but the Tahs were far more organized and Intelligent than average Tribals.

The Rangers bickered amongst themselves about who would go. Since Veilmont and Samuels were in charge of the Expedition force, having both of them go would pose a threat to the future if any the expedition had. So Veilmont decided that Decker and Moss would be the ones to accompany him. Veilmont used a mid range brush gun, Moss a shotgun and Decker a Sniper as primaries. That normally would be a good choice if the team needed to split up, but with their weapons confiscated they’d need to improvise. True Moss was extremely capable with close range encounters and prefered melee weapons, but they needed to be crafty in order to make use of their surroundings. Veilmont hoped that they could perform this task.

7:53 AM Captive Tent

The flap of the tent was pulled back and Carnegie and a Female Tah who looked roughly the same age as he walked inside. They could tell from the thin pieces of cloth wrapped around her chest and waist; her horns curled back and her fur was a light brown.

“Goodday. I am Akame.” She said before sitting down with a book clearly made after the war under her arm. “Schrodinger decided that it’d be best that you have an idea of what to expect. The Great Hunt is no easy feat and to you all, who are strangers to this land you are already at a disadvantage. So let’s cover two of the beasts you’ll be looking for.”

“Hold on there miss.” Samuels said. “Why exactly are we being tested? Other than for our very survival of course.”

“Our relations with Humans are strained. And there is great fear of you outsiders. You see we, my and Carnegie’s generation is the first to be born in an age not embroiled in war. Before that we were degraded like animals to be slaughtered and stuffed, or kept as slaves and pets. And now we have a cause for alarm. But that should serve as a quick explanation.”

“And this Hunt proves what exactly, that we are to be trusted? I don’t see how that works.” Veilmont interjected.

“Our culture can be. Complicated. But yes the idea is to gain trust. Which is why you’ve been well treated, your injured given medical treatment and why you’re no t in chains or dead yet. Though being held captive isn’t the greatest way for that point to come across. Still let’s get on with things.”

Veilmont wasn’t satisfied in the least. Perhaps these Tahs were being too fearful and in their haste to address the fear of their own kind came to a rushed conclusion about how to go about dealing with him and his team. But it was too late for that now. Veilmont let out a sigh and spoke on.”Fine. Do continue.”

“Certainly then. This is an Alaskan Survival Guide. And it details many natural wildlife. You’ll be given this copy for your needs, but before that we’ll talk about two potential prey. The Wendigo or the Great Mountain Bear.”

“Friendly names I take it?” Decker snarkly responded.

“Sarcasm I see. Oh but they’re absolutely harmless, when they don’t want to kill you of course.” Akame responded.

She turned to the page where a illustration of a Wendigo appeared, and a few of the Troopers gasped in fear. Akame slowly read it’s description. Albeit skimming over unnecessary detail. “A Wendigo is a herbivore, who guards its territory aggressively. It will gore any trespassers with its Palmate antlers, and stab them with its independent finger. Quills line the neck and hind area making it difficult to close in for the kill.”

Akame flipped a few pages and showed the illustration of a Great Mountain Bear. A Giant Four Armed beast mutated from a Grizzly, the the Polar one was far larger. A small scale reference had it taller than any known Mutant, almost Behemoth sized. “The Great Mountain Bear, often revered for it’s sheer strength it is the largest Predator ever encountered. Its long and thick forearms create small quakes under its weight while the smaller arms are used for carrying young or berry picking.”

The Rangers had seen a lot the Wasteland had to offer but these were abominations the likes of which no one has ever seen. The task before them is daunting but not impossible. Veilmont readied himself. “So when do we leave?”

Carnegie perked up from the back of the tent.”Whenever you have your Warriors picked. We will set out.”

“In that case.” Veilmont said standing up. “We’re ready to go.”

Akame stood in response holding the guidebook in her claws.”You’ll need this. For what it’s worth, I’d like to learn more about you all under better circumstances.”

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Chapter 22


(New day new time)
May 6th 10:00 AM Rangers enroute to Gellenalen
A massive fire burned in front of the Tonsina River Lodge; men danced and chanted in unison hymns in a language unintelligible to the normal man. The morning sun was hidden behind a thick wall of clouds as rain and thunder crashed around them. “For Fenris the mighty one we praise! For Fenris the ferocious one we fear!” The Tribals resounded these words.
“To Fenris we offer this sacrifice unto you!” A woman bound by her wrists and ankles struggled at her binds. As the priest lifted a blade into the air the woman let out muffled screams in fear. While the blade captured the reflection that the lightning casted over the blade. The Priest sunk the blade deep into her chest and pulled out the blade only to shove his bare hand into the wound, his fingers tugged at her heart as he yanked it still beating from her warm corpse.
The Tribals gathered round and with teeth sharp as fangs tore into her skin as the Priest began to devour her heart the warm blood dripping down his neck over his furs.
Rangers Claire and Jonathan edged to the clearing of the bushes as they saw the Lythropes feasting on the poor victim. “What now?” Claire asked.
“We try to move around. Too many Lythropes, not enough time on our side. We need to get moving, there’s nothing more we can do here.”
They backed up the Worcas as they attempted to make their way past unnoticed. Elsewhere however the NCR Rangers had finished packing up camp from the night before things were uneasy between them and their Tah Guides and Captors. The previous day saw no signs of any worth while prey and they needed something to appease the Tahs. They had encountered a Vulpine a large quilled Fox like creature almost as if someone had spliced a Fox and Porcupine together. It had dashed away before it felt threatened enough to shoot its quills at anyone, which can penetrate as deep as four inches into the flesh.
The Rangers had makeshift bows and spears but getting sticked with hundreds of quills was something they’d sooner avoid. Decker was in the bushes taking a leak while the others plotted their course. “We’ll head North West then loop around and try South.” Churchill said as he ran his claws over a map.
Decker rushed back to the group buttoning up her pants as she ran. “Found something. Paw prints, big ones. Saw them round that tree back there while I was looking for some cover.”
Quickly they ran over and it was as Decker said, paw prints leading eastward. The Tahs studied how they were formed and where the tracks led. “There’s a river not far from here. It may have gone to feed or drink.” Churchill stated as he stood up and looked towards the direction of the river.
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