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A Change in Management


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  • 2 weeks later...

Continues to be very excellent! I look forward to more of your writings. :wub: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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  • 1 month later...

Chapter 6.5


Grab your hankies, children, cause I've got a heart-warming tale to tell. It's about a little boy's search for his... for his daddy. Waaaahh!


I choked on the last puff of my cigarette, wheezing throughout the next sentence or two.


Kaori actually held up a hand for me to be quiet, and I realized just how serious this was for her.


You see, the kid from Vault 101 has been looking for his dad, a very nice man named James, who left his son and daughter behind in the vault when he took off. What kind of dad leaves his kids in an underground bunker?


"A damn good one," I heard Kaori growl through gritted teeth.


Children, I just don't know. It ain't for Three Dog to judge, and you shouldn't either.


"Exactly, so everyone shoul-" she grumbled once more, before freezing mid sentence upon hearing the next bit.


But none of that matters now! Father and son were spotted walkin' and talkin' together out there in the Wastes. Here's hoping they can hold onto each other this time around.


"Daddy!" Kaori sprang up like cornered rattlesnake, her hand reflexively slicking her hair back away from her freckled forehead. "We have to go to Rivet City again!"


I would most likely have listened to her a few days ago, but tonight...


Tonight, I simply wormed my way into my bedroll and muttered, "We'll make better time traveling during the day."



Chapter 7


I stared across the table at my father. He looked almost wary, as if he were worried one of us children would deck him in the mouth for leaving us. Honestly, I wouldn't put that past me. I was happy to see him, but my feelings had culminated into a fair amount of confusion and a betrayed kind of hurt since I'd gotten to Rivet City.


"Well," Mike began, his eyebrow furrowed with what could have been worry or well-concealed agitation, "I know he didn't leave us there for anything other than the possibility of safety."


"I..." My heart had sank deep into my gut by now, and admitting this did hurt quite a bit. I wanted to be angry, dramatic. I stammered out instead, "I figured as much."


Dad then cut in, in his most soothing of voices, "I knew you kids were mature enough to understand. You know that as your father, I love you, and well, I hated to ask for your help on this project, but your mother would be so proud to know that you're helping out."


"Well, I don't want any of my family getting killed or anything, do I? Not much of a choice I have, but I'm always willing to help my daddy, right?" I crossed my arms and looked over at Charon, who placed a hand on my shoulder silently, the comfort of his hand ironically feeling like a giant relief being lifted off my shoulders.


Mike seemed a bit more understanding of the whole ordeal than I was, and I couldn't say that I was surprised. He always was the more mature one, after all.


Morgan sat behind him and ordered a drink amidst all the dramatic tension, his only explanation for it being, "Come on, kiddos. Why would I pass up drinks at a time like this?"


I raised a hand into the air, "I might as well have one, just since it's no fair to let someone else drink alone."


Morgan chuckled and slid over a shot full of whiskey.


I downed it all at once, and it burned like hellfire going down.


Charon put a hand over the glass, "Alright, that's all she gets today, unless someone else wants to carry her out of here."


Dad looked rather appalled at this, and agreed with Charon. "Catie, what's happened to you?"


I looked over at Charon, "He calls me that. Short for Catherine. Not sure if you-"


"I knew."


"Oh, right. You were there last time when we-"


My dad interrupted by clearing his throat. "I brought you both here to tell you something important. It's something that I knew and did not tell the two of you because we were living in the vault, and keeping it so that the two of you thought you were born there was a priority."


I looked over at my father, my features cast rather seriously, my brow furrowed in focus and my lips pursed as I listened.


Dad sighed. "There's no easy way to go about this, so I have to spit it right out. You have a brother."


"I know I have a brother, he's right the-" I paused mid-sentence, realizing what he meant by this. I had a brother somewhere from... what? A drunken escapade of my father? This was scandalous, the kind of thing that Butch's unknown father would have done, not mine.


"You seem to misunderstand, Catie," Dad began again.


Charon whispered to me, "Like glass again," and my features cleared as I realized that even my father could see right through me.


"Catie," Dad said soothingly, putting a hand on my forearm, "This is going to be harder for you to stomach more than anyone else. I suppose I should just come out with it. You weren't the only baby born on the day your mother died. In fact, she died from giving birth to twins without proper medicine. You have to understand, it's a wasteland out here. We had no idea there would be two of you."


I felt crushed, as if someone had stepped on me and rearranged my organs as their foot was on its way off my chest. "Well, I don't see why you wouldn't tell me that. Who was he?" I felt a strange tugging sensation at my chest as I thought for a split second that maybe it could be Butch. After all, who knew his father?


"He seemed stillborn, Catie. That's why he was never taken to the vault with us."


I felt like a monster for this, but I was a little relieved. I then felt a bit silly for even thinking someone three years older than me could even be my twin. "So why are you telling me this now? And wait, seemed?"


"Because he was still alive and I had been too careless to check. I was so distraught over his and your mother's deaths that a Brotherhood member who was going to give your mother and the baby a burial was the one who noticed that he was alive after I'd left. It didn't cry or so much as whimper to show that it was alive or hungry. I corresponded with the Brotherhood for years getting updates on the baby, and he's got less of an idea who he really is than we do. I know who he is, but he doesn't. It must be a sad existence for him.


All I really know is that we named him Jason before he was born. He's in the Brotherhood right now, and has no idea the rest of his family is out there."


I stood up, shoving my chair backward as I did so, slamming both my hands on the table and wincing as I heard the chair clatter to the floor. "I want to find him. He's my twin brother. I mean, goddamn, look at me. It can't be that hard to find a red-headed Brotherhood member."


"Fraternal twin, so he won't be as easy to spot as you are," Mike piped up. "Yeah, you never get cases of boy-girl identical twins, since they split off from the same egg. You guys could look worlds apart."


"Dammit!" I already felt a strange sense of closeness to this brother, just from knowing we were born at the same time.


Charon crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair. "Not much you can do."


"You don't say." I picked my chair back up and sat down, huffing a breath out and blowing a lock of hair off of my nose. This was going to be a long night, and tomorrow morning, we were going to do this 'Project Purity' thing. I needed all the sleep I could get.

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Just like every other bit of your writings I've read ever, freakin' awesome.


I'd give you kudos but I kinda already did like 8 months ago XD

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  • 2 months later...

Chapter 8

Kaori was on edge, I could tell even from behind. She was rigid as she stood in front of the door to the purifier.

"The person in charge is to step forward immediately, and turn over all materials related to this project." The man talking to Kaori and Mike's father was not particularly large or intimidating, but he held a certain air about him that told me he felt he was the strongest and most important person in the room.

James spoke now, after not even a moment of thought. "That's quite impossible. This is a private project; the Enclave has no authority here. I'm going to have to ask you to leave at once."

The Enclave... I knew very little about them, despite my age. I knew they had an outpost up north, and had more advanced technology than even the Brotherhood, but that was the extent of my knowledge. I'd been under contract for far too long to have collected much more than that.

I looked at Kaori again. Standing a few feet behind her, I couldn't see her expression, but she was fiddling with the door, trying to get it open. Mike stood close to her, as if trying to calm her down. He bore a rigid pose similar to her own, though, and his hands were just as ready to yank the door open as hers were.

"Am I to assume, sir, that you are in charge?" That voice... I wanted to paint the wall with his brains just from hearing it. He was getting in the way of James' work, and by extension, in the way of my employer. I bit down on the side of my cheek and crossed my arms, wishing this glass door was thin enough to shatter with a bullet.

"Yes, I'm responsible for this project." James looked serious and unhindered by the fact that he had plasma rifles pointed right at him.

The man still stood with hands behind his back, pompously spewing out every word with careful, enunciated precision that screamed for appraisal from some unpresent higher-up. "Then I repeat, sir, that you are hereby instructed to immediately hand over all materials related to the purifier."

"I'm sorry, but that's-"

"Furthermore, you are to assist Enclave scientists in assuming control of the administration and operation of this facility at once."

"Is this guy nuts?!" Kaori yelled, her temper flaring. She turned to me, and then looked at Mike from the corner of her eye, "Why would he just give up everything he and our mom worked for? I'd kill him if his boyfriends over there weren't covering his ass." Seeming to be forgetting that she would probably end up unable to shoot in the end, she kicked at the glass door before her and continued, "And let's not forget this door being in the way."

"Keep your anger in check," Mike said, shaking his head.

Dr. Li nodded, as if to agree, her brow furrowed, but kept her eyes focused on James. I firmly believed that this woman held a grudge against the two of them for keeping James from being here years ago.

James began to speak once again, "Colonel... Is it Colonel? I'm sorry, but the facility is not operational. It never has been. I'm afraid you're wasting your time here."

"Sir, this is the last time I am going to repeat myself. Stand down at once, and turn over control of this facility."

"Colonel, I assure you that this facility will not function. We have never been able to successfully replicate test results..."

The Colonel drew his gun and shot the assistant who'd accompanied James into the purifier in one swift motion. She screamed as she fell, her blood beginning to pool around her quickly. It was a fatal shot.

Everyone, including myself, let out a gasp as things took a turn for the violent.

At this point, I began to play out what would happen if I'd gotten inside and shoved the barrel of my shotgun in the Colonel's mouth. In the end, my lack of power armor would be my downfall, and I'd likely just put Kaori in danger. What I wouldn't do right now to stop this hindrance from being in her way, though...

I pulled her away from the door and held her tightly against my waist. She viciously struggled in my grip, but couldn't break it. Mike nodded his head in approval at me and turned his attention back to the scene before us.

"I suggest you comply immediately, sir, in order to prevent any more incidents. Are we clear?"

There was an edge of irritation in James' voice as he cast a look toward his children, then replied to the Colonel. "Yes, Colonel. I'll do whatever you want; there's no need for more violence."

"Then you will immediately hand over all materials related to this project, and aid us in making it operational at once." An automatic response. He was used to saying it by now.

"Very well. Give me a few moments to bring the system online." James turned to the control panel behind him and began to press buttons and turn dials.

"Enough of these delays." The Colonel was irritated now. I gripped Kaori tighter as she fought me more fiercely.

"It'll only be a few more moments." James sounded quite sure of himself now, his back turned to the Colonel.

An explosion sounded, and I heard the Geiger Counters on two Pip-Boys begin to tick. That was no ordinary explosion. The Colonel and his soldiers began twitching and squirming, groaning in pain as they fell to the ground, dying.

James struggled to stumble over to the door, clearly in pain as his feet dragged along the floor. He made eye contact with his children for one last time, pressing his palms against the glass weakly. "Run... Run!"

My arms limply fell to my sides.

Kaori ran to the glass and began pounding on it with both her fists. She screamed louder than I could imagine she was capable of, then shrieked, "I won't leave without you!" She pounded at the glass for several seconds before the tears began to pour down her cheeks.

James fell to the ground, his body limp and lifeless.

Mike tried to pull Kaori from the glass, and she bit his arm, screaming, "NO!" He flinched at the bite and freed her, and she clawed at the glass, ripping her fingernails in the process and leaving bloody trails behind. I leaned over and pulled her to her feet as she fought me with all her might. Using all the strength I had, I hauled her over my shoulder and gripped her by the waist and legs.

Mike had accepted the fact that his father wanted them out of there rather quickly and knew the time to mourn was later, but it seemed Kaori would need to be carried out of here.

She suddenly stopped fighting and hung there over my shoulders like a ragdoll. I wouldn't take the risk of putting her down now, for fear that she wouldn't leave, so I held her even tighter.

Dr. Li turned to us. "James... He's gone... We have to get out of here. They'll be coming for us next. We've got to evacuate now!"

Mike talked to Dr. Li... I barely paid attention. I was much more focused on Kaori's state of mind right now. It seemed like she was in shock. I followed Mike and Dr. Li as they lead the way out of here.


Mike had handled every Enclave soldier in our path beautifully. In fact I felt I couldn't have done a better job myself. That Morgan had taught him well. I hadn't even had to fire a single shot; not that I could have with Kaori hanging over my shoulders. Keeping her safe was the main priority, and I'd managed to take every bullet that she'd have taken otherwise.

When we got here, I sat her down in the first chair I could find. I'd been trying for hours now to get her to respond, and all I'd gotten out of her was a blank stare.

"Kaori," I said her name for the millionth time, trying to get her attention.

Her eyes rolled upward toward mine, the once-brilliant green now looking muddy and haunted, "That's not my name."

I tilted my head to the side and held in a grin, as she'd finally replied, even if it was with something so confusing. "What do you mean?"

"My name is Catie." She pulled out my contract out of her leather top and looked me right in the eyes. "I don't want this anymore."

She opened up the folded paper and crushed my existence beneath her foot as she tore it in half.

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