KRISTINA
Сбор информации всегда был моим самым нелюбимым этапом в охоте. Увы, это не школьный урок, на который можно просто не пойти. Тут каждая деталь имеет значение и потенциально может спасти тебе жизнь, когда дело доходит до финальной схватки с монстром. Но в драке я ощущаю себя куда уверенней. Когда дерёшься с тварью, не остаётся никаких вопросов, цель предельно ясна, приоритеты расставлены. Есть только ты и чудовище, и между вами нет недосказанности. Либо ты его, либо он тебя. А расследование... блин, тут нужно работать с людьми. Это намного тяжелее.©

MEG
Выдержав несколько мгновений напряженной паузы, демоница вдохнула и подалась навстречу пернатому, собираясь поцеловать в ответ, но замерла в паре сантиметров от губ Каса, взлетев ладонью к его щеке. Этот чертовски соблазнительный момент портила лишь одна мысль одержимой, которая перекрывала собой вообще все. Она знала, насколько увлечется, если поцелует ангела, а сейчас был не самый подходящий момент, чтобы беззаботно расслабиться. У них были серьезные проблемы...©

RAZIEL
Нет, человеческий интеллект и изобретательность действительно интересны. Дойти от камешков до адронного коллайдера, это многого стоит. Особенно если учесть, что продолжительность жизни отдельно взятой особи крайне мала и хрупка, но возможно именно в этом смысл. Старые поколения с закостеневшими взглядами и твёрдой моралью постепенно осыпаются как шелуха, давая дорогу молодым. Человечество кажется разрозненным, вечно конфликтующим и хаотичным, но по сути своей являет огромный живой организм. Каждой отдельной клетке которого порой мешает выполнять свою функцию различный балласт вроде: совести, морали, предрассудков и прочего-прочего.©

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2277, Cassidy, Melissa & Co, Wasteland

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https://i.imgur.com/uUA0sjO.gif
tags: 2277, Cassidy, Melissa & Co, Wasteland
clock&cloth: alt 2277, capital wasteland;
mercs: cas mcmurphy (shikahr) & alt melissa stoneheart;

summary: when the sandy dust оn your teeth just can't stop creaking like that creepy chop-chop in your mind, in your head, deep inside your stomach.
when it feels like you've just sucked a dryer, and there's nothing left to spit.
when you're drowning beneath your sepia-filters, and only filthy shades of yellow sparks all around now. ocher. beige.
gray stones.
yesterlife's skeletons of the newly fallen empire. awful. lawful. atrocious. sculptural.
sensual.
when it's rumbling so low that only the dreadful, bloodthirsty creatures can rise from your ruins. their ruins. that ruins. the ruins.
when in reflection isn't you, but radiation. when just a few gulps and you're a fucking jellyfish. so wink-wink today until your skin turns into a shitty marmalade.
who are we? good boys, bad boys, hiding 'round the corner.
when everyone is inside out.
the first — for a soul, the rest — for a blood. tick-tock, you little tricky wanderer, take that hit, kiss this bat, dance hard 'til we hang on your guts. where?
where war never changes. our war. that war. the war.
where everything passes for a little to come.

and that's exactly where the smoke is going down.

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[indent]America was the country with the capital "A". Supposedly. That's what people say.. okay, some on sound mind gouls and that absessive geezer from Rivet-city say. Other people know nothing about America and don't have to. America it's just a myth only ruins and old pre war books. Knowledge necessary for living is limited to shooting, fighting, escaping, hiding and foraging for food. That's all you need to know, babe. You absorb that with mother's milk, with bramin's milk, with blood of you'r first personally killed radroach or not a great Mole rat's attempt when you six.
[indent]Then your parents have time to give a few wise advices: kill, what you able to kill, run away from what you unable to kill, fields with meat bags not a good idea to play there. By the way, another thing never mess with radscorpions. Ever. Сool beans, man. It was you're middle school.
Armed with this uncomplicated set of knowledge, sixteen-year-old Melissa with a few her peers, were ceremonially expelled. they was kicked out from small unnamed settlement on the North and goes looking for better life. In fact, they just needed to find something useful, anything for community. Uncle Brooke, for example, in his time, found a pilot light behind the nearest stone, it was a shorter initiation ritual ever.
[indent]Good luck, or family ties with the head of the settlement, who knows. It was sixteen years ago, when Stoneheart seen her own community the last times. All right enough nostalgia.
[indent]Melissa sitting on a tin flooring balkony of the third level, sipping her whiskey and nuka-сola and watch the city. Megaton was shockingly gorgeous place. Yes, a megalopolis of this magnitude is rarely seen in the wasteland corroded by decay, life has always been seething here. And in the evenings, awesome lights lit up throughout the city. Stoneheart visited Megaton a couple of times a year, as she was lucky, now she got tо  large festival in a public square. Someone smart guy two days ago  announced that he had neutralized an unexploded bomb sticking out in the ground in the middle of the city. And the Mayor confirmed it, what a turn, friends. Even if this huge contraption has been sticking here since the beginning of time, and the residents have long been used to it as a dysfunctional neighbor. But only now, when this six-foot beauty does not threaten to tore the city to pieces, there is general relief in the settlement. Only Cromwell with his fairly psychotics followers did not share the global fun and lock themselves in their church to "tirelessly beg forgiveness from the Great Atom for the terrible deeds of unbelievers". Quote. Well, freedom of religion, brothers and sisters. In general, Megaton was ready to burst now, not from a bomb, but from a large-scale party. It means Lissa successfully went to a party with free cocktails.
[indent]Even though the holidays are a rare occurrence for the wasteland, especially on such a scale, Melissa couldn't forget what she was here for.
Five months ago, Mellie agreed with her sidekick Zach that he would meet with him at this very time in this very Megaton. But no happy end in there. Instead of seeing this red-headed impudent face, the message was left for Mel in the saloon. More specifically, Zach’s favorite knife. This sentimental beast would never have left their "disrupter" - what a terrible name - in their right mind. Unfortunately, the barman was knocked down by amnesia and even the knock of the caps on the counter did not make his memory resurrect the person who left this knife.
[indent]“Damn, Zack.”
[indent]He was a seasoned, big man, he always found trouble at his fists, but he never got into something really lethal. Melissa probably never saw his face without a couple of bruises or a broken nose, but for Zack it was in the order of things. However, about half a year ago, his mood changed, and from a gallant fighter, who was always ready to kick couple of ass, he became thoughtful, silent, and always carried some strange manuscripts. Нe kept repeating "one day I'll tell you everything". Unbearable uncertainty. If something happened to this guy, Melissa needs to find it out. A mission in the style of finding a needle in a haystack, even if the needle - seven feet tall.
[indent]Well, it's time to move out. Melissa hit the road with the dawn. All her belongings were packed in a backpack, the caps were counted. Yesterday she bought a couple dozen rounds for her 10mm pistol. Extremely crappy weapons, but here you need to be content with what gives you a wasteland, sometimes you get something good, sometimes worse. But everything breaks damn fast. Thhis gun wasn’t the worst weapon, at least it’s not Shishkebab and not one of these experimental guns, the schematics of which Moira has been trying to shove me at every meetyng.
[indent]Northwest. It was all that was known that Zack scours somewhere in the Northwest. And some other “Breakthrough”. He muttered something under his breath about the Breakthrough.
[indent]On the third day of her trip to this stupid northwest, Stonehart stumbled upon a perfectly decent looking house. Boarded up holes in the walls and windows,the surviving roof, a garden framed by barbed wire and completely open wide doors.
It was a single house, there were no ruins or buildings nearby. He was completely clean. A sign saying "halt" was nailed over a letter box. It was very strange. Mellie examined the territory for mines and hidden turrets. Nothing. There was no movement in the house either. Melissa deliberately went off-road, so as not to cross the caravan trails or the transit points of the raiders. But what is it? Need to carefully check it.

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[AVA]https://i.imgur.com/7rQdWXI.jpg[/AVA][NIC]Cassidy McMurphy[/NIC]
____With a little stretching Mac turned over his shoulder, and took a pin look around without leaving his hardly comfortable lying position. It isn't the first day he's scratching his gears on Jury Street Station, cause it comes necessary, and about fifteen minutes for now right on this rooftop. But that wasn't like necessary at all. On the path — well, not the straight forward one — between Megaton and Arefu you could easily meet Crow with his heavily armed body-cody-guarding mercs than any of this raider looked riffraff. Even with a potential commodity to rob on these grounds, the real reason to get shit here was just withdrawal from jet or something. Anyway, it looks like raiders have a habit to dig and die anywhere but not here. A few highwaymen, dust and mutants. Well, mutant rats mostly. Molerats to be more specific. Really boring stuff, but it gives you room for a work when you're in need of such a thing. McMurphy gave himself some kind of vacation for these days to clean up self-n-gear, and to work a bit on Zu'Bahkka.
____And today is as good as any to finally bring it to an end.

____Cassidy feels it almost tangibly, like an own entity, his very nature goes numb from a long-drawn-out sitting in the same place, even if a long time lasts for a couple of days. He found out like all the ground gears inside begin to creak: low but thin, lingering, disgusting and absolutely unpleasant. Extremely wrong. He heard clearly the soul belts begin to whistle a little at the closure of a complete turn. How his yester-jester joints make an angle not freely but with an unnatural tension. In the morning Murph made a tiny sub-rosa stash with some gear and stuff to lock for the good times, near the Red Rocket rocket. Rocket. Mostly brown to tell the truth, but with a rusty signification of this colour as red like blood. Cas takes it for "pre-war red". The funny thing is that every livestock in Wasteland — well, mostly humanoid livestock without any crucial mutation or rad-degeneration — dresses in pre-war red in half an hour or so after blowing up. So patriotic. Deeply inside like.
____But coming back to the red rockets. It could sound quite unnerving, but a simple principle about hiding in the most visible spots in a post-apocalyptic circs works even better than ever. Not like Cassidy has some pre-atomic material to compare with due to that law, but an assumption feels truly true anyway. Zu'Bahkka was lying nearby in the energy saving mode, resting under the shadow of a handsome skeleton from some unknown pre-war air-conditional system, presumably, in details of which there was no place 'or time to dig in.

____Zu, he is a cyberdog, thou know, but one of the three Cas' friends in the very first place. Without any differentiation inside this triplet of course. Cas found him — well, partly — almost completely demolished, in a decidedly inoperative state within Wolfgang's stuff. Freak had him butter-bartered at some scrapyard for a little more than rubbish and this even with the fact that his wares are most likely rubbish in a whole. Wolfie said it's caps to sugarbombs[1] that this "creepy toy" had been passed through hands and handies unless ended up in that scrapheap, and none of the owners could make the shit out of a purpose for this mechanism. Well, they definitely couldn't, and all the traces of a numerous childe-mode repairs have mostly ravaged what time and nature have not. Wolf has a speculation that it's some kind of pre-war cartridge press, honestly, has to be heavily field-sized. Just as Wolfgang's brain for example. With any variants whatsoever reflects the one and only fact matters — no one ever knew what to do with Zu and how to make it crack the golden ones again. But not McMurphy. Mac-n-Murphy feels such things. He felt the same just as he'd glimpsed for a sec at the hot-pointed slice of teeth, poorly dazzling under the sunbeams, decorated with grime and mud.   
____He is Zu. Zu'Bahkka, and not one of your slimesucker presses or so.

____However, it lasted not for a moment while Zu'd truly become the one who was lying peacefully on the rooftop to the right of Murphy now. Many years have passed. Years that were worth it, in one way or another. There are rumors about California. Well, there obviously are rumors about almost everything but California included. That some archaic remnants of an old American government are still sitting out their asses on the chairs somewhere in Cali-for-nia. Mostly the North. Maybe some under-the-ocean-north-deep-into-the-devil's-ass-california. Murphy hasn't find any argument against this last one statement. But some says that the government has not only asses to sit on but the assets to act with. Like superfirearms, duperarmor, tons of secret designs and cutting-edge schemes, an active luftwaffe, spaceships, drones, mind control and clean meat. And coffee beans. Fresh off the pan. And cyberdogs, like Zu. The original factory alloy and those portions of adhesion that have luckily remained without modern intervention — it's a hard mess. Like really hard. Mean. Unique without any option. And it's absolutely impossible to create such a precious machinery things in our last-known world. Zu doesn't look like a pre-war pal also. Whoever and wherever created him, they made their work up to the last cap. And Murphy can't say without lying that he doesn't know about them at all.
____So he lies.
____It would be cheap of him for McMurpy to tell, that he really cares about such huge things like worldwide conspiracy or Hidden Treasures Of The North Coast. He is kinda indifferent, period. But this doesn't make him dull in any way. He stores all of these speculations piece by piece, pie to pie, somewhere deep in his construct-like mind. Well, it's just him who sees it that way. But he stores everything that can click or swing. He feels such a thing, remember, alright? Little dusty thingies that could look quite absurd, but maybe they would play their roles in some other bigger picture, in the wider perspective, within a newly made device. Cas stores and reserves, always trying to do it with clockwork accuracy. Systematically. Screw to screw...

Layers of layers, wheels within wheels: the Clockwork City has many levels, each with specific functions, often including adaptive instrumentality that enables the machinery to reach to change.[2]

____It serves well as an illustration of absolutely everything, from the functioning of self-consciousness to the world's one and only order. The Mire Mechanica. Machineries. Amazing, challenging you in the most purest way, truly mesmerizing. And they did not fail. He did not fail. And will not. Well, maybe not this weekend at least.
____And maybe this weekend doesn't just seem to end at all.

____Murphy'd squinted toward the horizon, but almost instantly moved his focus a bit closer. Something flashed along the line east of the Rocket, somewhere in, well, half a grand yards. Cas has an active and ready to go rangefinder in his left arm pouch, but it would be not cool enough to ease the way now. More likely from pure boredom, that has already started to pull down shoulders with the weight of a fully wet brahmin blanket, Cas lifted long-hoppled Seth and put it on the air. McMurphy looked away from the scope and for a few secs with a half-dead gaze was calculating distance between him and this particularly pointed house. Well, no one has really pointed this house earlier, alas. Nevertheless. Five hundred and forty, plus a few in or out. McMurphy twisted his optics and returned to the scope.
____The wind was even weaker than usual. Completely dehydrated, it flabbily ruffles Mac's hair slightly clotted with dust, barely able to throw a couple of strands from one side of the head to another. It was unidentifiable for now what or who exactly messed near the structure, unfortunately. With a slide jump to the right Mac started to crawl alongside the distinguishable part of the road, then took it to the north, rolling along the hill and burning into one's creepy sinciput. As he just had a sip of holy nectar from the hands of God, Cas involuntary swung his chest and dashingly dangled, adjusting to the nameless noggin. Meantime, lonely noggin doesn't cause any trust or reliance.
____Covered with a nasty ersatz of a helmet, it nearly sparkled with abnormality. Not cool at all. Cas always cared for machinery and mechanics, and found inside enough strength to face the necessity to care not only for oneself but for the world entirely. In the end, we all move on, but not always forward. Not always with the proper calculations. Not always to the beat. Not always in an appropriate way. Murphy knew that the parts themselves could be in countless times more valuable individually than inside a complete unit. And they are.
____But the sinciput's not.

____It disappears behind the hillock spasmodically. A man turns over his own right shoulder with unequal intervals, without any reason retracting his neck and stretching it again in a reverse turn. He dragged his right leg with tension, which cause the sinciput to roll sharply in the same direction and then to fluently drag back in a relatively upright position. One more to go. Another nameless sinciput appeared to the left, accurately when the first one had approached enough to show a blackened face formed under it. Not like very representative, however. Under the self-boiled kettle darkens a stain. Not interesting 'or intriguing at all. Same as many others. Defective. They all acted as indexers of a crucial breakdown, defined it, marked it only to appear later in front of thee damaged, corrupted, with theirs stop-buttons ripped off.
____Second sinciput twitched along with its dirty shreds of hair. That guy giggled, and it looked like he was doing it actually incessantly. Murph took to the right a bit. Nothing. Back to black. The Sinciput Duo was heading straight to the building, and Cas hasn't any doubts left for that they were here after the first glitch. Let's call it Sinciput Zero. It was starting to bore with this particular word, so McMurphy felt a strong necessity to design more specific names for ugly guys out there. But Cassidy couldn't figure out yet did it all matters anything to him. Mostly not. Lowering the rifle, Mac stared with a gaze full of love somewhere between trigger and colourless stone crumbs on the roof beneath them.

____"Hey, bayb," McMurphy whispered conspiratorially, slightly patting the metal back plate at the junction with the neck splint, "we have junkies on the run, look," and nodded toward the darkening structure in the far northeast. More, of course, north than east, however. Zu'Bahkka muttered softly and stretched out, rising to his paws and gradually bringing the generator out of rest. Murphy with undisguised pleasure reiterated how soundlessly had this happened. Perfect. What trouble this sound was worth, the sound of true correct silence. A low barely perceptible rumbling rose from within, only signaling about the resumption of work in progress. Also the proper one.
____"You rock," Murph said with satisfaction, exfoliating this quiet hum for a couple of seconds and watching how revived Zu with literally palpable interest moved closer to McMurphy, mellowed out beside him and peered at the dark spot. Cas just knew that he had actually peered. Right now the rush wasn't justified, just as ever. Moving his supporting shoulder and mechanically crawling a bit in one place with his elbows in order to remove tiny stony crumbs, Cas smoothly walked his fingers along the barrel, turning down and practically recklessly returning the bipod to an active state. He had to move the pelvis at the same time with his legs — how unpredictable! — to the far left, and peripheral vision caught how Zu'Bahkka repeated the operation. Zu didn’t push the dumped chickpea into his ears for a company, however.

____And the sinciputs, meanwhile, raised under them a lanky creatures of the conditionally humanoid type, and brought a third pal. Muddled, dirty, in a teared clothes with elements of metal inserts, linings and some other uninteresting rubbish. Their weapons at present didn't bother Mac for an obvious reasons. Or a quite unobvious. But that just wasn't important. Lame, Giggler and Bigwig[3]. The third sinciput was carried by the Bigwig, although for any Bigwig to go in the rearguard was an off-status pleasure. Giggler is less likely to fall to the ground or even just to sit the damn down. To be honest, Murph wasn't even sure that he'd have noticed if Lame’s head blows up in front of his very face. And Bigwig — he'll topple almost certainly. Lame will tumble diagonal to the left, cause the working leg should be simply easier and more familiar to bend quickly. But the paths of least resistance don't paint the most beautiful trajectories. Nor the most correct lines.

____Murphy flicked a safety and straightened his trigger finger along its namesake. Giggler crouched stupidly as he walked like a broken doll. From anticipation, most likely. With a pipe short-barreled gun at the hot, he was already approaching the porch. Lame almost perfectly followed him in line, except that his ideal line was measuredly knocked to the left by every two incomplete seconds. About north, Bigwig walked between them, now and then partially hiding behind Lame's figurine and standing out only for the moment long as Lame lifted his right leg with haste. Cas imagined Zu now, without moving nor separating himself from the scope. He didn't need to turn around to see.
____"A splash of water or a fallen ball?" McMurphy asked with undisguised curiosity, taking a half of a turn and giving a warm gaze to the dog. Zu'Bahkka also twisted his solid metal face partially and nodded just once, choosing so the first option. "As usual," Murphy exhaled, beat off three counts with his chin on the air and sharply shook his head to the side. Zu at that moment clacked with steel teeth and purred with satisfaction, "as always, you won. I'll never learn how to play it..."

____Giggler just has his foot lifted to the very first step on the porch, which for an unknown reason still ever existed. The whole site was in a surprisingly good condition, but the pretty little house can wait for a bit. Lame was just throwing the left leg, sharply leaning forward and hiding Bigwig from sight. Eeny. Jolt. Giggler leaned on the porches pillar, staining. Well, partially. Quite literally. Click. Lame was pulling the right leg, properly, confused perhaps, he didn't interrupt the movement to fully accomplish his task. Soft jiggle from the fallen sleeve was barely audible. Bigwig quickly toppled onto the ground, but hadn't yet managed to hide himself behind Lame. Cas took a pin to the northeast, cause Bigwig was lying further. No further than properly. Meeny. Lame finally reached out, but jerked and began to heel on a healthy diagonal. Right like in all senses. Click. Mac instantly came back with a swing to the opposite. Half a sec. Moe. Click. Mac's shoulder coughed and warmed up, a proper push rolled through the right side and curled over the kidney. All-right.
____The nose itched pleasantly. Eeny was up, meeny was near the ground and moe was just half aloft once again. Splash, you see.

____Murphy watched as the last dust descended near the sinciputs of which were no longer there. Quiet again. Proper again. Bigwig had a shoulder bag. The filling really played a secondary role, but the rings on the handle were definitely factory made, presumably resembled a holy-whole pre-war one. Well, partly whole. With some holes definitely. Zippers and locks are always useful. Factory rivets too. Crosses, pass-through buttons. Eventually, there could also be a cache. Almost certainly some buff or jet, but they're always tradable at a good rate.
____As soon as McMurphy hived off from Seth, Zu purred quite a bit and poked Mac's shoulder with his metal head approvingly.
____"Nice splash," Cas nodded, locking the folded bipod with a quiet snap click. It took like a tree or four mins to catch a housing sight in a pale window, and a few minutes more to believe his own eyes. Mellie-damn-Lady.
____"Pal, looks like we finally have a glimpse of sanity around here, do we?" Zu'Bahkka quickly caught the less of tension in the voice and take a lot more playful look. "But stay vigilant as would I", Mac patted mechanical dog's nape, taking a wide deep breath and finally letting himself out of a rifle. It would take a while to gather up his humble belongings.

____"Don't fire thy cannon, Steelie-Mellie, it's just my old washtab messing 'round!" Cassidy just yelled it in full throat when the building appeared in relative proximity. Relative for some thunderous bawls like these. "Your chevaliers were absolutely obscene, evidently malicious and they had an awful sense of humour without any doubt, of this thou can be pure sure!"
____Approaching the house neatly, Mac scrupulously inspected the surrounding area for a new volunteers to kickball into the very depth of Cosmos, but without any luck. And it's for the good anyway.
____"Waddaya doing here alone and where the holy hell did you find such obscurantists for a company?" Zu'Bahkka followed Cassidy with a natural caution, semi-calm but ready to act in a case of some more gory entertainment. As does McMurphy, just as does Mac-n-Murphy.

click

[1] — "it's caps to sugarbombs" — it's fallout-friendly version of an American "it's dollars to doughnuts", which means "definitely, for sure" or even "к бабке не ходи";
[2] — the whole phrase was taken from the Elder Scrolls Online, and Clockwork City DLC in particular;
[2] — maybe it would be more convenient to see them like, well, "Хромой, Хихикун и Шиша", quite literally.

Отредактировано Cassidy Shikahr (01.04.20 21:55:38)

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