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Title: In All This Blood and Thunder (7/?)
Author: MustInvestigate
Disclaimer: I only own action figures
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: none
Warning(s): advanced geekery, WIP
Summary: Rorschach unwittingly enters the Fallout universe. Probably won't make much sense unless you've played at least the main storyline. Possibly not even then.
Note: Set in 1976. Thanks to Doctor Manhattan's random technological phlebotinum, gaming technology leapt directly from 1972's Pong to...this, why not.




7. Levelling

Rorschach finds he likes the Metro, despite the nagging delusion that the wrecked subway cars are in fact on their rails and bearing down on him like the wrath of God. The ceilings are low, light sources all but nonexistent, and the vermin are easily crunched with a blow from his sledgehammer. The faintest brush of air on his skin may as well mark their way forward in neon.

It must feel like the Vault. The lower hallways, rusted and all but abandoned.

They come to an underground crossroads, ceilings decorated and vaulted like a cathedral. There’s a level below them, and an exit to the city above. He thinks they should try the lower level, which appears to go south.

“Hah!” Jericho exclaims, “Looks just like the real thing! Especially the rubble, and the glowing fungi. Listen to that echo – ECHO!”

“ECHO…echo…ghwahth?”

“Uh-oh. Retreat!”

The lower level is not an option. It’s populated by feral ghouls, emaciated and barely clothed wretches who swarm up the wrecked escalators, hacking and gasping for air. He thinks of Gob, of the gentle man losing his sanity and degenerating into a ravenous monster.

“Legs,” he tells Jericho. There are too many of them to dispatch with any dignity. He tells himself they were probably raiders before succumbing to mutation.

Jericho laughs, immediately grasping his plan. He fires low into the tightly bunched pack, obliterating them from the knees down. They topple, hacking out meaningless, rage-filled syllables, and still try to come at the humans on hips and elbows.

Rorschach moves nimbly along the edge of the mass, then into it, putting them down with his sledgehammer. Jericho wades in on the other side, giggling as he dispatches each unfortunate with his 10mm.

“You have no idea how often I’ve dreamed of exactly this,” he chuckles. “Oh, shit – that bastard just bit me! Am I going to become one of them?”

“Mutation caused by radiation, not virus,” Rorschach replies. He wonders why he would think a virus could turn a human to ghoul.

“Whew. That would be a real mood-killer.”

“Shall continue above ground.”

Rorschach has lost his fondness for the tunnels.

They manage to travel almost six blocks before Jericho brings doom upon them again. Rorschach consults his map, then turns on his Pip-boy radio, hoping to hear Three Dog report on Father again.

The pigs are the snootiest
The owls are the hootiest
The plants the fruitiest
The stars the shootiest…


Jericho grabs his arm. “You get der Bingle on that thing? Turn it up!”

Rorschach slaps his hand away from the screen. “Doesn’t go any louder.”

Undeterred, Jericho bellows along to the tune:

“Don’t know why I left the homestead
I really must confess
I’m a weary exile, singing my song of loneliness!”

“HUMANS!”

“I’LL WEAR YOUR SPINE AROUND MY NECK!”

Rorschach nervously grips his sledgehammer as three giant yellow bodies barrel around the corner, two of them carrying assault rifles. “Have found your Super Mutants.”

Jericho grins, “This is what I’m talking about!”

Rorschach doesn’t wait for him to start shooting. The closest beast is holding something, pumping it triumphantly in his closed fist before flinging it toward them. Frag grenade!

Rorschach swings his sledgehammer, and, miracle of miracles, knocks the metal pineapple aside moments before it explodes. He thinks it would have been a foul ball, but Mr Brotch is not here to umpire his performance.

The mutant roars and knocks the sledgehammer from his hands. “DIE FASTER, I’M HUNGRY!”

Behind him, Jericho is holed up between concrete pillars and pumping bullets into the other two. Rorschach is dryly amused despite his sure doom; the grin on Jericho’s face assures him his utterly insane back-up is about to die a happy man, a fate the wasteland affords very few.

The monster reaches far, far back, making a fist somewhere in New Jersey for a punch that will spread Rorschach an inch thick across the nearest wall.

In the single bell-clear second before sure annihilation, his fear falls away.

The thing may as well be standing still. He sees the best weak spots: the head, of course, but there’s no way he can reach it, so…the kidneys first, to make it bend over, then a couple of stiff knuckles through the eyeball…

As he sidesteps the plummeting fist and lands his own in the thing’s lower back, Rorschach realises his time out in the wastes has made him faster. Faster, and much, much stronger.

Still, he tells himself that was a lucky fluke, flicking the crushed eye from his fingers and stepping over the thing’s twitching body. He has no hope of vanquishing the other two.

Except…

One is badly wounded from Jericho’s assault, and the other’s assault rifle has dipped low as he re-loads.

Faster than thought, Rorschach wrenches the gun from the thing’s loose grip and clubs the weaker one across the face. It’s staggering now, still pulling the trigger but hitting only the asphalt by his feet. A wave of elation runs through Rorschach as he realises he can kill this one too with a few more blows. The unarmed mutant behind him will beat him to death before that, though, if Jericho doesn’t get off his…

“I got him!” his partner yells, and Rorschach looks back long enough to see Jericho flicking the warm-up sequence on his flamethrower.

Soon, they are moving two large bodies onto the bonfire made of their compatriot. “It’s just tidier that way,” Jericho explains. “Where to now?”

They should both be tired, and it would be responsible to rest a while before heading east, making it to GNR by morning. But to the south is Falls Church, an area Simms specifically warned him against. The sheriff has heard through his mysterious network of informants that the fearsome Brotherhood of Steel is unable to contain the neighbourhood, despite sending in entire squads of highly trained soldiers against the dozens – perhaps hundreds – of super mutants holding the office buildings.

It isn’t directly south, really. It is almost south-east, practically on the way to GNR. After all, the wasteland needs them.

“Falls Church,” he decides.



part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5 - part 6

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