|Beefrow||It was currently morning, and the moon hang over the summer desert, a periodic respite from the heat carried on the radioactive breeze from the north. Out in the sun, dressed in gecko leather armor, and a football helmet that's seen hell and back, Beefrow Thurgood is off the side of the highway, dragging something brownish and large. Near him, a sign proclaims 'Hwy 54', riddled with bullet holes.
Many refugees from the east have come by this way, and almost none have come back, so little word returns to El Dorado about what's out here, though speculation abounds.
|Ironface Jones||Curiosity has gotten the best of Ironface. The lack of information about this area has him out exploring the highway to get some answers, at least for himself. The big tribal rides his horse along the road, the animal's horseshoes striking the surface of the road at a steady pace as nothing out of the ordinary gets it's attention. The rider, however, spots the other big man moving something heavy and a look of recognition appears on his face. Ironface spurs his horse to a trot to get close sooner. After looking around at his surroundings once more he calls out in a booming voice, "Greetings!"|
|Beefrow||There's not much out here, save a junked out, rusted old bus some fifty yards off the highway, and far off the land either dips away into a hole, or it's just a mirage from the heat of the wasteland. Either's likely. Behind Beefrow, a dead dog is being dragged along the ground as he carries it by one leg,.
The big man stops when he hears the horse, turning as Ironface comes upon him. He lifts a meaty hand holding a massive sledgehammer, calling out in a deep voice, "Hail, killer." He smiles brightly, recognizing Ironface Jones. "Well come, to Highway 54. This is my highway..." He considers something, tilting his head and peeking out through the facemask of his helmet, "Why are you here?"
|Ironface Jones||"Well met," replies Ironface to Beefrow with a slow, solemn nod of his head. No smile appears, but it's clear he doesn't seem to mind finding someone he knows way out in the middle of nowhere. After giving the dead dog a glance he takes a second to think of his reply, "It is good to visit your land. I am here because I wondered what lies out this way. I have not been here before." To be more polite, or something like that, he reins in his horse to a stop and climbs down from it.|
|Beefrow||Beefrow dips his head forward, watching Ironface all the while. Strangers were deadly, and the familiar ones just crept up on you. Still, the Thurgood(s) has a code. "No one can go further, without paying the toll." He gestures towards the bus, "But you, and only you, Ironface Jones of the El Dorado tribe, may enjoy my hospitality, and my women." The large man glances down at the dead dog, then says in an almost childish like glee, "We will have soup."|
|Ironface Jones||"I do not know what I need to pass here today, but I have caps for the toll," Ironface says as he leads his horse along, looking for a good place to park it. "Thank you for being so generous. I will enjoy your hospitality and women. And soup." No stranger to the finer wasteland delicacies, Ironface nods his head up and down slightly as he considers the dog as food, apparently approving of the idea.|
|Beefrow||"One working 'Truck', or twenty thousand caps," Beefrow replies, "To go further." He nods off towards the highway as it leads south into the distance. Beefrow walks slowly towards the old rusted bus, examining everything as he does, the ground, his surroundings. He drops the dog off by the steps up into the bus, squeezing through it's small doorway somehow. He turns into the gutted vehicle, where a couple cinder blocks serve as seats, and a cowskull decorates the otherwise barren metal frame. Near the back, there's a pallet of rag. No women.
That is, until Beefrow pulls out a pristine, Pre-war Porno, 'The Gals on the Force', featuring very patriotic spreads. Beefrow drops that in front of a cinder block, nodding to Ironface, "Do you want beer?"
|Ironface Jones||"I can not afford that," Ironface confesses as a slight frown appears on his face. At the bus he looks over everything for a few seconds before finding a good place to tie off his horse's reins, patting the beast on the neck once it's more or less secure. Entering the bus is done with some difficulty, one of the tribal's trinkets getting caught up for a second. Once he's through, though, he looks over the interior and nods his head again, then moves to sit on the cinder block with the magazine in front of it, looking at it for a moment before replying to Beefrow, "Yes. Beer is good." Once more he looks around the vehicle's insides, "Do you have others in your tribe, Beefrow Thurgood?"|
|Beefrow||Beefrow finds two mason jars of home-brewed ale, the same kind you can buy in Shantytown actually, stashed beneath his pallet. He carries them over to Ironface, and hands him one of the lukewarm jar. "There are no other Thurgoods, now." He settles down onto his cinder block, "I will accept two of your daughters, in lee ooo of a truck. You have good blood." He lifts his jar, in cheers, "They will be Thurgoods, strong and killer."|
|Ironface Jones||Taking the jar from Beefrow Ironface gives the other large fellow a nod, "Thank you." He'll return the salute with his own before taking a big gulp and wiping his mouth with his forearm. "My daughters and sons are all dead, but they were fine children. Skilled with spear and bow," Jones says rather evenly, making sure to keep any emotions or anything suppressed way down deep, where they belong.|
|Beefrow||Born from a different paradigm, but sharing in the understanding of loss, Beefrow says, solemnly, "As my people say, "'That is fucked.'" He takes another swig of his mug, and rises to his full height, which means stooping in the bus. "Once, the Thurgoods covered Highway 250, and then the Horde came. I have come here, to rebuild our clan, and take Highway 54. I will not be the last Thurgood." He tilts his head to look down at Ironface, "You will not be the last Jones... I must cook the dog!"|
|Ironface Jones||"Truly, it is fucked," Ironface declares in agreement, taking a drink from his own beer and licking his lips. "I will aid you if I can, Beefrow Thurgood. One of the things I do is help people and those of us who truly know loss must work together." And then there's a big nod, "I offer my assistance with cooking the dog if you would like it. You are a good host." And he's being sincere, this being one of the more welcoming spots he's found out in the wastes lately.|
|Beefrow||Beefrow squeezes through the bus's doorway, grabbing the dead dog's leg, "It is my place, to cook for you, this is my hospitality," He says this nonchalantly, and in his mind, he's wondering if that's okay. It's been almost two decades since he was taught the ways, since he became a man. He beckons, moving around the back of the bus, to gesture to the ashen campfire and myriad bottles of motoroil scattered near it. He dumps some motoroil on the coals, skewers the dog, and squats down to roast it.
"The El Dorado tribe, it is big." Beefrow nods, cogs moving slowly in his head, "I want ... more." He looks to Ironface, squinting through his facemask to see if the man really understands.%
|Ironface Jones||"I thank you again, then," Ironface says, remaining in his seat while the other guy does his thing until he sees the gesture to approach the campfire. Once there he squats down and takes another drink from his beer. "The El Dorado tribe is very large. Thousands of people live there and even more come to visit. There are people there that breed horses, farm, whore and make guns and armor. Anything I want I can find there usually." There's a hint of pride in his voice as he describes the city he belongs to. And then his voice is even as he looks over the surroundings before letting his gaze rest on Beefrow again, "I think I know what you speak of. It is hard to be without people to make a dwelling into a home. My home is far away, in Salt Creek, and it is lonely there."|
|Beefrow||The dog's fur catches fire from the black-fumed grease fire, a horrid stench filling the air. Beefrow coughs, and covers his face mask with his forearm, "I will take others, and make them Thurgoods." He points towards an empty field, "They will work there, growing things." He points to the opposite barren field, "And there, a big tower I fill with guns in all windows." He gestures to the bus, "And I will have /two/ busses." He nods sagely, turning that spit-roasted, burning animal carcass. And then it dawns on him, "I have no water, Ironface. There will be no soup."|
|Ironface Jones||Yeah, the way the dog's cooking has Ironface standing and backing away from the fire as he too begins to cough. While clearly not pleased by the scent being given off, the big guy is more than willing to stick around. "There are many refugees now. You would be wise to ask them to come work for you if you can find a water source." Still standing away from the fire he offers, "I have water on First Horse Jones. Let me get that."|
|Beefrow||Beefrow nods his head, sticking the rebar into the ground to fetch an old warped metal stewpot. He sets that beside the fire, then tells Ironface, lifting his voice as the man moves towards his horse, "Water.. Yes. That is a killer idea, Ironface." He speaks with grave certainty, "That is what I will do. Bring water to Highway 54." He looks for his cutting rock, and finds the shard of granite he keeps here, and begins hacking chunks off the burnt, unsavory dog.|
|Ironface Jones||It doesn't take long for Ironface to get to the horse, grab a waterskin and make his way back to the cookfire. Offering the skin to his new pal he nods his head several times, "Bringing water here is a noble goal. I do not know where to begin, though, other than to try to find a science person in El Dorado to help you. Many of them are very knowledgeable about things I do not understand." He watches the other fellow start chopping up the dog.|
|Beefrow||Beefrow can't help but taste a few of those chunks, as he adds meat to the pot before takingthe waterskin to fill it. He stakes the dog, and it remains a gruesome ornament to their campfire scenery, as the large man sets the pot on the fire. "I will get big buckets, and collect rain. Or drag water here myself." Dragging things is noble work. "This horse you have?" He gestures to First Horse Jones, "How many caps was it? It has fine legs, and good stout flanks."|
|Ironface Jones||Watching the other guy do his thing, Ironface stands nearby in case he needs to lend a hand. He considers Beefrow's ideas about collecting rain or just hauling it and nods, "I hope that will be enough water. Still, I will help you if you need it." And then Jones looks back over his shoulder at his animal. This time he very nearly smiles before catching himself, "I was given First Horse Jones when I took back a herd of horses from horse rustlers. He is a stalwart companion and very good at carrying people and things."|
|Beefrow||Beefrow watches the pot, peeking into it to see if it's boiling. "Horse rustlers? What are those?" He looks to First Horse, "I will get me water, and workers, and a horse, I think. That is my plan," He declares staunchly. "There is... the Vault Water machines, yes? I have heard there is Vault 30, and it has the gecko. This makes water, doesn't it?" Another barely educated Wastelander.|
|Ironface Jones||"People who steal horses," Ironface explains quickly as he leans forward to look into the pot as well. "It is good to have a horse. I can show you where to buy one in El Dorado. The people who breed them have several different types but I can not tell them apart very well." And then his eyes widen as Beefrow begins to describe the water machine. Apparently Ironface is even less educated than the other man, "I do not know of that. The only geckos I know are the creatures I hunt."|
|Beefrow||Beefrow tosses his cutting rock away idly, sighing with mild frustration. "It is something I hear in El Dorado. There is a GECKO, that makes water or something, and people want it. I did not understand the story, but I have seen science before. It does many things... Maybe... Maybe the gecko goes into water, and makes it clean. Or it is a really big machine, that looks like a gecko?" Beefrow's football helmet shakes side to side, "I do not know. Others I have heard say, you can dig, and find water in pipes, but that too, I do not know."|
|Ironface Jones||"That would be a powerful thing to own, a gecko that makes water," Ironface declares seriously after taking a second to consider the possibilities. "Soon I think I will be going to Picacho to help clean the water there. The water in Picacho and Hondo is tainted and there is a danger that is protecting it or something." Another moment of consideration, "Maybe if you see it it will help you with finding water here. There may be fighting and feral ghouls and glowing ones to contend with."|
|Beefrow||Beefrow leans forward, watching the water finally boiling, beginning to turn a healthy, taste brown from the burnt dog meat. The smell is like a burnt dog. "Hondo, Picacho... These are north. Yes, I will go there, and help fix their water with you, and learn how they get it. Fighting... Fighting I need more of." He moves the pot off the fire, and tells Ironface, "I have not tasted the victory of crushing my enemies and grinding their face into asphalt in too long. I would fight beside you, Ironface."|
|Ironface Jones||"It will be good to destroy the enemies of Picacho and Hondo with you, Beefrow," Ironface replies almost ritualistically. There's a hint of pride in his voice when speaks, "When I first arrived in Hondo the group I was with killed a glowing one and many packs of ferals. I was covered in the brains of those things that day." His expression changes very slightly, "We will help the people up north and you will learn about your water. Much will be accomplished."|
|Beefrow||Beefrow passes the cooling stewpot over to Ironface, "Are there any in your tribe, now, Ironface? I mean... El Dorado is big, but... Any Jones?" Growing comfortable with the man, he pulls off his helmet, setting it to the side.|
|Ironface Jones||Taking the pot Ironface leans over it to get a good whiff. His expression changes barely as he fights a frown at the scent. Still, he'll go ahead and give it a try, pleased clearly by the hospitality shown so far. His head will shake in response to the question, "I am the only Jones. My people were killed by the men of Caesar and so I was left without a clan." He pauses for a moment before speaking further on the subject, "After I got revenge I traveled for some time and found El Dorado. It was there I decided that I should join their tribe and help strengthen them."|
|Beefrow||"I will not consider this. It is not the life of a Thurgood, and if the Thurgood way isn't good, then we will all die." Beefrow thuds his chest, reflexively. "It is not beyond a Thurgood to help a weaker clan, though. This is killer. Awesome." He says the words with grave seriousness, before reaching for the stewpot, "Who are the men of Ceasar? I have heard this name."|
|Ironface Jones||Handing the stewpot back over, Ironface nods his head gravely, "You do not need to think of it. It was my choice to find a new tribe when mine was lost. Someday there may be a new Sand Lizard Clan but I can not see it." And then his teeth grit for a moment as he considers how to respond to the question, "They are called the Legion and they serve Caesar. There are many of them and they are well armed and disciplined warriors. I have slain many of them, but it was not easy. They seek to take from everyone they meet and will kill those who refuse to join them."|
|Beefrow||Beefrow nods, "This is different than Thurgood's. We take from those on our land. And only kill the weak and punk." He gestures to Ironface, "You say no, and challenge me? We fight, and the victor takes the loser as slave, for as many weeks as one is old." He speaks these words carefully, as if trying to remember them. "You lie, or steal? You are weak, and made a 'punk'. You fail at being a punk? We kill you."
Beefrow adds, "But there are many chances for one to be strong, and killer, and right. It is not Tear Annie."
|Ironface Jones||"I think your way is much better than Caesar's way, but I do not know this Tear Annie," Ironface confesses with a hint of a frown. But he'd certainly given Beefrow's words his careful consideration, there being much to think about in what he said. "It is important to offer chances to be strong and to strengthen others. The strength of a tribe can increased by strengthening the weakest members." And then he goes on a little bit more, "My dead people, the Sand Lizard Clan, we did not war on others very much. I was born to be a hunter and found my calling as a killer of men when I went after the Legion. There was more peace in that place."|
|Beefrow||Beefrow shakes his head, "No. There was no peace in your valley, only time. Time to prepare for war. And it came." Beefrow refrains from making any more judgements, "When I am in charge of big clan, no one will die, unless I say 'that one can die', or... something like that. But we will be strong, the strongest!" He gestures to Ironface, "You would be wise to join me, but I will wait until I have women to entice you."|
|Ironface Jones||"I wish that they had been better prepared, but I do not know if it would matter so many are the men of Caesar," Ironface declares seriously, nodding his big head solidly. "Maybe someday I will join your clan. I do not know yet, because I feel like El Dorado is good enough for me. There are warriors, women, hooch and plenty of people who can grow stronger."|
|Beefrow||Beefrow pushes to his feet, "I am done with my stew, and am leaving for El Dorado, Ironface. You are welcome to stay 'One' night, in my bus. Or walk with me." He offers a friendly, almost too childish smile, before grabbing his old indians football helmet and slapping it on. "I hope we kill and loot on the way."|
|Ironface Jones||"I will return to El Dorado with you," Ironface says with a big nod once he makes his decision. "We may find things to kill and loot, or to kill and eat." He stretches out a little bit in anticipation of the walk, then looks around to make sure that he's not leaving any belongings behind. After that he makes his way towards First Horse Jones and untangles his reins to lead him.|
|Ashur|| "You stand before a Centurion of Caesar's Legion! Come and Kneel, dogs, and swear obedience!"
The Centurion, a thickly-moustached man of clear Mediterranean descent, has his sword pointed at a small band of traders who have taken defensive fortifications within Pecos' Trunks And Bunks, a long-abandoned and partially restored truck stop branching off the faded and cracked asphalt of Route 54. Around him is gathered a dozen or so Legionnaires of various rank and privilege, a smattering of crippled slaves, and, most interestingly, a supermutant wearing two heavy slave collars, limbs bound by chains latched to heavy concrete blocks he drags alongside him.
"This is Legion territory, now, and we will have the munitions and gas stored here. Offer your vehicles as tribute, and we will let you live."
The men nod their assent and cheer for their Centurion.
A trader, positioned behind a borded-up window, pops him in the shoulder with a rifle. The soft bullet glances off his metal shoulder.
"So be it," the Centurion declares, taking cover behind a faded marquee board overgrown with shrubs. "Legionnaires, let none survive! Go, Achilles!"
The supermutant roars and shakes the hollowed-out shells of scavenged trucks lurking in the lot.
|Beefrow||Beefrow slows, glancing to Ironface. He draws his large sledgehammer, creeping up when he hears the call and shout, the report of a rifle, and the roar of something bestial and dangerous. He scowls darkly, moving slowly down the highway until he can find cover as well. He beckons to Ironface, choosing to seek counsel on these 'Caesar's Legion' before attacking.|
|Abdiel||Abdiel had spread to the settlement and was giving a sermon when the attack came. He pulls his pistol out and moves into position, watching out the window. "Never knew the legion used mutants." He says as he keeps his hand on his gun and waits for the chance to fight.|
|Ironface Jones||When he hears the bellowing of the Centurion and the orders being given Ironface's usually stoic expression changes to a mixture of rage and disgust. "These men will break before us or be broken by us," The big tribal tells his pal in the football helmet. Noting that Beefrow is attempting to be subtle, Ironface kind of attempts to do the same thing, "Generally they will stand and fight, but sometimes there are different standards for them. We shall find out soon."|
|Beefrow||Beefrow growls under his breath, "If they want a fight." He moves to hop over the cement guardrail off the side of the road he was using for cover, before stalking right into the path the trader's bullet took at the Centurion. He slams his sledgehammer down against the hot asphalt, bellowing out in his deep voice, "Highway 54 is Thurgood's Highway. You want somethin' on it, you can come and get fucked by my big fat hammer while I think about it!!" He's snarling by the end, yelling through the facemask of his cheap plastic football helmet|
|Ironface Jones||Since Beefrow's not going to be subtle about things neither will Ironface Jones. Though Jones is not a talker type so much as a doer. And a basher. This is something he demonstrates well when he comes tearing ass towards the Prime squad, his long legs devouring the distance to them in a moment. When he reaches them the big tribal is leaps through the air, wasteland slugger over his shoulder. It swings forth in a mighty arch and the impact from the hit he delivers connects with a legionnaire's head and causes it to leave the man's body, sailing some distance through the air before rolling to a rest against an ancient gas pump.|
|Ashur|| Two enormous psychotic tribals have interrupted what was otherwise a pleasant negotiation of surrender and struck fear into the Legion's heart; all know the stories of Lanius, who some say was born a tribal, who slew an entire cohort all on his lonesome before Caesar won his loyalty -- what must they think, then, when these beastly men come upon them? Blood sprays, bullets fly, machetes gleam in the late-noon sun, and all the while the bodies gathered dance and manuever.
The Legionnaires have put their backs to the wreck of an old transport truck, turned over on its side; this keeps them safe from the trader's shots while the two giants fight them. The Centurion, for his part, has held back, evaluating.. and Achilles? With a roar, and a swing of his cinderblock chains, he smashes through the glass of the little shopfront that once sold hotdogs, egg salad, and booze, gunning for two of the fat traders there.
And elsewhere, munching on an old, stale box of cereal, sits Ashur, glancing through a hole in the wall to watch the battle. A trader girl snoozes next to him, and his power armor sits unattended.
"Achilles! Get back here and kill the Profligate scum!"
|Beefrow||There's a roar of anger when Beefrow is shot, and he does not hold up stoically. When the recruits are upon him, the surround him, and manage some good slices with their machetes, but soon Beefrow swings a hammer into one man's face, crunching what his mother once loved into a smear of meat and blood and bone. He rounds on the next man, swinging that sledgehammer into another recruits side, "You will all die!!"|
|Ironface Jones||Ironface takes a hit to the helmet and doesn't slow down as blood leaks out to paint the side of his face. He's a whirlwind of destruction still as he moves to strike another legionnaire. His barbed wire bat swings through the air with a powerful 'whush' noise and comes down hard on one of his enemies right legs, the barbs catching in his flesh and tearing out a great chunk. Blood sprays in the air as the mighty tribal lets loose an almost crazed sounding bellow of victory.|
|Ashur|| The veteran Legionnaires have been hardened by battle and the whip of the Centurion -- they do not falter, even in the face of overwhelming force! Steadily, they and the giant Ironface Jones battle, spreading out around him to attack from all sides. That vicious baseball bat crushes through their helmets and sports' equipment with bone-shattering force.
But the recruits? They're fresh-faced and terrified. The Centurion press-ganged them earlier to replenish his unit, and they've followed mostly through fear and a bit of misguided ambition.. but this? This is awful. Two beastly giants, and an actual supermutant, and people dying left and right. Coated in blood, they break, one screaming "Fuck this shit! Run!" and doing just that.
"I'll have you cowards crucified!" howls the Centurion.
Meanwhile, Ashur has rolled out of the bunk bed he was on, leaving the woman and the power armor behind. He lurches forward, sleepy-eyed, and stumbles through the hole in the wall. Ugh, that's what he gets for drinking with these fucking traders, a hang-over and a battle. At least the ass was good.
Forcing his feet to steady, the former Legionnaire walks, stately, toga flowing around him. He picks up pace. Achilles grabs both the chains on his arms in his hands and swings them like a flail, shattering a gas pump into a million splinters.
With a flying leap, the unarmored Ashur smashes his right hand into the supermutant's chest, and there's a sizzling crack like thunder as the magnetic coils of his gauss ballistic fist activate, ejecting a dazzling blast of ultra-small, high-velocity shots that leave cauterized wounds through the blue mutant's flesh.
"You aggravating cunts," he grumbles. "Shut up."
|Beefrow||Beefrow scares some of the recruits away, and slings his sledgehammer as hard as he can at one, ripping the metal head through his chest and lungs, gore exploding out the other side. The mountain of a man rips it back out, and charges at the Centurion, "I told ya I'd fuck you with my Hammer!!" He goes swinging at him, lunging past as he quickly sidesteps behind the marquee.|
|Ashur|| Achilles rocks back on his heels from the force of the Legionnaire's fist; there's a sunken-in imprint of the human's massive hand, where the pressure plate and fingers twisted and rended, and a see-through hole from the ballistic fist's issue. "That hurt," he snarls, eyes widening as he snorts and swings his chains once more; he lashes out with the cinderblocks and the steel rings, cratering the asphalt at their feet. Ashur backs up a step, ducks, and one block goes inches wide with decapitating force; as the follow-up comes, he clenches his hand tight, and the black-and-gold futuristic gauntlet glows, the magnetic coils giving off a spark of heat and light.
Ashur slams a foot down on one of the cinderblocks when Achilles tries to pull it back, grasping the chain with his left hand and tugging it with a flex of mighty thews. The supermutant stumbles forward, hunching over, and with an earth-shattering blow the Roman punches straight through his enemy's skull, popping out his eyeballs as his fist extends down the beast's throat, searing his insides with a blast of gunfire.
When he withdraws his hand, the mutant's falling to his knees and toppling over, and Ashur's soaked in arterial blood up to his elbow.
Ashur glares toward Beefrow and the Centurion. "Silence him, primitive; I'm going back to bed."
|Beefrow||Beefrow takes advantage of the Centurion's distraction as Ashur slaughters the super mutant out of nowhere. He sweeps the leg, with his sledgehammer, and when the Centurion hits the ground, Beefrow kicks him in the face with gecko leather boots and a thick, fat foot. Knocked out cold, the Legionarre is scrutinized by Beefrow, before he looks to Ashur, walking away. Then, while Ironface battles others in an awesome display of strength and rage, the other large man approaches those slaves that were left behind to free them.
"Those of you who are strong enough, will come with me, and be strong, and killer. I will give you work, and water, and my weapon." He points his sledgehammer to the Centurion, "I give you the 'Punk' from my Highway."
|Ashur||The slaves are not about to argue with a giant man with a bloody hammer after that display of ultra-violence. Whether this loyalty will last beyond the next time Beefrow sleeps is another thing entirely.|
|Beefrow||Beefrow walks away from the scene, after peeking over what there is to scavenge, stepping over the Centurion as he returns to the Highway, "The rest of you will go as you choose, free." With Ironface wounded, Beefrow Thurgood leaves him with the traders and the travelling preacher, and leads whom might follow back to his meager dwelling. Southbound on 54, a killer lives another day, bodies in his wake.|