|Jackson||The California wasteland was a tumultuous geyser of activity. When one thinks of California, the first thing that comes to mind is NCR-- but this place didn't belong to them, nor was it infringing upon their borders. Corvalis Manufacturing Unit 6603 was a massive, towering structure of stone and steel that made the surrounding wasteland look small by comparison. Much as it's name implies, the Corvalus company was a pre-war automobile manufacturer that used this facility as their testing ground for new prototypes. As such, it was quite the industrious spectacle to behold. The volunteers were brought in by Vertibird from El Dorado. First making a stop in Parkes Point for supplies, the vessel quickly carried the group, as well as a plethora of scrap metal and ammunition through the skies to the California-Arizona line. As the vessel approached the facility, it made a slow, stylish descent through the murky grey clouds, and eventually came to rest in the plant's eastern parking lot.
When the side doors opened, the group was quickly ushered out by a group of El Dorado Militiaman, who were even quicker to start offloading the vehicle at the speed of light. The volunteers wouldn't be looking around for long, though, as the man who'd requested their presence was already making his way across the lot to meet them. As was typical, Jackson was coated from head to toe in the black armored plates of his stealth armor, with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his lips and his sunglasses on his face. At night. Crazy fucker. Without preamble, the marshal waved the group wordlessly onward, and walked over toward his motorcycle to grab something out of it's side car. After doing so, he rejoined them at the edge of the lot, and pointed off toward the east as he finally spoke up.
"Thank ya'll for comin'. It's simple. 200 yards east of here, down this gradually sloping dirt pile we call California, is a hole in the ground. Inside of that hole, there are two deathclaws that have been making my life here a living hell. So? We're gonna take care of them. You--" Ass he continued speaking, he angled a finger toward Daniel, then tossed him the item he'd acquired from his sidecar-- His heavily customized combat shotgun.
"Hang on to that for tonight, will you? I have a feeling you might need it. No offence or anything. I just don't know you, and I'd rather trust the gun in your hands. Aside from us, there'll be a duo of my finest corporals tagging along with their hardware I get the feeling that it'll be a nice fallback to have, given a bad time." At that, he angled his thumb toward a duo of uniformed and armored militia members, one holding a gatling gun, the other a sniper rifle. As they approached, Jack refocused his sights on his gathered volunteers. Anyone got any questions?"
|Daniel||Daniel looks down at the shotgun appreciatively, turning it over and over in his hands. The oversized mercenary seems a bit out of place aboard the vertibird, but here -- with two rifles slung on his back, two pistols at his belt, and now a shotgun in his hands, he seems to be coming into his own. Smiling over at the stealth-armored Jackson, he says "No offense taken." And then, after a considering beat, he says "No questions." Bringing the shotgun up, he sights down it and pulls the bolt back, checking that there is a shell in the chamber. His finger rests safely outside the trigger-well as he lets the bolt slam back forward.|
|Ashur|| The cricks in his bones have healed; the opened flesh has knitted itself, and when the fires of New Rome were finally quenched, all that was left to mark the terror of the night was a few more scars on Ashur's heavy form. He has been spending his time working with the young men of the city to train them and whip them into fighting shape to make up for losses - trifling work, beneath his stature, but good enough for mending.
But his rest is at an end. Hither comes Ashur, golden-armored, mighty cloak drawn about him such that the only exposed part of him is the war-mask of Mars with its golden bull horns and crimson glass eyes. "Mm. Two. You are sure of the numbers? They are pack animals; if more arrive, I cannot guarantee any of your lives."
|Salvation Jane||Salvation Jane settled onto the Veritbird and got comfortable. Much as a girl could in an ancient pre-war aircraft. She sat back and listened, but she tipped her worn cowboy hat down over her eyes. There wasn't anything worth looking at out the side as they flew. Dust and scrub and sand. But she did listen to the briefing. As it were.
Once they were on the ground, she seemed more relaxed. Of course the last time she rode in one of these things, Ashur went out the door from altitude as she recalled. That may have something to do with being on edge.
Drawing her pistol, she scanned the area.
|Daniel||Daniel looks at Ashur for a moment and smiles, perfectly friendly, giving the Roman a dip of his chin in acknowledgement. He doesn't offer a commentary on the Deathclaw numbers, nor does he seem particularly fussed at the possibility of more. His dark gaze scans the others, lingering momentarily on Tibbie and Jane. That smile broadens a tick. He looks away, up at the night sky, closing his eyes for a few beats and letting the cool desert air wash over his battered features.|
|Tibbie|| "Well how bout that!" Tibbie puts her hands on her expanding hips, taking a stretch now that they're on land again. She points a finger in the air "S'cuse me--!" she turns and waddles a few strides away before puking.
"Alrighty now, Thanks chum!" she returns to the group and thanks the crew that handed her rifle to her.
"Let's get these claws clobbered! I just hope Tibba wont smell it on me when I get back to em. Heck, we might even get em a lil buddy claw baby for em if we're lucky! Awww'kin we Jefecito? I always wanted a big family!" she mentions and excitedly begs ashur. Her battered Militia gear is a bit snug on her chest and her belly is a bump compared to her thin frame. Why a pregnant woman would volunteer for a deathclaw deathmatch is anyone's guess, but that's just Tibbie for you!
|Ashur||Ashur stares down at Tibbie, face incredulous behind the impassive mask. "You wish to murder the parents and steal the young? I.. if we find any, or their eggs, I will take one for you."|
|Vera||Vera has come along for the fun and excitement...plus who doesn't love a vertibird. I mean, really. Flying through the air with the greatest of ease...for the most part she has been quiet, just enjoying the trip. But when the land, she double checks her gear as the other militia find there places.|
|Jackson||Jackson was quick to soothe Ashur's skepticism with a confident nod and a wave of nonchalance.
"They hunt as a duo. Ramirez tried to scout out their nest while they were out hunting. Or, at least, when he THOUGHT they were out hunting. We recovered his holotape, but.. As for him? Well.. He's kind of in the ground. So, in short? Don't be Ramirez. If that's all, then, follow me." With that, the marshal led the way into the wastes beyond the facility. It wasn't much of a walk-- as he'd said previously, the group made their careful advance for around a hundred and fifty meters, then, the ground descended sharply to reveal the beginnings of a rocky gorge. Jackson was careful as he led his volunteers down a Bighorner trail for another seventy five meters or so. After that? The cavern that had hidden by the hillside came into full view. It was dark, and there were miscellanious bones and splatters of blood scattered haphazardly around the mouth of the cave. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly the friendliest looking place in the Wasteland. You'd have to be an idiot to come down here this close-- let alone walk into that death trap.
"Alright, so. I'm gonna run in there and lure them out. If you have a problem with that? Give me a better idea that doesn't waste high explosives." Jackson didn't even really give his volunteers a moment to suggest an alternative. He simply spoke up again, cutting off anybody who'd had a brighter idea. Evidently, he had a lot of shit to do today or something. Either that, or the stress of his new responsibilities were starting to make him crack apart at the seams. Luckily for him, his idiocy wouldn't have to come to fruition.
A snarling, bone-chilling, bloodthirsty duo of gravelly roars echoed out of the cavern toward the group, and as Jackson activated the night vision module on his glasses, he was horrified. Not one, but two deathclaws, and by the look of them, they were both pretty sizeable bastards. The female was the larger of them, but the male was a battle-scarred, crazy-eyed monster, even for a deathclaw. That mother fucker had been fighting from the moment he came out of his shell, and that was made clear by the chipped claws, blinded left eye, and bad-ass roar it screamed at Jackson as he tried to talk again. Without further hesitation, they lunged out to make their move.
|Ashur|| The Bighorners scatter away from the group as they travel; Ashur's steps, in particular, are thunderous things, the golden duraframe plates of his Hellfire shifting and clanking with oversized clamor, though his balance is adroit enough to see him smoothly down the descent into the gorge and the hill-hidden cavern. The signs of hunting and predation are abundant, and the feeling that rises the Legionnare's hackles is proof enough to him this is a deathclaw's den.
"Remain behind me, Tibbie," he commands, one arm sliding out from beneath his cloak to reveal the smoothness of his ballistic fist, the blue-sparking magnetic coils and gold-plated knuckles shimmering like a fire in the light. "Don't be an idiot, I will take the lead," he responds to Jackson's suggestion, already moving forward -
Only to be pre-empted in his aggression by the two wild deathclaws, whose long lives and feral companionship see them meeting all challenges together. The behemoth of a man snorts, and without further ado, he hurls himself forward, sprinting faster than any beast his size has a right to.
In an instant he's shoulderchecked the male and unbalanced it. His boots skid along the gravel and he twists, driving his elbow into the animal's throat, aiming to crush the esophagus in a single lethal blow. But the hide is too thick, and though winded, the male backs off, alive, and looks to the side..
Ashur catches that look and on reflex hurls himself aside, shoulder hitting the earth as he rolls and springs to his feet. The matriarch's loving embrace crushes thin air, and the rabid follow-up attacks similarly miss as he backs off, darting like a professional boxer.
|Tibbie|| Tibbie ascent into the deathclaw lair of doom was a waddling one, she often caught Ashur's arm, ballistic fist, or his cloak for balance.
When the clawed for life couple emerges from Jackson's provocation and now Ashur taking them on so quickly before her eyes.
She uses this moment to take aim, and pop a few rounds into the larger mawmawclaw. Tibbie's bullets are spot on! They've lodged themselves into the matriarch's head, not a deadly shot due to the tough skin, but just enough to..claw about!
|Daniel||"Never flown in a Vertibird befo--" Daniel seems on the verge of engaging Sniper Sally in a conversation when the group reaches the whole, Ashur and Jackson move forward, and the Deathclaws rush out to meet them. The chaos which ensues is hard for anyone without NVGs to follow, but there is a rock-steadiness to the old mercenary despite the confusion. He waits a few beats, watching Tibbie fire into the melee, before advancing himself.
The burly figure moves forward slowly, shotgun shouldered, his cheek welded to the stock. At some point, someone has taught him how to fire a weapon properly. The shotgun is a dull boom as it fires, a flash of orange in the night, and the first shot tears blood out of the female Deathclaw's arm.
Daniel sidesteps, head never leaving the sights, and squeezes the trigger again. Another boom, and the shot slams into the side of the Deathclaw's head to dramatic effect. The big man continues to circle, keeping well clear of Gatling Garth's wild fire.
|Vera||Vera spies the two things..."Right...and people want to keep these as pets...you wonder about people sometime.." as she pulls on one trigger then the other. The first one striking home. She then cracks the gun at the breach, popping out the used shells. Slipping in a fresh she, she locks it shot again.|
|Jackson||The group's response was rapid, and horrendously efficient. Ashur proved too nimble for the Deathclaw Duo, even in his power armor, and the claws which had earned them their namesake found nothing but rock and earth as they attempted to wrangle the golden armored brute into their clutches. The rest of the group fired off their weapons hastily, and their shells peppered the creatures' heads and bodies with brutal results. A trio of shotgun shells, and a gauss-fueled burst from Tibbie's assault rifle peppered the mother and father deathclaw ferociously. They hissed, screamed, and roared in protest, but it was no matter. They were hurting now, and they were none too happy about it.
The marshal himself didn't hesitate to follow Ashur into the breach. As the avatar of Mars dextrously rolled around the stone below, Jackson leapt off of his stoney perch upon the hill with grace which belied his armored figure. As he descended, he methodically removed his shotgun from his back, fired as he shouldered it, and as the shot connected with the Deathclaw Matriarch's chest, he landed, charging his shotgun's capacitors for another volley. The mother roared her challenge, but Jackson's response was two handfulls of supersonic buckshot which plowed forcefully into it's face. With a shower of blood and a snarling roar, the battle continued.
|Salvation Jane||As the combat ensues, Jane took aim at the mother Deathclaw. Raising her energy pistol, she fired off a shot, the beam and impact forming almost at the same moment though it just missed. She followed up with two more fast shots, both striking the deathclaw in the arm.|
|Tibbie|| Tibbie's still a good distance away, just unloading the gauss rifle like a pregnant woman's reckless rollercoasting emotions, hitting anything in her path!
Some bullets fly into the Californian rocks, and a few lodge into the mother deathclaw's arm. Tibbie has tears down her face, feeling remorse for killing a fellow mother.
|Daniel|| The Deathclaws are in trouble, and Daniel is here to bring it. He pauses alongside Jackson, his features stone-cold and calm. A single blast into the wounded female Deathclaw and, after a moment of consideration, the big old mercenary pivots toward the largely-unhurt male.
His thumb flicks on the selector switch of the shotgun, and there is a rolling thunder of blasts -- blam, blam, blam, blam, blam. Right into the creature's side, and at almost point-blank range. The effect is devastating, and Daniel is left blinking away Deathclaw blood.
|Vera||Vera watches as one creature dies, then she has to change her attention to the other, as she pulls on both triggers sending a shot at the ugly...."Boom chuga lugga"|
|Daniel||Daniel stands over the dead Deathclaws and, for the first time since the fight began, smiles. He tilts his head back and inhales the scent of blood, rot, and cordite, staring up at the sky. "Sometimes things just go so well, you gotta take a moment and appreciate it." His smile twitches wider as he looks over the group. Wandering closer to Salvation Jane after a few beats, the old mercenary fishes out a pack of cigarettes and flicks it open. "Care for a smoke? Ought to do //something// to celebrate a win."|
|Tibbie|| The less now petite woman falls to her knees, drops her assault rifle and wails,
"I w-w-wanna go home! I'm so sorry!" she cries, letting her face redden and her nose drip. She crawls over to the corpse and leans on it with a hug, inconsolable and ugly crying.
|Ashur|| Ashur stands triumphant over the gasping deathclaws; when they expire in great, heaving shudders, oozing blood like syrup from a dozen wounds, he takes a look toward the cavern they came from. "Tibbie," he says, reaching up and removing his feathered, horned helmet - and stomping toward the short, pregnant woman with a swish of fabric and the thunderclap of metal. He drops it upon her head. Far too big for her, her little head sliding around inside - but the red lenses in the eyes permit her to see in the dark, and hides her crying face, besides. "Go, and explore the cave. If they were a mated couple, the bitch might have a clutch tucked in the back."
The Legionnare's sweat-marked brow now exposed to the warm air, he wipes himself down with a hand, stomping back to the still-warm corpses. He takes a knee, resting a splayed hand upon the male, gauntleted fingers brushing the scaley hide...
And with a focused huff, he slings the huge fucker over a shoulder, his overwhelming strength augmented by the muscle-enhancing mechanical systems making it a relatively simple task. The female? He grabs her by her dead slack jaw and drags her behind him, head lifted, body grinding against the rocks.
"They are mine."
|Tibbie|| The helmeted woman drags and agonizes every step toward the cave, knowing better not to look back. The helmet's night vision reveals a cave of corpses, but no babies. She vomits yet again from the smell, opening the helmet just in time to do so.
She returns to the group defeated.
|Ashur||Ashur's already a good bit aways from the group when Tibbie returns. He does not share her heartbreak over killing wild animals. He's going to mount the male's head above his front door, the horns are impressive.|
|Daniel||Search the cave? Sure. There might be something to make this trip worthwhile. Daniel follows the helmeted woman into the cave, but like Tibbie, he returns fairly quickly and lights up a cigarette as he stands there, shouldering the shotgun. He does not appear eager to return it to Marshal Jackson, that's for certain.|
|Salvation Jane||Salvation Jane lowers her pistol as the deathclaws are taken down - rather easily at that. She keeps that thought to herself considering she only got two shots in. Still, it was pretty incredible teamwork. Walking toward the cave, she looks around and grimaces. "Mmmf..." reaching to tug up the bandana around her throat to cover her mouth and nose. Not that it really helps much.|
|Daniel||"Hey.. We're getting paid for this shit, aren't we?" Daniel looks around at the others, his brows arching upward. "I mean, free transportation in a 'bird is pretty cool and all, but we //are// getting paid for this." His gaze tracks toward where Ashur disappeared to butcher his prey, then aside at the pregnant Tibbie, and then to Jane. "Right?"|
|Jackson||As the smoke cleared, and the group began to scavenge what remained of the nest the Deathclaws had been building in the cave, Jackson had elected instead to take a few steps back and gather his senses. After Jane had fired off her laser pistol, everything seemed to pass by Jackson in an adrenaline-fueled haze. He was dripping blood, his right arm felt like it'd been ran over by an Enclave tank, and his armor, formerly unmarred, now held the tell-tale scarring of it's paint, exposing the shining steel beneath. As the others scattered, he felt trapped in the moments that had already passed them by.
The would-be Deathclaw Matriarch, now thoroughly filled with several handfulls of ammunition, had devolved into little more than an enraged, frenzying cyclone of claws and teeth. Her first target was none other than Jackson himself-- and it was no surprise, considering the amount of buckshot he'd driven into her body at relativistic speeds. However, the marshal had long since prepared himself for this eventuality. He could only hope the combination of his instincts, experience, and raw speed would be enough to get him out of all of this.
The deathclaw female began her barrage by lashing out at Jackson with her claws. As her talons cut through the air toward his chest, he rolled his body clockwise, and swore he could feel the creature's nails cutting divets in his duster as he attempted to bring his shotgun back up to a firing position. As he danced away from Lady Death's embrace, the deathclaw attempted to tear nearby Daniel's legs out from under him, only to have the grizzled old merc hop out of range at the last possible instant. The marshal attempted to capitalize and move in toward the lizard's flank, but was recieved with yet another blindingly fast slash of the claw toward his chest.
The marshal's reflexes did the work for him-- his legs fell out from under his body, and his shotgun's handle was released as the deathclaw's talons narrowly scraped the paint off of his mask. With his left hand clutching his shotgun's barrel, Jackson rolled to a kneeling position, spun on his heels, and put all of the force he could muster into an uppercut as he rose to his feet. Little did the stupid lizard realize, Jack's right hand was packing a little extra punch, just for an occasion like this. His armored fist slammed into the deathclaw female's groin, and as it did, it triggered the pressure plate mounted over his knuckles. With a deafening 'BANG!' and a bone-shaking wave of recoil along Jackson's right arm, the ballistic fist discharged a shell full of 12 ga. buckshot through the lizard's skin, bone, and organs in a shower of blood and viscera that coated the marshal from head to toe. Without a moment's hesitation, he rose to his full height as the female's corpse hit the dirt, and levelled his weapon's barrel toward her mate before flicking the switch for his weapon's charging module.
"Come get me, mother fucker!"
Exposed trails of metal decorated Jackson's armor plating like silver scars, he was coated head-to-toe in the blood and gore of a deathclaw's lower abdominal region, and the light hisss that accented his speech through his mask made Jack cut quite the imposing image-- but this was a Deathclaw, master of all things nightmarish and maniacal. They weren't scared so easily. . So, before the male deathclaw could react, the marshal let loose an overcharged cloud of gauss fueled buckshot into the creature's leg. As a corona of blood blossomed forth, the lizard roared and hissed, swinging it's claws wildly at anyone within reach, but to no avail. With endorfins still raging in his system, Jackson fired is shotgun once again, this time centering his rounds on the broad side of the scar-coated creature's skull. As the rounds impacted and flayed the skin from the creature's face, it turned toward him, leaping skyward in an attempt to bisect him neatly with it's claws.
|Jackson||The deathclaw seemed to descend in slow motion, with murderous intent written all over it's body. Jaws agape, legs arched, and claws forward, it screamed it's challenge at Jackson as it threw both of it's claws toward his chest. But before it could hit him, a quick 'BLA-BLAM!' from Vera's sawn-off shotgun impacted the deathclaw's half-skinned face, finally piercing it's skull and turning it's brain into lead-riddled mush. It's body buckled, it's claws fell limply to it's sides, and it's body crashed into the dirt at Jackson's feet with a vaguely squishy thump. Just like that? It was over. As the marshal stepped away from the male deathclaw's corpse, he suddenly felt as though he was being snapped out of reality, out of a dream, and back into the waking world.
He was still standing there, staring deeply into the bloody dirt where the deathclaw had formerly been laying when he came back to his senses. His fingers were clutched tightly around the handle of his shotgun, his breaths were ragged and uneven, and a thin layer of sweat was quickly coating the bodysuit below his armor. It was... Just a flashback. For a moment there, it was as if he'd been stuck in a loop of the past few minutes, unable to escape it, no matter how hard he tried. Shaking his head, Jack removed his gas mask, let it fall down around his neck, and finally responded to Daniel's query for payment.
"You'll get your caps, don't get your panties in a bunch. Maybe hold onto that piece, too. It seems like it likes being in your hands, judging by the way you were shooting it." With that said, he slung his own shotgun back onto the back of his duster, and started to set off in pursuit of Ashur. Before getting too far, he turned back to the others.
"I'll be right back. HEY! GOLDEN ASS! WE'RE IN FUCKING CALIFORNIA! GOOD LUCK DRAGGING THOSE THINGS BACK TO NEW ROME! GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE AND HELP ME SKIN THOSE MOTHER FUCKERS!"