|Apostle|| From the outside, it's almost like the bombs never fell -- well, aside from the wasteland that surrounds the place and the perpetually autumnal-sepia filter one seems to be viewing the world through once they arrive. There's new paint, the mighty red rocket atop the shop is proud once more, the crome glints with polish.
The call that came in wasn't desperate. It was clipped and informative, a note sent by courier that states plainly: 'Red Rocket Service Station, El Dorado North, Medical treatment.'
When Percy arrives, there's a jingle -- an honest to god bell -- that heralds his entrance to the shop, still very much under renovation. Two people sit inside, relaxing at some slapdash table with ricketty old rusted metal chairs not unlike what you might find at an old community hall. They seem to be talking. At least one of them is certainly wounded, if one judges by the rusty-red stain on her tattered longcoat.
"There are too many of us, he thought." Hssk, tinny, canned voice. "There are billions of us and that's too many. Nobody knows anyone. Strangers come and violate you." HssssKH. "Strangers come and cut your heart out. Strangers come and take your blood. Good God, who were those men?" One grimy, fingerless-gloved hand lifts in a fling upward, and a slap down to her thigh as wide, golden eyes set upon the typically veiled man on the other side of the table. "I never saw them before in my life!"
|Vector|| Why, it's a regular day indeed when you have Apostle hurling quotations from an age that Vector doesn't know nor has any education in, but takes at complete face value and somehow turns into some sort of actual conversation taht he has with the woman. He's loading an obnoxiously sized revolver as they speak, slipping bullets in as she talks. "Too many folk." He agrees. "And with the amount of people there are, there comes trouble." He closes the loading chamber on the revolver.
"Although I suppose, business too. We are getting cleaned up nice. Maybe we'll get landmines. Landmines and sentry turrets." He nods at her. "Otherwise they might try to take whats ours - and I'm not much for that."
|Percy|| To be sure, this IS a new one. And that's not something that Percy encounters too often. Over a decade travelling with the N.C.R. Rangers made him experience the truly bizarre. The downright outrageous. But this? It was like he had gone back in time! For a moment Percy just sort of stands outside, his steely blue eyes surveying the property. The glint off of the red rocket causes him to squint with unfamiliar discomfort. Hell, a hand is lifted to protect himself from the reflected sunlight. With a careful glance around, he moves in.
When the doorbell rings he freezes in place. Years of instincts scream at him to take cover -- that he's just triggered a bomb of some sort. But... no? Instead of becoming engulfed in a fiery ball of doom, he instead spots two people seated at a table.
Happy that he found the right place, or perhaps happy that he didn't just walk into some trap, Percy straightens. The man wears a lab coat over a smart looking shirt and slacks. His brown shoes echo against the floor as he makes way. In his right hand? A briefcase. Very worn, given how frayed the edges are looking. But functional nontheless.
"Excuse me. Did someone call for a Doctor?" Further examination upon the two triggers a memory. "Hey... I know you two. You're the people looking for car parts. Right?"
|Apostle|| "Laser turrets. Missile turrets."
Apostle offers the only true interaction she can.
"Laser guided missile turrets."
Apparently she agrees with whatever it is that Vector's laying down -- she's pickin' that shit up. There's barely a quirk of her brow when the jingle announces the arrival of the doctor she had sent for, very likely having expected that he would come some time in the alotment of hours he was not aware there were.
A finger is lifted to wag lazily toward Vector, as though she were about to comment on his own observations. "Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all."
Finally, she lolls her head to one side to look toward Percy from some odd-cocked position, considering his features for barely a moment, eyes narrowing sharply as his voice settles into unwanting ears, as though she were listening to nails on a chalkboard. Her hand lowers again, both of them placing calloused fingerpad and tortured palm against the battered wood and metal that holds what may once have been a cup of coffee, or something equally as potently awful.
"My intent wasn't to save the world as much as to heal myself. Few doctors will admit this," One brow ticks upward, "Certainly not young ones, but subconsciously, in entering the profession, we must believe that ministering to others will heal our woundedness." A hand lifts, palm up in some airy, dismissive gesture. "And it can." Her hand lowers again, her head bowing forward so that she can stare up at him with that intense, sunset gaze of hers from below that dipped brow, practically alight in the shadows of her drawn cowl. When next she speaks, there is an ominous undertone she clearly expects will be understood.
HSSSK! A sudden gasping of breath, like she'd just remembered she had to breathe.
"But, it can also deepen the wound."
|Vector|| Vector's gaze from behind the veil isn't one you would consider 'steely', it's more 'rampant armed paranoid man who's only constant companion is most likely insane and speaks in quotes'. He visibly rubs his thumb over his revolver, stroking it like one might an animal. Petting, petting. "I like the idea of laser guided missile turrets. Would dissuade looters, and pickpockets. Thieves. All of them." He mutters, while staring at Percy.
His head turns, just enough that he can eyeball Apostle to ensure that she doesn't look too alarmed. Now that he's ascertained she isn't, and that perhaps he's invited, he stops petting the revolver - and instead just grips it in one hand. "I think you're welcome, for the time being. Velocity lives and breathes again, yes. The open road is free for her to continue her hunts, whereupon we all McFeast as a family unit." He raises up his free arm, and idly swabs his forehead of some sweat and grime.
"She needs tended to. Don't do anything untoward, mind." Is added, as if it came to mind long afterwards - but who the hell is going to be untoward in a place like this?
|Percy|| Percy tilts his head at Apostle, confused at her speech. She was quite the intimidating figure, that much was sure. And the breathing just sort of enhanced that! Despite the intimidation though, Percy's cool blue-eyed gaze doesn't break from the females glowing orange pupils hidden from cowl. That is until Vector speaks, where attention is given to him.
Given some clear instruction of why he was here seems to be a welcome change for Percy, who smiles when told that Apostle needed attention. "Untoward?" He clarifies, looking at Vector. "I'm a Doctor, Sir. Not a spy." Approaching the table, the lean man lifts the briefcase and sets it on top. Opening the latches, he swings the thing open to reveal all sorts of nifty medicine-y things. Bandages. Bandaids. Chems. Everything he needs to perform basic treatment. To 'patch someone up', as it were.
"I'm Doctor Percy Cooke." He introduces himself, getting out from the case a pair of half-rimmed spectacles. They are placed onto the bridge of his nose, his vision likely enhancing. "So, what am I doing today? Please give me as much detail as you can about the wound. When it happened. Where it happened. How it happened."
|Apostle|| As Percy approaches, there's a visible tension that takes Apostle's muscles, that hissing breath coming in shorter bursts, exhaled in a near-visible cloud of sweet smelling fog -- like citrus and spice and everything nice, as though someone were exorsizing whatever haunts that fractured mind by way of incense and omnissiac prayer.
She watches him more keenly than any other patient may have in the past, her jaw visibly working, moving her mask as she does so, brow slowly knitting to a furrow. Suddenly, one of those grimy hands shoots upward to point at him accusingly, with such ferocity that it scoots her chair back across the ceramic tile with a shuddering shriek in plaintiff cry.
"Albert grunted. "Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?""
Mort thought for a moment.
"No," he said eventually, "...What?"
Hssk. Hssk. Hssk. And then...
There was silence.
"Then Albert straightened up and said, "Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serves 'em right."
She settles, if hesitently as she continues to glare toward him with all the hateful inquisition one such as herself can muster. There's another venting from her mask, huffed out nearly in a scoff as her eyes trail back to Vector.
"If he has a mind to put anything in me," She nods her head sideways toward the doctor's kit, "Put a bullet in him."
Ah, the paranoia of the wasteland variety. Half-baked by the sun, twisted by the cruel reality of life never settled, the pain of assault both physical and mental upon a form that was never meant to live through such a time, in such a place.
"Enclave." She asides, without looking back. "The spirits of Dunwich issued their siren call, and so I walked through the valley of death. There I found shadows, and the shadows found me... so at home I felt in that misguided moment that I let my guard down... and there were soldiers waiting to abduct me, as though I were one of their damned projects." One hand gestures toward her arm, barely tethered by tendons and the remnants of flesh, more the shift keeping it there than the skin.
Like it's that simple.
|Vector|| "I'll put two." Vector reassures. He then attempts to reassure the doctor - by gesturing once again towards Apostle, for him to begin his treatment. "You understand. People lie. Cheat. Steal. Even ones with fancy coats like yours." He explains. Or gives his reasoning for holding a man that has only healing in mind at gunpoint. Vector sounds like he might be smiling under his veil, but with those sharp paranoid glances towards the door - then back to Percy - it's anyones guess.
"You got answers now. Yes. You can fix her. Right?" Yes. Fix. They are both in mind that this will somehow be a simple deal.
|Percy|| Percy looks to his patient curiously, and then back to Vector with a small smile. "I wouldn't be much of a Doctor if I couldn't fix her. And yes, I understand." He sounds confident! At least he has that much going for him.
Looking at the wound studiously, Percy lifts a hand to rub his chin. "The Enclave, huh? That is certainly a heavy enemy you encountered." Just a bit of small-talk as he assesses the wound.
"Interesting tech used by the Enclave. They use everything they can get their hands on with one common theme: they're all big. Heavy guns. You've done well to escape with just this." Turning to his briefcase, the Doctor rummages about. "This wound has been cleaned serviceably, but is not in a state of healing yet. I can clean out the remaining toxins to eliminate the threat of infection and then bandage you up. I can do this without injecting anything into you, so there should be no need for bullets to enter my head." Was that a joke? The wry smile means it could be a joke!
Sitting down, Percy brings out some cleaning salve and wipes. "These will help flush the wound out completely. It's going to hurt. Please hold your arm out."
She just stares at Percy for long moments of contemplation at his last 'request'.
With a squinting of her eyes her arm lifts and stretches out for his examination, despite being told so blatently that pain was forthcoming should she comply. To be fair, she doesn't look like a woman that hasn't experienced some outrageous encounters.
"Each patient carries his own doctor inside him."
Her elbow comes to rest on the table to steady it, her hand curling into a fist to slow what bloodloss still plagues her, and her breath remains that calm shallow -- a sound that becomes like the ticking pass of time, so regular in its ebb and flow that you could likely set the clock by its metronomical click and hiss.
Her head turns to nod at Vector, as though assuring him that he may stand down, as best as someone like he may.
|Vector|| Vector is quiet for the time being. He does, infact, get out of the chair - giving Apostle and Percy the space they need in order to properly do their work. He paces over to the open door - revolver in hand - and sticks his head out to stare around in a rather aggrivated gesture, and then the door is shut firmly in place.
A twist of the heel, and Vector is stalking back towards the group. Passing by a rack, he crouches and stands up again, pacing to stand almost too-close to Percy. He raises a small plastic bag - and then sets it into the man's doctor's bag, where it jingles and jangles and jostles with the sound that currency makes.
|Percy|| When Apostle puts her arm out, Percy goes to work. He cleans out the wound quickly and efficiently, eyes narrowing in concentration behind the half-moon spectacles that sit on the edge of his nose.
As he works he makes some idle conversation. "To be honest, this is a bit refreshing. I've been doing a stack of research lately into genetic mutations of the human DNA. Well, more specifically, what genetic material has changed to give super mutants existence. I was on the cusp of reverse engineering that to potentially even work out a cure. A way to bring super mutants back to human form." He frowns, just as he finishes off the cleaning. Getting out some seals and bandages, he seals the wound tightly and starts to wrap bandages about the arm. Firm, but not tight enough to cut off blood supply.
"...but the research was stolen from me. Anyway," He continues, finishing off the wrapping. "...what I'm saying is that it's good to go back to basics and not worry about that for some time. Something like this, for instance." Pausing, he makes a final examination of his work. "You will be fine. All cleaned and secured. Please don't do much with that arm. Give it time to heal properly."
The currency given to the Doctor from Vector causes him to nod in agreeance, soon standing to put his items away.
|Apostle|| "And if they've no desire to be cured?"
Apostle asks it plainly -- no quotes, no great pontification, nor ponderance given voice -- just that.
The mask hides any wincing she might make in response to the pain, though the rebreather does pick up in speed between breaths. Still, she doesn't seem overly uneasy. When he looks up from his work, she'll be there staring at him intensely, just as she always does. But, her head cants as she considers the theft of his hard work.
"The robb'd that smiles, steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief."
Ah, there she is.
"Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; tis something, nothing; twas mine, tis his, and has been slave to thousands; but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed."
Her arm carefully flexes, and she gives a nod in approval as he finishes and is paid by her compatriot. "An unforgivable trespass. You will tell me whom it is that has taken concept over cash. We will find them, and vengeance be known only by our name."
|Vector|| Grunt. That's the noise that Vector makes when he watches the Doctor work. He does it by peering over the man's shoulder, watching the work going on with an eye of someone who lacks any real medical training as is - just someone trying to see what the hell is going on - even if it goes over his head. Satisfied that there's nothung entirely untoward happening, the man finally steps back, giving some breathing room as he slowly settles his rear end onto the seat he was once in.
"Thieves. I like killing thieves. Good karma." He states, raising a hand to pat the barrel of the revolver. "Haven't had a chance to fire this. Waste to not shoot such a beautiful gift." He doesn't weigh in on the supermutant debate, as perhaps such high thinking is either above the man, or simply is never taken into consideration in his day-to-day survivialist line of thought.
|Percy|| "Interesting question." Percy replies to the female whom he has just finished treating. "But a valid one." Closing up his briefcase after depositing his glasses within it, he stands. "Intelligent super mutants aren't as uncommon as people think. They are just overcrowded by their much louder and more aggressive counterparts. Typically though, the mutation devolves their intelligence to a state comparable with that of dogs. I mean literal dogs. They know nothing else than to follow their instincts. Which, typically, is kill all non super-mutants." Percy rolls his shoulders into a shrug. "If they could be reverted, who are we not to? Given the chance?"
Wrinkling his nose in some confusion, he furrows his brow. "You want to get my research notes back?" He feels the need to clarify that point. The confused and stunned look on his face perhaps illustrates as to why. "I'm afraid I don't quite have the resources to ... uh, hire mercenaries. If... that's what you are?" He still wasn't quite sure what this whole situation is. Or was.
"Who are you two, anyway?"
"And how did you get that rocket so clean outside?"
|Apostle|| "I did not say they were not intelligent. But, how do you know that a dog would wish to be more than a dog, when this world punishes awareness and champions the strong? How do you know that you are not robbing them of the right of ignorance, and thus the probability of bliss, by reverting them to what you believe you would wish were you them?" Apostle questions, "Who are you to make that choice? Just because you are given a chance, that does not mean that it is prudent, always, to take it."
There's intelligence in those feral eyes.
It just doesn't typically get to come play.
Her head turns away from him at those last questions of his, her back settling into the chair as one leg crosses over the other and she lets out a sigh of relief; though muffled by her mask, it is a sound that is spoken only in the wake of the mending of wounds, a body momentarily at rest, and in rest finding peace. So rare these days. Her eyes slide shut easily, knowing that Vector is there to watch. It's how it's always been. They're never unaware.
"Time and Nemesis will do that which I would not, were it in my power remote or immediate. You will smile at this piece of prophecy - do so, but recollect it: it is justified by all human experience. No one was ever even the involuntary cause of great evils to others, without a requital: I have paid and am paying for mine - so will you."
She offers idle words of wisdom that likely make no sense to those not closely following the narrow pathways of her mind, "We are no mercenaries." Hssk, "But vengeance given form, the howl of the hunt and the pursuit that joins each crying call in some mournful hour." Click, hssk, click.
"I polished it. I cared for it. I painted it. It is as I have done for Velocity, for all others that came before... as I have done for Dirtibird, and Gizmo, and will do for the lifeless arms that hang from the outcropping once meant to service meatbound masters. That is how you make anything shine," She nods, "That is how the world gets clean."
|Vector|| "You keep us patched up. We look for your notes. Papers. Whatever they may be. You enter into deep philosophical debate with the boss," He gestures with a hand towards Apostle, "And leave me out of it - and I will be happy to take a look."
He keeps himself comfortably settled in the seat, and his revolver kept in a firm grasp so that it doesn't go loose. He tips his head towards Apostle. "She's loud. I'm quiet." He offers. "I like catching folks.. Unawares. Makes life easy. Life is hard enough. Always fun, finding thieves, liars, cheats.. Putting a round in them is almost worth the cost of the round itself. The boots are a nice bonus." He taps one boot against the table. Knock knock. On wood.
"She fixes machines like you fix flesh. They all live, in their own way. Flesh. Metal. Both stagnate and die eventually, given time, and ignorance. I simply appropriate the things she needs to do the jobs she wants. Which, in this case, seems to be aimed towards helping you out." A beat.
|Percy|| "Perhaps if that ignorance did not come with an aggressive bloodthirstiness and capability to eliminate all humans from existence, I would be more hesitant." Percy counters, though the smile on his face regardless seems to show he is impressed. "But you speak with both intelligence and wisdom. Regardless of the philosophical discussion around it, I would not make the decision. And I am a mile off of that result, if such a result is even possible given the technology I have around me."
Pursing his lips as Apostle explains a bit more as to who they are, his gaze shifts to Vector as he expands further. "Uh, sure." He still seems surprised. And to be honest, he does seem hesitant. Not much in this world comes without an exchange of caps.
"A rogue faction, probably more a group at this stage, has splintered off from the N.C.R." Percy starts to explain. "Made up of a few high ranking officers and soldiers, that have a complete totalitarian outlook. They're the ones that stole my notes. I suspect they plan to weaponise it. Turn people INTO super mutants. I was mugged by three bandits representing this small group. I'm no warrior or fighter, so they had little trouble getting what they were after." Licking his lips in anticipation, he glances to his pip-boy.
"I will give you guys some time to think about whether this is something you still want to be involved in. Getting on the wrong side of this group is something you'll want to put some thought into. You can contact me at the clinic in Shantytown."
With a small wave, the Doctor moves to depart.
"I like the polished rocket, too. It's nice." Said just as he walks out the front door.