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Chapter Twenty-two: BADTFL and County Crossing.



The Bureau of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco Firearms and Lasers, a Federal Agency office, was only about three blocks for Bunker Hill. Nora had to wonder why the hell the people at Bunker Hill hadn’t moved and taken them out, since they had the guns, what with all of the Caravan people that hung out there. It seemed that Bunker Hill was all about the money, and if they could pay off the Raiders, no matter how despicable the gang, they would.


A couple of Raiders were hanging out on the front porch of the large building. A short radio tower rose from the roof of the building. It had the look of something that had started off small and gotten larger, the government of course expanding their influence in the local area.


Nora pointed Barb to the Raider on the left, while she aimed in on the right. “Now,” she whispered into the radio, and both fired within a second of each other. Barb’s had time to start to glance at her partner before the 5.56 rocked her head back. They searched the bodies, rejecting the bad leather armor and quickly stripping the pipe weapons down, barrels and receivers going into a cargo bot while they dropped the rest as trash.


Nora thought stealth would be best in this place, so she exited her armor and locked it down, then tried the door. It was unlocked. Why wouldn’t it be, with such good security at the front. The door swung open without a sound and Nora crept in, looking around for a moment before signaling her people to follow. The dogs and the robots were in last, and Nora pointed out the targets to her people. The front room was an office, with multiple desks, ruined terminals and telephones. A couple of Raiders, one an armed and armored child, were sleeping on a bag in the next office. At a word through the Radio bullets went into both their heads, killing them instantly.


“No. Oh no. You fucking bastards killed them,” said a woman softly, moving in a crouch toward the dead. And joining them a moment later as Barb put a round through her head.


Nora really didn’t understand why the criminal scum didn’t wear head armor. They could still be killed, especially with a shot through the face. At any other angle they might survive, depending on the power of the weapon used. As she was thinking a turret activated and started to fire, exploding as Nora quickly engaged it.


“I’m going in there,” said Nora, pointing toward a locked and barred area, weapons and ammo cans on the shelves. She picked lock that had stymied the Raiders stopped her for a moment, but with the third pick she had it open and was in. Nora stuffed a dozen pistols into Wilson, the ammo into her cargo bots, then took the catapult mechanism off the Fatman launcher. She found three mini-nuke warheads. At forty grams of nuclear material each, she could turn them into three RPG rounds or build a large fusion reactor with twenty grams left over. A couple of Stealth Boys went into Wilson to join the pistols. Another office contained a series of file cabinets, mostly with junk files, though she found some holo-tapes for later perusal.


They went to the right and in. There were two paths they could take, but Dogmeat seemed insistent on the one to the left, so Nora followed. The party moved silently, night vision giving them a clear enough picture to maneuver as hands held pistol grips, ready to fly to the triggers.


The next office was empty of people, but with lots of telephones and broken terminals. Nora found a Gun and Bullets magazine that gave her the formula to make .45 ammo. Not in great demand, but she wasn’t about to turn down any crafting recipe. The offices on the left off the room had been for interrogation, and she snagged some holo tapes and handcuffs. A red figure appeared ahead through the door, reaching into a refrigerator to get a bottle. Nora closed with him silently, grabbed his ponytail, jerked, and stuck her combat knife in under his jaw. The man choked once and fell. They moved on, going down a hallway, Nora sneaking into a bathroom and killing a Raider man taking a leak. Then it was into the lockup area, which was a horror show.


Bodies hung from meat hooks, most naked, some with meat removed from buttocks or legs. These Raiders were cannibals, taking people from the streets and stocking their larder. Nora choked down her vomit, then forced herself to go into the cells and search. Finding a few holo-tapes that she bagged.


“You’re dead,” yelled a woman, and a shotgun went off. Barb yelled out, and her rifle cut the woman down.


“You okay, Barb?” asked a concerned Nora.


“She hit me in the chest,” said Barb, coughing a bit. “Right into the chest plate. Nothing got through."


The sound of more people coming toward them sounded through the halls, and Nora quickly set her people in ambush. Four Raiders ran into the kill zone, which lived up to its name. They stripped the bodies and then looted the place, while Nora read a terminal about the story of Sparta and his crew, who had been taking people off the streets like cattle. They had been avoiding Bunker Hill and the trade caravans, since Kessler was paying them off. Nora determined to have a talk with the woman about how her strategy was actually hurting the region. When they got back.


Nora filled Wilson and sent him on his way to Hangman’s Alley. The robot would head to the river, then fly up it out from the city, finally turning in past the bridge and going into the Alley, where a Handy would unload it into the QESS. Afterwards it would home in on Nora’s Pip-Boy. Round trip, three hours and minutes in change. Not bad, but she still wanted something on this end of the Commonwealth.


The bridge over the inlet was heavily mined. Heather volunteered for removal duty, so while Nora scanned, the woman moved quickly in on each revealed explosive and swiftly disarmed it. They made it across the bridge no problem, and Nora checked out the signs to either side of the road, identifying the Irish Pride Shipyards and Poseidon Energy Turbine 18-F. She wanted to check them out for what they had, but time was of the essence now, so she planned on later. They turned down the road to the east, traveling until they reached a crossroad, taking out some insects that threatened them, then turned to the north. Through another crossroad, until the fields of the farm appeared on the right, the National Guard Training Yard ahead on the left.


The farm was surrounded by a good bit of land, most cleared with some patches of woods scattered throughout. There was one metal shack, a ruined house with the red workbench in front, and the acre of cleared land with mutfruit. And a pond near the ruined house, which her Pip-Boy assured her was fresh water that was being fed by something.


“What are you doing here?” called out a blond-haired woman, covering them with a shotgun.


“We’re from the Minutemen. I got word that you needed help.”


“Oh thank God. I’m Connie Harris, and the bastards kidnapped Victoria, my lover. You ever had someone threaten your lover? I really don’t know what to do.”


“Calm down. We’ll get Victoria back for you. Who else lives here?”


“Victoria’s daughter, Stefani, and my hired hand, Wilbert.”


Nora nodded. Men were scarce out in the Wasteland. Raiders killed them first off, because they were the ones most likely to fight back. Leaving the farms worked by easily intimidated women. Nora exited her power armor, wanting the woman to see she was dealing with a real person.


“How many were there? And do you know where they took them?”


“There were five of them. And they took her to Revere Beach Station. Oh please, get her back. I miss her.”


“That’s a bad place,” said Barb over the radio, speaking into Nora’s ear bud. “A big gang runs the boardwalk, and they’re affiliated with those in the metro station.”


“They keep coming back once a week to take food. They say they’ll kill Victoria if we don’t keep ponying up, but we don’t have any more. And we are so hungry. I don’t know what I’m going to tell Stefani when she tells me she’s hungry.”


Nora pulled six MREs and a dozen purified waters from her cargo bot and gave them to the farmer. “Let’s go get Victoria and clear out the Raiders. We’ll go for the other nearby targets while we’re setting this place up. After that we’ll go after Judge Zeller and free his captives so we can escort them back to Bunker Hill.”


“Sounds kind of ambitious to me,” said Heather, frowning. “But I’m with you, partner.”


The party moved out to the east along the open field, avoiding contact with the Revere Satellite array and its Supermutants. They could wait. They crouched in cover outside Revere Beach, scanning the area, counting all the red images. There were over twenty of them in sight, which meant probably forty in the beach area. The rest would be down in the station, where they assumed their hostage was.


“I’m going to hit them hard,” said Nora, arranging her grenades in a ready belt, making sure she had RPG seekers and high explosives at hand, along with a pair of Molotov’s.


“Power armor,” said Heather, pointing out the figure moving down the boardwalk. “Two of them,” she said in a minute as another appeared.


Nora made sure the ready rack for the RPG was loaded up as well. Three cluster munitions, three high explosives and two armor piercing, in case the power armor was tougher than usual.


“Pick your target while I get this show on the road. And watch the backblast.”


Nora started the show off with a shot at one of the Raiders in power armor, sending an armor piercing rocket into hin across the three hundred meters aiming center mass. The Raider had enough time to make a half turn, seeing his death coming at him. The rocket hit and detonated, blasting the chest piece off the frame, while the explosion continuing up to lift the helmet into the air and eject it out into the ocean. She loaded the next rocket and waited for power armor Raider number two to make target of himself.


The Raider bounded into her view, a minigun spewing hundreds of rounds a second of 5mm Rounds, going everywhere, a few bouncing from the hardened carbon armor of her Recon suit. Heather and Barb took cover, popping up at random intervals to take Raiders under fire. Nora aimed in and fired, sending her second armor piercing rocket toward the Raider. Fifty yards from the target the rocket exploded, well short, though fragments took down some of the nearby raiders.


Nora pushed a high explosive rocket into the tube of the RPG, out of the armor piercing for the moment. She was hoping that it would do the job. Otherwise she would have to hit him with RPG grenades or her rifle. The minigun jammed, and the Raider frantically tried to clear it. Not in time to prevent the high explosive rocket from striking the helmet, blowing it and the head it covered off the Raider.


“That takes care of the power armor,” she said over the radio. “Engage them while I hit them with some heavy stuff.”


Nora fired a cluster munition, the rocket coming apart high over the target and dropping a number of bomblets on the Raiders below. Nora then dropped the launcher and pulled up her grenade launcher, sending rounds into every place that might shelter a Raider.


“That might have done it,” said Barb, moving forward.


“Everybody move slow and let me sweep. They probably don’t have anything that can hurt me.”


Nora moved with bounds, quickly closing the distance. A Raider with a hand flamer came out of a building and sent the stream her way. She engaged her jetpack and flew up and over, turning in the air to gun the flame throwing Raider down. There were several more Raiders in the buildings, sniping out, giving themselves away, then blasted into eternity.


The girls and the dogs came forward and Nora entered the station in her armor in case there was an ambush. There was not, the people inside still unaware that their gangmember buddies had been blasted to hell. Nora exited the armor. Now they had to be as silent as possible, and the whining of power armor gears was not conducive to stealth. The name of the game now was find the hostage and bring her out alive. If the hostage was killed this mission was a bust. True, they had almost wiped out a strong Raider gang, but Connie would not be happy, and Nora doubted they would be invited to use the farm.


The party moved forward, Nora leading, the dogs alert and pointing when they heard enemies. There were several Raiders in the station, taken down from the shadows. More on the landing down below, also killed with almost total silence. And then they were down on the track heading into the living area of the Raiders.


Nora went into the side tunnel, keeping a close watch for anyone who looked to be sitting or on their knees in restraints. This was a tense moment, in which her and her people could kill the hostage in a second. She shot down everything she saw that was armed, including a couple of turrets.


“Victoria,” she asked as she came to a red figure in a side passage, sitting with her hands restrained behind her back.


“Oh, please. Get me out of here.”


"We’re going to get you back to the farm. Now stay close and let us surround you. If anyone shoots at us go to ground and let us take care of them.”


The woman nodded, speechless, but she followed directions. They met no resistance on the way out, and Nora, once again in her power armor, saw no one along the Boardwalk, and figured any survivors were cowering in the shadows, not wanting to call attention to themselves. They made their way low and slow back to the farm.


“Victoria,” cried Connie as she saw her lover come walking into the camp.


“Mommy,” cried Stefani as she ran into her mother and wrapped her in tight arms.


“Thank you so much,” said Victoria, looking at Nora as the general exited her power armor. “I don’t know how you did it.”


“My pleasure. This is what we do. Now, I need to discuss bringing you into our alliance.”


“Can it wait,” said Connie in a peevish tone. “We just got back together, after all.”


“The longer you wait the longer you are open to attack. Sure, we can wait till tomorrow, but if the Raiders come at you there’s likely to be casualties.”


“Oh, let them do it, Connie. They’re good people to have on your side. What I saw on the boardwalk. How they slaughtered so many of that gang. I sure would feel better if they were giving us protection.”


“Go ahead then,” said Connie. “Victoria owns this stretch of land as much as I do.”


Nora set her Handies to making a QESS, then pulling out more robots and assembling them while the spellbound farmers watched. Soon she had three Constructrons and two more Handies, and they started laying out the foundations that she had marked out in her Pip-Boy. First the Core Services building, Concrete walls over the concrete foundation. The Fusion generator went in next, while two of the Constructrons laid out the foundation of the house. The Handies went to work with their saws and took down trees, turning the half acre plot into a full twenty acres, then cutting and stacking the lumber.


“How are you doing all of this?” asked Connie, looking on with wide eyes.


“My technicians have been developing technologies we’ve found in research centers.”


“You say your technicians. Where do you fit into this organization?”


“She’s the General,” said Barb proudly. “The top soldier in the whole alliance.”


“Barb,” yelled Nora. “We’ve talked about this.”


“We sure have. And you need to take credit for your accomplishments. I know you don’t try to hog all the glory, but some of it is yours. And by extension ours.”


“Proud to meet you General.. Hell, I never got your name.”


“Nora Jane Adams.”


“And you’re a Vault dweller?”


“I was. But I’ve put that behind me.”


“Well God Bless, Nora Jane Adams. And God Bless your friends.”


Nora pulled some more food from the QESS and gave it to the farmers. “Why don’t you make a meal for all of us, and we’ll continue to supervise the robots. We won’t be near finished until later tomorrow, but I hope to have us secure before we turn in for the night.”


For the next couple of hours, as darkness fell, and the farmers made what they had into a celebratory feast, the robots kept working. The fusion generator whined as it started sending out power, while the pumps in the pond pumped water into the two purifiers and the water heater.


They all sat down to a meal, telling their stories as the robots put up lights. Soon a tower of scaffolding was rising, the Handies assembling a couple of laser turrets on top and running wires to the power pole, which was wired to the generator. The bottom floor of the house was framed in, the concrete outer walls providing protection. A constructron and a Handy put together the bathroom, flush toilets and showers. The group, humans and robots, were getting to be old hands at this. They still didn’t have beds, but everyone put bags down on the ground floor so they could sleep.


“A real shower,” said Connie as she dried herself off with a towel that was manufactured by the Textile Factory in Sanctuary. All of the farmers had new clothes, a set of casual and one of sturdy work clothes. “I can hardly believe it.”


“You will be expected to work hard to improve this place, and we are going to set up a beacon to attract more settlers. If you think they’ll work out, keep them. If not, contact us and we’ll move them to another settlement. And check out the pistols and rifles we laid out for you. The turrets and robots will help to defend you, but you’re probably going to have to take up arms at times.”


“Willingly,” said Connie, putting an arm around her lover, also just out of the shower. “So, let me ask you Nora. Are you all hetero, lesbian, bi?”


“We all happen to be bisexual,” said Heather. “It makes the road so much more pleasant.”


“Well, I was wondering if you wanted to share the bags with us. I want to make love to my partner, since we’ve been separated for some weeks. Stefani is used to hearing us go at it, and Wilbert often joins us. So if you don’t want to participate in our games, feel free to start your own.”


“We’ll satisfy each other, so you and your lover can enjoy each other. But thanks.”


The Raiders struck in early morning, thirteen of them coming across the fields, trying to get in by stealth. They were picked up by the dogs and the turrets, and came under fire before they could get within range of their pipe weapons. It was a slaughter, and Nora was sure that was the end of the gang at Revere Beach.


“We’ve got a mission to clear the National Guard Training Ground and the Revere Sattalite Array while we’re in the area. The robots will keep working through the day, so just go on about your normal business. I’ve programed my Handies to plant a couple of acres of razor grain, corn, carrots and tatos to go along with your Mufruit.”


“Thank you. Mutfruit is tasty, but it still gets old.”


“Well expect a periodic shipment of meat. And are there any more settlements around here that might need our help. Ones that have the red workbenches like yours.”


“Well, there’s Nordhagen Beach on the coast. Finch Farms to the Northeast, Greentop to the north, and Taffington Boathouse to the Northwest. Though Taffington is abandoned. Oh, and The Slog. Bunch of civilized ghouls there. Nice people, though hideously ugly.”


“We don’t really care about outward appearances,” said Nora, believing that at heart, but not sure she would be able to have sex with a ghoul, civilized or feral. “As long as they work hard and get along with everyone else, they’re welcome in the Alliance.”


“Be careful with the National Guard Yard,” said Victoria. “It’s swarming with ferals. And Revere is a stronghold for Supermutants.”


“The reason we are going after them,” said Nora. “And I’m sure you will feel a lot better once we evict the neighbors.”


Nora checked out the power armor in the new station in the Core Services Building before they proceeded on their mission. The armor on the torso was weakened in a few places, as was the left arm, but it was serviceable, and she thought capable of handling anything she might run into today. That down she mounted up and led her people to the National Guard complex.


*     *     *


There were cars all over the National Guard parking lot. The kind that had good salvage, or might explode if shot. The sensors showed a number of turrets on the building. It looked like a danger zone, even before the ghouls came out to play.


“There’s a veribird crashed in the yard,” called out Barb.


Nora decided that she wanted that tech off the vertibird, along with some deep scans that would let her people build one. A vertibird would come in handy for moving around, though it would take quite a bit of time to build one. Well, her techs were wasting a lot of time on the motorcycle they were restoring. So why not an aircraft that she could actually fly.


They walked around the outside of the building, Barb and Heather taking out turrets as they came to them. There were a couple of blockhouses outside the main building, one open and almost empty, the other locked tight and sure to contain some good stuff.


“There’s a SentyBot up there in that blockhouse,” said Heather, pointing as the large squat robot behind locked doors. It glowed with power on her suit sensors, and Nora was sure it would activate when the party penetrated a sensitive area. That was a massive killing machine, and it could probably chew its way through her armor with its .50 caliber, while its rocket launcher could surely kill her in an instant.


“Watch it. If it starts to come out fire it up.”


“Do you know what you’re doing?” asked Heather in an anxious tone.


Nora didn’t answer. She wanted to move up there with stealth, so she approached from the side, where the SentryBot was unlikely to see her. She sowed a half dozen of the mines she had been picking up across the yard in front of the door, then snuck away.


“There. If it comes out the first thing it will encounter is mines.”


“Smart,” said Barb. “No wonder you were elected leader.”


They entered through the front door, immediately under assault by ghouls. Her girls fired them up while she went after them with her nanosword. They then searched the building, finding lots of ammo and armor, and something unexpected.


“That’s a BOS Knight,” said Heather.


Nora looked down on the dead and rotting woman who had tried to find shelter here and had been killed by ghouls. Nora took her holo-tag, and the electronic device on the ground beside her. And the holo-tape to listen to later. She would be able to tell Danse she had found a trace of their lost patrol, and hoped that would satisfy him. They went through the building, then through the security doors to the next, fighting ghouls the entire way.


The next building had even more ghouls. It also had a half empty armory that had a dozen military class rifles and a couple of machineguns. They loaded up Wilson, who had a very short trip this time, then went to check on the sealed blockhouse.


That building had a couple of ghouls as well, and a derelict suit of power armor, along with some weapons and ammo. Nora was betting that the SentryBot was going to activate from them penetrating this building, and readied her RPG in case her booby trap didn’t work.


Sirens were blaring and lights were flashing when they exited the blockhouse. And a series of explosions boomed from the area the SentryBot was housed, followed by one massive explosion as the heavily damaged robot detonated.


“Good plan,” said Barb as she moved up to the flaming SentryBot, looking at the red hot chassis that was unapproachable at the moment.


“We’ll come back for this one when he cools down. Let’s go back to the settlement and check out the progress, then unload the cargo bots. Then it’s Supermutant season.”


*     *     *


The holo-tape belonged to BOS Knight Tara Astlin, who had faced her end with courage and determination. Nora hoped that when her time came she would be so brave. And instructions were left to follow a directional signal. Nora programed her Pip-Boy. An area of her map was highlighted, and by chance it was in a line from the Settlement to the Revere Satellite Array. Well, first they needed to clean out the Supermutants, then they could worry about the recon party.


A couple of hundred meters from the outer fence Nora rocketed into the sky, looking over the yard with its number of scaffolding sets and four large satellite dishes. And a number of large red figures on the ground and on the scaffolding. There were some shacks constructed on the scaffolding.


“Fire on the mutants so I can see them moving,” she said over the radio, coming down to land on a hill four hundred meters from the array and let her jets cool.


“Wilco,” said both her girls, and fire started hitting some of the mutants. And starting the charge of the mutants she was looking for.


Nora jetted back into the air, picking up the two figures running, clutching flashing objects under their right arms. She fired on one, right into the warhead, detonating the nuke. She immediately switched fire to the next and blew him to hell as well.


Most of the other mutants were also down from the effects of the nukes and Nora once again thought it a bad tactic. It guaranteed that one of the mutants died, and had a high probability of killing others. As long as she and her people were aware of their targets, it was a win for the humans.


They quickly cleared out the shocked Supermutants, while the big brutes continued to boast of their superiority. “Isn’t it funny how they boast about how they’re better than us,” said Heather after she burned down the last mutant. “Who’s superior now, Muty, now that you’re dead.”


Nora followed the direction finder on her Pip-Boy and located the body of a Knight, his power armor standing by, within the bowl of a dish. She recovered his holotags and a hole-tape, then jump down so they could go on to their last stop for the day.


Reeb Marina was not much. It had some insects to put down, and there were Mirelurks that were killed and harvested for the coming night’s meal. Nora found the Haptic Drive in a locked footlocker, and they headed back to the settlement.


“We watched you at work,” said Connie as they came walking into the settlement. Barb and Heather dropped the sacks of Mirelurk meat by the cook station, and Victoria opened the bags and squealed at what we revealed. “What the hell were those two big explosions by the satellite station?”


“Suiciders,” said Nora after she climbed out of her power armor. “I took them out from the air, and they took most of their friends with them.”


“So the station is cleared out?”


“Yep. No worries there, until something else moves in. So I’m going to place some more turrets to concentrate on that approach. And the National Guard Yard is completely clear. Not a ghoul to be found, and that big combat robot is scrap.”


“So that’s the explosion we saw that way,” said Victoria. “We thought maybe we had seen the last of you. Glad we were wrong.”


“We got three new people in while you were gone. I have them working the fields, but I would appreciate if you would look them over for me before you go.”


The three newcomers were a couple with a fourteen-year-old boy. The man had on a Minuteman’s jacket, and Nora found out he was the survivor of a local unit that had come apart after the massacre at Quincy.


“I am so happy to meet you, General,” said the man, Torance, smiling with his arm around his woman, Pam. The boy, Wil, was their son, and it did Nora’s heart good to see a real family that had come through it together.


“I took the position under protest,” said Nora. “I’m not sure I have the discipline to lead disciplined troops.”


“Well, you seem to fight like a scalded Deathclaw. I don’t think the Minuteman could ask for better.”


“They’re fine,” said Nora as she went back to talk to Connie. The succulent odor of Mirelurk was rising from the cookpot, and Wil was making the acquaintance of his new playmate, Stefani. “Just keep working the place, welcome people, and keep improving, and you’ll be fine.”


After dinner Nora composed a message for her settlers at Graygarden to bring to Danse, along with the Holo-tags, the Haptic Drive and some images of the cleared out training yard and satellite array to show to Reese. The house was finished, everyone had a room and bed, and Nora retired to hers with her friends for some pleasure. Through their own fun Nora could hear the farmers pleasuring each other, and in a farther room Torance fucking Pam. All was right in the world, everyone well fed, protected, and having sex in its various forms.


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