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Chapter Thirty-two Warwick Farms and Vault 88.



“Picking up a Minuteman alert,” said the voice of the assistant built into Nora’s Pip-boy. She wasn’t sure she wanted to hear it, but the Minutemen and the settlements they guarded were her primary responsibility. If the Slog was under attack, many days walk away, then they were on their own. But if something closer needed help, it was on her to provide it.


“Settlers at Warwick Farm are requesting Minuteman help,” said the voice of Major Talbert over the radio. “Any units within range are requested to go to their location and give assistance.”


“Change of plans?” asked Heather.


“Yep. We’ll do Vault 88 after we see what the Warwicks want.”


“Then we’re going to have to work our way around Quincy to the south,” said Maccready, pointing in that direction. “Unless you want to try and take out the Gunners. Not something I would recommend without some more troops.”


“How many Gunners in Quincy?” asked Nora.


“At least fifty of them, including a couple of suits of power armor. With fluctuations in strength of twenty or thirty as patrols come in.”


So we could be facing as many as eighty of the bastards, thought Nora, staring at the edge of the ruins a couple of miles away. And if I stir them up they might come at Jamaica Plains. Fuck.


“And how alert are they going to be?”


“Not very,” said Maccready. “But not deaf and blind either.”


“Okay. We hug the shore and work our way down to the old sewage treatment plant. Any communications are to be whispered over the radio. So everyone stay alert. Weapons safed. If we are fired on I will make the determination as to whether we need to return fire. Understand?”


Maccready looked like he wasn’t sure about having to wait on her giving permission to fire, but after a moment’s hesitation he nodded. Don’t screw this up, Robert. You get us in an unnecessary firefight and you can hit the road. If you survive.


Nora had a nuke warhead inserted into the RPG, ready to take out at least one concentration of Gunners. She had two more on her ready rack, along with a trio of high explosive rockets. She let Heather lead the way, the woman moving with exquisite caution, Dogmeat beside her and a little to the front. Barb followed, her head on a swivel, while Nora followed close behind with Maccready by her side. Dogbot took up the rear, under orders to lay low until she gave the command to attack.


The dogs had been picking up training the entire time they had been on the road with the party. Dogbot was programed to obey its instructions to the letter. Dogmeat still had a will of his own, but seemed ready and willing to please. Nora had come to the opinion that the animal had been trained by someone as a scout dog, capable of sniffing out mines and explosives. He would stop ten yards or so from the explosive device, then go into a pointing routine that let the party know exactly where the threat was. So far they had avoided trodding on any mines when the dog was in the lead.


He also was a brilliant attack dog, with dogbot performing much the same. The dogs would avoid the straight approach of people they scented had firearms or energy weapons, coming in from the side with incredible speed. Most of the time they came in low, going for the groin, chomping down to cause the most pain and damage possible. When the target went down they went for the throat, biting down and ripping. If the command to pull off was given they immediately went to ground, low and crouching behind any available cover. Nora had worried at first that the dogs wouldn’t survive battle, but with their training, speed and instincts, as well as the body armor both carried, they had rarely taken any damage.


“What’s that smell,” complained Heather as they got within a half mile of the farm, the ruins of Quincy almost two miles behind. The Poseidon Energy Plant was on their right and slightly to the rear. They had picked out red figures on the catwalks and roofs, from the gear they were wearing Raiders. From their lack of actions they hadn’t seen the party, who were keeping low behind the bank that rose about ten to twelve feet past the waterline.


“That’s an old sewage treatment plant,” said Nora. “I remember the complaints about the odor prewar, which is why there were no houses built along this stretch. Only the generator over there and the lighthouse further to the south.”


“Well, someone is living there now,” said Heather, pointing out the red figures that were moving around the farmland inside the fence.


“In the settlement,” called out Nora over her suit speakers. “We’re friendly. Can we come in?”


The people inside the compound dropped their tools and grabbed up weapons, mostly pipe pistols that gave them minimal defensive capabilities.


“Who are you?” called out a slightly overweight man with a shotgun in hand.


“We’re with the Minutemen,” called back Nora, making sure that her armor, with the blue and white paint job of her faction, was visible.


“Come on it,” said the man. “Not that we could stop you if you were determined to come in.”


Nora had to admit that what he said was truth. She could take their settlement and kill everyone in it by herself by simply walking in and shooting everything. They had nothing that would stop her PA, and if they joined the alliance she meant to see that change.


“Is that X-01?” asked the excited teenage boy as the party walked through the gate in the fence.


Nora noted that part of the fence was crushed down, and some of the furniture was sitting in pieces on the ground. “It sure is,” she told the boy as she ejected from the armor. “How do you know so much about Power Armor.”


“The Atom Cats,” said the boy, as if that explained everything.


“Our neighbors,” said the still pretty woman in her forties, obviously the matriarch. “You can see that Red Rocket across the bay. They’re a group of guys and gals who are flipped over power armor. They have pictures of the X-01, and that’s the holy grail. You might want to stop in on them.”


“Later,” said Nora, smiling at the woman. She then met the family. Roger, the dad, June the mom, Wally, the young boy, and Janey, a very pretty teen girl who should have been dating the boys, if there had been any boys around to date. Three hired hands completed the settlement population.


“So, Roger. What can the Minutemen do for you?”


“Well, Nora. We have problems. A gang of supermutants from over on the other side of Quincy keep raiding us. Stealing all of our food. And if they ever caught us off guard, before we could go to ground, I’m afraid we will all be dead.”


“Any problems with the Gunners?”


“Not so far. They have bought food off of us. They go a little light on the pay, but they do pay. Now they keep bothering Zack and the boys and gals in the Atom Cats. They want that power armor, and Zack isn’t about to give them any.”


Then we need to see if we can help them, thought Nora. Just as soon as we get all these other things under control.


“Do you know where these mutants are coming from?”


“From the Wilson Atomotoys plant on the other side of Quincy,” said Wally. “I heard them talking about it the last time they were here. I hid out really good and listened to the idiots spill everything.”


“Brave boy,” said Nora, wondering if his mom had tanned his butt for his act. She knew that she would have. “We’ll go right after them today. We should be back by evening, if you can give us some space to pitch our tents.”


“It’s yours. But are you sure you want to go after them with just four? Shouldn’t you wait on some more soldiers.”


“We’re professionals, Roger,” said Nora. “In fact, we’ve taken out several large nests of supermutants in the past.”


“Do those symbols on the rockets mean what I think they do?” asked Janey, an excited expression on her face.


“Yep. They’re nukes. We don’t play around when it comes to taking out the scum of the Commonwealth. But only when necessary.”


After a half an hour break the party was back on the road, this time going south of the Poseidon plant. It was pure marshland, involving a lot of detours and even some wading in the rancid waters. Barb and Heather, in their Kerrigan suits, were waterproof for the most part, and Nora had no worries with her sealed armor. Maccready was soaked after wading the first couple of bodies of open water., and a constant stream of low volume cursing came from his mouth as they passed by Quincy to the south side.


“That must be the Atomatoys factory,” said Barb, gesturing toward the large water tower set in front of a good-sized building. The large red figures of Supermutants could be seen on the roof and walkways.


“Anyone spot the suicider?” asked Nora, zooming in with her own vision gear. She could make out the weapons of Brutes and other soldiers, along with the miniguns of the Masters. But no mutants walking around clutching a mininuke. She thought they would be on ground level, probably within the factory, ready to run out when needed.


“Give me a second, Boss,” came Maccready’s voice over the radio. “I’m almost in position.”

Nora looked over at the water tower, to see the small figure going up the ladder, long rifle over his back. He got to the top of the walkway and assumed a prone position, looking through his scope and sweeping his view.


“I’ve got one, Boss. About ten feet in from the main entrance. Just give me the word.”


Nora jacked her round selection into the magazine of the China Lake, four grenades. She worked the pump and put the first round in the chamber, then selected her first target. “Fire when ready, Maccready.”


“Okay. Now.” The suppressed rifle went off, much quieter than the weapon that the Sniper had been using before, though still louder than their smaller caliber assault rifles. Nora fired the GL a fraction of a second later, landing a round in the center of the largest concentration of the roof. The plasma grenade went off, those closest to it covered in glowing green plasma just before they melted away into piles of goo. Those further out were knocked back, the plasma burning them severely, killing some, blinding others.


The sniper rifle barked once again and one of the Primus Mutants fell, his minigun clattering to the catwalk. The one next to him fired, his Gatling gun spinning up to send up rounds out at random, just before his head rocked back and he fell beside his partner. Nora hit the front entrance of factory with a standard frag round just as a quartet were coming out to engage. Two were propelled back, dead, while the other two cried out, one going to his knees.


The Supermutants engaged as always, eschewing cover as they boasted their prowess. Making themselves easy targets. Barb and Heather started taking out targets of opportunity, while Nora landed her third grenade between a pair of riflemen on the roof. They flew over the lip of the roof to land hard on the ground below, unmoving.


“Everyone alert,” ordered Nora as she ran toward the building, her servos whining slightly. Her dogs oriented on her, while Barb and Heather each went to a catwalk that led up. Two mutants came out of the shadows, blinking away their sleep. Nora held down the trigger on her assault rifle and sent them staggering back, yelling, until they went down in the silence of death. With a command the dogs roamed out and searched the building. Moments later they were both sitting before her, ready for her praise.


“The building’s clear,” said Nora, ejecting from her armor so she could get a better look.


The factory was filled with Giddyap Buttercups, complete toys, scores of parts waiting to be assembled. Nora knew from experience, and from talking with Arlan Glass, that all the parts were filled with circuitry, fiber optics, just about everything they needed for building high tech machinery. She filled all of her cargo bots, and sent Wilson on his way to Jamaica Plains where he could unload. She wanted to get everything, tools as well as toys, and made plans to stay here for some hours so she could pack it all in and away.


Nora decided that they would spend the night at Jamaica Plains. She wanted to check out Vault 88 in the morning, and it was closest to her settlement of anyplace they could spend the evening in safety. Once she had unloaded all the Wilson products from her cargo bots they settled in for a meal with the settlers, then retired to her quarters for some fun and games.


*     *     *


Since coming out of cryo in the Commonwealth, Nora had made the acquaintance of two varieties of ghouls. There were the civilized variety, who were invariably law abiding and mostly peaceful. And the murderous ferals, physically even more deformed, whose only inclination was to attack or destroy. Quincy Quarries introduced her to another variety. Ghoul Raiders, who were physically much like the civilized variety, but were in no way law abiding. The homing signal for Vault 88 brought them to the northeast entrance to the quarry, and the view of a Raider camp built among the marble blocks of the quarry. Just like any other Raiders, the inhabitants of this camp opened fire as soon as they saw Nora and company. Fortunately, they were mostly using inaccurate pipe weapons.


There were a lot of rads in the quarry, probably sourced from the multiple toxic waste barrels. That concerned Nora, though not really for herself. Her people had more rad protection than most with their armor, and she didn’t intend to spend much time here. They fought their way through the upper quarry and its Raider huts, then found the entrance to the under-quarry. The under-quarry was a series of rooms formed by the way the huge marble blocks were arranged overhead.


The Raider ghouls down there were mostly stoned out of their minds, unable to handle visitors, especially when those guests showed up with murderous intent. Some tried to fight back, a few fell to their knees and begged for their lives. Nora was hearing none of that. Despite the horrible nightmares that were sure to accompany the execution of the Raiders, she couldn’t turn them loose on the world. Nor would she delegate such an odious task to her people.


“The signal is coming from down here,” she told her people as she stopped at the entrance to a downward sloping tunnel. It still wasn’t telling her much, only that all Vault Tech personnel were required to come to the aid of a Vault in trouble. She was beginning to think that all they would find down here were Raiders and the bodies of Vault dwellers.


“Stop,” shouted a voice over loudspeakers. “That door was designed to take a direct hit from a strategic nuclear weapon. You are wasting your time. And you are in violation of the law.”


Nora doubted that the eleven Raiders standing in front of the door or trying to work the entry mechanism cared about the legality of their actions. All they cared about were the riches to be said to be within vaults, and how they could get to them.


“We have company,” yelled out one of the Raiders, spinning around and leveling a double barrel shotgun at the power armor she had just noticed.


The gun spoke, and numerous pellets bounced from the armor, causing almost no damage. Nora cursed as she thought of the damage they must have done to her paint, and fired off a long burst that took down six of the Raiders in a sweep. The others started to fire, concentrating on Nora. That was natural, since she was the greatest threat. But they hadn’t a hope of taking her down with their pipe weapons and shotguns. In seconds the Raiders were down, while the woman over the speaker continued to admonish them on trying to break in.


Nora ejected from her armor, then plugged her Pip-Boy into the hatch control panel.


“What? You have a Pip-Boy? Who are you?”


Possibly your relief, thought Nora, though she was beginning to doubt that. She hit the button, the lights started flashing, and the huge door started to move back on its massive screw. Once it was back away it rolled aside, and Nora got back into her power armor and led the way.


“I am trapped by debris,” came the voice over the loudspeakers. “If you can dig me out we can talk face to face.”


“We can talk now,” said Nora, wanting to know what to expect before she took the effort to free this woman, who she was sure was a Vault Tech employee. When no answer was forthcoming she thought the com system was not functioning both ways.


“The control board for the workbench is in the main control room. If you want the assistance of the workbench you need to find it and insert it into the bench.”


The red workshop looked completely different from any of the others she had seen. It looked like a large metal wheel set into a base. And a slot for some kind of board. She found it quickly on a shoul in the control room  that she gunned down, and it easily slid into the slot.


“Very good. Now make some tools and see if you can take down the debris.”


Oh, I’m going to be much better than that, thought Nora, as she instructed her Handy to build a QESS and link it into the workbench. From there she built three more Handies, which went ahead and made a trio on constructrons. Locating the tunnel leading in, filled with debris, she set the robots to tunnel it out.


In minutes the tunnel was clear, and Nora found herself looking at a ghoul in a Vaultsuit with a very surprised expression on her face. “Did you bring all of those robots with you?”


“It’s a long story,” said Nora, stopping for a moment and gunning down some feral ghouls that were heading for her.


“Yes, my poor fellows. They made the transition to insanity. It might be for the best if you killed them, then we can talk.”


The exceptionally large chamber was filled with items that could become resources. Scores of train cars, the tracks they sat on, water towers, even a couple of forklifts. The team swept through the chamber killing all the ghouls, since the Vault Tech woman seemed to be the only one who hadn’t turned feral. And discovering the opening to even more large chambers leading off. Nora was thinking that this Vault had the makings of an underground city. And the rads coming off some of the rocks pointed to the availability of Uranium, and with it processed nuclear materials. Maybe enough to build up several settlements beside this one.


“I am Valery Barstow,” said the woman in her rough ghoul voice.


“And you work for Vault Tech,” said Nora, the last two words coming off her tongue like excrement.


“I do,” said the woman with pride. “I was to run experiments in this vault that would benefit all Vault Dwellers. Now that you are here, with your help I can run them now.”


“Vault Tech ruined my life,” hissed Nora, glaring at the woman, her hand on the butt of her Desert Eagle. “They lied to me, then stuck me in cryo. Their staff deserted the vault, allowing people to come in and kill my husband before my eyes. And everything I’ve seen so far reinforces the impression that Vault Tech were the worse scumbags on the planet.”


“I’m, sorry,” said Valery, hanging her head. “And I admit that Vault Tech was not always the most ethical in their treatment of their subjects.”


That word, subject, enraged Nora. That’s all we were to them. Subjects. Guinea Pigs. Not even people that they were sworn to protect.


“You can run the experiments as you like,” said the Overseer. “While it might skew the results some, we will still help humanity. We..”


“If you think I will aid you in your experiments, you are fucking crazy. You and the people you represent are no better than the Nazis. I would burn in hell before I helped Vault Tech.”


“Then I will just have to keep sending out the recruitment signal and hope I get someone with a more rational outlook.”


“How is this for rational?” asked Nora, pulling the Desert Eagle out and pointing at the Overseer’s face. “I hereby claim this vault in the name of all the people Vault Tech has cruelly abused though the last couple of centuries. This is my Vault, and that of the Minutemen. You are to leave, immediately, unless you want me to leave your lifeless body on the floor. So get the fuck out.”


“Please don’t kill me,” said the Overseer, holding her hands up to guard her face, as if that would stop the .44 slug. “Just let me gather my documents.”


“Leave everything,” hissed Nora, pulling back the hammer of her pistol for emphasis. “Not a bit of data leaves this vault with you. You can take your clothing, and your rotten mind, and get the fuck out.” Nora turned to her people. “Make sure she goes out the entrance. And if she resists, kill her.”


“My pleasure, Boss,” said Heather, motioning with her rifle for the woman to proceed her out of the chamber.


“They really pissed you off, didn’t they?” asked a wide eyed Mccready.


“You have no idea,” said Nora, shoulders slumping as the tension of the moment retreated. “The fucking scum. If I ever find their rumored headquarters Vault there is going to be a bloodbath. Now, let’s see about getting this place up and running.”


Nora spent the next couple of hours going over the data in Barstow’s computer. First she download the schematics to the vault structures and some new machines down to her Pip-Boy. Her robots meantime had been laboring in the background, clearing up the ghoul bodies, then going after the train cars, tracks and other items of no interest to her, giving her enough steel, rubber and other commodities to construct a decent sized structure. She would still need to bring in some other materials, especially circuitry, the one item that had threatened to become a bottleneck in the past, and probably would actually manifest in the future. And then she settled down to read about Vault Tech.


It simply reinforced her impressions of the organization. On the surface they were a corporation setting up the nation for survival from the nuclear war that was on the horizon. They couldn’t save everyone, or even a very high percentage of the population, but something would survive. But in the dark shadows’ underneath, they were positioned to perform social experiments on captive populations, in violation of every ethical principle of modern science. Her own Vault was one example. They had no idea they were going to be put into cryo, an untested procedure. There were hints of other experiments, including some to improve humans through selective breeding in a Vault in the Commonwealth. Medical experiments, government, even nutrition. Not all had taken place within the Vaults. Vault Tech wanted to use the entire population of the United States as their test subjects.


And there were hints that Vault Tech had been set up to survive the war as a corporation, with a regional headquarters vault in the Commonwealth. The only hint given as to location was somewhere on the River Charles in the southern region of the Commonwealth. Something she definitely would need to look into. She and the Minutemen were trying to rebuild a free society, where people could live their lives without undue interference as long as they worked hard, and they didn’t need the interference of the evil that was Vault Tech meddling in their affairs.


By late that night they had an entrance hall set up in the cavern, lit from the electricity of the reactor room and the convenient connections. For bedding they laid out their sleep bags. Everyone had showered with the water from one of the towers that had been earmarked for removal overnight, the liquid transferred to new storage containers. So everyone in the party was clean enough. Robert did his best to satisfy all of the women, with cock, hands and mouth. He came in Barb, then Heather, giving them both orgasms in the process. Nora ramped up her own excitement by playing with whatever her hands could reach, gently stroking clits, rubbing balls, getting into position so she could use her tongue on the genitals of whomever wasn’t meshing sex organs at the moment. The scent of wet pussies, of the emissions of an excited man, were intoxicating, and she added the perfume of her pheromones to the mix.


After his second cum Maccready needed some time to get it back up. Nora had to wait for her turn, Maccready licking her pussy while she stood over him, the two girls worked on his dick, licking and sucking as it slowly hardened. When she thought he was ready she lay back and opened her legs, inviting the man to fuck her. First he lowered his face to her lower body, kissing up and down her legs, enjoying the soft flesh of her inner thighs, the silkiest on any woman’s body, and especially so on her. Her pussy was bubbling over with lubricant, and she felt like she was about to go out of her mind with lust. But she decided to let Robert continue to eat her, to get her even more excited, and she had her first orgasm of the night with his tongue buried in her pussy.


Maccready moved up, and Nora squirmed as she waited for him to penetrate her. He played the tip of his cock over her genitals for a couple of minutes, driving her crazy, while Barb lay on one side, Heather on the other, sucking and licking on her nipples. Maccready set the head of his dick between her lips, then pushed in. Her tight pussy was so wet that he slid up to the hilt with the first thrust, and her second orgasm of the night rushed through her body. Laying there, he ground his pubic mound into hers while letting his dick soak in her wetness, and the third orgasm hit on the tail end of the second.


She had always thought the man needed work on his technique, but this night he worked it like a master. Leaning down to kiss her tenderly, her started to move his dick in and out of her folds. She went into the convulsions of another orgasm, her back arching until she almost feared that it would break. Her fingernails dug into the back of her man, cutting furrows that he ignored from the feelings of pleasure running through his own body.


Robert pounded her for an endless time, slamming his groin into hers, kissing her, while her girls continued to work on her breasts, caressing and sucking. Nora went into a series of orgasms, each more powerful that the last, until she hit a peak, her body humming with ultimate pleasure for minutes, her mouth open in a breathless scream. Her vaginal muscles clenched and unclenched over the delightful invader, until Robert cried out and sent spurt after spurt of hot Cum into her depths. Finally, with a last thrust, a last spurt, he collapsed on her, his chest pushing her breasts flat. They both lay there unmoving, their breaths coming in ragged gasps, Maccready’s cock softening in her, then falling out to release the flow of his seed.


“My God,” said the Sniper. “I’ve never had one like that.”


“You were wonderful,” said Nora, grasping the sides of his face and pulling him down for a deep, long lasting kiss.  “I don’t know when I’ve been fucked better.”


“So I passed the second audition?” he asked with a lopsided smile.


“You did indeed. I’ll have one of those every night, please.”


The girls laughed, running their hands over the sweat slick bodies of the lovers. “As long as you save some for me,” said a smiling Heather, Barb nodding her head in agreement.


*     *     *


“Picking up a radio transmission mentioning a Commander Nora Jane Adams,” said the Pip-Boy, waking Nora from a very pleasant dream. She groaned, thinking about telling the damned machine to fuck off, then thought better of it. Maccready, Heather and Barb all groaned as she disentangled herself from their sleeping forms. It always amazed her the contortions sex partners could engage in while sleeping off the bliss, but she was able to get free without waking any of them.


“Play the transmission,” she ordered as she sat her naked body in the chair by the Overseer’s desk, wondering who it could be. The Pip-Boy would have said if it had been the Minutemen, so it was obviously someone else.


“This is the Enclave, calling Commander Nora Jane Adams. If you can pick up this transmission, please contact us on this frequency. We have a proposition we feel might be of interest to you.”


What the fuck could those bastards want? she thought. Danse had mentioned the Enclave when she had talked with him about the Capital Wasteland. A faction claiming to be the legitimate United States Government. Well, as far as she was concerned, the United States was dead. Maybe it would be revived in the future by whoever could unite most of the continent. But the government back then had dropped the ball. It was still up for argument as to who actually fired the first shot. After over a hundred years of multiple nuclear powers and no general war it had seemed that countries could hold themselves in check. America, China, it really didn’t matter to her. If they hadn’t both played the roles of hardasses the war never would have happened.


According to Danse the Brotherhood had wiped them out in a great battle in the Capital Wasteland. It seemed that they weren’t completely wiped out after all, but how much power could they still have?


“Send on that frequency,” she ordered, wanting to get this over with. She would listen to their proposition before telling them to fuck off. “This is Nora Jane Adams, once a Commander in the United States Navy. The defunct United States Navy, Now, what did you want?”


It took almost a half-minute for anyone to answer, and when they did, a harsh voice man was the spokesman. “This is Lt. General Thomas Beacher, Commander. I’m hoping that you are still a patriot.”


“A patriot toward what, General?” she answered, realizing that they were going to try to appeal to her loyalty to the United States to rope her in.


“Why, these great United States of America of course. The same nation you swore your oaths of service to.”


“That nation no longer exists. The Chinese wiped it away while we did the same to them.”


“Not true. While most of the people died, most of the industry was wiped away, your government survived. And we are still here today, your elected officials and their appointed officers, fighting to uphold the constitution of this Great Country.”


“Just who elected them, with most of the population dead, and the rest disconnected from any kind of body politic?”


“Your President, Vice President, Supreme Court Justices and many members of Congress from that time are still alive today. Pending the result of another general election, which will be difficult to hold as I can imagine you realize, they are stewards of the country.”


“And how much of this country do you actually hold?”


“Some small sections, though we are working on more, and have hopes that you might strengthen our position in the States of New England.”


“And you have agreements with the New California Republic, the Republic of the Great Lakes, the Kingdom of the Carolinas, Caesar’s Legion and all the rest to give you power in their territories. And from what I’ve been told, the Brotherhood of Steel, East and West Coast Factions oppose you with all their strength.”


“They are all traitors to the very ideals espoused by the Founding Fathers. But we get off track here. I am asking you, in the name of our President, to reaffirm your loyalty and commitment to the United States. Will you do that?”


“I’m afraid not, General. I’m a general too now, you know. In the Minutemen, which I feel are the greatest hope for this region of the former United States.”


“We will absorb them eventually, along with all the others. In the meantime, we need you, Nora. You remember the United States as it used to be, just as we do. You, as far as we know, still have the uncorrupted genetics of the people of that time. You can be a leader, as well as the mother of a future genetically perfect generation that will make our country strong. And as far as that false title the Minutemen gave you, I can offer you promotion to full Captain in the United States Navy. Possibly Rear Admiral as soon as our leaders can vote on it.”


“Well, General Beacher. I don’t know how many troops you command, but according to my contacts in the Brotherhood there can’t be that many.  I reject the assertion that you represent the people still alive and trying to survive in the territories of the former United States. The United States is dead. Its elected government is dead. And any people you send to try and take over the Commonwealth will be dead at my hand. So fuck off.”


Nora disconnected before the man could speak again. She still had lots of questions, but didn’t think she would be getting any answers from them. Like how had they survived two centuries from the war? Were they ghouls? She doubted that with their talk of genetic purity.


“So, you told them to get fucked?” said Maccready, standing on the other side of the desk, Barb and Heather with him.


“I didn’t know you were awake.”


“We heard the loud talk and decided to see what was going on,” said Barb. “Sorry if we were intruding.”


“No. You need to know about these people too, in case we run into any of them in the future.”


“The Enclave were bad news in the Capital Wasteland,” said Maccready. “Rumor had it that they wanted to slaughter all the people who had genetic imperfections due to the rads. Which pretty much included everyone I knew. The Brotherhood under Elder Lyons took them down. And then the West Coast Brotherhood installed a successor to follow their fascist path.”


“Too bad Sarah Lyons was killed,” said Heather, who seemed to know a lot about things going on outside the Commonwealth.


“There were rumors that she survived, but went into hiding when Maxson took over,” said Maccready. “So I guess this means we don’t get those flags with the E on them to wear on our uniforms.”


“I loved my country, people,” said Nora, leaning over to pet Dogmeat who sat next to her chair. “I would have given my life for it. That government no longer exists, if the one we thought it was ever did. People of the regions deserve to determine their own fate. If the people of the different governments ever decide to form another union I’ll be right on board. But until then, to paraphrase Lee, my loyalties are to the Commonwealth.”


“Who was Lee?” asked a confused Barb.


“I’ll explain later,” said Nora, making a determination that they needed to start up a Commonwealth wide education system to teach the children the lessons of the past, and the skills they needed for the future.


The group spent another four days in the Vault, making sure the robots were putting everything together just the way Nora wanted. She still hadn’t figured out how they were going to welcome settlers into the underground, while keeping out the scum. For the moment she put up turrets at the main entrance and the tunnels going out into the other sections. They cleared those sections as well. Mole rats, ghouls, even rad scorpions and a death claw. And in the one flooded section a Mirelurk Queen that she took down with a pair of high explosive rockets from the RPG. She set the Handies to mining and processing the Uranium ore they found, which exceeded her expectations and put the alliance well on the way to temporary self sufficiency in reaction material.


And then they found, at the end of miles of tunnel, the subway station. The stairway above was blocked, though a couple of hours with a pair of construtrons cleared it enough for passage into a deserted upper station that was sealed off from the surface. Another hour and they had the doors cleared, and Nora was surprised and delighted to find that they were less than a quarter mile from the heart of Jamaica Plains. That solved her problem of getting settlers into the Vault. She found a couple of volunteers among the growing population of the Plains, stationed a couple of protectrons along the way, and had the start of the Vault 88 community.


Her and her party left through the quarry opening, letting the robots continue their work underground. She was thinking the Vault could become a rest and relaxation center for those who had had enough of the surface and needed some time in a clean secure environment. As well as another industrial center, one concerned with manufacturing high end electronics and power generating equipment.


*     *     *


“We were starting to wonder about you,’ said June Warwick as the party approached the settlement. “You’ve been gone over seven days, after all.”


“We took out the Supermutants on the day we left here,” said Nora, accepting a hug from Wally, then from Janey. Both of the children, though Janey was really an adult, were accepting of strangers and new things. “Then we went into the Quincy Quarry and cleared it of Raiders, then found an old Vault that is now another Minuteman settlement.”


“If you want to take out some more Raiders,” said Roger, walking up and smoking a pipe. “You might want to check out that old beached ship over there. A raider gang lives there. We see them heading out to the south on raids periodically, but they leave us alone. Probably think we’re claimed property by the Supermutants.”


“We’ll clear them out tomorrow,” said Nora. “Now how about joining the Minutemen. We can put up defenses so that anyone else who decides you’re easy pickings will get their heads handed to them. And we can expand your settlement, make it something to garner the respect of neighbors.”


“What about the Gunners in Quincy?” asked Wally. “Dad and mom used to take us there on Market days, before they moved in and chased everyone off.”


“Here’s the deal, people,” said Nora, grabbing a seat by the fire burning toward the front of the farm. “First order of business is to grow our strength. That includes getting as many farms and settlements on board as we can sign on. Then, when we have the troops, we go into Quincy and other places and smash our enemies flat. Until then we’re just poking smoking twigs in a stingwing nest. And I would appreciate it if you don’t trumpet the name of the Minutemen too much around any Gunners that might visit. Of course, once this place is bristling with turrets, you might not have to say anything.”


Nora built the Core Services Building and the QESS immediately, powering up the settlement, then ordering the robots to start putting up turrets. She had the foundations of the CSB built two hundred yards out from the current border, helping to block access from that direction. She then laid out the three story settler building, working areas on the bottom, living and recreation in the center, bedrooms on the top floor. That was assigned the pair of constructrons and a Handy, while the other two Handies strung up lights around the compound, including ceiling fixtures in the large room that had been the living quarters for the entire population of the farm.


The party settled on their bags in the CSB, most too tired for any games this night. Nora decided to forgo sex herself. She might be risking nightmares, but she felt good enough about what she had accomplished to try to sleep. While she could have made a play at one of the hired hands, none of them were that attractive to her, and she didn’t feel that desperate.


“Daddy, you’re so big,” cried out a young voice, followed by a series of moans.


“Is that Janey?” asked a wide-eyed Heather, sitting up on her bag.


“She’s fucking her daddy,” said Barb, not seeming in the least shocked. “What. My daddy started fucking me when I turned thirteen.”


“How did you put up with that?” asked Heather.


“Hey, on a small farm there aren’t a lot of choices for sexual partners. When my mamma had her time of life she stopped wanting sex, but daddy still wanted it, and I was available. He made sure I had my contraceptive and I enjoyed it, mostly.”


That was not Nora’s call. She didn’t like the idea of incest, but Janey was beyond the age of consent, so it was up to her who she fucked. As long as Roger didn’t get her pregnant, there was really nothing she could say about it.


The next morning they continued laying out the construction. The new settler house was almost finished, powered up, with turrets going up on the roof. The recruitment beacon went in, as well as some fencing and a gate to restrict entry. Another thirty acres of the rich soil was made available to planting, just waiting for additional farmers. The bots started putting together a large deck on the side of the property, giving them some room over the water for merchants and settler workshops.


“Let’s go ahead and take out that ship,” said Nora as she watched one of the robots working on the metal structure on the end of the catwalk, which would become the Warwick family master bedroom.


Nora got into her power armor, and halfway to the wrecked freighter pulled up the RPG, loading in a high explosive rocket and readying it to fire. She had thought about a nuke, but considered it a waste to use one of the expensive warheads on low level scum like that. Maccready hit a couple in the head from below as they showed themselves. Nora then jetpacked onto the ship and took out the rest. It was a ten-minute job, a pleasant change from some of the others, but she had to remind herself not to take things for granted. That their next target was likely to be more difficult was a given. In the main cabin of the Raider camp she found a Bobblehead, and more information flowed into her brain and body through her implant.


The Poseidon Energy Plant was an exceptionally large structure that also needed clearing out. The Gunners hadn’t been good neighbors at all, and had done nothing for their neighborhood. Watching a Raider coming out of a top entrance decided her, and she led her people up the catwalks, sniping and killing the gang as they went. This target had tempted her to use a nuke and shock and awe the defenders. However, a nuke going off up there would be just a little noticeable, and she really didn’t want to attract the Gunners.


The plant was enormous, with miles of catwalks and dozens of metal industrial shacks, with huge generating machines, mostly silent, on the floor. There were a score of Raiders inside, including one with the really bad Raider power armor that flew apart when she sent a half a hundred high velocity rounds into the helmet, the weak point. The central control room had another of the magical bobbleheads, and Nora felt her knowledge and abilities growing as the chip in the small statue linked with her implant through the Pip-Boy. They then went down into basement of the building, finding hundreds of pounds of circuitry and machinery that would be of greater use in the settlements, since the plant really wasn’t functioning. That would be for another time, when they were working at rebuilding the city of Boston, something that might be another generation in the future.


“Okay. You’re clear to the south and the southwest. So as soon as you get some more settlers we’ll consider this settlement a success.”


“Very good,” said Roger, stopping just a little too close. “And I must say you are a most attractive woman, Nora.”


“You have enough attractive women here to keep you busy, Roger. So, no thanks.”


Roger looked very disappointed but let it drop. Nora sought out Janey, wanting to get to the bottom of something that was bothering her.


“I’ve been fucking Daddy since I turned twelve,” said the young lady, now seventeen and not a bit embarrassed about committing incest with her father.


“And you’re okay with it?”


“Oh, yes. Since momma had her time of life she’s not been the most accessible partner. Sometimes she has sex with Daddy, but its rare. He needs an outlet, and I’m the only one available. Though I have to admit that he’s not all that good. Cedric and Bill are much better. Hell, even Wally is better, and he’s only fifteen.”


“Your brother?” asked Nora, feeling shocked.


“Well, yes. He needs to learn. Mamma was teaching him at first, and she still tried to make some time for him. We’re constantly fighting, but I do love him, and when we’re fucking we aren’t fighting. Which reminds me. Mamma said that you seemed to be a woman of the world, so I was wondering if you might teach me some things.”


“Why not,” said Nora after a moment’s thought. Janey was extremely attractive in a girl next door sort of way, and she was seventeen, a year older than the agreed upon Commonwealth age of consent, an adult by any legal measure. And it wasn’t like she was some innocent child.


That night, while Nora busy was pleasuring Janey, June walked into their room. “I was wondering if I might be able to join you?” asked the mom. “I much prefer women, and you are as pretty a woman as I’ve ever seen.”


“Sure,” said Nora, smiling up from where she had been eating the sweet pussy of Janey, licking at the smooth lips.  The girl hadn’t seemed the least bit flustered that her mom had walked in on her having sex with a relative stranger. “The more the merrier.”


The next morning Nora and party were on the move again. It had been a strange week. Gaining two settlements for the alliance, wiping out three Raider camps and a number of beasts. A confrontation with Vault Tech, followed by one with the Enclave. Some of the best sex in her life, and some of the strangest. Well, people would live their own lives, and as long as they weren’t harming anyone else, she was willing to let them have it. She understood how sexual needs trumped convention, or was that became convention, on isolated farms. The best way she could deal with that was to expand the settlements so that everyone had the choice of a partner. Some might never get to a point where monogamy was a viable system. But if they only involved consenting adults, that would work. After all, Nora was not a big fan of monogamy herself.


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