T.O.G! Chapter 12 – Dead Money?

Author’s Note: Hey peeps, I know it’s been a while. But I FINALLY managed to get this chapter done… over a year after I started on it. Life has just been a mess. Not to mention I was trying to focus more on my YouTube channel… which failed. If you’re interested in it, the link is in the “About Me” page. But for now, please enjoy this chapter? And before you ask, yes I did name this chapter after another Fallout New Vegas DLC.


T.O.G! Chapter 12 – Dead Money?

Right now I’m somewhere that I thought I wouldn’t be yesterday, the compound of the Marauder Syndicate. Why am I here ya ask? Simple, I invited myself here yesterday. So yeah, I’m at the Captain’s personal quarters about to have a drink with myself. But why am I doing this? Simple, I’m hatching a scheme to fix the Caesar Wasteland. Unlike boss, I ain’t the best at hatching up anything. Then again, I’ve depended on her guidance ever since she hired me back in my own timeline. She ain’t here right now, I’m on my own. But… let’s get back to yesterday.

(Yesterday)

“Father… wait, there’s no way!” (Drifter)

“Kid, have ya ever heard of multi-verse theory?”

“Well… yes.” (Drifter)

Knew that would shut her up. Now… time to explain this as best as I can.

“Believe it or not, there are other worlds out there. Like those with swords and sorcery from light novels, manga, and anime. I believe the term was isekai?”

“Wait, you mean to tell me that other world transmigration is possible?” (Drifter)

It didn’t shut her up long enough. Then again, even I’d be questioning myself right now.

“Yup, I’ve been to a few of them.”

“But… does this mean that I have a father from another world? How does that even work!?” (Drifter)

“Not quite, there’s only one of me. So before ya ask, I didn’t come here from another world. I came from another timeline.”

“Wait… first you talk about other worlds. And now you talk about other timelines? Even though that last one makes more sense, how is this even possible!?” (Drifter)

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out. In truth, I’m from another future altogether.”

“Another future? But… you look so young?” (Drifter)

FINALLY! Someone compliments that I look young! I can’t help but to smile, but I immediately get serious again.

“Thanks kid, ya just made my day. But there is an explanation. When the nukes dropped in my timeline, I was sent to Bunker Five-Thirty along with Mizuki, my brother, and ol’ Billy Bob. Turns out it was a Bunk-Co experiment dealing in Cryostasis. I took an ice nap for almost two-thousand years.”

“Two-thousand years!? Still, that explains why you don’t look that old.” (Drifter)

And now that compliment from earlier is out the window… dang brat. Still, I had to tell her an abridged version of my story. From when I woke up, to finding out the Billy Bob of my timeline is holding my Mizuki as a hostage, and even finding happiness for once only to have a god that’s not my own to take it away. And yes, I had to tell her about my boss.

“After something messed with her transfer circle, I ended up here.”

“So let me get this straight, William Host is holding my mother hostage in your timeline? And you moved on!?” (Drifter)

She got up to slap me, but I grabbed her wrist when she tried.

“Hey now, it ain’t like I’m yer actual father.”

“No, but the thought of my father being that much of a coward pisses me off!” (Drifter)

As I usually try to stay calm when in a similar situation, I think she gets being headstrong from her mother?

Before I could speak, she tried to slap me with her other hand. But when I grabbed it with my free hand… she pulled me into a headbutt, causing me to let go. Where have I been in this situation before? Oh… wait.

“Yup… you’re definitely a Mechana.”

“I’m both pleased and pissed when I hear you say that.” (Drifter)

“Whatever. But put yer-self in my shoes, I somehow ended up in a different past where I actually married Mizuki and had a kid with her. Though it’s almost as shocking as finding out that we’re now leading opposing factions.”

“You have a point. Still, do you have any clue on how you ended up here?” (Drifter)

“Again, I’m trying to figure that out. Normally the boss’s transfer circles glow blue and changes to red when she travels to other worlds. This time it ended up glowing white.”

“Wait… how long was it before we met that you arrived?” (Drifter)

“I’d say… a little more than ten minutes. Why?”

“That’s funny, I was out cold for about that time when I flipped that switch… wait, don’t tell me that this is my fault?” (Drifter)

And she made the connection I thought about earlier. However…

“There’s no concrete proof that it’s connected… yet. But I’d like to find that Old World lab and see what was going on.”

“That’s going to be a problem… tee hee hee.” (Drifter)

She does that one pose where she winks with her tongue sticking out and putting her fist to her forehead like a clutz. Don’t tell me that it caved in and collapsed or it self-destructed?

“Wait… why’s it gonna be a problem?”

“You see… that lab was on Marauder turf. I was lucky to sneak in there when I was looking for scrap. But no thanks to William Host’s deduction on who I am, I don’t think I could lead the way since the factions are going to keep a closer eye on me.” (Drifter)

DAMN IT, BILLY BOB! YA DONE RUIN EVERYTHING!!!

“That bastard just has to ruin everything…”

“Tell me about it. Though I do think they will start keeping a better eye on me starting tomorrow… we can’t really go right now as it’s going to be nightfall soon. It gets way more dangerous at night.” (Drifter)

“How does it get anymore dangerous?”

“Have you ever heard of the ‘Madmen’?” (Drifter)

“As I just got here hours ago, I haven’t.”

“When the nukes dropped, there were two well-known strains of mutation that affected humans naturally. First there’s the Demon Folk, like Mayor Silas. Despite looking like demons of old, they still have their sanity and reasoning. But the other strain are known as the ‘Madmen’. They look more human than the Demon Folk, but not as much human as you or I. They have minor deformities from the fallout, but they’ve completely lost their sanity. You can’t really call them ‘human’ anymore, they have completely gone mentally feral will attack anyone other than their own. Not to mention they will eat any living being they encounter as well. Out of all the mutated beings out there, they are what I fear the most. Other than having an enlarged limb or two, you can tell one by the fact they pulled out patches of their own hair. Like something out of a freak show.” (Drifter)

That’s offensive to everyone who’s ever worked a freak show! Then again, I never encountered anything like them when I woke up from my ice nap. They must’ve gone extinct unlike the Demon Folk? Demon Folk I know can reproduce, so I guess they lost that ability along with their sanity?

“But why haven’t I seen any yet?”

“They have keen vision in the dark. So keen that they are blinded by sunlight, thus making them more nocturnal. Not to mention they cannot stand strong smells due to their senses being at least three times better than a dog’s. They hate loud noises like gunshots, but the that will only stun them before they attack again. Have you wondered why you seen no animals at Haven?” (Drifter)

Come to think of it… I didn’t see any. Not even any livestock, which is strange in itself.

“I am a bit curious.”

“It’s because every settlement plays a recording of a dog whistle at night. Since they cannot stand a noise that humans cannot hear, they keep away from most populations. It’s actually common practice to travel with a dog whistle in case you encounter Madmen in dark places.” (Drifter)

That explains a lot. Though they sound pathetic, it doesn’t mean they ain’t deadly. Even though goblins are the weakest creature an adventurer could encounter, in droves they are nothing to be laughed at. I’ve heard of stories where some newbie idiots would take goblin extermination quests thinking it would be a cinch when in reality they would be lucky to escape with their lives. These Madmen are a similar concept, ya can’t underestimate them. So if I were to run into a group of them, I’d probably be in trouble. Well… I’ve been called a one man army in the past for a reason, but it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.

“I get the gist of it. So let’s get back while the getting’s good?”

“Yes… I don’t know what I should call you anymore.” (Drifter)

This brat…

“Just because I’m yer old man from an alternate timeline don’t mean ya should call me dad or anything as such. Just call me Lost like ya did before.”

“Okay, Lost.” (Drifter)

I felt some sarcasm when she put the emphasis, but I didn’t care. When we made it back to Haven, I was lead to a room I could use while I’m there. It was basically the utility room of the old sporting goods store, but it would do. I thought about what to do. I revealed myself to… should I call her my daughter? Either way, I revealed who I was to her. Though I needed to get back to my timeline and find the boss, I couldn’t leave things how they were either. So I slept on it. And when I woke up… I figured out what to do.

That’s why right now I’m taking up that offer for that drink. Right now, everything is at a stalemate. Mainly due to the Conglomerate and the Sisterhood knowing that no matter who wins, the winner will have to use what remaining forces they have to fight off the Marauder Syndicate. Unlike the Conglomerate and the Sisterhood, the Marauders are the wildcard of the Caesar Wasteland. They don’t have access to the weaponry and other equipment that the other two have, but they do have more numbers. So what is the best way to deal with the Marauder issue? Have them move against either one first.

“Lost, ya look like a man of fine taste. So how about whiskey? I have a bottle from the year I was born.” (Captain)

“Sounds good to me, Captain.”

The Captain brings a bottle of whiskey and two glasses. He pours them before handing me one. After we both take a drink, he gets to business.

“So why are ya here and not with that girl whom you’re supposed to be guarding?” (Captain)

Straight to the point? This guy is definitely another me. But due to him figuring out that the Drifter was his daughter, he seemed a little steamed that I was here instead of with her.

“Trust me, she’s safe. However, she’s somewhat related to why I’m here.”

“Then get to talking.” (Captain)

I can tell that he’s worried about her. If I were him, I’d be too. But I take another drink under my bandanna before answering.

“Ya see, the little miss gave me some information that you’d be interested in.”

“Really? There ain’t much that I don’t know, so how’d this interest me?” (Captain)

“It’s about Ca… it’s about yer brother’s death.”

The Captain seems a little shaken up, but he composes himself quickly.

“Is that so? Look, I already know that the Conglomerate got to him. That’s far from a secret, so it don’t interest me.” (Captain)

“True, but she was there.”

Again, he had to recompose himself fast. Since he already has the idea that Haruhi and the Drifter are one and the same, using those words wasn’t gonna change a thing.

“So she was? What did she witness?” (Captain)

“The man who personally put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.”

“And who’d that be?” (Captain)

“The man who said he wasn’t there to stop the Conglomerate forces from doing so. Then again… he technically wasn’t lying. How could he try to stop it when he was the one who did it?”

The Captain slams down his glass, but surprisingly doesn’t break it. He has the look of a mad man (not like the creatures that the Drifter told me about) and he would be out for blood soon.

“THAT BASTARD! HE’S DEAD YA HEAR ME, DEAD!!!” (Captain)

All I could do was smirk under my bandanna. Why did I tell him? Simple, because I am him. I knew that one of the factions had to make a move or else everything would be stuck at a standstill until one of the leaders dies of old age. And no, I didn’t want him to make a move against the Conglomerate because I thought the Sisterhood was better. I actually think the opposite. But it don’t matter who wins between the two, the Caesar Wasteland is doomed. However… there was another reason I told him the truth.

“Calm down there, Captain. Ain’t we forgetting something?”

“And what would that be?” (Captain)

He had anger in his voice when he asked that. I could understand his anger, but there is an old custom that must be honored.

“Have ya forgot about give and take? I gave ya information, so in turn I must be compensated.”

“You’re right… I almost forgot about that. What do ya want?” (Captain)

“Access to a certain part of Marauder turf.”

“Wait… that’s it?” (Captain)

“Yeah, there’s something I’m curious about. But as ya know, I can’t get there without yer permission… without getting shot that is.”

“I see… what’s so valuable that you wouldn’t rather caps?” (Captain)

“That’s my own secret. Don’t forget, I don’t work for the factions. And as a merc, I’m only working for the little miss temporarily. But even I have my own interests, interests that ain’t any of yer business.”

And right now I’m banking on how much my alternate self and I are alike. If he’s really like me, then he won’t look into this any further.

“I see… gimme a moment.” (Captain)

“Sure thing.”

He walks over to a cabinet a grabs a pieces of paper out of a drawer before writing on it with a pen and using some kind of stamp on it. When he finishes, he comes back and hands it to me.

“Carry this permit with you and ya can go anywhere on Marauder turf. I’ll have word spread that ya are not to be touched if caught, but the permit is proof that I’m allowing it. But if ya hear a gunshot, shout “Whiskey over beer, have no fear!”. It’s a call-sign we use for friendly fire. If they respond “Beer over whiskey, mighty risky!”, that means that means that ya were being shot at by a Marauder. It’s a common rule that we do a warning shot before actually shooting someone on our turf. But that only works with Marauders in the Syndicate. So if you get shot by a Marauder, it ain’t one of mine.” (Captain)

I look at the permit after his explanation. He wrote “Captain’s Guest Pass, don’t shoot this asshole”, signed The Captain. But the stamp used brought some nostalgia, it was the stamp that dad used for official Tex Mechana documents. There was only one stamp like this in this world, and dad always kept it under lock and key. It was both the official seal of the family business and the Mechana Family Crest, two revolvers angled upwards and the barrels crossed with the words “Shoot Fast, Aim True”. Those words are the family motto and the slogan started by my ancestor who started Tex Mechana. Though I don’t know how The Captain managed to get his hands on it, it is his birthright to have this stamp.

“Thanks. Well… I’ll be on my way. Thanks for the drink.”

Right as I turn around… I felt an enormous killing intent. My instincts told me to get on the floor, and that’s what I did with a dive. During my dive, I heard a loud gunshot. It was too loud to be the Captain’s sidearm, so I knew it wasn’t him. Luckily for me, I managed to dodge the shot. However… while I made it unscathed, my hat didn’t. I saw it in front of my with part of it blasted off. That very sight pissed me off, but now was not the time to think about it. I made it behind cover before trying to pay attention to my surroundings. I saw the Captain had taken cover himself.

“What in the name of Freeda, Captain!?”

“I ain’t too sure, but it looks like someone’s after one of us!” (Captain)

He had a point. My first thought was to accuse him, but the fact that he’s taking cover means that he ain’t the one behind this.

“Have ya ever had anyone try to snipe ya before?”

“Are ya kidding me? I’m the damn Captain, I’m used to some idiot trying to kill me. However, no one’s dared to do so in my own compound before.” (Captain)

Again, he had a point. I wanted to shoot back, but we’re dealing with a sniper here. I could easily tell by the fact that I heard some glass break during my dive to the floor. And thankfully it wasn’t because of the whiskey bottle breaking, the Captain was holding the bottle for dear life. Thus meaning the shot came from outside. Now either that whiskey’s good stuff, or…

“Captain, a little off topic. But… is that the traditional “Mechana birth whiskey” you’re holding?”

“I’m surprised that ya know about that? Yeah, pa ordered it the day I was born.” (Captain)

Go figure, that’s a Mechana tradition. When a child is born, the father pre-orders a bottle of whiskey of their own preferred brand straight from the company that day. By pre-order, I mean that it’s because it’s the same day that whiskey was distilled. The company usually saves the first bottle from the barrel when it’s finally bottled and gives it to the father. It’s a tradition that the child drinks a shot the moment they’re legally allowed to drink. It’s a Mechana’s first legal drink. I didn’t get to have mine as I wasn’t of age when I went into Bunker Five-Thirty. Wait… talk about no fair! I know he there was no possible way that he had it when he reached the legal age as he was still in his Bunker, but at least he has his!

“It explains what it’s special. But what are we gonna do about the sniper?”

“Ya got a point. I mean, it ain’t like we can just poke our heads up to look right now?” (Captain)

Yeah, the sniper is probably waiting on one of us to stick our head up right now. Right now, there was no way to fire back without one of us getting shot. Hell, I’m lucky that they only shot my hat… wait!

“I have an idea. I’ll do a distraction, but ya gotta be the one to shoot back at the sniper.”

“That’s crazy. Then again, ain’t no one called me sane either.” (Captain)

The Captain grabbed that disgusting pistol of his that only looks like a revolver and I picked up my hat. I slowly raised it up, making sure that my hand wasn’t gonna get blown off. The moment the sniper shot it, the Captain got up and started firing back. As he didn’t get back down, I knew it was safe.

“Did ya get ‘em?”

“I managed to land a shot, but they got away.” (Captain)

I then got up. Not long after, a Marauder knocked down the door and a bunch of them flooded in. I had a lot of guns aimed at me, but I wasn’t here for a fight in the first place. I was prepared to fight if I had to… but this wasn’t the moment for that. A moment later, the Captain spoke up.

“What the hell are ya idiots doing!?” (Captain)

“We heard gunfire and assumed…” (Marauder)

“That’s because I was firing back at a sniper!” (Captain)

“A sniper!?” (Marauder)

“Yeah, and that guy almost had his head blown off! Now let him go and search those buildings over there!” (Captain)

The Captain pointed towards some buildings on the other side of the broken window. Immediately the Marauders let me go and went to search the area. The Captain sat back down on the sofa before taking a swig from the whiskey bottle.

“I swear… those idiots can barely think for themselves. Animals, all of ‘em. I swear that if it weren’t for me they’d probably starve themselves…” (Captain)

As he was ranting, all I could do was look at my hat… or what’s left of it. I could only frown under my bandanna as I had this hat for years. I took it from Rowdy, the leader of the rat half-man group known as the “Wild Five”. Well… from his corpse as I ended up killing the Wild Five to save a dark elf woman from being raped by them in public. That was basically my introduction to the world after waking up from my ice nap of two-thousand years. I had the holes for his ears patched up because I got tired of feeling the wind blow through them. I hadn’t worn any other hat since then. I also looted his boots… but I ended up replacing those a long time ago. That’s the thing about any piece of footwear, it has to be replaced eventually.

“Sorry about yer hat though. It looks like ya had it for years.” (Captain)

“It’s not yer fault. I had a lot of memories wearing this thing… but that’s all it is, a thing.”

“If ya say so. But if yer lucky, ya might be able to find another one in the ruins of some store.” (Captain)

The Captain had a point as I’m sure the art of making hats is probably lost in the Caesar Wasteland. If I happen to come across some ruins of a hat shop or something, I’ll take a look. But for now, trying to get back to my own time line is way more important.

“I’ll look into it.”

I could only wryly smile under my bandanna as a Marauder returned. It turned out the sniper escaped. As the Captain was yelling at them for their incompetence, I made my exit. Other than getting back home, I now had to think about that sniper. I mean, they took a shot at me first. If they were after the Captain, he would’ve been the one who lost a hat. Which means someone wants me dead. If it were the Captain, he would’ve tried to shoot me himself. As we’re pretty much the same person, I could tell because I don’t believe in having someone else do my dirty work. Then… who could it be? Not Mizuki, from her character in this timeline I could tell that she ain’t that kind of person. Which only leaves one person.

“Billy Bob…”

I could only mumble my nickname for William Robert Host as I was walking back to Haven. I mean, he is the most likely suspect to have me killed. Especially after I made him look like a fool when I killed that lackey who tried to get close to the Drifter. And I know Billy Bob’s personality, hiring an assassin ain’t below him. No, it’s exactly what he would do. He ain’t one to get his hands dirty and he loves using technicalities to keep his hands clean. Hell, I’m sure he hired someone to make his own father’s “accident” happen. Now I really don’t regret getting the Captain to attack the Conglomerate over the Sisterhood.

When I got back to Haven, I was approached by one of the guards. It was to tell me to immediately meet with the Drifter. By the look on his face, I could tell this was serious. So I rushed over to her quarters and knocked. She let me in before she spoke.

“Lost… where is your hat?” (Drifter)

“I rushed back because the guard said it was urgent, and ya ask me about my hat?”

“I’ve never seen you without it. Anyway, where have you been!? I haven’t left my room all day in fear that someone was going to take advantage of your absence.” (Drifter)

“Actually… someone tried to take advantage of that.”

I ended up telling her everything… in a seiza. I hate sitting like that, but she did tell me off for going around behind her back. Still, she seemed shocked when I mentioned the sniper.

“So that’s what happened to your hat?” (Drifter)

“Look, can we not talk about the hat? I’m pissed off at the sniper for what happened to it.”

“Fine, I’ll drop it. Still… there’s a reason why I wanted you to see me as soon as you could.” (Drifter)

“And why is that?”

“Well… Mayor Silas came by earlier because someone arrived looking for you?” (Drifter)

“Wait… what!?”

“You really are my father. Anyway, a woman was looking for you.” (Drifter)

A woman was looking for me? Could it be boss? I mean, I ended up arriving here because something happened to her transfer circle. So her being here wouldn’t be surprising. And as a lot of people know that I’m here, then it wouldn’t be surprising that she came here looking for me either.

“Did she happen to be pale as the moon with green hair that’s almost silver with a shade of green?”

“Not from what Silas told me.” (Drifter)

“How about wearing a long blue robe-like coat with a giant sword on her back?”

“That’s… nothing like what I was told.” (Drifter)

Wait… is it not the boss?

“Then.. what was she wearing?”

“A worn brown duster. From what Silas told me, she was wearing a skull-like gas mask with an old army helmet.” (Drifter)

Okay… that sounds as far from the boss as possible.

“Don’t sound like anyone I know.”

“But there’s a part that you might be interested in.” (Drifter)

“And that would be?”

“She was carrying a large sniper rifle. Lost, I think we found your sniper?” (Drifter)

I could only agree. However… the question remains, how did she find me at the Marauder Compound?


After Note: And that was the 12 long awaited chapter of “The Oracle and the Gunslinger”, peeps. Again, I’m sorry that it took me well over a year to get it finished. Getting in the mood to write again isn’t easy.

The part of the Drifter headbutting Lost is a reference to the second part of “The History of Lost Justice”. When he got into that spat with his father and the latter tried to hit him. Though Lost caught both of his father’s fists, his father headbutted him.

I may try to stream some Fallout 76 today to get Lost’s character creation out of the way. This way I can grind before I start the Wastelanders streams to get him near level 20. I read in someone’s review from the private beta that they had to get to level 20 in order to get back to doing the Wastelanders story, so I want to at least do that without getting to the tedious vanilla quest line. Trust me, it’s annoying. I’m still not even done with it on my main. And yes, I’ll be streaming it on Twitch as I have to use my main PSN.

 

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