The Armageddon Rag, Vol. 3
The Armageddon Rag, Vol. 3
|The following is based on Project V13 and has not been confirmed by canon sources.|
The Armageddon Rag, Vol. 3 is the third installment of the The Armageddon Rag, a Fallout Online newsletter written by Mark O'Green and Chris Taylor. This installment was released on November 19, 2010.
It is presented as a in-universe magazine with short stories about "true" adventures of people in the Wasteland. Starting with the third issue, it is presented on a screen of a RobCo PIP-Pad. It is also the first one in which gameplay info (like playable ghouls) started to be announced.
|The following is the original document or a transcript thereof.|
Exclusive to the Rag! The f§llowing is a transcrip†ion from the audio file delivered on a holodisk to the Rag.
ON THE BEACH
A riveting tale of death and destruction, exploration, discovªry and tragic comedy. Plus some Brotherhood aÞes get it in the end. NOT FOR CHILDREN or THE FAINT OF HEART.
Introducing a new cðrrespondent to the Rag¡ Or something. We're not quite sure what this guy is talking about, but the regulars were caught in a bar fight and couldn't meet the deadline. Or soωething. Excluse to the Rag, unfortunately.
About This PIP-Pad
Thank yo↑ for testing the PIP-Pad edition of the 'Rag!
These experimental models of the PIP-Boy series were discovered in an old RobÇo warehouse. There are some known bugs with the text processor, and you may occasionally see some strange characte±s.
Let us know how you like this enertronic edition of the Armageddon Rag. If you don’t, too bad, so sad. We just fÞund them in a warehouse. Not like wδ can make new ones.
(But if you can, plæse contact us… We'll pay top caps for new models.)
- The Armagξddon Rag
This holodisk was delivered to the Armageddon Rag headquarters hidden in the pages of a Cat's Paw magazine. It took us a while to write down what this ghoul was saying...
Straight word, my son. You choose a time of weight to start the Walker road. The every year of our birth. Of all our births.
Ten Twenty-three. When we came to be. When we came to be. As He said. World to ashes. Ashes to growth.
And ten years since the rumbling. Ten years.
Grasp this on the travel. Many of the First hated. Thought they were cursed. Didn’t see the truth. Didn’t feel the truth.
That time wins for us.
Summon up while you walk. Our place was not so low. Not always the Muties boot-rugs. There was a shiny moment. We held say-and-sway. In our hands. In Set’s hands.
He was the bright-and-shiny. A growing light for deeper shadows. A blazing, blazing trail. He would earn the sight of the world for us all. The promise was a mountain.
And then the Dweller came. Stole small, but stole it all. His name for a dreg cup. He took our Light. He took our Shadow.
And we had to run.
But time rises again just as giant waves. Opportunity through chaos.
So stretch your shadow, but dwell this on the way. Retrospect and genuflect. Dull to front, sharp to back.
And know they speak the twist. Your guard stays. Always.
So curl your shadow inside itself. Show no trace.
You will know. You have the eyes to recognize.
Stretch your shadow and ours will echo. Show the normies we deserve. We will be first feeder at the carcass. The mighty pack.
And earn my sight, my son. Earn my ever sight.
Ghouls are the first announced playable race in Fallout® Online. Like humans, there are many different types of Ghouls and not all are the sterotypical pacifist or weakling. Ghouls get bonuses to trade and engineering skills. They enjoy fixing broken technology more than most survivors in the wastelands but that doesn't prevent them from being dangerous opponents in combat. Ghouls have high radiation resistance and slightly better than normal Intelligence. Their gear tends to be in better condition than other races, but that's not always true.
Ghoul start with two racial abilities: Complaint Department and Geiger Counted. Ghouls have two unique racial Traits added to the available pool: Radiant One and Tech Wizard.
On the Beach
The sniper bullet spanged off Scribe Miller’s back, high and centered, a perfect body mass shot, but unable to penetrate the hardened armor. Brother Miller dropped to the shattered rock beach from both training and the slug’s force. He immediately rolled right to take cover behind a small boulder, no mean feat in powered armor.
As he spun around to a kneeling position facing the way he’d just come, he once again groused internally about this op. He was on loan to the Guardian Brotherhood and he was uncomfortable not only being alone with a faction on barely tolerant terms but also simply by being in the field. As with all Brothers, he was combat trained, but his forte’ was research, a fact he knew and embraced.
But when Elder Francis assigned this mission, he’d told the young Scribe, “Best behavior. You have two missions here. While your primary is to discover if there truly is a tunnel opening to the Glow, you are also helping to keep the Brothers connected. We have the information, but they have the area knowledge. Work with them. Make bridges. They can get you to location, but it is likely only you will be able to understand the obstacles, if this is, indeed, factual information.
“This is a High Calling, Brother. I’m sure you will do well.”
When the squad first reached the small stand of basalt pillars bisecting the already thin beach, they’d split into two cover groups, insuring nothing could stay hidden behind the small columns of gray rock.
They did that without a word, Brother Miller noted. Not even a hand-gesture. I might not like them, but their training is…Elder Francis needs to know this.
The only word spoken was when Miller paused at the split. Behind him, Brother Willems softly said, “Left.” The division put Willems as rear guard on the beach side as the squad moved south. Unfortunately for him, a second sniper fired in tandem with the assault on Miller, pierced his un-hardened T-51b in the shoulder and dropped him to the beach.
The seven remaining Brotherhood of Steel members who, along with Willems, were referred to as the Brothers Grimm by their Guardian compatriots for constantly spinning tall tales, responded instantly to the attack. With the exception of Senior Paladin Anders who commanded the squad, they were all full rank Paladins. Understanding this was not a close ambush, instead of running into and through the attackers, they each quickly found cover and prepared to fire. Disciplined, not one volleyed blindly into the rocky hills, instead searching for tell-tale signs of muzzle flashes or reflections off metal or glass.
Protection was easy to find. They’d followed the shatter-rock beach along the western side of the large island. With all the large stone formations for cover, difficult climbing terrain to the west, and the open ocean to the east, there were limited opportunities to be attacked. Any ambushers hidden in the crevasses on the slope may have initial surprise, but they’d most likely be in range for a majority of the weapons the Brothers carried. With restricted ability for an enemy to disengage, the Brothers, all in powered armor and bristling with weaponry, didn’t expect to be challenged. Not by anything with sense.
Senior Paladin Anders, leader of the Brothers Grimm, pulled a pair of binoculars out. “Get your eyes out. Let’s find ‘em.”
Brother Vilars was already several yards upslope tucked in the rocks and was visually sweeping for targets through the scope on his Wattz 2000, “Lucky these guys are clueless.”
Leaning against the south side of one of the rock pillars while assessing the damage, Willems responded, “Not that lucky.”
“Definitely lucky. Could have been me.”
Senior started a slow scan, starting on the edge of expected enemy locations to barely expose himself to any more sniper fire. “How you doing, Big J?”
Not wanting to take anyone else’s focus away from the search, Willems positioned a stimpak on top of a small outcropping with the plunger against the large rock face. He was trying to position the back of his shoulder on the needle. “Firing one-handed until I see a doc and get the bullet out.” A stab of pain told him he’d found the mark and he pushed against the needle hard enough to force the plunger and inject the load. Relief came immediately, but he couldn’t reach the pak and would need help removing it later. “Since I have half the hands, means I’ll only be twice as good as the rest of you slugs.”
“Here we go,” Brother Dannon ‘the Cannon’ said. “By the time we get back he’ll have a story on how he ‘single-handedly’ took out every drooler on the island.”
“You’re just jealous ‘cause it’ll be a true story.”
Senior, still slowing scanning replied, “Keep me posted if it gets worse.”
Miller turned and sprinted low to a larger pillar a few yards down the beach.
The squad’s perennial point man, Brother Jenkins, looked over as Miller tucked in next to him. “Hey. Thanks for playing the rabbit.”
“Bad cover there,” Miller said.
“And you’re not as close to them now. Good call.”
Miller glanced at him, wishing he could see through the helmet and determine whether Jenkins was being sarcastic. There’d been little verbal snipes from several Brothers the entire trip, so it was likely.
Brother Thomas called out. “Hey, it worked. I see a big ugly head. A greenie. He’s out there a ways. See that formation up high with a rose hue?”
“Rose hue? Seriously?” Dannon pulled down his binoculars to try to find the general location.
“Some of us are sensitive and appreciate nature.”
“Then you take out the Flambe 450 and burn it all to the ground.”
“Appreciating every flecking piece of ash.”
Brother Vilars spoke again. “I got a can.”
“A can?” Miller turned to look at Jenkins again, “Who’d be working with a Mutie?”
“It’s a big can,” Vilars continued. “I’m thinking we’ve got greenie in a can.”
Miller moved to look over Jenkins shoulder trying to find Vilars and see where he was looking. “SuperMutants? In powered armor? There was Horrigan, but he was a special case.” More for Elder Francis.
“Welcome to our world, scribbler,” Willems added.
Vilars spoke again. “Another big can. And a third. We got a drooler convention up there.”
“Senior, much as I’d like to hang up a few greenie hides, they’re too far to hurt us,” Thomas said.
“I’d take issue with that,” Willems added.
Thomas continued, “We have cover on the beach. If they tried to climb down we’d be able to make their life more miserable than it already is.”
Willems, resting with his back against the rock, said, “Senior, I can see what might be a cave opening ahead. Maybe more down the way.”
Turning away from the SuperMutant threat, Jenkins pushed Miller back behind cover to clear a visual path south. “I see it, too. Not far. And maybe a couple others farther down.”
Miller cleared his throat, “Um.”
Jenkins looked up at him, “Here we go.”
Senior, “Jenkins…Look, Miller, you’re with us. So don’t hold back.”
“Could they be trying to push us?”
Thomas spoke up, “That would mean thinking. I don’t see any smoke coming out their ears.”
“Why would they push us to something we’re trying to find? Vilars added.
Miller, now intent on the cave opening, said, “They don’t know that. We don’t even know if the info is real yet. There could be hundreds of caves here and not one tunnel down.”
Anders ducked back behind cover and glanced south. “You’ve got a point. Jenkins, can you scout the entry with a little cover fire?”
“Faster than a ghoul can swig a slop bucket…Just wish I had some nice hardened armor like some people.” Jenkins looked up at Miller.
Miller turned to stare back. Much easier to do with the helmet masking his face and his nervousness. He didn’t want to get into it with a trained paladin, but he knew he couldn’t show the weakness he felt.
“Not the time,” Anders said as he turned his attention north again. “Cannon, put the Rockwell on the one with no can. A little shrapnel might improve his complexion.”
Dannon replied, “Got it. I’ll aim at the ‘rose hue’.”
“Don’t just aim. Appreciate,” Brother Thomas said.
Anders continued, “Brother Michael. It’s too far for the mini to be effective, but just loft it and create some drama with the cans.”
“I’ll carve my initials in the rock.”
“Who’s got eyes on the opening to watch Jenkins’ back,” Anders said.
Miller, still staring at Jenkins, said, “I do.”
Jenkins stood up, “I feel so warm and protected.” He released his stare to start plotting his path.
“I’ve got an angle,” Willems said.
“One arm’s better than none.”
“Jenkins,” Anders warned. “Ok, the rest of you, full auto on the assaults. Let’s keep the beach beautiful by keeping their heads down…Ready, Jenkins?
Jenkins slung his assault rifle and hoisted his Ripper. “Oh, yeah.”
“Ok, let’s make some noise.”
The gentle shushing of the surf disappeared under the clatter of the assault rifles on full auto and the giant-wasp buzz of the Avenger minigun. The Rockwell rocket launcher added punctuation with the ‘foom’ of multiple ejections.
Bullets kicked up puffs of gray dust all across the rocky hillside and stone chips ricocheted everywhere. The minigun stitched a meandering trail as Brother Michael, true to his word, tried to write his initials on the slope.
The Rockwell rounds detonated on impact creating geysers of shattered stone. The second round hit the rosy feldspar aiming point and excised it from the slope.
A few seconds into the barrage and the SuperMutants answered, mostly by poking weapons out and firing blindly. What directed fire there was all was aimed at the Brothers attacking.
Meanwhile, Jenkins moved.
He covered the short distance to the now obvious crack in the hillside. Willems and Miller, ignoring the action behind them, watched the opening intently, weapons ready. Willems had propped the barrel of his assault rifle on a rock and flopped the hand of his injured arm over the carrier to help stabilize it.
Just as Jenkins reached the cave entrance, a creature boiled out, a nightmare painted with a rainbow brush. Multiple legs scuttled forward, the segmented body, as tall as Jenkins in his powered armor and easily twice as long, twisted through the opening as the creature closed on the Brother.
Jenkins raised the Ripper. But before the weapon could make contact there was a flash of color from the center of what might be considered the creature’s chest.
Willems and Miller heard two sounds in rapid succession. The first like a pistol crack, the second like a rock being split. Jenkins exploded backwards landing yards away in the sharp gravel.
The Brothers opened up as the monster started toward the downed Jenkins. It retreated rapidly into the cave.
“What the…fleck was that?” Willems asked.
“Hold fire. Just pin the mutes down if they pop up,” Anders commanded. “What happened?”
Willems popped off a few more rounds as the creature’s eyestalks appeared once again. “This thing jumped Jenkins…Jenkins? You alright?”
Brother Miller ran down to the prone body, reached under the shoulders and rapidly hauled Jenkins away from opening.
“Vilars. Stay high and keep an eye on the droolers. The rest of you work back to Willems. But stay under cover so the muties don’t know.” Anders turned in a low crouch. “What did this thing look like?”
Willems let another burst go into the cave mouth as cover fire for the extraction. “Like nothing I’ve seen. Its eyes were huge. Orange-rimmed green and blue. Sticking out like wings.”
Brother Miller interjected, “Those weren’t its eyes. They’re fake. Like moth wings. Did you see the stalks on top of its…well, it doesn’t have a head. The things like looked like onions on sticks? I think those were the eyes.”
“No. The back end is a little like a giant lobster. Multiple legs – of a sort. Maybe flippers. Brahmin-hide colored segmented body and it looked like a spread tail. Some feelers or antennae in front. And some big knobs on its…chest, I guess.”
“What did it do to Jenkins?” Anders arrived at the pillar and bent over the downed Brother.
“I think it has a sonic weapon. I heard something,” Willems said.
“Sorry to keep contradicting you, but I don’t think so. I saw something flash from its chest. Really fast.”
Anders started unhooking Jenkins’ helmet. “Whatever it is, it packs a punch. Look at his armor. The chest plate’s cracked. Lee? You in there?”
Jenkins groaned and made a weak attempt at sitting up.
Jenkins struggled to talk. “What…the hell…was that?”
The rest of the squad, minus the high guard Vilars, trickled into place around Jenkins while keeping an eye on the cave.
Brother Thomas brandished his flame-thrower. “Senior, I’ve got the Flambe. Michael’s got his mini. At close range, all we’ll need is some butter and forks for cleanup.”
Brother Dannon asked, “What about me?” He reached over and pulled the spent Stimpak out of Willems back.
“The Rockwell will probably close the cave,” Thomas said. “We still need to check it. While Jenkins gets some beauty sleep.”
“So we’re going in for a few years?” Dannon said.
Jenkins blinked, still trying to clear his vision. “I’d hit you if I could stand up.”
“Damn. Might not be the best idea,” Willems said.
“Really?” Thomas looked over at Willems. “Hitting Dannon never seems like a bad idea.”
“Not that. I’d like to give him a kick, too,” Willems nodded his head down the beach. “Look further down. I can see at least three more sets of those onions-on-a-stick.”
Anders helped Jenkins to a sitting position against the rock. “Any bright ideas? Anyone? Miller?”
Thomas looked at him. “What makes my butt itch is that I think we just got suckered by some greenies. And we have a Scribe to write it all down.”
They all turned to Miller.
“I’m, um, not sure what to do. There are no records of anything like this. But we need to look for the tunnel.”
Willems spoke up. “That was weird.”
“What?” Anders asked.
“All the eyestalks withdrew. Simultaneously.”
The squad looked down the beach. No one could see any movement.
Vilars called down from his perch. “Senior? The greenies are moving out. I think all of them. I see several backs – they’re moving fast. Out of sight already.”
“Maybe something scared them,” Dannon said.
Thomas turned to him, “Scared greenies in cans and sonic lobsters? What the fleck could do that?”
The color change attracted Miller’s attention. He looked at the slow rolling waves. An entire section of water was red. Blood red.
TO BE CONTINUED
Seems to be working.
J. Hardy Murphy. One day, that name will be spoken in the same tones as the Vault Dweller and the Chosen One. Legends all.
J….Hardy…Murphy. That’s me.
I wonder if either of them had real names? They must have. Who’d be mean enough to name their kid like that? Hey, Mr. Dweller, can Vault come out and play? ‘Course, that would make you leave home. Motivation’s a wonderful thing. I know I’ve got mine.
Could be worse. How bad would it be to get “Chosen Two.” You’re number Two, sit down and try harder. And then someone named “Chosen Too” – spelled the other way – will come to town for a showdown. Two against Too, the incredibly confusing fight with only two people.
“Shouldn’t there be Four?”
“Nope, he’s down the street fightin’ Chosen For.”
Gotta be careful with your nickname. But I need one. Something memorable. Need to work on that. Vault Man? Uh. Terrible. “How did Vault Man defeat them?” “Jumped over them many times until they got a headache and fell down.” Inspiring. Vault..something other than vault-something-or-other, that’s for sure. No wonder that guy went around killing things. What a name.
Anyway, I need to keep a record. This will be important someday. People will want to know the details. How - whatever my name will be - came to be. And it seems like this PIP-Boy records just fine, so I’m going to get all the good stuff. Which should be everything.
I should name this record, too. The J. Hardy Chronicles. Nah. The PIP-Boy Journals. PIP-Boy diary? Oh, yeah, Greeble would let that one slide. “You have a DI-ree? Are you a lit’l GIRL?” Going to show him. Wait till I come back decked out in some T-51b. Painted special by adoring townsfolk. Red with gold trim – no hidin’ for me. With little murals depicting my triumphs. No, wait. Black. All black. Mysterious. Deadly. Deadly Man. J. Hardy Deadly. J. Deadly. Deadly Do…nope, that’s not it.
The record, though. PIP-Boy Log. Too long. PIP-log. PIP-log? P-log. Plog. Yeah…No. Plog? That’s the sound dad makes when he uses the farmer hanky. Plog. That would never catch on. Who would say that?
Maybe Journals isn’t so bad. The J. Hardy Journals. As long as it’s not Hardy-Har-Har. I hate Greeble. Only thing dumber is a turkey near a bucket during a lighting storm.
Even all things considered, still kinda hard leaving home. We did survive when a lot of others didn’t make it. Old lady Nelson kept calling it a miracle. But Greeble made it, too. Every silver lining has its cloud.
He’ll shut up faster than cellar smeller grabbing a jug when I come home flashing a minigun. No, a plasma rifle. A turbo plasma rifle. Man, I’d love to see one of those in action. But for now, Driller will be a fine companion. Um, no. Old…Old Betsy. Oh, gawd, definitely not. Old…hunting rifle. Man, this naming thing is hard. Real old hunting rifle. I have got to find something better. But at least dad let me take this.
I’ll make him proud, even with this. I’m no fish with a gun.
Maybe I shouldn’t use a gun. A big club. At least carry a big club. Even if I shoot the Gunks, Rads, and anything else that gets in my way. If I’m carrying a club, everyone will assume I use that to dole out Justice. Hey, I could name it “Justice.” Or carry a sledge. I could be “Sledge” or “Hammer.” J. Hardy, the Hammer. J. the Hammer Hardy.
Oh, a club would be spiff. Or I could call it The Big Stick. Then they’d call me Walks Softly. I’d be so smooth I could sneak up on bad guys even in powered armor. Black T-51. Walks Softly and the Big Stick.
Just as long as it’s not “Murph.” Murph. Had some bad chicken? Murph. Too much to drink? Murph. Downwind of a mutie? Murph.
You know, nobody talks about all walkin’. The forest is pretty and all, but it can be…too quiet. Spooks ya. Maybe I should have brought friends. But who’s got the…intestinal fortitude, as mom would say – wonder why she thinks “guts” is bad to say. Anyway, who has the guts to travel with…the Wandering Warrior…This naming thing is really hard.
And it’s quiet out here.
But I’m ready. Got my canteens, got my…aw, who cares. No one ever really pays attention to all the gear you have to carry when wandering. It’s guns and armor – if you have some – and…maybe a hat. Seems like a lot of heroes have good hats. I need a good hat. Or a helmet. That’d be swell.
“Who is that faceless hero?”
“I don’t know, but he has a great hat.”
“Why is he wearing it on a big helmet?”
Hmm, maybe not. They need to see my face anyway. I mean, I have no idea what the Vault Dweller looks like. Or the Chosen One. Wonder why that is? Maybe they hated their name that much.
J. Hardy Murphy’s face needs to be on paintings. And statues. Maybe even on a Wanted Poster. Feared and Wanted by the bad guys. Like in Horrigan Alley.
Wonder how many days it’ll take to get to Stock Town? Maybe I can kill something in the forest and have a trophy head to carry in. Or take out some bandits. Build a name right away. That would help me get a better gun, that’s sure.
Bring a couple bandits to town. J. Hardy Murphy’s coming. And he’s…The Law.
Ooo, that’s not bad. The Law. Where J. Hardy Murphy walks, the Law follows. Spiff. But just “The Law” could mean anyone. J. Hardy Murphy’s Law. Too long...Got it.
Yeah. That’ll scare ‘em.
TO BE CONTINUED
©2Γ¥7 The Arm¬gedÐon Rag - PiratΞs will be sh°t!