The Duke was a survivor. All he needed was for him and his to survive. There were a lot more things that he wanted: good food, a sweet ride, Lysistrata’s heart, a second arm, new shoes… but if at the end of the day he found himself without those things, he could shrug, go to sleep, and try again the next day.
This was not the case with life – if at the end of the day you or your friend was not alive, then the person in question was fucked. No trying again, no shrugging.
So survival was the most important thing to the Duke, and he did what he had to ensure the survival of himself and his friends.
Sometimes survival means killing bad people.
The Duke brought his foot down hard, heel first, into the head of the glowing creature. Its head squashed like an over-ripe fruit. The walk through the underground tunnels had been quiet and uneventful, until they came upon a group of ghouls barring their path. Then, what Eli thought was a sound suppressor had turned out to be a music player, and then things had gotten a bit ugly.
He looked around, assessing the situation. The ghouls were all dead, and his friends… all alive. Excellent. Poor Eli was horribly burnt, but remarkably calm.
The boy was lucky to be alive – or he was protected by forces beyond their understanding. Regardless, he was alive, and on top of that, he would recover from his burns in a couple of moments. That’s more than most people could hope for.
The Duke smiled, and steered the group up towards the surface. Another good encounter – all is well that ends well.
Sometimes survival means grovelling.
The Quartermaster of the Brotherhood of Steel had elected to seriously downgrade the rifle they brought in to get fixed. The Duke was as annoyed by this as the rest of the group, but he remembered what Andreia had told them – be courteous and respectful at all times, they can and will kill you otherwise.
So when it became clear that they were not going to be leaving with quite as impressive a sniper rifle as they had entered the conclave with, the Duke shrugged and agreed, apologised for his friends, and attempted to end the conversation and leave. We’re still alive, that’s what’s important.
Sometimes survival means repeatedly interrupting people.
The conversation kept going for much longer than the Duke would have liked. At first, there had been denial – surely she can’t be serious? Then there was anger, and the Duke had to work really hard to apologise to the quartermaster between every angry outburst. Then there had been bargaining, wherein Mr Echo had tried to barter with his little repair bot, with little success. Then depression, where Eli managed to puppy-eye his was to a bag of caps, but not the gun parts.
Now the had jumped back to anger, and accusations were once again being thrown towards the quartermaster. Sensing that they were close to running out of luck, the Duke took to interrupting his friends before they could get around to the offensive bits. Sorry guys. I know it’s rude, but I’m keeping you guys alive.
Sometimes survival means being cruel to friends.
The Duke decided he had had enough. No one but him seemed to want to leave well enough alone, and the only thing they were getting closer to were the gallows.
At the moment, Cornelius was taking the passive-aggressive route, loudly telling Eli how horrible a person he thought the Quartermaster was.
That’s it, I’m not dying in here the Duke declared to himself.
He reached into one of his pockets and grabbed a handkerchief, the one he normally used to wipe the war-rig, and strode up to Cornelius and gagged him. He apologised to the quartermaster one last time, told the group in no uncertain terms that they were leaving right now, and then started dragging his friend out by his collar.
Cornelius struggled the entire way out, and attempted to speak and yell through the gag, but the Duke ignored it all and kept dragging the man, refusing to stop until they were out of the conclave.