The Lonesome Road

The Secret of Survival
(in a very nasty world)

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.

If you wanted to die so badly, you shouldn’t have become my friend.
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The Iron Citadel
perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim

After the healing glance of Eli, after Cornelius’ body receving Russ’ savage fury, he felt suprisingly fine considering the several bones in his face being broken and fixed within the space of an hour. He was spared his life this time but the barbarian Russ had deepened the distrust he had for him. No innocent man would have reacted in such a way if he was innocent…

There was a long walk to Rivet City and they had left early to catch the most of the daylight, Andrea guided them along the way and they had decided to go underground to get to Rivet city. It was supposed to be the quickest route there, though this didn’t work out for the best. Whilst trepsing through the old underground largely undisturbed, and just as freedom from the dank tunnels was in sight a cry from the dark echoed in their cylindrical prison.

These…things, no longer men but with arms and legs and a face just like one lurked at the opening to the surface. The attempts to circumvent them undisturbed were unsuccesful. A brawl ensued with fire and bangs. Our saviour had caught alight in the fracas! once the foul demons were dealt with with the subtlety of a rock through a window, Cornelius managed to put out Eli with his cloak. His skin had turned like that of the things that attacked us and i feared the worst for our saviour. Alas, his powers outshone the vicous inferno shortly after. Praise him for his gifts!

We shortly came upon a place called the Iron Citadel. This was those same soldiers who blasted a whole in my chest earlier and destroyed Mr. Echo’s precious gift to me. We managed to trade our way in to the place, and what a place it was. And Snowy had been by, Andrea had managed to spot and ascertain the crystal shard for ELi’s comfort-that was nice of her. She sure was a nice gal,even gave her weapon up for it. Once we had entered we could see everything was So organised and orderly, and large! This would be a good place to fix our rifle such that we may better bolster our defenseless parties capabilities.

We were instructed to see the Quarter Master and so we capered. The Quarter master accepted our trade and we were to have our rifle fixed finaly. Cornelius had always felt guilty about my botching of the fix earlier so i offered a trinket of my own. Little did we know that our innocence would be turned against us again and we were swindled! The quarter master had taken all the valuable parts and replaced them with common scrap.

Upon honest enquiry we were informed of the superiority of our previous weapon’s componenents and that they were being liberated to the Brothers’ cause here at the iron Citadel. I had questioned the fairness of the act,a s we had traded fairly or its repair, not its theft, Cornelius found himself gagged by the Duke. A most unexpected act to follow the earlier defense, how could the Duke let them do this to us? Cornelius felt immediate dissapointment at this endorsed theft. Clearly this primeval ’scape had so much to teach him. Surely the balance had tipped too far though, surely Glork would balance the books. That evening he would pray for guidance in these most unsettling of times.

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Another day in the wasteland
Another mass tips the fulcrum

It had been trying times for Cornelius’ faith. The wastelands were nothing quite like Auburn Creek. That simple town where folks were honest and your community had your back. Maybe Cornelius was just a simple man. All this book learning hadn’t quite prepared him for the harsh realities. He knew that Glork must have a purpose for him in this mess of a world but Cornelius was unsure how this was to proceed. He had to protect the Messiah from the animosity of what the wasteland had turned people to animals.
Whilst in the undercity they had been swindled by the merchants for the sale of the guns they had looted. It was barely enough to buy some simple radios. He had asked duke how much he had gotten for the guns, and had thought that it was a little under fair by Auburn Creek standards, and noticed that they were marked up by 5 times that amount. The injustice pricked him like so many mosquitoes. He wanted to get out of this place and back on the road where terms were more square and everyone was equally as vulnerable. They had agreed to travel with Ms. Gard to Rivet City to see if they couldnt find Snowy and His spaceman.
Later that evening whilst heading back to the dorms with the party, Cornelius glanced at the bar and decided it was a good idea for a nightcap before bed with some of the spare caps they had left from their rotten gun deal. Maybe that would quell the daggers that stabbed at his sensibilities. He’d seen Mr. Russ talking with Andrea and whilst he had ordered his drink he had overheard Russ talking about ‘A spanner in the works’-Maybe he really did intend to sell Eli to those kidnappers, Maybe we had foiled his barbarous plans. His guts writed at the very notion of anybody intentinaly hurting his travelling fellows, Especially Eli. He was special and Glork wanted him to be protected. Cornelius would do what he could. He confronted Mr. Russ about his meaning and intentions in the statement he had just produced.
That violent dog responded in a way only a guilty bully would-with a swing for Cornelius’ face-facta non verba. Through the power granted within he was able to dodge this and swung in defense for his life and that of his fellows from the beast’s violent jab and landed a painful blow on Mr. Russ. His inquisitiveness had landed him in trouble again. He should have learnt from that sniper’s bullet to the shoulder but this was the path he was on now. GLork had been laying the path, in blood unfortuntely. Little did he know that this particular section was to be lined with his own. The vile hector Russ had chosen his head for his murderous blows. And he nearly had his way. He thanked Glork later that night for the Duke’s intercesion, the Duke had his back, or so he thought…

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Good times in DC

The Duke absent-mindedly spun a rusty scalpel between his fingers as the group walked through the ruins, following Snowy and his remote viewer.

The Duke had had an interesting time here in the DC ruins – he had met large green fellows, stern armoured fellows, and fellows with worse skin condition than the Duke.
He had also got shot several times, but he had shot them right back so that was water under the bridge now.

And then he had chased a sniper for a while – that had been exciting. The device that had turned him invisible had been very trippy – it’s difficult to know where to put your feet when you can’t see said feet. The trick, he had realised pretty quickly, was to not over-think it. The body knew how to walk even when the brain did not.

Meeting Mr Rusk had also been an experience. The Duke wanted to like the man, as his heart seemed to be in the right place, but Rusk did not really seem to want to meet halfway: his attitude was pretty shit. Eli seemed to like him though, and apart from the kidnapping he was being good to Eli as well, so the Duke would abide for now.

Oh, speaking of Eli. That kid gets himself into all kinds of trouble. The Duke decided that he really needed to improve his parenting skills, and keep better watch over the boy. He had, however, showed signs of improvement recently – acting a little on his own initiative, talking of “like”, asking new questions. The Duke was very hopeful about this change.

Oh, and apparently the kid could heal people too.

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The Prophet revealed
With Great Power...

The whirlwinds of success had blown through my mortal fibres- I told them I was right and I was, I got in! And I was on my way to saving Eli from the men that Rusk allowed to to snatch him. I’d be keeping my eye out for him from now on…I was led to the room where he was being kept, and to my surprise the Duke had got there first-looks like his break in attempt was succesful, only, he seemed to have take one of the guards as some kind of hostage. This wasnt going to be as easy as I thought.

The Dukes less subtle tactics here not only redecorated poor Eli’s cell but also promtped my escorts to put a bullet in myself too as I tried to persuade them to a peacful conclusion. But that illusion shattered quickly and my rage got the better of me. The anger built up inside my deepest core and exploded from my temples in a burst of light and energy knocking me backwards further adding to the chaos that had ensued. In the firefight a stray bullet got Eli, and the strangest thing happened. Eli didn’t bleed, like normal folks, Instead he just …healed…there and then. I had thought that the Mesiah con was an elaborate roose stirred up by Rusk…but…here it was…Glork had put it in front of me.

The comptroller had shown me the true Prophet of his ways.

I was but a puppet of his glorious plan all along. The revelation fuelled my glory and i would let the boy prophet witness my efforts to protect him, such that he may feel safe as he preaches GLork’s divine glory. I blasted another guard and when Eli rose again, he placed himself between our foes and the fighting stopped. This boy prophet would surely lead our savage to lands to a new glory!

Low and behold, Mr. Echo and Snowy had caught the rear guard outside and now had them hostage too. We were able to ‘negotiate’ a way out with their squad leader, but not before Eli saw the sin I had commited on the butcher in my moment of..madness…Alas we finaly escapend and made our way away from this terrible place.

On the way towards our new destination I was able to refelct on my recent actions

Eli had shown me the error of my ways. Whilst glork may have given me this power, it came with responsibilities…on our journey, Eli told me of a ‘Lili’ whom also had been granted the same powers as I. I hope that Eli will take us to this ‘Facility’ so that I may hone my abilities in the fight to bring peace back to our lands-Glork willing…

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Decisions well made

“Four.”

“Two.”

“Five.”

He stood in the centre of the ruined museum with a leather jacket over his head as Mr Echo tested him. For the first time in a long while, Eli felt content. He felt useful. He was learning all sorts of new things today: new words, new tests and new machines to tinker with. He’d made new friends as well, Buck and Mr Rusk and the sickly men in the tunnels. After weeks of being shunted from place to place, feeling lonely and sad and afraid, he finally felt like he had purpose again, that he was performing properly.

He had been created to heal, to fix things that were broken. That was his purpose. Back when he had been in the rooms, he wasn’t allowed to heal unless he was told to do so. There had been numerous tests and punishments for when he failed, instinctively trying to help people without being ordered to.
But now, out here in the wastelands, he had healed people over and over. He had tried to keep it secret, to stop the others from realising that he was doing it in a vain effort to pretend that he wasn’t being bad. But he hadn’t been punished for it when Snowy had caught him – unless somebody was doing a very long and complicated test that he wasn’t really aware of yet.

When the sickly people had taken him from Mr Rusk, called him ‘messiah’, it had just made things even more confusing. They’d been amazed by what he had done to Buck – a reaction that had surprised him, given how unresponsive the group he travelled with were when he quietly fixed their major injuries and horrific poisoning, as if it was nothing unusual to recover that easily. The sickly people seemed afraid, but also excited and happy about him and what he could do. And he’d started to wonder if maybe actually it wasn’t bad. Maybe it was good.

It had taken him a long time and lot of agonising to reach a decision. A part of him still couldn’t quite believe he’d done it, was still struggling with the overwhelming desire to pretend he hadn’t and go back to the way things were. But something about it seemed right. Duke had said a messiah was somebody who was born to save everyone. Surely helping people and using his abilities was more important than doing what he had been told, at least in this one instance. It was too late to go back now.

He’d let them see him heal. Not just the sick people in the tunnels, but Cornelius and the Duke as well. He had stood in front of them and let the bullet holes close over and watched as Cornelius had gaped and stumbled over his words. Even the Duke had been surprised, a rare burst of feeling from the man. He’d turned around and openly healed Duke, in front of everyone, just to make sure he had burned that bridge. It had been unexpectedly freeing, to know that he couldn’t go back. Nobody had told him to stop, nobody had punished him. The others had come to get him just as they had said they would and they had all gotten out alive from the tunnels. He had even seen Buck again, spoken to her about the future that they both needed to reach for. He felt buoyed by this new feeling, looking forward to what was surely to come.

Perhaps it’s time for you to learn something new.

Now they were going to find Snowy’s spaceman and Mr Echo was going to teach him how to use the sniper rifle. It was a huge piece of weaponry, almost as big as he was and a little cumbersome. Still, the big man was finally talking to him and so Eli was determined to listen closely. Mr Echo wanted him to be able to do this, to be useful. Eli was going to be useful.

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The Adventures of Krogon the Trapmaker

“He’s in there.” Even whispering, his voice rumbled. Measured, and slow, with an edge of tension brought out by a sniper’s bullet to the shoulder and a day hiding in a burned-out memorial, it was a voice you could feel in your bones.

“You’re sure? This place is a maze, he could be hunkered down in any one of these buildings.” Snowy peeked over the edge of the rubble to the building beyond, a stern, columnaded edifice of old white stone, now gone to ruin and guarded by a squad of ghouls.

“Or dead!” Cornelius threw in helpfully, “I mean, we all heard the gunfire, right? Sounded like a lot of fully automatics, even a few energy weapons I think. You can tell from the crack and the hiss. A lot of people thing they make like, peeeow peeeow noises but what you hear is actually the air ionis…”

“He’s not dead. Look at the guards. They’re too alert. Too careful. Don’t like standing in the light. If they got him they’d be calm.” The big guy grimaced, an unusual display of emotion. “He’s either been smart and stayed out here, or been dumb and…”

“He’s in there.” Snowy finished the sentence. “He’s definitely in there.”

The three of them paused to think. Flat against the weeded tarmac, peering over the lip of a ruined wall, listening to the distant gunfire and worrying silences of the city, as the Butcher mutely bled into his bandages, they considered their options.

“Guys, that’s it!” Cornelius cried suddenly.

“Shh!”

“Sorry, sorry.” he lowered his voice, “I mean, that’s it! That’s how we get in! The Butcher!” he pointed triumphantly at the stretchered body behind them.

“Uh, how do you mean? I don’t think the Butcher was with these guys was he?” Snowy asked.

“Nooooo….” the Butcher groaned wearily.

“He doesn’t have to be! He’s wounded!” Cornelius beamed.

Snowy and Big Guy stared at him, uncomprehending, “So?”

“So they have to let him in!”

“Uh…?”

Cornelius rolled his eyes, “Guys don’t you get it? Okay, the Butcher’s wounded right?”

“Right.” the Butcher confirmed with spite.

“So we go up to them, right? And we go “Hey, help, this guy’s wounded, let us in!” Don’t you see! It’s brilliant!”

Snowy blinked. “How… does him being wounded… ?”

“Because then they have to let us in!”

“Why… do they have to…”

“BECAUSE HE’S WOUN… Sorry, sorry.” he lowered his voice, “Because he’s wounded! Dammit guys, how don’t you see this? It’s so simple!”

“Wounded means easier to kill. No help at all.” said Big Guy, matter of factly. Matter settled, he and Snowy turned back to the building. “They focus their attention to the right. Maybe if we cause some kind of…”

“That. Is. It.” Cornelius’ fists were clenched. “I. Have. Had it! With you people!”

“Cornelius keep your voice do..”

“Cornelius stop talking so loud! Cornelius stop shooting the Butcher! Cornelius stop selling all our loot! Cornelius stop repairing the Deathbots! It’s always the SAME!” He thumped the dirt.

“Deathbots? I don’t remember any…”

“I do everything for you people and I never get any RESPECT!”

“Shh!” The ghouls, hearing the commotion, were starting to look over.

“I do ALL the thinking. I have ALL the best ideas and you act like I’m some kind of joke! Well I’m sick of it. I AM RIGHT.” He grabbed the Butcher and hauled him forward, groaning. “And because I’m right, I’ll save you all, AGAIN, and I’ll STILL get NO respect for it!” He hauled himself up, struggling under the weight of the Butcher, who began to cry out with pain.

The ghouls readied their weapons.

“Cornelius get ba…” Snowy and Big Guy made a lunge together but Cornelius was already out, struggling into the light, heaving the Butcher forward, wailing and crying and calling for help as, one by one, the ghouls trained their weapons on the noise.

At that final moment, just as he stepped into the floodlight, Cornelius made one backwards glance. Just enough time to clearly and perfectly mouth the words, “I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE TEA

AND

I’M

RIGHT

ABOUT

THIS”

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They want to Laugh-I'll make them laugh

That slaver deserved every bullet in his legs and none of the graces that I afforded him in his last moments, at least he was useful towards the greater good in his end days. May glork see that righteous deed in his judgement at least I suppose:

The deal at the Monument didnt happen quite as we’d expected, seems somebody wanted that deal breaking bastards life as much as us. We arrived to see him cowering in a corner, not as cowardous as I had initially thought before i was shot in the shoulder by an unknown assailant. Funnily enough, the slaver didnt want to talk much after we managed to get safely from the hunter, but he did prove to be a useful meat shield as we crossed the barren terrain of DC to rescue Eli from his captors….A situation we didnt expect to find ourselves in if it wasnt fot that deal breaking son of a….

We suspected that Eli had been taken to a secured building at the end of the mall, and the place was crawling with guards, I suspect that The Duke’s earlier break in attempts had been fumbled and now we have two rescues underway. There seemed no real way in with the guards on alert so I did the only thing feasible, Under the grace of Glork I managed to gain entry to the building under the cover of mercy, with the injured slaver. I never expected him to wake up at that moment. I didnt know what to do! But a sudden feeling of replenishment came over as I brushed my hand aginst head and a buzz tingeld through my body and his eyes became lifeless, luckily it was just the rouse I needed which allowed me to enter the… ‘temple’ so I could begin to rescue our comrades. Whilst my comrades may have laughed, I will show the glory that Glork bestows on those that truly believe.

He has given me powersto succeed on my quest and I will do all I can to see his plan through, down which ever ally’s and through all the forgotten lanscapes in this land we call home.

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A schism in the church

The man sat on a box in the basement room, cradling his gun and staring at the child curled up in the corner. His fingers curled loosely around the barrel, sometimes straying towards the trigger. The child stared back at him, unblinking. The look was somewhere between expectant and terrified.

The man felt uncertain. No, not just uncertain; concerned and a little angry. When his men had come back, they had been in a panic. At first he’d been enraged when he found out that they didn’t have the other half of the payment from Rusk. Some scrawny little kid was no decent substitute, and he’d almost shot somebody then and there. They needed supplies more than they needed meat or a slave – especially not one as small and useless looking as this child. They probably wouldn’t even be able to sell him for much, nowhere near what Rusk had offered.

But then they had pushed Buck forwards. She was one of the newest recruits, still wet round the ears and not used to taking orders. She’d been in the Ruins since she was a kid though – that was why he’d sent her out with the mercs, as a guide and scout. And there had been something… different about her.

Everyone in the Ruins had the marks. It was what made them stand out, made them uniquely chosen. The radiation was a test, a sign of growth and change to the human body, and they were its vessels. Once they were deemed worthy, they would ascend beyond mere mortality. It wasn’t clear what exactly the end result would be – perfection of the existing body according to some, an entirely new one according to others. Regardless, the suffering would be worth it. That was what he told his people, and they believed with all their hearts.

Buck had no marks. They were simply gone.

There had been confusion among the ranks and it had taken a while for him to find out what had happened – or what people thought had happened, at any rate. There had been a scuffle or some sort at the ruins between the guards and his people. They hadn’t been as efficient as they should have been and Buck had gotten shot. She’d landed on the kid and in the confusion something had happened when he touched her, something miraculous. She had found herself healed, no gunshot wound anywhere on her body. The mark of the radiation, the sign that she was chosen was gone as well. The burns had healed, the raw peeling skin and growths had vanished and everything about her looked clean and unblemished as if she’d never been in the Ruins at all. It shouldn’t have been possible. No, it wasn’t possible. But there she was in front of him, living proof of… something. And he’d asked the child if he’d done this to Buck, and the child had said yes.

They had put him in the corner of this room in the basement ruins whilst they decided what to do with him. The man wanted to keep the kid out of the way as much as possible. He knew it was already too late to stop the story spreading, that simply seeing Buck would be enough for people to start speculating. Some were saying that the kid was a monster, sent to punish the unworthy by stripping the gifts of the radiation from them. Others, too many others, were saying that the child was the messiah, sent to bring the true believers to a new level of being and show them the way forward. It was too late to hide. All he could hope to do was try to guide the rumour mill in the direction that best fitted his design, and find out what the kid actually was. If he could use him, he would. If not, Rusk couldn’t have him back anymore. This was too dangerous.

The child sat in front of the man, knees up under his chin. The man sat and stared, finger wandering towards the trigger of his gun.

What the fuck are you?

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Guns and Gas and Gods

Too slow, too furious raced across the land. While the ‘slow’ part turned out to not fit very well, ‘furious’ was all the more appropriate – the mighty roar of its engines heralded its approach.

The ’Furious wasn’t alone. A pack of smaller vehicles were approaching quickly from behind as she thundered through the wasteland with guns on her brown, gas pumping through her veins, and a god in her trunk. Although the pursuers were lesser than the ’Furious in all aspects, there were more of them.

But not for long.


The Duke climbed up on top of the Rig, and braced himself against the wind. Behind him, near the front of the Rig, Cornelius was shouting gleefully while firing the flame thrower. To his left, Mr Echo jumped from car to car like some predatory beast, leaving only wrecks behind him.

The Duke smiled. Wind in his face, adrenaline in his veins – times like these were when he felt the most alive.

He swiftly made his way towards the rear machine gun, however as he reached it, two attackers climbed up on top of the rig behind him. Realising that one of his lifelong dreams – to fight on top of a moving vehicle – was about to be achieved, the Duke entered a state of heightened awareness. He spun inside of the first attacker’s swing and grabbed him by the wrist as he went, and used the man’s own momentum to throw him off the other side of the Rig. The second opponent’s attack followed quickly after, but the Duke was even quicker, bending backwards to dodge before jumping into the air and planting both his boots firmly in the assailant’s chest. The impact sent the other man flying off the rig after his companion, and the Duke landed like a cat and swiftly returned to his feet and to the gun.

There weren’t many attackers left now, most of them were in the various burning wreckages that decorated the path behind them.


The Duke put on his new jacket. Some might think it crass to steal from a dying man, but said man had attempted to murder the Duke and his friends, and likely killed a whole lot of people before that, so to the Duke it seemed only fair that he got something out of it.

Mr Echo was finishing his conversation with said dying man, and Cornelius had begun appraising the salvage potential of the wrecks. The Butcher was still unconscious in the back of the rig. Although the Duke no longer believed him to be God – as far as the the Duke was concerned, gods neither fled nor bled – there were a lot of questions that the man needed to answer for them.

The Duke, however, had his priorities elsewhere.

Although he had been opposed to it at the time, he was now happy that they had put a motorbike in the Rig. With agreements to meet by the City entrance when they all were done, The Duke jumped onto the bike. Snowy jumped on behind him, and together they set off back towards Megaton. The danger had been averted, so now it was time to find Eli.

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