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Dec 10, 2019 4:16 PM
The Commonwealth gets commandeered
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The main bar of Milliways is mostly empty, and accordingly something approaching quiet. The door swings open to admit both a burst of miscellaneous chatter and a young brown-skinned woman wearing three parts of three different outfits, all of which have seen better days.

The woman stops abruptly at the threshold, blinks in shock for a moment, then turns to holler over her shoulder at someone not visible from the bar.

"Hancock! What in the fuck did you convince me to take, and why don't I remember it?!"

A scarred, noseless face appears behind her and mutely surveys the bar.

"This is not the Third Rail," the woman points out.

"Sweetheart, nothing I have does this," Hancock says. "And if it did, I wouldn't have it for long. Gotta be someone here with some answers." He ducks under her arm; she follows him, mildly exasperated but mostly curious, letting the door close behind them.

Both of them are armed and armored, the woman much more heavily, or at least visibly. She holds her shotgun casually, pointed off to the side but ready to bring it to bear if needed. Hancock, for his part, appears much less concerned with the prospect of imminent violence.

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"The gun isn't needed," a woman to one side says. Her tone is strangely flat, a clear, cut-glass accent, and there's perhaps a hint of a mechanical whir as she shifts her weight. "Milliways is perfectly safe. And Security will take care of any trouble."

There's almost a question at the end - a wonder whether or not the newcomers are going to be the trouble. She is not visibly armed, but she holds herself like someone capable of a fight.

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The first woman looks unimpressed, but holsters her gun all the same. "Nowhere is 'perfectly safe,'" she says. "And you look like you have all your teeth, so we're not in Goodneighbor, and maybe not in the Commonwealth anymore either. What's Milliways and what counts as trouble?"

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"A reasonable assessment," Epimetheus agrees. "And you are almost certainly not in either of those places," the smile has a few too many of those teeth, and looks more like what somebody who'd never seen a smile might draw in place of one.

"Milliways is, as you might be able to tell, a bar. Time in your own world should currently be frozen. Until such a time as you choose to return to it. I would rather suggest keeping the weapon holstered. For your own good health." She holds up her hands. "Not a threat. Consider that a friendly warning."

Her tone hasn't wavered once, and her face is now almost too bland.

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"Scaring the newcomers again, Epime?" a man practically bounds over, a bright grin on his face, clapping Epimetheus' shoulder. "Thought we agreed you weren't gonna do that no more?"

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"Sir, assisting them in orienting themselves and ensuring Security does not have immediate cause for concern is hardly definable as 'scaring'."

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"Need to fix that 'sir' thing," he mutters under his breath. "You're just angling for a job, aren't you?"

He doesn't wait for her response, turning back to the newcomers. "Anesidora, call me 'Sidora." He thrusts his hand out.

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"Cat," she supplies, shaking his hand automatically. "And that's Hancock-" Who has wandered over to the bar, so she just waves a hand in his direction. "Time is frozen? Well, beats the other way around, I guess."

"Bar says the first drink's free!" Hancock says, sounding delighted.

"Do not blow all of our caps on booze," Cat tells him without looking away. "Blow all of your caps on booze.

"Where are you from, then? Capitol Wasteland or out West? If it's somewhere else, you'll have to just tell me, those are the only two post-war places I know and nobody knows what I mean if I say I was born in Maryland."

Hancock makes his way back to the group and slings a jovial arm around Cat's shoulders, hefting his glowing drink in his free hand. The gadget on her wrist begins to click rapidly, and at a pointed look from her he sets the drink down on a table several feet away. "Live a little," he teases.

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"Neither?" 'Sidora says, face scrunching slightly. "But I do know Maryland. I mean, I don't know if you mean one of the cities, or the state, but I know that Maryland is a place. Multiple places technically." He seems to realise that he's rambling. "We mostly work outta Europe. And a few sites out in Africa."

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Epimetheus meanwhile, is squinting at the glowing drink. "I rather think that if-" she pauses, staring silently. "If Miss Cat wishes to remain alive, she should probably avoid such a toxic drink. Which does raise a rather interesting question regarding your own state of being."

She holds her hand out, palm up, and the holograph of a man appears.

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"An alt-earth if I have got it right," he says, carefully sizing up first Cat and then Hancock. "From the gear and weaponry I would posit post nuclear fallout. I cannot ascertain specifics on the gentleman. Radiation levels on them are inconsequential at this time. Though I would suggest that Anesidora remains a safe distance from the drink."

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"Really need to fix that," 'Sidora grumbles. "You two using full name and 'Sir' is just creepy."

He turns back to Cat and Hancock. "These two are Epimetheus," he points at the girl, "and Prometheus," he points at the man in her hands. "I tend to listen to their advice. They're pretty good at very quick analysis and rationalization."

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"It does not help your opinion that you are dreadful at the latter part of that, Sir," Epimetheus says smartly, before inclining her head sharply to Cat and Hancock. "A pleasure to meet you."

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"By 'alt-earth' I take it that we're really not in the Commonwealth anymore," Cat realizes. She pauses, then shakes her head. "I was waiting for my suspension of disbelief to trip on that, but I think I've just started taking any weird-ass thing that happens to me at face value. You're right about the nukes, that was two hundred something years ago, it's 2287 now."

"I'm a ghoul," Hancock volunteers. "Comes with the, ah, makeover and radiation diet." He looks a little guarded as he says it, but detaches from Cat to take a swig of his drink and otherwise seems comfortable discussing the fact that he should be dead from radiation poisoning several times over.

Cat, who has been on the other side of the "what's a ghoul?" conversation, fills in the extra information before they can ask. "Ghouls are people who are super-irradiated, but for whatever reason they didn't die from it. Nobody really knows how it works but it's about 70 percent you just keel over, 20 you turn feral, and 10 you get to be a ghoul. Uh, there's probably some stuff I'm forgetting but whatever-"

"You don't die and you can walk around the Glowing Sea buck naked. That's pretty much it for benefits. What's Africa?"

"The big one on the other side of the world that doesn't have China," Cat tells him. "You - how do you not know what Africa is? I just sold like six globes to Daisy."

Hancock shrugs. "World geography hasn't been a major factor in my life so far," he deadpans.

"It's an entire con- never mind." She turns back to Epimetheus and Prometheus. "A much better question is, how are you doing that, is it portable, and how would you like to help us clear out a hospital full of super mutants? Paying work, since I don't think we're going to find a convenient mercenary with a Gunner problem in the back room of this place."

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"Very much not," 'Sidora agrees. "Milliways is an interdimensional...well, kind of meeting place, as far as we've been able to ascertain. Doors appear for people, seemingly at random. Although Epime was suggesting that once you've had a door, it is more likely that you'll get another one. Or something like that. I tend to tune her out when she starts theorising." It's untrue, and his smirk says he's teasing more than anything.

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"We would both rather you stopped purposefully obscuring your own intelligence," Prometheus says, almost sharply, before he's distracted by the information on ghouls. "Fascinating. So you have a feral and stable population of those affected by the radiation. Further radiation fails to have a detrimental effect, and apparently has benefits-"

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"No," Epimetheus says firmly. "We agreed that we would not try and talk fellow bar patrons into acting as guinea pigs. No matter how fascinating their biology is."

Prometheus pouts, but stays obediently silent.

"Well, if it wasn't portable, I would hardly be capable of doing doing this, would I?" Epimetheus asks, and her tone should be arch, but it isn't. She tilts her hand slightly, the image of Prometheus flickering slightly as she does so. It reveals a series of tiny projectors embedded over her palm. "I could potentially see if it is feasible to build for yourselves. Or to at the very least provide some simulacrum that has similar functionality. There are, regrettably, certain mechanics that make this feasible for us. There is a reason that Prometheus is hovering over my hand."

Her unnerving not-smile is back at the comment about super-mutants. "Well, now. That is a thought. I have been so eager to exercise some of those protocols again."

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"Congratulations, in one fell swoop, you've managed to capture Epime's attention, and whether you really wanted her assistance or not, you've probably got it. Epime, remember that that chassis is not built for extended combat."

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Epimetheus turns to 'Sidora, a flatness to her expression that was not previously there "I am not the one who has trouble remembering these things, sir."

She turns back to Cat and Hancock. "I rather think we ought to sit down and discuss terms and what the potential payment will be."

She gestures to a nearby empty table.

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Cat eyes the dynamic between the three of them and decides not to ask just yet. She is at least somewhat capable of realizing that not everything ever exists for her to stick her nose into. "Sure. I'd ask if you were a synth, but I don't think we even have the tech for that. Unless the Brotherhood of Assholes took it and I just don't know about it." She shakes her head. "Never mind. Yeah, lemme give you what I have on the place."

Hancock, meanwhile, is looking curiously at Prometheus. "Got nothing against being a guinea pig, long as it's not gonna hurt too much."

"You just like attention," Cat says.

"Yes I do," Hancock says without missing a beat.

"What about you?" Cat asks 'Sidora. "Any party tricks, while we're playing Show and Tell, here?"

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"I am honestly offended," Prometheus raises the back of his hand to his forehead dramatically. (Both 'Sidora and Epime roll their eyes.) "I would not be worth a thing as a scientist if I could not devise pain free methods to acquire the data on your good self that I am curious about."

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"Please don't encourage 'Metheus," 'Sidora says cheerfully. "You'll never get rid of him. He's a rather single minded AI."

(Epime murmurs a somewhat reproving 'Sir', but otherwise stays silent.)

"Rather like one of Epime's cats actually. She fed them and they just didn't leave."

At the question, he blushes slightly. "Bog standard human I'm afraid."

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"No-one has ever accused you of being 'standard', sir," Epimetheus says. "I think they mostly used the word 'atypical'."

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"Well, look, I wouldn't be volunteering for a mad science experiment if I thought it was gonna go really wrong," Hancock points out. "But you're cute, so why not?"

"Join the club, I was born pre-war," Cat says to 'Sidora with a snort. "And I have a thing in my sinuses that lets me breathe underwater, but that was a fad when I was in college, not some kind of mutation. I get the feeling they're-" A nod at both AIs. "-not going to be happy if you come along. Though, come to think of it, d'you think this place sells Rad-X and not just drinks? I basically bought out the entirety of Goodneighbor and I don't think the human half is... all that pleased."

A pause, then: "Hancock, maybe wait until after we deal with the hospital? You can't hold a gun if I have to carry you around in a bucket."

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Prometheus stares, unblinkingly (although why would a hologram need to blink?) at Hancock, and then a broad grin stretches across his face. "Well, then. That is convenient..."

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"Prometheus," Epimetheus' voice is sharp. "Behave. Business then curiosity."

"What Sir is failing to say," she adds flatly, "is that he is special operations trained, and black operations as well. While I would not be happy about him joining us, I certainly know better than to try and stop him. He is a solid man in a fire fight."

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