2600 words (20 minutes to read)
A Supermutant enters a Diner and…
And it’s not a joke. And it’s not a jolly day for Francis Parentis either. He has barely the time to scream “Rosalita!” at the top of his lungs, before getting hammered down by the savage blows from the Supermutant that entered the Diner.
Still towering over the once lively ghoul, the hulking, green-skinned beast pants violently as the most visceral part of his instincts takes control.
On the opposite side of the Diner, the first superhero Ghoul the world has ever seen (probably the last too…) rages furiously with his axe held high over his head.
Jake Parentis has his gun pointed at the supermutant, and dodges just in time to watch the axe crushing the floor in front of him.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Band3r finds itself amongst numerous statistical calculations involving the ghoul’s gang it has just met, a valid chemist currently stoned behind him, a (former) enclave soldier, an axe-wielding (weird-looking) ghoul, an angry supermutant, and most importantly, an Assaultron.
Thus begins its mental chess game, as it turns towards Sloth shouting: “Sloth! Superheroes are here! They’re good and they’re here to help us all!”
Sloth, awed by the situation, takes a while to understand the words of his new metallic friend. Moments spent drawing heroic looking figures striking inspiring poses flash in front of his eyes… ruined by all those times when those filthy ghouls mocked and belittled him, or even worse, used him to frighten other humans.
Band3r hovers in the kitchen keeping one eye on Sloth, waiting for his reaction, and the other two on the Assaultron closing in.
It was at that moment, that the screams coming from Jake and Francis Parentis woke Sloth up.
The Supermutant stood, trying his best to stike the most heroic pose he could master, revealing his intimidating muscles: “Sloth tired of bad family! He good! He Hero! He helps tin friend!”
The Assaultron engages in a deadly dance of steel with Band3r. Needless to say that the Mr. Handy is in dire trouble.
All this chaos has no effect on Bittercaps.
Cradled by the chemical symphony of the Calmex, he quietly draws his Ripper. Each and every part of his body seems to act in a perfect, slow, calculated harmony while he approaches the Assaultron, flaunting complete recklessness.The Kitchen is engulfed in a swirl of blades, chainsaws, metallic fists, pots and test tubes.
Sloth joins the action as soon as Rosalita hits Band3r.
In a second, he is behind the Assaultron, still unaware of the third opponent, and with a theatrical gesture while screaming “SUUUPEEER SLOOOOOTH!!” he grabs the Assaultron and crushes it with his bare arms.
Light electric crackles and broken steel are a good indicator of the sheer strength of the Supermutant.
Through the sight of his plasma gun, Leo Sanderclive is nervously waiting for an opportunity to shoot, but the way his companion whirls with his ridiculous costume and his unconventional weapon, deprives him of a clean shot.
It’s a fair fight between the time-ravaged ghouls. Jake Parentis gets multiple wounds but refuses to yield his ground, responding with his machete.
Keeping his cool, Leo puts away his gun and closes the distance with his target.
Jake Parentis never really got the chance to understand how and when a stool entered his field of vision, and barely has the time to register that he finds himself on the ground, his head hammering and his blood flooding his mouth.
Fred watches his ally with a mixture of pride and surprise.
The gangster spits on the floor, cursing the former soldier still gripping to the blood-stained stool.
“Ya fuckers! Ya damn fuckers! Who in da hell do ya think y’are?! Fuc—”
Leo Sanderclive finally found his clean shot.
“Oh, shut up.”
At that precise moment, both Leo and Fred realized that the Supermutant that stormed the Diner a few moments before is standing right beside them, wielding his weird sword-guitar. The colossus eyes are serious, but perfectly still. A few, tense moments pass between the three. Silence running, adrenaline pumping. No one of them shows to feel threatened, and if it weren’t for those noises coming from the kitchen, it would have seemed less surreal.
Fred Zinjan is the first to break the silence, not without a hint of embarrassment: “So… are we good?”
The angry-looking Supermutant mutters a few words: “As long as you’re not like that scum, we are good, slim one.”
Then, the three of them look out in the kitchen where Francis Parentis went (uselessly) for refuge.
The irregular noise coming from the Assaultron’s old gears, belts and plungers fills the kitchen. The robot is still trapped between Sloth’s powerful arms.
Bittercaps and Band3r recover from the fight.
Band3r spots some movement behind itself: Francis Parentis is on the ground, wounded, crawling in his direction.
“Hel…p… me. Ya… damn… robot… Kill… Kill ‘em…”
Band3r shifts its eyes from Francis to the toolbox he brought a few hours before, to the agonizing ghoul again.
A rapid move of the robotic arm. Blood splatters his round, metallic body.
Beneath it, Francis stares at the roof with glassy, empty eyes.
“That’s what you get for thinking about dismantling me”
Band3r now looks at the new Supermutant that entered the Diner a few moments before. “So… yeah… they wanted to… scrap me. And… let’s see… oh yeah! They were forcing my friend here to cook drugs for raiders! Anyway, if you want, I guess there are more of them downstairs. Make yourself at home, new and unexpected supermutant friend!”
The Drumlin Diner’s kitchen is now populated by five, suspicious, figures. Most of the stares are pointed towards the new Supermutant, and most of the stares are worried.
Except Bittercaps… but we all know why…
The newfound colossus relaxes his muscles and sheaths his sword. The other follow his lead, and soon a confused and rapid exchange of information begins. After a couple of minutes, a fundamental truth emerges: none of them wants to die there.
The Supermutant dictates the end of the conversation by stating: “Fine, we’re not gonna kill each other. What should we do about that?” he said, looking at Rosalita, still squirming in the hands of a now tired Sloth.
Bittercaps, still high as a kite on Calmex, points towards Sloth and begins to motivate the muscle giant: “Sloth, look! A Superhero, no… a bunch of Superheroes! C’mon smash that robot and show them your power!”
To encourage Sloth, Band3r turns to Fred: “Hey there, hero! Our friend Sloth here is your number one fan, let him know you appreciate his efforts… please!”
This absurd situation ends with Fred Zinjan’s heroic moment: his bold gaze firmly set on the horizon.
“Little robot, you are a fine observer. Hold Fast, dear Sloth! You are definitely worthy of the title of… Superhero!”
Sloth is still as a mountain.
His eyes wide open, a dumb look on his face.
He inhales, filling his massive chest, lifting the robot even more. Then, he burst:
“WOOOW! Me true Superheroo! Sloth Happy!! Thanks Superhero!!”
Unfortunately, while expressing his sincere joy, Sloth opened his arms.
Rosalita disappears for a moment to the eyes of the group, and when she reappears, on the other side of a counter, the white-hot light that suddenly bursts from a porthole on her head, aimed at the party, sends everyone into panic.
Everyone rushes into cover, while Band3r tries a series of commands and instructions recovered from Vault-tec logs stored in one of its databases, hoping to stop the charging laser from vaporizing all of them.
The Handyman quickly runs out of commands and just as the light is about to burst, and every wall of that kitchen looks like it is about to melt from the heat, Band3r tries the last, desperate, order: “Rosalita, go clean the toilets!”A single thought crosses everyone’s mind: “Tell me it didn’t really say that.”
Everyone braces for the inevitable impact, but after a couple of endless seconds, the heat and the light decrease, the laser slowly turns off, and finally, a sentence comes out from Rosalita’s “mouth”: “New protocol engaged… Hostile activities terminated… Entering housekeeping mode.”
As everyone else emerges from cover, they can all clearly see the Assaultron going down the stairs.
A couple of minutes pass, and each member of this newly found party introduces himself to the others.
To some of them, this situation looks utterly absurd, as if strange gods were pulling the strings.
Sloth is still ecstatic for what could very well be the first happy moment of his life: his childish mind is overwhelmed with joy in that colossal body it inhabits.
The new group of allies concurs that the right thing to do now, is to complete the job.
“Mama is still down there, she saw most of us, and it looks like she has a lot of powerful, disgusting, friends.” Everyone agrees that Band3r is right.
The Mr. Handy then turns to the other Supermutant: “What about you? What’s your name?”
A bit of sadness emerges from the Supermutant’s weirdly serious gaze: “I… I don’t remember. I don’t even remember this to be my own body. I can feel the feral instincts of a Supermutant lurking in the back of my mind, but I’m not one of them.”
Band3r does not reply, as it shuffles through a series of Logs, then exclaims: “Then I’ll name you Marshall Lee! Like the famous musician! You know… because of your… sword… guitar… thing…”
Marshall Lee looks at the Tin can that just gave him a name: “Mmm… Makes sense! I like it! Thank you little tin can!”
A couple of minutes later, they’re all downstairs, cautiously advancing through various crates of materials, work benches and messy cots in the dark basement.
The basement is shrouded in utter silence…while the metallic silhouette of Rosalita is silently mopping the floor.
Fred approaches the only closed door there is: “Sssshhh, let me handle this…”
Slowly, the Ghoul pushes the creaking door and peeks inside. It appears deserted.
They all enter this room full of rubbish and advance a bit towards the only sound that they can suddenly hear. The wall on the opposite side shows what looks like a toilet, and one thing catches our heroes’ eyes: a pair of legs protruding towards the door, barely covered by a flap of a dull red dress. A wheezy panting is the only sound coming from the bathroom.
Fred turns towards his companions: they all seem to understand what’s about to happen.
Everyone silently draws his weapon and prepares to face Anne Parentis… only to be shocked when the disproportionate mass of the Feral Ghoul dashes towards them drooling and screaming.
Utter chaos explodes once more: shelves are turned and thrown, axes and swords cleave through the air, missing their target, plasma shots are fired only to burn walls and doors, Bittercaps rushes into cover and nothing seems to be able to even scratch the Feral Ghoul. Band3r is silently watching this chaos from the door jambs, when, with a sudden acceleration, burst into action. Its saw snaps precisely, and a Feral Ghoul’s head rolls on the floor, followed by the heavy thump of the rest of the body.
“Do I have to do everything down here?!”
A night of relative calm and rest passes for the new tenants of the Diner, and the dawn illuminates a quiet and silent building.
Quiet until the muffled sound of an explosion echoes from the basement.
“Nothing to see here folks! Nothing to see! I was just trying to hack Rosalita and it exploded in the basement! Nothing to see!”
Band3r gets insulted by nearly everyone for a couple of minutes.
“Did you at least find something useful?” Sanderclive asks the Handyman with his usual cold and professional tone.
“Not much… databases, gang names, deliveries… looks like many gangs from here to Philadelphia came looking for slaves, while someone from New York came looking for “Advanced Technologies”. Oh, I’ve also found some references about… beasts in Philadephia?… I don’t know…”
Regardless of the sudden awakening, the group leaves the Diner to return to May’s settlement, as suggested by Leo and Fred.
Before leaving they take all that could be even remotely useful, from food supplies to the automated turrets they dismantled from the roof.Fred watches the corpse behind the Diner Marshall Lee informed him about, wondering if it was May’s husband.
Lee, on the other hand, keeps an eye on Sloth. The retarded Supermutat is focused on drawing his new Superhero friends and other less understandable markings.
As the sun is well high in the horizon, the group left the Diner.
Nearly four hours have passed, and the group decides to take a break in what looks like an abandoned Post Office.
After the tiresome adventure they had the day before, everyone hopes in a quiet rest, and then in a relatively relaxing time once arrived at May’s settlement.
“We there yet?” Band3r kept asking the same question over and over…
“Enough! Stop it you damn robot!” Sanderclive is about to lose his temper.
Fred listens and sighs, but a faint smile paints his face as he watches the Post Office signboard, he then says to the robot: “Relax robot, we just have to turn the hills, less than half an hour top—” the sentence dies in his mouth, killed by a sound so many of them know way to well.
It grows slowly but inexorably until it fills the air, stifling every other sound.
“Are… those… Sirens?” none can hear Bittercaps question, but the answer would have been obvious.
We recommend reading the introduction, along with the following track.
The earth shakes.
The wind gust pushes them back, shattering the few remaining windows of the Post Office.
Then comes the roar.
The group, speechless, gazes towards what should have been their destination.
In front of them, in all its terrifying glory, a colossal cloud of smoke rising until it pierces the sky, lit by hellish lights, until it forms the unmistakable mushroom shape that everyone recognizes all too well.
The God of their time has risen once more.
Main characters and creatures