Visionary Tales
9/18/19: Visionary Tales is ELEVEN YEARS OLD! Happy birthday! Leave a post on the site today (anywhere!) as a gift to VT. It's a good day to catch up on replies. (;If this is your first visit to the New VT, you'll need to create a new account. Visit the archive to view posts from Old VT.Archive site available at http://archive.visionary-tales.com

New Dear Hearts and Gentle People (M)

Kreed · 68 · 3824

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Kreed

  • Full Member
  • ***
    • Posts: 100
    • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Archive - http://archive.visionary-tales.com/dear-hearts-and-gentle-people-m-t21982.html

Ah. It seemed their luck would continue its good streak. Akuma caught the tail end of Jake and Sheriff Harden's conversation, and could guess by the sounds of it that Mr. Simms was headed down the same hall. With small, hurried feet, Akuma tucked low and down the hallway like a bullet to the ankles, around the corner and into the bloodied remnants of the crime scene. It was a challenge not to slip in the blood, and in the darkness, the congealing pool was black and sticky like tar.

Akuma cursed under their breath; finding any shreds of metal was going to be damn near impossible without a light source and the Sheriff was bound to be coming any second. With a quiet, sharp intake of breath, Akuma shot for the nearest dresser to grab anything that resembled a cloth and fell to their knees, pantomiming a dejected and nervous cleanup complete with furrowed brow and deeply-set cringe in disgust and fear. This was a cleaning girl that didn't get paid enough to deal with crime scenes.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 03:33:45 PM by Jabbathejack »


Offline Jabbathejack

  • Manager
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 417
    • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
The sheriff paused in the doorway as he caught sight of the cleaner.
"Hold up there, miss."

He frowned down at her; there were few people in this town that he did not recognise.

"Just having a look around. You can carry on cleaning when I'm done."

He stepped around her, avoiding the blood on the floor to look around the room. He grimaced, his eyes travelling over the disarray, noting the spent shell casings and the bloody trail across the floor.

"Nasty business, eh?" Simms paused and turned back at the young woman. "Were you here when it happened?"


Offline Kreed

  • Full Member
  • ***
    • Posts: 100
    • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Feinting a quiet, sharp gasp and a recoil in surprise, Akuma rose to their feet and hastily tried to clean themselves to a presentable state for the Sheriff's presence. This endeavor was quickly abandoned as it took no level of observation to know it would be a fruitless effort.

"I'm sorry, Sheriff." The cleaning girl stepped aside to make way for Harden, fidgeting unsettled with the coat wrapped around her waist. "...I wasn't... I didn't--I mean." She paused and caught her breath, inhaling slowly through her nose and exhaling out her mouth, shoulders rising and falling in a visible attempt to steady herself.

"I prepped the room before Mr. Beckett came in like he usually does, then went to go clean one for another customer. I was on my way to get fresh sheets when... when I saw all this to be honest."


Offline Jabbathejack

  • Manager
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 417
    • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
"It's all right, miss." Simms smiled, holding up his hand to try and placate her.

"I'll be out of your way in no time... Miss?"

He smiled at her expectantly, hoping that she'd give him her name. He'd file it internally for later, for when he saw her again and in a town this size, it paid to know everyone inside.

"Mr Beckett's a regular, yes? What's he like?"

Maybe she'd give him a more accurate view than Jake had.


Offline Kreed

  • Full Member
  • ***
    • Posts: 100
    • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
"...Miss May, mister...Harden. Sheriff, sir. Sh-sheriff Harden. Sir." It was clear she was more accustomed to doing her job in silence, because she stammered in a tiny voice choked out like she was ten years younger. She did, to her credit, manage a rather charming sort of half-curtsey with the makeshift skirt made from the old coat tied around her waist.

"Mr Beckett... um... yes he is...here every few months." Her voice settled into a barely audible mumble, and she went between staring at the floor and looking around uneasily to see if they were alone.

It was between one of these sweeps from left-to-right that she bounced herself back to face Harden Simms and look up at him, balling loose fabric she could grab in her hands and clutching it in her fists.

"I'm scared to say because him and Jake. They're pals. But Mr Beckett... I don't like him. At all." If there was any more to it, she was going to struggle to get it out. It was bursting to be free but her fear kept whatever secrets she held captive just behind her teeth, clenched hard behind closed lips.


Offline Jabbathejack

  • Manager
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 417
    • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
"Miss May." Simms smiled warmly, repeating her name gently. "Don't worry, Jake won't hear a thing about this. I ain't gonna be telling him."

"Why don't you like Mr Beckett? No one's ever brought any complaints against him or his friend."

Simms paused, frowning as he looked around the room again. Jake hadn't mentioned the other man. Sure enough, there were two packs set against the side of the room.

"Speaking of his partner, do you know where he is now? Tall man, blond hair. Was he involved in any of this?"


Offline Kreed

  • Full Member
  • ***
    • Posts: 100
    • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Why didn't little Miss May like Mr. Beckett? Akuma was a fine actor, but pulling a nervous face when the opposite felt appropriate was a challenge that wasn't expected quite so suddenly.

"He's a slaver", she whispered. It was fascinating, the power Beckett seemed to hold that no one had ever come forward. His attempts to hide Fulbeck's predicament was bare minimum at best; it was a sloppy execution and anyone who could read a room would have been able to guess based on their dynamics. Hell, this little character created on the spot was hesitant to speak up, even though she didn't even exist. There would be no consequences for her. Why was there the gut reaction to remain silent? Akuma shook the thought away. It didn't matter; the important thing was to be clear and report what was known. They could question the internalization of complicit mutism later.

"The blond man's name is Joe. He was Beckett's slave. I don't know what happened to him...or if he did it to Beckett or not... but I hope he got away. I found...a part of this." She extended her hand and showed Sheriff Harden one of several pieces she had retrieved from the collar. The majority was pocketed. There would potentially be use in the scraps.

"I've seen people come in with these on. The light flashes red and the collar beeps sometimes. I heard that..." She swallowed and clenched her jaw inside her mouth before continuing with a much lower tone. "...If they try to take it off or leave then their head gets blown off."

There was a beat, and fear struck her face like a slap. "...I'm not in trouble for telling you this stuff am I?"


Offline Jabbathejack

  • Manager
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 417
    • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
"A slaver?" Simms' smile faded as quickly as if he had just been slapped. He frowned, reaching out to take the piece of metal that she had found.

He held it up to examine it, his eyes narrowing as he stared at the chunk of metal. It was curved; a piece that looked as if it would slot into something else to complete the circuit. There was no doubt; he'd seen similar objects before.

His frown deepening, Simms slid the piece of metal into his coat pocket.
"No, miss, you ain't in trouble. I'm sure glad you told me."

Sure glad that someone had. From the way that May spoke, it seemed to be common knowledge, maybe around Jake's establishment. It seemed that most folk were too afraid to come forward, but it was an embarrassing fact to Simms; this was going on right underneath his own nose and he had no idea. Every time he had seen the pair, the taller man, this Joe, had always had his neck covered and this explained why.

"You get any trouble from Jake, you just come and tell me, miss. All right?"

Simms turned towards the door, grimacing; he was going to have to have a long chat with Jake. He paused, glancing back at the young woman and his expression softened.

"Here." He held out a handful of caps. "For your trouble, miss."


Offline Kreed

  • Full Member
  • ***
    • Posts: 100
    • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Harden Simms seemed like a nice, unassuming man. It was just a shame he was a shitty sheriff. It didn't take more than half a brain to catch on to Jake's slave ring; a quick look at the patrons in the bar had been enough to tell Akuma everything there was to know. If Simms couldn't see that, yet, well... he'd better hope he was safe enough within the four walls of Megaton to work while he was still green.

The sheriff breached her personal space, and the young woman flinched in surprise before - with great reluctance - presenting her open hands face up, eyes widening at the sight of caps as though she'd never seen so much in one place. Not at least that she could call her own.

May clutched the caps to her chest in a tight fist, jaw clenching and eyes flashing in a brief fear before she stiffened. "Thank you."

It was all she could muster before she fled back into the shadows of the hall and out the back door. With the sheriff preoccupied with the owner of the pub, they'd have plenty of time to go through the main entrance, even as loud as the engine roared when the doors flew open.

Following the narrow pathway between the backs of metal shacks and the towering walls, Akuma found the way back to the water treatment plant and lightly knocked three times on the rusting door to the facility. "Joe." The hissed whisper was sharp against the calm of the night. "It's Lucy. Get your stuff and let's get out of here through the front gate. Time to haul ass." Would Simms make good on his promise to arrest them over the trouble with the yao guai, or - with new knowledge that Beckett was a slaver - would he let it slip? Either way, Akuma wasn't keen on finding out. In situations like this, it was best to come in with a roar and leave with a whimper. Wasn't no shame in fleeing when shit got hairy. It had kept them alive so far.


Offline Jabbathejack

  • Manager
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 417
    • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Joe had lost all track of how long he had been waiting. He was incapable of relaxing, sure that at any moment, their crude attempts to barricade the door would be thrown aside and the door would burst open, with Jake and his friends ready to drag him back.

Forcing himself to pull his eyes away from the door, Joe looked at the yao guai and realised with a start that the creature was staring at him, silent except for the occasional light huff. After a moment, it settled down, resting its head on its paws.

Joe jumped as the voice outside whispered his name and it took him a moment to recognise the speaker. He climbed hurriedly to his feet, reaching for Lucius' pack, slinging it over his shoulder. Lucy. Finally, there was a preference for a name and Joe made sure that he would use it.

Clearing the barricade, Joe opened the door tentatively.
"Lucy? We okay?"

Behind the masked figure, the town was silent, with none of the panic that had been expecting to see. Exhaling slowly, he ventured out, ready to follow Lucy's lead.


Offline Kreed

  • Full Member
  • ***
    • Posts: 100
    • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
"For the moment." Akuma moved to allow both Joe and the yao guai clearance to pass. Details could wait until they had made camp in a safer place. For now, time was of the essence.

"Sheriff is busy conducting an investigation of the room right now. The way should be clear for now, but we need to move quickly."

Practically pivoting where they stood, Lucy made a beeline for the front gates, their white yao guai nudging their back as they went.

"How far is Rivet City?"


Offline Jabbathejack

  • Manager
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 417
    • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Joe felt a touch shellshocked as the realisation that they had a window to move in began to trickle down. He had so many questions, but of course, now really wasn't the time to second guess.

He hurried to follow Lucy, shouldering their pack automatically. It was heavier than he had expected, but he made no complaints; it wasn't anything that he could not handle.

"Rivet City?" He kept his voice in a whisper. "I'd say it's a day's travel, but I'd suggest taking a rest point along the way. It can be pretty hairy once we get to the city."

Joe tried to keep his gaze down on the ground as he followed Lucy, trying not to appear too suspicious. Of course, the addition of the albino yao guai was enough to draw some attention, but clearly, they had not heard about the attack yet.

He held his breath as they crossed through the gate, the gears grinding around them and then, they were free. Slowly, Joe exhaled, forcing himself to keep a steady pace as they walked away.


Offline Kreed

  • Full Member
  • ***
    • Posts: 100
    • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
"It's nightfall. I wouldn't want us travelling that far anyway."

The fact that Joe picked up their bag didn't seem to register immediately. They watched him lift it but made no further acknowledgement...at least inside the gates.

"So we'll be going into the Ruins." It wasn't so much a question as a confirmation. Great. They hadn't gotten the chance to trade, and it sounded like it would be another trip before they traded again. Here was hoping they had enough ammunition to power through a run-in with super mutants.

The gates opened up and the wide sky sat waiting for them, stars coating the night in gleaming specks and spatters like a sweating glass of Nuka-Cola. Below, the muddy palette of the Wasteland rolled. There were the burnt-out shells of the Springvale homes, the horizon pierced by the rust-orange tip of the red rocket station, and the hulking barrel of the city's old water tower. Then - except for crumbling concrete pillars of Pre-War highway overpasses and defunct powerlines - the faded khaki blur of a great deal of Nothing.

A warm breeze kicked up and the dust stirred with a low hiss. Lucy took in a deep breath, distorted by their respirator, before heading South, down the gentle slope from Megaton back into the main street of Springvale. "We should get you some shoes. Anything on the way there where we might get you suited up?" It hadn't occurred to them at the time to grab Joe's things when they were back at Jake's place... but odds were, they'd already been removed and there'd have been no way to hide it from the sheriff anyway.


Offline Jabbathejack

  • Manager
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 417
    • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Joe frowned at the question, trying to force himself to stay focused as they walked away from the gates to Megaton. He hadn't thought about his feet since his cuts had been fixed, but Lucy was right, he was not going to last long without a pair of decent boots.

"We should head to the east. There's an old supermarket up ahead, before we get to the river."

He threw a backwards glance towards the city, but it remained silent in the darkness. To his surprise, it seemed that no one was after them. Joe snapped his attention back to Lucy, hurrying to keep up.

"Beckett steered clear of it, too many raiders to be worth the hassle. I don't know how many exactly."


Offline Kreed

  • Full Member
  • ***
    • Posts: 100
    • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
"A Super Duper Mart." Unless the Commonwealth had a different breed of monopolic international hypermarket. Lucy had a doubt. What's more is that the layout of each Super Duper Mart was quite similar; if you'd looted one, you'd looted them all.

Of course, a Super Duper Mart in the middle of nowhere would be an oasis in the desert for a weary and unsuspecting traveller, so it would have been a great lure for easy prey in the beginning. By the sounds of it though, the cat had been let out of the bag a long time ago. The raiders wouldn't have had the element of surprise for much longer; it could make a decent raider pit stop if they had the means to keep pooling their supplies into it.

There was also the fact that Akuma had no idea how strong Beckett was. Clearly, the man had enough sway over a big guy like Fulbeck to keep him in line, but was that an indicator of Beckett's strength, or simply Joe's agreeability? In any case, he hadn't been able to take a yao guai to the face, so he was - at most - a seemingly average human in the ways of constitution.

"Call me a buzzard but I reckon if you loot a looter you're gonna come away with at least a little somethin good."

Super Duper Mart it was. There'd be no denying the potential haul, especially if the raiders had been accumulating their spoils there for some time. Besides... aisles made for great hiding places. Or dominoes. It really came down to how creatively the raiders rigged their set up.

"And gimme my damn bag. You're gonna be slow enough barefoot."

Not waiting for a response or reaction, the smaller person reached over and seized their effects, shouldering their bag and settling back into their gait like a radchicken on her brood.

"Don't take stuff that don't belong to you without asking. Don't care if you were trying to be polite. Could get you in trouble."

A beat. Akuma knew what the reply would be before Joe even opened his mouth. "And you don't need to apologize. I know you meant well. Just don't do it again."