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Safety Off

By amailia

Adventure / Romance

Easy City Downs

Easy City Downs. They’d stumbled upon it after have a few too many beers and then deciding to spend the afternoon wandering around looking for trouble. Even though the sun hung low on the horizon and she knew they should head back to Diamond City before nightfall, she couldn’t resist taking a closer look. MacCready followed without question, he never seemed reluctant to walk into potential danger.

It took the better part of an hour to scour the grounds and eliminate the raiders and gangsters that had infested the place. They carefully picked through their belongings, stashing any ammo, chems or caps they found. After it was done, they stood in the firelight of a burning barrel of debris, staring at the racetrack as they realized what exactly was going on… it was some kind of robot race. The machines paid no heed to their now dead masters as they circled, beeping or occasionally spouting a programed taunt to one another. She wondered if it would ever end, or if they’d keep circling forever.

“As good of a use as any for the things, I guess,” MacCready commented. She nodded in agreement, turning to the southwest to eye the sun which had set more than an hour ago. She was still surprised by how bright the stars and moon were in this world, with so little light pollution to mask their brilliance. She considered the option of heading back to Diamond City in the dark, but knew it was too dangerous.

“You thinking what I’m thinking?” MacCready asked.

“That we pushed our luck to start with by drinking all morning then heading out into the city, guns blazing?” she asked dryly.

“Ya. Maybe not the best idea ever,” he agreed.

“We can stay here for the night, should be relatively safe,” she agreed, heading toward the main building. They found their way upstairs, picking the room farthest from the entrance to set up for the night. She dug through the drawers of a nearby desk that was strewn with debris as MacCready drug a dirty mattress in from another room, tossing it against a wall, then sighing heavily.

“This place is depressing,” he said.

“It's ok, I found alcohol,” she replied. He smiled as she offered the bottle of bourbon out to him. He opened it, recoiling slightly as he sniffed the contents. He shrugged, then took a deep drink, shuttering at its apparent bitterness. He offered it back to her and she took a swig herself, grimacing as well. Why couldn’t any decent bourbon have survived the apocalypse?

“Are you even old enough to drink?” she asked with a smile.

“Come on,” he said, rolling his eyes, “Why all the grief about my age?”

“I just can’t get over the child mayor thing,” she said. Her grin widened as she remembered his drunken tale from this morning of how he became the mayor of Little Lamplight, an all-child community outside of what was once Washington D.C., though now it was apparently referred to as ‘The Capital Wasteland’.

“I never should have told you that,” he shook his head, “I knew you’d use that knowledge for evil.”

“Young man, I am over 200 years old, show some respect to your elders.”

“Oh whatever cryo-woman. I know you were married and all that, but you can’t be much older than me.”

She made a disgusted face to indicate her disapproval of the term cryo-woman, but decided to relinquish a bit on badgering the poor guy.

“Honestly, we’re probably about the same age. My husband and I married young, had Shaun right out of the gate, more or less.”

“Shotgun wedding, that’s what they used to say right?” he said.

She gave him a lopsided grin, “Yes, but… no, not exactly. He was about to be deployed again, and we didn’t want to wait. So we went to courthouse and got it in writing. I was 18 at the time.”

His face slowly fell blank, his voice quieting as he grew more serious, “I know he died… ten or so years ago, but to you it must have seemed like almost no time passed, right?”

She nodded slowly. It had been over five months since she’d thawed out and at the time she still thought her baby son was out there somewhere and that her husband had been killed just moments prior. It had only been a few weeks since she’d discovered the truth - that after she saw Shaun being taken from her and watched her husband brutally murdered, that she’d been frozen again for another ten years. After she got out and the weeks and months passed she thought it would get better, that she would gain some relief from being able to take action, to find her husband’s murderer and avenge his death, to find out what really happened to Shaun. But in truth, she felt just as powerless now as she had when she was trapped in that pod, pounding on the glass and begging them not to take his life.

“I’m sorry,” he said genuinely, “It must have been hard to lose him like that.”

“Thanks,” she said, trying not to sound skeptical. She hadn’t quite been able to figure MacCready out yet, but he was rarely serious with her. She didn’t sense an ulterior motive for his sentiment however, so for now, she would take it at face value.

A sudden nearby beep caused them both to raise their weapons defensively toward the desk. After no additional noises or movements, they exchanged an apprehensive look before stepping toward it. MacCready kept his weapon up as she lowered hers, tossing some of the debris off the desk to reveal a functioning terminal.

“I can hack this,” she said, kneeling down to crouch in front of the computer. It took her only a few short minutes to unlock the console, revealing a host of commands.

“It’s the robot controls,” she said.

“Great - make them shut up, please,” he said, stepping closer to hover over her shoulder. She read through the options, smiling mischievously back at him as she saw the last selection. His expression was blank at first, but after a moment, he smiled slightly and shrugged. It had been that kind of day, after all. She arrowed down then hit select to initiate the self-destruct sequence.

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