Being tech expert for the resistance entails some nice perks, you see.
You never have to go topside, thus the risk of getting your head turned into smoke by a plasma shot is considerably less. Since you get to be around the bunker all the time, you get first dibs on the distillation produce and the best foodstuffs. That's not saying much though, since the damn pseudo-liquor could double as jet fuel, and the best food consists of not receiving rats and bugs to meet your daily protein requirement. Still, all things considered, it has to be one of the best jobs out here in the nuclear wasteland.
That's why Specialist Stephen Wolfe gets to enjoy his life more than most. Being tech savvy has become a true lifesaver in these days. You don't even have to move over to the forward bunkers since all information is exchanged through exclusive resistance landlines. They're slow and shitty for real time interactions, but not for continuous information trading.
Well, actually that's all in the past now, because Mr. Wolfe doesn't get to partake in the jolliness of tech life so much anymore. One of the duties everyone who stays inside has to partake into is taking care of the younglings. Usually, a couple of kids are assigned via lottery to an adult who is in charge of them for a week or so. At this point in time though, Specialist Wolfe is pretty damn sure the bloody thing is rigged to hell, and he's getting stuck with the childcare equivalent of latrine duty. Day in and day out he keeps his eyes peeled to see who's the smart pants trying to bust his bollocks for a giggle.
But I digress. For about a month now, Mr. Wolfe has been stuck with these two kids everyone else avoids like a metal going bloody postal. Mia and Lyaksandra. No one counts years no more, but they seem to be in their late teens, anywhere between fifteen and nineteen.
First, the witch, as they call her on this side or vyed'ma, as they call her in the small Russki group that resides on the south side. Little blonde knows no boundaries or respect, and everyone suspects by now that she's missing more than one screw up in the brain-pan. One day she's talking Russian, the next English, and then she mixes and mingles. Sometimes it's something mental, like making strange noises every other word, imitating people's accents, and just the other day she was repeating the word like, before every other sentence that came out of her mouth. Buzz on the tunnels is that Connor came one day to check on the people personally, and the cheeky wench was yelling at the General and making demands. Oh yeah, that crazy, and also it's commonplace to see her talking alone.
Now, one would think, with a kid like that, how bad can the other one possibly be? Well, you'd be in for quite a surprise.
They don't call the little brunette, ghost, just for laughs. That kid don't speak but a couple words a day, except to the other one, and when she does you need to pay attention real close, because only whispers come out of her mouth. Also, no one ever notices when she comes and goes, just like a real ghost, one minute she's there and the next she's gone. Kid has these huge brown eyes, cute like a lost puppy and is always carrying some sort of plush toy; damn thing is so mangled and dirty that you can't tell what the hell it was in the first place. Anyway, do you remember about the eyes? Yeah? Well that's the worst part. The kid stares at you, and the first five minutes it's real cute, then you realize it's been going on for more than ten minutes and it starts getting real creepy. When it dawns on you that she's been at it for half an hour, well let's just say that's plain terrifying.
So yeah, now you know what poor Specialist Stephen Wolfe has been dealing with. First two weeks were bloody funny, seeing him bust his ass trying to control the two kids and all their shenanigans around the whole place. That was about it though, because that's when it got shipped in.
Connor in person captured a machine unlike any other. Of course being unique is its own brand of problem, and the farther bunkers get to stick it up for the rest. Long story short, the damn thing ended up here because it just plain refuses to do any fighting, and to date, no one has been able to reprogram it. Now, don't you get me wrong here, our very own Mr. Wolfe makes the people at Connor's bunker look like droopy-eyed, armless children. All of them bunched together even. Still, no one can get to this metal's inner-works.
To the untrained eye, it would seem like Specialist Wolfe is all over this machine because of the challenge. Gossip is though, that he always had a thing for redheads, and would you just look at this one. Her hair is so red –something twixt cherries and blood- you got to admit it's damn flashy even though she wears it in this dorky bob cut. Who knows if she does it on purpose, but she's always wearing dark clothes, long dresses if possible, the darkest she can get her hands on. So, even when the most rabid metal-haters around here catch a glimpse of the way her milky white skin contrasts with the clothing, you are sure to see mouths going agape. Now, these are the guys that will sure as hell deny it afterwards, swear on their momma's tomb and whatnot, that's when you can squeeze some valuables out of them and get a good laugh at their expense.
Let's not beat around the bush too much. Thing is that this metal is nothing like the rest. Never pretends to be anything remotely human, doesn't try to engage in conversation or continue one otherwise, and sure as hell will refuse to do any sort of military-related duty. Since things are pretty calm around these parts, they sent her to this bunker to help with chores. That she does, and damn well I must say. Laundry, dishes, she even offers to do latrine duty, nothing is too dirty for her. Got to say, even if everyone is spooked by her ghastly presence, people are still damn happy to have a born maid around so they can skip on their nastier obligations.
I can't keep my damn mind in track here. Pass me one of those chocolates. Ok, so the problem basically comes down to this. Every single freaking time the techs try to scrub the hell out of this metal's brain, not five minutes later she's back to whatever it is we see as normal now. Wolfe says it's some kind of hidden area in the intricate maze of her neural network, whatever that is. Just like the trip-eights, but this one has no murder-every-human-in-sight crap locked up there. The whole thing with her brain, plus the gothic maid looks and attitude, had Mr. Wolfe quite obsessed since the first days of meeting her.
Don't jump to any conclusions though, he is a machine hater as much as the guy sitting next to you, but that somewhat changed in recent days and no one can tell why. You know me though, only the best gossip for my best customers. Rumor has it, that those two monsters Wolfe has been stuck with for the past several weeks, stole an electric piano from one of the higher ups in Falstad bunker. Indeed, that's how high this duo raises the stakes in mischief doing.
You see, the blonde is a potty mouth and one arrogant prick, those are good social skills nowadays. They say she can toss a good punch and has even gotten some soldiers to eat dirt. Probably tried to touch her all inappropriate or something. Now, it's not like she don't put out, but the psycho seems to have standards, who would imagine. Anyway, thing is that without the brunette, their whole operation could not exist. At least that's what people say. Apparently, the little ghost is quite the mastermind, and with those ninja moves she has, it's how they were able to relocate the electric piano right under the owner's nose.
Plan obviously was to trade it in for some goods. They stashed the device down in Mr. Wolfe's lair since no one ever visits the place, and waited for things to cool down over in Falstad to try and get a good deal for it. You see, the hotter the merchandise, the less you can get for it.
This is where the good part finally comes into the story. The intel no one else can give you. That is why, I humbly ask you to deposit your payment before I go on. Thank you very much, a pleasure doing business with you.
Ok, so one night Mr. Wolfe is unable to catch any sleep, decides he might as well get some work done and goes down to his lair. How big is his surprise when, as he zeroes in to the place, he hears the most beautiful music playing from within. Pretty music or not though, someone has broken into his abode, and that will not stand in his book. Moved by his anger he goes inside as abruptly as possible –something just short of kicking the door and walking in guns blazing- only to be confronted by the radiance of one Dorothy Wayneright. The metal is sitting on his most favorite chair of them all and remains undisturbed by his entrance, absorbed in quite the unique brand of trance.
All his anger is fast forgotten, and the tech soon finds his self sitting on the floor, mesmerized by her pale, dainty hands dancing across the keyboard. She plays the piano like a bloody virtuoso, and he's not the only one captured in this delight. There, at the other side of the metal and also sitting on the floor, lie the two cute little sources of all his headaches. The vyed'ma and the ghost.
Ta dah. End of story. Now you know why those three aren't as apprehensive around the redhead metal anymore. Time to go my friends; I will be seeing you later.
What? Why do me and my buddy always come in here wearing blankets? Are you dumb? An information broker's first and most important tool is anonymity, geez. Go! Scram!
Let's roll Mia; times a wasting and we need to retrieve some more goodies before we can go back for Ms. Wayneright's gig tonight. Let me just pack the rest of this crap.
Yeah, I know what you mean, we are absolutely lucky to have Mr. Wolfe and Dorothy in our lives. What? I know how much you like it with them, of course we are going to keep rigging the lottery, you silly goose!
Come here, you get head burn for being a dummy. Hey, don't you run away from me!
- TSCC fanfiction: Faint hearted need not apply.