Dead Drop


--College Square • 1900 hours, dusk--

Simple mission. Pick up a dead drop. Ever since refusing to remain with the Brotherhood of Steel, Loth had worked secretly with the Railroad, first as a tourist and later as a full-fledged agent, and he'd run a million missions like this one.

Never had he run one with a woman who claimed to be his wife, though. That was new.

A stealth-imperative mission wouldn't be a good time or place to talk, nor would being distracted be a good thing. When Loth clocked in, for anyone or anything, he took the job seriously. Would she understand that? Frankly, he didn't care, so long as nothing interfered with their success. Des needed the status on a safehouse, and she'd get it. No matter what.

His memories were still a jumbled mess, the man — no, synth — never knowing what was true and what wasn't. He had memories of a woman, a whole family in fact, vague recollections; but, looking at her now, he didn't exactly recognize her. Memories so faded, there was no way he could know. So he had to, what, just take her at her word? Maybe.

"Um," he began, looking over a pair of aviator shades to eye the woman. "So. We need to get this done fast. You ever pick up a dead drop before? Depending on what we find, we may have a sequel mission to execute at our own discretion."


Ani: "Da, more than once. Des trusts you, and myself. I have one more thing to do, and then we can go." I headed over to where Vex was humming to a bundle in her arms. I trusted Vex with my baby, but I needed to touch her. I took her from Vex, cuddling her close. Things were jumbled up, twisted; he'd been accepted, yet we'd barely exchanged a dozen or so words. "Mission first, then we decide what to do, da?"

Loth: The man huffed but made no complaints, watching her walk away before moving through HQ towards the escape tunnel. Standing there in the tunnel's entrance, he checked ammunition levels for his combat rifle, then his handgun, and last of all his grenade belt. As usual, he was ready for anything. Patience was a virtue he'd been granted. Or programmed with.

Ani: I breathed in her baby scent, memorizing it. I handed her back to Vex, hugged them both, and jogged to the escape tunnel, joining him. I put on shades too, hiding amber eyes from his thorough gaze. If he was anything like my Loth, he'd do the mission and do it well. I carried my favorite weapon, sniper rifle, personal handgun, and ammo in the pack I carried, along with a few surprises: Claymore mines, and plastique, courtesy of my Vault. "Lock and load..."

Loth: "Locked, and loaded," he responded quietly, with a slight nod. A man as tall as him had to stoop to make it through the escape tunnel, but when it opened up into the main catacombs, he could finally stand up straight. "Watch the puddles. Wouldn't want to get your shoes wet. Long ways to walk." At the end of the tunnels, he carefully pushed a grate out of the way and stepped into the quickly-fading tones of sunset. When she followed, he reaffixed the grate in place, and ducked underneath some overhanging moss that hid the escape tunnel's exit.

Ani: "Combat boots, waterproof body armour; I'm fine, merci." Part of me wanted to smack him for the tone, the other, sweet Jesu... I resisted the urge to stick out my tongue and followed, careful not to say anything . He might look like my Loth, but he wasn't. I had to keep it in mind, concentrate on the mission at hand. Des was depending on this intel, and we'd get her what she needed.

Loth: "It was just a friendly suggestion." Too busy going over route details and mission specs in his head, he couldn't bother to be annoyed. It would be a waste of his energy. "It could be up to a 5 hour trip, and that's only if we keep a good walking pace. We need to finish the op before morning."

Ani: "I can keep up, no worries. I won't hold you back. My friends call me Anya, or Duchess if you like... Did Des tell you anything about me?" Oh gods, he had the same look Loth did when something needed to be done. I kept pace, my strides matching his.

Loth: "I believe it. You already know my name. But the codename I got stuck with is Falcon, so take your pick," he offered. "Not a thing, Duchess. It's your prerogative. ...Look, I know our meeting in the Capital Wasteland was...awkward, but we can't let it get in the way of our job, right? We can handle this. I know we can."

Ani: "Falcon, it suits. This is a job, one Des is depending on us to do. Awkward, nyet, I can handle this, it's what we do. Nothing more, nothing less. Perhaps once this over, you can ask anything you want."

Loth: "Because I used to be a Lancer-Captain, a Vertibird pilot with the Brotherhood of Steel. Falx Squadron. Latin for falcon." He instinctively reached for his holotags, always forgetting that he'd left them behind the day he'd crashed his bird. "Yeah. Des is depending on us because Randolph Safehouse has been dark for a long, long time. But if there's a chance that it's still active, we need to know for sure."

Ani: I fingered the tags around my neck. They were my connection to him, in a way I never expected. "Des is a good friend, I owe her a lot, all of them. Did she say how long it's been dark for? Or no real timeline?" Okay so I loved hearing his voice, more fool me. He was him, yet he wasn't. Once done we'd go our separate ways... So engrossed in my thoughts, I did the newbie thing and tripped over an exposed tree root. Pitching forward I swore in Russian, then a pithy curse in French; of all the stupid things I'd done, this had to be the most embarrassing ever.

Loth: "Since Switchboard fell. So, a while now. I doubt Desdemona will just let Randolph's agents back into the fold without time in quarantine," he added. "But that's assuming there's really anyone left alive, and that this isn't a trap. We'll just have to see what we find at the dead drop." Glancing over his shoulder when he heard her swear, his eyes widened. "Uh, you okay? Hope that ankle isn't sprained..."

Ani: "Da, just peachy thank you." Fuck me sideways, he had noticed, the girly part of me wanted to bawl against his manly chest -- oh lord, cheesy romance novel time. The soldier in me kicked my ass. "Tree root..."

Loth: "You're welcome. Here, let me--..." He offered one hand with which to help her up, if she chose to take it. "Are you sure you're alright?"

Ani: I grasped his hand , smiling a little. "Da, the only thing hurt is my dignity, merci." I put on sunglasses, glad of the darkness to hide my eyes, and the emotions his touch did to me.

Loth: "Come on, don't worry about it. You found me as a crazy old hermit with a long scruffy beard, wearing a grimy flightsuit. All you've done was trip. We can't even call it even yet, not until you do something more embarrassing."

Ani: "You are most kind." His hand held mine , and just for a moment--...Fanciful. I needed to get my head back in the game. "You'd every right. you had been through too much."

Loth: "Maybe, but I went a little off the deep end. Being a part of something again is better, even if I'm against the Brotherhood... Well, the Brotherhood would be against me too, if they found out what I am, so I guess I have no choice. And Maxson is no Elder of mine."

Ani: "It is, I'm a long way from home. I was a revenant, frozen in the late 21 century. A choice I made, for no family. Now like you I have a purpose, meaning. I have family, my baby. Loth, as far as I'm concerned you're human, and a...friend, if you want."

Loth: "So am I, now. But home is where you make it, honestly. I could call any old Vertibird my home so long as I'm in the pilot's chair, even the bird Tinker Tom stole from the Brotherhood. I'm not human, and I never will be, but I'm still a person, and I guess that's what counts. Anyway... Yeah. I don't know if things will be weird for us, trying to be friends, but...I'm willing to try."

Ani: "Humanity is a term. And I think it will be very nice to have you as my friend. For me, that counts. I'm over 400 years old for I'm not truly human. I was born in 1899 and officially I died in 1917."

Loth: "Well, you're obviously not dead. I know they thought I was, too. Maybe it should've stayed that way. Well, whatver. One day at a time. ...If you're not hurt from your fall, we should probably keep moving."


Ani: "I think I would regret that..." I picked up my pack and continued on along the trail. This would be interesting, but in a good way-- I hoped.

Loth: "Me too, I guess. You can't run from your problems forever. It was better to face them, even if I lost a lot. And I'll still always call the Brotherhood Outcasts my allies, my family."

Ani: "Mira is mine, family I mean. Some things hit you directly in the face whether you want it to or not. We've all lost people we care about, lov. Sometimes, you get a second chance."

Loth: "I wouldn't call it a second chance. Really more of a...fallback. I didn't have a lot of options. Doesn't matter, though. I'll do what I can here, especially if it'll help anyone else like me." He glanced over his shoulder, to ensure no one was following them. "We should be at the dead drop soon. From there, we'll know where to go and what to do. Shouldn't be more than 5 miles out."

Ani: "I wisely kept quiet, following him. Options, he and I had so many. I slipped back on the sunglasses, hiding suddenly amber tinged eyes. "What we all do helps, in little ways."

Loth: "Big ways. Keep watch, will you?" Drawing his handgun, he ducked around the nearest building and reached into a mailbox with his free hand, fishing out a holotape. "Got it. Follow me."

Ani: I did, letting my wolf out just a titch. Her eyes and ears were so much better at this secret squirrel stuff anyway. "Da, of course." I had my gun out, safety on, just for the moment. I followed him, keeping an eye out for anything untoward.


Loth: "This building, we need to head inside. All part of the protocol. Then we'll know a bit about what happened to Randolph, and whether or not we should try to reclaim it. Ready?"