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Fandom Fallout New Vegas: All Roads [Closed]


Said you'd die for me, well -- there's the ground
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It had been a while since Aemilia Strafe set foot in Freeside – not since before the Divide. The proximity to the Strip was too dangerous for her to think of stepping into it with all its temptations. Drugs, alcohol, and a thousand ways to die! ‘And you’re looking for one more.’ She couldn’t help but brush red hair out of her face, grazing her fingers over the new scar on her forehead.

“C’mon, Boone,” Rose of Sharon Cassidy, the other red-head, spoke behind Aemlia, a teasing lilt in her voice, “what color of dress would suit Veronica?” they had sent Veronica to the Followers on a lark to gather supplies and a cheap place to sleep so they could discuss a plot to get her a dress. Veronica had only joined them at 188 Trading Post, claiming she wanted to venture out more, see the world – but she was too concerned about traveling alone.

And as they all talked in the campfires of the route, she had expressed a desire for an old world designer gown.

They might not find old world, but new world?

Boone’s heavy sigh almost made Aemilia crack a smile. “I don’t care,” he said, obviously frustrated to be hassled on this.

Not that Aemilia blamed him, recalling all the little things he’d said of his wife. She might have been able to help Veronica, but Boone? Not so much. He was a go with the flow sort where fashion was concerned. Not that any of them could be called fashionable in their attire, coated in road dirt, and all of it made for protection of some sort.

So she interjected for his sake, “I think blue,” the sound of the crier for the Atomic Wrangler could be heard, and Aemilia turned her head towards it, “That’s the way towards the Silver Rush, right?”

Cass’s play left her tone, “Yeah,” irritation replaced play. They’d swung by a couple of wrecks of Cass’s caravans. Aemilia had only met Cass on the road, where Cass was leaving the Crimson Caravan with a sack full of caps, and plenty of baggage. She’d attached herself on the walk to the Strip for no reason other than numbers, but under the influence of whisky she’d spilled her story, and despite all of Aemilia’s impatience…she found it to go by the wreck so Cass could pay her respects.

They found quite a bit more than that – enough to point to the Silver Rush’s Gloria and the Crimson Caravan’s Alice moving to destroy Cassidy’s work.

They hadn’t decided what to do yet.

It was a conversation to be had after Aemilia’s revenge, because Mr. New Vegas never shut up about her ventures. If Benny hadn’t figured out she was alive by now, he was an idiot.

Aemilia liked to hope he wasn’t. That’d be embarrassing.

They approached the entrance to the Strip, Aemilia half-hoping the fact she had a delivery would get her through, even if she didn’t have it on her. Luck had come through before. As she stepped up to the Securitron guards, she paused to allow it to scan her, and her companions.

“You do not appear to have enough credits,” the Securitron noted.

“I have a package to deliver to the Lucky 38.”

“Please present the package to be scanned.”

Aemilia glanced to see if Victor, her ever-present stalker, was nearby. Naturally, when he could help, he wasn’t.

“How many credits?”

“2,000 per entrant.”

Boone grunted.

Cass let out a low whistle as she shook her head, “The whiskey isn’t any better there than the Atomic Wrangler. Come on, if we want to lose the 500 between us, why stop us? It wets House’s dick no matter, right?”

The securitron was not programmed for Cass’s attitude, and simply responded, “If you do not have the caps, you can get in with a passport.”

“Fine – fine, we’ll be back,” Aemilia waved it off, “500 between us, I’m sure I can win at the Wrangler.”

Boone arched a brow, and Aemilia could feel the judgment wafting off of him at that.

Cass just let out a frustrated noise, the last to turn around and jog to catch up with the distance they made, “There’s gotta be a better way.”

“Veronica,” Boone reminded them.

“Oh shit, her dress,” Cass palmed her face, as if that was the important thing – and not that Veronica might have a way onto the Strip. “We can’t gamble that money without getting her a dress first.”

“They have better dresses on the Strip,” Aemilia remembered seeing them in the windows. She’d always wanted one for herself, too, but she wouldn’t admit that now. This was about Veronica, who only wanted a dress, of everything. “Let’s at least play a couple of rounds before we check in on Veronica. 250 of our 500.” Aemilia thumbed down towards the Wrangler.

Boone let out another, long-suffering sigh, a sound Aemilia had grown so accustomed to hearing. He wouldn’t protest. Nor would Cass as they walked towards the Wrangler – Cass glaring down the Silver Rush all the way, until they stepped into the casino, to hear a ghoul doing stand up over the chimes of the slot machines.


Veronica Renata Santangelo took her job of finding supplies, bedding, and a path to the Strip very seriously. The Followers were known to be helpful, but as she began to talk to them, she realized their beds were overrun with drunks and addicts, and their supplies were thin for a similar reason – as well as the NCR feud with the Kings, apparently, which she kept hearing about as she passed about.

Her lips pursed together in frustration as she sat in a tent across from a blond man who really seemed to want her anywhere else, “If you want supplies, you’ll want to bother Julie. Same with bedding.”

“What if I just want to get to the Strip?” Veronica finally asked, fists clenched in her lap, unwilling to return with nothing. She’d already talked to Julie.

The man arched an eyebrow, “Oh, is that all?” the sarcasm was evident, “if you have that kind of money, you can just walk on through. The price is up to 2,000 caps, though.” Veronica knew very well they didn’t have 2,000 caps together. Let alone 8,000 to get all four of them. That wasn’t going to work, and perhaps her utter frustration and desperation finally pulled a heartstring.

The man sighed, “Look, I can see there’s something very important going on.”

Yes! She was finally getting out to see the world, and she didn’t want to lose that by not being able to come through for Aemilia, Boone, and Cass! She was about to get answers to so many things about the Brotherhood she was a part of, the Brotherhood that kept her so isolated and unaware of things.

“So if you’re desperate, and you have a good cause, you could bother Abigail. She’s with the NCR and has access to the Strip.”

“Who’s that?”

“Short blonde, but she won’t seem short – trust me,” he chuckled, “wears glasses. You’ll know her when you see her.”

Veronica nodded, “Any tips?”

His eyes went over her. “Flirt?” Veronica flushed, not exactly expecting to be told that. He shrugged, “Or if you don’t like women, or can’t fake it, she’s usually willing to negotiate for something,” he said, making a dismissive motion with his hands.

“Thank you!” Veronica rose hastily to her feet and scrambled out of the tent to locate the short-tall blonde woman, and indeed, as soon as she laid eyes on her, she understood.

The way Abigail carried herself commanded respect at a glance.

Not to mention she was gorgeous.


Veronica mustered up her own confidence, that confidence which had somehow gotten her away from the Route 188 and on the road, and approached Abigail with a smile that shone brightly in her dark brown eyes, warming them, “Heeey!” she called out, “Rumor has it you’re the gal with the golden ticket to the Strip, and rumor has it that I, uh,” well fuck, now that she was standing so close, she realized she had not planned this out well, “happen to be in really desperate need of a way in.” There went that confidence. Well not entirely.

She said it.

She just didn’t make a good case other than desperation to share it, did she?

“Hi, I’m Veronica,” that probably didn’t help her case, but that was polite, and maybe Abigail really would be up to striking a deal! Or helping out of the goodness of her heart?
Bronson enjoyed winding down with a whiskey in the Atomic Wrangler at the end of a long, hot day in the Mojave. It also just so happened that, if you were looking for someone, the Atomic Wrangler was the perfect place to park your ass and wait for them to show up. He could have been more proactive, could have gone asking around and hunting for this woman. But why would he? All roads led to the Atomic Wrangler. No one passed through Freeside without stopping there at least once. Unless this woman had several thousands caps at her immediate disposal, at least. And if she did, well, Bronson would much rather let her live and see if she'd pay him.

Celer napped at his feet, his massive body curled as best he could under the shade of the table and cooling his belly on the cracked tile floor. Usually animals weren't allowed inside, the rats were guest enough, but the Garrett twins soon realized what Bronson knew: when Celer was around, people tended to behave better. No one wanted to be on the receiving end of those teeth. So, Bronson nursed his whiskey, and he waited.

Four and some change years ago Freeside would have been the sort of place Bronson would have wanted to burn down and string every single person there up on a cross, but now, he didn't mind it all too much. It was funny what watching a man being thrown off a cliff into the grand canyon did for a Centurion's motivation, really. Burning with contempt was easy when you were surrounded by kindling. Now he drank their whiskey, and smoked their cigarettes, and though he didn't shoot up their chems he knew plenty of people who did without putting a bullet in their head.

"Hey hey hey! Looks like we got a big ugly mutt in the audience tonight--and he brought a dog with him!"

Hadrian shot fingerguns in Bronson's direction to a scatter of very pathetic, pitying applause. Bronson raised his glass and drank. He was in here often enough that Hadrian had started to incorporate Bronson as a surefire person to heckle in his act.

"I'd tell my dog to bite you Hadrian, but he don't like the taste of leather," Bronson tossed back, downing his whiskey and sitting back.

Only a matter of time now.

Celer's head perked up, eyes narrowing toward the door. Bronson looked too.

Two women, one man. Bronson's arms crossed in front of his body when he saw the tell-tale beret of an NCR sniper, grinding his teeth. No matter how many of them invested Freeside he still didn't get used to seeing them. But the woman with the scar on her forehead was enough to tip Bronson off. Plenty of people had scars, no so many had scars smack in the middle of their forehead that looked like they came from a bullet.

And even then, the ones that did were generally dead.

"Wanna make a friend boy?" Bronson asked.

Celer's tail wagged. Bronson walked a slow, easy gait, over to the casino area of the bar. He parked himself at a slot machine, sliding a few caps in the machine as Celer sat by his stool--and he waited to see what the group was going to do next. If it was poker, maybe he'd join them.


"Can you explain to me again what you did, Larry?"

The patient she happened to be speaking to smiled sheepishly, still clutching his stomach. He was sitting up on the cot in the medical tent, his stomach making very ominous rumbling noises. "I, uh, I drank...something bad."


"Hand sanitizer."

"Hand goddamn sanitizer."

Larry winced--whether from embarrassment, or actual pain, she couldn't say. "I'm sorry!"

"What did you think, that it'd sanitize your insides?" Abigail asked, grabbing her medical kit. Larry shook his head.

"There's alcohol in it," he answered.

Abigail sighed.

"Larry, you've been doing so well," she said. "You made it almost a month this time."

"I know, doc, but I just couldn't take it no more. I thought it had to be better for me than Dixon's whiskey, y'know? I--ungh," he groaned again and clutched his stomach. "But I was wrong! Goddamn it, is this gonna kill me?"

"Probably not," Abigail answered.


Abigail dropped a few tablets into a bottle of purified water. She shook it up and watched it fizz. She held it out to Larry. "Here, drink this for the tummy ache."

"That's all?"

"Yes," Abigail said, "that's all. And you'll stay here in case anything goes wrong."

"...alright," he sighed. He knocked the bottle back and started chugging it down. Abigail stepped outside the tent, resting her hands against the back of her neck and closing her eyes. The sun beat against her face, hot and arid, and she almost her eyes just a crack to only be met with someone in rags.

She blinked.

Oh great.

"Everyone is really desperate for a way in," she pointed out. This woman wasn't the first person to know or to ask. Abigail had long given up on the idea of totally separating her career with the NCR with her time with the Followers. People were going to see her on the Strip eventually. But the woman introduced herself. She didn't look strung out on chems or have the telltale shakes of someone in withdrawal. She knew enough of Red Sarah's girls to know that she wasn't one of the whores either.

"...Abigail Maverick," she said. Abigail held out her hand. "Look, I don't mean to sound dismissive, but I've heard this story before. Let me guess, you wanted to strike gold making your fortune on the Strip only to underestimate how much money it'd take to get here, now you're stuck? I sympathize Veronica, I really do, but if I let you come with me I'd be leading a conga line of Freesiders through the gates and that's not exactly, y'know...discreet."

She raised an eyebrow. There was something extremely strange about this woman--usually she could take one look at someone and throw them pretty neatly into a box. Veronica, she couldn't comfortably put into a box yet--other than, perhaps, the kind of cute box, which wasn't that useful for her right now.
Aemilia and Boone both noticed the stranger with the dog. Given, Aemilia had an instant desire to go put the dog and coo about what a cute puppy it was – but she was very aware of what kind of dog it was, and knew that was a surefire way to get her hand bitten off. While not common, she’d met with caravans and other couriers who kept such a beast at their side to protect them from death claws.

Aemilia really just wanted one to deal with cazadors.

But the dog wasn’t the real reason they took notice. It was the way the grizzled man folded his arms, and left his stool, after spotting them.

“Welcome to the Atomic Wrangler – what can I get you three?” the woman behind the bar asked.

“What whiskey you got?” Cass immediately went to the counter.

Boone just shook his head, “No thanks.” He didn’t tend to indulge. Yet another think Aemilia appreciated about his company. Cass could be…too much with the liquor, sometimes.

“Just purified water if you have any,” Aemilia said. A bottle was tossed her way, and she laid out the caps before going over the two options held for whiskey – what they brewed, and what old world stock they had.

Cass went with what they brewed, after a noticeable price difference, as Aemilia looked over the options for games. Blackjack and slots were her favored routes. They were quick. However, the poker tables seemed fuller, which meant more people were there to lose caps. “You want to play, Boone?”

He shook his head as Cass came back to them, “So, anything look easy?”

“It’s all easy,” that was the point of it. “But I think poker,” Aemilia said, and Cass wrinkled her nose, but sighed and shrugged.

“Least it isn’t caravan.”

“God no,” that took way too long. Aemilia enjoyed it on the road, with time to kill, but she didn’t have that luxury right now. “You want in, Cass?”

“Sure!” They divvied up the caps, 125 for each, before going to join the poker table, and getting dealt in. Boone took a wary guarding position at their back, though he did watch the games as they went through, starting at bets of 50 caps. It was Aemilia, Cass, and two other players, as well as the house, for a total of five players.

The first two games, Aemilia won handily enough, sweeping 400 caps her way, so she opted to up the bid to 100 – only to lose it. That was what took Cass out, as she gambled her last 25, so she left her seat. Aemilia negotiated the others to match that 100 again – she’d won more than that between Cass, the House, and the other players – and came out nicely ahead, so she made another match of 100. ‘Up 800….’ This plan would work out so long as the players had caps to play.

If it went down to just her and the house that’d slow to a crawl.

“I’ll get my caps back, right?” Cass asked, as the cards were dealt out again, and the other two players no longer looked so pleased.

Aemilia nodded.

“Let’s make this interesting and go all in, eh?” One of the players was clearly wanting to get rid of her already.


Veronica accepted the hand as Abigail formally introduced herself, shaking it, holding eye contact as best she could while Abigail tried to be dismissive of her. Veronica’s lips only widened into a grin – partially nervous, but also, mostly, hopeful. Abigail pegged her wrong, which mean she might have a chance!

Though, she probably couldn’t just say she needed to get onto the Strip so her new friend could shoot someone in the head with a gun she had a weird reverence for, right? ‘No, definitely don’t talk about the murder. Or the weird gun…thing.’ All Veronica really knew about it was a debate on whether or not to use the gun that she’d overheard with Boone.

And a conversation about needing a more ‘casual’ gun.


“Nope! You have me all wrong, Abigail,” Veronica said, “I’m not interested in making my fortune on the Strip at all!” She sounded too happy to be saying that, didn’t she? Yeah, definitely.

Veronica shifted her weight, folding her arms over her chest. The fingers of her hand not cloaked in a powerfist drummed on the metal as she started to explain, “I’m traveling with the Goodsprings Courier – you listen to the radio, right?” Please let her listen to the radio, please let her know, “The one who saved Goodsprings, Primm, and helped out in Boulder City? Anyways, apparently good deeds don’t pay well,” Veronica laughed a little, “and she needs help getting in. She sent me to look for some options, since she thought maybe she could just walk through, but she wasn’t sure. So in case that doesn’t work, and I don’t think it will, I came here! We’re definitely willing to help out with anything the Followers might need, but we kinda need this as a front. It’s time sensitive, thanks to Mr. New Vegas giving everyone an idea of her path.”

Aemilia hadn’t said to not mention her, though maybe it was implied, since she didn’t want this Benny guy to know she was actually in Freeside. As if he couldn’t figure it out from the radio about Boulder City. “If you know her reputation, you know she’ll be good to her word! And I’ll be helping, too!” She lifted her drumming fingers to make a gesture towards herself as she straightened up.

‘Please be willing to deal, please, please, please.’
Okay, so they were playing poker.

Bronson wasn't much of a gambler. He didn't make enough money to risk gambling it and even if he did, he'd already picked up enough vices since he'd left the Legion--he didn't need to add gambling to that list. But that didn't mean he couldn't engage in it for the sake of keeping up appearances. It would have been a little mean of him to try and hogtie this woman in the middle of someone's performance, afterall--especially when she had two people with her that could complicate things. He was more than aware of what NCR were capable of. The women, obviously, were not as much of a problem.

"Mind if I cut in?"

One of the players turned, looking displeased by the question. He spit on the floor and looked at him. "You got caps to throw in?"

Bronson sat down at the table, hunching over. From his belt he took out a pouch. NCR coins, caps, and Legion denarius all spilled out on the table.

"I can make due," Bronson answered. "Deal me in."

He didn't care if he lost it. He knew how well he was going to be getting paid for this job.

As they shuffled the cards, as Bronson was dealt his hand, his face looked down at the table. His hat cast a shadow over his face, making it impossible to read his expression clearly.

He glanced at Aemilia.

"...going to a bar and drinking plain water," he remarked. His finger tapped against the table as he looked at his cards. "Unless that bottle is filled with vodka that's a strange choice this early in the night."


Okay, so this woman wasn't some unlucky pilgrim desperate for a way to make her fortune. That was at least a nice change of pace. The answer of who she was actually working for, however, was so much more complicated. The courier, that goddamned Goodsprings courier.

Abigail, baby, relax, this plan is made in the shade, Benny had assured her when the news had come out, this casino is my castle and no two-bit courier is gonna kill a king in his castle, dig? She won't even be able to get past the moat.

Except this 'two bit courier' had, according to the radio, liberated a town from criminals--negotiated between the Great Khans and the NCR--and, most importantly, had survived being shot point blank in the head. Abigail was hesitant to trust the word of someone she couldn't even trust to kill a courier a foot in front of him with a pistol.

Her cheek was sucked between her teeth as Abigail considered it.

She wasn't loyal to Benny, per se. None of the Followers were. They wanted a free New Vegas and House was a dictator, simple as that. And a man they could talk to face-to-face had to be leagues easier to manipulate than someone no one had even seen the face of for the past 200 years. What Abigail needed, what was most important really, was having control of that platinum chip until they could figure out what the hell it was for.

But she couldn't just change her tune immediately and roll out the carpet for them. That would be suspicious.

"Pardon my language," Abigail said, "but to level with you, I would rather be fisted in the ass by whatever the hell that thing on your arm is than get mixed up in the presumably insane shit you and your courier friend are planning to do on the Strip."

Abigail stretched her hands above her head and did her best to look nonchalant. "So if you're going to convince me it is worthwhile to get myself mixed up in this, you should probably tell me why exactly you want to get onto the Strip. Fair enough?"
A variety of currency clattered on the table. Aemilia had no real interest in denarii nor even NCR coin, but it added up, and let the stranger deal in. Aemilia accepted her new cards with a smile, one that never flinched or wavered no matter the hand she was dealt. Luck was a part of it – but luck only worked if people couldn’t read when you had bad cards.

Not that she did. Four Queens and a six was a nice hand.

Six always made her feel lucky nowadays, though.

The Stranger spoke, and Aemilia shrugged, “What can I say? I prefer to keep my head on straight when I’m gambling, or I’ll end up losing it all,” friendly, but she saw the shift of Boone’s shadow. They hadn’t discussed the figure, but they’d both noted him earlier. Both suspected his movement had been due to their arrival. Conversation, no matter how light, was another tick on the box.

She could imagine Boone suggesting wrapping it up before it went straight to hell. ‘This round will be 500 caps, one more and I have enough to get myself into the Strip….’ She might be able to talk Cass and Veronica into standing down. Boone was another problem.

Boone moved away towards the bar, no doubt to get a Sunset Sarsaparilla, but more to add distance. Then he was out of sight, out of mind – but in his element as a sniper in case anything happened.

Cass called to him as he moved, “Hey, get me a whiskey – I’m not gambling anymore.”

“Like that stopped you,” Aemilia chuckled. “All right, I’m all in,” she nodded to the one who wanted to make it interesting before. ‘That’ll push me over.’ With what the others had up, and the house matching the 950 she added up. Maybe enough to bring Boone. Then she wouldn’t have to deal with that argument.

Either way – enough to leave before the situation spiraled. “What do you say, Shade?” she didn’t know his name, so Aemilia gave the stranger a nickname based on the way his hat hid his face, “Drunk enough to match, or are you going to fold?”


At first, Veronica thought she had Abigail. The way she sucked in her breath said she definitely knew who Aemilia was – and maybe even believed Veronica was traveling with her! That was where it ended, unfortunately.

Her brows lifted, and she sputtered a laugh at how Abigail phrased things, even if it was very much not in her favor. She’d definitely overestimated Aemilia’s reputation – but she probably should have guessed.

It wasn’t getting Aemilia enough favors to get on the Strip, after all.

“Hey, hey, I get it,” Veronica lifted both hands in surrender as she shook her head, “I didn’t mean to get you involved, but if it would come back to you, we’re not trying to get anyone else into any trouble, promise.”

Nope, this went south. She’d have to tell Aemilia the Followers didn’t pan out, unless they wanted to do some favors and find them a way to get cheaper medical supplies. But that would really only help them by not making them pay as much for the supplies, it didn’t get them into the Strip. ‘Well, there’s still the Kings to check out.’

“I appreciate you levelin’ with me, though. I’ll level with you, and just say it isn’t my secret to share,” it really, really wasn’t, “so I can’t tell you. I hope you understand!” Even if this wasn’t going anywhere, Veronica didn’t want Abigail thinking poorly of her.

That might have already happened by her choice of company.


“But I’ll tell Aemi—the Courier—about this and maybe she’ll be willing,” always a possibility if she hadn’t found another way yet. “But I’ll scram before I get into anyone else’s way,” this was the only path to the Strip that was straightforward, so no point lingering here. She ought to find Aemilia.

Although the plan was to wait here, now she just felt…well, awkward about it.

Not to mention she didn’t want Abigail actually hassling her for an answer.

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