“HA-HA-HA… OH MY GOD I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING…”
“Jesus Christ would you stop it already!”
“… GHOUL HEAVEN! AHA-HA-HA… I’M… HA… SORRY, I CAN’T… HA…”
It was about at sunrise at this moment. But that was only what Solmund assumed anyway. Boone and Sol made their ways down to the basement of the facility. It was huge, Sol didn’t think that the facility would be this big. The underground network stretched at least a mile long. There were a lot of piles of machinery down here with scraps of metal lying around everywhere. A piece of a screwdriver here, and a piece of a hammer there. What on earth happened here, Sol wondered. But only God knew what the Repconn folks were really doing down here. For all he knew, they might be testing for some sort of serum for a kind of super soldiers. Scientists are crazy that way.
It was quiet. Too quiet. Something was wrong here. Solmund heeded Jason’s warning about some sort of blue skin invisible monster. Sol had an idea of what it might be. The gas pipes were making some funny noises, screaming from the walls. But then the walls… they were suddenly silent.
They walked a few more feet to the next hallway, there were blue lights. And out of the corner a loud thud that exploded right before them. And there – just a few yards away, a hideous blue face with bulky teeth. It roared like a beast.
It was a gigantic monster, standing over ten feet tall. It wielded a massive hammer, and just like Jason said, it had deep blue skin. It caught both Boone and Sol off guard but the two managed to grab their guns and started unloading on the beast. It was strong, and tough, too. It was only after at least a dozen bullets to the face did it finally fell to its knees.
“Nightkins…” Solmund said, “Careful, there might be more.”
It was tiresome, clearing out the whole entire basement. There were a lot of grounds to cover. A lot of rooms around the place hidden away behind big metal sheets and piles upon piles of papers. The compound got underground network stretching at least two miles long. Big enough to be able to hold at least a few thousand people. There was a gigantic tunnel underneath a metal room in the far corner, following it further down would lead to another facility entirely with big rooms of electronic equipment and computers. Then there was the underground test site…
“The invisible demons were a difficult bunch to deal with,” Jason said, “But thanks to you, an agent from the Creator himself, you and your comrade were able to vanquish the monster. Now the procedure for the Great Journey can begin again, praise the Creator.”
“There were a lot of Nightkins down here,” Boone told them.
“Yeah, but we managed to take care of them,” said Solmund, “their leader though, was very curious.”
“Oh? How so?” Jason asked.
“Well,” Sol explained, “the leader, he was taking orders from a Brahmin skull… yes, I’m not joking, he’s literally talking to an imaginary Brahmin.” Sol giggled. Jason seemed to not understand what Sol was laughing about.
“Very well then, we should get to preparation of the Great Journey, just a few more components needed into places and we are good to go.”
After a couple of errand runs back to Novac and the scrap yards around the facility, Solmund and Boone managed to contribute and helped in aiding the ghouls. They just need a couple of more components, electronic parts and scrap materials to prepare for the trip. Apparently they were going to use the old rockets from the facility to launch themselves into space. Just the thought of that put smiles and giggles in Sol’s mind. They were also wearing space suits made out of a strong plastic component that was strong enough to withstand the force of a gigantic hydraulic press. They were strong suits, Sol thought to himself: I think that these ghouls are serious about going into space. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of that.
“So you grew up in a vault?” Sol asked.
“Yes,” Chris said, “word is that the vault lies somewhere east of Vegas. I never bothered to check. The way I see it is that the quicker I get out of that vault the better.”
“You don’t really mean that do you?”
“Of course I do,” snapped Chris, “Them folks back home never treated me right. Oh, you need to take this list to the overseer? Tell Chris to do it, he won’t mind. What? You need to take care of some rat infestation? Chris can do it, he won’t mind. Ooh? There’s a problem with the nuclear reactor, just send in Chris, I’m sure he won’t mind the radiation, he’s already ugly as it is. As you can see after that I got exposed in the reactor… at least Jason and his group treats me right here in this place.”
He really was convinced that he was a ghoul, despite his skin not having a single sign of filth or dust. In fact his face was the face of a young man.
“This is where I belong, you see,” He insisted, went over the computer and started typing, “I’m a ghoul… and ghouls must stick together in a harsh world like this one. I can’t afford to go back. Them folks back at the vault, they won’t understand… they can’t understand… damn, why is the program not working… probably a network failure…” Chris whispered to himself.
“You honestly don’t really think that do you? I mean what about your parents?” Sol said.
“I…” that caught him off guard. Sol reached across to him.
“Here,” he said, “it’s a bug in the system. You just need to add in this equation then reboot the program aaand… voila.” The terminal started up like it had never been broken. Chris stared at Sol in awe. He’d never seen anything like it before.
“You know,” Chris said, “If them idiots back at the vault had someone like you looking after the reactor, there probably wouldn’t even be a single problem in the whole vault…”
Suddenly Chris started to sulk. Sol had seen Chris be this grumpy petty little man, but never had he witnessed Chris all moody like this. There was a dark cloud over him and he felt cold.
“I…” He muttered, “I’m useless… I’m a nobody…”
“Hey,” Sol said immediately, “Don’t say stuff like that alright. You are NOT useless. What I see before me is a man willing to fight. In this wasteland, the land of the free they call it, we have absolutely no obligation to help anybody but ourselves. And yet here you are, a mechanic helping the troubled ghouls from oppression… only those who possess true willpower and dignity would fight for those around them, fight for the ones they care… and right now? The Brotherhood needs you…”
“You know,” Chris said softly, almost sobbing, “if them idiots at Hoover Dam had someone like you looking after the wasteland… there probably wouldn’t be a single problem left in the world…”