A cyborg in the Wasteland

This is technically a crossover between the universe of Fallout and the niche tabletop game Eclipse Phase, which is described as a world of 'transhuman horror.' The main character is a combination of the memories of a random isekai and the memories of a transhuman scientist from Eclipse Phase. I originally published/am publishing this on the site Sufficient Velocities, but decided to cross post here. However, you don't need to know anything about Eclipse Phase to enjoy this novel. I suppose you don't even need to know anything about Fallout, but that would help a lot more.

SpiraSpira · Video Games
Not enough ratings
99 Chs

You Can Only Hang a Man Once

Almost seven months had passed since Lily's discussion with Miller; it was already December again, 2275 this time, by the time his group suddenly showed up in Megaton about a week ago with a half dozen large trucks and guards in Power Armour. His group was the talk of the town for a whole week! Several months ago, she got confirmation that he was going to do so and his request to acquire and start building the lower levels of his "bank building", as they had discussed.

She had already done so, excavating the four sub-levels below one of the larger buildings in the "downtown" area of Megaton that she had bought on her own after he had left town. She bought it in anticipation of his need, but she would have found some use for it if Miller had backed out of their arrangement.

Instead of shipping excavation equipment overground in the middle of the city to make it obvious what she was doing, she had performed the excavation through a connection with her own underground infrastructure. Now that it was confirmed that he would purchase it from her, she would wall up and disconnect the area from her own tunnels and refill the tunnels she had dug behind her.

Miller and about fifty of his friends and family moved in, and they had quickly turned the above-ground building into a bank that wouldn't look out of place from a Pre-War film, complete with bank tellers and everything. Honestly, they had probably used Pre-War films to get an idea of what a bank should look like.

She had visited them and almost peed herself laughing when she saw Grace and Big John in Pre-War suits acting as security. Grace looked quite fetching in men's clothes, especially classy ones, Lily thought, but Big John looked ill at ease and out of place. They had already begun minting coins underground, with the machines she had built months ago, but it would take some time before they had a sufficient amount so as to introduce them as a currency. For the moment, nobody at Megaton knew what to expect from this new group of oddities. Bankers? The idea seemed ludicrous.

Another new face to town was the synth-woman named Natalie. She arrived just two months ago and, apparently, she got a promotion of sorts and was responsible for a number of things in the Capital wasteland, such as ensuring a number of placed synths had a safe life, as well as being Lily's point of contact.

Lily intended to talk with her some more as she found the synthetic woman fascinating, but she didn't stay around very long after Lily presented her with the fully refurbished safe house and fifty plasma rifles and over four hundred micro-fusion cells. Lily carefully constructed these weapons to look indistinguishable from Pre-War manufacture, with similar serial numbers and even with simulated wear and tear on the cosmetic features of each weapon so that they wouldn't be suspicious if examined by the mysterious Institute.

As soon as she saw them, she immediately arranged some trusted assistants and a truck and started driving directly back north to the Commonwealth, but she promised she would return. The woman barely stayed in town for three or four days.

In the past seven months, Lily's workers had completed the new wall on the entire east side of Megaton, along with the new gate into and out of the city. The gate proved more popular than the southern one and had been operating for almost six months. It didn't take long for her to get contracts to replace both the north and south segments of the wall, either, and for symmetry's sake, she had paid for the replacement of the west side wall out of her own pocket, which just finished the other day.

Now Megaton was enclosed by a complete security fence and concrete barricade with turrets and lighted exterior lights across the entire perimeter. She had to come to an agreement with the city as to the disposition of the "extra land" that she had included in the walls, effectively increasing the size of the city. Instead of being able to claim it all, an auction arrangement was set up, and she got to keep one-fifth of the proceeds, with the rest going to the city. Kind of annoying, but she got all of the parcels of land that she wanted in the auction anyway.

The city was safer than ever, though. They hadn't actually seen any raider attacks on the city since the north and south wall segments had been completed, as that allowed both Sheriff Simms and herself to focus patrols heavily on the west side. She also didn't allow the situation to repeat where she was surprised about a raider attack, despite having overhead surveillance, either. The fact that she had aerial drones was a secret, but the last three raider attacks on the city happened to be, by pure chance, intercepted by either the city's Sheriff or her Spider Company before reaching the walls, and those were usually only three or four raiders strong.

The turrets, instead of her original design that had only electrolasers, featured upsized copies of the combination electromagnetic/levitation railguns as well as heavy plasma casters, in addition to the electrolaser for short-range non-lethal takedowns. The railguns had an effective range of over five kilometres, and they could target both ground and air targets, as there was an integrated network of air defence radar stations with resolution fine enough even to target inbound missiles spread across the walls of the city.

The quality of many of the buildings in town had started to improve slowly as well, as the people who made her concrete and cement were entitled to sell half of it on the open market, and the new building material was quickly making itself known. It wasn't as though cement or concrete was unknown before, but they were definitely unknown in large quantities. You couldn't even really use scavenged pre-war cement, as, over time, it would reconstitute into something like a single rock, so you would have to completely crush it up back into a fine powder to use, so it wasn't a popular building material until now.

She had been worried about what the Enclave would do when it became clear that Megaton was a hard target, as they did still have access to orbital satellites with nuclear weapons, which she hadn't managed to subvert with her nascent space program just yet. However, in one of the only broadcasts that even mentioned Megaton, President Eden seemed to approve of it, implying that Megaton would become an invaluable asset to the future of the United States of America.

Remembering that Eden was both insane and intended to kill everyone in the wasteland through the application of bioweapons, she realised that he was content to let her build up valuable infrastructure, for now, thinking that he and his Enclave would just mosey on in after everyone was all dead.

It was the Brotherhood that was giving her actual problems. As soon as it became obvious that she was building a full-sized fusion power station, and it wasn't exactly possible to hide due to the large condenser towers, she immediately started getting pushback from a certain segment of their Paladins. Them suddenly showing up in Megaton and demanding she stop or demanding she give control of the project over to them, and now it was apparently coming to a head now with an attack on the site today.

She had long since fixed her deficiencies that allowed actual raider attacks to be missed by her surveillance platforms, so she saw the attack coming a couple of hours ago and had all of the workers on the project evacuated. A group of about twenty-five Power Armour infantry had been approaching for a couple of hours from D.C., and just a little while ago, a Vertibird was seen approaching from the southeast as well, with a known Brotherhood transponder code. They were trying to arrive simultaneously, which was a good tactic, she supposed.

But Lily didn't even know what they intended to accomplish. Still, the ground component started attacking both the northeast wall and turrets while the Vertibird started lobbing missiles and even two mini-nukes at the abandoned job site and northeast wall segment. They demolished the wall and were doing a fair amount of damage to the site of the power station that might set her back at least a month or two, but it was important for her to suffer "damage" in order to make what she was going to do next palatable.

The Brotherhood had just indiscriminately attacked a civilian power station that was directly next to Megaton. The pressure wave of the two mini-nukes even destroyed many of the glass windows in the first two habitable blocks on the northeast corner of the city, in fact, and already she could hear Megaton citizens in that part of the city starting to run away from the exterior walls, thinking the city was under a raider attack again.

"Go, now," Lily ordered through the radio Mesh, and simultaneously she triggered the nearby, still operable, turrets to switch into air defence mode and targeted the Vertibird. She wasn't letting that fly away. Simultaneously, transmitters in the city started flooding the frequency bands that the Brotherhood was known to use with white noise, jamming any kind of communication in or out of the area.

Vertibirds needed both of their engines to fly, and she carefully targetted one of them with about a dozen high-velocity steel slugs, which punched right through the engine nacelle, setting the engine on fire immediately and causing the Vertibird to yaw to the side, rolling into the direction of the bad engine.

From her perch, invisible on top of one of the nearby buildings, Lily opened her mouth in surprise, thinking she was about to see a crash, but the pilot managed to get it under control, nosing the aircraft over to gain airspeed to maintain some semblance of control, being forced to land hard straight ahead, digging out a furrow of dirt on the ground of the wasteland and crunching all three landing gear tires. That thing was going to need a bit of maintenance, but it appeared salvageable, especially after she saw an outgassing in the engine nacelle, obviously a fire-suppressing system discharging its bottle into the engine, which put out the fire.

At the same time, from around the corner of both the east and north side, over a hundred bipedal robots started marching out from their hiding places, with her Spider Company soldiers about ten metres behind them. Her men were in reproduction T-51b Power Armour suits, although she had included layered composite armour and Mesh-based radios, so she felt that they would be more effective than standard Pre-War armour that was constructed only out of steel. She had built these suits months ago but was hiding them until today. She didn't think she would be able to continue acting as low-key as she did in the past after repulsing this attack. She'd likely have to do something about the Megaton government after this, which was making her depressed just thinking about it.

She still had around the same amount of soldiers, about sixty now, but she had two leftenants and a couple of sergeants, and she considered each of her men about equivalent to a corporal in terms of their leadership potential, as they were expected to each lead a team of robots.

She had also hidden the number of robots she had available to her until this point, and the fact that they were almost all armed with plasma weapons now, in addition to the lasers everyone already knew about. She was still hiding about two hundred more underground.

Honestly, she was perplexed as to the reason this all was happening. She expected, perhaps, an attack on her person, but she hadn't often left Megaton in the past several months, and she supposed that an attack on an actual hospital might be a road too far for even the Outcasts.

She had actually been getting along pretty well with the Brotherhood, too. Scribes had been in and out of her hospital on a weekly basis, making use of the cloning machine that she had agreed to sell them access to. She had even agreed to provide the blueprints and source code of the cloning machine to Scribe Ferguson in exchange for all the data they had on America and China's space and orbital assets. It seemed like Ferguson was definitely getting the better deal, but she found the data she received invaluable.

She had finally managed to get a small probe into low Earth orbit two months ago, and the thing had been shot out of the sky by some manner of stealthed anti-satellite constellation. The second stage probes didn't cost her anything, so she had just begun sending one up every day to get a location on each of the elements of the constellations.

Her second-stage probes were stealthy as far as radar was concerned, but she had realised that they were being targetted via a combination of infrared and optical sensors. They couldn't hide either the superhot plasma drive she was using to ascend to orbit, nor could they hide when the ASAT systems used optical sensors to detect when her probes occluded the Earth, so there was just no feasible way to sneak up on them and her probes didn't have enough delta-v or specific impulse to dodge anything either, it was all they could do to get out of the gravity well. The damn tyranny of gravity.

Her first stage stayed up continuously these days, with periods of maintenance occurring about twice a week. It had to, in order to send the probes to low earth orbit as she had them fly all the way to Europe to release the second stage so that it appeared some organisation in Europe was launching the probes into the Mediterranean, on an odd southeasterly polar orbit. The first stage had to stay within line-of-sight of the probe in order to maintain command and control. Lily only found out that her first probe had been shot down when the first stage returned, and she downloaded the telemetry.

The first stage didn't have a lot of surveillance equipment as she had to keep its weight down, but she did add several digital cameras, and from what she could see of Europe, it was in about the same state as America. Which was to say bad, but still signs of habitation. She had changed the flight plans each time to get small glimpses of other locations, even circumnavigating the globe to return to D.C. from the west several times. If anything, China was much worse off than the US was. There was no real sign of humans around any of the cities, only in the rural areas.

She had plans to build a better first stage, to be powered by a hydrodynamic fusion power system so that she could build multiples. Her first version was powered by twenty-five fission batteries and was really expensive to build. It would be easy to cool such a fusion system at a high altitude, but the challenge would be to provide cooling at low air speeds.

She had run into this exact issue when she brainstormed how to create a fusion-powered Vertibird in the past. Perhaps she could just include a large tank of water that it would use up at low airspeed and accept that it would look very steampunk when it came to land and when it took off. "Refueling" the coolant after each mission would be pretty simple, and with the extra power, she could perhaps budget enough extra weight to make that feasible.

Her robots were all demanding that the attacking Brotherhood paladins and initiates surrender over loudspeakers, although she didn't give the crew of the Vertibird the option as that was a priority target that got swarmed, its crew tasered and dragged out before they could potentially set self-destruct charges to prevent the vehicle from being captured. She didn't think that they would actually do that, but it was standard procedure in the Pre-War Army and Air Force to do so, so they might have been trained to do so as well, even if they considered Vertibirds irreplaceable assets.

In what she was considering her normal doctrine, her soldiers would be fighting alongside three or four robots a piece, with one fireteam being one human and three or four robots, and one squad being two fireteams. However, she didn't feel it was necessary when she had such overwhelming numbers, so she ordered her men to hang back and let the robots soak up any casualties in case the Brotherhood didn't surrender. Which they didn't.

Her robots would use non-lethal attacks if it were an option, but against Power Armour-wearing infantry, it really wasn't, so plasma and lasers were firing on both sides, except that there was a lot more weight of fire coming from her side.

She shook her head at the utter stupid waste of it all. Hopefully, there were some survivors down there.


Leftenant Wilson was one of the first squad leaders that she had recruited and the one that had shown the best leadership during the raider attack half a year ago. He had gotten on the "fast track" to his current rank, as well as was one of the recipients of a combat decoration for valour, along with about a dozen others.

He saluted Lily sharply, which made her want to internally sigh as she really didn't like the idea of having her own Army, but she didn't show it on her face as he said, "Reporting, seven robots are non-functional, no casualties but one wound, a burn, from a near miss plasma shot." He paused and said, "There are eleven survivors from the Brotherhood infantry and four from the Vertibird. But a couple might not make it; we're having them rushed to the hospital as we speak." He coughed and said, "We also have one injury, a Power Armour-related injury related to poor training."

Lily returned the salute casually and nodded to the man in Power Armour. The results were good, and she wasn't surprised there was at least one injury as far as using the hardsuits was concerned. They hadn't had a lot of time to train in their use, except in VR. They were designed more or less identically to the Pre-War designs, just improved. Even the Advanced Power Armour suit she got from Miller could injure its operator if they used it improperly, usually tendon and connective tissue injuries.

"Very good. Please see to it zhat at least one squad is at each entrance to zhe city, and one squad should stay detailed with zhe prisoners and detail robots to guard the Vertibird until we can get a truck out 'ere. Zhe rest can get some rest," Lily told him before turning and walking away.

What should she do now? She didn't really know. If this was an actual war, she would attack other Brotherhood assets in D.C. and perhaps the Citadel itself. However... she didn't know what precisely this was. This attack was pointless. She better head back to the hospital; although there weren't that many casualties that lived, some seemed to be seriously injured.


She started to realise what was happening as she was stabilising one of the Brotherhood prisoners, an Initiate. He was missing two limbs, which she had already ordered to be cloned, and she would have them reattached within the next two hours.

Honestly, she should have realised what was going on as soon as she was attacked. There was no way that Elder Lyons would have countenanced this attack; he was actually quite optimistic about her construction of a large power station, and in the discussions she had briefly had with the great man over the radio, he was discussing potentially building a second large power station near the Jefferson memorial or the future site of Project Purity.

So it was clear that the attack on Megaton had signified the total breach between the Outcasts and the Lyons' Brotherhood which she had been expecting for a while. That still didn't really answer why they attacked, except if it was simply something they wanted to do. However, her surveillance system saw a large convoy of vehicles and infantry leaving downtown D.C. There were signs they were fighting with what she expected was Lyons' faction, as a few buildings close to the Citadel were on fire, but no one was pursuing them.

She was surprised she didn't see any Vertibirds, but she guessed they would have trouble fueling them, as she doubted the Brotherhood would let these new Outcasts use their filling station at NAS Patuxent River, so they seemed to decide to prioritise vehicles they could use on a continuing basis.

They were going directly west, which made her feel a lot better. If they were headed to Megaton, she would have to start using her kamikaze drones to attack them more or less right away, as there were easily over a hundred and fifty suits of Power Armour running through the wasteland, to say nothing of what was in the fifteen or so trucks.

If they were headed to Fort Independence like they appeared to be, she would let them settle in and gauge their response before triggering her failsafe on them. She really would like not to murder them all, but she didn't really see a way out of that. Perhaps this attack on Megaton was supposed to serve as a distraction?

While waiting for a few limbs to come out of the cloning machine, she went to her office and sat down and tried to get the Brotherhood on the radio using the relay they kept at GNR.

For this, she used an actual radio and triggered the push-to-talk as she spoke into the handset, "Golf November Romeo, zhis is Dr St. Claire; I demand to speak with Sarah Lyons or anyone in charge. Close to zhirty Brotherhood personnel 'ave just attacked the city of Megaton, doing significant damage to zhe security wall and zhe site where the new municipal power station is being constructed at."

"St. Claire, this is GNR, uhh... stand by... fuck... Are you sure?" came the reply after about thirty seconds of silence.

She squeezed the PTT again, annoyed, "Yes, I am fu---sure!" She stopped herself from swearing, paused and said, "I 'ave fifteen prisoners of war, being treated for wounds zhey suffered in zhe battle. Around zhe same number are KIA, and if I don't speak to someone in authority over zhere soon, I am going to assume zhat you support zhis attack on civilian infrastructure and will respond in kind, even if I 'ave to ask Rivet City for protection."

Rivet City was a nuclear power, and so was she, but she definitely didn't want people to think that she was; otherwise, they might connect what would likely happen to the Outcasts to her. She hoped that they didn't get blamed for it, but better them than her. She was pretty sure that the Brotherhood had assets directed at Rivet City to detect any launch of ballistic or cruise missiles, so the lack of detection would likely hint to an unintentional detonation of a device that happened to be at Fort Independence, at least that was what she hoped.

Alice walked into her office, looking a bit worried about the fact that there was a battle against the Brotherhood. Lily waved her over, and the girl took a seat in front of her. She had been letting her into more of her planning and even told the girl her actual origins, at least that she came from another universe. Alice found that very interesting, especially the fact that the Earth from her world was trashed even worse than the Earth in this one, and yet still, over the years, people had recovered into societies that were arguably even more advanced than those they had left when they fled the Earth.

"Uhh.. stand by for five minutes..." the voice on the radio told her, so she sat her handset down. Alice smiled, "After you're done here, I'd like to try to do one or all of those limb replantation surgery if you don't mind." Alice's skills in surgery and her knowledge of medicine, in general, had advanced in leaps and bounds over the past six months. Lily had been adding specific surgeries to the VR system, and the girl had practised them over and over. Even with procedures that she hadn't managed to add to the system, the girl could perform pretty well, as a lot of the skills were similar.

Lily hummed for a moment before nodding, "I'll assist you, zhen." Replantation surgeries were a surgery that the Auto-Doc did especially well, but you never would get your skill in them if you let them do all of it. So, it was a good idea for Alice to do these surgeries since they could always use the combination of medichines and StimPaks to check her work after she was done.

The Apprentice made a fist pump, in excitement, as these were definitely the most complicated surgeries she would have performed in reality.

Suddenly, a familiar voice of Sarah Lyons got on the radio, "Dr St. Claire, the radio operator said you were making threats, what is going on? This isn't the best of times, no offence."

Lily rolled her eyes and clicked the radio back on, "Zhreats? Well, I suppose. Zhirty Brotherhood men, including twenty-five Power Armoured infantry, just attacked Megaton, specifically zhe site of the new power station. If I don't get some answers, I will assume zhat a state of conflict now exists between us, yes, I suppose zhat ees a zhreat. One of your Vertibirds dropped mini-nukes on zhe city." She was slightly exaggerating with that last statement, although it was technically true.

Sarah Lyons' voice came back on the radio, "Fuck! Let me assure you that wasn't authorised, we were trying to keep this quiet, but we've had something like a case of attempted mutiny and mass desertion." The radio squelched briefly as she paused as if she was thinking about how to explain it.

Finally, she came back on, "A small minority of traitors have stolen a lot of equipment and sabotaged most of the rest, and I believe that they were responsible for the attack. They have been going on and on about that power plant you are building like it was a nuclear bomb factory or something... I just don't understand it. The only reason we should be upset is that it is a good idea that we should have done first. What were the casualties like? Is everything OK over there?"

Lily lied, "There were a few workers killed when the Vertibird nuked us. But I'm sorry to report zhat most of the casualties were on your side. Zhe Vertibird was shot down, and about 'alf of zhe attacking infantry were killed. We 'ave zhe rest as zhe prisoners but are providing medical care to zhem now. Uhh... I don't really mean to criticise, but zhey attacked, while outnumbered, a 'ighly defendable position defended by a lot more men and 'eavy weapons... it was very stupid, no? What do you want me to do with the POWs? I don't really want to keep zhem..."

The radio was silent for a time before Sarah came back on, "The fucking morons probably thought their zeal made them proof against bullets and lasers. Most of these guys are just stupid, misguided fools. I'm tempted to say hang the officers if there are any left alive, but you can only hang someone once, and I want the pleasure of that. Please keep them for now; we'll pick them up when we get things settled here in a couple of days. If you'll excuse me, I have to execute some people I thought were as close as family. This is a bad day all around. I'll talk to you later, Doctor."

Lily sat the radio down, and Alice and Lily shared a glance, and the Apprentice was the first to say, "Maybe she'll be happy that you blow them up."

Ah, the Apprentice was growing up. She didn't act as though blowing up a fanatical enemy before they could get around to murdering you was an immoral act anymore.

She was also much quicker interfacing with her brain interface and robots. Lily likened it to the way her daughter in her past life could text at a blistering speed with just two thumbs, as she noticed before Lily did, "It looks like Sheriff Simms is here. Do you think he's here to arrest you or join the winning side?"

Lily sighed. Simms was only really interested in keeping Megaton's citizens safe; he was one of the few actual good men she had seen in this world. He didn't have any duplicity in him, as far as she could see. He may as well have changed his name from Lucas to Sheriff, she thought.

"I don't think he's 'ere to arrest me. Do you zhink he's interested in being King of Megaton?" Lily asked, hopefully. Tombs had been talking about getting back into politics, and she was hopeful that meant he wanted to take over the running of Megaton, but she was mistaken; he wanted to start some sort of loose confederation between settlements, like a district militia, police and system of roving judges on circuit. Making laws between settlements interchangeable and similar issues that he felt hampered trade.

She felt that was a good idea, but it meant that he wasn't actually able to run the city. In fact, he was in Rivet City right now. She would be willing to let the current mayor continue as is, but she didn't think anybody else would be. Not only did nobody like him, but he barely would be a figurehead. After demonstrating effective power and control of the city, people would tend to come to her, so it was pointless.

However, if she could stand behind Simms, she felt that people would likely accept him as running the city, even if they realised that she was a power in the shadows.