• Published 22nd Mar 2014
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Fallout New Vegas: Unexpected Friends - Sleepyted

Twilight gets transported to the Mojave Wasteland after a magical mishap.

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Chapter 62

“Begin again, but know when to let go.” Christine said into the intercom next to the old elevator that lead down to the vault below the casino, the voice that was forced onto her the only one that would unlock the way down. “You better make sure you deal with him, after all he’s done he doesn’t deserve to live.” She stated looking at the pony. “Just make sure you don’t get yourself killed down there.”

The pony nodded as she pressed the one button with her magic, the elevator taking a minute before opening with a soft ding. It was very bland compared to everything else she saw in the Madre, just blank metal walls and a fading light on the roof of the box. Walking inside she gave one last look to the woman before pressing the down button.

The basement was much like the underground station that they had set Christine up in for the Gala Event, although there were walls of blue light stopping her from going through certain doorways including one that went to a very visible large vault door.

It took Twilight close to an hour and a half to make it through the maze of tunnels and broken catwalks that either led down to dark depths unseen below or the blood red cloud. And with the dozens of broken speakers making her collar beep and the invincible holograms walking around what might have taken only a few minutes dragged on for a long time.

By the time she reached the vault door she had a few sore bruises, burns and a heart racing through her ears from the number of close calls that happened, and after a stimpak she trotted over to the computer since there wasn’t a tumbler or lock on the door itself.

She didn’t really know how to use computers that well yet although she had been practicing and managed to open it up.

Even though the outside seemed massive it seemed most of it was just the reinforced walls, with only the size of a small room on the inside. But what it lacked in size meant that it was packed full of riches. After stepping through the door it slammed shut behind her and locked in place, startling her but she decided to keep looking around. While most of it was paper money from before the war that had rotted away into a damp pile of mush, but the one thing that really drew her attention was the small palate of golden bars, still shined after 200 years. Each one had ‘pure gold’ cast into the top with ’99.9’ under it. There were easily a hundred bars and picking one up she knew that they were indeed looked to be pure if how heavy there were said anything.

She quickly started putting a couple into her small bag, only managing to carry four, two on each side, before she could feel the weight start to push down hard on her joints. She remember what Anne had told her in the Big Empty, that they needed gold to make an alloy to make insane amounts of energy, the only chance she had of any chance of getting home.

Gold was very common in Equestria, so she didn’t really want it for worth since bits were made from the stuff, but it was priceless to her if it could help her.

There was a computer on a large solid desk and walking over she saw there was message to Verra and since she wasn’t really able to leave at that moment she decided to read through it.

‘Verra,’ it read. ‘if you're reading this, my fears have come to pass, and this is an apology.

I hope you realized what my last words meant to you. If so, they have led you here, and this place will keep you safe. I know what they meant for me, and I fear they have trapped me here.

I have extracted the previous entry after our conversation tonight. It can't have been easy for you, and I am sorry for all I've put you through in silence. I know while you do not love me, you did not mean any malice in what you did.

I knew about your plans to rob the casino with Dean before you told me. Hearing it from you didn't make it any easier. For what it's worth, I am glad you told me yourself, and I understood the tapes he had in his possession.

I do not think either one of you realized what your addiction stemmed from, however, and that is the tragedy in this. I suspect the world would not have believed you, regardless, so I respect your desire to keep it from others.

When first building this Villa, this casino, I meant it for you. As the world seemed to race headlong toward war, it became part of my desire to protect you. The loans, the funding I poured into the casino's construction...

I knew it would not matter when war came for us. It was my means of creating a shelter, a defense if the world was bombarded in radiation and bombs.

When Dean revealed his plans inadvertently through our introduction, I realized what had happened, and how I had been tricked. For a time, my thoughts were dark. I changed the casino vault from a shelter to a trap, as I knew the first one to enter would be Dean. He would die down here, and it would have been by his own hand.

I fear, however, that I overstepped myself, and the only safe place in the casino is the Vault. I have tried to rewire the systems, change the protocols, and I cannot. I will do one last check on the pipes by the edge of the outside platform and see if anything can be done. I fear it is useless.

If you come down here, do not access my personal accounts entry.

It contains only a message for Dean, and it will seal the door and you will have no way out - even the elevator is designed to automatically return when the door is closed, and it will lock in place.

There should be enough in the Vault to sustain you until help arrives. I have ensured that there is enough medical supplies down here to keep you comfortable.

The holograms should defend the casino from any attackers, and the hologram beacon in the Villa will broadcast an emergency signal so that others know you are here.

When danger has passed, rescue will come.

I hope you were able to read this, and know that I loved you.

Frederick Sinclair.’

Twilight sighed sadly, she knew what became of Verra up in the suites, and it wasn’t rescue. Just as she powered down the screen a plate along the wall of the vault slid back and revealed a screen, the face of a familiar old man appearing.

“You're in the vault... finally. After all this time. The Sierra Madre... mine. Don't move, don't go into the vault. And don't touch anything else... there may be more traps down there... another security system.” He stated through the speakers.

Since she was already in the vault and kind of locked in she knew ‘not entering the vault’ was out of the question.

“Are you ever going to show your face or just hide behind screens forever?” Twilight stated flatly, she just wanted to leave with Anne and to get on with their lives.

“Hiding? Hardly. Trapped. You think you were the first one to unlock the casino door? No, I did it... with other hands, other bodies. After that, the casino wouldn't let go. Once I was locked in, no way out... until your friend’s Pip-Boy signal came to life in the Villa. Then... then, uh, things changed. And here you are.”

“Well now that I’m here, are you going to show your face?” Twilight asks.

“No. I am not going to take the chance while I'm so close... not this close, no. Not again... I can wait... afford to be careful. You... you're locked down there. This is the only entrance, and I have free rein of the Sierra Madre. I have time... more than you. Besides, there might be more traps. I'll send more scouts in... Yes, others. You're... resourceful, don't want to leave anything more to chance.”

“Well I could always destroy everything in here to pass the time.” Twilight said with a slightly evil grin.

“No... I don't think so. It'd most likely trigger other security measures... if you hurt the Vault at all. The builder of the casino built it to last, the Sierra Madre withstood the war. I'm sure the Vault is protected as well. Besides, you wouldn't have followed the signal if you didn't want this place's secrets for your own. You're curious... past the threats.”

“Well who says I can’t read everything I want then smash up the computers?” She asks. “It’d be pretty easy.”

“You might destroy access to the data... not the data itself. Besides, there would be safeguards in place.”

“Maybe too many safeguards? They are the reason it’s taken so long for you to get to this point already.” Twilight said grinning smugly.

“But, you recognize the value of what's down there. You would no sooner destroy what's inside the Sierra Madre than destroy yourself. Persist in threatening me... or the Sierra Madre's secrets, you're of no use to me, I'll set off your collar now.”

“Well it takes quite a while for the collar to go off, imagine how much I could do before it goes off?” She said, although that was just the speakers, she didn’t know if it would be the same if the old man activated it but hoped she was right.

There was a pause for a few seconds. “Huh... clever. Whoever designed the Sierra Madre... their obsession with messing with frequencies and signals...” He stated. “I'm coming down, I'll meet you face to face at the vault entrance. If you resist, I'll use the collar, even if it puts the vault at risk.”

The screen was enclosed in the wall of the vault again, the door behind her opening with a hiss.

Stepping away from the computer she knew that the old man was coming down, and he probably wouldn’t like her taking a couple of the gold bricks with her. And who would say he would even let them all live with them knowing how to get into the Madre?

She knew after reading the computer that it would most likely lock down forever if Elijah decided to read Sinclair’s logs on the computer, which after reading Vera’s was the only one left. She quickly made her way out of the vault, scampering off behind a wall and waited to make sure her plan worked.

It took a while but the pony heard the soft thudding of someone’s feet on the metal floor as they made their way towards the vault. The old man finally showed his face after so long of hiding behind a screen, wearing thick blue robes with his white beard hanging from his face. A very large rifle was attached to his back, the barrel segmented with discs along its length.

He made his way to the vault, looking through the door inside. When he saw no one there he walked in, disappearing from view and soon the vault door slammed close, locking loudly.

“You think you've outsmarted me? You can't get away. You're the one on a leash, you always were.” He growled through the intercom and within a few moments the pony’s collar started a slow, steady beeping.

Twilight didn’t want to linger, quickly running through the way she once came to the vault by.

“Think you can escape? No, that hand on your throat is mine, always was. You won't get out. I'll bring the whole Sierra Madre down on you, bury you here with all the others!”

Twilight let out a yelp of surprise as there was a loud bang and the ground shook somewhat, the catwalk she was on shaking worryingly. Along with a pipe above bursting and spraying old water down onto the walkway and to the bottomless pit below.

Running through she ignored the ice cold water washing down on her, rushing through even with the weight of the gold on her body. In her rushing panic she made a few wrong turns through the maze she could barely remember, and the constant beeping didn’t help with that problem.

She kept getting drenched down with more pipes, some walkways coming down with explosions around her as she ran as fast as she could.

The beeping was getting faster, dangerously fast in her mind. She knew she had to get out soon or she was going to lose her head so clenching her eyes shut tightly she charged as much magic as she could into her horn and focused on the first thing that came to her mind, the fountain.

With a loud pop and the feeling as if she was hit in the head by a sledgehammer, she staggered on her hooves and opened her eyes. She let out a tired groan, falling down to her rump on the cold cobbled floor of the center of the Villa, eyes drawn up to the Casino up high on the hill, a soft, deep and steady humming coming from the building as if hundreds of people were eerily humming a dead tune.

Sighing she flopped down onto her back, wincing as she landed on one of the gold bricks but didn’t care to move. It was done.

“Well. That’s one way to make an entrance.” A voice said close by.

Lazily turning her head she saw Anne sat on the edge of the fountain, bottle of Whisky in her hand as she grinned to the pony.

“Glad you made it out.” Twilight mumbled.

“Didn’t make it easy on me there.” She stated getting to her one leg and hopping over to Twilight, falling over to lay down next to her.

Offering the bottle the pony took it, taking a long swig of the drink.

“Didn’t mean to do it like that.” She said with a shrug.

Reaching into a pocket on the jumpsuit she had found she pulled out a crumbled packet of cigarettes, pulling one out awkwardly with one hand before putting it away and grabbing a lighter from another and lighting it up before taking a long slow drag. “I know.” She said. “We should probably head home… I don’t like this place…”

“I don’t either…”

The survivors of the Sierra Madre thought about gathering at the Fountain and waiting for the Princess. In the end, the collars' silence made them uneasy, and the fear of turning on each other made them hesitate, and leave the goodbyes - unspoken. The radio message at the fountain was enough for them, and there was no need to add another farewell on top of all they had suffered.

Dog forgot himself, as did the voice that raged within him. After their passing, a new voice spoke within the mutant's shell. It was difficult for the voice to remember the two it once was... there was the beast, Dog consumed by hunger... and the other in reverse... the one consumed by control. Both were driven by need for the other. The Pony brought them together, somehow, joined the two into one. All that happened at the Sierra Madre, was a faint memory to the new personality... like a flickering light in the clouds of the mind. The new voice did not think of the Pony and Courier again until the battle at the Divide reached his ears. The battle between the two couriers, beneath the torn skies and the Old World flag... each bearing a message for the other. And the mutant prayed the Pony that had saved him... had been saved in return.

Dean Domino, entertainer, singer... thief... explored the Sierra Madre not long after he was rescued by the Princess. Once he left the theater, the Sierra Madre recognized him as a guest, and many doors opened to him. He had to admit, it had been built to last. During his search, he came across the final records of Vera and Sinclair, and realized what happened the night the bombs fell. He felt strangely sad for a moment, and he had no idea why. Shrugging it off, his mind turned instead to where the Princess had come from. Vegas still survived, out there in the Mojave. Its sights, sounds... and casinos, ripe for the taking. So giving the Sierra Madre one last nod and a wink, he set off beyond the Cloud to begin again.

Christine, her mission complete, found new purpose as the Sierra Madre's warden. She watched over it silently - by choice. Over time, the ghost people came to see her as one of the Holograms. They would watch, silently, as she walked among them. At times, Christine thought of the Princess, who had kept Elijah's hand from her throat. The Courier with her reminded her of the other courier she had met in the Big Empty, and wondered if the two had found each other at last. She did not think of them again until she heard the legends of the Divide. The Divide, where the two messengers, the two couriers, fought beneath an ancient flag, at the edge of the world.

You've heard of the Sierra Madre Casino. We all have, the legend, the curses. Some foolishness about it lying in the middle of a City of Dead. A city of ghosts. Buried beneath a blood-red cloud... a bright, shining monument luring treasure hunters to their doom. An illusion that you can begin again, change your fortunes. Finding it, though, that's not the hard part. It's letting go.

It’s letting go.

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