Hello. Beeburgers here. I'm new to the forum, but I've written this and thought I would share it with you. Any feedback, commentaries, questions, or criticisms would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading, enjoy! Part 1 Envoys to the East Approximately three days walk from New Vegas In the burning heat of the desert, Private Williams hefted his Service Rifle higher. The heavy armor on his chest felt like it was pressing down on his lungs, making each breath of hot air feel like a strain. While his uniform was supposed to assist with the heat, the only thing he could imagine removing the sweaty burden of sauna-like air that enveloped him was several hours lying under a shady tree, sipping a glass of ice-cold scotch. Williams stopped marching for a moment to pull on the collar of his fatigues. While the movement let a brief whisper of cool air slip into the pocket of warm air, it did little to actually cool his body. “Sergeant,” the private called. As he did, he turned to look at the caravan behind him. Four Brahmin, each loaded to the sky with valuables, one in particular carrying a hefty supply of water bags, as well as three caravan drivers and their mercenaries, leading the creatures met his gaze. Off to the side of the road another private in the same brown armor stopped for a moment to look at Williams, while on the opposite side of the road another soldier did the same. All three bore a golden design on their chest-plates: a two-headed bear reaching for a star, the symbol of the New Republic of California. In the wake of the nuclear holocaust many of the survivors had turned to the fast forming faction in the west, trading various freedoms for the security and protection of the N.C.R. What had begun as only a small town had quickly turned into all but an empire, a union of thousands, a democracy formed from the ashes of the American Empire. As the New Republic of California had spread west it had encountered its two greatest potential enemies: Cesar’s Legion and New Vegas. While New Vegas had originally been hoped to merely become an annexed state of the N.C.R., Cesar’s Legion was a scourge, an ever expanding plague that had threatened to consume both the Mojave Wasteland and the New California Republic in one fell swoop. The soldiers of the N.C.R. found themselves on the front lines of an escalating conflict between the aspiring Legion and the Mojave Wasteland itself. Despite that both sides were virtually equal in numbers, with the N.C.R.’s vast supply of troops available from the west coast; the New California Republic held a powerful advantage in terms of technology. However, what the Legion lacked in firepower it made up for in discipline and military leadership. Cesar himself was a brilliant tactician, and inspired zealotry in his soldiers that allowed him to conquer the hundreds of tribes that he had. In the end it had boiled down to a stalemate along the Colorado River, a stalemate that had focused on the Hoover Dam in particular. As with all conflicts, neither side’s plans came to fruition the way they had hoped. Mr. House, the autocratic ruler of New Vegas had thrown down a wildcard: a courier. This one person had gone on to change the face of the Mojave, accomplishing in a matter of weeks what neither the Legion, nor the N.C.R. or even Mr. House himself had managed to do in years. This lone courier had brought forth a weapon of unimaginable destruction. All but buried beneath the fortress Cesar had claimed on the east side of the Colorado River an army of mechanical soldiers waited, sleeping, anticipating the arrival of their orders to come forth and conquer the wastes. Once the courier had secured the army, Mr. House set his sights on the Hoover Dam, and, with the courier’s help, defeated both the N.C.R. and the Legion, letting loose the powerful automatons and gaining both independence from foreign factions and securing the Mojave Wasteland in one brilliant move. While the Legion had been crippled, its leader dead and its army scattered, the N.C.R. had left the Mojave Wasteland in slighter better condition. Though one of their leaders, General Oliver a man who was loved by the public and hated by those under his command, was killed in the battle the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, the New California Republic licked its wounds and soon returned to the Mojave Wasteland. Just a short time after the battle, President Kimble was impeached, many calling the entire fiasco, “his war,” and a new president was elected into office. The newly elected President Catharine Vienna marked a change in the N.C.R.’s policies. Rather than,”… seeking to expand through conquest and military action, [the New California Republic] should seek to consolidate [its] power from within, while seeking allies from beyond [its] borders,” President Vienna was often quoted. “Military action should be our final resort, not our first, if we are to create a sound and just republic.” With those words, Vienna created a new N.C.R. from Kimble’s ruined career. The newly elected president negotiated with Mr. House to allow for a single military installment to remain near the New Vegas Strip in order for the New California Republic to send its envoys further east. And that is why I’m out here roasting under this burning hot ass sun, Private Williams thought as he looked for his sergeant. After a moment the man in question appeared from behind the Brahmin at the rear of the caravan. He didn’t say anything, merely inclining his head to ask the unspoken question. “Is there something I’m supposed to be looking for up here?” Williams asked hearing the whine in his tone of voice and not caring in the slightest. He’d fought at Camp Forlorn Hope for two years, been with the other soldiers who’d taken that long journey back to the Mojave Outpost, their heads low, tails between their legs. Now he was one of Vienna’s “envoys,” wandering around east of the Colorado River, north of Legion territory, trying to find some sign of civilization. “Oh for God’s sakes,” Private Linton swore from the side of the road. “I’ll take point Sergeant.” While the sergeant rolled his eyes, Linton marched forward to glare at Williams. While that was not what he’d been hoping for Williams was glad to let her have point. In the split second before it happened, Williams thought he might have heard a distinctive buzz, a whispering hum that split the air. Williams recognized the noise from his time dealing with Cesar’s Legion. Some of their raiding parties had carried firearms with them. The bullet rattling through the air would give off an angry hiss as it slipped past a soldier’s ear. Then the round slammed into his chest-plate with enough force to knock him off his feet. The caravan was suddenly alive with automatic gunfire. Despite his previous combat experience, this was William’s first time of actually being hit by a bullet. Though the round had failed to penetrate the plate steel over his chest it felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to his ribcage. From the ground he could see Linton sounding off with her Marksmen Carbine. Some part of his addled mind suddenly imagined his sergeant shouting at him for lying down on the job, and with a groan, Williams brought himself to a sitting position. From there he aimed at the muzzle flashed that came from beyond the road. In retrospect he should have been more alert to an ambush at this spot. While one side of the ruined street offered only a view of a long track of empty desert, the opposite had a shallow ridge, like a miniature mesa sprouting from the rocky badlands. Of course there had been dozens of these on their trek east. With the Rockies looming to the north, or to their left, the flat ground was spotted with outcroppings such as the one they were being ambushed from. The Service Rifle kicked into his shoulder with a heavy thump as he put four rounds downrange. Each time the shot went wide of the target to send a plume of dust into the air and leave the intended target unharmed. “Sergeant!” Williams called again, this time a notable tone of urgency in his voice. When there was no immediate response Williams turned to look at the rear of the caravan. The reason behind his sergeant’s silence was obvious: the man had his brains scattered across the dry pavement. Williams swallowed a lump of fear that suddenly clamped down on his trachea before hobbling to his feet. “Get behind the Brahmin!” The private fired another round before putting a solid four-hundred pounds of Brahmin meat between him and the muzzle flashes. As he did, he could see the mercenaries ignore him, and continue to fire on the ridge with their pistols. Of course if his rifle couldn’t hit the attackers there was no chance their dinky little 9mms could. “Get behind the fucking Brahmin!” As though to punctuate his exclamation a burst of rounds slammed into a mercenary sending a spray of red mist into the air as the woman fell to the ground. Private Linton scrambled behind Williams’s Brahmin as a round ripped through one of the beast’s necks. The wounded animal fell to the ground, creating a makeshift barrier made of animal carcass. The two remaining caravan drivers and one mercenary followed suit and ducked behind their pack animals. Private Meyers, the other N.C.R. propped his Assault Carbine over the edge of the Brahmin loaded with water and let out a small burst. Despite how good it sounded to have some automatic gunfire that was outgoing, Williams knew that they didn’t have the firepower to hold off this assault for much longer. That was the problem with ambushes, there was no way to prepare for them properly. As Meyers ducked back behind the Brahmin a stich of gunfire wove across the water-bearing Brahmin, splitting two of the water sacks open. In response Linton pushed her rifle over the end of the Brahmin and fired one shot. Just over one of the spots where muzzle flashes had been prominent there was a spray of red. “Nice shot,” Williams muttered, lifting his Service Rifle to his shoulder. At the rear end of the caravan someone was shouting what sounded like a fierce war cry. A man rounded one of the fallen Brahmins, a machete in hand and rushing toward Meyer’s unprotected back. Williams fired, the first shot slamming into the man’s shoulder. There was another spray of blood, but the man continued to charge until Williams put another round into his chest and a third into the man’s neck. Meyers nodded in appreciation before firing another burst over the water-bearing Brahmin. “Help me get this thing off, would you?” Williams asked Linton, pulling at his chest-plate. Where the bullet had struck there was an indentation that, in turn, pressed into his ribs. Kneeling next to him, Linton fumbled with the clasps that held the ruined armor in place. As though he’d been waiting for them to be otherwise occupied, another attacker suddenly rushed toward them, screaming. As Williams reached for his rifle, the marauder kicked off of the dead Brahmin and came flying through the air, aiming his entire body toward the two N.C.R. soldiers. Just as abruptly as the ambush had begun, just as swiftly and violently as the caravan drivers and their mercenaries had been cut down, the attacker was thrown off course like he’d been kicked by a Brahmin. With a spurt of blood and grey matter the assailant’s head disappeared, and he went tumbling to the ground. Only a breath later a booming gunshot thundered across the battlefield. Williams turned to look over the Brahmin corpse as more thunderous gunshots filled the air. At first he didn’t know what to make of the newcomers. They had the wide brimmed hats and weapons that matched the Ranger’s “cowboy” style. However they wore strange, leather, double breasted jackets that seemed almost like uniforms. Despite their obvious lack of heavy armor the newcomers showed no fear as they attacked the others, raining down a hail of death with devastating accuracy.