The room is dimly lit, dust and ash swirling in a ray of light bravely sneaking through a crack in the shutters. Teek, Condor and Jules sit at a large table in the middle of the room, in companionable silence. A candle burns, jammed in the neck of an old wine bottle. Classy. The women were weary from their journey. Teek lights up a smoke and leans back in her chair. “So, we’re here. When does the fun start?”

Jules reaches down into her pack, pulls out some bottles, and hands them around “Drinks first because a sober Teek is an extra cranky Teek! I didn’t drink everything on the way this time!” she nods at Teek and exclaims proudly

“You’re a bad influence, Jules,” Teek says, ironically. She takes a bottle, and uses her teeth to open it, before downing it in one go. “Ahhhhhhhh, yes.”

The door opens, Magpie walks in. She is red-faced and sweating profusely.

“About damn time, Magpie, we’ve trekked our asses down to his burning pile of shit you Coyotes call home. Least you could do is grace us with your presence.” Condor said with a grin on her face.

“I got distracted by a blood eagle dickhead who thought he’d put his hands on me.” she smiles, and reaches into her backpack. She pulls out a severed hand and thuds it wetly onto the table. “What’s a Raidy have to do to get a beer around here?”

Jules wrinkles her nose at the severed hand and passes a bottle to Magpie “Dude, not on the table yeah? Gross.”

Magpie shrugs and takes the beer. She tucks the hand away into the folds of her clothes

Teek grins at Magpie. “What are you keeping that for, Maggie?” She laughs “Gonna have some solo fun with it later?”

Magpie rolls her eyes “Nah, if I needed that I would have taken his dick.” She looks around. “So, to what do we owe the honour of three vulture bosses down in this shit heap? We in trouble?”

“Aww Mags, can I call you Mags? Imma call you Mags, we just wanna get to know you a little better is all. See what kinda operation the Coyotes got going on, get a feel for who you are, make sure the heap is in good hands. Maybe a little girl bonding.” 

Jules leans into Magpie’s ear and lowers her voice “Just between you and me? I have no idea, I just brought the booze.”

“Baby, you can call me whatever you like.” Magpie grins, her smile crooked. She makes eye contact with Jules and winks. Turning to Teek and Condor she asks “What is it you need to know? Or should I just give you the Coyote slideshow? Ash is in charge, she should be here any minute, but we all know as much as each other about what goes on down here”

A figure wearing a sheepskin and gas mask steps into the doorway blocking the last of the murky light “So what’s all this then?” her voice was muffled and distorted by the mask.

Teek looks over at sheepskin, taking it all in. It’s hard to tell what’s behind that mask. “Hey, you Ash? Nice to meet ya. Here, have a beer.” She holds out a bottle.

Magpie smiles, all the way to her eyes. She goes over to Ash and gives her a big hug. She is not deterred by the stiffness of the figure who does not hug her back. “Ash, it’s good to see you, I wasn’t sure you were gonna make it.”

Ash tries not to cringe at Magpie’s enthusiasm, she really does like the woman. Ash pushes Magpie back at arm’s length then reaches up and unlatches the mask, letting it fall away from her face but not taking it off. “Nothing like a little fresh air, gets stale in there.” She takes a deep breath, holding it in for a count of three before exhaling. Jules wrinkles her nose at her.

“Thanks,” she says, nodding at Teek and moving to take the beer from her. “As she mentioned, I’m Ash and you’ve met our Magpie.” Ash tips the beer bottle in Magpie’s direction as she pulls out a chair to sit down. “She likes shiny things, is real good at finding them in the smog too, coordinates all the raids on caravans and supply lines moving through the Heap. The Vultures have sent three bosses, so has there been a problem with our shipments or is this just a thorough inspection?”

“This is actually your lucky day.” Condor says, pausing to take a swig and wiping her mouth “As you may know our allies, the Free States Militia has been getting a little too chummy with the 5-0. It’s only a matter of time before the alliance is over, leaving a big dent in our weapons cache so we figure instead of you coyotes sending shipments as tribute we’d offer you an opportunity to become full blood Vultures. You just have to do one thing first…” Condor grins. She stands up and walks towards the two Coyotes “Not sure how much Trixie has told you but we’ve been hearing rumors of a big weapon & ammo shipment making its way to Foundation in just a few days, passing through this Heap of ass you call home. Well it’s just been confirmed to my liking so now’s your chance.” A spark of either insanity or pure amusement flashes across Condor’s face “Get us that shipment and you’re in, full-blooded with our support”

Magpie feels a chill go down her spine, but she’s not entirely sure why. The Vulture bosses all have an air of something about them that she can’t quite put her finger on. Is it confidence? Competence? Psychopathy? Who knows. She is quite sure that they are used to getting their own way. She is pleased that they have noticed the Coyotes though, the supplies they had been sending had been respectable, but she didn’t think particularly noteworthy. They must be really hurting since Bandit Town was bombed. “Ash is in charge here, ultimately she will decide, and obviously we’ll need to discuss the details, but can I just ask… what happens if we refuse? Or worse, fail…”

Teek laughs. It’s not a joyful sound. “I’ll put it this way. Neither is an option. You will agree to do this, you will succeed, you will become Full-blooded Vultures, or you will die. It’s pretty simple. This is a big job though, so we will be sending reinforcements, bodies to throw at the problem. We don’t know the lay of the land here though, we will be expecting you to do the planning. This is your territory. We will follow your lead. Some or all of us three will be staying here to help see it through.”

“Don’t forget, the Beckley Butcher is back after all, I’d hate to have to set the clown on you all” Condor said in almost a dare.

Magpie shudders, and a little giggle slips out “No need to threaten me with a good time, honey, I get the picture.”

Ash’s face remains expressionless even without her mask, “With all due respect, we might be a small crew but we are a tight crew, everyone knows their job and they do it with brutal efficiency, we wouldn’t be having this chat if we didn’t. There is more to the Heap than just the terrain and this won’t go well if anyone gets a wild hair to go off script.” 

Ash rises out of her chair and puts a hand on Magpie’s shoulder “We are up for the challenge, whether we have the choice or not, there’s a price to pay to move cargo through the Heap. Give your intel to Magpie and we’ll get to work on the coordination.”

Outside, a strange, chittering sound fills the air, followed by a thunderous collision. A thick, choking smoke billows just beyond the door, and from the smoke, two glowing red eyes peer into the room. The unmistakable sound of heavy power-armoured footsteps follows as the new arrival approaches the door.  A booming, modulated voice emits from the smoke and light.


Teek grins, she loves a dramatic entrance, and whoever this dude is, he has a flair for it. She puts her fingers in her mouth and blows a congratulatory whistle before applauding “Wooooohooooo, yeah, a free show!”

Clearing her throat Ash announces with a dramatic wave of her arm “And here we have our very own Mothman and heavy lifter. Don’t let the pizazz fool you, he’s got a lot of hostility packed into that suit.”

“PIZAZZ INSPIRES FEAR. FEAR INSPIRES SUBMISSION. SUBMISSION…MAKES IT EASIER TO CLEANSE THE UNBELIEVERS,” Ducking through the doorway, the man in the armour comes into clearer view. The suit is a mismatch of parts, with welded on shoulder plates clearly meant to look like wings, and a mixture of black, blue, and red that was reminiscent of the old Mothman comics and posters. Strapped to his back, a gatling plasma that is better cared for than the condition of the suit might imply. “…AND TO TAKE THEIR STUFF. NATURALLY.”

“Oh boy, okay, I guess we should get started then.” says Teek, reaching into her backpack. She  pulls out a filthy grey bed sheet which seems at first glance to be randomly covered in various stains. Once it is spread on the table the others can see that it is a hand-drawn map that looks more or less like the Ash Heap. She spreads it out onto the table. “I thought it would be easier for us to visualise and plan if we could see it all spread out like this instead of on the tiny pip-boy screens,” she explains. She looks around at the amused faces. “What? I never said I was an artist, you can see well enough what it is! Okay, as you can see I have marked on the map the route that we believe they are taking. You Coyotes will need to decide where best to hit them, and how. I’ve also uploaded the number and type of personnel they will have, as well as robot security to your pip-boys,”

Ash leans in and points where the road and tracks run parallel up by the train yard “I think our best bet might be right here at Mount Blair train yard. Magpie, scout out the cover and vantage points and coordinate the particulars from Teek’s data with the Coyotes and Vultures. We can stage at Desolation.” She drags her fingers down the makeshift map, tapping at the pit mine where Desolation is built before dusting her hands off.

condor tosses her empty bottle in the corner “I knew we’d come to the right group for the job, I’ll let you raidies hammer out the small details while I take a stroll down to the bone pit, I’ve got some meds to pick up from princes  supply crew as well as a couple treats to get before the raid. Any requests while I’m down there this is an offer you won’t hear often……” condor paused by the door giving the coyotes short time to respond.

Magpie looks up from studying the map “Uhh, sure, we could probably use a few extra stims for this raid, some Psycho too, maybe a little Daddy-0 for after, thanks!”

She goes back to the map “I know this area fairly well, there’s a security system that trips a Sentry Bot who comes looking for whoever it can blow up. We could use that as a distraction, provided we don’t trip it ourselves, obviously. There’s also a decent amount of cover from overturned train cars. I could probably use a refresh though, you’re right. I’ll head out and report back ASAP.”

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

First posted on the Vultures Discord

Words and pictures: The Condor, The Eagle, The Crow, Distant Prince, Teekhup