Kestrel sits on the rocks overlooking the twin cooling towers at Poseidon Energy plant. She has been scouting for a while, using her binoculars to get an idea on what they were facing. Kestrel has an idea, and half a plan, but she’ll need help. Hopefully help will arrive soon, he’s taking ages. She takes her time walking around to the front of the plant. The defenses are tight. The place is swarming with scorched, bristling with turrets and heavily mined to boot. But there are ways around all of that, and the prize will be worth it, if they can pull it off. She checks the time on her pip-boy. He’s an hour late. She hears footsteps behind her, and spins around “Wire! I’m so glad you made it!”

Wire looks up, startled, his eyebot helmet bobbing, and takes a moment to orient himself. His nose, or faceplate rather, has been in his pip-boy for at least the last mile “Oh hey, hi, you asked me to meet you?”

“Yes, I did”, Kestrel nods at Wire. “Have you guessed why we are here yet? Here’s a clue: Everyone hates walking. Here’s another clue: people don’t have wings. Your final clue uhhh: There’s a landing pad here. Damnit I’ve probably given away the surprise.” Kestrel’s babbling doesn’t leave any time for Wire to speak. “Okay, my question is can you hack it so we can use it to fly around and destroy shit?”

Wire starts bouncing on his toes “Uh hijack a vertibot? Fuck yes! If you can keep my head from being blown off while I jack my pip-boy into it’s access port I will work on bypassing security to access the controls.”

Kestrel watches in horror as Wire begins jogging towards the landing pad. She springs at him, tackling him to the ground “whoa there, Robohead! That whole area is littered with active mines, not to mention a horde of scorched and active laser turrets. If we’re going to keep your head on your shoulders you’re going to have to pay more attention, and maybe just stay back a little? I’m going to start by picking off some of the scorched on the rooftops, and hopefully the lasers too. If we alert the fuckers on the ground and they come running I’m sure you can sort them out.”

Kestrel begins using a rifle to snipe the rooftop scorched and a few stragglers that are wandering alone. One by one they fall. After a few minutes she is confident that she has them all. “Okay, I think we can move up a little. Use VATS to clear the mines.” Together, Wire and Kestrel slowly advance, methodically clearing mines and killing any scorched that notice. On the landing pad rests a pristine Vertibot, ripe for the picking. “Okay, Wire, you are my favourite, do your thing, Baby”

Wire pries off the plating from the access port on the Vertibot and pulls the interface cable out of his pip-boy and jacks in. “Only basic security, guess they didn’t expect it to be sitting accessible like this when they designed it.” he mumbles mostly to himself and within a few minutes is satisfied with his results. 

“So, Kestrel, I’ve rerouted the interface to accept controls from your pip-boy, this was designed to be unmanned so it was pretty easy, the only caveat is that we need to stay in range or you will lose control of it. You should be able to use your dials to control steering and altitude once you connect, you should see the signal in your radio section. I’m not exactly sure of all the “specifics” so you might want to run some test flights. “

“Shit, I was expecting you to fly it. Um. I suppose I could give it a go. The BoS tin cans do it, how hard can it be?” Kestrel is talking big, but her hand shakes as she opens up her pip-boy. “Don’t we need to um, cut a hole in the side here so we can get in or something? I mean I know we don’t want to get in until we have the hang of flying, but we could get it ready first couldn’t we? In case I’m super good at this flying thing straight away?” Kestrel is stalling

Wire shrugs and uses his buzz blade to slice open what appears to be heavy quilting exposing a cargo area “There ya go.”

Kestrel examines her pip-boy. She blinks a few times,  takes a deep breath and turns the dial two clicks. Then she presses a button, and then another button.  She frowns, and turns both dials a few times, presses another button. She taps her pip-boy, then presses another button and the vertibot roars into life “HOLY FUCKING SHIT!”

Wire grabs onto it one handed as it begins to rise and hover in the air while whooping.

“Shit, it’s really hard to look at my pip-boy and watch what the thing is doing at the same time.” She looks up and down, pressing buttons. The vertibot’s landing wheels retract and it rises a little more. It lurches to the left, the rotor churning up the ground. “Shit, I wouldn’t do that if I were you!”

“SSSHHHHHIIIIIIITTTTT” The vertibot lurches back the other way, and forward a few feet “Okay, it’s okay, I’m okay, you okay? I think I’m figuring this out” Kestrel manages to stabilise the aircraft, and looks up to watch it hover.

“I think you’re getting the hang of it!” Wire shouts down at her then drops back to the ground in front of her.

From: Teek
To: Kestrel
Hey kid, I’m just checking in here to see how that little project you told me about is coming along. I’ll be stuck in the Heap for a while. Keep me updated, I don’t appreciate the radio silence. And try not to get Wire killed, we need him.
//// END MESSAGE ////

Kestrel has been practicing, but she still can’t get the damn bird to fly in a straight line, every time she tries it ends up lurching to one side. “Wire, is this thing broken? I can keep it up in the air, all calm, but as soon as I try to move it fuckin’ falls over.”

Wire grabs Kestrel’s arm and looks at her screen, “Your signal is cutting out, probably something loose in there.” He shakes her pip-boy, jerking her arm unexpectedly then jarringly smacks the device a few times. He takes a quick glance at the screen before she can react, “Signal steady now, try again.”

“OW, that pip-boy is attached to my arm!” Kestrel sticks her tongue out in concentration. The bird lurches, and then starts to spin in mid air “Shitfuck, no, it’s worse. Wire! Help!” She manages to get it stable again. Fuck knows how.

Wire pulls a rolled up manual out of his back pocket and flips thru it quickly until he spots a page of schematics “Uh Kes? You think you could land that bird, preferably gently? I think maybe I’ve got some wires crossed in the control panel. Probably.”

Kestrel’s eyes open wide “YOU HAD A FUCKING MANUAL?! WIRE!!” She frowns in concentration, taps her pip-boy, and manages to find the controls to make the wheel thingies come out. She attempts to bring the bird down slowly, but winds up slamming it down and almost missing the landing pad “No problem, it’s fine, it’s okay, it’s good, its fine.” She lets out a huge sigh of relief.”

“It’s not exactly in pristine condition, and we are using the bird in a way it wasn’t designed for, so it’s not really as useful as you would think.”

Wire approaches the vertibot and pops the control panel open again, looking at the schematics and back to the wiring. “Ah ha, blue here, green right here…” He spends a few moments reorganizing the wiring before tucking it back in and sealing it up again. “Directional controls were inverted, my bad.”

From: Magpie
Scouts incoming. Shut the fuck up. DON’T BLOW THIS
//// END MESSAGE ////

From Magpie:
Couple of extra bots in this endeavour, but nothing we can’t handle. Keep yer mouths shut and WAIT FOR THE SIGNAL. You know the plan.
//// END MESSAGE ////

Kestrel carefully fires up the vertibot again. It takes off smoothly. She retracts the wheels, and the bird hovers calmly in front of them. She makes it go higher, then adjusts the controls so it begins to move forwards. She carefully continues to learn. The Vertibot responds perfectly to all her instructions. She flies it all around the power station. She whoops, punching the air and the Bird dips alarmingly. She sets it down on the landing pad again “Oops! Okay, Wire, you motherfucking genius, I think we’ve got this!” She grabs him, lifts his helmet, planting a kiss right on the mouth. She fixes his helmet and laughs at his horrified face, turning red behind the visor. “Sorry! Just got carried away, won’t happen again!”

//// SNIPERS GO GO GO GO!!! ////

“Hey, Wire, wanna go for our inaugural flight?”

“Uhhh, ummm,” Wire sputters. “Yeah, that’s fine, sounds absolutely fine. Let’s go.”

Kestrel and Wire climb into the ‘Bird, and take off for the Ash Heap

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

First posted on the Vultures Discord

Words and Pictures: The Eagle, and Teekhup