always head-cannoned that the courier was like a "Child of the Wastleand". Born from and raised by the wasteland, not knowing who their real parents are. So how will FNV companions(DLC included maybe) react to the fact that the Courier is an orphan and had to go through the wasteland alone and independently during their childhood?
I'm starting to think you guys might need a hug or something
A grown woman might have sought the mysterious murderer in the checkered coat with more simmering wrath, more wiles to spare. A grown man might have approached the gates of the Strip with more confidence in their posture, more strength in their jaw. It was easy to imagine a world where the courier was one of them, some fabled hero with a fantastic past that culminated in their footprints on the Hoover Dam, their hand drawing the shape of New Vegas for years to come.
The real courier wasn't this twig of a teenager, feral in appearance and quick to avoid you if you held a threatening look in your eye. Couldn't be. And yet, what else would this world produce? The wasteland, cruel in its nature and lack thereof, had separated countless children from their parents by death and by circumstance. Age didn't matter to a hungry rad storm, a ravenous night stalker, a Legion patrol or an NCR warrant. Age didn't matter to the courier either, and they made their way to the city of neon lights as they had to, as they were always destined to.
Arcade Gannon: Arcade found out about their sad origins on day one, when he first saw them in one of the recovery tents at the Old Mormon Fort. They were nursing a broken arm, but that wasn't what made the researcher pause when walking by. He confirmed his suspicions with Julie Farkas before he approached them, bearing a cup of water as a peace offering.
"You're that courier," he said with interest, when they accepted the drink and swallowed it gratefully.
The courier wiped their mouth and raised an eyebrow at him in answer. He indicated the wound on their temple that had drawn him in. "The one that got shot in the head."
"I'm probably not the first courier to get shot in the head," the courier pointed out, handing the cup back to him.
"First to get up again," Arcade replied. "God, you're... you can't be older than 16. What kind of asshole-"
"Shoots a kid in the head?" The courier grinned, revealing a mouthful of battered teeth. "Don't suppose it mattered much to Benny, or his muscle. Wouldn't be the first crew to try to bring me down on the road for what I'm carrying, just the first to succeed. Can't have that on my record, so here I am."
"How long have you been a courier?" Arcade asked, eyes widening.
"Long enough." They shrugged. "Since 10 or so. Small stuff first, NCR territory only, farther when I could hold a gun better."
"And... your parents?"
The courier shook their head. "You even gotta ask?"
Having been confronted with the absolute tragedy of the youth before him, wreathed in bandages and still trying their best to defend their livelihood, a feeling of protectiveness that Arcade hadn't felt since his own family had made the perilous trip to settle in the Mojave began to rise in his chest. He reached out to squeeze the courier's uninjured shoulder. "Rest up. Then you and I are going to find Benny."
The courier smirked. "Find me a stimpak and we can do it this afternoon."
Craig Boone: Boone never explicitly heard the courier say they were on their own, had been on their own, but they weren't exactly hiding it. When he left Dinky the Dinosaur to head to bed after his shift one morning, he found the kid in the middle of the motel's courtyard, flat on their back, gazing up at the stars that were fast being eclipsed by dawn. He walked over to them, followed their line of sight to the sky, then tilted his sunglasses down to look at them properly. "What are you doing out here?"
"Can't afford a room," the courier said by way of explanation. "But this view isn't worth paying caps to avoid, anyway."
"Someone's gonna step on you," Boone murmured.
"Doubt it," the courier countered. "They might scold me a bit. Run me off to sleep out of sight. More likely they'll just ignore me."
They glanced up at the sniper leaning over them with a smile. "Not my first time sleeping under the sky."
Boone put his shades back down and headed for his room. Manny was already gone, his bed made as neatly as it had been in their military days, and Boone stared at it for a bit before heading back out to the kid in the courtyard.
"Come to take pity on me?" they asked sweetly, recognizing his returning footsteps.
"Got a spare bed," Boone replied. "Yours for a few hours. If you want it."
"Sold." The courier scrambled up and gathered their pack and weaponry. "Just promise me you aren't going to try to kill me, hide me in your bathroom, and eat me slowly over the next week. Or something worse."
"That happen often, to kids in the wastes?" Boone asked with a faint smirk.
"Often enough for me to have to ask."
When the courier woke around noon, Boone had placed a gritty bread roll and a few dried pieces of banana yucca fruit next to them on the blanket. He sat across the room on his own bed, face sober. "I might have a job for you, if you're up for it."
The courier grabbed the bread roll and bit into it with relish. "I'm listening."
Lily Bowen: For Lily, the bedraggled little figure that stumbled into Jacobstown one day was yet another little one to adopt. She took them under her wing within the hour and taught them how to feed the bighorners, how to lay food out on their hand flat and keep the creatures' bony snouts from accidentally snipping off a finger.
"Do you name them?" the courier asked, watching a bighorner calf snuffle around their feet looking for dropped razorgrain biscuits.
"Of course," Lily said proudly, and began pointing each of her charges out. "That's Marilyn. She's a little more blonde than the others, in coat and in temperament, but don't tell her I said that! The two littlest ones are Audrey and Sophia, so full of life and energy, look at them. And there's James, Shirley, Humphrey, and we can't forget Eva Marie, she's expecting..."
Lily came to the large bighorner ram that was standing placidly by, chewing cud. "Over there is Clark. He has the biggest horns, and he keeps the herd safe when Grandma is away."
"When Grandma is away?" The young courier looked up the nightkin with a sparkle in their eye. "You mean you hit the road sometimes?"
"Only for the ones I care about," Lily said warmly. "It's always better to leave if you know you have a good reason to go and a good home to come back to."
"Yeah, it sounds nice," the courier admitted mournfully. They looked away, but not before Lily caught the longing plain on their face. She realized that it was something they didn't know, or didn't remember, and her heart broke.
"The last time Grandma left was to visit the fort in Freeside," Lily said, recalling the trip. "With Marcus and Calamity. The Followers of the Apocalypse traded with us, and we came home with medicine."
"Freeside? I've been there." The courier's gaze came back to her shyly. "I might go back again soon. It's a long trip, but from here it's mostly downhill. Would you... you wouldn't... maybe..."
"Come with you, dearie?" Lily smiled. "Of course. Grandma just needs to pack her pills and sharpen her sword."
Raul Alfonso Tejada: It didn't matter that the figure who slammed the door of his cell open was holding a gun, bleeding from multiple scratches and muttering obscenities to themselves: Raul only saw a ghost. He missed the first few words they said to him because the only thing going through his mind as they spoke was a name he hardly uttered anymore. Rafaela.
They didn't look a thing like her, but they had to have been about the same age as her when she'd fled for Mexico City with him. They had a wound on their head and walked with a slight limp, but Raul couldn't tell if these were permanent fixtures or temporary setbacks thanks to the Black Mountain super mutants. They cranked the radio on their Pip-Boy as high as it would go on the road down to Sloan, whistling along to Bing Crosby and swinging a Nuka-Cola Victory at their side until the soda was so full of bubbles it was a wonder it hadn't exploded.
Before they entered the little mining settlement, Raul pulled them to the side of the road. "Quién eres?" he asked. "Who are you?"
The courier spit some blood into the dust next to them. "Es esto realmente tan importante?"
"Sí," Raul insisted. "When I put out that broadcast, I didn't mean for just any kid to come looking for me. You could've died."
The courier patted themselves down. "Not dead. Yet. And who says I'm 'just any kid?' I'm a little bit of a celebrity around here, you know."
"Ay dios mio," Raul muttered. "Where are your parents? Mother, father, tía Maria, primo Julio... whoever's taking care of you? Do they know where you are?"
They fixed him in a look of absolute disappointment. "Where do you think?"
The answer pained Raul, but it didn't surprise him. He sighed and backed off. "Come on. Vamos."
The courier's eyebrows went up. "Tagging along?"
"If anyone's tagging along, it's you with me," Raul corrected them, resuming the trek to Sloan.
They shrugged, but they didn't look particularly put out. "Suit yourself."
Rose of Sharon Cassidy: Kids didn't often walk into the bar at the Mojave outpost, and if they did, they warranted a second glance. But when Cass was the only barfly to do a double take when the courier walked into the establishment, she knew she was looking at someone special. When they sat down a few stools away from her and ordered "the usual," she was already beaming with excitement.
"What's 'the usual?'" she asked, sliding over to sit next to them. "You can't be more than halfway 'tween 10 and 20."
The courier eyed her suspiciously and pulled their hat down a bit lower. "None of your business," they answered.
Cass laughed. "Relax, kid. I'm not some creep. Just down on my luck and looking for a good story to distract me from my own troubles. Something tells me you're chock-full of them."
"That I am," the courier agreed. "But it'll cost you."
"What's your price?"
The courier paused as the bartender set down a Sunset Sarsaparilla on the counter and cracked the bottle open. They took a long drink from it and sighed. "Just promise me you're not going to ask me where my parents are."
"Shit, kid, I don't even know where one of mine is," Cass replied. She raised her glass of whiskey. "To your freedom from family ties."
"Freedom sucks," the courier said, but they clinked their bottle against her glass all the same. Cass softened a little and changed the subject. She asked about their time with the Mojave Express, their choice in weapon on the road, their craziest wasteland encounters. When she asked about their most interesting delivery, though, the courier chuckled. "I'm still working on it," they said, sliding off their hat to reveal a scarred bullet wound on their temple.
Cass' eyes widened. "Oh. You're that courier. Hell, I thought the stories were a load of brahmin dung."
"No, they're real enough." The courier tipped their empty bottle around with one finger, watching the glass cast circles of light onto the bar. "And... heavy. I've never had so many expectations on me."
"Not what you signed up for, huh." Cass nodded and smiled sadly. "Well fuck 'em. Don't worry about anyone but yourself and the ones you care about. And you ever need some help on the road, even if it's just saying 'no' to everyone hounding you, you find me. I'm short on work, these days."
Veronica Santangelo: As someone who had grown up surrounded by family to the point of feeling crowded, it was beyond apparent to Veronica that the teenaged courier was not used to this. They were wary around her for their first few days on the road together: Watching her when they thought she wasn't looking, curling up on the opposite side of their campfires, hoarding their supplies and giving a hefty sigh and roll of their eyes when she asked if they would share some of the things she helped find. By the second week they seemed to have decided she was trustworthy, and they started to open up about their goals, their opinions, and even a little of their past.
"Everyone wants something from me," they complained one day, as they crossed the dry basin between Nellis Air Force Base and Freeside. "It's awful. No one ever wanted anything from me before, when I was just running packages around the Big Circle. Just give me my box, hand over the caps, on to the next job. The only ones who wanted more were creeps and raiders, but they always want your stuff, and I know how to use a gun, so..."
Veronica nodded. "Yeah, that's always part of growing up. But as far as your job goes... you know you don't have to do anything beyond delivering packages, right?"
The courier sighed. "You lose one platinum chip and suddenly it's a matter of New Vegas national security and everyone loses their minds. It wasn't even my fault. And I got the damn thing back. But now everyone's after me, even Caesar. Caesar."
"Eugh." Veronica shivered uncomfortably. "Screw Caesar. You seem like you have a good enough head on your shoulders to steer clear of anyone who just wants to use you for their own benefits, but if you need to bounce some ideas off of someone else, I suppose I can offer you my services."
The courier stopped walking and turned to her. "Thanks," they said, suddenly very serious.
Veronica paused too. "You're welcome."
"I've never really... I've never had..."
"I know." Veronica smiled. "No offense, but it's kind of obvious."
"Really?" The courier smiled back at her, unsure.
"Yeah." Carefully, Veronica reached over and put an arm around their shoulder, pulling them into a side hug. It was a little awkward, but they didn't pull away, and it felt good. "I've got you, kiddo. You ever need anything, you know where to find me."
ED-E: When the eyebot at the Mojave Express outpost finally came back online, the first thing it registered was the young face above them, looking eagerly at its re-wired circuits and new sensor modules. ED-E tempered its reboot sequence accordingly, softening its beeps and blips so as to appear less threatening, and it floated off the Nash's counter as lightly as dandelion fluff in the wind.
This appeared to please the little courier. "You're gorgeous!" they exclaimed, grabbing the eyebot's frame and pressing their forehead to its speaker. "You and I are going to have so much fun, go on so many adventures, deliver so many packages... I mean, if you don't have anything else you need to do."
ED-E beeped its agreement to this contract and rocked a bit in the courier's hands. They laughed and released the bot again. "It'll be nice," they mused. "Having... someone. Well. Technically you're a something, but you get the idea."
They looked sad for an instant, but they shook it off quickly. ED-E blipped as if acknowledging the change in subject and opened its storage container. The courier gasped. "You have so much room in there!"
Rex: The door to the School of Impersonation creaked open for the eighth time that day, and Rex raised his head from where he had been lying on the stage room floor. The King caught his movement and turned to face the teenager that stood in the room's doorway, taking things in with an unsure expression.
Slowly, Rex's tail began to thump against the floor. He whined and looked up at the King, who smiled down at him in surprise. "Well look at that," he said to the newcomer. "Rex here thinks you're swell."
The teenager drew a little closer. "Most mutts don't," they admitted, with a touch of anxiety in their voice. "I've known plenty of other couriers that have been bitten."
"Dogs of the wasteland protect their own," the King admitted, reaching down to pat Rex on the brain dome. "Rexie would've had you on the floor already if he was so inclined, even if he's not feeling well today."
That piqued the courier's curiosity. "Is he sick?"
"He's been out of sorts for a little while now." The King moved his hand to scratch the cyberdog's neck ruff. "I took him to the Followers and had him checked out, and they said his brain is bad or something. But I don't have the time to search for a new one, these days."
He looked like he was about to say more, but Rex suddenly staggered to his feet. The old dog stiffly approached the courier, sat down with a thump and looked straight up at them, straight through them as if he could see their pain, their loneliness.
The King shook his head. "Well if that's not a sign, I don't know what is. Rexie's yours."
The courier took a step back. "I can't... I'm not..."
Rex whuffed, ever so softly, the sound echoing in the silent stage room. The pair locked eyes again, and something inside the courier melted. "You're... you're sure?"
"Sure as House made the Strip and the Families," the King replied. "He thinks you need him."
Follows-Chalk: The courier that escaped the White Legs attack was young, but Follows-Chalk was young, too. Still, they had seen far more of the wasteland than he had, and he began to prod them with questions about the world outside Zion as soon as he realized they hadn't always been tied to the ill-fated caravan.
"Shih zhah neh hoyta," he said in wonder at the courier's description of the Mojave, shaking his head as they made their way down a narrow slope toward the Dead Horses camp. "Your stories are a gift. I wish I was free to go as you have."
"Why don't you?" the courier asked. "Just take your things and go."
"Graham says we have business to finish, him and the tribe." Follows-Chalk sighed. "He's right. I can't wander off while the White Legs threaten Zion."
"Come with me," the courier suggested. "You're a scout. I'm a courier. We'd make a good team. Plus, I need to get back to New Vegas, I have my own unfinished business back there."
"No." Follows-Chalk shook his head. "Dank ni. But I can't. Not until Zion's tribes are safe."
The courier bit their lip. "Maybe I can help, then."
"You'd do that?" Follows-Chalk's eyes widened. "But we aren't your people. The kindness you offer isn't owed."
"It doesn't have to be." The courier looked around a bit, like maybe they weren't sure if they should keep going, but the words won out. "I've seen so much of the wasteland because I didn't have a choice. You should get a choice. I know... I know how hard it is to leave home because you have to, and I'd much rather it be because I want to. Do you understand?"
Follows-Chalk stared at them. He was pretty sure he knew what they were driving at, but he still couldn't fathom that they were offering their help just to give him a better choice. "Your heart is searching," he said finally, an inadequate translation of a Dead Horses phrase he'd heard before, about the nature of wanderers. "Come. Let's get you to Joshua Graham."
Waking Cloud: The Sorrows' midwife embraced the young courier that visited the tribe's camp as if she had met them before, which was her way in greeting most children. "You remind me of my eldest," she said, looking down at them fondly.
The courier stiffened at first, and a mildly embarrassed look came to their face. Still, they didn't push her away. "You have kids?"
"Three," Waking Cloud answered with pride. "Each stronger than the last. I have been blessed by the River and the Father. But come, I understand you are here to help the Sorrows."
The courier nodded. "The Dead Horses sent me. I've brought supplies."
Waking Cloud led the way into camp, nodding to other members of the tribe as they passed. "You must be strong too, to undertake such a task. Your tribe must be proud."
The courier's response was mumbled, but Waking Cloud caught the words anyway. "I don't have a tribe."
The warrior-midwife stopped walking. "Not even one you've chosen?"
"I have... friends," the courier answered, hesitant. "But that's kind of a recent development."
Waking Cloud nodded. "A start. Perhaps White Bird will see something in you."
"Who's White Bird?"
Waking Cloud smiled. "Come. We should first see to your good work."
Joshua Graham: Word of the courier reached Angel Cave before they did, and Graham barely looked up when they finally entered his domain. The tribe hadn't made any indication that the visitor was extraordinary, save their survival of the White Legs' attack. The Burned Man had already decided that they weren't the courier that had sought him throughout the years: Ulysses wasn't one to announce his presence so clumsily.
"We should've given you a better welcome on your first visit to Zion," he remarked without looking up from his work when the courier's footsteps drew near. "But from what I hear, the White Legs beat us to it. I don't know if you were close to the other members of your group, but you have my sympathy."
The courier cleared their throat. "It's fine. I didn't know them well, beyond the road we shared."
Their tone drew Graham's eyes, and he paused his inspection of the guns. The clothes of a traveler, yes, worn boots and warm weapons, but in their eyes and face... youthfulness. "The Dead Horses did not mention you were yet to see adulthood."
"The Dead Horses probably didn't think it mattered," the courier replied with a smirk. "Follows-Chalk can't be much older than me."
"I suppose they don't hold the same sentiments about childhood as you or I," Graham admitted, rising from his seat. "How is it one so young became acquainted with Happy Trails, if you did not know them well?"
The courier shrugged. "They needed a gun. I was available."
"And your family approved of this journey?"
Graham studied them, perhaps a little more kindly. "I see. And so you have put yourself in God's hands, to place you where he pleases."
"I'm more on my own accord," the courier said testily, crossing their arms. "You seem... familiar. Ever been to New Vegas?"
"You may be here of your own volition, but that does not mean you are not following God's plan," Graham went on, ignoring them. "It is good Follows-Chalk brought you to me. I can help you leave this valley, but I ask you first if you wouldn't like to do more for this tribe and the people of Zion."
Christine Royce: As soon as Christine saw the child with the collar around their neck that had rescued her from the Auto-Doc, she made a silent promise to herself that she was going to strangle Father Elijah with her bare hands the next time she laid eyes on him. Truthfully, it looked as though Elijah had sealed his own fate the moment he had yoked the courier, as there was a fire in the teenager's eyes that only came from someone who was familiar with- and successful in- vengeance.
As she was voiceless, Christine bottled the questions she had about the courier's situation up inside her, mentally storing them for later. How old are you? How did you come here? Is anyone looking for you? They came more quickly as she witnessed the way they attacked ghost people, the way they slunk around corners and looked fearfully over their shoulder, as if unsure she was still with them. Who taught you to fight like that? Do you know what it means, to be cared for? Are you all alone?
When she finally came to in Vera Keyes' suites, when her vocal cords had been rearranged and a voice that wasn't hers emerged from her throat, all Christine wanted to do was scream. It hurt her to even speak, though, so she claimed the dead starlet's bed and laid down on it, staring at the ceiling until she could hear the security holograms powering down and the bedroom doors opened. To her surprise, it was the courier in the doorway, eyes still aflame.
"Are you okay?" they asked.
Christine didn't know how to answer. She pulled herself to the edge of the bed, put her scarred head in her hands and closed her eyes. The courier came and sat next to her, and she put a comforting arm around them. They sat, breathing in the centuries-old dust, breathing in the calm before the final confrontation with the madman that had brought them together.
"Come on," Christine finally said. "There's a lot you should know, before you open the vault."
The courier's head whipped around. "You can talk now?!?"
Dog/God: Dog didn't know the difference between an adult wastelander and a teenager, but God did, and if Dog hadn't been in control when they took the comatose courier from the bunker, he would've rolled his eyes. As it was, Dog paid the courier the same respects he did for anyone with a spine, and God waited for his moment patiently. When he finally left the basement again, he knelt down on one knee so as to meet the courier's eye level and fixed them in a meaningful look. "I am sorry."
They were predictably confused. "Dog? Are you..."
"Dog is back in his cage." God cocked his head to the side slightly. "If I had been in control when we encountered you in the bunker, I would have left you to lie."
"That doesn't do me any good," the courier replied uneasily. "I'm still here, in this mess."
God stood up again. "What was one so young as you doing, following the radio's call? I find it hard to believe you thought you would do better than all the rest, in finding the treasure."
"I've been lucky before," the courier answered indignantly. "Increasingly so, lately."
God chuckled. "And where has that luck brought you? Into the same old man's clutches as Dog and myself."
"Okay then, help me." The courier crossed their arms. "We can play his game for now, and we'll get ourselves out in the process. Then we can get you some chems for this whole thing."
"I don't need chems," God said, offended. "But there is some merit in what you say. Your youthful optimism is at least admirable, if ill-placed."
Dean Domino: The courier's age didn't matter a whit to Dean Domino, and he wasn't about to let a well-practiced speech go to waste. His captive audience was clearly seething, but that only made the introductions all the more smooth. He had to take his entertainment where he could find it, nowadays.
"You want to live, I want what's in the Madre," the ghoul finished with a flourish at the casino on the hill. "Real simple."
"Fine." The courier rolled their eyes.
"Splendid." Domino grinned. "I'll meet you at the fountain."
He stood up to get going, and indicated the courier could do so as well. They weren't as short as he'd thought, but the years clearly hadn't been any kinder to them than they had been to him: He'd simply seen far more.
"You're an asshole," the courier said reproachfully, while he looked them up and down. "No one to talk to in this town, and that's how you treat your first guest in years?"
"I've had plenty of practice in being polite," Domino replied, adjusting his sunglasses. "And now I'm retired. Didn't your parents teach you to respect your elders, or has that fallen out of fashion?"
"My parents didn't teach me squat," the courier replied.
"Well, they clearly didn't see the worlds of potential in you that I see."
The courier glared at him. "It wasn't like that."
"Is that so?" Domino waved the revelation off as if it were cigarette smoke. "Well that's hardly my problem. Now run along, little courier. Best get back to your delivery schedule."
It was the first word the cyberdog heard, upon waking up in the X-8 Research Center. She let her tongue loll out and she began to pant, looking around for the voice.
A child looked down at her from a nearby console center, their eyes wide. "No," they said. "Your eyes are blue."
The cyberdog stood and looked up at them. She barked once, then waited for their response.
"Good dog?" the child responded, hand reaching for their weapon. The cyberdog took the cue and sat, like a good dog.
This seemed to reassure them. "Here!" they called, and she made her way across the nearby walkway to where they were standing. They sank to their knees to look her over, and she stood still as they inspected her brain dome, her mechanical limbs and her glossy fur.
"Hi there, puppy," they said softly, scratching her behind the ears. "You're a girl. Guess 'Rex' doesn't work. How about... Roxie?"
Roxie barked her agreement. The courier chuckled, amused and relieved, and before Roxie knew it they had thrown their arms around her.
"It's so good to see something that isn't trying to kill me," the courier said, their voice muffled somewhat by the cyberdog's shoulder. "Or trying to take me apart. I don't know if I can get out of here, and I just... I just want to go home."
Ulysses: Ulysses had never seen the other courier. He'd seen their footprints all over the west, seen the destruction their hand had wrought in the course of their travels, but he'd never laid eyes on them himself. It was a strange thing, he sometimes thought, to have your life shaped so completely by someone in the distance, a figure silhouetted against a rising sun, an exploding bomb, the lights of New Vegas, and yet so many lived their lives this way. How many NCR citizens had met President Kimball? How many slaves had stood near to Caesar? He'd spent so much time above the masses that he'd grown used to the proximity to power, and the courier dashed that feeling to pieces as they'd done to the Divide.
When their voice came to him through the eyebot, it was thin. It wasn't what Ulysses had expected, but it didn't matter. When their figure appeared in the distance, it was small, transparently unsure of its path, but it didn't matter. And when the weary and battered courier finally stood in Ulysses' temple, in the home of the gods that had ended the world, he finally saw what they were, and the staff in his hand faltered.
The teenaged courier didn't appear to be having the same thoughts, and their aim was steady. "You son of a bitch," they breathed, glancing at the eyebot that once again hovered at their side. "You wanted me here, right? You wanted me to walk this road, see what happened, see... see..."
Their eyes were brimming with tears. "I don't remember any of this!" they yelled, the cry echoing around the missiles' sanctum. "And even if I did, I wouldn't have answers for you. I don't owe you my history. This isn't mine. I don't want... I don't want this."
Ulysses watched as they lowered their gun and cried, heaving sobs out of frustration more than fear. The old world's weapons hadn't heard gasps like these since before the Great War. Perhaps they'd never heard them. Ulysses knew them well, though. The sounds of the tired, the broken, the defeated, sounds he had both caused and uttered himself. Sounds that brought him back to his own youth, to another nation torn asunder and a history that wasn't his thrust upon him.
And the Legion's mighty warrior lowered his staff, set aside his gun, and sat on the steps of the temple while the courier cried, until the countdown could no longer wait. When the marked men burst through the silo's doors, the two couriers faced them as one, and the tears on both of their faces disappeared under the dust of the Divide.
Robert House: The proprietor of the Strip knew the courier's age before they ever set foot in the Lucky 38, though finding the information had taken some time. He'd known the basics about each of the couriers he had hired for the platinum chip delivery, and he'd paid a hefty sum for that information: After all, some of the details weren't even known by the people they applied to. Still, when the courier finally stood before the computer screens that served as his window into the Mojave, it struck him that they looked shorter than he thought they'd be.
They listened politely to his explanation of events, the broad strokes of his plans to bring New Vegas forward, ahead of every other post-war civilization, and they nodded when he asked them to retrieve the platinum chip he had originally paid them to deliver. "We wouldn't want to have an incomplete delivery on your record," he chided, though he let his tone remain kind overall.
The prospect seemed to bring solemnity to their face, but they asked a question all the same. "Why me?"
"Why not?" House replied. "The contract was yours to begin with. It would only be right to adhere to it."
"Yes, but..." The courier scratched the back of their neck. "This has been a lot for me. I mean, I got shot in the head."
"And you overcame that particular obstacle," House said, slightly more impatient. "It's clear to me now that Benny has no intention of following my terms anymore, and I can't send a Securitron army to storm the Tops looking for him without stirring up more trouble. It's clear that an unknown agent's intervention is necessary, and your resilience so far has proven you worthy of the job."
"Well, I'm no fan of Benny," the courier admitted. "But I'm also only 16."
"And what of it?" House went on encouragingly. "I myself was only 22 when I founded RobCo Industries and revolutionized the robotics industry in America. Age is hardly consequential when you're building the next dream of humanity."
35 notes · View notes