The sun rose over the wastes to begin a new day. Vibrant degrees of yellow and orange flooded over the desolate landscape as the morning came. However, as the sun rose it was consumed by the polluted clouds of ash above, plunging the land back into darkness. It was another day in the Wasteland, another day to struggle for survival.
Compared to the days years ago at least the sun was not entirely engulfed by the ash clouds. Most of the time the day would stay sunny and behold the dusty, dirty and destroyed environment of the wastes. Sun or not one thing was for certain: The morning sun brought new hope, and anyone able to bask in its short seconds of splendor always remembered how it looked as it rose from the horizon.
It was the early morning, around 5 o’ clock. Guide sat on the roof of his disheveled home as he watched the sun disappear beneath the ash clouds. He ensured that the exoskeletal power armor underneath his brown, dusty trench coat was secured, checking the wires and cables, running diagnostics through his Pip Boy and flexing his limbs so the thick, metallic reinforcements following them were well-oiled. The husky Russian’s head was obscured by a helmet, which in a way became his face since he barely took it off, and he made sure the filters were cleaned and he could see through the wide-eyed lenses.
He gazed over the town, relishing in the silence as a soft but slightly dusty wind blew through the wastes. It was a medium-sized town that was fortified and surrounded by metal plates. The houses looked disheveled inside and out but they kept the people safe enough, which was more than anyone could ask for. A year had passed since Guide and his comrades arrived here and vanquished the slavers attacking it; they could have left the town after that but plans changed and they stayed to help protect it, even making it into the town it was today. Supposedly they were just getting old, but lo and behold science and medicine and all that to keep them on their feet as if they were still twenty so perhaps they just cared too much.
The gate made from reinforced scrap metal was open as always. The guards monitoring it were fast asleep, slumped behind the mini-guns in their seats. Impulsively Guide checked his lever-action rifle and ensured his revolver was loaded and then settled down. The last time the guards fell asleep they stayed asleep; in the wastes you can never be too careful with the multitude of dangers surrounding you. Thankfully the one known as the Lone Wanderer blessed the land with blood and lead and stifled the dangers a bit but there were still many things to be worried about.
Soon the townsfolk would awake to start their days. Fellerman’s Crossing was a trading post that helped ease the burdens of the wastes by shipping out purified water and other supplies to neighboring areas. Things were brightening up since the Lone Wanderer purified the waters of the capital wasteland and many were able to drink fresh water, some for the first time in their lives. Even though the ash clouds above obscured the rays of sunshine from showering over the decrepit landscape Guide could feel a surge of optimism going through him as he watched some of the townsfolk slowly come out of their houses.
Most of the townsfolk were equipped with armor and weapons and sauntered over to the edge of town where caravans full of supplies were waiting to be moved. The two sleeping guards were replaced and they dragged their feet into their houses to pass out while the two new ones sat down and manned the mini-guns. Guide’s attention was drawn below him as the appointed mayor of the town exited the house in Enclave power armor.
Margaret straightened her hair out and checked her equipment. There was a symbol of a sparrow on her right shoulder pad which was painted in white, resembling the one painted in black on the back of Guide’s trench coat. The sniper rifle on Margaret’s back looked to be in pristine condition, shined and thoroughly maintained to prevent any setbacks. As she glanced up to Guide her dirty-blonde hair wavered while her wrinkled face curled into a smile.
“Morning,” the elderly British woman said tenderly. Guide looked to her for a moment and then responded in Russian.
“Good morning.” Margaret smiled again and ran a diagnostics check on her Pip Boy as she walked to the group crowding around the caravan wagons. From above Guide could see the other Sparrows organizing the group and placing them into smaller groups to begin the caravan escorts.
Edmund was the primary caravan organizer and he was directing everyone to get into groups of four. Like Margaret, Edmund wore power armor and bore the symbol of the Black Sparrows on his right shoulder pad but his was in red instead. He too was British and his blonde hair was long and dangled over the tip of his back. The women liked him for his charismatic appearance but old age was getting to him and they only thought of him as that nice grandpa next door who gave children candy. Somehow though, that never deterred Edmund and he found company every day in Flynn’s pub.
Speaking of that Yankee Flynn was nowhere to be seen among the crowd of gatherers. Guide looked to his house and spotted him sitting beside the door, fidgeting with his Pip Boy. That Pip Boy of his never seemed to work but he was adamant to try and fix it himself. Guide let out a small sigh and hopped off the roof, landing with a slightly metallic thud and then made his way toward Flynn.
Unlike the power armor of the other Black Sparrows Flynn’s was decorated with dozens of small pockets that held many throwing knives and a harness which several frag grenades dangled. His past experience with guns did not end well and it was settled with the other Sparrows that he would be better off throwing things at his enemies instead of shooting. He stroked his slick black hair back and groaned as he continued to mess the Pip Boy up a bit more.
Guide spoke his first word in Russian and then resumed in English. “Friend, you should let me take a look at it.” Flynn looked up and then moved to a stand, chuckling.
“Bastard,” he said, the wrinkles on his face crumpling into a grin. “Told you I’m not gonna let you look at it.” Guide shook his head and took out a screw driver from a pocket underneath his trench coat. Flynn grunted in disapproval as Guide began looking over the Pip Boy, his hands swiftly adjusting the screws and wires of the disheveled computer.
“I keep telling you,” Guide uttered as he began piecing the Pip Boy back together, ” you try to repair this and it will fall apart before you even turn a screw.”
“I’ll break it so hard it’ll fix it,” Flynn replied with a smile. Guide gently pressed his thumb onto the Pip Boy’s screen and it clicked securely. He pushed the power button and it sprang to life with the mascot coming on before the diagnostics check began.
“The rest are waiting.” Guide pocketed the screwdriver and looked over towards the group. “Best of luck to you, friend.” Flynn patted Guide on the shoulder and walked over. Once Hallister saw Flynn she began scolding him. That was expected, seeing as Flynn always arrived late for the morning caravan briefing, broken Pip Boy or not.
Hallister’s power armor had a variety of pouches on it which held medical equipment and other surgical tools for on the go. As the town doctor it was her duty to ensure the welfare of all the people living in Fellerman’s Crossing and possibly aid outsiders should they be seeking medical assistance. Her fading red hair was tried into a tail that dangled just above her shoulders and the pump shotgun on her warned anyone that messing with her may warrant a forced surgery. Like Flynn her sparrow was colored in green.
After she was done scolding Flynn she glanced up and waved to Guide. He waved back and watched as the two began assisting Edmund and Margaret with briefing the guards for their daily supply escorts. A door sounded near Guide and he turned to see Pavel buckling his armor down and checking his Pip Boy.
There were many protégés but this one was Guide’s. A year ago Pavel and several other young raiders attempted to rob Guide and the other Black Sparrows with weapons that were in disrepair. Obviously they failed but instead of killing them outright Guide believed it was better to take them in and help them learn about a different way to survive the wastes other than pillaging and murder. Since then they have been cooperative and have learned many things, dedicating themselves to the welfare of the Crossing and the people living in it.
Specifically Pavel is being tutored by Guide about repair and about any science worth its salt in this destroyed wasteland. Like Guide Pavel is a native-born Russian but with black hair and eyes. Wandering about in the wastes tanned his skin a bit so others could be deceived in believing he was a native to elsewhere – that is, if they even recall anything out of the destroyed land they live in. Because of Pavel’s scrawny build he is not strong enough to wield anything heavy-duty, and because of that Guide issued him two pistols, which he currently has holstered over his pants. The skinny Russian noticed the husky Russian and walked over to him.
Guide began the conversation in their native tongue. “Good morning, little one. Did you sleep well?”
Pavel nodded. “The others fell asleep later than me but I do not know when.” Guide shook his head. Flynn thinks a good ass-kicking will get them hitting the hay sooner but Guide thinks forcing them to taste the fruits of their pleasure will suffice.
“I see,” Guide said simply. “Did you try to warn them?”
Again, Pavel nodded. “They did not listen, but Rebecca went to sleep before I did. I think she is almost finished preparing.” Guide smiled but did not look to Pavel, keeping his concealed eyes toward the house of the young ones. He knew they liked each other but they could never get a word in edgewise; perhaps today he would give a little nudge to Pavel just to help smoothen things. As he watched the door slowly opened and a young woman slinked her way out of the house.
Rebecca came out and gently closed the door behind her. Like Pavel she was young, only 17 years of age but three years younger than Pavel. After her father sacrificed himself to save the Black Sparrows and her mother died giving birth she was alone in this terrible world. Fortunately, two of the younger Black Sparrows – Amanda and Hawke – decided to adopt her and have been taking care of her since.
Rebecca takes on more of her mother’s side, bearing blonde hair with green eyes along with a modest personality. Her features are more similar to her father’s however and there is an air of no-nonsense with her expression. Her comrades know she takes more of her mother’s side when it comes to decisions but her appearance is what causes others to not take her lightly, even if her intentions are sincere.
She secured her armored vest and tightened her belt. Like Pavel, Rebecca slept early and looked ready to roll. The teachings of her parents did not go unheeded and her personality helped reinforce those teachings, keeping herself disciplined and reliable to the townspeople to do her fair share of work. She walked toward Guide and Pavel and nodded to the elder Russian with her medical equipment and .32 revolver in tow.
“Good morning, Guide,” she said meekly. Guide nodded. Pavel nodded awkwardly to her and began speaking in English.
“Good morning, Rebecca,” he said, slightly stumbling. She smiled to him and looked away. The three went into silence but Pavel kept looking to Guide for some sort of clue. However, he was looking straight away as if watching the group afar, unaware of the two and their situation; but when Guide nudged Pavel with his elbow Pavel cleared his throat and looked to Rebecca.
“Rebecca,” he said, still stumbling a bit. “Would you like to join us for guard duty?” It was a rather odd request but Rebecca was genuinely interested. She nodded, Pavel smiled, Guide grinned, and then the three made their way up Guide’s rooftop to watch over the town.
The morning briefing finally concluded and the group began preparing the caravans for transport. The wagons were made from ruined cars found in the wasteland and severed in half, allowing them be mounted with harnesses and strapped to brahmin to haul. The two-headed cows were being strapped to the wagon harnesses as the rest of the caravan guards positioned themselves around the wagons. Each wagon had five guards total, including a Sparrow for each wagon. The townsfolk could take care of themselves when it came mutated wildlife but the Sparrows were there just in case a raider band or mutant stragglers decided to try and mess with them.
Meanwhile those that were not on caravan duty scattered throughout the town and manned their defensive positions. Some went on the rooftops while others settled below, sitting on makeshift benches or simply walking around and chatting in their weapons and armor. There was not much to be afraid of; they were all armored well enough but it was knowing that at least one Black Sparrow was present that eased their fears and helped them relax. To some degree every Sparrow was military-trained; if the rest of the town was out of commission it would probably only take one Sparrow to deal with a whole raider band… probably.
Truth be told a Sparrow never flew alone. Each one always had another somewhere in the area to assist so there was never one Sparrow ever alone. While the caravans were another case when it came to the Crossing’s protection there was usually Guide, Flynn or Margaret around coupled by Amanda and Hawke, who always stayed at the crossing to defend. The protégés were more or less around as well so the town rarely had any difficult situations to deal with.
Today was newbie day however. Those that never protected a caravan were addressed and ordered to one. As the wagons exited the town some of the newer guards looked worried or scared, which was expected. Fortunately not all of the guards were new, some looking confident as they walked out of the town, and the newer guards felt a little at ease as they began their journey to deliver the supplies. This was a test to provide the inexperienced with experience; caravans always had enemies to contend with and today would be no different. All the townsfolk knew the basics of weaponry but aiding a caravan escort would put that knowledge to use.
Most of those who already assisted in a caravan escort were put to guard duty, and this also included all of the protégés. Excluding Pavel and Rebecca they were all sleeping however so the town was off by five guards. The reason why it was important to get up early was because, well, you would miss breakfast.
Guide, Pavel and Rebecca began their feast of purified water, cave fungus and some fruits salvaged from a vault. All the food encompassed within the Crossing was like this but it was better than nothing for days. It was also fortunate that the food was purified so no one had to worry about radiation poisoning. Amazing what one can rummage up in order to make a food purifier.
As they ate, Amanda and Hawke climbed up the ladder of their house, which was a few feet beyond the road from Guide’s house. They noticed the three eating and called out for them.
“Hey Guide!” Hawke yelled out, catching the Russian’s attention. Guide’s mouth was full of cave fungus so he simply waved in return. Hawke chuckled as he opened the breakfast container, revealing fruits and iguana meat with several bottles of purified water.
Jonathan Hawke explored the wastes before he met up with the Black Sparrows. After a few years he became romantically involved with Amanda and the two have been together ever since. Amanda used to belong with the NCR before she faked her death and went with the Sparrows eastward. The two have their expertise, Amanda helping Hallister with medical procedures and Hawke exploring the wastes for any areas worth salvaging while doubling as the town’s equipment merchant. The two also work well as parents and without them Rebecca probably would not be as disciplined as she is right now.
Hawke’s once brown hair and beard are now streaked with grey due to old age catching onto him. He is a slightly big man with a slightly big belly but knows how to keep himself in shape. His head is covered with a bandana and sun glasses to cover his brown eyes while his body is covered in a turtleneck shirt with an armored vest over it and jeans. Amanda is also showing her age, her curly orange hair crumpling and graying. She dons an identical armored vest coupled with a sweater and a pair of jeans. Unlike Hawke her glasses are for seeing and the crow’s feet surrounding them provide her orange eyes with a look of wisdom.
Today was a good day to dine. They filled up to their heart’s content and then put away the breakfast containers. As with protocol for all guards they kept their weapons close but casually chatted with one another. Most of the conversation was brought on by everyone other than Guide seeing as the Russian barely spoke a word anyways.
An hour passed and since Margaret was tending to one of the caravans Hawke took the initiative to turn on the radio, allowing all to hear Three-Dog yapping away in his usual, upbeat tone.
“Another day in the fine Wasteland, children!” Three-Dog cried out joyfully. “Bit dark out there but ain’t no show of sunshine gonna stop the good fight! Those wanderin’ around the beautifully-purified waters have our Vault Boy to thank so make sure you give a shout-out for our boy in blue!” He howled again and everyone in the town cheered and clapped as they made a toast with their purified water. Guide tightened the filtration system back onto his helmet and cleared his throat, making sure the voice module was functioning as well.
“Also,” Three-Dog began again in a more serious tone, “you kids watch out in the meantime; those Enclave jerks are running around since our boy in blue decided to bust up some asses in their little cave. We’ll keep you guys posted while the Vault Dweller beats them down again.” Some laughter, some cussing, it was evident no one enjoyed the company of the Enclave. The Sparrows personally knew how their operations went and witnessed first-hand of the atrocities they committed. It only seemed natural that they were willing to shoot any of them on sight.
It was rather ironic as well seeing as they managed to acquire some power armor from the western Enclave group. No one blamed them though since the power armor still worked and was better than any armor out there. In the Wasteland it would be stupid to be so picky; then again, Guide made his abomination of a suit between NCR ranger armor and power armor but he was a skilled repairman, so only someone of his skills would be able to craft such a unique piece of armor anyways.
“Guide?” Rebecca asked, looking to the Russian with curious, bright eyes. “Why does your armor look different than the others?”
Guide did not look directly at her, keeping his focus on the surrounding areas of the town. “It is a symbol,” he simply said, now looking directly at her. “Perhaps I will enlighten you later.” He stared back to the horizon and watched as menacing shadows appeared over yonder. One by one the guards on the roofs looked toward them as well and realized the shadows were heavily armed.