23rd October, 2282 | East Somerville, Commonwealth
The ruins of Boston were an unforgiving place at the best of times. If it wasn't raiders or horribly mutated creatures, it was ghouls or supermutants. There was always a threat, around every corner; someone or something else waiting to kill you. No thought pushed further to the front of her mind as she stoked the makeshift campfire before her in the early morning light, 'what would it be today...' she thought to herself, staring silently through the flames. The journey so far had been long and arduous, but she had survived trials that she had dared not even imagine beforehand. At least, she assumed as much. Sometimes she would think more on this as she walked across the charred remnant of society that was once called the United States of America. She still did not know who she was before the first day of memory. What if the trials she had endured were not beyond the imagination of whoever she was before, would she even want to know who that person was, if so? Such thoughts would often enter her mind when she stared into the flames; a bright flickering remnant of a very dark memory that now felt so distant, yet remained so fresh and painful.
As distracting as her chain of thought could be, it was not enough to make her oblivious to the rustling in the long grass just beyond her camp, 'and so it is' she mused under her breath whilst calmly continuing to stoke the fire and feign ignorance to her observer. She continued preparing the meal that was already cooking over the fire - a crude but effective source of sustenance in the form of a former molerat she had hunted before daylight broke that morning - all the while exercising slow and steady movement which appeared to be going about her food preparation, whilst she was actually unsheathing the old combat knife normally carried on her arm and now lay by the fireside from the earlier meal preparations. If there was one natural instinct she had honed to perfection during her travels, it was a sense of timing. She moved swiftly after unsheathing the blade to slash across the leg of her true attacker coming at her back. The raider jumped back at the sudden response to his presence but laughed hysterically as the simple blade bounced off the makeshift metal plate strapped to his shin amidst a sea of sparks. She looked up at the masked figure; specifically at the barrel of the hunting rifle pointed down at her. "Boss'll have fun with you..." the raider leered, "...but not before I have mine" he prodded her shoulder with the barrel and forced her backwards to the ground. She could feel the heat of the fire just beyond her head and had a fleeting thought of how annoyed she would be if she had fallen so far to singe her ponytail. The raider stepped closer standing confidently - and stupidly - with his feet straddled either side of her legs as she lay on the ground. 'This will be too easy' she smiled inwardly as she stared coldly up at the masked raider. She felt her body tense as she held her firm gaze on the raider, like a radscorpion ready to pounce.
Before she could enact her plan to unbalance, disarm, then kill her attacker however, something unexpected happened. It was minor - almost unnoticeable through the glare of the morning sun - a slight audible 'pop' accompanied by a subtle red mist that sprayed from the side of the raiders head. A fraction of a second later, the more distant and unmistakable sound of a gunshot echoing. The raider slowly slumped to one side in the same direction as the spray of mist had exited his temple. She helped him on his way by kicking her feet out in the opposite direction to send his body tumbling unceremoniously to the ground. In the same swift motion she rolled onto her front, pressing her hands against the hard ground beneath her to push back up to her feet. Then she froze. As her gaze drew up from the ground to be staring straight into the flames, she saw the eyes beyond. Then the snarling teeth. This raider seemingly had a trained hound with him, and it now stood directly across the fire from her; poised and ready to pounce. She was in that most unforgivable of positions; pinned and vulnerable, in a position that did not lend itself to even the fastest of reaction times. The hound barked viciously as it lurched at her through the fire, monstrous jaw agape as it was naturally moving for a quick kill by latching on to its prey's neck. She did the only thing she could and let her hands go out to her sides, dropping her face to the floor. If she was fast enough, there was a chance that she could duck under the hounds jump with time enough to retrieve her blade and roll back into a more defensible position before it turned for a second attack. But she did not get that far, again her plan being interrupted, this time by a yelp and whimper from the hound as it was met mid-jump by another bullet from her mysterious stranger and sent tumbling to one side. She turned her head to one side to see the hounds lifeless body skid to a halt against a pile of rusted debris. She turned it sharply back the other way at the sound of approaching footsteps.
The footsteps were both heavy and light. A smaller framed person wearing combat boots. The few steps she heard from beyond her range of vision were close enough together to indicate a smaller - feminine - gait. Her savior was a woman then, a skilled rifleman and a survivor if the heavy boots were anything to judge by. Though she knew it was possible this could just be another scavver, she deemed it unlikely. The combination of skill, composure, and perceived survival gear was too much for the common folk of the wastelands. This was someone different, someone special. She turned slowly to face the mysterious stranger, to find an unusually surprised reaction betraying her expression. The figure did not approach to help her up, or even check on her. Instead walking right by and taking a seat on the lifeless body of the raider after using her foot to roll it close enough to the fire, while also turning the body face down into the dirt. There she sat, not even looking at the girl she had clearly just made a conscious decision to save. She poked at the fire with the raiders rifle, stoking it's flames some more before reaching into a satchel slung around her shoulder to retrieve a can of prewar food. Resting the rifle-turned-stoker against her leg, she picked up the girl's knife - briefly admiring it in her hand - then stabbed it into the can to pry open the lid. The girl continued to watch from her unchanged vantage point on the ground as the stranger leaned in to the fire and plopped out a chunk of extra meat over the still cooking molerat meat, "You know if you're just going to lay there all day, this Cram is going to go waste" the stranger finally spoke, still not taking her eyes of her continuation of the meal preparation, "You really shouldn't skip breakfast you know. Most important meal of the day, and I did just make this a meal for two".
She finally stood, brushing her long leather coat down, and walked around to stand before the stranger. She felt her assessment had been accurate before, as she looked at the now seated stranger; this was a wasteland survivor of exceptional skill and unusually high composure. She took in the strangers features; from the bushy ponytail longer than even her own, to the rarely seen shiny ear adornments all framing the clean skin of her face; not just clean for the lack of scars or damage as so often seen among fellow survivors, but even clean for the lack of grime and filth - someone who actually took care of herself was a rare sight in the Commonwealth, especially out here in the wilderness away from larger settlements like Quincy or Diamond City. The stranger wore a long jacket not dissimilar to her own, though this one was cut off at the arms and more a denim material. A pair of revolvers were visible hanging at her sides from a bandoleer strapped about her body; further evidence that this stranger was a skilled combatant. "Whatever you want, I ain't giving. Sure, you helped me out there, but I didn't ask you to; that's on you" she held a firm confidence, even given her predicament. The stranger still did not look to her, head remaining down and focused on the food. She did however pick up the raider's rifle - drawing a brief flicker of tensing from the girl in reaction - and tapped the empty crate which seemed to be already positioned as a fireside seat. The rifle was promptly lowered and returned to it's newfound role as a stoker. The girl stared confusedly at the stranger for a moment but took the silent action in it's intended purpose of instruction and cautiously sat at the strangers side
The stranger continued to poke at the cooking meats, even retrieving more supplies from her satchel to serve as seasoning to the meat before dishing up two servings; one of which she handed to her unwilling host. The girl took the presented meal and tucked in, figuring that if the stranger had wanted to do her harm then she would have done so long ago at this point. An initial tentative tasting of the food soon turned into hearty enjoyment as she savored the rare pleasure of something more than simply cooked meat. "The seasoning scrubs latent rads from the meat" the stranger finally commented out of the blue, once her meal was finished and leftovers tossed into the fire. The girl turned to look at the stranger, still finishing her own, "Who are you?" her tone making no effort at this point to mask her disbelief at this unusual stranger who still did not raise her own eyeline to meet the curious one now fixated on her. "Who are any of us...?" came a response as belated as it was cryptic. The girl rolled her eyes at the elusive response. "Don't roll your eyes at me" the stranger quipped right after, drawing a furrowed brow from the girl, focusing as the stranger continued, "And no, I'm not some weird mutant with fancy brain powers or nothing. Just a natural response I like to tease out of folks sometimes" her head finally lifts and turns slightly, just enough to reveal the hint of a smile. It quickly straightened out however as she continued, "We have eaten together now, we are on equal terms. Now we can talk in friendship"
Shaking her head lightly in disbelief, the girl stood and began packing up her camp, "So what, you only talk to people you've first shared a meal with? Must make getting dates a real bitch" she joked as she worked. "Maybe it just takes a real bitch to get dates that way" the stranger replied contentedly, seeming to enjoy the conversation - even savor it like a dessert accompanying the meal they had just shared. The girl paused as she was knelt down packing up her bag, and looked back to the stranger, "Wait, is this a date? Would've done my hair if I'd known...". The stranger looked up again with an entertained smile, "Why, you want it to be?". She stood and turned to face the stranger, "Honestly, fun as this is. I'd still much rather know why we're sat here now. I mean, why exactly did you decide to intervene with... him?" she points to the strangers raider-seat. The stranger glanced down slightly before looking back with a nonchalant shrug, "Seemed the thing to do. Besides, if I'd have let him have his way with you, wouldn't have been much of a meal date would it; sat here on my own". A moment's silence followed as she still tried to get a handle on this stranger, "So what now then?". The stranger gave another light shrug, "Now the day goes on, I continue my journey. You continue yours. If we're both lucky enough, we'll make it to the next meal. And if we're really lucky, we'll find someone to share that with too" she stands, turning to leave.
"Wait!" she called after the stranger almost on instinct. The stranger paused, looking back over her shoulder with a downward gaze, "Where are you going? Maybe we're going the same way, you know. We could travel together..." she smiles, "...and then you won't have to worry about finding someone to share that next meal with". The stranger turned sharply with an angered frown sullying her soft features, "What gives you the right to be so presumptuous?! If you need help to survive, then maybe you shouldn't be out here trying" she snapped. The girl was a little taken aback by the sudden dark turn and scowls back, stepping abruptly forwards toward the stranger, "What makes you so presumptuous to think that I suggest that just because I need your help?! The arrogance..." she sighs, "Look, I travel alone too - have done across more of this land than I care to remember. But you're clearly capable, you know which end of a gun to hold. So you got that going for you. As for conversation... well frankly I've had better, but compared to most this wasteland has to offer; you ain't so bad. I just figured that if you're so keen on company, you might actually want some. But you want to be the bitch? Fine! Go be the lone bitch, didn't ask for you help anyway..." she turns sharply away and goes back to packing up her camp.
The stranger slowly turns and watches her for a moment, "What's your name?". Knowing she now seems to hold the strangers attention, she stands slowly and turns to face her, "Hu-.... Heather, folks call me... Heather. You?" "Enelya. So where you heading Heather?" she shifts on her feet and shrugs lightly, "I don't really know. Just been following my instincts all the way from Far Harbor, wandering aimlessly I guess". Enelya rolls her neck, weighing the decision of her next response before a faint sigh is released, "Good enough" she finally says before turning and starting to walk away again. Heather blinks several times in rapid succession as she tries to work the stranger out. A few steps taken away from the camp, Enelya pauses and looks back again, "Well, you coming or what?" Heather smiles and promptly rushes the last of her supplies into a bag that she slings across her shoulder while jogging to catch up to her new friend, "So... where are we going?". Enelya watches her catch up and smiles before starting to walk again, "Let's find out."