Best Served... Cold?
Huntress strode through the swamps surroundings Ed's house with a sense of purpose in her stride; her pace breaking for no obstacle. This was not like the long walk which had first led her to the house, that one had no purpose - just wandering lost in the wasteland. Now she felt something course through her veins which felt alien - yet so very natural at the same time - this was righteous justice, this was vengeance in her heart.
Her rifle fired; held out to her side with one hand, the powder smoke still funnelling from it's long barrel as she took another step. Huntress had not even broken pace to down the wild mongrel that had pounced from the overgrowth at her as she passed by it. The warped creature dropped to the ground with a thud as it's lifeless body lay in the Huntresses wake - just another life that got in between her and her goal.
She did not know how long she had been walking. It could not have been too long because the hazy sun still hung low over the horizon. Drawing upon some old prewar ruins, Huntress finally slowed to investigate. As she Scouted around the area, Felicia trotted around and stared up inquisitively, "What?" Huntress stared down into the curious eyes of the dog, who simply gave a soft bark in response, "Don't worry girl; we'll find them, and we'll make them pay." Felicia barked again enthusiastically as Huntress moved on from her search, trotting along faithfully a few steps behind her.
Following the path of the prewar ruins, Huntress continued along the old highway; figuring it to be the most likely route taken by the raiders who had first pursued her to Ed's house. Crossing on old concrete bridge, she slowed her pace and drew her rifle; taking note of the cluttered landscape - full of old vehicle wrecks and a whole manner of debris.
Felicia began to growl - Huntress picked up on the dog's signal that she sensed something nearby and her grip on the rifle tightened, "Got any jet?" Came a voice from the other side of an upturned wreck. Huntress blinked in disbelief and slowly hedged her way around the burned out vehicle husk, "Yeah, you with the dog; got any jet?" The voice continued. Whilst sounding rough and somewhat gravelly, it did not sound like the voice of a ghoul; this was one of the many junkies who roam the wastelands, looking to feed their addiction to the ever decreasing supply of prewar chems.
"Excuse me?" Huntress asked, peeking around the vehicle with her rifle held low but ready. "Jet! Ya got any? Can do whatever ya want in return!" The junkie's voice carried the distinct undertone of a desperate plea. Huntress narrowed her eyes on the figure - a woman lay on the ground on her side - and she brought her rifle up to bear, "Why don't you start by slowly pulling out your hands so I can see them" she challenged.
The junkie grinned a wicked grin and pulled out a rusty old machete she had been lay on, "If ya ain't got no jet, I'll take whatever else ya got!". Huntress rolled her eyes and fired a single shot through the junkies leg. As she screamed out in pain at the unanticipated shot and dropped the machete, Huntress continued, "There, much more civilised. Honestly, who draws a rotten old blade when already held at gunpoint; are you really that simple?"
The junkie glared up at her with daggers in her eyes, "You shot me!"
"Well; ten out of ten for observation. Now; unless you want the next shot to land quite a bit higher up, why don't you start by telling me about anyone else you've seen pass by here. If you're good, maybe I'll spare you some jet to take the edge off that pain."
Still reeling from the pain and clutching at the open wound on her leg, the junkie spat at Huntress - though she could not project far enough to even hit Huntresses boots, "You're as bad as those raiders down at the old bunker!"
Huntress smiled sweetly, "Thanks. That's just what I needed to know" she fired again landing another single shot through the junkies forehead - it's a mercy - she told herself - nobody should live like that anyway - she figured, as she quickly resumed her headstrong pace down the highway.
It did not take long for Huntress to find the raider camp - they were hardly the most subtle of groups after all - and she was easily able to find her way to a rocky outcropping that overlooked the camp; bathed in an orange glow from the mid morning sun. Felicia read Huntresses action well and instinctively lay down at her side while Huntress rested the barrel of her rifle on the rocks to more closely observe the camp through it's scope.
Sat as quiet and still as the rocks on which she was perched; Huntress observed the camp for several minutes like the silent stalker watching it's prey. She noted several raiders wandering around the place, some still sleeping in makeshift shacks and a few automated defences around the old bunker building. Satisfied she had seen all she needed, Huntress took a deep breath; gently squeezing the trigger as she slowly exhaled...
A single well placed shot on the turret caused it to erupt in a fiery explosion; instantly followed by panicked shouts and yelling as the raiders scattered and went on the defensive. It did not take the first of them long to spot the source of the attack and one turned towards Huntress, running up the hill towards her. Huntress stood as the raider approached and fired again - not needing the steady aim now as the raider had closed to close range. Her shot struck the raider clean in the chest and he fell backwards as the momentum of the shot countered that of his forward motion.
Knowing they had made her position, Huntress scoped in on the shacks in view and picked off another masked raider who had drawn a sidearm and was in the process of moving around to flank her position. Her ranged weapon made short work of the unarmoured raider as the shot struck his shoulder.
More raiders came at her, but the elevated position and superior firepower alone meant they had no real chance to gain the upper hand; let alone the naturally skilled shot and gritted determination currently possessing Huntress. As the camps populous thinned out, she descended into the camp - taking out another automated defence turret with a volley of rapid fired shots. Huntress spotted a smarter raider fleeing and raised her rifle once again - determined to exact her vengeance on every single member of the raider clan.
As Huntress stalked through the remnants of the raider camp, a bullet whizzed past overhead and she turned sharply, "And the fuck are you?!" Called a voice from inside the bunker. Huntress smiled to herself and shouted back, "I am death incarnate; and I here to see justice is served against all of you. No more innocents will die by your hand!"
The raider laughed wildly, "Bring it on sugar!"
"I'm so pleased you welcome your fate!" Huntress shouted back as she quickly dove for cover and worked her way up towards the bunker. As good as it was as a fortified position, the limited view from it's narrow windows made it near impossible to sight a decent shot on anyone approaching in cover, so the raider was left no choice but to simply wait; weapon trained on the doorway.
Huntress knew better than to simply walk in however, instead aiming her rifle around the door and firing a few blind shots to force the raider into cover. Then, before entering the room herself - Huntress gave a short sharp whistle and Felicia dived in through the narrow window, landing against the raider with a fierce growl as she pinned him to the floor and clamped her jaw over his ankle. The raider tried to recover and was able to get to his feet, though he could not shake the dog from his ankle and was unable to focus long enough to raise a weapon against her before Huntress calmly turned in through the door and fired a shot at point blank range. The impact showered the dog in splattered blood, but she did not care; trotting back proudly to Huntress, who knelt and wiped the dogs fur clean as best she could, "Good girl, Felicia!" To which she barked happily.
Their elation was short lived however as the bunker's inner door creaked open, "What the fuck is going on out he-..." The raider boss emerged unaware of the situation - only the ruckus which had woken him earlier than he cared - and was even less aware of the rifle butt which swiped hard across his face as he emerged from his private sanctuary.
He awoke groggily a short time later to find himself bound and tied to an old steel desk. Huntress sat casually across a backwards turned chair a few feet in front of him; her arms folded across the chair's backrest and the tip of her hat pulled down low, "Ugh, who are you... whaddaya want with us?" He snarled at the stranger.
Huntress slowly looked up - her eyes still obscured by the shadow from her hat, "I want to know why".
"Why what?" He spat back, more confused than before.
"Why you do what you do. Why you slaughter innocent people who have done you no harm"
The raider boss groaned, "Is that what this is... revenge? Well shit lady, that's just how the wasteland works, ya know!"
"I see" her tone remained calm, almost casual sounding, "Then you understand. Good". With that she rose to her feet and turned to the door.
"Wait! Ya just gonna leave me here... like this?" He called after her, struggling fruitlessly against his restraints.
"Not exactly..." she replied, glancing back over her shoulder. Though her eyeline did not fall towards the bound raider boss, but towards an object in the corner of the room - tantalisingly close, but still out of his reach. His eyes widened as he turned to see one of his stockpiled mini nukes strapped together with a makeshift detonation device which looked to be on a timer, "Hey! Ya can't do this!" He pleaded, desperately twisting against his restraints, but still to no avail. "Peace be with you" she replied heading out the door.
Having already cleaned the camp out of it's few useful supplies, Huntress strode casually out. Her rifle still to bear in case of any stragglers, she held it with one hand, turned upright and rested against that shoulder as she walked. An almighty explosion thundered out from behind her as she exited the camp; a small mushroom cloud rising from the spot where the bunker had stood. She did not stop, though she did glance back over her shoulder as she knew her vengeance had been exacted. Now she could continue on to the ghoul city with a clear conscience, knowing that she had brought justice against those responsible for Ed's demise.