Into the Void


WARNING: This story contains violent crushing scenes and crude language that may not be suitable for people aged 17 and under.

Chapter One:

They wheeled her away. Down the halls, past the monitors, X-Rays, and other medical equipment. My new baby girl. I couldn’t smile, though. Just across from me, James had just lost his wife in her pregnancy. I hoped for the best with his child at least. It was odd; I felt some sort of connection with his child, as if they were related somehow. Almost as if there was an inseparable bond between them. I had the feeling we would get to know each other; our fates had to be connected. That was praise indeed, coming from me. I normally scoffed at this hypothetical shit.

Sixteen Years Later

My daughter walked to class, poking fun at James’s child. They were like the ideal pair. Always had each other’s backs. The vault wasn’t an easy place to remain calm and happy in like they would. Aside from the occasional mischief, they were model students.
“Amazing, isn’t it?” James asked me, as I cleaned my glasses.
“Hm?” I replied. The question wasn’t clear. He obviously had something to talk about. I could almost sense the trouble he wanted me to tap into.
“For as long as I can remember, they’ve simply just loved each other. Like brother and sister, though they aren’t even related. Don’t you just sort of feel something happening?”
It was an odd statement to make. I didn’t reply. Doing so would make me a hypocrite. I simply watched the empty doorway, wondering what my daughter’s G.O.A.T. results would turn out to be.

Three Years Later

The officer slapped me across my face inside the security office once more. The alarms were sounding in the background, notification of the breach of security.
“Where are they? What happened?” He pressed. Truth was, I didn’t know anything. Once James’s kid had already left, it was no surprise to me that my daughter left. The Capital Wasteland was a hell of a place to run away to, but I hoped to whatever higher power was watching us that she’d find her place.
“I’ve told you! I don’t know anything! I’ve got nothing to do with this.” I shouted. The officer took out his pistol and fired.

Chapter Two:
“A New Environment”

I stumbled out into the world, with the screeching sounds of the vault door still in my ears. The Wasteland was something like what I was expecting. Barren, desolate, irradiated, everything a person could describe a wasteland with. I looked around for Sam, though it was in vain. There was no one in sight. I walked forward, looking for a clue of where to go. Dead ahead, there were the remnants of a small town. The nuclear war definitely took its toll. I felt something rumble. Something…big. The rumbling was steady, consistent with a person’s footsteps. I knew nothing of the Wasteland, save the propaganda the vault fed me, so I had no idea to what it could be. I walked out a little bit more to try and get a view. Suddenly, something put its hand over my mouth and pulled me backwards. I tried to scream, but it was muffled. Whoever it was drug me backwards towards the door before letting me go. I turned around and swung blindly, but they ducked.
Sam was crouching under my fist and put his finger to his mouth. I nodded and gave him a confused look.
“The vault didn’t tell us everything.” He said, pointing out to his left. I looked and was about to scream when he put his hand over my mouth again. Some scantily clad woman, only giant sized, walked about fifty feet ahead of us. She looked around the ground and fortunately didn’t spot us. My eyes were wide as she continued her patrol. Once she was out of earshot, I turned to him.
“What…the…hell?” I asked him.
He sighed and laughed. “You forget I’ve spent my entire life inside the vault, too?”
“I guess you’re right. You think she’s the only one?”
“Hard to say. She might be the ruler of the Wasteland, or she could be one of millions of them. We’ve no idea what’s been going on all this time. She’s still young, so I’d bet she’s new.”
“Maybe she’s good. Are they out here to hurt us?”
“If you were that big, would you want to help people?”
I shrugged. “Good point.”
“C’mon, I scouted out a town. I think my dad might have gone there.” He said, pointing ahead to a collection of metal. I sighed but nodded. We walked through the town, our eyes continuously glancing over at the giantess, who was fading away into the distance. Eventually, we reached the gate, watched over by a sentry. It said nothing but let us continue through.
We went right through the front gate and were greeted by a somewhat grim sight. The town itself was scorched. People were lying, dismembered, burnt, and slain. The makeshift buildings were destroyed. To me, it looked like that giantess had gotten to them. I heard a clatter and immediately pointed my pistol out.
“W-Whoa! D-Don’t shoot me!” A voice called out. A black man emerged from the pile. Sam moved my arm downwards.
“Who are you?” He asked, moving towards him.
“L-Lucas…Simms. Used to run this place. Y-You an outsider, ain’t you?” Lucas asked.
“Yeah…what can you tell me about what happened here?” Sam asked, kneeling by his side.
“T-That girl…the giant one. She got to us…found us. Played with us like it was a game or something. We tried to gun her down, but she’s too strong. She was burning people alive. Mentioning something about essence.” He explained. I looked downwards. So…they were evil after all.
“How long have they been a threat to you all?” I asked him, walking up to Sam’s side.
“They’ve been around now for about six months or so. Thought they were Enclave or something.” He said, breathing heavily.
“Enclave?” I asked.
“Remnants of the government. They’re all crazy. A couple of people that used to live here said they weren’t. Seems like they just kill everyone.”
“Lucas, listen carefully. I need a lead. I need something about them. I know it’s hard to believe, but we’re going to do something about them.” Sam said, folding his arms. I started to protest, but he motioned me to silence. This wasn’t our fight, and certainly wasn’t our problem. If that girl could destroy an entire city, what chance did we stand against her?
“Myself…I don’t know too much. I do know that we’ve seen her before. Always mutters about finding vaults. You might be able to grab some information off of the slavers that are friendly with them. But you got to be careful…they’ll attack you on sight.”
“Lucas, thanks. You’ve been a big…” Sam started, when Lucas died. His body lay there, almost peacefully. If this was to be my Wasteland tour, I started thinking I might be better off in the vault.

Chapter Three:
“Stroke of Luck”

We walked outside of the former town and stopped.
“Well…I guess we got to find slavers now. How are we supposed to do that?” I asked him, putting my hands on my hips.
“If they’re allied with the giant chick, I’d say they’d follow her around. Or at least that’s where she’d go to rest.” Sam said, looking into the Wasteland. We started walking when a voice shouted at us from behind.
“You two! Hands in the air! You’re coming with us.” A man said, laughing. I took out my pistol and aimed, while Sam put his hands in the air. The guy had a woman with him, with some sort of collar around her neck. I deducted that he had to be a slaver. My mind kicked in quickly.
“You’re with the slavers too?” I said, lowering my weapon. He looked confused and lowered the hunting rifle.
“Who the fuck are you? Never seen you around here.”
“I’m a damn slaver, can’t you tell?” I shot back, angrily. Sam looked at me nervously.
“Then who’s he?” He asked, pointing at Sam.
“Are you blind or something? Can’t you see he’s my slave?”
“Who you with?”
I paused. That was something I couldn’t bluff myself out of, so I had to stay aggressive. “I’m with myself. You think I need idiots like you to do my job?” I asked, when the rumbling returned. I lost my cool then and there. Sam pulled my arm as we started to run away. We hid in the ruins of the small town, with our weapons readied, for all the good they did.
The slaver panicked and didn’t know where to go. Sure enough, the giantess strolled over and giggled upon seeing him.
“Oh, good! Finally a guy to have some fun with!” She said, running up to him.
The guy, surprisingly, stood his ground. “Um…Aiko, was it?”
“You know my name! That makes me so happy! It means I’m popular now, too!” Aiko said, laughing.
“Y-Yeah! Um, we’re supposed to be on the same side and all, right?” He asked, laughing nervously, although it was plainly obvious he was scared out of his mind.
She stopped laughing and looked at him with an evil grin. “Oh…I wouldn’t say that. More of a...poor agreement.” It was at that point she extended the ball of her foot and crushed him right there. She rubbed it in and then drug it back along the ground.
“I wish you people wouldn’t die as easy!” Aiko said, giggling, before walking away. I felt myself become numb and fall down on top of the mailbox. It collapsed. Aiko stopped her walk away and ran back over around our area. I scrambled back towards Sam, who looked at me, annoyed.
“More people to play with! How fun! Come on out!” She called, looking around town. I’ve never been a really scared person, even though I’m a girl. But, I couldn’t help but to cling on to Sam.
“Oh, don’t make me look. It’s not wise to make me frustrated.” She continued, although she ended with sort of an evil tone. Sam motioned for me to follow him. We started creeping away through the remains of a house as stealthily as we could. Once we finally exited the town, he simply said, “Run!” I nodded, agreeing with the simple logic. The girl must have had really good hearing, because she was instrumental in spotting us.
“There you are! Nothing gets you in the mood for a good crushing like a chase. Here I come!” She said, coming after us. I sped up, running as fast as my body allowed. I slowly gained ground on Sam. Aiko wasn’t far behind, though, and was catching up quickly. Was this how it was to end? Running away from a force I had no chance against only to be trampled upon like an insect?
Aiko giggled and continued her slow walk towards us. “I’m going to kill some humans! I’m going to kill some humans!” She sung in an almost childish tone. If her goal was to scare me, it certainly worked. A tear came out of my left eye. I felt my body slowing down, the lack of oxygen coming in.
“Erica!” He screamed, pointing ahead. Another of them was coming from the hills, running towards us. I stopped in my tracks and looked behind us. Aiko was coming from behind and the other one was running at us from the front. Sam grabbed his pistol and aimed. I did the same. I pointed at the new one while Sam aimed at Aiko. As we did this, the sweet thoughts of my simple vault life came to mind.

Chapter Four:
“Apex of Hope”

Aiko approached us, but stopped when she spotted the other girl. She ran up and stopped as well. They had a standoff, with us right in the middle. I was scared to move. This truly was the end of me. I could almost envision them talking about ways to kill us.
“Sayoko…I thought we told you guys to stay out of this! How much longer are you going to be stupid?” Aiko said, stomping forward, coming dangerously close to ending our lives.
“Aiko! As long as you continue to threaten the lives of those simply trying to rebuild this world, we will stand in your way!” The one called Sayoko said, also stepping forward. I started breathing again. Was Sayoko actually on our side? Did we have a chance of leaving here alive? The two of them seemed to assume fighting stances. Sam motioned me to follow. We ran away from the scene just as Aiko began attacking Sayoko. They fought each other, punching, kicking, throwing, countering, pinning, you name it. It must have been at least five minutes that they went attacking each other when Aiko kicked Sayoko on the ground and was about to launch a stomp at her neck. Sayoko trip kicked her and punched her squarely in the side of the face. Aiko stopped moving following that. I cried to myself. I was going to be safe.
Sayoko wiped a bit of blood from her mouth and approached us. Though I thought she was friendly, I was still scared.
“Are you hurt? Did Aiko harm you in any way?” Sayoko asked, kneeling down in front of us.
“We’re fine…” Sam said, almost lost for words.
“You wear vault clothing; are you new to the Wasteland?” She asked, curiously.
“Yes! Tell us what is happening!” I shouted, excited. I felt so in debt to her. She had just saved my life from being a bloody mess on the bottom of Aiko’s foot.
“Well…about six months ago, yeah, that seems right. Three girls appeared. Some people think the Enclave started it, but nobody’s sure. They were the girl you just met, Aiko, and two elves named La Belleza Descalza and Juice Alia. Myself and my friend, Kiyone, were the result of a secret project to reclaim the Wasteland from them. Though it worked, I’m afraid they miscalculated the growth time and we sort of crushed the entire project. I’m working to protect you guys down on the ground, believe it or not.” She said. I looked at Sam, who returned the look.
“We want to find a cure to this. I appreciate you guys working for the good of the nation and all, but you have to admit this is absurd.” I said, looking up into her face.
She giggled. “Yeah, it’s pretty weird. But kind of fun at the same time! There’s a place that I suspect the cure is inside down in the metropolitan DC area. I’m not a hundred percent though…”
“Awesome, let’s head there!” Sam said, happily.
“Well…it’s not really that easy. I think the other girls know what’s there. They’ve made their base of operations inside of that area. I’m afraid that I cannot assure your safety. They outnumber us, and if we were to fall, you guys really don’t stand that much of a chance.” Sayoko said, glancing off to the side. I looked down the ground and kicked some sand. Was humanity really that dependent on these giantesses? I had to ask.
“Are…we really that hooked on you guys?” I asked her, confused.
“Not to be so full of myself, but yeah. Before we showed up, I remember being one of you guys. Juice Alia is the one that comes to mind. Myself and my boyfriend were hiding inside of a damaged building. I remember distinctly the fear that gripped me. We heard her outside, giggling to herself, singing sadistic songs, and threatening the world. I remember her going building to building, simply looking for people to consume or destroy. She found us and taunted us as we attempted to run away. My boyfriend pushed me out of the doorway and locked it behind me. She concentrated on him as I continued running. I remember the tears coming out of my eyes as I fled to the sewers. I heard a loud explosion, but I was too scared to look back. It was from that day that I pledged to make this world a better place. To answer your question though, yeah. Without us…they just hunt you down like ants and kill you.” She said. I could tell it was the truth, just by the way her voice had changed. I looked at her somewhat more sympathetically.
“Ugh…ah…” Aiko groaned, rolling around. Sam and I jumped away, frightened. It was then that Sayoko took us in her fist and ran away. Where she was going, I couldn’t say.

Chapter Five:

The booming created by Sayoko running across D.C. was only washed out by her panting.
“So, you think she’s taking us back to her hideout?” I yelled to Sam, over the excessive noise.
“Who knows? Sure as hell beats being tortured by that other bitch, huh?” He smiled. I laughed lightly.
“Aha! There you are! Time to finish what Juice started, Sayoko!” Another voice laughed. There were another set of booms. Sayoko started running faster.
My heart felt as if it would stop. “Wait…do you think…she’s one of the other ones?”
“Maybe…but Sayoko has this! I mean, she beat that other girl.” He said, reassuring me. There was an explosion. I heard Sayoko scream and fall down. Her hand opened up, and we rolled out. Eventually, we hit a large rock. Though I hurt all over, I ignored the pain and lied still. My worst fears had been confirmed; Sayoko had run into another girl. This one had white hair and red eyes, almost like a demon. To supplement her mysterious nature, she had ears that resembled that of an elf. One thing was for sure, she definitely wasn’t human.
“B-Bell…” Sayoko said, painfully trying to get to her feet.
“Don’t mutter my name. You’ve no right. It’s time to complete Juice’s collection.” She said, casting a sardonic look at Sayoko. I recognized her finally as one of the names Sayoko mentioned, La Belleza Descalza. I wanted to find out more about her, but that could be done from a safe distance away.
“Yes, her collection. Your so called partner in crime, Kiyone, Juice has her already. Put on a nice pose for the encapsulation so Juice has something funny to look at.”
“I’ll never give you the pleasure!” Sayoko yelled.
Belleza merely laughed. “Come on! Do you really want to get another welcome by flames? Seems my hospitality is a bit too hot for you to handle!” Sayoko bolted at her with her fist raised. Unlike Aiko, who tried to fight, Belleza just put her palm out. An explosion of fire hit Sayoko square in the stomach. She rolled backwards and twitched on the ground.
“My, my, is that all you have to offer? Amazing Juice tolerated you as long as she did.” Sayoko groaned and picked herself up off of the ground slowly. She tried running at her again. Belleza turned herself around and swung her arm around, finishing with it pointing at the ground Sayoko was about to step on. A much larger explosion ensued. Sayoko screamed and fell on the ground, no longer moving.
Sam and I locked fearful eyes for a second before we were interrupted by the sound of Belleza. She kicked Sayoko twice, who didn’t respond at all. If she was really dead and her partner was captured, the world was in for a bad day. Belleza did something with her hands. Sayoko turned bright white and disappeared. I didn’t know what happened to her.
“What are we going to do?” Sam whispered, biting his lip. I stopped to think. It was too hard to formulate a plan, so I said the only thing that made sense to me.
“We need to get away from her. We can think once we’re hidden. Let’s try heading towards DC. Even though that’s their hideout, there’s plenty of places to hide; I wouldn’t worry about it too much.” I suggested, looking back at Belleza. She looked around briefly before sitting down on the ground and staring into the distance. Sam nodded. We silently ran away from her.
“Where are you going? I sat down to have some fun!” Belleza said, casting a look back at us.
“Fuck, run! Go, now!” I screamed. I got into my run again.
“Oh, please. You honestly think you can escape?” She taunted. Suddenly, not a hundred meters ahead of me, a wall of fire appeared. I slid to a halt and looked to my left. I watched as the fire created a square of flame, making escape impossible. Belleza turned around and crossed her legs. I tried to think of a way out of this. Assaulting her wouldn’t help and escape was impossible. I tried the only thing I could think of.
“Um…excuse me, ma’am…we’re not the ones you’re looking for.” I said, cursing myself inside for not being more impromptu.
“I beg to differ. Juice said any and all life forms that didn’t include the three of us. You meet those criteria quite nicely. Besides, you don’t even know my name, do you?” She asked, folding her arms as well. Belleza kept mentioning Juice. I knew she was talking about Juice Alia, the giantess who had killed Sayoko’s boyfriend. To me, it sounded like she was in charge of them.
I went to answer, but Sam cut me off. “You’re Bee-Lisa Desk-Ala, right?” The pronunciation was horrible; it barely sounded like her name. I hoped he didn’t cost me my life. She cast a mocking smile at us and shook her head.
“Allow me to correct your grave error. I am La Belleza Descalza, the fire goddess. I will be deciding your fate now. Which one of you wants to play with fire first?” She said, forming a small fireball at the top of her index finger. I nervously stepped back. Something had gone wrong with Sam. He frowned deeply and stepped forward.
“Stop it!” He shouted at her. I wanted to call him an idiot, because that’s what he was. You definitely don’t insult the girl who can kill you with the slightest movement.
Her smile faded away slowly. “Did you just give me an order? That’s the bravest thing I’ve seen so far. It’s also the most idiotic as well.”
“We’re not playthings! We’re humans; we have feelings and emotions too! Stop torturing our planet and go back to where you came from!” Sam yelled, breaking into tears at the end. The wall of fire vanished as she got to her feet. This was the first time I had seen her angry, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
“Run!” He screamed at me, crying. I wanted to yell no, but I now knew why he was acting stupid. I nodded and sprinted away.
“Go ahead and run. It’s not like we won’t find you anyhow.” Belleza called to me. I turned to look and ended up tripping over a tire. I tumbled and fell. Belleza stepped on Sam. She then twisted her foot in the ground for a full five seconds before bringing it back to her side.
“Better run before I change my mind.” She said. I screamed in terror and ran away.
“Too late!” Belleza said, laughing. Within five seconds, she picked me up off the ground. I looked down and saw how big she really was.
“I usually don’t go back on my word. This is different, though. Juice will probably want to talk to you about Sayoko. Her partner is being less than cooperative after all. Just be careful around her, she’s not as forgiving as I am.” Belleza said. She didn’t even give me a chance to reply when she started running towards DC.

Chapter Six:
“The Rotten Core”

We stopped right in front of a big building. I had a good idea where we were, and the look on Belleza’s face confirmed my fears.
“Welcome to Juice’s home. I’m sure she’ll have a lot of fun with you. Well, don’t let me keep you. Since you’ll never see me again, goodbye.” She said, pushing me through an open window. I rolled on a catwalk and hit the railing. It was mildly dark inside, but I knew where I was now. Right in the center, under a single, suspended light I saw a woman’s back with a black dress covering it. I immediately got up and ran to the window and wanted to jump out, but the fall was too far. I walked back out and peered around to find an exit. All of the feasible ones were downstairs, which left me with one option. I started descending the stairs when they let out a sickening creak. I cringed before I plummeted down into a pile of cardboard boxes. I stood up and dusted myself off.
To my right was a little staircase that led down to a metallic door. I quietly hurried to the door and desperately tried to open it as quietly as possible. No surprise that it wouldn’t open. I was about to start trying to pick the lock on the door when I heard scurrying behind me. I spun around and pointed my pistol.
A Radroach ran away from me. That struck me as odd, as they’d usually put up a little fight. However, the reason why became apparent quickly.
“And on what business do you disturb me?” A girl’s voice asked, giggling. Her voice echoed off of the walls and into my body. I spun around and noticed the light illuminated a gigantic knee now.
“Ah, well, let’s turn on some lights!” She laughed. I immediately noticed her. Some sort of energy bolts surrounded her and lit her up. She was a giantess, probably the one named Juice Alia. The energy flew off of her as she raised her arms upwards and into the pipes of the building. I heard engines start running as the lights flickered on and eventually became steady.
She seemed somewhat bigger than Belleza, but still smaller than Aiko. Her hair was white, sort of similar to Belleza’s. She wore a sort of black, lace shirt with a black skirt. Also like Belleza, she had elf ears. I backed up a few steps, keeping my eyes on her. She simply was sitting on her feet, watching me with a smile.
“So, do you know who I am?” Juice asked me. I didn’t have a plan right now, but making her angry wasn’t a good idea.
“Uh, you are Juice Alia, correct?” I replied, scared.
She laughed and nodded. “Very good! Now, what’s your name?”
“I-I’m Erica…Erica Robinson.”
“Erica, huh? Tell me, Erica, what all do you know about me? I like to clear up misconceptions before I start!”
“Um…La Belleza Descalza told me that you were the leader of them, b-but that’s about all, ma’am.”
“Well, that’s correct again! You’re pretty good at this! And do you know what our mission is?”
I wanted to answer something, but I had nothing to answer. I had a feeling she was looking for more than just killing all life. “No…n-no.”
“Aw, almost! We’re here to take over! Together, we can find the rest of the people of this planet, enslave or kill them, and thrive here! We’re almost done with our goal too!” She said, laughing. I tried to make myself laugh along with her, but it wasn’t funny. It wasn’t funny only because I knew she was being serious.
“Erica, do you know what our specialties are?” Juice asked, tilting her head to the left.
“Um…I’m not sure what you mean, ma’am.”
“Let me explain! Aiko, she excels in the field of brute strength. Whether it’s pushing down buildings or crushing tanks with a single stomp, Aiko’s your girl to go to! Belleza, now, she’s great with magic! She can shoot powerful fireballs almost anywhere. Those things you humans have, guns, they kind of hurt. So, there came Belleza and she can take them all out from a distance without us having to get hurt! And me…I am the master of psychic energy.” She explained, clapping her hands together.
“Psychic? You mean like…reading minds?” I asked her. After her light show earlier, it was obvious she had a few more tricks, but if her specialty was one that belonged in a street stand, I might be in luck.
Juice smirked. “No…more like manipulation. Observe!” She pointed her finger at the boxes and levitated them over to a corner. She then closed her eyes and pointed both her hands at the box pile. A storm of lightning appeared around them. They promptly caught on fire.
“See what I mean?” She asked, innocently.
“I wish I could show you a few more cool things, but they’d get mad if I had too much fun with you! We have to talk business! Tell me, what do you know about Sayoko?”
“She told me that she was fighting against you guys…to save us…” I answered, honestly. The truth didn’t come easily, but I was too scared to lie. Though she put on a good guise as an innocent, childish girl, I knew it was only for show and personal gain. It wasn’t likely they’d appoint a giggling idiot to lead the three of them.
“Save you…is that so? Seems inappropriate of her, since she doesn’t understand what we do. What is she after, anyhow?” Juice asked, smiling broadly. Something in my head didn’t know whether it was safe to tell her what Sayoko told me. What if they didn’t know about the cure, and I disclosed it? They could destroy it and leave the entire world in a bad place.
“I-I’m not sure.” I said, glancing to the ground. Juice’s grin turned into a smirk of confidence.
“Well, let me give you a little tip from what Kiyone told me. There’s a so-called ‘cure’ in this area. They’d call it a cure to this; I call it a weapon. Either way, it doesn’t matter. The point of the matter is that we control this, and they’ll never get to it. Once we capture Sayoko, I guess it won’t matter that much anyhow!”
“You control it?” I asked her, curiously.
“Of course! You think I’m about to let people go in and do what they want with it? I might be nice, but I have to look out for my own interests, too! It’s actually in a secret place that we control.” She said, patting the ground in front of her. I looked at the ground she touched. I needed to find a way to get to it, but looking at her reminded me of what it entailed. She wasn’t too specific, but maybe…just maybe she was indicating it was underneath her sort of home. It would make sense.
I reminded myself of the vast subway system underneath DC. There was a possibility they could lead into it. I wondered if I could get her to unknowingly tell me about it.
“What…exactly do you know about it?” I asked, nervously.
“Now, now! You don’t need a complete history! You need to learn how to hide your emotions! I mean, it doesn’t take a psychic to know what you’re thinking about right now.” Juice laughed, rubbing my head with her finger. I may have just ruined my chances there. If she was on to my act, it meant I needed to move on. To try and pry the information from another of them. Aiko never seemed like she wanted to talk, so Belleza seemed like the obvious choice. Juice’s voice was a subtle reminder that I had more pressing issues to worry about right now.
“Let’s answer a question that I’m sure you’ve been dying to know. What is going to happen to you? What do you think I should do?” She asked me, smiling. I stepped back once.
“Please, Miss Juice…I don’t want to die…please…” I said, tears coming to my eyes. I really thought about all of the times I had cried recently. This was scarier than I thought. It was one thing hiding from Aiko without having to worry about getting killed, but it was another thing completely when it was your life on the line.
“Aw, that’s so cute! Maybe we should just stay friends instead of me killing you! Does that sound good to you?”
My head nodded extremely quickly. “Y-Yes! That would be delightful!”
“Come on, let’s…” She said, coming over to pick me up when there was a huge explosion. Juice’s home rocked back and forth. She stopped, and her ears perked up. She glanced at me and smiled briefly.
“Why don’t you watch me have fun first hand? It’ll be lots of fun, I promise!” Juice laughed, picking me up and putting me on her shoulder. She crawled out of her home and stood up. I looked down and became sick to my stomach. The world looked so weird from this high up.
Juice started to run away from the house when she abruptly stopped, almost dropping me.
“Freeze! This is the end, Juice Alia!” A man in front of an almost innumerable amount of soldiers said. She paused and smiled.
“Want me to drop my hostage first? She’s done nothing wrong.” Juice asked, gently poking me. I wondered why she liked me so much; maybe I meant something special to her.
“Yes, release your hostage immediately! You are under arrest!” He said. She placed me on top of a building and turned to the soldiers.
“Well then, let’s do this!” She laughed.

Chapter Seven:

The soldiers simply stood their, all uniform with their weapons pointed upward at Juice Alia. She took a slightly confident stance as they stood off. I wondered who these people were standing against her so bravely. They all wore the same grayish-black power armor, which I was told in the vault was extremely rare.
“Can I ask you to reconsider? The rest of you people didn’t end up going back home!” Juice said, giggling.
“We will not let you simply continue this tyranny in our home! Whether you come peacefully or we kill you here, it does not matter. Today, you will be stopped.” He shouted. I really wanted to know who these guys were. These mysterious people who had so much courage to stand against an enemy so powerful. I looked at Juice; she didn’t seem to be bothered by them at all. That reminded me that I didn’t know if bullets or weapons would hurt them. She did say they, but I never saw them be attacked before.
I saw a blue spark behind Juice as her ears perked up again. She was ready to fight; my guess was that this was all deceit. It made me wonder if she was toying with me similarly. It was a good reminder to me of how dangerous underestimation was, especially with her.
“Okay…but just remember, you made me do it.” She said, closing her eyes. The soldiers started firing at her. She immediately opened them and winced. She began backing up in pain. Juice ducked on the ground, flickered like a picture, and vanished. I could hear the soldiers arguing about where she went. It was then I saw her reappear behind them. Before they even spotted her, she was surrounded briefly by the blue psychic waves and then threw all of her energy behind them. They surrounded the general area by the soldiers.
Blood began coming out from the area as the soldiers were slaughtered by the energy. I had to look away as the screaming continued. While I was doing so, my heart began racing. I thought of her childish giggle followed by her just killing millions of innocent people. I covered my eyes and peeked out through the crack. I gasped and backed away. People, all torn apart or otherwise dismembered in some way, lay dead on the street. Juice just giggled, covering her mouth. There was no way she was human; even if you hated people, you get emotional when you kill. No person simply laughed at the scenario.
She smiled again and began walking towards me when Belleza ran towards us. She stopped a few feet from Juice.
“Oh, how are you doing today?” Juice asked, folding her arms behind her back. Belleza looked at her and shrugged.
“Fine, I got Sayoko. I take it you already found the present I left you?” Belleza replied, with a small smirk.
“Oh, yeah! She’s great. Go ahead and put Sayoko in the chamber. There’s nothing she’ll tell us that Kiyone wouldn’t.” She ordered, pointing towards her building. Belleza grinned darkly and nodded. I backed away as Belleza approached my building. Not paying attention, I tripped and lost my footing. I almost fell to my death when I grabbed the edge of the roof.
Belleza hadn’t even seen me. She continued straight past without a second glance at the building. Juice, however, was a little more distraught. She went over to collect me when she realized I wasn’t there. I didn’t know if I should call to her. I didn’t know how long she would hold back; after all, she could kill me at a whim. Making up my mind, I maintained silence.
“Ran away? Erica…we’ll meet again. You know about the weapon; let’s just hope you’re a bit more prepared.” Juice mumbled to herself, before walking away. I listened to their booming footsteps as they faded away. A pain shot through my shoulder as I dangled between the roof and a fifty foot fall. I, painfully, hoisted myself up onto the roof again and ran down through the building. I exited at the base and watched as Juice and Belleza disappeared into the distance.
Juice’s words about being better prepared held with me through my mind. I didn’t know how I could possibly deal with her, since an entire unit of power armor units with laser rifles couldn’t hold her. I sat down on the ground and tried to formulate a plan.
The only two people that could really help me were, as Belleza put it, encapsulated. I had no idea how to remove it, but to stand a chance against any of them, I would need to free them.
“Still plugging away at humanity’s dilemma, aren’t you?” A familiar voice said from my right. I spun around and saw Sam, walking towards me nonchalantly.
“Sam! You’re alive!” I yelled, hugging him. He returned it and nodded. I wanted to ask him how he lived, or what he did, but the timing was hardly appropriate.
“Yes, I suppose I am. It’s times like these that make you wonder whether or not it’s a privilege or a punishment.” He replied, his smile fading.
“So, have you made any progress on figuring out a defense against them yet?”
Sam laughed. “Aw, leaving all the hard work to me? I almost died!”
“No, it’ll make it easier for me to find their weakness though.”
“Believe it or not, I know it, and I know where it is at.”
“Where is it? Why are we standing here talking?” I exclaimed, approaching him.
“Well, while I was riding on Belleza, she met up with Aiko regarding the weapon. Aiko said it was still secure at MDPL-13. I’m pretty sure that’s a power station, not too far from Greener Pastures Disposal Site.” He explained, putting his hands in his now tattered pockets. It would take probably a day of straight walking to reach the place, but it had to be done for humanity.
It was then that we heard the rumbling of one of the three giantesses. Sam and I ran into cover while watching for them. Sam pointed to my left to show me that Belleza was the one coming. She sat down not too far away from us and leaned back on a building. She appeared to be going to sleep when Juice walked over to her as well.
“Belleza, this is no time to be sleeping!” She scolded her, unlike her usual giggling self. Belleza opened up one eye and frowned.
“Why? What else is there to do?” Belleza asked.
“Did Aiko actually show you the weapon was safe? Or did she just tell you? You need to be more alert and vigilant of important things like this! Do you want to die?”
Belleza put her nose in the air. “What? Do you want me to go check it myself? It’s fine! It’s by a nuclear waste disposal site. Nobody’s going looking around there.”
“Yeah, go ahead and do that. I don’t care if you want to die, but you’re sure as hell not taking me with you!” Juice yelled, stomping away. Belleza looked at her with indifference as she walked away.
“I’ll leave in five minutes, mommy.” Belleza replied, sarcastically. Sam looked at me with apprehension.
“Ready to ride on a giantess?” He asked, with a grin. I looked at him shocked, but I couldn’t say no. The opportunity was far too good to pass up.
“Let’s do this.” I replied, nodding. We snuck up to her and took a hold on her skirt.
“Yeah, this is awkward for me, too. And this is my second time doing this, so don’t give me any looks.” He replied, smiling. I looked at him with apprehension as Belleza stood up and walked away.

Chapter Eight:
“Ride of a Lifetime”

Sam and I continued to hold on for our lives as Belleza strolled across the Capital Wasteland. There were quite a few times that reminded us of how powerful she really was. Along the way, she encountered Super Mutants, Raiders, and Talon Company mercenaries. She simply burned them alive, leaving trails of fire to tell the tale. Belleza stopped in front of a building that did look something similar to a power station. A new problem presented itself quite clearly. Yeah, we were here, but how could we get down without dying? Before we got a chance to really think, Belleza cupped her hands around her mouth.
“Aiko!” Belleza yelled. We froze. Aiko was the only one of the three of them that tried to simply kill us flat out. She wasted no time with conversation. Smart of her and bad for us. Ten seconds later, we felt her footsteps sending tremors through the ground. Belleza adjusted her top and folded her arms. Aiko came running up from the distance and slowed to a walk.
“What’s up? We’re seeing a lot of each other lately, huh?” Aiko said, smiling.
“Yeah, whatever. Juice wants me to visually make sure the weapon is where it is supposed to be.” Belleza explained, pointing off to a disposal site.
“Visually check? That’s odd of her; she usually doesn’t waste time with details. Did something go wrong?”
“No, I gave her my prisoner and…” She started, when she stopped abruptly. Out of nowhere, Sam nudged my elbow and pointed to a smokestack. I saw what he meant. When Belleza was standing still, she moved her hips enough to allow us a jump. While she was still paused, I jumped and made it on to the foothold on the stack.
“I need to go talk to Juice; wait here!” Belleza said, urgently. Just before she tore off into the distance, Sam made the jump as well. We watched Aiko, kneeling in an attempt to conceal ourselves.
“Something isn’t right about all this…” Aiko muttered, sitting down. Going against my better instinct, I took my eyes away and climbed down the service ladder on the stack. I slid down the ladder and landed on a walkway, right next to a corpse with a laser rifle. I picked the rifle and microfusion cells off of the ground. Sam dropped down next to me and recovered quickly.
I heard a hissing like noise and looked to my right to see something that resembled a zombie darting at me. I aimed and took a clean shot at its head, blowing it clear off.
“Nice shooting! Almost as good as me. Key word being almost.” Sam said, laughing and walking off. I rolled my eyes and followed him down the stairs. We ended up right next to a corpse with an odd sort of pistol. It looked like something out of a fifties alien flick. I picked it and the weird ammunition off of the ground. I counted the ammunition; there were five rounds, more than enough. I holstered the pistol and nodded to Sam. He frowned.
“What the hell is that supposed to be?” He asked, skeptically.
“It’s got to be what they’re talking about. There’s not much to this building.” I replied, motioning around me. He shrugged.
“Guess we’ll find out, huh?” I ignored him and went for the door when I felt Belleza’s footsteps.
“She’s gone!” Belleza yelled.
“Who is?” Aiko asked, clearly interested.
“The prisoner I gave Juice. Some girl named Erica. Juice was apparently messing around with her when she was ambushed and escaped.”
“Where is she?”
“If I knew, we wouldn’t be having this conversation! Show me the weapon, now!” She screamed. Sam and I looked around quickly and dove under a workbench. I watched as Aiko lifted the roof clear off the building.
“It’s gone! They’ve got to have it!” Belleza said, exasperated.
“Whoa! What makes you so sure? Juice wouldn’t…” Aiko trailed off.
“You’re really going to assume that? I bet you she told Erica if she took us out that she’ll protect her or something! Juice is playing us like a deck of cards!” Belleza said, angrily.
“You think so? You’re making some pretty baseless claims…”
“Are you with her too? Maybe we should just kill one another here and now!”
“Easy now! I was just being serious; you don’t have to get all angry with me. Yeah, the situation doesn’t look good, but let’s keep a cool head here.” Aiko suggested.
“We need to go confront Juice about this now! Let’s move!”
“What about the weapon? It’s still a threat!”
“Forget it! Move!” Belleza screamed. With that being said, they ran off. Sam and I looked at each other significantly and then to the pistol on my hip.
“Would this be a bad time to say I told you so?” He asked, looking at the pistol. I rolled my eyes and stood up. I stretched out briefly while looking into the sky.
“So…now that you’ve got the pistol with five rounds, what’s your plan? And I mean a thought out one! None of this I’m just going to kill them all bullshit.” He said, putting his hands in his pockets. I paused, holding the firearm loosely in my hand. I saw what he meant. Now that they were at odds with each other, that meant they would be closer together. Once they discovered the truth, they would all be after Sam and myself. There was one additional thing that I could do.
“We need to find and free Kiyone and Sayoko. Once they are free, they can serve as a distraction. Each of them distracts one and we isolate and destroy the loner.” I explained, in a soft voice. I knew I had no regrets of killing any of them from all of my past experiences. Sayoko and Kiyone would be a different story. Though they were helpful, it wasn’t smart to leave them alive. No matter how nice they were now, they could turn at any second.
“Erica…” Sam said, trailing off. I paid him no mind. I nodded to him as we walked out. Our destination was a place I didn’t want to return to: Juice’s Home.

Chapter Nine:

Sam and I reached the building we had been at before we had left on Belleza in good time. It had only taken a few hours thanks to a still operational, albeit dangerous car we had found in a garage. Sam looked to the large building that belonged to Juice.
“Wait, do you even know where this shit is?” Sam asked, stopping suddenly.
“Of course! You think I’d drag us out here if that wasn’t the case? Of all…” I said when he covered my mouth and drug me backwards. I felt the rumbling beneath me, so the reason was apparent. I looked upwards as he let me go. Juice was strolling by, seemingly without a care in the world.
I wondered why she was so relaxed. I had heard how intent Belleza had been in talking with Juice. They must have smoothed something over. She stopped in front of her building and stretched out.
“Ah, what a wonderful day! Time to get to sleep!” Juice said to herself, getting down on her knees and crawling in. Sam looked at me with an annoyed look.
“How the hell are we supposed to do this shit now? She’ll kill us if she finds out.” He whined.
“Relax, she’s going to bed. We’ll just sneak inside, no harm done, got it?” I said, glancing at the building.
“If I were any other person, you know I’d call you a lunatic. You know this, right?” Sam laughed, slapping my back. I smiled and nodded.
“I know. Let’s move. Stay quiet.” I replied, starting forward. The building’s height led to a deceptively long walk. We cautiously crept straight up to the entrance and looked at each other. I slowly opened it up. Unlike other things in the Wasteland, the door, surprisingly, didn’t creak at all. We walked in to find all the lights on. Juice was lying with her back propped up against the wall, already sleeping.
I did a quick scan for the doorway. I found it, and also located Juice’s pinky finger blocking the entrance. I looked at Sam.
“Okay,” I whispered, continuously shooting quick looks at Juice, “I found the doorway. Juice has her finger blocking the doorway though.” He looked around me and saw the place I pointed out.
“It looks like there’s a bit of clearance. I think we can squeeze through.” He suggested, starting his trek over. I stood, frozen to the spot, simply watching him walk over, fearlessly. I gulped and looked at Juice nervously. I quietly ran over to the doorway with Sam and saw the “bit of clearance” he mentioned. We stood at the stairs leading down to the doorway, shifting our vision between Juice’s gigantic body and the stairs. He struggled putting a straight face on before he nodded to me. My eyes went wide, but I stood still.
Sam pressed his body against the wall and barely cleared Juice’s finger. He gave a thumbs-up and motioned me forward. I tried to smile and nodded. I did just as he did. I felt as if I was trying to merge into the wall. I slid along the side and was right next to Juice’s finger. I paused shortly before gulping again and taking a slide past it. I felt my breasts grazing across her pinky as I sped up as much as I could. I had just made it to Sam when she twitched it, impacting the side of the stairwell’s wall. Sam and I tuned to breaking through the door as quickly as possible.
Juice must not have been sleeping quite as hard as I thought.
“Erica! You’ve come back to spend more time with me!” Juice said, grinning. Her smile faded once she saw Sam and I breaking into the door.
“Buy me time. I’ll call you as soon as I get it open.” He muttered, not turning around. I walked up the stairs and faced her. Even sitting down, she was amazingly tall. I felt the pistol on my hip, almost urging me to kill her. I was about to shoot; killing their leader had serious tactical advantages. It wasn’t that easy, though. She had knowledge I needed. I had the leverage to get what I wanted out of her, but I couldn’t kill her. It was too early, and there was no telling how many secrets would die with her. I pulled out the pistol and loaded the energy cell. I aimed at Juice, who looked at me more seriously.
“So…you’ve finally found it, have you? I guess Belleza wasn’t just overreacting.” She said, staring at me.
“Yeah, I’ve found it. We’re going to be doing some looking around; you’re going to stay put.” I replied, walking to my side while keeping the weapon trained on her.
“Fine, do what you want. Just answer me this one thing. Why haven’t you pulled the trigger yet?” Juice asked, raising her eyebrow. I stopped walking and looked to the side. I couldn’t tell her that I needed her, but I needed to look tough.
“This is no way to kill you. It would have been too easy to shoot you sleeping, but where’s the fun in that?” I said, stepping forward. I had a feeling she knew why I didn’t kill her, because no matter what I did, Juice just stared at me.
“As you say.”
“What’s down there? Answer me!”
Juice grinned. “Lots of my fun toys. They’re big girl toys, though, mind yourself now!” I didn’t understand what she meant, but it seemed I would find out.
“Erica, move!” Sam’s voice came from my left. I slowly walked towards the staircase, not dropping the weapon. I got inside the door and closed it.
“Well, that went well for working next to a giant chick.” Sam said, chuckling.
“Come on! There’s no time! Let’s finish this.” I ordered, waving him ahead. The corridor was a long metal one that was somewhat maintained. The lights were dim, but they let off enough light to see. We continued straight through until we reached a door. I took out my laser rifle and opened the door.
It slid open, and Sam and myself rushed in. Nobody was there…big surprise. We turned around at the same time and spotted two bluish tubes with two girls inside. One was easily recognizable as Sayoko. The other was probably her partner, Kiyone.
“E-Erica?” Sayoko asked, looking at us.
“In the flesh.” I said, holstering the weapon.
“Why are you here? This is too dangerous! You’ll get killed!”
“Well, you really aren’t doing a whole lot to help me inside there, now are you?” I asked, putting my hand in my pocket. Sayoko smiled weakly.
“Say, you wouldn’t mind, let’s see, letting us out, would you?” Kiyone asked, sighing. I almost dismissed the fact that they needed to be released. I took out the rifle and shot at the tube. It held strong.
“You’ll need to use the weapon, Erica.” Kiyone said, pointing to the pistol on my hip.
“I only have five shots! I can’t waste them on this tube!” I shot back, scowling.
“It’s the only way. This tube is composed of their powers; it’s not like normal weapons have much effect on it.” She said, rolling her eyes. I could tell Kiyone was going to get on my nerves, but if she made my quest easier, it would be negligible.
“Erica!” Sam called, motioning me over to him. We walked away from them and stopped at the doorway.
He looked at me seriously and took a deep breath. “So, what’s your call?”
“My call?” I asked. I had a feeling I knew what he was talking about.
“Yeah, your call. Look, if we free them, they’ll make it a lot easier to kill those other three. But, then again, we’ll be down to three bullets. Meaning, if they go rogue…we’re screwed.” He explained, folding his arms and looking at Sayoko and Kiyone. Kiyone looked at us, annoyed; however, Sayoko was pressed against the tube as if she was waiting to be released. It was a bad call either way. I took a deep breath and locked eyes with Sam.
“I’m freeing them.” I said. I didn’t have anything to explain. I was the one with the gun, and he was the one with the lock pick. I shot Sayoko’s cell. A greenish orb came out of it and impacted. Sayoko’s prison was destroyed. I similarly freed Kiyone.
After they had regained their composures, Sayoko hugged me. “Thank you. I thought I was going to die in there!” I returned the gesture and looked at Kiyone.
“So…how am I supposed to make you guys big again?” I asked Kiyone, looking around the lab. She grabbed two needles that had a glowing substance in them.
“Way ahead of you. Sayoko, come here!” Kiyone said, handing one to Sayoko. They held the needles to their necks and looked at us.
“I’d get out of the area if I were you.” Kiyone smirked. I didn’t need telling twice. Sam and I sprinted out of the area. To my surprise, Juice was no longer in her house. We continued the run through the large building to the door, with the sounds of breaking metal and ground fresh behind us. We darted away to the building I had ran down previously and waited.
Fortunately, Juice and the others were nowhere to be found. I watched Juice’s house shake and shift. I then observed Sayoko’s and Kiyone’s heads emerging from the building. They simply kept growing, eventually breaking the structure and stopped at their original height.
“All right, large and in charge again!” Kiyone said, grinning. She brushed her black hair back and pointed us out on the ground.
“Well, thanks. What’s your call?” Kiyone asked me, crouching down. Even though they were friendly to us, it was still very uncomfortable being the center of attention for a giantess.
“I-I’m planning a diversionary tactic. What I want you guys to do is to prevent them from assisting the one we are going after. I will need you to take us to our targets and then stand guard far enough away that you cannot be seen. Sam and I will confront and destroy them one by one. While they are separated and since they know the threat this weapon has to them, it will be easy to extract information from them.” I explained, looking into Sayoko’s face. Something resembling determination surfaced on her face.
“No problem! We wouldn’t be in this situation if they didn’t gang on me…bastards.” Kiyone said, glancing to the side.
“Who is your first target, Erica?” Sayoko asked me. I honestly didn’t know. I wanted them all dead, but where to start? I saw Lucas’s dead body and remembered the chase, fear, and despair that followed it in a chase. I heard Aiko’s happy voice singing out sadistic tunes.
“Aiko.” I said, gripping the pistol.
“Erica, are you sure you’ll be all right? I know it’s important for us to distract them, but you guys die pretty easily.” Kiyone commented. It didn’t matter to me. The moment she showed hostility was the moment I shot.
“Yes…we’ll be fine. Just promise me you’ll accomplish the mission and stay safe.” I said. They both nodded.
“Let’s do this!” Kiyone yelled, invigorated. She picked me up off the ground and placed me on her shoulder. I looked to Sam on Sayoko’s shoulder and waved.
“Hang on then.” She said, patting my head with her finger. With that being said, she started off at a slow walk. Saying the plan and executing it felt way different, but it didn’t matter now. It was one thing if it was for myself, but it wasn’t. Humanity itself relied upon me. Juice’s words assured that, “We’re here to take over! Together, we can find the rest of the people of this planet, enslave or kill them, and thrive here!” I nodded silently to myself before looking into the distance. It was going to be one hell of a day.

Chapter Ten:
“Assault on Aiko”

It was odd. I had run into Aiko as soon as I had left the vault. Now, though, she was nowhere to be found. We continued in silence and listened to Kiyone and Sayoko’s footsteps pounding against the Earth. I saw where the power trip set in. People literally fled at the mere sight of them. There were a couple noticeable times when Kiyone smirked.
“Sayoko, head up to the north by Raven Rock and search for Aiko. I’ll cover the area down here.” Kiyone said, pointing outwards. Sayoko nodded and walked away from us.
“So, what do you plan on doing once you meet her?” Kiyone asked me, looking at me.
“You mean when I meet Aiko?” I replied, returning the look.
“Yeah, like are you going to just shoot her? Or are you going to do a lengthy speech like in movies?”
“I guess that all depends on her.” I said, honestly. I tried to envision the scenario. Sam and I standing in front of her, side by side with Kiyone and Sayoko behind us. What options did she have? Confront us? That would be stupid; I had the weapon to end her, not to mention Sayoko and Kiyone. Run away? It wasn’t likely she’d get too far. Aiko was screwed.
“Well, get your ideas together quick; look who decided to show up.” Kiyone said with a grin, pointing at Aiko, who was cresting over the horizon.
“Sayoko! Come here!” Kiyone yelled. Things didn’t work out the way we planned. Sayoko was nowhere in sight, meaning she probably wasn’t in earshot. Aiko noticed us quickly and started a small jog over to us.
“Brace yourself, now. There’s no telling how this will turn out.” Kiyone muttered, maintaining eye contact with Aiko.
“Kiyone…what an unpleasant surprise. How’d you escape from Belleza’s encapsulation process?” Aiko asked, walking up with her hands behind her back.
“Ask her; she’s the one who freed me.” Kiyone replied, smirking. Aiko looked at Kiyone’s shoulder.
“She freed you? There’s only one possible way to…wait…” Aiko started, when she realized the situation. Kiyone picked me up and put me down on the ground. Surprised, I looked back at her.
“Hey, this is your show; not mine. I’m just a spectator. I’ll enjoy watching you die, Aiko.” Kiyone said, laughing. I nodded back to her and pointed the pistol at her.
“Sit!” I ordered. Aiko did just as I asked. I had to admit that it was a big power trip for me.
“How about we play a little game? I ask you a question; you give me an answer.”
“Look, Erica. Don’t take the wrong side here. There’s a lot you don’t understand…” She started, nervously. As much as I enjoyed making her squirm, I interjected.
“There’s nothing I don’t understand. You were the first threat I met in the Wasteland. It’s only fitting you’re the first I confront. You threatened to kill me and my friend; my, my, how the tables have turned.” I said, moving closer. Aiko remained silent and looked at me.
“Now, how did you come to be in the state you are now?”
“What does it matter to you? The history seems irrelevant once you kill me.”
“I didn’t ask for your comment; I asked for an answer!” I yelled.
“You really want the truth? Why doesn’t Kiyone just tell you?”
“It would seem out of place, as I’ve been pondering that same question.” Kiyone replied, folding her arms.
“Okay, fine. But you asked for it. About one hundred years ago, October Twenty-Third, if memory serves…”
“You’re a hundred years old?” I blurted out, hardly believing that to be true.
“Do I look a hundred years old?” Aiko asked, looking at me, resentfully. I shook my head. With a sigh, she continued her story.
“Anyhow, after the Great War, humanity was at a loss. People were sealed in vaults, the Earth was irradiated, it didn’t take too long before the Wasteland became what it is now. I’d say around Two-Thousand-Fifty-Seven that the Enclave were working on a project to create the ultimate weapon. It took about eight years for them to perfect it. Believe it or not, I used to be a little girl just like you. I was kidnapped and forced to be the test subject for the substance. Yeah, needless to say, it worked. As planned by the Enclave, all relevant data was destroyed once I grew. And, in exchange, I’m free as a bird.”
“So, what’s in it for the Enclave?”
“Well, now that you got three sexy girls stomping around, blowing up everything, you kind of forget about the Enclave, don’t you? While everyone is in disorder over us, the Enclave get their veil of secrecy.” She explained, with an evil sort of smirk. I had never run into any Enclave. I knew nothing about them. All I knew was that they were bad news.
“What about the other two of your companions? What’s their story?”
“Before you ask that, ask yourself this one question. Do you believe in aliens?”
I looked at her oddly. What the hell did that mean? What could aliens possibly have to do with this? “What do you mean?”
“Do you believe in them? It’s a simply question, really.”
“No.” I replied, shaking my head. She grinned and shook her head.
“Thought so. Neither did I before I met them. You’ll be interested to know that weapon you’re holding is actually an alien weapon. One of kind…at least for us it is. The technology we have can’t compete with their technology. That’s exactly why that’s the only weapon that will effectively kill any one of us.”
“You didn’t answer my question! What’s the deal with Belleza and Juice?”
“My, oh my, Aiko gets really distracted when she gets scared, doesn’t she? It’ll be all right, little girl!” Kiyone laughed, patting her head. Aiko cast a dark glare at her and turned her head to the side.
“I don’t know. They never talked about their pasts. They’re probably aliens.”
“Bullshit!” I said, frowning.
“Is it that hard to imagine? I mean, come on! When is the last time you saw a girl like either of them?” Aiko replied, smirking. I could tell my questioning of Aiko was over. I really didn’t have anything else to ask, and I was having a hard enough time getting information out of her.
“Have anything else you want to discuss? Make it quick; my finger is starting to slip.” I threatened. Aiko started showing anger. Although I could kill her, she still scared me. It wasn’t all too hard for her to at least crush me. A simple flick of her wrist would be enough to shatter every bone in my body.
“Shut up! You think you can play games with me? Let’s play a new game; it’s called die!” Aiko screamed. Before I could squeeze the trigger, she had knocked me aside and tackled Kiyone. The pistol flew away from me so far that I lost track of it. Without it, I was defenseless again.
“Get the fuck off of me!” Kiyone shouted, rolling around with her. The two of them really went at it. I took to searching for the weapon again, but had a really hard time. The fight was hard not to watch. Kiyone was my only protector out here. Aiko, realizing Kiyone was slowly gaining the advantage, shoved her off and tried punching her instead. Kiyone ran at her, but quickly took a foot to the stomach.
Dazed, she fell to the ground and was regaining herself when Aiko delivered a very powerful punch to her face. Kiyone’s face spun to her left when she collapsed. She wasn’t moving anymore. I was in trouble.
I started frantically searching for the weapon when I spotted something gleaming out of the corner of my eye. I made a mad dash for it when Aiko picked me off of the ground. I missed the weapon by a mere two feet. My life would end because I was two feet too slow.
“Erica! The tables have turned again, haven’t they?” Aiko said, dangling me and poking me with her free hand. I didn’t have anything to say or any bluffs to make. She had me and had me good.
“I got a really fun idea! How about we reenact the first time we became friends? I’ll give you a ten second head start.” I froze and remembered running away with Sam. While I was lost in thought, Aiko started walking away from the weapon. She took us about a minute away from it, which I estimated to be at about a mile.
Aiko then placed me on the ground and covered her eyes.
“One…two…” She said, counting through her giggles. I started my futile sprint. There was no way I could make it a mile in ten seconds. I did my best to run back towards the weapon.
“Eight…nine…ten! Ready or not, here comes Aiko!” She said. I felt and heard her thunderous footsteps through the ground. The bass from it echoed through me. I tried running faster, crying. I did this for about a minute when I felt pains starting, my lungs starting to hurt, and lack of energy all throughout my body. The classic signs of being able to go no farther.
“Please…save me…somebody…” I cried to myself, looking back at Aiko. She was walking very slowly and very loudly towards me, all done with an evil grin on her face. Though she really couldn’t go any slower, she was still catching up to me. I hoped dearly that Kiyone would wake up, but I couldn’t say I had any hopes that she would.
“Erica’s going to die today! Oh yeah, Erica’s…going to die…today!” Aiko laughed, singing another of her songs. I was scared and tired. I looked back at her once more and ran right into a mailbox. I coughed and fell to the ground. I scrambled to my feet, but that had cost me. Aiko was already on me. She laid down on her stomach and applied pressure to me with her finger, pinning me to the ground.
“Aw, I thought you could run a bit faster than that! Guess you need to pay for it now!” She said.
“Let…me go!” I said. I didn’t know why I said it; I knew very well that she wasn’t going to let me go.
“Ha! You think I’m going to let you go? Think again! You’ll die here. Just wait…I haven’t figured out how I want to kill you quite yet.” Aiko grinned, eyeing me. She thought for a few seconds before she brightened up.
“We’ll keep it simple! I’ll just pressure your body until it pops like a balloon! That’s going to be a lot of fun! Thanks for volunteering, Erica! You’re a real stand-up girl!” She laughed, smiling as innocently as she could. I felt it get harder and harder to breathe. I struggled to grip reality. Aiko turned purple and my vision started to leave me. I barely was holding onto life when I heard an odd laser sort of sound.
My vision flooded back all at once. When I could see again, Aiko was nowhere to be found. Sam smiled and nodded to me.
“You owe me one, Erica!” Sam joked, tossing the empty pistol to me. I took a deep breath, before replying, “Put it on my tab. Where’s Sayoko?”
“Tending to Kiyone. Come on, I’ll take you there. And…on the way, let’s talk about your battle strategies a little more, huh?” He said, slapping my back with a laugh. I looked to the sky. Aiko was dead…finally. One down…two to go.

Chapter Eleven:
“Besting Belleza”

I continued walking with Sam, briefing him on all Aiko told me. I didn’t realize how much I knew until now. We reached Sayoko in a few minutes, who was kneeling at Kiyone’s side.
“Sayoko, I got her back safe and sound! Just like I promised!” Sam called to Sayoko. She turned around and let out of sigh of relief.
“Erica…you nearly gave me a heart attack. Please…be more careful…there’s more people in this than you.” Sayoko said to me, looking into the distance.
“E-Erica…you owe me! You never said this was going to happen!” Kiyone said, looking over at me with a smile.
“Sorry, didn’t think she would freak out like that.” I admitted, holding the pistol loosely in my hand. Kiyone gave a small laugh before looking away from me.
I looked to Sam who wasn’t paying attention to me at all. I stared at him, blankly. My head was still filled with the fright that Aiko gave me. She had nearly killed me. Had Sam not come, I wouldn’t be here. It was a reminder of just how easily I could be killed.
“Erica…who’s next?” Kiyone asked, looking at me again. I returned an odd stare before answering, “You were just knocked unconscious. I think we should rest a little before we hit another target…”
“She’s right. You’re in no condition to fight, Kiyone.” Sayoko said, rubbing her stomach. Kiyone shooed her hand away.
“Enough! I’m not a baby! If I say I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go. Are you going to pick a target or not?” Kiyone asked me, a little more intensely.
“Let’s go after La Belleza Descalza.” I replied, not really considering the question.
“This won’t be easy, Erica. While Aiko was limited to her body, Belleza can shoot fire and burn people alive with a thought. This will be a hard fight.” Sayoko told me, looking almost saddened at my decision. I wanted to knock off her sympathy; I didn’t need it.
Kiyone jumped up and pointed to my right. I looked and stepped backwards.
“Seems she’s saved you the trouble of deciding. Sayoko, get ready!” Kiyone yelled, stepping in front of us.
“Get out of my way! Show me where she is, and I’ll spare your lives!” Belleza announced, walking towards us from the distance.
“Think again! Place your hands behind your head, and maybe I’ll think twice about beating your brain out of your fucking skull!” Kiyone shot back, advancing. I had to give it to her; she was a great asset to have. Belleza apparently had enough of chatting. I saw something burning and racing towards us. The girls dove out of the way, so Sam and I ran behind a rock and observed. I only had two shots, and it was imperative that they counted.
“I know what you’re hiding, so give up! It’s only a matter of time before I annihilate her anyhow!” Belleza screamed, shooting more fire at us. It was at this point that I knew she wasn’t going down like Aiko. For her, the sooner she died, the better. Kiyone and Sayoko braced themselves and ran at her.
“Get out of my face!” Kiyone yelled, darting at her. She tackled her to the ground and was mounted on top of her stomach, pinning her arms to the ground with her knees. It provided a great opportunity to see just how angry Kiyone was at her. Sayoko stood behind Kiyone, ready to intervene at a second’s notice.
“You want to play rough? Let’s see how fun it is without your fire magic!” She said, drawing her fist back. Kiyone launched her fist at Belleza’s face and knocked it to the ground quite hard. Sam and I were knocked down from the shockwave it caused.
“You bitch! Get off of me!” Belleza said, glaring at her with pure rage. Kiyone smirked before saying, “Not funny now…is it?” She swung at her face again, sending another shockwave through the ground.
“Enough!” Belleza yelled, pulling her hand free. She shot a fireball straight at Kiyone’s stomach. She rolled backwards. Before she stopped, Sayoko ran behind Belleza and pulled her arms back, restraining her for the time being. Surprisingly, Belleza didn’t fight Sayoko; she simply smiled at Kiyone, who was slowly getting off of the ground.
“What’s the matter, Kiyone? Revenge doesn’t play out the way you want it, huh? Still need two people to take me.” Kiyone stomped the ground before yelling, “Erica! End this! Fucking kill her already!” I looked at her, scared. I didn’t know what she would do if I said no, so I scrambled out and walked towards Belleza with the pistol loaded. I stopped within fifty feet of her. She towered over me, simply looking at me with what appeared to me to be fear. “Erica, you’ve got two shots. Don’t make the wrong choice here. I’m a goddess! I can make you into a being higher than life! I can give you the world, powers beyond what mortals can dream of.”
“I’ve had enough of you! I’m sick of fighting for what’s already mine! Go join your friend Aiko in hell!” I yelled, angrily. I was tired of her and wanted to be rid of this threat. I pulled the trigger. The green orb impacted her cheek. Almost instantly, she disappeared. I had thought that I would have had a hard time with her. But, everything came along quite nicely. I had one final target before I could call this home. The ringleader, Juice Alia. I looked at Kiyone who returned the look. We both knew where we were going. She picked me up, smiled, and placed me on her shoulder again. Sayoko did the same with Sam.
“Sayoko, come on, next stop, metropolitan DC.” Kiyone said, before beginning her slow walk. I loaded the last round I had and looked at Kiyone. The dilemma I was in was now a lot more pressing. Two of three targets were gone forever. I had one shot left. I imagined a possible scenario. Juice had just died. Kiyone and Sayoko looked down at me with evil smirks and laughed. I watched as they raised their feet and crushed Sam and I beneath them. If I wanted to do something about them, I would need more ammunition. Unfortunately, I only had enough to end the immediate threat.

Chapter Twelve:

Kiyone stopped outside of Juice’s house. I wasn’t going to go in there and confront her. There was no telling how safe I would be. I thought about this seriously. If Juice was killed, then I won. Humanity won. There would be no more superhuman threats for the Wasteland to deal with.
“Erica, we’re here.” Kiyone announced, almost as if I was sleeping.
“I know.” I replied, looking at the building.
”How do you want this to go down?”
I paused before grinning. “How else do you enter a house? Knock.” Kiyone also shared my smile. She tapped the side of the building with her hand and stepped back. We paused, but no one answered. Kiyone bent down to knock again when a familiar voice came from behind us, “Get away from my building.” Kiyone spun around and looked behind us. It was no surprise who was there.
“Erica, looks like you’ve been making friends without me. What did I tell you about playing with my big girl toys? You’ve gone and made a mess!” Juice laughed. Kiyone braced herself.
“You heartless bitch. You think this is all a game? You don’t care at all for all those you slaughtered?” Kiyone asked, frowning. Juice stopped laughing and took a sort of malicious grin.
“Aw, I’m sorry. Would you like me to apologize?”
“You had best. Those are the last words you’ll mutter. Other than, ‘please stop’ when I beat the life out of you…one punch at a time.”
“Fist fighting? You’re so old fashioned. Let me give you a welcome to the twenty-first century! Sayoko, if you would please!” Juice said, pointing her finger at Sayoko. I watched a blue electrical beam race towards Sayoko’s head. It hit her square on. Her eyes seemingly lost the life in them. She turned towards Kiyone.
“Kiyone, stop interfering with Master Juice’s ideal plan.” Sayoko said, with absolutely no emotion whatsoever. Kiyone backed up and looked down at me. This presented a new problem. If Sayoko would try to kill Kiyone, I would need to stop her as well. My ammunition didn’t allow for this problem. Sam also looked panicked. I knew Sayoko, as she was now, wouldn’t care if he died.
“Hang on…this is going to get rough.” Kiyone muttered to me, staring at Sayoko.
“I will give you one final chance for complete submission. Otherwise, I will use lethal force to gain your compliance.”
“Well then…let’s go.” Kiyone said, rubbing her fist. Sayoko didn’t say anything but ran straight at Kiyone. I had a feeling Sayoko was aiming for me. Her fist hit the shoulder Kiyone was carrying me on, knocking me off. I flew through the air almost in slow-motion. Maybe it was luck or fate or some higher power, but instead of the fall and death I had previously anticipated, I shot through a broken window and landed roughly on the ground.
Though I had been saved, the fall hadn’t been without its difficulties. I laid on the ground, holding my shoulder and gritting my teeth. I heard the two of them fighting outside. The sound of a fist slicing through the air and impacting another person’s body. I gripped my shoulder tighter and wobbled my way over to the window, breathing slightly faster than usual.
Kiyone and Sayoko were really going at it; I could tell neither one of them was taking it easy. Suddenly, I realized something. Sam might have fallen to the same fate as me. What if he did? I couldn’t say I expected him to have my luck.
With a scream and a face of determination, Sayoko swung at Kiyone with everything she had left in her. Kiyone ducked and delivered a strong uppercut to Sayoko, causing her to fly up off of the ground. She landed on the ground hard, destroying an entire street block. It was hard to make out, but I didn’t think Sayoko was getting back up. Though I was happy Kiyone was all right, I was equally sad to know that, chances were, Sam didn’t make it.
I heard clapping. “Very good! What a show! Have you practiced recently?”
“Shut up…I’ll…I’ll kill you here and now…” Kiyone said, panting heavily.
“You’re only kidding yourself. In the unlikely event I don’t rip you to shreds where you stand, you’re much too tired to hurt me.” Juice taunted, laughing. I could hear Kiyone just panting. I needed to get down there. I took to running through the building as fast as I could. I couldn’t let Kiyone die. I reached the staircase and ended up taking another fall through the steps. I fell a whole story down.
My body was taking way more than what it should be, and I would be paying for it later. I ignored every pain and discomfort and continued running down the stairs, listening to the heated conversation between them.
“So, looks like you’re out of options at this point. You’re only hope of killing me has been killed. Unless you’ve hidden her, that is.” Juice said to her.
“Erica!” Kiyone yelled, panicked. This was bad. If Kiyone thought I was dead, she’d probably take it upon herself to attack Juice. I didn’t want that. I could hear a crackle of thunder. I had about ten stories left until I reached the ground.
“Aw, yes, cry for Erica! Such a good girl, she was! Too bad you couldn’t follow in her footsteps, huh?” She replied, sardonically.
“Shut…up! I’m going to rip your fucking throat out!” Kiyone screamed. I heard her thunderous footsteps running. I knew what she was doing.
”God damn it, Erica! Run faster!” I yelled at myself. I slammed through the front door and spotted the two of them. Kiyone, true to her word, had her hands wrapped around Juice’s neck. However, Juice was simply smiling.
“I’m going to give you five seconds to get your hands off of me before I hurt you.” She threatened, still smiling. Kiyone was putting all her effort into crushing her neck, but couldn’t do it.
“What is your problem? Just die already!” Kiyone screamed at her, frustration lacing her words. Juice didn’t answer but held up her hand.
“That’s been five seconds. I warned you.” She said. Juice put her hand to Kiyone’s face. There was a very deep shockwave noise and a blue electrical show around Kiyone. She rolled backwards for about ten full seconds and remained motionless.
“I know you’re still alive. Get back up.” Juice said, walking over to her body. She aimed a hard kick at her side.
“Get away from me…you can’t kill me like this…” Kiyone panted, coughing heavily.
“How wrong you are. I’ll even throw most of my power behind this one so you won’t feel completely pointless!” Juice said, electrical bolts coming from her hands. Rain starting coming down in sheets, accompanied by lightning. I slid to a halt about a hundred feet from Juice and aimed my unloaded weapon at her. She wouldn’t know it wasn’t loaded and time simply didn’t permit the action.
“It’s time to stop, Juice. Right here…right now. It’s over.” I said, catching my breath. I watched Juice’s smile vanish as she faced me.
“Erica, put the weapon down. I saved your life. You’ve no right to point that thing at me.”
“No! I’m taking my world back for me. Get out, or I’ll take you out. Either one works for me.” I shouted, angrily. The rain drenched my clothes, making them heavy. There was a loud crackle of thunder.
“I’m going to ask you one more time before you make me angry. Put your weapon on the ground.”
“Shut up!” I screamed, loading one round into the chamber.
“That’s it! I’m going to fucking kill you, Erica!” Juice yelled, whipping her hand to her side. Before I could pull the trigger, I levitated off of the ground, suspended by some blue energy.
“Enjoy the bottom of my foot!” She laughed. It wasn’t her normal giggle though. I could feel the malice simply floating in it.
“Not today!” Kiyone announced. She tackled Juice from her side. I felt myself shoot up in the air as Juice struggled to get Kiyone off of her. I gripped on to the pistol with everything I had left in me. Juice didn’t have control over me anymore. I felt myself start a freefall down. I was heading straight for the ground. I couldn’t die. Not like this, it wasn’t right.
I closed my eyes and braced for an impact. I landed on something soft and bounced up once before sliding downwards. I opened my eyes and saw myself heading for an edge. I grabbed a hold of the black lacy material and wrapped my arms inside of it. I looked up, knowing where I was. I had somehow landed right on Juice. She knew it to. Kiyone was also on top of her, holding her neck to the ground. I knew it had to be done.
With one arm, I wearily aimed the pistol at Juice and fired. She screamed and soon disappeared into nothing. I fell down about twenty feet and rolled on the ground. I let the rain wash over me as I laid there. I had just saved the world.

Chapter Thirteen:

Kiyone was laying next to me in the rain, also looking at the sky. It was hard to believe, but the threat to the world was gone. We had killed them all. Two of our group had died in the process; it was definitely hard.
“Well…that was fun.” Kiyone said, giggling. I looked over at her with one eye and sighed.
“All up to the part when we both almost died.” I replied.
“Ah, who cares? What’s life without a bit of excitement anyhow?”
“I guess you’re right. What will you do now?”
“I’ll do what I can to help you guys.” Kiyone said, sitting up. I looked at her seriously. It didn’t matter to me whether or not she’d saved the world or not. She still posed a threat to me, and I didn’t have the resources to kill her. Even if I did, I couldn’t lie to myself and say that I would. Likely, I would be in the situation I am now. I still couldn’t shake the short dream I had.
“Erica, let’s go kill some evil guys! They’re standing in your way. Now, I’m the only one that can make a difference!” She said, a smile crossing her face. As I stared upwards at her, I knew this was temporary. Who knew when she would snap? I guess I would find out in the near future. I stood up with Kiyone, measuring myself to her ankle. It wasn’t a pretty picture. I would need Juice’s advice to survive, “Let’s just hope you’re a bit more prepared.”
As she picked me up and put me on her shoulder, I closed my eyes and envisioned Sam.
“Sam,” I said, quietly, “I will not fail.”