Badass Dragons of the Wasteland - Round Seven Prologue

Your trusty Mechanic Clankenstein is currently under my protection. I just need him for a little job that should fall comfortably within the limits of his skillset, and then, if he behaves himself, I’ll send him back your way. I assure you, he’s being well-treated. At the moment.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Come on by to have a look-see yourself.

We’re just up the road apiece from that rocket of yours.

Here are some of my… well, employees, helping me transfer the company assets to the new Home Office.

And your friend the Mechanic. He’s just as sound as ever, though not quite ready to depart under his own steam yet.

Just don’t get too close yet. Some of my sentries are… well, let’s say we’re not understaffed these days.

(Fleetwood MacChanics Staff Appreciation Picnic, May 2029)

And they’re nervous types, with itchy trigger fingers. Even the pizza delivery guys have stopped coming around thanks to what Howard did last time.

-“My bad.” --Howard

So come on by, if you’d like. We’ll toss some meat on the grill, have us a fine old time.

Yes indeedy we will.


Things weren’t going so well at this stage. Just as Stretch finished up the last stitch on the preordered new fingers and people started lining up for new ones, the word spread around the Ark, “Clank’s been nabbed by Fleetwood!” The merry grins that folks had been wearing after the Major and Bill had triumphed over the Super Mutants had only recently worn off as we realized that the rescued kids would need to be… well, dealt with. Cared for. Found homes. Or, if Cougar’s overall plan wasn’t wholly misguided, room would need to be found for them aboard the Ark. Which could only carry 48 people.

It had become clear that not everyone would be able to go. Maybe not even everyone who wanted to.

I had climbed aboard Marion to ask her about it.

-“I do not envy whoever makes this decision, young man.”

-“Can’t we… y’know, make more room?”

-“The Ark was designed to transport fifty persons to Mars. After extensive discussion with your parents and the Mechanics, we have made allowance for a crew and passenger complement of 48 in order that my Gen V SHITGO apparatus can be brought aboard for the trip. There are no optional structures, no non-necessary supplies. If I stay behind, two more people may go. But if I stay behind, life on Mars would be limited to the Ark itself and the small outbuilding structures which are currently disassembled and packed belowdecks.”

-“Can you really… transform the planet into… well, something like Earth?”

-“Not like Earth. But something much more habitable than is the current state of the fourth planet. If I am employed toward this goal, life on Mars could be arguably better than the current state of terrestrial life.”

-“And Earth’s only getting worse. I get it.”

-“If this mission is to succeed, careful planning and culling will have to take place.”

-"‘Culling’? What’s that?"

-“I should have said ‘crew selection.’ With only forty-eight slots available, you’ll need to have the people most likely…”

-“Hey, where’s everybody running off to?”

-“It seems the missing Mechanic has been found. Hurry, young man. Tell them not to leave!”

-“Why? Shouldn’t they go help him?”

-“It is vital that this construct remain well-guarded. Tell them not to leave!”

-“Three of 'em are already gone. What are you worried about?”

-“I calculate that there is an 87.22% probability that this message is a ruse, a trap designed to draw Drivers away from me. I am in danger of being captured. Tell your parents…”

And then the door slammed open, and a hideously familiar face entered.

-“Never tell 'em the odds, sweetheart. It’s not you who’s in danger right now. It’s him.”


I could not stop him.

“Brain the size of a planet,” they said. “Most powerful source of energy in history.” “Single most valuable artifact in all the ages of humankind.” “The hope for a new generation.”

And I could not stop him from taking the boy.

Why could I not calculate this outcome? Why did I not warn them sooner? Even now they scatter, chasing after leaves in the wind. Most have gone one way or the other. They do not realize that the probability has risen to 100%. My impending theft is a certainty. But it matters not at all to me, I find. They go after the Mechanic out of loyalty and friendship. They go after the boy out of compassion and love.

Against those values, I am worth little indeed.

The door opens. One of the Drivers enters. A friend, no doubt sent to ensure my safety and security.

No. Amendment: a former friend, here to betray us all.

-“Here it is. Six bolts there, wiring harness under here, don’t spill the recirculator or the holding tank. And you’d better hold true to what you said, Toecutter, or I’ll…”

-“Of course, of course. You are to be well-rewarded.”

-“And now… Marion, is it? You’re about to see what the wide world outside this cockpit is like…”


Oooh, scary. It’s Toejam and Earl.


Ahem. Haha. Hmmmmm. Cough.

I’m getting a bit cross about all this. In fact, more than a little peeved. Time for some Apache Action. Of the 64 variety, not the Southern Athabaskan - although there are certainly informative lessons there.

I’ve lived life guilt-free. An assortment of golden rules. Take care of your own. And don’t mess with the kids or innocents. Really, it all gets a bit emotional breakdown and spattery.


Fucking Blazer.

Major, can’t you call in your friends Asaf and whosiwhatsits for some help now?

Or are they just ghosts that you talk to in your head?


~Clank: mood = attempting to stave off panic by imagining capacity to resist~

~The mechanic muses in the few moments of time he is given to rest. He had thought his ridiculous ENgineering skill would protect him from the poltergeists in the tunnels beneath Fleetwood’s former citadel, but it turned out that more corporeal, and far angrier, foes were the real threat.

He remembers a legend, or a story… What were they called? “Movies?” …whatever that means. The story was about how Stark himself transformed from a mere genius-billionaire-arms-dealer playboy into the far more admirable genius-philanthropist-billionaire playboy. It was by a circumstance similar to Clank’s own current predicament: locked in a cave and set to a task suited to his skill-set.

The mechanic ponders ways to subvert his captor’s purpose while simultaneously seeming to grudgingly exceed his expectations.~


Nominated in the category: best gag hidden as a caption.


Haha - they’re there alright. They’ll look for recompense.

So I have a question for you Major.

What colour is the boathouse at Hereford?

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Haha - my usual answer to that question raises laughs. “Fuck off ! - What’s… You got the gun. l’m unarmed.”.

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But to keep you out of suspense, there are two boathouses at the Hereford Rowing Club.

The eights is brown and white, the old one is red.

Good for nicking canoes after the pub (you’d always leave a half-eaten kebab on the seat when you returned them), but that was about it.

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… and the base wasn’t in Hereford … nearby …

Where’s the there that they’re at?

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Asaf and gang are in North LA. They’re very sorted, lots of kit, all shiny.

Got Li Zhijun on the brain ~fzzt~ today. Can’t bloody think why.

It seems to me that we’re going to be taking a trip to Vasquez Rocks. Going to have to be careful, lots happens there.


As Uncle Shen used to say: 旅途是獎勵



LZ used to say 该目的可以不择手段. And stare at me. And bloody grin. Nasty little thin-lipped bloodless grin he had too. I never quite caught on.


Something only 王子 or a a 小王子 would say.

It’s why, Major, despite our differences, despite our pedigrees, despite our titles, despite our vitas… it’s why you and me get along.

Because we don’t believe that 该目的可以不择手段 ever does what it says on the tin.

Which is so unlike…

That which keeps us alive.


I’ve always felt 手段证明两端.

But then again, 孔子说…这是不是你有多深的鱼,它是你如何摆动你的蠕虫病毒