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With the sheer size of the Pitt, it was hard to tell when there was an issue until it was right under your nose. The environment wasn’t much help- constant clouds of black smoke blocking out the sun and letting only a faint, red-tinted flicker of light show through. Low visibility, bad air, and occasional acid rain made the territory treacherous for raiders, at least; but then again, it made it bad for anyone else, too.

“We can’t go out there.”

Kick-Off was anxious, but they all were. The entire government building shook under the barrage of explosions outside, and Kick-Off had to hold onto the desk in front of him to not fall over. Even if they had prepared for this- even if they could have prepared for this- it wouldn’t have been enough. The building shook harder and more constantly as the barrage outside grew in force, and with the counterattack inside seemingly failing, it only got worse. As the crew inside had more time to organize, their defense grew stronger and more stable, and finally, the shaking slowed- and then, as suddenly as it had began, it stopped.

“Don’t move,” Fortress Maximus barked across the room. It was the first response that he had given Kick-Off- or any of them, really- all night. “They want us to let our guard down.”

“Do we keep firing?”

Fortress Maximus looked over Kick-Off’s shoulder, through the window that he had been firing through. The crowd outside had stopped firing, but they were approaching the building now with guns rather than missile launchers drawn. They hadn’t surrendered- they were just moving into the next phase of their attack. Fortress Maximus drew his own massive weapon from his back- a Gauss rifle nearly the size of Kick-Off’s entire body.

“Mobilize a crisis team to go out and check on the citizens,” Fortress Maximus readied himself to fire, giving signal to the rest of the crew to start doing so, as well. “I want the mills to be intact that we can drag these assholes there and smelt them!”

Outside, there was a different kind of chaos.

“They’re getting desperate!” An effectively-nameless raider screamed at one of her fellow attackers, like they weren’t also desperate. The raiders were cannon-fodder, and they knew it, but they’d never really felt it before now. They were at least leading up the charge for a cause that they believed in, which was in itself was also an alien concept for most of them.

Skyquake raised one arm in the air triumphantly while the other arm held tight to his shotgun. Raiders rallied around him, not stopping their attack on the building, but knowing well enough that he wanted their attention.

“Raiders! Victory lies within our grasp!,” It garnered cheers, at least for a moment or two before the raiders start to shoot again. “Continue your assault, and the Enclave will reward us all!”

More cheers erupted around him, and the gunfire started to pick up. A few grenades were thrown, as well as a slew of other non-traditional weapons. There were even a few improvised weapons around, and more than a few molotov cocktails being launched at the building. The cheering turned into jeers that turned into wordless shouts, that all seemed to blend together by the time that a deep, clear voice sounded off behind them.

“Wow. Such ambition!” Skyquake lowered his rifle as he came face-to-face with the giant figure behind him. He recognized the man instantly, but it was incredibly hard not to- a stained and rusted suit of power armor, covered in his own painted designs and in the skulls of small, unidentifiable animals. As if for good measure, he lifted off the helmet of the suit, holding it in one massive hand. He was grinning.

“You’re really trying to take over by yourselves?” He said it with such incredulousness in his voice that he might as well have been insulting them all personally; honestly, he sort of was. “Who’s in charge?”

The shouting around Skyquake all dimmed down at once, into a collective murmur that buzzed around the crowd like a bloatfly. Skyquake’s hands shook on his gun as he tried to find the right words to respond with; in the meantime, the crowd had its own response.

This isn’t happening. Where did he even come from?

Fuck, fuck-

Overlord.

Daaaaaamn!

“I am, uh- Skyquake, sir. General Conscript of the Enclave.”

“Right. You talk like you’re in charge, until you’re scared- if you’re a general, they must really be running out of manpower. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this changes now.” Overlord’s own weapon was small and easy to miss, easily overshadowed by the fact that he, by himself, was a greater weapon than most of the guns that the raiders were carrying.

“You can’t just take over my attack-” Skyquake turned himself to face Overlord, jabbing a finger at his chest before seemingly realizing that that was a very, very bad idea. “I was asked by Megatron himself to take this territory. It’s what the Enclave is relying on for weapons up until the next century! History will be made here!

“We can agree on that much. Come on, Skyquake- let me help you be magnificent. I have plans for this place, beyond just shipping out more warstock.”

“Look, I’m in command here, got it? You don’t get to make this one of your attention grabs. We have real plans here!” Skyquake started to turn back to the raiders, raising his open fist again and shouting. “Resume orders to assault the building! Don’t stop until they’re dead or surrendering!”

The gunfire still didn’t pick up as much as he had hoped for- too many raiders were still focused on Overlord. Really, Skyquake should have been one of them.

“Oh, Skyquake. I did try,” There was a singular gasp from Skyquake’s side, but it didn’t come quick enough to actually alert him of any danger. Overlord raised his weapon- a plasma pistol, humming hot and dripping with ooze as soon as he clicked a button on the side to start it up- and fired through Skyquake’s abdomen. “Why couldn’t you?”

Overlord stepped over the glowing puddle on the ground that once was Skyquake. “Raiders- with me! This how it’s done!”


 

Uninhibited and under Overlord’s ruthless leadership, the raiders took the building. They didn’t just take it from the crew inside, actually- they took the entire back half of the building. The far Northwest wall crumbled into rubble, and the top few stories of the structure seemed ready to join it at the next particularly strong wind. Every room of the place was trashed. Some just ceased to exist anymore, with their floors blown out to really rub it in just how much damage that Overlord could do, if he really put his mind to it.

Overlord would come back to the building later. It was an important hub for the Pitt- but it wasn’t why he had come there. Overlord and his band of raiders gathered up any surviving members of the crew inside and headed for the grittier, more resource-driven end of town. As Overlord had heard it called on a debriefing message that he had tuned into- ‘the part of the Pitt that even the Brotherhood couldn’t clean up’.

“Is this everyone?” Overlord stood over the unconscious body of Fortress Maximus. It was rare that he found anyone even remotely close to his size- even in power armor. Beside him, Stalker- an aptly-named, uncharismatic Enclave conscript with a bandana wrapped permanently around his face- stood ready to take orders.

“We still need to release some of the ones that they’ve captured. It seems like they had more problems here than they let on.”

In the glow of tribal pyres lit on either side of the balcony, Overlord’s face was unreadable. Night had fallen on the Pitt, though you couldn’t easily tell- the sky remained the same muted red whenever there was light enough to provide it. A crowd of raiders looked on at the orchestrators of their victory; expectant, though many of them didn’t know quite what for.

“I grant you all freedom- in every sense of the word. Why bow to the Enclave when we sit on an untapped fortune of resources? The Pitt can offer you the opportunity to not just to survive under another self-serving tyrant, but to thrive.”

The crowd didn’t seem like it knew whether to cheer, or to keep listening; the resulting response was an even mix of both.

“All of you are to remain here with me. In return, I will protect you; I will reward you. I will entertain you,” Overlord kicked the now slowly-stirring body underneath him. Overlord grabbed Fortress Maximus by the handle on the back of his power armor, lifting him up the crowd. Their response was ravenous, going beyond cheers and into indistinct, animalistic screaming. Even those who didn’t know Fortress Maximus knew what his defeat had signified. “Starting now. I’m turning over Fortress Maximus to you, the people; all you have to do is try not to kill him.”

More animalistic shouts echoed throughout the crowd, and it seemed like even those that had tried to keep their composure were quickly losing it. Overlord raised Fortress Maximus up into the air so that his legs were no longer touching the ground, and then- when the crowd became nothing more than a shifting, grabbing mass of hands all screaming for him to be released- he was thrown to them. Bits of his power armor started to come off before he’d even touched the ground, ripped off with an inhuman, collaborative force. Blood and chunks of flesh- some not even from Fortress Maximus, but from a crowd struggling for their violent revenge against a figure that they could all come to hate.

“I think I’m going to like it here.”