By Patrick Brown.

Marcus answered the final question and started breathing once more. As he sat back in his seat, he realized that sweat was running down his back. The G.O.A.T was something that every sixteen year old dreaded; the one test that would determine what ones job would be for the rest of their lives in Vault 101. Most of Marcus' friends felt he had nothing to worry about, seeing as how his father was the Vault's doctor and an overall brilliant man. Marcus knew the truth though: he was nowhere near as smart as his father. Sure he hacked a couple of terminals for fun, but that was easy. If only they gave points on the G.O.A.T for shooting, he thought. Using the BB gun his father secretly engineered for his tenth birthday, Marcus would practice taking out radroaches in the Vault's lower levels; and he had racked up quite the body count over the years


Marcus sighed. It was the teacher, Mr. Brotch. Time for the bad news he thought as he got up and walked over to the front of Brotch's desk. "Yes?"

Mr. Brotch stared at the test in front of him. "Well Marcus, according to this you would be a great priest

Marcus' eyes nearly popped out of his head. "A priest! Are you serious?"

Brotch took a quick look around and then leaned in closer. "Listen," he whispered, "I know the test is bullshit, okay. I normally don't do this, but I still owe your father for helping me last year."

Marcus knew what Brotch was talking about, one of the vault doors malfunctioned and slammed down onto Brotch, breaking his right leg. If not for the fast work of Marcus' father, there is little doubt that Brotch would've lost his leg completely. Marcus thought about the offer, but decided against it. He just wanted to get out of there. "Thanks, but I'll keep my results."

Brotch leaned back in his seat. "Alright, You're dismissed."

Marcus turned and headed out the door as fast as he could without running. He was only halfway down the first corridor, when a pair of hands pulled him into a storage closet. The door shut behind him and Marcus found himself in total darkness. His first thought was that it was Butch and his Tunnel Snakes looking for another fight. Marcus had experienced run-ins with them previously, and despite behind outnumbered, he was able to hold his own. Once Marcus had broken Butch's nose, which annoyed his father since he had to patch him up. As he braced himself for what he thought was the inevitable assault, instead of hitting him, his kidnapper kissed him! Even in the darkness, Marcus realized who it was. "Amata!"

The light to the storage room came on, and there was her beautiful face beaming with that incredible smile. She giggled as she saw the surprised look on his face. "Surprised you, didn't I?"

Marcus answered by taking her into his arms and kissing her passionately. She returned his embrace, and for the next few moments no words were spoken. Finally they stopped, but only because they needed air. "So," Amata began, "How did it go?"

Marcus took a breath. "It said I would make a good priest."

Amata laughed, but quickly covered her mouth so that they couldn't be heard. "Well, you'd better not take a vow of celibacy, Mr. Marcus."

Marcus smiled; she always knew how to make him feel better. "No priest could ever resist you."

Amata smiled and unconsciously bit her lower lip. Marcus knew what that meant and they embraced again. He wanted her so badly that he ached. As he began pulling the front zipper of her jump suit down, Amata's gentle hand stopped him. "I'm sorry, but I can't. My father's expecting me."

Marcus released the zipper and sighed in defeat. "When can I see you again?"

Amata could see the hunger in his eyes. "Tomorrow... after class." She smiled and gave him one last kiss before leaving.

Marcus walked into his living quarters and was surprised to see his father there. Usually he would be in his lab until late in the day, so the fact that he was sitting at his desk was a bit unusual.


James quickly placed the holotape he was listening to out of sight. "Marcus, come in. So, how was the G.O.A.T?"

Marcus sat down on the bed across from his father and told him the results.

"A priest, huh? Well don't worry, we'll find a place for you here."

Marcus nodded. "So what is that you were working on before I came in?"

James silently cursed himself for not hiding the holotape faster. "Oh... just some old research I was working on before you were born." He quickly changed the subject. "I know something that could cheer you up."

James stood and Marcus followed. "Where are we going?"

"To the lab, I have something to show you, but." he stopped and pointed directly at his son. "You must not tell anyone about this, understand? No-one, not even Amata."

That last comment caught Marcus off guard. Everyone knew that he and Amata were friends, they had been since childhood. but could his father know more...

"I promise." He managed to say.

James smiled. "That's my boy." He placed his arm around Marcus. "Come on, you'll love this."

Once they had reached the lab, James locked the door behind them. Only three people had the code to enter: James, his assistant Jonas, and the Overseer. James trusted Jonas with his life, but if the Overseer caught them, it could spell disaster for both him and his son.

"What are we here for. Dad?"

James headed over to the door in the far side of the lab; a door that had always been locked and that Marcus had never set foot through. "Now you know all about your Pipboy 2000, right? It can show you where you are, your current health, record and playback video and scan the air and water for radiation, right?"

Marcus nodded. The Pipboy 2000 was invented by Vault-Tec before the Great War. Everyone in the vault was given one when they were ten; as a rite of passage of sorts. Marcus couldn't understand what this had to do what was behind that mysterious door.

James began punching in a code on the door's panel. "What you don't know is that just before the war, Vault-Tec was working on an updated Pipboy." After entering the code and placing his thumb on a biometric scanner, the door slid open. "Behold: the PIPBOY 3000! The only prototype to survive the war."

Marcus stepped inside the room. It was the size of any storage closet and was empty except for a small pedestal in the center. Resting on the pedestal, under a glass cover and blue light, was the Pipboy 3000. Marcus approached and stared at it in owe. The PIPBOY 3000 was just like the 2000, only it had a touch screen instead of the buttons that routinely broke off. Marcus knew that couldn't be the only upgrade to this beauty. "What does it do?"

His father removed the glass cover. "Well, in addition to everything that the 2000 can do, the 3000 has a feature called V.A.T.S." He handed the Pipboy to his son.

"What is V.A.T.S?" Marcus asked as he held and studied the pre-war tech.

"It stands for: Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System. Do you notice the four small spikes on the inside of the device?"

Marcus looked and noticed the four quarter inch long spikes on the inside of the Pipboy. This surprised him since this was the part of the Pipboy that wrapped around ones arm. "Yes."

"Well, unlike your Pipboy 2000 which you can take on and off, this model attaches directly to your central nervous system."

Marcus cringed at the thought of this spikes sinking into his flesh. "That sounds painful."

James chuckled. "Yes, but only for a few moments. The way the V.A.T.S system works is it allows you select up to three targets with your own eyes. By synchronizing your line of sight to your body movements, you have a 96% chance of hitting the target; from the tallest man to the smallest field mouse."

Marcus stared down at the Pipboy once again. Imagine the radroaches he could kill with this tech.

"But remember," His father continued, "after three targets you have to wait at least sixty seconds for it to recharge."

Marcus shrugged. "That's not long."

James smirked at his naivety. "When you're fighting for your life, a minute could make all the difference."

Marcus looked up at his father and wondered how it was he knew that. James took the Pipboy and placed it back on its pedestal. "Come, we should leave now before we are caught."

As they left the secret room, Marcus couldn't help but ask: "Dad, why are you showing me this?"

James forced himself to smile; he couldn't bear to tell him the truth. "Can't a man spend some quality time with his son?"

Marcus smiled back. "I guess so."

James slapped him on the shoulder. "Come on, let's get some dinner."

Written by coastierks.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.