Imagine

I doodled this back in 1995 with pen & colored pencils. I still feel this way when “every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head, a million dreams are keeping me awake…”

~ J.L. Hilton

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The Outer Worlds fanfiction

The game didn’t allow me to romance anyone, but that didn’t stop me from having headcanon. Enjoy the smut, you dirty little cystypigs.

In part one, Felix concocts an awkward plan to seduce the captain but Vicar Max intervenes. This is a little slice of life aboard the Unreliable, with appearances by Parvarti, Nyoka and Ellie, as well. Features: Romantic tension, foul language, sexual references.

In part two, Max reveals his darker desires to the captain when the nature of their relationship changes. This is much more steamy, with explicit sex, language, alcohol use and a touch of BDSM. ADULTS ONLY

My thoughts about the game can be read here and highlights from my playthrough can be seen in THE OUTER WORLDS playlist on my YouTube channel.

You can also read these stories and more on AO3.

Total word count: 2,100 words

Part one:
“Hey, boss, I found some Stimu-Lotion” 

Felix entered the Unreliable’s common room, waving a tube of ointment.

“Hey, boss, I found some Stimu-Lotion. You want a foot rub?”

Ellie rolled her eyes. “Wow. What a master of seduction. So romantic.”

Parvati wrinkled her nose. “I wouldn’t want to touch anybody’s feet. I don’t even like touching my own feet. Feet are gross.”

Felix grinned his big, guileless grin and began filling a bucket with water from the sink. “I’ll wash them first.”

“Settle down, sparky, I haven’t agreed to anything yet.” I threw my last dart and lights danced around the edge of the dartboard.

“You should try washing your own feet,” Ellie told him. “The sock stench from your room is so bad, SAM can’t even get rid of the smell.”

Nyoka retrieved the darts and returned to the toe line. “Maybe you picked up a fungal infection on Monarch. You should try soaking them in vodka.”

“Or seeing a doctor,” said Ellie, who was a doctor.

“Can we stop talking about fungus, please? Thank you.” Felix banged the cupboards open and shut. “Didn’t we find a bunch of those little Rose-ish soaps in an abandoned house in Cascadia? Or was it outside Stellar Bay? Or was it Edgewater?”

Behind Felix’s back, Nyoka shot me a look that said, Are you really going to let him wash your feet?

My gaze roved all over the best parts of that boy’s jumpsuit as he dug around the bottom shelves. I shrugged, Maybe.

She shook her head in a “well, I guess it’s your life” sort of way and took her turn.

Felix turned off the water in the steamy sink and a lock of unruly hair fell across his forehead. He tried several times to blow it away before giving up and combing it back with his hand. Not for the first time, I imagined wrapping my arms around the broad-shouldered anarchist and humping like primals.

The vicar intruded on my unholy thoughts.

“Captain, may we talk?” He closed his book and lowered his cup of tea.

“Right this minute, preacherman?”

“Yes, definitely this minute.” The words dripped with his usual air of self-righteous authority. He beckoned and I followed him down the corridor, away from the others.

“What’s so important?”

“My duty to intervene when I think you’re about to make a mistake.”

Truth be told, I grew tired of his sermons, so I tried to rile him a little. “You jealous, vicar? All those arguments between you and Felix about tossball and philosophy, are they chock full of sexual tension?”

“They are not.”

“I suppose you never noticed his thick, wavy hair and full, kiss-able lips?”

“Captain…”

“Felix has the sort of energy and optimism that jaded assholes like us haven’t had in years. It’s hard to resist.”

“Which is precisely the problem. Do you think it wise to play with the young man’s feelings?”

Sure, I was about eight years and a hibernation older than Felix, but he was still a grown-ass man, not a child. “He isn’t exactly innocent nor fragile. Have you seen him dropkick a raptidon?”

“He admires you and would do anything to please you. It is beneath you to take advantage of your position as his superior and – not to be melodramatic but I believe the word applies here – hero.”

Deep down, I knew the vicar was right. That’s why I hadn’t dragged Felix into my bunk already.

I raised my hands in mock surrender. “Alright, I confess, I do have impure thoughts. But I’ve been on ice for seventy years, can you blame me for wanting a little companionship?”

A look of intense passion flared in his eyes, hot and turbulent as the Emerald Vale volcano. Gave me a shiver at the back of my neck and a few other places. Then he was his usual stony self and I wondered if I’d seen what I thought I saw.

“It is unwise to shit where you eat, Captain.”

“Not your usual sort of platitude but point taken. You learn that one in vicar school?”

“No, I learned it on Tartarus, but the wisdom of the Plan is found everywhere, even in prison.”

“I promise, vicar, I will resist the temptation to ravage my crew. But if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be ravaging myself in my room for a few minutes.”

He didn’t look happy about that, either, but I turned on my heel and left him to stew in his tight-assed disapproval.

* * *

Part two takes place after completing Vicar Max’s companion questline, as seen in my videos:

* * *

Part two:
“I am in desperate need of correction” 

Having the toilet on the ass-end of the ship made sense, I guess, but meant I had to stumble through the full length of the Unreliable to piss in the middle of the night. Of course, it was always night in space, but ADA cycled the ship’s lights up and down to help us sleep. I cursed the lack of a captain’s private bathroom for the umpteenth time while I finished my business and washed my hands.

On the way back to bed, I found Max in the kitchen corner of the common room. His unfamiliar outline startled me for a moment, wearing some old worker gear from Edgewater and not his usual vestments.

“Is SAM cleaning your frock?”

He poured himself a drink. “I won’t be wearing it any longer, so I borrowed these clothes from the storage locker. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. Looks good on you.” His hair was damp and he smelled faintly of Mock-apple and Synthamon. Must’ve showered recently. “You’re handsome when your head’s not up your ass.”

He chuckled without mirth. “Even in my youth, mine was not a face granted the Architect’s perfect symmetry or the beauty of the Golden Ratio.”

“Screw the Architect and the Golden Ratio. You’re easy on the eyes. My eyes, anyway, and I don’t think they were damaged in stasis. I’m a crack shot.”

I could see the bitter smile on his shadowy face. “You do so like to fuck with me, captain. I can’t blame you.”

“I’m not fucking with you. I’m as serious as a Mantiqueen.”

“I thought I annoyed you.”

“You do. I said you were easy on the eyes, not easy to live with.”

“I know. I’ve had to live with myself for years.”

He took a drink. I had my suspicions.

“Is that your usual tea with a splash of Lemon Slapp or are you defiling the sacramental wine?”

“Iceberg Aged Whiskey, actually. Care to join me?”

“Sure.” I stepped closer and his arm brushed mine as he grabbed another glass, set it beside his own and filled both with an aggressive slosh that also splashed the countertop.

I took a sip and felt the bitter warmth burn the back of my tongue. Something about the drink and the dark and his personal demons made me feel truthy.

“I took a shine to you that day in Fallbrook, when I discovered you weren’t the pure and noble vicar you pretended to be.”

“You liked me because I lied to you?”

“Well, no. And don’t fucking lie to me ever again.” I jabbed my finger into his arm for emphasis.

“Aye, aye, captain.”

“I liked you for being a rogue like the rest of us.”

“Yet arrogant enough to think I could tell everyone else how to live their lives when I had no idea how to live my own. I clung to the certainty of the Plan and now I am adrift. I don’t know what to do or where to go from here.”

“Do whatever you want. What makes you happy?”

He sighed. “I wish I knew.”

“When you’re not solving the eternal Equation or marveling at the Fibonacci spiral, what do you want? You. Maximillian DeSoto. Here. On the Unreliable. Right now.”

“I want whiskey.” He emptied his glass and poured himself another.

I laughed. “That’s a start. Anything else?”

His voice murmured low, almost lost in the rumble of the ship’s engine. “I want you.”

The words were like a lens that brought everything into focus. I wanted him, too. Every righteous, annoying, intellectual, confused, computer-hacking, ass-kicking inch of him.

I set down my glass, took his face in my hands and kissed him. He reached under my nightshirt and grabbed my ass. We groped each other awhile, until I dragged him to my room and closed the door behind us.

Max had that seething, volcanic look in his eyes that I’d glimpsed before, but now it was all over his face. He peeled off his shirt and mine while I got on my knees, unzipped his pants and sucked his half-hard dick into my mouth. He hardened to full length, gagging me as I slid my lips from tip to base.

“Use your teeth. I like it rough.” I squeezed his balls in my hand and grazed the taut skin of his shaft with my teeth. He gripped my hair in his fists and groaned with each thrust, until he shoved me away with a harsh, “Stop.”

Sweeping his arm across my desk, he sent game pieces, cups, bottles and ammo clattering to the floor and lifted me onto the desktop. Kissing my neck and my tits, he inserted one finger in me, then two. When his hand grazed my clit, every nerve in my body screamed. I dug my nails into his back and begged him to fuck me.

With a deft flick of his fingers, I came fast and hard with an orgasm that seemed to last ages. Just as it began to fade, he rolled me over and pinned me between him and the cold, hard surface. One hand grasped my neck and the other the curve of my hip.

“Do it.” I spread my legs in anticipation.

But he didn’t move, just held me there. We were both breathing hard. I could feel his chest rising and falling against my back, his breath on my shoulder, and the hard length of his dick against my ass.

Suddenly, he let go and backed away.

I stood up and my legs felt a bit like rubber. “Is something wrong?”

He pulled up his pants and wouldn’t look at me. “No, you’re… marvelous, I… I just don’t want to hurt you.”

“I never asked you for undying love and devotion.”

“Still you have them, all the same, and I am happy to go with you to the ends of Halcyon and beyond. That is not what I meant. I don’t want to… physically… hurt you. I should go before I do something I will deeply regret.”

My heart pounded at both the tenderness of his affection and the allure of his forbidden desires. I said, “I don’t want you to go.”

“But you did finish, yes?”

“I had an orgasm. But you’re not done.” I wrapped my arms around him.

Where moments ago he’d raged with passion, he was now tense and withdrawn. “It doesn’t matter.”

“It matters to me.”

“You are very generous.”

“Help me understand, Max.”

“I… I’m sorry, this isn’t easy for me to talk about…”

I laced my fingers around the back of his neck. “Take your time.”

“I want to do things, things that I shouldn’t want to do. Urges that are not the stuff of serial romances.”

“Things like pinning me down and pulling my hair?”

“Yes.” He closed his eyes and visibly swallowed. I couldn’t tell if he was savoring or regretting the images in his mind. Maybe a little of both.

Placing my cheek against his, I spoke softly into his ear. “But what if I want you to bend me over the desk, spank my ass and fuck me hard because I am a wild, rebellious, unrepentant slut?”

His arms clenched me tight, crushing my tits against his chest. “You do conspire with wanted criminals, vandalize corporate property and blaspheme against the sacred Plan.”

So did he, but that wasn’t the point.

I ground against the bulge in his pants. “I am in desperate need of correction.”

“May I twist your arm behind your back?”

“Yes. Do you want me to cry out?”

“Not so loud that it wakes the crew, but that would be… perfect.”

He held me at arm’s length and fixed me with a piercing look. “How will I know if I’ve gone too far? If I let myself go, I… I don’t know what will happen.”

“If I want you to stop, I’ll say ‘vodka.’”

“Vodka?”

“It’s like a code word. You can do whatever you want to me, unless you hear that word. Does that make you more comfortable?”

He nodded. “It does.”

“Good.”

He pressed his forehead to mine. “Thank you for accepting my darker side. No one ever has.”

“Not even you, I suspect.”

“No, not even me.”

* * *

~ J.L. Hilton

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Fallout 4 fanfiction: “Happily Never After”

Fiona returns to Taffington to rekindle a spark with her husband, MacCready, but their marriage is on the rocks.

This is part of a series based on my first playthrough of Fallout 4. It takes place after Fiona destroys the Institute. For context, I recommend reading earlier stories in the series.

Or you can read my fanfiction on AO3 if you prefer, where I write under the name Jewelsmith (like my YouTube and Twitch channels).

If you’d like to see the actual Taffington Boathouse settlement I built in Fallout 4, click here.

Fallout 4 spoilers, language and sexual references.

2,100 words

Happily Never After

Fiona buckled her leather armor and adjusted her Minuteman uniform as she entered the dining room. Mac sat at the table with Duncan in his lap, sharing a Nuka-Cola and reading a Grognak comic. The boy was almost six but looked small and frail in his father’s arms.

She made a mental note to find a doctor to live at Taffington. Entice them with access to the nearby Med-Tek research labs where they’d found Duncan’s cure, and maybe set them the task of reopening the abandoned Medford Memorial Hospital.

“The bad man says, ‘Ha, ha! You will never escape the coils of my poisonous cobra!’ and Grognak says…” Mac deepened his voice. “‘You fiend! I will kill this beast with my bare hands.‘”

“Daddy, what’s a feen?”

“A ‘fiend’ is another word for monster.”

“Hi, Mommy.”

She swallowed the painful lump of sadness and regret that tightened her throat, and smiled. “Hi, sweetheart.”

Mac looked up from the comic. “You going somewhere?”

“Finch Farm spotted some super mutants again.”

“So, let Finch Farm deal with it. I thought you had Minutemen there.”

“Two stationed in the settlement and three at a nearby checkpoint. But I want to check it out myself. It’s not far. I’ll be back by lunch.”

“I’ll go with you.” He eased Duncan off of his lap and took him by the hand. “C’mon, let’s find Maria. Daddy has to go kill some feens.”

“With your bare hands?” Duncan asked.

“No, I shoot them before they can even see me.”

She heard Duncan’s little voice say “Wow!” as Mac led him out the front door.

Maria and her husband Bob were a ghoul couple who’d cared for Duncan in the Capital Wasteland. When they reunited him with his father in the Commonwealth, they were too attached to the child to leave, so they moved into the converted boathouse beside the two-story pre-war ruin she and Mac called home.

Not that she spent much time there.

Mac returned, threw on his hat and coat, grabbed his rifle and tucked a few stimpaks into his belt pouch. “Let’s go.”

With her plasma rifle in her hands, she crossed the bridge over the north end of Malden River, followed the road for a few minutes, then headed southeast, cutting across some scrubby fields toward the Revere Satellite Array.

Mac hung back, as always, with only the slightest scuffle of gravel or the rustle of brush to tell her he was there.

She glanced over her shoulder. “Just like old times.”

“Except I’m not carrying a bunch of your crap.”

“How long do you think it would take to dismantle those satellites?”

“Why?”

“Well, we can’t burn them down, and if the mutants won’t stay out, we should do something. Blow them up. Or maybe move them to the Castle. Sturges might be able to figure out something to do with them.”

“And this is your problem because…?”

She recalled something she’d said to Hancock. “Because I’m the general of the fucking Minutemen.”

“Pfft. Let Preston Garvey deal with it.” He said the name of her second-in-command as if it smelled like three-days-dead mirelurk. There was no love lost between those two. He mimicked Preston’s voice. “ ‘Another settlement needs your help.’ 

“There’s a lot to do. I can’t ignore the imperative to alleviate suffering and improve the lives of my fellow wastelanders.”

“Remember when you said you wanted to be with me and Duncan, and be a family?”

She remembered. Shaun had been part of that dream, too. The dream of a suburban mom who went to sleep during a nuclear war and woke up in hell.

“Even when I was married to Nate, I didn’t sit at home all day, cooking meals and doing laundry.”

“We need to rebuild the porch, too.”

“I was a lawyer. I helped people seek justice and protected them from injustice. Sort of like I do now, but with more talking and less shooting.”

“Did you get paid?”

“Sometimes. Sometimes I worked pro bono . For the public good.”

He made a grunt of disapproval — one she’d heard many times before — and they dropped the conversation as the satellite towers came into view.

Crouching behind a cluster of trees, Fiona scanned the area with her pipboy, her voice low. “I count at least six.”

Mac lifted binoculars to his eyes. “Two on the ground and two mutant hounds. Two more up in the catwalks, maybe three.”

She moved behind a tall bush to her right, then a tree just a little further away, inching closer to the mutants but staying clear of Mac’s line of fire.

Raising her plasma rifle to her shoulder, she aimed through the high-powered scope. Better to take out the ones on the ground first, before they could rush her. The rest would probably keep the high ground. If not, all those stairs would slow them down long enough for her to reload.

Fiona held her breath, waited for the perfect shot, and squeezed the trigger. The weapon fired three plasma bursts in succession. She recovered from the slight recoil, aimed and fired again.

One down. Mac took out a second with his suppressed .50 sniper rifle.

The hounds bounded toward her and she let the targeting system on her pipboy take over. Plasma bursts turned the hairless, green beasts into puddles of goo.

The mutants in the towers had a bead on her position and the heat got too close for comfort. Fiona kept moving, ducking in and out of cover, and stopping only long enough to aim, fire, and move again. Mac kept to her left, at about four o’clock, relative to her position, just behind the edge of her peripheral vision. He would assist, but his main job was to make sure they didn’t get flanked or surprised from behind.

After so many months together in the wasteland, they worked with wordless precision, like two hands of a surgeon, completing the operation within minutes. Their ability to work together was one of the things that made her fall in love with him, and she felt those little butterflies in her stomach, being out here with him again.

They rejoined and entered the fenced area, weapons ready.

“Let’s do a sweep, confirm they’re all dead, and see if they left anything interesting behind.”

He sighed. “I know the routine. You can’t resist looting, can you?”

“That’s the best part.” Super mutants usually had a decent amount of weapons and ammo that she could add to the Castle armory or pass along to settlers.

“The best part is when you get to walk away.” He circled slowly around her, playing lookout as she checked the dead mutants in the dirt.

“For someone who loves caps as much as you do, I’m surprised you aren’t more interested in scavenging.”

“It’s too much work, looking for junk, hauling junk to the next town, haggling over the junk. I’m not a scavver, I’m a –”

Fiona headed to the nearest satellite tower. He followed.

“You’re a what?”

“I was going to say killer, but I guess I’m just a settler now.”

“Your idea, not mine. If you want to continue doing merc work, that’s fine with me.” She checked a super mutant brute on the stairs, then the ammo boxes on the landing. “Fusion cells. Shotgun shells. Hey, maybe you can be my liaison to the Gunners, convince them to work for me.”

“Screw the Gunners.”

She got an even better idea. “Who’s in charge of the Gunners now?”

“Hell if I know. We killed Winlock and Barnes awhile back, and Captain Bridget up the road at that junkyard near the Slog.”

“And that asshole Clint in Quincy. Fuck him.”

“I never knew who was really calling the shots.”

The mutants had built a ramp up to the satellite dish where they made camp. She found some mutant armor and a teddy bear in a trunk, and a sack of rotting animal parts, which she didn’t bother searching.

“What if you were calling the shots?”

“What?” Mac stood at the edge of the ramp, keeping watch.

“If we tracked down the leadership and took them out, maybe you could run the organization instead. Get them to start clearing out the raiders, mutants, ghouls, et cetera, downtown, and we could turn GNN back into a real television station again. That would be awesome.”

“That would be nuts. I don’t want to be in charge of anything, especially not that crummy, corrupt outfit.”

“You could straighten it out.”

“I ‘could’ send them all to stand in the middle of the glowing sea and drop another nuke, that’s what I ‘could’ do.”

“Hey.” She kicked a dirty mattress. “You want to have a quickie?”

Mac’s face puckered with disgust. “Here?”

“No one can see us.” She unbuckled her belt and pushed her pants down her ass.

“What the hell are you doing?”

She got on her hands and knees. “I’m already wet. C’mon.”

“Uh. No, I’m not banging my wife next to a stinking meat sack, on a crumbling communication tower, with my ass flapping in the wind.”

“You don’t have to show your ass, just whip it out –”

“Sorry, I don’t have a dead mutant kink, do you?” He made a little nervous laugh at his own joke and then realized she wasn’t laughing. “Ew. Do you?”

“No! Forget it.” She pulled up her pants and grabbed her rifle.

The metal steps clanged under her boots. Fiona headed to the road and made for Finch Farm, about a mile north. He ran to catch up.

“Are you mad at me, Fi?”

“No.”

When they reached the edge of the carrot field, he shouldered his rifle and turned her around. “Can we talk?”

She slung her weapon across her back and hooked her thumbs under the strap across her chest. “Fine, talk.”

“You’ve been different ever since we blew up the Institute. What’s going on?”

“We killed my son. Did you forget that?”

“He was dying anyway.”

“You didn’t stop caring about Duncan when he got sick.”

“Duncan isn’t a gray-haired jerk kidnapping people and replacing them with synths.”

“I know Shaun was an asshole and I know it had to be done. But that didn’t make it any easier. He was my baby, once.”

“What’s this got to do with us?”

Nothing. Everything. She didn’t know what to say. He saw things in black and white, not color. It was one of the things she used to love about him. Made him easy to deal with, easy to rely on. Now it made him maddeningly blind to everything that mattered to her.

When she didn’t reply, he went on. “You remember we talked about having a baby?”

“Yeah, I remember. But it never happened.”

“I still want to keep trying, but I don’t know what you want.”

“I want you to believe in what I’m doing, to believe in me… to want me.”

“I do.”

“I want you to show it.”

“In the middle of a satellite dish?”

“In the middle of a satellite dish, in the alley behind Hotel Rexford, at the top of the lighthouse, in our bedroom.”

They argued over each other.

“I show you in bed –”

“You lay there –”

“That is not true –”

“I have to climb on you –”

“Wha –?”

“And do all the work –”

“Well, maybe if you actually came home once in awhile —

“Maybe if you didn’t drink all the time –”

“And stayed longer than the length of a meal and a hot dump –”

“You want to spend the rest of your life dicking around with tatos and comic books?”

“Hell, yes. It would be nice to never, ever have to worry about taking a bullet in the back or where my next meal comes from.”

“Well, all this shit you want me to ignore is what keeps you safe and fed.”

“I’m sorry I don’t give a damn about the ‘imperative’ to elevate suffering–”

“‘Alleviate.’ I said, ‘alleviate.’ It means to reduce or lessen.”

“Whatever. Screw the Gunners, screw Preston Garvey, and screw the wasteland.”

They both had tears in their eyes.

He hugged her and sniffled against her shoulder. “I don’t want to fight with you, Fi. I love you.”

Holding him, she remembered the things he used to make her feel. Happiness, hope, comfort, connection, desire. But she didn’t actually feel them anymore.

“I love you, too.”

She still felt love. But it wasn’t enough.

* * *

~ J.L. Hilton

The Treasure of Jamaica Plain <– Previous story  +  Next story —> The Blue Room – Coming soon!

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Slouching badass, bored ruler

Should I admit I’m actually a fan of a little manspreading? In TV tropes, this classic pose is called the Slouch of Villainy, though not always performed by a bad guy.

Here are some of my favorite examples, from top to bottom: Kratos (God of War), Conan the Barbarian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Loki (Marvel comics), Thranduil (The Hobbit), Goblin King (David Bowie), and Jarl Siddgeir (Skyrim).

~ J.L. Hilton

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Fallout 4 fanfiction: “The Treasure of Jamaica Plain”

Written from Hancock’s POV. Fiona begins to see past Hancock’s ghoulish surface, chem addictions and reputation, and view him as more than a business partner or best friend.

This is part of a series based on my first playthrough of Fallout 4. At this point, Fiona’s destroyed the Institute and romanced MacCready, but the relationship is on shaky ground.

Read earlier stories here or on AO3 if you prefer, where I write under the name Jewelsmith (like my YouTube and Twitch channels).

If you’d like to see the actual Treasure bar and brothel I built in Fallout 4, click here.

Story spoilers, romance, language and sexual references.

2,100 words

 

The Treasure of Jamaica Plain

Fiona joined him on the sofa to admire the place they’d built together. She’d named it “The Treasure” because of the legends about Jamaica Plain. The stories were bullshit and the actual treasure was a bunch of crap in a basement, but it was a damn good idea to take advantage of the posters and billboards plastered across the Commonwealth. 

“I think we’ve got a real nice place here, Hancock.” She hugged his arm and he felt the soft curve of her left tit through his coat. “Thanks for all your help.” 

“Anytime. I’m always here when you need me.” 

And she did always seem to need him. She’d tapped his mayoral experience to turn Hangman’s Alley and Egret Marina into thriving settlements. He’d been there when the Institute attacked the Castle, went with her when she took the fight to them in the CIT ruins, and stood behind her when she brought the nuclear hammer down on those assholes forever. 

Now he was her business partner, building a bar and brothel across the street from an abandoned church. He loved the irony. She loved it, too, and that’s why he loved h– 

Shit. 

He pushed the thought out of his ghoulified head. He may have performed a wedding for the general and MacCready last year, on the ramparts of the Castle, for all the Minutemen to see and all the Commonwealth to hear over Radio Freedom, but it didn’t change his feelings for her. 

Marriage hadn’t changed her, either. MacCready gave up the mercenary life to spend time with his kid and drink Fiona’s caps, but she continued to build settlements, invest in businesses, and secure the wasteland. She stockpiled Addictol for her raider rehab program, tried to negotiate a truce with the Gunners, and hounded Doc Virgil to make more of his mutant cure. If she could figure out how to un-feral the feral ghouls, Hancock bet she’d do that, too. 

“I can buy wood and recruit the staff, but I don’t know a damn thing about liquor, chems and sex work.” 

Using the arm she wasn’t holding, Hancock lit a cigarette and snapped his gold lighter — the one she’d given him — closed with a flick of his wrist. “You mean to say, I know more about the shady side of the Commonwealth than you do.” 

“‘Shady side’? Does it have a bright side?” 

“You’re the bright side, sunshine.” 

“I wish you wouldn’t talk like that.” She stopped hugging his arm and put an inch of distance between them. 

“Like what?” He closed the gap by placing his arm along the back of the sofa, behind her, and shifting just a little closer. 

“Like I’m cleaner than everybody else. Like I’m special.” 

He pinned her with a steady, intense gaze, and spoke with all the sincerity he could muster. “I call it like I see it. You are special.” 

He’d said it a million different ways since the day they met. But this time, she didn’t wrinkle her nose or laugh or rush off on a suddenly-remembered errand. This time, her eyes smoldered back at him in a way he’d never seen before. It wasn’t the kind of wistful look she gave Sturges when his big overall-covered back was turned, or the lovey-dovey eyes she used to give MacCready before she found out what happened to her kid and something deep inside her got broken. It wasn’t even the look she got on her face when she visited Nate’s grave. 

He wondered what the hell she was thinking. Her lips parted and she seemed about to say something, then changed her mind. She turned her eyes to the bar.  

“I’m glad I found Javier that tux, it looks good on him. Cait volunteered to oversee security but I think I’ll build an assaultron, next time I’m out at Sunshine Tidings. We can never have too much protection. Brian left the Minutemen to work here, but his brother Liam’s not taking it too well and he still glares at me every time I visit Bunker Hill.” 

She did that sometimes, rambling on like a broken holotape, or singing songs no one had heard since the bombs fell. Restless, like a bird in a cage. Trapped by the wasteland, her marriage, old memories, guilt for giving birth to the man who caused the death of thousands, or remorse for having to kill her own son. Take your pick. 

He wanted to set her free but he hadn’t found the key. 

Hancock flicked ashes into the pristine ashtray she’d probably boosted from the Institute before blowing it up. She was practical like that. 

“We’re helping some hard-working folks make a decent living,” he said. “If they didn’t have the Treasure, they’d be banging caravan guards on a dirty mattress in the back of a Slocum’s Joe, in exchange for jet and Cram.” 

“I just don’t want it to blowback on the Minutemen. We’ve got the checkpoint nearby, but I’m not going to station anyone inside the settlement. People like Connie Abernathy and June Warwick wouldn’t like it.” 

“Not until they got a look at Grognak anyway.” He waved his cigarette in Brian’s direction. The muscular redhead wore the costume Fiona found at Hubris Comics. “They’ll be sneaking over here every time their husbands are in Diamond City.”   

She laughed, put her hand on his knee and gave him a nudge with her elbow. “And what about you? Are you going to…?” 

“What? Ride Grognak? I would, if you wanted to watch.” 

He enjoyed seeing her freckled cheeks turn pink. 

“Do ghouls…? I mean, I know you’ve lost a few parts, so I didn’t know if…” 

“If what?” Hancock knew exactly what she wanted to ask and enjoyed her embarrassment. Such a rare emotion in the wasteland. Most folks had very little shame. 

“It’s none of my business. Forget I asked. I’m sorry. How rude.” She removed her hand from his leg. 

Damn it. 

“Don’t apologize. Lay it on me. What do you need to know?” 

“I don’t need to know.” 

This woman who’d faced deathclaws, an army of synths, and a mirelurk queen, couldn’t talk about his dick. 

He chuckled. “You wanna know if my junk fell off, like my nose? No, it’s all there.” He drew out the word “all” because, well, a ghoul can brag, right

“Everything still works?” 

Jesus, she was fishing for some pertinent information. He liked it. 

“What’s the point of living forever, if you can’t screw around? It even glows in the dark.” 

“Really?” Her eyes widened. 

“No. But you believed me. That’s adorable.” 

“Goddamn it, Hancock.” She laughed. He loved to hear her laugh. He’d love to hear her make some other noises, too. 

“There are some side effects, though. Like, if I’m making time with someone who’s not a ghoul, they’ll need some Rad-X and Radaway.” 

“Because of radiation burns, like with ferals?” 

“Yeah, something like that.” 

“What else changed when you became a ghoul?” 

“You already know most of it. My eyes. Lost my hair. Radiation doesn’t bother me. I used to be taller. And my voice, it didn’t always sound like this.” 

“I like your voice.” 

He thought about moving his arm from the back of the sofa to her shoulders, but the ring on her hand meant something. Not to him, of course, but it meant something to her, so he’d play along. Even though it killed him. 

“Oh, yeah? I got the impression I kinda creeped you out.” 

“When I left the vault, everything scared me. Giant insects, raiders, mutants, ghouls. I’m sorry if I made you feel bad.” 

“But we’re good, now?” 

“We’re good.” She smiled and leaned in. Her hushed, seductive tone got his full attention. “I even thought Edward Deegan was kind of hot. You know, that ghoul who worked for the Cabots. I felt terrible when he got shot, it just… I dunno, it really upset me. I’m glad he’s okay. Wish I could recruit him to work for me.” 

She bit her lip. He imagined those lips on his dick. Anyone would have to be stone cold dead not to think those thoughts about her. He ached to be closer, touch her, taste her, know her imperfections better than he knew his own, whisper the thoughts he’d never told another soul. 

Instead, he said, “Remind me to thank Edward for changing your mind.” 

“Does it hurt?” 

“What?” 

“Being a ghoul.” 

Fiona gently touched his cheek with one finger. Hancock resolved then and there to send that Edward Deegan guy a fucking crate of whiskey and cigars. Hell, if she touched him again, he’d give Edward free use of the Treasure for the rest of his immortal life. 

“I’ve gotten used to it.” 

“Mm.” 

She kind of sank back into the couch and into her own thoughts, but he wanted to keep her close. 

“You feel like dancing?” 

“We don’t have radios yet. Sturgis is still working on a couple for me.” 

“I take requests.” Hancock stood, adjusted his faded red coat and held out a hand. Fiona took it and they walked into the courtyard between the bar and the shops. 

Swaying in the neon light, he sang one of Magnolia’s slow and sultry songs from the Third Rail. 

“I see you lookin’ round the corner, come on inside and pull up a chair,

No need to feel like a stranger, cause we’re all a little strange in here.

Have you got a history that needs erasing? 

Did you come in just for the beer and cigarettes? 

A broken down dream you’re tired of chasing, 

Well, I’m just the guy to make you forget.” 

She didn’t keep him at arm’s length like she did during her birthday party, she held him close. But sometime after midnight, she went off to sleep alone. He found it almost impossible to untangle his fingers from hers, to give up the smell of her hair and the sound of her voice. 

From then on, they spent their days scavenging furniture, pipes and wood from abandoned houses, hammering nails, shoveling rubble, and running off the raiders or mutants who came sniffing around. But evenings, they sat on the sofa, talking about everything and nothing. Then he and Fiona would dance. They eventually got some radios, tuned to Diamond City, but Hancock still sang along. She did, too. 

The crew didn’t say a word. Minded their own business. Crucial trait in a bar and brothel. 

One evening, she showed him some new stairs built behind the brothel, leading up to the flat roof of an adjacent, abandoned building. She used her pipboy to light the way. 

From there, he could see quite a distance across the moonlit ruins of Jamaica Plain and the wasteland beyond. “Nice view. Decent tactical position. Could put a few guards up here.” 

“We could.” 

But she had other things in mind. She placed a hand on his shoulder and Hancock put his arm around her waist, moving into their usual dancing position while she softly sang. 

“When this old world starts getting me down 

And people are just too much for me to face 

I climb way up to the top of the stairs 

And all my cares just drift right into space

On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be  

And there the world below can’t bother me

Right smack dab in the middle of town

I found a Paradise that’s trouble-proof

And if this world starts getting you down

There’s room enough for two up on the roof…” 

She stopped singing but didn’t let go. Instead, she placed both hands around the back of his velvet collar. He put both hands around her waist and lifted his chin, so his tricorn hat wouldn’t hit her forehead when he leaned closer. 

“I like that. You should sing at the Third Rail, give Magnolia a night off.” 

“I’d have to get a sparkly dress.” 

“Why wear anything at all?” 

He couldn’t read her expression in the shadows but the air felt thick with anticipation. She inhaled and tilted her head as if she might kiss him. He didn’t move. Neither did she. 

“Fiona…” He poured everything he felt into that one word. 

“No.” She whispered more to herself than to him, so he could barely hear. “I can’t.” 

She returned to the edge of the roof, guided by her pipboy light. Hancock followed, not to stop her but only to avoid being left in the dark. 

If she wanted to go, he’d let her go, and if she wanted to come back, she knew where to find him. 

* * *

~ J.L. Hilton

The Eve of Destruction <– Previous story  +  Next story —> Happily Never After

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Team Trashcake plays FALL GUYS with Starfish

My friend Starfish from Starfish_central gaming channel, joined IceStella, SulfurFurious and myself for another FALL GUYS multiplayer session back in September.

It’s such a fun game to play with friends!

Starfish had an amazing moment on the Slime Climb, which you can see in the highlight, above, and there are three longer videos from the livestream that I edited and uploaded recently to my YouTube channel.

(I’m loving DaVinci Resolve btw – and it’s free!)

~ J.L. Hilton
aka “Jewelsmith”

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WOLFENSTEIN II: The new addition to my top ten list

My family gave me WOLFENSTEIN II: THE NEW COLOSSUS in 2018 but due to some serious health crises and major life events, I didn’t get a chance to play until 2020. I knew you shot Nazis. That’s all I knew.

I’d played the original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple ][ computer with a green screen monitor way back in the early 1980s, but never played any other Wolfenstein games before.

I finished WOLFENSTEIN II recently and loved the characters, story, music and game mechanics. I had a challenging, emotional but enjoyable experience enhanced by smooth controls and superb design. It’s up there with God of War, Fallout 4, Skyrim, BioShock and Dishonored on my list of favorites.

I like stealth in video games (usually, not always) and the stealth in WOLFENSTEIN II is really good. Sound effects and audio balance are essential for good stealthing, especially since you can’t see through walls (like Dishonored), you can’t use VATS (like Fallout 3 or Fallout 4) and you don’t even get any little red dots on a compass. WOLFENSTEIN II relies entirely upon your powers of listening, observation and timing.

The AI is not perfect but its the best I’ve ever seen in a video game. NPC’s don’t just patrol in a set pattern or stay in one spot, their behavior changes in response to your actions. They WILL see, hear and search for you. It’s not easy to hide.

Levels are intense and stealth won’t work everywhere. I don’t usually play “run and gun” games or shooters like Doom or Call of Duty so I had to git gud to pass a few tough spots (like the courtroom escape).

My favorite weapon in WOLFENSTEIN II was probably the schockhammer, a triple-barreled fully automatic shotgun with real stopping power. But hatchets, grenades, lasers, rifles, pistols, flamethrower and machine guns all had their uses. Choosing and improving the right tools for the job reminded me a bit of the BioShock weapon wheel and upgrade system.

There are stealth, mayhem and tactical perks, earned by completing certain actions in the game. I went heavier on stealth and mayhem, getting a few tactical perks for headshots and setting things on fire.

I am in awe of the level design, because when you’re doing the main story, you go through the levels in one direction. But when you come back for side missions, like killing the ubercommanders, you start at the other end and go backwards. It blows my mind how they set things up to work in both directions, including special features of the environment for stealth, taking cover during combat, or using the Ramshackles, Battle Walker and Constrictor contraptions.

Cutscenes usually annoy me and bog down gameplay. But the cutscenes in WOLFENSTEIN II happened between levels and didn’t interrupt the action. I found myself looking forward to them and getting emotionally invested in William Joseph “B.J.” Blazkowicz and the crew of Eva’s Hammer.

Having recently played The Outer Worlds, I couldn’t help comparing the random encounters on board the Unreliable to those on board Eva’s Hammer. WOLFENSTEIN II did it right. Rather than telling me where to go and what to see every time I entered the ship and repeating the same encounters over and over, I witnessed unique crew interactions and found little side quests while wandering around on my own. It felt much more realistic and natural, and more personal, with much more depth to the writing and performances.

Every word of WOLFENSTEIN II felt real and believable, in spite of the crazy alternate-history science fiction setting and some of zany plot twists, because the writing and performances were so good. This was a case where a voiced protagonist was used to great effect, not just to offer in-game tutorial and bland observations, but to set the emotional tone of a given mission and to help me connect with the protagonist I inhabited. In this, I was reminded of how I felt playing Daud in the Dishonored DLC, Knife of Dunwall and Brigmore Witches.

Perhaps it comes down to the talent of the voice actor, Brian Bloom. But I have to give credit to the other characters I loved, too, including Fergus Reid (Gideon Emery), Grace Walker (Debra Wilson), Horton Boone (Christopher Heyerdahl) and others. Even the smallest parts were delivered with sincerity, whereas so many games sound like they grabbed someone off the street to read the lines from a white board.

I connected with WOLFENSTEIN II more than I ever expected I would, from its gameplay elements to its story to its deep emotional beats. It wasn’t just a shooter – though that part was a blast – it was so much more.

~ J.L. Hilton

See a complete list of video game fiction, articles and more under the Video Games tab of this website or click here

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GLASS MASQUERADE 2 Illusions, Temptations & Revelations

I played Glass Masquerade in January 2020, but the sequel and DLC weren’t available for PlayStation 4, at that time. So, I ended up buying the game again for PC, along with all of the add-ons, the free Lunar Year and Christmas Day puzzles, and the sequel GLASS MASQUERADE 2: ILLUSIONS.

I loved the first Glass Masquerade, which had a “world’s fair” theme featuring Art Deco style stained-glass clock puzzles in various shapes, with artwork inspired by several different countries and cultures. The DLC packs, Inceptions and Heritages, expanded on that theme.

GLASS MASQUERADE 2: ILLUSIONS is a kind of nightmare mash-up of H.P. Lovecraft and Lewis Carroll. Which sounds good, but didn’t end up being as charming or engaging as the original.

Some of the puzzles were lovely but most were strange to the point of being confusing, indiscernible, and unrelated to anything I knew about mythology, monsters, folklore or literature. Many didn’t look like stained glass, either, more like watercolors or magic marker.

The text attempted to be mysterious and intriguing, I guess, but either bad translation (developer Onyx Lute is in Russia) or bad writing made it sound like pretentious nonsense. I’d hoped for a story of some kind, explaining how I ended up in the dream world and what was happening in each picture.

You get better explanations with the DLC, particularly the Temptations expansion, which at least names the various characters – harpy, gorgon, succubus, vampiress, etc.

I’ve seen GLASS MASQUERADE 2: ILLUSIONS rated “E” for everyone online, but based on the difficulty, sexual suggestiveness and dark themes of the puzzles in this sequel and its DLC, I would put it at “T” for teens.

In spite of my criticisms, GLASS MASQUERADE 2: ILLUSIONS is still a decent game for the price, if you enjoy jigsaw puzzles. It’s only $4.99 on Steam (last I checked) and the Temptations and Revelations expansion puzzle packs are $1.99 each.

~ J.L. Hilton
aka “Jewelsmith”

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Gamer geek moms discuss Halloween

For Halloween, IceStella and I discussed customs in the UK and US, horror movies, books, video games, recipes, Frankenstein, Stephen King, 90s goth, Doctor Who, Gary Oldman, and more. Just a couple of geeky gamer moms hanging out.

Several of my regular YouTube and Twitch viewers seem to enjoy the chatting as much or more than the gaming, so we thought we’d try out this sort of podcast or radio talk show format.

Recorded October 25, 2020, using PlayStation chat while I ran Fallout 4, and my sole survivor Fiona stood staring at a window in Sanctuary Hills (thus the occasional radstorm or strange noises in the background).

I broke the session up into three episodes for YouTube. Here are parts 2 and 3, below.

~ J.L. Hilton
aka “Jewelsmith”

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Halloween puzzles for GLASS MASQUERADE

I played GLASS MASQUERADE at the beginning of 2020 and I loved it.

For more info see JLHilton.com/2020/01/glass-masquerade

The bonus puzzles and sequel, Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions, were not available for PlayStation 4, so I bought the game again on PC and played through the beautiful Halloween DLC, with stained glass puzzles for Ireland (Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkins), Poland (Witch), Romania (Vampire), Japan (Obon) and Mexico (Dia de Muertos).

The entire Halloween expansion is only 99 cents if you own the main game, which is currently $4.99 on Steam.

~ J.L. Hilton
aka “Jewelsmith”

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