"I'm sick of having to wallow around in filth, having to interact with filth."
|Karma||Scourge of the Wastes|
|Face Claim||Tom Schilling|
Seven years ago Private Richard McClain volunteered to travel hundred of miles across the post-apocalyptic wastelands in search of Enclave remnants, left behind decades ago in the wake of their retreat. If he could correctly remember, it's been nearly forty years since they last had any contact with their West Coast brethren. Attempts have been made, many attempts, but unfortunately they have either ended in failure or had unsatisfactory results.
Growing up Richard could remember the difficult times the Enclave went through due to their limited resources and lack of familiarity of the Capital Wastelands. His parents were overwhelmed with work, so they had little time to spare for their 'pride and joy'. Most of what he knew, he learned from his instructors or veterans. Like many Enclave boys, Richard was enthralled with stories of life in the West whether they were about a fight with a bunch of savages or something as mundane as a recollection of the various plants native to California. The adults rarely told such stories because they didn't have the time or were unwilling to, older folks on the other hand had no problem spewing story after story. McClain never saw California but the stories allowed him to paint whole valleys and mountains in his head.
Back then as a teenager he rarely left the boundaries of the base except maybe to do some combative exercises or patrols. Overall the nineteen years of his life were spent in a bunker, learning about the raiders and savages beyond their protective walls and how the Enclave would bring back their 'great nation'. Unfortunately most plans of grandeur take time to implement. Between the story telling and schooling there wasn't much for a growing boy to do but get in trouble and cause mischief as young boys usually do. The obvious downside to that sort of activity were the punishments of course, but Richard was pretty bright and learned from his mistakes, if only how to get away without getting caught. He started out by telling lies, just small ones that no one would be able to entirely validate or deny.As Richard became older though he took higher risks, using his skills of deception to skip exercises or trick others into taking his patrol shift. It was a very tedious trial-and-error process, but eventually it becomes impossible to perfect the art of lying when you continuously lie to the same group of people.
Over time the base become more stabilized and resources were plentiful, it was only then the Colonel decided that a squad was to be sent out to reestablish connections between East and West as well as scout out the Western lands since the Enclave's withdrawal. Richard was eighteen years old when they started taking volunteers due to the high risks this mission entailed, they did not know the situation in the West nor would they send a rescue party if something were to go wrong. Upon sending an application, the young McClain sealed his fate. When Richard met the other seven members of his eight man squad he was assigned as the group's scout because his lean frame was fit for a runner and experience in reconnaissance. The squad was given a few months before leaving to allow the soldiers to familiarize themselves with one another. When the day finally came the doors of the vertibird closed shut and Richard had unknowingly taken his one last glimpse of home.
The pathway they would follow was parallel to the border of America and Canada since the central state plains had weather too unstable to fly through.Occasionally they landed to allow the troops to stretch their legs or do some maintenance on the ship, it took them a month but when they finally reached that Californian coast, Richard couldn't believe what he was seeing. There were plants, it wasn't exactly a lush forest but he'd never seen a tree before, or any green plant for the matter. And the water, he was actually able to stand in a river with little worry of radiation. This wasn't paradise, but it could have fooled him. Before anything else they were told to visit the outpost in Navarro, and so the squad did just that. Efforts of radio contact with the Navarro outpost were met with white static, it was a ominous sign but it did not deter the troops from turning away. They landed the vertibird behind a cliff side miles away from Navarro, their plan was to send some soldiers to scout the surrounding area. However, before it could be implemented they were taken by surprise and ambushed. A well placed grenade from an NCR soldier was all it took to kill some poor unsuspecting soldier.
Heavily outnumbered, the squad took cover and returned fire as the pilots started the vertibird for a hasty retreat. Bullets rained down on them from above, but those that happened to hit the exposed troopers barely dented their metal armor. That didn't mean they were invincible though. Richard and two others of his squad mates were separated from the vertibird, unable to make the trek due to the amount of gunfire concentrated on them. It wasn't until their hellfire trooper charged into the fray with his incinerator, roaring like a man possessed. The distraction was enough to allow him and the squadron commander to escape, Richard never found out what happened to that trooper. Although the vertibird ascended, the NCR weren't quite done with them. A skilled sniper was able to take out one of their pilots and some rocket launchers inflicted major damage to their ship.
What was one the pride of the Enclave was now a barely functioning vertibird with billowing black smoke. Richard was a bit sore from the fight but had no major injuries, their commander on the other hand had received a number of bullet wounds and unfortunately died shortly after due to blood loss. In the end there were only four of them left; himself, a doctor, a pilot and the lieutenant who automatically became their new leader. They barely made it halfway through Nevada before the engines died and their vertibird crashed. Few lasting injuries were sustained except for the pilot who was rendered blind from shrapnel to the face.
Still on the run, they somehow made it to New Reno. Automatically they took up new identities and set up an outpost in some undisclosed area, Richard and the squad commander were responsible for gathering supplies while their doctor and pilot remained at the base. For a few years they remain in New Reno with little activity, until something strange happened. When the radio of their vertibird was finally repaired, they received a signal that would only come from another Enclave radio. It was very weak but fortunately they were able to determine where it was coming from, the very southern part of Nevada. Arguments were flung back and forth throughout the squad about going, he and the commander still had hopes of returning home while the doctor and pilot resigned to being stuck in New Reno. Eventually tired of all the fighting Richard just up and left without warning, leaving one again from safety along with a note full of promises of coming back.
While he wasn't the toughest gun of the squad, Richard was probably the best suited to travel the wastelands undetected based on his knowledge from handed down stories and experience as an avid liar. He could craft the most elaborate lies that could fool simple minded folk and make unsuspecting wastelanders pay him no mind. With such a vast group of people to practice on, Richard could create his own made up background history. So with that, he went from Richard the Enclave soldier to Richard the Crimson Caravan guard. As a caravan guard McClain was able to travel southward, reinforcing his combative abilities while also learning new skills such as bartering. By the time he reaches New Vegas, three years have passed since he left his squad. How the hell did it come to that?
The sprout has grown since, now twenty-six years old with the same idealistic hope of returning home. He now acts as a freelancer and scavenger, scourging the wastelands for the hidden Enclave of The Mojave.
Continuing Adventures Edit
Richard was quite the romantic in his younger years, dreaming about an irradiated free world where no longer one would had to worry about raiders or starvation. Perhaps to this day he's still retained some of his patriotic youth but if it does still exist it's now muddled under a crust of paranoia and hardiness. He was taught at an early age that anyone outside the Enclave was either an enemy or a useful asset, for McClain there existed no comrades or friends in the wave of wastelanders. There was only himself and it has been a very lonely experience.
He might be in his twenties now but Richard was like a kid at times, perhaps to make up for his unfulfilled childhood.The world was a scary place and anyone who denied that simply hasn't explored far enough. Over the years Richard had to go through some changes as his very survival depended on his adaptability. For example he made up names to go along with his background history, memorizing them to a point where if you shook him awake at the dead of night and asked the name of his great auntie from his father's side he'd say; “What the hell are you talking about, I have no great auntie”. Some changes though have practically made him cry, like one day when he almost forgot his mother's name.
Paranoia can be a blessing at times, keeping you safe from potential harm, but overall it's a burden to have. Not only does it affect his social life but his physical state of health as well. One example would be his refusal to use or take products made from scratch. This guy would take a packaged century old steak over a fresh fruit salad any day. Probably the best way to describe Richard would be to say that he was on the opposite spectrum from the Legion concerning the views and use between chemicals and raw ingredients.
Dirt and dust on are very abundant in the Mojave. Regular bathing was probably another thing he missed about home. It's impossible to walk a few steps without getting sand in his shoes or clothes. On the worst of days he's covered head to toe and when he is able to clean himself off, it's almost like heaven. Richard looks a bit younger than people will give him credit for, but to be fair, it probably has to do with his smooth face and lack of facial hair. He could grow himself a mustache given the time, but it never felt comfortable sitting above his lips. If anything, there would be a bit of peach fuzz before Richard shaves it off.
Scars are scattered across his back but they are mostly faded and out of view. Long and thin, these are not the proofs of battle or small skirmishes but marks of discipline from his trouble making years. Richard doesn't brood too much about them really, but he will be sure to have an interesting story to tell.