|Date of birth:||2259|
- "Out here, it’s amazing. You have the freedom to choose who you are, what you want to be, what you want to do with your life… of course, there’s also starvation, radiation, raiders, super mutants and whatever else, so take that as you may"
- ―Kara Stinson
Kara Stinson is a mercenary and scavenger living in the Detroit Wasteland. Something of a disaffected loner, her current situation is the result of her own choices and a desire to change her own life, something that has not worked out entirely as she had hoped. Presently she is active in the wasteland, working as a hired gun to sell her services to the highest bidder.
Kara was born into a family living in Vault 54 in 2259. At birth, she was immediately inducted into the Vault’s ongoing social experiment by having her DNA matched with the individual who would be her eventual mate and help create the next generation of Vault Dwellers. As was the norm for 54’s inhabitants, Kara was introduced to her eventual partner, Dylan Wheeler, at an early age, knowing full well that they had already been paired up and the expectations of them.
Despite her indoctrination and her parents’ best efforts, Kara found that she had no interest in Dylan whatsoever. She found them to be rather incredibly bland and uninteresting, and certainly not somebody who she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. Added to that, she found the very idea of having children with Dylan to be strangely repulsive, despite Vault 54’s strict policies of population quotas and rewarding fecundity. Choosing not to have children was a crime that could see her and her partner cut off from supplies or worse.
After her eighteenth birthday, Kara directly confronted her parents about her feelings and her decision not to proceed with her planned life. Their response was to alternately plead, cajole and eventually threaten her in an effort to get her to change her mind. When this didn’t work, they went to Dylan’s parents, who tried similar pressure tactics, knowing that they could be cut off from their grandchild bonus. Again, none of this worked, with Kara going so far as to point out how bland and uninteresting Dylan was.
Initially, the two families tried to keep this quiet, fearing that they would both be punished for Kara’s intransigence. Eventually, however, matters could not be hushed up and Kara was brought before Overseer Mitch Mitchelson. Given one last chance to recant her position and accept the will of the Vault, Kara refused. Feeling that she was no longer compatible with 54’s culture, Overseer Mitchelson ordered the worst punishment possible; exile. Kara was cast out into the wastelands, with only a Vault Suit and a 10mm Pistol to her name.
(As a post-script, Dylan was eventually paired off with Kim Snodworthy, a “second-choicer” who’s intended mate had died in an accident)
Exile and Survival
By Vault 54’s rules, exile was final. There would be no return, no second chances, and no redemption. An exile was forsaken, forever removed from the gene pool and left to their own devices. The very threat of exile was meant to deter anyone from whatever path they were taking. Instead, in Kara’s case, she seemed to actively embrace it as a way to escape her past and pre-planned destiny. If she was going to die, then at least she would die a free woman.
Cast out into the blasted wastelands of Michigan, Kara found a very different world to the one she was used to. With no shelter, no protection, no useful skills to fall back on and nobody else, she should have, by all rights, died a quick and ugly death. Instead, if anything, she persevered through a sense of bloody-minded determination to prove herself and live a free life. Never was there any regret about her choices, but instead the determination to press on.
Somehow she survived. Abandoned buildings provided a modicum of shelter, and she was able to learn a bit about scavenging in order to find food and passably clean water. The discovery of a stash of preserved food helped her along her way, giving her something to live off for the interim. And in a strange way, years of Vault indoctrination did help her to a degree. Having been taught that everything outside was lethal and that any surviving humans were, in fact, insane cannibalistic murderers, she was incredibly cautious of anything that might even be remotely dangerous, and spent a lot of time hiding from perceived threats.
While at first, she was wandering largely aimlessly (Having very little knowledge of pre-war geography and none of the current state of the region), Kara eventually found herself heading towards Detroit, guided by highway signs. There was little logic to her decision, other than the thought that there might be some form of civilisation there. Along the way, she’d done her best to shed her vault dweller image. Looting had given her a thick coat and other suitable wasteland attire, as well as an R91 Assault rifle that she’d found in a stash. It also helped that her once-clean looks had instead degenerated into a mess of matted hair and dirt-stained features.
As luck would have it, Kara stumbled into a trading caravan who mistook her for a scavenger or a mercenary looking for work (They assumed she wasn’t a raider given that they had all but ambushed her, and she hadn’t demanded any caps). After a bit of initial confusion, Kara agreed to work as a guard for the caravan as they made their way towards what was referred to as the “free town of Park Lane” in central Detroit. Figuring that wherever they were heading was better than the wastelands of rural Michigan, Kara agreed to the deal.
It nearly proved to be a fatal mistake. Halfway to their destination, the Caravan was jumped by a Raider gang and Kara was forced to fight. Despite having never been in an actual gunfight before, she acquitted herself well, killing two of the Raiders and wounding a third. This was enough to drive them off, earning her the thanks of the caravan crew as well as first dibs at looting their bodies for anything of worth. She also took the opportunity to quietly throw up in a ditch out of eyesight of her employer.
The caravan made it to Park Lane without further violence, even if Kara did have to wave her gun at a few people to scare them off. At the end of the trip, the Caravan crew helped spread the word about her, helping to sell the image that she was indeed a mercenary and not just some dumb runaway. Kara had found her new calling in life, even if it was by accident.
Fortune had given Kara an opening, and she was determined not to squander it. Landing in Park Lane meant she was set up in a local hub, one where she would be able to find work and, hopefully, a place to call home. Even if her first load of caps did go into renting a space in a flophouse, it was enough to put a temporary roof over her head as she sought work. While she did such, Kara was careful to keep her ears to the ground and pay attention to what was going on around her in order to learn more about the world she was in and the Detroit Wastes in particular.
The latter suggested that she had come to the right place. From what she learned, the Detroit Wasteland was not claimed by any one powerful faction. Furthermore, the city was divided even further between different groups; be they other settlements, Raiders, Super Mutants, would-be empire builders or whatever else. In other words, it was a ripe environment for a hired gun to make a living.
Her bluff had paid off, and soon she was able to find work. Initially, it was low-level tasks, such as protecting caravans or covering scavengers as they picked over the ruins. The latter proved to be something of a boon for her. Kara had shown an affinity for technical tasks on her GOAT tests, and this translated well into her new role. In many cases, she found herself advising the scavengers she was working with, pointing out the best stuff from their pickings or how to access materials that they would have been unable to get to otherwise. This helped further build her reputation, bringing her more work. Kara also found work as a courier, moving messages and packages between different settlements and outposts, a career that taught her a lot more about the city.
She also saw plenty of combat during this time, both against animals and other hazards and humans. While at first she was deeply troubled by the issue, she began to accept that this was a part of her role and that in many cases, it was a ‘them or her’ situation. If she didn’t kill her enemies, they would do the same – or worse – to her. Even then it took her some time to keep her composure entirely, rather than doing her utmost to conceal it. She certainly spent a lot of time throwing up when she thought nobody could see her.
Despite that problem, her reputation grew, keeping her in work and a steady supply of caps. Within six months she had a home in Park Lane, regular meals and, save for the occasional visit to a particularly attractive and skilled male prostitute, free of destructive vices. Within a year she was taking work in other settlements as well, having built a reputation as a professional with an eye for salvage and a keen aim. Even better, nobody had openly challenged her story or even hinted at her real past. As far as she was concerned, the person she had been in Vault 54 was dead.
Moving up in the world
Kara’s activities earned her the attention of more than just potential employers. Her involvement in the battle of McMillain School, where she was part of a small group who cleaned out a particularly violent nest of raiders, drew her to the attention of Stan Wendell, the leader of the Black Skull Company. One of the largest mercenary outfits in Detroit, the Black Skulls were the best regarded and certainly the best organised. Wendell had heard about her and her work, and wanted to see what she had to offer.
Their initial meeting went well. Wendell was immediately impressed with the way she handled herself and her seemingly cool and relaxed disposition. He also liked her apparent technical knowledge, even if he did not openly question where it came from. Finally, a few trials demonstrated her marksmanship and other combat skills, all things that he was looking for in a potential recruit. He went so far to make this abundantly clear to her; the Black Skulls did not take just anyone, and as such, to be offered a position in the company was something to be proud of.
Kara, for her part, was smitten with the handsome and charismatic mercenary. While she had tried to focus purely on the professional side of their meeting, it was hard for her not to be drawn to him. And while she did accept his offer obstinately for the opportunity that it presented for her and the chance to further her career, the truth was her attraction to him was also a deciding factor. However, she also realised that to openly admit such would not be a smart move, and as such, she did her best to keep a lid on the situation.
Her welcome to Black Skull Company was surprisingly warm, given that she was walking into a band of professional hired soldiers. This, she realised, was due to the strong espirit de corps maintained by the unit; everyone looked out for each other, everyone treated each other with respect and everyone had each other’s back at all time. It was a strong part of their image, one that helped sell them as being the best that the mercenary trade had to offer. And even if its members were cold-hearted mercenary bastards by trade, each one of them was willing to do their best to look after the others.
Abandoning Park Lane and what she now saw as bit work, Kara moved into the Company’s headquarters and was ready for what she saw as the big time. Despite her experience, she was still put through a rigorous training program to “toughen her up” so that she would meet the Company’s high standards. If anything, the program made her even more determined to succeed if only to prove that she was as good as anyone else in the group. Ultimately, she was successful, becoming a full-fledged member of the company.
For the next year, Stinson found herself living the high life of a professional hired soldier. Black Skull Company took on the biggest jobs in Detroit and its surrounding areas, working for the highest bidder in each case. This saw them go up against a wide range of opponents, from gangs to Super Mutants and others, while completing a myriad of objectives. In many cases, Kara’s technical skills were just as useful as her combat ones, aiding in certain objectives or the retrieval of advanced technologies.
All the while, she maintained her unspoken crush on Captain Wendell, but was careful not to let it be known. The last thing she wanted to do was undermine her own position. Instead, she grew to enjoy the wealth that came from her newfound role, allowing her to live in (relative) comfort and security.
The Detroit Revolutionary War
Any thoughts of personal entanglements were cut off by the eruption of the so-called Detroit Revolutionary War in the spring of 2284. The conflict began when the Army of Revolution, a large, armed militant group, moved to seize a number of settlements within the city at once. Due to their prior relationship, the Black Skulls were not approached by the Army of Revolution for employment. However, at the same time, their reduced status meant that they were effectively sidelined.
The revolutionaries deliberately avoided antagonising the Black Skulls, knowing that to do such would only serve to create another enemy that they could not afford during the conflict. Instead, the Skulls were approached by several different settlements, including Park Lane and Grand Central, with desperate offers of employment. None of those settlements had the manpower to hold off the Revolutionaries, and were especially lacking in skilled soldiers.
Captain Wendell replied by holding fast, refusing their offers. He cited the level of danger that his company would be facing, and the risk of the company being severely damaged or destroyed. All of which was a stalling tactic to both hold out for more caps and see which way the war was going. Kara personally protested at this approach, but her objections were over-ruled in the name of business interests.
It was not until a coalition of settlements, many of which were on the front lines of the conflict, made a massive offer with very generous terms that Wendell relented. Given autonomy of command, he was free to employ his company as he wished to stop the Revolutionary campaign. Rather than attack them head-on, Wendell chose to break up his company into smaller units to conduct guerrilla-style attacks on the Revolutionaries, seeking to slow and distract their forces.
Kara was assigned to be a part of one team (Designated Squad Six) that primarily operated in the heart of downtown. This was a particularly dangerous assignment, given the nature of the region. Once heavily built up, it was now choked with debris, turning its streets into a maze. Many of the tall buildings had either fallen or were unstable, adding an extra layer of risk. Finally, downtown was home to other threats besides the Revolutionaries, such as wild animals, Raider gangs, and even roving Super Mutants.
These hazards worked together to very nearly kill Kara and the rest of her squad. An attempt to ambush a Revolutionary team fell apart when they were, in turn, jumped by a raider gang, turning the situation into a bloody three-way firefight. Separated from her squad, Kara took refuge in an empty but otherwise intact apartment building, the Hartford Gardens Tower. Sheltering in the rubble that choked the lobby, she was able to find an entrance into the building’s interior that was still usable, albeit well-hidden by the rubble.
For the next two weeks, Kara used the tower as a base of operations for her own personal offensive against the Revolutionaries. Rather than confronting them head-on, she would raid their supplies and harass their forces, and then disappear back into the rubble. On occasion she would snipe at opponents from the upper floors of the building, but preferred not to do such too much lest she reveal her base of operations. These attacks contributed to the failure of the Revolutionaries’ offensive, and their eventual collapse and retreat.
It was only after they had withdrawn that she made her way back to the Black Skulls, where she was not entirely surprised to find that she had been declared dead. Instead, after a little bit of confusion, she was welcomed back by the surviving members of the company. Taking the opportunity, she decided to privately confront Wendell and confess her feelings about him.
An hour later she was told to leave the Skulls and never return.
Dejected, Kara returned not to Park Lane but instead to the Hartford Gardens Tower. Her rejection had left her somewhat embittered, and for the moment she was more interested in seclusion then any attempts at interaction with others. Exploring the tower gave her something to do while working through her bitterness over her rejection and looking for other options for her life and where to go to from there. What she found was at least one apartment inside the building that was still intact and inhabitable, as well as a number of still functioning facilities on the upper floor.
With no better place to go, Kara chose to make the tower her new home. This required several weeks of work to clean up her new apartment as well as some of the remaining facilities. Even then, much of the building was still an uninhabitable mess, which would restrict access to the structure and discourage any unwelcome guests who had managed to find the entrance. This suited her fine, allowing her to live her life alone save for the building’s only other inhabitant, Willard.
Despite this, Kara still needed to make a living. She returned to work as a solo mercenary, taking jobs out of Park Lane. After a few months, she began to become more engaged in the community, but continued to keep herself and her personal life isolated.
The first cracks in Kara’s self-imposed isolationism came by accident, and were the result of an unexpected situation that she had no control over. While working a job in January of 2287, she was caught in the crossfire between a pack of roaming Super Mutants and a group of raiders (That she later discovered were actually an Army of Revolution patrol) and forced to take refuge when a second group of Super Mutants entered the fray, cutting off her escape. Sheltering in a half-ruined building, her plan was to let the two groups wipe each other out, and then escape when the survivors withdrew.
Instead, she found that one of the soldiers, Kyle Bleaker, had also taken refuge there with the same plan as her. The two were initially hostile towards each other, but changed their minds when the realised that they needed to depend on each other and work together in order to survive.
Initially, their plan was to sit tight and wait for the mutants to pass. However, as it became clear that they were still hunting for them, the pair were forced to keep moving, trying to weave their way through the ruined buildings to try and find an escape route. When that failed, they dug into a still-intact basement to try to lose their pursuers and take shelter against a rapidly closing in snowstorm. The pair would spend the night there, hunkered down and trying to stay alive, including opening up to each other as a way to stay alert against the worst. Kara discussed her own isolation and unwillingness to engage with others, while Kyle admitted that he had very little life outside the Army.
Riding out the storm, the pair of them emerged the next morning, making a break for it through the snow and past the Super Mutants. Having made their way to freedom, the pair agreed to go their separate ways, but also took the time to thank each other for their help.
A second opportunity presented itself again by accident, and again offering her so much more then she expected. While working a contract to scout out raider activity, she instead stumbled into a firefight between a group of mercenaries and an Army of Revolution squad. Caught in the crossfire (And having no real love for the Revolutionaries), she aided the mercenary group and created an opening for them. What she didn’t expect was for their leader to then return wearing a Power Armour to defeat the Revolutionaries.
Realising that these were no common mercs, (not only did they have a Power Armour, but it was of an unusual design that she had never heard of) Kara also realised that she had stepped into something a lot bigger then she had expected. While they were not explicit in their origins, the group confirmed that they were a recon team that were scouting the Detroit Wasteland for pre-war technology and records. In return, while also concealing her full origins, Stinson explained that she was a mercenary, a former member of Black Skull company and an inadvertent Urban Explorer.
As a way of gaining the group’s trust, Stinson offered her services as a scout and guide in the Detroit Wastelands, leveraging her greater experience and knowledge of the ruined city as being a potential aid to their operations. They found her experience of Downtown to be especially interesting, as the group felt it held the best potential for salvageable technology, but at the same tome had proven to be difficult to navigate both due to environmental damage and the risk of raiders and other hazards. The group’s leader, Kirsten Farris, agreed to the deal, with Kara promising her silence over what she’d seen and learned.
Following the Scrap Dogs attack on Park Lane (which Stinson was not present for due to her work with Xiphos Squad), she was approached by Park Lane businessman Vance Stratton with an offer for a long-term job. Stratton had become concerned about the flood of recently made assault rifles and other weapons that has found their way into the hands of the Army of Revolution, Raiders and other groups. Driven by a concern for the town’s safety, as well as the potential for setting up a trade alliance to sell them himself, he tasked her with locating their source.
Stinson agreed, but then went behind his back and reported this information to Xiphos Squad. Based on their travels through the state during their insertion, they offered a settlement that they had passed in the Flint River region as a potential source. (Xiphos had earmarked it for future recon, but their priority was to reach and explore the Detroit Wasteland). Kirsten Farris also offered Stinson a bonus for reporting her findings, whatever they might have been, to them as well. While these weapons were hardly advanced pre-war technology, Farris was concerned about what other resources their manufacturer might have had access to.
Having avoided the region herself during her approach to the Detroit Wasteland (no trade caravans would go near the Flint River), Stinson had very little idea of what to expect. None the less, she took as many precautions as she could; she stocked up on medicines, carried a gas mask and packed plenty of spare ammunition, amongst other things. Pre-war maps provided to her by Xiphos gave her a clue as to the potential origin in the city of Flint, allowing Kara to better plan her route.
Her progress towards Flint was slow going for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the need to avoid Army of Revolution patrols along the roads. Those told her that she was at least on the right track, given that the army would only want to patrol the region if they had some interest in protecting it. Confirming her suspicions, she passed several trade caravans that were being at least watched by the Revolutionaries. It was easy enough from there to make the final connections that Flint was the source of the weapons.
What she found, however, was still a surprise. A fortified community, clearly heavily industrialised and operational, surrounded by thick walls and armed guards. While to her mind she had obviously found the source of the weapons, she still had no idea as to the capabilities of the Foundry or, for that matter, anything that was going on inside. Even though it was a risk, Stinson also knew that she had a job to do. By hiding on a cart full of scrap, she was able to infiltrate the city and make it inside.
She was able to last three days before being discovered. Kara was caught by a security team while poking around one of the assembly lines, and was not able to escape before being captured. Taken in, she was dragged before one of the town’s apparent rulers, a man calling himself Bruno Sondheim. Expecting the worst, she was moderately relieved to find that Sondheim had no intention of killing her or turning her over to the authorities. Instead, he commented that doing such would be a waste of such a clearly resourceful person, and that he had other plans for her.
His first act was to give her a guided tour of sorts, impressing upon her just how he Foundry worked, with its people effectively enslaving themselves in exchange for food, shelter and protection. He made sure that she saw the Forgemaster giving one of their addresses, both to illustrate the Foundry’s leader, as well as to show just how popular they were among the population, who willingly and gladly supported them.
Once he was done, Sondheim wanted to shift the balance of power within the Foundry, and saw her as a means to do such. Since she wasn’t a Foundry citizen, she couldn’t be tied back to him, a fact that would be useful if his plan went astray. He wanted her to eliminate the Foundry’s leader, the Forgemaster, so that Sondheim could take their place at the head of the city and, in his words ‘move it in a more purposeful direction’. Once they were dead, he would put on the armour and take over the identity, and the populace would be none the wiser.
To aid her, he provided her with access to their personal quarters, noting that they had to leave their suit eventually. He also noted that Stinson had no allies in the Foundry and no way out otherwise, and that if she tried to betray him, being marooned inside the facility would be the least of her problems. Backed into a corner, and with no other options, Kara reluctantly agreed, if only because it gave her a glimmer of hope for escape.
Instead, the whole assassination came undone within minutes purely by chance. As she was approaching the Inner Circle’s residences, she passed a pair of Army of Revolution members, one of whom was Kyle Bleaker. He recognised her instantly, blowing her cover and leading to her rapid apprehension at the imposing hands of the Forgemaster. Surrendering on the spot (Kara was not about to fight a Power Armour on foot in the middle of a hostile facility) she explained how she had been forced into this situation by Sondheim and how he had provided her with both the information and the means to penetrate the Forgemaster’s personal quarters to do the deed.
The Forgemaster confronted Sondheim over the assassination attempt, who denied the accusations. They then produced Kara, who backed up their claims, including explaining all the access that Sondheim had given her and the directions he had given her about how to perform the deed. While Bruno tried to claim that Kara had been coached, the rest of the Foundry’s Inner Circle were more inclined to side with their leader, especially given that there was a clear division between the pair of them.
Left without recourse and no way to prove his innocence, Sondheim demanded to face his accuser in combat, invoking a clause in the Foundry’s foundation that had never been used before. The Forgemaster agreed, but then noted that it was Kara who had made the claims that he had set up the assassination attempt. From her point of view, Kara could see where this was going; if she won, then the Forgemaster would have been rid of the single greatest opponent to their rule. And if she lost, the Forgemaster would be in the same place as they started. Of course, Kara had no say in the matter, nor was she in a position to argue.
Instead, after only minimal time to prepare, she was thrown into a cage with Sondheim with the very real expectation that only one of them would leave alive. Outwardly, he held a number of advantages; he was bigger than her and more experienced, having more then a decade on her. However, she was faster and more agile, an advantage she played for all it was worth, using the sides and even the roof of the cage if it would help. Finally, there was one other thing she found; Sondheim had not seen actual combat in years, whereas she had been constantly fighting since she was exiled from the Vault.
The fight was gruelling, leaving Kara spent, battered and bloodied. But at least she was alive, which was more than could be said for Sondheim, who lay dead on the cage’s floor. However, that did not change the fact that she was still in the heart of the Foundry.
Using their rank as the leader of the Foundry, the Forgemaster claimed Kara for themselves, ordering her cuffed and bought to their quarters. Once there, Kara was surprised to find that the Forgemaster was woman, one who not only claimed she had no ill will towards her, but also thanked Kara for ‘dealing with’ Sondheim. They then quickly deduced that Kara was a Vault Dweller, something that she did not immediately admit, but instead did not explicitly deny either.
Introducing herself as Lisa Callhoun, the Forgemaster claimed that the pair had a lot in common; they had both been driven from their homes (while not stating where her home was), they both had to adapt and change to circumstances beyond their control, and they both had carved out new lives for themselves in the wasteland. From there, she moved forward to her point; she wanted Kara to become her heir, and take over the role of the Forgemaster when she stepped down.
After some thought, Kara accepted, as much out of a desire to know more about the Foundry as it was to give her directionless life some meaning and because she had no other way out.
After a short prep time, Kara was introduced to the rest of the inner circle as an agent of the Forgemaster’s, one that would help the Foundry gain more intelligence on the outside world that they had thus far shielded themselves from. Her plan was to at least outwardly, use Kara as an agent to further their own agendas while also providing them with information that they could use. Part of this she assumed was to help separate the Foundry from their entanglement with the Army of Revolution, a partnership she could tell had begun to sour on them.
Kara played along, agreeing to be the Foundry’s dutiful agent and loyal to their goals, as well as relating some of her own past exploits, especially against the Army of Revolution. However, she was while careful not to mention anything about Callhoun’s plans or her own origins. The Inner Circle did seem to buy her act, and approved of the move, although Kara suspected that the lingering resentment over both the Army of Revolution’s mistreatment of them as well as Sondheim’s efforts to tie them together may have influenced their thinking.
Under the supervision of several other members of the Inner Circle, Callhoun began training Kara in her new role. While Kara had already demonstrated her skills as an infiltrator, and her experience spoke to her skills as a soldier (skills she was asked to demonstrate for the sake of verification), Callhoun and her allies had other things in mind. Kara was learning more and more about the Foundry, including its history, its people and how it was both led and operated. She also learned more about the more immediate threats
At the same time, behind the scenes, Callhoun continued Kara’s education along other lines that went well beyond what she would need to know as a scout. This included more on the history of the Inner Circle (Callhoun claimed they were ‘mercenaries from the East coast’, but Kara suspected that there was more to it than that) as well as the personalities and goals of the individual members with information that Kara would be able to use to her favour. Callhoun also taught her about broader military strategy and tactics, going beyond Kara’s own small-unit/solo tactics.
Finally, and only after she felt that she could fully trust Kara, Callhoun taught her how to operate her T-51b Power Armour suit so that she could fully take over the Forgemaster role. While at first Kara saw this as an opportunity, Callhoun dropped a comment about “by the way, we found a still-closed Vault…” implying that they had the location of Vault 54, and that any lack of faith on Kara’s part could backfire on her home. While she had long ago divorced herself form her past, Kara also could not risk her family. So instead, she played along for the moment.
Callhoun (as the Forgemaster) was careful to keep Kara at her side during her high-level interactions in order both to reinforce her public role as an intelligence operative while also allowing her to gain more experience in what was needed to run the Foundry. A part of this involved being present for the Forgemaster’s dealings with Ambassador Olivia Milton, as a way of giving Kara more exposure to the Army of Revolution’s culture. As a side effect, it meant she was also spending time with Kyle Bleaker, leading towards a growing relationship between the pair of them.
Agent of the Foundry
When news of the fall of Park Lane reached Kara, she was both surprised and shocked. Her experiences in the Revolutionary War had left her with the impression that the Army of Revolution, especially not in its present weakened state, would not be able to take the town. Hearing that the Revolutionaries had been supported by both raiders and other mercenaries left her even more confused, given the Revolutionaries’ past hostility towards both groups.
Similarly, she was concerned about the fates of a number of the people in Park Lane. Despite her self-imposed isolation, she still maintained good relationships with several people who lived within the city, and suddenly needed to know more about what had happened to them. However, neither Ambassador Milton nor Kyle Bleaker were able (or willing) to give her more information beyond the broadest statements of what had happened. Her confusion about the situation was only made worse by her growing, and now intimate, relationship with Bleaker.
Not that she had much time to dwell on the matter, given her ongoing training at the hands of the Forgemaster. Among other things, she had been spending time training alongside members of the Foundry’s military that was clearly aimed at familiarising her with their capabilities so that she could someday lead them.
The arrival of more Revolutionary troops in the city initially concerned her until she found out the full extent of what had happened. The Army of Revolution had undergone a schism, with a not insubstantial portion of its numbers now openly supporting Olivia Milton as the legitimate leader of the army. While she was not able to get a full appraisal of the situation, Stinson gathered that Scrap Iron City was now under the control of this rebel faction, while the rest of the rebels had extracted themselves from the Detroit Wasteland and were now aligned with the Foundry.
At the same time, the Forgemaster began educating her more on a specific event in the Foundry’s history, the Flint River War. This conflict had been the most important in the settlement’s history, and had been waged against a group called the Exaxes, a band of high-tech raiders armed with sophisticated weapons and supported by robots. Despite their defeat, the Exaxes had remained present in the Flint River region, and were still considered a threat to the Foundry’s activities. Now the Forgemaster was aiming to eliminate them once and for all.
The biggest obstacle to their doing such so far had been the Exaxes fortress, known as Machine’s Reach. A converted pre-war factory, it had so far proved to be impenetrable to their assaults. However, the Forgemaster was convinced that Stinson would be able to find a weakness in its defences that would allow them to eliminate it (and the Exaxes) as a threat. In doing so, the Foundry would be able to secure the entire Region. Kara wasn’t entirely sure if this was a good thing, but was more or less compelled to agree with the Forgemaster’s assessment.
After being briefed on the situation, Stinson was put into the field alongside Kyle Bleaker and a small team of other rebel Revolutionary soldiers. While they were obeisantly there to support her, Stinson suspected that a part of their presence was to ensure that she did not try to escape, given the investment of time and effort the Forgemaster had put into her. Even then, she found that her team were effective and capable, even if she still was not comfortable with supporting the Army of Revolution in any form.
The Flint River was a different environment to her past experiences in the Detroit Wasteland. Nowhere near as heavily built up, the air and water in the region represented just as much of a threat as the Exaxes or other mutated wild creatures. Liberal use of anti-radiation meds kept her and her team healthy, but even then the going was difficult and potentially hazardous. However, the team were able to make it to Machine’s Reach without any losses, allowing Stinson to make a thorough investigation of the facility.
What she found was interesting; there was an outflow pipe that was semi-submerged and terminated at the river a considerable distance from the factory. Investigation of it revealed that the pipe was indeed connected to it. Furthermore, it lead in to a hatch that granted access to the interior of the facility. After careful recon, Kara reached the conclusion that the Exaxes were not aware of this weakness, and that the access hatch was key to dislodging the facility’s occupants.
When the Forgemaster launched their campaign to secure the Flint River, Kara and her team were dispatched to take out Machine’s Reach. Infiltrating through the pipe, they were able to penetrate the facility before splitting up. Most of the team were tasked with eliminating the Exaxes leadership, while Stinson and an additional soldier were given the task of disabling the facility’s defences before signalling the Foundry that they were down.
Having achieved her assigned objectives, Kara then used her own initiative to evade her escort and flee the facility. Using the chaos of the battlefield as cover, she was able to slip away and head back towards the Detroit Wasteland.
Of course, having fled the Foundry, Kara was now without a place to go. The Army of Revolution’s capture of Park Lane meant that it was obviously unsafe for her. Grand Central’s low tolerance for mercenaries would also make her unwelcome, a situation made worse by the one exception that they had made. Going back to Black Skull Company, even if they were depleted, would not be east, given the considerable emotional baggage that doing such would carry. Despite their being depleted, what had happened between her and Wendell was still very hurtful and hard to ignore.
While Scrap Iron City was now under the control of the ‘rebel’ Army of Revolution, said group was also aligned with the Foundry, which could simply put her back in the same place as before. Added to this was what she had heard about several raider gangs, most notably the Scrap Dogs, supporting the Army. While she didn’t know why they would do such, she also had no desire to find out just how loyal they were first-hand.
Instead she took a risk and headed for the Red Rocket station used by the mercenaries she had dealings with in past. Without giving them all the details, she explained that she was a fugitive now from both the Army of Revolution and the Foundry. Kirsten Farris, the leader of the mercenaries, agreed to take Kara in, so long as she provided them with all the information she knew about the Foundry and its people, a request that Kara was happy to fulfil (even if she was curious as to their motivation).
The group had been working a long-term contract themselves, aimed at eliminating the Detroit Wastelands’ slaver population. However, with that now completed, the group were concerned that the Army of Revolution might chose to target them again. They explained that part of the problem was the T-60b Power Armour that they had retrieved from a bank vault, one that the Army of Revolution had been trying to retrieve themselves (Kara couldn’t help but notice that the group had a second object, almost certainly another Power Armour, stored on the premises) while eliminating the group that had taken it.
After some discussion, Stinson and Farris came up with a plan to help secure their future. At this point, the Army of Revolution was running rampant across the Detroit Wasteland, even allowing for their recent setbacks. With neither Chryslus Castle nor Grand Central seemingly interested in challenging them, and with the Black Skull Company weakened, the Army of Revolution had no real opposition aside from itself. And should it resolve its internal issues, then it could possibly move on the remaining settlements.
Talking about their own experiences, the pair of them found that they both had engaged in small unit guerrilla warfare in past. Kara recounted her past experiences with fighting the Army of Revolution during the Revolutionary war, both as a part of a team and her own solo operations. Farris discussed her own past as a mercenary before she and her team came to the Detroit Wastelands, which apparently included small unit operations against a larger opponent group (One that she was curiously vague about the identity of).
The pair of them came to the conclusion that their best plan would be to start their own private war against the Army of Revolution. Concentrating on mobility and small unit tactics, they would target supply columns, runners, couriers and other exposed but vital targets. While the Army would be able to safely travel the Scrap Dogs’ territories without fear of attack, they also would need to go around Scrap Iron City, creating a vulnerability that the group could exploit.
Fighting the Revolution
In the lead up to their campaign, Kirsten Farris more fully introduced Kara to the members of her team, including briefing her on their capabilities and skills (Although at the same time, keeping quiet about the team’s background). The biggest boon she offered Kara was the use of the T-60b Power Armour suit that the team had recovered from a bank vault in order to act as a force multiplier for her team. Farris was genuinely surprised to find that Stinson knew how to operate a Power Armour suit, even if she lacked practical experience with it.
Their plan did not call for them to take on the Army head-on, nor to try to liberate Park Lane from their grasp. Even with two Power Armour suits, the team would be vastly outnumbered by the Revolutionaries and their allies (Even if it did appear that Cake or Death had backed out of whatever deal they had made). However, their recon told them that their initial idea of striking at their vulnerable points, such as supply trains, runners and outposts, was viable.
Key to their plan was the establishment of a secondary base of operations. With the mercenaries’ headquarters at the Red Rocket station known to the Army of Revolution, it would not be long before the Army made a second attempt to eliminate them. Instead, Kara offered them the Hartford Gardens Tower in downtown to use as their base, reasoning that the Army of Revolution had not found it while she was operating from it during the Revolutionary War. While moving through downtown was a risk, Farris agreed that it would still be better than operating from a known location.
Starting from mid-August, the team began with small-scale attacks against the most outlying or least protected targets. Their first attacks were small-scale, targeting supply columns and runners, quickly taking them out and then disengaging before reinforcements arrived. Geography worked in their favour, with the Army of Revolution forced to take a much longer and more roundabout route in order to avoid Scrap Iron City, who’s occupying faction were now staging their own patrols. Kara had no reason to think that this group would be any more inclined towards cooperation, and so they opted to avoid engagement.
By the end of August, the group had begun ramping up their attacks. Taking out their two Power Armour suits (Kara’s T-60b and Kirsten’s unfamiliar one), the group began taking on Army of Revolution outposts throughout the city. The aim was to disrupt the chain between Park Lane and their headquarters in the Michigan State Mental Hospital, reducing their control over the city and eliminating the number of safe havens they had at hand.
The capabilities represented by the two suits served the team well, allowing them to lay waste to several outposts without incident. Besides killing or driving off the Army’s soldiers, the team put the buildings to the torch in order to prevent the Army from simply re-occupying them when they thought the coast was clear. The use of heavy weapons and suppressive sniper fire from Farris’ squad helped support the pair, ensuring that their operations went off smoothly and without any losses. By the middle of September, they had left a trail of burning outposts in their wake, while the Army’s supply train was in disarray.
In mid-September, Kara was approached by a familiar figure. Pretty Pete, a male prostitute formerly of Park Lane, arrived at Hartford Gardens tower to deliver a message. He claimed that the Forgemaster was forming an alliance aimed at driving the Army of Revolution out of the Detroit Wasteland, and that they wanted Stinson and her allies to be a part of it. When quizzed on how he knew where to find her, Pete simply claimed that she talked too much.
Consulting with Kirsten Farris and her squad, Kara found that they supported this alliance, even if they were wary. While all of them had reservations about working with the Forgemaster, Farris was still eager to learn more about the Foundry and its mysterious leader. Likewise, everyone agreed that working with them would be better then fighting the Army of Revolution on their own or, even worse, ending up in the Foundry’s sights as well.
Arriving at the planned summit (which was held at Bob’s Tavern, a neutral meeting ground for traders and travellers), Kara was surprised to find others present. Besides the Forgemaster, there were representatives from Park Lane and the rebel faction of the Army of Revolution, the latter of which did not sit well with her. Even more awkward was the presence of Stan Wendell, representing the Black Skull Company. Their shared past, and the manner in which they had parted company, meant that the tension between the pair of lingered over the room
Despite these problems, Stinson and Farris agreed to be a part of the Forgemaster’s alliance against the Army of Revolution, although Kara was more driven by her dislike of the Revolutionaries then any loyalty to the newfound alliance. She and Farris worked together to ensure that they would have an escape route in order to extract themselves from it should things turn bad. Instead, events would conspire to head in a direction that neither of them had anticipated.
Despite these problems, Stinson and Farris agreed to be a part of the Forgemaster’s alliance against the Army of Revolution, although Kara was more driven by her dislike of the Revolutionaries then any loyalty to the newfound alliance. She and Farris worked together to ensure that they would have an escape route in order to extract themselves from it should things turn bad. Instead, events would conspire to head in a direction that neither of them had anticipated.
Kara’s first job for the alliance was to serve as a pathfinder, finding safe routes across downtown that would allow their forces to move on the Castle, the former headquarters of Black Skull Company. In this endeavour she was aided by the other members of Xiphos squad, as well as squads from both the Black Skull Company and the Army of Revolution rebels. This again proved to be awkward, given that she was working alongside both some of her former comrades in arms, as well as her former lover, Kyle Bleaker. Putting her frustrated personal feelings aside, Kara drew on her experience from the past decade of living in the city to plot out routes that would avoid the worst of the district’s hazards.
With their route secured, the Alliance began their operation to retake the Castle. Due to her T-60b Power Armour suit, Stinson was on the frontlines of the fighting. Her training, both under the Forgemaster and then Farris, served her well, allowing her to weather the fighting while acting as a spearhead for the invasion forces. At the peak of the fighting, she served as a human battering ram, physically breaking down barricades around the Castle and allowing the Alliance forces to enter, taking the fight to the occupying force. At the end of the day the Revolutionaries and their allies were driven off, and Black Skull had reclaimed the Castle.
However, for Kara, the fighting wasn’t over.
While others were still busy with securing the Castle and cleaning up the last of the Razors, the Forgemaster called Kara aside. They made it abundantly clear that they still wanted Kara to be the next ruler of the Foundry, noting now that they were expanding their influence and that Park Lane would be next. Kara refused, stating that she had no interest in the position and had instead tried to flee the Foundry in order to avoid doing such. Not one to be refused, the Forgemaster upped the stakes and directly threatened Vault 54, claiming that she knew off its location and that Kara had come from it.
Rather then taking any reasonable option, Kara turned on the Forgemaster, with a fight breaking out between the pair of them. While Kara’s T-60b was superior to the Forgemaster’s T-51b, the latter had the advantage of a lot more experience (“I’ve been in a Power Armour longer then you’ve been alive”), leaving Kara on the back foot. Realising her mistake, she tried to make a break for it and get back to Xiphos Squad, hoping that the Forgemaster would not press the matter or, if she did, Farris would prove to be a better match for their skills.
Expecting more fire and an ongoing pursuit, Kara instead found nothing. Instead, there was a long, drawn out silence which was enough for her to risk a glance at her pursuer. What she saw was that the Forgemaster’s Power Armour had fallen, its occupant either dead or otherwise Incapacitated. Not wanting to risk escalating things any more, she made a break back to friendly lines, reuniting with Kirsten and her team while remaining quiet about what had happened.
Half an hour later the Forgemaster returned to the Castle, clearly alive, walking their Power Armour back to their forces like nothing had happened. After a short confrontation, the Forgemaster assured Kara that she had nothing to fear, and that their past problems had been ‘corrected’.
The most remarkable thing about Kara’s appearance is that she has managed to keep relatively clean despite living in the wasteland for nearly a decade. She still has all her teeth, and is largely free of horrible scars, burns or other blemishes. Kara’s face features sharp, almost boyish features, and is surrounded by a crown of long, rust-red hair. She has a slender, athletic form. When working, Kara will usually wear functional fatigues and lightweight body armor.
Once something of a rebellious risk-taker, Kara has matured in the face of the reality of the wastelands. Her rejection has left her somewhat cynical and embittered and with a tendency to assume the worst out of people and situations. However, she does not regret the decisions that bought her to this point, more of their unexpected consequences. She has a particular dislike for Vault-Tec vaults, having discovered more about them and their twisted experiments since her exile. Amongst other things, this has made her realise that the people of Vault 54 got off lightly. She does not talk about her past or where she comes from, and passes it off with a vague 'a settlement somewhere, maybe in Wisconsin'.
Despite this, she sees herself as being a professional, and, when given a job, will do her utmost to fulfill it in a clean and precise manner. She sees herself as being something of an ‘ethical’ mercenary, in as far as such is possible. As such, she won’t take what she sees as being ‘dirty’ jobs, such as those that directly target civilians. She also will try to minimise the collateral damage from her jobs.
Skills and Abilities
Even though she would never admit Kara’s training in Vault 54 gave her a good background in technical skills. She has a better understanding of advanced pre-war technology then the average wasteland, both in how it works, how to use it, how to repair it and, possibly the most importantly, which bits are the most valuable as salvage. These skills have helped her in a number of ways during her life outside the Vault.
More useful on a daily basis, however, are her skills as a soldier. A good shot, Kara is capable with both semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons. While she normally engages in more street-level battles, she prefers to snipe from cover where possible. She has a good grasp of tactics and an ability to read the situation, and fights smart rather than engaging in reckless attacks.
Kara was exiled from Vault 54 with nothing but a Vault Suit and a 10mm pistol. She literally buried her past, concealing the suit in a ruin after stripping more appropriate and less conspicuous clothing from a dead body she found nearby (Which, incidentally, was her first proof that there were humans living outside the Vault). Since then, she has avoided anything that might link her to her past and instead gone fully ‘native’ in the Wastelands.She will usually dress sensibly for her environment, especially during Detroit’s often harsh winters. Kara typically prefers lighter armour, emphasising mobility over protection, given her preference for more mobile fighting. Her main weapon is a R91 Combat Rifle, salvaged from a cache she discovered in the wastes and maintained since. She will often use the weapon in semi-auto mode as a sniper to open an engagement, switching to full auto as needed. A survival knife, and a 10mm pistol (the same one she left the Vault with) completes her arsenal.
(Include loaner T-60b)
|This has been written by KayEmm. Please contact this user before editing this article.|