OCtober Day 28: Dr. Fred(die) Blanco

Of all the promising vault hunters I’d come across in my galactic travels, she certainly surprised me the most.

It was in Fyrestone, a town in the Arid Badlands on the planet of Pandora. That’s where I met the young lady. At the time I’d been working as an apprentice to Dr. Zed Blanco, the legendary doctor to psychos, vault hunters  and crimson raiders alike. His lack of a medical license may be off-putting, as well as his little genetic experiments. But, all in all he’s a good, caring man. You could see that especially by the way he treats his niece. 

Dr. Zed himself had moved back to his original home to pick up the pieces from the aftermath of the vault fiasco. For a short while it was just the two of us. The day by day usually consisted of patching up passers through, restocking the vending machines and collecting creature parts for god knows what. I told myself to ignore the unholy screeching from the doctor’s personal laboratory. Still, it had been a fairly cozy gig. Claptrap came to bother us once in a while, but other than that. 

Then came the day. I was informed that his niece would be coming to work with us for a while. Apparently since her uncle, and his brother, had passed away she’d been bouncing around schools and planets. Now, she was an independent adult looking for some experience in the field. Her kind old uncle was more than willing to take her on. It would still be another day or so before she arrived due to travelling. So, in the meantime I enquired about the passing of her uncle Ned. At first I had accidentally said Ted, which I have since learned is a forbidden topic of conversation.

“My brother Ned had been raising Fred in Jakob’s Cove” Zed began, in his southern drawl. “That is, until the place became infested by zombies and he turned into a rampaging monster that the vault hunters had to put down A gruesome childhood, needless to say.”

“Poor kid, having to go through all that” I sympathised, putting the final stitches of a bandit’s wound.  

“Oh, she was fine. Trust me, that girl, she’s a Blanco through and through. You’ll see” he assured me, proceeding to unstitch the same wound as the bandit admitted to having no money.

The next day, she arrived. Her uncle met her at the gates of town as I watched over the clinic. I’d just been sorting through the shields when they got back.

“M, I’d like you to meet my darling niece, Dr. Fred(die)”

“Medical license notwithstanding” she piped up. The young doctor shared her uncle’s accent.

Freddie looked hardly older than eighteen. Small, petite and pale, she seemed almost fragile. Dark grey hair was pulled into a neat ponytail, clearly out of her light grey eyes behind a pair of black glasses. She was dressed in pale blue scrubs, complete with a mask and gloves. Her shoes, however, were a dainty white pair of plimsolls. They were stained with a dark, brownish red. An odd detail, but aside from that she seemed like an entirely pleasant young woman.

I reached out a hand to shake hers.

“Ah, I’ve heard much about you Miss Freddie. It’s lovely to meet you” 

She takes the hand, but instead of shaking it the young doctor flips it up and around, inspecting it. 

“Fred, sweetheart, that’s my assistant. Means I need them in one piece please” Zed interjects.

“Oh...oh!” Freddie shouts. She quickly lets go of my hand. “Sorry, got a little carried away there plum”

“No trouble” I chuckle nervously. 

There was something stranger lurking beneath that sweet facade. Though, considering her family I did not entirely question it at the time.

Then the next week passed. I thought I’d seen Zed do some gruesome things, but this up and coming doctor was in a league of her own. 

It started small. Just mildly disturbing things here and there. Perhaps she’d be poking at the wounds of patients during surgery. Attempting to revive skag corpses every now and again. She blew up one of the old houses by combining a volatile grenade with a shield one time. Not exactly sure what the goal was, but it was certainly destructive. I’m pretty sure it was marked down as a ‘success’ though.

Then things escalated, and fairly quickly. Engaging in experiments not unlike her uncle’s. Gathering up scrap parts from the wildlife, she borrowed the lab to have a stab at her own genetic abominations. Needless to say, it worked, and they were in fact abhorrent.

I was tasked with the unfortunate job afterwards of cleaning up the mess. With bullets.

It was her magnum opus that had me pitying any poor vault guardian that would cross her path in the future. From the aftermath of Hyperion’s previous takeover, plentiful loaderbot bodies had been left abandoned across the premises. Many of them had been looted for parts already, though this did not seem to deter Dr. Freddie. I saw her hauling half mangled robots back to her lab over the course of a few days, interspersed with animal or human parts. Not wanting to question it, I continued on with my duties.

And then as I woke up early for shift one morning, the young doctor called upon myself and her uncle.

“Uncle Zed, Mx M, come outside. I’ve finally done it. Fyrestone won’t have to worry about attackers anymore!” she squealed.

We followed the jumpy girl outside, and I almost had a heart attack. 

I don’t know what to call these things. Cyborgs? Experiments? Atrocities?

Yeah, let’s go with the last one.

Walking hunks of metal fixed up with flesh, veins and blood. Each one had a shield attached to it, along with its own gun or blade or both. One of them by the gate shudders, spitting out a random grenade. Pieces of scrap go flying, and so do some skags. There’s a lot of creaking, mixed with some squelching, as they move. Just as I think I’ve seen everything, the ground rumbles. Sighing, I slowly look at whatever monstrosity is lurking to my right. Just beyond the town’s edge one could see the lurking beast formerly known as Saturn. A humongous, hyperion robot that this imp of a doctor has resurrected with her powers of necromancy.

“So, what do you think?” Freddie asks, so sickly sweet. Her hands are clasped together, eyes sparkling.

As I stand there, mouth agape at the horrors that have been unleashed upon Fyrestone, Dr. Zed wipes away a proud tear.

“That’s my niece right there. She’s all grown up”