Upon hearing the noise you panic and hobble back to the hole. You're about to leap across, but you stop yourself, realizing that you're not hearing any footsteps following you. Carefully, you turn back and walk southward, to the first hall you passed when you came in. As you reach the end of the hall, you see an orange glow and notice that part of the left wall has been torn down. You turn off your Pip-Boy light, in case someone is on the other side of the breach, using that orange light. You're glad you did. Peeking around the corner, you see a man with long, greasy hair in a brown trench coat and fingerless black gloves. He seems to be kneeling and making himself dinner on a coffee table in the middle of the room. He's carving up a giant, bald rat of some kind.
"Oh, Terence," he says. "You shouldn't have gone after your sister like that."
The room is littered with all kinds of junk, but a long plank leaning up against the eastern wall catches your eye. It's likely big enough to cover the hole in the other hallway. The gap in the wall is big enough to walk through, but he'd almost certainly spot you if you turned the corner now. There's also a door on the western side of the north wall, which is probably accessible from the hallway parallel to this one.
You don't have anything disposable on you to throw. There were some rocks upstairs, but if he sees a rock on the grated floor down here he might wonder where it came from. However, you think your piece of rebar wouldn't look too out of place down here, though you hate the idea of losing your only weapon. You go back to the hall with the hole in the floor and, with your uninjured arm, chuck your rebar to the other side of the hole, hoping to fetch it later. Unfortunately, it tumbles through the grating with a loud (sufficiently distracting) clatter.
As you quickly go back to the southern hallway, you hear "Goddamn it! Leave. Be. Those. Cages!" You hear a door open in the middle hall as you pass it. Hopefully, he didn't see you. You enter the room from the south end, through the gap in the wall. The plank isn't there. He must have taken it with him. While you're frantically looking around the room with your Pip-Boy light for something else to use, you notice that he left his knife on the coffee table, next to the rat carcass. You snatch it up, go through the door and head for the hole in the floor. As you hoped, it's been covered with the plank. After crossing the plank with the two scariest steps you've ever taken, you round a right corner, bringing you to yet another hallway. Sasha's wails are getting louder. There's a door to your right, but after listening for a moment, you're sure that the cries aren't coming from it. Further down the hallway, you come across another door. This has to be it. Bloody knife in hand, you open the door. The door had been holding back the stench of death and decay. You reflexively bring your left arm up to your nose, as though to shield yourself from the stink. From what you can tell, you're on some kind of walkway, suspended over a pit. From what you can hear, Sasha is definitely in this room, and is, understandably, very upset. Shining your Pip-Boy over the railing doesn't reveal the floor, but dozens of eyes reflect the light back at you. A shiver goes down your spine.
"Don't worry Sasha," you whisper. "Just hang on." There's a lift to your right that will probably lower you into the room, but you're not sure if you should use it.
You hold your Pip-Boy over the railing again. The eyes look like they belong to giant rats, probably like the one in the other room, if you had to guess. None of them move, except for blinking. They're entirely still and focused on you.
The lift groans a bit as you step onto it, leaning forward just a bit. The only thing suspending it is its connection to a vertical rail in the wall. When you flip the switch on the control panel, you hear gears start to turn and, through your shoes, feel their bumpy, belabored grinding against the rail. You prepare for the rats to attack, bravely holding up the knife, but, even as you reach the bottom, they all stay where they are. Stepping off the lift, you see that all the ugly, naked rats are in cages. Some of the cages have cables attached to their doors that go up to the ceiling, disappearing from your view. You follow Sasha's cries to the southwest corner of the room. She, too, is locked in a cage. There's a padlock on her door, but no key in sight. Her cage is resting on the much larger cage of one of the rats, and you can see where it has tried to gnaw through the metal bottom to get to her. She's still in her bundle, but, of course, it's come loose again. You pick up her cage and try to shush her, saying that it's okay, that you're here now, but it doesn't work. Nothing can make what she's just been through okay.
You desperately jam the knife into the padlock and wiggle it around, but you only manage to dull the tip of the knife a bit. Having realized that you're not here to bring food, the rat next to you has started gnashing at you through the bars of its cage.
You raise your knife at the creature, but you stop, struck with a sudden, overwhelming sense of pity. It probably doesn't want to be here. Maybe it's starving and desperate, like you. In any case, killing it in the cage would just feel wrong. On the other hand, you feel like it needs to pay for scaring Sasha. You vent your anger, punching it on the nose, which hurts you too because you forget to punch it with your uninjured arm. The rat squeaks and withdraws back into the cage.
>You should really think long and hard, later: aren't you getting a little too aworked over the baby of a complete stnager you 'had' for barely a day here ? you're almost acting like she was your own.
> And besides... well, it's the wasteland. You could die at any moment and you're a fully functional adult. Try to get her to Maggie if you can if you can but you shouldn't get too attached.
>Sneak out of there with the baby before either her or the rat attarct the greasy hair guy with sound.
>Maybe you can take some suppies while you're in there...
Back in the vault, you watched your baby cousins die when the guards opened fire on the riot. You felt so helpless then... You shake these thoughts out of your head. Now's not the time. Also, Sasha isn't your cousin; she's just some stranger's baby, and you won't be able to help anyone if you don't focus on yourself first out here. You organize your thoughts... Well, you could take Sasha out of here in the cage, but it would be awkward to carry. With or without the key, you should try to find a way to get her out. Also, You're still starving, so you should see if you can steal some food from his room. Maybe he has a gun, too, hidden somewhere. Or on his person. Yikes. On second thought, maybe stealing isn't a good idea when your only weapon is a kitchen knife. You need to get out of here before he finds-
"Wow, did I pick a good time to go to the shitter!" says a voice from the walkway. "Bad for you, glowing green. Bad. For. You." You grimace and look down at your glowing Pip-Boy. He opens a panel that you thought was for summoning the lift. "You're gonna be great for my molee-moleys though," he says, pressing a button.
All the cages with cables on their doors begin to open.
You travel as fast as you can... to the lift, picking up Sasha as you go. You reach it just as the rats (did the greasy guy say moles?) Squeeze out of their cages and start bounding after you. You press the switch and start moving up, but by then they're surrounding you, the closest ones clamoring onto the lift.
You stomp on as many as you can, and several of them fall off the lift, but a couple stay on and manage to climb up.
Above you, you hear the man saying "No! Stay down there! AaaaaaAAAAA!"
Then, you hear him kick the railing repeatedly, making the gears stutter and fumble as they try to continue their upward climb. The lift starts clicking and continually bobbing up and down as it runs up the same few notches over and over. You lose your footing, as does one of the rats. You fall to your knees and grab the edges, but it falls six feet to the ground below before getting right back up and hopping with the others in an attempt to reach you. Your injured right arm starts cramping up. The other rat that got on is still up there with you. It bites deep into your left forearm, making you shriek. With both arms now in great pain, you start to lose your grip on the bucking lift.
>FALCON PAAANCH! (The rat.) >Try to keep your grip on the lift.
You aren't able to get in any good punches, but you do manage to finally shove the rat off of your arm while holding onto the lift with your legs and elbows for dear life. The rat falls off the lift just like the other one did.
Sasha's cage starts to slip toward the edge, so you grab the top handle with your teeth. A particularly bad jerk from the lift slams your face down against the cage, but you hold on. The man screams, and then a gun goes off above your head. For a brief instant, you think you've been shot, and that it's over for both you and Sasha. Then, brains splatter all over you. You don't know how to feel about this. Someone straightens the rail, and the lift brings you up to them.
You roll onto your back to relax, but the can of formula in your pack pokes into your back awkwardly. You settle for laying on your side, closing you're eyes and whispering "Thank you." The copper taste of blood pools in your mouth. You must have bitten your cheek while you were on the lift. "You can thank me with your caps, pal," says a horrifying, raspy female voice. "Hand them over. And whatever else you got." Opening your eyes, you look up to see a zombie-like face staring down at you, lit by the glow of your Pip-Boy.