Boone had learned from his days in the First Recon that sometimes, you had to make do. You had to do things you didn't like. You had to survive with what was around you. And sometimes, you had to eat Molerat steak for dinner.
Just because he had eaten Molerat perhaps a hundred times before, didn't mean that he couldn't get over the taste. He imagined it could be compared to one of his boots after a long day, without exaggerating. And that was the smell of it cooking on the campfire.
He, Arcade and Andy were going back to Novac. It had become their major resting spot of their treks across the Mojave. No matter where they headed, the Outpost, Camp Searchlight, even Clark Field, they always stopped at Novac. It gave Andy some time to catch up with Manny and it gave Arcade a chance to restock the supplies, because 'I just know as soon as we run out, we'll find ourselves in the middle of a Cazador nest.'
Whenever they went to socialise and restock, Boone usually resumed his old post in the dinosaur's mouth. Though he never talked about it, he would feel uncomfortable. His old thoughts would echo at the back of his mind, haunting him. He would usually try and shoo the echoes away, concentrating on the empty panorama the spanned before him.
This time, however, he was cooking Molerat.
He winkled his nose at another invasion of his nostrils, sliding a steak from his makeshift grill onto a plate. He handed it to Andy, who immediately tried to pick at it.
She looked up at him. 'I know that
I'm just hungry.'
Arcade looked up from his book, raising his eyebrow. 'You do realise
'Yes, yes.' She waved dismissively. 'It stinks. But my stomach is going to eat itself if I don't eat.'
'At least wait a minute.' Boone slapped another steak on the grill. Arcade's.
She looked at her plate with a look that could only be described as forlorn, before sighing and sitting next to Arcade.
Boone flipped the current steak, making it land with a sizzle. That was how he cooked meat. Flip and sizzle until it looked alright. That's why Carla and Manny never ate much of his steaks. They were either too pink or too burnt. He could prepare anything else, but meat was his weakness.
Andy and Arcade hadn't figured that out yet. He wondered what their reactions would be.
'Oh! Ow.' Andy shook her hand vigorously, before sucking on her index finger and thumb. 'That's just a little hot.'
'I told you to wait.' Boone said calmly. She replied with a half-hearted mutter, her fingers still in her mouth.
Boone tapped the fork he was using to cook the meat on the side of the oil drum the grill was on. What started as a soft 'dink
dink' transformed into a familiar tune. He could swear that he had heard it before. But he couldn't for the life of him, remember what it was. Manny said it sounded like an old chant he used to hear the Great Khans shout.
'What are you reading?' He heard Andy's voice over the spitting meat.
I wish I could say-'
Books. Another weakness.
Boone prodded the steak before dropping it on Arcade's plate. He heard Andy laugh while Arcade tried to shush her, turning to the next page in his book. Boone held the plate in the air, a foot from Arcade's face. A minute passed before Boone cleared his throat, nudging the book with the plate.
'Huh? Oh. Sorry, thanks.'
Boone rolled his eyes before returning his attention to the grill. Was he even that hungry? He could wait until breakfast. At least Mutfruits tasted remotely like fruit. His stomach growled. Hmm
He fished the grill off of the oil drum fire, setting it down to cool a few feet away from them. He placed the fork on top of it before going to sit next to Andy.
'You're not eating?' she asked, concerned. He shook his head.
She was cautiously poking the steak, trying to find a cool spot, before she picked it up and chomped. She usually wasn't one for table manners.
Boone then looked to Arcade, who was still reading. He tapped on the edge of his plate, before Boone caught his attention by saying 'What's so interesting in there?'
Arcade grinned, quickly checking the page number and closing the book. 'A trashy romance. It's all smut and no plot. Not that I'm arguing.'
Boone didn't know how to reply to that. He just went for his go-to answer. 'Hm.'
Arcade chuckled before prodding the lump of charcoaled meat on his plate. Oops. Surely that one wasn't on for that long?
Andy managed to tear off her chunk of meat, giving a thumb up to Boone. 'Bedder 'an 'ine!'
He doubted it. She made a bloatfly taste good. Bloatfly was the second worse meat, in Boone's opinion.
He saw her head perk up, and her chewing slow. Boone immediately faced what she was looking at.
The sky. Why was she alarmed by the sky?
'Look how bright the moon is.'
He craned his neck so that he could look right above him. It was bright. The flames that licked at his vision probably helped.
'We probably don't need the fire to see.' She said, after swallowing. 'It's as bright as day out there.'
Boone looked to the horizon. It was eerily calm, nothing was moving.
Nice. You know.' She put her plate down in front of her. 'Here we are. Just relaxing. Eating and chatting. Without a care in the world.'
Boone thought to mention what their current quest was, but decided against it.
Besides. It was nice. No bullets, no Legion, no past. No fear or grief or stress. Just them. In a picturesque scene.
Could have done without the Molerat, though.