The Beginning

06 – Cleaning Up

November 1, 2287 – After the Minutemen and I had taken a few days to consolidate our space and fortify our little bunker at Sanctuary Hills, I spent some time considering whether or not I should abandon my own post at the Red Rocket station. It seemed a little ridiculous to be splitting up any of our resources, and yet I couldn’t help but think at some point in the future it would be a valuable piece of property to hold. Still, this probably wasn’t going to be something I was going to be able to do on my own, and we just didn’t have enough bodies to hold down Sanctuary Hills right now, let alone another camp. I pondered this as I set about my day.

The Red Rocket - November 1, 2287

The Red Rocket – November 1, 2287

Today’s mission was to investigate the camps we had discovered the night before, find out if they were friendly or raider camps, and just generally get a better sense of what was close by. We started collecting our gear and weapons together, and discussed what we would do if we actually found friendly people to join the group. How would we make sure they were really friendly and weren’t just out to plunder any scant resources we had managed to scrounge together so far?

At some point during this discussion, Sturges mentioned that he had found an old relay antenna during our cleanup, and he said perhaps we could hook a radio up to it, get it powered and potentially start broadcasting our location for anyone who might be looking to be part of a settlement. Of course, this would open us up to possible threats as well, but we all felt the trade off was worth it, especially since we were fairly well contained now and could see threats coming. Plus, I noted that I hardly thought raiders would be out there with radios listening for new settlements to plunder. No, it was far more likely that people hunkered down in basements and makeshift shelters would be using a radio.

Jahani's Fallout Shelter

Jahani’s Fallout Shelter

Which reminds me, the other day Jun discovered one of the houses in our development had a cellar. Somehow we had all missed the bulkhead initially, but opening it revealed a small fallout shelter, complete with food, a mattress, radio, and a safe. We also salvaged a number of aluminum cans. Preston said whoever had camped out here was just the type of person we were looking for. I tried to remember who had lived in this house, and I’m pretty sure it was Jahani. He was a survivalist-type, generally paranoid. I only spoke to him a couple times, when we had first moved in about a year before the bombs fell, and Nora and I hadn’t seen him much after that. He didn’t socialize. Hmmm. A guy like Jahani would have given valuable skills to our group, but there’s something to be said for making sure new people fit in. I suppose right now skills take priority. Can’t be picky. Safety in numbers and all that. Still, I kept my thoughts to myself and didn’t share with Preston that I had probably known this person.

Anyway, back to the radio. Keeping in mind my eventual goal of pulling the Red Rocket into our little settlement, I made the case to the others that the closer we could get the relay to Boston central, the better chance we stood at reaching people. That meant setting it up at the Red Rocket. If we could get it up on the roof, all the better. While Sturges was working on that, Jun, Marcy and Preston said they’d start collecting scrap around the Red Rocket toward the goal of shoring that site up as well. I guess I needn’t have worried about the little station and my plan for its future. It seemed the Minutemen were completely on board with it. Eventually, perhaps we’d have a nice lookout post between any dangerous forces in Lexington and Concord, and Sanctuary Hills.

As the group continued working on the relay station and site reinforcements, I decided to make good use of the daylight to enact the plan we had discussed and to scout the camps we had seen the night before. If I was going by myself, the plan was not to engage anyone, but rather to just see if I could gather some intel while the others worked. Hopefully by the end of the day, we’d at least have a better idea of what we were up against.

I made my way to the edge of the footbridge to the south of Sanctuary Hills, and followed the river up to the reservoir around to the east, figuring after that I’d work my way northeast up toward where an old Air Force satellite receiving station used to be. If I had time, I’d swoop back around to the northwest and around to the plateau where the Vault was above our development, and then check out the lights we saw to the south. I expected I could do a careful reconnaissance of the complete circle before the sun went down.

Pumping Station on the Reservoir

Pumping Station on the Reservoir

As I approached the reservoir, I noticed a long pier reaching out into the water, and started to heard a strange humming sound the closer I got. Just past the pier there was a water pumping box that was sucking water out of the lake, with a large pipe leading west up the embankment. I opened the box and flipped the breaker off and then hid behind some ground cover for maybe 30 minutes to see if anyone showed up.

When no one came to investigate, I followed the pipe up the steep slope to a rusted circular steel tank about six feet in diameter and about three feet high. A connected circuit breaker box on the side of the tank led me to believe this was some kind of water filtration system. Inside the breaker box was a nice surprise – a stash of caps, and there were some more assorted goodies inside a metal grid on top of the cistern. I was loading these things into my pack, when I happened to notice out of the corner of my eye a fully clothed skeleton leaning up against the tank, facing eastward toward the late morning sun.

The Cistern and Skeleton

The Cistern and Skeleton

I stooped down to get a closer look, and immediately heard the same squealing, snarling piglike noises I had heard at the Red Rocket a week before. Molerats, burrowing out of the ground. I didn’t have Dogmeat to help me this time, just my 10mm. There were four or five of them, but luckily they hadn’t all attacked at once and I was able to take care of them fairly quickly as they attacked. Perhaps this trip wasn’t going to be as easy as I had hoped it would be. It was probably wise to keep moving.

No sooner had I turned to move farther northward, when I heard someone yell, “payback time, Boogeyman,” and I was suddenly under fire from a pack of raiders. My head scrambled for options. The trees weren’t large enough to hide behind, and I was pretty exposed. Shots were zooming to the left and right, and my instinct was to just run. To the south, I saw some houses on the outskirts of Concord, and I thought if I could use them as cover, I could try to pick these bastards off one by one. I made a mad dash for the closest house, and as I rounded the corner, the shots trailed off. I waited a moment, but it seemed as if the raiders hadn’t followed me.

I peeked around the corner. Nothing. Fucking cowards.

I creeped back up to a stand of trees and picked my moment, then started firing on them. Seemed like there were three of them, and they started returning fire. I took the first one out almost immediately, but then noticed my upper arm seemed like it was on fire. I looked down and there was blood. Probably just a graze. Within a minute or so, the other two were down.

Raider Shelter on Granite Outcropping

Raider Shelter on Granite Outcropping

I moved on to their camp. There wasn’t much there – a few mattresses, a campfire, and a rotting Brahmin they had been skimming chunks from. This wasn’t a camp we had seen from our new house. This camp was high on a hill overlooking the whole area. In fact, another short scramble up some granite outcroppings led to a shelter that had an even better view of Sanctuary Hills. Of course, I had the impeccable timing to surprise the guy (and his dog) just as they were coming back from somewhere.

What had started as a reconnaissance mission had apparently turned into one-man vs. all the raiders in the world. Either I sucked at sneaking around, or my encounter with the mole rats had destroyed any possibility of my doing any scouting effectively.

Just past the raider’s shelter was the old road that ran north-to-south leading into Concord. Across the road and slightly to the south, the Air Force Satellite dish was visible in the distance. Now that I had lost some time though, it looked a bit too far to investigate if I was going to continue to circle around Sanctuary Hills. What I did notice closer though, right across the road, was far more interesting.

Vertiberd Debris Field with T-45 Armor

Vertiberd Debris Field with T-45 Armor

In the middle of a debris field that stretched for about a quarter to a half a mile was another crashed Vertiberd. Sitting right smack in the middle of the field was another suit of T-45 Power Armor, this one with a skeleton wearing an Army uniform leaning against it. Just past the Power Armor was a giant dirt pit that looked to be about ten acres or so, and I saw more mole rats scavenging around. No raider was going to want to play in that pit if they could avoid it. Talk about your perfect natural barriers.

I took the fusion core out of my pack, got in the Power Armor, and headed up the road. I was preparing to head back west along the northern perimeter of Sanctuary Hills when I noticed what appeared to be a large fenced-in junkyard with a small concrete bunker at its edge. I wandered down into the yard and there among the junked tires, rusted old cars and trucks was a shiny new robot in military green with Air Force markings on it. Next to it was a large crate with similar markings containing another fusion core and a beefy circuit board that I was sure Sturges would be extremely happy to see.

I left the robot alone and picked the lock to the bunker. Inside were some more electronics and a working terminal. I had entered a Robotics Disposal Facility. The logs started in 2076. I hadn’t even known this facility was here. They mentioned Protectrons coming back with no limbs, eyebots with vision sensors missing, and Robobrains with IQ’s “well below 80.” So basically, the very things that each robot was supposed to excel at, it was missing.

Robotics Disposal Site with MKIV Sentry

Robotics Disposal Site with MKIV Sentry

And then there was this robot in the yard. There was a holotape specifically for it – a USAF Combat Sentry Prototype MKIV – complete with boot subroutine. My first inclination was to wait for Sturges to start this thing up, but then I figured what the hell. I’ve got the holotape, if I start it up I can also shut it down. As soon as I ran the subroutine, I immediately regretted it since I heard the unit’s voice outside the bunker straight away.

I panicked. Would I be able to get out of this bunker now? For all I knew, I could be trapped in here. I immediately ran the deactivation subroutine, and of course, the terminal crashed. The only other options on the holotape were to initiate self destruct, which thought was the kind of scorched earth tactic I could take later if necessary (assuming it worked), and something called, “Engage Defense Protocol.”

Choosing that option gave additional choices to defend the USAF Olivia, which I knew to be the satellite station to the Southeast, the South Boston Checkpoint, the Revere Satellite Array, or Fort Hagan. I had a vague inkling where the Satellite Array in Revere was, but I didn’t know about any South Boston Checkpoint or Fort Hagan. I decided to pocket the holotape and just see if I could leave the Sentry running here, hoping this knowledge and the holotape would come in useful at some point.

I exited the bunker and cautiously walked up to the robot. It was going on about its current objective, which was to “patrol the immediate area and neutralize any threats to the US Military and/or its citizens.” As I got closer, it warned me not to interfere. I took that as a signal it was time to move on.

I climbed over the rusted cars to continue my own objective, and hiding in one of the rusted cars discovered the military had left behind a Fat Man Launcher and a Mini Nuke. I didn’t exactly feel comfortable lugging this thing around, but knew it would give us a huge edge if we ever needed some kind of terminal option. I couldn’t think about that now though. The afternoon was drawing down and I needed to finish my sweep and get back to the Red Rocket to see how the relay was coming.

Raider Shack with ... who knows

Raider Shack with … who knows

The rest of the hike was mostly uneventful. I passed the camp where I had shot the woman days before, and just beyond that was the shack we had seen to the north, complete with raider. I took her out quickly, and found a little chem lab. There was also a dead, almost naked woman on a mattress. Definitely not a raider, and she hadn’t been dead long. Her body was cold, but not decayed or rotten. Maybe, a prisoner? I looked for handcuffs or rope marks around her wrists or ankles. There were none. What had gone on here? A Lover?

It was getting dark, and I headed straight south across the stream, through Sanctuary Hills, and over the footbridge to the Red Rocket. I went straight into the garage bay and settled the Power Armor next to the set I had retrieved from the Museum, then headed toward the office area I had set up just off the cashier desk.

I was surprised to see everyone sitting in the little waiting area, and there was a man and a woman I didn’t know sitting there too. As soon as the group saw me, everyone got silent, as if I had interrupted some important conversation. Sturges stood up, walked over and quietly said that the relay was set up and working. It had been operational since early afternoon, and three people had already arrived. They had been hiding in some tunnels in Concord and had heard the signal.

The number three seemed significant as soon as Sturges said it. I looked over at the man and the woman, who were now staring at me, whispering.

Not one hour after they had found their way to the Red Rocket, one of them, another woman, had gone missing. A note had been found. The woman was to take 400 caps to the Back Street Apparel shop near Diamond City, just across the Mass Avenue bridge.

It was pitch black out. I hadn’t said one word to either of these two. I just knew no one was going to be sending either one of them across what was left of the Commonwealth into the Back Bay to deliver any ransom, and I certainly wasn’t going in the dead of night.

Listen to Episode 06 – Cleaning Up

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