November 8, 2287 – After rejoining with Dogmeat, and having just seen the Brotherhood of Steel’s mammoth airship sailing out over the Commonwealth, I was wondering if I should reconsider my plan to head north to Sanctuary Hills and resupply, or if I should just make my way back to Diamond City now. I had no idea what the Brotherhood was planning. The announcement over the ship’s loudspeaker that had rained down on all of Fort Hagen had merely said “do not interfere,” and that the Brotherhood’s intentions were peaceful. I supposed that was yet to be determined. Maybe Preston had been right about the Brotherhood when he had mentioned he expected them to make a power grab at some point. I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t my job to save the Commonwealth, and that this really was none of my business. There wasn’t much one man could do about whatever was going on anyway. The best thing I could do is take care of myself, and continue my mission to find Shaun.
Before heading out of town, I decided to do a quick scout around the Fort Hagan area, and I was glad I did. It turned out many of the surrounding buildings were storage for the Fort. There was a medical office, a military vehicle facility, the Red Rocket fillup station, of course, and just below the Fort itself was a large barn with its front door blown off. All the way in the back, on a shiny yellow power armor stand, was a set of T-51 Power Armor. Well, it was almost a set. The helmet and right leg were missing from the framework of the mech suit. But still, I couldn’t believe my good fortune. The power armor from the crashed Vertiberd above Sanctuary Hills, as well as the one atop the Museum in Concord had been sets of the much more common T-45, developed a decade before the bombs fell in my time. When the Chinese invaded Alaska in the winter of 2066 after the United States cut off oil supplies, the US Government began shipping T-45 sets to the Anchorage Front Line as quickly as they could be made. The technological advances offered by this new form of mechanized power suit were always in the war propaganda of the day. America was going to win and liberate Alaska. Yet, eight years later, the war was still raging, and the powers that be decided to bring the war to mainland China, and the T-45 was one component of that. Didn’t make much difference – the American forces quickly became involved in a stalemate there as well until two years later when this T-51 Power Armor was developed and brought over. It helped the US to quickly tear through the Chinese supply lines, and the was largely credited as being the key to the United States’ eventual recapturing of Anchorage in January of 2077.
It was hard to imagine there was a set of it right here in front of me. Since I had started collecting power armor, I always carried a Fusion Core with me, so I popped it in, started the suit up, then got inside. If it hadn’t have been missing some pieces, I probably would have gone right to Diamond City, gotten the info I needed from Piper, and then gone looking for the Institute. But I figured once I got to the Red Rocket, I could take a helmet and right leg off one of my T-45 sets and sort of mix and match to get the job done.
I marched through a door in the back of the barn, and headed up the hill that ran along the western border of the Fort. In the distance, I noticed something shiny and blue in the woods. It was a car – a beautiful blue Corvega sedan, in nicer shape than just about any other car I had seen since I emerged from the vault. Standing behind the car was yet another set of power armor, this one a T-60. The only time I had seen a set of T-60 in person was on Paladin Danse, who I had helped fight off a few waves of ghouls back at the Cambridge Police Station. This was too good to be true. Maybe I wouldn’t have to go back home after all. As I approached, I was startled when the helmet on the power armor suddenly moved, and looked right at me. “Just the part I was looking for,” said a voice from inside. “The guys back at the garage are gonna flip.”
I tried to play it cool. “You building something, ” I asked?
“The name’s Duke, and yeah, my friends and I soup up old power armor. Anytime you wanna check them out, come on by,” said the voice. “You’re rockin a nice set of plates yourself. Fancy.”
My Pip-Boy vibrated, and a marker for the garage was added to the map inside as Duke walked down the hill, muttering something about how he wasn’t ready for poetry night. This morning was just getting more and more bizarre.
As I headed along the road north out of town, I heard some gunfire behind some destroyed buildings. By the time I got close enough to see what was going on, the firefight had ended, but a noticed a couple people patrolling the area now. They weren’t raiders. They wore brownish olive colored uniforms which were pretty rudimentary, and they didn’t even have helmets. I approached one of them and asked what was going on. They said that it was Brotherhood business, and I should be on my way. I sneered, and then walked off. What the hell? Two soldiers were hardly an occupying force, but I wondered what the plan was here. Was the Brotherhood taking over the Fort Hagan area? Why hadn’t they started with the Fort itself, or even secured all these supply buildings? Why start with these rotted out hovels? And if they had all this tech, why equip their legion with nothing but the most basic armor?
I continued on, until the last of the buildings surrounding Fort Hagan were behind me. On a house-sized concrete slab, just before the landscape turned back into wilderness, was a large relay tower with three satellite dishes, and a terminal beside it up a metal staircase on a small platform. The dishes were close to the ground, and hacking the terminal, I discovered the dishes were motorized, and that they were in a retracted state. I decided to fire them up, and a chain drive pulled the dish array about a hundred feet above me. Three new radio frequencies now appeared on my Pip-Boy radio. One by one I tuned into the signals, but they were all full of static. I could make out a couple words for each of them, but that was all. The signal wasn’t nearly strong enough to be useful, at least from where I was standing. I left the dishes raised, and headed into the wasteland north of Fort Hagen.
I say wasteland, because that’s exactly what it looked like. I was standing on a hilltop gazing north over a barren valley, before the landscape rose back up where another east-west elevated highway came into view maybe two or three miles in the distance. There was no vegetation at all. The trees were just trunks really, and everything looked like it had been burned. Six or seven cylindrical cross-sections of a destroyed jet airliner lay in a path covering about a mile. It appeared as if perhaps the pilot had tried to land the thing, unsuccessfully from the look of it. One engine was just below me at the low point of the valley, separated from the rest of the aircraft.
As I made my way down through the scorched, rocky New England terrain, I noticed a small military tank off to my left. It’s greenish paint had been burned as well, and the rust that covered the vehicle made it look like it had been here for some time. As I approached, a proximity mine sounded, and I dove for cover. Some shrapnel from the explosion embedded itself into the armor plating that covered my thigh. Moving even a little bit sent a sharp pain through my leg that felt like it went right to the bone. Luckily, Dogmeat seemed to have gotten away unscathed. I stumbled into the open back of the tank, sat down and dug the piece of metal out, then took off the armor plating. There was a lot of blood, but I was able to tape myself up and inject a stimpak. I knew I could still make it to Red Rocket like this, but it was going to slow me down quite a bit. I had gotten lucky. The heat of midday was starting radiating through the tank, and the inside felt kind of like a metallic cocoon. The warmth actually felt pleasant as the November chill was dispelled a bit, and I found myself getting sleepy. I thought perhaps it might not be a bad thing to get an hour’s rest or so. Dogmeat set up near the tank’s entrance, keeping an eye out for any movement.
Next thing I knew, I was jolted awake by my body shivering in the cold. I opened my eyes and realized the sun was just about to set. A quick glance at my Pip-Boy revealed I had been asleep for three hours. My sudden movement also jolted Dogmeat, who looked like he was ready to get moving again. I set up a quick campfire and cooked up some rations for us both, and then we started on our way to the Red Rocket again.
A hundred yards or so below the tank we came upon a small shack that overlooked the valley. I thought it best to avoid the shack entirely, but I was curious when I saw that the side of the shack facing down into the valley was open to the outside, and it looked like a deck had been set up with some kind of missile launching system. There didn’t seem to be anyone around, so I decided to take a look.
Stacked on several bookshelves were tanks of acetalyne. Out on the back deck had been fashioned a wooden contraption with three holding spots for the tanks. Each tank set in a couple of two by fours fastened together lengthwise to form a “v,” and these “launching pads” were pitched upward. I gathered if I shot the end of a tank, it would probably go flying out into the valley. I wasn’t sure what the point of this was. It wasn’t like it could be a weapon, as the platform didn’t have the capability of aiming these cylinders. Also, as soon as I shot one of them as a test, the tank went spinning off in an unpredictable direction. One of them careened out over the shack out of sight, and landed right next to the shack.
OK, end of experiment. Time to get as far away from this shack as we could.
Dogmeat and I descended into the valley, and approached the last elevated highway between us and the area just south of Concord. This was the east-west elevated highway to the north of the city that ran all the way to the Sand & Gravel pit in Lexington. I knew Walden Pond was somewhere up here too, and just past that would be Concord. I’d be home long before dusk, assuming all went well.
Dogmeat and I came upon a couple Brahmin, grazing in the sunlight streaming through a missing section of elevated highway, and as I looked up, I noticed a large windmill-type power generator atop one of the overpass sections. Someone was up there, obviously. In the shadow of that section was a pretty little stone chapel, just in the middle of a grassy bank that headed up past the highway. A skeleton lay on the steps leading up to a solid red oak door, and vines covered the overall structure, growing through the spaces where the windows had broken out long ago. The metal framework for what must have been stained glass was still completely untouched though. I figured it would be a nice spot for Dogmeat and I to rest and have something to eat and drink.
Inside, there were a few pews scattered around, and two large rows of sandbags sat curiously in the middle of the floor. There’s no way this could have been used as some kind of defense area, could it? I mean, there were windows everywhere. I walked to the back of the chapel, and was examining the intricate lead artwork, when I happened to look down and noticed a steel panel in the floor. Under some vegetation was a rusty handle. When I pulled up on it, it opened to a brick-lined tunnel underneath the chapel. Just up ahead was a floodlight pointing away from me, further down the tunnel. I heard a voice say “what’s that,” and my gut told me I had just discovered a raider’s hideout.
I didn’t have time for a firefight in a set of tunnels I was totally unfamiliar with, so I calmly backed up out of the tunnel, and gently put the grate back down, then Dogmeat and I headed out of the chapel and back north. I wasn’t sticking around, just in case the raiders were making any kind of patrols outside.
I was curious about the giant windmill on the overpass though, and wondered if the raiders were sophisticated enough to set up that kind of tech. It seemed more like something that would be part of a settlement. It was clearly fabricated sometime in the not too distant past, and looked like it was made of an airplane engine. The turbine was perched atop a rickety looking tower constructed of wood and metal sheets – the types of materials that most of the post-war buildings were made of. Radiating out from the center of the turbine were possibly telephone poles, with fabric sails stretched between them to catch the wind. I don’t know how much power could be generated from something like that. Today the wind was still, and the turbine wasn’t moving at all, even up at that height.
I took out the sniper rifle and through the scope I saw a pair of wires leading down from the overpass. On the ground was a yellow window washer bucket maybe twelve feet long, similar to the kind that I had used to get to Mayor McDunough’s office in Diamond City. The bucket was defended by an active turret, and not far off I saw a raider walking around. This must have been a settlement at one point, one overrun by raiders. All raiders cared about were chems and weapons. Probably when this generator worked, they’d use the power, and when it didn’t, they probably didn’t care much about fixing it.
Dogmeat and I continued up the hill beyond the overpass, and found ourselves on a little plateau with a decent sized metal barn in the middle, and a group of maybe six or seven houses in a circle facing it. From beyond the barn, I heard a woman scream for help, and saw a small shed with a door made of metal bars. Six or seven ghouls in front of it, clawing to get in, and the yelling was coming from inside. I yelled at her to get down, and ran at an off-angle as I started shooting into the crowd so as not to hit the woman inside.
Once the creatures were all dead, the woman opened the gate, and thanked me for helping out. Her name was Natalie, and she said she had arrived the day before yesterday. Natalie was from a settlement a couple days travel to the north that had conducted business with this place – Sunshine Tidings Co-op, a farming commune. She found the place in shambles. The gardens had been destroyed, the radio in the barn had been disabled, and scattered around the site were corpses of dead ghouls. Skulking about between the houses, floating in and out, was a Mr. Handy that had apparently been reprogrammed to be “free” of whatever routine it had been given from the factory. It didn’t seem to be doing much other than circling around us as we talked. It would let out the occasional “groovy” or “right on,” and then glide away for a bit before returning to listen in. It was starting to get on my nerves.
I asked Natalie what she wanted to do, and she said she felt like she should stay here and clean things up, and maybe even get the transmitter going again to see if there was anyone else out there who could help out. I agreed to lend a hand, and over the course of the day, helped her reactivate a few turrets that for some reason had all been piled in the corner of one of the houses. We also got the transmitter going again – I discovered it had just had a few wires pulled – and turned it into a settlement beacon. The whole situation here was kind of puzzling. It didn’t look so much like someone had really destroyed the place as it did the people had just abandoned it. I walked to the door of the metal warehouse, and looked south at the crumbling overpass not far in the distance. The windmill was spinning ever so slowly now. I wondered if the raiders had scared these folks off. This probably wasn’t the best place to have a laid back commune. There were resources here – food mostly – that would be mighty attractive to people who didn’t do anything but sell and trade chems – and kill people.
Eventually, the site was pretty much put back together, minus the gardens which would take a while to grow back. I even managed to use a terminal inside the metal warehouse to reprogram the Mr. Handy to help guard the place. I told Natalie I was heading up to another settlement up north, and she was free to join me and Dogmeat for the trip. She said she was fine, that she’d just been taken off guard by the ghouls, and that it wouldn’t happen again. She would wait here to see if anyone arrived to help out and re-establish the Co-op. If another day or two went by and no one showed, she’d head north. I told her the easiest way to find the Red Rocket from here would be to just take the road out of Sunshine Tidings northwest to Concord, then head north through town, and she’d find the station on outskirts of town.
We parted ways, and I actually decided to stay off the road, and head straight north which would bypass Concord altogether. I stepped down off the plateau, and the land quickly dipped down into a crevasse with a small lake at the bottom. I was only a few minutes into my walk, perhaps a half a mile at most, when I heard the sound of another airship. Looking over the lake, a small black speck grew out of the morning sky, and slowly, the shape of a Vertiberd formed. It made a wide arc overhead, as if checking me out first, and then dropped down on the north side of the hill beyond the lake. Two Brotherhood soldiers in power armor hopped out, and I saw and heard laser fire. The Vertiberd then rose back into the air, leaving the soldiers behind, and it disappeared into the sky the same way it had come.
Meanwhile, the soldiers started coming toward me. Dogmeat and I just stood and watched them approach. When they were close enough to hear, I asked them what was going on. They said it was private Brotherhood of Steel business, and they headed up the hill toward Sunshine Tidings. I didn’t have any reason to believe they were a threat to Natalie based on the limited interactions I had had with the Brotherhood so far, so I kept going.
Just past the lake was a stream leading from the north, from the top of the hill I was now climbing. I figured this had to drain off the body of water near Sanctuary Hills, so I decided to follow it back home. The day was turning out to be a beautiful one, even if there was a chill in the air. As I walked, the stream got wider, and shallower, and I picked some fresh Mutfruit growing along the riverbank. It was going to be good to be back home, even for a little while.
The land got flatter, and up ahead, about a mile beyond the stream and across a larger body of water, I could make out the high tension power lines that I knew ran south of Sanctuary Hills. This stream might have been a river once, as it seemed tucked in next to a high wall of granite on my left as I followed it home. Suddenly, from atop that granite hill, I was under fire. I figured it must be raiders, but the weaponry sounded heavier than that. Whoever it was, they were up on the bank under the power lines.
Within seconds, I heard the whirring of propellers, and before I knew it, another Vertiberd, maybe even the same one I had seen earlier, was flying low under the power lines and taking out all the people that had been shooting at me. I just stood and watched, half-amazed. The Vertiberd circled around, making a few passes to make sure it had gotten them all, and then climbed above the lines, following them back out over the Commonwealth, leaving me stunned at what had just happened. What the hell was going on?
I made my way to the wooden bridge, and crossed over to the Red Rocket station. About half way across, one of those Brotherhood initiates greeted me, asking what my business here was. I told him to get out of my way, that this was my home, and I needed to speak with Preston. He said Preston was at the Red Rocket, but that he wouldn’t be in charge much longer. When I asked him what that meant, he said it was private Brotherhood business. Yeah, I said, you folks keep things pretty close to the vest, don’t you?
When I got to the Red Rocket, Preston didn’t appear to be concerned at all. He said quite a few Brotherhood initiates and soldiers had already been by, but they seemed keen to help, so he had plenty of suggestions for them where they might be needed. Good old Preston. Mama Murphy and Sturges seemed particularly glad to see me, and we had a little reunion chat for a few moments before I went into the Red Rocket’s garage to drop off the suit of power armor with the others.
Before I went out to find the Institute, I was going to take some time to put together the best combination of plating I could. After that? It was off to Diamond City to have a chat with Nick and Piper to see what my next step would be. But something else was gnawing at me. The Brotherhood seemed to be everywhere. Paladin Danse had been looking for some kind of communications equipment to re-establish contact with his people. Had he see the giant airship pass over the Commonwealth? Had he heard the Vertiberds? If he was still at the Cambridge Police Station, perhaps I still had a chance to help him out, and that would put me in a very good space indeed if I ran into trouble with the Institute down the line. It might be worth stopping by there on my way back to Fenway.