Fallout Fallout: Autumn Morning [Director's Cut]

On another note:

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Lexington, Hanscom AFB (i.e., the main Enclave base in this story) and Concord are all on a rough east-west axis, Sanctuary would be just northeast of Concord across the Old North Bridge (also Nate's house would be on Liberty St., isn't that fitting?).

Man the game really messed up these positions. I can understand compressing space, but Lexington ingame is almost due south of Sanctuary lol.
 
Current situation on the East Coast:

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The difference in colours shows areas of civilian and military government respectively. Since official US borders contain everything on the map, territories under US/Enclave control are marked out by lines of military control and not borders per se.
Expanded it to the whole lower 48:

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Legion Civil War, radiation zones, NCR tribal reservations etc. not shown because fuck this already took too long.
 
Hehehehe writing this the first time round was fun as hell and touching it up was almost as much:

==*==

RE: “SIEGE OF NAVARRO” SCRIPT
FROM: Donald W. Richardson, Secretary for Public Information
TO: Gabriel Cove

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Without unity, our individual strength means nothing.

Your proposed radio drama script for Siege of Navarro merits consideration (especially given how swiftly it was done) following the success of your Attack on the Oil Rig last year, but I feel it needs some edits before it can see production and airplay on official radio channels. Enumerated below:

  • The love triangle. Taking up almost a third of the script, the Sirius Valdez/Lily Wright/Leo Judah triangle is simply too sentimental and almost mawkish in its intensity. Please tone it down and make it take up less running time.
  • Portrayal of historical figures. Colonel Dornan Jr. has complained vociferously about the depiction of his father; please alter it to be more respectful.
  • Too many explosion sound effects. How are the audience going to hear the dialogue?
  • No wasteland characters. The majority audience of this drama will have been born and bred in the wasteland like you – they want someone they can clearly identify with. Maybe you can make Valdez a wastelander? He can be a good patriotic role model for the youngsters, spitting in the face of the NCR rebels and never accepting defeat.
  • The Californian rebels are a faceless enemy – we need a main antagonist. General Drummond, the historical rebel commander at Navarro, can be a good one – the secondary antagonist can be a Brotherhood leader he plays off of. We need to make him a real love-to-hate figure, so the audience knows who’s good and who’s bad. Have him offer surrender to US soldiers, then gun them down as they get on their knees? Santa Anna in the pre-War classic The Alamo can make a good model.
  • The ending. The final scene with them firing into the massed ranks of charging NCR conscripts is brilliant, but far too much of a downer. We need something that emboldens our people, not depresses them! Have the girl escape, perhaps tie this into the love story and have her get marry one of her suitors, then get pregnant? After all, a pro-family pro-motherhood message is also deeply in the national interest. Then, she flies eastward in her vertibird to join up with US forces in DC – hope for the future!

Hopefully you see sense and follow my suggestions in this matter, Mr. Cove.

God bless America.
The Chosen One: What the fuck am I, chopped liver? Why are you breaking my adventure in two?!



Expanded it to the whole lower 48:

tai8jXf.png

Legion Civil War, radiation zones, NCR tribal reservations etc. not shown because fuck this already took too long.
I've been meaning to ask, what do you use to make your maps?

Oh, that's Appalachia.
Is Appalachia a coherent faction or just a general region?
 
The Chosen One: What the fuck am I, chopped liver? Why are you breaking my adventure in two?!


Hehehe.

Also, check out the scriptwriter/director's name.
I've been meaning to ask, what do you use to make your maps?
Paint.net.
Is Appalachia a coherent faction or just a general region?
It's a coherent government, more of a confederation than anything strongly unified but they'll all get together if they're seriously threatened with invasion. Even the Enclave with all their tech is using non-military options to try and get them to reintegrate peacefully.
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Kind of a shame that the story is on so deep because the brown area there is prime for a faction.
Well, FO3 doesn't suggest any kind of big faction near the CW. The East Coast seems to be behind the West when it comes to nation building, more on the level of the FO1 era with its isolated towns and city states. Though, if the Enclave and Brotherhood had never arrived in the CW some sort of Southern state would probably have been the eastern unifier as the NCR was for the west and the Legion for the Southwest. The steps toward unification just had barely begun to start when out of the blue two very technologically advanced factions arrived in the mid-Atlantic.

Also, adding some more stuff to the next chapter as I rework it (don't wanna spoil Nate and Danse's trek through the Glowing Sea):

==*==

Corporal Phil Stanstead kept an eye out from the cupola of his hummer as the patrol moved along I-95 in the dusk of a fading day, seeing the sarge just on ahead clad in the pre-War USMC armour he wore as squad leaders. The hummers (their real name was some kind of lengthy acronym but even the Federal people just called them hummers) were heavy-duty military trucks, first designed in the late 20th century and now being made by the thousands in auto plants down south as general-duty military vehicles, with some surplus for civilians. Two of the ones in the patrol convoy were armed with gatling lasers fed with power directly from the vehicles’ fusion engines – the third, Stanstead’s own, was armed with a Mk19 Grenade Launcher, something the regular Army boys had told him was used since a war three centuries ago in somewhere called Vietnam.

But the fourth vehicle, leading the patrol unit, was really something special – it was a Lafayette tank, armed with a 105mm M277 Viper railcannon and two gatling lasers, one mounted on top of the turret and one co-axial with the main gun. The vehicle was a lot lighter than the big Custer tanks, light enough to be shipped by air from down south instead of having to be produced on-site in the Lexington factory. That’d seen them well a couple of days ago when they’d been ambushed by a group of muties – he’d seen the tank’s cannon shoot a round right through the biggest one’s chest, spraying oversized bone fragments and chunks of supersized lung and heart out behind it in a fountain of blood straight from its arteries. The green-skinned monsters had turned tail when they saw that happen, that was for sure. Stanstead had earned a medal in that fight as well, for using the hummer’s gatling laser to nail a mutie carrying a mini-nuke in the head as it ran towards them. This area, the countryside between Lexington and Waltham, was what the brass called a “green zone” – not under formal US authority like a “blue zone” such as Lexington, Concord or Sanctuary, but reasonably safe, not like a contested “yellow” or outright hostile “red” zone. But still, it never paid to let your guard down. Just over a month up north in the Commonwealth had already taught Stanstead to be ready for anything.

His unit of National Guard troops (officially designated the 113th Cavalry, “Steel Horses”, Regiment) was from the farming towns of North Carolina, who’d joined up shortly after the Federals arrived in the area seven years ago. Their first action, that year, had been against the pirates and raiders that lurked in the old Crater Banks and were always preying on the people heading to Hampton Roads, working behind the two spearheads of Army and Marines hitting them from land and sea respectively to make sure none got out alive. He himself had only joined this year, as a third son there was almost no chance of him inheriting the homestead and there were rumours down from regular units in the area that the military was ready to make a move bigger than any it had in living memory.

The choice to join a Guard unit instead of the Army had been deliberate – he might not get power armour, but the training lasted shorter, the discipline wasn’t as harsh, and Guard units were inactive most of the time, meaning he’d only have to live in a barracks when deployed for campaign. That, and most of the officers were regular folks. Full-on Army units were commanded by Federal people or Vaulters, and he knew most of both groups looked down on people like him; sometimes, they didn’t even try to hide it.
 
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Well, FO3 doesn't suggest any kind of big faction near the CW. The East Coast seems to be behind the West when it comes to nation building, more on the level of the FO1 era with its isolated towns and city states. Though, if the Enclave and Brotherhood had never arrived in the CW some sort of Southern state would probably have been the eastern unifier as the NCR was for the west and the Legion for the Southwest. The steps toward unification just had barely begun to start when out of the blue two very technologically advanced factions arrived in the mid-Atlantic.

It could sort of be argued that someone perhaps a larger power was paying the Gunners and Talon company to keep their area's of operation destabilized intentionally so they could eventually move in and claim the territory.
 
It could sort of be argued that someone perhaps a larger power was paying the Gunners and Talon company to keep their area's of operation destabilized intentionally so they could eventually move in and claim the territory.
Talon Company and Gunners are generic mercs, groups of them will take on all sorts of morally-dubious jobs for money (ofc. in the games they're just there to have a different variety of Raider enemy).

There's no conspiracy, just the wasteland being a violent place full of shitty people.
 
Talon Company and Gunners are generic mercs, groups of them will take on all sorts of morally-dubious jobs for money (ofc. in the games they're just there to have a different variety of Raider enemy).

There's no conspiracy, just the wasteland being a violent place full of shitty people.


From the writing perspective it would be a good chance to add in a major faction on the east coast as it would explain how these highly organized and well supplied mercenary companies are actually viable.
 
From the writing perspective it would be a good chance to add in a major faction on the east coast as it would explain how these highly organized and well supplied mercenary companies are actually viable.
Lots of abandoned depots ripe for the looting, some of these mercenary groups would have been former military units who became mercs to survive and would have passed down gear from that.
 
Lots of abandoned depots ripe for the looting, some of these mercenary groups would have been former military units who became mercs to survive and would have passed down gear from that.
Well, supply, as you note isn't an unanswerable question. Who is paying Talon enough to be mercanaries, as opposed to having them convert in to local warlords, is an open question. Megaton, Rivet City, Paradise Falls, that trade caravan town in Maryland I can never remember the name of, even the brit-creep in the hotel to the south - none of them had the economic basis to support paying and feeding a full mercenary unit. Sure the Enclave could use them as cats-paws, but that begs the question: why didn't the Enclave just absorb them before the events of fallout 3?

The core issue is that a mercenary unit needs to have multiple, independent (ideally at least somewhat competing) clients in order to avoid being absorbed by one of them. Those clients in turn need to have enough of their own security forces in order to avoid being conquered by their 'contractors', but few enough that there is still an interest in hiring mercenaries. For both the gunners and talon, we don't see who those are clients are in the games, beyond the one big bad in each game. Which even then is iffy. The institute in particular can evidently mass produce Gen-1's to their hearts content, and have the entire commonwealth under surveillance, what exactly do the gunners bring to the table? Logically there should be additional clients who would both have an interest in the areas in question, and the ability to defend themselves against the gunners/talons if things got ugly.

It does make sense for there to more developed/organized places to the south or west of the CW that were funding Talon and or sourcing the scavengers who had to be immigrating to the area. Unless the theory is that the entire non-ghoul populace of the CW comes from lamplight, megaton, and rivet - which I'm having a hard time buying, as all three seem too small (I'm not even getting into the question of where the lamplight kids are coming from, I suspect some amount of cloning/vault shenanigans are involved).

The Gunners up north are a similar conundrum. Sure, they can source their gear from abandoned military posts and what they seized from the minute men, but who is paying them, and to do what? There doesn't seem to enough going on in Quincy to feed even a small band of raiders, much less the entire gunner organization. There are other raider bands competing for 'protection' money from the farmers, so where is their food coming from? Who is paying them to be mercenaries, and not just convert themselves into local warlords?

For the Talon co, some sort of competing sub-regional powers in Appalachia, Southern Virginia, and Pennsylvania (from the PItt, perhaps?) make sense. For Gunners, you could argue for some sort of rust devil/iron circle type organization in upstate new york/western mass, and another subregional group emerging perhaps from the Maine/NewBrunswick/NovaScotia region, combined with the Institute, that would give enough competing powers to enable Gunners to play them off against each other and maintain their tentative independence.

Fortunately, for story purposes, any such additional subregional powers/clients would likely be easily absorbed by the growing Autumnclave, so it isn't a case that positing them requires additional early story conflicts or significant rewrites. Just adds a bit of lore/flavor to the historical footnotes, and gives those of us who tend to overthink things something to ruminate upon.
 
It does make sense for there to more developed/organized places to the south or west of the CW that were funding Talon and or sourcing the scavengers who had to be immigrating to the area. Unless the theory is that the entire non-ghoul populace of the CW comes from lamplight, megaton, and rivet - which I'm having a hard time buying, as all three seem too small (I'm not even getting into the question of where the lamplight kids are coming from, I suspect some amount of cloning/vault shenanigans are involved).
The peeps in Big Town send their own kids down to Little Lamplight. Plus teen pregnancies.

My take on the CW basically is that pre-FO3 it was basically the ass end of the eastern wasteland - people were exiled there, or ran there to get away from something, or were crazy enough to think they could start a homestead there. Also, what we see in game is a compression of the world - there would be more little farms, villages, and such that aren't shown in the game.
The Gunners up north are a similar conundrum. Sure, they can source their gear from abandoned military posts and what they seized from the minute men, but who is paying them, and to do what? There doesn't seem to enough going on in Quincy to feed even a small band of raiders, much less the entire gunner organization. There are other raider bands competing for 'protection' money from the farmers, so where is their food coming from? Who is paying them to be mercenaries, and not just convert themselves into local warlords?

For the Talon co, some sort of competing sub-regional powers in Appalachia, Southern Virginia, and Pennsylvania (from the PItt, perhaps?) make sense. For Gunners, you could argue for some sort of rust devil/iron circle type organization in upstate new york/western mass, and another subregional group emerging perhaps from the Maine/NewBrunswick/NovaScotia region, combined with the Institute, that would give enough competing powers to enable Gunners to play them off against each other and maintain their tentative independence.
Hampton Roads and the Pitt would have been independent ten years ago - Hampton Roads was basically the northern end of the Southern coastal city states, and the middle of a chain that started at Miami (or New Orleans, maybe) and went onwards to Baltimore-Philadelphia/Philly-Atlantic City/Great Lanta-NYC. But naturally they were among Autumn's first targets for expansion so have been annexed for years by now.
Fortunately, for story purposes, any such additional subregional powers/clients would likely be easily absorbed by the growing Autumnclave, so it isn't a case that positing them requires additional early story conflicts or significant rewrites. Just adds a bit of lore/flavor to the historical footnotes, and gives those of us who tend to overthink things something to ruminate upon.
Hmm, you definitely have a point, I've added in two moderately-sized powers on the East Coast:

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Before the Enclave and BOS fought for dominance Ronto and Appalachia would have been the biggest states (no massive Southern empire, sorry!) with Ronto the most militarised but counterbalanced by Albany, Quebec and New Brunswick - which of course had their own rivalries.
 
Ch. 15 continues being reworked:

==*==

Autumn held the Patriot Mk. 2 up to his shoulder, looking at the weapon as he ranged down the firing range at Hanscom. A Patriot laser rifle was based on the durable and steadfast AER9 chassis, coated in military black paint with an Army circled-star on its side, and Nemean Arms had now refined the design further from the initial creation of the Raven Rock labs. The first change had been the stock -it’d been moved upwards to directly connect with the barrel, using the advanced marksman’s stock that’d been sold to civilian enthusiasts pre-War but hadn’t been military issue. The design also included a beam focuser as standard, along with a reflex sight that could be replaced with a scope as necessary.

Some of the buttons and dials of the Patriot Mk. 1 had been removed – the power selector, which nobody ever used, was gone, and the fire-selector was removed putting the Mk. 2 back to semi-automatic. Full-auto and extended beam modes had put too much strain on the cooling systems – the select-fire laser assault rifle the War Department was dreaming of still lay in the future.

Autumn pressed the trigger with a practiced motion, shooting a bright light-blue beam of laserlight at the holographic target. This was the real secret of the Mk. 2, taken from captured CIT-designed guns that’d been looked over in the Hanscom labs and had the data sent south to Nemean Arms’s corporate HQ. The simple wavelength of the beam made it twice as powerful as the pre-War AER9, 90 to 85% better than the Patriot Mk. 1. Autumn had no doubt that the enemy were trying to bridge the gap between their tech and US equipment – keeping ahead was a necessity. He had no idea when the war for America was coming – it certainly wasn’t right now, but be it years or decades or even a century in the future, he’d see to it that the US was ready for it.

He fired a few more experimental shots, looking to see if the gun felt warmer than usual, began to smoke, or smelled like something was burning inside. There was no sign of that after unloading a whole clip, so Autumn felt somewhat satisfied-
 
Chapter Fifteen New
Chapter Fifteen

“Two principles must be understood to be at the core of United States doctrine from now on: flexibility of command and flexibility of movement.”
Colonel Daniel Bradley

A gleam of sunlight cut through the radioactive murk that filled the sky, illuminating Old Glory. Nate took a breath. The flag of the United States still flew here, had flown here, for two hundred years even after the nuclear war. He remembered a song that had been popular on the radio in his youth, that he’d heard recently on the Government channel a couple of days ago –

Old Glory, Old Glory,
When I see her waving high,
There’s a glory, there’s a glory, in my heart,
And a teardrop in my eye

And as long as I live I shall love her,
And her victories are victories of mine,
For there’s no land like my land, America
And no stars like the stars that still shine
The stars in Old Glory, Old Glory …


He remembered the first days after he’d climbed out of the Vault; how he’d been overwhelmed by the destruction of everything. But something at least had survived. The lawful US government had endured, and they had returned to make things right at last, after – he couldn’t imagine how the others must be taking it. This would be beyond the wildest hopes of anybody in the wasteland. Still, what lay beyond the flag gave him a sense of foreboding.

Sentinel Site Prescott loomed in front of Nate and Danse, a barren concrete pyramid in the midst of the rad-wasteland all around. The Sentinel Site facilities had been intended to protect American cities from Chinese nuclear missiles by firing nuclear-tipped ABMs at incoming warheads in the upper atmosphere, serving as a secondary line of defence if they got past the laser satellites in orbit. There had been one near the suburban area of every major city – multiple for the most important cities, LA and New York amongst them. A shame they largely failed in their purpose, Nate thought. The entrance looked so small compared to the bulk of the structure, the metal blast door tiny compared to the sheer mass of the concrete pyramid.

Danse opened the door, punching in the keycode that the Enclave had kept on from pre-War times, and kept lookout as Nate entered the antechamber. The room was filled with corpses – all recent. There were some ferals, but those bodies were outnumbered by men in robes with strange tattoos on their faces, ripped limb from limb or savaged with whole chunks of their flesh bitten out. In his short months in this new savage world, Nate had already learned that ferals didn’t kill cleanly. Poor sons of bitches, he thought.

“Atomic cultists,” Danse said. “I should have known this wouldn’t be easy.”

“You’re telling me there are-“

“Yes. They worship radiation in various ways – some congregate and build colonies in fallout zones until their radaways run dry, others worship nuclear reactors and unexploded bombs, some try and turn themselves into ghouls – there are groups of them across the east coast. Most sects are violently opposed to US government authority, a few of them – too few – are peaceful.”

“How much of a threat are they?”

“You can’t underestimate them – I’ve been on ops against them and seen them throw nuclear hand grenades at US forces.”

“Back in my day, those weapons never made it past prototype. Danger close was putting it mildly.”

“Well, they don’t care about dying for their little cargo cult,” Danse replied. “This situation may be more dangerous than the President assumed.”

“Are you thinking we should abort?”

“No,” Danse replied. “So far it seems most of them were killed by the ferals. We should keep on alert for them most of all.”

==*==

Even in the gleaming underground corridors of the Institute, the news about Quincy was sparking concern. With the Enclave's main territories in the Commonwealth protected from any kind of teleport assault, right now they could take no major action against them. A few infiltrators could be activated to go on a rampage, but they wouldn't get far before being shot. Of course, the enemy could be monitored, and quite easily at that. Biosynthetic animals, unwitting spies through which Institute observers could see and remotely guide if necessary, were being used to try and find a chink in the Enclave's armour. Not that any had come up.

As of right now, Madison Li was most worried of all, having first-hand experience with the Enclave and their leader. Ten years ago, she'd been there when the Enclave usurped Project Purity, watching helplessly behind a protective glass screen as Colonel Autumn murdered in cold blood first her colleague Janice Kaplinski and then James Walker, the only man she had ever loved. And to add insult to injury, the man's son, who she'd helped bring into this world, turned out to have been involved with them all along! The Brotherhood had launched an attack trying to take back Project Purity and died on the bridge leading to it. They’d begged her to work on the pre-war superweapon “Liberty Prime”, said it was their only chance to defeat the Enclave, but she’d turned away north to the Institute. How could she trust anyone after what Liam Walker had done to her?

Now that the Enclave had turned their attention to the Commonwealth, Madison Li feared for her future. She was under no illusions as to the kind of agonising death they'd give her if they ever captured her. What the Brotherhood had told her about their past ambitions, and the experience of her ancestors – kept under subhuman conditions in an internment camp, daily fearing they'd be “shot while attempting to escape” or transferred to certain black sites in the Southwest for use as test subjects – told her that much.

So she kept up her work as head of Advanced Systems, hoping she could devise something – anything – that might be of use against them. Production had already begun, on her orders, of the Institute’s own I-01 Power Armour – CIT’s competitor at the time to West-Tek’s X-01 that she understood formed the basis of the Enclave’s armour. Suits would be given as needed to Coursers to improve their fighting prowess. She hoped it would give them the edge they needed. And if all else failed , if the unthinkable happened– she knew what had to be done.

==*==

Jack Cabot was not particularly worried about what had happened at Quincy. For a man who had seen the news reports of the Israeli-Arab nuclear exchange – a dozen or more cities blasted into vapour by Israeli nukes after the Palestinians had set off a suitcase nuke in Tel Aviv (beginning the global oil crisis that’d led to the Sino-American War), oil fields burning for months on end, a tidal wave of radioactive floodwater sweeping clean Egypt in the aftermath of the Aswan dam’s destruction - and lived through the exchange that had brought about the mutually self-destructive end of the Great War, it was small potatoes in comparison. What worried him was far more simple.

The US Government had, after Cabot had thought it long gone, made a dramatic reappearance. They seemingly had access to the Pre-War records, and that meant it wasn't safe in Boston for the Cabots any more. The War had been perhaps a blessing in disguise – it, at least, meant an end to endlessly faking his own death (and other such measures) to evade the increasingly invasive agencies of the Federal Government and preserve the Cabot family secret – now, it seemed his decision to stop changing his name every few decades had caught up with him. Sooner or later they'd hear rumours about Cabot House, and come knocking. And when they arrived … he had a feeling they'd ask very pointed questions.

Which led to his options as of right now.

First was the wildest option and the most difficult one – escape to Europe. The ships from Britain that used to put in every few years or so at Plymouth had stopped coming there shortly after the CPG was cut short in that Institute-instigated massacre and the mutant problem became truly unmanageable. They still landed at Charleston and Atlantic City (or so the caravan rumours went anyway), but a journey there would be necessarily one through US territory.

Second – flight to somewhere else in America. The Mojave was a tempting prospect, especially with the pre-human ruins he'd gathered evidence of in that location, but it wouldn't put him out of the reach of the Government. Not to mention that even if the NCR sounded quite civilised for this era, their neighbours seemed quite the opposite. And the fact that if a war started between the NCR and the USA, the Mojave was going to be right in the thick of it. That seemed decades away

Third – plastic surgery, followed by changing his name. Most conservative of his options, he could claim to be a descendant of the 21st century Cabots and they'd be none the wiser. He himself was planning for flight, with Emogene and Lorenzo and the others.

==*==

Blake Abernathy was a hard-bitten man, and it was hard not to feel some distrust for the soldiers that passed by the old farm these days. They’d go by in marching columns – or more and more, in vehicles, heavy duty trucks from way back when. He and the local homesteads around had agreed to support the Minutemen after their General retrieved Mary’s locket, but this – this was something bigger than the Minutemen. The Commonwealth was on the edge of something much bigger than all the farmers and townsmen had seen in their lives.

He'd gotten to listening to the President’s weekly speeches on the radio, what he called his “fireside chats”. The more he listened, the more he found himself supporting the United States. Autumn was a stern man, but one who had a vision – a man who wanted to save the wasteland, to drive back all the raiders and the super mutants and rebuild what had once been before. You’d have to blind in the Commonwealth to not look at the houses made of metal, the towers of brick and concrete and steel that dwarfed the little Abernathy farmstead and yearn for the time when people could build those things, not just live in their ruins. If he was younger, he might have joined the Army by now.

Lucy too, she’d gotten sweet on one of the soldiers that regularly came round to buy food from their surplus. It wouldn’t be a bad thing, maybe, if she married him, lived a better life than her parents. Blake didn’t have sons to pass on the farm to, at any rate – they’d all died young, stillborn or dead of illness at early age or died in some damned accident. His heart broke every time he thought of them.

He didn’t know. He’d seen a brochure on a trip into Lexington, promised to sell something called a “tractor” that could do the work of dozens of farmhands. He needed to get one before the neighbours did, for sure. And there were the other things it talked about – chemicals that could clear out pests and make crops grow better, just by spraying them over them. It seemed magical, but those flying machines had looked magical too when they’d first arrived.

-*-

Corporal Phil Stanstead kept an eye out from the cupola of his hummer as the patrol moved along I-95 in the dusk of a fading day, seeing the sarge just on ahead clad in the pre-War USMC armour he wore as squad leaders. The hummers (their real name was some kind of lengthy acronym but even the Federal people just called them hummers) were heavy-duty military trucks, first designed in the late 20th century and now being made by the thousands in auto plants down south as general-duty military vehicles, with some surplus for civilians. Two of the ones in the patrol convoy were armed with gatling lasers fed with power directly from the vehicles’ fusion engines – the third, Stanstead’s own, was armed with a Mk19 Grenade Launcher, something the regular Army boys had told him was used since a war three centuries ago in somewhere called Vietnam.

But the fourth vehicle, leading the patrol unit, was really something special – it was a Lafayette tank, armed with a 105mm M277 Viper railcannon and two gatling lasers, one mounted on top of the turret and one co-axial with the main gun. The vehicle was a lot lighter than the big Custer tanks, light enough to be shipped by air from down south instead of having to be produced on-site in the Lexington factory. That’d seen them well a couple of days ago when they’d been ambushed by a group of muties – he’d seen the tank’s cannon shoot a round right through the biggest one’s chest, spraying oversized bone fragments and chunks of supersized lung and heart out behind it in a fountain of blood straight from its arteries. The green-skinned monsters had turned tail when they saw that happen, that was for sure. Stanstead had earned a medal in that fight as well, for using the hummer’s gatling laser to nail a mutie carrying a mini-nuke in the head as it ran towards them. This area, the countryside between Lexington and Waltham, was what the brass called a “green zone” – not under formal US authority like a “blue zone” such as Lexington, Concord or Sanctuary, but reasonably safe, not like a contested “yellow” or outright hostile “red” zone. But still, it never paid to let your guard down. Just over a month up north in the Commonwealth had already taught Stanstead to be ready for anything.

His unit of National Guard troops (officially designated the 113th Cavalry, “Steel Horses”, Regiment) was from the farming towns of North Carolina, who’d joined up shortly after the Federals arrived in the area seven years ago. Their first action, that year, had been against the pirates and raiders that lurked in the old Crater Banks and were always preying on the people heading to Hampton Roads, working behind the two spearheads of Army and Marines hitting them from land and sea respectively to make sure none got out alive. He himself had only joined this year, as a third son there was almost no chance of him inheriting the homestead and there were rumours down from regular units in the area that the military was ready to make a move bigger than any it had in living memory.

The choice to join a Guard unit instead of the Army had been deliberate – he might not get power armour, but the training lasted shorter, the discipline wasn’t as harsh, and Guard units were inactive most of the time, meaning he’d only have to live in a barracks when deployed for campaign. That, and most of the officers were regular folks. Full-on Army units were commanded by Federal people or Vaulters, and he knew most of both groups looked down on people like him; sometimes, they didn’t even try to hide it.

Might settle down here once this is over, he mused. This place was something different from North Carolina; and one of the local farm girls, name was Lucy, had definitely gotten into him. He didn't know though. There might be another deployment in his future.

==*==

Danse and Nate had little trouble pushing on through the ferals that infested the facility; Danse’s gatling laser could mow them down easily, and their claws and teeth couldn’t find purchase against duraframe armour. They broke into the command centre, expecting to find some sort of alpha ghoul – a bloated deformity that you could scarcely tell had once been human. Instead there was an atomic cultist – dressed in robes like the others, his face tattooed with ritual markings reminiscent of half-remembered high-school diagrams of radiation and atomic energy.

“You won’t-!” the man cried, even as he struggled to hold himself up. He was clearly half-starved and dehydrated, his lips parched and looking himself thin. “You won’t – won’t – defile this sacred place. Where the War-heads dwell, a place of great Fission.”

“This is a US Armed Forces nuclear facility,” Danse replied. “And we will take back control of it, one way or another.”

“No!”

“We can get you to a hospital,” Nate offered. “Or back to the others. Where are you from?"

“We arrived from the Crater of Atom in the south, where Fission happened long ago and blessed all this country with Glow. Had we known this place was inhabited by Blessed Ones …”

“So,” Nate replied. “Have you heard of a man named Virgil?”

“Yes, he lives nearby the Crater, in a cave. But I won’t head down there. I’m not able to keep you unbelievers from defiling this place, but still-

“-I’d rather die than see it happen.”

The cultist pressed the radiation weapon to his head and, with a wordless cry, shot himself with it. A green lambent glow shrouded the man’s head, as his whole face melted away. His eyeballs poured out like water from their sockets, as skin and muscles ran off bones like molten wax. He fell dead in an instant.

Danse immediately took the command codes from his body and checked the base’s status on the terminal – apart from the stocks of warheads here, there was a missile armed and ready to fire.

“We’ve done that element of the mission,” Nate said. “Let’s move on.”

They took the poor cultist’s corpse and dug a grave for it before moving on. There was nothing to use for a marker and they didn’t know his name at any rate, so they went without and pressed on deeper into the Glowing Sea.


==*==

RE: “SIEGE OF NAVARRO” SCRIPT
FROM: Donald W. Richardson, Secretary for Public Information
TO: Gabriel Cove

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Without unity, our individual strength means nothing.

Your proposed radio drama script for Siege of Navarro merits consideration (especially given how swiftly it was done) following the success of your Attack on the Oil Rig last year, but I feel it needs some edits before it can see production and airplay on official radio channels. Enumerated below:

The love triangle. Taking up almost a third of the script, the Sirius Valdez/Lily Wright/Leo Judah triangle is simply too sentimental and almost mawkish in its intensity. Please tone it down and make it take up less running time.

Portrayal of historical figures. Colonel Dornan Jr. has complained vociferously about the depiction of his father; please alter it to be more respectful.

Too many explosion sound effects. How are the audience going to hear the dialogue?

No wasteland characters. The majority audience of this drama will have been born and bred in the wasteland like you – they want someone they can clearly identify with. Maybe you can make Valdez a wastelander? He can be a good patriotic role model for the youngsters, spitting in the face of the NCR rebels and never accepting defeat.

The Californian rebels are a faceless enemy – we need a main antagonist. General Drummond, the historical rebel commander at Navarro, can be a good one – the secondary antagonist can be a Brotherhood leader he plays off of. We need to make him a real love-to-hate figure, so the audience knows who’s good and who’s bad. Have him offer surrender to US soldiers, then gun them down as they get on their knees? Santa Anna in the pre-War classic The Alamo can make a good model.

The ending. The final scene with them firing into the massed ranks of charging NCR conscripts is brilliant, but far too much of a downer. We need something that emboldens our people, not depresses them! Have the girl escape, perhaps tie this into the love story and have her get marry one of her suitors, then get pregnant? After all, a pro-family pro-motherhood message is also deeply in the national interest. Then, she flies eastward in her vertibird to join up with US forces in DC – hope for the future!

Hopefully you see sense and follow my suggestions in this matter, Mr. Cove. As I’ll be visiting Boston along with Senator Kennedy early to mid-January, I will not be in my office at that time and will be unable to respond to you.

God bless America.



==*==

Autumn held the Patriot Mk. 2 up to his shoulder, looking at the weapon as he ranged down the firing range at Hanscom. A Patriot laser rifle was based on the durable and steadfast AER9 chassis, coated in military black paint with an Army circled star on its side, and Nemean Arms had now refined the design further from the initial creation of the Raven Rock labs. The first change had been the stock -it’d been moved upwards to directly connect with the barrel, using the advanced marksman’s stock that’d been sold to civilian enthusiasts pre-War but hadn’t been military issue. The design also included a beam focuser as standard, along with a reflex sight that could be replaced with a scope as necessary.

Some of the buttons and dials of the Patriot Mk. 1 had been removed – the power selector, which nobody ever used, was gone, and the fire-selector was removed putting the Mk. 2 back to semi-automatic. Full-auto and extended beam modes had put too much strain on the cooling systems – the select-fire laser assault rifle the War Department was dreaming of still lay in the future.

Autumn pressed the trigger with a practiced motion, shooting a bright light-blue beam of laserlight at the holographic target. This was the real secret of the Mk. 2, taken from captured CIT-designed guns that’d been looked over in the Hanscom labs and had the data sent south to Nemean Arms’s corporate HQ. The simple wavelength of the beam made it twice as powerful as the pre-War AER9, 90 to 85% better than the Patriot Mk. 1. Autumn had no doubt that the enemy were trying to bridge the gap between their tech and US equipment – keeping ahead was a necessity. He had no idea when the war for America was coming – it certainly wasn’t right now, but be it years or decades or even a century in the future, he’d see to it that the US was ready for it.

He fired a few more experimental shots, looking to see if the gun felt warmer than usual, began to smoke, or smelled like something was burning inside. There was no sign of that after unloading a whole clip, so Autumn felt somewhat satisfied-

Just then, an aide came by.

“The First Lady,” he said. “She’s arrived, Mr. President!”

Autumn dropped the rifle and hurried out of the firing range.

==*==

They had been trudging south through the Glowing Sea and had just climbed up a hill when they saw it on the other side. It was a super mutant, but larger than all the others Nate had seen before – a hunchbacked twelve-foot giant, a monster carrying the husk of a dead tree as a club. It roared the instant its bleary eyes saw them, gave out a cry of as much pain as rage and started grabbing a boulder from the ground.

Nate looked to Danse – the battle-worn sergeant had frozen up, seemed to be fighting to pull the trigger on his gatling laser. Damn!, he thought. His only friend out here in this wasteland was going through a combat shock episode, and there was some giant monster out to-

Nate’s instincts took over. He reached into his combat webbing, threw a plasma grenade straight at the creature’s head, a holographic trajectory flashing on to his armour’s HUD as he threw it. Time seemed to slow as the projectile arced through the air, hitting the beast’s head. There was a bright green flash, and when it was over Nate saw the … behemoth’s head half-reduced to a total ruin, one of its eyes gone, the rest covered over with third-degree burns, he could see its brain through its shattered skull. Impossibly the thing began loping towards him, scrambling up the hill in great strides.

Danse started to rev up his gatling laser, as Nate fumbled for another grenade, threw it again, but this time at the monster’s knee. There was another bright flash, shattering the thing’s leg. It lost its balance, slid down the hill, hit the ground in a rising cloud of fallout dust. Danse opened fire again at the thing’s unthinkably human face. It died with a final grunt of pain and was mostly still, its limbs still thrashing in its death agony.

“Why did you?-“

“It’s not – okay, you deserve to know. It was back when we were fighting the muties in DC, I was one of the first from Rivet City to join the US Army, with my friend Cutler. We were real battle buddies, but then-“

“If you don’t want to-“

“Cutler was separated from our squad on a sweep and hauled away by the muties. They wanted to turn him into one of theirs. Well, those of us fighting them all had our cyanide teeth for a reason. I rushed to save him, but when I got to him, as they were dragging him away, he was already foaming at the mouth and dying. I killed both of those creatures, but if I’d got there just a minute sooner-“

“It’s okay, Saul. You did the best you could.”

“I know, but still … I felt helpless again back then. Just for a moment.”

.
==*==

Lieutenant Walker looked out across the Atlantic, idly checking his Pip-boy's onboard map of the region. Ever since the day he got it in Vault 101 about twenty years ago, he'd held fast to it, even when he was offered a more advanced one with two hundred more years of progress. Of course, today – the 16th of December – he was glad to not be doing combat operations. The tenth anniversary of his father's death, he preferred to spend some time on his own away from hi men.

He'd been so goddamn pissed at the old man for walking out on him, sparking chaos in the Vault. Good men and women had died, and he was ashamed to think he'd been responsible for some of those deaths. He'd been so angry, and after he joined up with the US military he'd gotten roped in to helping Dad finish his project (just like how he got roped in to helping a slaving warlord's old lieutenant overthrow him and become another slaving warlord before then, and roped in to that twisted ghoul massacring a whole town). Then it'd all fallen apart. Autumn apparently had been keeping his cards close to his chest, and tried to take over the purifier. He’d asserted his military authority, but James hadn’t listened, had kept on refusing even when Autumn brought out his gun – even with two vertibirds worth of soldiers ready to sweep the facility.

That was when Autumn shot one of James' colleagues (he'd said later, privately, that he'd been intending to fire a warning shot. Walker had no idea whether he was deliberately lying or not) and James had responded by flooding the control chamber with radiation in a mad gamble to kill them both and render Project Purity unusable. The first few days after that, with the Colonel unconscious and his father dead, he'd seriously considered either deserting or eating his own gun. If only I’d been there in the chamber with the others, he thought even now.

Maybe I could have said something to cool the tensions before they exploded into violence, or even physically tackled my Dad and kept him from ... what he did. Autumn had woken up, asked for the Purifier code – Walker had simply given it, and the government had taken control of Project Purity’s water supply. If Autumn hadn’t been so secretive, less people may have died.

Then he’d taken out Eden on his orders shortly after that, and the Brothethood had- that had been honest fighting. It was decent work.

But the past was the past, and despite how much he wished it had been otherwise, there was no other choice but to keep on going, and pray to God that He forgave you and helped you avoid mistakes in the future.

In the end, you really had no other choice.
 
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Then it'd all fallen apart. Autumn apparently had been keeping his cards close to his chest, and tried to take over the purifier. He’d asserted his military authority, but James hadn’t listened, had kept on refusing even when Autumn brought out his gun – even with two vertibirds worth of soldiers ready to sweep the facility.

That was when Autumn shot one of James' colleagues (he'd said later, privately, that he'd been intending to fire a warning shot. Walker had no idea whether he was deliberately lying or not) and James had responded by flooding the control chamber with radiation in a mad gamble to kill them both and render Project Purity unusable. The first few days after that, with the Colonel unconscious and his father dead, he'd seriously considered either deserting or eating his own gun. If only I’d been there in the chamber with the others, he thought even now.

Maybe I could have said something to cool the tensions before they exploded into violence, or even physically tackled my Dad and kept him from ... what he did. Autumn had woken up, asked for the Purifier code – Walker had simply given it, and the government had taken control of Project Purity’s water supply. If Autumn hadn’t been so secretive, less people may have died.

Then he’d taken out Eden on his orders shortly after that, and the Brothethood had- that had been honest fighting. It was decent work.

But the past was the past, and despite how much he wished it had been otherwise, there was no other choice but to keep on going, and pray to God that He forgave you and helped you avoid mistakes in the future.

In the end, you really had no other choice.
“I trust you’ve been able to find yourself a place within the organization?”

“I’m personally overseeing the distribution of aqua pura.”

“The world must know by now Colonel. What we’ve done.”

“Know what? Only that the long night is over. The crown of government is tarnished - but that will fade in time. The Wasteland, a fever dream; the Great War, a horrible nightmare; and like everything else that’s happened such things will only be dimly remembered upon waking to their normal lives. In the end, all sins are forgiven. Even yours.”

“What about President Eden… and the modified FEV?”

“Do you really think they’re ready for that? After everything you’ve seen, everything you’ve done?”

“No. Not yet.”

“But soon. We have made our own mistakes. Became insulated from nation we sought to control. And whatever they may think, the night is far from over. But that will change, and you will help us change even as we teach you. This time - this time we will do it right.”

“And who are we? Who are we really?”

“We are the Federal Government of the United States of America. We come before and after. We are forever. And eventually… eventually we will lead them into the day.”
 

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