This story may take a while since I also have the Outcast Fic in the works (currently on hold) but one thing that always urked me was that while Fallout's theme was on war. We never really had any large scale 'battles' per say that had more than a dozen people. This is my attempt at seeing what a full-scale war in a post-apocalyptic wasteland may look like.
I don't own Fallout or the series. I'm just playing in the sandbox ;)
"A safe people, is a strong people" – President Tandi
2254 AD: HUB, Imperial Valley Region
Sergeant John Reyner wiped the sweat off his brow as he led his contingent of troops into the vast marketplace known as 'the Hub'. It was a big assignment for him, with five troopers in tow, each one drabbed in khaki uniforms and sporting a metal breastplate with the emblem of the New California Republic. Having trekked through the desert for several days, every person in the unit had their face covered in a face wrap, some sporting goggles.
One feature however, that differentiated them from other NCR military units, was the red beret each member wore proudly on their head, signifying that they were part of 1st recon; the elite scouting unit of the NCR army. Respected and feared by all the republics enemies.
It had been days since they started out from their base at San Diego, taking an old APC down the pre-war interstate highway 8, before walking the rest of the way when the road ended. Like the rest of his men, Reyner was tired, bored, and pissed as hell, but there was a job needed to be done, and no one would ever say that 1st recon never did their jobs.
The troopers paused for a second in the dusty road, taking in the sights, smells and sounds of the bustling city around them.
"This is it men, welcome to the Hub."
The Hub was the major trading city of the Core Wasteland region for the last one hundred and fifty years. As early as 2090 AD, it served as a large community of traders, barterers, gamblers, prostitutes and other interesting scum. It was said that the HUB was a larger city than both Junktown and Shady Sands combined. You could literally drop the Vault in there, and you probably would not notice. But the people of the Hub had no life, and like any other part of the wasteland, it was a desolate place just the same. Still, for supply purposes, the Hub was an oasis in the middle of a desert. Anything could be bought and traded for, chems, guns, bullets, food, Brahmin, metal, and even scraps of dirt depending on the buyer. Prostitute, gamblers and the occasional slavers also showed up to ply their trades, though the latter was usually frowned upon.
Even dressed in their military uniforms, the men of the first recon seemed to blend right into the ocean of humanity that flowed around them. Merchants shouted their deals in the market Bazaar, walking their caravan Brahmins through the dusty streets, ghouls and the occasional super mutant congregated in nearby pubs and workshops, acting as body guards or simply soliciting for work. Languages that were once part of the old world, Spanish, Chinese, English, and other exotic tongues flowed through the air, intermingling into a perfect cacophony of chaos and noise.
"Wow, I've never seen anything like it Sarge." PFC Wright, son of a brahmin farmer back in the Boneyard, whistled softly.
"Yeah man," another Private smirked, "It's almost like…like "
"A squalid piece-of-shit urine soaked hellhole." Sergeant Reyner finished.
"Took the words right outta my mouth sarge." Wright chuckled, the private subconsciously giving his service rifle a small click to load his magazine. The Hub was a place of wealth and excitement, but also danger. The rest of first Recon did the same. The caution was normal and required in the Hub, as several rotting bodies of former squatters littered some parts of the streets, mingled in with the unconscious bodies of drunkards and chem addicts
"Keep close in formation, we're on our way to the Police Building. Don't excite any of the locals."
"Sir." PFC Wright nodded, as did the rest of the squad.
And as if to underline his point, the members of 1st recon heard a gunshot in the street beside them, followed by a woman screaming and several more shouts from the crowd.
"We're not here to police these people, we have a job to do. The Colonel is expecting us at the Police Station." Sergeant Reyner pulled up the face wrap to cover his face, then proceeded to navigate through the mob.
Councilman Westin watched with awe as he stood in the office overlooking the bustling hub, marveling at the extraordinary chaos, yet efficiency of the greatest merchant city in the Core Region. It reminded him in many ways of the great city back west, the Capital in Shady Lands. It had it all, the energy, the bustling factories and merchants that could turn a small community into a great republic, one that could encompass the American Southwest and eventually rebuild the great country that had been lost so long ago.
And today, the Republic would be one step closer to recognizing this great dream.
He focused once again at his desk, donated to him graciously by the sheriff of the Hub. The New California Republic and the Hub had an established alliance for some time, one that had its roots in the organizing of the great caravans that travelled through the NCR, in exchange for goods at a reduced price, the NCR would agree to lend the Hub its elite Ranger battalions to protect their wares from raiders and the like. The Hub merchants, seeing the value in disciplined NCR units over their hired mercenaries, gladly accepted, and from that, the bonds of cooperation and friendship grew.
As part of the executive council, Westin was one of the President's closest advisors, and it was he who had initially offered the idea of taking it one step closer, full-fledged membership into the Republic.
A knock resounded on the office door, and Westin answered politely.
"Come in, it's unlocked."
A Hub police officer, dressed in pre-war combat armor, opened the door and saluted. "Sir, Colonel Ellis, the officer you asked for is here."
"Excellent." The Councilman nodded. "Lead him in please."
Within moments, an NCR colonel entered the room, standing ramrod straight and saluting the councilman.
"A pleasure to meet you sir." Colonel Ellis, dressed in the desert uniform of an NCR soldier, saluted. He wore the old weathered face of a veteran, tanned, scarred, along with a regular issue army cut.
"The pleasure is all mine Colonel." Westin nodded, and he noticed that Ellis slightly relaxed, but still kept his disciplined posture. The Councilman gestured towards the empty chair across his desk. "Please sit."
"Sir." Ellis nodded, taking the seat before Westin proceeded, walking to his desk and picking up several sheafs of paper, casually reading them over.
"Colonel Ronald Ellis, of 5th Battalion. You distinguished yourself quite well at Navarro a few months back." Westin noted, the joint alliance between the Shi, NCR and Brotherhood to bring down the last remnants of the Enclave in the Core Region went off spectacularly. With the bulk of the Enclave forces destroyed or headed Eastwards, the skeleton garrison was easily overwhelmed, though not without significant casualties to the coalition forces. It was Ellis and his ranger battalions that snuck into the Enclave base, disabling their auto-defense turrets, allowing the Shi and Brotherhood forces to finish off the job.
Ellis nodded in recollection, though not a glimmer of pride went through his features. "Our boys did their job sir."
Westin nodded in approval, deciding that Ellis was the kind of soldier he liked. He had been in politics too often to see the types that bragged about the glory and honor war brought. Ellis on the other hand, was a no-nonsense professional, who did his job because it was his duty, nothing more. And he wasn't the type to take credit away from his subordinates either.
"That they did, which is why the president specifically asked for your battalion. They are in the city of course?"
"Yes sir, my advanced recon units arrived this morning, the rest will be here shortly." Ellis replied back, mentally calculating the men he had brought with him today. With the destruction and routing of the Enclave, the NCR Government had downgraded the threat levels in the state to the bare minimum, disbanding a good portion of the army but leaving several mobile divisions in play. From his own force, he had four battalions, mustering perhaps four hundred troopers in arms total. Hardly enough to constitute a pre-war battalion, but in the context of the post-apocalyptic wasteland, four hundred men had as much weight as a division did in the pre-war days.
"Excellent," Westin nodded. "As you know Colonel, the president and the Hub Council have officially ratified the terms of the integration treaty. What this means is, three days from now, the Hub will be considered NCR territory, and its the fine people will be inducted as full citizens of the NCR, with full rights and protections, and more importantly, making them under our full jurisdiction. "
The Councilman remarked, putting down the intelligence reports he had been reading earlier.
"This means that we'll need to establish order in the city quickly, I'm confident your men are up to the task."
Ellis nodded. "I can have my men deployed within the next twenty four hours, just let us know where you need 'em."
Westin slapped the table lightly in exclamation. "That's the type of initiative I'm looking for Colonel. Do you have your recon squad ready?"
"Yes sir, but I'm not sure what you need from them?"
"Let's just call it, an insurance policy. Not many folks are too happy about being part of the NCR, and several more would be more than happy to take a pop shot at our president if you catch my drift.
"Entirely, sir." Ellis answered drily. "What do you need us to do?"
"Quite simple really." Westin said as he settled back casually in his office chair. "There are several factions that we know of in the Hub that may oppose the establishment of law and order. I'm sure you've heard of a few of them? The Thieves guild? The Hub underground?"
"In passing sir."
"The Thieves guild is no issue, I've no doubt the scum will find a way around our new laws, but they aren't going out of their way to stop the annexation, it's the underground that is the main concern."
Ellis nodded, letting the council continue.
"The underground is essentially a criminal organization. THE criminal organization in the hub, they target merchants, soldiers, police, you name it, anyone who gets in their way. All crime in the Hub can be traced to them. They were dangerous, even fielded something like a private army. Their leader, Decker was a ruthless one, even made a play for the water distribution system to dominate the town."
"What stopped them?" The Colonel asked out of curiosity.
"Some vault dweller." Westin remarked, "but that's in the past now, the one who runs the show, is a man by the name of Kane. We know he's been keeping tabs on the annexation process, even doing his best to sabotage it. Intel indicates that he's even smuggling weapons into the Hub."
"Should we call in our friends from the Brotherhood of Steel?" The colonel suggested.
"We have considered that, but recently relations have been icy at best with their new high elder. We sent them an offer for a peaceful integration with the NCR Military to further our alliance, but the High Elders, needless to say, were resistant to that idea. I think the cooperation was only good when we had one common enemy, the Enclave. With them gone, the Brotherhood's back to business as usual. We don't expect any help from them in this mess."
"And I suppose that's where 1st recon comes in?" Ellis frowned.
"Precisely Colonel. I need your men to track him down and remove this knife from the Republic's back. Then we can proceed with a peaceful annexation."
"Won't we be suspected of publicly targeting and assassinating him?"
"If anything, the merchants of the Hub will thank us for it, and it shows that the NCR can bring order back to this chaotic world." Westin smiled, getting up from his chair and indicating the interview was over.
"Have your 1st recon men take Kane's head, and we'll be one step closer to reunifying this wasteland and toward a brighter future. I know you won't let us down son."
"If you say so sir."
Maxson Bunker, Brotherhood of Steel Headquarters
"Hail Senior Paladin."
The greeting was filtered, mechanical, spoken through the power armored mask of an elite Brotherhood knight.
"And Steel preserve you Knight-Captain." The Paladin replied cordially, shouldering his laser rifle and extending his hand to his fellow knight. Though the T45B was the standard heavy power armored suit that was issued amongst all Brotherhood forces, the Knight in front of him was wearing the older T45d.
"Knight-Captain Aiden, it's great to see you again. It has been awhile." Paladin Nolan McNamara extended his hand to his old friend, since they had both been initiates at the Lost Hills Bunker, they had split off to their separate chapters. McNamara heading off to the Mojave chapter, while Aiden stuck it out with the San Francisco branch of the Brotherhood, keeping tabs on the Shi, as well as the Enclave Remnants. It was a pleasant surprise to see his friend so far away from his home base, but it also pointed to something big. The Brotherhood of Steel bunkers usually operated independently, though answering to the same Lost Hills Elder Council, he never remembered any time when senior officers from each bunker were called together. Ever.
"Indeed my friend, by this time I'd have thought you've made Elder." Aiden joked. It was true that McNamara had risen in the ranks exponentially faster than his friend, but Aiden has chosen to dedicate his time in the Brotherhood to missions above ground, gathering intel on the surrounding factions and giving him less time gathering pre-war technology, something that McNamara and his Chapter were specialized in, and so promotions came slowly, but that did not diminish McNamara's respect for Aiden's combat experience.
"Heaven spare me that." McNamara chuckled. "Elder Elijah does a good job leading us to on the right path."
"That is good to hear, I can't say much about the chapter in San Francisco, the Shi seem to be getting more powerful each day."
"Maybe that is why High Elder Maxson has called us all together? To address that potential threat?" McNamara said uneasily, noting the heavy concentration of Brotherhood troops and equipment he had witnessed the past few weeks.
"To be honest, I'm not sure myself, but that's a possibility. Either way, it is going to be big. I've never seen so many senior Paladins and Elders in one place like this. One well placed bomb-"
McNamara glanced around the underground hallways of the bunker, but already he saw that security was extra tight. With platoons of Power armored soldiers making regular rounds across the halls. In the lounging area of the bunker, several dozen Paladins and knights casually conversed with each other, waiting on word from their leaders.
"Now now Nolan, no need to get paranoid, now that the Enclave is gone eh?" Aiden jokingly slapped his friend on the back. "Besides, you'll find out soon enough, the meeting is for members Star Paladin Class and above, you'll have to inform us lowly knights after the briefing." Aiden said slyly, just as he led his friend to the solid steel doors with the emblem of the sword and cog of the Brotherhood of Steel emblazoned on it.
McNamara nodded, stepping through the doors as the two guards verified his holotag. A retinal eye scanner by the wall and thumb print scanner verified his biological information as well, cross referencing it with the one hundred members in the Brotherhood of Steel that had access to this one room. The heart of Brotherhood chain and command.
The door opened to reveal a somewhat anxious Elder Elijah, recently promoted by the Mojave Chapter, he was the youngest Elder in the chapter's history, known for his unconventional methods that produced quick results.
The room itself was filled with dozens of Brotherhood Generals and Paladins, all in their advanced Power Armor. The mummer of conversations and laughs echoed through the room as old comrades exchanged notes, and made small talk.
Before Paladin McNamara could even ask what was bothering his elder, the lights in the room suddenly turned brighter, highlighting a podium at the center of the room.
"Good Morning Everyone."
A hard, stern voice echoed over the PA system, and in that instant, the room stiffened to attention. McNamara himself, having heard this voice only through couriered holotapes, could not believe it. On a podium, near the center of the conference chamber, was a tall well built man in elder's robes. Though he was supposedly in his mid forties, he looked young and vital. For a second, he couldn't believe he was staring at this man in the flesh, the descendent of the Legendary founder of the Brotherhood, the man whose intelligence, knowledge and benevolence was known throughout the order. Some of the more reverent members of the Brotherhood even knelt in awe before him. All however, bowed in respect.
High Elder Jeremy Maxson nodded in acknowledgement, gesturing his hand to make sure everyone remained at ease.
"I am glad that you are all able to make it here today Brothers, for today is indeed a historic day."
High Elder Maxson smiled, savouring the moment, knowing that at this moment, all of the Brotherhood's mightiest warriors and generals had focused their attention on him. As head of the largest Techno-religious organization in the Wasteland, there were some who considered him something of a prophet.
"The Path of the Brotherhood of Steel is not an easy one Brothers, as you all know. Forged in the fires of the apocalypse, we have sworn to preserve and protect the gifts of technology that would have been lost in the flame, so that man may rise up once again from the ashes." The Elder's voice boomed as he projected it across the room, sending shivers down the spine of McNamara, touching deeply on the faith that had been imbued in him as long as he served.
"We now come at a crossroads Brothers and Sisters, though we are still strong, as you can see by the gathering in this room, this very bunker. We are dwindling in numbers. Threatened on all sides by friends and foe alike."
Maxson smiled as he caught the eye of several of his promising officers caught off guard by that statement. There were those who may have objected to his words, Paladin Lyons and Scribe Rothchild coming to mind, but he had been sure to send them off on a technology gathering expeditionary force to the East, where he expected them to remain, indefinitely.
With that pleasant thought in mind, he continued the speech.
"Today, the New California Republic is annexing their neighbouring state, the Hub. While this is great for them, it poses serious questions for us. We have all seen how relentlessly the NCR has been expanding these past few years, and that my Brothers and sisters, is a cause for concern." He voice nearly trembled with passion as he spoke the next parts.
"For decades we have watched the small settlement of Shady Sands grow under our watch, prospering and growing into this Republic while living under the very blanket of security we provided, and what do they do in return? They siphon off sacred technology from our bunkers, hoarding it for their own bases and cities. They claim to be the true heirs of the old world, the last hope of the new world, ignoring all the vital contributions we've made over a century ago. They build a government bloated with corruption and bureaucracy and call it progress. This morning, we've recently received a formal request for annexation with the NCR. I say, we draw the line, today!"
The room suddenly hushed in silence. High Elder Maxson hinted at it, but never said it outright, until today.
"Brothers… Sisters…... I must ask you to once more bring glory to the Brotherhood. I have seen what the NCR has to offer and I will tell you, it is nothing new! It is the same corruption and filth that had doomed our world two centuries ago. It is the same distain and ignorance of the power of technology that caused men to casually destroy the world at the touch of a button. I've said it once, and I'll say it again, those that do not respect technology, do not deserve to have it."
The officers remained silent, in awe of what the Elder was about to say next.
"Mark my words, if we allow the NCR to continue on this path we will find nothing but destruction in our future. History will repeat itself. It is our sacred duty to the Brotherhood, no….to humanity, that the NCR does not grow any stronger."
"That means only one thing. War. A great war. A cleansing war." Maxson said this solemnly, and the rest of the bunker remained hauntingly silent. The words uttered by the High Elder echoed through the chamber, resounding in the hearts and minds of every man and woman listening.
"Our fathers died for the sins of others. That will never happen to us again. We have become self-sufficient. We have become keepers of knowledge and lore. We have survived the end of civilization. We take responsibility for our actions, and we hold accountable the actions of others. WE are the future."
"This is as much our pledge to humanity as it is my pledge to you. The Brotherhood of Steel is justly named. We are a Brotherhood. Unlike our fathers, we will stand back to back with those that share our convictions and beliefs."
"We are steel. We are hard. We have been sharpened to an edge. We are the Brotherhood of Steel. And we will prevail."
The room hushed, making it possible to hear even a pin drop.
"Your Elders and generals will have been briefed already, go forth, and bring glory to us. And always remember the fires that we were forged in. Never forget."
He nodded towards the officers.
As the high elder exited the room, the Elders and Generals exploded into a bustle of conversation, some men, righteously infuriated with the so called 'friendly' NCR, vowed vengeance while other officers watched quietly, as men applauded the coming of another war that would change the face of the Wasteland forever.
Paladin Nolan McNamara watched silently as he and Elder Elijah conferred near the door.
"So that's it then? Everything is to change?"
Elder Elijah shook his head anxiously. "No Nolan, everything has already changed. We prepare for war."