Fallout 4: The Rise of the M.C.R
The Return of the General
Two hundred years before, the world had been torn apart by the Great War, a thermonuclear war that was the culmination of the Sino-American War which had seen the two superpowers struggle over the last remaining resources of Earth.
Even after two centuries the lasting effects of the war could still be seen and felt across North America, the ecosystem of the planet had still not recovered, and radiation was an enduring danger to life.
On the east-coast of North America lay the former US state of Massachusetts which had collapsed following the war and from its ruins the Commonwealth was born. A lawless and desolate dominion of various factions and settlements and lacking any form of central governance.
Sat aboard an old boat travelling down along the coast passed the ruined town of Rockport was Alec Carter, a soldier of a by gone age, a sole survivor, and a significant figure within the Commonwealth. His latest journey however had taken him beyond the borders of the Commonwealth, and he was contemplating everything that had happened in the last two months during his journey to Far Harbor.
Truth be told he was unsure of how to feel about everything that had transpired there. What he had done was terrible, however it had been for the good of the people, but he couldn't help but feel a sense a doubt about his decision.
Beyond his moral conundrum the trip had been incredibly interesting to say the least. The Mount Desert Island to use its original name was somewhat exotic in comparison to the Commonwealth, the irradiated fog that plagued the island while dangerous had caused numerous mutations to the local flora and fauna.
Far Harbour was a settlement built on the harbour itself and was no more than a shanty town much like the most settlements of the Commonwealth. Its people were hard and coarse and mistrustful of outsiders, all they cared for was surviving the fog and didn't try to make their lives better or improve their situation.
The second settlement and faction on the island was Acadia. A colony of escaped Synths, where a synth could live free and without fear of the Institute. The colony was all but unknown to the people and factions of the Commonwealth, if anything it was actually thought to be a myth or a Institute trick to recapture their synths.
Acadia was led by DiMa, an older generation synth prototype who had established the colony years before and was responsible for the ongoing peace between the islands three major factions. Although that peace had come at a price and had a dark history which Alec had discovered and found himself caught up in.
In light of everything Alec did think that DiMa was a good leader, he had made some impossibly hard choices but genuinely wanted what was best not only for his own people but for the entire island's population. DiMa did however have a particularly skewed and somewhat distant view of the world that Alec blamed on DiMa's synthetic physiology.
Despite being complicit, Alec had done what he had lightly and had forced DiMa to upload his own memories once more so that he would always remember the price that had been paid to maintain the peace on the island and would share the burden of guilt and consequences of their actions.
Thinking on the existence of the Synth Colony made Alec wonder if he should tell the Railroad of its existence, he was no longer affiliated with the group, but Acadia's existence could help them. The group was completely ignorant of Acadia as far as Alec knew but it was possible he just hadn't been privy to that information.
While the Railroad was unaware of Acadia's existence, the colony on the other hand was well acquainted with their group and disapproved of their methods and actions in protecting synths. Something that Alec had found ironic given the revelations of what DiMa had done over the years.
One other aspect that had perturbed Alec was third faction of the island, a sect of Children of the Atom Religion. The group hadn't been his first encounter with the strange religion, he had spoken to a number of its worshipers while searching the Glowing Sea for the elusive Dr Virgil and had made a point to learn about them.
Religion had never been something that Alec had ever followed, his family had never been religious and growing up he had always found it an odd concept. This post-war religion was one of the strangest and most foreign concepts of divinity he had ever seen.
Atoms were the building blocks of the universe and it has been through the power of atomic science that the old world had been destroyed. The radiation that lingered from the Great War had caused severe mutations and nature adapted to survive, it wasn't divinity that had caused it, it was merely science.
Looking back over his actions on the island Alec knew that his view on this strange religion had influenced his decision. Their fanaticism was dangerous, and it needed to be curtailed, especially given their access to a nuclear submarine in which they had made their church.
In time the synth duplicate who now controlled the Island sect of the Children of Atom would eventually be discovered, but for now it would maintain the peace and begin to pacify the followers of Atom.
"I might be the one with a mechanical brain, but I can hear you thinking from where I am standing over this awful wind. You thinking about whether to tell the Institute about Acadia?"
The voice belonged to Nick Valentine, a synth detective from Diamond City and an old friend and companion of Alec's who had helped him find his missing son Shaun. It had been Nick's case that had took them to Far Harbour, and it had been something of an awakening to Nick.
Alec looked at his friend and saw that his glowing golden eyes were watching him carefully and was somewhat envious that Nick was not affected by the cold weather that buffeted them both.
"I wasn't thinking of the Institute," Alec replied pulling his thick leather coursers coat tighter around himself to fend off the cold wind. "They would immediately seek to reclaim the escaped Synths and I will admit to being curious to see what the colony might accomplish on its own without interference. If Acadia was removed from the island then the Balance of power on the Island would also be seriously compromised too."
Nick nodded slightly his piercing gaze leaving Alec as he replied, "with DiMa leading them I doubt the islands balance of power will shift. It was an odd experience to meet him. I have no recollection of having met him, yet I feel a bond with him."
When the two of them had made their way to Acadia and discovered DiMa they had discovered that the two synths had a shared history and were in many ways brothers. Since then Nick had made not attempt to discuss the revelations of his origins and Alec has respected his boundaries but it seemed he was ready to discuss it.
"You suffer from the same drawback as DiMa." Alec said sadly, "You were both prototypes, you were never designed to operate as long as you have. Your memory banks only hold so much data before you eventually overwrite your old memories with new ones."
"It explains why I don't remember Kanji or that case we worked on in great detail." Nick admitted, "I hired Ellie not long after that time to keep my case notes and records of my work. DiMa went digital with his augmentation whereas I went Analog."
Alec looked at his friend and felt sorry for him, despite Nick being free of the constraints of programming and having sentience he was still enslaved to his hardware.
"What do you think would happen to Far Harbour if the existence of Acadia became common knowledge?"
"The Institute would storm the island to reclaim their property." Nick replied easily, "The Railroad would involve themselves trying to protect the Synths. Your Minutemen wouldn't care much, they are beyond the Commonwealth after all."
"And the Brotherhood?" Alec asked pointedly knowing Nicks disdain for them, "Do you think they will sit contently in the Airport knowing the colony is to the north? They already want the Institute destroyed."
"The Brotherhood of Steel." Nick said bitterly, "Over the years I have heard many tales of the Brotherhood, they have chapters across most of America. It might be my own prejudice, but they care only for their own betterment not for the common man. You know this Alec and you know if they had the chance they would dismantle me too."
It had almost been two years since Alec had first discovered the Recon Squad of the Brotherhood of Steel at the Cambridge Police station and in that time he had turned down three offers of sponsorship to join them. The third offer had come from the Brotherhood leader Elder Arthur Maxson personally, but Alec had firmly and politely declined.
In that time Alec had given the Brotherhood assistance on a number of occasions but only as what Alec defined as a private contractor. Although he knew that the Brotherhood would call him a mercenary.
There had been a part of Alec that had wanted to join the Brotherhood of Steel. He felt something remarkably familiar about their organisation, militant as they were Alec was reminded of his own time in the US Army. However, what turned him away from them was their doctrine, he did not agree with several of their policies and wouldn't bend his own ideals to meet their expectations.
Of course, the same could be said of the Institute. The only difference was that his son led them, and Alec was trying to have a relationship with him while it was still possible.
Nick and Alec remained resumed their silence, each was caught up in their own thoughts, Nick thinking about DiMa and himself while Alec turned his thoughts back to the Commonwealth and its future.
When Preston had appointed him General of the Commonwealth Minutemen, Alec had no idea of the amount of work it would amount to. At the time he had secretly thought the position a means to an end in his search for Shaun. However, the more he travelled and the more people he had met and aided the more he had stepped into the position and helped the people and the Commonwealth beyond his own agenda.
It was under the flag of the Minutemen that Alec had helped establish and unite settlements across the eastern Commonwealth. He had helped secure their former headquarters as a base of operation once more and then worked to improve their resources, training and increase their numbers.
Everything he had done to strengthen the Minutemen had allowed Alec to confidently leave the Commonwealth in order to aid Nick in his case to Far Harbor. Although there was so much more than he wanted to do. A pre-war relic. That was what Piper was fond of calling him, but this relic still had much to teach this new world.
Eventually they came up on the Nakano wharf and Nick docked the boat with a light bump and they were greeted by the three Nakano's waving happily and reunited. Kanji Nakano was so grateful that he gave them a bucketful of caps and some other odds and ends in payment.
With the case now over and back in the Commonwealth Alec was anxious to get back to Sanctuary Hills, his home, to ensure that everything was well and catch up with everything since his absence. From Sanctuary he would be able to get a report from the Minutemen before finally getting to visit Shaun in the Institute.
Travelling on foot across country was slow and tedious and it was during times like this that Alec missed the mass transport systems of the world before the bombs. He dreamed of the day when he could drive across country or ride a train but would settle for being able to travel on horseback if any had managed to survive the war.
It took them three hours to cut across country, they hadn't stopped to rest at all but had been careful to avoid the mutated creatures that roamed the wilds of the Commonwealth. When the sun began to dip in the sky, Nick suggested they should find shelter and Alec agreed and they headed for Outpost Zimonja.
When Preston had first told Alec that a group of settlers wanted help establishing a settlement at the old radio relay tower he had not been in favour of the decision. It offered little in natural defences and was incredibly exposed yet despite his warnings and attempts to convince them otherwise, the settlers had still gone ahead with their plan and the settlement was born.
Like most of the Commonwealth settlements it was nothing more than a shanty-like camp, but it was what passed for civilisation in the post-war world. Alec however remembered the world as it was and strived to rebuild it, and it was why he had become so involved in the establishment of Sanctuary Hills as a settlement. Its rebuilding had been carried out to his own vision, and he had personally hunted down the plans, books, materials, and tools needed to help do it properly.
As Zimonja came into view all thoughts of a hot meal and rest were swept from Alecs mind, there was something quite different about the settlement. The closer the two of them got the more Alec became convinced that something had changed in the Commonwealth while he had been gone.
"Nick what do you see?" Alec asked looking for confirmation of what he feared, his hands touching the pistols strapped to his legs under his leather trench coat assuring himself that they were still there.
Shielding his eyes to get a better look through the rays of the setting sun, Nick studied the settlement in front of them. "Zimonja. Looks like they have fortified it since the last time I passed this way."
"They have built a wall around themselves and those glinting domes are turrets I would bet. This is not the same settlement I remember from my own visits either. Eliza is a hard woman, but she is not a fool. She would not commit to using resources like this unless there was a good reason for it."
"You say that, yet they still went ahead with building this place against your recommendation." Nick said flatly, "But your right, those fortifications are no match for The Wall of Diamond City, but this took time and no small amount of material."
Without further word the two of them hurried towards the settlement, intent on investigating the changes only to be stooped in their tracks a hundred and fifty yards away by a loud gunshot.
"You there!" Came a loud voice, Alec and Nick turned towards the voice and found themselves staring down the barrel of a laser musket held by a young man, perhaps eighteen years old. "State your business travellers."
"Stand down." Alec ordered holding up his hands as a sign of non-combatants, "My name is Alec Carter, General of the Commonwealth Minutemen."
"The General?" The man asked surprised, but he didn't lower his weapon, "The General has been gone for months, Colonel Preston Garvey is currently commanding the Minutemen."
Well that was good news Alec thought to himself, that meant that Preston was still alive at least and was following his orders and leading the Minutemen, however that did not mean nothing bad could have happened.
"We have never met so you wouldn't recognise me." Alec said calmly and wished he had his Generals outfit on instead of the leather coat. "But surely you will recognise my companion? He is almost as famous as I am and one of a kind to boot?"
"Almost as famous?" Nick spluttered humorously, "I have been walking the Commonwealth longer than you Alec." He titled his head back slightly so the boy could see his patched face and glowing amber eyes and his mechanical hand glistened in the low glow of sunset.
"You're a Synth!" The man cried alarmed.
"Of course, he is." Alec said slightly alarmed and he stepped in front of Nick now, "This is Nick Valentine, Diamond City's Nick Valentine, of the Valentine Detective Agency? Surely you have heard of him."
"What of it?" The man asked, Alec suddenly realised that he was probably closer to sixteen. A boy in truth but the Commonwealth made an adult of most children while they were young.
"Alaric!" Came a loud grumbling voice "You better not be threatening squirrels again!"
"No Ma'am." The boy said quickly and blushing, "travellers came down from the north."
A tall well built, sun-kissed woman came up behind the boy and looked them both over and shook her head with a light smirk of amusement.
"Well I can't say you didn't do the right thing in challenging them boy." She said as she pushed down the barrel of his weapon much to his surprise, "But you are actually threatening the General of the Minutemen. Shooting your commander will not go down well, now stop fretting and resume your patrol."
The boy looked shocked now and mumbled a quick apology and scarpered.
Alec looked over the newcomer and saw the lines on her face, she had aged since he had last seen her, but she looked healthy enough.
"Eliza." Alec said in greeting, "That was an unexpected welcome, you have tightened your defences since I left."
Eliza frowned but nodded, "We had to. By order of Colonel Garvey after what happened down at the Warwick's, and the mess down south. We burnt through a lot of our resources to do it, but Sanctuary Hills leant us some aid, Marcy tried to stop that but Sturges was able to swing it."
"What do you mean after what happened at the Warwick's? What's happening in the south?" Alec asked, ignoring the comment about Marcy, that woman had caused him too many headaches in the past.
"Well you would know if you hadn't done a bunk and left the Commonwealth to god knows where." She said sternly, but pointed at his Pipboy, "You should check the radio on that, it's all over the radio."
"I hadn't thought to listen." Alec said lamely and felt stupid for not thinking of tuning in to the Commonwealths radio stations for any type of news. The reception on Far Harbor was poor so he had fallen out of the habit of tuning in. "Tell me Eliza what has happened since I have been gone from the Commonwealth." He commanded.
"The Brotherhood of Steel." She said spitting out the name like it was a curse, "That is what happened. For all of their talk about freeing us from the fear of synths and helping tame the Commonwealth from feral ghouls and super mutants they have shown their true colours now."
Alec exchanged a look with Nick at her words, so their worries were not for nought.
"They began to demand tributes and payment from various settlements in exchange for their apparent protection and deeds on behalf of the people of the commonwealth. They were refused, since we support our minutemen, and they serve to protect us." She continued and Alec felt a small feeling of accomplishment wash over him at the faith the people put in his reformed minutemen.
"So the Brotherhood began to bully, extort, and outright steal food and resources from settlements and take it back to their airship. One of the settlements they tried to work over was the Warwick Homestead, Roger refused to deal with them, and the settlement fought back."
"Was anyone killed?" Alec asked horrified and he couldn't believe how far the Brotherhood had overstepped, extorting people for resources was bad enough but killing the people of the commonwealth was an atrocity.
"No, but they couldn't stand up the Brotherhoods soldiers. When the Minutemen reinforcements arrived, they found the Homesteads fields ablaze and its people taking shelter with the Atom Cats who came to help them." She explained as they walked towards Zimonja, "The Brotherhood also went for your project on Spectral Island. They claimed all of the resources stockpiled there too and left the people stranded without supplies."
"Where were the minutemen?" Alec demanded, "Why was there no response?"
"It happened too quickly for a patrol to get to them. This all happened within a small window, they used their aircraft to do this all simultaneously." She explained, "For now, the Brotherhood is keeping to itself again, in the meantime Colonel Garvey gave the order to each of the settlements under his protection to begin fortifying."
Alec growled with frustration and punched a tree, it stung but he barely noticed it.
"Why." He managed to ask.
"No one knows. Most think they did this because you were absent, and they were taking advantage of the situation." She told him pointedly, "Without you here to lead them the Minutemen lacked the strength and conviction we have grown accustomed to, you are the deterrent to the BOS, or at least that's what the consensus is among the people."
"You will get better answers if you high tail it to Sanctuary Hills, they will know more than I do. Most of the more seasoned and experienced minutemen have been sent south leaving us with boys too green and men too old to do much more than intimidate squirrels."
Nick gave Alec a look, "We should go, your needed Alec. It should be safe enough to travel to Sanctuary in the dark."
"Agreed." Alec sighed; he was tired but if what Eliza said was true they had to reach Sanctuary.
"Do you need provisions General?" Eliza asked drawing herself up proudly, "Zimonja doesn't have much to spare at the moment as the supply lines you created have broken down due to everything happening in the south, but we can at least offer you a meal and water?"
A small smile of thanks was all Alec could manage; he was too focused on processing everything he had just learnt. "Thank you but no. You need all the resources that you have here and I what little you might have that is spare. I will deal with the Brotherhood, but should you get into any trouble remember that Tenpines Bluff is only over the ridge and the two of you must help each other. Failing that should you need to safe harbour head straight for Sanctuary Hills."
Eliza nodded but her jaw was set, and Alec knew what she was going to say before she opened her mouth.
"Thank you, but no. This here is our home we will defend it until our last."
"You have children here." Nick protested in a last-ditch effort to appeal to the woman, "You can condemn yourselves to die but save your children."
Eliza didn't say anything more and went inside the main building as they both turned around and began a fast-paced hike out of Zimonja and back into the hills that would lead to Sanctuary.
As they set off, they didn't speak as Alec began to fiddle with his PipBoy and tuning in to Diamond City Radio and Radio Freedom to get as much current news as he could.
Sanctuary Hills swarmed with activity from what Alec could see from an overlook as he began to make his way down towards the water's edge that would lead him round to the bridge. The island was patrolled by groups of heavily armed sentries patrolling along the reinforced and expanded stone walls.
Their farmland and small cattle stock were still being tended to from what he could see, and it looked like they would have a good harvest for their stores too. The small community was still under construction, several additional houses looked to have been pulled down and the start of new brick houses looked to have been begun being built.
However, those construction crews were now working on the walls, expanding them, or installing new artillery battlements.
Nick whistled observing it all, "They have been very busy here too. It makes quite a statement you know. Sturges did as you asked, Sanctuary Hills doesn't look anything like the rest of the Commonwealths settlements."
"No." Alec said between breaths as he increased his pace eager to get at the information Sanctuary would possess. "I am nostalgic for how things once were, but I also do not want people to live in squalor. However, this will be a heavily fortified town once complete which is quite different from any pre-war towns I visited, in a way it's actually a modern twist on medieval townships."
Nick managed a snort in response.
The sentry post on the road noticed them and came on them however once they saw Alec and Nick they were shocked but incredibly happy to see them.
"General!" Said their young leader, "We are so pleased to see you! You need to reach out to the Castle sir, they need you!"
"At ease." Alec said sternly, "Where is Sturges?"
"Should be overseeing the construction of one of the larger laser batteries." The minuteman said, "We hope to be able to defend Sanctuary from vertibirds."
Alec nodded and they quickly made their way over the repaired wooden bridge and passed the checkpoint and gate on the Sanctuary Hills side and went in search of Sturges and eventually found him tinkering with a large gun placement.
"Sturges!" Alec said surprised, "I didn't know you were so skilled at weapon design!"
"Alec?" Sturges questioned as he turned around in shock and was open mouthed staring at him for a long moment before he pulled himself together. "Well I cannibalised it together from a Gatling laser and fabricated what I needed. I cannot promise it will do much more than drain our generators of power."
Alec inspected it closely and nodded, "It is a good starting point for aerial defence, if this can be tested and refined further this could be used as a viable and strong defence! Good work Sturges!"
Sturges smiled abashed, "thanks Boss, you cannot know how glad I am to see you here, and back in the Commonwealth!"
"I have an idea why." Alec said returning to the matter at hand, "Eliza told me that the Brotherhood of Steel has attacked our settlements and raided the Commonwealth and from what I could tell from the radio all of this has been contained to the south? So, no trouble up here?"
Sturges looked around the weapon platform and noticed that they were attracting a lot of attention so took Alec by the arm and led him away towards the main street.
"No Brotherhood activity, not even a sighting of a vertibird this side of the Charles River. According to Radio Freedom any time a vertibird leaves their airport they fly out into the Bay and then head south; they are out of reach of the Castles artillery." Sturges told him quietly, "Preston called the minutemen south and they are marching and patrolling as a show of strength ready to defend at a moment's notice, but there isn't much they can really do against the Brotherhoods airpower or their armoured infantry."
It was a horrible truth, despite Alecs best efforts the Minutemen were just barely organised and equipped to handle Ghouls or Super Mutants, but the well-oiled war engine that was the Brotherhood of Steel was beyond them. They still needed more infrastructure, numbers, training, discipline, and resources to make them a true fighting force to take on the Brotherhood.
It didn't surprise Alec at all to hear Sturges say it, he was good friends with Preston and had been with him since Quincy and had seen the fall of the original Minutemen.
"I know." Alec admitted, "Even with the minutemen presence bolstered to the south, in reality it is no better protected than Sanctuary Hills is right now."
Sturges laughed "Well that is debatable, I would say that as of twenty minutes ago this became the safest place. We have the General of the Minutemen, the Sole Survivor of Vault 111, the Pre-War Soldier who has taken on the Commonwealth."
Alec snorted and waved him off as being ridiculous.
"He isn't entirely wrong Alec." Nick said, "Your presence alone could give them pause, they know what you can do if pushed."
"I am but one man." Alec said sternly, "they are an entire army, one man cannot take on an army."
"You're not staying long, are you?" Sturges said quickly cutting through the small amount of tension.
"No." Alec said immediately. "I will be gone within an hour, I am needed at the Castle, this has gone on long enough and demands my immediately attention."
"Of course." Sturges said and he looked at Nick, "Will you be going with Alec or you staying here, Mr Valentine?"
"If you want to stay you can use the house." Alec offered. His old house still stood and was patched up and liveable if depressing. Nick didn't even need sleep, so Alec wasn't sure what his friend would do but he was sure Codsworth would be glad of the company.
"I will for a few days if that's okay?" Nick said, "I can help out here in the meantime, I was a decent handyman after all before I set up the agency. But I should get back to Diamond City, I don't like to leave Ellie alone for so long, she moves all my files."
Sturges nodded and went to leave but stopped and frowned, "Be careful out there Alec, we cannot afford to lose you, the Commonwealth needs you too much."
Alec went home and said hello to Codsworth and Dogmeat before going inside Shaun's old room which was now his office and unpacked the contents of his large duffle bag and pack. He had picked up a lot in Far Harbour and he would need to sort through it all later.
Instead he pulled out his military uniform, armour and other assorted belongings and wondered what else he should take that he couldn't acquire later if needed.
Once packed he shouldered his bag and left Sanctuary Hills without further conversation and once he was over the bridge he headed south-west and once he was sure he was alone and no one could see him he activated a setting on his Pipboy activating a beacon
It took five minutes, but suddenly white and blue lightning crackled around him and then the Wasteland was gone.
The light began to dissipate, and Alec blinked furiously to remove the blur from his eyes.
"Father." Said the calm stoic voice of Shaun who stood waiting.
"Shaun." Alec said smiling at his elder son, "Sorry I was gone longer that I thought I would be."
"Do not worry father, I understand that you have a responsibility to those on the surface, just as I have a responsibility to those in the Institute." Shaun said nodding in understanding, "Soon those will be one in the same."
Alec looked at Shaun and thought he looked older, older than he had ever looked and tired.
"How are you Shaun?" Alec asked worried now, "You seem…."
"Old? Frail? Weak?" Shaun said when Alec failed to find the word, "Those are all accurate. I have time, but precious little."
"I am sorry…." Alec said sadly.
"Don't be." Shaun breathed, beckoning him to follow and Alec did. "I was already dying the day I pressed the button to release you from your cryo stasis. This day has been long in coming."
"I shouldn't have gone; I should be here with you." Alec countered, "too much time was stolen from us."
They entered the elevator and began to descend into the Institute, Alec drew looks due to his clothing but, but he barely paid them any attention.
"No, you were right to go. I should have woken you years ago." Shaun admitted regretfully, before getting serious, "You came here because of the Brotherhood of Steel and their actions to the south?"
"Yes." Alec admitted, "I will deal with this myself. The Brotherhood has gone too far. I will speak to Maxson directly, but I will need a contingency plan should any dialogue fail."
"A wise strategy." Shaun agreed, "All of the Institutes resources are at your disposal. Dr Ayo has been working on our own plans to deal with the Brotherhood. They have been searching for the Institute for years and they would destroy us if given the chance."
They stepped into the second elevator which led to Shaun's quarters and he stumbled but Alec caught him.
"You shouldn't be out of bed." Alec scolded as he scooped him up and was shocked by how light Shaun was. "I imagine you met me against medical advice?"
Shaun laughed, "it wasn't against medical advice as I did not tell my doctor that I was going to meet you."
Alec joined the laughter "You know your mother would have scolded you far worse than I, but she would then have scolded me as she would say your actions were my influence."
His words caused Shaun to smile fondly before it turned into a deep frown.
"I wish I had known her." Shaun said sadly, "From what records remain she was a remarkable woman."
"She was." Alec said quietly, "it could as easily have been me who died and she who lived, it was only bad luck that it was I who was not holding you when we entered Vault 111."
Alec gently placed Shaun on his medical bed, and he placed the beds monitors back on to him.
"You should speak first to Dr Li. She has led the development of many of our safeguards and weapons to use against the Brotherhood of Steel since we learnt of their first Recon teams entering the Commonwealth. "We have also…" Shaun said, and his eyes dropped low and he looked like he was fast asleep. "Be careful…"
"I will." Alec said, the lie bitter on his tongue and he watched as Shaun fell to sleep.
Once he was sure that Shaun was asleep, he left the room and made his way to the Advanced Science's and met with Dr Li who didn't look at all surprised to see him and led him to one of the lab rooms.
"We developed this weapon following your retaking of Fort Independence." She told him, "We just had to redesign the original weapons to be used by the Artillery you have there. I have been told your people can use them to great effect so I am sure they will have no issues with these, it's just a change in ammunition after all."
"I should think so." Alec said looking at the contents of the large crates with interest, he asked a number of questions about them and once he was happy, they were taken away to the relay room by several synth units. "Have them transported into the tunnels under the castle, no one uses them."
He normally would have had it beamed to his office but given that he was away he couldn't be sure that it would be empty.
"Your department did well with them." Alec complimented.
"We are not finished." She told him and led him away. "You are aware that the Brotherhood of Steel utilises power armour for their troops. We have been developing our own to combat theirs."
"So, is that why you wanted me to acquire and deliver the armour from Nuka World?" Alec asked, he had delivered that to them almost a year prior and had not seen it since or got an explanation.
"Partly." She explained, "I have recycled some of its parts for our development, however what I really wanted was to study its shielding properties. I should warn you that this power armour is still a prototype and we are still developing some of its systems. We have the resources freed up by the reactor project being complete. However, you will see that we have improved on the design significantly, I am sure you will agree."
Pressing a button, a portion of the wall that had blended seamlessly with the rest of the room retracted, revealing an alcove with a suit of power armour docked waiting.
The armour looked sleeker and more refined than any model Alec had ever discovered across the Commonwealth, and it was clearly of Institute design. Dr Li began a quick explanation of its numerous features, and Alec was surprised to realise that the US Military designs was finally obsolete.
"You will need to return this to me." Dr Li warned, "We have spent months on this project, and I will not start this from scratch."
"Don't worry Dr Li." Alec smiled, "I think it's in both our interests that this armour development is completed."
A plan started to form in Alecs mind, and he wondered whether Maxson would force him to act or whether he would end his extortion of the Commonwealth and resume their previous arrangement of ignoring each other and doing nothing to anger the other.
Either way it would end by the days end.
The Castle loomed in the distance as Alec walked purposely towards it, dressed in military fatigues and boots, his weapon belts strapped round his waist and his generals coat over them all with a new armoured chest piece curtesy of the Institute freshly painted with the Minutemen livery.
A patrol had been marching out from the Castle most probably heading towards a southern settlement to protect, but when they saw a lone man walking towards the Castle they hurried forward only stop and regard him with shock.
Alec did not stop but merely nodded at them and walked past them, he was their General and outranked them all.
The Castles only entrance was guarded by two sentries within restored T45 Power Armour in the Minutemen colours.
"General!" The sentries said in shock and standing to attention, "Open the Doors!" They shouted.
The doors opened and he saw the inside of his Command Centre for the first time in months, the repairs to the main walls had all been completed and the fort was whole once more. Alec saw signs that work was still ongoing, but from the outside it looked much better and respectable.
"The General has returned!" Came the whispers and shouts from those stationed within the fort.
"It's about time you returned from your jaunt to the north." Said the deep voice of Ronnie Shaw, "You look good General, but I know that look. You're here to fight."
"I am." Alec nodded, he saw Preston exit one of the doors and saw his surprise. "I notice that you have a lot more gear than before I left."
"We received a shipment of supplies from your Sanctuary Hills, your man Sturges worked wonders on the weapons and armour but we reached out to the Atom Cats who worked up the paint job." She reported, "Our supply network is hit and miss of late given the commotion, but we should be fine for now depending on what you want to do. As always there is still work to be done."
"One thing at a time." Alec told her, "Colonel Garvey" he said once Preston reached him and saluted, "I see you have kept the Minutemen together while I was helping people to the north."
"I did as you ordered General, but we are outgunned by the Brotherhood, we do not have the resources to match them." Preston reported bitterly, "I failed you, Spectral Island and the Warwick Homestead are gone because of my failure. Just like Quincy."
Alec gave him a consoling look.
"This is not like Quincy." Alec said sternly, "This attack, the Minutemen failure to protect the south is on me, I am the General I will take the responsibility. However, you are not wrong about us lacking the resources, training and assets that they have."
"So, do you have a plan?" Preston asked, "You're here to resolve this incident, aren't you?"
"Yes." Alec nodded, "Shaw, if you go down into the old tunnels where we found my coat you will find several large crates. I want their contents to be split between the artillery positions, and I want them all targeting the space around the Airport."
"You mean to attack them?" She questioned slightly wide eyed.
"Only if I have no choice." Alec told her, "I want your best gunners manning those guns."
She readily agreed and sped off towards his office.
"Where did those crates come from?" Preston asked, he had been down to the tunnels as they wanted to expand the subterranean parts of the castle to act as a command centre with offices and rooms beyond what the old colonial fort walls had room for.
"The Institute." Alec admitted, "Now If you will excuse me Preston, I need to place a call." He began to walk towards the radio shack but stopped, "If I fail today, you will become the General of the Minutemen, do not fail me Preston."
Preston went wide eyed, he had after all passed up position when he gave it to Alec, but he was being given an order now.
"Of course." He nodded reluctantly.
Tapping the radio operator on the shoulder, Alec took control of the Castle radio and picked up the microphone and had the operator open all channels.
"This is General Alec Carter of the Commonwealth Minutemen; I wish to enter into negotiations with the Brotherhood of Steel on their ongoing operations within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts." He spoke clearly he wanted everyone across the Commonwealth to hear this, to know he had returned and was taking on the Brotherhood. "Elder Maxson, I will speak only to you, present yourself to answer for your Brotherhoods actions."
There was silence over the airwaves, and the surrounding Minutemen looked around as if at any second the castle would explode into action.
Then came the crackle and the stern voice of the leader of the Brotherhood.
"General." Maxson said his surprise evident in his tone, "I was not aware that you had returned from your jaunt to lands afar. I feared you might have met your end while those you vowed to lead and protect were left to suffer from the fiends that walk this land. The Brotherhood had to step in while you were gone."
"Then I should like to thank you for your intervention, however we must discuss your position here. Your actions of late have painted you as foreign invaders who only wish to pilfer the resources of the people and reap the technological wealth of the Commonwealth and expand your brotherhoods reach." Alec countered ignoring the jibe, he would not lose his temper today, "I am sure the reports I have been given are due to a misunderstanding, and it is my wish to put aside these ill feelings so we can work in collaboration and have peace across the Commonwealth."
Silence came again, and Alec knew that Maxson was considering how to respond. This was why Alec had called him out so publicly he would have no choice but to respond.
"I agree to your parlay." Maxson said eventually if very reluctantly, "You will be welcomed aboard the Prydwen as our guest and awarded the respect given to all who come under the banner of peace."
Alec smirked, that was exactly what he had wanted.
"Agreed." Alec agreed after a false pause to pretend he was trying to wiggle out of it.
"I have dispatched a vertibird. I will see you on deck soon General."
Turning around Alec saw that the Minutemen were all looking confused.
"Do not worry." He said smiling, "I expected this and planned for this. Just remember when you get the signal you are to act immediately."
"General." Ronnie Shaw asked as she watched him take off his bag and unholster his weapons and place them on the table, "What are you doing, you cannot go unarmed, that is suicide."
'No it isn't." Alec explained, "They will not let me proceed into negotiations within the airship with any weapons, they would be confiscated the moment I stepped aboard. I am taking a stance of strength and will not have them look to see me weakened by taking away my weapons."
Ronnie gasped, "Do you really mean to meet with an entire garrison of armoured soldiers with nothing more than that chest plate? You cannot mean to do that surely!"
"This is all for show." Alec told her, he pointed at his uniform, "This coat is only a symbol of my position, however fear not if I am not without a means of protecting myself. Trust me, things will be fine. Now when you get the signal you are to fire the artillery, but only on the signal."
"What is the signal?" Shaw asked, "Your being deliberately vague general!"
"You will know it when you see it." Alec smirked, "If things go as I believe they will, the Brotherhood will no longer have a foothold within the Commonwealth."
Above them the easily recognisable noise of the twin propellers of a vertibird flew towards the Castle. Alec made his way to the top of the Castle and waited for it to descend and the side door opened when it's as level with him and he jumped inside.
"Please be seated General." Said the pilot.
They began to ascend then, and Alec watched as the Castle began to get lower beneath them and noticed that every single turret lining the fort was tracking the Vertibird.
The pilot was the epitome of discipline and decorum, despite the tension between the Brotherhood and the Minutemen did not seem to notice the turrets tracking him or that he was carrying the leader of the opposition, instead concentrated on flying them to the airship in the distance.
Soon enough they were docked on the Prydwen and Alec jumped down onto the metal deck to be met by four guards who stood in front of Maxson in full armour.
"Before you proceed you will relinquish any weapons." Said one of the Paladins.
"I brought no weapons." Alec countered, "this is a peaceful discussion after all, I am here to negotiate in all good faith."
"You will be searched for concealed weapons all the same." Maxson ordered, "This is not a slight against you General Carter, but we must protect ourselves from treachery, this is protocol which I am sure you will understand."
Getting a nod of agreement from Alec, Maxson gestured for two scribes to come forward and check Alec over for any weapons he might have on his person. They found nothing as Alec had said, and the shook their heads.
"Very good, come inside General so we might come to an agreement." Maxson said as his guards parted and allowed Alec to move forwards and they walked into the heart of the Brotherhood of Steel.
Background to this story:
Relations with the game's main factions:
Minutemen: The path Alec took with the Minutemen follows the same path as you see in the game, they are the first faction he encounters, and he is given the position as General by Preston. Under Alecs command they rebuild and consolidate, gaining a reputation and prestige but all in the name of protecting the people.
The additional settlements that begin to be built are all protected by the Minutemen, there have been some losses to Raiders and Super mutants, but they have done a lot of good and have the respect and support of the people.
BOS: Alec first encountered the Brotherhood in Cambridge but never agreed to join up, instead acted as a private contractor or mercenary for several missions.
Paladin Danse tried several times to recruit Alec but couldn't find a way to get him to commit. When the Prydwen turned up in Boston Alec even met Elder Maxson but declined his offer personally.
The Brotherhood is very much aware of Alecs prowess on the battlefield, he was assessed by Paladin Danse, they know he is the guiding hand and power behind the Minutemen.
Railroad: Alec did not seek out the Railroad because of his belief in their mission, he needed their help to find Shaun and so was forced to work with them for a time. Desdemona was fully aware of his intentions but thought he might be a great asset for the Railroad and so Alec began one of their agents codenamed: Professor.
Much like with the Brotherhood, Alec was given a number of missions to assist their movement but used them to learn a great deal about Synths and the Institute and the complex issues surrounding them both.
After finding the Institute and finding Shaun, Alec cut ties with the group not wanting to prejudice his relationship with his son. The Institute was aware of his familiarity with the organisation, but he kept many of their secrets to himself not wanting to expose them to the SRB.
The Railroad kept away from him, aware that the Institute would most likely be watching and any interaction would jeopardise their operations.
Silver Shroud: While Alec was able to do a lot of good as the General of the Minutemen, there was some work that needed a more subtle hand, a way of him covertly intervening without drawing attention to him.
The Silver Shroud was a way for Alec to strike at the criminals of Goodneighbour without upsetting the peace or exposing himself to reprisals. Mostly Alec has used the Shroud as a way of dealing with Triggermen and Gunners, removing chem-pushers, whore mongers, assassins, and such.
Only two people know his identity, Kent Connolly, and John Hancock.
The Settlements of the Commonwealth: Alec has over the years under the guise of General of the Minutemen established several new settlements across the Commonwealth, providing resources and finance to begin to try and help people build better lives and increase commerce and establish a stable production chain.
One of the most ambitious projects Alec begun was the settlement of Spectral Island. He worked up a trade deal with Bunker Hill and several other settlements to acquire and purchase the resources needed to make a permanent settlement.
Vault 88: Unlike in the game, My Vault 88 was actually fully constructed prior to the Great War. The Vault door was open when the bombs fell because of the visitors, the automated systems kicked in a sealed off the vault but not before a wave of radiation entered the entrance and Atrium. The shockwave of the blast caused a structural weakness in the corridor to Atrium to collapse, which in turn caused a power surge which caused a full security lockdown sealing Barstow and the others inside to become ghouls.
When the Raiders discover the vault door and try to break in the automated distress beacon activates which is what brought Alec to Vault 88. He is able to open the Vault and eventually rescues Barstow and they begin to work together.
Alec however quickly supplants her as Overseer after becoming aware of her intentions to continue the Vault-Tec mission of experimenting on residents. As Overseer Alec instead makes the Vault focus on innovations and development of projects that would improve the lives of Vault Dwellers.
He managed to keep Barstow within Vault 88 but making her the Vault 88 Administrator, she would oversee the day to day running of the vault which enabled Alec to continue his operation above ground but enabled him to keep an eye on her.
Vault 88 is a secure location but still needs a lot of work to make it fully operational, only Barstow and Clem are its permanent residents.
Nuka World: The Minutemen became aware of the reports of a Raider Stronghold to the west, and they needed to investigate the reports. Unable to spare anyone, Alec took the scouting mission himself and was shocked by what he found.
Returning back to the Castle, Alec mustered up a strong compliment of the Minutemen and returned to storm Nuka World and drove the Raiders out. Janet McKenzie became the mayor of Nuka Town and began rebuilding it as a trading hub for the Commonwealth and established a link with Bunker Hill.
The Minutemen established their presence within the town and maintained its security with ongoing projects to begin to try and open the other parks but first they would require a great deal of cleaning and maintenance.
Far Harbour: The mission to Far Harbour was not one that Alec enjoyed because of he came embroiled with the islands politics before he realised and had to make decisions that would affect the future of a lot of people that he would doubted he would ever see again.
On discovering what DiMa had done to ensure peace on the island, Alec found that he didn't want to undo it or make a shift in the islands three factions.
He replaced High Confessor Tektus with a synth, hoping to temper their fanaticism but also ensured they didn't have access to the nuclear stockpile and covertly fixed the radiation scrubbers to their home.
For the people of Far Harbour, he decided to not out Captain Avery as a synth but told DiMa a time would come when she would need to disappear. She didn't age and people would begin to notice. And finally, for the people of Acadia, Alec forced Dima to restore his memories of what he had done and the price of peace, he would always remember that costs and he hoped the odd synth would learn from it.
Automatons: The swarms of robots that threatened the Commonwealth was one that fell to the Minutemen to defend against. In an effort to stop the tide of robots, Alec investigated and eventually found Ada and together was able to trace them to the Mechanist.
When the Mechanist was defeated, Alec spared her life and let her stay in her lair but insisted she begin to recall all of her creations and work on dismantling them. Her idea was noble but flawed by her use of Robobrains, she could better help the Commonwealth by removing the robots and stopping their attacks.
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