Finally I'm on a roll! Not quite the end of last week as I planned but the ending was harder to make than I thought. Still my first fic is finally complete.
DN 506: I'm definitely cooking up another fic or 2 to follow on. The next main one will be on the New Vegas theatre and I might do a smaller side fic here in the Capital Wasteland depending on demand.
Nukeman: Can't say exactly where they're going but the cyborg threat is far from finished...
I'll try and start the next one soon and try and get that one finished sooner than a year and a half (yeah I'm crap on speed). Hope you enjoyed this and I'll see you on the next one...
Grayditch –next morning
Leon had come back to a very different Grayditch to the one he'd left behind. Alphonse and the remaining dwellers of Vault 101 hadn't been idle; they'd set about restoring and rebuilding as much as they could. Nearly all the houses that had been boarded up were now open and, with a little shoring up and rebuilding, were now functional. 2 'open-air' houses in the centre now had tarpaulin covers and were now a makeshift cafeteria and rest area. Scavenging parties to Vault 108 had brought back a good supply of bedding and blankets. Add to all that the supply and water caravans and they had the basics pretty much covered.
The influx of the Vault 99 survivors had been another blessing for the fledgling settlement. Whilst their extra numbers had been some problem at first they'd more than made up for it with their wasteland experience and settlement know-how. It would take a lot of time but a second Haven type settlement was definitely on the cards. Life was harder than both groups had before but it was durable and better yet it was free.
Everyone had given Leon a warm welcome back though they couldn't help but be unnerved by Leon's new limbs and eyes.
"Give them time," Amata had said. "You're still you and they'll come around like I did."
She'd then shown him the home she'd taken, which happened to be the Brandice old house. Her father, intent on giving his daughter some privacy and independence, had taken up residence in the Wilks home. Leon considered this a real stroke of luck as it seemed Amata had been busy herself in the short time he'd been away. God only knew how and where she'd procured a set of all-nighter sleepwear but she had as Leon discovered later when she'd invited him upstairs. Leon had been mind and tongue tied when he entered her bedroom and found her in a very provocative position on the bed; the only word that crossed his mind was whoa!
One 'private victory party' and a few hours sleep later he was waking up to an already awake Amata pulling him into another deep kiss.
"I love you," Amata sighed as she broke the kiss. She'd almost been overcome with relief when she first saw him getting off the Vertibird the previous night. "Please try not to do anything like that again. I don't know if I could stand losing you!"
"I love you," Leon had never been happier in his life. "But I can't really promise, Amata. You know that, I'm still a Brotherhood soldier and a wasteland hero after all."
"Well at least you're not the Lone Wanderer anymore," Amata teased him seductively. "Think you can manage one more time before we have to go? I really missed you."
"As much as I'd love that we should get ready," Leon admitted with some disappointment. He'd have dearly loved to stay and make out with Amata the whole morning but there was too much important business at the Citadel. "You're getting knighted today and I've got a peace deal to push through."
"Think you've got a good chance of pulling it off?"
"If it were the Outcasts or the main Brotherhood I was dealing with it'd be a definite no. As it is with Sarah backing me up and given I'm dealing with her father? Just better than even I'd say."
"I'll head downstairs to the water barrels first then," Amata rolled off the bed. "See you in a minute."
Outside Sarah was getting an unusual request from Alphonse as she was getting their Vertibird ready for flight again.
"I know outsiders aren't supposed to enter your Citadel but do you mind if I...?"
"You want to come in with us? Well, since Amata's going to be a Knight by day's end I suppose I'll only be bending the rules a little, plus there's this peace plan of Leon's. We could use another voice backing it up if it gets to argument. No, scratch that, when it gets to argument."
"I heard you talking about it a little last night," Alphonse revealed. "What's the problem with it? It sounds sensible enough."
"The problem is it needs my father, Rothchild and the rest of the Brotherhood to break one last taboo," Sarah told him. "Even though they've pretty much done all the others this one is going to take something special."
Alphonse knew exactly where she was coming from. It was like suggesting to him five years ago that Vault 101 should have been opened then. "If my support counts for anything in there then you have it. "
"Not sure it will but thanks anyway. You should get aboard. Our two heroes look like they're ready." Sarah saw Amata and Leon emerge from Amata's house and head toward them to board.
"Thanks for everything, Sarah," Amata whispered quietly as Leon and Alphonse got aboard.
"So it went well last night?" Sarah grinned.
"Oh you could say that!" Amata replied dreamily as she boarded. "I owe you one!"
Sarah gave herself a quiet congratulation as she followed Amata in. It had been her who'd given Amata the nightwear on her return; she'd actually found it herself a few months back in the DC ruins while on a tech scavenging run. Whilst she'd had no use for it herself she was glad she hadn't just thrown it away: it had helped make up for her earlier not so successful matchmaking efforts...
Citadel conference room
Houser, Dan and the other Enclave personnel had been brought to the Citadel first thing that morning expecting to be forced to sign a quick formal surrender and then be sent to Grayditch as guards or into the wasteland as exiles. But that hadn't happened and they had been left waiting for over 2 hours. For the first time since leaving Baltimore Haven a lot of them were feeling real concern.
"What the hell's taking so long?" Dan was muttering. Despite having a cool head even his nerves were starting to fray.
"I'm not sure," Houser replied. "Could be some of the Brotherhood's leaders had another plan in mind and they're still arguing over it."
Doc Farnsworth nodded in agreement. "I'm certain that's what it is. Leon and our other saviours probably put forward a more generous plan and their leaders are in the process of shooting it down now I should imagine."
"Yeah. We're still in the dog house with the Brotherhood and most of the people down here," Severance sighed. "I just hope we get the benefit of the doubt."
Although the Pride and Sarah were treating them as equals the rest of the Brotherhood Knights and Initiates had still been giving them the cold shoulder when they'd arrived.
"We're about to find out," Kayla was the first to see one of her old interrogators, Paladin Tristan, coming in.
Dan and Houser gave Tristan a quick salute as he entered. Despite their rustic titles and second generation equipment the Brotherhood was still a professional military force and both knew that good decorum could work in their favour.
"Apologies for the long wait," Tristan looked genuinely contrite as he returned the salute. "But this morning has been...more than a little different. We were intent on making a quick peace settlement but something unexpected was proposed and the Brotherhood has been arguing over it all morning. The debate got a little heated but it was broadly agreed on in the end. Here's the basic text for you to look at before you meet with the Elder."
Tristan passed Houser a piece of paper with a hastily written summary. Houser read it through and nearly passed out from shock. If the Brotherhood was serious, things weren't as bad as he and his friends had thought, they were better than he dreamed possible.
The Enclave Remnant, it seemed, was to be absorbed into the Brotherhood's eastern chapter forces and to be made full Knights, Paladins and Scribes where appropriate. That alone was a staggering concept for Houser. He could see a lot of the Brotherhood not being too happy with that idea. As he read on he quickly discovered that wasn't the half of it. The next idea was for the formation of a new government comprised of the Brotherhood and all of the settlements with the view of first consolidating and rebuilding in the Capital Wasteland and then expanding, trying to reclaim and restore as much of the old US as they could reach. In short: the Brotherhood was absorbing not only them but their mantle as well!
"This is a serious plan?" Farnsworth asked in disbelief as he and the others read it over Houser's shoulder.
"Can't say I blame you," Tristan replied. "I and everyone else here had trouble believing it too."
"Well I personally think it's a pretty good deal, once we get the details sorted out," Houser said. "I didn't expect this sort of offer. The only problem I see is how your side will take it, especially Leon after what went down last year."
Tristan snorted. "Leon is one you don't have to worry about given that he wrote this." That brought everyone up short. "Yes, together with Sentinel Lyons he drafted and presented it to the Elder early this morning. You really must have made an impression for them to do this."
"I imagine it caused quite a stir," Farnsworth mused.
"You have no idea..."
2 hours earlier- Citadel main lab
"If it were anyone else besides you two proposing this I'd be wondering whether they hadn't got too close to the other side and where their loyalties were," Rothchild spluttered as he and Elder Lyons finished reading the proposal. "However given what happened last year and your pivotal roles then I can't really do that."
"I think we should hear your reasoning behind this plan," Lyons said calmly.
"No kidding," Knight Vasquez broke in. Nearly everyone in the lab was a part of the conversation by now. "You're expecting us to join with the same bunch of murderers who tried to 'purify' the wasteland last year? You forgot that already?"
"Think about who you're talking to, Vasquez!" Kodiak snapped. "You don't forget the death of your dad in a hurry!"
"It's all right," Sarah assured a very humbled looking Vasquez. "He's got a good point that needs answering."
Leon nodded in agreement. "And I'll answer it. These aren't the same people who did all that. They're a lot like we are in a way: a splinter faction. They were in Baltimore for most of the time and had no part of Eden's purity crap. They didn't have much time for Autumn either. The old order's gone now; we saw to that at Raven Rock and Adams."
"If anyone doubts his word on that you have mine and the word of the Pride as well," Sarah added. "If it weren't for them the wasteland would be swimming in cyborgs and we'd have lost Leon to them."
"And if anyone doubts that..." Leon unzipped his right arm cover and let it drop to the floor revealing his new Adamantium arm and then he took off the sunglasses he was wearing, causing a lot of sharp breath intakes throughout the room. Most had been forewarned of his upgrades but actually seeing them was something else. "If they hadn't intervened when they did I'd be joining Alpha on his crusade about now."
Lyons nodded. "That I can understand. But can you vouch for their absolute loyalty? Should they betray us..."
"They know the consequences: if they do I'll go after them myself, " Leon assured him. "Besides there's only just over 60 of them now. Not enough to start their old cause over again. But they're experienced soldiers and already power armour trained, can we afford to let that slide?"
"You make a strong case given our ongoing Super Mutant problem," Rothchild admitted. "But I'm even less comfortable with your other idea. Why would we even consider taking up the Enclave's failed cause?"
"It wasn't the ideal or the cause that was really wrong. The Enclave failed because it tried to bully its way into governing, they sacrificed America's founding principles just for expediency and because they had a couple of worthless assholes leading them," Leon said bluntly. "They deserved to fail and they deserved all the death we dealt them. But, be that as it may, their basic ideal of rebuilding the country wasn't a bad one; it was just very poorly executed. We just have to pick it up, modify it a little and then run with it."
"Modify it how?" Lyons was curious despite his initial scepticism. "After all we did to the Enclave we can hardly claim to be the true guardians of America. It'd just look like opportunism at best."
"No we can't. In fact I'm not sure what we should call the new setup yet. We can't use America's name and not just for that reason."
"Then what are you proposing?" Rothchild's interest was starting to pique as well.
"For starters just a simple alliance between us and all the settlements; well as simple as we can get it. If we're going to rebuild anything we'll need unity. The Super Mutants are still a major threat but if we can join everyone together we can turn the tide. If they can't take prisoners their numbers will start drying up. All the better if we can get a strike team back into Vault 87 and blow their infection equipment."
"I never figured you for the politics type, Leon," Tristan broke in. "A few weeks ago you were just a hell of a good doctor and an even better soldier. Why are you pushing for this so hard now?"
Leon snorted at that. "Hell, I'm not the political type. I'm not up to that stuff and never will be. But the last few weeks have made me realise one thing: if we don't do this and start rebuilding it'll only be a matter of time before someone else tries to. The Enclave has already, Alpha would certainly have come down here and tried if he'd won at Baltimore and let's not forget Burke, Littlehorn and other scum like them. If we can make this work and put a working government together we can get rid of them and their Talon Company lapdogs. I don't know about you but I've had it up to here with them; it's time we got rid of them once and for all."
Leon stole a glance round the room to see if he was changing any minds. Nearly every face he scanned was the same; namely uncertain and unsure, but that was better than the outright opposition he'd faced from many at the start.
Lyons turned to Rothchild with a neutral expression. "He might have something worthwhile here but in light of the, radical nature of the plan shall we say, I think we are going to have to put it to the whole chapter."
Leon and Sarah exchanged an alarmed look. They'd not anticipated this.
"Father that could take too long. Our guests will be arriving soon to sign a peace deal with us; they won't want to wait for this!"
"They don't have a choice Sarah," Lyons wasn't budging an inch. "A few years ago I made the mistake of assuming everyone in the chapter would realise I was doing what I thought to be the right thing and follow me. The result of that was a schism and then the Outcasts. I'm not risking a repeat of that and swelling Casdin's ranks any further. He's done enough damage with what he has."
Leon knew he had to concede that point. He'd had a taste of the Outcasts and their ways a year ago and it was not something he liked. They were arrogant, inward looking, selfish and plainly not much of an example to follow. He guessed Lyons' heart must have been broken when they cut loose and began their aggressive push on technology seizure and killing anyone who got in their way.
"He's right, Sarah," Leon admitted. "This isn't something we can just impose. Besides if we're bringing back democracy we have to start practising it, else we'll be the biggest hypocrites of all time."
"I'll break the news to the Enclave representatives myself," Tristan volunteered as he went over to Amata. "And you, Knight Almodovar, should get to the armory and then up to Paladin Gunny. From Knight level up power armour training is mandatory."
"Wish me luck guys," Amata sighed as a small laugh went around the room at her expense.
"You went through the Battle of Baltimore Haven. This'll be a cakewalk next to that," Sarah assured her.
"You should come with me through the Citadel, Leon," Lyons said. "If I'm to sell this plan I think I'll need your help to do it."
Citadel conference room
"So, what do you think?" Tristan asked as he finished filling them in.
"I've never heard of anything so overambitious and crazy in my life," Houser remarked. "But I'm damned glad I got the chance to!"
"It's forward looking, we all stay alive and in the game so to speak," Farnsworth pitched in agreement. "What's not to like?"
"Just one thing," Kayla wondered. "Why absorb us into the Brotherhood at all? Wouldn't a simple peace do?"
"No it wouldn't," Tristan said flatly. "This was Leon's idea of guaranteeing your safety more than anything else. You joining us helps to silence your critics inside the Brotherhood and will prevent any wasteland reprisals. We might be able to put the past behind us but that doesn't mean the rest of the population will. If you're wearing our flag they'll welcome you with open arms."
"And after all that we start building a new country altogether?" Dan asked with a lot of doubt. "I suppose it was too much to hope we could stick with putting the US back on the map."
"Same problem, Dan," Leon had entered the room behind Tristan. "I know it's unfair but America's name has been desecrated by Eden and Autumn. Their abuses and false promises are all it's remembered for now in the Capital Wasteland. That doesn't mean to say it's gone for good though; we've got the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights stashed away in Rivet City after all. Once we've got a solid set-up going maybe we can rename it new America or something in a few years."
"Alas he's right," Farnsworth had said as much himself on previous occasions. "The West Coast probably has much the same point of view due to Richardson's lunacy and I suppose in the rest of the country the name doesn't mean much of anything anymore. Too much time has passed."
"I've been to the Pitt, what was Pittsburgh once, and a slice of hell called Point Lookout," Leon shuddered as he mentioned that. "Both were shitholes. There wasn't much trace of the old USA in either. I don't doubt the rest isn't going to be much better. We can improve things but there's hardly anything of the old world to restore; we have to rebuild and start over again."
"You do realise the depth of this endeavour, Leon," Farnsworth warned. "It certainly won't be completed in our lifetimes."
"I'd be amazed if it were finished in our kids' lifetimes," Leon sighed. "But we have to do this right. We can't make Autumn's mistake and try and conquer everything because sooner or later you get your ass kicked. Anyway we're still neck deep in local problems. I bet Burke and his friends will be arrogant and stupid enough to try and make a comeback, the wasteland's still swimming in Raiders and Super Mutants and then there's Casdin and his Outcasts."
"You think he'll try and stop this?" Tristan had never thought of Henry Casdin as the troublemaking type but then again, seeing what the Outcasts had been doing, he knew you couldn't take anyone for granted.
Leon didn't mince words. "I know the Elder considered him a friend once but he's either lost control of his men or he's gone bad. Did I tell you about the time I dealt with some of them in the ruins?"
"Yeah you did," Tristan remembered. "If the rest of them are anything like Defender Sibley we could have real trouble."
"Plus Casdin won't like being sidelined by events. The main reason he broke away was he thought Lyons wasn't pursuing technology enough. Thanks to the Enclave Crawler and outposts we took we've got the biggest haul in the whole wasteland and the whole joke's on him. Now we're the biggest thing going, politically as well as in military strength. He's going to like that even less."
"Let's not be too pessimistic," Houser reasoned. "Maybe he can be reasoned with, we have a lot of tech to bargain with now after all."
Leon managed a smile. "Yeah. Well I'd best get going. I've got a lot of persuading to do with the Elder and not a lot of time to do it in. I'll catch up with you later."
Citadel Walls-later that afternoon
A few long hours later and Leon was exhausted. He'd known getting this through would be hard but the legwork, negotiating and arguments had taken its toll and he'd knew he'd sleep well tonight.
"Come on you worthless pukes! Knight Commander Kallan would be laughing at this!"
On hearing Gunny's voice Leon looked down over the walls to a surprising sight; namely his old vault friends Butch, Freddie, Suzie and Christine along with Jake and Yuna in one of Paladin Gunny's training sessions; well at least that was what he would call it, for anyone else it was a hell session. They'd been running around the Citadel with fully laden backpacks and weights on their arms and legs for the last twenty minutes and didn't look like finishing anytime soon.
Leon allowed himself a grin. At least he wasn't suffering that today.
Leon turned to see Alphonse Almodovar climbing the stairs to join him on the gantry. "Alphonse."
"You look tired," Alphonse said with real concern.
"I am tired. I never knew this sort of thing took this much out of you. Makes me wish I was still in combat."
Alphonse could relate to that. Administration, negotiation and leadership were always more demanding than they first seemed. "How do you think it went? Do you think you've done enough to push it through?"
"I think so. We had a lot of heated arguments; I wasn't the only one with a big hatred of the Enclave, but I think we swung the argument and I don't think anyone's heading for the Outcasts anytime soon. "
"I suppose the biggest sticking point was having to break away from the West Coast Brotherhood altogether?"
Leon gave Alphonse a surprised look. "How did you...?"
"While you were away Elder Lyons paid our settlement a visit and we got talking. For a long time in fact; we had a few stories to share."
Leon nodded. "So you got to understand the Brotherhood pretty well?"
"Yes, well at least this faction of it. He told me of his split from Lost Hills and his problems out here, makes my problems when I was Overseer almost insignificant."
"He's had a lot of regrets and I think I might have added to them today," Leon said guiltily. "I think one of his biggest hopes was to get back together with the West Coast Brotherhood."
"Don't blame yourself for that. From what you and he told me that was a forlorn hope at best," Alphonse was adamant. "You and he were both right: this wasteland needs help and action now. It can't afford to wait for a bunch of self and technology obsessed fools half a world away can it?"
"No, I guess not."
"Anyway that wasn't the real reason I was looking for you. I came to apologise and thank you yet again Leon."
Leon was stunned. "I thought we'd put last year behind us."
"I meant for protecting Amata and your current condition. I can only imagine how painful that was."
"Don't worry, I've come to terms with it and it's got some good uses when it comes to a fight," Leon said honestly.
"I can imagine. Just one question: do you love my daughter as much as she loves you?"
Leon nearly swallowed his tongue. "What?"
Alphonse just gave him a knowing smile. "Give an old man some credit. I've seen the way she looks at you; it's the same look her mother used to give me."
Leon felt uncomfortable but managed to look Alphonse square in the eye. "Then your answer's yes. If I had to go through all this again to protect her I would. I'm sorry if you don't approve but I love her more than anyone else in the world."
"Oh but I do approve. Since we moved out here I think you're the best she could have. You've saved her life more than once, she cares for you and now I'm certain you feel the same...well what else can I say? Take care of her."
Leon, for a brief moment, was at a complete loss. To think this was the same former Overseer he'd almost splattered across a wall little over a year ago. "I will, I promise. Well providing she doesn't run me into the ground; under that cool exterior she's a hellcat!"
Alphonse smirked at that. Amata had inherited more than one of his wife's traits that was for certain and Leon was in for a lot of sleepless nights!
Leon had pretty much guessed the same thing after what Amata had put him through last night but he didn't mind: quite the reverse in fact. For once in his life, and the wasteland, had direction and a sense of hope. Now he, along with his friends, had to make the most of it...
Six months later- under remains of Vault 66
The VIP sub-level access had remained undiscovered since Delta and Iota had used it to escape. The computers and control panels, idle for so long, suddenly came alive again as screens switched back on and started displaying chilling readouts.
SATELLITE CONTACT WITH NEW BASE ESTABLISHED. PHOENIX PROTOCOL SUCCESSFUL: PROJECT STEELGUARD STILL VIABLE. DOWNLOADING DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS TO NEW BASE.
The screen then went dark and then was replaced by the cold face of the late Commander Alpha.
"My designation is Commander Alpha. I am the creator of the cyborg race and this is my last will and testament..."
Narrator's end sequence
And so, through the Lone Wanderer, another threat to the security of the Capital Wasteland was removed. Despite suffering a lot of pain and nearly becoming the enemy he'd fought so hard against, the Wanderer refused to give in to despair at losing much of his humanity or the temptation of revenge for his lost father. He chose to forgive and rebuild rather than avenge and destroy and his actions had great impact on many others around him...
Despite losing her father, her home and nearly everything she knew Yuna followed the Wanderer's example and persevered. She settled in Grayditch with Jake and the other survivors from Baltimore Haven. Life was initially hard but together with their new friends from Vault 101 the settlement would thrive. Jake finally acted on his long time feelings and revealed his love for her...and she readily returned it.
Raven and the few remaining Red Blades put their Raider pasts behind them. On seeing there was an alternative to their desperate renegade existence they joined the Rivet City guards where they excelled in defending the water caravans from all threats.
Nothing was heard from Vault 101 after most of its residents abandoned it. As tough as life in the wasteland could be none would have traded their free existence for life under Allen Mack. He had burned his boats completely with his failed coup. No one tried to return and the vault door stayed sealed anyway. No one knew what happened inside the vault after the exodus...and in the end very few cared.
Elder Lyons finally realised that reconciliation between Lost Hills and his chapter was no longer possible after the agreement with the Enclave Remnants. Although it was personally painful for him, he finished what he had begun so long ago, severed ties altogether with the West Coast and renamed the chapter as the Capital Brotherhood, recognising that they were the defenders of the land and its people who were now joining the new Brotherhood in increasing numbers. Eventually he would retire from active service and proposed Scribe Rothchild as his successor.
The mistrust between the soldiers of the Brotherhood and its newest members lingered for awhile despite the success of the peace agreement. The Remnant however, determined not to fail again after losing Baltimore Haven, refused to be pushed aside and threw everything into their new cause and flag with zeal. Thomas Severance, Kayla and Dan Kerrigan proved themselves on the battlefield time and again against the Super Mutants and eventually helped push them out of most of the DC ruins. Doc Farnsworth and Major Houser joined the Scribes and would later become valued advisors to the new Elder Rothchild. It was they who eventually created the name for their new alliance, arguing that if the wasteland wasn't prepared to accept America's name it could at least assume its totem as the land of the free, and hence the Free Capital Republic was born.
The new alliance proved harder to establish than was first thought. Initially the new Paradise Falls settlement and Little Lamplight refused to join. But over time, and several attacks by Talons and Raiders, Paradise Falls found isolation untenable and followed Rivet City, Megaton, Canterbury Commons, Big Town and Tenpenny Tower into the fledgling Free Capital Republic. Little Lamplight stayed independent but loosely attached as it still expelled its 'mungos' to Big Town. The new alliance would suffer casualties and loss, it would be tested to breaking point but it the end it endured and would establish a new order in the Capital Wasteland: one that was not favourable to the likes of parasites like Talon Company or Daniel Littlehorn.
As for the Wanderer, he continued to watch over the wasteland and its people. With his old love Amata at his side, his comrades in the Brotherhood and his old family from Vault 101 he finally found a place to belong and a new cause to follow. He knew that despite winning this battle and ending the cyborg threat, building a new America out of the ruined ashes of the old would be a lifetime effort and a war in itself. And war...war never changes.