My name is Rory Edwards and I was there the day the war ended. No not The Great War that make me some fucking ghoul degenerate. I was a corporal stationed at Adam's Air Force Base on March 5th 2278 when everything came crashing down. I crawled out of my bunk just like I did every morning. Well not exactly like every morning, ever sense the destruction of Raven's Rock we were suffering a shortage of beds so quite few people had to share at night. But thankfully my bedmate was also my fiancée Alice Murray a beautiful kind hearted woman with auburn hair and amber colored eyes.
"Good morning tiger." She smiled at me as she slid out of bed this arrangement would be nice while it lasted. It wasn't technically in-line with regulation but allowed due to the current bed shortages at least until the Pentagon was liberated and more bunk space available. No one really wanted to tell me sorry Rory you have to share with this dude and not your girlfriend.
Despite the loss of Raven's Rock morale was surprisingly high. Without Prime the Brotherhood had no counter to our Vertibirds so victory in the upcoming battle was deemed assured by high command. However command was moving the Bradley-Hercules attack satellite into firing position, as a fail-safe should our planned assault fail. It would be in the orbital path to strike on the Citadel later today no last minute heroics. Our one stroke of luck was getting the orbital weapon online an hour before Prime attacked.
After separate showers Alice and I went for breakfast where the rest of our squad soon joined us. The first was private John Dornan one of the biggest guys you'd ever see. He provided the heavy fire support with a Gatling Laser inside a suit of Tesla Power armor. He was loud too always speaking in a booming voice. The second to arrive was private Calvin Granite; He came in along side his cousin private Howard Quincy. Like myself they used the standard issue Advanced Power Armor and Plasma Rifles serving as the squad's Riflemen. Last to arrive was our Squad leader Sergeant Daniel Scott he wasn't nearly as big as John but inside his recently issued Hellfire Armor along with a Heavy Incinerator he was looked like the biggest of us all.
"So Sarge what's on the agenda for today?" Dornan asked looking up from his corn flakes. Or at least they looked like pre-war cornflakes we didn't dare ask what they were actually made from. Though come to think of it actually being pre-war cornflakes would be worse then anything else I could imagine.
"Not so loud." Granite groaned, he was never a morning person and Dornan booming right next to him wasn't helpful.
"Eight hours in the simulator, Yangtze campaign." He answered much to our dismay. Running through the Yangtze campaign was brutal. We'd face assaults from tanks, anti-armor units constant threat of ambushes from Crimson Dragons, and the pain simulators set the maximum allowed half. Pain and he threat of pain helped get adrenaline pumping and kept the simulated combat experience closer to what it be in real life. The limitation was to prevent unnecessary fatalities. You lose an arm in the program with pain simulation on full and the shock could kill you. Still only feeling half the pain of taking a gauss rifle to the chest still hurt like a bitch. I knew then today would not be a good day, I just didn't realize how bad today would be... for everyone. Half way through breakfast Howard and Calvin were telling the story of how they 'bravely' faced off against a dozen unarmed wastelanders and how one of them managed to leap onto Howard's shoulders remove the helmet then smash his nose with it. Shortly before Granite incinerated the poor sob with a laser blast. We had a good laugh about it, most of us anyway.
"So that's why I had to stitch up your face?" Alice laughed, in addition to serving the squad with her laser rifle she was also our field medic. "And here I thought you tripped getting out of you're power armor."
"Oh he did, he just landed on his ass and not his face." Calvin added eliciting another round of laughter, and a death glare from Howard.
"Its not funny you maggots." Scott bellowed the vein on his forehead throbbing making us all shrink back. "If he'd been armed with a knife you'd be dead right now. Power Armor doesn't make you invincible, you get careless, you get cocky and you die." The sergeant was right of course they got careless and allowed someone to forcibly remove Howard's helmet.
Howard hoping to change the subject turned to me and asked. "So Rory, have you and Alice set a date yet?" he was such a bastard bringing that up. He knew once she got started on wedding planning I'd be suffering for hours. But before she could bring up discussing the theme again the alarm sounded. No words needed exchanging, no orders were required we all leapt to our feet and sprinting towards the exit. John took his plate with him shoveling the remainder of his meal down by the time he reached the door.
As we donned our armor readied our weapons an officer Captain Stone issued orders to us and several other squads. "Surveillance bots have sighted a large contingent of The Brotherhood of Steel heading our way." This much we'd already assumed the alarm had to mean a full-scale attack and who else could pull it off. "The Bradley-Hercules satellite will be in the orbital path over the citadel in one hour and fifteen minutes. Squads, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Theta, and Delta are to intercept, your mission is to hold the line until the Bradley destroys the Citadel once that happens the brotherhoods spirit will be broken and they'll retreat" None of use dared to question that logic aloud. It sounded like bullshit, would they even know the Citadel had been destroyed? Even If they found out immediately that was no guarantee of retreat. In any-event we weren't to concerned at the time confident our air support would rip them to shreds.
Intercepting the Brotherhood attack force took fifteen minutes during our march. Sergeant Scott went over the details of the battle plan. "Alright grunts listen up here's how its going to work, we and the other squads are going to bog the brotherhood down and force them to regroup into a tighter force once that happens we call in the Vertibirds and send them all to hell."
"Sounds like a party." John laughed, we all laughed. If things went well today the brotherhood would be devastated and liberating the Pentagon would be that much easier. Once we engaged the enemy things seemed to be going according to plan we were pushing the brotherhood back tightening the ranks. Alice radioed in the Vertibirds and we waited for the fireworks while exchanging fire, making sure they stayed in position.
It was like trench warfare with both sides taking cover behind rocks and debris of old prewar buildings. When the sound of Vertibirds filled the air we smiled then cheered. Scott ordered us to take cover behind a large boulder and wait for the inevitable explosions. We looked up in horror as a series of beams streaked overhead and our air support exploded reigning fire down all around us. Word came in on the radio of similar incidents, grand total of four vertibirds destroyed.
"I don't suppose we'll be getting any more air support?" I don't know why I asked such a stupid question. I knew the answer was no. Until we had more intelligence on this new weapon they wouldn't risk what few remaining Vertibirds we had. We went back to our stalemate of plasma and laser fire exchange for another fifteen or twenty minutes. Now we had to hold the line until the satellite was ready to fire, we hoped command was right and the destruction of the Citadel would deal a crippling blow to their morale.
"Do you think the Lone Wander might be here?" Calvin asked he reload his plasma rifle, before he resumed firing.
"I don't think so," Scott grunted letting lose a reign of fire from his incinerator down on the brotherhood position. "If the scourge of humanity was here I think we'd know about it."
"Why isn't he here?" I questioned ducking just in time to avoid a few plasma blasts. "Why was such an important asset being held back." The more this fight dragged on the more it was getting to me. They had the numbers and they had the firepower between their captured plasma rifles and those shoulder mounted Tesla Cannons. They should have been driving us back but why weren't. We were sent to hold them off until the satellite was in firing position but it was like they were holding us off.
At t-minus twenty-five minutes to firing word came in over the radio. "The red dragon has risen in the west" It was a code word, two technically. The Red Dragon was a derogatory term for the Lone Wanderer meant to equate him to Chinese communists. Risen in the west meant the enemy had been sighted inside the base parameter. The Lone Wanderer had arrived and bypassed our entire outer defense. Command ordered all forces to fall back to the M.B.C (Mobile Base Crawler.)
"You mean those Brotherhood bastards were just here to draw us out while that Lone Wanderer punk sneaks right up our ass?" John was always good at pointing out the obvious. The brotherhood nailed us with an elementary tactic draw out the main force while a smaller special forces team goes behind the lines to do as much damage as possible. Under heavy fire from the brotherhood we reached the parameter fence in ten minutes. As we crossed the threshold and the force field flipped back on. I turned to see what must have been a captured Vertibird landing Brotherhood soldiers outside the Crawler. Our defense line had fallen back but wasn't broken. Only a handful of enemy soldiers had breached our defenses and they were effectively contained for now.
It was T-minus seven minutes to firing and we prayed destroying the Citadel would break their spirits. Word on the radio came in that the deathclaws had been released and were running rampant. It didn't take a rocket scientist to guess who'd let them out. We looked to see the Crawler entrance hanging open beckoning the enemy to invade.
We booked across the airfield full speed towards the Crawler entrance, we didn't know how long it take the brotherhood pursuing us to breach the fence and we didn't want to get shot in the back. Today however every plan failed, John took a Tesla Cannon blast to the back and stumbled forward but simply grimaced through the pain and kept moving. Calvin was the first up the ramp and triggered a proximity mine a present left behind by LW, the explosion ripped through the air but thanks to the sturdiness of power armor Calvin escaped with only a broken leg. Howard and I each took an arm and carried him up the ramp.
Once inside we found the bodies of Sigma squad. Scott ordered us to make our stand here to prevent any more brotherhood personnel from gaining access to the crawler. A dozen or more of our own troops came up the ramp to reinforce our soldiers higher up and stop the assault. "This is where we fight." Scott hollered. "This is where we crush those sub-human freaks once and for all!"
"Hooah!" the rest of us cheered. We were holding the line, keeping the Brotherhood out while our forces tracked down and eliminated the Lone Wanderer. It looked like victory was about to be snatched from the jaws of defeat. So of course things took a turn for the worst again. Word came over the coms that the robotic security had turned against us. Even several floors down we could hear the slaughter as the Sentry Bots turned their Gatling lasers and missiles against us.
The clock ticked by and the Bradley-Hercules Orbital attack satellite entered the orbital path to strike at the citadel. "This is Captain Stone", the officers voice was ragged he didn't have to say it we knew. "We've lost contact with the satellite control station, we presume hostiles are in control of the Bradley, evacuate the base crawler, full retreat." That was the reason the brotherhood wasn't sending anyone up the ramp they didn't intend to capture the base crawler intact.
"Retreat, retreat where?" Scott bellowed over the radio.
"God be with you." Stone's last words before the radio went dead. We made our way for the breach in the parameter fence. We watched a few of our compatriots lay down arms and surrender. None us looked back as we fled we couldn't bare to watch as death from above down upon the last bastion of the Enclave.
We headed south taking us further away from DC. We marched for eight hours before coming to rest in some old dog park twenty miles south of Adams. Once we were sure no one was perusing us we bunkered down for the night around a small fire.
"What do we do know?" Alice questioned as she tended to our wounds, multiple plasma and laser burns, and bruises from the concussive force of explosions. We didn't realize how banged up we were, probably the Med-X we took during the battle.
"We regroup, and we fight on." For the first time in my life I heard John speaking not the booming voice of pride and glory instead he was quite and somber. John had three broken ribs from that shot in the back, thankfully whatever power that weapon had it worked best against Vertibirds.
"Yeah we'll take the fight to the Brotherhood America will rise again!" Howard tried to be upbeat but his tone was as dreary as the rest of us. I
"How about we look for some antibiotics." Calvin groaned his leg was infected, the only reason he was capable of walking was due to the power armor.
"Our first priority is simply survival" Scott explained, "Food, medicine, ammo any other supplies we might need, then we figure out our next step in the war."
"What about Talon Company?" Howard suggested, "They hate the brotherhood don't they?"
"You suggesting we join those mercenary degenerates their worse then the brotherhood." John was offended by the suggested. I shared the sentiment; Talon Company was just a well-organized band of raiders and slavers. Had we won the war they were numbers two on the list of groups to eliminate. The rest of us looked to him like he'd gone crazy.
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Howard argued.
His argument seemed sound, but Alice was quick to point out the obvious flaw. "Talon Company was also our enemy did that make the Brotherhood a friend?" That wiped the smug grin off his face.
We spent the next couple days recovering from our wounds, gathering supplies and just trying to come to grips with what happened. We listened on our radio for anything, a sign of where to regroup, of where the civilians had been evaluated but we heard only static. In the end we decided to disband make it harder for the brotherhood to find us we'd go to ground for now but vowed to reunite one day and strike back at the Brotherhood for all that they took from us. I wouldn't see my squad again for ten years, except Alice of course nothing would separate us.