The sun slowly rose over the Citadel as Elder Arthur Maxson watched proudly as he watched over the Bailey. The new batch of Initiates was starting target practice as knights patrolled the surrounding area. He continued to stroll around the Citadel.
"Morning, Elder Maxson!"
Anytime the young man passed someone, they would give him a prompt salute before he raised his hand to dismiss them. After a few minutes of striding outside, Arthur finally walked inside to the cafeteria. As he walked inside, he could hear knights and initiates gossiping to each other. He tuned it out. There was no need to listen. He knew almost everything that went on. The cafeteria was especially loud as his brothers and sisters went to get breakfast. As Arthur approached the room, he could hear everyone's voices and laughter echo throughout the tiny halls.
When he arrived outside the cafeteria, he took a deep breath before walking inside. Unsurprisingly, the moment he walked in, everyone's laughter was shushed before being replaced with: "Morning, Elder Maxson!"
Curse number one.
After Arthur dismissed them, the room returned to its former state, although this time much quieter. He looked around and felt a slight frown on his face as he saw the closed door across from him. The quarters for the Lyon's Pride, never to be slept in again.
Curse number two.
The elder fixed his plate as soon as possible and grabbed a glass of water. Quickly, he left and made his way to his room. As he hurried to his quarters, he passed by a small bedroom. He didn't dare look at it. There was nothing left for him there. As soon as Arthur reached his room, he shut the door and took another deep breath. This was the only room he had to confront. Elder Lyons' room. His room. Arthur sat down at his desk and began to eat his food. After a while of eating, he finally drank from the glass of clean water and was reminded of her.
Curse number three.
Arthur sighed and slowly lifted up a small necklace he wore around his neck. A small silver ring hung off the string and the young Elder held the ring firmly in his hands. He turned to a small mirror in his room.
He was met with a familiar face. A scarred face. His deathclaw scar etched into his skin as he began to notice the darkness under his eyes. He wondered if they'd even recognize him after all these years. He squeezed onto the ring tighter as he remembered the vault dweller from his youth, a lifetime ago. "Until then, Arthur!"
Arthur's hand began to move towards a drawer and without thinking, he pulled out a bottle of vodka. He quickly popped off the cap and chugged the whole thing down. His neck burned but his heart still felt empty. He drank another bottle. He almost drank another bottle but a fleeting thought snapped him out of his delusion. He has another meeting in an hour. Sighing, he just leaned back in his seat and to pass the time, he opened up recent reports from Paladin Danse. He briefly scanned them, nothing really standing out. Most of his team died. They held a police station. They recruited a wastelander. Secured the Deep Range Transmitter. Nothing really special. After going through report after report, the hour slowly passed and the Elder made his way to the Great Hall.
Lights blinded him as he entered the room. Everyone was already gathered at their seats. Lancer-Captain Kells, Scribe Rothchild and Scribe Neriah, Archivist Knox, Proctor Ingram and Proctor Quinlan, and Knight-Captain Cade. Even his highest paladins waited for him. All eyes were on him as he stood up straight and approached his chair. As soon as Proctor Quinlan hit record on the holotape recorder, the meeting began.
"I gathered everyone here today because something serious has come to my attention," Maxson began. He looked at everyone's faces one by one. "Paladin Danse's recon team in the Commonwealth has made an unnerving discovery. Archivist Knox? Would you care to explain?"
Archivist Knox stood up from his seat. "Yes, Elder. Paladin Danse's team picked up on unusual energy readings that were running on an extreme high-band frequency. He says that these readings are 'sporadic' and appear at very specific locations. After analyzing these readings, I found that these readings were not pre-war or natural, but artificial. Something is out there creating these readings and whatever it is, it is using extremely advanced technology to produce them..."
"According to Paladin Danse," Elder Maxson continued. "There is a boogeyman in the Commonwealth known as the Institute. They have created a machine known as the synth which clones humans, kills their human counterpart, and blends in with their family to spy on the Institute. If we let these abominations of nature run amok the Commonwealth, it could prove disastrous. To protect the people of the Commonwealth, we need to head there as soon as possible. I'm not going to stand idly by while the people of the Commonwealth live in fear." He turned to Kells and Ingram.
"I need you two to prepare the Prydwen to get there as fast as we can. Understood?"
He turned to Proctor Quinlan.
"And I need you to look through any documents that could provide useful to us in the Commonwealth. Understood, Proctor?"
He turned to Scribe Rothchild and Archivist Knox.
"You two will have to stay here at the Citadel for now. I need you to make sure the Capital Wasteland is safe and investigate if anything unusual happens and if it does, make sure you notify us immediately. Understood? And Cade, make sure the men are in top condition. Anyone that can't make the journey must remain here."
He finally turned to the head paladins in the room.
"Most of you will come with us to the Commonwealth. I need you to prepare your men as best as you can. However, none of you, and I mean none of you in this room, must mention where we are going yet. I will reveal that to the crew once we arrive. Is that understood?"
And with that everyone disbanded, once again leaving Arthur Maxson alone with his thoughts as he played around with the ring around his neck.
"God, I wish you were here..."