General Colette Arnold stood atop the bastion above her quarters at the Castle as she watched the airship settle above what used to be the Boston Airport. She saw the Power Armor clad soldiers jumping from the decks, and the red flashed of their laser rifles as they dealt with the Feral Ghouls that remained in the ruins. Reports had been called in from all of her settlements that had seen the giant ship flying above and informed her that they were announcing themselves as the Brotherhood of Steel. She huffed and ran a hand through her long black hair.
“General?” Preston Garvey came up behind her. “We reached out to our contacts. MacCready and Hancock are here and say they have some information.”
“Excellent. Let’s see what they know about our new neighbors.” Colette followed Preston down the stairs and back down to the room they had designated as the conference room. Hancock and Macready were already waiting for them. MacCready was smoking a cigarette with a scowl on his face and his arms crossed. Hancock was reclining his chair back on two legs with an inhaler of Jet in one hand.
“Pardon my intrusion, but I feel I need to contribute to this meeting.” Nick slipped into the conference room with the General and Colonel.
“Of course, Padrino , you’re always welcome.” Colette smiled at the old synth before taking her seat at the head of the table.
“Okay. The Brotherhood of Steel is settling in next door. What do we know about them?” Colette’s green eyes scanned the faces of her most trusted companions.
It was MacCready who spoke first, after putting out the last of his cigarette. “Listen, growing up in the Capital Wasteland, I had a lot of contact with the Brotherhood. Their previous Elder installed a water purifier in the river and they seemed like they really wanted to help people, but things started changing when the new guy took over. The kid is a couple of years younger than me and got command of an army at 16? Things went to shi-crap after he took charge. Non feral ghouls became targets; settlements were threatened into giving them crops and supplies for protection; and now they’ve decided to set up in the Commonwealth? I don’t like this.”
“I have to agree, Sunshine. The Brotherhood ain’t the kind of people I want to tango with.” Hancock rasped.
“We don’t have the resources to take them on,” Preston held up his hand. “So there won’t be any tangoing, for now. We do have the artillery set up, but I don’t know if that would be enough to take on the airship, even though we have the range.”
“I want you to send materials to set up more artillery in the surrounding settlements, just in case. I’d rather be paranoid than dead.” Colette instructed Preston. “Nick, what are your thoughts?”
“I hate to stir the pot, but I think we need to talk to them a bit. Get to know ‘em before we make any decisions. We should figure out why they’re here and make our decisions based on how they treat our citizens, especially the non-humans.” Nick stuck his hands in his trench coat pockets and leaned against the wall.
“We did help out Paladin Danse, and he seemed like a decent enough guy.” Preston added.
“Yes, Preston, but one nice soldier does not a good army make.” Colette rubbed at her eyes. “We’ll go and visit them in the morning, there’s nothing we can do right now.”
“So have you had any luck with the Glowing Sea?” MacCready asked as he poured himself a whiskey.
“We still need another full suit of Power Armor. That T-45 that I picked up in Concord doesn’t keep radiation out enough, so even if I took Hancock or Nick, I would still take on a lot of Rads. I can understand wanting to get away from the Institute, but couldn’t he have gotten a disguise or change his name or something like that?”
“Institute is ruthless, doll. If they were after me, I’d head for the Glowing Sea too.” Hancock sat next to her and draped an arm over the back of the couch.
“I just hate feeling like I’m taking two steps forward, and then one step back. I’ve already missed ten years with Shaun. Who knows what we’ll have to do after we go in there? Maybe we’ll have to take the Hobbits to Isengard before we get into the Institute.” Nick snorted at her reference that was lost on the others.
"You’re just like your mother.” Nick chuckled.
“You guys never explained that. Nick knew your mother? I thought the Institute wasn’t a thing until after the war?” Hancock prodded.
“Well, I have the memories and personality of a pre-war detective, Nick Valentine.”
“The original Nick and his wife, Jenny, adopted me when my last relative died when I was 13.”
"And we spoiled her rotten.”
“Rotten? Padrino , you flatter me.”
“Anyway, I had elected to have my body donated to the University’s BioScience department when I died. My guess is that the Institute got their mitts on my preserved brain and used that when toying around with Gen 3 prototypes.”
“So you didn’t die when the bombs hit?” Mac asked.
“Nah, Lung Cancer. I still smoke anyway. Can’t get cancer if you don’t have cells.” The synth chuckled darkly. “I never got to meet Shaun. Or his father for that matter,” yellow eyes turned to Colette. “Was it Billy? I knew you kids were in love.”
“It should have been Billy.” Colette sighed, “No. It was a one night stand. He was army and wasn’t around when Shaun was born, or when the bombs hit.” Colette cleared her throat before changing the subject. “What about Duncan? Any word on if the cure worked?”
“Daisy gave me a letter from the friends that are watching over him in the Capital. She said he’s doing much better. He just needs to regain some more strength before I can move him up here. There’s more opportunities up here, less conflict once we get rid of the Institute, and I want to stick around and help my favorite General find her own kid.” The ex-Gunner smiled at her as he took another gulp of his whiskey. “You can’t get rid of me that easily, General.”
"I’m glad to hear Duncan is doing better.” Colette smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “I should probably turn in, If I’m going to be introducing the Minutemen to the Brotherhood, I need my sleep.”
“Get some rest kid,” Nick crossed the room and kissed her temple before leaving.
“See you General,” Garvey saluted as he followed MacCready and Hancock out of her quarters.
“Night guys!” She called out while she shut the doors behind them. She made her way back to her bed, loosening her armor as she went. She had an old set of Fallon’s mannequins that she kept her armor and formal General’s uniform. Her Vault suit provided some level of protection for if the Castle needed defending in the middle of the night, and she usually wore it to bed because it was pretty damn comfortable. She curled into the double bed that Preston had brought in for her and put out the last oil lamp before falling into a dreamless sleep.