Zealot Thiel- Fort Independence
Theil looked closely at the rods, radiant with Atom's glow. She hadn't been sent to exact tribute, and it was a pleasant development that their allies had been willing to pay. The Pontiff would be pleased with this gift.
More pressing, however, was the revelation that this was being used as a staging point to invade Point Lookout, a hotbed of Cult activity that the Children of Atom had learned to avoid as they sailed up and down the coast. Boats in that region were given a wide berth, and many even avoided sailing past the place at night despite- or because of- its still-functional lighthouse.
"We thank you for this tribute, Colonel Samuels," Theil said, looking back up at the man. "I will relay these to my superiors and inform them of your mission. We will not hinder those who seek to strike at the cult. But before we go, allow me to give you our radio frequency so you may communicate with Megaton if need be..."
Grand Zealot Richter- Megaton, Cathedral of Atom
Richter sat in Tektus' office, regaling his story to the Inquisitor.
"This disrespectful insolence cannot stand," Tektus announced as the Grand Zealot finished his account. "If these heathens do give the proper respect to Atom and his faithful, they cannot be allowed to persist in Atom's kingdom."
"So long as hide in Raven Rock, it will be extremely difficult to remove them. The best we can do is to isolate them and deny them passage into or around our holdings" the Grand Zealot spoke.
Tektus nodded silently, acknowledging the Grand Zealot's assessment. He tried to keep stoic demeanor, but his countenance betrayed the anger hidden within, anger born of the blasphemy that was the Brotherhood's fortress, built to withstand Atom's power. "What about what you said about the computer, Grand Zealot? Do you think we could use it against them as you suggested?"
"I'm afraid not," Richter answered. "The Brotherhood has full control of Raven Rock's defense systems, meaning Eden must have been destroyed or shut down. If he existed in their systems in any capacity, that warning shot of theirs wouldn't have missed. Eden would not have suffered a deserter to live." Richter appeared to be slightly pained as he spoke these words.
"It is of no matter. We will find..."
"Inquisitor, Grand Zealot, the Pontiff has requested your presence," a ragged acolyte of Atom interrupted.
"We will continue this conversation later," Tektus instructed as he rose to his feet. "Let us not keep the Pontiff waiting."
Pontiff Cromwell- Megaton, Cathedral of Atom
The Pontiff sat on a scrap metal throne in his quarters in the rear of the cathedral. His quarters were adorned much as the rest of the cathedral was- radium-embedded banners hung at the walls, illuminating the symbol of Atom, suspended above tables that displayed a variety of canisters and cylinders, many of which glowed green. A heavy book of aged material sat atop a desk in the corner, its radium writing standing out from the brown pages. Near throne sat two hastily placed chairs for his coming meeting with the Grand Zealot and Inquisitor.
There was a knock at the door and an acolyte peeked in.
"Pontiff? The Grand Zealot and Inquisitor are here, as you have instructed." The acolyte's soft words reverberated across the room, demonstrating the lack of consideration for acoustics when it was constructed.
"Excellent, acolyte. Bring them in," Cromwell commanded. The Grand Zealot, clad in the heavy armor of one of Atom's zealots, and the Inquisitor, wearing the robe and headdress of his station, walked in.
"Take a seat, my sons," the Pontiff greeted them warmly. "We have much to discuss, about the Brotherhood and about the Free Commonwealth. I have read your reports and have been communing with Atom as to the next steps we must take."
"Yes, Pontiff," replied Tektus as he sat down. "The Grand Zealot and I are already working on a plan to deal with the Brotherhood heathens. I assure you, they shall not be allowed to threaten what we have built."
"No, Inquisitor, I have no desire to fight the Brotherhood" Cromwell gently rebuked him, "They may have fallen on hard times and adopted a hard stance, but did much good for the wasteland, and for Atom's faithful, when they were in power. Their presence was a boon to us, as misguided as they may be."
"Forgive me, Pontiff," Richter spoke, "But they do not come in peace, not anymore. We cannot trust them to respect our authority or our role in the Capital Wasteland."
"The Brotherhood are prideful beyond reckoning, there is no doubt to that," the Pontiff conceded, "But I can assure you, they are not the enemy. Their presence means a safer wasteland, and I would even say a windfall to us. For it shall allow us to focus on spreading Atom's glory and opposing His true enemies."
Tektus raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean, Pontiff? Are you referring to the Commonwealth and their plans to crusade upon Point Lookout?"
"Yes, Inquisitor," Cromwell answered, unsurprised that Tektus already had gleaned that conclusion. "Sister Theil's account was enlightening, and I intend to reach out to our allies in the Commonwealth to aid them. Once our affairs with the Brotherhood are straightened out, we may commit to aiding them."
"Pontiff," Tektus protested, clearly agitated, "I still do not see how the Brotherhood can be made to aid us. They are a prideful, godless lot with no respect for Atom."
"I assure you, Inquisitor, I have dealt with the Brotherhood before." Cromwell patiently reassured. "I remember when they protected Megaton, they never harmed us or hindered our worship of Atom. To the contrary, they protected Megaton from Super Mutants, raiders, and other threats at the risk to their own lives. They may not worship Atom, but they always respected our right to do so, and if they are willing to help protect the wasteland as they once did, it will allow us to oppose those who would not allow us to worship Him."
"But let us focus on other matters, my sons," Cromwell continued. "What do you know of the Obelisk?"
"I've never seen it, but I know it is a holy object of the Cult," Richter answered. "I don't know if it spreads their madness, but they seem to think it does."
"It is the Cult's most treasured relic, a stone monolith of unknown origin," Tektus explained. "It only appeared after the Cult overran the Capital Wasteland, and I believe they came here to find it. The Cult believes it has evil powers, powers that are an affront to Atom."
"Yes," Cromwell nodded. "But we are building a holy relic of our own, a conduit of Atom's might, and a symbol of His glory. It is a standard carved from the wondrous material recovered from Three Mile Island, thanks to the gracious aid of our Commonwealth allies, and I wish to see it brought to Point Lookout, to cleanse away the Cult's taint and inspire Atom's faithful to carry out His will."
"So we are truly doing this," Richter spoke. "We will be heading to Point Lookout?"
"Yes, Grand Zealot," Cromwell answered. "In fact, I wish for you to lead the expedition. Let me worry about the Brotherhood. As for you, Tektus my son, I need you for another matter. There are rumors of piracy off the coast, and I need you to take the submarine and investigate. I need you to ensure that the coast is secure, both for trade, and for the liberation of Point Lookout. I will brief you further on the matter later, but for now you are both dismissed. Go with Atom."
Tektus and Richter exited the Pontiff's quarters. There was much work that would need to be done.