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Pontiff Cromwell- Megaton, Cathedral of Atom

Within the Pontiff's quarters, Cromwell and an acolyte stood in front of a weathered two-way radio. Among the holy relics in the quarters, this represented pre-war reverence of Atom, as indicated by the faintly still legible "Radiation King" engraving upon its frame. And as the Pontiff later learned, once properly repaired and hooked up to an antenna that adorned the cathedral rooftop, it allowed him to communicate with his flock from within the cathedral.

"According to the Grand Zealot, this signal should allow us to communicate with Raven Rock," the acolyte explained, adjusting the knob.

"Excellent. But why have we never contacted them before?" Cromwell asked, curious.

"We never knew the frequency, or the encryption they used, your holiness" answered the acolyte, still fiddling with the radio. "Fortunately, the Enclave left behind all that information in Raven Rock. And...there we go. All you need to do is hold the button and talk into the microphone, and if I did everything right, it should work."

"Fine work, my child," Cromwell praised the acolyte. He took the microphone in his hand and held the button down.

"This is Pontiff Cromwell to Raven Rock. Do you hear me?" He looked at the acolyte, a bit confused.

The acolyte whispered to him. "Try asking it a few times. The message may not have gotten through, or they may have missed it."

The Pontiff cleared his throat and spoke again "This is Pontiff Cromwell of the Children of Atom to Raven Rock.
I must speak to Sarah Lyons. I repeat, this is Pontiff Cromwell of the Children of Atom. I must speak to Sarah Lyons of the Brotherhood of Steel."


Inquisitor Tektus- Potomac River Docks

The Inquisitor, flanked by two masked underlings, made his way to the docks south of Rivet City, where the Vessel awaited. He made his way up the pier and into the interior of the submarine. A wetsuit-clad Children of Atom mariner greeted him as he stepped inside.

"Inquisitor, I received word of your arrival. What are your instructions?"

"First, my child," Tektus began, "What is the status of the Vessel?"

"Engines and ballast are fully functional," the crewman answered as they descended. "We are nearly fully fueled, and the remaining missiles and torpedoes are ready to fire at your command. A few lights have been malfunctioning, but nothing more serious than that."

They finally reached Tektus' quarters where his throne stood, awaiting the vessel's master. Tektus sat down and sighed, pleased to be back in his seat. "Set a course for the Island. We depart immediately."

"Yes, Inquisitor." The crewman hurried off to relay Tektus' orders. A a few minutes later, the Vessel stirred. The engines fired up, and Tektus could feel it pulling away from the dock.

"We're off, Inquisitor. Setting a course to the Island," spoke the voice on a grainy intercom. There was nothing quite like the feeling of this metallic leviathan bring brought to life by Atom's power. And through the Vessel, there would be nothing quite like what Atom's power would bring to His enemies.
Fleuri Jodeau

Fleuri averted his gaze from the arriving knight, having been taken off-guard by his boisterous enthusiasm. While he had seen plenty of knights and fairies today, he did not recognize these two. Was this fellow an independent knight-errant? He certainly didn't lack for enthusiasm.

"We're not exactly vagabonds," he responded as he sat down at a stool at the bar. We are both of the Iron Rose Knights, having come to break the Orcish siege," the knight explained. "And...erm...yes, we're currently looking for a child's lost puppy." There was no proper way to properly explain that part, that they had gone from slaying orcs and trolls to looking for a little girl's pet. If it weren't for the fact that they had recently saved the town from a besieging army, Fleuri and Klaus would no doubt be the laughingstock of the tavern. And they still might be, depending how deep in their cups the patrons were.

"And who might you be, good sir? Are you of our order, or a wandering knight-errant who was caught in the siege?" Halfway through asking his question, Fleuri realized that he was going to get an earful.

@Foolish Errant

Children of Atom FOB, SE of Washington DC

Southeast of the Capital Wasteland, not far from the Free Commonwealth's forces, stood a hastily constructed outpost of scrap metal, walls engraved with the symbol of atom and lined with charms and fetishes. Within the base was a plethora of Atom's faithful, ranging from volunteers in ragged robes to power armored Zealots. Several power armored figures were currently hoisting a small radio tower, while other men and women worked on the walls with welding torches. A few Brahmin sat in a pen near a few crude wagons formed from automobile chassis, next to a pair of mostly intact military trucks.

When a Vertibird was seen on the horizon, carrying some sort of cargo on a hook underneath, the ranking Zealot barked orders for those within to assemble. With the exception of those working on the radio tower, and those standing guard outside, all within the base dropped what they were doing and scurried to the center of the outpost. By the time the Vertibird had landed, most of the outpost's inhabitants were neatly assembled and awaiting the arrival of the aircraft's passenger- the Grand Zealot himself. It first dropped off its cargo- a wagon covered with a heavy tarp- and then landed next to it. Somewhere in the base, a geiger counter began ticking, indicating the arrival of something steeped in the Glow.

Richter stepped out of the Vertibird and looked over the base and those standing before him. These were merely the vanguard of Atom's forces- more Zealots were mobilizing, and he had no doubt that many fanatics and flagellants of Atom would answer the call to arms as well. The men and women before him were hardly the conquering force needed to liberate the swamps from Ug-Qualtoth's dark influence, but they would form the core of it. He walked to the front of where they stood and removed the helmet of his Hellfire armor.

"Faithful sons and daughters of Atom! We have come here for a purpose- to free the swamps of Point Lookout of the foul Cult, to cleanse this place of their corruption in Atom's holy Glow! I must warn you, however, that this will not be easy, and victory will likely be costly. These lands were not subjected to the Great Division, and as a result, the corruption here is ancient and deeply rooted. The inhabitants within are mutated by Atom's light, changed by His disfavor for their evil ways, and utterly steeped in the ways of the Cult. They are killers and hunters of men, who know these swamps inside and out and will fight to their last breath. This is not a war of conquest, this is a war of cleansing, where the only victory is when the last of the swamp folk breathes no more! The Free Commonwealth stands with us against this foe, but we cannot rely on them for victory- we must do what must be done to scour these lands of corruption, at whatever the cost!"

The assembled Children of Atom cheered vigorously, inspired by the Grand Zealot's words. Richter wasn't much of a speaker, but his words had definitely moved them. After the cheering died down, Richter spoke up again.

"To instill the resolve to carry out Atom's will, we have assembled a standard, built from the blessed material of the power plant that the Free Commonwealth has graciously given us access to." Richter gestured at two Zealots, and they pulled the tarp from the wagon, revealing a standard in the image of the symbol of Atom, rising out of a sculpture of Megaton's bomb.

"This was crafted from the remains of a lesser Division preceding the Great Division. With this standard, you can be assured that we carry out Atom's will and carry His favor with us!" The crowd broke into another cheer. Richter feared that this would be an ugly campaign, and Atom's faithful needed all the inspiration that they could get.
Fleuri Jodeau

Fleuri followed behind Klaus, content with the child's answer and desiring to take care of this quest, as trivial as it may be compared to their usual duties. Trival to a knight, perhaps, he mused, but not to a little girl that had lost her best friend. If anything, it was a bit of a humbling experience, not only because of how low the task seemed, but in the realization that he lacked the skills to make himself more useful. A trial from Reon, no doubt, and a necessary reminder to keep him from becoming prideful again.

As they proceeded to the tavern, Fleuri took note of Klaus' agitated state. She seemed worried, her suspicions of those girls having grown since they had scurried away, and now she seemed to think the tavern was a trap. He himself wasn't sure what to think- he thought she was acting paranoid, yet Fleuri didn't want to dismiss another knight's instincts. Best case scenario, she'll need a minder. Worst case scenario, she'll needed someone backing her up. Either way there could be trouble.

"Don't worry Klaus. Whatever happens, I've got your back," he reassured her. He was probably being melodramatic, but whether they were stepping into a trap or the much, much more likely case of simply stepping into a potentially embarrassing situation, the Iron Rose Knights stood together.

Reserving Denver as the Eastern Legion.
Fleuri Jodeau

On the child's advice, Fleuri headed to the tavern. If he wasn't on duty, he might consider getting a drink; it had been quite a day. But the day wasn't up and the culprit had not been caught, thus it'd be wisest to keep his wits.

If it's a tavern, there are no doubt plenty of people who may have seen the puppy. On the other hand, with the lifting of the siege, most of them are probably drunk, celebrating the defeat of their assailants. I suppose the first person to ask should be the tavern keeper.

As he and Klaus walked off, the other knight asked a curious question. One about whether the first child, the one with the pointed hat, knew any magic. He wasn't sure if Klaus was serious or joking, he ought to ask Klaus about it later.
Ah Red/Blue Golbat sprite. That thing terrified me, in part because whenever I did the Missingno glitch, I had a chance of being attacked by level 128 Golbats.

It's not as scary now, probably because it looks like he just smelled Spongebob's sundae breath.
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.
Grand Zealot Richter- Megaton, Cathedral of Atom

"Evasive maneuvers, pilot!" Richter commanded as the Brotherhood fired their warning shot. The Vertibird banked hard and dove, intend on getting out of the AA gun's range of fire. Richter struggled to maintain his balance in the Vertibird as it maneuvered away.

The Grand Zealot was livid. It may have been just a warning, but the Brotherhood showed blatant disregard for the Church of Atom's de facto sovereignty over the Capital Wasteland. The cowards fled from the Cult and left Atom's faithful to set things right, and now they sought to assert their long forfeit dominance over the wasteland.

If only we had a mounted minigun, I might have been able to disable that gun, Richter bitterly thought to himself. On the other hand, doing so may have been unnecessarily risky and brash, he concluded as his fury slightly subsided. Once they were out of range, he approached the cockpit, intent on giving his response on the radio.

"This is Grand Zealot Richter to the Brotherhood of Steel. Be warned that you will no longer be welcome in Atom's lands. If you trespass on our holy sites or encroach upon our holdings, you will be divided. We will never allow the Capital Wasteland to be ruled by cowards who fled the Cult."

"Pilot, switch us to Fort Constantine's frequency." The pilot complied, turning a knob on the cockpit dash. "This is Grand Zealot Richter to Fort Constantine. Do you read, over."

"Grand Zealot, this is Fort Constantine. We read you, over."

"Fort Constantine, the Brotherhood has refused to parlay with us and has fired warning shots on us. Repeat, the Brotherhood of Steel has fired a warning shot upon my Vertibird. Place the fort on alert, and fire on on any Brotherhood knights that approach, over."

"Which Brotherhood, Grand Zealot? Lyons' Brotherhood, or the Midwesterners whom we have allowed passage, over."

"My apologies, Fort Constantine," Richter answered, having realized his mistake. "I am referring to Lyons' Brotherhood, who now occupy Raven Rock. The Midwestern Brotherhood remain our guest, but my orders remain the same, do not let any Brotherhood knights from any Brotherhood in Fort Constantine without orders from myself, Tektus, or the Pontiff himself." The Midwestern Brotherhood may not have caused any trouble, but their mission to destroy pre-war nuclear weaponry was an affront to Atom and would not be allowed in the region.

"I read you, Grand Zealot. We will be on alert until further notice."

"Go with Atom's blessing, Fort Constantine. Over and out." There was much to do. Tektus and Cromwell would need to know of this insolence.


Zealot Thiel- Near Fort Independence

"Atom's blessing to you, Colonel Samuels. I am Zealot Thiel of the Children of Atom, acting on behalf of the Grand Zealot."

"What business do our allies in the Commonwealth have here in the Capital Wasteland, so close to our holy city?
Please understand, we do not wish for trouble, but we must remain appraised of all goings on so close to Holy Megaton. If your intentions are noble, we intend to follow through on our side of our alliance by providing communication and coordination while you remain in the Capital Wasteland."

Thiel hoped that they weren't looking for trouble. It'd be a great blow to lose the Free Commonwealth as an ally.

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