High Inquisitor Tektus- The Vessel
Tektus sat in his throne in the control room of the Vessel, meditating on Atom as the submarine sailed north. The interior of the submarine was a strange mixture of the somber atmosphere of a holy site of Atom and a functioning nuclear-powered naval vessel. Skulls and bottles filled with radioluminescent substances sat on instrument and control panels, their soft, constant glow a strong contrast to the constantly shifting colors emanating from the buttons, screens, and lights on the panels. The red glow of the submarine's own lights were drowned out by the yellow radioluminescence of the dangling flasks that served to illuminate much of the room. Robed Children of Atom sat at the stations, operating the Vessel with a surprising level of precision and care. Getting the submarine operational had been one of Tektus' pet projects, although until they had retaken the Capital Wasteland from the Cult, they lacked the technical knowledge to utilize it to its full potential beyond its role as a bringer of Division via ballistic missiles. It was only through a thorough scavenging of the nearby Air Force and Navy installations and cooperation with the scientifically-minded folks in Rivet City that they had gained the understanding of the Vessel necessary to make use of most of its systems.
There was much to ponder on. The Brotherhood of Steel had returned to the Capital Wasteland. A campaign had been hatched to jointly invade Point Lookout with the Free Commonwealth. It would be a costly battle, but it was essential that they cleanse the region of the Cult's foul influence. The matter of the Brotherhood of Steel was another story. They were entrenched in the Enclave's old bunker, built specifically to withstand the power of Atom. It was unclear how much of a threat they posed to the faith in the Capital wasteland, but they would need to be watched closely.
Tektus looked forward to reaching the Island. While it was his duties that took him in that direction, it was also a much-needed pilgrimage for the spiritually taxed High Inquisitor. The last report stated that things were quiet on the Island, with no further tensions with Arcadia and Far Harbor. The most prominent issue was the ever-present danger for pilgrims sailing to and from the island, a matter that may keep Tektus in the region for a while.
"High Inquisitor, we have a bit of a situation," spoke one of the crewmen, interrupting Tektus' meditation. "Our sonar is picking up something in the north."
"What do you mean by "something"?" Tektus asked, rising from his chair and walking over to the sonar screen. "What are we looking at?"
"This is indicating a great deal of noise in the water to the north, a lot more than a single boat," the crewmember explained, gesturing to the screen. Tektus nodded, not completely sure what he was looking at but satisfied with the operator's explanation. "Should we adjust course?"
"Not yet, child," Tektus commanded. "Helmsman, bring us to periscope depth. Our duty is to make this route safe for pilgrims, and if these ships are a threat to our flock, we must find out." There were several factions that could conceivably put together a fleet of ships, and Tektus needed to find out who and what they were dealing with.
For the next few tense minutes, the submarine drew closer to the surface, as the sonar signatures drew closer. The control room was silent except for the sounds of the submarine. The normally patient High Inquisitor grew anxious. Atom, grant me clarity, so that I may see the threats to your faith, he silently uttered in prayer. Finally, the Helmsman broke the silence.
"High Inquisitor, we are at periscope depth, and the periscope has been extended." Finally, Tektus thought, as he approached the periscope and peered into it, eager to see what they were dealing with.
Any relief that he felt quickly faded as he began to discern the approaching ships. A veritable fleet of boats was heading south. These were not simple fishing vessels, but ramshackle warships. No, they were more than that. The ships looked more like derelicts and wrecks than seaworthy vessels, yet sailed in seeming defiance of their ruined state. Yet Tektus could only discern a few at the front- more lay behind, but a radiation fog blanketed much of the fleet, concealing them from the periscope's view.
Not a lot of things fazed Tektus- he had seen many terrible things in the faith's war to drive the Cult from the Capital Wasteland, and even more horrors in his duties to root out its lingering, hidden presence- but this brought pause to him. These weren't simple pirates or sea raiders, these looked to be something out of old mariners' tales- a fleet of ghost ships, following the fog wherever it blew. Or was it the fog that was following them?
"Retract the periscope, and dive and continue our course," Tektus ordered as the ships sailed closer. "Our brothers and sisters at the Island must be informed of this threat. If the Island has already been threatened, then we must hear them."
"What did you see, High Inquisitor?" one of the crewmembers asked. "What is this threat?"
"Superficially, a pirate fleet," Tektus answered. At its core, something that should not exist in this world."