The Fallout Universe belongs to someone other than me. No infringement is intended, no profit is to be made and I'm just not worth the hassle of suing anyway unless you want a share of the wages of an underpaid Civil Servant.
Arlington – Columbia Commonwealth – June 2277
‘In case you were thinking of going across to see what's over there I heard that somebody mined the bridge’ Dreamer warned as they reached the crossing point to Theodore Roosevelt Island where the Anchorage War Memorial had been erected two centuries earlier, being finished shortly before the conflict went nuclear.
Coyle was still looking across to the island which lay in the middle of the Potomac. ‘Surprised you'd warn us’ he replied.
‘I might have caught some of the shrapnel when you stepped on a mine’ Dreamer told him honestly. ‘This shirt isn't exactly a flak jacket’ she noted, wishing that her “disguise” would repel something more substantial than people's gaze.
‘Spoken like a true raider sociopath’ Coyle responded, turning towards her, smiling. ‘You still look like shit by the way.’
‘Bite me’ Dreamer retorted. She was starting to suspect he wasn't the type who would hit her for just mouthing off and in any case she still felt so bad from Jet withdrawal she didn't much care if he did anyway.
‘Not even a starving cannibal would want to take a bite of something that looked as sick as you’ Coyle replied, his smile becoming a grin. ‘Another two miles at the most and we'll be at the Citadel’ he said.
Allison frowned. ‘I've got to ask’ she said. ‘You're not...’ she paused. ‘You're not planning to shoot at the Brotherhood are you?’ she wanted to know.
Coyle shook his head. ‘Not unless they shoot at me first.’
‘It's just that since I've known you you've kinda shown this habit of getting into fights’ Allison observed. ‘And I know you'll provoke other folks into starting them too’ she added.
Coyle chuckled. ‘From what I've been hearing from people there could be dozens of power-armour wearing assholes in there, maybe hundreds more of the bastards scattered across DC’ he said. ‘I didn't travel all this way to commit suicide.’
‘So you're just going to spy on them or something?’ Allison asked.
spy’ Coyle replied. ‘I'm a soldier’ he said, ‘I'm going to reconnoitre
’ he told her.
‘What's the difference?’ Allison wanted to know.
‘Spies get shot if they're captured’ Coyle replied flatly. ‘There's a good reason I'm still wearing my dog-tags’ he said. For that matter if it looked like he was going to get into a firefight with the Brotherhood of Steel it might be worth finding his Ranger insignia too and putting it on.
Dreamer's stomach was doing flip-flops but fortunately there wasn't really anything much in there to bring up so she wasn't about to throw up. ‘What have you got against the Brotherhood anyhow?’ she asked, hoping that talking might take her mind off how she felt.
‘We're at war’ Coyle replied. ‘They attacked us’ he continued, ‘fuckers stabbed us in the back as far as I'm concerned’ he said venomously. ‘Still we've pretty much got them beat now’ he continued with obvious satisfaction. ‘Outside of what territory they still hold in Maxson they've only got a few scattered bunkers left back home and we're clearing them out one at a time.’
‘But how did you manage to beat the Steel Knights?’ Dreamer queried reasonably. Even the meanest, most heavily armed Raider gangs in the Capital Wasteland made sure not to get into a fight with those guys.
‘Because our cause was just and our hearts were true’ Coyle replied grandly. ‘And we had the bastards outnumbered better than a hundred to one too which might have helped a little’ he added, grinning. ‘The longer the war dragged on the more screwed they were because we could replace our losses and they couldn't’ he explained. ‘Hell, after we ground them down for a few years we actually had enough troops in the field to be able to campaign against the Khans in the Mohave at the same time as we were fighting what was left of the Plague’ he said before taking a look at his watch. ‘Alright lets get going’ he ordered, moving off again as they made their way along the riverfront.
Allison checked that Dreamer's rope tether was still secure and indicating that the captured raider should continue to walk ahead of her they began to follow Coyle. ‘When we stop again I'll let you have some water if you think you can keep it down’ Allison told Dreamer.
‘I'm so thirsty after sweating so much the river water is starting to look pretty good’ Dreamer replied, bleakly.
Allison giggled. ‘Drink that and you'd end up glowing in the dark’ she said. The Potomac was legendarily radioactive.
Not too much further on as they approached a partially collapsed though still functional bridge over the river Coyle’s eye caught some movement nearby and he indicated for his companions to find cover and stay put while he scouted on ahead.
Given how close he now was to the Pentagon Coyle wasn’t too surprised to find a Brotherhood outpost but he was confused as to why they seemed to be packing up and in the process of vacating it. Nestled under this end of the bridge the outpost controlled the approaches to the only crossing point for miles and Coyle would certainly not have abandoned the position as the knights seemed to be doing.
Their equipment was hardly the most impressive Coyle had seen either. Although shortages of the superior T-51b Power Armour meant that even the West Coast Brotherhood had resorted to fielding a number of the less capable T-45d of late the fact that this entire squad was equipped with the inferior model suits was telling. Most at least had lasers, AER-9’s to be exact, but none had plasma weapons and spotting that a few were merely packing R91 Assault Rifles was intriguing too. ‘Looks like the Steel Plague out here is nearly rusted through’ Coyle said to himself in amusement as they continued to work.
Ten minutes later as the squad headed out Coyle returned back to Allison he wondered how long it would be before some raider gang realised what a valuable piece of real estate was up for grabs and took over the abandoned outpost themselves. ‘They must be really short of manpower too to give up that bridge’ he reasoned as he rejoined the girls. ‘You didn't waste purified water on her did you?’ he complained to Allison finding Dreamer knocking back the contents of a plastic bottle.
‘She's sick enough already without risking radiation poisoning’ Allison replied, now handing the Raider a large piece of Yao Quai jerky. ‘Don't swallow too much at once, just gnaw on it a little’ she advised as Dreamer took the dried meat from her hand.
Coyle decided there was no point in complaining about his guide's soft-heartedness so he merely sighed and told them they were going to go take a look at the citadel, warning Dreamer if she caused any trouble then the first shot he fired was going to go through her liver ensuring a long, painful drawn-out death that would make Jet withdrawal seem a picnic by comparison.
Skirting the bridge and the now abandoned outpost Coyle paused to check if the Brotherhood had left anything behind but finding only a few empty crates and ammunition boxes the trio continued on towards the Pentagon which had begun to dominate the skyline ahead.
‘Back before the Great War they say twenty thousand people worked there’ Allison said in awe as they approached the huge complex.
‘If they were like the civil servants and REMF's back home I doubt more than half of them actually worked
there’ Coyle responded with a chuckle.
‘What’s a Remf?’ Allison asked. ‘Is that more Latin?’
‘Rear Echelon Mother-Fucker’ Coyle told her, spelling out the abbreviation. ‘Soldiers who sit behind desks instead of crouching behind sandbags’ he explained as the got close enough to see the guards by the new fortified entrance to the complex and patrols walking the perimeter. ‘Laser turrets and observation platforms set up high to command the approaches’ he noted professionally. ‘Building doesn't look too smashed up either, I wonder what they found in there when they arrived?’ he asked rhetorically.
‘Maybe you should go take a look inside?’ Dreamer suggested sarcastically. ‘Ask nicely at the gate and I'll bet they’d let you in.’
‘Or they'd hear my accent and blow my head off’ Coyle replied more realistically.
‘I'm not hearing a downside’ Dreamer said quietly to herself before taking another small bite on the jerky and starting to chew.
‘Looks like something toppled the building next door onto it’ Coyle noted. ‘We can't get around it that way, we'll have to skirt the place on the riverside which means getting close.’
‘According to Grandma Sparkle they don't usually shoot at you for just walking past the building if you want to get a closer look’ Allison reminded Coyle. ‘I guess traders have to go past there to deal with the guy that runs the Ferry out to Point Lookout too?’ she reasoned.
‘Do we look like traders?’ Coyle replied sardonically.
‘Slave traders maybe’ Allison replied, indicating the rope they had Dreamer on. ‘I don't think they like slavers much though.’
‘No, they prefer serfdom to outright slavery but that's just semantics from a bunch of neo-feudalists’ Coyle muttered. ‘If they see my gauss rifle they'll definitely want it’ he knew. The Brotherhood had a tendency to seize items of advanced technology from “lesser” peoples. ‘I can break it down into parts and with the barrel unscrewed it'll fit in my pack’ he continued. ‘Probably best to dismount the IR Scope from my FN-FAL too’ he decided. ‘That won't help much if they decide to stop and search us though.’
Allison looked thoughtful. ‘I've got an idea’ she said.
‘I'm all ears’ Coyle replied.
‘Well for a start, if we untie Dreamer...’ Allison began.
‘No’ Coyle interrupted her firmly.
‘Hear me out’ Allison requested. ‘She looks a little better now, not so much like a Ghoul as she did this morning, so she can carry your rucksack again which means she can't run away too easily.’
‘It weighs a fucking ton’ Dreamer complained.
‘You rob and kill people, don't expect endless sympathy from me’ Allison responded. ‘So the story is we're heading along the river to discuss a trade deal with the Ferryman’ she explained to Coyle. ‘I'm in charge and you’re my big dumb bodyguard.’
‘Hey!’ Coyle objected.
‘I mean literally dumb because of your accent’ Allison told him. ‘They hear you talk and I conjure it won't go very well’ she said wisely.
‘Yeah okay’ Coyle agreed. ‘Just don't expect me to drool or something’ he said. ‘I have my dignity.’
‘No you don't, I've seen you standing on a bar drunk and singing while you were wearing that shirt we put on Dreamer’ Allison corrected him.
Coyle narrowed his eyes. ‘You can insult my taste in clothes, my interpersonal skills, my jokes and you can even disrespect my personal hygiene and I'll let it pass’ he said menacingly. ‘But you don't
speak ill of my family, my country or my singing’ he growled.
Dreamer flinched. ‘Okay then’ she agreed, breaking eye contact because he looked really intimidating right at that moment.
‘Do you know I was offered a contract at the Aces’ Coyle declared, still clearly annoyed at the perceived slight to his vocal talents. ‘Tommy Torini said I could be the biggest act on the Vegas Strip after I did a set on open mike night’ he added.
‘I'm sure you were great’ Allison tried to placate him, although not really understanding what the hell he was talking about. ‘So do you want to hear the rest of my plan?’ she asked, desperately trying to change the subject.
‘It had better be good’ Coyle said, scowling.
After a tangle with a Super Mutant Behemoth over on the other side of the river Paladin Bael had been detailed light work for a week but after spending a whole month now stuck on gate duty he was starting to suspect he was here for the duration. He wasn’t sure if it was punishment or perhaps just because he had proven extremely effective at getting rid of uninvited visitors trying to wheedle their way in, either way it was boring as hell.
Considered gruff and unsociable even by other members of the Brotherhood, an organisation itself not known for its amiability towards outsiders, Bael prided himself on an ability to quickly get rid of the wastelanders who periodically arrived looking to enter. Deliberately not wearing his helmet so they could see his expression Bael had carefully mastered an air of utter disdain when talking to the interlopers and he prided himself on how few ever bothered to try and get in again after running into him.
The trio walking towards him now were better dressed than most at least, well the guy had a decent set of combat-armour on and the girl not wearing the horrible shirt was half-way presentable in her black leather outfit anyway, but if they thought they were going to be able to get in or talk to someone important they were sorely deluded. ‘What do you want locals?’ Bael asked them in a bored tone, hefting his AER-9 Laser Rifle meaningfully although the hulking heavily-armed Sentry Robot next to him was more than enough of a threat in itself.
‘Well we...’ the girl in the leather gear began.
‘Just keep moving’ Bael told her, waving her away with his AER-9. ‘Nobody gets into the Citadel unless they’re Brotherhood or have the express permission of Elder Lyons’ he announced.
The girl shook her head. ‘No we don't want to get in’ she denied. ‘It's just that I was going past here anyway on my way to the Ferry and I thought it was a good opportunity to help you out’ she said. ‘I mean not you specifically, the Brotherhood of Steel’ she explained.
‘Help us out?’ Bael queried suspiciously.
‘Yeah, you know by giving you some ammo’ the girl told him.
‘Say what?’ Bael responded, now extremely confused.
‘Like it says on the radio’ the girl told him. ‘All that talk about how you’re fighting the good fight and how we should say thanks or better yet give you some ammo’ she continued. ‘So here you go’ she said stepping closer and handing over a small cloth bag. ‘Sorry but we couldn't really spare much’ she added apologetically.
Paladin Bael didn’t know what to say as he opened the bag finding a few .32 calibre rounds in there as well as some 9mm and a couple of shotgun shells. ‘Um... thanks’ he said awkwardly, closing the bag. ‘I think you might be the first person that actually has given us any ammo’ he told her.
‘Really?’ the girl asked in surprise.
‘Yes, really’ Bael confirmed. ‘You know we're not that short of ammo’ he said, trying to pass the bag back. Nice girl, he decided, and the low-cut leather top she had on was doing wonders for her rack too he thought, trying not to be too blatant in his ogling of her cleavage even if towering over her in his Power Armour made it easy.
‘Oh no’ the girl raised her hands. ‘It's for the good fight’ she said, refusing to take it. ‘So you take care and we'll be going’ she said with another smile, moving to turn away before pausing and turning back to the Paladin. ‘Silly question but didn't you used to have a few knights guarding the bridge down there?’ she asked, pointing back in the direction she had come from. ‘We were going to give them the ammo but they weren't there’ she told him, looking puzzled.
Bael sighed. ‘We just pulled out of there, a few other places too’ he replied. ‘We're getting set for another big battle with the Super Mutants over in the Mall’ he told her. ‘We needed everyone we could get to help man the trenches we’ve been digging to help us hold the line, we repulsed the last few attacks but it looks like they really want that ground’ he said.
‘Oh I see’ the girl replied. ‘Good luck with that then’ she said, giving him another smile. ‘We should be going’ she said moving off with her companions following.
‘You might want to watch out for demolition squads’ Bael called after her, thinking he should. ‘We're using explosives to collapse a few buildings, trying to seal off areas the Super Mutants have already taken to stop them spreading through the town now we’re redeploying troops’ he said. ‘And if one of the patrols stops you tell them that Paladin Bael at the gate said to let you go through.’
Bael took another look in the bag as the locals walked off. The cartridges weren't in great condition he noticed, probably not much use really but it was the thought that counted he supposed, and it was nice to be appreciated by the locals for once seeing as how the Brotherhood was risking its ass daily on their behalf.
Once they were out of possible earshot Allison threw a smug look in Coyle's direction. ‘You see’ she told him. ‘You can
get around the wasteland by being nice to people and making pleasant conversation instead of shooting your way through every problem.’
‘It'll never catch on’ Coyle replied, still unconvinced as he continued making mental notes of the buildings exterior defences. As a Brotherhood Knight on patrol looked his way Coyle tried not to look too interested in the laser cannon turrets that were emplaced on the ground outside the Citadel facing the river but having seen what similar defences around Vault City could do to even a determined attacker the NCR soldier was impressed.
Having now checked out three of the buildings five sides and finding himself in what seemed to be a relatively intact, if deserted, part of town Coyle decided to complete his survey and now led his companions away from the river along a road that had the Citadel on one side and other largely derelict government buildings along the other.
‘Haven't seen any knights for a while’ Allison remarked as they found another building collapsed against the Pentagon which prevented them following the building around any further.
‘I guess they really are short on manpower’ Coyle supposed, ‘not even enough to properly patrol around their own base’ he said.
They hadn't gone more than another two hundred yards approaching what appeared to be a turn in the road before the sound of automatic gunfire up ahead and seeming to be getting closer fast began to echo towards them off the stone-faced government buildings.
‘Can't I go one day with you without any shooting!’ Allison exclaimed as two figures in green combat armour, neither wearing a helmet came running into view, periodically turning to fire back in the direction they had came.
‘Maybe not’ Coyle replied, dropping to one knee and bringing up his FN-FAL in case it was needed, not that he had any idea who the figures were or whether he should shoot at them or whoever it was that was chasing them.
Dreamer had enough sense to simply throw herself behind cover straight away, Allison joining her a moment later, but Coyle just calmly looked down his gunsights and pulled back the cocking handle of his battle-rifle chambering a round.
If she hadn't been running for dear life self-proclaimed “Relic Hunter” Sydney would normally have spotted the man ahead wearing armour much like her own long before now but as it was both she and her friend Emaline were a tiny bit more distracted than normal and she only registered his being there right along the road she was running down for dear life when he started firing.
Emaline herself was busy trying to re-load her custom R91 on the run and very nearly freaked when the first bullet hurtled right past her coming from the other direction than the raiders. However the guy shooting yelling at them to “get out of the fucking line of fire” quickly saw both her and Sydney throw themselves to the ground as the stranger started gunning down the raiders with alacrity.
Still not entirely sure of the situation Coyle relied on his instincts. If a bunch of men in raider gear were chasing two women down the road it was his policy to shoot the bastards so he did so with his customary panache. Rapid-firing his FN-FAL, putting one quick round into each target then switching to the next in an extremely clinical and practiced manner, for the Raiders running headlong into Coyle was somewhat akin to running unexpectedly into a wall, one that blew holes right through your armour and then yourself.
With only twenty rounds in its magazine the high-powered battle-rifle was soon empty but it wasn't a good time to play around reloading it so Coyle dropped his rifle and pulled his MP9 from its holster starting to fire short bursts. As he did so his brain registered that the two girls who were being chased were firing again themselves too and that the MP9 one was toting seemed to have a much higher firing rate than his own.
‘How many of these fuckers are there?’ Coyle called out over the sound of gunfire, quite a lot of it now coming from the raiders although their aim was mercifully poor.
‘Maybe forty or fifty’ the girl with the souped-up SMG called back.
‘Jesus wept’ Coyle muttered to himself, ejecting an empty magazine from his MP9 and loading another, noting that Allison was firing now herself, the crack of her hunting rifle off to one side distinctive.
Dreamer had no real idea what was going on but it was more than likely that if the raiders won this fight then they'd kill her too, or maybe gang-rape her then kill her. They weren't from her crew, this wasn’t her turf so she wasn't any better off than the others. She considered making a break for it but even dumping the heavy rucksack didn’t mean she’d necessarily make it. ‘I wish I could shoot for shit’ she moaned as she reached over and pulled Allison’s 10mm pistol from its holster, aiming it in the direction of the raiders and starting to pull the trigger before Allison could object.
Even though she didn't get close to hitting anything whatsoever the sudden addition of yet another gun firing in their direction meant that the raiders were now starting to think that they had run headlong into an ambush with the chicks in the combat armour just bait. The fact that at least one of the other assholes shooting at them was wearing the same gear as the girls too wasn’t encouraging either because a lot of people in combat armour meant they were probably mercenaries or something.
Reading the situation correctly Coyle grinned. ‘We've got them now’ he called out. ‘Second squad, move around and flank these bastards’ he said loudly so the raiders could definitely hear.
‘Yes Sir’ Allison called back, playing along with his ruse.
‘Fuck me I think its Reilly's Rangers’ one of the raiders moaned. He'd never encountered the famed mercenary outfit but he knew they wore green combat armour and were mean, heavily armed sons-of-bitches. For that matter Reilly was supposed to be a redhead. Maybe she was one the chicks they'd been chasing? One did
have that hair colour he realised.
‘Yeah if they get us in a crossfire or something we're fucked’ another agreed.
‘You know what’ a third said after a pause. ‘Fuck this shit’ he declared and started heading back home, soon followed by a couple more then by the rest of them leaving their dead and any wounded they couldn't recover without getting shot at behind.
‘Come back here and fight you fucking wimps’ Coyle yelled after them, laughing. ‘That was fun’ he said, holstering his MP9 and picking up his FN-FAL again, loading a fresh magazine into the rifle before getting up.
‘Are they gone?’ Allison asked, looking out nervously.
‘Who the hell are you?’ Sydney wanted to know. Getting up and walking towards Coyle, her SMG still ready to fire.
‘Your saviour, so aim that somewhere else’ Coyle responded curtly. ‘You okay sweetheart?’ he asked Allison.
‘Yes’ Allison confirmed, trying to get her breathing under control.
‘So am I’ Dreamer spoke up.
‘Like I care’ Coyle replied dismissively before pointing his rifle at her. ‘What the hell are you doing holding that firearm’ he demanded to know, seeing the 10mm in her hand.
‘I was protecting my own ass and you're lucky I didn’t decide to pop a cap in yours while I was at it’ Dreamer spat back. ‘Here, this is yours’ she said, handing the pistol to Allison. ‘It's empty’ she noted.
‘Should be plenty of replacement ammo on those guys’ Emaline said, indicating the fallen raiders. ‘We might want to be careful getting near them though’ she warned. ‘They could be faking how bad they’re hurt.’
‘Okay, I guess I'll give the first introduction’ the dark-haired girl in combat armour addressed Coyle. ‘I'm Sydney’ she said. ‘That's my best friend Emaline’ she added, indicating her companion who herself had bright red hair.
‘I'm Coyle’ the NCR Ranger introduced himself in turn. ‘That's Allison with the rifle and the one wearing shades is Dreamer’ he told them. ‘Do you mind me asking how you ended up getting chased by four dozen raiders?’ he asked Sydney curiously.
Sydney sighed. ‘We were getting something for someone out of an old library the Brotherhood had boarded up years ago and I didn't know a raider gang had moved in recently’ she said. ‘I wasn't really expecting that kind of trouble’ she admitted. ‘I only brought Emaline along to help me carry the books I was after.’
‘Leave your flamethrower at home she said’ Emaline complained. ‘Here, borrow my rifle instead, it’s lighter so you can carry more books she said’ the redhead continued bitterly.
‘Alright, alright I'm sorry’ Sydney apologised. ‘I don't think it would have been right to use a flamethrower in a library anyway’ she added as a defence of sorts.
‘Whatever’ Emaline replied dismissively. ‘Anyhow, you can do your next job for that weirdo collector of old junk on your own’ she told Sydney firmly.
‘Abraham isn't crazy, he's just a little eccentric, and it's not
junk’ Sydney told her friend before turning back to Coyle. ‘What were you doing here?’ she asked him.
‘We were just looking around’ Coyle replied, more or less honestly.
‘Oh. Well if you were thinking of finding somewhere to stay or looking for something to salvage then I'll warn you that not only is the library up ahead full of goddamn raiders they've also taken over an old hotel I used to bed down at for the night sometimes’ Sydney told him. ‘The Brotherhood used to keep the raiders out of the area but I guess they aren't any more.’
‘A Paladin told us they're sending most everyone they can over to the Mall to fight the Super Mutants’ Allison chipped in.
‘Don't need to cross the river to find those big ugly bastards’ Emaline commented. ‘Falls Church is starting to crawl with them’ she said. ‘The raiders we ran into probably moved this way to keep clear of the things.’
‘Could be’ Sydney agreed. ‘So I guess we should say thanks for you helping us’ she said to Coyle gratefully. ‘We couldn't get a big enough lead on them to stand and fight’ she continued. ‘If we'd stopped running they'd have been on us right away before we could get off many shots.’
‘I think they wanted us alive which is why they didn't just all shoot us in the back’ Emaline chipped in, grimacing at the thought of being taken by the raiders.
‘Although some of them were probably just crappy shots’ Sydney added. ‘I guess we should go split up what they're carrying’ she said. ‘You can get first pick on weapons because we owe you’ she told Coyle.
‘Talking of weapons that's a very interesting MP9 you've got there’ Coyle told her. ‘Extended magazine and a higher cyclic?’ he queried.
Sydney grinned. ‘Right on both counts’ she confirmed. ‘Customised it myself’ she added.
‘You're a gunsmith?’ Coyle asked, intrigued.
‘Learned from my father, he was one of the best’ Sydney confirmed. ‘That R91 Emaline is carrying is mine too’ she said with obvious pride in her work. ‘Chromed barrel and internals, everything precision and as long as you don't feed it completely shit ammo it'll keep firing long after a regular R91 has jammed up’ she told him. ‘I call it Wanda.’
‘Wanda’ Coyle repeated, raising his eyebrows.
‘It was a good name for a doll when I was little and it's a good name for an assault rifle now’ Sydney insisted defensively. ‘You know, seeing as how I owe you one, and I can always customise another rifle, how about I let you take Wanda in return for me and Emaline getting most of the stuff those raiders were carrying?’ she suggested. ‘That FN-FAL must be pricy to keep in bullets’ she noted. ‘Quality rifle though’ she did add appreciatively. ‘I wouldn't mind a proper look at some point, don't see too many around here.’
‘We should probably get a move on in case those raiders get some of their balls back’ Emaline advised seriously.
Sydney nodded. ‘If we gather it all up and head for the Ferry we can probably slip the captain a few caps to take us over the river to Rivet City’ she suggested. ‘We can even take their armour if we don't have to haul it very far, that'll get us enough caps to make up for leaving the books behind.’
‘I know you said they cleared out the tech manuals and the most useful stuff when they first arrived in town but if we tell the Brotherhood that Raiders have moved into the library and they're smashing up the place and burning the remaining books for fuel maybe they'll clear them back out’ Emaline said to Sydney.
‘We'll make sure to let them know’ Sydney agreed.
‘Someone once wrote before the Great War that where they burn books they will ultimately burn people also’ Coyle quoted. ‘Most raiders these days start out with the people burning though’ he said.
‘Well they're easier to find’ Dreamer pointed out.
Note from the Author:Considering how close the bridge was to the Pentagon in the game there really should have been a Brotherhood outpost there not raiders. Having it abandoned not long before Fallout 3 starts (canonically the Lone Wanderer leaves Vault 101 on August 17th 2277 so that's a few weeks in the future) with the knights there transferred to the fighting in the Mall (which is full of trenches in FO3) makes a little more sense methinks.
In FO1 and FO2 the West Coast Brotherhood of Steel are only ever seen using the T-51b Power Armour although by the time of Fallout: New Vegas a few of them are down to using the occasional T-45d (probably because the NCR has been kicking their arse). Meanwhile in the Capital Wasteland the inferior T-45d is pretty much it for the BoS because they just aren't as well equipped (more on that later in the Fic).
Coyle considers himself a great singer, he's not actually all that bad but has a slightly inflated perception of his own talent because while on a tour of duty in the Mojave Wasteland he once performed on stage at The Aces Theatre in The Tops casino and the audience (who included an awful lot of NCR soldiers it should be noted) enjoyed his performance.
Three Dog on Galaxy News Radio is always enthusing the population of the Capital Wasteland to support the Brotherhood in fighting the "good fight". Having the gruff Paladin Bael on the Citadel Gate being caught flat-footed by someone really giving him some ammo seemed funny if nothing else!
Sydney recovers "relics" for Abraham Washington in Rivet City. With her help in FO3 you can recover the Declaration of Independence (British fanfic author boos and hisses) for him but if you double-cross her on the deal you might find yourself getting attacked later by Sydney and her friend Emaline. Both Sydney and Emaline wear combat armour, so does Reilly of the mercenary group Reilly's Rangers. With her red hair and armour the raiders thinking Emaline is actually Reilly and they're taking on a full team of mercs is at least plausible (discipline, professionalism and remaining calm under fire are not their strong suits).
Despite being so close to the Citadel, and the Brotherhood having been in town for twenty years by 2277, for some reason Arlington Library is full of raiders and in FO3 you can help the Brotherhood out by aiding them in clearing out the raiders and recovering the books. The best I could come up to explain this was that the BoS had already taken the books they really wanted years before and boarded the place up. The raiders only arrived very recently (because the knights had pulled back patrols in the area) and because they were wrecking the place the Brotherhood Scribes persuaded the military arm of the organisation to go rescue what was left before it was burned and lost forever.
Wanda is a unique version of the R91 assault rifle that you can get if you use the console in FO3 but doesn't actually appear in the game (cut content). Sydney being a gunsmith gave me someone to have made the thing and of course you now all know that the reason why the Lone Wanderer never gets his hands on Wanda is because Coyle got to it first!