Little update.  I have a few Fallout blogs I'm going to do coming up.  Firstly, the third part of this one is going to cover exactly why Tanner now hates and is hunting Hades/The Boss.  Then, since I left Aloha Islands, I'm going to do a blog about Randall getting trapped there and escaping-- the time it happens is going to be before Brothers in Binds.  Thirdly, I'm going to a blog series based on the Courier.

That's all, thanks for reading.

Spring of 2286, three months before the events of Fallout: Prophecy.

The two Brotherhood knights looked down at the man in front of them, as if unsure what to do.

Tanner didn’t know why.  His request had been pretty simple.

“You’re a Knight from the other Midwest chapter.”  One knight repeated, his voice louder than expected through the microphone of the power armor helmet.

“Correct.”  Tanner said, fingering the revolver that was holstered at his waist, as if expecting a fight.  “Now I need to speak with your elder.”

The two knights glanced at each other, and one shrugged.

“Alright.”  The first one said indifferently, then began to pull aside the heavy chain-link gate that protected the road into Fort Williamette.  “Everyone goes to see him anyway.”

Tanner was led by the knight towards the man building in Williamette, what looked to be a massive complex of winding halls and corridors.  They passed many Knights and Squires along the way, each off to their own duties.

“A large operation you have here.”  Tanner stated.

The Knight said nothing.

Into the building they went, the Knight taking the lead as he took Tanner past door upon door of identical offices.  One could get lost in here easily.  It was like any old military building.  Sterile but practical, with lighting that made one miss the sun.

They eventually stopped outside a set of double doors, that looked like they once could’ve been a general’s quarters.

The knight pushed the doors open, and let Tanner inside.  The interior was well decorated, with a red, white, and blue rug taking up the central space of the floor, the walls were painted a golden color, and the drapes that hung over the tall windows were a royal blue.  Well-polished wooden furniture occupied the floor space, a coffee table and few chairs around it to one side of the room, and a large wooden desk sat directly facing the doors.  Behind it was an older man in the gray robes of an elder.

The Elder didn’t look up from the paper work he was scribbling on.

“I told you I didn’t want to be disturbed.”  The man said in a nasally voice.

Tanner frowned at him.  This was the Elder of the Midwest Brotherhood of Steel?  The elder at the Midwest chapter in the Crossroads, Tanner’s own father, was much more impressive.  He let none of his disappointment or surprise show on his face though, remaining carefully neutral.

“I know, Elder Jameson.”  The power armoured knight who had escorted Tanner in began, stepping forwards.  “But this man is a Knight from the splinter chapter.”

Splinter chapter Tanner mouthed.

“He demanded to speak with you.”

Tanner had asked nicely.  He hadn’t demanded.

“Splinter chapter, eh?”  The Elder said.  “Well come forward, boy, let me see you.”

The knight stepped aside so that Tanner, not really liking being called a boy for a multitude of reasons, stood at attention at the front of the desk.

“Your name?”

Tanner hesitated a fraction of a second.  “Tanner Collins.”

The Elder didn’t react.  He wasn’t familiar with the leadership of the Midwest Crossroads Chapter then or now, likely.

“Huh…”  The Elder mumbled, before looking up.  “Well, boy?  What can I do for you?”  He had face shaped like an axe-head, with a ridiculously weak jaw, and squinty, narrow eyes.

“I’m looking for a man.  An enemy of the Brotherhood.”

“Does he have a name?”  The Elder asked, clearly bored and uninterested.

“He’s a ghoul.  A glowing one.  Not much better than feral.  Goes by the name Hades.  He’s… well he can do things normal people can’t.  Do you know of anyone like that?”

The Elder processed this for a moment.  “Never heard of him.”

Tanner frowned.  “I doubt that, Elder.  This is something the Brotherhood would make it it’s business to know.  A dangerous, hostile mutant with a god complex walks into Brotherhood territory--”

“And it’s none of your concern.”  The Elder finished for him, looking down at his documents.  “Isn’t this Circle of Steel business?  Why should you bother with this?”

Tanner was quiet for a long moment. “Because Hades is Russel Washington.”

The Elder slowly looked up at Tanner.  “What?”

“Russel Washington is Hades.”

“Russel Washington is a Brotherhood hero who died nearly two hundred years ago.”

“He faked his death.  He became ghoulified and had been acting as an off the grid asset ever since.”  Tanner jabbed a finger down on the Elder’s desk, shaking some of Jameson’s bobbles.  “Ten years ago, he got into contact with a unique strain of FEV, it made him insane, and now he’s come here to get access to something that will allow him to wipe out the remaining life on the West Coast.  He told me himself.”

“Oh really?”  The Elder said dryly.  “Do you think he’s looking for sunken Spanish treasure and unicorns as well?  I’m more concerned about those myself.”

“Elder Jameson, this is serious!”

“I know, I’m listening, you’re very engaging.”

Tanner fumed quietly for a minute, glaring daggers at the top of the Elder’s bald head.  The man was absorbed in his work.

“You know who I bet knows where Hades is?”  Tanner began again.

“Who?”  The Elder asked, just tolerating him at this point, hoping he would go away.

“The Crimson King.”

The Elder froze, and looked up sharply.  “What did you say?”

“I’m going,” Tanner said, drawing the words out, “to the Crimson King.  If you don’t tell me where Hades is.”

“No you’re not.  And you’re not getting that information either.   Go back home, boy.  Hades is our issue now.”

“Fine.  The Crimson King it is then.  I imagine he’ll want Brotherhood secrets in trade.”

Tanner stared the old man down, the Elder stared right back.  The old man sighed.

“Knight,”  The Elder began, calling past Tanner, his voice complacent.

Finally, Tanner said, glad he’d gotten through to the old coot.

“Arrest this man for treason.”  Jameson finished.

“What?!”  Tanner exclaimed, as the knight surged forward, placing two massive metal hands on Tanner’s shoulders.

“You said you were going to give secrets to our enemy.”  The Elder said, sounding very unfazed by the whole encounter.  “You really haven’t given me much of a choice.”

“Oh screw you!”  Tanner shouted at him,  leaping forward to attack the Elder, but held in place by the Knight.  He struggled futilely in the man’s power armored grip.

“Knight, put him with the others.”  The Elder instructed, back to scribbling.  “We’ll ship him north like the rest.”

“Affirmative.  Come with me, sir.”  The Knight began to tug Tanner away.

Tanner grit his teeth and narrowed his eyes, remembering a thousand promises to himself to never be helpless again.  I don’t think so.

Lunging forward, getting all the slack he could out of the Knight’s long reach, Tanner tossed himself at the desk.  The Knight immediately pulled backwards, but Tanner had counted on this, and used the force of the Knight’s tug to pivot in air.  He kicked off the edge of the desk, flipped in an impressive display of agility, and landed on the Knight’s shoulders.

He pulled his revolver from the holster on his hip and fired it directly into the mouthpiece of the T-51b helmet.

The gun shot echoed, and the Knight toppled backwards.  He landed with a dull thud, and Tanner gracefully on his feet.

Heavy footsteps down the hallway spoke of more Brotherhood coming.  Tanner of yesterday would’ve dove through the windows behind the Elder’s desk to get away.

Tanner of today holstered his revolver and drew a pair of butterfly knives.

Six soldiers in full T-51b power armor were charging down the hallway towards him, laser rifles in hand.

“He’s here to kill the Elder!”  One cried loyally but without the best attention to detail.  “Blast him!”

A hail of lasers came at Tanner as he dashed towards the Knights, low to the ground, blades at his sides.

Not a single shot hit.

The first Knight in the line of six (only one really fit in the hall at a time, the base’s halls had not been designed to accommodate power armored men) could only watch as Tanner leapt into the air and landed with his feet against the man’s armored chest.  One of the knives flashed out, and blood spurted from the Knight’s throat were the blade had cut through the soft part of his armor.

Tanner kicked backwards off the knight’s chest, sending the man teetering, and landed in a crouch.  He jumped sideways, avoiding gunfire, and kicked off the wall, landing behind the second knight.  He drove both blades backwards, where the cuirass met the waistline, his knives plunging through the material there into the man’s kidneys.

The Knight’s scream reverberated through his helmet.

The remaining four tossed their rifles aside, realizing at this point they weren’t going to do the job, and charged forwards to squish the puny human.

Tanner stood his ground as the third one reached him.  He side-stepped as the man threw a slow punch at Tanner’s chest.  Tanner drove his knife down into the joint of the Knight’s extended arm, and then twisted the blade.  This Knight’s scream was even more piercing than the last, but Tanner ended his misery quick by stabbing him in the area under his left armpit, severing one of the warrior’s arteries.

The fourth Knight shoved the dying third out of the way in his thirst to kill Tanner, knocking the third’s body onto the second’s.

Tanner took two steps back, climbing onto the mound of dead Knights, dancing around two quick jabs delivering by this latest attacker.  The Knight, perhaps brighter than the rest, took advantage of his wider reach, and swung his arm in an arc.  It caught Tanner in the chest and sent him crashing into the wall.

Tanner grunted in pain as his head and back impacted painfully, and he slid to the ground, dazed.  The Knight seized him by his jacket, lifted Tanner up, and pinned him to the wall.  The power armored man lifted his free hand in a fist, cocked it back, and threw a punch to smash Tanner’s head.

Tanner leaned his head to the side, only blinking as the Knight punched his arm clear through the wall, directly next to Tanner’s head.  The punch continued so that the Knight’s arm passed completely through the wall.  As a result, up to the Knight’s shoulder was inside the wall, and incidentally he was face to face with Tanner.

“Nice try.”  Tanner muttered as he drove his knives into the lymph nodes under the man’s jaw, through the thin metal there.  The blades of the knives traveling directly through the Knight’s mouth into his brain.  Hit the ground quicker than the first knight did.

Tanner faced the remaining two Knights, who were now undoubtedly more cautious since they’d just witnessed a man take down four power-armored soldiers with weapons that were really little more than tableware compared to their equipment.  Tanner was Lebron James on a basketball court of three-year-olds, and was teaching them how this game was really meant to be played.

They advanced slowly, together, forcing Tanner to retreat.  He stepped back into the Elder’s office, and they split up, attempting to get on either side of him.

Tanner suddenly charged one of the Knights.  The man braced himself, ready to meet Tanner’s charge, and threw a punch that would’ve connected, had Tanner not ducked into a slide, passing straight between the Knight’s legs.

He popped up on the other side in a crouch, and drove his knives into the joints where the thighs met the buttox of the armor.  The man flopped to the ground, landing on his stomach, but his fate wasn’t sealed until Tanner climbed on top of the man, planted a boot on his helmet, a drove a knife directly through his visor.  It became stuck halfway through the bulletproof glass, the man inside screaming as he was only partially slain, and Tanner had put the rest of his weight on the knife to finish the man off completely.

He looked up, turning to the last Knight.

“I don’t think ‘ad victorium’ is going to be applicable here.”  Tanner mocked.

The Knight charged Tanner at full speed, head lowered like a rhinoceros.  Tanner would’ve laughed where this a more appropriate time.  How did this guy think this was going to work?

Tanner dove out of the way at the last possible moment, landing in a roll, and looked up just in time to watch the final Knight trip over his own dead comrade, and plow right through a wall.

Plaster and dry wall rained down around him as he stood, disoriented, wondering what had happened.  He regained his baring’s just in time to see Tanner lining up a shot with his revolver.

The Knight briefly wondered what Tanner thought a pistol was going to do to him, under the Knight noticed the exposed gas line hanging down from the ceiling, directly above his head.

“Whoops.”  Tanner said, an unfortunate note in his voice, as he squeezed the trigger.

The gas from the pipe that had been emptying into the room erupted in flame, incinerating the power armored warrior in a fiery spectacle, the rest of the wall exploding along with it.  None of the fire touched Tanner, instead breaking around him like the river around a rock, but it scorched a good portion of the General’s office.

Tanner sighed, and lowered the revolver to his side.  Killing was an ugly business.  He’d never liked it, so it was a wonder how he’d gotten so good at it.  He looked around at the destruction he’d rained down on this place.  Two knights lay dead in the General’s office, bleeding into the floor.  Three more bodies were piled in the hallway, a tangle of metal limbs.  The next room over no longer existed, and was simply a black scar in the building.

Tanner crossed the room, not forgetting why he was here.  He walked around the desk, to where the Elder was cowering underneath it, hands held above his head.  Tanner grabbed him by the shoulder, dragged him out, and shoved him back into his desk chair.

He leveled his revolver at the old man.  He’d certainly gotten Jameson’s attention.

“Hades’ location.  Now.”

“You insolent brat!”  The Elder growled, frightened, but not enough to surrender to some upstart.  “I’ll have you—“

The Elder snapped backwards in his chair and then collapsed to the ground as Tanner shot him in the head.

“Should’ve just told me.”  Tanner muttered, blowing smoke from the barrel of the Gun That Won the West.

Footsteps sounded in the hall.  From the sound of them, it was more than even he could fight, without going too far at least.  Time to go.

Tanner held up his hand, palm flat, and pointed it at one of the windows.  The glass shattered.  Holstering his revolver, he leapt through.

Fort Williamette and the Midwest Brotherhood had proven a bust.  Perhaps the Crimson King and the House of Devane would have what he needed.

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