A duffle bag of aluminum cans, wonderglue, used motor oil, and fans was all I needed to rebuild the institute transporter to make it back in. Sanctuary was the ideal place. Full of resources and willing hands to help out. Preston greeted me at the gate.
"Pres...ton?" His face was angry, and appeared more so the closer he got to me.
"Goddam, General, it's gone. The food, our supplies. We barely have enough for anything." He growled at the last part and began mumbling.
"Preston" I dropped my bag and placed my hands firmly on his shoulders, "what happened?"
He looked up at me almost hopelessly "The Brotherhood..."
My mind nearly blanked but I somehow kept my composure.
"The came in here with their power armor and mini guns. Demanded us to give them our scrap supplies and any food that wasn't currently growing" harvesting season had just finished, I could see the horror in his eyes "It's gone General. All of it."
I gave him my bag, "Take this and put it in the workbench for me. I have to talk to someone..."
That grenade didn't call a vertibird quick enough. I sat on that thing hoping, praying, the food went uneaten, the scrap wasn't used yet.
The Vertibird landed, and by the time it did, I was pissed.
I marched up to the elders quarters, not caring for the people that got in my way. There was no one there. Even more pissed, I went to the small room they used as a conference room. I banged on the door so loudly, I think the entire Prydwen heard me. Teagan answered, seemingly annoyed,
"Knight, now is not the time." He growled at me.
"I need to see Elder Maxson." Not my Arthur, not my Maxy, not my sweet pea. I need to see the Elder of the motherfucking Brotherhood of Steel."
"In case you haven't noticed, Elder Maxson is in a meeting, and you" he pointed a bony finger at me, "are supposed to be rebuilding the teleporter."
"I don't need to discuss my issues with you, Teagan, I need to discuss them with the Elder."
"The Elder does not have time for a visit from his whore, come back another time." The door slammed in my face before I could react to-
Oh. Oh. Fuck. To. The. No.
A screwdriver was all I had left in my bag. The one I used to pick locks.
Guess it'll have to do.
"So once the teleporters have transported the scientists, you're saying..."
Teagan returned from God knows where. The smug grin on his face was more than unnerving.
"We'll be left with coursers, mostly gen 1 and gen 2 synths." Ingram replied, eyes glued to the plans.
The door rattled. No one else noticed. Before I could say anything, the door opened from the wrong way with a very angry looking Esmeralda. Tomato red face with nothing but a screwdriver in her hand.
"I can't believe you-" Teagan stammered, standing from his chair.
"Elder Maxson, I need to speak with you." She said way too calmly.
"Of course, in a-"
"Now" she growled.
Whoa shit. I raised an eyebrow. She didn't usually raise her voice at anyone, especially me.
"Very well" I sighed and stood up. I walked towards her and lead her to my quarters. I doubted seriously she wanted sex, seeing how inappropriate it would be to unscrew the door hinges of the meeting room for it, but I never really knew with her. I closed the door behind me to face her. She had her arms crossed and a scowl on her face.
"Am I wrong to assume you wanted a kiss?"
"So, Elder" she said my name with grit, and it brought me back to when Sarah Lyons would scold me when I was a child.
"How am I supposed to rebuild the teleporter sans resources?"
"What?" I said, genuinely confused.
"How am I supposed to build the teleported when your soldiers stole all my settlement's resources?"
Her settlements, I nearly forgot she was the General of the Minutemen.
"It is natural for our soldiers to need resources to repair their armo-"
"Excuse me, excuse me, I just, I must have something in my ear, but did I just hear you defending their crime?" She looked at me with wide eyes.
"It isn't a crime, they need to eat..."
"So you allow them to steal my people's food, that they grew and worked hard to produce?" Her eyes narrowed at me, "What kind of entitled piece of shit thinks that way?"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, we defend those settlements, so in return-"
Apparently those were the wrong words to say. She exploded.
"DEFEND? DEFEN-Oh okay, right, see my settlements have NEVER reported any help from the Brotherhood, but who knows, maybe you help different set- oh wait just a flipping fucking minute. I own..." she leaned in real close "ALL. OF. THEM."
"Jacqueline! I'm sorry they took your supplies but there is nothing I can do now! It's probably been used to repair power armor and create gun mods by now." She was steaming.
"Then how the actually fuck am I supposed to-"
Teagan, Quinlan, Cade, and Ingram were at the door. They couldn't hear this, they weren't used to anyone swearing in front of their elder.
"Knight Storm, if you wish to stay on this mission to infiltrate the Institute, I suggest you stop speaking and get to work. Having you on this is a privledge many others would be proud to-"
I didn't see her hand, nor did I feel the contact it made with my face but I could feel the burning sensation it left as she stormed out of my quarters and past the proctors.
I turned to see Ingram chasing after the woman of my dreams while the others looked at me, waiting in anticipation for my reaction. Hoping for some kind of punishment, but all I could feel was despair. I walked past them slowly and made my way towards the power armor station.
There she was, as beautiful as the day I first spoke to her, hammering away at her power armor, ignoring Ingram's words. She put a helmet on and grabbed a blow torch.
"You know you're overreacting ri-" the sound of the torch igniting interrupted her.
"Not now Ingram. Why not just let Liberty Prime blow a hole through the CIT ruins? It's the easier plan." She yelled through the noise.
"We didn't want to take unnecessary lives here, we wanted to see how teleporting would..." she huffed "You aren't even listening to me are you?"
The torch blared for a good ten seconds before she yelled again, "Whatever you're saying, don't bother."
Ingram grumbled to herself how stubborn she was before marching past me and towards her own station. Apparently the armor wasn't working because she roundhouse kicked the metal plates into the walls. She stormed off to her old bed and footlocker. I followed silently behind, hoping she'd calm down at least a little before I approached her. She jumped face down on her cot and started screaming, her pillow muffling most of the noise. She turned her side and sat up, grabbing her dufflebag.
I touched her shoulder gently. I though she'd burn a hole through my skull with the glare she gave me. I sat down next to her.
"Sweet pea" I whispered "I am sorry, but you know..."
"Yes, yes" she exasperated "I'm aware that you need to assert your authority over your men the way dogs do, making sure they don't challenge you so you stay the alpha, I get it" she shrugged her shoulders, "What I don't understand is your need to raid local farms for supplies. How do you think we got those supplies Elder?"
"I..." I wanted to protest
"I went out there Maxson, I collected tin cans, desk fans, coolant bottles, telephones, and I building my settlements out of scraps. All of this, within a year." Her eyes were full of sorrow when she finally looked at me, "Imagine what you could do if all of your soldiers did the same. The Prydwen would be unstoppable." Her eyes were welling up now.
I help her close, not wanting to let go, the attack was coming very soon, and there was no reason to be making new enemies, especially with the woman I loved.
"No more then, Liberty Prime will be ready, and after the Institute is destroyed, we'll make a peace treaty, one that benefits your people and my own." I sighed "I promise."
She grabbed my hand a gave it a squeeze before standing up and going to see Neriah.
We'd be okay.
We'll make this work.