Last time on Falling Out with Athena, we gave ourselves a scary dose of radiation in pursuit of obtaining some sick power armor. But we survived! So did Tycho and Dogmeat, in the complete and utter absence of any anti-radiation medicine. I don’t even know how that works! But here we go!
So, you might think that our first step in acquiring sick power armor is to go back to the place that has the power armor, which we just gained the right to enter. Well, you’d be wrong. The first step is to actually go back to the Hub. Because our adventures in the weapons research lab has left us with a bunch of loot. We actually end up with the entire free spending money of all the shopkeepers in the Hub after selling only a portion of what we collected. But there’s also other business here.
You remember that time that we got spotted through a window by that group that was way too high level for us? No you don’t, because that never happened. But we go to check them out, deliberately this time.
So, I blamed this group’s weird aggro on a glitch that time. They shouldn’t have spotted us from outside the building, but they did, and attacked us as we were just passing by. As I get closer to the building, it turns out it wasn’t a glitch, so much as it was an unfortunate confluence of programming. Apparently, one of the NPCs, randomly wandering around, had meandered into their building and opened the door. The opened door set their aggro onto high alert, and bad things followed for us. They’re supposed to be after us for opening the door, but I guess random jerks invading their space instead makes them angry at us. So it wasn’t a glitch, just a weird confluence of random programming that we ended up taking the blame for.
It doesn’t matter this time, because we make them angry at us on purpose. Theoretically, we’ve been given no reason to bother. Just a bunch of weirdly aggressive make my day types who we’ve been given zero context on or reason to bother with. I mean, yes, there’s something out there that would key us into the fact that, you know, maybe these crazy violent thugs in a random building in the bad side of town have something to hide that we want in on, but we’re saving ourselves some time and skipping over the part of this sidequest where they ask us to do this thing we’re doing right now.
Last time we came across them, these guys kind of mopped the floor with us. We’ve built up plenty of levels since then, though. We have better equipment. Better armor. Better gear in general. Well, Tycho and Dogmeat don’t, but Athena does. And she takes advantage of it.
The biggest risk in this room is the guy with the combat shotgun across the way from us. He has a lot of HP, and one of the strongest small guns in the game. It’s the next level shotgun up from the model Tycho is carrying. Shot for shot, it’s still weaker than the .223 pistol Athena bears, but it has a burst fire mode that makes it truly dangerous. Get hit with a burst of that, and I’m not sure if even Athena’s new combat armor would be able to keep her from getting one-shot.
Luckily, the guy never resorts to it. Over confidence, I guess. Athena plings shots against him while Tycho, Dogmeat, and the other three thugs move around her.
One of the thugs gets into melee range with Athena. I had discounted him, because he’s wielding spiked brass knuckles, which isn’t nearly as strong a weapon as that combat shotgun. I came to regret it, though. Dude still does some solid damage. Dogmeat’s got our back, though. Comes up, scores a few hits on him, one of which is a critical hit that knocks him to the ground. Gives us some breathing room to heal up after that.
Punchman starts harrying Tycho, but Tycho guns him down. Athena has to heal up a bit once more, but she starts overcoming the combat shotgun guy in a battle of attrition, and the thug starts making a break for it and fleeing. Both Dogmeat and Tycho give chase, and end up slaying him on the streets. The guards are surprisingly calm about a pitched firefight spilling out right in front of them.
Of course, this wouldn’t be us if we didn’t accidentally shoot ourselves in the middle of the fight.
In any case, Athena mops up inside. One of the surviving guards decides to run outside, right into Tycho and Dogmeat’s loving attention.
Back in the thug house, there’s a locked door in the back. Athena’s thieving skills aren’t what they were the last time we were in the Hub, but we still give it a good go. Athena fumbles around with it a few times, then manages to break her lockpicks in the door. But then she picks the lock with her bare fingers. Athena hasn’t lost her skills yet.
There’s a beat-up guy inside. A beat-up guy who says he’s a member of the Brotherhood of Steel. Apparently not all of them are encased in sick power armor. Says that he’s grateful for the rescue. And that the Brotherhood will be grateful as well. Then, saying he can get back on his own, he just wanders off. Ok then.
Now, it’s time to go pick up up our sick power armor. Spend days traveling through the wastes, then back at the Brotherhood of Steel bunker. Then we talk to Cabbot there.
The Brotherhood of Steel is an isolationist organization. They’re standoffish. They don’t want people around. So when Cabbot welcomes us into their ranks happily, I just want to make sure everyone appreciates how unusual this is.
The Brotherhood of Steel. One of the most popular factions of the Fallout verse. Just something about their high tech model of the old world order, their knightly tendencies in the chaotic wasteland, and their cool, detached superiority is really attractive to a lot of people. To be fair, they are really cool. They are in literally every Fallout game released. And every single game has a different take, often wildly so, on how they operate, their values, and their role in the wasteland. The original Fallout, when the Brotherhood is about at it’s smallest, seems to give the most information about them, some of which later games will contradict.
For one, as we find out chatting with Cabbot, they’re the source of a good chunk of the guns people have been firing at us. They’re not the only gun manufacturers out there, but they’re one of the larger ones. Organizationally, the Brotherhood builds people up into warriors or scholars. That’s it. If someone wants to do something else, they have to go elsewhere. So they have nobody capable of growing food or dealing with the logistics of providing water. They have to trade for all their supplies, and the only thing they can produce of value in the wasteland that they’re willing to let go of is weaponry.
We head inside the bunker. One of the first people we come across is a woman guarding the entrance. Athena chats with her a bit. She’s happy to see that even though it’s called a Brotherhood, it’s not a total sausagefest here. The guard informs her that there a plenty of women at all levels in the Brotherhood. They are also Brothers, though. Men, women, everyone’s a Brother in the Brotherhood. The guard also gives Athena some directions, helps her get her bearings. And fills her in on current happenings. Apparently, the Brotherhood is mustering its forces, focusing on military training, and building itself into a veritable army, but nobody knows why. Because of that, they’re not going to be able to give Athena any of their super cool training, because in times of conflict, they focus more on training up a few people really well than on training a lot of people to a mediocre level. They want to keep people alive, and they get better results that way.
They really don’t sound like a bunch of baby-eaters.
There’s a few interesting things in the first floor of the Brotherhood base, an equipment storeroom and their training hall, but we’ll get back to those later. Instead, we head into the office of the head of the Brotherhood’s Paladins, Rhombus.
Ah, Rhombus. He’s one of the few characters in the series to show up in multiple Fallout games. Outside of being the head honcho here, he ends up as the High Elder, highest rank of the Brotherhood, in Fallout 2. Then, he mysteriously becomes white and meets his heroic end in the non-canon but also not really contradictory to much Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. With such a future ahead of him, you’d think he might be important here. Even mildly. But nope.
He does give Athena a bit of fluff. A bit on the structures and various roles of the Brotherhood, the threats they face from roving bands of raiders, etc. He would normally be training Athena, but again, they’re not getting new people up to snuff until whatever military op they’re preparing for is over with. He’s also no fun. No fun at all. Athena tries talking to him about rumors, and he dresses her down a bit. She doesn’t push him any further. If Rhombus gets pissed off, he will kick her out of the Brotherhood of Steel entirely. And there’s still a bunch of things we need from them. Yes, sick power armor is not the only benefit we get here.
He’s also a dirty liar.
We head down a floor. The second floor of the Brotherhood’s bunker has some classrooms here. Athena doesn’t get to learn, because they’re busy having classes at the time. Ok.
There’s also Jerry. Jerry’s our new bunkmate. Along with like a dozen other people apparently. Still, we have a place to lay our head, which is good since the Vault didn’t even let us hang around long enough for Mai Tais. Jerks. Athena totally calls top bunk here, then we’re on our way.
There’s a doctor here! She heals and cures our lingering radiation poisoning for free. Nice of her. What’s not so free are the surgeries she provides. She can give us implants. Get your mind out of the gutter, not those implants performance implants. To help us boost our stats. Permanently.
This is one of the best things about the Brotherhood of Steel, and is the reason I’ve been saving up money all game. I also planned character creation around this, topping our key stats off at 9 so we’d be able to max them out here without leaving points on the table. Unfortunately, Athena hasn’t been as thorough with her looting and plundering as I usually am, so she has the only money for a few surgeries as is. Each costs a lot of money and has several weeks for recovery time, during which time the mutant horde will advance ever closer to human civilization and might end up swarming and overwhelming several of them, but on the other hand, POWER.
So Athena gets two operations, one to enhance her intelligence, another for her perception. Spends several weeks on the mend, but then is up and ready and better than ever. She almost has enough caps to enhance her agility, too, that’s going to be coming next. Your body can only manage as many surgeries as you have points in Endurance, but considering there’s a surgery to boost endurance, I think we’ve got just enough to get all the ones they have to offer.
Athena steals medical supplies from the locker. Just because she can. They don’t even stop her.
Down to the third floor. There’s a workshop down there. Two knights in the workshop, working on some of the Brotherhood’s equipment. Including a bit of power armor. Athena walks over nonchalantly. Hey, how’s it doing, guys?
Athena chats with the guy working on the power armor. Apparently, nobody has ever made it back from the Glow alive, before. Not even those Brotherhood members that broke away from from the main force to explore it. They’ve been sending interested people to their certain demise just to get rid of them.
Not sure how I feel about that. Actually, that’s not true. Perfectly innocent people, whose only ‘wrong’-doing was that they expressed interest in joining this force, and the Brotherhood initiated their demise as a means of getting rid of them. That’s disgusting. To their credit, they did readily honor their agreement when Athena came back alive. But still. Not a squeaky clean organization.
Athena’s open that the only reason she joined was for the sick power armor, which isn’t entirely true, they are very important for future events in this game, but she doesn’t know that. The technician says he would happily give her the one that he’s been working on, because the Brotherhood wrote it off completely due to a harmless cosmetic defect, but it’s missing a key part and he’s not allowed to work on it any more. If Athena were to get that part and fix it herself, it’s all hers. Either Rhombus or the quartermaster have the parts, but don’t ask Rhombus for them. This is a deal she’s rather fond of.
Also on this floor are a bunch of scribes at work, including the rather pleasant Head Scribe, Vree. Vree’s come across mutants before, and alludes that the mutants are whom the Brotherhood are building the army against. So maybe they’ll do our work for us, and we can go back to our mai tais in the Vault. She’s not too concerned about how strong the mutants might be, because given enough time, they’ll just naturally die out. What, what?
She’s autopsied a few mutants. They don’t have genitalia. They can’t reproduce, they’re completely sterile. She gives us her autopsy report as proof. Inteeeresting.
So, I thought we had to trade the FEV data we picked up from the bottom of the Glow for that, but turns out nope, she just has it here. I acted like that was important a couple posts ago, but turns out that I was wrong. Sorry. Doesn’t happen very often. In any case, this data is vital for up. It opens up one of the methods for beating the game that I’m guessing we’re going to be ending up taking.
The Brotherhood also has some online classes in using computers. Vree hooks us up with them, and Athena boosts her computers skill in so doing.
For a bonus, Vree also gives us some anti-radiation chems. These are completely and utterly useless to us, because the Glow is the only irradiated location in the game and we’re never going back, but they’re still worth a couple hundred caps to the vendors.
Athena heads back up into the first floor, and attempts to sneak into Rhombus’s personal quarters to pick up the parts she needs for the Power Armor. He catches her immediately. She pretends it was an accident, she just didn’t know where she was going, and he lets her off, very sternly.
We could noodle around upstairs some more, but let’s head down to the fourth and final floor of the Brotherhood bunker. There, we chat with the High Elder’s assistant/bodyguard, then talk to the big man himself. High Elder Maxson.
So apparently, this is the dude who made the call to let us in when we surprisingly came back alive from that place nobody comes back alive from. Go us. Dude doesn’t even have an ulterior motive for it. Just keeping his word.
We chat with him about the tensions around the base, the rumors of the army being built up. This leads to a bit of a conversation in which he talks about how merchant caravans have been going missing, patrols have been disappearing, and it doesn’t seem to be the result of a force anybody knows anything about. Athena lets him know about the mutants, which, thanks to Vree’s work, they should really already have knowledge of, although maybe not so much as an organized force. The rest of the elders aren’t wanting to move for battle until they’re sure of what’s out there, however, and High Elder Maxson wants to get them to move. So, since we’ve already got leads on them, and since we’re from the outside and more scrappy and survivable than any of the isolationist Brotherhood members, according to him, he asks us to go out there and investigate for him. Athena takes him up on that.
He has his assistant set us up with some near gear, while we’re at it. Nothing that’s going to change what we’re already equipped with, but it’s the thought that counts. We will sell those thoughts for caps. And turn the caps into surgeries for higher stats. Go us.
He also gives us some miscellaneous flavor about the Brotherhood. Most of it’s stuff I already filled you in on, but here’s a bit about the Elders, the decision-makers of the Brotherhood.
ANYWAYS, on to the reason we’re really here. We head up to the quartermaster on the third floor. Get us our new equipment, and ask for the part to the broken power armor. Speech check for the win. Dude hands it over super easy, just says to keep it a secret from Rhombus.
Athena head back down to the mechanic’s station. Dude there gives her a manual on repairs, giving her a quick boost in skill, and she gets to work.
So, Athena’s got some talent in repairing. She’s repaired water pumps, pre-war generators, all sorts of things. And, as it turns out, she’s got just barely enough skill at repairing… to find out she doesn’t have enough skill to fix up this power armor. We get a message from the game telling us that. She can’t do it. We ran around the base several times over, trying to get that power armor, for no more reward than a small boost to her repair skill.
So instead, we go upstairs, and talk to the head honcho in the training room. He just gives us some power armor.
Well, it’s not as easy as all that. Remember the Brotherhood initiate we rescued back in the Hub? He was part of this guy’s crew. And this guy makes sure his crew is taken care of. Including, apparently, people who save his crew. Rhombus’s insistence that power armor is only for the ‘Chosen’ be damned. Now, he’ll only offer power armor as a reward to choose from if our Reputation, the game’s version of a morality meter, is above a certain level, but Athena’s a good person, so we don’t have to worry about that. So guess what we get?
Next time: I suppose there’s other goals to this game than just getting sick power armor?