~2 Years Ago~
"Greetings ladies, gentlemen. I hope we can get to the bottom of this matter shortly" Maxson said. Shortly, he thought. The advice Kells and McGraw had given him, keep it short and there would be little trouble.
"Of course brother Maxson. We have been expecting your arrival for a long time now" a bald woman in black combat armor said.
"Yes. I've made it my personal responsibility to stop here on my way back west. There is business that must be attended to" Maxson said. "And you are?"
"Head Inquisitor Josephine Evitt. I lead the Brotherhood's intelligence efforts in this region" Evitt replied.
"My apologies for interrupting Head Inquisitor, but Elder Maxson, did you say returning west? I am Elder Hyde" a super mutant in robes and glasses stated.
"Yes.... brother Hyde. I have received news that the Elder Council wishes to speak with me. I must return to California at once" Maxson said. He looked to the others at the table. "And I wish for the Midwestern Council to return with me"
"Excuse me, Elder Maxson? Why would we return with you to California? If I remember correctly, our brothers in the west very much dislike our ideas" a graying bearded man in a neat military uniform said. Maxson had seen similar uniforms before, in the Citadel's item lockup.
"You are?" Maxson asked.
"General Hampshire Smith" the man replied.
"General Smith. I have reason to believe the Elder Council is calling upon me so that they may name me High Elder of the Brotherhood... the entire Brotherhood. I am aware that we have never shared similar ideas, but I wish to reconnect our people. Together we can remain strong, and fight our enemies, whoever they may be, together. No more factions, no splintered Brotherhood" Maxson said, putting extra stress into the last bit.
The other high-ranking members of the Brotherhood looked at one another. Maxson noted to himself that this was the first time he'd been at a meeting with fellow Elders.
Hyde cleared his throat and turned to face Maxson.
"If I may ask. When you say you would like the Midwestern Council to return, you do mean the entire Midwestern Council?" the mutant stated.
"Imposssible. Westernersss hate mutantssss" a hairy deathclaw stated.
"That is true. I admit that I myself would never allow non-humans to serve alongside my men and women. This is different, however. When I am made High Elder, your chapter will be brought back into the fold and full support will be given to your activities. On two conditions." Maxson stated. He knew this was where things could go wrong.
"And those would be?" Smith asked.
"One, we leave in no more than a week. Two, as of this moment, the Midwestern brothers and sisters shall transition power into the hands of the people, disbanding your gov-" Maxson was interrupted.
"Outrageous!" Evitt cried.
"By Plutonius?" a ghoul yelled simultaneously.
"Arthur Maxson, you cannot be serious, can you?" an elderly woman in scribe robes asked, amazed.
"I am. This may seem like a step in the wrong direction, but the Brotherhood has no busi-" Maxson was interrupted again.
"No" Smith said, in a calm voice.
"No?" Maxson asked.
"Yes. We will not give power to the people who will turn on one another the second they can" Smith replied, stroking his beard.
"Elder Maxson. You are a fool if you believe this could end in a positive manner. Are you aware that we sit on the border of the great land of the Kaizar? In a heartbeat the Legion would grab this land without us as it's protectors" a well-trimmed man with scars running down his face said. Maxson had heard of this man from Rhys's reports, Praxus, a defector from the Roman pretenders to the west and the man in charge of the campaign against them.
"I have heard of this Caesar, he is dead. His land is plagued with generals who fight one another more than anyone else. They are no threat. And I never stated you would give up your position as the Midwest's protectors, only as it's rulers." Maxson turned to Smith. "We are not meant to be leaders"
"Elder Maxson... the Council will speak of your terms and we will come to a decision, within the week" Smith said.
"Very well" Maxson said. "I will return in seven days for an answer. I implore that you all choose correctly"
"F, U, C, K, N, O. Fuck no." Gregor said.
"Move the goddamn thing!" Aisha yelled back.
"Come on, you all seriously can't decide this on your own?" Conrad asked. "Fine. Carter, Gregor. You too carry this thing into the base. Aisha, you can go with Alpha and take the prisoners in for processing"
"Us boss?" Leon asked, pointing to himself and Mara.
"You two find Haylen. I need a few words with her" Conrad said, walking away.
Sigma and Alpha Squads had reached back to Bunker Alpha with the EC prisoners and the noxious mutant corpse. While Vic and her team took the prisoners in, Sigma was left to deal with the mutant.
"Ugh, god. Let's go Icicle" Gregor said, grabbing the dead creature's front arms and hoisting it up. Carter grabbed it's legs and began walking with Gregor to the bunker.
"You ever seen anything like this?" Carter asked.
"Like this? Damn no, I've heard the Commonwealth is pretty fucking normal when it comes to mutants" the Paladin replied, motioning for a guard to open the door for them.
By the time the two had reached the medical office at the far end of the base, a small room with an auto-doc, several beds, and a row of cabinets, and put the body down on a bed it's musk had spread throughout the building. Scribes and soldiers walked by with cloth and even papers in front of their noses, hoping to ward off the stench.
"Shepherd better have some air fresheners laying around" Gregor said. He turned to an approaching Scribe. "So doc?"
"It's Scribe Russel, thank you. And yes, I've seen it before. Occasionally Alpha Squad brings these in to be dissected. Other times we ship them off to Elder Hyde in Osceola for his own tests" Russel said. He put on a pair of thick gloves and took a knife to the creature's cheeks, opening up the jaws. "Hmm, yes. Similar structure as before. Rear of mouth opens into larger cavity, possibly for building up sound. Alpha says that these ones have a tendency to scream"
"These ones?" Carter asked.
"Yes, we've found several undocumented mutant forms recently. I have yet to see Elder Hyde's work but I would guess they all emerged from the same source. Forced Evolutionary Virus strain most likely" Russel answered.
Aisha burst in and looked at Carter and Gregor.
"We have a problem!" she yelled.
"What?" Gregor asked.
"Sigma. It was attacked"