In the year 2254, some time after the destruction of the "west coast Enclave", the Brotherhood's ruling council, based in the Lost Hills bunker in Southern California, decided to send a contingent of soldiers all the way to the East Coast, with three important objectives. First, to scour the ruins of Washington D.C., once the nation’s capital, to recover any and all advanced technology. Second, to investigate the reports of super mutant activity in the area, and third, to re-establish contact with the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel and return them under Lost Hills command.
And so a small but hardened contingent of Brotherhood of Steel soldiers, led by an idealistic Paladin named Owyn Lyons (and accompanied by his friend and technological adviser Reginald Rothchild, as well as his three-year old daughter Sarah) set out from the Lost Hills Bunker in California, and began the long trek east to what was once Washington D.C.
Scourging the Pitt
Contact with the "rogue" Midwestern Brotherhood in Chicago turned out to be unsuccessful. On their way to the Capital Wasteland, the Brotherhood's East Coast expeditionary force came across the post-Great War slaver settlement known as The Pitt located in the ruins of what had been Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As the next morning dawned, the Brotherhood came over Mount Wash and razed the city to the ground. The Brotherhood were out-manned and out-gunned but they managed to fight their way through anything that put up a fight with barely a scratch.
Along the way they gathered up every non-mutated human child they found. In all, there were only twenty of them. Most were recruited into the Brotherhood. One, Greg Bear, is stationed with Lyons' Pride and is the only one of the children rescued from the Pitt left in the Capital Wasteland. This hints that the Brotherhood may have spread out more after the Pitt.
One member from Lyons' squad, Ishmael Ashur, was knocked unconscious during the battle against the slavers and buried in the rubble of the Pitt. The rest of the squad continued onward, leaving him for dead. Later, a group of raiders poked around the battle site as Ashur arose from the rubble. The raiders saw him as a godlike being, coming out from the rubble unharmed. Ashur then managed to take control of the Pitt after the Scourge had taken out the worst of the worst. Ashur managed to reactivate the old steel mills, and used the new industry to buy slaves from all over to continue the manufacturing work.
There are five holotapes in the locked safe in Ashur's room in Haven that contain a pre-recorded message from Ashur to his daughter, Marie. In these tapes, Ashur explains that he was pulled out of the rubble by a scavenger trying to take his power armor. The scavenger and their family often made raids deep into the ruined city for supplies. Ashur - looked upon by the scavengers as a god because of his power armor and Brotherhood of Steel technological know-how - took advantage of this and began to build a new city. As the city grew, raiders often attacked, and Ashur would kill the leader then recruit the others to serve as his guards.
When the group finally arrived in the Capital Wasteland, it did not take long before they made some remarkable discoveries.
The Pentagon, as they had feared, was largely destroyed. But its sub-levels remained intact and contained enough pre-Great War technology and weaponry to keep Lyons’ forces going indefinitely (once the defense robots were destroyed). But there was something else, as well: Liberty Prime, a technological marvel that, if restored, could help the Brotherhood of Steel rebuild a strength and reputation that had been declining steadily for years.
The discovery was significant enough to earn Paladin Lyons a battlefield promotion to Elder, and a new directive from his superiors in Southern California – to establish a new, permanent Brotherhood base in the Capital Wasteland, and continue the search for any other advanced technology hidden in the former capital city’s ruins.
Lyons accepted his new post gladly, and founded the Citadel, built into and beneath the ruins of the Pentagon. It was a fortress the Brotherhood of Steel desperately needed, and one they rushed to fortify, thanks to their other great discovery in the Capital Wasteland. Super mutants also existed on the East Coast.
The Super Mutant Threat
It did not take long for Elder Lyons and the Brotherhood of Steel to find the super mutants, mostly because they didn’t have to look: the Super mutants found them. In the Capital Wasteland, particularly in the urban ruins of downtown D.C., the super mutants were simply too numerous to be avoided.
That is why, for the people of the Capital Wasteland, the arrival of the Brotherhood of Steel became the answer to their prayers. Scattered, hungry, and largely disorganized, they had lived with the constant threat of death or capture by the super mutants for as long as they could remember. Elder Lyons and his brave Knights and Paladins changed all that. For the first time, the super mutant tide was stemmed and forced back into the ruins of Washington. The D.C. ruins remained Super Mutant-controlled and uninhabitable, that was true, but the number of incursions against the outlying wastelander settlements dropped significantly. Life was still harsh and unfair, but at least now the people of the Capital Wasteland had a fighting chance, and they had Elder Lyons and the Brotherhood to thank for that.
Fighting the super mutants, or simply keeping them at bay, may have been enough for the region’s innocent wastelanders, but for the Brotherhood, too many questions remained: how had these local super mutants been created? Were they related to the super mutants of the Core Region in the west? Why were they capturing the people of the Capital Wasteland? Where were they taking them? Finding these answers would ultimately, become Owyn Lyons' obsession.
The years passed, but not in a way anyone had foreseen. Indeed, the Brotherhood of Steel’s importance to the people of the Capital Wasteland was not something that Lyons had ever expected. Nor was it something his Brotherhood superiors back in California cared at all about. Their newest Elder had a clearly defined mission – to acquire advanced technologies in and around the ruins of Washington D.C. Finding the source of the super mutant threat and destroying it was important too, of course. But it was assumed that the Brotherhood could easily eliminate the super mutants and their source fairly quickly. For the Brotherhood leadership, Elder Lyons’ prime objective was, first and foremost, the acquisition and preservation of pre-Great War technology. The super mutants were his second priority. This was the subject of every communication from the Brotherhood of Steel leadership in California.
But Elder Owyn Lyons had another priority, one he considered more important than his original directive or any orders received since – the protection of the innocent people of the Capital Wasteland. And so, Lyons sent word to his superiors that he would continue his search for technology when he was damned good and ready, and would not sacrifice the people who had come to rely on the bravery and strength of the Brotherhood of Steel.
The Californian corridors of the Brotherhood's Lost Hills headquarters erupted in rumor and speculation. Had Owyn Lyons “gone native,” putting the needs of the people of D.C. above those of the Brotherhood itself? Or had a Brotherhood Elder finally exhibited the selfless behavior that should serve as a model for the entire order? Caught in the middle, the ruling Elders made the only decision they could – they would still recognize Elder Lyons as a leader of the Brotherhood of Steel, and the Citadel as their D.C. headquarters. But all material and personnel support from the West Coast was completely cut off. If Lyons wanted to pursue his own agenda on the East Coast, he would do it alone.
So that is what the stalwart Elder did. The Capital Wasteland division of the Brotherhood of Steel, headquartered in the Citadel, became its own entity like the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel: keep its laws and customs, but no more affiliated with the original Brotherhood of Steel on the West Coast and completely independent.
Most of Elder Lyons’ soldiers supported his dedication to the welfare of the people of the Capital Wasteland, and were proud of their leader’s commitment to honor and heroism. But there were those who voiced their opposition – loudly, and aggressively. They believed that by abandoning the Brotherhood of Steel’s primary mission of acquiring lost technologies and by the original Brotherhood itself, Elder Lyons had abandoned the very values that defined the order itself and his mind.
One night, the dissenters (under the leadership of Paladin Casdin) departed from the Citadel, absconding with weapons, power armor, and other pieces of advanced technology and equipment. This was, without question, Owyn Lyons’ darkest hour. He had become a man of compassion and understanding, and could not help but sympathize with those who had left: he had abandoned the Brotherhood’s primary mission. He recognized that, and took full responsibility. Some of the Knights and Paladins who left had been his brothers in arms for years. Together, they had shared victory and loss, pain and elation. But to those soldiers loyal to Elder Lyons, this dereliction of duty and theft of technology was an act of cowardice and treason. Lyons was left with little choice: he branded the dissenters “Outcasts”, traitors to the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood of Steel – it was a name they would ultimately wear like a badge of honor, proud of the distance it put between themselves and Lyons’ “soldier sycophants”.
In 2277, Elder Lyons’ daughter Sarah Lyons is now a grown woman, and one of the Brotherhood’s fiercest warriors; in fact, she’s the only member to have achieved the illustrious rank of Sentinel, and now commands her own elite squad, Lyons' Pride.
The war with the super mutants – a conflict that has continued unceasingly for over twenty years since the Brotherhood expeditionary force arrived on the East Coast – rages on, and the Brotherhood is feeling the strain of this extended conflict. Without reinforcements from the West Coast, Lyons has been forced to recruit locally from the wastelander settlements, and the results have been less than stellar: most new recruits are overeager, unskilled, or both, and as a result their survival rate is atrocious. So low, in fact, that word had spread throughout the Capital Wasteland – join the Brotherhood of Steel, and you’ll be dead within the week.
The Brotherhood Outcasts re-dedicated their lives to the Brotherhood of Steel’s original mission – the acquisition and preservation of lost technologies, operating out of the aptly named Fort Independence.
Project Purity, the Enclave, and Broken Steel
When the Brotherhood discovered Project Purity, based inside the Jefferson Memorial, they decided to help defend the scientists that worked on the project from the frequent super mutant attacks. The goal was simple, and beneficial: huge amounts of pure, non-radioactive water for the Capital Wasteland. The only problem was that large-scale tests of the project were always unsuccessful. As time went on, and super mutant attacks became more frequent, the Brotherhood became disinterested with the project. In 2258, Lead Scientist James's wife, Catherine, died in childbirth, and James abandoned the project to find a safe haven for his new child, and the project collapsed. The Brotherhood focused on fighting the super mutant threat for the next two decades, while also attempting to also learn of their source.
In 2272, a man by the name of Three Dog set up a news/music radio station inside the middle of the D.C. ruins, and the Brotherhood struck a deal with him. As stated by Sentinel Lyons "The Brotherhood needed a roof over their heads, and the guy here needed to not get his head blown off. It's a mutually beneficial relationship." The Brotherhood continue to use the GNR building as a "port in the storm".
Eventually, James' child emerges from Vault 101 to find his/her father who wants to restart Project Purity in 2277. A science team is brought together, and repairs are started. Soon though, the Enclave's forces show up, and storm the Purifier. Colonel Autumn demands that the project be handed over to the government, but James adamantly states that Project Purity is private and intended to benefit all the people of the Capital Wasteland. To make a point, Autumn shoots the scientist in the room. James then sacrifices himself by flooding the control room with radiation, and killing himself, along with the Enclave soldiers, but Colonel Autumn survives.
The remaining scientists and the Lone Wanderer manage to go through the old Taft Tunnels that link the Jefferson Memorial to the Citadel at the Pentagon, with only the Lone Wanderer to defend them from any Enclave soldiers, or feral ghouls along the way. When they reach the end, a Brotherhood of Steel member will make a final stand with the Wanderer against a final horde of feral ghouls, and get the scientists topside to safety. Once there Dr. Li demands that Elder Lyons opens the gate to the Citadel and let them in, which he does so promptly.
Once inside, Elder Lyons begins to contemplate the threat the Enclave now poses. The Lone Wanderer is sent to Vault 87 to locate a G.E.C.K. that is necessary to start the Purifier, if nothing else than to keep it away from the Enclave. Meanwhile the Brotherhood gears up for war, modifying their weapons and armor in preparation for fighting the Enclave. Scribe Rothchild teams up with Madison Li on the Liberty Prime robot, and together manage to solve the massive automaton's power problems.
Meanwhile, the Lone Wanderer battles his/her way through the dangerous Vault 87 and obtains the GECK, also learning that Vault 87 is the source of the D.C. super mutants. Unfortunately, he/she is captured by agents of the Enclave, and the GECK is installed in the Purifier. He/She is the transported to Raven Rock, an Enclave command base, and then interrogated by Colonel Autumn for the activation code, but is interrupted by President Eden, who requests a meeting with him/her. Unfortunately, Colonel Autumn soon orders the Enclave soldiers to attack the Lone Wanderer regardless of the president's orders, and the Wanderer must fight his/her way to the president. Once the two finally meet, Eden asks the player to install a modified FEV virus dispenser in the Purifier, as a way to cleanse the Capital Wasteland of all mutations so that only "pure strain" humans like those in the Enclave and the Vaults will survive. The player is forced to leave with the virus in hand, but has a chance to "blow up" Eden and Raven Rock, if he/she wishes to.
Once the Lone Wanderer makes it back to the Citadel, Sentinel Lyons asks her father permission for an assault on the Purifier, which he denies, until the Lone Wanderer tells Elder Lyons of the current situation. Elder Lyons then asks the player for any important information before proceeding. At this point, the player can hand over the Modified FEV (positive karma), tell the Elder about the super mutants and Vault 87 (positive Karma), and about the current status of the Enclave (no karma). Then the Elder asks Rothchild whether or not Liberty Prime is ready to go into battle. Rothchild is skeptical as he'd only just gotten it operational, but ultimately agrees that if it's not yet fully ready then it won't matter in the long run. Sentinel Lyons recruits the Wanderer as an honorary member of the Pride, and together the Pride sets out for the Memorial.
Liberty Prime easily clears the way through all Enclave forces, clearing a path for the Pride. Once inside the Jefferson Memorial, the Wanderer and Sentinel Lyons make their way through the last of the Enclave forces, and eventually confront Colonel Autumn. The Lone Wanderer's can choose the ultimate outcome, but regardless the two make it to the control room whereupon Dr. Li tells them that something has damaged the Purifier, that it must be activated now, and that the current radiation levels would kill whoever enters the room to carry out the activation. The outcome here is also dependent on the choices of the Wanderer, and either someone goes inside to activate the Purifier, only surviving if the Broken Steel add-on is already installed, or no one goes in and everyone within the room dies. Likewise, at this point the Wanderer can secretly use the FEV to poison the water.
With the Purifier up and running, the Brotherhood takes control and begins distributing the clean water throughout the Wasteland with Scribe Bigsley overseeing operations (supposedly to get rid of him). Also during this time, the Brotherhood begins systematically destroying all remaining Enclave outposts in the Wasteland with Liberty Prime spearheading the assault (even destroying Raven Rock if the Wanderer had not done so already). During this time the Brotherhood also begin to reverse-engineer the Enclave's plasma weaponry, removing that advantage for their enemies. Two weeks after the assault on Project Purity, the Lone Wanderer awakens in the Citadel's clinic, and is greeted by Elder Lyons. Scribe Rothchild updates the Lone Wanderer on the current situation on the war between the Brotherhood and the Enclave, then directing the Lone Wanderer to journey to Rockland to help with a Brotherhood attack on an Enclave communications facility.
The Lone Wanderer makes it to the Rockland car tunnels, and assist Paladin Tristan, and a squad of Brotherhood members, and Liberty Prime in the attack. The Enclave forces are decimated, and Liberty Prime manages to literally punch a hole through the Enclave's defenses, giving the Brotherhood an access point. Then, Liberty Prime detects a signal and orders the Brotherhood forces to retreat. Soon after the area is destroyed, along with Liberty Prime, by an orbital bombardment from a weapons satellite ordered by the Enclave, leaving the Brotherhood shaken. Paladin Tristan orders the Lone Wanderer to lead a squad of Brotherhood members to find out what had happened.
At the Citadel, the Brotherhood are really taken aback by the orbital assault. Moments before the attack they had been crushing any Enclave resistance, and now they have lost their biggest weapon, and are facing a new weapon they know nothing about. In addition, it is certain that the Enclave will counter-attack, especially since the Brotherhood was the one to instigate the war. When the Lone Wanderer comes back from the Rockland Satellite Station, he/she delivers some encrypted data for Scribe Rothchild to decrypt, who is aghast at all the hard work that went into restoring Liberty Prime, only to see it all go to waste. Paladin Tristan then sends the Lone Wanderer to the Old Olney Powerworks for a Tesla coil, so the Brotherhood can recreate Liberty Prime's liberty laser, the only effective defense the Brotherhood had against the Enclave's Vertibirds.
The Lone Wanderer does so, with a prototype device made by the Brotherhood meant to jam the signal the Enclave uses to control deathclaws. The Lone Wanderer makes it to Olney Powerworks, encountering many deathclaws, Enclave forces, and robots, but eventually he/she makes it to the center with a functioning Tesla Coil in the middle. With the Tesla coil in hand, the Lone Wanderer makes it back to the Citadel and hands it over to the Brotherhood scientists there, and is then ordered to make it to the Adams Air Force Base via the Presidential Metro. When the Lone Wanderer enters the Air Force Base, he or she opens up a supply crate, containing ammo and a working Tesla cannon. When opening the crate, the Brotherhood receive a signal to commence attacking the Air Force Base, so the Lone Wanderer can make his/her way through the Enclave forces and open the way to the Mobile Base Crawler. Eventually the player makes it to the top of the Mobile Base Crawler, and has a choice to either launch the Enclave's last orbital ballistic payload on either the Mobile Base Crawler, setting back the Enclave in the Capital Wasteland severely, or on the Citadel, thus devastating the Brotherhood of Steel. Once outside, a Brotherhood squad, led by Sarah Lyons if she survived Project Purity, pilots a stolen Vertibird to take The Lone Wanderer back to the Citadel.
If the Citadel is destroyed, the Brotherhood forces will become hostile to the Lone Wanderer. If the Enclave's Mobile Base Crawler was destroyed, the Brotherhood begins salvaging all kinds of advanced technology from the ruins of the Crawler, and Scribe Rothchild will make it personal mission to restore Liberty Prime, and maybe even improve him.
With the Brotherhood in control of Project Purity (providing access to clean, purified water), several Vertibirds and vast amounts of technology and equipment acquired from the Enclave after the successful war, and access to local recruitment and manpower, the Eastern Brotherhood is effectively in control of the Capital Wasteland, and now overshadows the original Brotherhood back in California, whose weakened state is highlighted during the events of Fallout: New Vegas.