With the Brotherhood establishing itself as a benevolent force in Appalachia, Scribe Valdez discovers a lead that allows it to fulfill its primary directive: Reestablishing contact with Lost Hills.
The quest begins with a request to send Scribe Valdez up to meet Knight Shin and Paladin Rahmani, as they finally have the time to talk with her. Valdez will explain that she could never quite get a time slot, but will relish the opportunity. Upon meeting the paladin in the command center, she will explain that she has found a lead to complete the primary directive and reestablish contact with Lost Hills and the Elder Council.
Rahmani will reprimand Valdez that she did not order such an operation, leading Valdez to apologize and explain she did it of her own initiative. Shin will confront Rahmani over her outright refusal to establish communications, to which she will reply that her priority was re-establishing the Brotherhood in Appalachia as a force of action. Shin will stop short of openly defying her authority. To appease him, the paladin will order the player character to investigate the signal and locate the transmitter.
Scribe Valdez will elaborate, explaining that the goal is a low-frequency transmitter that can send messages even through mountains and oceans (tech used before the War to contact submarines). While she agrees that the transmitter is quite likely severely damaged, she hopes to use the freshly reengineered ultracite cell recovered from Atlas' substructure to supercharge it and send a message to Elder Maxson. The player character is sent to investigate the Enclave research facility underneath Transmission station 1AT-U03 in the Forest. The station has been heavily modified to accommodate Steel Dawn and now features a handprint scanner and an elevator to the facility.
Upon entering, the player character is greeted by a computer named SODUS. It will immediately enter dialogue once approached and welcome the visitor, while listing off tasks that are being completed. Explaining the goal of the visit will result in SODUS adding it to her long list of tasks, estimating 14 300 hours to completion. If the player character completed Officer on Deck, they can invoke the general's privileges. SODUS will oblige, prioritizing the task and cutting the wait time to just under 6 600 hours. There is no other recourse than to explore the facility. The AI will list off tasks and invite the player character to explore, starting with a decontamination arch that spews radiation. The goal lies on the other end of the biological research facility and it will become clear on the way that SODUS is not functioning well: It will "erroneously" open up holding cells containing test subjects left over from the Enclave's research projects, up to and including a leveled deathclaw at the end, in the chamber where the Enclave was studying strangler plants. The door to the further reaches of the facility requires the holding cell card held by Wes, an Enclave scout slumped against the deathclaw's holding cell doorframe.
The living quarters of the facility are filled with unruly residents, as SODUS puts it: Unique scorched wearing the tattered remains of their Enclave uniforms. After fighting off three waves of them, with SODUS thinly veiling its desire to see the player character killed, the area is clear and can be freely explored. The announcement boards show the deteriorated state of SODUS, displaying commands from the AI, which boil down to HURT VISITOR. The commons give way to the residential sector, the officers' quarters and eventually the command center, where the scorched facility commander is present, in a suit of deteriorated X-01 power armor. After dispatching them, the communications terminal at the lowest bank will reveal that while a transmitter is present, all communications have been routed through the mainframe. To advance, the player character must register their handprint with the terminal and scanner in the adjacent room, which will grant access to the mainframe chamber.
Back in the lobby, Paladin Rahmani and Knight Shin appear to complete the mission and activate the transmitter. Upon entering the mainframe chamber, however, SODUS reveals that she has uploaded herself to a sentry bot (a legendary 3-star XB-55), which must be defeated with the paladin and knight's assistance. Upon killing the sentry bot, Rahmani will approach the transmitter and order the player and Shin to install the ultracite battery in a power console in a secluded chamber opposite the robot assembly unit. To install it, the player character has to talk to Shin, who will confide in them that he does not believe the paladin has the Brotherhood's best interest at heart - and then ask them to go check up on Rahmani while he installs the cell.
The paladin will use this opportunity to explain her plan and her own misgivings about the elders and establishing communications with the West. An incident occurred where the Expeditionary Force used recovered Hellstorm missile launchers to arm a civilian militia in order to defend a settlement from raiders. Rahmani's plan failed: The town was destroyed, the launchers fell into the hands of raiders, spreading over the wasteland, and Knight Connors was killed in action. Shin took both the failure and his mentor's death hard, becoming rigid and unbending, obsessed with discipline and order. Shin also believes that the Brotherhood should remain focused on it's original purpose, the procuring and protecting of pre-war technology, and dislikes Rahmani's willingness to make long-term commitments with factions outside the Brotherhood.
As a result, Rahmani believes that he would confess to the failed operation immediately, if given the chance, and force the elders to denounce the Expeditionary Force, strip it of its titles, and wipe out the tenuous foundation they have established.
The player character has three options: Ally herself with Rahmani, stand with Shin, or declare that they have loyalty to neither. Rahmani will be jubilant with the first choice, displeased with the second, and disappointed with the third, reminding the player character that having a stake in one's destiny requires finding allies. Regardless of the decision made, the paladin will destroy the transmitter with her war glaive, much to Shin's dismay. Shin will attempt to challenge her authority and declare her a renegade, but Rahmani will remind him that his authority does not reach far: initiates recoil in fear at his sight, and she is not actually betraying the Brotherhood, but saving it from itself.
Before the two can come to blows, an alarm sounds: Fort Atlas is under attack. Both the knight and the paladin return to the Fort, to protect the initiates, and resolve their problems later - although for Shin, this is a foregone conclusion. The quest then concludes, leading to the next and final quest of Steel Dawn, The Best Defense.
Behind the scenes
The quest's name is a reference to the common phrase "over and out," an affirmative signalling the end of communication.
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