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Civil Affairs: Which Story Do You Want?

WetRats

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Which story do you want, Mrs. Coolwater?

The one I tell the reporter, or the one I tell my wife?

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The big news is that we won’t have to assault Providence after all. The Gunners can camp out in that irradiated shithole as long as they want.

MacCready met up with some old acquaintances west of Narragansett. An outfit called Reilly’s Rangers who have been hired by the folks at the other end of things to open the caravan route. Mac vouches for them, says he tried to join them years ago, but they rejected him as being too low a character. Thank God they did, or I wouldn’t have lived long enough to have met you.

How the hell can I still make you blush? Fifteen minutes ago, you were riding me like a Sturgemobile!

No, I ain’t complaining.

Right. Right. Reilly’s Rangers. They’re gonna fortify at Narragansett, and with the boats The Mariner is restoring in Newport, we’ll be able to establish a ferry and re-route the caravans south of the chokepoint.

Mac’s Rough Riders will patrol between ‘Gansett and Providence for the time being, although I’ll probably end up selling the Rangers some Mister Eds before long. Not having to mount a complex three-pronged urban assault should free up some resources, don’tcha think?

Once the Rangers are mounted as well, we should be able to cut Providence off from their base in Springfield, then they can either surrender, fight us on our terms, or sit there and soak up the rads. Any of those options is fine by me.

Think that’s enough to keep your public-k-k enthralled for now?

Ready to hear the good stuff?

Guess why the Gunners were in Fall River. No you’ll never guess. They were trying to restore the Massachusetts.

It’s a battleship. A fucking three hundred and fifty year old battleship. Seven times the length of the Prydwen. Nine sixteen inch guns with a range of over twenty miles. Twelve-inch armor plated hull. One of the most powerful pre-nuclear warships ever built.

They’re nuts.

It would have never worked.

Even if--and that’s a huge fucking if--even if they managed to restore it--which would take YEARS at best--even if they pulled that off, they would need a crew of over two thousand--TWO THOUSAND!--to operate it.

And those monster guns? Sixteen inch bore? Twenty mile range? Every shell it fired weighed over a ton. PLUS six one hundred and ten pound silk bags of the finest smokeless gunpowder.

Every shot.

That’s enough gunpowder for over half a million 10mm rounds.

Each of those guns was capable of firing two rounds per minute.

Nine guns.

Do the math.

Ten million rounds of 10mm a minute.

Nearly six tons of THE BEST gunpowder every sixty seconds.

It took the full industrial might of the United States at its zenith to keep that beast supplied.

And the Gunners thought they could restore it.

Idiots.

All the Gunners could see was what may be the biggest guns left in the world, and say “I’ma HAVE that!”

I, on the other hand, saw the sweet little corvette resting in the shadow of the Massachusetts.

Fifty-six feet of sleek, deadly steel. Crew of sixty, max. It’ll carry far less firepower than Big Mamie, but it’ll carry enough for anything we’ll need anytime soon.

And Ronnie’s armory can keep her supplied.

She’s a rusted out mess right now, but there’s more than enough steel on Big Mamie to salvage and use for repairs.

I’ma have THAT!

And that’s not the only thing Amari scrounged out of the prisoners.

We now know where their main base is, and where they’re getting all the robots and high-end weaponry.

Watervliet Arsenal.

No, vliet, with a v. It’s a Dutch name.

It’s over Albany way. Used to be in the hands of some rump US government called The Enclave, but when they collapsed a few years back, The Gunners moved in, and went from being a fairly disciplined raider gang to serious players and would-be conquerors.

Apparently, they recruited a bunch of ex-Enclave types, or maybe got quietly taken over by them. That’s not clear yet.

Anyway, Watervliet used to be the Army’s primary location for the development and manufacture of artillery. Of course, by the end, artillery was deemed too old-fashioned--meaning too unprofitable--and the facility was repurposed for robotics.

That’s the Army I knew. Why use proven, reliable weapon systems when you can stick death rays in the faces of robots with boobs? Same geniuses who thought mini-nuke launchers were a great idea.

Sometimes I think Tinker Tom’s theory that our leaders were replaced by aliens might be right. But then I read another batch of recovered documents and remember that no, they were just insane, greedy assholes.

Speaking of Tom and aliens, would you believe he thinks he can get that thing that crashed near the brewery to fly again? Wouldn’t that be something…

Point is, we know where the bastards are getting their toys now. And that means we have a chance to take them away. Or at least break them.

I’ve sent for Deacon. I think he’s bored enough by now to take on another long-range reconnaissance mission. And then I guess it’ll be time for another session with P.A.M. That thing really gives me the creeps, but it’s too useful not to consult with it.

So maybe we can finally get rid of the Gunners and start concentrating on building, rather than fighting.

With maybe just a touch of gunboat diplomacy on the side.
 
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