This is part of a series based on my first playthrough of Fallout 4. These stories don’t include the entire quest of the Sole Survivor but are a collection of significant moments that supplement the game with role-playing, headcanon and backstory.
“Eve of Destruction” takes place after Fiona finds her son, and after the battle of Bunker Hill, but before she defends the Castle and destroys the Institute. Told from Hancock’s perspective, she’s romanced with MacCready but finds little comfort in the relationship as she buckles under the pressures of leadership.
If you’d like to see a tour of my actual Castle in the game, check out my video on Youtube.
Story spoilers, strong language and sexual references.
Eve of Destruction
Fiona kept a bonfire burning on the battlements of the Castle. “A beacon of hope,” she called it, “to guide people lost in the wasteland.” When MacCready said it might also attract unwanted attention, she’d shrugged and replied, “Trouble will find us, whether we light a fire or not.”
Hancock appreciated her attitude. Reminded him of a certain ghoul mayor who hung a bright neon “Goodneighbor” sign over his door.
When the Minutemen weren’t busy cleaning weapons or repairing armor, small patrols ventured into the nearby ruins, scavenging supplies and more fuel for that fire. And so Fiona burned down the Old World, one building at a time, while she rebuilt the new. The fire became more than a light in the darkness, it became a symbol. The fire was Fiona’s rage, her sorrow, her hope. She rose like a phoenix from its ashes while new recruits flocked to the ranks of her growing army and new settlements joined the cause.
That’s where Hancock found her, looking out at the city. Light and shadow danced over her in the darkness but she didn’t move, didn’t greet him, didn’t even turn to glance in his direction or acknowledge he was there. He added some wood to the blaze and sat in the grass, listening to the crackling flames and the voices calling across the parade ground below.
They expected a full-scale assault from the Institute, any day now. Fiona had done what no one had ever managed to do before. She’d entered the Institute and lived to tell the tale, and there was no way the Institute was going to let her get away with it. That’s the story everyone knew. What they didn’t know, but he and MacCready did, was that her kid led the whole damn operation, and they called him “Father” like some sort of religious cult.
“Hey, gorgeous, come here often?” MacCready’s voice shattered the pensive night like a bullet through a Nuka-Cola bottle. He waited at the top of the stairs, a pup with his ears perked up, hoping to be petted. Fiona didn’t turn around for him, either.
“It’s quiet… too quiet…” MacCready laughed. “What’re you doing up here by yourself?”
“I’m not. Hancock’s with me.”
Hancock wondered how she knew it was him.
MacCready rounded the bonfire and sat down, resting his rifle across his knees. “Hey, Hancock, you ready? This is going to be a lot bigger than a mutant invasion or a raider… raid.”
“I’m always ready, MacCready.” Hancock pulled a shiny pack of brand new cigarettes and a gold-plated lighter from his coat pocket. Both were gifts from Fiona, swiped from the Institute before she told her kid to fuck off. It was a goddamn generous gift, and she’d given the same to MacCready, too, but Hancock tried not to read too much into it.
She and MacCready were planning to get married when the dust settled, assuming they both survived. She’d asked Hancock to perform the ceremony, him being mayoral and all. He’d tried to defer to the pastor in Diamond City, but she wanted it right there on the ramparts of the Castle, broadcast on Radio Freedom. A grand, romantic event to inspire the Commonwealth. She was going to squeeze the Wasteland by its fucking balls until it covered her tits in Happily Ever After, and no one was going to get in her goddamn way.
Against his better judgment, he’d agreed, but he gave it six months.
Preston joined their little gathering. “No songs tonight, General?”
Fiona knew a helluva lot of songs that weren’t on Diamond City Radio and enjoyed entertaining the troops. Hancock had a real thing for music, which is why he paid through the nose he didn’t have to keep Magnolia around the Third Rail. Fiona’s musical talents were just icing on a big-breasted, tight-assed cake that Hancock wanted to have and eat, too. For the umpteenth time, he cursed the day he ever suggested she hire MacCready.
She turned, and the fire lit her profile with orange light. “I’m not really in the mood for an uplifting sing-along, right now.”
Hancock took a long drag and spoke as he exhaled. “Then what are you in the mood to sing?”
Fiona turned away again, but after a few minutes he heard her voice drifting with the wind and the rush of the waves breaking on the shore. She sang slower than the song’s usual tempo, soft and low.
It’s all over but the crying, and nobody’s crying but me
Friends all over know I’m trying
To forget about how much I care for you…
It’s all over but the dreaming
Poor little dreams that keep trying to come true…
It’s all over but the crying, and I can’t get over crying over you.
Her voice cracked a little. She wiped her eyes and disappeared down the stairs.
No one moved. After a minute or two, Hancock pounded his cigarette into the grass and addressed MacCready. “You going to go to her?”
“She’s been up here all night, then I come up here and she leaves. I think she wants to be alone.”
Hancock couldn’t fathom wanting to be alone. Sure, he’d been alone plenty, but he never wanted to be. Fiona didn’t, either, he was certain, or she’d have left when Hancock first showed up.
Preston offered the biggest fucking understatement of the year. “She’s got a lot on her mind.” But he didn’t get up to go after her, so Hancock went himself.
She goddamned needed to know she wasn’t alone, that she was appreciated for everything she was willing to sacrifice and endure. He had to do it, if no one else would.
He crossed the courtyard, passed the radio tower, and went straight to her quarters, where he pushed open the double doors and found her sitting at the meeting table in the dark, bawling into her hands.
He sat beside her. “You wanna talk? I’m all ears. I don’t actually have much in the way of ears, but you know what I mean.”
She pulled a bandanna from her pocket and blew her nose.
“Everyone’s got such a hard-on to fight the Institute and I don’t blame them. But they don’t understand, and there’s no way I can tell them, oh, yeah, by the way, my kid’s been killing your family members and replacing them with synths. My son, my whole reason for staying alive in this… nightmare… My whole fucking reason for doing any of this…”
She waved her hand in a sweeping gesture and he assumed “this” meant the Castle, the Minutemen, and the Commonwealth.
“Now we’re mortal enemies. Mother and son.” She twisted the fabric in her hands. “What’s the goddamn point, now? Every broken coffee mug hauled back to Sanctuary Hills, every cap fished out of a filthy fucking raider’s pocket, every bullet scavenged from a dead Gunner? Turning tin cans into turrets? Rubble into a village? When will it be enough?”
“Enough for what? You think you do enough good, life will stop taking a shit on you? That’s never gonna happen.”
“I know. That’s an Old World myth. Good, hard-working people get a good life. It’s the lie we told ourselves so we didn’t have to admit how fucked up and unfair the world really was.”
“You could’ve stayed at the Institute and not worried about the rest of us.”
“For fuck sake, Hancock, you know there’s no way I’m going to sit by and let anyone do this, even my own son. The Institute might have flushing toilets and hot water, but that’s not the world I want to live in. The things I saw, the files I read. They abduct people, torture them, turn them into mutants, murder them, replace them. They manufacture humans and then treat them like slaves.”
“I know. They’re the worst kind of tyrants, the righteous kind who think the end justifies the means.”
“All this time, since I left the vault, I kept thinking if I found my son, things would go back to… well, not normal, but something like normal. Me and Mac, we’d take Shaun and Duncan and live at Taffington, work on the house, plant a garden, watch the boys grow up, maybe have another baby. But now, none of that makes any sense.”
“Because I feel responsible, somehow, for the things Shaun’s done.”
“Is that it?”
“And because I refuse to see a broken world and do nothing. I’m not a mutant or a raider or a Gunner or the Institute. I’m Fiona, general of the fucking Minutemen.”
“You’re goddamn right you are.”
She was a natural leader who reveled in wasteland justice, with an overdeveloped need for excitement, achievement, admiration, adventure, chems, sex… Okay, maybe he was projecting just a little. Anyways, yeah, there had to be more to life than boiling MacCready’s carrots. She was made for so much more.
He fiddled with the gold lighter. He liked the way it sounded when it snapped open and shut, and it gave him something to do with his hands. Because what he really wanted to do was drag her into that bed in the corner, pop some Mentats, drown her in whiskey, and fuck her until she forgot everything for a little while. There wasn’t any happy ever after, only happy right now, and that’s the best anyone could hope for. He wanted to give her that. He wanted to give her that until she couldn’t walk right. The two of them together, they’d be unstoppable. The king of the underworld and the queen of hearts, they could bring together the poor and the poorer, make a better world…
He snapped out of his reverie. “Hey, any time. It’s tough at the top. I get that, you know.”
“I know. That’s why I like having you around.”
Did she, now?
She stuffed the bandanna in her pocket. “I just hope we’re ready. I hope I’m ready. It kills me, walking among them, knowing that for some of them, these might be their last hours on earth.”
“They’re volunteers and every one of ’em has a beef with the Institute. Ain’t nobody being forced to risk their neck that don’t wanna be here.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
~ J.L. Hilton
Coming soon! <– Previous story + Next story —> The Treasure of Jamaica Plain
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