As the sun set, the troops of the 1st Infantry continued their advance into Eastern Tennessee, following the old I-40.
Before arriving in the proper city area of Knoxville, the soldiers crossed the Clinch at Kingston, small settlement notable only for the large coal powered plant that towered above the ruins and makeshift homes. It wasn't the first, but the NCS engineers already knew that trying to put it back to work without the proper knowledge was arduous, so it was left alone until new orders arrived.
Soon after, the first scouts were in wieving range of the city itself: in the outskirts many large settlements of wastelanders that lived scavenging the ruins were present, but the downtown itself had been abandoned completely, or actually, been overrun by feral ghouls. The reason of such a high density of ghouls wasn't certain, but the most accredited theory told that the particular position of the city, "captured" between the mountains, addled to the natural accumulation of radiations in urban areas, created a zone were low-strength radiations continued to persist much longer than the normal.
Now, the city itself didn't hold much value, the wastelanders in the surroundings had already accepted, voluntarily or not, the Confederate rule, and many in the NCS despised the city itself, as a place where Southern brothers took arms against each other; many couldn't ignore how history repeated itself just before. The real reason the NCS wanted the city was for the energy: all power plants that they controlled, as well as the dams, needed specific know-how to be run, as well as administrator codes and much more information. All of this could be found only in one place: the TVA, Tennesse Valley Authority, headquarters, which happened to be located in the heart of Knoxville.
Two full companies were sent to clear the city from the ghouls. Their numbers were impressive for sure, but the 1st was now made of battle-hardened veterans and, despite losses were inevitable, all feral ghouls presence in the area was slowly but surely eradicated.
While various platoons were sent to check the buildings for any further ghoul presence, a group of soldiers was sent to investigate in the TVA headquarters: the eastern tower had collapsed long ago, maybe during even the initial nuclear blast, but the western one was still explorable.
The building auto-defense systems were still active, but probably the TVA made some cuts to the security budget before the bombs dropped, or maybe something didn't work in the electronics, because the NCS soldiers had to fight their way through just a few turrets and many harmless protectrons to reach the company archives, where they found the information they needed.
Knoxville was once again in Confederate hands, and soon power would arrive in the NCS.
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In the archives were also found many blueprints and other technical data which wasn't directly related to the power plants, which was then retrieved for other use.
Technical documents found