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Fallout 4: Of Dogs and Desk Fans

Fallout 4 - Red RocketIt’s been a few a days since I left…since I escaped the vault. The world has changed and I’m saying that as the reigning master of understatement. It’s been destroyed, ripped up, torn apart, burned to crisp and reborn into a twisted parody of its past. And it’s not funny.

Somewhere. Out there. My son.

When Vault-Tec offered us the chance to survive the holocaust, we jumped at it; me, my wife and newborn son. Looking back, I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been better to die along with the billions of others. All I’ve got to live for is the slim chance of finding a son who won’t remember me. That and I’m stubborn.

It ain’t a lot, but it’s all I got. It’ll have to do.

There are others like me, survivors. A tough breed. They’re making the best of what’s left. Setting up villages, towns and communities amongst the ruins of a civilisation, my civilisation, which destroyed the world.

Fallout 4 - SanctuaryMy old home is still standing. It’s a paradise lost to me. The town it sits in is small, they call it Sanctuary and they want my help. I’ve decided to give it to them. Feel a little responsible for mess they’re left in. Two hundred years, just a day or two in my frame of reference, but guilt travels the ages unburdened by any of Einstein’s theories. Can’t say the same for the rest of world.

The people in Sanctuary are good folks. Not everyone is. This new world doesn’t lack for those trying to take everything off others who’ve worked hard to gather together enough to live, just. And there’s worse. Law is absent and some are giving in to their baser emotions and desires. Suppose when things are this bad, they really can’t get any worse. ‘Cept, of course, they can. The evil we do to each other is always worse than that which the world does to us.

I haven’t been everywhere yet, but I’ve seen enough. You want a gun? They’re just lying around in buildings, sometimes locked away but often just left out on a table or on dead body. Shouldn’t be surprised, I reckon. This new world is powered by death. Step out of Sanctuary and you’re fighting almost everyone and everything.

Fallout 4 - BarrenAnd radiation? The bombs had a half-life of a few million years and the fallout is everywhere. The water’s contaminated and everywhere you go you’ll see barrels of radioactive waste. Luckily, there’s medicine. I’ve not found the place that produces it en masse, my education wasn’t a total waste, but I know given the right equipment I can put some together from a few simple ingredients.

Same thing with guns. I’ve learned quickly to improve the weapons I’ve found. To make them more accurate, pack more of a punch or hold more ammunition. I’m getting pretty good at it too. The creatures and gangs I used to run from, now flee from me.

And armour? Some of the Power Armour still exists and somewhere, someone, probably the last gasps of the government built more. Even improved it, in some cases. I’ve got a set, back in Sanctuary. I tinker with it at times, but I prefer to head out in more comfortable wear that doesn’t require a fusion reactor strapped to my back to make it work. Simple, for me, is best.

Desk fans. Took me a while to realise their value. Now there’s little I won’t do to grab one. I’ve killed for a desk fan. I sneaked through ruined factories for a desk fan. Why? Screws. Can’t make them anymore, least where I live, but desk fans hold a few. If bottle caps are the currency, screws are the gold.

Fallout 4 - Bad GuysNowhere outside of Sanctuary is safe. In the towns, the ruins of my former world, the schools, hospitals, factories, any building that’s large enough and has doors that can be secured has been inhabited by someone. Gangs, monsters created by the radiation, groups with their own agenda, all hoarding their goods, and ruling the land around them with the crude sledgehammer of fear.

I was a soldier. I’m not scared, but even in war I never killed as many as I have in the past few days. That which doesn’t kill you, out here, is something you’d best kill anyway just in case it decides to later. Blood and death. I worry I’m becoming too used to it.

There’s one shining star, one beacon of hope. The Minutemen. Though I’m guessing they allow women to join too – an equal opportunity employer, everyone has the same chance to get killed. A police force, a group that tries to do what it can for the people left in the world. Not too successfully judging by my experience. Better than nothing. Only just.

You know something strange. Back before we destroyed the world there were games, video games just like this. I used to love playing them. The challenge of survival, the discovery of a new world, the struggle to put resources together, the chance (and illusion) of making a difference, all of it kept me engaged. It was hard to stop playing, back in the day. Always one more mission to do, one more person to save, another piece of equipment to grab, one more place to discover. If this was a video game, I’d play the life out of it. I’d be hooked.

Fallout 4 - Game

It ain’t a game anymore, not to me. It’s just me and my dog. We’re not going to stop. According to the map on my Pip-Boy there’s still a lot of the world to explore. My son is out there somewhere. I will find him.

What worries me is…I won’t like what I find.

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