Category Archives: Fallout 3

Neighbourhood Watch

On my way into town, I’m able to use some tat from my cupboard in the Crack Shack to repair the widowmaker shotgun until it’s pretty much flawless. Next, after my sale of the rubbish I’ve acquired today, I contemplate the crushing boredom of yesterday afternoon in Megaton, and review a vague policy I’ve been adhering to all week without really telling anyone.

I’ve avoided missions so far. It’s partly because I wanted to do something different (for my enjoyment as much as anything else) to the usual starting missions, and partly because I was worried that their cash rewards would remove much of the difficulty of starting out with nothing.

But it’s time I had a look at what’s available. If I’m going to experience life here, I need to explore the place and get talking instead of just drinking and glaring at anyone who stares at me.

First off, because she’s right behind me, I speak with Mad Moira. She wants to write a book, a guide to surviving in the wasteland, and wants someone to go out and research it for her. This sounds incredibly dangerous and stupid. Going out into the wilds on my own terms is one thing, but not on the whims of an obvious weirdo, especially as she implies that she’s had people do this before and they’ve just got hurt.

So no, thanks. I quite like being unhurt. It’s one of my favourite things.

Yeah sure, soon as I become a moron I’ll be in touch, yeah?

Next up, I head further up the craterside, and finally poke my head inside Moriarty’s Saloon. This place has been namedropped by several locals as full of bastards and horrible drinks, and its owner is the one the former owner of the Crack Shack was so afraid of. I don’t know whether I want to get involved in whatever was going on there.

In any case, I take a seat and wait for a while. The barman hangs around across the room, completely ignoring me. Well, fine. Screw you too. I say hello to Moriarty, who is clearly one of those Americans who wants to be Irish but doesn’t actually know what’s involved (hint: Catholic guilt, four hundred relatives all with the same name, and the power to draw sustenance from misery). He has nothing for me to do, so I try a young woman by the entrance. She asks me to deliver a letter.

Well then, you’re an idiot, and if it’s too dangerous for you to do, then I’m sure as hell not doing it for free. Is there some sort of stupefying agent in the water here? No deal, lady.

Next in turn is a spiv in a corner who’s been gesticulating for about five minutes in a bid to get my attention. I reluctantly walk over and he explains his problem. Sort of.

He yells and, quite absurdly, snarls at me for defusing the atom bomb in the town centre. Crap. I thought nobody saw me.

Oh. Okay, that’s a little too far, now. Threaten me, will you? Let’s just see how that works out for you…

Oh hey look at that. I guess not very well.

Doesn’t really suit me, I fear, and the hat is a rubbish trilby rather than a proper sexy fedora, so I’ll be selling both. But first: Action replay!

I’m calling that one self-defence, too. And conveniently, I got to try out my new shotgun! I think I like it.

Surprisingly, nobody objects to my eviscerating this guy with buckshot in the middle of the pub. This really is a rough place.

As well as the suit, he has a silenced 10mm pistol. That won’t be massively useful given that my stealth skills are comparable to those of a fire engine, but I hang onto it anyway, and see if the sideshow will get the other patrons talking. Most of them aren’t friendly, but another woman in some torn and tacky tights is willing to chat.

Well dang, that’s pretty ominous. She too has no work for me, though she does indicate that she’d be willing to work it for me, for a price. Yowser. Maybe some other time, dear.

I head outside. The bar was a complete waste of time, then. Some of the other locals are surprisingly nice, and chat with me a little, but none have any paid work to be done. The exception is Walter, a leathery old man who maintains the town’s water supply.

He’s in sore need of help fixing up some leaky pipes. He doesn’t mention a reward, but I think I can pull this off pretty quickly and then name my price. If he gives me any jip I’ll un-repair them again, or just rob him and run like buggery.

So, what the hell. I agree to help Walter out, and wander around town for a while looking for these leaks.

Along the way I find the last open building I haven’t looked into. Ugh. I suppose I should give it a try. Their money’s as good as anyone else’s.

I can’t believe I’m doing this. Think of the money, Cass. Lovely, lovely money.

Inside it’s not as creepy as I’d expected. Everyone’s sitting in silence on pews, facing an unoccupied pulpit. After hanging around for half an hour, it becomes clear that they’re not actually waiting for a sermon or anything. They’re just sitting there watching, for hours. Maybe all day.

With the stage ready, my next move is obvious.

Yea, and there didst grow a great clamour among them, for she of the Cass had arrived, and her form did know no imperfection, and her words were unto them like the most melodious song, coupled with the most delicious baklava, combined with the most sensual fellatio and/or cunnilingus. And reduced they were to mere vessels for her glory, and in their kind donations of all their worldy goods did they know peace.

I said “in their kind donations did they know peace“, damn it.

Oh, fine. Spoilsports.

None of them have anything to say that isn’t a little unnerving, and it suddenly occurs to me that they might actually think there’s been a sermon happening this whole time. Brrr. I make my excuses.

There’s no good work in this town, so once I locate and repair the last of the leaking pipes, I take a reward of 200 caps from Walter, who gives me a slight incentive for a future visit, and decide that this will be my last night in Megaton. Dinner, one quick beer and a smoke before bed, and then I’m off at first light. Screw Megaton.

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Filed under Fallout 3, Stayin' alive

Wasteland Inheritance Tax

So much for enjoying townie life. That was an excruciatingly dull afternoon. So, the next day, having stashed the old armour and my revolver, I return to the scene of the sledgekilling to investigate a nearby building.

It’s dark, and there’s a distant voice and some scuttling sounds coming from inside. Hm. Bit worrying. I’d best slip on the old knuckledusters. I’m quite safe here, so I simply wait by the inner doorway, ready to clout whatever it is that seems to be coming this way.

Scorpion! Bloody hell! I lash out and leap back reflexively, narrowly avoiding its stinger, which I can’t help but notice appears to be bigger than my head. Jesus. A hit from that would be like taking a pike to the head, or watching an entire episode of Hollyoaks.

My punch hurt it, though, and I think I can outmaneouvre it. Dancing back and forth to keep that tail away, and luring it with a couple of feints, I manage to kill it, though not without taking a slash from its claw. I extract its poison gland for sale, then ransack the room for tin cans, machine parts, and general cack.

Further into the building another, much smaller scorpion goes down without any trouble. The place is empty save for lots of pipes, and a little area with more junk and a radio. That explains the voice I heard, but I do wonder whose turf I’m on. If the scorpion killed the resident, I can’t see a body. Maybe they’ve adapted to digest bone?

Not much else to say about this place, which looks like some sort of waterworks or sewage substation. There’s a manhole going further down, but I’m not equipped for potholing. Back to sell my gear, and I run into Doc Hoff, the oily travelling creep. Business is business though, and there’s no point in being snooty. He buys my junk, and I hesitantly buy some more brahmin cheese. It has anti-radiation properties, see, so it’s worth the high price tag.

As I have some metal, I do a little work on the motorbike. It’s now at 8%. I think once I get it over 30% it should be safe to use, though I’ll still need fuel. Still, this is progress!

Speaking of which, I need to find a new pasture. My brush with death in the East left me a little shaken, but the North seemed a bit more promising. I’ll compromise and head Northeast today, skirting round the city. There must be a safe haven somewhere nearby.

I head North past Springvale, and cross the river. The bridge is collapsed, but there’s enough rubble to climb over.

I need to be careful, as the water is massively radioactive and even a brief wade could make me sick. Thankfully I get across with only a slight misstep, and upon reaching the far side, Cass takes a moment to celebrate with a jolly dance from her Music Hall routine.

I’m a little nervous. This far from town there’s nowhere to retreat to if I bite off more than I can chew. I briefly chase a pair of those disgusting bumspitter flies, but they prove too quick for me and leg it long before I can clout them. Not worth a bullet, so I let them watch me from a distance. There’s not much else in sight.

A molerat evades me, too. Best not go running off without thinking though. No, I’ll follow what’s left of the bridge.

An abandoned truck is a good place to stash some goodies, though it could be a set-up. Still, I can’t see anyone (although my leaning does cause the car to suddenly shift slightly, with a loud scraping that scares the bejesus out of me), so risk it anyway.

Annoyingly, most of the boxes are empty and one has a lock I can’t pick. The rest, however, are full of explosives.

There’re enough mines in here to seriously hurt a group of raiders. I still need to be cautious though – the only gun I have is the pipe rifle, which is at best a weapon to harass people with at range. I’ll lose a stand up fight.

Still, the bombs renew my confidence somewhat. This side of the bridge is partly wooded (well, it was) and partly old ruins. I poke around in the latter, mindful of snipers, especially as a distant explosion resounds in my ear from somewhere to the right. No sign of movement, however I do hear someone shouting what might be a friendly warning behind me…

Crap! A clutch of molerats has just cornered someone in the rubble behind me, and he goes down. They turn their attention to me, but my armour absorbs their bites without much damage. Pow! Lots of dead ratties mean meat and teeth to sell. Lovely. Now, let’s see what that was all about.

Oh damn. It looks like another innocent wanderer. Where the hell did he come from? Poor guy, a molerat swarm isn’t a nice way to go. Kind of embarassing, too. But what’s this?

Ohhh ho ho baby! Rest easy, my brother. Your death was not in vain.

A shotgun. A shotgun! A double-barreled shotgun, no less (voted Sexiest Weapon in the personal firearm subcategory for thirteen consecutive years). It’s quite worn, but such a simple design should be cheap to repair. I might even be able to do it myself. This is fantastic!

As with many video games, Fallout’s shotguns are absurdly useless at range, but if I fire it at anyone within 20 feet or so, they will cease to exist. This is exactly what I need to compensate for my weak aiming skills. With only three shells, it’ll have to be my backup weapon for now, but once I’ve filled my bag I’m going straight back to town to stock up on ammo. Oh yes.

Now though, I’ve detected some raiders in the streets behind this nearby building, so I ready my rifle and sneak around for a closer look. Sure enough, a sentry comes running, but I am a wily fox and have already dropped a mine in his path and taken cover.

The blast propels dozens of pieces of wire into his legs and groin, which demoralises him for some reason. He screams and tries to do a runner, so I pop out of cover, and shoot him in the back.

Yes, I shot a fleeing man in the back. What of it? This is the Wasteland, not Disneyland. Try to kill me and I mangle your legs and shoot you in the spine. That’s how it works.

This doesn’t seem to have alerted the others, who are much further back, so I move closer and pull the same trick on another one who’s dumb enough to walk away from the herd.

Boom! Instant kill. Disappointingly, he didn’t feel a thing.

Again, there’s no indication that anyone else is coming to play. The two I’ve killed have a few bits and pieces on them – just enough to fill my bag, and should fetch an okay price. Time to head back.

On the way back to Megaton I meet some puppies! Awww. They’re passive, too, though they are growling a warning at me. I should probably kill them before they grow up into vicious pack killers, but I don’t have the heart. Also there’s no money in it, and mama needs her shotgun shells, so I skirt round them and make a triumphant, moderately badass return to town.

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Five Alive

What, did you think I’d miss?

Yeah alright, so did I. Cass’s shooting skill is among her best, but that’s really not saying much. Even with pretty high weapon skills, there’s natural gun sway and bullet spread to consider, which are made worse by the gun’s condition and how much you’re moving.

So the big nutter with the hammer is down. Make no mistake though, that was friggin’ close. My health’s still very high, but one hit from that sledgehammer would have either done me in or broken a limb and sent me staggering, which would mean a free second hit for the guy and no more of that respiratory goodness for Cass.

He certainly seems to be alone. Even those exploding mines didn’t attract any notice, so I take a moment to calm down. And just like that, Cass levels!

Level 3, here we come! In an instant, I can become significantly better at repairing, lockpicking, or er, small gunning. I could also mix and match, or put points into a lesser skill.

Thanks to Cass’s high intelligence, she has 7 skill points to distribute, which will count for double if applied to my three tagged skills.

I decide to go for small guns, raising it to a chart-topping 44 out of 100. Regrettably this means my lockpicking and repair skills remain close to useless, but it’s a necessity for now. Repair and Lockpicking are bonus skills, while Shooty Gun Power is a survival skill. It’s no contest, frankly.

The second screen asks me to choose a ‘perk’. Right now the options are very limited due to my weird stats and low level. Black Widow gives me a damage bonus whenever I attack men, Charge allows me to keep my gun/fists ready while sprinting (which I almost go for, as it can be a real lifesaver – holstering and readying a gun or headslap takes precious moments).

Swift Learner increases the XP rewards I get, making me level faster. That too is tempting, especially as levelling is rather slow in Cassworld, however I plump for a second level of “Daddy’s Girl” instead. This gives a 5 point boost to science (hacking) and medicine (exploiting the sick and injured. EH, DOC?), which could be a lifesaver.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, Cass reached Level 2 almost immediately upon starting the game, due to the way FWE bypasses the tutorial section. I went for small guns and “daddy’s girl” then, too.

Now, to business. Time to see what the deadie has to offer.

The answer is a borderline evil beard/’tache combo, a quite amusing mugshot, and hoboy, his armour is excellent.

The hammer is useless to me, being too cheap for its weight and a melee weapon, which are worse in combat than a solid right hook for someone with my skills. But the armour is the best I’ve seen yet. It’s very bulky, which means sneaking around will be a waste of time, but it offers almost twice the protection of my leather armour, is in bizarrely good condition considering the amount of ordinance I unloaded on it, and finally, it confers bonuses to my strength and my hand to hand fighting skill.

I would be a fool not to change into it immediately, and via the unisex magic of the future, I can do so without even adjusting the breastplate.

IT HAS A BREASTPLATE. It even covers my vital organs! There is someone in this world who actually knows how to design armour! Oh, happy day.

I decide to head back to the shack and becupboard my old armour. I’m reluctant to sell it just yet, as it won’t fetch much and could be handy in future if this set becomes worn out, or I just need to be sneaky for some purpose. I also have a closer look at the matching helmet, which somehow adds a further bonus to both facepunching and legbreaking. I’m pretty sure the game is abstractly modelling the headbutting that would inevitably occur with a woman of her temperament.

First though, just to see, I have a quick look at the place Sledge of Crapbeard was guarding. There are defensive sandbags piled up, and though there is a door, I think it best not to go in. Whoever’s in there probably won’t take kindly to some strange woman walking in wearing a cheeky smirk and the fairly distinctive armour of their security guard.

For the rest of the day, I relax in Megaton. I think picking up armour that would cost me about 1,500 caps is a day’s work, especially given how close a call that was. Just this morning I was contemplating townie versus wasteland life. Having just experienced the dangers and rewards of one, I ought to spend the rest of the day with the other.

Besides, I’m out of ammo except for the pipe rifle, and that, I must grudgingly admit, is not a weapon meant for combat. I think I’ll just chill in the Brass Lantern until an ammo caravan shows up, or morning comes.

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Filed under Fallout 3, Stayin' alive

The choice of life

When I started this project, I made a point of not choosing the ‘vault dweller’ background, as this drops you off right outside Megaton – same as the vanilla game – which is basically the beginner town, a nice easy place to introduce you to the game. Everyone who played Fallout 3 knows Megaton, I’m sure. It was sort of a shame that Wolfgang led me here, but to be honest, it’s probably the only reason I survived at all.

I’m not going to pretend I’ve come to love the place, but I have come to appreciate it more. It’s safe. It’s portrayed as such, but never until playing as Cass did I actually feel like it was a safe haven. It’s only now that sleeping anywhere other than Megaton makes me a little nervous, and even the shortest journeys outside must be considered a genuine risk. I feel bad for hanging around the same boring areas, but it just feels too dangerous to do otherwise.

I’ve almost become a townie. But that in itself has its downside – yes, I am safer and can make small piles of money easily, but the cost of living is damn high. Items you’d throw away by the dozen as Fallout 3’s vault dweller are rare and astronomically expensive as Cass. And the decisions! The smaller decisions are no less difficult.

Is fighting this guy worth the risk? Do I want a rifle, or is that space needed for salvage? Will fifteen more bullets save my hide, or one life-restoring stimpack? Can I afford a splint, or will I save up for a helmet, and risk limping home on a broken leg as night falls? Rather than being about power levelling, these decisions could be all that preserve my single, fragile life.

This blog is supposed to be about wandering, but it’s also about survival, and right now those two concepts are struggling in Cass’s mind just as they might in the minds of anyone really thrust into a world like this one. Do I seek adventure, freedom, discovery, new places, and maybe great rewards? Or do I accept a quieter, duller life, hiding behind those great walls and only wandering out a little way to gather enough trade to get me good and trashed at night?

That’s the great conflict that Fallout 3’s world presents, but doesn’t really discuss. It’s the divide between civilisation and savagery, between freedom and security, between the people mad enough to live out in the wilds alone, and the sensible townies whose world would eventually fall down without the wanderers to protect and supply them. It’s something that even the original Fallout games didn’t really give you the context to appreciate.

Playing the vanilla game, or even with these mods but gentler settings and more quicksaving, doesn’t reveal any of this. Towns are boring, basically interchangeable places to drop your loot, get a few missions, and immediately leave. The townies themselves are barely even ciphers.

But playing for just a few days as Cass, even without wandering into the hellhole of downtown DC – indeed, barely even touching the city – has left me appreciating their significance in the world, as opposed to just in game.

It’s day five when I start to see this conflict played out for Cass. I have enough consumables for a few days, and the beer at the Lantern is topped up just often enough to keep me pleasant in the evenings. But there’s nothing much left to buy, and I can’t afford to stockpile anything worthwhile anyway.

I could spend all day here, passing time in the bars and on the sofas, smoking, eating, and lounging around, and trying to tune out the CONSTANT BLOODY BLITHERING of the cultists. In the afternoon I can wander a little way from town, kill a few animals, maybe pick up some junk, and sell it for beer money, until I finally get drunk and bored enough to start seducing all the cultists just to screw with them.

I could do that. It’d be boring, but it’d be safe. It’d be a living. I don’t want Cass to die. Cass doesn’t want to die. And even the relatively safe area around Megaton will get me killed sooner or later if I keep going out there.

But that raises a few problems for me, really. Cass is a wanderer. It’s in her blood. It’s even what this blog, in a roundabout way, is named after. And while I worry that it’s boring when I flee from trouble, that at least is justifiable. But hiding in a city, lounging on a filthy mattress and guzzling endless booze? Well, I hardly need Cass for that.

All this comes to a head when I contract radiation sickness over breakfast (as you do). Almost all food and water is irradiated, so this is inevitable. An expensive trip to the doctor is the best cure, but this wipes out my savings once again, just to restore the status quo.

So, I need to get moving. I was wasting time with the Crack Shack – even if I could clear out Springvale, it’s barely three minute’s walk from Megaton. I need to scout out new terrain. It’s about time I checked out the city, so after stealing a beer from the doc (because he’s a dick and I like free beer), I head East, towards DC.

Already I’m nervous. A wide, deserted street down the road from loads of ruined buildings and bridges? It’s a sniper’s heaven. You could make a fortune that way, perched in a building with a rifle and some landmines in the rubble downstairs. Nobody could touch you.

Still. I’ll have to chance it. Creeping around very slowly, I move down the road. While scoping out a possible human figure up the road, I’m jumped by a…

… oh. A kid. A damned annoying kid with stupid gloves, no less. He’s all worked up about some monsters eating his family, but won’t elaborate, and when I tell him to stop being such a tit, he gets bratty and insists the monsters will kill me too.

So, so close.

What? He’s only going to die anyway, running around the wastes screeching like an idiot. He won’t last twelve hours like that. A bullet would be kinder. It would also, however, be money wasted for me, so good luck kid. Maybe I’ll take those gloves off your corpse on my way back.

Now where was I? Oh right, the figure up the road.

I’m not sure what this guy’s game is. He’s just standing there. Raiders tend to mill around, and look a bit more lightweight too. He’s also alone, which is a bit odd.

Playing it safe, I drop a few frag mines before I creep up the slope to greet him. He yells and runs towards me. I could be wrong, but I don’t think he’s offering a welcoming hug. Retreat!

He sets off both mines and is still coming. They’ve injured his legs, but he can still run faster than I can backpedal, and jesus christ, is that a sledgehammer?

Unloading my last 3 revolver shots hurts him, but he’s wearing some heavy armour, and this thing was an antique even before the nukes fell.

I’m in real trouble here. Got to shoot him. I can’t risk closing for a punch – that thing would take my jaw off – but my pipe rifle is single shot, and very slow to reload.

All my thoughts about moving on might be rendered moot in one brief, horrific moment. This is why you don’t leave town. This is why even the people who hate Megaton don’t leave. I am a fool.

I holster my pistol, take out my rifle, and turn to face him. There’s only time for one shot. I must not miss. I must not miss.

Incredibly, with a sense for the dramatic, Cass closes her eyes, either trusting blind instinct or accepting that fate does what it will.

A single gunshot echoes round the street.

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Day Four: River and Rail

Until I’ve cleared out Springvale of these raiders, I’m not happy to move into the Crack Shack. But I don’t want to live in a town that could explode at literally any moment.

Defusing the bomb proves awkward, as this idiot cultist is standing watch over it non-stop, bleating about atoms and Lord Xenu and whatever. It’s 4am when he finally leaves. Time to save the universe!

Hm. I think I can handle this. So I do. Bomb defused! I creep off and catch up on sleep. As long as I keep to myself, they’ll probably never notice.

The next day I chill with April O’Neil through a breakfast of brahmin cheese. Preacher guy is delivering his usual lunatic spiel behind me, none the wiser. Heh. This must be how Nietzsche felt when he shivved god to death in his sleep.

Righto, with my needs taken care of, it’s time I went back and finished looting those raiders. I replace my helmet with a lightweight hockey mask. and get to it.

Everything else is cheap armour and near-broken guns, which I stash in the Crack Shack for now, along with a pipe rifle. The pipe rifle is a single shot dealie made from scrap. It needs some serious patching up, but I think it’s worth stashing rather than selling for now.

I also sneak inside Springvale school.

The school is dark, filthy, disorderly, structurally unsound, and full of violent, ignorant psychopaths. Bethesda really did their research.

Without area effect weapons or room to move around I’d soon be overwhelmed in here. I pause outside for a smoke, and ponder my situation.

With salvage in mind, I head further North, past Springvale and under the bridge full of Raiders I spotted on my first day.

Heading down past the beached ship, I kill a few molerats and grab some helpless lizards for food. After looting the boat I press on across the riverbed. Some raiders have taken up residence up shore.

Birds are circling over a trainyard up a nearby hill. Behind me are the remains of a wooden building, but there’s a large animal roaming around. It might be a boar, or something far more dangerous. Perhaps even a mutant. There are also about half a dozen recently killed animals nearby.

Scorpions can be pretty tough, so that thing might be best avoided. Fortunately, all these carcasses means lots of trophies to sell.

Further up the hill is a lone figure clomping about in the grass. Moving closer, I peek at the trainyard, then move across to see – raider!

She runs uphill with a pool cue, at a woman brandishing a revolver. Idiot raider!

Excellently, I put her down with a single shot. Disappointingly, I hesitate to press the ‘record’ button, so there’s no video. Bah.

Ah well. She had a few caps on her, plus a bottle of lunch. Chugged!

More raiders are lurking in the distance, further up the hill (behind the ‘camera’ used above), but they haven’t noticed she’s gone missing. Must have been the work experience girl.

I leave them be, and cautiously investigate the trainyard, which is empty save for several toolkits, which I raid, hoping to put together a toolkit of my own back home, and several guard dogs, which I beat to death, hoping to put together a pile of dead guard dogs.

The blurriness is due to the alcohol, incidentally. With the dogs put to sleep, I’ve stuffed my backpack full of goodies, so it’s time to go unload.

On my second visit, I find that I’m not the first to go poking around here.

This unfortunate woman has lost an arm, presumably to the dogs. Nothing useful on her, but I strip her naked and try on her clothes, as is customary among women.

Dear god. Why would you wear this? I ditch it before anyone can report me to the Dweeb Police.

See the tunnel on the left there, with the door? That’s where we’re going.

I’m very wary of going underground as a rule. Not sure why, but it’s probably the natural claustrophobia of the wanderer. That and the darkness. My only light is the pip-boy (the chunky thing on my arm), which bathes me in light. Doing this in the dark is akin to flashing one’s chebs at a stag party.

I soon find a tangible reason to be wary of the underground.

This is easily disarmed, but stumbling into them is all too easy in the dark and clutter of a train tunnel. One wrong step will mess me up no end. I’d best move very slowly.

There’s nothing but more mantraps, trip wires, and mines. I disarm them all, save for a few mantraps that I leave in place in case I need to flee.

Further on are two enormous, but dead crab-like things, which might mean the traps are for them, rather than for human intruders. Not long after that, I spot a guard.

It’s clear that he’s not going to attack on sight. He isn’t friendly, but he’s non-hostile, and surprised to see anyone down here. Apparently this area is off-limits to anyone but “the Family”. He’s amenable to bribery, but I’m not paying 100 caps just to talk to a bunch of incestuous shut-ins.

I take a quick fag break. He seems satisfied that I’m not trouble, but I won’t get past him without violence. I move on, a little annoyed.

A fork further back leads to a natural cave system under the tracks, marked with a bundle of grenades. I’m not skillo enough to untie them safely.

Nothing comes to investigate my approach. The tunnel slopes downwards, so it looks like the grenades are intended to keep something down here.

It’s dark. Very dark. And there’s movement up ahead.

Crikey. They’re bipedal! Crab-men, eh? Good job they’re stupid enough to charge at me with their protective shell facing away from me. Morons. I don’t feel too bad about killing when I can consider myself an agent of natural selection.

Their meat ought to sell for more than the rubbish I’ve been hunting on the surface. There’s a ladder at the other end of the caves, but something feels wrong about it. I don’t know if I’m attuned to radiation or it’s just the thought of sticking my head up through a mysterious hole in the dark (yes, yes, shut up, we all thought of that clever joke too).

There won’t be time for another trip out, so I head back to the shack, sort through today’s finds, and cash in at Megaton. A slow day, but I’m up from 19 caps to 180. Not bad at all.

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