Continuing a perma-death Fallout 4 diary, in which I begin with absolutely nothing other than a plan to to voyage around only the outermost periphery of the world.
I awaken on a filthy mattress in the back of a rusting lorry. Staggering to my feet, I recoil in terror from a looming shape.
It’s my power armour. Though it’s little more than metal bones now, all but its chest panels having been scorched away. I look in my pockets and bags. Around a dozen assorted energy weapons plus the usual assortment of pipe pistols and crap shotguns, but barely a bullet to be found. Of food, medicine and drugs I can find no trace.
I realise I’m shaking. How did I get here? What happened? It’s all such a blur. I came so very close to death, so many times.
Still images flash across my mind.
Trapped, cornered, desperate, swallowing something called PsychoBuff, a bottle of beer, two packs of Med-X, so many festering chunks of molerat flesh.
Hurling grenades and molotovs and mines.
Staggering back to the elevator, then set upon anew.
Finding a ladder, a ladder to the roof, to safety.
Atop the factory now. Two more of them. Where did they come from? How did they get there? I manage to kill one, but more still appear. Where are they coming from?
Mines. Three of them walked over one mine. Just this left, screeching at me with monotonal hate.
I punched it, roaring. And believed myself safe.
More of them. Guns empty. Armour gone. Health almost spent. Charging off the roof, roaring.
Plunging three stories? Four? I don’t know.
And another one on the ground. We dance, around rusting cars whose engines are alive enough to catch fire when I lob my last grenade errantly.
I am all but dead – but I can see the flames in those engines, and I know that explosion is imminent. It does not. I sprint into a lorry’s open trailer, my last fusion core sounding a terrible warning. Fire. Thunder. And…
And bed is a fine healer.
I shouldn’t be alive. I’d say fortune has smiled on me, but fortune has also cost me almost everything and all but guaranteed that I can’t survive much longer, so I’m going to go with ‘fortune is an asshole’ here.
Insult to injury is that all I’ve done is to get back to where this day began, back to the start of this peninsula. Sure, I went all the way in, but I haven’t come out better for it. Though I do have these energy weapons – there’s money in those, in the unlikely event I find a trader.
Which, surprisingly, I do. Bar some immediately radscorpion-murdered wanderers earlier, this is the first non-hostile human I’ve encountered since I awoke into this bleak future. I have so many questions! What happened? What year is this? What should I do? Where is my stolen child? Oh, no, never mind. I can’t ask about any of that. I can only ask about shopping. Only think about shopping. I guess the future’s not so different after all.
He has little money and almost nothing I want. My prayers for a fusion core have not been answered, which means my power armour will be left to rot in the wasteland any hour now. He does, however, have bullets. Lots and lots of bullets. I shower him with weapons and raider armour, and fill my pockets with shotgun shells and 10mm ammo.
It won’t last long, but it’s something. Then I rob his shop blind and sell it all back to him in exchange for more bullets. I also raid the small vegetable farm outside his trailer. I do feel guilty – taking his hard-grown produce is essentially slow-motion murder. But I need everything I can get, so I’m nicking your melons, man.
There’s nothing else to be done here, so it’s back to the road, and the coastline. Every step makes me shudder, as my last fusion core is down to approximately 7% power. I move slowly and even turn off my torch, just in case it makes a difference. At least, when the suit dies, I will be spared this anxiety. I will be more vulnerable, yes, but I won’t be counting my steps, looking not at the world around but at a light about to go out.
The PipBoy alerts me to something of interest nearby. What looks like a church looms in the distance. Oh, this would be perfect. Can I time this so that the core expires just as I reach the threshold of a holy place? Leave my salvation on God’s doorstep?
Sadly neither the suit or the commonwealth are quite so poetic. The core keeps on truckin’ for now, and the church is revealed to be a museum of Witchcraft, of all things.
The front door is barred, but there’s a cellar hatch around the back, plus a body bearing a message about soldiers gathering inside, and encountering something terrible. Perhaps poetry awaits after all. And I have a quest! An actual quest! My first quest! I need to go find out what happened to this body’s chums.
Into the museum of Witchcraft I go. And it’s terrifying. White-faced mannequins lurking in corners, casting long shadows as something, something, thumps and howls on the floor above me. Every bone in my body screams to run away, but that is not the Michael Radiatin’ way.
I hang my head when I find a corpse holding a rocket launcher and three missiles. I know the rules. When you find armaments that heavy lying around, it means something unbelievably horrible is right around the corner.
Inexorably, I head upwards, as the thuds and roars mount. And there it is. A Deathclaw. And not just a Deathclaw, but a Savage Deathclaw. My PipBoy doesn’t have enough icons to show quite how lethal this thing is, but the fact that one opportunistic rocket barely dents it tells me all I need to know. It gets a swipe in, removing almost all my health, but miraculously I’m able to run into a corner it’s too big to enter itself. This thing may be the monster of monsters, but it has no guns – so I’m safe for a while. It’s only then that I realise I’m surrounded by eggs. Huge eggs. Broken eggs. Except for one.
It’s already dawned on me that I’ve probably run into the worst place I possibly could, but a Holotape on a nearby corpse (ding! quest complete!) confirms it – these are Deathclaw eggs, stolen from its nest by these dead soldiers. If I want, I can take the remaining egg back to their base for study and reward. Or I could carry it back to the Deathclaw’s nest, presuming I can get out of here alive.
I check my map. The soldiers’ base is deep inland – my path will never cross it, so that’s out. But the nest… the nest is on the outskirts of the Commonwealth, but it’s back where I came from.
Not that far away, but backwards. And I’m not supposed to go backwards. Michael Palin would not go backwards, I know that much for sure. I wonder, though – would he help to save an unborn, as-yet innocent life from a grim fate? Would he compromise his own plans in order to reunite a baby animal-to-be with its parents? Or would he say “oh God no, it’s a monster, just get the hell out of there and carry on with what you were doing.” You know how this goes: