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Fallout 4: The Slump

A Fallout 4 perma-death diary, day 10

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Continuing a perma-death diary in Fallout 4, in which I begin with absolutely nothing other than a plan to to voyage around only the outermost periphery of the world.

Oh great, now I’m addicted to booze. And in the game, etc.

It’s surprisingly how long this took, to be honest. I’ve been swigging grog and guzzling pills like there’s no tomorrow since this journey began, and I’d become complacent. The worst thing is that I was only downing the bottle of whiskey which triggered my addiction in order to clear some weight in my inventory. Move the burden from my back to my belly. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I was also sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the booze roll into my stomach because I’d just survived a series of gruelling fights at the most Easterly point of the world. What I’d figured to be a short journey down a short peninsula before returning to the mainland coast turned out to be the greatest timesink I’d encountered to date.

I’m frustrated by my slow progress across the map now – I’ve only completed one and a half sides of it, but feel as though I’ve been going for months. I’m not quite at the ‘praying for the sweet release of death’ stage yet, but this moment-to-moment survival, living only off what I scavenge, almost never encountering a friendly face or somewhere to hang my hat for a short while is an arduous existence. My goal, if I am to reach it, seems further away than ever.

Nothing individually dramatic occurred on the peninsula, with the possible exception of a huge group of ghouls bursting out of a large wooden church. I was as terrified as I’ve ever been, but rapid backwards-sprinting followed up with a single grenade killed or crippled the entire herd. For a moment, I confess, I was sure I’d be overcome, and I almost welcomed it. It would have been a spectacular death.

The trouble was that the ghouls were just one of far too many aggressive tribes clustered across this peninsula. I’d already fought a pair of deadly robots, one of whom’s lethal flame thrower necessitated my sprinting in a constant circle around it until I finally wore away its mighty armour. I’d already survived a rolling fight across a series of docked boats with a group of raiders. A dog lunged out of nowhere at me a short time later. Shortly afterwards, I battled against what seemed like all the world’s Mirelurks, even down to their tiny but no less aggressive hatchlings.

None of these, the ghoul-grenading aside, were quick fights. As death would be the end of this journey around the world, I must exercise extreme caution. Quite often, a battle involves firing a single shot, retreating to cover and necking food or medicine, then repeat ad nauseum. The Mirelurk fight, at the dock at the very tip of the peninsula, took a good half an hour, most of which was spent sprinting onto car or boat rooftops so the blighters couldn’t reach me, only for them to run away in exasperation when they realised this, then loop back to me when I descended.

I’m proud of my survival skills, of my ability to survive against enemies far, far tougher than I am, but it’s taking a psychological toll now. I miss my power armour. I wish there was somewhere I could buy ammo, rather than cycle constantly through a half-dozen different weapons, each of which have just a few bullets.

My guns are good now, you see. I’ve encountered a few crafting stations, picked up a few modded variations and been able to cobble it all together into firesticks which pack a punch. I’m still extremely fragile, but I can dole out the damage if I can get in there quickly enough. But shells and fusion cells and .308 rounds are in short supply, so I often find myself resorting to a pipe rifle or a 10mm pistol. They’ll do the job – but slowly.

I am not Superman. I am a scavenger, and this is the scavenger’s lot.

But I am losing faith. I am losing faith because all there is is violence. Slow, relentless, difficult, exhausting violence. I don’t get to save anyone. There’s no-one to thank me or praise me for my efforts. I can’t talk anyone out of a fight, can’t let anyone know that I am not a raider or a ghoul or a supermutant. All I can hope to achieve is to clear an area of enemies in order to safely pore through the environment for mouldering food and a fistful of caps. The church that housed all those ghouls, for instance, was a magnificent sight: towering, white-wood, minimalist grandeur. A beacon of comfort which could offer me no comfort whatsoever.

I found a few cans and bullets and a decent pistol, but sadly could see nothing to illuminate why the church’s congregation had become ghoulish, so I moved on. Another place of safety abandoned. On to a Nautical Society, which really meant on to a fight against almost a dozen Mirelurks. Though I did find a computer terminal which suggested that Mirelurks were descended from lobsters, so there’s that.

I’m tired. That’s all. I’ll be off this tiny yet endless peninsula soon, and I’ll feel like I’m making progress again. If I can get all the way to the South, I’ll be happy. I’d be at the halfway point. Whatever happens after that, it’ll be a critical milestone.

The good news is that, at the bottom of that Mirelurk-guarded nautical society, I also found a chemical crafting station, at which I was able to knock up a potion to cure me of my booze addiction. Perhaps that’s why I was so blue. Now my mind is clear. Onwards!

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