Friday, November 25, 2011

//Log Date: 2281-11-04 13:02//

<<UserID:Webb>> It figures: spend all morning in a basement, and then end up spending your afternoon in a sub-basement. 
We’re headed with Bright and his people towards their “sacred site”... or maybe “sacred SIGHT”, I’m not sure. Whatever it is, it’s all very hush hush -- no one will tell us what it is before we get there. We’ve been walking through this underground corridor for what feels like ages, so I figured I’d go ahead and log the morning’s events in the meantime.
<<UserID:Boone>> Not a fan of silence, are you?
<<UserID:Webb>> Depends on who’s being silent.
<<UserID:Boone>> Hmmph.
<<UserID:Webb>> Whatever it is, it had better be worth it after this morning, that’s all I’m saying.
<<Unidentified Male>> Quit complaining, smoothskin. Sounds like everything went much better than it might have.
<<UserID:Webb>> Easy for you to say, Haversam. You weren’t the one running up and down flights of stairs all morning.
<<Unidentified Male>> At least you have working tendons and ligaments. Do you have any idea how hard it is for us ghouls to--
<<UserID:Webb>> I keep telling you, Haversam. You’re not a ghoul. You didn’t lose your hair to radiation. Male pattern baldness is a perfectly ordinary--
<<Unidentified Male>> You smoothskins, you’re all bigots.
<<UserID:Webb>> ...Excuse me?
<<Unidentified Male>> So assured of your “normality”, your superiority, that you can’t even acknowledge when someone else is different.
<<UserID:Webb>> Riiiiight... Well, to avoid further offense, I’m just going to go back to talking to my PIP-Boy. Fair enough?
<<Unidentified Male>> Whatever.
<<UserID:Webb>> Boone, you have a shaving mirror?
<<UserID:Boone>> Why?
<<UserID:Webb>> Because you’ve barely got stubble and you don’t seem the alopecia sort.
<<UserID:Boone>> What?
<<UserID:Webb>> Never mind. If you’ve got one, fish it out when we stop. I want Haversam here to have a good look.
<<UserID:Boone>> Ah. Roger.
<<UserID:Webb>> Thanks.
Anyway, after waking up and breaking fast on another plateful of preservatives, the three of us headed for the basement, managing to sneak past the wayward feral members of Bright’s flock on the way. The sealed basement door opened to the keycard Bright gave me before we left, and it led us down ANOTHER flight of stairs.
Once we finally reached the bottom -- or what I thought at that point was the bottom, at any rate -- ED-E’s sensors were going crazy, picking up heat and movement all over the area, though we couldn’t see anything. Remembering how he had somehow scrambled the cloaking field on the brahmin-killing mutant, which had sent the blue-skinned goon into a roaring charge, I wanted to avoid a repeat of that here.
As such, Boone and ED-E waited in the small chamber at the foot of the stairs while I pulled the StealthBoy unit I’d found from my pack, fastened it around my right wrist, and flipped it on.
Immediately, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as an electric field washed over me. The world looked slightly out of focus and wavering, almost like I was staring through the heat shimmer above a fire. 
And, of course, I was invisible. I could make out vague movements when I waved my arms in front of my face, but that was about it. But I had no idea how much charge the StealthBoy had left, so I stopped trying out parlor tricks and eased open the door into the rest of the facility.
Navigating through that maze of corridors was surreal. I could tell there were mutants around -- I could hear their breathing and their footsteps and, every once in a while, catch the distortion of their stealth field out of the corner of my eye. But other than that, the place seemed completely deserted to all other senses. I think I probably took about three breaths the whole time I was down there.
At first, I must have gone the wrong way, as I found myself in something approaching a holding pen, or at least the best the mutants could do. There was no one there apart from a dead female ghoul, however, so I circled back and tried the other hallways.
Eventually, I found my way into a storage room with an uncloaked mutant, also bearing that odd indigo skin. As I entered, he sniffed the air, then glared in my direction and started to speak in that nearly-shouting tone that passes for conversational among mutants. 
I was sure he’d seen me, so I dove for cover behind a filing cabinet, but instead he was talking to someone named “Antler”. Peeking out from behind the cabinet, I realized that “Antler” was actually the bleached brahmin skull on the desk next to him. He was carrying on one half of a lively argument having something to do with a crate and shipping manifests, the other half of the conversation clearly being supplied internally by whatever psychosis had led him to name a skull.
Soon, however, he broke off mid-sentence and started looking around. Apparently, “Antler” had told him someone was in the room. Still, he looked more irritated than angry, and he wasn’t holding a weapon -- the closest thing I could see was some sort of blade made from the bumper of a pre-war car. The thing was taller than I am, but it was propped against a desk on the other side of the room. I decided to take my chances.
I propped up my repeater against the back of the cabinet, unbuttoned the clasp on my revolver holster, turned off the StealthBoy, tucked it back into my pocket, and stepped out into view with my hands raised, clearing my throat politely.
The first few seconds of the following exchange were somewhat tense, but I managed to get across that I’d been sent by the ghouls to see if any compromise or peace could be brokered, and the mutant seemed to see the sense in that. I introduced myself, and he did the same. He also insisted I introduce myself to Antler, which I did, though I felt a bit silly. Like my ma always said, though: sometimes you have to swallow your pride, or an insane blue giant will beat you to death with a car.
Well, no, she never said that. But she would have, if she’d ever met Antler.
The ensuing conversation was surprisingly enlightening. The mutant’s name was Davison, and he and all the other blue skins are a special sort of super mutant called “nightkin”, created especially for scouting, spying, and infiltration by someone called “the Master”. From what I could gather, this “Master” is the one behind the super mutant army that rampaged across California way back before the NCR was founded. Davison was some sort of officer in the Master’s army, and he and these nightkin have been drifting for the past century or so since the Master was killed in what sounds like an explosion.
Lucky for the rest of us, I suppose.
Apparently, Davison and the other nightkin all worship Antler now as some sort of replacement for this “Master”. 
*Lowers his voice.*
We’ve got Bright’s little church upstairs, and Antler’s zealots downstairs. This whole building is a magnet for religious loonies.
*Continues at regular volume.*
And since Antler is simply an extension of Davison’s psyche, he’s the one actually leading this bunch, so, as long as I could get him moving along, I figured the others would follow. 
It turns out what had brought them to REPCONN was the same bit of communication I’d found on the terminal yesterday: reports of a huge shipment of StealthBoys coming here. Though the nightkin were made for covert ops, they still apparently need StealthBoys for their cloaking fields.
“Need” may be putting it mildly, at that. Given Davison’s desperation when speaking about the ‘Boys, it sounds like they’ve developed something almost like a chemical dependence on the cloaking effect. All things considered, I’m glad I tucked the one I’d been wearing into my pocket. 
I wonder if that also has anything to do with the schizophrenia I’ve noticed in Davison and the brahmin-killer, or if that’s a side effect of all mutations. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence -- I haven’t met enough nightkin or regular mutants to make an educated guess.
Heh. “Regular mutants”. The wasteland’s a funny place sometimes. Whatever the case, it was enough to convince me to go easy on StealthBoy usage.
<<UserID:ED-E>> 010010010111001001110010011001010110110001100101
<<UserID:Webb>> Was that a crack about my mental health, eyeball? You better watch it, or I’m going to put that party hat back on and LEAVE it on you this time.
Anyway, if I could get the nightkin the StealthBoys, they’d leave peacefully. The problem was -- and there’s ALWAYS another problem -- the ‘Boys were supposedly in yet ANOTHER section of the basement, but guarded by a ghoul who had trapped the place from here to Dayglow with mines and tripwires, and was shooting at any mutants who tried to push their way past.
I told Davison -- and Antler, I suppose -- that I’d do what I could, and headed for the warehouse-styled chamber in which the ghoul had garrisoned himself. Sure enough, the place was trapped thoroughly, but I took my time, disarming some tripwires and avoiding others, and eventually repeatedly my little surrender game, walking out into the open, hands raised and appearing unarmed. 
I called out, identifying myself and saying that I was here on behalf of Bright to help clear up the “demon” issue, and a rugged-looking ghoul peeked over the railing high above me, staring down the barrel of a .308 rifle and puffing on a cigarette.
He remained silent at first, assessing me, so I slowly lowered my hands and gestured around at the surprisingly expansive room, telling him he’d set himself up one hell of a killzone for a religious type.
That actually got a bark of a laugh from him, and he raised the rifle a bit -- not setting it aside, but at least taking me out of the sights. He introduced himself as Harland and said he wasn’t a religious type -- he’d signed on with Bright for the caps and the female companionship.
Well, there’s one question about ghoul physiology answered that I don’t think anyone had ever wanted to ask.
I hurried him along before he could wax too poetic about the leathery charms of ghoul women, and he confided that he’d come down this way during the mutant attack, attempting to protect one “ghoulette” of whom he was especially fond when the Bright followers had scattered.
A lump in my gut, I asked him for her description, then sadly filled him in on the dead female ghoul I’d found in the holding area. He was silent for a long moment, then cursed and stood up, tossing his rifle aside carelessly. He paced about, muttering, then grabbed the rifle up from where it had fallen and told me I could come on up if I wanted to dig through the old shipping records up there with him -- he’d disable the rest of the traps.
I thanked him, then told him about Boone and ED-E, suggesting he join them and wait for me to come back, and we’d all go rejoin Bright and the others together. He agreed listlessly, heading off in that direction. 
When he’d gone, I climbed the stairs to the little nest he’d made for himself, trying not to think too deeply about the half-eaten radroaches I could see scattered about. A little poking about on the shipping terminals up there revealed that the crate of StealthBoys HAD arrived at this facility... only to be returned to its senders at RobCo the next day. Over two centuries ago.
I sighed and managed to spool up some paper to print out an invoice for the return, then brought the receipt to Davison to give him the bad news. He did not take it gracefully. For a second, I thought he was going to snap me in half, but “Antler” apparently put in a good word for me, because Davison visibly calmed himself, then stomped off to inform the nightkin that they were moving out to continue their search elsewhere.
I hurried back to the antechamber at the base of the stairs to get Boone and ED-E moving before a whole troop of nightkin started marching their way and was happy to see Harland there, sharing a silent cigarette with Boone and examining ED-E critically. The four of us hustled -- well, huffed and panted, in my case -- back upstairs and filled Bright in on the newly exorcised basement.
He and his ghouls were overjoyed, both at the news and at the return of Harland, who was greeted like some sort of crusader riding home after a successful campaign. I think the joyous hugs from the female members of Bright’s flock did wonders to ease the pain of his recent loss.
After that, Boone and I shared some lunch -- a can of beans roasted on a hotplate in Bright’s quarters -- while the ghouls packed up their supplies and gear and prepared to head down through the basement to the “sacred site”. They invited us to join them, and, call me crazy, but I’d put enough into this already not to see just what they’ve been so fired up about.
And that’s where we are now, traipsing down these endless corridors towards this “site”, whatever it is. I’m starting to get slightly higher radiation readings on the PIP-Boy’s counter, and there is a little bit of a glow coming from up ahead.
Yes, we’re finally reaching some sort of observation chamber, it looks like. Definitely higher rad levels. Here, Boone, take another Rad-X, just to be safe. Haversam, I don’t suppose I could talk you into--
<<Unidentified Male>> Don’t waste those on me, smoothskin. Radiation is like the warm sun for us ghouls.
<<UserID:Webb>> Can’t say I didn’t try. Down the hatch!
*Sounds of pills being shaken from a container, a cork being pulled, and swallowing.*
Ahh. Anyway, let’s take a look at this “sacred site”. What do you want to bet, after all this time, that it actually turns out just to be a big pool of radioactive waste after al -- HOLY JESUS, THEY HAVE SPACE ROCKETS!
//Recording Ends//

Monday, November 14, 2011

//Log Date: 2281-11-03 20:29//

<<UserID:Webb>> I read somewhere that politics make strange bedfellows. Well, we must have gotten involved in politics, because we are camped for the evening with some extremely strange folks.
Boone’s already out for the evening, so I should be able to get through this entry with minimal “hmmph”ing.
<<UserID:ED-E>> 010100000110110001100101011000010111001101100101
<<UserID:Webb>> That counts as a “hmmph”, eyeball. Keep it down.
The morning began just about the way we’d expected, picking off more ferals at range while we followed the access road the rest of the way in to the REPCONN test site. The closer we got, the more of them there were -- mostly just milling around aimlessly, as far as I could tell, at least until they caught wind of us. 
Or heard us. Or saw us. I have no idea how ferals sense the world around them. Some of them are so far gone that most of their face, eyes included, has rotted right off. Doesn’t stop them for making a beeline for your entrails, though.
By the time we reached the facility itself, we must have put down at least a dozen, with at least that number milling about the giant rocket statue in front of the REPCONN building.
They were far enough from us that we were able to do for them before they reached us, but it was a near thing with the last few. My hip still aches enough to make me never want to let one get within clawing range again.
Once ED-E confirmed that there was nothing else moving around outside the building, we were able to take stock of the site. The road, which had lead us through a shallow canyon, opened into a little valley, almost like a bowl scooped out of the rock. Right in the center is a pre-war metal sculpture of a REPCONN rocket -- which cleared up the purpose of this place in a hurry. REPCONN was an aerospace company, apparently focused on getting people up into the skies and into outer space. 
Amazing... those folks before the bombs were living in a goddamn paradise, and they were trying so hard to escape it. No wonder it all went to hell.
Behind the statue is a blocky drab building, mostly intact, hunkered down into the rock, with a few radio towers and an odd dome perched on the rim of the valley across from it. Still have no idea what the dome is, but we’ve spent the day getting all too acquainted with the building.
Finishing up our sweep of the exterior, we found a few dead ghouls among the ferals who were in significantly better shape -- well, before they died, at least. Functional, sentient ghouls, wearing those brown robes I’d seen a few times in the wastes. From the half-built makeshift barricades they were slumped over, it looked like they’d been trying to fortify the building.
The robed ghouls, along with some of the ferals that had predeceased our arrival, had been shot with automatic weaponry. The ghouls themselves were armed with energy weapons -- two carrying AER9 laser rifles and the other some sort of self-charging blaster pistol I’ve never seen before -- so the wounds clearly weren’t friendly fire. Definitely not the ferals, either.
The pistol was light and easy to carry, so I stuffed that into my pack and stacked the rifles by the statue to claim on our way back to Novac. The PIP-Boy’s counter was still reading just slightly over generic background radiation, but I dosed Boone and myself with Rad-X pills as a precaution anyway before we went inside the mangled front doors.
And inside... well, outside was a mess, but inside was a charnel house. Dead ferals, robed ghouls, and more of those blue super-mutants were everywhere, and the interior of the building was wrecked, but not in that comfortably familiar ruined-when-the-bombs-fell way. 
The injuries on the bodies began to paint a picture. The robed ghouls and the ferals had all been killed by conventional ammunition or blunt trauma, consistent with the miniguns and concrete mauls the mutants were carrying, and the dead mutants had been exclusively seared with laser or plasma fire. 
The super mutants must have forced their way in through the main doors, fighting through the robed ghouls, but there was no sign of either group still living on the first floor -- the whole place was eerily quite, at least at first.
Old habits die hard, and I started scavving for salvage while Boone began sorting out the weapons. I was sorting through a promisingly full toolbox when the building’s intercom system crackled to life, nearly giving me an infarction.
The rough, gravely voice barked at us to identify ourselves. I did so, naming Boone and ED-E as well, and told the speaker that we were here on behalf of Novac. I tactfully neglected to mention the looting.
Mr. Intercom muttered something about “smoothskins” -- a ghoul epithet for unradiated folks that I’ve had tossed my way in the past -- and told us that we should hurry to the building’s east staircase, unless we wanted “the demons” to get us.
Boone raised an eyebrow at the mention of “demons”, and I shrugged, kicking a super-mutant corpse by way of my best bet. Out loud, I asked Mr. Intercom to identify himself, but he just responded that if we wanted to wait around for the demons to come kill us, that was our choice, and then broke the connection.
We made our way in the direction he’d indicated, picking through the rooms as we went. I found a powered terminal and managed to bypass its security programming with the aid of the PIP-Boy, hoping for a map of the facility. Instead, I got a bit of background on REPCONN -- definitely focused on space exploration, the company had been bought out by RobCo before the war. 
I’m a little surprised they didn’t start calling the rockets “REP-Boys”. RobCo definitely has an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach to naming their products.
Apparently, it had all ended in disaster, with a rushed production schedule that left a handful of employees dead in explosions. There was also a memo that a crateful of those StealthBoy cloaking units had been erroneously delivered to this facility. I’ll have to keep my eyes skinned -- having a satchelful of StealthBoys would make life in the Mojave much easier.
Another room had a collapsed ceiling, which enabled us to clamber up to the second floor. A good thing, too -- the staircase Mr. Intercom had mentioned was built out over an open space storage area, the ground floor of which was full of shambling ferals. Coming into the staircase from the second floor, we were able to creep past and over them without drawing any attention, climbing the stairs to a sealed door.
When we hit the intercom button, the man who opened the door was decidedly un-ghoulified, a rather average-looking balding sort, running a little to fat, who identified himself as Chris Haversam. 
When Boone delicately broached the issue of him not being a ghoul by blurting out “He’s human!”, Haversam just shook his head, muttered something else about smoothskins, and refused to answer any further questions, instead telling us to follow him, after which he sealed the door behind us and then headed off down the hallway, not looking to see if we were following.
Haversam, thankfully, seemed to be the only one with unresolved transradiation issues. Everyone else in this sealed section of the building was fully ghoulified, and all were wearing the brown robes. Most were looking through various diagrams or sorting electronics at workbenches, and they looked at us with something halfway between curiosity and suspicion as we walked by.
Haversam lead us up another staircase to a smaller office, and things suddenly began to come clear. Haversam cleared his throat and left us with a little bow to the occupant of the room, a man wearing a neatly maintained pre-war suit and lighting up the office with a sickly green luminescence.
He turned, and I braced myself for a Geiger counter cacophony that never came. He was one of the hyper-radiated ghouls that folks call “glowing ones”, but I’ve never heard of one that isn’t feral... or putting out enough rads to microwave an iguana-kebab.
This one was neither. His face, while bearing all the standard gauntness and leathery skin common to ghouls, was remarkably unburnt or decayed, and his voice, when he greeted us, lacked the usual gravel and instead had an odd reverb to it, as if coming through speakers.
His name is Jason Bright -- he claims it always has been, even before the bombs -- and he and his followers are here to prepare for a “great journey” to seek their holy land and escape the persecution ghouls face in the wastes.
As if that wasn’t enough, he’s convinced that Boone, ED-E, and I are here as a form of divine aid in their time of need. In ED-E’s case, I suppose it’s a real case of “machina ex deo”.
Not bad, eh?
<<UserID:ED-E>> 010100000110110001100101011000010111001101100101
<<UserID:Webb>> Philistine.
Anyway, Bright elaborated that he and his followers had gathered here to pursue their journey, and, in doing so, they had shepherded all the ferals they could find along with them. Bright calls ferals “lost ones” and, while he acknowledges that they are beyond help, he and his group still hoped to contain them, keeping them safe and, by extension, keeping everyone else safe from them.
Everything had apparently been going well until invisible demons showed up and stormed the facility. Putting two and two together, Bright’s invisible demons are the stealthed blue mutants that have been cropping up all over the area. They forced their way in, killing a handful of Bright’s followers, and a running gun battle broke out inside, which resulted in the ghouls falling back to this sealed upper area and the mutants breaking off and heading into the facility’s basement, where they still are, attacking any ghouls who venture down there.
Bright couldn’t explain what drew the mutants or what was keeping them here, but he could explain the feral attacks on Novac. When they’d broken down the facility’s doors, the mutants inadvertently released all the ferals Bright had managed to sequester here.
Normally, Bright and his people would be fine to just leave the mutants in the basement, but the next step in their “Great Journey” is apparently directly through the areas currently being patrolled by the invisible mutants.
Bright said he and the others would gladly round up the ferals and take them along on the journey if I could somehow “exorcise the demons” from the facility’s basement.
I was tempted to just walk right back on down to Novac, confident that the ghouls and the mutants would eventually take care of each other, but there was just something about Bright’s earnestness... Besides, I can certainly understand that desire to seek a better place, and isn’t care in the hands of other ghouls a kinder fate for the ferals a kinder fate?
I keep saying it, Webb -- that goddamn conscience is going to get you killed.
Then again, would that such a bad thing? Not like there’s much keeping me around at this point, other than good, old-fashioned stubbornness. 
I turned to Boone, who merely shrugged, and told Bright we’d see about that exorcism for him. Of course, if all those blue mutants are as crazy as the one who was killing the brahmin, I think I’ll be doing most of my exorcising with my repeater, but we’ll see.
Bright was thrilled at the news, thanking us graciously, and he offered us the use of his followers’ rooms and chambers. As it had already been a long day, and as I think I’d more than exceeded my quota for shooting hideously deformed lunatics, we decided to stay the night with Bright and his people.
Word spread quickly that we had agreed to help, and those suspicious glances were quickly replaced with friendly -- if rotten -- smiles and offers to share meals and supplies. We partook of their food, mostly pre-war packaged goods like YumYum  eggs and Salisbury Steak that had been scavenged from the building’s cafeteria before the mutant attack.
As always, they taste more like preservatives than actual food, but they fill your belly well enough. We stuck to our own bottled water, however; a quick PIP-Boy scan of the ghouls’ water supplies revealed enough rads to give me contact nausea. Must give it an extra kick if you’re a ghoul, though.
After we ate, I spent a few hours looking over the ghouls who had been injured in the fight with the mutants. Many had gunshot wounds, some with the bullets still lodged within, others had broken bones from the mutants’ clubs, and all were model patients, as I have come to expect from ghouls.
The same condition that keeps them alive for so long also seems to deaden many of their nerves -- I didn’t even have to use Med-X while stitching up the wounds, and they would each just sit their, either calmly chatting or just silently watching as I worked, with no sign of discomfort or unease. If only everyone I tended to was so accommodating...
The other benefit of the condition is remarkably fast healing. I’d wager most of these folks will be good as new within a day or two. I’ve never put it to the test myself, but I’ve heard that you can even amputate and reattach a ghoul’s arm, with no ill effects in the long run if you get it sewed back on fast enough.
After my surgeries, my back was killing me, so I stretched it out by pacing around the ghouls’ quarters, picking through the supplies they weren’t currently using.
Among scrap and tidbits of various usefulness, I found, against all expectations, a box of brightly-colored conical hats, made of some sort of waxed paper, with little plastic ribbons coming out of the tops. I pulled one out and popped it on to ED-E’s shell at a jaunty angle.
Boone just grunted and wandered off to get some sleep, but I can only imagine how much Callie would have laughed to see it.
<<UserID:ED-E>> 010100000110110001100101011000010111001101100101
<<UserID:Webb>> I’ll take it off you in the morning, I promise. Tonight, though... just let me keep it there and remember my little girl giggling, okay?
<<UserID:ED-E>> 010000010110001101100011011001010111000001110100
<<UserID:Webb>> Thanks, eyeball.
Guess I better get some rack time myself. Settling down to sleep, surrounded by ghoul pilgrims and preparing to venture down into a basement full of invisible supermutants.
Well, as my pa would have said, it beats being bored.
Signing off.
//Recording Ends//

Saturday, November 5, 2011

//Log Date: 2281-11-02 21:40//

<<UserID:Webb>> Been an odd afternoon. Boone, ED-E, and I are camped on an overpass on the access road to the REPCONN site, not too far east of the building itself. Figured it would be better to wait out the dark here, get some rest, rather than pushing on in after hiking all day.
Vargas was certainly right about the ghouls, though.
<<Unidentified Male>> Hmmph.
<<UserID:Webb>> Ferals have been all over this road. They slowed us down considerably, having to advance and pick them off one by one, rather than bring them down on us all at once. The Geiger counter on the PIP-Boy isn’t picking up any more than standard wasteland radiation levels, though, so I’m still not sure what’s drawing them to the place or keeping them here.
The overpass itself hints at a completely different story. It’s been fortified, at least to some degree, and we found two more of those odd blue-skinned supermutants, lying dead and torn apart by ferals. At least these ones weren’t trying to kill cattle, but it is looking like the presence of mutants and the ghouls are related... and not in a friendly way. 
Maybe there’s something both of them want at REPCONN. Again, I keep thinking radiation, but...
Maybe the PIP-Boy isn’t getting accurate readings. We’ll have to monitor ourselves for rad posioning, just to be safe. Boone, let me know if you start feeling nauseous or losing any hair.
<<Unidentified Male>> Tough for me to tell. You’re the one with the beard.
<<UserID:Webb>> Fine, then tell me if my beard falls off, just in case I don’t notice the sudden breeze.
Not much more we can tell from here, I suppose, so no real sense in losing sleep over it. I’m sure we’ll find out more tomorrow if we don’t get eaten in our sleep. ED-E, got your sensors tuned for movement in both directions?
<<UserID:ED-E>> 010101000110100001101001011100110010000001110101
<<Unidentified Male>> That a yes?
<<UserID:Webb>> Probably. I never know for sure.
Anyway, may as well get some rest. Signing o--
<<Unidentified Male>> You do this every night?
<<UserID:Webb>> What, leave the eyeball on watch? It’s not like he needs sleep.
<<Unidentified Male>> No. Record what you did that day.
<<UserID:Webb>> Oh. Yeah, most days.
<<Unidentified Male>> Why?
<<UserID:Webb>> Started it to make sure my cognition wasn’t impaired after the fellow in the checkered suit shot me in the head. Now... I just keep it up, mostly for myself, I suppose. Something to leave behind, maybe as a warning to whomever finds it and listens to it.
Speaking of which... let me register your voice, so you stop showing up as unidentified on the logs.
<<Unidentified Male>> What’s the point of that?
<<UserID:Webb>> Makes reviewing the logs easier. Besides, it’ll be a cheat sheet for when I forget your name. Just sit tight, won’t take a second. Just have to hook up this little keyboard, and...
There. Auto-detect is on. Say your name.
<<Unidentified Male>> This is stupid.
*A dinging noise.*
<<UserID:Webb>> Uh-oh.
<<UserID:Stupid>> What?
<<UserID:Webb>> Heh. Nothing. Hold on...
*More typing.*
There we go, did it manually. Say something else.
<<UserID:Boone>> Still think this is a waste of time.
<<UserID:Webb>> Yeah? Maybe I shouldn’t have changed it.
<<UserID:Boone>> Changed what?
<<UserID:Webb>> Nothing.
<<UserID:Boone>> Hmmph.
*Several minutes of silence.*
<<UserID:Boone>> You said you were a corporal while you were in?
<<UserID:Webb>> Eventually, yeah. Enlisted in ’52, when I was still just a kid. 
Jesus, seventeen. You think you know everything then, right?
Served as a grunt for three years before someone picked me out for combat medic training. Got pulled from my unit and sent to Vault City, studied there for two years before I got my certification and got reassigned. One of the units doing raider sweeps in the backcountry, you remember them?
<<UserID:Boone>> They still send out some now, but all this was before my time.
<<UserID:Webb>> Holy hell, I keep forgetting how old I am. What are you, twenty-five?
<<UserID:Boone>> Twenty-six.
<<UserID:Webb>> Stop making me feel like an antique. 
Anyway, the war with the Brotherhood was in one of its little cold spells, so the upper brass figured they’d do some tidying in their own backyards while it lasted. My unit was mainly patrolling in the eastern territories. I got my corporal’s chevrons along with my medical degree, went where they told me, and fell in love with my sergeant. 
Watching you shoot, I think you would have loved her a little bit yourself. Something about a woman who can put a round between your eyes from half a mile away, eh?
<<UserID:Boone>> Heh.
<<UserID:Webb>> Anyway, that was my Jess. We patrolled together with the rest of our unit for years, clearing out raiders until ’63, when we got some bad intel about a camp near Broken Hills. 
Jess took a shot in the leg from a Viper. I grabbed her and ran like hell for safe cover, stopped the bleeding as best I could, but I ended up having to amputate just below the knee. 
Never could find her a correctly-sized prosthetic replacement, though lord knows we looked through half the abandoned hospitals between here and Baja until she got pregnant.
<<UserID:Boone>> They drummed her out for the injury?
<<UserID:Webb>> Honorable discharge. Medals and trumpets playing and everything. Sold the medals first chance we got for a stake in some decent salvage equipment.
<<UserID:Boone>> No medals for you?
<<UserID:Webb>> I don’t think they have a medal for punching your CO in the face when he tells you to leave your injured woman behind and get back in the field. Best they could do was a dishonorable discharge. Lucky I didn’t get court-martialed, all things considered. 
<<UserID:Boone>> You said she got pregnant?
<<UserID:Webb>> In ’65, yeah. We settled down on a farm outside of Modoc.
<<UserID:Boone>> Your kid still there? In Modoc?
<<UserID:Webb>> She’s dead. Jess too.
*A few minutes of silence.*
<<UserID:Boone>> How’d it happen?
<<UserID:Webb>> Why don’t you tell me about your wife first?
<<UserID:Boone>> Hmmph.
<<UserID:Webb>> “Hmmph” it is, then. Get some sleep, I’m sure we’ve got plenty of ferals to shoot in the morning.
Signing off.
//Recording Ends//