February 3, 2013

Adventures in the Wasteland - Anchorage Dog Memorial

[...Posted by Ted H]

...In attempts to keep this from becoming the zombie-only blog, I feel the need to change things up, if only for one week.

While any attempt to do a long form write up of a play-through of a game like I did with Oblivion last year is probably not gonna work out, little snippets are always fun. Fallout games are so slow to start that I would bore myself to death before the game proper ever got off the ground.

Anyway, enjoy. Zombies are back next week.


[Adventures in the Wasteland - Anchorage Dog Memorial]

            So there I was, waltzing my way through the capital wasteland, minding my own business. I came upon the Anchorage War Memorial and usually the game spawns a nice little encounter there. Sometimes it's raiders in the middle of an initiation, sometimes it's some random wastelander getting attacked. This time I came across a scavenger who didn't have anything of particular interest to trade. He had a brahmin and a dog in tow. Shortly after our exchange we were under attack by a couple mirelurkers.
        Anyone familiar with Fallout 3 will know that the Anchorage Memorial is a nesting ground for mirelurkers. Spend too much time fucking around and you'll end up dealing with one. At the time I was particularly low leveled and mirelurkers are not for pussies. My usual MO for these types are to drop a few frag mines as a trap and lure one over, softening them up (if not killing outright) for a few close range shots with a hunting rifle right into their weak point.
           Like I said, that's my usual MO for higher leveled enemies. Until I get my dart gun, it's all run and gun. Unfortunately, these two mirelurkers got the drop on myself and the scavenger. The two of us and his dog had to make due with no planning. It was close combat, meaning my nuclear option, the fat man, was suicidal (besides, those mini nukes aint cheap Holmes). A combination of pot shots and VATS got the job done though, but not before one of the mirelurkers got the better of the scavenger.
            Not wanting any good loot go to waste, I took everything on the scavenger (he probably would've wanted me to have it anyway) then I looted his brahmin. The dog was nowhere to be found, but I had no interest in it anyway. I then moved on in my adventure, never bothering to look back.

            Several levels later I found myself back at the memorial on a quest. Moira Brown wanted me to install some surveillance device in the mirelurker nest. After accomplishing my goal and sprinting out the door with a few mirelurkers after me because my Stealth Boy is a piece of shit and couldn't even keep me cloaked for five god damn minutes, I set myself up on top of the memorial and waited until the game said I was no longer under [caution] so I could fast travel to Moira for my reward (and the bonus for not killing any mirelurkers).
            Confident that I completed my "stealth" mission, I prepared to leave when I heard the sound of panting right next to me. I looked over and staring my in the face was a dog. Not just any dog, mind you. It was the scavengers dog, waiting patiently for its master to come pick it up. I was immediately reminded of Dogmeat, the dog companion in the game that you meet under similar circumstances; his old master was killed and you find it standing by the corpse with no other purpose.
            Unlike Dogmeat though, I couldn't recruit some random scavengers dog. It was loyal to one person, and that person was dead (and probably had his body dragged away and eaten by a mirelurker or super mutant or something). The dog was prepared to wait forever at the last point it could track its master to, never flinching, never caring for anything other than the return of its master.
            It was almost heartbreaking if not for the handfuls of creatures I brutally murdered up until this point. At this point though, I wondered if I should just leave it here. Mirelurkers would always be around, and there was no way I was going to stand guard with it forever. I should really just put it out of its misery. Its master was gone forever and I was the only one who knew. Could I in good conscious leave this poor dog to its eternal wait?
            I had a combat shotgun. It would be a quick and clean shot to the back of the head. It wouldn't feel a thing, and then hopefully be with its master. I leveled with its head and prepared to pull the trigger. Was I really about to do this? I had ruthlessly murdered a small army at this point, but every last one of those murders were self defense. I pointlessly smacked mole rats with a poisonous stuck but only if they come after me. I aggro super mutants at the Brotherhood of Steel in hopes that one of the Brotherhood dies and I can loot, but even if the Brotherhood guy has only 1 HP left, I still won't murder him. I am not a nice person, so it's not  like the karma hit would faze me.
            I couldn't kill this poor beast. Perhaps it would find some better future down the road. Maybe like Dogmeat, some random scavenger would happen across it and adopt. Maybe it would wander off and join up with other strays and ruin some wastelanders day. Maybe. But a maybe future would be better than a definite death at the hands of myself, who has too much blood on my hands already. I bid the dog goodbye, and made my way back to Megaton to receive payment from an aspiring survival guide author with a few screws loose.

            You'd be surprised how often I find myself nearby the Anchorage Memorial. Despite my attempts to branch out my scavenging and continue the plot to the ends of the map, I always seem to be crossing a certain body of water that led to a certain war memorial. On one particular trip, I decided to visit the top and see if the dog was indeed still on his vigil. I noticed no green dot on my radar and immediately thought the dog had moved on, either to become a rabid stray or with a new owner. Then I noticed the red dot approaching.
            At this point I was capably armed enough to handle a single mirelurker with ease, from a distance no less despite my melee build. As I went over to claim that sweet, sweet mirelurker meat, I noticed something queer nearby. A headless dog. Oh shit. It then dawned on me that mirelurkers don't usually hang out on the top of the memorial, unless they're attacking something. I just killed the mirelurker that just got done killing the scavengers dog.
            A sad ending to an unfortunate tale, lost in the endless collections of tragedies in the Capital Wasteland. But maybe it's not quite as tragic as it seems. Maybe the dog knew just what went down that fateful day where I crossed paths with its owner for the first and last time. Maybe it understood what had happened to its master and who was responsible. Maybe it knew its future was bleak and pointless now. I like to think that at that point the dog decided to stand vigil at the Anchorage Memorial, not to wait for the impossible return of its dead master, but to wait for the inevitable return of the mirelurkers. If it was going to die, then it would die fighting. A final defiant volly against an unending army of amphibious mooks. It would die fighting, just like its loving master.

            That's what I like to think happened that day. And while there are only so many mirelurkers I can kill, and only so much I can do to honor the nameless scavengers dog, I know this; the endgame plot now has added weight. The water purifier, untainted will fill the Capital Wasteland with non-irradiated water. Mirelurkers can't survive in that kind of environment.
            Those fuckers are going down.

No comments:

Post a Comment