The Beginning

10 – Reaching for Diamonds

November 3, 2287 – I had the strangest dream last night. There has to be some message in it, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is. I was in my own house at Sanctuary Hills. It was before the war, but Nora and Shaun were missing. I was in the kitchen, cleaning up some dishes after my morning coffee and I happened to look out the back window, and the entire backyard had been torn up. There were muddy tracks in the grass, like some monster truck had done donuts in it after a hard rain, utterly destroying the lawn and scattering lawn furniture all over. I stood there in stunned silence, surveying the scene, when I heard a voice behind me say, “Hey.” I jumped, and standing there was a young woman, maybe mid-20’s, brunette, tough-looking, in military garb. She walked up to the window, put her hands on the sill, leaned in and said quietly, “the devil did this.”

“You’re going to have to go talk to him. I think he needs something from you,” she continued.

“Needs something from me,” I answered? “Why would he need something from me? What did I do to him? Why would he want anything to do with me at all? I don’t even believe in him,” I said.

She turned to face me. “He’s up at the Vault,” she countered softly. “Go see him.”

I considered, then decided to go see what the devil wanted.

I took the footpath from Sanctuary Hills up to the Vault, and when I arrived, the devil was sitting on the metal stairs leading into the Vault elevator control trailer. I walked right up to him and said, “look, I don’t know why you destroyed my yard, or what I did to…” He cut me off.

“I need you to do something for me,” he said.

“Something for you. How is it you need me to do something for you?”

“You’re going to have to fight for your son,” he said. “You’re going to have to go to a place called Sparkle. When I go? I have to wear special armor. That’s how dangerous it is.”

“What is Sparkle,” I asked?

“Sparkle is not a place, but you will know when you have arrived.”

With that, the devil stood up and walked over to the Vault 111 lift, and waved at me as it started to descend. The lift made the loudest rumbling noise I had ever heard it make before. Suddenly, the air became thick and heavy, and I was having a hard time getting enough of it in my lungs. I gasped for breath, hands to my throat.

I'm Awake Much Too Early

I’m Awake Much Too Early

Suddenly, I was awake, in my own bed, in our group house at Sanctuary Hills. I was drenched in sweat. It was early morning, still dark, and a thunderstorm was passing through. The air was wet, and the metal panels of the house were sweating on the inside.

I changed into some dry clothes. Not sure why, I was heading out soon and I was probably just going to get soaked anyway. I just wanted to not be wet, even if it was just while eating breakfast.

As the sun was coming up, I was grateful that it looked like the storm was starting to clear out. I took it as a good omen that I was going to have good weather for my trek to Diamond City. But I still couldn’t shake that dream. Before I left, I approached Mama Murphy and asked her if she had any idea what it might have meant? She said that’s not how the sight worked, but if I had any Mentats, she could probably give me some last minute advice before I headed out. Mentats are basically uppers, meant for improving memory and focus. Honestly, I was just glad she hadn’t asked me for more Jet which is much more addictive, and which I considered far more dangerous, so I obliged her.

Having a Chat with Mama Murphy

Having a Chat with Mama Murphy

Didn’t take long for the Mentats to kick in. Within a minute or so, Mama started talking about a man she said could help me, but he “wouldn’t be the man I expected.” He was surrounded by bad people. She gave me a line to tell the “fat man and the angry woman” when I met them. Told me I should remind them about “the Quarry and Lily June on the rocks,” and they’d let me and my friend pass. I guess it doesn’t get much more specific than that, but I had no idea who my “friend” would be. Guess I’d find out. I was a little disappointed in myself, that I seemed to be becoming Mama’s drug dealer, but I guess if I didn’t give them to her, she’d probably find someone else to do it.

I imagined the best route to Diamond City was the same one I had taken the day before. There would be plenty of time for exploring later. For now, I needed to take the best known path, and I figured I’d stop by the Corvega factory on my way through Lexington and see what was up on behalf of the folks at Tenpines Bluff Settlement. I wasn’t looking forward to it. I really wanted to get to Diamond City as quickly as possible, but Preston had done his part for once, so I felt I had to do mine.

I gathered my weapons and some supplies and stepped out of the group house. As soon as the crisp morning air hit my lungs, I was instantly energized. It was so clean — that “after thunderstorm” freshness — and it just felt like the whole Commonwealth had to have been cleansed of all its filth. It lifted my mood considerably. That feeling was short-lived, though.

Thicket Excavations Pumped Out

Thicket Excavations Pumped Out

As I passed through the clearing above Thicket Excavations, I saw the quarry pump had done its work, and the entire site had been drained, but I also noticed raider shacks were everywhere. One just below me on a ledge, another sort of built into a cliff face, and a couple more just below the office trailers. Looking through the scope of my sniper rifle, all the way at the bottom of the hole, there were two fenced in pools of water, each with a couple Mirelurks wandering around. Near the office trailers across the hole by the road to Bedford Station was another pool with a fence, with more of the shelled things shuffling around. Raiders patrolled the bottom of the hole, and were popping in and out of man-made caves, long ago dug out of the quarry walls.

I put the rifle down and just sat on the cliff overlook, and thought of one word, one name — Sully. From the moment I met him, I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I was going to run into him again, and it wasn’t going to be good. This was a lesson that I needed to start trusting my instincts more. This was the grand plan Sully had written about in his logs. I had no idea why he’d be raising Mirelurks, but the fact that this many raiders were involved meant it had to be something nefarious. I was not going to let a major criminal organization get settled so close to Red Rocket, Sanctuary Hills, or Tenpines Bluff for that matter.

Raiders, and Mirelurk Pool in Background

Raiders, and Mirelurk Pool in Background

I counted up how much .308 ammo I had for the sniper rifle. It wasn’t a lot — 40 rounds max. I was at an advantage so high above the site. I had a perfect view of a good 80 percent of the hole, and there wasn’t much chance once I started shooting that anyone would be able to effectively return fire with those pipe pistols they were likely carrying. Those things just didn’t have the range. Taking the raiders out from up here was still a gamble, but a good one I thought.

I hid behind a medium-sized slab of granite, which also happened to be a perfectly level spot to line up those rounds for easy access, and started picking off Sully’s crew one-by-one. After the first couple of shots, more and more raiders started emerging from those caves within the quarry walls. I’m sure they were trying to find out what the hell was going on. The shots must have been echoing off every surface all the way down to the bottom of the pit. I took advantage of the mass confusion, and had probably picked off six or seven of them when it must have finally dawned on the rest of them exactly where the shots were coming from.

I had one eye up to the scope, and whenever I opened the other, the raiders looked like little ants scurrying along the rock ledges toward the only path up to where I was at — a string of metal staircases that led up to my ledge. There was no way any of them would make it. Some of them had been shooting, but they were mostly smart enough to know they’d have to get a lot closer before they could even think of hitting me. Maybe Sully’s plan hadn’t been so genius after all.

Me and Sully Have "Words"

Me and Sully Have “Words”

When the last raider was down, I made my way to the other side of the quarry, just to make sure I could see the entire hole and to make sure I hadn’t left anyone to talk about what had happened here. It was quiet.

I switched to a shotgun Preston had given me before I had left, and patrolled along the ridge near the office trailers. It’s a good thing I was staying alert, because just as I passed the last trailer, a raider with a knife made a run for me. I swung around and let both chambers go, one after the other, and that was that.

I took the open lift down about half way, and jumped off on a metal staircase. My timing wasn’t perfect, and I slipped as I jumped off, barely grabbing the staircase and pulling myself to safety. Close call. As soon as I got to the stairs, I was under fire again. Through the scope, I could tell it was Sully. He was in some kind of heavy armor.

The shootout lasted a full twenty minutes or so, but I managed to put him down without getting hurt myself. The bottom of the hole was mostly open, and there wasn’t any space for him to hide. I was protected by the steel staircase, so it was just a matter of staying patient and hitting him whenever he came out of cover.

After that, I just had the Mirelurks to deal with. And with them already penned up, it was as easy as, well, I’ll spare you the cliched metaphor.

Getting distracted by Sully’s little enterprise hadn’t been part of my plan for the day. I was running way behind schedule. I’d have to skip the Corvega factory for now. The settlers at Tenpines had said they were losing supplies to the raiders, not people, so they’d have to hold on a little longer. Today was about getting to Diamond City.

The route through Lexington was still pretty much clear. Just a couple random raider encounters. When I got to Mass Sand and Gravel, I stopped under the elevated highway coming in from New Hampshire because I could have sworn I heard someone singing. The sound was far away, almost more like an amplified humming. To the northwest across an open field was the Corvega factory. The humming was coming from that direction. It was a plaintive, all encompassing sound. Rich and deep. It faded in and out. Couldn’t be human.

The factory was massive in size. At its top was a large round globe with the word Corvega in front of it’s face, circling around in large red glowing letters that could be read for miles. The globe itself was illuminated in a greenish white, and it was visible even from the Red Rocket, often appearing almost like another moon, hanging over the horizon in front of the Boston skyline.

Popping up from the roof of the factory were several smokestacks. Surrounding all this was a patchwork of rusted green metal walkways and scaffolding. Could the wind be making this haunting noise as it swooped through this maintenance framework?

Strange "Eyebot" Type Thingy

Strange “Eyebot” Type Thingy

As I pondered this, my Pip Boy buzzed again. I knew what it was — the squadron at the Cambridge Police Station. Could they still be there? The message had been gnawing at me for a full 24 hours. I looked southwest, in the direction of where I believed the station was, and noticed a round floating metal ball with antennas stuck to it wandering toward me. It had a hidden loudspeaker somewhere on it that was broadcasting a career advert for Cambridge Polymer Labs, whatever that was. As it passed me, I headed in the direction of the police station. It would be a short detour, and if I could make some more allies, particularly a bunch of soldiers, or police, or whatever they were, I figured it would be beneficial to our group in the long run. We sure as hell needed some people who were experienced with weapons.

I hadn’t gone far, when I started hearing rapid gunfire in the distance. I got close enough to see the Cambridge Police Station entrance, but between it and me were ghouls, seemingly asleep. Some were draped over old blown-up cars, others were lying in the street, and then there were a few hanging from different points along a fire escape on the side of a building. I tried to creep past quietly, but it didn’t matter. One of them got up, and as soon as I started shooting, the rest of them were on me quickly. I backed up, shooting as I continued to run backward, and was able to take them all out, thank god.

When I got closer to the station, I could see one guy in a suit of power armor in the inner courtyard trying to stave off even more ghouls. Behind him were what looked like two more associates, neither of whom were wearing any armor at all. One was a guy, slumped up against the side of the station near the station entrance, and the other was a woman attending to him.

Cryoloator Finally Gets a Workout

Cryoloator Finally Gets a Workout

I helped the power armor guy fend off wave after wave of the incoming ghouls, but I eventually got cornered in one end of the yard. I started panicking. There were too many of them, and they were smacking me about mercilessly. I would have been a goner, but something made me think of the Cryolator I had been lugging around all this time. I had limited ammo for it, but now was probably a good time to go for broke. I fumbled for the weapon as about four ghouls had their hands on me, and as soon as I got my finger on the trigger, just started firing at point-blank range. Within the span of a couple nervous breaths, every ghoul that had surrounded me was frozen solid.

The guy in the armor gave me attitude as soon as the ghouls had been dispatched, asking me what my business was here. I told him I wasn’t answering any questions, that I had done him a favor by answering his distress call, and anyway, I was off to Diamond City. I wasn’t in the mood to take any shit from someone I had just helped out, especially when I had seen my life flash before my eyes not 30 seconds earlier.

He apologized, said his name was Paladin Danse, and that he was only suspicious of me because his team had been under assault from the moment they had arrived in the Commonwealth. Behind him was Scribe Haylen, and Knight Rhys. They were on recon duty for the Brotherhood of Steel, an outfit Preston had told me about. The Brotherhood were scavengers of old world tech, supposedly for noble means. But there was a feeling from some that they were just another group of looters and hoarders who were inevitably going to make a domination play at some in the future. Whatever the case, I had done my good deed, and figured it would be best to be cautious.

Paladin Danse, Scribe Haylen, and Knight Rhys

Paladin Danse, Scribe Haylen, and Knight Rhys

The group had been trying to rig a radio to notify their superiors of the situation in the Commonwealth, but had been unsuccessful. Danse asked for my help in securing some facility that contained a working transmitter, but I declined. I told him I needed to get on to Diamond City, but that if I got there and obtained the information I needed, I’d stop by the station on my way back home and see if I could help. He said he wasn’t sure they’d still be there, but he’d consider it a special favor to the Brotherhood if I was back in time to help. Guess it wasn’t enough that I had just helped the three of them survive wave after wave of ghoul attacks.

The sun was setting now, and the sky’s brilliant oranges and reds reflected off the back of Danse’s armor as he turned away, and he and the two others headed into the station. That was it I guess. Not even a goodbye or good luck.

I headed back east, and wound up near Union’s Hope Cathedral, which I skirted quickly on the south side to avoid any more ghouls that might be in the graveyard, and took Mass Ave again into the Back Bay. It was dark now, but the glow of the lights from Fenway leaked out almost to the riverfront. I took a side street and reached the north wall of Fenway. I stood under the metal framework and ran my fingers along the brick facade. On the other side of this face was “The Wall,” the highest structure in any Major League Baseball field. No wonder they had made a city of out Fenway. What a perfect way to keep out the raiders and ghouls. For anyone who came along and wanted to fortify this park, a good deal of the job had already been done for them.

Finally Near Diamond City

Finally Near Diamond City

Not a sound radiated from inside the park. It was eerily quiet, and walking along Landsdown Street, I suddenly had a flashback as I walked in the white glow raining down from the lighting arrays all around the Fenway perimeter. Nora and I had walked these streets many times. We had friends at the Parkview Apartments not too far away, and we’d go over there to visit for a while, then come to Fenway to catch a night game. These lights had always filled us with building excitement as we got closer and closer to the park. But now? Now I didn’t know what to feel. Now, my stomach churned. What would Diamond City hold? What would Fenway look like? Was I going to find answers, or just more questions?

The silence was abruptly shattered by a distant spray of gunfire, and an explosion all the way down at the end of the block, toward the direction I was headed. What I assumed to be a Diamond City security guard popped out of a side street and told me to be careful, and to quickly follow the signs to Diamond City. I had thought so close to the park, I would feel some sense of safety. But if there’s one thing I should have learned by now, it’s that there is no safety. For anyone. Ever. Here I was, just outside what most people had been telling me was a last remnant of civilization, and not a few feet away, there was still chaos and violence.

What Are These Things?

What Are These Things?

I approached the end of the block, the park’s outside northwest corner, and heard more security yelling into their radios for reinforcements. The gunfire exchanges continued, and then I heard lower, more aggressive voices. There were some kind of green humanoid type things with huge muscles throwing molotov cocktails and shooting miniguns at the security guards. I had maybe two rounds of .308 ammo left thanks to my encounter with Sully and his thugs, so I opted for the laser musket, since it was the only other weapon I had with a scope that I could use at a distance.

Aside from the miniguns, whatever ranged weapons those green giants were using, they were reaching me. I was fortunate to have patched together a decent set of armor thanks to all the scavenging I had done since leaving the vault, but I was still sustaining damage. I kept injecting stimpaks, hoping those reinforcements would be coming soon, since there didn’t seem to be any security still alive at this point. I was on my own again, now battling against a number of unjolly green behemoths.

Eventually, there only seemed to be one giant left, and we traded shots until I was hurting pretty badly, but eventually I landed a headshot that ended the battle.

I leaned up against a tree and patched myself up as best as I could, figuring it was at least good enough to get to the entrance to Diamond City. I could see a sign just up ahead, next to an unmanned checkpoint with a generator connected to a couple spotlights.

Entrance to Fenway

Entrance to Fenway

Just beyond that was a massive wall of scaffolding stretched across Fenway’s southern wall and some apartment buildings across the street. At its base was an opening leading into a courtyard. Nearby, on a brick wall two stories tall was painted a sign that said “Diamond City.”

A guard leaned against the scaffolding, and noted dryly, “those Super Mutants are hard to kill, eh? Thanks for the assist.” I just glared at him, keeping my mouth shut. Thanks for the help? Really? Where the hell were you?

“You’re from across the Charles huh? Long hike,” he continued. This guy was full of information.

As I started through the opening in the scaffolding, he urged me to move along. Thanks pal, anything to get away from you.

Bad Company?

Bad Company?

The opening led into the spacious courtyard leading into Fenway itself. But blocking the park entrance on the southern wall was a metal grate about two stories tall, and about fifty feet wide. A young woman in a longcoat was arguing with someone over a speaker, who was adamantly refusing to let her in. He called her, “Ms. Piper,” and said the Mayor had ordered that she be barred from entering Diamond City. Diamond City had a mayor? According to the voice on the other end of the connection, some article this woman had written had set the city on edge. So here we were, standing outside the gate. I had traveled all this way, and it looked like I had arrived with the wrong company.

Listen to Episode 10 – Reaching for Diamonds

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Craig Thompson
    July 25, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    I merely Googled Fallout Podcast and this was at the bottom of the page. Glad I found it. Your writing is excellent and the audio is masterfully done. Very engrossing and addictive. I wish there were more.

    • Reply
      Samuel Tannin
      July 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks so much for the comments, Craig! I think I have about six hours of it here over 22 episodes so far (you commented on episode 10). Did you find the other episodes? You can also find them all on iTunes or Google Play podcasts.

      I’m still planning on taking this project all the way through the end of the game, it’s just taking a while, unfortunately. I’m going to try to post a new 30 minute episode every six weeks or so, as opposed to every three months which is what I’ve been doing lately. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks again for writing and really glad you’re enjoying the episodes so far!

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