The Behemoth dead and the battle won, Lyons plodded across to the entrance to the Galaxy News building, the rest of the squad trailing behind her. I continued to stare at the enormous, ruined corpse, feeling a grave sense of loss. I thought of all the creatures we’d been taught about in our book-learning: birds, mice, cattle, alligators, turtles, too many to tell. Did those things still exist out in the Wastes, or had the radiation twisted all them beyond any resemblance of their original shape, as it had done with this thing in front of me? What else would I find out here? What creatures? What horrors?
It was the hope of finding my father within the Galaxy News building that finally roused me to follow the soldiers inside. The room I walked in to was little more than ten feet deep with staircases leading up to both my left and right and a walkway overhead. It might once have served as a reception area of some description, I imagined, but had been repurposed into a kind of choke point against an incursion of unfriendlies.
“Wanderer!” barked Lyons’ voice from above. I looked up to see her leaning on the bannister, looking weary and worn out. “Three-Dog is expecting you. Just follow the stairs up.” I muttered a brief thanks and followed her instructions. Another squad member offered a curt nod as I passed him on the stairs, which I dutifully returned.
“So, you’re the Wanderer I’ve been hearing so much about… I do see it.” The voice carried a tone of self-promoting confidence unlike any I’d heard since the days when Butch and the Tunnel Snakes terrorised the hallways of the Vault. It belonged to a tall, coloured man who stood at the top of the stairs, his shoulder-length dreadlocks pulled back from his face with a purple hairband, his clothes gaudy in their violence of colour, and his left ear adorned by a huge earring. “They tell me you been asking after Three-Dog. Well, I am he. Scratcher of discs, ear to the people, and voice of Wastes. I hear you need my advice and assistance. State your claim.” His teeth flashed at every word, and he was always moving, gesticulating. He gave off the air of a showman.
“A man was supposed to pass through here in the past few days. I want to know where he was going.”
Three-Dog chuckled, “No, no, no, Kid. You’re doing it all wrong. You won’t inspire anyone to help you with that kind of attitude. Don’t you see? It’s all about charisma, Kid. You have to be the kind of people that people want to follow, and people won’t want to follow you if you don’t inspire them; you follow me? That’s why, even though the War ended so, so many years ago, the Brotherhood has gotten nowhere in rebuilding the world. To all those poor souls out there in the Wastes, the Brotherhood is the same as the Enclave: some faceless organisation that wants to try to tell them what to do. They don’t see what we see. They see a bunch of fools parading around in armour that looks like it belongs in the Dark Ages, not the most powerful force of good in this ruined world. There’s no respect, no admiration, and no desire to follow in their footsteps and fight the Good Fight. That’s why you need charisma. That’s why the Brotherhood needs me. I let the people know the deeds of the Brotherhood and all those people out there fighting the Good Fight. I am the inspiration to the people that the Brotherhood needs because I have the charisma to be that.”
I stood a couple of steps below him with my jaw hanging open, “Judging by what I’ve seen, your ‘charisma’ isn’t getting you very far. The ‘people’ don’t give a s**t about each other.”
“Come on now. There’s no need to be so harsh on us. Our work has only just begun. People are afraid to stand up for what’s right, and justifiably so. The Wastes are infested with raiders, bandits, Super Mutants, mercenaries, and slavers; how is the average person supposed to find the courage to fight back when terror and persecution are all they’ve ever known? They need to know that they’re not alone in fighting the Good Fight. Unity is the purpose of Galaxy News, Kid.”
I was getting tired of his rambling, “Okay. Whatever you say. I’m only interested in getting the information I need.”
Three-Dog smiled at me, “And you will… when you prove to me that you are a soldier of the Good Fight. Your father certainly was.” He suddenly clapped his hand over his mouth, “I wasn’t supposed to say that, was I?”
“How did you know he was my father?” I took a step closer to Three-Dog, feeling anger pulsing at having been played for so long.
“Two strangers in three days, the first old and the second young. The younger seeking information about the first, and looking a mighty lot like him too, besides that stupid little moustache of yours… It doesn’t take much of a brain to make that leap.
“I won’t lie to you, Kid. I do know where your father’s gone, but his reputation doesn’t factor into our judgement of you. You have to prove yourself to us.”
“In case Lyons didn’t tell you, I helped to get rid of the Super Mutants that had you caught in here, and more besides. By whatever measure you choose, I’ve fought your ‘Good Fight’ since leaving the Vault.”
“Words are wind, Kid. Lyons said that you stood by while her Pride brought down the Behemoth, and how am I supposed to know if the rest of your story is true? Anyone can wander out of the Wastes and tell tales of their goodness and greatness. You need to show me that you are what you say you are.”
“I’ll do whatever you ask, as long as I get the information I’m after.”
“As it so happens, I do have some business that needs attending to…”
The smile that crept across his lips gave me misgivings, but I nodded resolutely nonetheless.
“Well, GNR has had a little trouble recently. Rather than spreading across the Wastes, our signal is barely making it past the edge of the D.C. Ruins, and that’s problematic for us.”
“You want me to find out why?”
“No. We know the cause. Some brainless Super Mutant thought it would be fun to use the shiny thing on top of the Washington Monument as target practice. That was broadcast dish, and our message goes nowhere without it. We need a new one.”
“And where in the Waste am I supposed to find one?” His request seemed obscene. Was I to scour every building I happened across searching for a new dish?
“The Good Fight is not an easy path to follow, Kid. Unfortunately, the factory that made the dishes was levelled during the War. We managed to scavenge ours from an Enclave base almost twelve years ago. To my knowledge, the Brotherhood has come across only one since then.”
Resigned to carrying out this pointless game of fetch if I hoped to find my father, I sighed. For a second I recalled the brief moments of hope when Lyons had told me about the Super Mutant incursion… I should have known better than to think that I could be so lucky, “Where is it?”
The smile on Three-Dog’s face grew wider still, “I like you, Kid. You have the kind of can-do attitude that comes along very rarely. You don’t complain. Just put your head down and do whatever work gets thrown your way. I respect that. You’re a good man, and if you continue on this path, you could turn out to be a greater man than any of us.”
“Thanks, but I ain’t trying for greatness. I’m only trying to attend to mine own business.”
“Try or no, I get a funny feeling that greatness will find you, Kid.”
I raised an eyebrow, but wasn’t interested in another ten minutes of his rambling soliloquies so chose not to argue further. Our talk turned instead to the whereabouts of this broadcast dish, and what I learned was near enough to make me regret my rash decision. If even half of what Three-Dog told me was rue, the way ahead would be dire dangerous. No surprise, I thought, that volunteers were few and far between. He had to have been waiting a while for someone either desperate enough, brave enough, or stupid enough to do what he was asking. Desperation I had plenty of. Stupidity and bravery… I think they came in equal measure.
Another half hour passed as I listened to Three-Dog yammer on about propaganda and the Good Fight and his instructions to me before I could get away. I’ve met a lot of people out here, and I swear that I don’t count very many as being more annoying than Three-Dog. He’s a pleasant enough guy on the radio, but in the flesh I just wanted to shoot him and have done. Anyway, after our meeting was over I spent a little while exploring the building. There wasn’t much to look at. The broadcast apparatus was basic compared to the surveillance outposts we’d had in the Vault, but I had to commend whoever designed it in the aftermath of the apocalypse. Whoever it was gave me hope that maybe we could recapture something of humanity before the fall. Besides the broadcast room, the building wasn’t that much different from any other living quarters: kitchen, dining room, entertainment room, bunks.
It was to this last that I returned when I’d got done exploring. I didn’t feel tired, but I’d had a long few days, and more long ones stretched ahead. I thought I’d lay awake for hours, tossing and turning while Super Mutants, and raiders, and my dad, and Billy Wilks, and Amata, and Ghouls, and goodness knows what else flashed and collided in my mind. But that didn’t happen. I was asleep almost as soon as I was down. Physically I wasn’t tired, but mentally and emotionally, I was exhausted, and oblivion was waiting to soothe me.
Disclaimer: The preceding is a narrative account of the author’s playthrough of Fallout 3. It is not paid content. Fallout 3 and all related trademarks remain the property of Bethesda Softworks. OnlySP.com team members have no personal or professional affiliation with Bethesda Softworks or any related companies.