With one hand resting on the door handle, I looked back up the tumbled incline to where GNR rose high into the sky above me. Those within had provided me with food, shelter, and fresh water, but I still resented them. Three-Dog, that son of a b***h, could have made things simple for me. He could have just told me what I needed to know. Instead, he’d seen me out the rear entrance of GNR with a toothy grin and a “Stay safe, Kid”. I wish I could have just buried a bullet in his brain, the smug b*****d.
I fingered the red card that I’d lifted from the corpse of one the Ghouls that had lurked in the old storm water channel that sat behind GNR, wondering what it was for, or whether it served any purpose whatsoever. Other Ghouls I’d already killed had been carrying meat. Some had carried caps, but this card was such a peculiar, random item that I couldn’t put down the sense that it had some significance. I thrust it from my mind as I cast one more glance around me. The slabs of concrete, rusted hulks of old vehicles, and the remains of corpses dotted about. I shook my head at the devastation, as I had before, and as I still do today. It’s the only reaction that I can have when I see the state of this world.
Realising that I was just delaying what had to be done, I pushed open the door and entered the collapsed car tunnel that Three-Dog had told me was a shortcut to the nearby Metro station. Dust swirled up as light filtered into the gloom to be met by the tell-tale hiss of the presence of an agitated Ghoul. I pulled the door closed behind me, then waited in silence, gun in hand, for my eyes to adjust to the darkness.
The tunnel was long and low, cars and buses packed fairly tightly together, but all in a state of dreadful disrepair. A large group of corpses was sat near the collapsed wall at this end of the tunnel. Clearly, they’d all been trapped when a bomb had collapsed it, and they’d all died in the attempt to scratch themselves free. The door that I had entered through had been cleared much later. It must have been an awful way to die, trapped in there, feeling your air running out even as your body wasted away from want of food and water. At least they would have had each other.
A Ghoul was leaning over one of the bodies, pawing and sniffing at it. The sight sickened me. Here was a human so utterly degenerated in mind that it didn’t even recognise that what it sought to eat was kin. I was already getting sick of Feral Ghouls. Driven by the most basic needs of survival, they didn’t seem all that different from the idea of zombies from the old world. Eat, procreate, sleep. It was disturbing to see something so closely related to me having nothing but the most basic animal instincts.
Without even thinking, I raised my hunting rifle—my affinity with which continues to this day—to my shoulder, and sighted along it. The Ghoul’s head exploded in a shower of gore. The same agonised hiss echoed from further along the tunnel, betraying the presence of more of the ghastly things, but they didn’t come swarming me as they had before. It gave me pause. They knew that something foreign—something likely edible—was in their space, but they didn’t come to me. I wondered if it was the hunter’s instinct they carried. Were they perhaps trying to lead me into a trap? Or were they already sated from the no doubt hundreds of corpses that they had to feed on in here?
I didn’t know and I didn’t particularly care then. I just wanted to get done with Three-Dog’s errand and get back on track with my search for my father. I sneaked my way through the tunnel, dispatching each of the half-dozen or so Ghouls that lurked within with a sniper’s approach. Each fell in turn without even looking like putting up a fight, and there wasn’t a single one that came sniffing for the source of the explosive gunshots. In retrospect, I find that mighty peculiar. In every other encounter with Ghouls, they’ve come to seek out what it is intruding on their territory. What was different about that tunnel? The question doesn’t rise as often it once did, but it’s still there in the back of my mind.
The door at the far end of the tunnel opened onto the remnants of some kind of park that had been built in the midst of an array of tall buildings and beside the entrance to the Metro station. A cry went up as soon as I emerged into the sunlight, and I saw a small group of people running to cover points. I blinked quickly, trying to speed up the process of getting my eyes used to the sudden change in light, even as I ran to position myself behind one of the preservation chambers.
They began to call out, taunting me in an effort for me to expose myself. By doing so, they allowed me to make a pretty good guess at their locations, and I was soon ready to activate V.A.T.S. and put myself in the line of fire. The pistol sent its sharp shock through my arm four times before I felt a bullet graze my leg and leapt for cover again, disabling the targeting assistance. The injury was no worse than anything the Ghouls had done to me, so I thrust the pain aside for the time being and put down the rest of my attackers with calculated precision.
I scavenged the bodies, finding nothing more than ammunition worth taking, then turned towards the Metro entrance. As I drew nearer to the ajar chainlink fence that would usually have barred the entrance to the underground, I heard the deep rumbling voices that sent a chill down my spine.
Turning V.A.T.S. on once more, I peeked inside, noting that one of the Super Mutants had its back to me, while the other seemed engrossed in coversation. That would make my job easier. After a moment taken to regroup, I slipped into the darkness. The first bullet entered the brain of the first Super Mutant from behind, tearing its face apart on the way out, while the remainder thudded into the body of the second, dropping it to its knees as its weapon clattered out of its hand. It died with a look of surprise on its face.
Curiously, those were the only two Mutants lurking in the Metro station, making me wonder what they were doing there. Had they been somehow separated from the group that had assaulted the GNR building? Were they defectors who had run when they realised the tide of battle had turned out of their favour? Or were they simply scouts looking for somewhere suitable? Like so many of the other things I’ve seen and found out here, that’s just another question that will never be able to be answered.
With the two Mutants laying dead, I continued on in much the same pattern as I had in the previous Metro stations, raiding first the office, then descending into the terminal proper. More Ghouls roamed about in there, but I adopted the same approach as I had in the car tunnel, picking them off from a distance one by one. Unlike then, the shots sent these ones into a frenzy, but they didn’t have the faintest idea of where the shots were ringing out from, making the business kind of fun for me. Admittedly, when I realised I was thinking like that I had to set aside my enthusiasm. I couldn’t become a walking slaughterhouse. Taking pleasure in killing is a kind of rot that works on a person from the inside out. It seems innocent enough to begin with, but then it starts to feel like a drug and they just want to kill more critters, and then, well, where does it end? I had a running partner for a time, Jonas. That happened to him. Our partnership came to an end when I woke up in the middle of the night with a knife pressed against my throat. I’ll never forget the wildness in his eyes in that moment, or the remorse that came over him as I managed to talk him down. I’ll never forget waking up the next morning to find our campsite soaked in blood and Jonas’ throat gaping open from ear to ear. Poor b*****d. I guess he just couldn’t live with himself after becoming a thing, rather than a human.
After clearing the terminal, it wasn’t too difficult to find the signs that pointed the way to the museum. I just hoped that it was the right one. I wondered vaguely how far the Metro tunnels stretched. Perhaps, if I followed them far enough, I might find myself many miles away from the D.C. Ruins, and away from all of the troubles that I’d found myself in from stepping foot outside th Vault. I mean, I’d set out with my own noble purpose in mind and now I was being sent on some pointless errand just to get a sliver more information. I couldn’t reconcile the thought in my own mind. I wondered how much more of this I would have to suffer. How many more people would use me to achieve their own goals. How long I would have to be a puppet for the affairs of others. I was starting to wish that I’d never left the Vault. Even though my father was gone, I might have been able to have a comfortable life in there with Amata by my side, and one day a little baby in my arms. But, damn it all if I didn’t just throw all of that away in a fit of curiosity and wilfulness.
I happened across a few more Ghouls as I continued my way along the twists and turns of the tunnel, but things didn’t start to get interesting again until I was forced into a service corridor. With the sound of a babble of voices ahead of me, I crept forward cautiously, keeping my pistol pointed a the door ahead of me, expecting it to burst open at any moment.
Punctuating the shouts was the unmistakeable sound of gunfire, and the enraged hissing of more Ghouls. I probably should have waited until the sounds subsided, but curiosity—that utter b***h—got the better of me once more, and I swung the door open. I was met with the backs of two young men, one of whom turned to look at me with a look of surprise. “What the-“
Suddenly, a burst of flame erupted from a pipe on the wall engulfing the two of them in flames. Their agonised screams didn’t block out the sounds of the continuing battle though, as others in the room continued to fire into the roiling mass of Ghouls that was rushing in from the opposite corner. I stood in awe at their numbers, and the mindlessness that drove them forward to meet their deaths. In a way, it reminded me of the battle I’d been a part of out front of GNR. The overwhelming, though dwindling numbers against a small desperate force. The outcome here, however, was quite different. Ammunition stores dwindled faster than the inflow of Ghouls, and it wasn’t long until the human defenders were clubbing and slashing at the few Ghouls that remained. They never stood a chance though. Perhaps I could have helped them, but I knew that those people were the sort I had to avoid. If they lived, they wouldn’t thank me. They’d interrogate me and kill me. That I was sure of. One by one they fell, and it was only when I was the last living human in the room that I opened fire.
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.