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my stoRy
The landscape was a windblown expanse dotted with dead trees, smashed
cars, and human bones. With the Vault door closed behind me, I had no-
where to go but forward.
Within minutes I encountered a tiny settlement called Megaton.
While wandering through town, I encountered a store called Craterside
Supply. Like every other structure in Megaton, the building was no more
than tacked-together sheet metal and junkyard scrap. It was only identifi-
able by the name scrawled in white paint beside the front door.
The inside didn't look much better than the outside. Dust hung in
the air, glowing yellow under the arc-sodium lighting, while ramshackle
shelves lined the walls. A young woman in grubby blue coveralls swept
the floor behind the counter, her flame-red hair pulled back into a messy
ponytail. I approached her.
“Hey!” she said. “I hear you're that stray from the Vault! I haven't seen
one of you for years! Good to meet you!” Her voice seemed to pitch higher
and higher with every syllable. After the dour Wasteland, her enthusi-
asm was almost unnerving. “I'm Moira Brown. I run Craterside Supply,
but what I really do is mostly tinkering and research.” She paused for a
moment. “Say, I'm working on a topic about the Wasteland—it'd be great
to have the Foreword by a Vault dweller. Help me out, would you?”
She seemed friendly, and I needed friends. “Sure,” I said, “I've got
plenty to say about life in the Vault.”
“Great!” she replied. “Just tell me what it's like to live underground
all your life, or to come outside for the first time, or whatever strikes your
fancy!”
I thought she might be playing with me, so I decided to play back.
“This 'Outside' place is amazing,” I said. “In the main room, I can't even
see the ceiling!”
“Hah!” said Moira. “Yeah, you wouldn't imagine how hard it is to re-
place that big lightbulb up there, too! That's great for a Foreword—open
with a joke and all that. That'll be good for the topic. In fact, want to help
with the research? I can pay you, and it'll be fun!”
“What's this topic you're working on?” I asked.
“Well, it's a dangerous place out there in the Wastes, right? People
could really use a compilation of good advice. Like a Wasteland Survival
Guide! For that, I need an assistant to test my theories. I wouldn't want
anyone to get hurt because of a mistake. Nobody's ever happy when that
happens. No. . .Then they just yell a lot. At me. With mean, mean words.”
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