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LadyBrain_64Puncherson_64

Some spoilers for stuff that happens at Trinity Tower, the Boylston Club and the Boston Public Library

Feminina:

Last night, I went back to Trinity Tower. Fought a bunch of super mutants, found Strong. Love Strong’s quest to find the milk of human kindness, drink milk, and become superior to humans. That’s going to be interesting.

Sent the heavily-laden dog back to one of the settlements and took Strong with me to Hubris Comics. Strong dislikes me picking locks on safes…what’s that about? Tried to put Grognak’s outfit on Strong, but he will only wear things designed for super mutants. Siiiiiiigh.

Fought my way through a couple of other locations en route to the Silver Shroud signal. Do you have the wounding shotgun? I. Love. The wounding shotgun.

I’ve had it for a while but was really using it heavily last night and it is the best thing ever. Shoot someone, then duck around a corner and wait for them to bleed to death! I mean, you have to be pretty close, and only getting two shots at a time is a pain, but the bleeding is so worth it.

Stumbled across Goodneighbor, sold some stuff. Will keep looking for the Silver Shroud (whose costume I already have) next time.

Butch:

Ah good, discussion fodder.

We’ve talked a bunch about this game being about what it means to be American. Here we have this dude trying to “civilize” a bunch of super mutants, mutants who already think they’re superior to humans. He failed. Or did he? Strong (who I kinda love) wants the milk, but it doesn’t seem that he wants it to be “civilized” in the way the actor wanted. The whole quest line seems to be about the stupidity of trying to extend Americanism (or at least Westernism) to people who a) don’t get it, b) have no desire to get it and c) really don’t want it cuz they’re doing just fine or better than we are. One could say that the actor is pretty much indicative of all sorts of American policy (and western policy long before the 20th century), and he’s, let’s face it, a doofus.

Interesting.

On another note, Cait looks great in the Grognak costume. I’m really, really, REALLY happy you can’t put that on Strong.

When Strong met Piper he said “Hmm. Squishy like other humans, but smarter.”

Don’t have the wounding shotgun. But it sounds damn awesome.

Ok, what’s with the Silver Shroud signal? I’m utterly certain that it, and the stuff I found in Hubris Comics is quest related, but I have no quest.

Ok, as you found the common, Boylston Club? Cuz I wanna talk about that. 

Feminina:

I kind of love Strong, but he doesn’t love me, because he dislikes every time I pick a lock, and I gots to pick locks, man! It’s what I do! How am I going to get the good loot otherwise?

But he thinks it’s weak and sneaky, not forthright and honest like smashing (I love the way he won’t even try to sneak when I get sneaky–everyone else will sneak along with me, even the dog, but Strong’s just like “whatever, I walk how I walk”).

Hey, if you could smash doors and safes open for me, I’d let you, Strong, but until then, you’re just going to have to deal with my lockpicking. It’s annoying, though, because it seems to keep bugging him. I mean, Nick Valentine liked the first couple of times I hacked a terminal, and then he didn’t really notice anymore, but Strong dislikes Every. Single. Lock. I pick. And I pick a lot of locks. That’s going to add up. So I dunno how likely we are to become good friends. He does like when I intimidate people or demand more money, but there are a lot fewer opportunities to do that than there are to pick locks, so I don’t think I’m on the positive side of the balance sheet with him right now.

Anyway…I like your theme of ‘attempting to civilize savages’ (alas, “Civilization–I’ll stay right here” was not playing as I talked to Rex Goodman, but it should have been), and I agree that there’s some interesting “who’s us/who’s American” ideas going on. Especially given the specific fact that the actor was trying to civilize the super mutants with Shakespeare, who’s not, in fact, American.

There’s a whole thing there, really, not just about colonialism/’savages,’ but about warring concepts of “the real America”: is it the civilized, literate America that is proudly just as accomplished and well educated as the England whose famous playwrights it adopted, or is it the brash, rebellious, “we don’t need no education” mutants who stomp around leaving hideous refuse everywhere (seriously, what is UP with super mutants and their bags of meat?), proclaiming their superiority to everyone else/everyone who came before them. “You humans made us, now fear us!” You could kind of make a case for the super mutants.

And then there’s Strong, trying in some way to bridge that gap, but for his own purposes: not because he appreciates the glory of Shakespeare’s language, but because he thinks he’s identified a secret in it. The search for the milk of human kindness could even be linked to the search for the fountain of youth, which was widely assumed to be somewhere in America for years–seeking it could be seen as a fundamentally American quest. The pioneer/explorer spirit hunting for some mythical treasure: another “real American” figure.

I did play some more, but it was largely settlement maintenance. Cleared a few non-quest locations, gathered loot for generator parts, etc. I have not been to the Boylston Club! Although I did get to the BPL.

Butch:

Ah, see, what I figured out when I was trying to get Piper to dig me is that in order for there to be like/dislike the person in question has to see what it is you’re doing. I did a couple of “Hey Piper dig me” things when she had wandered off and got nothing. So maybe if you tell Strong to stay THEN pick you’ll be good.

Never mind. You’ll lose him. Don’t do that. Maybe try to run around a corner or something?

There is that: Shakespeare is also not American. But I think they just loved the idea of “milk of human kindness.” See, I think Rex thought he was being “kind” in that way that missionaries do. “I’m HELPING them” says Rex. (Thank you for reminding me of the name). It will be interesting to see what Strong DOES with that kindness if/when he finds it. Metaphorically. Probably won’t be kind.

There was some of that more complicated stuff with mutants way back in one. There was a split between these robed, Canticle for Liebowitz dudes who wanted to preserve the knowledge of the past so that we never make the mistakes again (some of those dudes joined the BoS, so there), and the mutants who were created by humans out of viruses and radiation to kill (which, in a game about the US starting a nuclear war, lacked subtlety).

I’m keeping my eye out for a dude named Marcus. Marcus is a supermutant who first popped up in 2 as a sheriff of a town that was welcoming to all, human, mutant, ghoul, etc. You could travel with him. He popped up again in 3, trying again, saying he had walked the whole continent looking for a place where his dream of inclusiveness could comet true, but it kept failing cuz people feared mutants. He had to keep looking. Wonder if he’s around Boston. He’d be good for this discussion.

I like the idea of the crazy mutants being the worst of America, brash, dumb, destructive, still superior in their own minds. What do you make of the fact that the most feared/powerful one of them is the one that is willing, if not eager, to commit suicide?

You’re so close to the Boylston Club! Just on the south edge of the common.

I’m sure you didn’t like the BPL. Dead librarians.

Feminina:

I tried doing it while he’s not looking, but he has some sort of super power and always knows. Seriously, I just got Cait, and if she happens to be facing the other way while I pick a lock she doesn’t even notice, but Strong can be on ANOTHER FLOOR OF THE BUILDING and I’ll pick a lock and hear his yell of disapproval. “Stop fiddling! Smash!”

I was just in the Boylston Club, finally, and he didn’t make it to the elevator so he wasn’t in the room or even on the same floor, but he still disliked it when I picked the lock to that safe. Siiiiiiiigh. But then, every time I talk to him he gives me a piece of meat, which I assume is his way of being nice, so he’s kind of sending mixed messages here.

So yeah, I was in the Boylston Club. Grabbed some poisoned wine, because you never know. Juxtaposed with Strong and that whole discussion, the mass suicide of these elite, upper class gentlemen could be seen as an interesting symbol of one interpretation of “American-ness” just giving up in the face of the challenges of a new world.

And I was sad about the BPL and the dead librarians. Sniffle. I totally wanted there to be a quest tied to that last guy, with the key and the note “please use these supplies only if you are going to help with our mission to protect information” or whatever. I was like “yeah! I want to help with that mission! I want to preserve the knowledge of the past! Give me something to do!”

But there was nothing. I took the supplies anyway, because supplies, but it was a little disappointing.

Butch:

It’s hilarious that I’ve gotten laid so many times cuz I pick locks and you pick the one dude that hates it. You have terrible luck. Stick with cuties.

As for the Boylston Club, it’s more than that. Did you listen to the recording in the terminal? “The light of this America will never shine again.” Asking if anyone wants to leave and told no? Only to drink poison together?

It’s cult imagery. That’s how crazyassed comet cults commit suicide.

All these great men drank the kool aid. Expensive kool aid, but kool aid.

Which begs the question about “Americaness:” Is it a cult? Are we all drinking kool aid?

I also find it interesting there were no enemies. That’s rare in this game. Nothing. Not even a ghoul. Just dead men and a terminal. The evil there was already gone.

And we feared there would be no themes.

That was kinda a bummer about not being able to help the library. I wonder what would have happened if we had done that with the BoS.

Interesting, though, that the mutants wanted in. To read or to destroy? Both?

Feminina:

Yeah, Strong’s hatred for lock picking knows no bounds. But then he gave me some brahmin meat! Those ribeye steaks are good stuff. And when I ask about our relationship he just says “Strong stay with human for now.” I need to take him on cross country strolls or something, where we’re going to run into a lot of people to fight, and few locks.

I did listen to the tape, for once–it was right there in the computer. It was indeed very interesting that the Boylston Club had nothing to fight, and that the bodies were all dead by their own hand. We’ve seen SO MANY scenes in our travels of people who died horribly from radiation or ghouls or mobs or what have you. So many dead bodies strewn around, fallen in some struggle, and with the remnants of that struggle living on, symbolically, in the fact that we have to fight something when we get there.

But these guys, they just sort of checked out. No monsters, no raiders, just poisoned wine. As you say, it’s cult-ish, but one could argue that the cult was right: they WERE choosing a way out that was likely easier than the fate that otherwise awaited them.

Very interesting, also, that apparently this club was the most important thing in all these men’s lives: they didn’t choose to stay home and commit suicide with their families (screw those losers), they came to the club to die among their peers, the people who, like them, appreciated the true horror of what had been lost, the America That Was. One can only assume that, in their minds, the horror was as much about their own loss of social position as it was about the destruction of the world as they know it. “I can’t live in a society that doesn’t recognize me as its obvious superior!” People who would rather die than live knowing that the fact they’re presidents, governors’ sons, etc., no longer matters.

And that’s very Olde Boston, isn’t it? The Boston Brahmins (and not the mutant cattle that make such invigorating ribeye steaks). That society itself is the cult that convinced them to kill themselves.

Butch:

I just got to vault 114 (with Piper and power armor) and it’s interesting that the experiment seems to be taking the rich and making them poor. I’m curious to see how that fits. Still early though.

Took Piper as she mentioned she knows Valentine.

And found Dogmeat!! Cait said “if she dies I’ll turn you into a hat”.

Feminina:

Making them poor, and also making them subject to someone else’s whims, which they’re probably not used to. And making that ‘someone’ intentionally as poorly qualified as possible. Basically, let’s mess with spoiled people. Reversal of fortune as a social experiment!

When you think about it, Vault-Tec was essentially just a bunch of reality TV shows. Their long-term plan was probably to broadcast everything for the entertainment of the masses, only the bomb got in the way.

Butch:

Ha! Yes. I got in like half an hour just now, and got to meet Valentine and see the office there. I listened to the interview tapes, and yeah. Soup Can Harry or something. I hit save after killing a couple dudes with Valentine and Piper.

I have a feeling I’m going to like Valentine. As a character. Not like Piper.

I can certainly see how this bit would have been a pain in the ass without power armor. I’m eating a whole mess of food even with it. And I’m out of grenades and the left arm of my armor is gone.

As for Vault-Tec, their founder was a crazy sadist, so…..

Indeed, the fallout games in general do not have a very high opinion of science. Vault-Tec’s scientists are are psychopaths, RobCo’s were all greedy (or at least Mr. House). The organization we see concerned with science in all the games (the BoS) is morally grey at best, and the Institute, which I know practically nothing about, is hardly sympathetic at this point. There’s really nothing that says “Science! Hooray!”

Which is an interesting tidbit considering yesterday we were yapping about the perceived inferiority of super mutants. Rex was trying to “help” the mutants by giving them culture, which they didn’t want, but they also seem to eschew technology. They don’t have laser rifles. They have boards. And that might, at first blush, make us say “Pfft! How backwards!” but then a) we are reminded that science isn’t all that great and b) they kill us with the damn board.

So why do we think that the human, who keeps getting killed while holding a laser rifle, while walking in a world humans destroyed with science, is superior?

Feminina:

Yeah, I like Valentine. His gleaming yellow eyes and deteriorating appearance were a little disturbing for a bit, but he’s a good guy, and you get used to it. I used a LOT of ammunition and Nuka-Cola in that vault. All by myself, with no power armor. You made the right call getting dressed up for it and taking a companion.

I see a lot of super mutants using laser weapons, as well as boards, so they’re not totally anti-technology. One does kind of wonder what their ultimate goal is (if they think that far ahead). Wipe out the puny humans, then spend their time…fighting radscorpions with boards? Covering the world with lumps of meat suspended from things and chained to the ground?

As for “science, hooray!” there are all those amusingly over-the-top weapons that are too heavy to ever carry around or use. Like ‘The broadsider answers the question “would it be fun to walk around shooting people with a portable naval cannon?” Yes. Yes it would.’

And maybe it would, but I can’t carry the damn thing AND all these desk fans. Something has to give, and I think we know by now that it’s not going to be the desk fans. I have a wounding shotgun. I don’t need your broadsider, science.

And then there’s the junk gun, and the gun that shoots railway spikes, and the Fat Man…so they’re kind of gung-ho about killing technology, which is funny given that that’s what got us to this point in the first place.

“Science is terrible and destructive. Now check out this awesomely destructive gun we made up for you!”

Also, scavenging the products of science is how we build settlements, which seems to be a way to do good in the world, so I don’t know that we can really say it’s all bad. Yeah, it wrecked the world before, but we’re not rebuilding with just sticks and rocks here: we’re rebuilding by making generators out of old machine parts. The super mutants might well fare better than the humans if dropped into a totally science-free world (they could probably hold their own better with a board in a battle with a radscorpion), but that’s not the world we’re in, and the world the presumably anti-intellectual mutants seem to be creating might wind up science-free if taken to its conclusion, but it really doesn’t look all that appealing either. It’s hardly a back-to-nature paradise (such as is referenced in “Civilization”)–more a wasteland of bloody meat. I’ll pass, honestly.

Of course, the super mutants are also the products of science, either directly (if they were deliberately engineered as super soldiers or what-not) or indirectly (if they just mutated because of the radiation), so maybe the argument is that they can’t create a proper science-free paradise because of the original science sin of their origins. Clearly their world sucks! It comes from science too! Everything we touch is tainted by science!

Butch:

I am still low on ammo, except .50 which goes to….what? A gun I ain’t got, that’s what. Certainly WAY out of ammo for anything with a laser.

Love me some 10mm.

Haven’t met a super mutant with a laser yet. Missile launchers, yes. Mini nukes, for sure. Not lasers.

Wait…what? What is a broadsider? Where can I get one?

Feminina:

I fight super mutants with lasers all the time, man. (Them with the lasers, not me: I usually don’t bother with laser weapons.) You must be dealing with the low-tech crew.

I took that perk that lets you find more ammo, and it was so worth it. Now I am SWIMMING in every type of ammunition I could ever need. I haven’t run out (or bought any) in ages.

Not even for the broadsider! (Not that I’ve used it.) The broadsider is a big heavy gun you can get by completing the robot missions on the U.S.S. Constitution, slacker. Get on that. But I’m more excited about the honorary rank of lieutenant I got, complete with a fancy hat that gives me +1 to Charisma. From now on, THAT’s the hat I’m wearing when I get dressed up to charm. That hat, a sequined dress, and black-rimmed glasses. It’s THE LOOK. No one will be able to resist me!

What have I done lately, besides get a fancy navy hat? Well, I finally had enough of watching the Brotherhood stomp around my settlements and went and joined up, the better to find out why the hell they’re here and what they want. They’re not attacking my people or anything, but they’re just out there a lot, showing off their flying machines and getting into big public fights…with all the people I tend to get into fights with (raiders, Gunners, super mutants, feral ghouls), so I can’t really hold it against them, but it still makes me feel antsy having them hanging around and not knowing what their intentions are.

So now I’m a member. I know…a bit about their plans…and I’ve got mad Brotherhood quests (only one of which I’ve so far felt like “I don’t know if I want to do that”), on top of my mad other quests that I totally keep trying to complete and being distracted from by cool new locations.

Ooh, I found the Boston Bugle office! You MUST read the saved articles on their computer.

I still haven’t talked to Garvey about storming the castle, or been back to Diamond City to look for Piper again. I HAVE started a couple of new settlements (one at the hippie robot co-op place, finally!) and done a lot of maintenance on existing settlements. And I’ve collected two new companions, MacCready (who doesn’t seem to like or dislike anything I do so far) and Danse (who likes when I enthusiastically agree to follow the orders of the head of the Brotherhood…we may not have a promising future together).

Oh–and I got a trophy! “RobCo’s Worst Nightmare,” for hacking a lot of terminals. I hack much more diligently than Mr. O’ does, so for once he didn’t get it before me.

Butch:

I’m ok with fighting the low-tech super mutants, man.

I tell ya though, Righteous Authority (the rifle you get from that Brotherhood dude) is awesome, and try the gamma gun (which you can get off any tech enemy), which is grand cuz it’s fire rate is just plain stupid. Bangbangbangbang. And without the spray of a machine gun. Love it.

I gotta get that ammo perk next. I’ve been too busy loading up on lockpicking in order to get laid.

“Agatha’s Dress” is even better than sequins. I don’t know if that’s a nod to FO3 or not, which had an AMAZING quest called Agatha’s Song, which treated the question of “What is really beautiful?” so damn well. Agatha was very old, so maybe.

Dude, I haven’t even FOUND the Constitution. Considering I never fucking PLAY, there may be a reason for that.

Ok, so joining the BoS doesn’t close doors? You didn’t lose quest lines doing that? I gotta do that. Once I get to play again, so never. Shit, I’m still not out of Vault 114.

On that though…..

I did stumble across a “Milk Dispenser” in Vault 114 (with Strong nowhere around) that didn’t do much of anything. I pressed activate, a little hatch kinda opened, then closed, and nothing. That’s GOT to do with Strong, right?

I have not yet met MacCready. Never heard of him. But then, you mentioned someplace called Good Neighbor, which I’ve only heard about in passing (from the not quite deceased yet Trish in the bad drug deal). I imagine that has people to meet.

On DC, did you do the DJ bit? I kinda loved that.

I’m getting pretty tired of helping settlements. Can’t we all just chill in Sanctuary and say fuck it to everyone? I mean, it would help property values in Concord, and I’m all for that.

DUDE! Even I don’t have that trophy. Admit it. There was a twinge of pride.

Oh, have you met Cait? The romanceable redhead?

The only thing keeping me from being completely in your dust and/or from you finishing this two months before me is your lack of attention span.

Feminina:

I used Righteous Authority a lot for a while, but lately I just don’t. I like its critical-hit features, but the damage just isn’t competitive with what I get on some of my other unique weapons. Like the wounding shotgun.

I have Agatha’s Dress! It looks just like the sequin dress when it’s on, but yeah, better bonus. It goes great with a lieutenant’s hat.

Hmm…I only vaguely recall the milk dispenser. I hadn’t met Strong when I was in vault 114, so the idea of milk didn’t strike any particular chord with me. But yeah, that connection does sound plausible.

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