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Some fairly significant spoilers for the Kellogg’s brain bit

Butch:

Ok, so didn’t play much, because cooking and hockey, but did do the bits with Kellog’s memory, which was pretty cool, I thought. Had to restart it when I realized that you get a new memory for each person and not just “me.”

I have a feeling there’ll be more themes later on, as this was a tad skeletal and led to foreshadowing.

Here’s a takeaway though, that you probably missed:

Kellog is OLD. In that first memory, the radio is saying that the Hub (a city from Fallout 1 WAY back in the day) where he lives is being annexed by the NCR, and they reference President Aradesh. That happened in FO 1, which took place a LONG time ago. Indeed, a quick check of the wiki says that annexation happened in 2161, which would make Kellog somewhere around 140 years old.

One of those triggers. In FO2, we find that the NCR is on its second President, Aradesh’s daughter, who is already 80 in that game, and, unlike Kellog, is old.

There is also all SORTS of lore around the hub, and characters that I will recognize that you will not. If they show up.

It’s interesting that the Hub is evoked here, as in that game, it was an attempt, sort of, at an integrated society with ghouls and mutants and humans living together. It failed, badly, mostly due to human greed. Add that to the fact that Boston is usually thought of as The Hub…..

Well played, Fallout. Well played.

We’ll see if Kellog’s age matters.

So I did that, and now Curie is waiting 24 hours and I have to talk to Nick and the quest list e’er grows. The Glowing Sea, huh? That sounds like a few levels from now. Have you done it?

Feminina:

I agree, Kellogg’s memories were an interesting mechanic. And you’re right, I didn’t realize that he had revealed his immense age…so the Institute must have some sort of anti-aging technology, as well as teleportation. Interesting. And yeah, it took me a second to recognize that “the Hub” didn’t mean Boston. I was like “wait, he was from Boston and then wound up back here? But the NCR…the Golden Gate Bridge…”

We could have had so much in common with Kellogg! Great age, killing people for money… If not for the whole killing-my-husband-kidnapping-my-son thing. And the reference to whoever’s in charge intentionally having him leave me alive so I’d come after him later was interesting. Had he outlived his usefulness? Am I being stealthily groomed to take over his place? I don’t like being a pawn of the Institute, but they’ve certainly got me on a string here with Shaun. So…in a way…my taking my sweet time about saving my child is an act of rebellion! All this getting into random fights, looting and helping settlements is my way of sticking it to the man!

Potentially at my child’s expense, but still. I mean, he seemed to be doing OK in the memories. (Did you try SO HARD to read the comics he was looking at in the vain hope of getting a magazine bonus? I did.) I’m quite concerned that he’ll have been raised set against me and dedicated to the Institute, but I’ve still got to try to find him.

I went to the Glowing Sea, and promptly got into a repeatedly-fatal fight with some bloodbugs, and then ran into a Legendary Glowing Radscorpion, and in general rapidly concluded that the monsters down there are too tough for me at the moment, and I’ll go back later. So I haven’t progressed any further on the main plot.

I did meet Deacon by the highway and recovered Carrington’s Prototype from the Slocum Joe’s (nice nod to the critical military importance of donut shops, there). Interesting to hear from Deacon that the Railroad is divided on Gens 1 and 2, which are “like a Protectron”…as he said, do they only care about the synths that look human, or is the principle extended to all AIs? Codsworth? Admiral Ironsides? I can see how their cause gets fuzzy and contentious.

Butch:

Yeah, that was a pretty in reference. I even tried to listen to it twice to get any more tidbits. But yeah, if you’re an old time player, Aradesh set off alarm bells. Serious “huh?” moment. Nice throwaway. If it was a throwaway.

Or maybe he died long ago and what we’re seeing is just stuff that was saved to a disc and put in someone else. Who is Kellogg, anyway?

I certainly get the sense that there is shit to which we are not privy, and these memories did not dissuade me from that. And why not the husband? The baby is subject one, we’re back up subject, the husband is not important to them.

YES! I tried to get those magazines. And the ones Kellogg was reading as a kid, too! They had some old Grognaks! I love Grognak!

I sorta got the sense that the Glowing Sea is one of those “Ok, main plot’s too hard for a while, go do side quests” moments.

Did you go back to RR HQ and talk to people? Cuz there’s a robot there…….

Feminina:

True, very true. We know Nick is based on someone else’s memories, and there’s Curie’s whole quest to transfer her consciousness to another body, so why couldn’t Kellogg be on his second or third body by the time we meet him? He looked about the same in his own memories, but that could be careful selection of the new host, or plastic surgery, or just the fact that his brain doesn’t actually remember things from an outside perspective and it’s easy to just overlay his current appearance on his remembered self. If these people can teleport, who knows what else they can do?

And speaking of Kellogg outliving his usefulness, when he talked about the latest model of synth that was indistinguishable from humans and was a pure, ruthless killer (or however he described it), did you also wonder why the Institute was sending Kellogg after this missing scientist, and not the ruthless killer synth model? I mean, really, why do you still need a human hit-man at that point?

The unique ability of humans to make certain judgement calls, perhaps, but if all you want is some guy dead, how much of a gray area do you need to be able to parse? We certainly have to wonder whether this is part of a set-up designed to get us out into the Glowing Sea pursuing leads the Institute has carefully planted for us.

For totally unknown reasons…as you say, Shaun was subject one (and that vague mention of “I didn’t know what I was getting with the kid, but neither did they” is tantalizing but not helpful), and the PC is the backup subject, but why was the other possible backup subject considered worthless? We’re both equally related to Shaun, assuming the connection is genetic, and equally from the pre-bomb time if the connection is that…it seems odd that it’s worth keeping one backup but not two. I mean, possibly it was just seen as too much of a hassle to wrestle a reawakened subject back into the cryopod after taking the baby…maybe they don’t REALLY foresee needing a backup at all, but figured “well, just don’t let the other one out of the pod and refreezing will be easy, but no point in risking injury to any of our people by making them physically force someone back inside, since we almost certainly don’t need either one of them.”

I don’t know. Perhaps all will be revealed, or perhaps we’ll be left with piles of loose ends. We shall see. Eventually.

You love Grognak? But Gragnak doesn’t do anything useful for us, because we don’t do melee! I mean, I’ll take it, I never turn down a bonus to anything, but it’s pretty meaningless to my character.

I like Live and Love, which gives companions useful bonuses, or Tumblers Today, or the U.S. Covert Operations Manual. That one might be my favorite, actually. You can never be too sneaky!

Butch:

Yeah. I’m starting to worry about what the Institute can do. Teleporting? I did not expect teleporting.

I certainly did wonder about that. That thing that came and told him to go looked very capable. He didn’t seem surprised, though. He wasn’t all “Why don’t you do it your damn self?”

Though I’m still a little confused on the timeline. I mean, Kellogg certainly wasn’t at the glowing sea when we found him and killed him. So did he go and do it and come back? Cuz if he did, Virgil’s likely dead. And if he DIDN’T go, why not?

Maybe he never went. We certainly did not see a memory that told him to go to Fort Hagan, and yet, that’s where he was.

I think everything, or at least some of it, will be revealed. At least in a way that is suitable to a big open world game, which means there’ll be a small pile of loose ends. That’s pretty much all one can hope for. Small piles.

As far as Grognak, two words dude: Cait’s outfit.

Curious to see how Curie’s gonna pull that off.

Covert operations is great. Tumblers got a little less useful when I found the bobblehead for locks, which makes things SOOOO much easier. Live and love is great just for the covers. Love the covers.

Feminina:

I did NOT expect teleportation. And it just came so casually out of nowhere, too. Ho-hum, Shaun go stand by the ruthless killer synth, and then ZAP. Kellogg was not surprised. Any more than he was surprised to still be sent on jobs in the Glowing Sea where he’s going to be constantly exposed to radiation that a synth presumably is much better prepared to deal with.

He certainly knows more than we do, and no doubt there’s some reason it seems quite reasonable to him to go do that job while a ruthless killing machine hangs out with a kid. Someday perhaps we too will understand.

Did you have that moment afterwards where Nick talked in Kellogg’s voice? That was also unexpected (although somewhat foreshadowed by the conversation about memories spilling over and what not), and, I thought, effectively creepy. And a nice reminder of why synths in general are creepy to so many people. This is definitely Nick, but…is Kellogg in there too? Am I going to be going along with Nick, all friendly as usual, and then one day Kellogg will take over and attack me? I have to admit, I’m a little wary of Nick now.

As for Grognak…I mean, you already HAVE the outfit on Cait, right? Does it get skimpier with every magazine you find? Because otherwise I still don’t know why it’s especially great to find those instead of something that will help you sneak. I think you’re allowing nostalgia to influence your perception of what’s awesome in loot.

Because it’s really all about the sneaking! I need to get the ‘more damage on sneak attacks’ perk, but the last points I had I spent on armorer so I could add Deep Pockets to things. Which brought my carrying capacity to 365 so far (I need more leather to deeply pocket all my gear), but that’s still not enough. It’s never enough.

Butch:

If that all really happened, the teleportation and stuff. I mean, we’re sorta taking things on faith, here. This game, well, everyone in the game anyway, has been talking about trusting no one, and here’s us all “Oh yeah….a pod…a bit of brain…SURE! Gospel truth!” Might not be.

I haven’t seen a creepy bit. My next objective is “Talk to Nick.”

Dude, if Grognak magazines did that, it would be the most awesome thing games ever ever.

Carrying capacity really is never enough. Cuz all the awesome guns you need to kill big assed monsters weigh like 300 pounds.

When she was all ‘Bring all the rad-X you can carry,’ I was all “Dude…you have no idea.”

I take it you have not yet been back to RR HQ.

Feminina:

Doh! Sorry. Didn’t mean to spoil about Nick. Um…it’s very short! And will probably still be creepy! Sorry though.

But speaking of creepy and effective, seeing that early scene again where the people come and take Shaun and kill your spouse, but this time also seeing yourself trapped in the pod…I thought that was nicely done. Reliving terrible memories from someone else’s perspective, someone who didn’t have any particular emotions about it at all…I bet this totally messed with the PC’s head.

Good point that the ‘memories’ we saw may or may not even be reliable. If we believe the Institute can teleport and implant synth pieces in humans and keep 140-year-olds strong and vigorous, we must also believe they can fabricate the memories on their brain implants, and maybe can’t do any of that other stuff at all.

I mean, we at least have outside verification for their ability to do stuff with with memories and brains. We know (well, we think we know…but you have to start somewhere) that Nick has memories from some human detective, but not ALL his memories. Therefore, them being able to do other things with memories is perfectly plausible.

Maybe they can’t even teleport and they’re just trying to make us think they’re cooler than they are! Maybe they don’t even have Shaun anymore! I mean, we basically know they DID have him, because we identified Kellogg as the one who took him, and Kellogg was definitely working with the Institute, so we can fairly readily believe they still have him, but…trust no one! It could all be lies!

No, I haven’t been back to RR headquarters…I grabbed the thing, went outside, picked up all the mines that Deacon or Cait didn’t set off, and called it a day. Back to headquarters next time.

Butch:

No problem. Was next anyway. Gotta do something to kill time for Curie.

Yeah, that scene was good, reliving the kidnapping/murder. This game seems to have more set pieces like that than previous Bethesda games. It’s good. Nice for the narrative.

Amari saying sorry and not sounding all that sorry was also a nice touch. For someone who’s so into brains, she doesn’t seem very emotionally connected.

And she seemed to mention something about one last bit of security on the chip or brain or whatever. Like it was protected data on a hard drive. If they can encrypt or encode brains or whatever, why can’t they fake them? I mean, synth brains ARE pretty much fake.

There’s also a callback to FO3. Remember when Amari says she was doing “wipes” for the railroad? Well, in FO3, when you meet the railroad and the only synth you meet, the set up is the RR is trying to help this guy, the institute is trying to find the guy, and the guy himself DOESN’T KNOW he’s a synth. Someone (now, presumably, Amari), has erased his memories of synthness and replaced them with other memories, that of a childhood and wife and career. So we have some precedent for people, not even institute people, putting whole entire lifetimes of fake memories into synths, anyway, and Kellogg was mostly synth. And, shit, we can assume Amari herself was into that if we read between the lines.

This was really the first bit of this game where I think playing the previous games was kinda important. They’ve done a good job staying away from that, but hey. When you have three classics behind you, they’re gonna come up sometime.

It could all be lies! It sure could. But yes, we do know that Kellogg does seem to be the dude that took Shaun. For what it’s worth.

As for overlord bad guys, he kept mentioning the “old man.” In the aforementioned FO3 bit, the Institute dude who comes looking is, in fact, an old man. I hope he isn’t the old man here, because you have an opportunity to kill that old man, and I took it. He’s a pile of goo in my universe. But then, that game was ten years in the fallout past, and, for all we know, Shaun was taken before the events of FO3. We shall see.

Oh dude, RR HQ. We’ll talk. Later.

Feminina:

Yes, Amari is brusque and businesslike, more than emotional. I liked her no-nonsense attitude, though. Getting the job done! If only more of my settlers were like her.

Interesting that her involvement with synths/brains/Railroad may be quite extensive. I mean, you have to figure there can’t be all that many people with the training and experience to manage this kind of thing, so the few that you run into are likely to have ties with the few organizations that can provide that kind of training and experience. I would not be surprised to learn she worked with the Institute at some point, and for all we know still does in some capacity. Trust no one!

Old man…interesting. There are a lot of old men in these games, huh? House in FONV, the guy you turned into goo in FO3, some guy in this one…

Butch:

Indeed. Amari is still rather cold….robotic, even…..

I mean, she does “wipes.” Also, I did the RR bit first, and the first thing she said to me was “You’re with the Railroad! Fantastic.” So….approval.

I think we can be pretty sure the Institute guy isn’t House. Goo guy might be, but I would be annoyed. I hate it when your world gets all messed up. I’m not gonna wiki it, cuz don’t want a spoiler if it is the guy.

Feminina:

Yeah, she could totally be a synth. I mean, really, that would be one of the easiest ways to get around the “few people have the training and experience” issue…program them with the training and experience! Works out great!

I need more synth settlers. That’s the answer.

I hadn’t been to the Railroad yet when I talked to her, so she didn’t say anything about it to me, but at least she’s not a companion and I didn’t miss out on valuable ‘like’ points.

Butch:

Yeah she certainly was into the railroad. She’s in with them for sure. I’m kinda glad I’m not with Danse. He would probably shoot up the place.

Man now we’re all “who’s a synth?” The game is playing us.

Feminina:

Yeah, you have to wonder how the game would have handled that. I mean, he probably wouldn’t ACTUALLY shoot up the place, because important plot points would be lost, but given the entire mission of the organization to which he’s so devoted, how could we buy that he’d just ‘hate’ it and leave it at that? By what logic WOULDN’T he shoot up the place, once he learns that Dr. Amari is helping synths?

Maybe if you try to take him Dr. Amari won’t talk to you until you send him away, or something. Now I kind of wish I had tried it, just out of curiosity, but at the time, and in-game, it just seemed obvious that this was something Danse and the Brotherhood didn’t need to know about me. In-game, it still does.

Butch:

One problem with the whole idea of companions with very different agendas. I mean, with bioware, people may be different or not like each other, but they’re all on the same page re the endgame, be that closing rifts or killing reapers. Agreement. (That’s why when it turns out Solas had a different agenda it was such a shock). But this? Gotta suspend some disbelief. Sort of like why your settlers are cool with strong.

I’m sure some people who don’t care about playing a role in an rpg did that. But those people, man. Those people.

I do wonder how things changed if you sent piper. You had a choice at the start if the quest to send her or nick. Nick seemed pretty vital to it, though. Hmm.

Feminina:

It’s true, you run into the question of plausibility a bit more with no big “save the universe” goal. Sure, each companion may have a good individual reason for traveling with you, but the logic behind why they would tolerate each other in the absence of some vast unifying threat can get strained. Perhaps this is part of why you only travel with one person at a time, and don’t have an established ‘home base’ like the Normandy, Skyhold, etc.

“We recognize that these two characters would hate each other with a murderous passion, so let’s just say they never have to meet or even know about the other’s existence!”

That doesn’t really cover Strong hanging out in the settlements without causing massive panic, but I suppose your settlers are used to taking your word for everything, so if you left him there, he must be…OK…for someone who talks about eating people a lot…

Butch:

Sanctuary has become my de facto Skyhold. It’s just too hard to keep track of everyone otherwise.

If anything, some companions, Garvey, Danse and Deacon, have goals that are more important to them than anything you’re trying to do. Danse could give a shit about Shaun, except that he gets him closer to the Institute.

Suspended disbelief.

I’m sure they don’t take Strong seriously. “Can I eat you now?” “Oh strong you so silly.”

Feminina:

Oh, definitely. I don’t think any of the companions particularly care about your goal of finding Shaun, except in a generally sympathetic sort of way. Well, Nick, because he’s a detective on the case so he has a professional interest. And Piper because it ties into a personal interest of her own. But for the most part they’re all kind of just going along with your personal quest out of curiosity or because you came along or so they can get your help on their quests.

There’s a lot more “you help me and I’ll help you” going on here than in the games where you all have the same big goal.

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