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Publick Occurrences: Your Eyes on the Truth.
[Article: The Synthetic Truth]Edit
Noodles. We all eat them. We all love them. And Diamond City's Power Noodles has supplied this sustenance for the past fifteen years. From the stilted mechanical cadence of Takahashi's programmed Japanese, to the fragrant steam that wafts from each bowl, to the scalding tang of each delicious mouthful - the ordering and eating of noodles is but one of many shared human experiences. Or is it?
I was struck by this very question as I sat at the counter of Power Noodles last Wednesday night, just after 5:00 pm, enjoying a dinner I had so many times before. That's when I noticed our very own Mayor McDonough sidle up to a stool, and engage in the very same ritual. Right hand extending. Mouth opening. Teeth chewing. Yes, eating noodles. The shared experience of almost every Diamond City resident.
So it must have also seemed to the residents of Diamond City nearly sixty years ago, on an uncharacteristically warm May evening in 2229, as they sat around this very same counter. But that was before the days of Takahashi and his noodles, when the bar served not noodles, but ice cold Nuka-Colas, frothy beers and stiff shots of whiskey. The barman's name was Henry, and that night, he facilitated the shared human experiences of drinking, smoking, talking and laughing. That is, until tragedy struck.
There aren't many among us who are even old enough to remember that evening - although some of the city's Ghoul residents certainly could have, had they not been forcibly removed, thanks to Mayor McDonough's anti-Ghoul decree of 2282. But there is one person among us who does remember, distinctly, the events of that evening: respected matriarch Eustace Hawthorne, who recounted her story in a Publick Occurrences exclusive interview.
"Oh, I was there all right. Sitting right at the bar, sure as you're sitting in front of me know. Twenty-two years old or so, and just looking to have a good time. I was safe behind the Wall - we all were - so what was the harm? And let me tell you, that Mr. Carter made it easy. He came into town earlier that day, said he was from out west somewhere. It didn't really matter. What did matter was his smile, and his laugh, and the way he'd make everyone feel at ease. That night, at the bar, we all just sort of crowded around him. Everyone wanted to exchange a word, or hear about the state of the Commonwealth. And Mr. Carter, he was all too happy to oblige. It was just so wonderful. Until it wasn't."
Eustace continued her account of that evening, and the moment when things turned sinister, and the truth about Mr. Carter was revealed.
"We'd been drinking, and carrying on, must have been three hours. Mr. Carter had four or five drinks in that time. He seemed a bit drunk, I guess, like the rest of us. Then something just sort of happened. He was smiling, but the smile sort of went from his face, all in an instant. And then his cheek started twitching, kind of funny. And I remember watching him, clear as if it happened just yesterday. He reached inside his coat, took out a revolver, and then 'Blam!'- He shot Henry, the barman, right in the head. Didn't hesitate, didn't show any emotion- Mr. Carter killed Henry as casually as if he were paying him for a drink. But his cheek never did stop twitching. Let me tell you, all Hell broke loose after that."
What Eustace is describing is, of course, is the infamous event known as the "Broken Mask," when the people of the Commonwealth learned for the first time that the Institute, the shadowy scientific organization responsible for the creation of combat androids, had actually succeeded in creating a model so advanced, it could effortlessly infiltrate human society. Unbeknownst to the people of Diamond City, the Institute had somehow evolved their androids into true synthetic humans. Synths.
"After he shot Henry, that Mr. Carter shot three or four other people, too. Like I said, all Hell broke loose. The guards came running, they opened fire, and Mr. Carter he kept shooting, and throwing people around left and right. Finally, those guards put him down. Seemed like they had killed a man who had flipped his lid. Gone crazy. And he lay there like a dead crazy man, sure enough. God, it was horrible. But then we saw the plastic, and the metal- this was one of them early synths, you see - and we realized it wasn't a man at all. It was then we all knew. The Institute wasn't just 'out there'. The Institute was everywhere now. Among us."
It was never determined precisely why the synth known as Mr. Carter went on his killing spree. Some suggested he had somehow been remotely controlled by the Institute, who wanted to test his combat effectiveness. Still others felt he had simply malfunctioned (a hypothesis supported by the twitching cheek), and was never meant to kill anyone. But at that time, the "why" hardly seemed important. What mattered was that the humans of the Commonwealth had been truly infiltrated by an organization whose intentions were, and still are, a complete mystery - using a model of synth even less advanced than the ones the Institute has in service today.
Which brings us to noodles. Specifically, the noodles consumed by Mayor McDonough last Wednesday night, in the same spot that Mr. Carter the synth went haywire, and mercilessly killed several people - after spending hours sharing an experience the people of Diamond City assumed was reserved for members of the human race. They were wrong.
[Reader Complaints File]Edit
[READER COMPLAINT - Honor the Wall!]Edit
Public Occurrences Complaints Log
DATE - 2/15
"In your most recent edition, your paper failed to acknowledge in any way the contribution of the mighty Wall in the defense of our town against last month's Super Mutant attacks. I find this extremely offensive and will not be purchasing another copy until such disrespect is publicly corrected."
PUBLISHED RESPONSE: "We honor the efforts of all those involved in the defense of our great city, from our valiant guards to the mighty Wall."
PERSONAL RESPONSE: Dear whack job. Two members of Diamond City Security died defending this town. Where was your hunk of plywood for them?
[READER COMPLAINT - Happy Story?]Edit
Public Occurrences Complaints Log
DATE - 4/14
"I find choice of topics sad. How about happy story? Maybe something about nice bar?"
PUBLISHED RESPONSE: "Thank you for your feedback. Our stories are selected for relevance and importance to Diamond City populace."
PERSONAL RESPONSE: Vadim, no story about your bar is going to end happily.
[READER COMPLAINT - For Shame]Edit
Public Occurrences Complaints Log
DATE - 10/01
"Your paper is just trying to drum up fears about synths to increase sales. You should be ashamed of yourself."
PUBLISHED RESPONSE: "Thank you for your concern. Our paper makes significant efforts to ensure all stories are accurate and free from editorializing."
PERSONAL RESPONSE: Thank you for your concern. I hope you get snatched.
[Publick Perspectives Archive]Edit
I am town between two loves. On one hand, I have my profession. Every moment I spend with the young up-and-comers for whom I work brings such joy. On the other hand, I have my co-worker. Wise, patient, debonair. Many suggest that I am not lively enough for him, but I can picture life with no other. I long to confess my feelings for him, but my life is my work. Trying to add a relationship, it would simply short-change everyone. I must choose, Publick. But who?
Love is rare. Two? Doubly so. Make it work, Pair. You work in the same building for shuck's sake.
Me and my little girl have been on our own for a long time now. She's the most important thing in my life, but lately it seems like she's not as interested in hanging out with her papa. I understand she's got to grow up someday, but I'm not ready to let her go. What do I do to make sure I don't lose my little girl?
- Teen Troubles
Your girl's becoming her own person. Let her make decisions, screw up. Maybe throw some extra caps her way so she can take her friends out for noodles more often. Then, when she's ready, she'll come to you.
[Desperate in Diamond City]Edit
I've been living in Diamond City for years now, but have never been able to land a girlfriend. I wear nice clothes and give them free drinks, but they just seem to think I'm some sort of creep. My boss says I've got a face only a mother could love, and I think he's right. I feel like I'm out of options, Publick. Should I take the plunge and change my face?
- Desperate in Diamond City
Ever tried talking to these girls? You should give it a go. No more trying to buy your way to affection. You need to earn it.
[Sleep-Walking the Beat]Edit
I got this job. It pays the bills, but lately, it's making it so I can't sleep at night. Things have been so tense. I'm getting worried that if something doesn't change, I might slip-up and get myself or someone else hurt. Any advice, Publick?
- Sleep-Walking the Beat
Sounds like you need to relax more. I know after a hard day solving other people's problems, I like to grab a Nuka-Cola, pull out a stack of comics, and read till I pass out. Give it a try.
[Alone in the Upper Stands]Edit
I could use a friend. Everyone in this town is either jealous of me or afraid of me because of how I look and who I work for. I'm not willing to compromise who I am just so people will like me more, but it just gets so lonely. But you seem like a smart gal, Publick. Any chance you want to grab a drink sometime?
- Alone in the Upper Stands
Going to have to take a raincheck on that drink, but your instincts are good. New friends crop up in the most unlikely places. You just need to search them out.