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They Call Me Headshot - Part 1 - THE DARKNESS

The date? Hell, I'm lucky I even know what day it is. According to my trusty ol' Pip-Boy, it is Thursday, 07.01.79, 16:08 hours...whatever all that means. The only part of any of that which has any relevance to me is the 16:08 hours part.

It will be dark soon. That in itself has the opposite meaning to me from when this fiasco began, back when the fabric of reality was ripped out from under my feet. You see, that is what the above grounders never understood. They thought of me as naive, but that is my whole point. I WAS naive, and was caught unprepared for the surface world.

Darkness back then, meant it was time to move out. Time to slink out of whatever alcove I could find where some poor, long forgotten 21st century family was kind enough to lend me their mattress in their absence.

Darkness, you see, was the safest time to travel about. The darkness concealed a lot of things, but not everything needed sunlight to find you. In fact, one of the first things I encountered after stepping into the 'real world,' as Manya calls it, was a pair of wild dogs, and yes, it was in the darkness of night, but the dogs found me just the same.

Now, the darkness means repairing my equipment, my weapons, and mending my armor, but lately, I have been dreading the darkness almost as much as when I was first ejected into it.

It was still light outside when I first emerged from the vault, in fact, it was blinding.

Mr. Brotch, my class teacher, taught about the dangers of radiation and how to read the Geiger Counter on my Pip-Boy, but one can't very well teach what radiation looks or feels like. So when I stepped out of the Vault that very first time, and got blinded by my first view of the sunlight, the first thought I had was that I was getting blasted with about 800 RADS.

After a long moment, my eyes adjusted. I looked at the Geiger Counter and to my astonishment, the gauge read below 0 RADS. Was it possible that the radiation broke the Geiger Counter?

I slapped my Pip-Boy thinking that perhaps the needle was stuck, and a peculiar thing happened: I heard someone talking. At first I thought it was the Vault channel. There had been a recorded message repeating on the Pip-Boy's Vault Channel, and of course throughout the Vault on its PA system. It was Chief Hannon's voice warning all residents to return to their living quarters. I just assumed that after I escaped, they turned off the recorder and started announcing new information, but it wasn't just because of me and my father, it was because a rad-roach infestation had found its way into the living quarters and were attacking inhabitants. I knew this because I had witnessed some attacking and killing people.

The voice I heard on my Pip-Boy was not one I'd ever heard before, and after living in an enclosed environment my whole life, believe me, you know everyone's voice. The voice I heard repeated a message over and over, so it too, must have been a recording.

It was a male voice identifying itself as Wernher, and it was a distress call. He indicated that he came from the North.

Other than the peculiar notation on the Overseer's computer regarding a nearby settlement called Megaton, and another about giant insects called ants, I knew a grand total of nothing about the surface, nothing about Megaton or anyone who lived there. I really didn't have the time I would have like to have to read everything about Megaton on the Overseer's computer, and I wish I had, for that might have been the first place I went and things might have turned out differently. Instead, I decided that maybe if I helped Wernher free his people, as stated in the distress signal, maybe he and his people would help me find my father. I really WAS naive!

But I digress. There were a few signals I received on my Pip-Boy, two of which had voices, both of which seemed to be recordings, several that had nothing but static, but the only signal that was completely silent, was the frequency of the Vault.

The reason I bring up the Geiger Counter and the signals is because they are what drew my attention to my Pip-Boy, and while I was examining this new information, I noted something I have never forgotten: it was 15:30 on 08.17.77. That means that I left the Vault 2 years, 11 months, 13 days, 23 hours, and 38 minutes ago. All that time and I still haven't accomplished what I had set out to do and the reason I left in the first place. The trail is cold, but still, I seek any leads that will point the way to my father.

Again, I digress. Just before I awoke on that day, the day I left the Vault, I had a peculiar dream. I've been having it ever since. I had it again just last night, and I shall, undoubtedly, have it again tonight. It is because of that dream that I dread the darkness anymore. Nothing horrible happens in the dream, but it has to mean something.

After all the raiders, mercs, and all manner of beasties I have encountered in the past 2, almost 3 years, it is that dream that haunts me.

The sun sets now as I write this.

The Darkness comes.