Whilst heading back to the military checkpoint and picking pieces of lead and yet another Brotherhood Vertibird out of his metal chestplate, Bryan stopped in his tracks. For him, his pause was brief but in reality, it took at least a year and a half of fighting for the being controlling him to return.
The morning after that pause, the player discovered that Steam was yet again, installing another patch into the game without any possibility of stopping it. Whatever, more "not really owning the game" to get used to, as the new (and definitely better- honest!) iteration of that one console that ruined everything that made the second one good wasn't something they wanted anywhere near them and someone over at marketing must have decided to change the physical copies into big, circular Steam keys with holes in the middle to send some customers over to Gabey N. When the download finished and the player was allowed the privilege to select the game they had leased, it took 20 minutes longer to load than usual.
Then the whole thing crashed to the desktop without any warning or error message. Then it happened every single time that save was selected. Then they half-heartedly tried to make another character only for any explosion to end the game in the exact game way and for the saves to eventually react to loading in the same way as the original.
They soon went and contacted tech support to get a cringe-inducing copypasta meant to help the babbys who had no idea what an FAQ was. It was surprisingly close to the in-game dialogue, especially that during one quest where you tell a story to a class of children only to forget how to talk properly and babble patronisingly to them for an IV bag of RadAway.
By the player's first reply, they got through to another human being who had them send a DxDiag report, mess with .ini files and download several things. Nothing worked and the techie said that the case had advanced and required a specialist group to try and figure out/fix the problem, all while the player's email provider kept wanting them to continually log back in.
However, projects that counted for the entirety of the player's grade were coming up fast and as DLC after DLC came out with no progress in sight, they were starting to lose hope.
Soon, academic priorities took precidence over the broken game and they were unable to muster up time better spent working or sleeping to have several conversations between more and more tech support people that were less and less in the know about the player's plight. After the work was done and Summer began, they tried again- only to get "HEY VAULT DWELLER ANOTHER SETTLEMENT'S UNDER ATTACK- IT'S THE FAQ PAGE!" in their inbox. Evidently, this was a dead end- leaving them with a disk that did absolutely nothing and a Steam client that locked the cursor to the middle of the screen sometimes.
They soon took to watching people online play the game as well as watch a friend's game- the console for which was quick to remind the two that the amount of saves was capped on the Xtra Brilliant to allow more guff like electronic litmus tests, a cup holder and star maps onto a stationary game console, but it simply wasn't the same without Bryan. The hardships the player had been through with him and the malformations they had been cursed with by poor design choices such as permanent night vision(after he put his gaze through a night vision scope and it stayed that way) and the Mole Rat disease were too much to disregard in their mind.
They lost interest in fixing their copy but still checked back every couple of months to see if they were allowed back in, even if the answer was always the same. They even had to re-experience the horrors that were New Vegas again, which didn't seem as bad as the player remembered due to recent "improvements" to newer Bethesda titles such as infinite magic NPC wizards and unavoidable "grab" kills lowering the bar even further and causing the player to switch to a playstyle that heavily used exploits to compensate.
Eventually, another college project came up and it required the use of a game engine that had graphics which were said to be spectacular but the player didn't think they that groundbreaking, though it was the first program they used that would slow the computer down so much that the sound cut out and task manager couldn't even be opened.
The engine itself did mention that the drivers were having issues but Windows Installer had tried to update them before, only to fail every time. Then their friend from before asked if they tried to sort it out on the company's website- they hadn't but tried there regardless. Just by entering the website it near instantly knew everything about their rig and offered an update so long as they agreed that the software was allowed to see everything they had such as their age, sex, location and browser history.
It was that simple. The months spent working with tech support, and all the player needed to do was visit a website and update their drivers. They felt stupid for not thinking of it but remembered that the "specialists" didn't think of that either.
Bryan blinked and all of a sudden, it was no longer agonisingly bright green. He could almost feel a new layer of dust over the one coating the checkpoint. "Had something changed?" He wondered as he wiped the goggles of his gas mask. Then he noticed a half invisible pipe coming out of the ground and knew that he was still in the same old Boston Commonwealth.