WiseAss Thinkers

The Wastes of Lost Hope

Author: dexjackson
Date: 12/08/2009
WiseAss Thinkers

Just the other day I was playing a quite well-known game and one that was very popular in the end stages of 2008, that attempts to simulate what life would be like in the harsh and extremely hostile environment of the years Post-Apocolypse. That is, the end of the global community and civilisation as we knew it over forty years ago but within a 50’s setting when the craze and national worriment of communists residing, working or just plain visiting America was at one of it’s highest peaks. So, instead of world living on just fine and dandy, albeit with the horrors of the Cold War still etched quite firmly in our memories – especially in regard to politics and sociology, we find that the world reaches a constant state of actual aggressive warring between those on the Capatilist side of things and those of the Communist side, in which the climax is a wide-ranging, mass nuclear bombing of most, if not all, of the world as we know it.

That cloud of dust is all that stands between you and big trouble

That cloud of dust is all that stands between you and big trouble

Fast-forward two hundred years from the year 2077 – which is when the bombs dropped in alternate universe of the game – and you have a Post-Apocolyptia of massive and horrifyingly distraught and ravaged proportions, where everyday is a constant struggle for survival and, for most of the survivors of the horrors of the global holocaust, life is just not worth “giving two sh*ts for, let alone one”. As anyone who is a Gamer or was at least aware of all the ruckus of 2008’s Christmas season. you will know that I am talking about the newest iterration of the Fallout series, dubbed rather appropriately, Fallout 3.

A common sight in the Wasteland

A common sight in the Wasteland. Home Insurance premiums must be at an all-time high...

You are born in the Vault, you will die in the Vault”. These are the words repeated to you over and over againas you spend your youth within confined walls of the Vault, in supposed “safety” from the ravaged Post-Apocolyptia of the post nuclear holocaust world. Simply this: You grow up in the Vault, mould your character’s profile, skills and attributes throughtout the various stages of life; live throught the events most important to your growth as a “citizen” of the Vault and member of it’s inner working force and finally, when you reach the expertly matured age of 19, leave the Vault you’ve known all your life after a catastrophe involving your Father and go off in search of both him and of a new life outside the oppresive and “clean” residence you once thought you would live in for the rest of your life. Into the Wastes, you go.

This cityscape may look clean, but there's a whole heap of trouble and danger lurking in every corner...

This cityscape may look clean, but there's a whole heap of trouble and danger lurking in every corner...

The sun, arrrghh! The sun… you’ve never ever seen the sun. Oh sure, in the Vault you’ve seen cute and cartoony illustrations of it on old pre-war posters informing and explaining the trouble times ahead leading up to the final strikes on the Earth. Even so far as to see it in books as you grow up in the Vault and maybe in a few “educational” holovids. But, to acutally see, no, feel the sun and it’s warthm and glow over your fragile, Wasteland innocent body: it’s simply a revelation. And as you gasp in awe and wonder, with a good measure of disparaging uncomfortableness and shock, at the world around you, you start to feel… empty. Confused, disillusioned and scared. This is a new world to you. Outside the almost repressive confines and concrete walls of the underground network in mountains behind you you feel lost but also… free. It might be scary, indeed worrying that you have no idea how to survive out here, but at least you have a purpose. Something to carry you on. A feeling that keeps you going. Your Father’s whereabouts and your love for him.

When this is all you can see for miles, is it even worth the slog to stay alive?

When this is all you can see for miles, is it even worth the slog to stay alive?

The world is a rocky desert, where the grassland, flora and fauna once flourished in blissful naivety at the horror that was to be unleashed in forthcoming years. Where you tread in the Wasteland, there used to be flower. The runis of pre-war buildings you navigate through, were once houses, workplaces, shops, parks and the like where people used to live, work, do their weekly shopping and meet and play with their neighbours. There is no real life here, only desolation. Traversing the terrain, you make your way across landscape where a society once held it’s claim on the lands. Signs of a Post-Apocolyptia do make their presence, in both sight and sound. There is “life” in the Wastes, but it is an entirely different form. Something evolved and significantly altered to survive the Wastes. Plants are gone, replaced with ungodly creations. Animals have no place here, only creatures ravaged and beaten by the harshness of Wastes, who could pounce on you and devoure your flesh and bones before you even realised what the hell was going on!

However, even with all this uncertainty and with the seemingly infinitely aggressive enviroment you face ahead of you, there is still a beacon of life that you might just be able to cling to for both support and your survival. Humans. Humans still exist on the plains of the charred Earth. Broken, shattered, afraid. These feelings mean nothing to them. They got used to all thise dozens of years ago. Now… now it’s just daily, if not hourly, survival in the Wasteland. Clustered into groups, big or small; the nomadic and settled peoples of this Wasteland, also called The Capital Wasteland, live out their lives trying to find a reason to keep on pushing, to keep fighting the daily struggles that present themselves without any mercy at all. And, although it has been over two centuries now, the groups of Humans have only just in the last few dozen years cultivated and founded some sort of “universal” movement to establish colonies and camps where the different peoples can live, trade in and with, work for their keep and generally spend the days touhging it out againsit the bitterly harsh environment.

Rare groupings of people like this a definite sight for radiation-caked eyes

Rare groupings of people like this a definite sight for radiation-caked eyes

So, really, it begs the question. What, no… How are you going to make your own path through this hurting and deeply troubled world. When you are within the scrap walls of the relatively – and relatively is used very strongly here – safe colonies, you’ll be able to scrape by without too much worry. When you’re out in the Wastes yourself, however, then trouble starts to make itself frequent and survival tends to mean just keep moving quick enough not to be eaten up or murdered in cold blood by some plucky roving, bandit scum. Scavenging for food, toiling every day looking for any signs of infections, virtually rationing every single drop of water you have and even so far as to constantly be looking out for your clothing and keeping check of every piece of ammo you’ve got and, by extension, the state of the weapon used to fire that ammo.

Bandit teritories are rife within the Wasteland. You'd do well to take light steps here...

Bandit teritories are rife within the Wasteland. You'd do well to take light steps here...

Yeah, life in the Vault kinda sucked. It seemed to be always you who was the last in line for specials at the mess hall and had to do with some dodgy porridge or soup. You always thought that water system for the showers was balanced enough. You even had the strange inkling that someone didn’t even use fabric softener on your bedd sheets. Out here in the Wastes, you’ll be lucky to get a slurp of gunky stew, have a wash at least once a week and even have something soft to sleep on. You think you had it bad, well, out here in Wastes, there ain’t no help or people do stuff for you. Hell… the only thing keeping people going most days is just seeing the warm, orange sun rise in the sky every morning. If you think that’s terrible and disgusting, then you better believe that’s paradise for almost every person surviving to this day. Hope has been lost to Wastes. Make sure you aren’t either.

NOTE: Hey readers. Sorry that got a bit… well, “in and out a completely different end” near the middle, but I found myself thinking what it’d be really like to live in a Post-Apocalyptia and how the daily struggle to survive would really be. Hope you liked it anyway.

INFO: All images in this article have been taken from http://www.fallout.bethsoft.com


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