Friday, December 19, 2008

Wadsworth & Me: We Got A Special Kind Of Something

It's about 8:30 in the morning and my left leg has been crippled. Perhaps from a bullet or two, maybe an exploding nearby car - I'm not really sure. The sun is slowly cementing itself in the morning sky, rising over the scrap metal town of Megaton. The town where I live. I'm outside my house and hurting bad. My humble abode is a two-storey metal box that no doubt gets as hot as hell in the midday sun but since I can't feel temperatures, that's only a guess. I've spent all night out in the Capital Wasteland. A stark, barren landscape of burnt trees, crumbling bridges and ravenous beasts.

After killing a few Raiders (nomadic scum who live solely to steal and murder) in the ruins of a building, I've collected enough bottle caps from lockers and cupboards to make my financial situation a little less dire and hopefully I can repair one or two of my weapons. The hunting rifle especially needs work. Bottle caps serve as money around here since cash-money no longer serves any purpose.I unlock my front door and step inside the front room and there he is. Loyal, patient as always. Wadsworth.

"Sir? I do believe you are injured! Might I suggest you seek medical attention immediately?" he exclaims in a mildly troubled voice. Wadsworth is my robot butler. He came with the house. Lucas Simms, the sheriff of Megaton, handed me the keys to the house after I kindly defused the unexploded atomic bomb that sat in the middle of town. I found Wadsworth waiting for me when I first inspected the place. He levitates around my house thanks to some small propulsion jets installed in his undercarriage. His large orange eye greets me as I stumble in and I take his advice. I do indeed need medical attention. I thank Wadsworth and limp up the stairs to my bedroom. A small single-size bed is all I can afford and the mattress looks filthy but its home.

I sleep. For eight hours.

Magically, my left leg has healed while I slept. That's just the perks of being able to slowly regain health I suppose. I climb out of bed, eager to spend my bottle caps but then I realise the time. It's 6:30pm. Moira's shop will probably be closed. I decide to walk downstairs and prepare to check anyway. Wadsworth is busying himself in the main room.

He turns and floats over to me.

"Good evening sir! What can I do for you?"

I greet him with as much exuberance as he does me. The house, while mine, is frankly a dump. There's furniture available to spruce it up, but at the moment, all those items are out of my price range. So, that in mind, Wadsworth is the only ray of light in this place. I fear I may hang myself in my bathroom if it weren't for his constant companionship. I ask him to tell me a joke. He is only too happy to oblige as he has many.

"Certainly sir! One electron was talking to another and said 'I've lost something' and the other said 'Are you sure?'. To which the first electron replied 'I'm positive!'" I laugh out loud. The joke is actually funny. The punchline heightened by Wadsworth's upper-class accent.

Wadsworth has given me haircuts in the past. He also has a seemingly endless supply of bottles of Purified Water. A commodity which is extremely valuable around here since all the water out of the tap is contaminated by radiation. You can drink it, but too much gives you radiation sickness.

I check my storage locker as Wadsworth floats upstairs. I grab a bunch of things I can sell at Moira's shop. Motorcycle brakes, vacuum cleaner parts and even a few bullets from a 10mm pistol I no longer use. When I'm ready to go, I move towards the door. Somehow, even from upstairs, Wadsworth senses my imminent departure.

"Be sure to take care of yourself sir!" he says.

I will, Wadsworth. I plan to laugh at plenty more of your jokes before anything happens to me. I exit my house and night has fallen. The sporadic light bulbs scattered around the town of Megaton light my way towards the shop. Hopefully, Moira hasn't closed for the day. That way, I can get my hunting rifle fixed and continue to survive out there in the wasteland. I wouldn't want to disappoint Wadsworth.

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