The Impossible Will Take A Little While

The Impossible Will Take A Little While

I’m as corny as Kansas in August, high as the flag on the Fourth of July…


The door claps against the house in the breeze, like a sarcastic friend greeting me.

“I say I’ll go through fire / And I’ll go through fire / As he wants it, so it will be …”

Big Town has been decimated. The smell of human flesh baking in the sun tells me I’m too late by only a matter of hours. The swinging chain-link gate on the bridge into town was knocked clean over, its post uprooted. Windows are shattered from gunfire; sheet metal walls ripped off their welding.

I fill my canteen from the cistern in the center of town, surveying the wreckage. Anyone the Super Mutants didn’t kill or drag off has probably fled already. I didn’t pass them on the way here, meaning they’re heading north or west, most likely. Enclave territory. The Enclave won’t have much use for them; maybe take them in as serfs. Probably feed them better than they managed here.

“Crazy he calls me / Sure I’m crazy / Crazy in love, you’ll see.”

I stumble toward the nearest house, turning off Galaxy News Radio, ready to flop down on a mattress and pass out. Then I stop and give the town another look. Sure, some of the doors have been ripped off their hinges and the entire town reeks of sweet burnt flesh. But the buildings are largely intact. There’s a major road that passes a few hundred feet nearby and an intact cistern. And I know the folks from Little Town will send someone else by eventually.

“Like the wind that shakes the bough / he moves with a smile …”

Laying down my .30-06, I return to the bridge that leads into town. I grab the gatepost, squatting down and reaching between my feet, and lift. I struggle with it for a good thirty seconds, the awkward weight of the chain-link gate swinging the post erratically. Then I finally push it past my chest and up over my head. Walking it forward, I push it all the way upright until it slides back into the hole it was knocked out of. Big Town has a gate again.

“The difficult, I’ll do right now / the impossible will take a little while …”

10 Comments on “The Impossible Will Take A Little While”

  1. Ryan #

    It’s very true: after playing so many hours of Fallout 3, I can’t stand not to hear Three Dog on the radio. It’s too quiet. Even in the deserted metro stations, I have to have it playing. Also, I’m now a big fan of the Ink Spots.


  2. Punning Pundit #

    My first playthrough, I didn’t repair the radio station, and thus spent a lot of time listening to Enclave Radio. It was actually a rather effective bit of propaganda…


  3. Eric #

    “People who are genuinely unsatisfied with civilization don’t write big band music. They write punk.”

    Sorry, but that’s just an embarrassingly bad line. Grow up.


  4. Perich #

    @Eric: You’re totally right! “Dissatisfied,” rather than “unsatisfied,” would have worked much better. Thank you.


  5. odeed #

    “My first playthrough, I didn’t repair the radio station, and thus spent a lot of time listening to Enclave Radio. It was actually a rather effective bit of propaganda…”

    Yeah, I actually found myself thinking, ‘maybe these guys aren’t so bad after all,’ Eton sounds so calm, and kindly.


  6. AtomicRed #

    I love Fallout 3 and reading this article makes it more appealing. Keep up the good work.


  7. Sheelagh the vault dweller #

    Very interesting piece.

    However, while it might help make your point, you’re wrong about humanity dying in the Fallout universe. Out west, the NCR has a population of 700,000 along with railroads, factories, electricity, a well-organised army and a police force. While the Capital Wasteland is more lawless, there’s no shortage of people there either (Vault 101, at least, has the lack of genetic viability, something the Overseer admits)

    What are your thoughts of on Enclave Radio? Broadcasting stirring speeches and patriotic songs across the devastated remnants of the nation? Trying to rally the people by talking about stuff they’ll have never experienced, like baseball games? I have to admit, I support the Enclave. Not because of the propaganda, but because of the truth. They have the biggest, most advanced army in the Capital Wasteland. Who better to get rid of the raiders and super mutants (you see patrols in lots of areas doing just this), to use their resources to let people get on with rebuilding instead of just surviving?


  8. perich OTI Staff #

    @Sheelagh: good points. I don’t know that the Fallout developers have commented explicitly on the long-term future of the human species in their universe. And they probably don’t intend to. So maybe things aren’t hopeless!

    However, an industrial society (like the NCR and the Enclave are trying to recreate) requires an industrial population base to labor in support of it. 700,000 people may be enough to support a civilization with railroads and factories, but I suspect that’s cutting it really close. London circa 1900 had 6.7 million people. Presuming (pure seat of my pants guesswork) that 15% of them worked in blue collar labor, that’s at least 1 million souls keeping the trains running on time.

    Also, bear in mind when I talk about “the end of the human species,” I mean on an ecological scale of time. It took the last Cretaceous dinosaurs at least a million years to die off. Humans have wrecked the planet far worse in Fallout 3, but even the most pessimistic estimates would give the human race another, say, two thousand years of life.


  9. Sheelagh the vault dweller #

    @Perich: Good points too. Don’t forget that the Fallout universe is more advanced than ours, and so automation (specifically robots and AIs) can take care of a lot of tasks. They also have huge advantages in the form of their fusion power sources which means electricity isn’t something that needs as much effort dedicated to it. I suspect this is part of the explanation for how (as my other half wondered) all the lights in the subways and sewers still work – every so often, you come across a small reactor humming away happily in a utility room, as it has done for the last two centuries.

    As we never get to see the NCR running (apart from the capital city) up close it’s hard to say just how well it all works but I’d imagine that it must. Certainly in Fallout 2, the various independent settlements all had a speciality they traded (Modoc had produce, Vault City medicine, Redding gold, Broken Hills uranium, Gecko power, San Francisco weapons) for the stuff they lacked.

    A lot of folks have said that Fallout 3’s nuclear devastation would be more befitting of a world 2 years after the war, not 200. After two centuries, many plant species would have started to regrow and certainly we wouldn’t still have a desert… Point Lookout gives a more realistically overgrown setting. It’s also mentioned that once you get about 50 miles out to sea, the ocean is largely as it is now (and no doubt getting better, given there’s no trawlers scooping up everything in huge nets).


Add a Comment