Fallout

To the Trolls Whose Camps I Visited

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Tonight, I was hunting. Hunting for any traces of serums I could purchase to make my life traversing the Wasteland just that much easier. Hunting for convenience. For help.

When I found the first trap camp, the first unmarked one I had ever encountered, I was only mildly suspicious. But, I reasoned, in two years of playing I've never seen one. Why would this be any different? And then I saw them, through the haze of a smoke machine and a tiny, cramped hallway. Four Slocum's Joe vendors, tempting me. Taunting me, with their shiny donuts spinning above their clean, honest-looking heads. Their jaunty tunes telling me all is well and right, and that I can do this.

I could not.

I died, alone and disappointed with myself, with you, with the entire Wasteland.

I respawned. But you already had my junk.

You appeared through the smoke, sending me emotes of hearts, beckoning me forwards into what I now knew was a hallway hiding stacks upon stacks of punji boards in the walls. You tried to lure me, not realizing I had already fallen to them. I knew you had my junk, and that I would not be getting it back. So I left, to continue my search elsewhere.

I entered the second camp to find a similar scene. Four Slocum's Joe vendors at the end of TWO cramped hallways this time. I knew what to look for now, the telltale edges of punji stacks clipping through the walls, not entirely obscured by the smoke machines. I took the one that didn't have a blind corner, slamming stimpak after stimpak through my armor and jumping, until I was fortunate enough to land on the counter of one of the vendors.

SUCCESS!

I had done it! I had avoided the other punji boards and flamethrowers placed to kill those lucky enough make it past the hallways. I had conquered the trap camp, and I would have my rewards. I was promised cheap items, or rare ones, or both.

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But your vendors were packed with overpriced, common items. Bulked out with garbage to make those like myself assume there would be something to gain from making the attempt.

I won't lie. I was put out. So, I did what I could from atop the vendors. As you both ran around behind me trying to lay more traps, I waved. I waved, and I set off your flamethrowers to destroy your own punji boards, and I laughed. I laughed, and I waited. And finally.

Finally.

I decided to plug in my mic.

You left your party chat when you saw my screenname light up that I was speaking. I wasn't though. I was still laughing.

You spoke to me first, and I responded. It was obvious we didn't know what to think of each other. Would I be angry you tricked me? Would be angry that I outmaneuvered you?

Oddly enough, neither of us were angry. You admitted you simply enjoy trolling people, and I gently suggested you at least put something worth buying at a decent price in your vendors. Please.

You were nicer than I expected, and asked me to follow you upstairs when I said I was heading out to continue my search for serums. I was… skeptical, to say the least. But we had talked for a bit, and you seemed ok. So, I followed.

You led me to your chemistry bench, and asked which serums I was looking for. "Herd Mentality." I replied. "Two. My friend and I both want to use it."

You crafted me the two serums and dropped them at my feet, asking if I was sure that was all I needed. You could craft all of them. Just let you know if there was anything else. I thanked you, but there was nothing else. My search was complete.

And I left with a little bit more faith in the Wasteland. Even the ugly parts.

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