A while back I decided to look into what happened before the Vault 76 door opened in part because I thought my character should know. One of the bigger projects was trying to get a grasp of the timeline, not just what and when but also why it mattered(or if it even did). I started looking for notes and entries that had dates, and tried to use those as much as I could to find dates for notes and entries without by looking for references to the same events. So far the only way I found the date of the Battle of Huntersville was through a random mention on a terminal(Order of Mysteries).
Carol Sweeney's Scattered Journal Pages don't offer a lot of solid dates to "important" events in Appalachia, but I think the reason I spent so much time going over it and kept coming back to it was the timeframe of the Journal as a whole. See, Carol Sweeney was a Raider who left because of the Christmas Flood of '82, and her first entry is from January 2083 – and her final entry is in Spring of 2097, after Morgantown Airport fell(November 2096, Claire Hudson's Terminal AVR Clinic).
Only a couple years later she sees a giant bat crawl out of a crack in the ground, like something out of an issue of Awesomely Astounding Tales. She also meets a Brotherhood of Steel Knight named Melissa(Reische, Big Bend Tunnel East terminal) and after a few visits Melissa asks her about her community – and for Carol it's a powerful moment. They had always just been Raiders that fled after the Christmas Flood hiding in fear with no future, but maybe they could have a future, maybe, there was hope.
There wasn't. In the fifth entry she finds Melissa and her squad gone, no bodies and all their gear left behind. The best they could do now was to lay traps and hide deeper in Big Bend, waiting for the end. I do find it entirely bizarre that there's not cross reference between the Fire Breather Operation at Big Bend in October of 2096 and Carol's Journal, not even on her last page in spring of 2097. In that final entry she talks about some people fleeing from the mountains, final survivors after the Scorched had wiped out everyone else. This final page may be the first one you find, not far into Big Bend Tunnel if you enter from the West entrance.
Appalachia was devastated after the bombs fell in 2077, but the Christmas Flood of 2082 began sense of mistrust and hopelessness that sealed fate. In the last days, this conflict that was escalated by the Flood between the Raiders and the Responders is what stopped any last hope of holding off the Scorched Plague – the same event that drove Carol Sweeney and many others to abandon their life as Raiders. Her journal covers this stretch of time from the catalyst of the downfall to the final days and I think that along with the human nature of her entries is what makes it stand out so much to me.
Without condoning her past as a Raider, after they left they simply scavenged and traded trying to live out their lives like everyone else and I think her journal gives some sense of that. They even maintained a (generally)positive relationship with Melissa and her squad. There are plenty of notes about people in the action and directly involved, but this journal is of just a random bystander across the wild ride that Appalachia goes through from 2083 to 2097 – and I really like that.
I went over it so much that I made a video essay about it just because it felt like the thing to do – I wouldn't recommend watching it except my fiancee was kind enough to narrate the notes and that's like the one thing the video has going for it. I realized this journal was important to my understanding of Fallout 76 when I started making that video, otherwise why would I even bother. One of my favorite experiences in Fallout 76 has been piecing together the past, and the emptiness of Appalachia for the first year really lent itself well to that.
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