Part 1 - Waking Up
I hope you haven't spent all the money I sent you from when I started this job. Whatever you have left, please spend the remainder wisely and frugally. Things have got complicated and I think it's going to take a while to sort out. I'll tell you more about it when I can.
Man this is a neat little thing. I can write whatever the hell I want here and encrypt it so that people can't go peeking at it. It's not perfect, but there's not many people around here with the smarts to be able to break the cypher I put on this in any short amount of time. The fact that nobody can get a hold of it in the first place without chopping my arm off is another plus. This is good, because I need a place to collect my thoughts and record what's going on that's reasonably secure. I certainly can't go saying too much about whatever's going on in my letters to Ma, because one thing that's manifestly clear is that the security of Mojave Express has been severely compromised somehow and until I get to the bottom of it I have to be careful what I send.
I'm still sending them, though. Don't really care if whoever the hell's behind this goes sending people after Ma. Let 'em! She's far enough away that anyone they send to bother her will be spending a lot of time not bothering me. If I'm lucky, it'll all be over by the time any of the letters get to her.
I woke up in a strange room with the worst headache of my life.
It was like the aftermath of a beer and whiskey bender times a thousand. An old man asks me my name. He seems nice enough and between being shot in the head and being concious for the first time in two days
I wasn't in a state of mind to think of a lie, so I tell him straight out.
He remarks it's not what he'd have called me and brother I couldn't agree more. I can't even begin to tell you how much trouble and bad jokes have resulted from it.
For instance, the pre-war mirror he hands me. The voice recognition on it can't tell the difference between "Billie" and "Billy" so it shows some sort of Ayran stereotype until I give it a good thumping.
The doc looks disapprovingly at my treatment of his precious hardware, but doesn't say anything about it. In the end, I get it working right.
He gets me out of bed and asks me to take a test on some sort of machine he calls a "Vigor Tester".
It looks more like an old amusement than a piece of medical equipment but he seems insistent I humor him. In my opinion, the machine's obviously broken
, but he just sort of waves me off with a joke about how maybe being shot in the head made me smarter. The old doc seems to be into games because he asks me to sit on a couch and play some sort of word association game.
Most of it's pretty easy. I just answer with any old random nonsense that pops into my head. Until he mentions the word "Mother", at which I'm stuck for a moment as to whether I should reply with "regret" or "human shield".
With all that went on, it really wasn't the time to go bringing up the reason I was here in the first place. I settled on "regret". In the end it's probably better not to give the doc the impression that I'm some sort of dangerous lunatic just because of the bad blood between Ma and I.
He still notices I've got a problem, though. I bring up the matter of that vigor tester result. I say it can't be right because my whole life, Ma always yelled at me for being "slow in the head" but it says I'm really smart. He asks me if it takes me longer to get the hang of something compared to other people, but when I do, I'm better at it than others. I tell him yes, I guess so, but it always seems like I'm struggling to keep up and that feels an awful lot like I'm dumb as a bag of rocks. He says that being slow to learn and being stupid are two very, very different things. Says I have something called a "learning disability"
which has no effect on my overall intellect. Quite the opposite, he says. Because I take longer, I pick up on things other people rush past. I just sort of nod and agree because he's a doctor and I'm not so there's no point arguing with him.
He also played some other game where he showed me a bunch of pictures. They're all pretty unremarkable except for the last one. I really want to say it looks like two bears high fiving
, but feel like that'll make me sound immature. So I just comment that it looks rather like a lantern. After that, he seems satisfied that letting me out won't result in me or any of the locals getting killed (at least not immediately). So he hands me back my stuff as well as his old Pip-Boy, which is why I've got this thing to write on now.
When he hands me the gun, I get this feeling of helplessness. It's weird, because guns are supposed to make you feel more powerful. Instead, I just start sort of crying and jabbering about how I just kept it for scaring off critters and hoped if I pointed it at bad people they'd back off. But when I tried to threaten the guy in the funny suit he just laughed and punched me in the head. He gives me a look of pity and tells me to talk to Sunny Smiles in the Saloon
, says she can help me learn how to cope better in the desert. I thank him profusely. I'm still so young and haven't been out in the world so long and there's so much I still don't understand. I tell him I'll go and see her right away.