Remnants of Danny’s military service come rushing back to him as he stares blankly into his bathroom medicine cabinet’s mirror, his soulless eyes that weigh heavy on their sockets are called back to reality by his wifes encouragements.
“You’re going to knock’em dead tonight at the veteran’s hall, honey”
With those words, his hands along the razor he grasps come to a stand still from the shaking, working with his darkened neck grain, Danny musters all he can to get through the morning with a smile.
His wife Nora smiles back commenting on his fabulous lips, pointing out the softness of his skin and gently caressing her husbands waist as Danny hold’s the blade up to his sideburns. A clean shaven mug and dried off warmed black hair with applied wax shows a timid man in the mirror, the same man his former unit couldn’t believe was stuck with his ‘sorry ass’ as they pressed onward down the familiar roads of rural Boston on a familiar gray clouded day.
Along the hall and into the kitchen, the family’s ‘Mr Handy Unit’ fondly named Codsworth had just returned as scheduled from the yard to brew Danny’s daily clock work like coffee, always brewed to perfection with the zest of General Atomics finest automatics.
the mind wandering off again to guilts of the past.
As Danny sipped his brown steamy cup of coffee, the recollection seemed so vivid to him how in his twenties barely being a lad of age, the US Military tried to fit him right away with their top of the line suit of T-60 Power Armor, these United States pride and joy to revel in the battle against their non-patriotic foe, the cunning communistic Chinese. Of course, to operate Power Armor came great responsibility and the training involved to wield what was essentially a walking tank was nothing but a quick rush job. Danny quivers at the first feeling of when he was given the clear to stand up he immediately stumbled right into his Commanding officer looking dumb founded into his leering eyes that is averting downward to his power armored foot that appears to have been stepping on dropped technical war documents.
Blaring Americana commercials on the television set became Danny’s unsuspected reminder to live, the doorbell was allegedly ringing for a bit now according to Nora who’s been yelling from the bathroom to answer it.
Making his way, Danny twists the doorknob in haste ready to apologize almost immediately to who he had kept waiting at the door but before he could say such, a man in yellow trench coat styled clothing stole the first words in a chipper mood.
“Good Morning, Vault-Tec calling”
“Vault-Tec? Remind me again?” Danny still dazing in and out of recurrences.
“We’re about you sir and helping secure your future. You see, Vault-Tec is the foremost builder of state of the art underground fallout shelters, ‘vaults’ if you will. Luxury accommodations where you can wait out the horrors of nuclear devastation.”
The sales representative was pensive to add,
“You can’t begin to know how happy I am to finally speak with you. I’ve been trying for days, it’s a matter of utmost urgency, I assure you.”
“Whats so important?” he eyed him with a bit of contempt.
“Why nothing more then your future. If you haven’t noticed sir, this country has gone to heck in a hand basket, if you’ll excuse my language. The big ‘Ka-Boom’ is… it’s inevitable I’m afraid and coming sooner then you may think, if you catch my meaning?”
Stretching his hands forward, the Vault-Tec sales rep states his case.
“Now I know you’re a busy fellow so I won’t take up much of your time, time being a… precious commodity. I’m here today to tell you that because of your families service to our country, you have been pre-selected for entrance into the local vault; Vault 111.”
“Sounds Great” Danny saids, for lack of any real feelings of excitement or joy.
“Oh it is, believe you mean. Now, you’ve already been cleared for entrance in the unforeseen event of, ahem, ‘total atomic annihilation’. Now I just need to verify some identification, thats all.”
“Now I can’t wait for the world to end” in a sarcastic but unsure tone.
“Ah ha, now that’s the spirit” caught in an awkward moment.
Handing over his clipboard, Danny takes a look at the single paper clipped on whilst burrowing his pen. It’s layout was the same as a standardized school test paper, questioning in the form of a patriotic format, he ticked down the list called “S.P.E.C.I.A.L” as he went along and finally scribbled his signature at the top hand corner.
Returning the clipboard and pen to him, the representative bid good day tipping his yellow fedora and placing it on his ‘no thrills’ short cut businessman brunette hair.
“It’s peace of mind at least” Nora reassuringly supporting her husband.
Shrugging, Danny closes the door abruptly bringing himself to a startle, swearing for a split second he heard a gun shot. The loud noise of the door had awoken Sean, Danny and Nora’s infant son, still resting up in his newly fixed up baby blue crib.
Codsworth came hovering over requesting the help of calming young Sean as his metallic tools lacked the compensation of human touch.
Attending with Nora to Sean’s nursery, Danny gently moved his body over the crib giving his mobile a little spin, the happy cries of their infant son always showed that they were on the right track to hopefully being good parents.
Nora brought up to Danny whilst he teased and kept Sean’s attention.
“So honey, I was thinking perhaps we should go down to the park later today, how about it?”
“Uhm, actually I was hoping we could stay in today, you know, carve some jack o’ lanterns” Danny felt uncomfortable but knew well, today wasn’t a good day with what’s been troubling him.
“Mum, Sir… you better come see this” Codsworth beckoned.
They hurried over to see the grim face of hopeless defeatism already expressed by the news anchor on the television.
“Followed by… yes, followed by flashes. Blinding flashes. Sounds of explosions… We’re… we’re trying to get confirmation…
But we seem to have lost contact with our affiliate stations.
We… we do have coming in… confirmed reports. I repeat, confirmed reports of nuclear detonations in New York and Pennsylvania.”
“My God” nothing else but to sink his face in disbelief, the news anchor broke down in tears.
Nora quickly coordinated at a seconds notice.
“I’ll grab Sean, we must hurry to the vault”
Danny stood in shell shock as the sirens were promptly sounding off in every neighborhood, the audibly unclear steps to the pavement of his neighbor’s sprinting for their lives. Vertibird helicopters are rushing overhead the propellers can be heard in a slowed manner to him cutting close over the roof tops. Danny just stood in a gaze as the same expression fell from his face for the battle of Anchorage when Chinese soldiers para-trooped from the skies in dozens after dozens of waves, all his hands did was characteristically quiver till a misplaced finger fired the first shot of the inevitable skirmish.
“Sir”, Codsworth snapping Danny, Nora already waiting by the door with Sean.
“I’m sorry Codsworth, keep the house safe, this is goodbye”
He moved outside with his family, the neighbors unable to be accepted into the vault program leaned on each other crying into tears, some unable to comprehend their own emotions just starring at their open luggages.
With guidance of the armed militia, men stood out with laser rifles usher the last of the stragglers to the hilltop that contained the vault platform.
The Vault Tec representative was currently in front of the line, complaining profusely at the audacity he can’t believe he’s hearing.
“What do you mean I am not allowed inside!?! I am Vault-Tec, I work for them!”
“Step aside now, or I’ll be forced to shoot”
“I’m reporting this!” he runs off cowardly.
Danny with his wifes hand joined, he squeezes to the front of the line.
“We need to get in! we’re on the list” Danny’s gasping for breathe.
The soldier quickly skimmed and crossed off their gender and names, he waved his hand over to a martial officer in Power Armor strapped with a mini gun, he ensured their escort and the atomic blasts went off as the family of Danny, Nora and Sean barely made it onto the platform, seeing the explosive last moments as they were desperately lowered downwards shutting the bulk door on top.