Blinding light forces Danny’s eyes shut to the point he felt his retina’s searing from the beating heat above. As the platform was coming to it’s final halt on the surface, he attempted to open his eyes ever so slightly, the pain giving into him made his eyelids open at their slowest pace.
Vision blurry, either way what was going to come into view eventually was something Danny dreaded to come to terms with, he couldn’t help but feel completely broken by his first sight of his old home.
“My god, they really blew it up” his words soft and fragile as a dust flake coming off his hair.
Gripping tightly around the grasp of his security baton, Danny didn’t learn much that stuck from the military but this one advice was universal to any soldier from anywhere, ‘remember your army training’.
Grabbing for his pistol, he crossed his left arm using it as a stabilizer for the barrel that held the pistol in his right. Proceeding to slowly take in everything he saw, he edged around in a full circle keeping the barrel pointed straight, scanning his environment for any sudden moves. His timid self brought out the skittishness in him, keeping alert until he came for a stop, nothing happened.
With his immediate perimeter established, the next step for Danny was scouting, he walked up to the ledge side of the cliff looking yonder at broken power lines, the skyline to Boston city and of course Sanctuary Hills laid in ruins before him. The water probably was most likely still irradiated but the air smelt fine enough, Danny lacked a gas mask as it was so he thought maybe if he needed a drink it couldn’t get any worse for him but he was still reluctant about the thought of even trying a sip. The cigarettes scrunching around within the vault suit had really made Danny desperate for a smoke, but without a lighter there was little luck.
It dawned on Danny to reflect on the next step of military training, ‘salvage anything useful’. Turned back to the platform, there was a small control room, some crates that didn’t look like the army didn’t have time to airlift and a worker’s pod to the left down the path away from the rusted crane and broken parked vehicles.
To his surprise there were still some medical supplies in a first aid box, some looked untouched but a few dirtied pieces of torn note were added inside.
“Willow, circle back if you find this and STAY ALIVE”
Thinking they were probably long gone by now, he moved on surveying the crates riddled with empty Nuka Cola bottles around it. Nothing but scrap but he figured maybe taking apart a toaster could salvage some spare springs if his own pistol fails on him, he had nothing to work with so Danny was left with the less subtle option of smashing things and prying them open. The other crates he presumed were military stock turned out to be a false guess, instead finding things that brought about thoughts of riot, there were Molotov Cocktails and luckily enough were stashed away some Rad Away hidden at the bottom.
Rad Away were medical supplies from the past, society dealt regularly with radiation to the point they had a treatable manner, it was mostly a serum in a blood pack written ‘Rad Away’ in plain letters but Danny was relieved to see those words knowing he could treat himself tonight.
Danny dug further in the construction workman’s pod for salvage. Found a broken desktop fan, the screws were in rather good shape so he again less subtly was left with little choice then to break it further. He looked around, the computer terminal had it’s screen removed and in it’s place was a switchblade poking through the frame, he wriggled it out seeing it as useful to keep by his side. Danny’s attention was caught, almost salivating in his mind about what he had just found, a can of actual cram; sealed ham With it at least he was assured he wouldn’t go starving tonight, as he walked down the trail he came to meet the sight of rusted out car’s of his former neighbors and the luggage still lying there from that dreaded day.
Nothing useful was left in the luggage, just a suit from the past but surprisingly despite the weather and everything that’s happened, Danny couldn’t fault Vault-Tec for making such a comfortable jumpsuit; just regretted the lack of pocket space.
Feeling his fingers along the linings of the suit, the corner of his eye caught something vague, something floating. It took a few seconds to put two and two together before he dropped the suit and went running towards his old house, now in dilapidated ruins.
“Codsworth… is it really you?”
“Sir! As I live and breathe… It’s… it’s really you!”
In a state of disbelief, Danny tried to keep it together without wanting to break on Codsworth, he felt tired and completely devoid of energy to walk any further outside Sanctuary.
“My God… they did it. Those bastards really did it. Everything’s dead.”
Codsworth’s eye-socket’s bobbed up and down recalibrating which was his way of showing the expression of perplexity.
“Everything’s dead? Ah yes, the garden.The posies have been problematic, I admit.”
Danny shook his head putting his fingers on his forehead with the frustration he had in trying to explain what he meant to a robot. He started simple.
“Codsworth, listen to me closely, have you seen Shaun?”
“Not since last time I saw him with you, sir. Perhaps mum has him… where is your better half by the by?”
Danny’s voice croaked as he tried to regurgitate the words up from his mouth.
“She… she’s dead.”
Codsworth rushed into a mode of mental safety claiming his owner was in need of a distraction. He suggested that perhaps they play a game of checkers, or perhaps charades since he knew Shaun did love that game very much.
“Codsworth? are you feeling alright?” asking out of concern.
In a lapse of social etiquette programing breaking down, Codsworth scrapped the logs in his mind and started speaking in a truer manner.
“I-I… Oh it’s just been horrible sir. 200 years with nobody to serve, nobody! I tried scrubbing the floors but nothing get’s out nuclear fallout from vinyl wood, nothing! And don’t get me started about the futility of dusting a collapsed house. And the car! the car! How do you polish rust!?!”
Danny had enough of this, his frustrations had reached their limits and he grabbed Codsworth, shaking him by his chassis.
“Stop it already, focus! …wait, did you say 200 years?”
Making sniveling sounds, Codsworth did as he was told and responded.
“A bit over 210 actually sir. Give or take a little for the Earths rotation and some minor dings to the ol’ chronometer.”
Danny receded himself into denial, his hands shaking as he looked down on them whilst responding to Codsworth.
“No. No, thats not possible, I wasn’t out for that long… not 200 years.”
Codsworth hovered over inside the house, returning with a holotape in one of his mechanical arms.
“I did find this holotape while you were gone, sir. I believe the missus was going to present it to you. As a surprise. But then, well… everything happened.”
Danny retrieved it from Codsworth, slowly bringing it up to eye level as he saw the paper beneath the sticky tape reading “Hi Honey”. Danny shedding a tear down his cheek, the droplet sinking off the tape.
“Thanks Codsworth, at least it’s something”.
“Let it serve as a reminder, sir, of happier times. Now enough feeling sorry for ourselves, shall we survey the neighborhood? perhaps Shaun hasn’t made it that far”
Codsworth remained on standby watching for any threat, with two of them now at least Danny felt a little at ease that he could go inside his old house and take a look around.
Everything’s been rusted in a way or another, no pure shade of white was ever left without a dirt mark attached to it.
Danny noticed in the kitchen that his shopping list on the fridge still stayed intact but someone along time ago drank the milk and Nuka Cola inside leaving empty bottles. The faucet didn’t leak any water left into the sink, it was a long shot. Walking down the hallway, Danny kept looking for an excuse to reminisce, his eyes filled with tear droplets at what he had now just a ruin for the new world. Empty cans of food were filled inside Codsworth’s ‘Mr Handy’s Assembly box’, it was nothing but trash now where ever he looked, only being slightly peak’d in Shaun’s room the cribs was mostly intact but nobody ever touched Shaun’s “You’re Special” baby book. Danny held it close to his chest, he kept thinking ‘if I was just a little luckier, we could’ve came out of the vault as a family’.
“I’m coming for you, my son. I’ll bring you home safe and sound” Danny whispered under his breath.
He had enough time to collect himself, meeting Codsworth out in the yard he drew his security baton as him and his robot walked house to house in a remote attempt of finding any clue about Shaun.
“Mr Danny! Shaun’s not here either, I’m afraid this whole search never ended as happy as I thought it would?”
Danny squeezing his baton hard as he looses his composure in front of Codsworth.
“Happy!?! this whole thing was a fucking waste of time!”
“I only wanted to help, sir! M-maybe you could try Concord? I’ve seen people in that area, and they’ve only tried to beat me with sticks”
“I like the sound of these guys already” he muttered sarcastically.
Yawning from sleepiness, Danny was ready to call it a day soon and pull up the sofa as he would need to get up early the next day bright and early to get the early start on Concord.
He set up his Pip-Boy with an alarm clock for six A.M the next morning. His old military beret was ironically the only thing left that was still his from the house, he used it as a pillow for the night.