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1. Do you consider yourself average? I think I’d like to be. I’m not, obviously, even if I wasn’t 200+ years out of time most people don’t have the kind of mess I have in my head. But there are some times, usually when I’m with others, friends, or just others in a settlement and we’re all doing something together- or even just our own things, in the same space, and it all just feels… right. like I’m part of some larger whole, not any more important than anyone, just- part of. I love that feeling.

2. Are aliens real? Yes. They are also assholes. What the fuck were they doing on Earth anyway? Was it just some sort of sick horror-tourism? ‘Oh, let’s go and laugh at the stupid earthlings and their irradiated planet?’’ Assholes. Serves them right for crashing.

3. What do you associate with the color green? Do you think of certain emotions or smells? It feels- ambiguous. Maybe I’m just used to the Commonwealth now, where everything is more brown and yellow. I like Far Harbor, and that’s plenty green, but then that’s mixed with grey from the sky and fog. I think if I was ever in a completely green place again, I’d probably feel very uncomfortable, or even have a panic attack. Green is the color of growing things, but it’s also the color of the old world. I’m not sure I want to see that again.

4. Have you ever lost somebody you love? Fortunately no. Everyone I lost are remembered as strangers, or my memories of them are so enmeshed with their betrayal that I can’t say I ‘love’ them any more. I’ve lost people I’ve cared about since coming out of 111, but thankfully no one I’ve loved.

5. Who do you hate the most? Why? *grits teeth* Shaun Brooks. *shuts up, just saying the name’s dredged up a world of white hot, sick emotion that’ll take hours to calm down again*

6. Does anybody hate you? Probably most of the Brotherhood of Steel and the entirety of Institute survivors. Not that there are many. I’ve made sure of that.

7. How many followers do you have? *Nate winces at the choice of words* I don’t have followers. I have friends. I supposed technically I lead the Minutemen, but really that’s Preston’s job and one day I’ll get him to take on that position in name as well as in spirit. I don’t like leading, I’m always afraid we’ll all end up in a ditch.

8. When was the last time you actually felt confident about yourself? Pretty often? Usually when I’m doing something I know I’m good at. Making a sniper shot, building something. Or when I’m dressed up, I got together with Piper and Curie and Hancock after we got our hands on a good stock of prewar cosmetics, afterwards, I felt I could just- take on the entire world and walk away still looking fabulous. Everyone should try it, it’s great.

9. Describe yourself in one sentence. This is good.

10. When was the last time somebody told you they love you? Well, if we’re not counting twenty minutes ago when Dogmeat slobbered all over my dress which I’m sure means doggy love- that would have been Nick, last night. I think he thought I was asleep. He’s self conscious about declarations like that.

11. When was the last time you told somebody you love them? Um, I’m not shy about declarations like that. At all. I think about an hour ago and that already seems like too long. *wanders off to find Nick*

12. Do you have any pets? Lots :) Sturges and I have set up a few cat traps to get Sanctuary a few mousers, and they have been entirely useless since everyone spoils them, myself included. Of course, I also have Dogmeat, but he feels like more of a friend than a pet.

13. Have you changed personality wise since you were a kid? How so? I’m more outgoing, certainly. I used to be more withdrawn before. Something about being an awkward, socially uncertain overweight kid. Yes, overweight. Hard to imagine now, right? I started growing more extroverted as I grew up and hit my growth spurt, and now I’ve stopped caring what people think entirely. No one cares any more, it’s hugely liberating to be able to be yourself entirely, full bore and down to the hilt.

14. Where do you feel safest? With my friends, and Nick in particular, but if we’re talking about a physical place in the world- the Glowing Sea. Which probably is another mark against my being in any way sane to most people but really, think about it. Thanks to the help of some friends at the Nucleus, I’m fairly resistant to radiation. The Glowing Sea is so blasted that absolutely nothing can sneak up on me, which is the biggest risk I face when going out. Finally, anything pre-war has been razed long ago, so in terms of avoiding panic attacks it’s by far the safest place in the Commonwealth.

15. What’s your biggest fear? I still have nightmares about going back- how I was before the war. But that’s impossible since the pills had a one year shelflife so even if someone managed to find any they’d probably just poison me. I suppose it would center around the Institute. So many of my friends and loved ones are synths that I can’t even- consider what would- *Nate breaks off, stares into space for a bit, then quietly walks away to fix a water purifier*

16. Do you consider yourself to be healthy? No. And no one who looks at me is going to think that either. I’d like to be, and maybe as the years go by I’ll find new ways around my food issue, but right now all I can do is try and mitigate the worst of the damage.

17. Have you ever had to see somebody for issues regarding your mental health? Once, and after what happened that time if anyone offered I’d run screaming for the hills. I can theoretically see the benefit, and it would be nice to talk to someone who had a clue about eating disorders and trauma, but if they were running on pre-war studies they’d just get stuck on the whole ‘homosexuality’ thing again, and I haven’t met anyone who’d trying a post war approach to mental health. Then again, I haven’t looked. I wonder if someone at the Nucleus could combine spiritual and mental health support?

18. Do you love yourself? Why or why not? I think so. I’m a pretty good person, I think. Hell, if Nick loves me I must be doing something right, and even when I’m doing something less than moral, it’s nothing I can’t look myself in the mirror for afterwards.

19. Do you like school? What elements of school do you like which ones do you not? I went to a pretty poor school. It’s still standing, actually, you might know it. It’s the one with the pink ghouls. No, they hadn’t rolled out the pink paste initiative when I went there, but there were other, equally stupid ways of raising money. 

I remember one time our maths textbooks were sponsored by Nuka Cola, so all the problems were variations on ‘how much delicious bubbling Nuka Cola Cherry™ would it take to fill a 20x60x5 swimming pool?’ or ‘if happy, satisfied Nuka Cola delivery worker Jim unloads 24 crates of tasty new refreshing Nuka Cola Quantum every four and a half hours, how long would it take him to unload 100 crates before his slipped disc goes and he discovers he doesn’t have health insurance?’ Okay, I added the last bit but come on. There’s a reason I only drink Vim. 

Luckily, that school seemed to be a dumping ground for teachers too kind and talented or incorruptible to be hired anywhere else in that hellscape, so yeah, they were really great and the main reason I got into CIT to begin with.

20. Do you have any strange seemingly useless talents? Literary criticism. Entirely useless, but the Nucleus has a small library and Ware, Devin and I have been setting up a sort of book club. It’s nice to have some people to discuss the symbolism of birds in post apocalyptic fiction who won’t just laugh at me or give me weird looks. Nick plays along but I know he thinks my taste in books is strange. He likes talking about sci-fi and crime fiction though, so that’s fun.

21. Do you understand yourself? It’s a little hard to understand myself when so much of my memory is missing. I can usually piece things together for inference, and a lot of what I’ve lost is not something I want to remember, but there are some things that are still a huge question mark in my life. Such as why I can’t eat more than two bites or so of solid food. Or why the first time I got into a Vertibird I nearly threw myself out while it was airborn- and would have, if Nick hadn’t grabbed the back of my coat. Or why I nearly drank an old bottle of bleach I found at the back of my old house in Sanctuary- and then spent the rest of the night tearing that place to pieces. There are a lot of reactions I have, entire parts of myself, that I just don’t have the context to understand.

22. How much did you sleep last night? About ten hours? I can’t afford skimp on any other vital living processes so sleep is a priority.

23. Are you taking care of yourself? It’s an ongoing job. Luckily, I have support. Curie helps me plan out balanced meals around what I can eat so I at least don’t suffer malnutrition on top of basically starving. As I said above, I try and make up for food with plenty of water and sleep.

24. What do you regret? I- I can’t regret. Nothing pre-war. Even going to that club. It would just have been prolonging the inevitable anyway, and even if I wasn’t caught- what would have happened to me then? I was at CIT. You know, the Institute. Either I’d have been murdered or I’d have become as morally bankrupt as the rest of them. It was a horrible path to walk and I’ll be paying for it for the rest of my life but at the end of the day I’m here. I’m alive and more or less in one piece and I’m living a life I could never have dreamed of before. I wouldn’t change anything if it means there’s a chance I wouldn’t be here now. This is good.
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who is more likely to hurt the other?

Probably Nate directly, he can be a bit insensitive at times, and can blunder well meaning into emotional minefields. Nick more indirectly, his disregard for himself is painful to watch, and it hurts Nate for than anything in this new world.

who is emotionally stronger?

They are both very emotionally strong people. I think it would depend on what pressures would be put on them. Nate can withstand pain probably better than Nick, and can hold out better against torments directed at him. However, he wouldn’t be able to hold out against attacks to the people he loves. If someone threatened to hurt Nick, Nate would crumple completely, whereas Nick would be able to hold out.

who is physically stronger?

Oh Nick, definitely. Nate is actually pretty frail, due to his problems with food. Nick is still pretty sturdy, despite his age, and after he allows Nate to do a bit of maintenance, is much stronger than most humans.

who is more likely to break a bone? 

Nate. He does his best to keep his body in the best health he can, but in the end he’s still struggling to survive on starvation rations. However much milk he managed to keep down, he’s very aware he’s one bad fall away from a lot of broken bones.

who knows best what to say to upset the other? 

Oh Atom, that would be ugly. It’s hard to say, they are both so aware of each other’s pasts that it’s quite frightening how much damage they could do. Probably Nick, if it came down to it, but there is no other way they could hurt each other so much, even if they drew guns and opened fire. It would be the biggest, most unforgivable betrayal.

who is most likely to apologise first after an argument? 

Nate, most likely. He’s more used to it since he’s pretty often making blunders. Nick is a little more reluctant, as he’s a bit less ready to admit immediate fault, but he certainly will apologise, and make more of a deal of it than Nate. 

who treats who’s wounds more often? 

Usually Nate, actually. Nate’s own injuries tend to be easier to treat, a quick bandage and a stimpack is enough, and often he’s finished treating himself by the time Nick reaches him after a fight. Nick can’t always use stimpacks though, if the damage is more than skin deep, and sometimes needs help patching up hard to reach wires and bent metal struts.

who is in constant need of comfort? 

Nate, though he certainly isn’t a slouch in returning the favor. Nate’s needs are more obvious though, since he’s pretty useless in hiding his emotions. He’s fairly easy to look after, however, and Nick is getting pretty good at pre-empting what he needs, and dealing with any flashbacks or bad nights. Nick is more private, has issues that are less flashfire than Nate’s, but slow burning and constant. And a lot of things that Nate does- giving flowers, constant praise and declarations of love and just being an endless romantic- help him in return.

who gets more jealous? 

Nate. Nick does feel jealous at times, but Nate is pretty obvious in how he feels about him and it’s very hard to feel too insecure when you’re being given posies of flowers and having your boyfriend telling you pretty much daily how much he loves you. But Nick- has more of a past than Nate, and maybe a part of why Nate wants Nick to leave his human memories behind is that he’s sick of competing with the ghost of Jenny Lands. Nick is also a bit of a flirt, and Nate has a particularly withering death glare for when that happens. Irma still hasn’t looked him in the eye since.

who’s most likely to walk out on the other? 

It’s not really something that either of them do. Nate usually want to talk out an argument, and while Nick might shut that down if it’s just going to make things worst, he’s more likely to light up a cigarette as a pretext not to talk, and take a few minutes to sort out his thoughts and for both of them to calm down before trying to patch things up.

who will propose? 

Probably Nick, but that’ll take some time. Nate would want to, but after the trainwreck of his last wedding, he would wrestle with the conflicting urge to make that traditional gesture, or to let that last gasp of the old world to die with the rest. Nick would have to overcome his own self doubt substantially in order to do this, and then try and think of a way of proposing, and a marriage in general, that would suit them both and not feel like a farce to himself, or a re-tread of the worst time in his life for Nate.

who has the most difficult parents?

Well, Nate’s are dead, and Nick can’t even remember human Nick’s, so by default that would leave the Institute so- yes. Nick. Holy fuck.

who initiates hand-holding when they’re out in public? 

Nate, although Nick is becoming more and more comfortable in initiating it when they’re in friendly company (Goodneighbour, Sanctuary, or Arcadia). Nate doesn’t care and will happily take Nick’s hand (or kiss, or hug, or-) on the Prydwen. Because fuck you Brotherhood of steel.

who comes up for the other all the time? 

Not entirely sure what that mean? Both of them, probably, they’re attentive and care deeply for each other.

who hogs the blankets? 

It doesn’t really happen since Nate is the only one to need blankets, and if he’s cold, he’ll happily latch on to Nick like a limpet, since Nick basically radiates heat from his various processors.

who gets more sad? 

This can be hard since they are both prey to intense emotions, but in different ways. Nate tends to get hit by emotions as sudden and overwhelming as storms, which leave him completely prostrate, but pass in a short period of time and he can waver back to his own, rather happier self in a few hours. Nick’s are deeper, and much harder to shake. Something he carries inside him for days or even weeks. It’s the worst time, and in those times Nate wants nothing more than to reach inside Nick and pull out whatever sick, festering thing in inside Nick’s head.

who is better at cheering the other up? 

Nick. He’s very good at turning Nate’s mind away from whatever horrible thought or memory he’s caught up in, and getting him stable and on an upward keel. Nate feels utterly useless, when Nick is in a black mood. Can only try and distract him, keep him occupied with cases, and try and assure him that Nate loves him and cares for him and will always, always be there. It feels completely pointless, and Nick wishes he could tell Nate just how valuable these things are to him, and how much good it does him.

who’s the one that playfully slaps the other all the time after they make silly jokes?

Oh wow, if they did that they would never, ever stop. Nick is constantly making deadpan remarks or just general snark, and Nate is always ready with some weird pre-war reference or literary joke. I’d say whatever poor person is stuck with them is liable to lose it and just slab both of them silly. Piper and Cait have been driven to this more than once. Preston just looks around helplessly and wishes he were somewhere else. Dogmeat whines in embarassment. Curie tries to join in which just makes it worse.

who is more streetwise?

Nick. He’s been around more, he knows the Commonwealth. Nate is also rather more naive generally, which Nick loves, but does have to watch out for in case Nate gets caught up in something ugly like the Brotherhood of Steel Nate, really what were you thinking?

who is more wise?

Both of them, but in different ways. They are both rather thoughtful people on the whole, Nick is more practical, but Nate tends to have some very good insights as to people’s motivations and some views that Nick might not have considered.

who’s the shyest? 

Neither of them are exactly shy, but Nate is definitely more outgoing and open. Nick is personable, but usually finds himself taking a more background role, smiling as Nate chats and puts himself around enthusiastically.

who boasts about the other more? 

Nate. If you get him started He. Will. Not. Shut. Up. To the point Nick really wishes he would. Nate has a few topics he can talk about for hours, but at least he warns people first before going into a spiel about Atom. With Nick, it’ll be all ‘Nick is awesome Nick is so brave Nick is so brilliant’ for as long as it takes for whoever it is to run away. 

Nick is a bit more controlled, but when he and Nate are out together, particularly if Nate is all dolled up in is red dress and heels and maybe a bit of makeup, Nick isn’t above glancing around smugly to see if anyone is looking. My boyfriend. Mine.

who sits on who’s lap?

Nate. He will happily hop into Nick’s lap on any pretext. He loves being close to him, loves having Nick’s arms around him. The best place in the world. Nick put up a token protest to begin with, but has long since given up. Its just too good. Nate warm and happy in his arms, curling up surprisingly small. His hair in Nick’s nose, the feel of his eyelashes fluttering against the exposed wires in his neck. Perfect.
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It’s going to be a series of various highlights from my roleplay playthrough with my Sole Survivor Nathaniel, who has such a grab bag of issues it’s not even funny. Exploring some of the nastier parts of the pre-war world, and why it might be nice to wake up in a world where these are no longer a problem.

tldr: when you set something in a 50s themed world, you don’t get to just pick the nice bits of the 50s.

World Well Worn and Gone

September 2017

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