October 29th, 2287
After escaping Skinny Malone and his bumbling goons, Nick Valentine and I ran back to Diamond City under the cover of night. Thankfully, with targets harder to see, people get a lot less trigger happy. Of course Ellie was ecstatic. She’s a cute kid, and I’m fairly certain she has a crush on our mutual robot friend. He was all business though, and wanted to take down my case as soon as we were back at his office.
Reliving that moment when my baby was stolen was…rough. To say the least. But I gave them every detail I possibly could. What the man and woman were wearing, how they talked, what they said. And his face. With that bald head and that nasty scar across his left eye. Not dissimilar to the scar I have now from that monster that attacked me in the power suit. As soon as I mentioned the scar, Ellie and Nick both went quiet.
“You don’t think–?” Ellie trailed off.
“What? Who is it? Give me a name, goddammit!” I demanded.
Apparently he’s a big bad with lots of money, but nobody knows who he works for. Which means he almost certainly works for the Institute. And he was last seen with a kid! Although, the kid was 10-years-old and not an infant. But somehow, I can’t really explain it, but somehow I know it’s my Shaun. I don’t know what the Institute would want with my kid. Or why I would be considered the “back up” if something went wrong. Or why he would be 10 instead of a newborn now. All I have is more questions and no solid answers.
Nick suggests we find a way into Kellogg’s old house here at Diamond City. Along the walk he tells me he didn’t want to make Ellie worry, but Kellogg is probably the worst possible person to have taken my kid. I tell him it doesn’t matter if Jesus Christ himself showed up to take my kid from me. I’m going to find him, and I’m going to get my baby back.
The lock on the ramshackle house is too strong for either of us to pick. Way nicer than anything I’ve seen out here. Halfheartedly, Nick suggests I just ask the mayor if I can have the keys. He obviously doesn’t know how persuasive I can be under desperate situations. I dust off a relatively clean suit I took off one of those dead gangsters and make myself presentable before heading to the mayor’s office.
I find Piper, that journalist I met when I first got here, arguing with the secretary. Seems the politicians around here really have a problem with her. Which means she’s probably somebody I need to become friends with. But I don’t have time for that now. I need those keys.
“Oh yes! Our new arrival, how can I help you ma’am?”
“I just wanted to thank you for your recommendation. Nick Valentine has been invaluable in helping me track down my missing baby. In fact, we already have our first suspect. But I need your help to investigate his home. I know it’s been abandoned.”
He tries to give me a song and dance about the privacy of his citizens and whatever other fluffy bullshit he can think of. But when I look him dead in the eye, and beg him to help me find my baby, he finally caves.
Kellogg’s house is nearly empty. Just a desk and a mattress. Not exactly the kind of lair you would imagine for an evil, baby-stealing, cold-blooded killer. I notice a strange wire going from the desk to the ceiling, and sure enough there’s a button to a secret room underneath his desk.
The secret room looks like a murder dungeon out of a seedy horror film, save for a comfy leather chair. Next to it are Kellogg’s apparent creature comforts: Gwinnett Stout to drink, and San Francisco Sunlights to smoke.
He’s got good taste, I’ll give him that. Too bad he’s a fucking monster. Too bad I’m going to kill him. Too bad Dogmeat already has his scent and is leading us through the wasteland before Nick and I can even gather supplies or prepare ourselves.
I don’t care if he’s the biggest badass in the wasteland. I don’t care if I barely have enough bullets for these shitty guns I can barely aim. I don’t care if I barely have any first aid or food or water. I’ve got my fists. I’ve got my bladed knuckles. And I’ve got my determination. I am a mama bear tracking down my cub. And Kellogg’s hours are fucking numbered whether he knows it or not.
“I am going to kill Kellogg. I am going to kill Kellogg.”
It’s all I can keep thinking as I follow Dogmeat. For nearly two days he leads us all over Kellogg’s most recent path of destruction. A railway station with a murdered man still lying there. A still-talking robot scattered in pieces, begging for death. We get attacked by rabid dogs, ghouls, a goddamn bear, and even those giant green things I saw in the church one night. Turns out their called “Super Mutants”. We pressed forward without sleeping until Dogmeat stopped in front of an old, heavily-fortified military base.
“This is it, boy,” I comforted Dogmeat as Nick and I prepared to enter the building at sunset, “I know you’ve been with me every step of the way, and I love you for it. But this guy is just too damn dangerous. I honestly don’t know if I’m going to survive this fight. So I want you to wait here. Can you do that for me, boy?”
He licks my face one last time and I give him a big hug and his favorite teddy bear. He’s the closest thing I have to a family out here until I find Shaun. I try not to cry as Nick and I go inside.
The place is crawling with Synths. They look kind of like Nick, but creepier and emotionless. Clearly designed to kill humans with laser guns and not do much else. After we kill the first couple robots, I tell Valentine I need to catch my breath.
Although I have very few Stimpaks left, I do have a lot of other drugs that I’ve been avoiding until now. But if I’m going to be killed by robots, or a professional killer who works for robots, then I’m going to be high as a kite when it happens. Especially if being high keeps me sharp after days without sleep.
I shoot down some Buffjet, which gives me a rush of energy that makes time itself slow down, and makes me feel like I could punch through a brick wall. Then I pop a few Mentats. I haven’t taken these since my old college days, but if they help you focus on an exam, they probably help you focus your aim with a gun too. Finally I washed all that down with a bottle of whiskey for liquid courage, because why-the-fuck-not at this point?
I don’t remember much of what happened right after that, but I do know a lot of synths wound up dead, and Nick and I stayed alive. I also know we managed to salvage a lot of deadly weapons and armor and other equipment as we worked our way through the base. I still had no idea how I was going to survive my fight with Kellogg, but I really didn’t give a shit anymore.
He spent the whole time taunting me over the intercom system.
“I gave you 50/50 odds of even making it to Diamond City. Never expected you to come knocking at my door.”
I didn’t think it was possible, but I hated him even more with every slimy, oily word that came out of his mouth. I wanted to strangle him until he never said another word to me or anyone else ever again.
And then I finally saw him.
He tried to pull that I’m-gonna-monologue-before-I-kill-you bullshit, because he knew I needed any information about Shaun he had. He continued to bring up my family, and how he had managed to destroy it in one instant. But once I figured the only thing he was going to tell me was the Institute had my baby, I dropped all pretense.
“If he’s at the Institute, then I’ll find a way to get there. I’m going to make you suffer, you murdering psychopath. You shot my husband right in front of me and stole my son from his arms. I wish Hell was a real place, just so I could know where I’m sending you when I’m finished with your corpse.”
One of his bodyguards made a move, so I tackled it and practically tore its head off in my drug-enhanced rage. But before I could turn my attention back to Kellogg, he’d already gone invisible with a Stealthboy. Fucking coward. Although invisibility isn’t very effective when you can’t shut the fuck up.
By the time Nick and I had him cornered, my vision was starting to go dark. I’d taken a lot of hits from his bodyguards and he’d certainly landed a few bullets in all the confusion. Time seemed to stand still for a moment.
“I’m about to die.” I thought.
I was surprisingly calm about it. I mean, I kind of knew it was going to happen inevitably. And I was nearly certain it would happen here. I started to blink my eyes more slowly. You know, I had a much longer run than I ever expected once I realized what this new world was like.
“Poor momma! Come all this way, just to die!”
And in that moment, hearing that asshole’s voice, I pulled out one of the mini-nukes I found in the military storage. Yes, as in, a miniature nuclear warhead.
If I’m going to die, then we’re all going to die.
I lobbed that thing into the furthest corner of the room, close to Kellogg. There was a bright flash just like the ones I saw before we went into the Vault. Before this whole nightmare started.
I woke up with Nick standing over me. The right side of my face, which had been facing Kellogg as I aimed, feels gummy and raw. I think I’m burned, but I’m clearly in shock because I don’t feel a thing.
“Setting off a mini-nuke inside of a building? I’ve heard of being thorough, kid, but do you think next time you could maybe take our own survival into account?”
“Yeah, and I am too. For what that’s worth. Kellogg’s not, though.”
“Lucky you’re the only one who needs Rad-Away, because we don’t have much.”
I slept on a ratty mattress on the floor for what felt like days. Nick took care of me as best he could until I could at least stand and walk out of there.
As we exited the roof, we were greeted by an honest-to-god airship. I had to make sure all those damn drugs had really worn off. I guess those Brotherhood of Steel jerks have even bigger toys than I gave them credit for. Maybe they could be useful in taking down the Institute? I don’t know, but Nick says Piper will have answers for me. So it’s a slow, painful limp back to Diamond City to lick my wounds and figure out where to go from here.