On a recent pass through Diamond City, Ellie, Nick Valetine’s secretary, caught my attention and mentioned that her boss had been asking after me for help with a new case. I was down to my last few caps – most everything I’d eaten of late came from pre-war rations, filled through and through with radiation, so what little cash I spared for myself went to the doctors to cure radsickness. The prospect of a paying job, with someone whose company I enjoyed, seemed a welcome relief. Well, either that or the drugs the local doc had pumped into me. Either way, I was feeling good.

It was always funny to me, walking into Nick’s detective agency. Outside, the rest of the world had gone to nuclear hell with the slightest topcoat of retro-American culture – boasting of and trying to recreate a past we never actually had. Inside his office, it was like walking directly into a 1950s film noir set. Ellie in a pencil skirt, hair done up, carrying a clipboard, the ever-present smoldering cigarette in the ashtray (though neither of them smoked), even the frosted glass that blurred the city beyond. A lot of people held a fascination with music from the old twentieth century, but between these walls it actually felt fitting, not some slapdash reminder of “better” times. Honestly, the only thing this place was missing was a trusty bloodhound sleeping on the mat.

Rapping on the doorframe to Nick’s office, he looked up from a manila case folder. Same beat up hat, same once-tan overcoat, same yellow lights shining from his eyes. I had only stopped by a few times – Diamond City isn’t a frequent destination of mine – but I was always met with the same sight when I dropped in. It was nice to have some measure of consistency in this crazy world, and to have people who genuinely appreciated my presence. I’m not saying others didn’t, but in truth Ellie and Nick were the closest I had to human friends since waking up. Doubly funny, considering Nick’s utter lack of human biology. Still though, it felt good to come back.

“So Nick, I heard you had a hot one for me,” I smiled, hoping the grime and dirt of a hard few weeks on the road didn’t damper my earnestness.

“Just the face I wanted to see,” he grinned, setting the folder down. “How would you like to help me out with a genuine damsel-in-distress case that just landed on my desk?”

“Sounds like just our kind of job, Nick.”

And with that, we were on our way to a new adventure.