As much fun as it is to go toe-to-toe with a feral ghoul, drugged-out raider, or a suicidal super mutant, I prefer the much healthier approach of shooting them before they can get near me. The problem I’m having isn’t one of variety – Wastelanders have found all sorts of ways to propel bullets into each other – it’s one of ammunition. What good are all the guns in the world if you don’t have a single bullet?

There’s no way I would be able to tell you what makes a .38 different from an 10mm in an academic perspective, but when scrounging through the belongings of the dearly recently-departed, I sure know what goes into which gun and what I need to keep stock of. I’ve even started to get the handle on these crazy laser and plasma weapons people keep leaving around. Waste not, want not.

The truth is that I’ve been forced to diversify my load-out not from of desire to test the latest and greatest, but because I keep running out of ammo. Sure the occasional raider will have a few unspent rounds or shells on him, but it’s rarely enough to make up for the hassle of getting them. Wandering traders and the occasional outpost have small caches of the bullets I need at any given time, but survival genuinely boils down to versatility.

And of course scrounging. Lots and lots of scrounging.

It’s not my favorite part of the day, picking through other people’s belongings. Even if they aren’t around any more, my old ideas of propriety and decorum, let alone actual aversion to viscera, come back to haunt me with a vengeance. “Old-world values” or somesuch. I still fight with squeamishness every time, but it is, I’m sad to say, getting easier.

I’ve started to make some “friends” among a few outposts, trying to make their own way and stand up against raiders and the radiation storms that sweep in from the South. From time to time it’s nice to draw the curtains, pull up the covers, and go to sleep with more than just my dog to keep me safe.

At least a little humanity still exists, a little society.