The next morning, we hastened back to the woods to gather twigs and berries and stuff for insect repellent…
Then Bryon brewed up some lotion while I read after breakfast.
We slathered ourselves with insect repellent (there being no in-game option to slather each other), then headed back to the fishing hole.
I started having better luck, catching a few visible fish …
… and then snagged a small treasure chest and hauled it in.
“Nice!” Bryon said. “What’s inside?”
“I think it’s a ruby,” I said, before looking closer. “Nope. It’s a strawberry.”
“One strawberry?” Bryon said. “Talk about excess packaging.”
When we got back to our camp site, two Notifications came across the User Interface, notes from the principal suggesting the Plumaghan kids spend the weekend trying to improve their grades.
“Maybe we should switch the controls to someone back home after we turn in for the night?” Bryon suggested. “Give them a chance to do their homework, at least.”
“OK, but we should eat, and then there’s something I’d like to try.”
“What did you want to try?”
“Well, Try For…”
I felt bad for rousting the Plumaghans out of their beds in the middle of the night to do homework, but I learned later there was nothing to feel bad about. When the controls swung back home, everyone was rested but hungry and standing around on the sidewalk.
They went inside with our housemate, Vivek Wilkes, and finished off our wedding cake, then split up into teams to pick off the homework.
Monaghan and Marion stayed in the dining room to finish her homework.
Sarafina and Hal went upstairs to work on his, but got sidetracked by a pair of Debate Game Tactics Whims.
“I’m just saying you have to think beyond the completion of the Main Quest and consider the sort of world you leave behind,” Hal said, pretending to try to find the page with his homework assignment.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying!”
“So you want to leave behind a world where people are still pooping in buckets and getting their sheet metal from old soup cans?” Hal asked rhetorically. “Anyway, this weekend’s homework assignment is about reticulated splines, we need to – “
“Now hold on!” Sarafina said. “Maybe the people of the Commonwealth would have indoor plumbing and some light industry if they weren’t kept in a state of constant fear and paranoia, induced by the Institute’s spies and saboteurs and … and raiding parties!”
“Yeah, well, that’s all backstory,” Hal said dismissively. “I can’t change the past, but going forward, the Institute offers the brightest hope for the future. Some sacrifices have to be made for civilization to advance.”
“Funny how the plums who talk about the need to ‘make sacrifices for the future’ are always talking about sacrificing someone else,” she said, nearly sloshing coffee on her Formal 1 as she clenched her cup.
“Who else are you going to sacrifice?” Hal asked.
He opened his homework book to this weekend’s assignment while his mother struggled with her reply, and he tried not to laugh.
“Unless … like, say … if you were bored and … wanted to try the Light Side ending for … for kicks,” he finally said. “Anyway, the first question is multiple-guess: ‘How many –“
“For kicks!?!” Sarafina asked sharply. “Finding an ethical path through an RPG or prison management simulator isn’t a quest one undertakes for kicks! It’s … it’s … “
“There’s a term for what you’re feeling, Mom,” Hal said. “It hasn’t quite made the DSM V … “
“The Dee Ess Emm… !” Sarafina blurted, sloshing coffee on her Formal 1. “Listen! If you’re trying to plum me off, you’re do … ing –“
She got hold of herself.
“You are just trying to plum me off, aren’t you?”
“I don’t know where you would get that idea, Mother,” Hal said.
“Your father put you up to this.”
“No, I’m just plumming with ya, Mom. I would never play the Institute ending.”
“I know, Boy-child,” Sarafina said, “but, look: We’d better pretend to be working on your homework before your father comes to make sure we haven’t been abducted by aliens.”
Sarafina got up to take her position for a Help With Homework … interaction.
“Yeah,” Hal drawled. “Plum the Institute. I’m, like, Brotherhood of Steel all the way.”
Sarafina snapped back around.
“Brotherhood of Steel?!? Those tin-plated raiders with delusions of knighthood!?! Listen! —“
“Brotherhood of Steel?” Monaghan interrupted when he came into the room, to be sure no one had been abducted by aliens. “What are they teaching in these company-run schools these days?”
“It’s a unit on Fallout 4 for my Alternate History class,” Hal said convincingly enough.
“Lucky,” Monaghan said enviously. “Marion’s homework was on reticulating splines.”
“And I’m afraid your son is way behind in his studies,” Sarafina said. “I may keep him home Monday so he can play the Automatron DLC.”
“Well, we can’t let school get in the way of his education,” Monaghan concurred.
“You heard your father; put that book down!” Sarafina said as Monaghan left the room. “No more homework for you until you finish your gaming, young man!”
“But, Mom … “
“Don’t you but-Mom me!” Sarafina said.
Then watched her son struggle against a Whim to Tell Inside Joke.
“It’s …” Hal stammered. Casting desperately about for a smooth exit from a suddenly Awkward Conversation, he happened to glance down the page.
“Oh, poop! Look Mom, it’s the end of the chapter!”
“Hal, you can’t possibl