LAST EDITED ON Sep-18-17 AT 00:57 AM (EDT)
Harold Parker State Forest - A real place, pretty much as described here, apart from the abandoned cars. Freeman's Mind fans may recall it as the place where Gordon Freeman buried his emergency gold reserve while a student at MIT.
shooting old soda cans off the... fence - There's a hill behind it, but I felt like it would be too persnickety to make a point of mentioning that in the story. It's not like that cringey situation in the Fallout: New Vegas tutorial where you have to do some target shooting with the back wall of an occupied bar as your range backstop.
Nick Valentine - I'm not sure why Nick was the obvious choice for this role, but he was. Maybe just because he was my favorite companion by far in Fallout 4, and that his mix of straightforward stand-up-guyness, shrewdness, and compassion seemed like the kind of thing that was needed here. Exactly how he came to be leading a field team for Section 44 is not known at this time, but he's in the Yellow Pages...
a near-century-old Chrysler 300D - The 300D was the fourth of Chrysler's 300 "letter series" cars, which started with the 300B in 1956 (the follow-on to the 1955 C-300). Each letter was applied to one model year only; D was 1958's. The "letter series" were what the American auto industry called "high-performance personal luxury cars" at the time; the European equivalent would probably be a Grand Touring car.
a red ball from ECHELON - With international telecommunications cut by the Fog, the fact that the ECHELON Internet monitoring system is still working is a fairly tacit admission on the NSA's part, at least to those in the know, that it was always really a domestic surveillance mechanism.
a bulky digital wristwatch - When I initially designed Abhi, I meant for this to be a SecurID token, but there was never an opportunity to demonstrate that.
the MIT Flea - A real thing and a venerable institution among eastern Massachusetts nerds. Originally started out as an amateur radio swapfest, and is still run by the MIT and Harvard radio clubs.
Teto... what's she like? - Kasane Teto is a character and voice pack for the UTAU singing synthesizer, a shareware competitor to Vocaloid. Her character design originally appeared as an April Fool's joke in 2008, in the form of a fake announcement of a fourth Crypton Character Voice module to follow Miku, Rin/Len, and Luka. (This is why her costume resembles Miku's.)
I guess she likes French bread - Vocaloid and Vocaloid-like characters tend to have a signature item that turns up routinely in artworks. Miku's, for instance, is the spring onion. Teto's is a baguette.
I thought she should be a chimera - Teto's official character description includes this detail, though she clearly is not a classical Greek chimæra, which is a lion with a goat's neck and head in the middle of its back and a serpent for a tail. Instead, when she's drawn with any monstrous traits, it's a pair of cute little bat wings and a pointed devil tail. The designer thus probably meant "chimera" simply in terms of being a hybrid not found in nature.
Marcus Welrod - An original character, and not specifically named after the Welrod suppressed assassin's pistol of World War II. In the movie, he would probably be played by Forest Whitaker, or the late Paul Winfield circa The Terminator.
bladerunning duty - Section 44's bladerunners were tasked with policing not runaway replicants illegally trying to return to Earth, but rather GENOM-built 33-series infiltration boomers, who were routinely found trying to destabilize various governments around the planet in those days. They were also called upon to track down and terminate any other rogue AI construct that might find him-, her-, or itself designated for removal. It was a stressful, dehumanizing job, and sometimes they went rogue. Usually messily.
I can always go back to the Fenway - In Fallout 4, Nick is a private detective living in Diamond City, the post-apocalyptic settlement founded in the ruins of Fenway Park. In this setting we can assume that his stamping ground is the Fenway neighborhood around the park, and not literally the park itself.
a three-hour tour - Rin quotes the theme song to the 1964-67 CBS sitcom Gilligan's Island, of which Abhi has presumably never heard.
ninth-generation positronic brains - Positronic brain development does not exactly follow Moore's Law (which states that computing power doubles every 18 months), but it does advance along a similar, somewhat shallower curve.
the "Miku strap" detail on Teto's costume was misrendered - This is the case in Teto's canonical default costume design as well, and can be seen on her Nendoroid.
"Immortals" - This song first appeared in the motion picture Big Hero 6, which came out before American Beauty / American Psycho was released—hence the Baymax design on the jukebox record in the official music video. The version actually heard in the film omits the line about wounds and sutures.
that old movie Abhi's mom liked - The sound effect in question originated in Inception (2010), although it has become such a cliché that Teto could probably be thinking of any action/thriller movie made between then and about 2025.
she who was made by piling sound on sound - One of the various translations of "Kasane" literally is "piled-up sound".
half-dragon queen of lost MIThenge - The original Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus is a cluster of 10 buildings, imaginatively named Building 1 through Building 10, which were all (with the curious exception of Building 9) interconnected and arranged in a symmetrical pattern; it can still be seen buried in the midst of the much more built-up modern campus. (The symmetry has been broken somewhat since construction by the growth of the campus, and by the addition of extensions to Buildings 6 and 7 that aren't mirrored on Buildings 5 and 8.)
Running through this collection of interconnected buildings is a hallway that starts at the Massachusetts Avenue lobby of Building 7 and continues through Building 3, the rotunda of Building 10, Building 4, and Building 8 (this numbering makes at least some sense if you study the map). This hallway is more than 800 feet long and (when there aren't crowds of people moving around in it) provides an uninterrupted view from one end to the other. MIT people call it the Infinite Corridor. Twice a year, the setting sun is perfectly framed in the door at the Massachusetts Avenue end and can be seen all the way at the far end. This phenomenon is called MIThenge.
Abhi has seen what remains of the Infinite Corridor, but her uncle Kalpesh (MIT class of 2024) had to tell her about MIThenge. The Fog bombarded Building 7 during the Hundred-Day War—no one is entirely sure why, beyond the logical assumption that their reasoning is more likely to have involved the Roshenow Kendall Heat and Mass Transfer Laboratory than, say, the Center for Reflective Community Practices—and the emergency repairs blocked off that end of the hallway. There is hope for its restoration, but in Abhi's time the institute's priorities are elsewhere. (It will, in fact, be repaired in the 2070s.)
meet the newest Vocaloid - In the real world, of course, Teto is technically not a Vocaloid but an UTAUloid; although the Vocaloid official fanworks site, Piapro, does accept works featuring her, and she appears in the Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X video game.
resembling the flag of Norway - This is one of her costumes from Project DIVA X. Her character page lists Norway as her favorite country. I don't know why.
he asked her five questions - And no, I'm not going to get drawn into what those are, although I will say that none if them is a weird anecdote about a tortoise. Or a Tortoise.
you know what has to happen next, Nick - Marcus Welrod developed an interesting mix of traits. On the one hand, he's a conscientious bureaucrat, but one with judgment he's not afraid to apply and a measure of compassion. On the other hand, he's a dang coward who bails and leaves Nick holding the bag for the hard part.
she put a little English on it - Some believe that Nick is the subject of Gumi and Rin's famous duet, "Luvoratorrrrry!", in which the vocalists compete over and/or yearn for the attentions of a sexy robot. (Seriously, I'm not making that up.) Nick is too much the gentleman to be drawn on the subject, and both Gumi and Rin think it's more fun not to say.
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
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Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.