Observation

Audio log of Doctor Stolos (excerpts)

You're growing tired, aren't you?

I can only conclude that the constant grey, dusty skies are taking their toll on you. I would guess that you're pining for bluer days. When the grass grew, when birds sang-vague notions that so many people seem to cherish. In fact, based on the recordings I've made of various survivors, cherishing of the past has increased by 90%.

You're alone. No friends, no family. Human beings are social animals, and I can see that is taking a toll on you. What was once a survival mechanism has become a deficit. I wonder what's keeping you going. You haven't eaten for days, given that there are so few sources of water that haven't been contaminated. So why keep going? Hope? Is that a fuel? I would not think so, but then again, as a scientist, I'm always open to possibilities. Maybe I'll send a UAV out, retrieve your corpse after you've died and see if hope has increased your brain activity or something.

I see that you're moving slower now. Maybe it's because your body is running out of physical fuel. Maybe it happened when you fell down off that cliff to avoid those marauders. Did you break your ribs? Are you suffering from internal bleeding? Academic, I guess-those questions aren't worth considering.

I wonder if I should extend an invitation. Graft you to a mechanical body or something. Won't need much, only a few pounds of brain matter. Maybe hope will increase your efficiency, if that is indeed something to study. I…oh, look at that. More bandits. More bikes. More buggies. Not sure how they got them…but anyway, I see you trying to run and…ah, yes, one shoots you in the leg. Single shot. Ammunition's limited. For all their thuggery, the brutes are quite intelligent. Not intelligent to realize that you have nothing worth taking from, but…well, they're alive, you're as good as dead. I suppose I'll have to start a new experiment.

What's this? You're getting up? Staggering towards them, yelling abuse? Well, that's rather stupid of you. You're…are, never mind. One of the bandits just popped a round between your eyes. I see blood trickling out of your forehead. Hmm…guess I won't be able to find out if hope serves as a fuel.

Well, that's that then. I'll get some lunch. Think a steak will do nicely. Maybe some fries as well.