- "I used to sell brooms, now I run a whole town. Lemme tell ya, my role in life sure escalated quickly in 200 years."
- ―Herman Long
|Date of birth:||2043|
Mayor of Swallow Hills
Herman Long is a long-standing resident of Swallow Hills and a pseudo-celebrity of some note. A man, or rather Ghoul, with a history of pseudo-celebrity fame and an even longer history of ridicule and mockery given his bumbling and awkward character, he has none the less made his mark on the history of Swallow Hills with his firm-ish leadership and so-so decision making, all made tolerable by his fantastic financial management skills that have, so far, kept Swallow Hills from drowning, or rather drying up, from debts incurred by increasingly demanding water merchants.
Herman Long was born somewhere in pre-war California in 2043, in a small congregation of farms. Tiring of the slow pace of farm life at the tender age of 15, he ran away from home, becoming a vagrant. Soon enough, he took to the wandering salesman job like a duck to water, wandering across his home-state dealing in everything from Nuka Cola promotionals to quasi-legal sales of Psycho once production began at the insistence of General Constantine Chase. Now a 30 year old salesman with a few "glorious" years under his belt, he finally found his way to the small town of Swallow Hills, taking up a permanent residence after deciding that not only did he like the place, but that their were more than enough customers to con and weasel himself a perfect fortune in the little town. The now door-to-door salesman became a familiar face amongst the residents, knocking on doors in the early mornings to pester bathrobe and slipper clad residents about the potential purchase of a Luxobrew Coffee Pot and bumping into party-goers in the evenings to sell them expensive Wakemaster Alarm Clocks. All this carried on for a few years, until October 23rd 2077.
The Great War occured on a day when Long's only plan was to take what he viewed as a well-earned day off; drinking in the old Dot's Diner and helping himself to the best of the Gyro meat. When the sirens blared, Herman was one of the few to assume that it was a simple drill. Right up until the first blasts echoed and the first flashes appeared on the horizon. Herman simply followed the commonly spoken-of, and completely useless, duck-and-cover technique, now kicking himself for scoffing at the idea of making a reservation prior and taking shelter in Vault 42. When the shock-waves rattled through the town many buildings were shattered by flying debris, including the diner. Herman, at this point, was knocked unconscious, buried partly underneath the rubble. When Herman finally did wake up, the whole area was irradiated and destroyed and Herman was in the early stages of Ghoulification. After digging himself out of the rubble, a process which lasted painful hours and agonising days, Herman shambled out into the ruined town, mingling with the once content residents of the formerly quaint town. Over the course of months and years, Herman would come to be one of the few residents left in Swallow Hills, the rest leaving for greener pastures or to escape bad memories. He and the few Ghouls and even fewer Humans that remained would stand as a lonely bastion of civilisation in the rapidly deteriorating town.
For a few years, the town's remaining civilisation remained very much in a few streets of the once bustling commercial district of Swallow Hills, with the rest of the town inhabited either by opportunistic Raiders or wasteland creatures. This sorry state of affairs changed around the 2110s, with the arrival of new settlers from all over the wastes, traipsing around the wastes in search of liveable areas. The ruins of the commercial district, somewhat intact and already populated, proved quite appealing to desperate settlers with nowhere else to turn. These settlers, over time, found it fitting to appoint one of the oldest living residents in Swallow Hills, and one of the more entertaining, Herman Long, as an elder. Preferring the title of Mayor instead, Herman took the latter title and soon took to announcing the town's presence through word of mouth and, later, radio. The settlement did grow, slowly, aided by the destruction of a large portion of the Vault thanks to a reactor failure within in 2134. Of course, this incident also had the negative effect of irradiating even more severely than previously the ground level water pockets. A desperate deal was sought by Herman, whom garnered the help of water merchants from California. All too happy to help, especially with the generous financial incentive, the merchants sold water to the town at expensive rates, leaving many independent farms and ranches outside of the main area in the commercial district to collapse from financial woes, leading to acute criticism of Herman. Many of the settlers in the district also found fault with Long, criticising him greatly for perceived failures in dealing with the water merchants. Despite later dealings being arranged with the greatly reduced in both resident numbers and size of living space Vault, all of which had and have proved far more advantageous to the town and reduced its reliance on the water caravans, Herman still found himself constantly ridiculed and criticised by the bitter settlers and pompous Vault dwellers. In 2256, the newly arrived Marian Lane was approached by Long after earning a reputation as a respected bartender, with Long offering her the old Sampson Hotel building for a series of payment instalments. When the Sampson Hotel did eventually grow, these instalments were paid off and Long prematurely patted himself on the back, before being confronted with the newly rising Lane's influence in the town, much to the Ghoul's chagrin, with a power struggle all but waiting in the wings.
Perhaps best summed up in his characteristic words of wisdom; this old ghoul just can't catch a break.
- "Right, well, I'm going to go and get a cola, see you, um, later, I suppose?"
- ―Herman Long
An awkward and somewhat timid personality in private, Long learned quickly in his salesman days to throw a false personality, copying suave media personalities like Dean Domino and Danny Parker, to further his occupation as a salesman. In the post-war days, Herman's suave and calm manner rarely lets up in public, but in private it once again ends, revealing his bumbling mannerism. Despite all this, his most comfortable area of expertise is cold, hard financing, where a truly forceful and genuinely stern demeanour surprises any and all around him as he takes economic problems by the horns. Of course, once all this work is done, Herman returns to his timid core and usually wanders off for a drink.
- "I'm a bit of a nostalgic myself - you won't catch me in any of those filthy rags you see the slummies wearing around town."
- ―Herman Long
- Pre-War Casuals: A sweater vest, blue shirt and cream trousers, all fairly aged and torn by constant wear and tear in the post-war world, this once dashing ensemble would no doubt have been fetching around the time they were first sold. Now, however, Herman wears them more out of a value of what he calls "nostalgia" than actual usefulness or protection offered by the garments.
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