Friday, April 29, 2011

//Log Date: 2281-10-20 17:54//

<<UserID:Webb>> I woke up this morning to an excellent reminder of why I hate humanity. A young man shook me awake, babbling and near tears, to tell me that his girlfriend had gotten trapped up on the ridge overlooking the springs by a throng of geckoes. 
Now, I’m not much of a morning person, even when I’m not recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, but he seemed genuinely panicked, so I struggled to my feet, grabbed my rifle, mumbled to the kid to stay put, and took off up the hill to save the girl.
There’s one born every minute, right?
No sign of anyone up on the ridge, but there was a passel of geckoes up there, and no mistake. Seems like I may have gotten an inflated sense of my own skill with a firearm yesterday thanks to Sunny and Cheyenne, because a few of those little bastards really tore into me before I could put them all down. My left leg, especially, took a nasty bite. 
I’ve seen horrible infections set in after a gecko-bite, so I’d be dipping into my own rather meager new stock a hell of a lot sooner than I would have wanted. Before I had even had a chance to clean the wounds or start looking around for the kid’s lost lady, though, he showed up with a drawn revolver and gloatingly explained that he’d tricked me into clearing out the geckoes so that he could reach some sort of cache at the top of the hill.
Or he started to gloat, at any rate. His theatrics were tarnished a bit when he stepped into a bear trap while circling around me. 
Lucky he was there, really. I hadn’t even seen the traps.
His screaming stopped when I clubbed him over the head with the butt of my rifle. What can I say? I’ve gotten impatient in my old age.
I grabbed his gun and went through his pockets, turning up some ammo and a stimpak, but the real prize was in the stash he had mentioned, which I found at the top of the hill behind a few more bear traps. There was a good assortment of various caliber rounds, along with a few caps and some more chems, which I shoved into my satchel.
I limped back down to the springs and cleaned out the bite with some cold, clean water, which stung like mad, bound it up with strips of the kid’s shirt, then gave myself a shot of Med-X to kill the pain and dry-swallowed some antibiotics that Mitchell had given me. I didn’t have enough for a full course, but it would have to do.
When I finally made it back to town, it was already past noon, and I was ready for a meal of anything other than gecko. I followed Sunny’s advice and headed for the Prospector Saloon, arriving just in time to overhear a rather heated altercation between the owner Trudy and a hard-eyed man who turned out to be named Joe Cobb. 
Trudy, a no-nonsense business woman, let me know that Cobb is with a group of escaped convicts from the NCR that call themselves the Powder Gangers. Supposedly, they are looking for a trader named Ringo who got the best of them out in the wastes who’s now holed up somewhere in Goodsprings. I decided to look up the trader and get his version of the story.
First, though, I tuned up Trudy’s radio in exchange for a decent bowl of stew and a real treat: an actual bottle of Nuka-Cola. It was even a little bit cold, thanks to the refrigeration unit Trudy has running off of the saloon’s generator. It’s flat, of course, and sickly sweet with artificial sugar, but my lord, it hits the spot. I remember the first time I brought a bottle home to little Callie, and the look on her face when she...
*Clears throat.*
After lunch, which I spent listening to Mr. New Vegas on the radio with Trudy, I struck out for the gas station where Ringo was supposedly hiding. Upon entering, I got rather direct confirmation of Ringo’s occupancy, thanks to a gun in the face. It’s a banner year for people threatening me with firearms, apparently.
After I hastily assured him that I wasn’t with the Powder Gangers, he calmed down somewhat, though the man was clearly still a bundle of nerves.
To apologize for the rude greeting -- and to settle himself down, I’d wager -- he offered to play a few hands of Caravan with me. It’s been a long time since I played... Jess was a canny bidder, and we spent plenty of evenings running tracks after Callie had gone to sleep. I haven’t carried a deck since I lost her, but Ringo had a spare, and, most importantly, he was clearly still flustered.
What can I say? I was short on caps, and he was definitely no Jess with the cards.
After a thorough fleecing, I assuaged my guilt somewhat by asking the newly broke Ringo what had happened with the ‘Gangers and if there was anything I could do to get him back on the road. In my experience, there’s nothing so valuable as a trader who owes you a favor. 
Plus, I feel like I owe a debt to the town for getting me back on my feet, and chasing off these convicts ought to wipe that slate clean, and to spare.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk to the folks around Goodsprings, see if we can’t come up with a way to chase off the ‘Gangers permanently.

For now, though, I’m just going to check these damn gecko bites again, change the dressing, give myself some more pain killers, then see about some dinner and take the weight off the leg for the night. 
After all, we’ve got a big day tomorrow...
Signing off.
//Recording Ends//

Monday, April 25, 2011

//Log Date: 2281-10-19 20:13//

<<UserID:Webb>> Hello? Hello? Is this thing recording? 
Holotapes... bah. Beats trying to keep a paper journal dry and unsmudged, I suppose, but, on the other hand, far less useful in the outhouse in a pinch.
This is Doctor Jacob Webb, or just Doc Webb to most folks. I’m a traveling doctor, originally hailing from a little stead outside of Modoc. 
I’ve suffered some head trauma recently, so I’m going to be keeping a holotape log for a while and reviewing it periodically to make sure all cylinders are still firing. Not that self diagnosis is a safe bet, but, well, what the hell, right?
It’s... not been my best week, I’m afraid. It started harmlessly enough. I was headed to the fabled New Vegas Strip to restock on chems and other assorted medical supplies... maybe take in the tables, I won’t lie. Never been, but I’ve been drifting further and further east ever since... well, anyway. It seemed like something to see.
As I was already headed in that direction, I figured there was no harm in making a few extra caps in the bargain by doing a bit of freelance work for Mojave Express, dropping off a package on the Strip while I was there. I’ll often carry letters or packages for folks while moving from town to town anyway, so it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Unfortunately, this is where the head trauma comes in.
Still a ways out from New Vegas, I was waylaid by a pack of tribals lead by a wiseguy in a checkered suit. This harlequin idiot and his goons knocked me out, tied me up, and took the package, which turned out to be a goddamn shiny poker chip, of all things. Then Checkers pulled a gun and shot me in the head.
The last thought that went through my mind was, “Here I come, girls.”
Unfortunately, rather than a light or a tunnel or fat babies with harps, I eventually came to looking at a bald old man and with a splitting headache.
The bald man turned out to be another doctor by the name of Mitchell, and, as I’m still breathing after a bullet to the brainpan, with all parts basically in the same place, I have to admit the old codger knows his stuff. After giving me a quick and dirty neurological evaluation, he filled me in on what had happened -- apparently, I’d been rolled into a shallow grave outside a town called Goodsprings, where a robot named Victor found me, dragged me out of the dirt, and dropped me off to be patched up by Mitchell. 
Damn lucky this town had a doctor, all things considered. 
And a helpful gravedigging robot, if it comes to that.
As Checkers and his hooligans had apparently stripped me of my kit as well as shooting me, Mitchell was kind enough to give me a spare set of clothes, a pistol, a few caps, and some chems -- not anything like the stock that was stolen from me, but at least it’s a start. 
He also gave me one of those pre-war, wrist-mounted computers that they gave out to Vault dwellers -- an actual PIP-Boy 3000. It’s what I’m using to record this holotape, actually. Mitchell came out of a vault himself, apparently, and claims he doesn’t use it any more since he’s settled down. One hell of a gift to someone he doesn’t know from Adam, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. 
I’ll have to figure out some way to pay him back for all this. I don’t like owing debts, even for things freely given.
Mitchell then recommended I head to the local saloon and check in with a woman with the unlikely name of “Sunny Smiles”. Though she sounds like someone who should be earning her living through... *cough* ...negotiable affection, she’s apparently quite the survivalist. I’m no greenhorn, but, after getting rolled like I did, it certainly couldn’t hurt to brush up on my techniques.

Coming out of Mitchell’s place, I spotted what could only be “Victor” rolling past. I chased him down -- apparently, he has his own house, like any other person in town -- and thanked him for the rescue. He has some sort of canned cowboy persona programmed in, but he seems nice enough for a tin can. Hell, he took the time to save my wrinkled ass, which is more than most flesh and blood folks would have done, so he’s all right in my book. He asked me to say “howdy” to his “brothers” on the strip -- I’ll have to keep my eyes skinned. Somehow, I imagine they won’t be quite as charming.
On the way through Goodsprings, I stopped in at the general store, run by a fellow named Chet. I bought a hat off of him to keep the sun out of my eyes and asked if he knew anything about the goons who attacked me. He didn’t know any names, but he confirmed that Checkers was probably out of New Vegas and told me that the tribals were from a group called the Khans, who apparently specialize in brewing and dealing chems.
If they hadn’t robbed and killed me, they might have been a good trading source.
Chet also mentioned that Victor belongs to the undoubtedly pseudonymously monikered Mr. House, who apparently runs the whole of New Vegas. If that’s true, then Chet seems to be implying that House is keeping an eye on me through the robot. Not exactly a comforting thought, rescue notwithstanding.
Next up was the saloon where, as promised, I met Ms. Smiles. I liked her immediately. Tough, hunter type, reminded me almost painfully of Jess. She handed me an old rifle and took me out for a tour of the local wells that give the town its name, clearing out some of those damn mutant geckoes along the way. I’ve never been much of a shot even when I was in practice, but I managed to down a few even so. 
Most of the credit, of course, went to Ms. Smiles and her hunting dog Cheyenne. We even happened to save a Goodsprings resident who had gotten cornered by some of the lizards, and she gave me a canteen full of clean springwater out of gratitude. It’s battered and ancient, but I know from personal experience that a good canteen can be a real lifesaver.
Sunny headed back to town and suggested that I check in with the proprietress of the saloon once I got back. High on our success at the springs, I thought I’d check out the rumors of “critters” in the schoolhouse and do some scavving while I was there. Just mantises, as it turned out, but it was worth the trip -- turned up plenty of goodies once the scrabbling nuisances were dealt with.
From there, I thought I’d take in the evening air and hike up to the cemetery where I’d been a temporary resident. Almost killed myself again tripping into my own grave -- how’s that for irony? -- and noticed some odd cigarette butts while climbing out. I stuffed them into an empty tin can for future study. I remember Checkers smoking right before he shot me; maybe they’ll help me track him down. Then, as the dark settled in, I noticed the lights of the Strip off on the horizon from the cemetery hill. I have to admit, it was damn impressive.
I headed back into town but felt a bit over-socialized, so I’ve actually headed back to the springs for the night. It’s quiet enough now that we’ve cleared out the geckoes -- in fact, I’m roasting up some of their meat as I speak -- and there’s a rusted-out camper here with a serviceable mattress inside, so I’ll turn in after I’ve eaten and get some rest. Hopefully this damn headache will be gone in the morning.
Still, after a bullet-driven kick in the head like I received... I guess I shouldn’t complain about a headache or two.
This is Doc Webb, signing off.
//Recording Ends//