<<UserID:Webb>> I’m in. I set the PIP-Boy’s alarm for four hundred hours, had a quick breakfast of “Greasy Prospector” canned pork and beans -- I’ve always suspected the reason this stuff is still edible is the radiation, and the PIP-Boy’s Geiger counter proved me alarmingly correct -- then washed the taste out of my mouth with more of the Nashes’ store of water.
I left the majority of my kit in the Mojave Express office, especially the noisy, jangly bits. Easier to sneak in that way. I did bring my pistol and the shotgun I took off that ‘Ganger, though, along with my old bootknife. I’m especially glad for the latter at the moment, as, as soon as I came through the door, I stumbled across a ‘Ganger dozing against the wall.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Crossing the street between the Mojave Express office and the Bison Steve was easy at that hour -- darkness was more than enough cover to keep any of the ‘Gangers who were even awake from spotting me. Rather than heading in the front door, I hoisted myself up onto the skeleton of the roller coaster and managed to clamber up onto the roof behind the Lucky Casino marquis.
There was no one up there at the moment, but it looks like a popular spot during the daytime. Empty bottles and cigarette butts were scattered around, and there was a shotglass and a pair of binoculars propped up against the back of the marquis. By some miracle, the binocular lenses were actually in good alignment. I slipped the strap around my neck and crept the rest of the way around the ledge of the building to an exterior second floor entrance on the back of the building.
Good gravy, I hate heights.
There were several ‘Gangers wandering the far side of the roller coaster, but none were close enough to spot me, and they were well outside the range of my pistol -- although I wager Jess could have picked them off easily enough, even at this distance. I suppose I’ll need to find a decent rifle if I’m going to be attempting suicidal heroics with any regularity.
I jimmied the door open and slipped inside, almost tripping over a ‘Ganger curled up by the door, snoring soundly. I froze for a moment, trying to decide what to do, and then I remembered the sheriff and his wife -- shot in their sleep, never even given a chance. Maybe it makes me just as bad as them, but I certainly wasn’t in the mood to give this scum any chances either.
Hey, I hadn’t had my coffee yet.
I keep my service knife good and sharp, and it did the job neatly. Not that anyone can holler too well with their throat slit, but I kept a hand over his mouth until he bled out anyway. He had a revolver in a holster by his waist, chambered for .357 rounds, as well as a solid pocketful of ammunition, all of which I took. It’s got a little more kick than the pistol Mitchell gave me, which will be handy in these close quarters.
The Bison Steve, by the way, is a mess. I’m not sure if it was never fixed up by the residents of Primm, or if the ‘Gangers are just terrible tenants. I’m assuming it’s the former, but the latter wouldn’t surprise me one bit either.
The place looks like a hotel from the inside -- more of a flop house, now. The casino advertised by the sign must be downstairs. I think I’ve cleared out the upper floors, but it was a near thing. I’ve always hated close-quarters firefights. Thank god I found that shotgun -- a nice cloud of buckshot forgives a multitude of tactical errors.
While scouting out the floor, I almost walked straight into a ‘Ganger near a set of vending machines. He spotted me in the flicker of light from the machines and jumped up, dashing after me. I still had my knife out, and, more by luck than anything else, managed to catch him right under the breastbone with it as he rushed through the doorway after me. Nothing silent about this time -- he screamed loud enough to make my ears ring, spattering frothy blood into my face. Definitely got the lungs there.
I let go of the knife and pulled my pistol, firing a round into his temple. He went down, but the others were definitely on to me after all that shouting. I left the first one where he fell and pressed myself up against the side of the door, pocketing the revolver and drawing the shotgun from the improvised sling on my back.
Two of them came pounding down the hallway in my direction. The first one burst into the room, firing a pistol wildly as he rounded the corner. He went right past me, and I unloaded the scattergun into his back. The shot blew a gap in his spine and took a good deal of his intestine with it.
The next ‘Ganger into the room came slightly more cautiously, and he saw the blast that took out his buddy. He spun on me and fired. My hat went flying off, and my vision strobed from the muzzle flare, but I was still standing, so I swung at him with the barrel of the shotgun like a bat. It spun him around and gave me enough time to crack the action on the shotgun, slap in another round, and snap the barrel closed. He started to raise his gun arm as I was swinging up the shotgun, and I panicked, firing early.
It’s been a long time since trigger discipline drills, and I was never that good at grace under fire anyway.
The shot took him in the knee, rather than center mass as I’d hoped, but it was still enough to do the job -- with a little post-op attention from the revolver, at least. I waited by the door for a full five minutes afterwards, barely breathing, but that seemed to be all the attention I was going to draw.
Other than some powder burns and ringing ears, I made it through the scuffle unharmed, but my hat wasn’t so lucky, once I found it among the newly gore-strewn shambles of the room. The damn thing had a hole right through it, like something out of a pre-war holovid.
I’ve finished exploring the upper floors, but that seemed to be everyone who was up here. I suppose Beagle must be on the ground floor, probably with the majority of the ‘Gangers.
I DID turn up an unsurprising amount of dynamite in the ‘Gangers’ stockpiles, however, along with a fair amount of pre-war salvage during the search. Plenty of it was behind locked doors, but I’m still fairly handy with a bobby pin and was able to juke most of the locks. It’s one of the few things I was always better at than Jess.
I’m not going to bother to pack any of it up now, but I’ll be back for it if I make it out of here alive. Should be worth a tidy pile of caps and trade.
If nothing else, I’ll be able to buy myself a new hat.
There’s an interior staircase down to the ground floor, but I’m sure that will be watched. There’s also an elevator that’s currently jammed between floors, but, if the vending machines are any indication, this place is still drawing power -- maybe enough to get it moving again, if I can unjam it. Should give me the element of surprise, even if they’ve already heard the ruckus up here.
Heh. Jess always did say I knew how to make an entrance.
Now, let’s see... I’m sure I spotted a toolbox in one of the rooms up here...