<<UserID:Webb>> I finally made it into Primm, but nothing can ever be simple, can it?
Southbound Route 15 was fairly quiet. I spotted a few geckoes in the hills to the west, but nothing close enough to decide I was worth coming after, and I picked a few herbs and fruits from the plants alongside the road as I walked. My pack is full of good fresh water from the springs, and I’ve got enough food stashed away for the next few days, so I felt like I was in pretty good shape.
As I got closer to Primm, I noticed two things: first, the towering -- and rickety -- rollercoaster track looming over a building on the east side of town. Second, as I got closer, there seemed to be a complete absence of people visible.
That’s never a good sign in the Mojave, especially with a town like this one that’s sitting on a major trade route like the Long 15, and so close to the border into NCR territory. The last time I was in Primm, there were caravans passing through, pack brahmin milling around... now, nothing.
The town itself actually straddles Route 15, but the portion to the west of the road is mostly just dilapidated shells -- the maintained portion of the town is definitely the east side, where the two casinos and that rollercoaster are. Definitely a pre-war town -- you can always tell by the abundance of brick compared to... well... random *Expletive Deleted* that’s been welded together.
Anyhow, I was headed for the eastern side of town when I was flagged down by a man in a temporary shelter to the west. I recognized the brown uniform immediately -- I should, I wore it myself for long enough -- that marked him as an NCR trooper. This baby-faced kid was everything you’d expect from the NCR’s finest. In a stuttering voice, he warned me away from the eastern side of Primm, stating that escaped convicts from the NCR Correctional Facility had moved in and were terrorizing the locals.
More Powder Gangers, it sounds like. These guys are spreading like radroaches. Damn. Guess I won’t be getting in any gambling.
I asked him why the hell he and his buddies were just standing around rather than charging in to rout a few convicts, and I got exactly the answer I’ve come to expect from the NCR when innocent but politically unimportant folks are in trouble: it’s not in our jurisdiction.
He blanched at the look I gave him and suggested I speak to his commanding officer. Probably wouldn’t be any more helpful, but at least I might get fancier excuses. I followed the trail of flags and the smell of pomposity to the officer’s tents.
The lieutenant, a bland but curt man named Hayes, clearly didn’t feel he had the time to speak to any non-military personnel, but I didn’t see any frantic tactical action on the immediate horizon so I pushed my way in and demanded why he and his troops were sitting on their khaki-swaddled asses.
More to get rid of me than any thing else, he snapped that the NCR had sent him to contain the escaped convicts, but he didn’t have the manpower.
Behold, the might of the NCR in the field: no supplies, no reinforcements... no surprises.
I left the veritable hotbed of action that was the officer’s tent and decided to see what I could find out on my own. I may never have been a sharpshooter, but I’ve always been able to skulk around the fringes of a battlefield with the best of them.
Hey, it’s tougher to triage casualties when you’ve been shot in the face, right?
There’s definitely a ‘Ganger presence here. Fortunately, the majority of the action seems to have cooled off for the time being, and they all seem to be in a wary state of inaction, wandering the streets listlessly and keeping their eyes on the NCR camp to the west.
I spotted the Mojave Express office where I’d gotten the damn job carrying the chip in the first place. Only one of the convicts was close enough to really pose a risk of spotting me, so I got behind him and smashed him in the temple with the grip of my pistol.
Ah, good old field anaesthesia...
I shoved him into a pile of refuse in the alley behind the Mojave Express building and took his shotgun and the handful of shells from his belt. With him out of the way, I headed for the door, where another body stopped me.
Slumped on the sidewalk by the door was a young man, clearly dead for several days, but not dressed like the convicts. I looked around to make sure that none of the ‘Gangers were headed my way, then quickly looked the body over -- gingerly, since he was fairly bloated with decay, and I already needed a wash as it was.
Clutched in his hand was an Express delivery slip, with the exact same terms as my contract, except for fuzzy dice instead of a platinum chip. Looks like I wasn’t the only courier who’d had a rough week -- though this poor kid looked like he’d barely gotten out the door. I eased him down all the way down onto his back and put his hand on his chest -- easy enough, as rigor mortis had long since come and gone. Best I could do for him, under the circumstances.
The door to the Mojave Express office was unlocked, so I slipped inside. I’ve been in here for about five minutes now. It’s abandoned, no real sign of a struggle. When I realized no one was here, I flicked on the PIP-Boy’s light, and I’ve been poking around the place. No sign of the old fellow who runs it -- Nash, I think his name was?
There IS a scrapped robot on the counter, though. Actually... huh...
*Sounds of metal clanking and scraping.*
Maybe not scrapped, just deactivated? Might be missing a few components, but worth asking Nash about... if he’s not missing too many components.
Let’s see... what else do we have here... Aha! Water in the fridge! And mostly clean, too.
Ah, much better. Never claimed I was a saint, did I? Besides, if Nash is dead, it’s not really theft, and if he’s alive, I’ll be in a better position to lend a hand if I’m not keeling over from dehydration.
Now, I’ve got a pretty good view of the town’s main drag from this window. Nothing moving that I can see.
...Wait a minute, did someone just peek through the door of the building across the street? Hard to tell with the glare from the setting sun. I’m going to check it out. Might be survivors... or it might be ‘Gangers.
See? Looks like I’m doing some gambling during my stay, after all...