<<UserID:Webb>> My bet paid off, and I’ve found the remaining townsfolk of Primm. It was like getting a royal flush in a game of Not-Getting-Shot-in-the-Face.
It’s been an extremely informative few hours. When I made my dash for the building across the street -- actually a casino called the Vikki and Vance -- the doors popped open and a robot grabbed me in its clamps and pulled me inside. I was so startled by the appearance of a Protectron -- which was wearing boots and a cowboy hat, no less -- that I didn’t even notice the flesh and blood locals pointing their guns at me until they were sure I wasn’t a ‘Ganger.
The Protectron is something like a tour guide for the casino, with overly enthusiastic programming. The locals call him Primm Slim. I think he and Victor would get along fine.
And speaking of Victor, I’ve found out I have a lot more to thank him for than I’d previously thought.
The man who seems to be in charge by default is Johnson Nash, the owner of the Mojave Express office. He filled me in on what has been happening in Primm. It seems that the ‘Gangers swept into town and started shooting anyone who got in their way. Any locals who could make it converged on the Vikki and Vance and barricaded themselves in. No one has seen the sheriff, and the deputy is supposedly being held for ransom by the ‘Gangers -- the joke’s on them, of course, as they’ve already taken everything the town has.
Trying not to seem callous -- and probably failing, tact’s never been my strong suit -- I steered the conversation away from the town’s troubles to the job that had gotten me into this mess. Nash seemed happy to get his mind off of his current predicament, so he told me what he recalled about the job, starting with the cowboy robot that had contracted for it.
At first, I thought he meant Primm Slim, but it quickly became clear that he was talking about my old buddy Victor.
I knew that unicycled son of a bitch was too good to be true.
It seems like Victor had actually hired six couriers to carry six nearly identical packages to the New Vegas strip -- must be some sort of smokescreen. Assuming my chip was the real McCoy and the others were the decoys, it doesn’t seem like it wound up being terribly effective.
Of course, given the poor kid I saw dead outside the Mojave Express office, it may just mean they killed their way down the list until they hit the jackpot.
One interesting side note: supposedly, there was another courier ahead of me in line for the sixth package, but, according to Nash, he saw my name on the list and backed out, letting me take the package instead of him.
Very odd. I didn’t think there was anyone in the Mojave who knew me... at least, these days.
Back on track, however, Nash also confirmed that Checkers and his Khan thugs had come through Primm after they buried me and after the ‘Gangers settled in, which means I’m only two or three days behind them. In fact, it sounds like they were somewhat chummy with the ‘Gangers.
Nash hadn’t spoken to them, but the deputy, a young man named Beagle who was the brother of the sheriff’s wife, had gone to check out the situation before he’d been kidnapped. Nash suggested he might have overheard something and said he was being held in the Bison Steve, the casino with the rollercoaster across the street.
I told Nash and the others that I’d see what I could do about getting Beagle out -- sure, I was doing it mainly for the info that will let me track down Checkers, but I neglected to pass that little tidbit along. Then I headed back out into the town.
Now that night had fallen, it was much easier to sneak past the ‘Gangers who hadn’t already drunk themselves into a stupor. I swear, the NCR could have swept this place clean with three raw recruits armed with BB guns, if it weren’t for their precious jurisdiction.
I made my way to the sheriff’s home to check and see if he might be held up in there, but the smell as soon as I cracked the door told me everything I needed to know. The sheriff and his wife were in the bed, still tangled in the sheets. Both were covered in gunshot wounds. They’d been dead a few days, in a similar state of decay to the dead courier. If I had to essay a professional opinion, I’d say they’d been shot in their sleep.
These ‘Gangers are racking up one hell of a bill, and, if there’s any justice left in this burnt-out husk of a world, it’s going to come due very soon.
I’d go looking for Beagle right now, but it’s been a long day, and it’s hard to be stealthy when you’re snoring face down on the pavement. I can’t sleep here, though -- that greasy cinnamon smell of decay is everywhere. I found a clean sheet in a cupboard and spread it over the sheriff and his wife, then grabbed a heavy coat off the rack by the door -- it’s getting chilly out there at night this late in the fall, and the sheriff certainly won’t be needing it any more.
I think I’ll creep back to the Mojave Express office and grab a few hours of sleep, then head for the Bison Steve early in the morning while it’s still dark.