<<UserID:Webb>> My streak of luck looks to be holding. It seems that, while the ‘Gangers shot the sheriff and his wife, they did not shoot the deputy. At long last, I’ve found Beagle.
He was tied up in the hotel’s kitchen. He’d probably been under guard, but my little distraction drew them off. I’d loaded the elevator with all the dynamite I’d found on the upper stories, lit a nice long fuse, then hit the button for the ground floor. Bit of a gamble that they didn’t have Beagle stashed by the elevator doors, but -- I hate to admit it -- it was a risk I was willing to take. While the elevator was trundling down, I went to the staircase and waited for the explosion.
When the blast came -- and by god, it came in spades -- I busted down the door and rushed into the lower level, which was utter pandemonium. Men were milling around everywhere, some headed towards the blown-out elevator, which was still spitting flame into the hallway ahead of me, and some running away from it.
I unloaded the shotgun into the first ‘Ganger I saw, dropped it, then opened fire with the revolver until that was empty as well. By the time I’d thrown that to the ground and started shooting with the pistol, the hallway was clear, with everyone either dead or taking cover out of sight. Pretty smooth sailing, all things considered, but all the remaining ‘Gangers were definitely onto me now.
The first hallway I checked ran straight ahead, with a branch off to the right. I followed the branch and came to the kitchen, where Beagle was waiting for me, trussed up like a hog for slaughter. He was... not at all what I’d anticipated.
I’d been expecting a scared young deputy, but I found an incompetent, puffed-up blowhard, so afloat in his own delusions that he had little to no concept of the danger he had been in -- still WAS in. Before letting him loose, I made him fill me in on Checkers and his cronies. He confirmed what I’d heard before, that the men traveling with Checkers were Great Khans, and also mentioned that he’d overheard their travel plans before the ‘Gangers nabbed him: they were headed to a town called Novac to the east of here -- it sounded to Beagle like they were planning on going south to Route 164, following that east through Nipton, then hooking north on Interstate 95 to reach this Novac place. Guess I’ve got the name of the next stop on my grand tour of Nevada.
When he finished filling me in, I untied Beagle -- then had to literally grab him by the collar to stop him from scampering off out of the building. I pushed a dead ‘Ganger’s revolver into his hand and told him he was going to live up to the duty of his office and help me clear out the rest of the vermin from this town.
All things considered, I probably should have just let him run off and saved myself the grief. It took the rest of the day to track down the last of the ‘Gangers, and Beagle was worse than useless. Ever single time we got into a firefight, I found him cowering behind something by the end. It almost got him killed, too -- the last little bastion of the gangers was in what must once have been a dining hall for the hotel, now used as a flophouse and roasting pit.
The smoke was so thick I could barely see, but I could make out a few figures moving through the haze, including one carrying an incinerator. Beagle saw the flame, yelped like a Vault City schoolgirl, and threw himself behind a rack of benches. Of course, the scream drew the attention of the ‘Gangers down on him immediately, and the one with the incinerator fairly coated the benches in fire. I managed to put him and the others down with my revolver while they were concentrating their fire on Beagle, but my right arm got pretty badly singed in the process. A stimpak and some Med-X is propping me up for now, but I’ll have to strip off the burnt clothes and debride the wounds when I have the time if I want to keep the damn thing in any sort of working order.
Beagle, of course, made it through the whole ordeal completely unscathed. We made sure the ones in the dining hall were the last of them, then I told Beagle it was over. He’s already dashed back over to the Vikki and Vance -- no doubt telling them all about his heroic exploits. Idiot. This town deserves better than him -- I’ll have to see what I can do about that.
At the moment, though, I’m giving the Bison Steve one more sweep to see if I can turn up any medical supplies to better see to this arm. Even with the Med-X, the damn thing is starting to throb like a *Expletive Deleted*.