<<UserID:Webb>> ...Okay, Webb, that’s IT. You have definitely got to lay off the Mentats.
Since I’m lying here in the room unable to sleep, also thanks to the aftereffects of the Mentats -- or maybe the Cateye -- I reviewed the last entry. I can’t believe there’s actually a record of me saying “chupacabra” without irony.
It was, of course, NOT a chupacabra, but that doesn’t make it any less strange. The brahmin killer turned out to be an honest-to-god super mutant. I didn’t realize the fact until I’d already shot him six ways from Sunday, but, in my defense, an enormous screaming man-thing had just appeared out of thin air less than five yards in front of me, carrying a goddamn mini-gun.
In those circumstances, I think I can justify myself a little of the old “shoot first, ask questions later”.
ED-E opened fire when I did, and his lasers slagged the rotator on the minigun before the mutant could spin the thing up to fire. He hefted the ruined gun like a club, roaring, but, when our combined shots felled the mutant, he fell forward, smashing the gun beneath his incredible bulk.
So Noonan was actually correct about the machine gun, though it’s well beyond my capacity to repair. Too heavy and indiscriminate for my tastes anyway, but it probably would have been worth a nice pile of caps. As it was, I just stripped it for scrap.
Noonan had been right about something else, too -- the culprit HAD been invisible.
The mutant had been wearing one of those wrist-mounted RobCo cloaking units -- that’s why no one had been able to see him during the attacks, at least until ED-E somehow interfered with the cloaking field.
The device, called a StealthBoy -- apparently, whoever was in charge of naming products at RobCo wasn’t terribly big on creativity or variety -- still appears to be functioning, though it appears to have a limited battery life. I’ve placed it in a handy pocket for emergencies. I’ll have to use it sparingly, but, still, a nice little bonus out of the whole affair.
He also had a holotape stuffed into his tattered robes, which, upon review, contained a great deal of muttering and nonsense from the supermutant, who apparently blamed the McBrides’ brahmin for his insomnia. Well, he’s resting now, at least, poor mad thing.
Something else was odd about the supermutant, though, besides his cattle-killing proclivities.
It’s not like my experience with supermutants has been vast -- we saw a few on isolated farms and homesteads around the vicinity of Broken Hills while patrolling there, and I even met one serving in a Ranger troop that helped us clear a large raider base west of New Reno, but that’s been pretty much it.
But all of the ones I’ve met or seen in vids had skin that was some shade of green or gray. This one had an odd cobalt blue pigment, almost indigo, that would have made him difficult to spot in the dark even without the StealthBoy. Very curious -- I’ll have to ask around when I get to someplace with folks who might know something about mutants, see if there’s anything to the blue skin, or if this one was just a little more mutated than most.
I knocked at the McBrides’ door, as I figured all the shooting and hollering must have woken them, and told them briefly that they could sleep safely -- the brahmin killer was dead. They asked me in, Alice offering to put on a pot of coffee, but I declined, heading back to the motel room to try and get some sleep.
You see how well that’s worked out.
Reviewing that last entry, though, I realized that the mutant interrupted me before I could record the results of my meeting with Novac’s other sniper, Craig Boone. He didn’t have anything to add about Checkers, unfortunately, but that’s not to say he didn’t have some interesting things to say about the town.
Like I’d been starting to say, Boone’s another retired sniper like Vargas -- though we didn’t get around to discussing how “official” that retirement had actually been. Unlike Vargas, however, Boone doesn’t have a tremendous amount of love for the town -- in fact, he’s pretty sure that someone in Novac is responsible for the disappearance of his wife.
Now, call it narcissism if you will, but I seem to have a soft spot for the plight of veterans who have lost their wives, so I pushed him to find out more.
He’s not what you’d call gregarious, but he did eventually share that he’d met his wife, Carla, in New Vegas, and they’d settled here. After some time, she disappeared -- he says he has reason to believe she was sold to slavers, and he wants to know who did it. He thinks that, since I’m new to town and wouldn’t seem to have any interest in her fate, I might be able to find out more from people than he can.
Boone concluded by asking me, if I DO find out who was responsible, to bring them around in front of the dinosaur, outside the town, while he’s on shift, and give him a signal. For the signal, he gave me his beret, and said just to put it on when I was sure I had the guilty party. He’d take care of the rest.
Some folks might say that snooping around to help someone else take revenge is probably not the best or most moral use of time. But my ma always used to say that people who live in glass vaults shouldn’t throw stones, and, seeing as I’m on the road hunting down a man that shot me in the head, I suppose I’m standing the entry tunnel of the glassiest vault ever built.
Besides, thinking about Jess and Callie, if I had the chance to...
Well. Suffice it to say, I told him I’d ask around.
I got some unsolicited advise right out of the gate, as it happened. When I left Boone’s perch, heading back down through the dinosaur, I came out on the small staircase in the side and was immediately waylaid by Noonan, who put a conspiratorial -- and reeking -- arm around my shoulders as soon as I came down the steps and pulled me into the shadows by the dinosaur’s tail.
Once we were safe -- from “Them”, I suppose -- he hissed into my ear that he’d listened in on the conversation between Boone and me, and he had some information for a trustworthy sort like myself.
Apparently, he’d seen a slaving deal go down in the lobby of the motel the night before Carla Boone had disappeared -- a slaving deal involving mole people, of course. I thanked him politely, gave him a little water from my canteen for his troubles -- poured into a tin cup, of course; I’m not letting those gums anywhere near my actual canteen -- and headed over to the McBrides’ place to wait on the cattle killer.
Huh. Which, as I said earlier, DID turn out to be an invisible monster with a machine gun.
Damn it. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but maybe I shouldn’t just ignore Noonan’s advice out of hand. Maybe there is some information in Crawford’s lobby.
Besides, it’s not like I’m getting any sleep anyway...
Come on, ED-E, we’re going for a little stroll. Stay quiet, but sound an alert if you see anyone coming, okay?
*Sounds of a door opening and shutting, then footsteps.*
<<UserID:Webb>> *Whispering* Hmmm, door’s locked. Shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
*Muted sounds of metal scrapping, followed by a click.*
Aha! Thank god for bobby pins. ED-E, stay put, keep your sensors humming. I’ll be inside.
*Another door opening and closing, followed by several minutes of intermittent paper rustling and drawers opening and closing.*
Huh. Nothing. Well, I don’t know what I was expecting. Poor Noonan -- after all, even a stopped clock is right twice a--
Wait. Looks like a...
Yep. Floor safe. Almost missed it. Probably nothing, but... Let’s give the old stethoscope an airing, just in case.
*Muted sounds of tumblers moving, followed by a click.*
There we are. Okay, let’s see... receipts for food... invoices for guests... bills of sale for--
*Sharp intake of breath.*
“Consul Officiorum”? Is this a Legion document? “Bargained and purchased from Jeannie May Crawford”...
...”ownership and sale of the slave Carla Boone for the sum of one thousand bottle cap, and those of her...”
Oh sweet god...
“Unborn child”? Carla was pregnant?
Jesus. Jesus *Expletive Deleted* Christ have mercy.
*Paper crumpling, followed by a lengthy silence and then a slow breath.*
Looks like I need to go have a few words with Miss Crawford.
See if she wants to take a walk, maybe.