New Vegas – 2283 "The lost Kingdom"
Six weeks out of New Vegas I wanted to shot myself.
"Come on man make with the water."
"You can't treat you number one asset like this. Remember those scorpion things a few days back? I took care of those mostly umm some would say almost entirely on my own with some help from the other guys. "
I snap at the kid.
"Buster damn it we are low on water! If IF we get more everyone's ration will go up!" In the mean time we are all thirsty and we all have to deal with it."
"Little Buster" did a favor for my employer once upon a time and he returned it by having me hire the guy as muscle for this little scavenging trip. The mans got less brains then a robot in a magnet factory.
He goes of to . . . as a matter of fact I have no idea what Buster does when I'm not directly telling him to do stuff.
One of the other men tap me on the shoulder. They dug down a foot and a half through the sand and found the tracks again. Easy to spot made of a material that turns magnetic under a low voltage. It makes the levitation mechanism on the train 25% more efficient for a tiny amount of power. Only a place using a state of the art hover train would use these kind of tracks.
"Get everyone moving, we know the right direction again."
Sand covered the tracks a long time ago, didn't matter for the train magnetic field could work though the sand, and it kept "commies" from tampering with the magnets. Makes it a pain in the ass to find your theme park after an apocalypse though.
"How'd you guys do on water?"
"Few more liters, about a day and a half worth of it total. "
This weather worn tribal had been keeping us going for weeks on water id not see a ghoul drink. How the hell he purified it I will never know. Best id been able to do myself was to distill some moisture from cactus we found along the way. Waters making everyone a bit edgy, and if we don't see something promising soon we might need to go back for more supplies. A few of the people with us will undoubtedly not make a 2nd trip. They will talk though, about the train tracks and about who hired them for the job. Word of this gets out I might not get my payday in caps or the forged documents I need to get the hell into NCR.
"Keep an eye on Buster, and tell the rest we stop and dig a pit to make sure we don't loose the tracks again ever four hours."
Dawn the next day we catch sight of it. A wall miles around with odd spire shaped buildings reaching out of "Amazing stories" and into the sky. dreamland was an amusement park built before the war, meant to showcase a fantasy world of flying cars and ray guns. Then men like Robert House built ray guns and cars that could really fly, and the future started leaving dreamland behind. A multimillion dollar restoration effort was completed five years before the bombs fell, dreamland was again something to see. Now its dead, and I'm going to pick its grave.
I don't expect something crazy like fools that chase legends like Eldorado or The Sierra Madre. I will not be finding any mini-nukes in the place, but I hope to find a load of fission batteries and electronics that can be re-purposed. If I can recover the gold bar at the heart of it all I get the loose change. I'm fine with that if it gets my ass out of the wasteland for good.
"Have everyone double time it, I want to be there by dark. "
The full moon looked down on us as it happened. The sands exploded with plasma fire, and the old tribal who name I'd never learned melted to goo as he led a pack Brahmin. The rest hit the deck or tossed grenades in the general direction of the attack hoping to catch out attackers in the blast radius. They never even saw the bots rolling up from behind us.
I'll admit I'm alive because I was checking out an escape route for myself while I was taking cover behind the wagon. It was plain as day once I saw we were surrounded. The only way anyone was getting the hell out alive was if someone was playing decoy giving the bots something to shoot at, so I ran. I ran like I ran from Rock Raven the night it burned, some super-mutant with a Gatling laser cutting down my friends as I did. I'm a coward I admit that, but the truth is we where dead already. They waited until we where all in the kill zone distracted us with an attack from the front and lit us up from behind when we weren't looking . . . most of us anyway.
I spotted a large crack in the wall maybe enough to squeeze though but their where two protectron robots between me and it. The laser I got as part of my pay for this mess was a fully tricked out AP7 a prewar design meant to be the first standard issue energy weapon sidearm by the pre war American military. I landed a shot from this thing to the first robots faceplate melting it to slag. The second one was ready to light me up like a neon sign when Little Buster sprinted past me and shoved that bladed gauntlet he was always going on about right in the things midsection. The man was a fool, they where coming up behind us now like that did with the rest of the party, and I ran for the gap in the wall for all I was worth.
The missile went of as I passed Buster and the protectron it was meant for him and got me as a bonus. It all went black after that.
When the lights came back on their was a Gecko the size of a child sitting on my chest. I could see my reflection in this things teeth.
"It's OK he only eats what I tell him to."
The voice a woman's I think.
"The hell you mean, damn thing's ate like five pairs of my undies woman!"
"What you bringing up THAT again after that mess with the vending machine! My baby saved you! ANYWAY, Chupa back off mommie wants to talk to the nice man. If he's not a nice man THEN you can eat him."
Once it gets of my chest I sit up very slowly and notice I'm not wearing my armor. The guys wearing ripped blue jeans work boots and a tattered black t-shirt with a yellow bat looking logo thing in the center. He's got on a pair of brass knuckles and a scoped repeater sitting on his lap. The woman's in fatigue pants combat boots and a blood spattered tank top. She had a bowie-knife on her hip and was also holding the revolver I picked up outside Ranger Station Charlie.
Wastelanders by the look of them. Bickering like everyone around them would get the inside joke.
The guy Sancho quips.
"I wanted a mole rat but nooo someone had to have a mutant with opposable thumbs!"
"Chupa's a good boy. . . at least we think he's a boy I'm not a vet or anything."
"Well looks like I owe you people a thank you."
"And four shots of med-x that are keeping you from feeling the cracked ribs and broken leg I fixed. You landed kind of hard and ON your ray gun thing. The Auto doc is sterile so you'll be fine."
The guy cut in again making another joke and she winced with annoyance.
"Is it still an auto doc if you need to run it on manual? Isn't that a manual doc?"
I scan the room while these two annoy each other. The guys sitting on a desk with a dead terminal, a lamp and some old paper work. Behind them is a wall calendar a closed door and the walls are covered in pre war inspirational posters. LIL'SCOUTS – WHAT MEN MUST KNOW A BOY MUST LEARN and CURRAGE TODAY VICTORY TOMORROW. I'm the damn scoutmasters office.
The guy turns his attention back to me.
"So we don't get many guest out here probably because the neighborhoods so crappy. What brings you around here mister? "
I fucking hate moments like this, a wrong word and you spend a long while regretting them. I KNOW my people are dead, and no one in Vegas is coming to rescue me. They might come for the ZAX AI but not for me. The hell with it I tell the truth.
"Murphy, I got a tip about this place from a big shot in New Vegas. He wanted some fancy CPU that might still be here. I'd get the run of the place and his word no one would screw with me while I did if I brought it to him. Any of my guys around? Guy in metal armor, maybe an old guy?"
Yea I'm asking for people I know are dead, but if I don't these people might get the wrong idea. There are people who can size a man up at a glance and know jut what to say to get them on their side. I'm not like that and never will be, but these people could be man eaters for all I know and if I have the slightest chance of getting in their good graces I'll take it. I miss my desk in the basement of Rock Raven where I did my job got 3 square a day and didn't have to think about crap like this.
"Sorry" The woman says. "They didn't make it, and they burned the wagon and the animals like they always do. We got you and your friend back here but he was gone by then."
I raise an eyebrow.
"Big kid, metal armor?"
She sounds like shes sorry, that's good. Means they are PROBABLY not man eaters. . . and the whole not eating me either. Thing is you never know out here. The loss of that cart is a bitch it had supplies AND ammo. We'd hardly gotten into any trouble out here before this.
"The rocket hit and you two and robot caught air. You landed close enough for us to pull you inside before more robots showed up. The slow ones like you shot mainly hang out around there but the others show up fast if you try anything. "
Typical tactic with robots Protectrons were always multipurpose cheap shit. Use 'em for whatever like guard duty janitor or cannon fodder. They probably did the grunt work around here too and the warbots just waited for people to fall into the trap.
"I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they aren't yours then."
The guy chimes in.
" I for one enjoy the robot deathtraps keeps the bad neighbors out."
The woman snaps at him like an annoyed parent.
"They've had us pinned down in here for a while. Don't come in here because of old screwy programming. I am Sancho this is Doc, we've been hold up here a while with our friends. Every soften someone makes a move on this place and one or two get lucky. Play nice and you can stay with us, don't and well them mole rats have to eat!"
She face palms.
"I should have done this with Biggie. "
"What he's no fun! He just stands there with that BIG hammer looking like he splat someone if they misbehave, and it's not like this is the guy that had a bag full of that "strange meat " he tried to say was pork like that last guy. Murphy here was wearing post war armor, and looked like him and his people had real organization. "
These people are not stupid, lets hope that comes in handy. I decide to play nice.
"Message received, I'll make myself useful. I'm a decent enough repair guy, but I can do software better. "
Doc annoyed but glad their message was got though handed my back my laser.
"We will hang on to the rest until we know you're all right. Your first is job to talk to DD and see if you two can get anything out of this. We have a decent amount of ammo for this stuff but no real energy weapons."
I look at the laser and want to cry the focus crystals were totally smashed and useless. You can jury rig a lot of things in the waste land but you don't just FIND focus crystals outside other lasers. They had to grow the damn things in zero gravity for Pete's sake.
"No promises on that."
They ushered me out of office and into a series of class rooms covering in LIL' scouts banners. The desks where tiny and one of the doors read nap room. I'm guessing this is where rug rats got dumped when they where to tired or small to enjoy the rest of the park. I get wary looks from a dozen or so people no one within half a decade of my age. Most of them had no armor or what looked like pre war sports equipment. For weapons it was baseball bats police batons, or the odd knife seemed the rule. No wonder they took my gear. A big guy with a sledge-hammer points me to a maintenance closet when I ask for DD. I hear voices as I enter.
"Come on just a little powder, please."
The second voice sounded forced like maybe it wasn't a language he normally spoke.
"You got like 50 bullets their man, and you're not going end up with that many if you reload'em to .357. "
"No reload . . . . just check'in . . . . bag."
".38 specials are wuss bullets man, they are going to want .357s probably those specials you and me make and then you can just toss me a little powered. "
I walk in and see a guy in a tattered lab coat his head looks like it got into a fight with an auto doc and lost. His head was a sea of scars and only had random patches of hair. The other guy was wearing a leather jacket with a belt of tin cans with grenade pins on the side, on his wrist was a sheath holding a combat knife, and he had a fucking nail gun on this hip. Their equipment continues to underwhelm me. Guy in the jacket spoke first.
"Hay its the new guy! Hi, I'm Aen this is DD. Before you ask no he doesn't talk about the scars, and no Doc doesn't make us hang out to keep the other one from blowing stuff up. I HAVE to hang out with him so I don't blow stuff up. "
"He's the stable one check. That makes you the pyro, sorry I don't smoke and never have."
"Well shot me that bb gun is so much more fun with strike on all surface match heads. "
"I'd love to but it my laser is beat to hell. Mind if I use your work room."
Aen looks over at DD who shrugs.
"Sure just don't make a mess he gets angry when people do that in here. Oh and any box with my name on it is off-limits."
"Understood, have any focus crystals? "
"Hell no only energy weapons we see that aren't pointed at us are regulators and those throw sparks. Pre-war stun gun kind of things. "
He shows me a compliance Regulator meant for pre-war crowd control. The thing might hurt a bit and enough shots will stun you but its going to take ten energy cells to kill one much less a robot. I try not to look pissed as they go through my duffel bag while I work on the laser. Any other part of that thing broke I could jury rig it with the regulator and some scrap. For the moment this thing ain't shooting flies, but I keep it anyway. No one in the wastes throws a damn thing away if they can help it.
I check through the maintenance closet just to see what's here just in case I need to know later. Plenty of drained e-cells a few drained MF cells scrap metal and lots of wires and electrical components some look like they came from home electronics or toys. A metric ass-load of wonder-glue two rolls of duct tape and assorted tools. No surprise these people adlib their own ammo and weapons. I see casings sorted by caliber and a few hand loaded rounds. .357s in three tubs with a few in each. One marked with a smiling face is empty, one marked with a face that wasn't happy or sad had my .38s in it, and one with a sad face was full. I look the sad face ammo over and its clear these people are hurting for powder. Looks like they pack the ammo with that crappy ignition wastelanders make out of rust. Never learned how they worked but I know it burns real dirty and isn't good for the gun.
A minute later someone knocks on the door DD pokes his sacred head in a forces out a few words.
"Need room. . . . project here"
I clean up and go outside. A few of the guys in sports pads and that big guy with the hammer are dragging a downed protectron to the maintenance closet. One of its arms are missing and its covered in dents and stab marks. DD tells me what I already knew.
"One your . . . buddy fought. . . . . . try get . . . wwork'in"
I nod my head.
"Mind if I help? I've worked with bots before."
He looks over his shoulder at the big guy and then back at me.
From out side I hear Sancho.
"Gimme you little mutant!"
I step out of the room so they can drag the 'bot inside and see Chuppa with the things missing arm.
"Not yours bad Chupa BAD!"
Looking around I spot a baseball on a shelf and wave it at the Gecko and when he takes notice I toss the thing. He drops the arm and runs after the ball like a dog. Sancho grabs the arm and tosses it to me.
"I wanted a mole rat."
Before walking off.
I cram myself into the maintenance closet with DD and begin checking the thing over.
He says, as he starts methodically taking the thing apart, and by that I mean the entire bot from bolts to fusion battery. I get enough of a look at it to see the backup memory has a hole in it and the primaries have shrapnel sticking out. DD looks at me with a raised eyebrow.
"I don't follow you sorry"
He waves at me go with him and he walks me though the school room past a small library I make a mental note to check out later, and lastly to an entry room. A few of the desks where turned over making cheap barricades facing a set of three revolving doors. Two of them looked intentionally jammed with crowbars and bits that used to be office chairs. Two guys standing guard with baseball bats with nails sticking out didn't say anything but kept an eye on us as DD threw a large switch on the wall before taking me outside.
The area beyond the Lil' scouts lodge house was dark and when I tried to step in that direction DD grabbed my arm.
"No BAD . . .here."
I followed him to area beside the doors with a Protectron painted like a LIL'scout uniform standing guard.
He said. I took a look the thing looked like it used to be an actual working protectron but its legs where now bolted to the ground. Considering the circumstances I made a VERY quick check of the robot and noticed the legs looked welded straight. This thing could move at the wast but that's all.
"No way man, this things frame is compromised it will never take the weight of moving around."
He points at the left hand.
"No shot . . . . should bbut . . .ddon't."
I start to take a look when I hear something moaning and one of the guys with the bats taps on the glass. We rush inside they lock the revolving door and DD hits the wall switch just as two ghouls attracted by our presence outside rush the at front doors. The robot outside springs to life and peppers the first one with its head laser, and the laser on right hand. It drops fast enough, and the second one slams its hands into the glass trying to get in. The robot pivots just enough to wing it with a laser and the thing turns its attention from us to the protectron turn turret and moves to attack it. Stupid ghoul actually gave the thing a better shot and got turned to ashes by the head laser for its trouble.
"See problem . . . ? "
"Yea I'm guessing that 'bot is what keeps the ghouls from just piling up on your front door?"
"Yea. . . follow."
He leads me into a side room marked security and he shows me a terminal on a desk. I take a look and its hooked into the robot outside.
"Not enough . . . . make work?"
I check the thing out some more and it's not hooked into the bot its running the damn thing. Terminals aren't meant for that kind of work and don't have the computing power for it. This is really good work, most people couldn't force something this week to handle a job like that. This guy must have formal training of some kind, though I don't think I'll be getting his life story considering his trouble talking.
"OK I get why the right arms not shooting. The terminals too slow to run three weapons. I can tweak it so it stops trying to force it. It should make the two weapons you have shot a little faster, hows that sound? "
"Better then . . . nuttin. "
Next " Grocery shopping "