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Courier's Journal

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Day 1: October 19th 2281

Good news and bad news today, journal. Not necessarily in that order. It's just news right now, but shut up, I can write you however I want.

You'll recall that about a week ago I accepted a high-paying job to deliver a package to Vegas. It turns out I was right to expect trouble, as I was captured and robbed along the way by some asshole in a suit and his entourage of Great Khans. Who then shot me in the head. Twice. And then buried me in a shallow grave. I survived, of course, because I'm goddamn hardcore and THAT'S HOW I ROLL, but it was only by the skin of my teeth this time, and only with outside assistance.

I woke up this morning in some dingy-looking room with boarded-up windows, and found that I had been dug out of my own grave by a friendly robot and delivered to the local doctor of a town called Goodsprings. Doc Mitchell is a cool guy. Reminds me of my father a bit. He treated me while I was out, even doing surgery to remove the bullets and fix up my face again, and I think he did a damn good job. My nose is looking a little different, but as far as coming back from the grave goes, it's a much milder change than I'm used to. Hell, there's not even much of a scar there! Mitchell is a miracle worker. And to think the Clairvoyant said that I needed that extra cycle. Pffft!

As near as I can tell, my motor skills seem fine, and I haven't lost any important memories, so that's good. I also passed Mitchell's psychological evaluation. I just had to fill in some medical history stuff, which I lied about to avoid answering the awkward questions, and he let me go. Not that I left right away; I stayed a while to get my bearings and go over my equipment.

Of everything that I was carrying on me when I was shot, I was given back four stimpaks, eighteen caps, twelve bobby pins, some dynamite, and my delivery order from the Mojave Express. The Khans took everything else I had on me. Not just my package, but my gun, my old journal, and even the clothes off my back, which means I lost everything in my pockets too (which was a lot, because my pockets were huge). Lucky for me, Mitchell had some clothes to spare. He came from Vault 21 up near Vegas, and moved down here with his wife before she died, so he gave me his old vault jumpsuit, which is about my size. Not crazy about the blue, but it's nice and comfortable.

Even better, he gave me something else of his from the vault. It's called a Pip-Boy 3000. Well, technically "PIP-Boy," because PIP is an acronym for "personal information processor," but that's not the point. It's a little computer that you wear on your wrist, and I can't express just how much I love this thing. It's got everything! It has radio, a Geiger counter, a flashlight, a map of the Mojave region which I can edit to tag locations as I come across them, it interfaces with terminals, it has massive memory storage, a holotape slot, audio and video recording, a notes and calendar function for planning, an assisted targeting system, and it even gives me medical scans in real time. If I'm injured anywhere on my body, it can identify where I'm hurt. If I'm irradiated, it knows exactly how many rads. If I'm sick, it'll know what I have (not that I ever get sick, but still). It even monitors how hungry, thirsty, and tired I am!

The only real drawback is that it's a bit unstable, since it's frozen twice and crashed three times today already. But aside from that, it's great!

After I was done at Doc Michell's, I stepped out into the sunlight for the first time in days, and found myself in the quaint little town of Goodsprings. It's an odd place. All the houses are inhabited, yet the townsfolk still keep their windows boarded up. A few dilapidated structures around, too. Still, a heck of a lot better than some other places I've seen, especially out east.

First thing I did was go to say thanks to Victor, the robot who rescued me. He's a Securitron, a RobCo model. I've never seen one up close before, but they sure cut an impressive figure. A lot more intimidating than a Protectron, that's for sure. I hear that they normally guard the Vegas Strip, but Victor lives right here in Goodsprings. Even has his own shack and everything. He's quite the enigma; nobody can really tell me why he's here or where he came from. Even Victor himself doesn't seem sure. He's just been around for so long that the town are used to his presence, though not all of them trust him. I'll admit, I find him curious too; I wonder who programmed him with that friendly cowboy personality?

Moving on, I visited the saloon and met Sunny Smiles, and I have no idea if that's her real name or not, but it's cute, so whatever. Mitchell sent me her way, thinking that I needed to brush up on my basic survival skills. I was a little put-off at first, because come on, who gets to be my age in the wasteland without learning how to shoot, right? But I got a free rifle out of it, and it's been a damn long time since I last made healing powder, so maybe it did me some good after all. It at least confirmed for me that I'm still mostly functional, if a little shaky.

We spent most of the early morning south of the town. I agreed to help clear out some gecko nests. Nasty things, but fortunately very stupid. They're big, easy to hit, and charge right at you in a straight line. Hey, I won't complain if they want to give me a free shot. Their meat and hides are worth a few caps, too. Sunny just needed to kill them, but I don't believe in wasting any part of the animal. That's caps in my pocket and food in the town's bellies. We even saved a woman's life while we were down there. Geckos scratched her up a bit, but she was fine. Thanked me with a bottle of water and ran off. I never even learned her name, but I will find you again one day, gecko lady.

I had to run around town a bit for the healing powder ingredients, though. I stopped by the school house first, one of the few buildings in Goodsprings which hasn't been reclaimed, probably because the town is oddly lacking in children. There I retrieved some xander root, and was inexplicably attacked by giant mantises. I didn't even know that mantises hunt in packs; I always thought that the mantis stood still, took advantage of its natural camouflage, and ambushed its prey. Shows what I know, I guess. Then after that, I headed up to the town's cemetery for broc flower, where I shot a scorpion, and was spat upon by bloatflies, an essential part of any wastelander's day.

For the record, yes, this was the same cemetery where my would-be murderers buried me alive, so while I was there, I had a look around. It's a weird feeling, standing over your own grave. It's not the first time I've done it, and knowing my luck it won't be the last, but I doubt I'll ever get used to it.

I didn't find much there, unfortunately. A few cigarette butts which might be a clue to my killer's identity, but no trace of my gun, my old clothes, or my missing journal. I sincerely hope that the Khans just threw my journal away on the road somewhere, or at least that they don't take its contents seriously. I recorded secrets in it. Secrets which are not mine to give up. It's why I need to track down the man who shot me. Even besides the need to reclaim my package before the Mojave Express gets pissed with me, I need to find out what they did with my things, otherwise I might piss off someone even worse.

Not to mention that I was drafting my latest pornographic novel in there, my semi-autobiographical magnum opus, He Who Fucked a Thousand Whores. I was a hundred and fifty thousand words into that! On paper! I am not starting over from scratch!

I did at least find something interesting in the cemetery, though. Somebody left a snowglobe by one of the old graves, which I decided to take along with me. I think it's another Vault-Tec product, like my new Pip-Boy, because it has their Vault Boy mascot inside. He shows up quite a lot on this Pip-Boy as a default file icon as well, constantly smiling up at me from the screen like the hollow, soulless puppet that he is. His eyes bore into me, and I can feel the suffering of thousands of—

Sorry.

So once I was done with Sunny and the cemetery, I had time to go around and meet some of the other residents. I spoke with this old timer called Easy Pete outside the saloon. We talked about regional politics, bighorners, and his days as a prospector (Mojave slang for "scavenger").

At the time I found this very interesting, but this later became confusing. See, Sunny told me that there wasn't any real work in town, but that if I was feeling up to it, I could try to crack a safe in the school house, which I did. Easy Pete, she said, had tried and failed to blow it open with dynamite. Which didn't sound odd to me at first, but then I realised halfway through the job that Easy Pete must have been a really terrible prospector. I had that safe open in a matter of minutes. And not with a sonic modulator or anything, or even one of those terrible "electronic lockpicks" that Wattz inflicted on the world. I just used a bobby pin and screwdriver. It wasn't even that difficult. Which begs the question, why did Easy Pete never learn basic lockpicking when it was his actual job?

Humans confuse me sometimes.

Still, the safe yielded a very cool little device called a stealth boy, old RobCo invisibility tech. I've seen it in action before. It's not perfect; you can still see an outline and a bit of a distortion. But the stealth field is enough to fool anybody who's not already on their guard, so it's pretty useful so long as you're not a moron. Pretty good find, especially for something I just did on a whim. I'm not gonna sell this one. I'm saving it for a real emergency. Who knows? It might save my life.

Another person I met today was Trudy, the bartender of the Prospector Saloon. She's a respected woman in Goodsprings, and Sunny suggested that I go say hello, so I did. But when I walked into the bar, I found her arguing with a man named Joe Cobb, and that's when the real adventure began.

Cobb is an ex-con who escaped from the NCR Correctional Facility to the east, part of a successful riot and mass breakout a while back. The escaped convicts formed a loosely organised gang called the Powder Gangers, so named because the NCR stupidly gave them access to large quantities of dynamite while working them as slave labour to build railroads into the Mojave. This ended predictably, and the convicts have been causing trouble in the area ever since.

Now Cobb is in town hunting for a Crimson Caravan trader named Ringo, who's been lying low in Goodsprings since the Powder Gangers tried to rob him a few days ago. Apparently they ambushed him on the road and killed most of his friends, and they expected Ringo to politely roll over and die as well, as you're supposed to, I guess. But instead, he very rudely shot back and killed a few of them before escaping. The Powder Gangers were of course shocked and appalled by this turn of events, as no parent should ever have to fear their son being shot while he's out innocently robbing and murdering passing caravan traders, so now Joe Cobb is threatening to burn down the town if they don't give up Ringo to correct this grave injustice.

Trudy was just telling him to go fuck himself in the ass with a rusty pitchfork when I arrived (though in somewhat politer terms than that), so he ran out of the bar with his tail between his legs. Literally ran. It was hilarious. I can see why everyone in town looks up to her. But this does still leave the obvious problem that the town and Ringo now have to worry about an organised attack by the Powder Gangers. So after Trudy explained the situation for me, and after Cobb made it clear that he wasn't open to peace talks, I went up to the gas station where Ringo was hiding and talked it over with him. We came up with a plan, and I've since spent the better part of the day running around town, trying to organise a militia of sorts.

Sunny was the first to volunteer when I asked her, and she pointed me to others who could help out. Trudy needed some convincing, but she agreed to help rally the rest of the town. Easy Pete was happy to provide some extra dynamite once I demonstrated to him that I knew explosives safety. I was even able to enlist Victor in the fight as well. Him being a heavily-armed Securitron, I don't think we have anything to fear from the Powder Gangers anymore, but it helps to be cautious and not put all of our eggs in one basket.

Doc Mitchell also provided some supplies. I mainly went to him for stimpaks, but he had a few weapons and other things to spare as well. He gave me his laser pistol and some cells, since I didn't have a sidearm, and he let me take an old submachine gun that he had lying around (though I had to fix it first, since it was broken). He also had a chemistry station in the corner, so he begrudgingly let me use it to brew up some chems. I don't blame him for his reservations; I'm wary of chems myself, and I know first-hand what they can do to you. But I might need them. Chems have their uses just like everything else, and I never like to find myself without a tool if I need it, especially going into a fight. I cooked up one dose each of Psycho, jet, steady, Buffout, rebound, and Mentats. With luck, that should be all I'll need.

The only real stumbling block was Chet, the proprietor of the general store. I'd already met him earlier when I sold him the gecko meat, hides, and everything I hauled out of the school house, so I guess he was feeling short on caps and didn't want to give up anything more today. I did eventually talk him into providing some leather armour for the militia, but it took me a few tries. Some people tell me that I have a silver tongue, but that doesn't always extend to dealing with salesmen. Haggling is its own art, and it's never something I've been particularly good at. Part of why my own attempts at running a caravan never panned out. So I took a little break, read a trade magazine to get myself in the right mindset, and went back and tried again later, and this time I convinced him. Didn't even need to use my Mentats, so I consider that a win.

It's now approaching the evening. Between Trudy rallying the town, Easy Pete's dynamite, and Victor backing us up, I'm pretty confident in our chances. This whole experience is giving me a terrible sense of deja vu, but this won't be like last time. I'll be careful. No need to play hero when we have a damned Securitron on our side. I'd say we have this in the bag, but I don't want to be too overconfident. After all, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. But if there's one skill I prize above all others, it's my ability to improvise, so that's what I'm really counting on. If something goes wrong, I'll just think of something to fix it, like I always do.

Or I could die. Again.

I guess we'll see how well the plan holds up once the Powder Gangers attack. I'm currently staying in the gas station with Ringo, enjoying a sarsaparilla and getting schooled in Caravan as I type out this entry in the Pip-Boy. And I've gotta say, so far, I actually prefer it over my old journal! Sure, the Pip-Boy keyboard is pretty small, but it's so much easier than writing by hand! I liked writing long entries in my old journal too, but I couldn't do it every day, because it was such a pain in the wrist! This is much more convenient.

Thank God for the crash-save feature, though. I'd probably kill someone if I had to type this whole thing out twice.

Well, that's it for now, so I'll leave it off here and write a second entry later. Assuming I survive.

Hail to the Keeper.

Killed: Geckos, mantises, bloatflies, and a scorpion.

Today's dinner: Cram.

Had sex with: Nobody yet. Considering Sunny Smiles? Ringo not receptive.

Day 1: October 19th 2281 UPDATE

I did say that I'd write an update after the fight, so here I am. I'm glad to report that I'm still alive and that everything went well. No casualties on the side of Goodsprings, and the Powder Gangers were completely wiped out. A lot of them were blown up, ironically. For all his faults as a prospector, I think that Easy Pete made the biggest difference in the fight. You don't fuck with Easy Pete.

No help from Victor, surprisingly. He didn't show. That was the wrench in the works I should've been expecting. I found him afterwards and asked him why, but he wasn't even aware that the battle had occurred at all. He says he "must have dozed off," which I discovered (after I had him run a diagnostic) was because someone had activated an override to keep him out of the fight. I couldn't find out who, but I doubt that it was the Powder Gangers; Joe Cobb was hanging around in town before the fight, but he never struck me as the technical type, and anyone who wanted to help the Powder Gangers probably would've turned Victor to their side instead of just having him stand down. But if not the Powder Gangers, I have no idea who would have had the motive and opportunity to do this. It's pretty weird, and kinda creepy.

Because of that, my participation in the fight ended up being a lot more significant than expected. I threw a lot of dynamite about, but some of the Powder Gangers came straight at us, including one idiot who charged an armed militia with a baseball bat. I wasn't expecting the suicide squad to live very long (and they didn't), but by closing the gap, they made it too dangerous to keep throwing dynamite with all the Goodsprings citizens in the fray. Things were looking bad. So I got out my submachine gun and prayed for a miracle, and at that moment the cartoon angel of Vault Boy descended from the heavens and spoke to me.

"I hear you, my child," he said. And before my eyes appeared a black interface with orange text explaining to me the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, also known as VATS.

Granted, I almost died because it was obscuring my vision while I was still being shot at, but it really was a godsend once I figured out how to get the instructions out of my face. Somehow (and I'm not completely sure how), this beautiful little machine can put a display over my vision in combat, doing something to either my eyes or my brain. I think it might be nanotechnology. Probably the same thing it uses to monitor my vitals for the medical scans. When I engage it, VATS calculates my chances to hit any target I aim for in real time. All I need to do is point the weapon, and fire when the number is high enough, and it'll generally hit whatever I was going for. And this doesn't just work on whole bodies, either. I can target specific limbs.

I knew that the assisted targeting was a feature, but I didn't expect it to turn me from a mediocre gunman into a hardcore badass in a single fight. It was incredible. Give a man one of these, and he can become a perfect shot. You just need good timing and to make sure to give a few seconds for a cool down period. It can't be working constantly, you see. Even the Pip-Boy can overheat if it uses too much processing power at once, and this thing really does crash like a motherfucker, so it does the calculations in short bursts. Still, that one disadvantage aside, this is an immensely useful tool. I cannot fathom why Doc Mitchell gave it away to me for free.

And now I'm wondering just how much of the legend of the Vault Dweller was down to his presumable ownership of one of these. Wasteland fame, here I come!

So at final count, of the six men that attacked Goodsprings, I personally killed three, including Joe Cobb himself. I am, as always, saddened by the need to take lives, but as I've learned many times over by now, such things are often unavoidable. I wish I could've talked Joe Cobb down earlier, but some people you just can't reach. So I just helped the townsfolk gather the bodies, had a moment of silence for them, and then looted everything that they had.

Hey, waste not, want not.

Ringo gave me a hundred caps of the Crimson Caravan's funds as thanks, and then he ran off to join the others. As for me, I went back to Chet and sold him everything I picked up. That includes most of the Powder Gangers' weapons, ammunition that I didn't need, and some stuff they had in their pockets. I kept a hat and a revolver I found on one of them, a 9mm pistol, the idiot's baseball bat (since I need a weapon for close quarters, and bats are pretty good for knocking people out), and a stealth boy that I found on Joe Cobb. No clue where he found it, or why he didn't use it, but that makes two now, so I guess I got lucky. I also took a suit of Powder Ganger armour. I'm thinking of paying a visit to the NCRCF and seeing if I can talk to them. It might make for a good disguise.

Chet again didn't have enough caps to buy everything off me, so some of the stuff I traded for some weapon modifications. I'm pretty sure he ripped me off, since I don't exactly have anyone else to sell to, but I bought a scope and some extended magazines for my 9mm pistol, and the same plus a silencer for my varmint rifle from him. The rifle's scope also comes with night vision. Looks like a good weapon for stealth operations now, especially if used in conjunction with my stealth boys.

After that, it was back to the saloon for a celebratory drink with the rest of the townsfolk. Trudy's radio was damaged, so I fixed it real quick, and she paid me seventy-five caps for the job. So drinks were on me for the evening, of course, and we all had a grand old time as we were serenaded by the sweet sound of Sinatra. Ringo stayed for a last drink, and even Doc Mitchell joined us. Really took me back, getting to be there with them all, like I was one of them. Almost like I was back in New Mexico again. If I didn't need to move on and find the man who shot me, I could really see myself building a life here. Despite all the violence... I have to say, it was a good day.

Hail to the Keeper.

Killed: Joe Cobb and two other Powder Gangers.

Today's dinner: Gecko!

Had sex with: Still nobody. Sunny Smiles not receptive either. Maybe need a shower? Probably still smell of grave dirt.