- [ MAKING THINGS SIMPLE ] -
John and I were on the road for a while, the sun setting as we arrived at Primm’s wall. NCR troopers dotted the road, blocking the way in.
“Why’s the entrance barricaded…?” John mumbled, peering through the iron bars that were supposed to be protecting the town from everyone else. “We gotta get past the NCR guys.”
“How?” I looked over at them, putting a hand on my chin. “Killing them’s a bad idea…”
While I was too busy thinking, John had managed to clamber up onto the concrete pillars, looking down and holding out his hand. Shrugging, I took his hand and climbed up the concrete; the two of us jumping down into the city.
Nothing moved in the streets. The whole town seemed abandoned… We snuck around behind buildings, looking up at the large “MOJAVE EXPRESS” sign that served as a rather nifty hat for one of them. “Maybe Nash is in there?”
John tapped on my shoulder, pointing towards a dilapidated, rectangular building. A strange wooden track was draped on top of the roof, twirling around the building and the area behind it like a deranged ribbon. “I figure… we should split up. You head—“ He pointed towards a huge building across the street. “—Over there. I figure, big place, they’ll be holed up in there ‘cos of the NCR.”
Our heads turned and we scattered as guns started firing towards us. I spun around, shooting one of the assailants in the face as John punched the head off of the other, sending brains flying everywhere.
“Okay. Maybe… maybe not because of the NCR.” He admitted after a pause. “I’ll head into the Bison Steve. You go over there.”
I nodded, entering the building he had pointed towards. A man walked up, stopping me and pointing behind him. “Why would you wanna be here?” He asked, giving me a furious stink-eye.
“I’m just… I’m looking for Johnson Nash?” I shrugged. “My boyfriend and I were in town, and I’m—uh, hold on…” I mumbled, digging through my pockets. Damn my lack of proper organisational skills! “Here we go…” I pulled out my Pip-Boy, pulling up the digital Mojave Express order instructions and showing it to him.
“Ah, I see.” He nodded. “Well, I’m Johnson Nash. Let me see that note of yours.” He asked. I nodded, handing my Pip-Boy over. He held the tiny thing cautiously, like he didn’t quite know how to cope with the smaller form factor. Whatever; better to have a weird grip than a permanent thing strapped to my arm. “Ah, yep, that’s one of ours.” He chuckled, handing it back to me and nodding as I pocketed it. “Out of the six of you we sent out, four of them made it to their destinations. The only ones that didn’t were Four... and you.”
I nodded slowly. “Not much else you can tell me then, huh.”
“Nothin’ besides askin’ you to help us outta this mess.” He admitted, shrugging. “Powder Gangers took over and killed our sheriff; we’ve been holed up in here for a few days now.”
“Alright… My boyfriend’s in the Bison Steve at the moment, I think I can help fudge something in the meantime though…” I said, eyes drifting over to a Protectron on the other side of the room. “Why not use that Protectron over there?”
“None of us have the skill to reprogram it.” He admitted, following me as I walked over to inspect the robot. “Think you wanna give it a go?”
I nodded, popping the back panel off of my Pip-Boy and catching the plug as it landed in my hands. “May as well. Any standard-issue RobCo bot… Should…” I spun the bot around, jacking into the port on the back of its neck. “There we go. Standard communications port for Pip-to-Bot serial.”
“How do you know all this stuff?” He asked incredulously as I opened the bot’s terminal. “It’s all just mumbo-jumbo to me.”
I used my other hand to gesture to my labcoat and Vault jumpsuit, looking at him and raising an eyebrow. “I was a doctor back before I left home; in our Vault that also meant I was the guy who kept the robots from vivisecting everybody.” I smirked, tapping away at the admittedly-finicky touch screen of my Pip-Boy. “And, really, by that I mean my dad handed me a manual of how to tap into any RobCo machine’s internal terminal… to… change the AI at a moment’s notice.” I smacked the side of the thing, unplugging the cable as the Protectron whirred back to life.
“Amazin’! Does it work?” He asked, reaching a hand out. I smacked it down and shook my head.
“Yeah. So don’t touch him unless you’re keen on getting shot.” I grumbled as the Protectron stomped away, following behind it as it walked outside, the two of us shooting down the remaining Powder Gangers.
There were a surprisingly low amount compared to when I went inside; I should have figured that a red flag when John came out from a building, a scraggly man with wide eyes behind him.
“S-So that’s what that chem does…” He whimpered, his voice shakey. “A-Are all the Powder Gangers dead?”
“Y-yeah. It l-looks like Dex and the P-Protectron got the last of ‘em.” John grinned. “You d-did good, Deputy…”
“Say… do you have more of that?” the deputy asked, twiddling his hands.
John nodded, catching my glare as I watched him hand the guy a handful of red inhalers. “As much as you can carry.”
“John!” I barked. He yelped, dropping one of the inhalers and jumping into the air. “Did you give the cop fucking Jet?” My mouth was agape with confused shock. “You. I. You know how addictive that shit is, right?”
“No…?” He grinned sheepishly. “A-Addiction? What’s… wh-what’s that?”
I groaned. “Okay, whatever.” I took his hand and looked at the deputy. “I made the Protectron the sheriff while you were out. Please take this.” I dug through my pockets, pulling out several boxes of Fixer. “Custom-made; it should stop your addictions permanently.”
He nodded, thanking me in confusion as we walked away.
“So… You didn’t learn anything, then?” John asked after a pause.
“No, nothing aside from myself and one other didn’t make it; everyone else got their payment.” I muttered, rolling my eyes. “That would be my luck, huh?”
“Maybe we’ll have better luck on the road.” John sighed. “Hopefully.”
“We’d better.” I growled under my breath.
This was really shaping up to be a bad week.