It took me two trips to get all my loot out of the S-Mart, but I finally made back half the money I spent on decorating my house. Retired for the night, woke up early and was met by another townsperson who gave me some free Radiation Treatment drugs. I expect the old lady with the pie will show up any day now to apologize for the "Up Yours, Vault Dweller" remark.
Okay, no old lady made that remark. But I still want pie!
I decided to get back to finding Lucy's missing brother, so I went back to the movie theater - the closest point to this Hamilton's Hideaway place I had heard about and had a rough location for but hadn't found yet.
Luck isn't with me. I get there and I'm immediately attacked by a giant mole rat, a bloat fly and... as I bring down the fly with one critical hit... a super mutant with a gattling gun.
That fight winds up attracting his friend - a super mutant with a board with a nail in it - as well as another one of those damned protector robots. Luckily the robot distracts the mutant with the gun long enough for me to run for a defensive position, turn around and blow away his friend with the board with two shots. The robot chose to chase me but the super mutant's gunfire brings him down as I duck for cover again. That just leaves me and one super mutant. Ducking down, I low-crawled for the one bit of cover I had - a large rock. I was winged running for it but it was a minor wound. I waited for the gunfire to stop before stepping out and aiming for the head.
My fifth critical of the day so far and oh what a beautiful thing it was coming then. I may break the bank again yet.
Eventually I find the Hideway. It's a slag-heap surrounded by mole rats. No sign of The Family, so I go back to the train station. Find two guys in blue suits. Try to strike up a conversation but it turns out they're treasure hunters searching for a place called Oasis but they don't want to share, so they decide to kill me.
Never decide to kill a man who is holding a hunting rifle at close range. Two shots - one in the head to each - and they're dead.
I'm getting to like this sheriff gig. Incidentally, I'm now Level 5 - a dignitary - and my karma is ranked as very good. My Pip-Boy icon also looks like a little Jesus. :)
Back into the tunnels and I find a passage I missed before as I was running around with my head down looking for trip wires and mines. I follow it around... dodge a few more traps and run into a guy in camo. He asks what I'm up to and I say I'm looking for Ian West - got a message form his sister. My speechifying gets me through and into The Family's lair.
Well, it turns out The Family didn't exactly kidnap Ian. More that he came willingly after talking to their leader. Seems they recognized Ian as a kindred spirit and wanted to invite him in. He's in silent meditation and isn't supposed to see anyone.
Of course when you're as good at the speechifying as I am, it's a simple matter to charm not just one but TWO of the cultists into giving me the password to open up the isolation room.
After pausing at their one store to unload my excess gear and buy some ammo, I head upstairs and talk to Ian. It is then that I discover the horrible secret of The Family. They are not, as I feared, a bunch of murderous religious fanatics. It's much worse than that. They're Twilight vampires.
Okay - maybe not Twilight vampires. They aren't sparkly or any such. In fact, they're more like cannibals who really like blood. But between Ian's talk of the all consuming hunger that he's barely kept in check since he bit a raider as a boy, the insanity that made him kill his parents, his sister keeping his secret and how he can never go back home because his sister will never forgive him... well, cry me a river.
I deliver his letter and hey - I don't even have to try and deprogram him! He wants to come home and asks me to tell the cult leader Vance (yes, Vance the Vampire) about his decision.
Well, make a long story short, I tell Vance the news fully expecting a drag-out guns-a-blazing battle to the death with five enraged vampires. Vance, with a noble dignity, accepts Ian's decision and apologizes for all the inconvenience he's caused. I say "Not so fast, Sparky! There's still the matter of the city you keep raiding. He says that it is regrettable but necessary.
Using my mighty brain (I actually get a conversation option that just says Intelligence) I point out that with all the other threats in the area, the city is in big trouble and that if it dies, poof goes the buffet. I suggest they look into the possibility of a blood bank - get the city to donate blood as often as possible - in exchange, the vampires agree to protect the city from... well, everything else. Vance agrees and asks me to run the idea by the Mayor.
Well, amazingly, it all worked out. The mayor agreed to the plan. Asked me to deliver the news to Vance myself and BOOM! - I'm Level 6, got ANOTHER Karma boost and now I'm listed as being Very Good and a Peacekeeper.
Which makes my choice of the Bloody Mess feat all the more ironic. Everything and everyone around me that dies does so in the most gory fashion possible AND I get a 5% bonus to ALL my weapon skills?
Reminds me of a line from my favorite cheesy post-apoc movie - "This sword has much killing left to do. Now go in peace."
Ah, which reminds me - my full Feats list thus far, not including Bloody Mess.
Swift Learner - additional 10% XP from every quest completed and every monster slain
Thief - +5 to Sneak and Lockpick skills
Scoundrel - +5 to Speech and Barter skills
Educated - +3 skill points every time you level
Rad Regeneration - when suffering from advanced radiation poisoning, destroyed limbs will automatically regenerate (thank you random mutations!)
Even cooler - I deliver the news to Vance and not only is he happy with the new arrangement and ready to buy any bloodpacks I find for 15 large each, he offers to teach me the ways of the Vampire if I ever become interested.
Nah. Too hard to find decent black clothing around this wasteland.
The townsfolk are happy too and reward me with.. a bottle of wine, a fresh-baked cookie, a whole HOST of map locations for me to go explore and a discount on repairing some of my gear.
It's a good thing I'm a Man of the Law who fights for good or I'd be sorely annoyed given the money I was promised for this gig. I guess I'll just have to comfort myself with a trip north to find these mutants kidnapping the folk of Big Town.
A hero's work is never done...