I head back to Megaton to cash in my loot before heading off to mine town and it occurs to me that I have been remiss in my sherrifly duties in my adopted town as I've been running around and saving the last two towns - three if you count the vampires.. ha ha - Count. Vampires? Get it?
Colin, the guy running the salon, is a bit of an information merchant. In addition to keeping a ghoul as an actual slave and forcing a woman named Mona into being a virtual slave for anyone with 120 bucks for a room with companionship (wink wink), he's reportedly blackmailing half the town. I decide to deal with this the only way a frontier sheriff can... after making sure there's no dialogue options for me to convince Colin to give up his wicked ways.
I luck out - I go to the bar and find him luxuriating on the front porch, enjoying a smoke. Three shots from my pistol and his head gets neatly separated from his body (I just LOOOOOOVE that Bloody Mess feat) and I get a drop in Karma for the first time ever.
Wha? But... but he's a pimp and a bully and a criminal! He's a bad, bad person. I am the law!
Ah hell. *RUNS*
I decide to go for a quick stroll northward to collect my thoughts, regroup and outrun the lynch mob. I wind up getting all the way to Big Town, stop in and rest for a bit (there's always a mattress in the street for you to sleep on, our hero!) before heading back to see if people have calmed down.
Good news. They have. Things have adjusted themselves real well. Mona has taken over the inn/bar and is still renting rooms for the same 120 bucks... WITHOUT companionship. Weirdly, she still refuses to help me with hacking Colin's computer. Gob, the ghoul bartender, isn't taking to freedom as well and indeed seems to have developed some form of paranoid psychosis. That is to say, he greets me by shouting "Don't shoot! Please!", says "Anything for you, friend." when I ask about getting a drink and then begs me not to hit him when I say goodbye.
Ah well... you try your best. I decide against getting into Colin's computer on my own even though I have his password (it was written on something and he had it on his body...) since I don't care to know all the dirty laundry he may have been sitting on unless the town is in danger and it isn't. Yet.
I run into Lucy West on my way back home. She doesn't have anything to say about me delivering her letter except that she totally forgot about that with everything else going on. She asks me to look her up next time I'm in town but... eh... won't say anything else after that. Stuck up priss.
Ah well... at least the townsfolk know how to show their appreciation. I get some more ammo for a gun I don't have and a Stim from grateful random villagers as I get up in the morning and walk to Minetown from the Police Station/Supermutant base.
Well, the name isn't misleading - the whole town is SWARMING with mines in the streets. I even have a few proximity explosions blow up a few cars that nearly end me a few times. Luckily I'm fast enough and (thanks to me buffing my Repair Skill last level) skilled enough that I can move in and deactivate the things before they go off.
Eventually I find the source of all this - a man I somehow know is named Arkansas who shoots at me from atop the remains of the tallest building in town. Checking the tower reveals a sizeable ammo dump as well as a sniper rifle. I help myself to it because in this county, "You can take my gun from my cold dead hands." isn't just an expression.
I check around a few of the houses - find one full of giant roaches and some loot. Find another one full of loot and no roaches. And a third one filled with a raider's dead body and not much else. I wind up with more loot than I can carry and head back to Megaton and Moira the Crazy Lady.
Well, she's overjoyed by my gift of a disabled mine and the information I give her. It's enough to get Chapter One of the book done... which leads to her asking if I'd like to help with Chapter Two. I agree - simply because the sherrifing isn't the most profitable gig in the world what with the one criminal mastermind in my town dead.
The first task is to test a new mole-rat repellent she invented. I express concerns about the safety of the chemicals involved but she reassures me by saying she works with them all the time and she's fine.
Ha comma ha comma ha.
You ever notice how you can never find the one enemy you need to find in an RPG when you need to, even if they were swarming you in packs earlier? I get attacked by two radioactive scorpions before I get attacked by mole-rats so I could test the repellent.
Well, the good news is that I don't get killed by the Molerats. The bad news is that the Repellent-On-A-Stick isn't so much a Repellent as it is a glorious Mattock of Mole Rat Crushing +5. Why is that bad news? Well, there's already lots of ways to kill Molerats, Moira says but she does give me what remains of the chemicals she used to make the bat after taking it away. I'd rather have the bat.
Ah well - another day another job. This one is much trickier - she wants to measure the affects of pain and crippling injuries that can occur in the wasteland. The reason this is trickier is that I have to get to at least half health (preferably have at least one limb crippled) and the game system won't let you Fast Travel when there is a hostile nearby - much less actively gnawing on your scant tender bits.
And then it occurs to me - I never quite did finish cleaning up Minetown.
One selective and carefully timed injury later, I'm raking in the cash for my hideous injury AND the rest of the loot I couldn't carry before. And that is when Moira asks me about the final thing she needed help with for Chapter Two.
Sneak inside a crab-men lair and plant a monitoring device in their spawning pool so we can observe their mating habits.
It is at this point that I try to use my speechifying powers to convince Moira that this book is a bad idea and that all she is going to do is get people (besides me) hurt. All this does is increase her resolve to make everything as accurate as possible - which means answering for all time the question - are crab men intelligent?
Well, they're more intelligent than me - I'm about to go sneak a nanny cam into their bedrooms so that a crazy lady can enjoy the finest mollusc porn Post-Apoc technology can provide.