I also remembered something about bikers and a guy in a checkered coat who talked and looked like a used car salesman. That seemed more real somehow... unfortunately.
When I came to I was in the home of this doctor. He told me that I'd been dug out of a grave by a robot named Victor and that it was touch and go for a while but that he thought I'd be okay. Just needed to go through a few tests.
First he had me walk across the room. Easy enough. Then he asked me to play around with some love-tester device to see how my body reacted. I humored the old guy. Didn't tell me anything I didn't know - smarter and better at dealing with people than most. Not as strong or hardy as some. Somehow the thing also said I wasn't all that lucky. Dunno how a machine can tell that but it suits me fine. I make my own luck.
The doctor ran me through some more tests - word associations and ink blots... all to see how my brain functioned and what I knew. He was way off on a lot of things - seemed to think I should be all about ray guns and science. The one thing he did get right was that I am good at moving around quietly and not being noticed if I don't want to be.
I got him set straight and he set me up with a gun and a jumpsuit. I dunno why - I was carrying this armor and this grenade launching gun that were a lot better. Still, don't look a gift anything in the mouth in this crazy world. He said that I should probably talk to Sunny at the local bar as well as the lady who ran the bar - seemed they liked to know the locals and Doc thought they could help me a bit. Before I left, he asked me if I could remember any particular traits I had. I knew that I was basically good-hearted and preferred to used my brains and my mouth over guns and fists. I also knew that somehow, I was a magnet for weird things and that strange shit would dog my destiny.
Sunny turned out to be a pretty redhead with a shotgun. I didn't remember much about what was going on before I got here but she did seem to be my kind of woman. At least until I saw that she had a dog who was big enough to qualify as a pony in most prefectures. She offered to show me how to use a gun and then took me hunting for geckos. Not the piddly little things that get stuck in between screens and windows - big, goofy looking lizards that terrorized the locals by drinking their water and trying to sell them insurance.
"I know there's no cars anymore, but you could save by switching to -" BLAM!
We came across one woman being terrorized by several of the lizards. It was nothing I couldn't handle, though. She thanked me for saving her and somehow, I just knew that I was now very popular in this town and that the people who lived there would be more disposed to be polite and not spit on me just because I hadn't bathed in a week.
After we got done skinning the geckos, Sunny also showed me something about how to live off the land and make a healing powder out of two kinds of plants. That seemed to be odd to me too - being able to pick up plants - but it worked for her so I figured I could swing with it.
While I was searching for the plants, I went back to the graveyard where I had been buried semi-alive. Found a couple of distinctive cigarette butts. I picked them up figuring they might be a clue. Or at least as valuable as the other garbage I was picking up for the deposit at the local general store.
See, bottles are worth 2/3 of a bottle cap! Never before has the phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure" been so apropos.
After trading in the strange metal armor I woke up with and my bottles for some much more sensible leather armor, I went to the town school house to investigate a safe Sunny had told me about. Why the school had a safe I have no idea - perhaps those rich, well=paid teachers of the time before needed someplace to hold their gold bars? Regardless, despite some troubles with some giant mantises, I was able to break in to both tbe building and the safe... which seemed curiously free of teacher gold but did have some ammo and bottle caps - no doubt left by some other raider after he made off with the gold.
I headed back to the saloon to talk with the local barkeep. Walked in on a conversation with some guy named Joe Cobb who claimed that he owned the town now. In point of fact, this wasn't true. Turns out he's one of a bunch of convicts, on the run from a New California Republic prison hiding out in the hills who would LIKE to run the town. I let him go on his way, not wanting to start a fight in the middle of a crowded bar. The barkeep was a nice lady who offered me a discount on account of I saved the other lady from the geckos.
With no place else to say, I decided to go to the campground south of town and stay the night there. As I got there, I saw another man setting down for the night. I shook him awake.
Man: You've go to help me! My girlfriend! She's up there in the hills past the broken radio tower! The geckos are going to get her!
Me: Then why are you going to sleep?
Man: Uh... cause I can't fight geckos while I am sleepy!
Me: Well, that seems reasonable. You go back to sleep. I'll go save the girl.
Suspicions aroused, I walked up into the hills despite my better judgment. There were indeed geckos. Lots of geckos. So many geckos I had to retreat several times in order to finish them off. Luckily for me geckos aren't very good at climbing rocks and are quick to retreat when they think an easy meal is out of reach. As I finally downed the last one, the sleeping man showed up.
Man: Yeah... sorry I lied to you about the girlfriend. I just wanted you to clear things up out here so I could get to my treasure stash.
Me: Oh. You know, I would have helped you fight the geckos regardless!
Man: Yeah, but this way I don't have to share the treasure with you!
Another gun fight ensued. Sadly for the man, shotguns at long range are a poor thing compared to a grenade launcher. I'm not much for guns but... damn me if this one isn't awesome for when I DO have to fight.
I continued heading south once the day broke, heading toward the next town. According to the Doc, I was a courier of some kind and the place I was trying to reach was to the south. Of course I didn't have the package or any clue what the package was but hopefully the home office there would have some ideas.
I had wandered off the road a bit trying to hunt the geckos and as I approached the road again, I got a strange feeling. A bad feeling about this as it were. I approached an old fridge that was half-buried in the sand. The door had been blown off but the body was still intact. Inside I saw the skeletal figure of a man, who had apparently been inside the fridge when one of the atomic bombs went off, for some reason. There was very little of him left - the remains of a battered leather jacket covered most of the upper torso. And yet oddly, on his skull, rested a perfectly preserved beaten-up fedora.
Deciding that it might be useful, I took the hat and put it on. For some strange reason I suddenly felt an urge to get a bullwhip.
I went off the road again, trying to pick off some more geckos that were getting too close for comfort. A robot showed up out of nowhere to help me. I recognized him as Victor - the robot who had apparently saved my life. He was very glib about why he showed up to save me - glibber than a robot should be. Still, I promised to be more careful and keep an eye out for trouble.
Finally I got to the next town - a little burb by the unlikely name of Primm. No sooner do I get near the gate, I'm stopped by a soldier in the uniform of the NCR.
NCR Officer: Halt! Do you have any fruit to declare?
Me: Only Oscar Wilde. What's going on here?
NCR Officer: I can't let you into the city, sir. Escaped convicts have broken out of a nearby NCR prison facility and have taken over the town. The government of the NCR has declared this area off-limits to everyone.
Me: Hey, that's a coincidence. There's a bunch of escaped convicts trying to take over the town of Goodsprings north of here too.
NCR Officer: Really?
Me: Really really. So, you'll be heading up there as soon as you're done retaking this town, right?
NCR Officer: That's a negative, sir. Goodsprings is not part of the New California Republic, therefore we will not be getting involved.
Me: Even though it was your incompetence that allowed them to escape in the first place?
NCR Officer: What part of "We're with the government?" did you not get earlier?
Me: Touche. So what can I do?
NCR Officer: You could talk to my commanding officer.
Me: I'll just do that.
Five minutes of stumbling around trying to find the right tent later.
NCR Lieutenant: Yes, can I help you?
Me: Yes, I need a group of soldiers to help me overtake a group of convicts north of here.
NCR Lieutenant: Ah. Well, we can't do that.
Me: Could you do it after we retake this town?
NCR Lieutenant: Ah. Well, we can't do that either.
Me: You can't?
NCR Lieutenant: We're out-manned and out-gunned. They have explosives and they bomb us before we can get close.
Me: Where did they get explosives?
NCR Lieutenant: These convicts were sentenced to hard labor in a NCR Mining Camp.
Me: So you gave the dangerous men who presumably have no love for human life explosives and yet - somehow - were totally unprepared for the fact that they might use them to revolt?
NCR Lieutenant: The NCR does not acknowledge your sarcasm, sir.
Me: You idiots are worse than UNIT. Will you at least look the other way as I sneak into the war zone and try to report to my job?
NCR Lieutenant: Does that require we do anything?
Me: Just stand here, continuing to hide in your tent while looking stupid.
And so, one jump over the fence, one crawl through a mine-field (disarming the mines as we went, of course) and one block of sneaking around later... we were into Primm proper.
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