Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fallout: New Vegas War Journal - Chapter Nineteen

After hiding the old lady corpses (even in Freeside, I DOUBT anybody would believe our story), Boone and I returned to The Atomic Wrangler. James was pleased with our work and the new recruits. He was especially happy about the Sex Bot... for some reason. I had my suspicions but I kept my mouth shut. He's paying me too much for me to judge. Besides, I can laugh later when I see him walking like John Wayne.

His sister, Francine, was there tending bar now. She was suitably impressed enough with the work I had done so far to offer me another job. Seems they had just recently decided to stop extending credit to the locals and there were three people who still had outstanding tabs. She told me to get the money back and to do whatever it took up to and including taking the money off their warm, dead bodies.

Gunning people down for owing money isn't my style and I told her as much. She said that the killing wasn't required and that if I could ensure that they came back to spend money another night, so much the better.

Finding the first debtor wasn't too difficult. Weren't a lot of fancy dressed ghouls wandering around Freeside.

Grecks: Hey, buddy. Can you spare some caps?
Me: Ah, no doubt you're trying to get the last of the money you owe The Garrets?
Grecks: The Garrets? Yeah, yeah... got it all right here!

Santiago was the name of my next target. Again, he wasn't too hard to find.

Me: Excuse me-
Santiago: Hoover Dam once cracked... after one of my jokes.
Me: ... what?
Santiago: The Brotherhood of Steel saw me carrying a Plasma Rifle... and just kept right on walking.
Boone: That seems unlikely.
Santiago: If I were a ghoul, my skin would still be perfect. Do you know who I am?
Me: No.
Santiago: I am... The Most Interesting Man In The Wasteland.
Me: Huh.
Santiago: I do not always drink Beer. But when I do, I prefer... whatever this stuff in the unlabeled brown bottle is.
Me: Did your mom name you Santiago?
Santiago: Si!
Me: Great. Listen, The Garrets want their money. Please hand it over before we have to make you into The Most Interesting Corpse In The Wasteland.
Santiago: Ah! I had no idea they would be ready to kill over a debt! Here! Take it!

The last debtor, Lady Jane, proved to be the trickiest. She was hiding out just west of the gate to the Vegas Strip, in an alcove hidden off by the barbed wire, closer to the dead-line than most cared to go. I'd been warned that she was a common merchant who liked playing at being nobility. Maybe that's why I took a little extra pleasure from claiming this one.

Lady Jane: How do you do, sir? I am Lady Jane. It is a -
Me: Yeah. Yeah. Pleasure to meet you as well. Listen, about the money you owe the Garrets.
Lady Jane: Oh, I would DEARLY love to pay them back. But my caravan, you see... all of my hard currency was on it and it's trapped in this cave, full of rats and... things and...
Me: (Perception 7) Pull the other one, Lady. It has bells on.
Lady Jane: Damn. Oh, allright. Here's your money.

Me: Well Francine, I got your money. Have you got mine?
Francine: Sure do... along with one last job.
Me: Okay. Shoot.
Francine: That's the idea. I need you to track down and kill Caleb McCaffery.
Me: The tall guy with the Mighty Fine Hat I saw in here earlier?
Francine: Yessir. We used to keep him on call as our enforcer but he did a lot more drinking and whoring than he did tracking down deadbeats.
Me: Which is why you hired me.
Francine: Exactly. Seems he got sore about us hiring out and he looted the till on his way out. I want him gone, you understand me?
Me: Crystal clear.
Francine: And bring back his hat along with the money to prove he's dead.
Me: Can I have the hat afterwards?
Francine: No. I want to tack it up on the wall to show what happens to those who steal from us.
Me: Awww. I need a new fancy hat.
Boone: You still have my spare beret.
Me: It's not the same.

Caleb's trail was easy to pick up. He was well-known around Freeside and a tall man with an unusual hat sticks out even in New Vegas. Seemed that he wound up unloading a lot of caps to get through the gates onto The Strip proper. Using the passport I bought from Mick and Ralph, I went in after him and got my first up-close view of the REAL Vegas.

Me: You again! Listen, Vic - I'm kinda busy and trying not to draw attention to myself.
Victor: Well, shoot son! I can't just let you walk off like that! I've come to give you a message!
Me: A message?
Victor: From Mr. House himself! The fine man who made me and all the other robots here patrolling The Strip!
Me: But... you live like DOZENS of miles from here. Why did you get send to deliver the message?
Victor: Well, Mr. House made me. Seems the least I can do is deliver his message. And that message is "I want to meet you, as soon as possible. Come to the Lucky 38 Casino." Best not to keep him waiting, son!
Me: Okay. First thing! Soon as I take care of this business...
Victor: Well, allright son! But the clock is ticking!

I spotted Caleb just down the road as Victor puttered off. He was enjoying the performance of one of the street dancers located outside a little hot spot called Gomorrah.

Caleb: Figured you'd be coming for me sooner or later.
Me: It doesn't have to end this way, Caleb.
Caleb: You know, I always wanted to do a quick draw contest like this out in the street?
Me: You try it and my buddy the sniper will end you before you can get a shot off.
Caleb: It would be fun to try, though. I spent most of The Garrets money getting in here to begin with. You've got nothing to take back to them.
Me: (Speech 40) Wrong. They want you dead, with or without the money. Give me your hat and then disappear and we can pretend that is what happened.
Caleb: Hmm... put it that way and... yeah. Yeah. I guess I got back enough. And what little cash I have left will be enough to get a new fancy hat.
Me: I'm going to need that cash too.
Caleb: Like Hell! *reaches for guns*


Boone: Well, you DID warn him.
Me: I certainly did. Thanks for the nice clean headshot.
Boone: Yeah, well... job well done and all that.
Me: Yeah. Plus, now I can take this really swank coat he had.
Boone: ...
Me: What? I didn't get the fancy hat! I deserve something after all this annoyance.

I wound up getting quite a bit more than that, it turned out. The Garrets were so happy with my performance that they said I could have Caleb's old room - rent free - and that I could stay at their casino as a VIP. My reputation in Freeside improved overnight. And I had a second apartment, just minutes from the Vegas Strip.

Me: That reminds me. I really need to go back and get my grenade launcher from my first apartment!

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