Welcome to Vegas
"Dear Lord, an affliction has been unleashed upon this earth. No one is entirely sure where it came from, but one thing we do know is that what it doesn't kill, becomes something... else. Most of civilization has broken down, leaving only small, fortified colonies, small cities, and roving bands of raiders and survivalists. I'm no one to question your great plan or insinuate the purpose of these creatures, but I know that if this was the way the world ends, it would have happened by now. This plague has taken everything from the world, but in the chaos I have found purpose. I am a trader between the colonies and cities. I have the occasional run in with the raiders, but I can usually handle myself with some quick talking and fast shooting. I just have a feeling that this next trip isnt going to be the same, seeing as i have to go into cave, find a small group of traders and pick up a "special" package. I have only a little more money to collect in order to start my own trader buisness, buy a building and hire people to do the running for me. At 35 I think I've ran enough. I come here today to ask you for protection, in hopes that this last trip will yield something truely special. God, you haven't show yourself in many ways since the... whatever you would call it... happened, but I need you now. Please help get me through this last trip."
I raise my head and look around, a few more poeple have joined me since I first came in this small, run down church. Each of these people come here every day hoping that their gods will answer them and grant their desires. I get up and leave the building, blinded for a few seconds as my eyes adjust to the sun. When things come into focus, I see the outskirts of a city slowly being taken back by the deserts that it once dominated. Welcome to Las Vegas the sign reads as I walk into town, seeking out Thor's General Store. He is one of the few people I can tolerate in this world, not to mention I get steady buisness from him. In front of me is a 10 foot tall wall, the protective wall around the city meant to keep out the... freaks... from the wastes. I walk up to the giant door and am met by one of the guards of Vegas. He is a huge man, built up from military training and super steroids developed by the few remaining chemists.
"Hey, Frank" I say, flashing my I.D. badge.
"Hello, Mr. Xeno. Coming in to trade?"
"Not today, I have a special job. Just coming to get the info and them I'm a ghost."
"Alright then, I'll get Red to open the gate. HEY RED, WE'VE GOT ANOTHER ONE COMING THROUGH!"
I hear the whine of a motor kick on and the gates slowly begin to open.
"Oh, and Mr. Xeno. If you happen across any fine jewelry while on your little treck I would pay well for it. My anniversary is coming up and I'd like to get the wife something special."
"I'll keep a look out for anything. See ya later Frank."
I walk though the open gates and hear them close behind me. looking around I see the terrible degridation of the city. walking down the streets i first notice the smell, a combination of smoke from machines and human waste. Then I am met with the sights of the inner town. I see drug addicts lieing in the streets, some dead of overdose and some that should be. On each corner there is a small group of scantily clad women, obviously prostitutes to everyone not blind. Hearing them call out to me makes me laugh. I knew some of them in a biblical sence, I wont lie. Even thought I loved one once, but learned the hard way the they're all business. As I drew closer to Thor's I ran into a group of men transporting large crates. They work for a man by the name of Sazz. He runs the city, by controlling everything. Although no one would admit it, he is the boss of a small crime syndicate in New Vegas. A city that began under criminal control and shall end under criminal control. I turn the corner and see a big sign that says "Thor's General Store." I walk in and am met by a big guy cleaning a .44. He looks up at me and grins.
"It's about time you got here, I didn't think you were gonna show."
"Seriously? When have I ever bailed on you?"
"Remember that night I got into a fight with that raider in the outskirt bar?"
"I didn't tell you to call him out for 'Giving you the stink eye'."
"Yeah whatever. So, are you ready for this? I mean I'm not sure what exactly to expect with these people, I've never delt with them."
"Why exactly are you dealing with them?"
"About a month ago, Sazz personally came in here. He told me that he wanted me to order something for him from a small group of specialty traders. When I asked why, he said that if I knew what was good for me I'd shut my yap and do what he asked."
"As long as it pays well, I don't need to know anything."
I walk around the store as Thor writes down the info for my trip. Walking past one of the counters I see a ring siting in a box on a shelf.
"Hey what kind of ring is this?"
"That's a silver ring with an emerald set in it. Some traveler came in here and pawned it. Hahaha, I gave the guy 50 caps. It's easily worth 300, stupid travelers."
"Yeah, stupid travelers."
Thinking that it is exactly what Frank was asking for, I reached out and snatched the ring of the shelf, quickly sticking it in my jackets pocket. It's gonna be a fun day when he realizes this baby is gone. It's for a good cause, right?
"So are the directions written up yet" I ask hoping to get out of there as fast as possible.
"Yeah, here they are. It should take about three days to walk, so I have prepeared a bag of the essentials: 6 canteens, a rollout bed, some fire starter, and just in case, I threw in a little firepower."
"O.K. then, I'll see you in a week"
"Hey, Something isn't right about this trip. Be careful Blane."
"Aren't I always?"
Enter the Past
As I left Thors shop i was approached by a man in a black jacket. On his left shoulder were 3 spikes of increasing size. He had no hair on his head or face. His only defining mark was a solid white right eye.
"You're going into the wastes. Things will not be going the way you planned. This is only the beginning of something much bigger."
"Wait... what? Who the hell are you, and what the hell are you talking about?"
He looked at me, smiled and chuckled to himself. He turned and began walking down the street, stopping about 10 feet away.
"We will be watching you. When you need us most, we will be there."
With that he he walked off down the street and was lost in the crowd.
"I guess Thor was right. Something isn't right about this trip."
I wasn't planning on leaving New Vegas until the next day so I went and rented a room at the nearest inn. As I was going up to my room a group of people walked past me, one bumped into me. It was a small hallway so I didn't think anything of it. Once I got to my room I set my bag on the bed and reached into my jacket pocket. Immeadiatly I knew that the ring I had stole from Thor was just stolen from me. 'Oh well', I thought. Then I sat on the bed next to my bag and opened it to see exactly what Thor meant when he said 'a little fire power'. I expected a little 9mm, but was astonished to see the .44 that he was cleaning when I walked into his store. Deciding that it was better to keep the firepower close I put a belt on, and placed the magnum in its holster.
"It's way too early to go to bed, might as well go out and see what's going on."
I left my bag under my bed, locked my door, and went out to find anything new going on. As I walked the streets taking in the sights I decided to get something to eat. Stopping at the nearest pub, I went in and took a seat at a booth in the back of the building. I've eaten here plenty of times before since I have done alot of business in New Vegas. A woman in her early 30s looks over and sees me sitting at my normal booth. A smile forms on her face and she begins walking over to me.
"Surprise, surprise. Blane Xeno, you little scavenger, what are you doing in here?"
I laugh at her comment, as we have known each other for about 7 years now. I first met her on the street. She was just begining her business and was putting up advertisements on street posts. A small time street gang had been hastling her about having to pay to advertise on their turf. When she refused, they jumped her. Most people were used to seeing this and just walked on past. They knew what they were going to do to her, take her money and force her into prostitution, but also knew that messing with them would almost garuntee death. I knew the consequences of taking action, but could never turn a blind eye to a person in distress. Just as the initial beating was about to begin I stepped in. None of them even knew what was happening. Armed only with a serrated knife, I quickly and silently charged into the group of thugs. The first guy went down hard, as I smashed the hilt of the knife into his temple. Then, switching to a reverse grip of the knife, I became a whirlwind of slashing and stabbing. After about 30 seconds 2 were unconcious, and 4 were dead. The last in the group had pulled out a knife turning it to the ladys throat, threatening to slit it. Thinking quick, I looked above him and pointed. The idiot looked up giving me just enough time to throw the knife, catching him in the jugular. needless to say he let her go, to try to stop the blood that was coming from the gash. He fell over dead in just seconds. I picked up my knife and walked over to the woman who was now crying in a ball on the ground. I helped her up and took her back to her place. She wanted to thank me in any way possible but I said that her words were enough. Finally she conviced me to come to her pub for a free meal the next day. From that moment on we have be as close as 2 people can be, without actually being together. I'm not sure why we have never tried, I just tell myself that because I am always on the move it couldn't work. Secretly she is the real reason I want this trip to go off without a hitch. If I can make enough cash on this trip I won't be on the move as much and maybe something can finally happen between us.
"Hey, Kelli. Thor lined me up with another job. I'm leaving tomorrow and just wanted one good meal before I head out."
"Oh, and here I thought you just wanted to see me. Well, I can't let my favorite customer go hungry, what do you want?"
"How about a double rat-burger, large order of fries, and a cold one."
"You know we have beef now. Thanks to Sazz we get a steady shipment of it every month."
"After eating rat I can't switch to Brahmin, it just doesn't taste right."
"I hear you. Not many people like it, but Sazz does and he says that I have to offer it. Mainly because he thinks it seperates the elite from the common folk. I'll have your burger out asap"
She smiled and nodded as she walked back to put my order in. As I waited I looked around the pub. Seeing that there were very few people in the place, I started to daydream. Just before my mind could begin to wander I noticed that one of the patrons was the guy that bumped into me in the inn. Smiling to myself I chose to pickpocket the thief. I got up and walked over to the jukebox and put on some classic Metallica. As Four Horsemen started I took the long way back to my booth, past the thief. I intentially bumped into him, finding the ring and a small purse of caps in his coat. I apologized to the man and walked back to my table, there was no way he would know the stuff was gone until he specifically searched for it. That will teach him not to steal from someone. I waited a few minutes and checked the purse, finding 100 caps. Not a bad haul from trying to get my ring back. Shortly after, Kelli returned with my food. She sat down opposite me and started talking as I ate.
"So, how have you been? its been a few months since you were last through here. i thought you forgot about me" she smiled as she said this. she knew i wouldnt forget her, but it had been a while since we last saw each other.
"i've been good, trying hard to save up. maybe hire a few other guys to lighten the load."
"you're still planning on opening up your own courrier buisness? i wish you luck, there have been a lot more raids on caravans leaving the city as of late. rumor has it that these raids are much cleaner than the standard attacks we hear about. raiders usually take what aluable and leave the bodies, but recently the only trace of the caravans are when the Brahmin wander back into town."
"thanks for the heads up. im going it alone, so i shouldnt draw much attention to myself. just another traveler crossing the land."
i smile to put her at ease, but the knowledge that caravens are going missing does concern me. i wasnt informed of this when i agreed to this job. if i had the time, i would track down the guys that hired me, but as it stands i wont make the meet if i dont leave tomorrow.
"so, kelli, got youself a man yet?"
i ask her this to quickly change the subject.
"no, mostly just travelers come through. none of them are looking for anything longer than a night of fun."
"well those guys are idiots."
"what about you, got a lady wating for you wherever you call home?"
"im never home long enough to actually meet someone. my focus is just getting as many jobs as i can and getting them finished before i get to old to work."
"why do we do this to ourselves?"
"make this small talk. we've known each other a long time and it seems each time you walk in here we flirt until you walk back out. its messing with me, im happy while you are here and scared that when you walk out it will be the last time i see you."
"Kelli, i feel the same way. thats why this last job i so important. i've spent the last few months overworking myself and am so lose to havein enough to open that courrier buisness. i hate the cliche but i need you to wait for me to get finished with this, then i will walk back in here and never leave."
"you know, this is the first time you've talked like this. its always just been a secret that everyone knew, but hearing it come from you makes me happy. I've got more customers to take care of, I'll see you when you get back."
with that she got up and walked up to the patrons who just sat at the bar. i finished my burger and left, watching as the would-be pickpocket realize that he had been pickpocketed himself. chuckling, i walked out into the night, looking up at the stars and marveling at their beauty. i checked my watch and saw it was 11 o'clock. i started walking to the inn, planning to get an early start across the wastes tomorrow.
i was awoken to a punding on my door. i grabbed my watch to see what time it was. 5 o'clock, yay.
"Mr. Xeno, Lord Sazz demands your company. get dressed and meet me downstairs, dont keep me waiting.
i know that this isnt good. i look out the window across the room to check for any way out. the streets are lined with Sazz's men. whatever he wanted he was going to get. i got dressed and grabbed my things. heading downstairs i expect to get man handled. instead i see a man in a suit and hat. he walks up to me gesturing to the door. i nod and head out into the street. it still early to the streets are clear of all but the homeless. they escort me deep into the heart of New Vegas. evetually we come upon a 4 story building that Sazz has made into his mansion. walking into the main room i see even more of the goons that were wating outside the inn. they lead me into an elevator, press a few buttons and the elevator begins to move. after about 20 seconds the elevator stops and the doors slide open. i am greeted with pure luxury. the massive room is clean, something the rest of new Vegas is not. there is a piano in the corner and a woman is playing something by a pre-apocalypse composer. in the middle of the room are a couple of couches in the best condition i've seen. once the awe subsides a man calls me over and tells me to have a seat, motioning to the other couch. i sit and look a the manacross from me, knowing that this is the most powerful man in the entire city, if not all of nevada. he leans downa picks up a glass of what i assume is scotch. he takes a sip and sets it back down.
"Hello, Mr. Xeno. im glad to finally meet you."
"i wish i could say the same Mr.-"
"Please, call me Sazz."