Joe. Joe never changes.

I awake from my slumber the next morning and check my stats on my pip-boy. Sure enough the hunger and thirst gauges show that Joe is both hungry and thirsty – Thanks, gauges!
Neither gauge is so high that I’m suffering negative side effects, but the idea will be to keep them low as possible. It’ll be a lot harder to go on a hunt for food if I’m already half starved to death.
I chomp down a gecko steak to reset the hunger gauge and then take a little walk down to the fresh-water spring to get a drink. Best to avoid using up my stored water if I don’t need to.

As I set off I notice that there are two tables in between the saloon and general store. One is a workbench and the other is an ammo bench. Handy!
The workbench is a familiar fixture from Fallout 3 – it will allow Joe to construct a number of items out of the rubbish he finds.
The ammo bench is new but, as the name implies, it’s for building ammo. I can build ammo if I have the right bits (lead, powder, primer, casings) or deconstruct ammo into component parts.

Like lego... but with the potential to explode

Like lego... but with the potential to explode

So – plan for today: Explore Goodsprings, meet the people and find some place better to live then an old, rusted caravan.
On my way over to the saloon I stop and chat with the old bloke who is, once again, in the rocking chair on the front porch. The old guy’s name is Easy Pete, and he claims to be a prospector.
When I ask about gold in ‘them the’r hills’, Pete explains that ‘prospector’ is a term for folk who go poking around old-world sites looking for items to salvage. Hear that, folks? Joe wasn’t a dirty old scavenger foraging for scraps – he was a right-honourable prospector!

Want to see why they call him Easy Pete?

Want to see why they call him Easy Pete?

Heading inside I find Sunny in the pool room and ask her about work. No – not for someone like myself. But she does say that I might try checking out the old schoolhouse. Apparently there is an old safe in there that none of the locals have been able to get open.

She also suggests that I have a word with Trudy, whom she describes as being the ‘town mother’.

I mosey on round to the bar to meet Trudy, only to overhear an angry conversation between her and some bloke in security armour. Once he storms out, Trudy explains that the shouty chap was member of a local group of ruffians who want to hunt down some trader that apparently wronged them.
That’s terrible to hear and all, but these Powder Gangers seem to be angry men with guns and angry men with guns are exactly the kind of people I want to avoid. I proclaim that I’ll be remaining well out of the situation.

Apparently Trudy is none too appalled at my refusal to be the least helpful, she goes on to mention that someone broke her radio. Now that’s MY kind of quest!
I offer to take a look and proceed to poke around in its innards. Joe must have maintained the technical knack he developed in the capital wasteland, because the radio jumps back into life and soon the smooth, dulcet tones of Mr. New Vegas’ radio broadcast fill the saloon.

Camp mother? Where’s camp leader?

Camp mother? Where’s camp leader?

Trudy is overjoyed and offers 50 caps, but being the consummate business man Joe is able to bargain her up. He walks away with 75 caps and the promise of a discount.

That’s right – No only have I refused to help a man in need, I also over-charged an old lady for fixing her radio!
Joe! Joe! Joe!

As I exit the bar and it suddenly hits me that I’ve been in the town for a whole day and I’ve yet to visit the Goodsprings general store. This can not stand! I drop by my camper van and pick up any items that aren’t consumable and then head over to the store.

Save Money, Live Better. Goodsprings General Store

Save Money, Live Better. Goodsprings General Store

The building seems a bit dusty, but well stocked. I meet the store owner Chet and following a quick chat he offers me the chance to trade. After selling the gecko skins and miscellaneous junk Joe has picked up along the way, I reach the lofty sum of 200 caps! That obviously includes the caps I got from Trudy for repairing the radio and the caps from Sunny I got for helping clear-out the water pumps. I then blow 170 caps on a night-scope for my hunting rifle. Not sure how helpful it’ll be – but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to modify my gun.

Goodsprings General Store. Where everyone gets a bargain!

Goodsprings General Store. Where everyone gets a bargain!

I head on out and start to take a look around town. I want to explore, but I’m also looking for a new place to live.

A real fixer upper.

A real fixer upper.

I’ll be honest – it’s slim pickings around here.

Well..... it's maintenance-free

Well..... it's maintenance-free

Most of the homes have people sleeping in them already or are not habitable. There are a few large houses, but they seem to be shared by groups of people. The only person with a house of their own is the doctor that patched me up, and even then it’s part house, part surgery.

While exploring one of the shared domiciles I stumble across a Chinese Stealth Manual. Books are pretty valuable because, unlike magazines the skill boost they give you is permanent. Now, up until this point I had resisted pinching anything from the townsfolk – after all they had been so helpful up to this stage. But a permanent stat boost is pretty tempting.

Still, I want to be a trader, not a thief. I hadn’t touched the weapons, ammo and other items the townsfolk have about. I take the book, but leave my last 80 caps in the desk. Seems fair, considering that the book is only worth 50 caps (according the my Pipboy). Then I hoof it before someone comes in and notices me absconding with their reading material.

The last place I visit is a shack on the edge of town – owned by Victor. Victor is a RobCo robot, but nothing like any of the robots we saw in the Capital Wasteland. It has a sensor and speaker on top, yet you can’t help but address a ‘face’ that flickers on a small monochrome screen.
Victor talks like a friendly cowboy, and the smiling cartoon face on the screen matches that persona. But I can’t help but feel somewhat uneasy about him…. Something that’s not quite… right.
Something doesn’t add up – he doesn’t explain why he rescued me OR took me to the doctor. He said that he likes to help out around the town, but none of the other townspeople report him helping out before. And he remembers first coming to the town, but not where he came from.
Nevertheless, he DID save me and I guess I owe him thanks for that.

Thaaaanks... creepy robot dude.

Thaaaanks... creepy robot dude.

Since I’ve explored the small town I figure that might as well check out that small schoolhouse.
Inside is a pack of the small green mantis creatures I fought yesterday and it’s a short battle before I kill them all.
Inside it’s been picked pretty clean… I mean, obviously it’s been seen to already by 200 years of scavenging. There is a little bit of trash laying about which I grab – but it’s all of the ‘pointless rubbish’ variety. I do find a toy Nula-cola truck which I grab to decorate my home…. It’s no cow skull, but it’ll do.

Damnit! If I wanted schooling, I'd-a gone to school.

Damnit! If I wanted schooling, I'd-a gone to school.

The safe that Sunny Smiles talked about is in the corner of the room and I can see why it’s stayed looked all these years – the damn thing is too hard for me to even attempt picking the lock.
Luckily I have a lock picking magazine Sunny gave me, so I’m able to boost my skill just high enough to give the lock a go. It takes a bit of subsequent fiddling, but I finally manage to spring it open!
Inside is a smorgasbord of items (including a 1-use stealth-boy) and a few caps. Not too bad for a few minutes work.

And that should have been it, really… but in the school house were a couple of mantis eggs. Joe looted one of them and was given mantis meat. I saw another and didn’t think the meat was even worth the trip to pick it up, so instead of opening it Joe shot it.
It exploded in satisfying chunks, but from the remains came a horde of tiny mantis babies. I’m not sure quite how many there were, but I’m guessing seven or eight.

I don’t know what people mean when they say this game is really buggy. … … … Oh. I See.

I don’t know what people mean when they say this game is really buggy. … … … Oh. I See.

A few larger mantises are no issue, but a horde of tiny ones… That’s when the screaming begins.
I didn’t know where to shoot first. They clustered all around me, moving so fast that half my bullets missed them entirely.
I did eventually manage to shoot, stomp and splatter them all – but my health had dropped about 40% by the time I got them all. Typical – Joe’s first serious fight and it was a horde of babies that he angered by kicking their house. Awesome. Fan-freaken-tastic.

I take my newly accumulated bag of loot and head back to my caravan. It’s getting darker, so I spend the rest of the evening reading the Chinese Stealth Manual in the fading light.

Goodsprings from the air: http://fallout.wikia.com/

Goodsprings from the air: http://fallout.wikia.com/

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