Freeside isn’t free

So… stuck in Freeside.
DAMN you, problem gambling!

Down and out in Freeside

Down and out in Freeside

I need a plan. And money. But mostly a plan. A plan that will make me money.

I think Joe has enough spare gear back at his place in Novac, he could potentially head back there, sell a bunch of stuff and then hike back… but that’s a long way and I’ve had about enough of walking to last another four blogs.
So… Plan B. When life gives you lemons, you open up a lemon stall and make other people pay for the privilege of taking the lemons off your hands.

I resolve to find a likely looking building to set up an Honest Joe Discount Stall. A full size store will have to wait. I need money now.
Joe settles on one right next to the Silver Rush where the Van Graffs sell energy weapons. That’ll mean the stall will get the foot traffic from the Silver Rush and the Atomic Wrangler, and the guard outside Silver Rush should keep the unsavoury element away.
I have absolutely no shame in exploiting some other company’s employees.

Roll up! Roll up! Come buy my random crap!

Roll up! Roll up! Come buy my random crap!
Come on, help Ol' Joe out!

Veronica is happy to mind the stall while I wonder about. It’ll let her meet people from around the Mojave, which is what she wanted.
But if I want to make enough money to be let into The Strip, I’m going to have to find something more to sell then a few hats and a shonky old camera. Time to see what opportunities are out there for a man of Joe’s unique talents.

There is work at the Atomic Wrangler… I could try to play dept collector or help them find employees for their ‘adult companionship’ business. I’m too nervous about the former (cornered people in dept tend to get shooty) and I’m not sure I’m qualified for the latter.
Instead I try something a little more Joe’s speed – Just a little out of Freeside is a large fortified compound used by the Crimson Caravan trading company. Like, literally just a little out of Freeside. Like, you bump into it the moment you exit Freeside via its north gate.

Other then the requisite traders, the Crimson Caravan Company compound houses the offices of the management, a farm area and a herd of cattle.

You’d think that it would be a perfect place for a bloke like Joe to find a bit of good, honest work. You’d be quite wrong. I was offered a job to go and turn off an old bottle-cap press that was being used to counterfeit caps (one of the Mojave’s four main currencies), but it’s deep in raider territory and there could be robotic guards.
There are plenty of traders going through the compound, as well as their own local trading post, but no one seems to have any appropriate work for me.
Joe gets a slight pang of guilt when I remember Ringo from Goodsprings. Ringo, if I’d saved him from the Powder Gang, would be hanging out around here. He did promise to reward me if I’d help him escape… but that’s not really Joe’s line of work. I rob graves, kill puppies and murder intellectually challenged people. That’s how Joe rolls.

So... nothing in the 'sitting around' department.

So... nothing in the 'sitting around' department.

With no suitable work available I’ll have to look elsewhere for some way to make money. Hell, I’m a prospector – let’s try some prospecting!

Don't really fancy my chances

Don't really fancy my chances

Prospecting turns out to be a terrible idea. This whole area has been picked clean, and I return to Veronica a failure. Joe sleeps the night on a mattress located conveniently inside the building I’d set up my stall and he falls asleep under Veronica’s disappointed gaze.

The next day I try again. This time I get an early start, setting out just before it gets light.

This time I do a little better. I stumble upon a ruin that must have once been a safe house, because it’s riddled with traps. I manage to disarm most the traps, but Joe is too crap at lockpicking to get into the locked door at the back. Damn you, Joe!

Wasteland mistletoe

Wasteland mistletoe

It is encouraging, though. Even the odds and ends I pull out of the ruin are better than the big bag of nothing I found yesterday.

Heartened I press onwards. Joe eventually leaves the city limits and starts tromping through the empty desert that surrounds it. As evening falls I stumble upon an abandoned shack. I know that it’s abandoned because nothing is red and I can pilfer anything I can carry.

Well this looks like it was worth a day’s trip

Well this looks like it was worth a day’s trip

And pilfer I do. Loads of junk including casual clothes, a load of toys and a BB gun all get shoved into Joe’s unfeasibly roomy pockets. It’s not a massive haul by Joe’s previous standards, but it’s a darn sight better then nothing.
It’s a long, long walk back. It was getting dark when I arrived at the shack and it’s almost morning again by the time I get back to Freeside. Have to say, The Vegas Strip is impressive at night.

Like a moth to the phallic, artificially lit flame

Like a moth to the phallic artificially lit flame

When I get back to Veronica I collapse on into my bed and sleep for all of the next day, but the morning after I get my act together and add the new items to our stall. Finally our finances are moving in the right direction!
Joe gets a day off to relax… but just one. And no more gambling!

It's fair trade! Sort of.

It's fair trade! Sort of.


2 Responses to “Freeside isn’t free”

  1. Malcolm Rivera Says:

    Marry me?

  2. Great job writing!

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