Joe: D.E.A.

Well, yesterday was a fairly successful outing, but despite the caps soothing my (now barely existing) conscience, I feel like I should take a job to help balance out my karma. Not that I don’t enjoy roughing up poor people – but it’s nice to throw in a little variation.

I head over to the Follower’s Compound to see what I can do earn a little money and to help out.
Ol’ Joe is in luck, because Julie has a task for me. There are two men, both members of the Followers, who are struggling with addiction, and she wants me to offer a helping hand. Well, you’re in luck – because I’ll do pretty much anything for a reward!
Bill Ronte and Jacob Hoff – Joe is here… for you.

Anything else I can get from you... I mean... help you with?

Anything else I can get from you... I mean... help you with?

I run into Jacob first. He tells me that he gets his drugs from a dealer named Dixon, and while the effects aren’t that bad they seem to be super addictive. Jacob seems to think that the withdrawal effects would kill him.
Well, maybe Bill will be easier to convince?

Bill Ronte, Dixon, and Jacob Hoff Worlds worst sitcom? (Image from the Fallout Wiki)

Bill Ronte, Dixon, and Jacob Hoff
Worlds worst sitcom?
(Image from the Fallout Wiki)

Bill is not easier to convince.
Bill’s addiction is to booze. But interestingly he also get’s his booze from Dixon. The same Dixon that supplies Jacob Hoff with drugs. I smell a rat.

I decide the best plan of action is to have a little chat to this Dixon character – which means I have to walk back to the other side of Freeside. I’m pretty sure I could knock off multiple jobs a day if I was willing to sprint place-to-place, but Freeside is a fairly large place when you walk everywhere.
Something I might have to explain to anyone who hasn’t visited Freeside is that it’s not really a walled settlement. Or rather it is, but not like any other I’ve visited in the Mojave or Capital Wastelands.

Unlike Megaton, Freeside isn’t a bunch of settlers forming a small town and then setting up a barricade around it. Instead it’s like a big wall that cuts through the ruins of the old city, keeping everyone on one side safe from wondering mutant creatures on the outside… but on the inside it’s still just random ruin, not a town or settlement (albeit a ruin where you’re safe from deathclaws… or horrible wasp creatures).
In amongst the ruins people have set up businesses or homes, much like Joe set up his stall. But there are also large empty areas, filled with dangerous ruins and inhabited by bums, thugs and addicts. The Kings try to keep some form of order, but the further you go from their club-house, the less likely it is that they’ll be around to keep the peace.

A city of traders (and traitors).

A city of traders (and traitors)

There is no one organization responsible for the people here, and certainly no attempt at economic development, so it’s interesting that ‘mini-settlements’ have formed within Freeside’s (comparatively) safe walls.
Outside the old Mormon Fort inhabited by the Followers some stalls have pop’ed up – obviously encouraged by the safety of the follower’s fort, but also the bodyguards that wait by the Northern Entrance to hire out their services. There is a similar gathering by the East exit, over by Mick and Ralph’s store. The ruins there are especially packed with homeless taking advantage of the extra safety the bodyguards provide. And again, a small mini-settlement has pop’ed up in the area where Joe set up his stall – along with the Silver Rush and the Atomic Wrangler.
So, when I say that I am traveling from my stall to the pawn shop, I don’t mean that I am popping across the road of a well-designed township to visit another store. Oh no, poor ol’ Joe has to leave his safe little area and traipse through the thug and bum infested ruins over to a store that’s in a different area entirely.

And it’s over near Mick and Ralph’s pawn shop that I find Dixon the Dealer. I confront him about the addictions of both Bill Ronte and Jacob Hoff. It doesn’t take long to get the truth out of him. He gleefully admits that he cuts his drugs and booze with poison before selling them cheep to NCR refugees, whom he believes are crowding the Freeside locals. The resulting product Dixon sells is weaker than normal, but more addictive and eventually causes death.

You... you don't seem like a very nice man

You... you don't seem like a very nice man

Perhaps I should have negotiated… But I’ve been dealing with petty street thugs since I first arrived in Freeside (including one today), and Dixon’s strategy of poisoning refugees offends me.
Maybe my stint as debt collected has made me a more aggressive person, or maybe after some of my questionable actions towards the undeserving makes me think that it’s time one of the deserving gets a taste.

"You wouldn't dare!"

"You wouldn't dare!"

He is unarmed.

I do not negotiate.

I AM THE LAW!

I AM THE LAW!

The war on drugs has rarely been more literal.
Is it murder? Well… he had a weapon on him. Lets chalk another one up to proactive self-defense.
I seize all of Dixon’s personal gear, including the tainted chems. Then I dump his body in the ‘thug’ bin round the back, bereft of any of his belongings.

Some people juggle geese

Some people juggle geese

Right, time to revisit Bill and Jacob. This time I’m bargaining from a position of strength. Joe’s rehab is open for freaken business:
“Oh giving up is hard? Well, boo-freaken-hoo! Dixon is freaken DEAD. You want to be dead too? Because I could help with that. Didn’t freaken think so. Get your arse back to the fort!”
BOOM! Sorted.

Julie, the leader of the Follower camp is thrilled that I’m managed to round up the wayward members, as well as my previous work arranging a permanent supply of medical alcohol for use in creating medicine.
In fact, she is SO thrilled that she offers Joe a discount on all services.

That would be all right if it were the reward, but karma is a good tipper.
Turns out that Jacob Hoff is a skilled chemist, and since I arranged a supply of medical alcohol from the Wrangler Jacob is able to produce meds in bulk, and I get to pick one free stimpak, Fixer or RadAway a day. One free stimpak, Fixer or RadAway a day.
But that’s not all – Bill Ronte is a machinist who used to look after the water supply for Freeside. Now he’s back I don’t have to pay for water anymore.
With free water, and drugs I could trade for food, Freeside just became a lot more hospitable!

My new strategy of ignoring the wastes is working wonderfully!

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