East meets West

Next morning I gather my gear together and set off to the south again.
The walking is slightly less tedious today because the road is packed with ruined old cars from before the Great War. As well as adding some welcome variation to the normal sand motif, a few of the vehicles are intact enough that I can poke inside.

There isn’t a whole lot to scavenge, of course. Over 200 years they have been picked clean of anything remotely useful. But it’s still interesting to find an old trailer, packed to overflowing with the husks of ancient motorcycles – to imagine the person who was driving a valuable cargo to sell to a crowd or willing customers, never knowing what fate that was in store.

Joe grew up in Vault 101, so he’d know what all this stuff was. But even then, just because you know what they are, doesn’t make it much easier to imagine a world where this stuff is normal.
Frankly, I could use a functional motorbike right now. Would save on the walking.

Tetanus must be a serious concern out here.

Tetanus must be a serious concern out here.

If the ruined motorcade wasn’t interesting enough, I’m now close enough to make out the Ranger monument pretty clearly. I mean, the bloody thing is massive – a show of strength from the NCR in the West to House and the Legion in the East. In fact, you can see it all the way from Primm if you look for it.
But now it dominates the mountain pass.

As I climb the hill and eventually walk beneath their giant hands, hands promising friendship and security, one thought crosses my mind: It’s a pity they didn’t put that much effort into protecting Primm.

 Well. Glad they didn't feel like they had to do anything too ostentatious

Well, glad they didn't feel like they had to do anything too ostentatious

To find out more about the Nevada Desert Rangers, click here

To find out more about the Nevada Desert Rangers, click the image

It is nice to arrive at the ranger station, however. There are merchants, traders and mercenaries loitering about on their way to or from the west. And there are troopers patrolling or running about on errands, giving the place a lively atmosphere. Before going inside to argue with some administrator I take a break, talking and bartering with a few of the traders outside.
Now this is more like it! Good honest trading! I mean…’good’ if you overlook the fact that most of it was stripped off of dead bodies.

Roll up! Roll up!

Roll up! Roll up!

By the time it starts to get dark I’ve managed to sell off everything I’d pillaged from the raiders at the old police station. Even if I wasn’t here for some greater purpose, the trip has been fairly profitable.

As it’s getting late I enquire about a place to rest for the night. One helpful chap points me towards the general barracks. Apparently the ranking officers and key staff have private rooms over at the main office, but the rank and file all share the bunk rooms in the barracks – and those bunks are open to traders passing through. For the NCR, more merchants mean more supplies, so they seem to be more than happy to encourage the traffic.

Turns out that the barracks is also the home of the outpost’s main trading post… which doubles as a bar.

I can't help but feel that housing a bar in your army barracks is a terrible idea

I can't help but feel that housing a bar
in your army barracks is a terrible idea

Although a delightfully refreshing one!

Although a delightfully refreshing one!

A free bedroom with a trading post and saloon on site?! How have I not heard of this beacon of hope? This paradise? This Eden?
I plonk myself down next to a lovely young lady named Cass. She might have a pretty face, but she has a foul mouth – making her the ultimate drinking buddy. I then proceed to drink most of the night away, making time to play a few rounds of cards with the bartender and chat a while with Cass. Good times.
Cass regaled me with tales of her misadventures across the Mojave – apparently she ran a trading company much like the one Joe is planning to set up… but something kept happening to her caravans, and everyone kept turning up dead. As I was planning to haul all the cargo myself, an open-season on merchants is of particular interest, so I’m more than willing to hear her tale.

It would have been nice to stay longer, but eventually I concede that I should get some rest before meeting with the outpost administrator. But tonight I have dreams filled with whisky and new friends, rather than nightmares of past mistakes.

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