Animal Welfare

Well, yesterday turned out to be fairly profitable, even if there was the small matter of the subsequent ambush. I figure I’m due a little bit of a rest, and decide to spend today hanging out around the Ranch.

Most of the morning is spent reading book on repair and maintenance. I honestly can’t remember where I actually picked it up, but it’s one of several books that I carry about with me. Magazines are very lite reading, the details of which are quickly forgotten, but books contain extremely detailed information that could help me to really improve my skills – however they do use a lot of big words. I’m sure that some people can just glance at a book and magically absorb all the knowledge within, but I made a choice that I would set aside 7 or 8 hours of study when working through any useful tomes I locate. As a consequence, I have a fair few unread books floating about within my labyrinthe pockets.

That afternoon I decide to go for a short walk around the hills. It wasn’t just for the fresh air, I also had an eye out for lifestock. This is a ranch after all, and ranch does imply cattle (or a mutated facsimile thereof).

Here cow-ly, cow-ly, cow-ly! Come and bring me your meat!

Here cow-ly, cow-ly, cow-ly! Come and bring me your meat!

Sure enough, just over the southern hills are a small herd of Bighorners. Of all the creatures I’ve taken a bite of, these have been the most palatable.
Now, I don’t want to waste breeding stock, so I figure I’ll just shoot one, and leave the others in relative peace and quiet. Up in the Followers of the Apocalypse’s safe house I discovered that Bighorners will die after a single shot to the head – and that a single shot to anywhere else normally results in the Bighorner impaling you on one of the explicitly referenced big horns.

I figure a single shot while hiding at the top of the hill will be enough to take one of them down, then I can pop down and butcher the carcass without inciting a battle with an entire herd of giant, mutant cattle.

Just line up this shot and...

Just line up this shot and…

And that’s the story of how I incited a battle with a herd of giant, mutant cattle.

As luck would have it, the single shot did, as planned, take down the Bighorner I was aiming at. Things seemed to be going well, but unfortunately I had Ed-e with me. After the first shot was fired, the little floating eye-bot got all excited and started to spray laser blasts down the hill and into the Bighorn herd.
Somewhat predictably, the Bighorn herd wasn’t thrilled at this turn of events, and thusly decided that the best method of retaliation would be to charge up the hill and attempt to rip me a new hole. I, however, was perfectly happy with the number of holes I currently possessed and felt that an immediate retreat was in order.

To the herd’s credit, one of them actually made it through the hail of laser blasts to the ridge where Ed-e hovered, but at that stage I was compelled to intervene and finish it off with my trusty rife.

So I guess my plan to keep breeding stock around was something of a failure – perhaps next time I should select a book about animal husbandry? Regardless, I have a bunch of meat to keep me feed and manage to avoid losing any of me own blood, so this is still a win.

Like giant mutated cows to the slaughter.

Like giant mutated cows to the slaughter.

I enjoyed my ‘day off’, but the next morning I once again feel compelled to journey to the township in the east.
Ed-e and I set off down the road, vigilantly keeping one eye on both the northern and southern parts of the highway. Occasionally Joe has seen Legion Raiding parties or NCR patrols out in the sands – but both seem obligingly reluctant to bother me. Still, it wouldn’t do to get caught in the crossfire,

I pass the raided farm from day before last, and keep heading east until I spy a barn and the bunt out husk of a home from the road. I just can’t resist it and decide to go poking about.

Oh, little farm; ye home of so much potential loot, why doth thou tempt me?

Oh, little farm; ye home of so much potential loot, why doth thou tempt me?

Despite the rusted pre-war truck, it’s abundantly clear that this farmstead was a post-war farm that’s since been destroyed sometime recently, rather than the ruins of a pre-war structure. That technically makes this scavenging rather than ‘prospecting’, but when I go to trade it, stuff is stuff, no matter where I ‘found’ it.
And it just so happens that there is quite a bit of stuff here to loot!

And not just loot. It seems that a whole lot of lifestock was left by the former owners and said lifestock are all over the show. There are Bighorners in one barn, and Brahmin in the other. As well as the animals in the barns, there are more cattle (both Bighoner and Brahmin) in fenced off pens outside. There are yet more wondering behind the barns.
If anyone wanted to set up a ranch, this place is the deluxe starter set. Sadly the ranch house was burnt to the ground, which means I won’t be the one to return this place to working order.
Unfortunately things are somewhat grim, as much of the lifestock is starved and dehydrated. I briefly consider opening fire and collecting a windfall of meat, but there are a lot of animals here. Like… a lot. Plus those calves are already looking at me with a certain accusatory look.

I have found a cunningly concealed herd of cows

I have found a cunningly concealed herd of cows

Rather than shoot them all I try and encourage them out of the fields and barns. I can always come back here to hunt the survivors, assuming that this lot can hunt out suitable vegetation to feed on.

Looking around the barns and the burnt house I start to find notes left by the former inhabitants. Seems that something happened to this lad’s folks, and after burying them he was left on his own to tend the farm. Left alone he became increasingly paranoid, thinking that the animals and unnamed monsters were out to kill him. Eventually he went nuts and burned down the house while he was still inside.
Basically this house is a grave, just as much as the two burial mounds just outside it.

I've never met a grave I didn't want to pillage!

I’ve never met a grave I didn’t want to pillage!

Up in the barns I find more loot, including a ammo, medication and a survival guide that I gleefully slip into my pockets. But I also found more notes from the previous owner, and the picture isn’t pretty.
The author says that his parents died after visiting the nearby town, but after they died they came back to life as monsters. The description he gives sounds and awful lot like a feral ghoul, and feral ghouls mean radiation (and lots of it).

Once I’m sure I’ve looted everything there is to loot, I have to consider my options.
If this town up ahead is badly radiated enough to create ghouls, I should stay well away. I can’t be sure that’s what the notes were talking about, but should I risk visiting the town if there are radiation and crazy ghouls lurking within? No thanks – I choose life.
What I’ve found around the farm is enough for one day, so ol’ Joe goes scampering back to Wolfhorn Ranch.


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