Someone set us up the bomb!

The next morning I get to show Veronica around Westside.
Westside really is pretty remarkable compared to most other towns in the Mojave – with its sustainable living, co-op farming, accepting attitude and well-regulated militia… and its wonderful brothel and booze stores. Unlike Freeside there are no thugs or street gangs. Unlike The Strip, Westside is open to everyone. Unlike Goodsprings or Novac, there are plenty of people and thriving businesses.

“But they will, though. Buy it all.”

“This is wonderful, Joe. Look at all these people, they’re all so well off! Working together. Happy, healthy…”
“Yeah, I bet they’ll buy all this crap we found.”
“That’s not what I meant. I just meant it’s good they’re so well off.”
“But they will, though. Buy it all.”

About the only other town with the same prospects is Primm – and Primm only has prospects because I helped out, in Lily’s memory. But who knows how they will fair with NCR in control?
Actually, speaking of Lily… I really should break the bad news to Meansonofabitch…

Grimace angrily if you don’t want to hurt me.

Grimace angrily if you don’t want to hurt me.

Turns out that Veronica is quite impressed with Westside. So much so, that she’s about to drop a bombshell on poor ol’ Joe.

For some time Veronica has been worried about the Brotherhood of Steel. Worried that they were dying out, worried that they had lost their purpose. Visiting Freeside, and seeing the weapons on display at the energy-weapon consortium, was enough to convince her that the Brotherhood had failed in its mission to limit the technology that almost wiped out the world. Seeing the dead Brothers in the Repcon Headquarters convinced her that they might be becoming obsolete.
And now Westside had shown her that there was a better way to live.

“Suckers.”

“Ha! Look at them, Veronica. Working like schmucks!”
“That’s what honest work looks like, Joe. Working the land, growing your own food; not just picking up things that other folk left behind.”
“Suckers.”

After a few days of hanging about in Westside, Veronica says that she wants to go home to the Brotherhood. Go home and see if she can convince the order to change its course.

That sounds dangerously like a quest to me… like a crusade, even. And the Brotherhood hardly has a reputation for playing nicely with strangers. I don’t want to visit no ‘hidden valley’, but Veronica feels that she has to.
So I guess this is it…
Procurements United is breaking up. The end. Fin.

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done

Now you're just somebody that I used to know.

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.

And everything was going so well, too.

I don’t begrudge Veronica any for wanting to help her family… I do begrudge her a little for having a family while I’m off wondering the wastes alone, but if Joe had a family I’d want to help them out too.

For her share of Procurements United’s profits, I figure she should keep the armour and the fancy plasma rifle. Perhaps it will help her win her compatriots over – at any rate, it’ll be more use to her then it will be to me. Also, if I’m honest, she did the bulk of the heavy lifting (literally and metaphorically).

Joe came here to establish a store in the Vegas area… that way I could have established a trade route: From Sloan, to Goodsprings, to Primm, to the NCR Outpost, to Novac, to Vegas and back. But Veronica was a key player in that plan. Who else will stand for hours in one place, selling our ill-gotten loot?
I mean, obviously Ed-e could… but I was hoping he would man a store somewhere between Novac and Vegas, perhaps in that old service station. Some place that I could stop in to visit and help break up the long hike through the desert.
Without a trader willing to manage the Vegas store, this plan is nixed.

With Veronica gone and a whole lot of caps in my pocket, there is only one obvious course of action….

“Sir, I’ll take several gallons of your finest hooch.”

“Sir, I’ll take several gallons of your finest hooch.”

Perhaps it’s not the wise choice, but I’m pretty sure it’s the choice that Joe would make when his best laid plans fall apart. Booze, wonderful booze!

For the next week or so I just sit about; drinking, watching the locals work, watch the old-timers play chess and listening to the radio (that ad about the Happy Trails Caravan Company is still playing).

A few days later and I have to ask myself another question: So… other than drinking… What to do? I can’t just keep sitting about here – because Westside has no bar and I have no home hereabouts, I’m out drinking in the street. And while I might be back on the booze, I’m not so far gone that I’m okay with becoming the local homeless drunkard.

Wait a minute… someone owes me money.

Jusht leta me get mah jacket…

HEY! Heeeeeey. It’s time for Joe to collect.

HEY! Heeeeeey. Let meh in! Itsh time for Joe to collect!

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