Scotch – the ultimate antidepressant

After being on the road for a while, it’s nice to just relax and kick back for a while. Just enjoy unwinding someplace that isn’t going to be overrun by scorpions, geckos and green plant men.
These days Joe is quite the badass. Well… quite the badass compared to the local insects, at least. I can remember fleeing from scorpions back in Goodsprings, but now scorpions are just an average Monday.
Mind you, a cazador or armed tribesman is still enough to send me running for the hills.

I take to opportunity to heal up and perform a bit of maintenance on my busted gear. It can seem wasteful pulling a perfectly good weapon to bits just so I can use the resulting components to repair whichever weapon I’m actually using, however in a scrape I’d rather have one well maintained gun in my hand than half-a-dozen serviceable guns in my backpack.
Plus I get a few days to hang out with my pal Follows-Chalk some more.

Given my abundance of free time, I figure I can afford to read a few more of the diary entries left behind by the survivalist. His story of survival after the initial bombings of the Great War have been educational and helpful – not as helpful as his caves full of awesome stuff, but helpful nevertheless.

For those who forgot, after losing his family in the blasts, the survivalist hung out in the caves for ages, living off cave fungus (a helpful hint that’s led me to collect stacks of the stuff in my pack) until the radiation died down. He then explored the Zion park, making it his new home. Eventually, many years later, a small group of young people came to the park. The survivalist watched them from afar, but didn’t interact with them other than to occasionally leave them gifts.
The computer in this very cave contains the next part of the survivalist’s story – about one year after leaving medicine for the newcomers, things start to go very wrong. The first new entry started in the winter of 2096:

February 11th
Fuckers killed all the men. I think they would’ve taken the women alive but Maria and Selena opened fire and some of the others went for their guns so they shot them down and some of the kids with them.
If I could’ve warned them.

February 12th
Elena and Carmen and 5 children still alive, being kept in a pen.
There are more than 100 of these assholes in blue suits. Every suit says “22” on the back. Why? Armed to the teeth with submachine guns, pistols. Estimate 60% male. Everyone seems to follow the dark-haired guy but can’t get close enough to tell. Assholes are disciplined – patrols, sentries – they mean business.
Say I go in at night and get the women and children out. Where to next?
But I have to get them out. Have to.

Grim. But at least there is hope.
Someone pass me the scotch.

Important life lesson: Scotch with a hand written label is either going to be very, very good or very, very bad. There is no middle ground.

Important life lesson: Scotch with a hand written label is either going to be very, very good or very, very bad. There is no middle ground.

February 13th
Recon during night.
Well-organized, sentries along most approaches, but stream not covered.
Are they sick? Lots of coughing fits. Tuberculosis?
Women and children still in pen. Will try to infiltrate by stream tomorrow night.

February 14th
They ate them.

Oh, my bad. I thought the first two entries were grim, but that there was some kind of goodness left in the world. The second two entries show that any redeeming characteristics I perceived were a clear misconception on my part.
Luckily, I have more scotch… now seems like a good time to drink it.

Whisky. Or as Americans call it, Whiskey. Or as I call it, Almost-Scotch.

Whisky. Or as Americans call it, Whiskey. Or as I call it, Almost-Scotch.

February 19th
Ambush along riverside trail. 6 males killed. Heard their coughing a mile away.
Used their grenades to booby-trap bodies, kept half. Secured 6 SMGs, 500 rounds 10mm, 6 frags.

February 20th
Ambush along riverside trail. 2 males died checking bodies. Killed 2 more with rifle. Shot 1 through calf and let asshole crawl off to spread message. Coughed like I’d shot him through lungs.

February 23rd
Ambush half-mile east of coal pits wash. 8 males killed.

February 28th
Ambush in the narrows. 6 males killed. Took a 10mm through thigh, steel jacket, missed femoral. Lucky. Used tourniquet to make sure no blood spattered on rocks back to cave. Have set traps all along entrance passage but if they find me it will be matter of time. Still, 24 confirmed kills in 10 days = at least 1/3rd of their combat force, not bad for an old man.

March 2nd
Lucky lucky lucky lucky. Patrol was small – 3 men. Screaming woke me – point man caught under deadfall. Panic fire ricocheted into the cave, almost hit me. Crawled forward and killed them all with SMGs. Nearly used frags, stupid, finger in pin when remembered ricochets.
Leaving at once. No other patrols in area but they’ll be searching narrows for these 3. Taking as much food as I can drag with me and heading to cave south.

Well, at least the survivalist was able to make the intruders pay in blood – that makes me feel a little better. Also, now I’m hung over.
I’ve had enough depression-inducing reading for now, so as soon as my head stops ringing I’ll get back out there. I’ve got crap to do.

The next morning I go have another chat with Daniel, the missionary that’s leading this somewhat motley crew.
Happily, this time I’m finally able to convince Daniel to trade supplies with me, and now I see why he was reluctant to trade in the first place. The dude has very little to offer – just a few hundred caps and a small selection of healing supplies.
Still, healing supplies are more use than a few guns I’ll never ever use, so I trade for all his caps and medical equipment. I give him more guns and ammo than he was asking for, and even a few combat enhancements… after reading about the fate of the small peaceful tribe in the survivalist’s diary, I’m somewhat compelled to help this small peaceful tribe defend itself.

Somewhat disappointingly, just visiting Daniel took a not-insubstantial part of the day. The Sorrows camp is so big, contrived and convoluted that walking from one end to the other is nearly an all-day event. Not wanting to travel in the dark, I instead camp at the southernmost hut of the village, which will mean I have a full day’s light once I get to exploring.

Next day I head south – not really looking for anything in particular, and just eager to take a look about.
Frankly, there wasn’t that much to see. We did gather a lot of roots and plants however, so that’s kind of a win.

All was nice and calm until we started to head back, and ran straight into a White-Legs ambush. Not ideal, but as they were worryingly close to the pacifist sorrows camp… better us than the sorrows, I guess.

Die tribal! Your strategy of wearing no pants won’t help you now!

Die tribal! Your strategy of wearing no pants won’t help you now!

Luckily, for us it wasn’t a very good ambush. There was only two of them, and Follows-Chalk and I were able to fight them off with minimal effort. Having struck down our foes, we then make a hasty retreat back to the sorrows camp before any of the White-leg’s friends can come looking.

"Death gurrrrgle!"

“Death gurrrrgle!”

Part of me thinks I should get on the road again, but part of me protests that I have plenty of food, a safe place to sleep and no need to go looking for trouble. The 2nd part of me wins. Bed rest and scotch it is!

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