Our heroes enjoy some much needed R & R after completing their charge of delivering six Brahmin bulls to the Longhorn Ranch in southeastern California and make grand plans for the future, while meeting a new companion along the way.
- Dexx: Young but experienced thief and pickpocket, schooled by life on the streets of the Boneyard, looking for lucrative scavenging opportunities;
- Rhiannon Adare: Vault 21 outcast, expert in all things mechanical and technological, adjusting to life on the outside;
- Paul: Wandering wasteland tough and jack of all trades, taking whichever job he can get by on before hitting the trail again;
After their encounter with the Rattlesnakes in the ravine leading through the hills, where their companion Pyal met his end at the hands of one of the raiders, the group pressed on for a while, putting as much distance between the raiders and themselves as possible. Shortly before they would reach the ranch, they decided to stop and prepare a funeral pyre for the late tribesman, as Rhiannon had learned of this custom during her brief stay in Pyal's village and knew this would be his wish, and Dexx, ever the voice of down to earth reason, stating that showing up with a corpse would probably leave a poor first impression on the ranchers. They gathered some firewood and after a quick improvised ceremony Pyal's earthly remains were burned, along with his treasured hunting spear. Some further discussion arose as Dexx did not cherish the idea of taking Styg, the legless old Ghoul the party found unconscious in the desert the day before, along with them to the ranch either. Florian eventually agreed to stay behind to watch over Styg while the others would go and conclude their business at the ranch, and the group would reunite on the morning. Jacob, Dexx and Rhiannon then gathered the five remaining Brahmin bulls and started on the last mile of their journey, which had proved to be a lot more dangerous than any of them had anticipated.
Not much later, around dusk, they spotted in the distance a small Brahmin herd, two armed men standing nearby. The men, hired hands working for the Stanleys over at the Longhorn Ranch, hailed the fresh arrivals and walked out to meet them. After making their introductions and a cursory inspection of the bulls, the guards gathered the cattle and escorted the threesome to the ranch proper.
The party arrived at the impressive ranch, spotting many heads of cattle along the way before arriving at the large ranch house amid the numerous barns and stables. Along the way they had learned from the ranchers that their boss, mr. Stanley, had passed away several months earlier and the daily management of the Longhorn Ranch was now in the capable hands of his daughter Sarah. When the group approached the main building, they were greeted and ushered in by an elderly majordomo. They entered the lobby, where two tough looking men stood guard, and were subsequently led through the house and shown to ms. Stanley's office, from which raised voices could be overheard. After a moment all three of them were asked in, together with one of the guards. In the elegant looking office they were greeted by a young, attractive woman who introduced herself as Sarah Stanley, and a tall, slightly emactiated looking man of similar age sitting in the corner of the room, her brother Chase, who kept quiet for the remainder of the conversation. After some pleasantries they turned to the business at hand, the payment for the delivery of the Brahmin bulls. Having only managed to deliver five of six, with two of them badly injured, ms. Stanley confirmed her reputation of shrewd businesswoman and renegotiated the payment stipulated in the contract down from seven to five thousand dollars. Jacob, seeing no real alternative, had to grudgingly agree to these conditions. Their business concluded and the nearest settlement being almost a day's travel away, they were offered food and lodging for the night, as well as an armed escort for their journey tomorrow if they so wished. The group gladly accepted ms. Stanley's hospitality and were shown to the guest rooms, two of which were put at their disposal.
After a small supper was brought to their rooms, Jacob, Dexx and Rhiannon gathered to discuss the matter of the owed wages. Jacob proved unwilling to pay the full sum, seeing as his employer had already lost quite a bit of money on the contract, and offered them about half the amount owed, which Dexx with some persuasion managed to up to a hundred dollars each. Soon after they all retired for the night, planning to leave early the next morning for the nearby settlement of Landfill. Some hours later, in the dead of night, Dexx awoke to the sound of a knock on the door. The elderly majordomo quietly came in and informed Dexx that mr. Stanley requested his presence in his study. Puzzled, Dexx dressed and followed the steward through the dark, empty hallways to Chase Stanley's quarters. Stanley invited him to sit down and hear him out about a business proposal of sorts. It quickly became clear to Dexx that Stanley was greatly frustrated by living in his older sister's shadow, whom he resented being put in charge of the ranch, claiming that as the male heir that should have been his prerogative. Sensing an opportunity in the outsider's arrival, he offered Dexx a sizeable cash sum to take care of this "problem" for him. While the money was tempting, Dexx, though a thief and scoundrel, proved that he was not a cold-blooded killer and politely declined the offer, and after ensuring Stanley of his secrecy, was led back to his room. Once there however he did not go back to sleep. Figuring Stanley would not handle his disappointment well, Dexx thought it better to act first and disappear from the ranch. Quietly he gathered his belongings and went over to Rhiannon's room, telling her only to meet him again the next morning outside the ranch. He then snuck out of the house through the window. Realizing he wouldn't find his way back to Florian and Styg in the dark, he looked for a suitable hiding place and climbed in one of the stables, spending the rest of the night among the Brahmin.
The next morning Jacob and Rhiannon made ready to leave for Landfill. Dexx's disappearance raised some questions, but Rhiannon reassured them, saying he preferred sleeping outside to the comforts of a real bed. Earlier Dexx had risen at the crack of dawn and set out to reunite with the companions they had left behind. The ranchers saw the rest of the group off, sending one of the hired hands, a brawny man clad in leather armour by the name of Paul, along to show them the way to Landfill. The three of them first went to meet up with Florian and Styg and found Dexx waiting there for them as well. Guided by Paul the party started on the way to Landfill, Florian carrying the Ghoul on his back.
The group travelled south east for most of the day through the flat, empty countryside that bordered the Mojave desert, without anything eventful happening. From the late afternoon on they could see in the distance three small hills looming ahead, and as the wind turned, an unpleasant smell wafted in their direction. As they drew nearer the hills on the horizon grew ever larger, and they could now clearly see the enormous refuse heap at the foot of which lay the shanty town of Landfill. They made their way to the northern entrance of the settlement, passing by the edges of the waste yard, around which they noticed a sturdy chain-link fence had been erected. They passed by several wooden buildings which seemed to serve as bunkhouses or barracks and a large water tank, all closely located next to the main entrance to the waste yard. A small empty space separated these from the rest of the settlement, consisting solely of ramshackle cabins and shacks out of sheets of plastic and corrugated iron, a warren of twisting alleys and pathways spreading out in every direction. In the distance, on the western edge of the town, they spied a two-storey building, partially out of brick with the second storey seemingly out of wood, sticking out above the multitude of shacks. Rhiannon assumed this to be town hall, but Paul, who was familiar with the town from previous drinking and gambling trips, informed them it was the town's watering hole, known as The Hill. Jacob immediately proposed to hit the bar, an idea which went down well with the rest of the company. So they made their way through the narrow streets, ignoring chem dealers and beggars alike. At a certain point a haggard woman accosted them, relating the story of her husband Bill who went into the waste yard tunnels some days earlier and never returned. Though not planning on trying their luck and making a scavenging trip down the tunnels themselves, the group promised to keep an eye out for any signs concerning Bill's fate. Eventually they arrived at The Hill. The bar was full of smoke, noise and the raucous laughter of the many drunks and gamblers seated at the tables in the main room. Two stairs, at either side of the bar against the far wall from the entrance, led to the rooms on the second floor, patrons and girls to be seen moving about on the gallery. The party sat down at one of the unoccupied tables, while Jacob and Paul went to the bar and bought a round of beers. As the evening progressed more beer was ordered and everyone's tongues got loosened. The group engaged in some lively conversation, discussing previously unmentioned pasts and making plans for the future. Rhiannon's tale about her exile from Vault 21 [NB: this is not the Vault 21 that is featured in Fallout: New Vegas; the story for this campaign was written before F:NV came out] caught the others imagination, and they decided to head back north later and try and gain entry to the Vault. Their talk drew the attention of some men sitting at the next table, who seemed quite interested in the topic. One of them, a decrepit looking Ghoul, revealed he once came from a Vault as well, located under what was now known as Necropolis. Jacob meanwhile had disappeared to one of the upstairs rooms. As it grew later the rest of the group retired for the night as well, but as half of them had no money for a room, they left The Hill to spend the night on the street, among the bums and junkies. Styg, not wanting to overstay his welcome, took his leave from them then and remained in the bar by himself. The others went out on the streets and settled for a quiet alleyway, one by one taking turns staying awake to watch out for any sign of trouble.
The night went by troublefree, and come morning the four of them rose and, having decided on leaving the town and heading north through The Hub, started looking for supplies and any information on the possibility of joining a caravan. They first headed back to The Hill, mostly deserted at this time of day, where they met with the proprietor and self-proclaimed mayor of Landfill, Shane Donaldson. Donaldson could only provide some general information about the town, but told them to go see Harlan Clint over at the compound at the northern edge of town near the waste yard. Donaldson informed them Clint controlled most of the trade going in and out of town and would know about any caravans passing through. The party followed his advice and headed over to the wooden buildings they had spotted on entering town. One of the guards there pointed them over to a small wooden cabin which served as Clint's office. The group was shown in and greeted by Clint, a middle aged man with short grayish hair and glasses, hunched over various large ledgers, exploiter of the waste yard and local strongman. Somewhat impatiently he heard the group out and informed them that there would likely be a caravan heading west passing by in a week or so. When Dexx expressed his interested in prospecting the waste yard tunnels, he became more friendly and showed them several of the rarer finds to come out of the trash heap, among them a working plasma pistol and several high tech devices. This seemed incentive enough for them to decide to pay the tunnels a visit, since they were going to stay put for a while in Landfill anyhow. When asked if Clint had some work that needed doing, he mentioned that he had been trying to clean up Landfill to get it in line with NCR rule of law, in the hopes of gaining membership. His attempts to rid the streets of drugs and prostitution had however proven fruitless so far. He asked them to check by again in a few days. With that the group took their leave and went to prepare for their foray into the waste yard tunnels.