Well, I set off back down I-15; I'd come through at night, quiet-like but fast, the first time, so I didn't do any real sightseein' along the way north. I was settin' off in early morning this time, so I had to be a bit more circumspect headin' back south. Kept mostly to the foothills paralleling the old highway, tryin' to keep outta the notice of the pests and vermin. Bagged a couple more geckoes along the way, found an old travel trailer somebody'd converted to a pirate radio station of all things, then abandoned. I stopped there for lunch, rummaged around a bit and found a few useable radio parts, and somebody's copy of "The Wasteland Survival Guide," printed in the D.C. ruins back in '77, Lord only knows how it got this far West. Some good tips in it on first glance, so I shoved it in my pack for later. From here I could see a wide spot in the road called Primm that I'd bypassed coming North, figgered I'd stop there, see if I could find a spot to throw down a bedroll for the night. The office of Mojave Express here had originally issued the request for a courier for the package I was supposed to be carryin', so I had a notion they'd maybe be able to tell me another route up to New Vegas.
Turns out, that was sorta a bad idea. See, west side of the highway was occupied by a New California Republic Army platoon, who luckily were the ones I run into first; t'other side, the town of Primm proper, was overrun with the same kind of vermin I'd run into in Goodsprings. Seems the NCR had had a prison break at their main jailhouse here, and the prisoners, who called themselves "Powder Gangers" these days, were kinda makin' a nuisance of themselves all up and down I-15. This batch was pretty well contained, on account of the platoon here had pretty well mined all the approaches to the town, sneaky-like, but they didn't have the firepower to go in and clean the town out, and they thought the Gangers were holdin' the townfolk hostage anyway. Lovely.
The butterbar eltee in charge of the platoon was as green as a bristlecone pine, but he did have good intel; most of the activity in town was concentrated at the big casino/hotel, the Bison Steve. I spent a bit of time at the observation post they'd set up, and if'n I'd had my old .308 still, I could've taken care of most of the problem right then and there. This .223 just wasn't up to the job, trajectory like a rainbow and no real punch at the end of it, and no dang scope.
Couple hours later, after full dark, I was sneakin' into town. Checked the office first, hopin' I could find some useful info there; found a robot with a bullet hole in its side instead, one of those hoverin' models you used to see a lot before the NCR shut down the remnants of the Enclave. Looked it over, and from what I saw, it might be right useful, so I fiddled with it's innards a bit, jiggered it's IFF data to recognize me, and started it back up. Cargo space, big electrolaser unit on it, pretty good sensors; boot-up sequence said its designation was Eyebot, Duraframe Prototype E. I shortened that to "Eddie" right quick. Darned if Eddie warn't the cheerfullest little bot I'd ever run into by a long shot, either. Couldn't talk 'cept in RobCo Interlink, but I understood that well enough, and he could transmit messages and sensor data direct to my Pip-Boy anyhow.
Faded back out into town, me and Eddie cleared out a few vermin on the old roller coaster around the Bison Steve, and snuck in through the old coaster entrance, on the second floor. (That zap gun of Eddie's is something else. Laser beam ionizes the atmosphere between him and the target, then a big capacitor bank discharges down the ionized air column. ZAP! One guy just kinda, well, *dissolved* into a pile of fluffy white ash. I resolved right then and there never to make Eddie mad at *me*.) Bunch more vermin to clean outta the old hotel, managed to get the noisy old elevator running, then high-tailed it down the stairs. Sure 'nough, bunch of 'em on the first floor clustered around the elevator doors, when the doors opened...weeell, *ding*, the six sticks of dynamite I'd collected from the other vermin went off. End of problem.
Just as an aside, I can totally understand havin' convicts run a sledge or an idiot stick, gotta justify feedin' 'em somehow, but what in Tarnation possessed the NCR to teach these goons to do their own demo? Whatever bean-countin' moron thought givin' convicts dynamite was a good idea needs to be "dancin' with Jack Ketch", as my great-great-grandaddy Cap'n Jack Addams would've said. Want to motivate 'em to work, make 'em grow their own food instead, I says. "You don't work, you don't eat," is a powerful motivator, I think anyway.
Anywho, found a guy name of Deputy Beagle tied up in the hotel kitchen; once't I got him outside, he mentioned that he'd seen Daisy Suit and his boys come through just before the Gangers caught him skulkin' around, and they'd let slip they were all headin' for Novac, 'bout halfway between Nipton and Vegas on 95. Also found out the law-abidin' population of Primm was holed up in the *other* casino in town, little joint called the Vikki and Vance. Beagle dragged me over there, introduced me to the town mayor, Johnson Nash, who turned out to be the local Mojave Express stationkeeper as well. Found out a lot about that little package I was s'posed to deliver; one of six similar ones, turns out t'other five made it just fine. I'm beginnin' to have a bad feeling about this delivery. Mine was supposed to be a solid-platinum poker chip, from the Lucky 38 Casino; t'others were the same sort'a thing, mink fuzzy dice, silver-inlaid chess knight carved outta ebony; you know, schlock. Kitsch. Tchotchkes. Touristy stuff, but *really expensive* touristy stuff. Turns out *somebody* in New Vegas collected this kind of stuff; paid best for souvenir snowglobes, but any kind of touristy trash in good shape was good for at least a few caps from the Securitrons guarding the gates at the Strip.
Mr. Nash allowed as how if I completed the delivery, the pay was still good for it, told me how to get around to Vegas up Highway 95, and swore me in as an official Mojave Express courier to be sure I'd get paid when and if I recovered the package. Beagle, the gutless so-and-so, refused to take over as Sheriff for Primm, and Mr. Nash asked me to take a letter to the NCR detachment at the Mojave Outpost at the end of I-15 to see if they could take over law enforcement for the town, on account of they didn't have anyone able-bodied to do it there. (Nash said Beagle was disqualified by a big yella streak up and down his spine, even if he'd've wanted the job.) I couldn't rightly refuse, since he was going to pay me for the trip, and right then my belly was wonderin' when I was gonna put somethin' in it. Turns out Mrs. Nash ran the diner there in the casino, had a radscorpion pie that was almost as spicy as Grandmama's, first decent meal I'd had since leavin' Sunnydale. I'd leave for the Outpost in the mornin'.