|Jackson||It was a chilly day in the New Mexico wastelands. Though the sun still stood high in the sky, the light breeze that blew through the scrapyard that afternoon brought with it the distinct chill that clung to the body toward winter's end. It appeared to be a busy day for most of Roswell's denizens-- the local ghouls were doing their best to pick out the more valuable trinkets from the scrapyard's outskirts, and the militia was patrolling around the highways bordering the town in search of anything out of the ordinary. Really, it was just another day in the wasteland. At the very least, one could take solace in the fact that there weren't any world-endangering problems that hung over their heads.
For Deputy Jackson Parkes, the afternoon was starting to seem like any other day. Ladyfingers' hooves had been clopping along methodically from El Dorado, to Acme, and all the way down to Roswell as they rode the Clovis highway. Thankfully, trouble seemed to be staying out of his way for the most part. As he often did as he travelled around Roswell, he stabled Ladyfingers with the militia for a time, and took a little while to scout out the deeper sections of the scrapyard in hopes that he'd find something useable. He had plans to lead a group of volunteers deep into the place later on that day, and wanted to be absolutely sure that they'd all have a safe route of entry for when they began their search. So, as he idly glanced about at the loose debris and bits of junk that coated the interior of the place, he was sure to keep his eyes peeled for any danger.
After carefully tiptoeing his way through the junk for around fifteen minutes, Jack gave himself a moment to catch his breath. He'd been climbing up and down piles of junked pre-war televisions, microwaves, and other useless technologies, and though he didn't make it as far in as he'd liked in the time it took, he knew he'd cover more ground if he gathered his wind. The terrain was rough, unsteady, and uneven, and as a result, it was slow going. So, after basically stumbling down over fragmented pieces of a Nuka-Cola Victory machine, the deputy's boots finally reached a patch of open soil, and he looked for a place to rest his legs. It only took a moment's observation to spot an old beat-up refrigerator that served his purposes perfectly, and the young blonde lowered his weight onto it with a silent huff of exertion. Cutting through this place always seemed to take it out of him.
|Salvation Jane||Salvation Jane had no grand plans of leading anyone through the scrapyard. However, she did have every intention of scouting around the outskirts of the scrapyard on her own. She hadn't been in El Dorado a week yet and she'd heard tales of how valuable the finds often were here. Her reasons being her own, she made the trip down to Roswell alone just as she'd made her way across the midwest and plains in the past. It wasn't anything new. She just took her time.
Now that she was in the scrap yard she cautiously worked her way along the perimeter piles. She just wanted to see what it could offer before planning anything deeper in.
She found an old mostly picked clean stove and oven. The top burners had been picked clean, even the heating elements inside the oven were gone. But there were a number of rodent-chewed wiring harnesses that could still be recovered for their bits that were still intact. Reaching in with her pliers, she began to remove the bundles of wires after a cautionary glance around.
|Jackson||The deputy hadn't sat upon his chosen perch for longer than five minutes before he heard the tell-tale signs of activity echoing toward him from a nearby mountain of trash. At the metallic sound of snapping wires, the small hairs upon the back of Jack's neck stood at rigid attention, and he carefully drew his sidearm with a nimble, practiced motion. He didn't really think that he had disturbed anything living in here when he entered, but he'd definitely been surprised by lesser things before. The last thing he wanted to do was walk straight into an ambush. So with a silent roll of his shoulders, Jack slid off of the refrigerator into a combat-ready stance, and held his pistol aloft as he apprehensively tread toward the source of the sound. His footsteps were silent as he circled around a pile of scrap, and after a few careful strides, he dexterously hoisted himself atop a junk pile and scampered his way to it's apex. As he reached it's peak, Jack levelled the barrel of his .357 automag down toward the source of the sound, and immediatly felt relief.
It wasn't a group of raiders, it wasn't a group of hungry ferals, and thankfully, it wasn't a solitary reaver digging for components for one of their battle cars. At least, he didn't think it was. What he saw was a tan-skinned woman knelt over an old stove, digging away at something useable inside of it's interior. The deputy had been through these parts often, and knew better than to maintain his silence. The last thing he wanted to do was spook the stranger and catch a bullet in the gut for his sneakiness. So after lowering his pistol, the young lawman cleared his throat and spoke up.
"Y'know, I hate to say it, but I definitely counted on that sound coming from a feral chewing on some old Corvalis brake lines. But here I am, feeling bad for pointing my pistol toward a stranger." At that, he took a tentative step forward, and offered the woman a friendly wave with his free hand.
"Lookin' for anything in particular? You could say I know my way around the place."
|Salvation Jane||Salvation Jane froze in that moment. She scanned with her eyes to see where this new figure way. Seeing Jackson as he moved again and waved, she slowly rolled back onto her heels as she pulled the harness free of the oven's back panel. "I expected to find other pickers around just not that I'd run into one so quickly or so close to the edges. They say the center is where the best finds are." She rises up with the harness in hand. "Always looking. Sometimes I even find things." Wire is always needed for most any jury rigged project so grabbing good lengths when it's to be had is useful. She begins to coil it up as she sizes up the man and his intentions.|
|Jackson||The deputy breathed a silent sigh of relief when his introduction wasn't immediatly met with a barrage of semi automatic gunfire. Bold as it was to announce his presence to a stranger as he'd done, he felt it was most assuredly better than the alternative-- that being the formentioned bullet to the gut. As she continued her careful removal of the oven's wire harness, Jack tentatively stepped down the pile of junk so he didn't have to shout down to her. He kept his fingers loosely wrapped around his pistol's handle to assure himself of his security, and offered up his own two cents on the scrapyard.
"You're not wrong there. In my experience, the deeper you go, the more useful things get. The closer you get to ol' chrome mountain, the more dangerous things seem to get, too. I can't say that I recognise ya', so I'll offer you a key piece of advice." As he spoke, he waited for Jane to have a free moment with her hands, then offered his open palm to her in greeting as he continued.
"Out here on the outskirts, it's alright to be a little careless. Most folks have already had their run of the scrap out here, so a lot of the more hostile critters tend to keep their distance on account of all the people ya' get movin through here. But the deeper ya' go, the more likely ya' are to run into a group of hungry ferals. This place is great for scrappin', but it's unfortunately just as good for feral hiding places. One missed step, and you'll have 'em crawling all over you like a cazador on brahmin shit." With that said, the deputy chuckled to himself.
"But where are my manners? The name's Jackson Parkes, Deputy at small. I'm with the Sheriff's Department of El Dorado."
|Salvation Jane||Salvation Jane listened and offered a nod as he spoke. She coiled the wire up and tucked it away while he introduced himself. She carefully stepped down from the pile the stove was lodged wtihin. "Deputy. You'd be the first Law I've met since I got here. Nice to know there's some of you around. Still, it's a bit far from El Dorado, Roswell. Isn't it? Or does the Law usually patrol out in these parts?" She put away her pliers and wiped her hand off on her jeans. "I'm Jane. Most tend to call me Salvation Jane. I'll answer to either. Or both."|
|Jackson||"El Dorado's a bit.. Interesting, in terms of the city and the surrounding area." Jack began, taking a step back so the woman had room to work. By the look of her clothes, she was certainly no stranger to this type of thing. Judging off of the appearance of her pants alone, the deputy would've guessed she was a bit of a scrapper by trade, but he knew just as well that it was terrible to judge a book by it's cover. So, as he continued, he tried to keep his investigative mindset to himself. No need to cross-examine every stranger in the wasteland, after all.
"Most of the local settlements around El Dorado proper are aligned with us. We all tend to stick together 'round these parts, stick our necks out for each other when we can. The people have taken to calling the order 'round here the El Dorado Federation, or EDF for short. Each of the settlements has a representative that they send out to El Dorado for meetings now and again to talk about the problems we're all having, and we do our best to pool our resources to take care of the people that need it. El Dorado's militia and Sheriff Department operate all over. Odds are, if you're in this part of New Mexico, you're within the juristiction of the Federation." After his lengthy monologue, Jack holstered his pistol inside of his duster, and gave his surroundings a careful glance. He hadn't heard anything thus far, but he definitely didn't want anybody trying to take advantage and sneak up on them.
"It's a pleasure to meet ya' though, Jane. A strange face is always welcome 'round New Mexico as far as I'm concerned. 'Specially if you're not opposed to the rule of law. I've got enough raiders and reavers to deal with 'round Artesia to the south to be concerned about someone like that up these ways."
|Salvation Jane||Salvation Jane listens to the explanation about the area. She nods, "Makes perfect sense. A lack of order and law makes for dangerous living conditions, I've found. I'm hoping to find El Dorado all that it has been rumored to be in parts east. If so I may just end up staying here a good long while."|
|Jackson||With a smile, Jack nodded in affirmation, glad to hear that the rumors about his home had been posetive ones. As she responded to him, he couldn't help but realize that something sounded familiar about her voice. He couldn't put his finger on it exactly, but he knew he'd heard it somewhere, strange as the idea was to him. The confusion of Jack's thought made itself apparent in his facial features for a brief moment as he appraised Jane a bit more closely. Jane.. Salvation... That was it! The poem on the radio! As the dots connected in his brain, his features morphed from that of confusion, to something more reminiscent of intellectual intrigue.
"Wait a second.. Jane, Salvation Jane. As in, the Jane from the radio broadcast the other day? You read a poem from the old world. I heard it while I was prepping for my morning walk, believe it or not. It was.. Well, thought provoking, in a way. I'd never heard anything like it."
As Jack continued to ramble, unbeknownst to the two, a nearby pile of junk was starting to jingle and rumble unsteadily, as if something was trying to claw it's way out from below it. As pieces of junk and scrap started to roll off of the pile, the deputy briefly turned his attention away from Jane, and toward the pile. He cursed inwardly to himself as he reached for his gun, and spoke out to anyone that might be close enough to hear them.
"Speak of the ghouls.. Heads up!" At the sound of Jackson's declaration, the pile fell aside completely to reveal a small grouping of three feral ghouls, all of which were snarling in anger-- and likely hunger. They took a moment to wrestle their way out of the junk that pinned them into the pile, then leapt out toward the duo with blood in their eyes.
|Tibbie|| The rapscallion Tibbie had been at the Roswell Scrapyard most of the day, after her farming chores were done of course! She brought Tibbazoid, her baby deathclaw all the way out here on Butter, her horse. Butter had finally gotten used to him after a few weeks of desensitizing so what better spot for hook shot practice and a picnic than the Scrapyard! The brown-haired tomgirl had been hookin' n swingin' her way through the place with her baby chasing to the piles she'd perch on.
"Whooah-hoo boy!" Tibbie exclaims when she sees the ghouly shuffle going on with Jackson and some new gal she's never seen.
"Tibba, you go on and crawl up here with Mama to watch this fight!" Tibbie shoots her hook shot down and Tibbazoid clumsily uses it at a rope to reach her, screeching happily when he gets to her.
"Shoot em a new asshole Jack! Git em chica!" Tibbie encourages the both of them from her safe spot on junkpile mountain, pointing out things to Tibba and hollering throughout the scuffle. She even busts out her picnic from her bag and gives Tibba snacks.
|Doc||After a while of hanging out with some ghouls, Doc had gone down for a quick nap in some glow, then woken up to find the ferals gone. As he roused himself, wandering after them, he notices Jackson and that girl from before. The radio lady. Looking at his pip-boy, he huffs through flared nostrils as the impending doom of those ferals looms on his temporal horizon.|
|Jackson||The sheriff's reaction was near-instantaneous as the ghouls advanced. With that same careful, practiced motion he'd used to draw his weapon previously, he simultaneously hefted his pistol and fired, following the action with another instinctual duo of trigger squeezes. The first of the .357 magnum rounds went wide, but the second group made contact with the first ghoul's chest with a blossom of crimson. As the first of the ghouls fell, the deputy quickly slid into a more confident firing position, and shot the corner of the oven that Jane had been scavenging previously. The bullet ricocheted toward another of the ghouls with a loud, metallic clanging, and then, Jane drew and fired her own weapon. As the third ghoul was reduced to a flaming, immobile corpse, Jack smiled slightly. It looked like the radio poet could handle herself pretty well.
Unfortunately for them, another few of the insane creatures worked their way out of the pile, and started to charge toward the duo in an attempt to take a bite. But Jackson was too fast for them, bobbing and weaving around their claws and teeth with the practiced ease of a gunslinger. He delivered a punishing series of kicks to two of them, only for Jane to fire another one of her flaming pistol rounds into the group, setting them all ablaze and reducing them into a moaning, burning heap. Needless to say, the blonde lawman was impressed. As the last of their foes fell silent, Jack glanced briefly at their surroundings, then turned to Jane with an amused smirk.
"Shit, I could use one of those things. Seems fancy." As he spoke, he caught the sight of none other than the good doctor, focused squarely upon his pip-boy, standing atop that mountain of scrap he'd climbed previously. He couldn't help but call out to him directly after he'd spoken to Jane.
"We just keep running into each other out here, don't we Doc?"
|Salvation Jane||Salvation Jane's own reaction was not of panic but action. Even as she noticed that the Deputy easily outdrew her - not that she'd consider running afoul of the law. At least in a conflict situation. as the feral ghouls erupt and stumble toward them, she drew her own pistol and fired off a hasty shot that missed wide, the bullet whining off into the air as it riccocheted off a rusted steel panel. She took proper aim and double tapped one of the ghouls, her gun erupting with the angry glowing arc of incendiary rounds. Both hit the ghoul and dropped it as the fire began to consume its corpse. As the numbers were thinned out by Jackson, Jane took aim at one of the last few, firing again and almost instantly immolating the creature into ash as the round struck home.
The threat having been taken care of, she reloaded her gun as Jackson commented on her weapon and Doc appeared.
A nod. "It's called Salvation. It's been in the family for longer than anyone can remember. It's taken good care of those of us who have carried it. It's kept me alive on my way out here from the Midwest." Once reloaded, she holsters the pistol and nods to Doc silently.
|Doc|| Having tracked the ghouls for a while, the glowing-eyed Navajo walks over a hill of scrap to their now-dead bodies. He looked genuinely inconvenienced at the very least that they were no more. He skids down the heap and raises a hand to Jackson. He says nothing as he assumes as Jackson's reason for attacking them while approaching the two. He knew they were feral, of course, from the time he'd spent with them, but he didn't want to let on all that he'd been up to.
"Seems that way," he says to Jackson. "It's curious how often my science lines up with your...whatever it is you keep doing in places I'm doing science." He reaches up and tips his yellow hat to the lady. "A pleasure to see you alive again, Miss," he adds to Jane.
|Jackson||"Well, I can see how it earned it's name. That thing packs a hell of a punch." Jack replied easily, looking toward Doc again a moment later.
"Patrolling, passing through, usually tailing one lead or another. I'm up to something most days. As for science... Well, what sort of science has you tailing ghouls in the scrapyard?" Jack queried Doc curiously as he reloaded his pistol. After putting an additional round into the chamber, he reflexively holstered the automag with a satisfying click.
"Regardless of what you're researching, it's always a pleasure."
|Salvation Jane||Salvation Jane nods silently to Jackson in agreement about her weapon, looking back to Doc. She offers a smile. "I'm hardly a Miss, but thank you. You can call me Jane."|
|Doc||Doc smiles at Jane. "Strong, independent woman like you? I'd be hard-pressed to imagine you as somebody's missus." He turns to Jackson and says, "Actually, that's a long-standing project of mine. I'm trying to find a cure for feralism. Ferals don't generally bother me, so I figure I'm one of the best candidates for it. I know for a fact that a lot of these people were from before the war. There's a lot of brain damage from radiation, though. They can't really be taught, which leads me to believe there's a disconnect somewhere in the cerebrum. They're operating on a strange kind of lower-level of intelligence. It's strange because they're human, but will attack humans, but not other ghouls. I don't know what that's about."|
|Jackson||Doc's words gave Jackson pause for a moment as he secured his pistol's ammunition. Scientifically inclined as he was, he had never really considered the feral nature that the ghouls had adopted to be something that was... Well, reversable. He'd heard various theories and ideas that attempted to explain the loss of mental faculty in the majority of them, but knew just as well as anyone that there was a lot more that they didn't know about them than they actually did. With a bit of a whistle, the deputy gave Doc a look that seemed to portray his support for the man's research. In a word, he was impressed.
"I can't really blame you for being interested in it, and your theory is just as viable as any of the others that I've heard. The majority of the rumors that I've heard focus on some sort of genetic component to ghoulification-- some sort of protein in our DNA that protects certain individuals from the loss of mental acuity that ferals experience. I've never really looked into it myself, though. Never really thought about it much, and certainly didn't have the equipment for it. Plus.. It's a little bit over my head. My education's primarily grounded in physics, chemistry, and the like. Not much for biology."
|Salvation Jane||Salvation Jane listens to Doc's theories and ideas curiously. "Can't say yuo're wrong. But I can't say that any feral ghoul has looked twice at me as anything more than a meal. I realize they were once humans. But if it's between them? Or me?" She shrugs. "I have to look after myself first. Not that I don't regret having to kill them. They behave monstrously, but they weren't born like that."|
|Doc||"Yes. I try to behave toward them with compassion, but there's no humanity left in the behavior of a feral ghoul, and for a ghoul, there's always a danger of going feral," Doc says to both Jane and Jackson. "I hadn't really looked into much of a genetic component, mostly because I don't have a gene therapy lab, but it is an interesting theory. I've had some good pre-war friends of mine have to be put down because they lost themselves to feralism, so the more we can do to prevent or reverse it, the better." He looks at the burning pile of ghoul flesh. "Plus, any time I get attached to a group of them, they tend to end up as crispy critters." He adjusts his hat and turns back to the duo. "Actually, if you're interested, I wouldn't mind a lab partner. I've been trying to set up a lab for this, and I think this alien tech might hold the key to making some real progress, to say nothing of the advances we could make in physics, chemistry, and the like." He raises a hand to Jane. "And if I'm not mistaken, I've heard you on the radio. If I could somehow get something together to use as a reward, and set up some kind of holding pen for ferals, I'm sure that a lot of the people I've met would be able to capture them. Having that broadcast on the radio once it's ready would be super useful to saving as many lives as possible, assuming it's even possible."|
|Jackson||As the group continued their conversation, Doc got the impression that Jackson was distinctly intrigued by the concept of his own research facility. Jane's contributinos to the topic were appreciated in kind as well-- the woman seemed to have quite the way with words, as it seemed. After all, she'd decided to create her own radio broadcast for a reason-- if she didn't have the voice for it, why would she do it? As they continued their discussion at length, they started to move into the deeper portions of the scrapyard. After all, Jack did have a job to do, and did his best to explain just exactly what that was as they continued marching onward. The talk of laboratories and feral ghouls eventually trailed off in the wake of lighter things, like their choice in alcohol, music, and even a little bit about their plans for the future, but Jackson was sure to put Ash's words in the back of his mind for later. The pursuit of science was never a bad thing.|