Julie was doing inventory in her usual place; despite her preference for peace and quiet, she liked to oversee how things were going in the Fort so she gave up the corner room for one of the white tents, where she was barely shaded from the desert sun. Today was particularly hot and agitating, despite the rumble of thunder somewhere far away from the Strip. She pored over the paper as the sounds of the saved slave children giggling and laughing permeated the tent. Emily sat nearby, refilling syringes and listening to Mr. New Vegas’s radio program intently.
The serene moment was broken when Arcade rushed into the tent, almost hitting his head on the beam and pushing his glasses up. “Julie, I need some backup over here.”
“What is it, Arcade?”
He was flustered and getting annoyed. “Two fiends. TWO. Both needing detox, both severely manic, and both hallucinating on me. Scared out of their wits about that old house. Am I going to have to get the Powder Gangers in Freeside to get that place blown up or what?!”
“Where’s Beverly?” Julie looked around and then caught the eye of two mercs, who she nodded at. “Just get the drugs out of the Fiends’ systems, they’ll be fine.”
Arcade glared. “Oh yes.” When he paused, she could hear loud screams, then a crash nearby. “Just that simple. Do we really have to pick up these mangy things when they’re outside of the gate? This makes six--SIX--Fiends who have nearly overdosed out of Freeside and our caravans have picked them up and dumped them off here. They’re a danger, Jules...they carry too many weapons for us to properly disarm and god knows what kind of diseases--”
“We’ll talk about it later,” Julie said firmly, and Arcade grabbed both mercs and dragged them toward the yelps of what was undoubtedly a Fiend afraid to lose his or her high. Just as she sighed, tried to refocus on her paperwork, and ignore Arcade’s dramatic bitching, the tent opened again with an accompanying bark.
“Rexie! And King! What a pleasant surprise!” Julie petted the Cyberdog fondly, rubbing his cheeks, and kissed his cold nose. The King gave a slanted smile and then sat at the empty chair on the other side of the table. “Mornin’ Julie,” he said in his relaxed way. “Sounds like yer turned into the Fiend hotel over here.”
Another series of cries and then a hiss as Arcade probably jammed a needle into a buttock.
“Yeah….” Julie scratched her forehead with a pen. “There must be a drug deal point over by that Hawthorne House. We’ve had some...trouble with that area lately.”
The King’s face turned slightly troubled. “You too?” His gaze flicked to Emily for a moment; she was still into her radio show-- “My boys have run across two bodies there in the past month.”
Julie put her pen down. “What?!”
He nodded soberly. “Not Fiends, but they were murdered, anyhow. I reckon they were just drifters comin’ to Vegas lookin’ to strike it rich like everbody that comes through the East Gate. Nobody’s asked about the bodies yet. We buried ‘em out there….but now my boys won’t even set foot near that property.”
“It must be a drug dealer….Fiends crazed and on drugs, hallucinating, and now two victims. So close to the East Gate too...that old house is only a few miles out isn’t it?”
The King nodded. “Pretty near the road, too. Ain’t good for business, ain’t good for nobody.”
Arcade burst through the tent, sweat lining his brow. “There,” he sulked. “Happy as campers, drooling on their pillows. Where do you want me to dump them before they wake up and murder us all?”
“Arcade!” Julie said, shocked. But his anger was palpable.
“I’M not going to let the Fort get overrun by these addicts! We have real people to help here! Good people! Not murderers and child molesters and rapists!! I say you have a bunch of mercs go burn down that creepy pre-War house before the Jet lab inside blows up on some traveling family!”
The King and Julie exchanged a look, and Julie bit her lip. The King raised an eyebrow and Julie put her elbows on the table. She sighed. “We’ll...figure out something. I’ll let you know.”
“Well….” Arcade looked deflated. But he narrowed his eyes and disappeared from the tent while the King and Julie stared skeptically at each other.