After a surprisingly violent afternoon of travelling with Wolfgang’s caravan, we approach the first non-pathetic settlement I’ve come across. It’s a rather famous town called Megaton.
The crew set up shop outside the main gates, where I can see no foot traffic at all. The only people nearby are some kind of refugee harping on about needing water (not happening, son), and another extortionate escort (although she’s only charging 50 caps to go back to Big Town, compared to Deitrek’s 300 from there. Dick). Speaking of Deitrek, it looks like he’s been around recently.
I’m guessing a cow killed his father or something.
After stripping and selling everything the caravan killed, I’ve got myself a wee pile of about 140 caps. I’m in sore need of medicine and ammo, and could do with somewhere to sleep. Low on water, too. Not exactly a triumphant ride into town.
Megaton is very well-protected – it’s basically a large crater surrounded by crude metal walls, with only one, barricadable entrance patrolled by a service robot and a sentry on a catwalk. There must be someone I can trade with here, then.
Inside, I meet Sheriff Lucas Simms, who apparently spends all day standing around the inner entrance waiting for people to walk in so he can pretend to be in a movie at them. I can think of worse hobbies.
Lucas tells me that the town is built around an atomic bomb. An active atomic bomb. That’s sitting in the middle of town, open to the elements and freely accessible to absolutely anyone, with nothing at all in the way.
Is everyone who lives in a town insane, or what? Is this Fallout or Mortal Engines? I mean, jesus.
Okay, well it’s probably not going to go off today, so I should get some trading in and get out of here. I consider asking if I could disarm it, but decide against it – best leave it alone. The sheriff points me to a local, Moira, who is clearly a fruit loop, but is willing to trade and let me patch up my knackered hunting rifle using her workdesk.
140 caps really does not go far at all. Damn, stuff is expensive. A single bullet for my pistol costs ten caps. Ten! A portable bed costs close to 500. So much for that plan.
On the plus side, Moira McMental is selling a range of backpacks, the smallest of which is 70 caps. It’s steep, but it’ll let me carry a small pile of gear around, maybe even a couple of pistols, so it’ll probably pay for itself. The plan to sell junk is going to be slow going, as I get one lousy cap for four tin cans. A cap each for meat and a few cherry bombs I found too, which is a bit better. Maybe I should be hunting rather than scavenging, but I’ll need a knife or club or something if one bullet is worth the meat of ten animals.
Hm. The local clinic isn’t much better. There an arsehole abuses his position, demanding 100 caps for medical treatment and 170 for a single lousy stimpack. I come close to clouting him and robbing the place, but it’d likely just get me shot. Dammit.
Sigh. I sit down at a nearby café and try to relax.
The woman with a dreadful jumpsuit and plastic hair sells me a few bottles of water (5 caps apiece), and buys some of my meat. I’d complain about her markups (about 20 – 30 caps for most food), but food is the one thing I’m not short of.
I have some trouble enjoying my meal of still-struggling lizards though, as a guy next to me insists on staring.
…just a little…
While sitting there I overhear some people behind me who are… uh. Well. It seems that this town isn’t just built around a bomb; they worship it too. They worship it. An atom bomb. That they worship.
I need a drink.