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Wandering The Wastes

By Jordan Anthony Chen

Action / Romance

Prologue: Welcome To New Vegas

I jolted from my slumber and immediately reached for my rifle, sighing loudly in relief that the noise was merely my window slamming with the wind. I rose to my feet and shook the sleep from my head as I looked at the clock.

"7 fucking gotta be kidding me..."

I walked to the bathroom and flicked the switch for the filter as I turned my pipe on, thankful that the water was still clean. I needed to change the filters at some point however...else I risked getting radiation poisoning and a load of other problems I didn't want to imagine. I dried my face thoroughly before putting on my jacket and fastening my M1 Garand rifle securely over my back. I donned my leather harness and ensured my machete was secure in the slot I had for it. After ensuring that my bag had everything I needed to venture outside, I whistled loudly. A large black dog entered the room.

"You're awake too huh?" I said.

She sat down, looking at me curiously as I rubbed her head.

"Good to see you too dummy," I said.

She seemed quite happy that I was about to go out, no doubt itching to do something today.

"Well we have to ensure that those damn roaches aren't causing a mess again so we'll have a good workout today," I said to her.

She stopped wagging her tail and simply tilted her head to the right. I chuckled.

"Well we're on our own now...but we'll probably have to move on from here soon because this house is a little too rundown," I continued.

I opened the door and looked back at the house.

"Can't believe it stood up for two weeks," I said shaking my head.

I then whistled, causing her to follow me.

"Let's go Nyssa," I commanded.

She ran ahead of me, leading the way to the water pump. 

It was 5 years since the nuclear war that resulted in much of the known world getting torn apart. Civilization as we knew it had practically ceased to all that was really established were a handful of groups surviving in what little that didn't get obliterated. I arrived in New Vegas about one month ago and I ended up having to hop from house to house until I could find a place to truly call home; nowhere thus far was really safe or fit enough to allow me to spend any real amount of time in.

The house I was currently in...though it was comfortable, I was sure that it wouldn't be long before I had to go back the road again. Hopefully, it wouldn't be long until I could find a settlement; finding a job to earn some caps would take a lot of the strain off my relentless scavenging runs...because it was so difficult to find everything on my own. 

Now I really began to wish that I didn't leave the small town I was at before...but considering all the horrible things they were doing with the women and especially the travelers who were simply trying to get by...I just couldn't stand to watch it all unfold anymore. Though the wandering life was definitely a lonely was something that I forced myself to get used to rather quickly.

I was never the kind of man to stay in one place forever. I was always on the move even when I was younger...before all the nukes rained down. I didn't give much thought to precisely what caused the nuclear war but once everything went horribly wrong, I was blessed enough to make it to a bomb shelter. My family however...was not so lucky. The only remaining member I had of my family was my dog Nyssa who happened to have been with me on a trip to the vet's office the day when the first nuke hit. It tore me apart when my parents told me to meet them at the shelter only for them never to make it there. I moved on with Nyssa at my side as we traveled towards New Vegas, where I heard a rumor that there was still quite a human population that lived there.

Turns out...I was about 40% right. A good number of people do in fact live here...but there was also an uncountable number of mutated creatures that now made their home in the barren wasteland of the Mojave Desert. Gigantic roaches, mole rats the size of fully grown men and giant flies were just a few of the horrors that were faced on a day to day basis in this war-torn world.

Who am I? My name is Jordan Chen. I'm a survivor of the nuclear war that has decimated the world as we know it. I wasn't a particularly skilled person either...just your average guy.

I was there from the start when I was 18 years old. I used to be a Creative Writing student and I decided to come to Vegas to visit some friends as well as get Nyssa a checkup from a good friend who happened to be a vet only for all of this to happen before I left. I never imagined that the world would toss nukes around like candy but I suppose it was coming; war only needs a single spark to ignite. I had no idea if anyone I knew survived this thing...but right now, my concern wasn't for others but for survival. I spent the last year wandering the wasteland.

Four years before that, I stayed with the survivors at the bomb shelter but let's just say a lot of things happened and I decided to leave and go out on my own. I didn't like where things were heading and once I saw certain things happen, I decided to leave with my dog. I left behind friends...but I couldn't bear to watch everyone just consume each other as they did. The rules of survival changed so much when there was such little resources to go around...and they lost most of their humanity along with the world.

I was on the road for the past year, house hopping as much as I needed to in order to keep moving and stay alive. I met a few people along the way but I refused to travel with any of them because I much preferred being on my own; much less to worry about and it was easy to provide for myself assuming that I got lucky enough to find all I needed in the wasteland. At the very least, staying at the shelter armed me with the knowledge I needed to survive.

Thanks to the friends I had there, I learned how to do all of survival's basics such as light a fire, hunt, fire a gun, cook and also how to ensure that everything I ate was safe enough to be edible; the radiation from those nukes essentially poisoned mostly everything but this was survival. If I needed water, I had to be sure I was prepared to deal with the increased amount of radiation within my body. I was thankful that when I left the shelter, my friends managed to find me quite a few vials of RadAway, probably the most important drug in this new world. It was the medicine that allowed users to remove the radiation within their bodies, thereby allowing them to survive despite having to drink irradiated water or eating irradiated meats, especially from things like giant Geckos and even Radroaches for some.

I personally did not care what I ate; as long as it kept me alive, I was alright with it. I think I ended up dropping how much I cared about things that are nasty about the second year into this hellhole; staying alive was much more important than starving because I refused to do what's necessary.

Nyssa and I finally arrived at the water pump but much to my dismay, there were three men by it. I quickly took cover behind a rock and watched them. I let out a sigh as I removed my rifle from my back and took aim. These men were bandits judging from their vandal-esque attire and two of them were armed with guns while one brandished a machete. I drew in a deep breath to steady my aim, waiting patiently for a good opportunity. Nyssa did not leave my side; we had been through this routine time and time again. I aimed for the one that was holding a laser pistol, deeming him as the most dangerous of trio. and waited patiently. Once he began to take a drink of the water, I pulled the trigger and connected with his head, dropping him like a sack of bricks. I released my breath and pulled the bolt back to load a second bullet as the second man holding a rifle began to take aim. I managed to hit him in the leg before he got a good bead on me and I pulled the bolt back once more before firing again, striking him in the chest and dropping him to the floor where he was unable to do much. I whistled loudly and Nyssa immediately burst into a sprint as she leaped onto the third man, tackling him to the ground using her weight. I quickly followed behind her and unsheathed my machete before stabbing him where his heart was. I left the machete in him as I drew a knife from my jacket and tossed it into the second man's chest, removing any hope he had of reaching for his weapon as he was in too much pain to move. Knowing full well that the blood of these men would attract predators, I quickly set to work on salvaging their supplies.

I smiled to myself once I found their backpacks and they were loaded with stuff I could use. I quickly transferred most of the supplies into the largest backpack before whistling. Nyssa approached me and allowed me to place one of the smaller bags on her back which allowed us to get everything.

"We'll have to come back later for the water...won't be long before the Deathclaws pick up their scent," I said.

I picked up the large pack before retrieving my machete and sheathing it and leaving the still living bandits to die.

"Looks like we're ready to hit the road again," I said.

Nyssa looked at me curiously as I secured the last of our belongings. I checked the support beams of the house and much to my dismay, they were rotting quite badly. I didn't want to stick around here for much longer else I risked the house caving in on me so now I planned to leave in the morning to head for the small town I heard was a few miles north.

"Had a feeling this place wasn't particularly well-built so we have to move on," I sighed.

It kinda sucked too; I was kind of liking the homely feel of this house. I then got into the bed and snapped my fingers. She happily joined me in the bed, laying beside me and snuggling against my body. I rubbed her head.

"We're quite team eh girl?" I said.

She responded by placing her head right under my chin and brushing it playfully.

"Wonder how everyone else is doing now...maybe we'll run into other people in the town a few miles north," I said.

I shook my head.

"Then again...maybe we won't,"

My thoughts drifted back to my friends back at the shelter...then to my parents who likely perished in the bombing. Then there was my little sister Flora...who I was unable to protect from a young Deathclaw. That was probably the main reason why I left them...because I didn't want to see another person I cared for get killed like that. The images haunt me everyday and I can't stop blaming myself for her death...but I had to live on.

Survival...was what was most important.

I guess I should feel a bit blessed because New Vegas was much better off than most parts of the country because we didn't get too hard with the numerous nukes though we got hit with enough to severely mutate a lot of the wildlife. I saw a great number of horrors like gigantic ants, geckos as large as teenagers that are carnivorous, giant scorpions that have absolutely deadly venom and even mutated blowflies that throw their spiked larvae as a weapon. I generally tried to stay away from the wasteland and focused my efforts using the established roads left by the New California Republic. I thankfully never found a need to have to hire mercenaries during my travels because I knew that would bring nothing but trouble. The few settlements I visited in my travels were relatively stable with most people having a renewable source of water and having a decent enough trading system to replenish their anti-radiation meds. It was difficult for travelers to make the long treks due to the need of water to actually make the journey because the Mojave Wasteland was a desert after all. And...there were the bandits and vandals who thought that everything was theirs for the taking.

I shook my head clear of all the doubt; I couldn't afford to let my thoughts get the better of me. There was new hope for that small town up north where there's supposed to be a stable enough economy for others to actually make a living. Here's hoping that things work out...

Then again. This is the apocalypse.

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