Viva New Vegas: 3. While You Were Snoring...
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The crew find out who has Jayne.


3. While You Were Snoring...

Delmonico’s has a maitre d’, a balding hawk-faced man who manages to give the unwarranted impression of superiority. He’s far too important to notice anyone without a reservation, and deeply unhelpful. Manages to convey that Mac is lowering the tone just by standing in the hallway, and his face tightens at the mere suggestion that someone without a tie would have been allowed over the threshold.

Mac, having been stone-walled quite effectively, turns to go, before his desire to thump the man ruins good community relations. But as he stumps disconsolately down the steps, a voice hails him quietly.

The waitresses at Delmonico’s are just that, nothing more. She’s a tall girl, has half a head on Mac, but she’s neatly and soberly dressed. The effect is rather more attractive than any amount of glitter and feathers.

“I remember someone like that.” Her rather grave face breaks into a sudden smile. “He was just about to punch Mr Conrad when the shooting started. He dropped him right in the salad cart and took off.”

That cheers Mac up something considerable.


“ we have a time-scale for our missing man. And we may have someone who saw him after he left Delmonico’s.”

“May have?”

Mac pulls a face.

“Not what you might call a reliable witness, G. It’s Wannabe.”

“Oh.” G sighs. “I suppose that’s better than no leads at all. I’d better come back and talk to him.”

“We ain’t stayin’ grounded if one of our own is in trouble.” Mal warns.

“Then I’re deputized.” G smirks at his expression.

Way it works out is that Mal and River go with G and Pancho. Originally, it was just to be Mal, but River climbs determinedly into the back of the vehicle.

“Going to need me.” She says firmly. G looks at Mal.

“Do you get to argue with her?”

“No.” Mal says frankly. “Always more trouble than it’s worth.”


Wannabe is hunched in the corner of the cell, gnawing on a bone; his skinny frame is covered in a pelt of half-cured pig-skin, held together with rusty pins. Under his filthy dreads, restless eyes twitch, follow invisible flies. He’s known for jumping out at the girls working the Strip. Mostly they just thump him, and shriek abuse until he runs away. Sometimes tourists take a capture of him; something wild from the edge of the ‘Verse. But he was born on this planet, bottom of the heap, and he lives out of the bins at the back of the restaurants. When you’re that far down, the only way to go is sideways.

“Wannabe cool, wannabe feared...wanna see the world burn...”

“We bring him in when it gets cold. Give him some spare ribs and he’s quite happy.”

The wreckage looks sideways at them, mouth stained crimson with sauce.

“Don’t go into the casinos...lizards try and kill you.”

“Hasn’t done a very good job with the facial scarring.” River says critically.

“Cut my face up? Lady, you crazy?” Dark eyes glint at her, sudden feral intelligence. “Spite my face. Watch the birdie.”

“He’s half-lucid a quarter of the time. Unless you have a specialist in translating ravings, I wouldn’t bother.”

“The chemical imbalance caused by surgical disorder of the higher cognitive functions can produce an effect not dissimilar to that of prolonged exposure to psychotropic compounds.” River sighs. “Takes one to know one.”

Wannabe sidles up to the bars, and makes a grab for her. Almost bored, she yanks his arm down, crashes him face first into the bars, and he yelps.

“Wanna talk to the badge, man. You let me talk to the badge.”

“Are we going to have a problem?”

Wannabe shakes his head, far as he can, and when she lets go of him, he backs up, eyes her warily.

“Tough birdie.”

“Peck your eyes out.” She promises him. “What did they see?”

“Was dancing with the devil when the moon went blue.” Cackle of laughter. “Bad wolf shootin’ at the kitty-cat...big dog went to chase ‘em.”

“Stray dog?”

“Has his own moon to howl at.” The derelict grins, a ruin. “Big badda boom. Black and white and red all over. Guess he was still alive when they scraped him up.”

“The shooters took him?” Mal asks urgently. Wannabe darts to the bars, drools sauce at him.

“You not been listening? Was penguins, man.” Hops from foot to foot, giggles. “Live up high, although they cannot fly...birdie, birdie, birdie with a broken wing...lion didn’t get you.”

“It’s the ones in the corner you have to watch for.” She assures him.

Mac swears quietly.

“Wolves...G, you reckon it might be Marlon and his boys? It’s the kind of dumbass violence they might pull.”

“Would explain why none of the locals saw a thing.” Pancho says sourly.

They call themselves the Wolf Pack. It makes them sound like something organised. In reality, they are a rabble, scavengers on the outskirts of the criminal world. Marlon, vast gut straining his biking leathers, fancies himself as a gang-leader, but what he has consists of the gutter scrapings, men so damaged by drink, drugs and violence that their idea of a cunning plan is to run full tilt at a building, guns blazing.

River steps away from the bars. Wannabe is off into his own world again, flailing at bats that only he can see.

“Jayne decided to play in the traffic. Not your shooters. Looking for someone heading out of town along that road.”

“There’s very little out that side of town. Just runs up into the mountains...” G stops. “I think I know where he might be...”


Jayne opens one eye cautiously. Gorram, but his head hurts. He can hear voices shrillin’ - must be Jo and Em in from school. Well, Ma’ll be at ‘em to pipe down... Present snaps back and he half-sits up, drops back with a grunt. Bandaged ribs, bandaged head, and...someone’s taken his pants.

Looks about him, well alert now. Waking up in pain without someone waiting to dish out some more is always a bonus. Place is plain, but real clean, lime-washed walls, and real sheets on the bed. Bright sunshine coming in through a window, and that makes him frown. Last thing he remembers is night-time, hearing shooting...running. Winces. It all goes kinda fuzzy after that. Manages to get up on his elbows, draws in a sharp breath. Not as young as he was, and these damn ribs keep taking a pounding. But he’s some place he’s not supposed to be. Frowns. Things slip in and out, shapes and colours. Must be what it’s like for li’l crazyboots...

Now, them voices don’t sound like Kaylee or Li’l Wing. But they are girls’ voices. Has a sudden cold horror. There have been times when he’s lost a day and woken up in a cathouse, head pounding. But he don’t remember drinking. Last thing he does remember is some slinky piece...

(~“...nothin’ doing, girlie. I’m a married man.”

“So’re half the fellas in here.” A pout which could test a Shepherd.

“But I take my vows leave my belt be...”~)

If he’s got himself rolled in a whore-house, like some green gun-poke on shore leave, then he’s a dead man. He’s told Mal afore now, he takes his vows real serious, ‘cos he reckons he ever cheated on Larji, she’d cut his balls off with one of the kitchen knives. Prob’ly a blunt one. An’ he’d deserve it.

But the thought of kitchen knives calms him some. He’d cut and run afore he got into worse trouble. And he’d gone to look for some place fancy to eat. Kinda place you could take a woman used to fine dining - fresh fork for every course and wine that didn’t come out of the engine room.

Manages to get himself up on his feet, holding onto the rickety iron frame of the bed. Weak as a new-born kitten, and feelin’ like he’s been drinking moonshine, but he’s up. But a man needs pants if he’s gonna face the world. More important, whoever has taken his clothes also has his weapons. Now, that makes Jayne feel more than naked. He’s hefting the water jug, estimating the weight of it, when the door opens...

...And Jayne nearly ruptures something, pulling his swing.

The elderly nun, confronted by a naked man, drops her tray and screams her head off.


“Nuns? Jayne has been kidnapped by nuns?”

Simon just loses it. Lies down on the table and becomes hysterical. Kaylee stuffs a fist in her mouth. Even Zoe’s mouth develops a twitch.

“We can’t be totally sure.” It may be the distant signal that is making Mal’s voice wobble. “But it would seem that a bus belonging to the convent was seen heading out of town at the right time.”

Ilargia’s face is a picture. Possibly one painted by somebody on serious drugs.


Jayne backs up fast, grabs up the blanket from the bed. The nun is still shrieking, eyes tightly shut.

“Sister Ruth, stop that noise at once.”

The Mother Superior has the kind of face suggests a very bad smell. This is a woman could make God eat his peas. Turns disapproving eyes on Jayne, who suddenly feels six again. “What are you doing out of bed, sir? Get back at once.”

“Yes’m.” Jayne sits, thoroughly disorientated. Nuns. He just nearly brained a gorram...a nun.

“I understand that you may be a little...confused, but that is no excuse for incivility.”

“No, ma’am.” Resists the urge to put his hand up to speak. “Where’n...where am I?”

“The Convent School of St Faith.”

“Look,’am, I got a wife gonna be worrying where I am. Need my radio.”

“We don’t have a radio.”

“I had one. L’il black ear thingie.”

“You didn’t have it when we picked you up.”

Jayne blinks, winces. Memory is a scream of air-brakes, a wall of chrome...

“You hit me with a bus!”

“I’m real sorry.” A very young and frightened face, peering round the Mother Superior. “I’m not used to double-clutching...and you ran right out in front of me.”

“Sister Briony, I told you to stay with the students.”

“Yes, Mother Dorothea.”

“I gotta get back...”

“You are going nowhere yet. You cannot run through the halls naked. We have young girls here.”

“Well, gimme my pants back.”

Mother Dorothea weighs up the perils of having a man like this, all scars and muscles, roaming through the school, in front of impressionable teenage girls.

The poor man wouldn’t stand a chance.

“We do not normally have men on the premises. I would thank you to stay in this room until we bring you your trousers.”

She shuts the door with some finality.

Jayne takes in his situation.

“So...I’m in a girl’s school, run by nuns. An’ I’m the only man for miles.” He casts a reproachful eye at the ceiling. “You couldn’ta done this to me when I was single?...”


Tuesday, February 20, 2007 8:34 AM


I do not watch CSI (any of them), nor am I generally a crossover fan.

However I am loving this. (Probably becasue it does not feel too much like a crossover to me... but that is becaus eI do not get most of the references... a good thing for me.)

The ending of this chapter... what a dilema. :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 10:45 PM


Oh...why do I get the feeling Book is behind this little moment of mirth? Cuz it just feels like something Book would pull on Jayne: set things up so Jayne's new-found dedication to one woman would get tested in a manner where Jayne can't do any real harm;D

And "penguins," eh? Guess we're talking old-school Catholic, huh? Gotta wonder if Jayne still got the ole charm in him to get the trainee nuns a' quiverin' in their habits;)


Wednesday, February 21, 2007 5:08 AM


<< The Mother Superior has the kind of face suggests a very bad smell. This is a woman could make God eat his peas. Turns disapproving eyes on Jayne, who suddenly feels six again. >>

Whoot! Just gettin' better'n'better.

Thursday, February 22, 2007 11:06 PM


>Ilargia’s face is a picture. Possibly one painted by somebody on serious drugs.

(laughs quietly in case people notice at work)


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