"So, thanks for picking up on that distress signal."
"Nah, I couldn't just leave somebody to die out here. 'Sides, the Omer boys have a bounty for any choice salvage like that."
"Well, thanks anyway."
"Least I could do. But if you're worried about paying me back..."
"Like I said, I had friends in Hope. I'd like to know if any a them survived. And maybe, just maybe, you find out who was behind all this...."
"I get ya. We'll keep in touch."
"Appreciate it. So what're your plans from here?"
"Honestly, I have no idea. We're going to need money from somewhere, and we need somewhere for our people to be safe."
"Hmmmm.... I see two real options before you. Vegas is the place to go to make a name and money fast, between the merc work for people wanting defense like salvage ops, bounties on the various outlaws hiding in the desert here, and the Arena fights..."
"Yeah, core-to-core battles in a rigged battlefield. It's one part stage show and one part gladiatorial combat. They telivize it, and gamble on it left and right. Big money, and a great place to test experimental tech, so the big corps are behind it too."
"Damn. Sounds crazy."
"Whole damn world's crazy."
"Fair enough. What's the other choice?"
"Go north instead of south. Oregon's a further trek, but it's politically stable, peaceful, and you could probably get one corp or another to give you decent chunk of land to rebuild on for your sob story about your colony and pocket change."
"Thanks Josh, I'll keep that in mind."
He waves as he walks back to his core "Watch your back out there brother. I'll be in touch."