Me: I mean, yes, I do have this quest to find them men who tried to kill me. But I get the feeling that I'm leaving things behind I should probably deal with before moving on.
Me: For did not Sun Tzu say "The warrior who fights on two fronts is a fool and the warrior who fights on more than two fronts is the king of fools?"
Boone: ... who the hell is Sun Tzu?
Me: Never mind. Point is, I don't want to leave the Powder Gangers and the Legion at our back. And I figure we can check out that ranger base for Andy before we get out of Novac.
Me: Good. We move under the cover of darkness.
Several hours later, after night has fallen, our heroes encounter a lone Legion soldier.
Me: (whispering) Okay, his back is turned. I've got him in my sight. Move in a little for a closer shot. Better chance of a critical and... BOONE, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!
Me: You charged that guy with a machete and hacked him to bits before I could snipe him!
Boone: You're mistaken. He charged me.
Boone: He charged me and he ran into my machete. He ran into my machete seven times.
Me: Riiiiiiiight. Listen, you're a sniper, right?
Me: That means you keep your distance, right?
Me: And you told me to focus on keeping them from getting to you so you could pick them off, right?
Me: So... it's totally my fault for not getting that guy before he charged you, isn't it?
Me: Right. Well, I'm glad we had this talk. But let's try not to have any more accidents with the knives, okay?
One Legion Patrol On The Way To The Ranger Station Later
Me: Uh... Boone?
Me: I couldn't help but notice that another four of those Legion soldiers seem to have run into your knife. Again.
Boone: Guess so. Was a bit of a blur just then.
Me: ... Boone, you did leave the NCR, didn't you?
Boone: Manner of speaking.
Me: In exactly what manner of speaking?
Boone: Not much of a reader but the papers said something about PTSD.
Boone: Something wrong?
Me: Nope! Nope! Nopenopenopenope. No. You wanna take point?
Boone: Nah. I'll stay back here. I fight better far away.
The Ranger base was a wreck. Bodies lay everywhere and - what was worse - booby traps were left behind, presumably to finish off anyone who came to check in on them. Luckily my reflexes were good and Boone was tougher than a ten-dollar steak, so we managed to survive the first explosion.
Ranger Andy was less than happy about the news, as one might imagine. He's sure that whoever did this was coming after Novac next.
Me: So who do you think did this?
Boone: You tell me.
Me: Well, we did find those Legion soldiers on the path to the base. But the bodies were dead for longer than that and the Legion tend to take SOME captives alive as slaves.
Me: And from what I've seen the Legion don't seem to be big on explosives.
Boone: Powder Gangers are, though.
Me: Exactly. I think it's time we paid them a visit.
Boone: Your quest.
It was early day before we reached the NCR prison camp that had been turned into a make-shift base for the Powder Gangers. Oddly enough, despite having killed dozens of them single-handedly and having retaken the town of Primm from the, we were welcomed with open arms and allowed the run of the place. They seemed to have mistaken us for someone else as the gate guard spoke about us having done them some favors. Still, we were able to get to the office of Eddie - the convict who had become leader of the Powder Gangers - with no trouble at all.
Eddie: So... I understand you came here looking for work?
Me: Not really. I actually just came to scout your defenses and see how easy it would be to kill you all.
Eddie: Heh. Funny man.
Me: I'm not kidding. Sure, some of you were wrongly imprisoned by a bunch of fascists on questionable charges... but what did you do with your shot at freedom? You stayed here! You started going out and doing the same thing to all the towns around here that the NCR does. You're no better than the guys you hate.
Eddie: We're better in one respect.
Eddie: We've got better weapons. *raises an energy pistol* I think you're leaving. Now.
One Stroll Into The Hallway Later.
Me: We'd be crazy to try and fight him here.
Me: We're out-numbered AND out-gunned.
Me: On the other hand, most of the command staff are in one small room that it would be really easy to chuck a grenade into.
Me: But that would still leave us with all of the convicts outside to deal with.
Me: But we'd be holed up inside the most defensible building in the facility.
Me: And we are awesome.
One massive orgy of blood, death and awesome later, at the NCR Mojave Outpost
Me: Well, we did it!
Ranger Jackson: Did what?
Me: Earned ourselves a "Vilified" Reputation with the Powder Gangers. Well, we would have if there were any left.
Ranger Jackson: How's that?
Me: We retook the prison for you! The one that you said you didn't have the men or weapons or time to retake yourselves.
Ranger Jackson: I don't think I said anything like that...
Me: Well, someone in the NCR said that. Point is my buddy and I just killed every last convict in the base.
Ranger Jackson: Right. So what you're telling me is that now we don't have the manpower to complete the mining project that NCR Command is on my ass about completing?
Me: But... evil doers! Mother-raping sons of bitches! Dead!
Ranger Jackson: Yeah, I know. But I don't think my boss is going to be quite as impressed with two men single-handedly taking down a fortress full of laser-packing criminals as he is with your rock-breaking ability after I have you two arrested on multiple counts of murder.
Me: Don't we get the death penalty for that?
Ranger Jackson: Well, this IS California.
Me: Right. So I guess you'll be arresting me?
Ranger Jackson: Well, I would except I don't have any evidence apart from your confession that you did anything wrong. And I can't spare a man to go look at the prison to confirm your story. And I actually have orders to keep anyone from going up that way BECAUSE of the Powder Gangers.
Me: So... I'm not getting rewarded for having retaken your prison.
Ranger Jackson: Yeah but you aren't getting punished either. Yet.
Me: ... hate you so much... little flames going up the SIDES of my face...