We camped out in the yard of Caesar's fortress overnight. After all we'd encountered before, cleaning out the one building we hadn't attacked yet was a piece of cake. Particularly as I'd given Boone an interesting weapon I'd found on the body of Ceasar himself - a gauntlet that unleashed a torrent of energy when the wearer punched someone.
I found a computer that was compatible with the Platinum Chip, as Yes Man had told me. Putting the chip in the computer opened up into a hallway, which led to a door to a familiar looking logo
Not surprisingly, Mr. House was waiting for me. He said that due to a glitch in the system, he could advise me from this distance but not directly interact with the systems. Naturally this meant he couldn't shut off the security, which pinged me and Boone as hostile invaders.
Luckily, the security room was close to the bunker entrance and my hacking skills were up to snuff. I was able to deactivate the protocols and easily made my way to the control room, where I used the information on the chip to upgrade Mr. House's robots as per Yes Man's instructions with Mr. House none the wiser.
We headed back to Novac to sell off some excess gear and weapons we'd taken from the Legion.
As we discussed our next move and how - while we'd dealt a major blow to The Legion - someone would move up the ranks to fill the power vacuum left in the wake of Caesar's death, Boone opened up to me about his past.
First, he confirmed what I had heard from a few NCR people on our journey - that he had been with a sniper unit at the Bitter Springs Massacre. Probably the greatest atrocity committed by the NCR in their history, The Bitter Springs Massacre occurred after an NCR group - following a tip regarding a hideout of the drug-dealing gang The Great Khans - wound up firing on a group leaving the box canyon where they had been told a drug lab was set up. Their orders were to shoot anyone trying to leave the canyon but the orders didn't account for the lab being in the middle of a refugee camp.
Boone and his men, unable to call for confirmation to cancel the order once they were aware of the women, children, elderly and wounded being led away from the camp due to a radio malfunction, followed their orders to the letter upon threat of imprisonment for insubordination, killing dozens of helpless civilians.
Needless to say, Boone was rather upset about the whole thing, confessing to still having nightmares of the event.
I asked him about the time he'd been to that Legion camp before and he explained that was where his wife had been taken. Faced with superior numbers, and watching from a distance as hordes of soldiers bid for the right to do things that no man had any right to do to anyone, Boone took the one shot he could and killed his own wife to save her from what would be a likely short and certainly painful life as a Legion slave.
It became clear that Boone was convinced that what happened to his wife - and how he was forced to kill her in order to save her from a fate worse than death - was karmatic punishment for what he had done at Bitter Springs. He freely admitted that he felt like he was living on marked time and how sooner or later he would die a violent death himself. I tried to convince him that what happened to his wife and him was just bad luck and how his wife would want him to try and find something else to brighten his life.
Since returning to the camp where she'd died seemed to make it easier for him to talk about his wife's death, I suggested that maybe going to Bitter Springs might help him deal with guilt over the battle there. Boone dismissed the thought at first, but as we made ready to leave the next morning, he said he thought the idea might have some merit.
Bitter Springs was quite a distance to the east of New Vegas. It took us the better part of a day to work our way there from Novac to New Vegas, then Eastward, not accounting for some fierce fighting on the road there. I saw many strange creatures, the like of which I had not seen before or since.
Among these were a baby Deathclaw, which we brought down just moments before a thought occurred to me.
Me: Mother animals don't usually let their young get too far away. You think Mama is close?
Me: Never mind.
Luckily we survived the encounter with Mama and another of her young. I also encountered a strange variety of Gecko known as Fire Geckos. We also bagged one of the fearsome Cazador - a giant butterfly, who had involved a highly poisonous bite capable of downing a grown man with one blow.
We came to Bitter Springs just as the sun was beginning to rise. As we walked around the area, Boone told me in detail of how the whole campaign went south.
We camped down for the night in Coyote Tail. Boone wanted the night to think things over, though he confessed as to having some doubts as to returning here. Not surprisingly, it was he who woke me up sometime later, though I didn't get the chance to ask if he was having a sleepless night or if it was something else. It may well have been both...
Boone offered me a chance to leave. Said this was his fight, not mine and how my path was the one that led him here but that didn't mean I had to share his fate. I told him he wouldn't abandon me if I needed him and I wasn't about to do the same. Besides, I wanted to share in the fun too.
The battle went on into the night. Wave after wave of the soldiers made their way into the camp. The days of this place being protected by the Khans were long gone. There were no soldiers among their ranks - just scared people trying to live off the land in a place all but abandoned by the NCR. It was just the two of us against the Legion hordes... as usual. Boone and I picked their scouts off from a distance. We switched to gauntlet and Chainsaw of Justice when they set their dogs upon us. The final wave of soldiers came just as the dawn was breaking, the sun rising upon a field decorated with blood and the broken bodies of many a Legionnaire.