Mr. House did not take the news of his impending mandatory retirement well. I gave him the peace that had been denied him by the science that allowed him to live far beyond his years. I did feel somewhat guilty about this - Mr. House had always played fair by me, after all. But he had had centuries to try and clean up the wasteland and done little to try and improve the lot of the people outside of the three tribes running his casinos.
With Yes Man's help, I'd have a chance to make a truly free nation. The fact that I'd be leading this Brave New World would just be a side-benefit of knowing that I was building a better tomorrow for the hapless rubes who already depended on me to solve all their problems for them?
A bit harsh? Before, I would have thought so. But that was before I got Yes Man plugged into Mr. House's systems...
Yes Man: Wow! Hey, boss. You know how I thought the information on the chip was for an upgrade of the Securitrons?
Yes Man: It looks like it's for much more than that. Seems that the Securitrons were only running with their secondary weapons systems on-line all this time Mr. House has been running things
Me: Wait... so the lasers and 9mm gatling guns are... back-up weapons?
Yes Man: Oh, you said that so simply and perfectly! In a nutshell, that's it!
Me: So what are the primary weapons?
Yes Man: Missiles and Grenade Launchers.
Yes Man: Oh, and the armor has also been upgraded.
Me: How does a software upgrade add armor onto the bots? For that matter, why have a secondary armor mode on a robot? It doesn't slow them down at all, does it?
Yes Man: Nope. We're still as spry as ever.
Me: So basically, through you, I now have command of an army of near invincible walking death machines.
Yes Man: Well... not quite. I'll be happy to unleash the rest of the robots to take out whoever you want, but we'll need more power than we have to do that. Which means we're going to have to reroute some power systems. Hoover Dam would be best.
Me: Well, great. I'll just go sneak into Hoover Dam...
Yes Man: Actually, I think you should go talk to some of the different gang leaders first. Get to know them better.
Me: But... The Legion! Moving in on Hoover Dam at any day now! NCR ineffective leaders!
Yes Man: Well, not that I'd second-guess you, but even with the army it's going to be a close thing and you don't want to go fighting a war on multiple fronts. So I need to know who to ignore and who to go after when the revolution starts.
I hated to admit it but Yes Man had a point. And when I got back out on the street, Boone told me that the word was the Legion was moving even further in toward The Dam. Seems Caesar's death really hadn't done much to slow down the war effort. So I went out to con-fab with the various gang leaders and decide who I wanted to ignore and who I wanted to smite.
I decided to leave The Velvet Glove Society and The Omertas alone, along with The Chairmen. With Benny gone, The Chairmen weren't any threat to me and the other two families running the casinos hadn't done anything to piss me off. The Omertas mainly kept to themselves and the Velvet Glove - while creepy with those masks - didn't cause any trouble either.
I decided to ignore The Great Khans as well. True, some of them did try to kill me, but I settled accounts with those men personally and I didn't see how a bunch of drug dealers out in the ass end of the desert could cause me much trouble now that their main customers - The Fiends - were out of the way.
That just left two groups - The Brotherhood of Steel and the even more elusive Boomers.
I had a lead on where The Brotherhood hid out - a scorpion-infested waste called Hidden Valley. I didn't have to poke around in the bunkers there long before I was approached by several angry men in fancy metal armor.
Given the choice between immediate surrender of all weapons, armor, clothing and gear or becoming a glowing green puddle on the floor, I opted for the much more humiliating option of getting tased. When I woke up, I was in an office with an older man, stripped naked with a metal collar around my neck.
Me: Okay. This had better not be like the last time I woke up in bondage with an old man staring at me.
Elder McNamara: I have need of you.
Me: Oh crap. This IS like the last time I woke up in bondage with an old man staring at me.
Elder McNamara: No, no, no. I have sex bots aplenty to see to my needs in that regard. What I have need of is an outsider to take care of a task for us.
Me: And you couldn't have just asked me nicely?
Elder McNamara: My apologies, but the explosive collar is necessary. You see, most people in the outside world hate and fear us.
Me: Possibly because you forcibly strip them down and knock them unconscious when you need a favor?
Elder McNamara: Sorry - I could have sworn I mentioned the EXPLOSIVE collar you are wearing now. The one I can detonate whenever it amuses me to do so?
Me: ... So about this favor?
Boone: So they want you to go talk to an NCR Ranger who is set up near here?
Boone: And they couldn't just send one of their own people without the fancy metal armor?
Me: Apparently not.
Boone: What a bunch of idiots.
Me: I think they have a microphone on the collar, Boone.
Me: So since they can make me explode whenever they think it would be funny, maybe it would be a good idea you not insult them just in case they are listening in?
Boone: ... you've gotten testy all of a sudden.
Me: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Good thing I had this old NCR uniform to change into.
Thankfully, it didn't take much to get the ranger to pull up stakes. Between Boone's reputation and my own, paired with a convincing line about how we'd scouted the area out earlier and figured that the Powder Gangers were likely to find his hiding spot, he was anxious to get out of the area.
Sadly, things took a turn for the worse. When we returned to the base, the Brotherhood opened fire on us immediately. After the fire-fight was over, Boone reminded me that the Brotherhood HATED the NCR and that our going back in uniform was probably not the best move.
Still, I found the key to the collar on the Elder's corpse and we killed most of the Brotherhood soldiers. So I was content to tell Yes Man to ignore them in the future. We'd done enough damage.
That just left one more gang - the most difficult ones to reach yet. The Boomers.