The good news is, unlike The Brotherhood, everyone knew where the Boomers lived.
The bad news is, just like The Brotherhood, The Boomers were a gang of xenophobic loonies with better weapons than everyone else and apart from a few Crimson Caravan people who had gone up the hill to spy out their home - an abandoned military base northeast of New Vegas - nobody had made any kind of contact with them.
The NCR Ambassador had already asked me to try and negotiate a peace treaty with them but I doubted they'd want me working that for them now. Word on the street had leaked out about how I was working closely with Mr. House and apparently that had soured the NCR on me.
I thought that was a bit unfair after all I had done for them. Whatever. Long as they stayed out of my way securing New Vegas, I was content to live and let live.
As I walked up the hill toward the base, I ran into an old man - a scavenger named George.
George warned me about the heavy artillery The Boomers used and offered to sell me information a safe route through the killing field. I paid the man and he told me a rough pattern to follow through the abandoned houses on the field that made little sense to me. He also said there was an abandoned train tunnel to the south that he thought would lead into their base but he didn't think anyone had ever come out of it alive.
I opted for stealth and guile - as I usually do and tried to keep hidden, skirting the rocks and cliffs along the east edge of the field. They did get a few shots close to me and Boone took a near direct hit that left him muttering about how it looked like he was finally going to get what was coming to him. I gave the drama queen a Stimpack and we kept on moving.
Once I got to the fence, the bombing stopped. I followed it to a gate where I was met by armed guards who took me and Boone to their leader - an older woman named Pearl.
Pearl: Thank you for agreeing to see me, despite the late hour.
Me: Thank you for not having me forcibly stripped and put in an explosive collar.
Pearl: Oh, my no! I'd never do that to you.
Me: Oh good.
Pearl: Now, if you were a buxom blonde woman...
Me: I don't know if I should be relieved or insulted.
Pearl: You should be flattered. You are the first Outsider we have allowed into our home.
Me: And no doubt you want something in return for the privilege of not being killed stone dead by you?
Pearl: Yes. For I have the gift of prophecy. And I have forseen that someday, an Outsider would come to us. An Outsider who would be the first to create a link, however small, with the Savage Lands beyond our gates. An Outsider who would aid us with a series of petty tasks we could easily accomplish by ourselves, proving that not all of the Heathens who are not a part of our tribe are not completely without merit.
Me: Okay. Now I'm definitely feeling insulted.
Pearl: Sorry, but I do have to play up the "Savage" angle for the young ones who have no idea that there are good, decent people out there.
Me: The prophecy is total bunk, isn't it?
Pearl: Yes, but the fact is that in a few generations, sooner or later, the inbreeding here is going to become a serious issue. I figure it's better to gamble on you being a decent person willing to do a few basic tasks for us now before someone more afraid of Outsiders than me takes over when I die.
Me: Because there's nothing to stop you from killing me if it turns out I'm not that good?
Pearl: There's that too. The prophecy does allow for False Outsiders who will try to end our peaceful existence.
Me: Your peaceful existence of blowing up anyone who comes visiting?
Pearl: Don't you have some tedious petty tasks to be completing?
Me: ... Yes ma'am.
And so began a long list of petty tasks...
I helped their Doctor treat some of the wounded, despite him barely being more qualified than me to tend the sick. I went into the basement of their power plant to kill some giant ants and then journeyed into the outside world to find parts to repair the solar panels of said power plant. I listened to their historian - a snot-nosed punk named Pete - tell me the history of their great tribe.
The short version is that they all came from a vault that had more weapons than common sense and ventured into the wilderness after they ran out of food but still had plenty of ammo and guns. They discovered the abandoned military base, moved in, learned how to use the weapons they found there and waited for the day that they would be able to find a plane and use it to crush the Savages in the Outside, who threatened their way of life.
Yes, I was feeling VERY insulted at this point. Thank you for asking.
I journeyed once more into the outside world, to seek out a redheaded Crimson Caravan employee who had won the heart of local mechanic Jack, and ask her if she would be willing to come live in seclusion for the rest of her life with a guy who thought she was hot and had no other basis for wanting to form a relationship. Amazingly, she was (pay for the Crimson Caravan stinks) and I was able to get her a set of clothes to change into so she would not be blown up by her new family.
I even helped one girl with finding her lost teddy bear and further endeared myself to the "Mini-Boomers" by suggesting new games for them to play and regaling them with tales of how awesome the Outside World was and some of the man adventures Boone and I had together.
Pearl: And so as it was said in The Prophecy...
Me: *muttered* ...which you just made up...
Pearl: ... The Outsider has come among us and proven not to be a dickweed! But lo, there is one more task you must complete to earn our trust.
Me: You want me to bring you a shrubbery?
Pearl: Could you?
Me: No. It's a barren desert wasteland out there! There are no shrubberies.
Pearl: Then you must complete a second task.
Me: ... which is.
Pearl: You must go out into the wild wastes! And seek out a lake! A lake which holds... a plane!
Me: Damn. I was hoping for a lady with a magic sword.
Pearl: And you shall take the ballast which we are to give unto you. And you shall attach it to the plane! And thus shall you raise it from the depths that we may take it. And repair it. And dominate the skies as is our destiny.
Me: Couldn't one of your people go do this?
Pearl: Probably, but they would not be as equipped to handle the dangers of the Savage Land as you.
Me: *sighs* Flattery will only get you so far lady.
Pearl: Was that far enough?
Me: ... yes.
Thankfully, the lake turned out to be just south of Bitter Springs. Boone didn't even blink as we approached the site of his greatest shame this time. I was starting to think that he would be okay and that his death wish was finally starting to go away. Until...
Me: Damnit, Boone! Those things have poison that can kill a strong man with one bite. We can snipe them from here, easily!
Boone: Don't care. This looks awesome!
Me: Damn me, but it does.
A short swim was all it took to attach the ballast to the plane. Luckily Jack had made me a rebreather unit because my ability to hold my breath SUCKED. From there it was a simple matter to locate a tow rope that would let us bring the plane inland for the Boomers to take the plane home.
Pearl: You have completed the tasks that I have set before you admirably. You have proven yourself to be The Outsider of the prophecy. Therefore, you now have the friendship of The Boomers and may call upon us at your leisure.
Me: Good, because there's this big war coming. And without your help, I may not be able to keep this place and the world outside free of the really bad outsiders. Those who would see you and your people enslaved to the whims of petty dictators and do-nothing soldiers.
Boone: You mean The Legion, right?
Me: Uh... yeah!
With the loyalty of the Boomers secured, I was ready to head back to Vegas to plot my plan of attack with Yes Man. Upon arrival, he informed me of current events and how the local morale of the NCR citizens and troops was so low that their President had elected to come out and do a personal appearance at Hoover Dam. The problem is that Mr. House had run the odds of the NCR President surviving a visit to any place that close to Legion territory and they weren't good.
Me: That's fair, but there's no way the NCR is going to let me within 100 yards of the place while The President is there now.
Yes Man: Oh well! That's their loss, not knowing what a good guy you are.
Me: Yeah, it's tough. So we're all set to go?
Yes Man: Well, I'm going to need a scootch more power to finish upgrading our forces here AND keep the city running during the battle. I made an override chip that can be implanted at the secondary power plant at El Dorado, near the dry lake...
Me: Yeah, I was there once before...
ONE QUICK TRIP THERE AND BACK AGAIN...
Me: Okay. I was in and out before the troops telling me not to touch the equipment if I knew what was good for me knew I was there. Good thing too, because I get the feeling the NCR is going to hate me as much as the Legion does soon. So now I go to Hoover Dam...and then what?
Post a Comment