The Rangers at Echo have been keeping an eye on that place. It's relatively new, but those bastards have already dug in. They appear to be running a slave-trading operation and it also seems to be one of the primary crossing points for Legion raiding parties.
After discovering Cottonwood Cove, First Sergeant Astor (who patrols around Camp Searchlight) asks the player to collect some intel on Legion troop movements and raids from Cottonwood Cove and plant a bug in their radio. The Legion raid intel is in a filing cabinet to the left of buggable radio (left while looking at the radio) on the first floor HQ building (this will give you negative Karma); the intel on Legion troop movements is in the desk on the second floor.
Returning to Astor with the intel provides 500 XP & the player gets the option to wipe out all Legion forces from Cottonwood Cove. This provides NCR fame, 250 caps, Legion infamy (if they spot you in the act) & 1000 XP. When you receive the option to wipe out the Legion fort, Astor calls you "crazy" but believes you can pull it off. To get the most fame with the NCR, locate the red truck hanging precariously off the cliff at Cottonwood overlook over the Legion camp. Your geiger counter will show radiation leaking from the truck when you get close. Go to the back of the truck, and select the door. The option to open the door becomes available (50 lockpick required), dropping several radioactive barrels into the camp, effectively killing the Legion the same way they killed the NCR forces at Camp Searchlight. Astor is quite pleased with this outcome.
Note: It is best to wait for all the barrels to fall into the camp before fast-traveling to talk to Astor. If you open up the truck but fast-travel to Astor too soon, then the game doesn't realize you've killed the legionaries using the radioactive waste.
If you've already razed the camp, you will automatically complete the quest by speaking with Astor.
If you tip the radioactive barrels into the cove before freeing the slaves, you'll fail the quest Left My Heart. The Weathers can be found in a locked pen behind the storage building. They are wearing slave collars that need to either be safely removed, maliciously detonated or provided the key in which case they'll unlock themselves and escape. However, Anders, who needs to be freed as part of Aba Daba Honeymoon, is far enough away not to be harmed by the radiation.
If you kill everyone normally, and then release the barrels you will still get the extra fame.
However, you must wait for all the barrels to drop into the camp. If you fast-travel to Astor while the barrels are still dropping, the game may not count this as a radioactive kill.
If you decide to drop the barrels on the Legion forces at Cottonwood Cove, you will still be able to use the ferry to reach Caesar's camp. The Legion ferryman, Cursor Lucullus, will now be wearing a radiation suit and will still grant you access to The Fort.
If you had already cleared out Cottonwood Cove before talking to Astor, you can simply break the news in a conversation with him. You will receive NCR fame, 200 caps, 1000 XP, and Astor will also call you a "beast." If the courier is a woman, he will comment on how a lone woman wiping out the entire camp is "priceless" and that it will make Caesar's troops reconsider how they treat women. There is no option to plant a bug and steal intel afterwards.
"Eye for an Eye" is a well known phrase dating from the times of Hammurabi. Known as Hammurabi's Code, the laws dictated an "eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," meaning that any law broken, or anyone harmed, the offender would receive the same as punishment.
Also a principle found in the Bible, in Exodus 21:24: "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot."
ps3xbox360pc Sometimes dropping the radioactive barrels will not kill all the legionaries. They will remain standing in front of the barrels without ever succumbing to the radiation. Four legionaries line up at the base of the cliff while the barrels roll right through them. However, the objective is still marked as complete in spite of the fact that the survivors can still be killed, targeted through V.A.T.S., and otherwise interacted with. [verified]
xbox360pc The truck door isn't always locked, making the quest much easier. [verified]