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A New World - Part 1: Home Sweet Home

101Phase March 16, 2012 User blog:101Phase

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Shady Sands, 2277; the President prepares to speak to his nation. Less than a week ago, the First Battle of Hoover Dam ended in a victory for the New California Republic. It was a narrow one, but the people did not need to know that. So for now, it was celebration. But far away from the Capital, way over in the East, the frontiers have been carved and the delicate balance of power has been set. Though the citizens of the NCR might not know it, the future of the entire west side of the Post War North American Continent is about to change. All of it will happen within their lifetime.

When I first heard about what happened at Hoover Dam, I genuinely thought the war was over. Certainly from all the propaganda we were constantly fed, it seemed as if Caesar’s offensive has been crippled and that we would now be on the offensive.

— Mary Carlos, Former Librarian of Vault City

In truth, the battle resulted in an interlude rather than an armistice: the entire East side of the Colorado River still belonged to Caesar, and he had no plans to leave. While the NCR consolidated on their victory, the Legion prepared to execute the one responsible for their defeat. Joshua Graham, formerly the Malpais Legate and Caesar’s right hand man, had become the focus of the Legion’s shame. His legacy as the Burnt Man was soon to follow.

HooverDam

Hoover Dam


The reason for Graham’s execution was simple: he failed in his duties and Caesar had to make an example of him. Whether or not he felt compelled to do this out of principle or because he genuinely wanted Graham dead is debatable, but the end result was the entire Legion saw with their own eyes the price of failure.

— Dennis Crocker, Former NCR Ambassador to New Vegas

Though it quickly became clear to the NCR officers stationed in New Vegas that the Legion was holding their ground, the question of what should be done about it was difficult to answer: should they push the offensive as many of their citizens believed they would, or should they hold their ground? Out in the front lines, the opinion was split: while many members of Lee Oliver’s officers held the belief that a decisive push into Legion occupied lands directly east of the river could permanently disable their position in the Mojave, the general himself had little confidence. After all, their recent victory at Hoover Dam was arguably a fluke, and even then most considered it the work of Chief Hanlon and his rangers.

During those days, we were all aware that with every passing week, our window of opportunity was getting smaller. If we were going to make any decision, whether it’s attack or defend, we would have to make it soon.

— Ranger Johnson

Over in the Capital, opinions were similarly divided: if an offensive was successful, they could effectively end the war right there and then, or at least deal a crippling blow to the Legion. But it would have been a gamble, one that not everyone was willing to make: if the operation fails and the NCR is forced into retreat, everyone knew the Legion wouldn’t fall for the same trick twice. Desperate for a decision to reassure both the soldiers on the front line and the citizens at home, the President ordered the troops to hold their ground and wait for reinforcements. It was a blatant attempt to make more time for a more unanimous decision.

We were told that we could expect additional troops and supplies within the next few weeks or so from the Long 15 and possibly the Divide. I think many of us felt a bit frustrated at the lack of decisive action from the brass, but looking back on it there wasn’t much else they could do: even if they decided to go ahead with the offensive, we simply didn’t have the numbers necessary to both mount an attack and defend the Mojave at the same time.

— Ranger Johnson

But the reinforcements never came: less than a week later, the settlement known as the Divide disappeared off the radar. The tremors were felt far and wide; in New Vegas itself, windows were shattered and some already weakened Pre-War ruins collapsed. Nobody knew at the time what exactly happened to the Divide; in fact most didn’t even know where the shock wave came from. And it would take many more weeks before anyone could even reach the epicentre of what most assumed to be the site of a major earthquake. But one thing was clear: the supply line along Death Valley Road has been severed and now, only one route joining the NCR and the Mojave remained.

What happened at the Divide effectively ended any thoughts on taking offensive action against the Legion. We didn’t know how many men were lost in the Divide nor did we know how long it would take to redirect the reinforcements through the Long 15 into the Mojave Outpost. The priority was shifted completely.

— Quartermaster Hammond, Officer of the Long 15

Instead of joining an attack, what was left of the NCR reinforcements was ordered to double time along the Long 15 to form a defence: it was believed that knowledge of such a cataclysmic event would not elude Caesar for long. The table has been turned: now the NCR was preparing for another possible Legion offensive. Fortunately for the Republic’s soldiers on the front lines, there was no major Legion movement; Caesar simply wasn’t ready. For now, the major powers of the Mojave had little choice but to maintain the stalemate, possibly indefinitely. All of this meant that the people of the New Vegas region can return to a normal, albeit strained life.

For the average man, woman or child living in the Mojave, there was certainly no shortage of excitement. Until NCR’s arrival and the awakening of Mr House, there was little law in this part of the wasteland. People were content with living in small communities such as Goodsprings and Primm, all the while scraping together a living out of whatever was available to them.

Most of us were farmers, prospectors or traders back in those days. No settlements ever tried to expand or anything like that: bigger towns attracted more raiders and so on. But then the NCR came and everything just lit up. Soon we had Legionaries running all over the place and even escaped convicts. We haven’t got a quiet day since, I think.

— Cliff Briscoe, Mayor of Novac

Among all of this, the Vegas strip remained vibrant, active and most of all: open for business. Ever since the first contact with the NCR, Vegas has been referred to as the City of Lights: among all of the major Pre-War cities, Vegas was arguably one of the best preserved. And after two hundred years, it still served as a major centre of vice, attracting visitors from all over the wasteland. Humanity, it seemed, never changes. At the centre of the city’s activity was Mr House; few people have ever made contact with the man and fewer still even knew of his true nature. For the NCR, he was the face of New Vegas, the closest thing to a leader the city had. But for some, he was nothing but a symbol of oppression.

Securitron mk1

A Securitron patrolling the Strip

House had eyes and ears everywhere and he certainly knew all of the factions that existed within the Vegas area. But he never seemed to pay us any mind; in fact I think other than the Three Families, he was no more than a rumour to most people. So to call him a ‘leader’ to the entire region was quite frankly absurd.

— Arcade Gannon, Former researcher of the Followers of the Apocalypse, Current lead medical advisor of the West Coast Alliance


From a military point of view, the extent of House’s capabilities seemed dubious at first. It was no secret that he had access to Pre-War technology, but the NCR have fought and defeated technologically superior enemies in the past; and Mr House’s Securitrons certainly didn’t look like they could offer the same sort of challenge as a Brotherhood Paladin. Despite this, diplomatic contact was made between the Vegas Strip and the NCR; while a military invasion might have been quicker and more thorough, the Republic is known for annexing settlements without too much bloodshed. Besides, hostile takeovers made for bad press. And so the New Vegas Treaty was drafted and signed by both parties: in exchange for recognising New Vegas as an independent state, the NCR was granted access to McCarran International Airport and Hoover Dam among other terms. But for the rest of the wasteland, people only saw the sudden flow of NCR troops. Some accepted it better than others.

[NCR] had their fingers in everything, baby, and it didn’t feel like they were giving anything back. We were protected, true, but it felt more like occupation if you know what I mean. Places like Freeside were allowed to stay independent, yeah, but it always felt like it would be a matter of time before things got physical.

— The King, Leader of Freeside

Whether they liked it or not, the people of the Mojave had little choice in the matter: the NCR was here to stay, so they might as well as make the most of it. The influx of troops and NCR citizens certainly gave the local economy a well needed boost, and not just from the casinos: trade caravans of the area benefited well, and so were the smaller settlements, offering services of all kinds to weary travellers. New Vegas has established itself firmly within the hearts and minds of the NCR citizens as a city with endless possibilities and a place where one’s fortunes could be changed overnight. Some were happier about this change than others.

And then one of my boys came back one night and told me about this place called Vegas. And before I could say ‘what the fuck’, every rich prick from the Boneyard to Shady fucking Sands were talking about the Strip! And guess where they decided to go and spend their money; not at my casinos! I mean why? They’re all casinos, right; you walk in filthy rich and you come out dirt poor, what’s the fucking difference?

— Mr Bishop, Head of the Bishop family of New Reno

But despite this seemingly solid balance of power, things were not meant to last. Mr House knew perfectly well that as long as his city relied on the protection of the NCR, Vegas could never become fully autonomous. And what would happen to his beloved city when the war with the Legion came to an end? If Caesar emerged victorious, the NCR would almost certainly pull out of the Mojave, in which case Vegas would become defenceless. But even if the war was won by the NCR, there was every reason to believe that they would simply turn their attention back towards Vegas and force House and his followers to sign a new treaty, one that would surely result in annexation as it has been for so many of the Republic’s territories in the past.

House needed something; a trump card to play at the negotiating table, something that would dissuade the NCR from using military action against New Vegas without ever needing to fire a single shot. He needed an army.

— Swank, Head of The Chairmen and owner of The Tops casino

The question remained: where would he acquire such an army? At the time of the First Battle of Hoover Dam, Vegas had no standing military force: the limited number of Securitrons at House’s disposal was formidable, but they were designed for policing and to intimidate petty criminals. In actual warfare, they stood no chance against the far more experienced NCR troops. There was no use looking for help elsewhere: most of the more powerful tribes near New Vegas, such as the Boomers and the Great Khans, were either unwilling to negotiate with anybody or were downright uncontrollable. Faced with such conditions, House turned towards a different possibility, one that he’s been trying to exploit for a very long time.

When I saw the order, I have to admit I was curious. The contents of the packages were certainly… interesting, but I’ve seen weirder things being delivered, certainly. Rather, it was the manner by which the orders were placed. We had a cowboy robot giving us the instructions and he was very specific about it: he wanted six couriers, each carrying something slightly different but all of them were insubstantial things. I think it was clear to everyone that he was trying to hide something.

— Johnson Nash, unofficial mayor of Primm and the owner of the Mojave Express

On October 11th, 2281, one of the six couriers hired by the Mojave Express left Primm and made his way north towards the Vegas Strip. Few at the time knew of the significance of his package, but it was clear that there were other parties interested in its contents.

At first, the deliveries went smoothly: we had one courier, who turned down the job for no given reason, but other than that, the deliveries were made and the payments were received. One of the guys, a lad called Daniel Wyand, even came back to Primm the following day, looking for more work. It wasn’t until a day or two later did we realise that one of the packages didn’t make it.

— Johnson Nash, unofficial mayor of Primm and the owner of the Mojave Express

In truth, the Courier in question was intercepted near Goodsprings by a small group of Great Khans and their employer. Other than an incident earlier in the day involving some raiders, the group have kept a relatively low profile: they knew exactly who they were going to hit. Approximately one week later, the Courier, having survived two bullets to the forehead at close range, woke up in the local clinic of Goodsprings. The significance of this event at the time seemed trivial.

GoodspringsCemetery

Goodsprings Cemetery - 2nd Birthplace of The Courier

We didn’t know it at the time but things were happening faster than people can report it: first we heard that the siege of Primm was broken, then we were informed that the Prison went down, and then Goodsprings repelled an attack. I personally had no idea what was happening or why it was happening so soon; every message we got referred to ‘some Courier’.

— Lt Colonel Knight, Former administrator of the Mojave Outpost



The sixth Courier, who recovered from his injuries only earlier that day, had begun what would soon be a streak of activities across the Mojave. Nobody knew who this man was or where he came from, but wherever he went, he left his mark. Goodsprings, Primm, Mojave Outpost and Novac, all of these settlements recorded his presence on the first day alone. His deeds seemed noble but his motivations were never made clear. However one thing seemed certain, he was a friend to the NCR.

We were quite desperate for new recruits, you understand, so any help from civilians was greatly appreciated. We didn’t expect much, but this guy was just incredible, there was no other way of putting it. Whatever tasks we gave him, he did them. I remember wishing there were more men like him in my unit.

— General Hsu, Former commanding officer of Camp McCarran

The Courier’s activities were varied and not all were aimed at helping the NCR; in fact most of the time he aimed to work for the local settlements, acts which often put himself and those travelling with him at great risk. But he seemed, according to the locals, almost thrilled by the thought of such dangers and was actively seeking them out. This of course, put him at odds with some of the less favourable factions of the Mojave Wasteland. Having been labelled as a menace by the Powder Gangers and a distinct enemy of the Legion within the first few days of his appearance, news of the Courier’s exploits began to spread across the Mojave like wild fire. His involvement at the retaking of Nelson even reached the ears of the President, who wasted no time to turn the mysterious man’s adventures into a propaganda machine. Here was a proud civilian of the Mojave (although his exact origins were unknown) serving the Republic’s interests. Popularity of the Courier grew exponentially, and soon, more and more of his service to the NCR began to pour in. And as he came closer and closer towards the Vegas Strip itself, he began to attract other parties.

When he walked into the Lucky 38, I think a lot of the bystanders had to rub their eyes and wonder if they were dreaming: someone was actually going to talk to Mr House. That hasn’t happened in a very long time.

— Emily Ortal, Researcher and member of the Followers of the Apocalypse

Even Caesar, who was well aware of the Courier’s acts against him, seemed to take interest in this seemingly unstoppable man. For a while it seemed as if this celebrity of the wasteland would be overwhelmed by the attention. But instead, his actions turned towards something much more serious, actions that would change the Mojave forever…


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