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Fallout New Vegas Day#9: Bright Lights, Big City

Day 9 is all New Vegas. There is a complex and pretty dramatic set of plots here that intertwine very curiously. A lot of the game’s plot comes together this session in a interesting whole, and again there are lots of ways to play it depending on who I want to help and who I want to hurt. There are some annoying design flaws in this session, but they’re minor and thankfully unusual in this game. This session is basically all conversation as I get up to speed on the current state of the Strip and start to see that there are some deeper mysteries and intrigues waiting for me here in the coming sessions. But I have a goal now and it’s a doozy. Spoilers within.

I begin the game by entering the strip.  It’s a much cleaner and well-kept environment than the rest of the game, but the darkness shows through: there are people throwing up and other bits of depression and thuggery around. Victor’s here yet again. He tells me that Mr. House wants to make my acquaintance, and he’s clearly just another one of these security bots that’s around everywhere.  I go see House first in Lucky 38’s, his roulette casino. Victor’s at the door, and tells me when I talk to him that I have to go up alone. I have the choice to say yes, no, or attack. I say no; I don’t totally trust going in there by myself. Victor won’t let me in alone. I leave and go find Benny instead. There are a couple of gates that block off different casinos and other buildings. The neon here is awesome.

I go to the tops where Benny is, and the greeter behind the front desk tells me I have to check my weapons. I agree to do it. The whole casino is run by these rat-pack dressed chairmen types. I wander around the back to see Benny and he talks to me first. I insult him and he insults me back. I demand the chip back, and he wants to go somewhere private to discuss this. I don’t trust him. There are options to speech him that (again) I’m eight points short on, so I back out of the conversation without committing and walk away. It’s a great casino location, and it totally reminds me of the gambling pits that I’ve seen. I talk to the owner (Swank) on the way out. I’m originally just seeing if I can get my weapons back, but I notice there are options to make my case about Benny and so I start pursuing them.  I Speech him with increasingly high skill demands (15, 30, 45) and more evidence of Benny’s betrayal. By the end,  he thinks Benny is making a play against House. He asks me to search Benny’s suite, and to do that, he gives me the key to Benny’s penthouse and my guns back.

I go head to the elevators and take them up to his room. I start searching, but there’s not much yet. However, towards the end, I find a large hole in a wall to a whole other room. There’s another security bot with a smiley face called a Yes Man robot inside. I talk to it, and it tells me that it decodes transmissions. It further tells me the chip was a data storage device, and the chip might be able to upgrade House’s defenses. The chip is a proprietary format that can only be read by House or with a machine at Fortification Hill.  I ask what Benny’s plan is, and the robot volunteers that he wants to kill House and then use the Yes Man to take over House’s security and rule Vegas. (I ask the robot why he’s telling me all of this, and he reveals that he’s been hacked to be unable to lie or refuse requests.) I ask who created Yes Man, and the robot says a lady friend of Benny’s lived in a fort in Freeside who helped him with the reprogramming. I realize that I could kill Mr. House myself and use Yes Man to take over. I broach that with the robot, and he says he needs the platinum chip, and have to bring it Mr. House to interpret. However, I will have to decide whether to let Mr. House have a chance to unlock the chip before I betray him; allowing him to unlock the chip shows me what it does, but could make betraying him much harder. The Yes Man also suggests investigating the local tribes outside the Strip to see which should be ignored and which should be eliminated if I take over. I tell the Yes Man to ignore Brotherhood of Steel, even though the Yes Man says they are the most dangerous group out there. I leave without revealing what I know to Swank. I totally want to take over New Vegas, and Swank is a bit too loyal to House.

It seems like it’s now a good time to go see House. This time, I agree to go inside by myself.  It’s an well maintained but empty casino. I take the elevator up to the penthouse.  Mr. House is on a screen of a huge computer terminal. He knows I went to the Tops before seeing him, which is a little creepy. His full name is Robert Edwin House and he founded Robco Industries in his former life. Wow is web of story here CRAZY. I ask if House is a computer and he gives me a weird answer that he’s still flesh and bone. Anyway, he wants the chip back and will pay me four times my courier fee for it. I agree to the deal, not that I have ANY intention of helping House.  I start to leave, but then House gives me a suite here. I check it out and it’s pretty swank. I leave some stuff there. I can also go to cocktail lounge, but when I check it out, there’s nothing much there. Having seen all of Lucky 38, I head back to Vegas Strip.

I go into Las Vegas Boulevard Station, which it turns out is like an NCR police station. I talk to an NCR guy in the building who stops me when he sees my weapons. He says that House won’t let the NCR carry weapons. He tells me about the NCR casino embassy (where an ambassador wants to see me) and a vault 21 on the Strip. I finish that conversation and walk upstairs. The room looks like a waiting area with a guarded door in the back. I walk towards the door and suddenly everyone is attacking me. WTF? I don’t want to fight NCR so I just reload the game and redo the station. Oh the guards at the door make a warning statement not to approach. They are just SO FUCKING SLOW to start it that they didn’t deliver it before I approached them. Bad bad bad. Anyway, nothing much else here, I don my vault 21 uniform and head to the vault. Inside, I meet Sarah. She likes the vault and oddly hasn’t left. There’s a perception based dialog option, but I don’t have the perception to pick on something so that passes. She says something about not going into the vault anymore, but that it was a wonderful place where problems were solved through gambling. She offers me a tour which I take. We go into vault and in keeping with my once per session technical problems, the game freezes. Sigh. I retrace my steps back to the tour. Sarah tells me that Mr. House filled the vault with concrete and threw everyone out for no clear reason. THAT is interesting; now I want to know what’s going on in the Vault. I explore but don’t find much of anything, and the bottom floor does appear filled with concrete.

I leave the Vault, but when I get back to the Strip, I realize that Veronica isn’t around. Where is she? Ack, she must still be standing outside the Lucky 38. SIGH. I have to go back and retrieve her. On the way back, I meet Billy Knight, a comedian looking for work. I get Veronica and then go to NCR complex at the end of the Strip. I start at the HQ, but there’s no one there. I cut across the complex to the Embassy. There’s a secretary, but she doesn’t want to talk with me and immediately sends me to the ambassador. I find him in a big office. He wants me to find the boomers to get ammo from them for the fighting at the Hoover Dam with the Legion. They are suspicious of outsiders (including the NCR) but he thinks I could get in. I agree to help him, and then proceed to beat him in a shitton of caravan. I’m not kidding here; I make something like 3000 caps of him in four games. I have enough to afford real armor and weapons now. Not only that, but I level up from winning and finally get my Speech to 60 plus some Guns and Science. I also get the Finesse perk which gives me more criticals in combat. Having gotten my quest and made my money, I leave the station and head back out of the Strip.

I walk back to Freeside and revisit the King School of Impersonation. I Speech my way to see the King.  He wants to look into why one guard for hire, Orrick,  is getting so much repeat business — he just wants a fair playing field for his own guys. I agree, thinking the bodyguard getting all the business is probably scum. I buy some damaged but nice recon armor with my money and get my rifle repaired. I find and hire Orrick which leads him to ask me to follow him.  We run for a ways, but then he runs ahead and shoots at some “thugs” off-screen. When I catch up to him, my Intelligence is high enough that I have a dialog option to notice he only shot 3 times for 4 guys. Orrick admits that it’s a scam and tries to threaten me to shut up. I play along, but then I run back to the King to give him the word. He tells me that he’ll have his guys take care of Orrick. I get another quest from the King to find out from guys being treated in the Fort who attacked some of his friends. I agree to the quest, but tell him that I’ll do that later. The Boomers are next on my list, but a long day on the Vegas Strip is all I have time for today. Good night.

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