Humility is a virtue in the wasteland. One will not find dignity when scavenging in a pile of rubble. Those who are lucky enough to be born into prosperity should know that their way of life can vanish in a moment, likewise those who come from humble beginnings must believe that they have the potential to build empires, lead armies, or heal the world around them. Each generation has seen would-be conquerors who seek to forge their own utopia from the ashes of the old world, but the most successful attempt at rebuilding has come from the most humble of origins.
“Shady Sands”… sounds like the sort of thing you’d read on a pre-war postcard. A tropical getaway for bored families in the old world… But Shady Sands was actually a little village in California, made up of the people who came out of one of the Vaults. Lucky for them, their vault, number 15, wasn’t so bad. At least when compared to some of the other ones.
It was designed to open fifty years after the Great War, and its inhabitants were well-supplied, even though they were deliberately made up of people who Vault-Tec knew wouldn’t get along. They managed to keep from killing each other until the doors opened, then most of Vault 15’s inhabitants tore through the wasteland forming some of the worst raider gangs the Wasteland would ever see. Even the Great Khans today can trace their heritage back to the hooligans who came out of Vault 15.
Not all of them were troublemakers like the Khans, though. Quite a few decided to settle down and build a farming town. They had some gadgetry from the Vault that made Shady Sands a prosperous little place, but that prosperity also made them a target. Raiders attacked Shady Sands without mercy, even going so far as to kidnap the Mayor’s daughter.
Superstitious folk will say it was destiny that brought the Vault Dweller to Shady Sands at their time of need. Or maybe it was just because Vault 13 happened to be located nearby and people are always in need. For whatever reason Shady Sands was the first place that tested the now famous Vault Dweller – this was before that kid from Vault 13 became the hero of the wasteland.
The example set by the heroics of the Vault Dweller stuck with the people who lived in Shady Sands. Folk like Aradesh, Tandi and Seth, names that will go in the history books – once someone starts writing down history again.
Junktown, The Hub, and other places that the Vault Dweller passed through all felt the same call to be a part of something greater. The mayor of Shady Sands, Aradesh, guided the most influential communities of the twenty second century formed an alliance – each one had played some small role in saving the wasteland, and this brought them together.
In those early years of this New California Republic, even the Brotherhood of Steel was an ally, their original headquarters being right in the heart of the NCR. That alliance lasted about as long as you’d expect, but it shows that the Brotherhood and the NCR could get along.
Aradesh was made president for life of the NCR. He lived a good long life but like many old men he wanted to head out on a few final adventures before death came calling. He disappeared out in the wasteland one day, probably looking for his old friend the Vault Dweller. We’re not sure exactly how it ended for Aradesh, when they write those NCR history books they’ll probably make up something suitably noble and heroic for his last adventure.
With Aradesh gone, the natural successor was his daughter Tandi. The official records don’t like to dwell on the way that President Tandi once had to be rescued from the Kahns by the Vault Dweller. Getting kidnapped wouldn’t seem very “Presidential”, but that sort of humbling experience helped mold her into an ambitious leader who was wise enough to know the dangers of the Wasteland around her. She led the NCR until she was nearly a hundred years old. A ripe old age for someone who never mutated, and she spent the whole time trying to unify the towns north of the NCR.
While places like the Hub and Boneyard were glad to join the NCR, up north things were a bit trickier. The Republic had access to some pre-war tech from vaults 15 and 13, but that was nothing compared the wonders of Vault City. Vault City was the community that surrounded Vault 8, and it was the embodiment of everything that Vault-Tec had promised people before the war. It was one of the few Vaults that opened right on schedule, just a few years after the war, and the happy people inside emerged to build their own private Garden of Eden (With a little help from Vault Tec’s Garden of Eden Creation Kit).
The folks that ran Vault City had a stranglehold on their territory. They had the finest medical equipment available, and a security force to defend it, plus plenty of outsiders who were willing to become servants in exchange for a safe place to live. They didn’t need to be a part of this New California Republic, and neither did nearby towns like New Reno, Redding and Broken Hills.
Even the NCR’s mother vault, Vault 15, had fallen into disrepair by the time that Tandi was nearing the end of her presidency. And Vault 13… well the original inhabitants had been “relocated” by the Enclave and a new group of occupants had taken up residency. Good conversationalists by all accounts, but not the sort that most people would want as neighbors.
The NCR was so keen on expanding their territory that they even resorted to playing dirty tricks on Vault City to get them to join and share their medical supplies with the rest of the Republic. For all its good intentions, the NCR was heading down a road to the cut-throat politics of the old days.
The Wasteland isn’t prone to unity. Many would-be rulers discovered that the hard way, and it was a lesson the NCR was all too familiar with.
In the years since, the NCR has had a series of presidents, none of which managed to rule with the insight of Aradesh or Tandi. The new leadership has still added some territory to the Republic though – parts of Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Mexico too.
With the Pacific Ocean to the West, that only leaves the East for further conquest, and the current leadership of the New California Republic has been steadily spreading their influence through Nevada and Arizona for years. Other factions had long since held territory there too, like the Brotherhood of Steel.
An alliance between the NCR and Brotherhood might have held up if there hadn’t been such an abundance of amazing technology at stake. Just a little ways over the border in Nevada the Brotherhood had discovered a solar power station called Helios One. It not only had the potential to provide energy for half the wasteland, but it also controlled an orbiting satellite that could focus sunlight into a deadly beam. The Brotherhood always loved their death rays, and they could never let anyone else get their hands on something like that.
It was an unprecedented struggle between the Brotherhood and the NCR for control of the facility. To the Brotherhood it meant keeping a devastating weapon in safe hands, and to the NCR it meant providing electricity to all of their citizens. Good intentions all around, but everyone was still certain that their side deserved Helios more than the other side.
The Brotherhood Paladins have terrifying weapons in their metal-clad hands, but the NCR has soldiers gathered from all over the republic. A vast army of Patriots who are willing to die for the idea of building a nation, state by state. Although numbers aren’t the only thing that the NCR has; they have the Rangers…
Even before the Great War, the West had need of soldiers and lawmen. For centuries some of the finest of them adopted the title of Ranger, and today’s NCR Rangers are made up of the best men and women that the Republic has to offer. They fight to bring law and order to this new West; and that’s a powerful motivation for those who can temper their optimism with resolve.
The Rangers aren’t feared because of the power of their weapons or the sophistication of their armor. The Rangers are feared because of their skill and relentless loyalty to the Republic. They aren’t born and bred for this elite position like in the Brotherhood or the Enclave. The Rangers are but humble soldiers who volunteer for the privilege of serving their fellow man.
With such loyalty in their multitudes of soldiers, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the NCR seized Helios One. With it they just might have enough power to light up everything West of the Colorado River. That is if they can ever get the thing running properly.
But Helios is only one of their plans to restore civilization to the world. Right in the middle of the desert there’s a great river, and a huge pre-war dam that once pulled electricity right out of the flowing water.
A feat of engineering, this great wall was named after one of the old presidents of a dead Empire – The Hoover Dam, they called it.
The NCR wanted that dam, but they discovered they weren’t alone. The Colorado River had kept the Republic separated from another army, a veritable legion of bloodthirsty killers.
But that- is a story for another day…