This is based off a deleted scene from my Rosario+Vampire fiction. Just a quick, short story to put up.
I don't mean anything against those that like Caesar's Legion, but they make good bad guys.
The Mojave Wasteland
The dead of night, in the middle of nowhere. Not a sign of civilization was anywhere to be found. Even Vegas was too far away. The full moon and the stars were all that illuminated the barren wasteland.
"Brainless savage." The NCR Ranger said as he removed the strap of his anti-material rifle from his shoulder, "He's all alone, and yet he makes a campfire right out in the open."
Cpl. Henry Janus nodded and watched the professional do his job. Only the two of them lay prone at the top of a tall cliff, overlooking a large endless plain of dirt and sand. Over a mile away was a campfire. The night made the glow it casted easy to spot, even at the distance they were at. After looking through a pair of binoculars, they found that a Legionary Recruit sat there all alone.
The Ranger set up his anti-material rifle, putting it against the ground to steady his aim.
"Uh, sir?" The Corporal began, "With all due respect, shouldn't we get closer? Even for that rifle, we're too far away."
The NCR Ranger didn't say anything. Instead he just tapped a part of his helmet, turning on its built-in low-light vision. Every inch of the Ranger's combat armor looked frightening, even without the blood-red glow from the visor. The strong riot armor, the rugged trench coat, and the gas helmet made a fantastic combination for intimidation. "The wildlife would kill this straggler before we ever got the chance to close in." he said. The voice he spoke in had a similar noise to someone speaking through a radio.
"But sir… if you miss-"
"Where's the fun in playing it safe?" The NCR ranger said, still lying prone looking through the x12 scope. "He is insignificant. It wouldn't matter if I missed."
Cpl. Janus decided to keep quiet. He knew better than to continue pestering a Veteran Ranger about what should or should not be done in a combat situation. NCR Rangers were considered to be the best of the best of any armed forces in the west coast. While there were other organizations that had better equipment, none could surpass the NCR Rangers in skill or training. The Brotherhood of Steel were well-trained too, but their numbers dwindled to near extinction.
The Ranger took aim at the Legionary Recruit, whom was roasting some Golden Gecko meat. Not only was the target far away, it was also quite windy. The Ranger took a moment to take the bullet-drop, wind-direction, and Coriolis Effect all into account, setting his aim to the far-upper-right of his target.
(Google "Coriolis Effect" if you don't know what that is.)
Time felt as if it slowed down when trigger was pulled. The likeness of a fireball erupted from the front of the anti-material rifle, propelling a large .50 caliber round forward.
Cpl. Janus looked through his binoculars, watching the large bullet travel along. It began to drop and curve left, landing directly on the Legionary's head. His head completely exploded into dozens of pieces, and the rest of the body slowly fell over.
The Ranger smiled under his helmet. Instead of pointing and laughing maniacally like he often did, he decided to bottle in any overreactions from the sensitive soldier that was with him. "Dead and done, just the way I like 'em." He said in a deep voice. He was less disciplined than most other Rangers. The desire to watch heads explode was his primary reason for going out on patrol all the time.
Cpl. Janus still gazed wide-eyed at the headless corpse. The bullet had perfectly curved onto the target like some kind of heat seeker. If anyone else was around right now, Janus would have uttered the phrase, 'Did you see that?'
The NCR ranger stood up, tending to his anti-material rifle. He took off the box magazine it used, and spent time loading another bullet into it.
"That was incredible sir!" Cpl. Janus said, "The savage didn't even know what hit him."
Like before, the Ranger didn't seem to listen to him. "If that Legionnaire had any friends, they should be coming to investigate." He set up the anti-material rifle again. "Cpl, how many mags do you have for your assault carbine?"
Cpl. Janus removed the rifle from his back and held it. "I'm out sir, I used the last one on the Radscorpion that attacked us eariler." The Ranger turned and just watched him. Janus couldn't imagine what he was thinking as his face wasn't visible to him.
The Ranger suddenly pulled out his .44 Magnum Revolver and lightly threw it towards Cpl. Janus. "Don't make me regret it." The Ranger said.
The Corporal caught the large revolver and put his rifle away. "Expecting trouble sir?"
"The anti-material rifle makes quite a flash whenever it fires." The Ranger said as he returned to his sniper weapon and lay prone, "Your job is to watch my back. Got it?"
Cpl. Janus opened the revolver and saw the six bullets it was loaded with. "Sure thing sir."
The Ranger looked at the campfire through his x12 scope again. There were already a few Legionaries looking around, searching for whoever killed the recruit. They were probably thinking that a raider or Powder Ganger with a shotgun was nearby, rather than a sniper far away. The soldiers of Caesar's Legion lacked any decent military training, save for the higher-ranking members of their hierarchy. "1, 2, 3… 7. There are 7 of them," the Ranger mumbled behind his helmet, "8 shots. That's 1 more than I'll need."
A thunderous gunshot blasted from the anti-material rifle. Suddenly the torso of one of the Legionaries exploded. The Legionaries all turned and looked in the direction the shot came from, but could see nothing. Another thunder-like noise was heard and another head exploded. At that, the Legionaries all began to run around and panic, looking for cover where there was none to be found.
Cpl. Janus looked through his binoculars again, watching each Legionary squirm before their torso or head was popped like a water balloon filled with ketchup. At this distance, just one of these shots would have been impossible for nearly anyone to pull off, but the Ranger was making it look easy. "Now I know why they say Rangers chew nails and spit napalm."
The Ranger squeezed the trigger again. Shot after shot after shot. There was only one Legionary left, and 2 bullets remaining.
Just as the seventh shot was fired and the last Legionary was killed, a noise was heard behind them.
Cpl. Janus turned around and saw a patrol of three Legionnaires running at them, two with machetes and one with a cowboy repeater. The one holding the cowboy repeater fired a shot, and Janus felt it punch straight through his right elbow. He dropped the .44 Magnum Revolver and fell over.
At the sound of a gunshot behind him, the Ranger stood up and spun around, pointing the anti-material rifle at the new combatants. One shot remaining, three enemies.
One of the machete-wielding Legionaries ran up to the Ranger, trying to eliminate the greater threat. He was stopped when the last .50 caliber round blew a hole through his chest. A few feet behind him, the Legionary that held the cowboy repeater felt the same round shred through his left leg, causing him collapse.
Out of ammo, the Ranger chucked the anti-material rifle into the air and caught it by the barrel, wielding it like a baseball bat. He then swung it at the last Legionnaire, knocking him down, and then repeatedly bashed him in the face until he stopped moving.
"I'm sorry sir!" Janus said as he stood up, "I wasn't watching our backs when I should have, I'll accept any consequence."
The Ranger hit the Legionary with the stock of his rifle again, like a plunger to a toilet, and walked over to the Legionary that had the cowboy repeater, whom was still twitching. "Shock and blood loss should finish off this one." He said as he took his repeater. He then walked over to Janus and calmly handed the rifle over.
(I don't even need to say what that line is a reference to.)
Janus quickly gave back the .44 Magnum Revolver, not knowing why the Ranger wasn't acting upset with him. Did the Ranger just not care? Was he satisfied with the way things turned out anyways? Did he simply think getting angry wouldn't make a difference? Whatever the case, the Ranger took out a first aid kit and dressed Janus' wound without saying anything.
Both the Corporal and the Ranger were heading back to Camp Golf, walking along the wasteland with their rifles on their backs. An hour had passed since Janus had been shot. The Ranger had mended the wound like a professional.
After seeing the Ranger in action, everything about him seemed so amazing. As if his armor wasn't cool enough, he certainly had the skills to match. His amazing aim and quick response to danger were incredible.
In the past, Janus had heard many stories about the NCR Rangers. They were few in number, but their accomplishments were well known to the republic. "If I live to earn the Black Armor, I can die happy." Janus heard one of his fellow comrades once say to him. Almost everyone in the NCR military that wasn't a Ranger either admired them or wanted to be one of them. They were quieter than a shadow and deadlier than a Deathclaw.
"Sir? Permission to ask you something?" Janus asked.
The Ranger didn't even look at him and continued walking. "Permission granted." He said.
"Well sir… I'd like to know something. How did you join the NCR Rangers?"
The Ranger thought for a moment. He didn't ask or sign up. Becoming a Ranger had been an honor… but still. "You don't join," he replied, "you are selected."
Janus nodded in acknowledgment. "I see. How are the selections done?"
"Only soldiers that have shown great promise are chosen. After that, they are brought in for special training. Only a fifth ever complete it. It's training from hell."
Janus could tell that intense training was obvious. Such expertise on the battlefield wasn't something that came naturally.
The Ranger suddenly stopped and turned around. "Why do you ask Corporal? You looking to become a Ranger too?" he asked.
"Sir, I would be lying if I told you that I didn't."
"The skills and equipment of a Ranger is not a handout. You'll sweat blood before you've earned it."
"I know that sir, but it's just wishful thinking." Janus marveled at the Ranger's combat armor again. It was one of the most valuable items in the entire republic. "I mean who wouldn't want to be a Ranger? You're so good at what you do."
"Do you even know what it is that we do? Shooting the Legion and raiders isn't even half of it."
"What we do is whatever is necessary to protect the New California Republic. Whatever that means." The Ranger thought of the more secretive missions he was assigned before. Shooting a mother and her child because she refused to cooperate, using inhuman torture methods to get what he needed, committing many acts that would be considered heartless. While he sometimes thought about them, he never felt any guilt. He was trained to not feel anything that could get in the way or slow him down. "We don't only carry out difficult missions, we carry out what lesser soldiers don't have the stomach for."
Janus however didn't understand what the Ranger was hinting at. "Well maybe I'm not tough enough yet, but wouldn't I become as strong as you are if I survived the same training you undertook?"
"If you could handle it, yes. But can you? I doubt it."
"Why so skeptical sir? I'm sure I can do it if I set my mind to it."
"Hah! You're not actually being serious are you?" the Ranger began to laugh, "You're not Ranger material. I can tell that about you at a glance."
"Well how am I any different from you before you went through your 'superior training'?"
"Here's one, I could see the difference between wishful thinking and realism."
"But that doesn't mean that I can't try."
"You would be wasting the NCR's time and resources if you tried."
"But consider the payoff, a new Ranger being added to the military. That's worth the gamble isn't it?"
"Not when the chances of success is slim to none. You're much too soft."
"And were you any different, sir?"
"Yes, I was very different. Some people are just born unfit to be a Ranger." The Ranger said beneath his helmet, "You don't have what it takes, and you never will."
"And how would you know that? We've only been on one mission together!" Janus yelled. This was starting to become a heated argument. "I know I messed up earlier, but I'm just a rookie. You were one too at one time. Even the best soldiers of the NCR all were once recruits."
The Ranger brought out his .44 Magnum Revolver into his right hand and pointed it right at Janus. "You're really beginning to piss me off, Corporal."
"Sir?" Janus took a step back, "what are you doing?"
"I can hardly stand you. The incompetence you've shown in combat earlier, your over-optimism, and now your persistence to keep exasperating me."
"Just forget what I said earlier! I won't bring it up ever again."
"I know you won't." The Ranger cocked his revolver.
"We're on the same side! You can't just shoot me!"
"And why can't I do this Corporal? You're a nameless nobody out in the middle of the Mojave wasteland. No one is going to miss you, and no one is going to wonder what happened to you. I could just say you were killed by one of the Legionaries that ambushed us. No one would ever know what really happened to you."
Janus began to panic. He was really going to die. "Don't do this sir! I'm not a hostile!"
"You're begging pathetically? Just a moment ago you said you could become a Ranger if you set your mind to it. Where did that confidence of yours run off to?"
"I never said I was as tough as you, I just said that I wanted to be. Ranger training might be able to do exactly that."
"So you think that the training would just magically change you? You're so hopelessly obstinate. The NCR would be better off without you."
Janus fell backwards on his butt and began to crawl backwards. Between the large cocked revolver, it being aimed at him, and the itchy finger on the trigger, he began to feel himself loosing his mind. He didn't want to die out in the middle of nowhere and be completely forgotten. "You're not really going to shoot me are you? Sir!" He felt his eyes begin to water.
"Sure I am. I can kill you and still sleep like a baby tonight." The Ranger said in his deep voice, "I should know, I've killed plenty of innocents and average-Joes without caring. It comes with being a Ranger." He pulled the trigger, and a loud gunshot blast echoed across the wasteland.
Janus had his eyes closed, waiting for his head to be blown off. For some reason, it never happened. He opened his eyes and saw the Ranger staring at him with a smoking gun. The bullet had passed next to Janus' left ear, barley missing him.
"You see? You can't handle it." The Ranger spoke softly as he put his revolver away.
Janus suddenly realized what had just happened. The Ranger wasn't planning on killing him. This was some sort of test, and he had failed it. He had not only panicked, he had even cried a little. "So, I guess you wanted to prove me wrong. Eh sir?"
The Ranger offered his hand forward to help him up. "You're a coward, but at least you're not stupid."
Janus took his hand and was brought back up. "That's some way to test my guts."
"You think that was bad? What I just did is a tea party compared to Ranger training. You wouldn't last a second if you can't handle a gun being pointed at your face." The Ranger turned around and continued heading back to Camp Golf.
Janus felt temped to say 'wait up sir', but decided to follow him without a word. One thing he learned on this patrol is to never piss off a Ranger.
"Don't get me wrong Corporal," the Ranger said without looking at him, "You're a good soldier, and you keep the NCR's interests in mind. That doesn't mean you'll ever be a Ranger though."
Janus nodded. He wasn't quite sure if he wanted to be a Ranger anymore. Sure, everyone in the NCR military wanted to be strong and get the nice equipment Rangers had, but it wasn't as simple as having a wish granted. When people thought of becoming a Ranger, all they kept in mind was the benefits that it gave, and not the work that goes into earning it.
"Listen to me Henry," The Ranger said, calling by his first name rather than his last name or rank, "some things are not meant for everyone. Not anyone can become a ranger, pilot, artist, singer, or chef. It doesn't matter how determined one may be. Everyone is born differently, and we just have to accept that."
"So I'll never become a good Ranger merely because I wasn't born right?" Janus asked in repulsion.
"You weren't raised right. You're not the ruthless killer that the profession requires. Instead you are a good man, something that I cannot say for myself."
"If not a Ranger, what do you suggest I strive to become?"
"Just look for something you're good at. It may even take a few tries, but you'll find it."
Janus thought about what he was good at. While he often chickened out during combat, he was good at offering tactical advice and keeping papers organized. "Maybe I could try being a tactical planner or a 'pencil pusher' at Camp Golf's office?"
"There's no harm in trying that." The Ranger noticed they were getting close to their destination. "I remember reading about some dictator named Adolf Hitler in a pre-war history book. He only made the rank of Corporal in his country's military and was rejected multiple times from an art school. But when he discovered his magnificent charisma, he captivated the hearts and minds of his entire country and became the supreme ruler, or so I've read."
"I don't know much about Hitler, but I've heard he's a horrible person." Janus said. Unlike before the nuclear war, people today were not well educated about the world's history. People that had never heard of the World War II major figures outnumbered those that did. "I'm not sure if I like being compared to an evil dictator…"
"Yeah, he's not exactly someone to look up to." The Ranger laughed at his terrible example. "You see? I just showed you something I suck at."
"And you'll probably never be any good at it, no matter how determined you might be to improve."
"Indeed, but at least I know that I suck at it." The Ranger took a breath. "Back on the serious note, the point I was trying to make is that you need to find out what you're good at."
"And everyone is good at something. Right sir?"
"Correct. Even members of Caesar's Legion aren't useless. They're great things to shoot at."
Janus snickered. The joke wasn't funny, but hearing it from a Ranger was what made the remark amusing. "You suck at telling jokes too."
The Ranger turned around glared at him.
"I mean you suck at telling jokes too, SIR!"
As soon as they made it back to Camp Golf, the cafeteria was the first place Janus ran off to. He was so tired and hungry from being out in the wasteland for 4 days straight. The Ranger however seemed to disappear when they had entered the camp. Janus never saw him again. He never even learned what his name was.
I was playing Fallout: New Vegas one day and this whole story popped up in my head. I only took two hours to type this up while it was fresh in my mind, so I'll admit it wasn't one of the better plots I've made. Still, it's something.