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You dispatched President Kimball with real skill. Right under their noses, too - what a humiliation.Caesar

Arizona Killer is a main quest in Fallout: New Vegas and an achievement/trophy for all platforms.

Synopsis

Aaron Kimball, President of the New California Republic, is making a visit to Hoover Dam to improve morale among his troops in the Mojave. His assassination would devastate NCR forces and inspire Caesar's armies.

Quick walkthrough

Main Quest: Arizona Killer
Rendezvous with Cato Hostilius.
Infilitrate Hoover Dam and wait for the President to arrive.
Assassinate President Kimball.
Reward: Legion fame
Leads to: Veni, Vidi, Vici

Detailed walkthrough

After receiving instructions from Caesar (or Lucius, if Caesar is dead), the Courier must meet Cato Hostilius, camped northwest of Ranger Station Delta. Cato provides a set of NCR armor and suggests planting a bomb on the Bear Force One, which he will give to the Courier after passing a speech check (50 Explosives). Afterwards, Cato will make his way to Hoover Dam and blend into the crowd of spectators.

The entire area of the Dam is heavily guarded by combined patrols of NCR troopers and Rangers, who can see through faction disguises. The NCR will always be hostile when the disguise is discovered due to the failure of Don't Tread on the Bear! The Courier has a limited time to make some preparations before talking to Cato again in the crowd and telling him that they are ready. Waiting for too long (well over an hour of real time), leaving the location before completing the assassination, killing any ranger atop or in the immediate area of the visitor center (even quietly, this includes the trooper Jensen) or not arriving at the dam at all will fail the quest.

Immediately after Cato is told the Courier is ready, the Bear Force One will arrive and land on top of the visitor center. President Kimball will make his way to the stage to deliver a speech. If there is any suspicion that an assassination attempt is imminent, the Rangers will interrupt and hurry the President back to the Vertibird or a secured location beneath the helipad if the aircraft is inoperable. Otherwise, after the speech ends, the President and his security detail will simply leave. The President's death completes the quest, and if he successfully leaves the area, the Courier will must report failure back to Caesar. If Colonel Moore has been killed at any point prior to starting this quest, it will fail immediately after being activated.

Note: Drawing a weapon while near the visitor center and after the president has arrived will result in the President and NCR reacting as if he had come under attack, even if the Courier is hidden and has not attacked. However, the NCR will not turn hostile unless they see through the Courier's disguise.

Assassination

The Courier can use any normal combat methods to kill Kimball. Alerting the crowd prior to Bear Force One appearing will prevent the Vertibird from entering the area, and the Courier will not be able to complete the assassination. Once the Vertibird is visible in the sky, it will maintain a course to the landing pad on the Dam, even if directly fired upon. If combat has been initiated prior to landing, Bear Force One will attempt to take off immediately after landing. At any point, Bear Force One can be shot down directly by the Courier. Otherwise, Kimball will exit the aircraft and proceed to the stage for his speech.

In addition to open hostilities, stealth is a viable option to complete the quest. The use of stealth boys or silenced weapons can be used to prevent detection. With an active stealth boy, the crowd will not react to any weapons being drawn in close proximity to the stage. Vantage points such as the large concrete tower north of the stage (the same tower used by the Legion assassin during You'll Know It When It Happens) are beyond the alert range for weapons being drawn, allowing the Courier to take a sniper's position.

Before the quest is assigned, traps such as C-4 plastic explosives can be placed anywhere in the area. The explosives will persist even after the quest has been assigned and after meeting with Cato triggers the scene changes for Kimball's arrival. If landmines were used, the detonation will alert the crowd, even if you were properly disguised.

Skill check

In addition to the ability to assassinate Kimball using normal combat methods, there are several optional actions tied to specific skills.

Explosives
  • Plant a bomb on the Vertibird while it's on the helipad.
    • Cato will provide the explosive necessary to blow up the Vertibird when it takes off, if the Courier passes an Explosives skill check of 50; it can also be pickpocketed from him. Accessing the helipad requires bypassing Jensen through stealth, persuade him with a Speech skill check of 50, or dressing as an NCR engineer (one is in the visitor center). Once planted, the bomb will explode when the Vertibird takes off.
  • Plant C-4 in Jeremy Watson's helmet.
    • Jeremy Watson is an NCR trooper who is going to be decorated by Kimball. He is missing his helmet, which is on a table next to the stairs below the visitor center. Planting C-4 in the helmet requires an Explosives skill of 50 and a brick of C-4. Watson can then be pointed towards his missing helmet. When he retrieves it, he becomes a walking bomb that can be detonated when the President turns to decorate him. You will have to wait about 2 minutes into the President's speech.
      • Even if the Courier cannot pass the explosives skill check, C-4 can be directly placed into Watson's inventory via reverse pickpocketing.
Repair
  • Rig the anti-aircraft gun to explode.
    • This is done using the console at the top of the exterior staircase (50 Repair), just east of the visitor center doors (next to a ham radio). The gun will explode just before Kimball calls up Jeremy Watson.
Science
  • Sabotage Bear Force One's flight computer.
    • This is done using the computer terminal inside the visitor center (50 Science); the Vertibird does not have to be on the helipad. When the Vertibird lands the program will be uploaded automatically. The Vertibird will crash into the Hoover Dam as a result.
  • Program the anti-aircraft gun to shoot down the Vertibird.
    • This is done using the console at the top of the exterior staircase (50 Science), just east of the visitor center door (next to a ham radio). The gun will spin around and take out the aircraft before it gets over the dam.
    • This is the quickest method of assassination, because it does not require Bear Force One to land. The gun activating does not turn the NCR hostile.

Quest stages

StageStatusDescription
10 Rendezvous with Cato Hostilius.
15 Report to Cato when you are prepared.
20Quest finishedKill President Kimball.

Notes

  • Any method that involves destroying the Vertibird with Kimball aboard, employs explosives or high impact projectiles (Gauss rifles for example) runs the risk of making President Kimball's suit and the Meat of Champions perk unobtainable due to the inaccessible or lost corpse.
  • Destroying the Vertibird during his speech causes Kimball to head to a safe room inside the dam.
  • During Arizona Killer, the Legion sends Cato and the Courier to perform the assassination. During the NCR's version of the quest, You'll Know It When It Happens, the Legion sends three assassins. Each of the three methods of assassination the Courier must thwart as an ally of the NCR, are available as means of assassination during this quest: placing a bomb on Bear Force One, sniping Kimball from the tower behind the stage, and bum rushing him as a member of the crowd.
  • For the Gun Runners' Arsenal challenge Sic Semper Tyrannis, a well-placed shot from the Hunting revolver can complete the challenge alongside the benefits of killing Kimball from a distance.
  • If the quest was failed by not attacking Kimball or letting him get away, Caesar will respond furiously when reporting back to him. He will ask why they didn't attack him or how did they fuck it up. Depending on the response he will say that if not for their previous service he would have them crucified and that he will overlook the error, moving on to give Veni, Vidi, Vici. If the Courier responds that they changed their mind, Caesar will either warn the Courier about disobedience or turn hostile.
    • If Lucius gave the quest instead, he will be more lenient and mention that it is unfortunate they weren't able to take advantage of the opportunity to kill him.

Behind the scenes

  • A majority of this quest was implemented by Charles Staples.[1]
  • The title is a reference to the song "The Arizona Killer", popularized in the 2007 film 3:10 to Yuma. The song was written by Katie Lee who adapted it from an older 1942 song "The Tennessee Killer".[2][3]

Bugs

  • Icon ps3.png If the Courier travels to the Fort, kills Caesar/Lucius and then returns to the Dam, President Kimball will be dead and characters neutral to the NCR will treat him as an assassin. [verified]
  • Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png Cato can spawn very close to the cazador nest, putting him in danger of death from the moment the quest begins. To avoid this, fast-travel to the area before taking the quest, clear out all the cazadores, and then go to the Fort to receive the quest. [verified]
  • Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png If the Courier visits the Dam after receiving the quest but before making contact with Cato, the quest will automatically fail when he leaves the Dam area. If the Courier waits at the Dam without having met Cato, the President will never appear. [verified]
  • Icon pc.png Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png Sometimes the quest will fail immediately once started, forcing the Courier to report failure to Caesar. This usually happens if a specific male engineer stationed at the Dam has been killed prior to starting the quest, as he is a disguised Legion soldier. The death of this engineer sets a number of variables which set the NCR trooper guarding Kimball on alert, thus automatically failing the quest once it is taken. [verified]
  • Icon pc.png Occasionally, Kimball's Vertibird never arrives at the Dam, making this quest impossible to complete without the use of console commands. Can occur when reloading saves during the mission.[verified]

References

Main quests
Act 1Ain't That a Kick in the Head · Back in the Saddle · By a Campfire on the Trail · They Went That-a-Way · Ring-a-Ding-Ding!
Act 2Wild Card (Wild Card: Ace in the Hole, Change in Management, You and What Army?, Side Bets, Finishing Touches) · The House Always Wins (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII) · Render Unto Caesar · Et Tumor, Brute? · Things That Go Boom · Kings' Gambit · For the Republic, Part 2 · You'll Know It When It Happens/Arizona Killer
Act 3No Gods, No Masters · All or Nothing · Veni, Vidi, Vici · Eureka!
Side quests
New California RepublicAnywhere I Wander · Back in Your Own Backyard · Bitter Springs Infirmary Blues · Boulder City Showdown · Can You Find it in Your Heart? · Climb Ev'ry Mountain · Don't Tread on the Bear! · Emergency Radio · Eye for an Eye · Flags of Our Foul-Ups · Hard Luck Blues · I Don't Hurt Anymore · I Put a Spell on You · Keep Your Eyes on the Prize · Medical Mystery · No, Not Much · Pressing Matters · Restoring Hope · Return to Sender · That Lucky Old Sun · The White Wash · There Stands the Grass · Three-Card Bounty · We Will All Go Together · You Can Depend on Me
Caesar's LegionBeware the Wrath of Caesar! · Caesar's Favor · Caesar's Foe · Caesar's Hire · Cold, Cold Heart · I Hear You Knocking · The Finger of Suspicion · We Are Legion
The StripBeyond the Beef · Bye Bye Love · Classic Inspiration · How Little We Know · Pheeble Will · Talent Pool · The House Has Gone Bust! · The Moon Comes Over the Tower
Freeside & Outer VegasBirds of a Feather · Bleed Me Dry · Debt Collector · G.I. Blues · High Times · Someone to Watch Over Me · The Coyotes · Wang Dang Atomic Tango
BoomersAnt Misbehavin' · Sunshine Boogie · Volare! · Young Hearts
Great KhansAba Daba Honeymoon · Cry Me a River · Don't Make a Beggar of Me · Oh My Papa
Powder GangBooted · I Fought the Law · Run Goodsprings Run · Why Can't We Be Friends?
Brotherhood of SteelEyesight to the Blind · Still in the Dark · Tend to Your Business
OtherCome Fly With Me · Crazy, Crazy, Crazy · Ghost Town Gunfight · Guess Who I Saw Today · Left My Heart · My Kind of Town · The Legend of the Star and A Valuable Lesson · Unfriendly Persuasion · Wheel of Fortune
Companion questsED-E My Love · For Auld Lang Syne · Heartache by the Number · I Could Make You Care · I Forgot to Remember to Forget · Nothin' But a Hound Dog · One for My Baby
Unmarked questsA Bit of Slap and Tickle · A Final Plan for Esteban · Access Powers · All Fired Up! · An Ear to the Ground · Andy and Charlie · Arachnophobia · Arizona Scavenger · Barton the Fink · Bear Necessities · Big Winner (Atomic Wrangler, The Gomorrah, The Tops, Ultra-Luxe, Vikki & Vance) · Bounty Killer (I, II) · Brotherhood Bond (I, II) · Caching in at the Cove · Cajoling a Cudgel · Claws Mended · Claws Out · Dealing with Contreras · Defacing the Humble Stone · Democracy Inaction · Don't Poke at the Bear! · Eddie's Emissary · Exhumin' Nature · Fight Night · Flogging a Dead Corpse · Friend of the Followers · Gland for Some Home Cooking · Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger · Hat's Entertainment · Help for Halford · Hidden Valley computer virus · Highway to the Danger Zone (I, II) · Honorary Rocketeer · I Love Bananas · Iron and Stealing · Keith's Caravan Charade · Laurifer Gladiator · Lenk's Bad Debts · Lily and Leo · Long-Term Care · Malleable Mini Boomer Minds · Maud's Muggers · Meeting an Equal · Missing a Few Missiles · Most Wanted · Not Worth a Hill of Corn and Beans · Old School Ghoul · A Pair of Dead Desperados (I, II) · Papers, Please · Pistol Packing · Playing on the Old Joana · Poor Meat Never Makes Good Soup · Powder to the People · Power to the People · Razzle Dazzle! · Reach for the Sky, Mister! · Rest and Resupply · Ringo's Caravan Rules · Rotface's Loose Lips · Saving (or Savaging) Sergeant Teddy · The Screams of Brahmin · Silus Treatment · Short-Term Treatment · Smooth-Talking Criminal · The Star Showdown · Strategic Nuclear Moose · Straus Calls · Strip Search · Suits You, Sarah · Tags of Our Fallen · A Team of Moronic Mercenaries · Thought for the Day · Tourist Traipse · Trudy's Radio Repair · A Trusted Aide · Useless Baubles or Fancy Trinkets? · We Must Stop Beating Like This · We Must Stop Meeting Like This · Wind-Brahmin Wrangler · You Gotta Break Out a Few Eggs · You Make Me Feel Like a Woman
Add-on quests
Dead MoneySierra Madre Grand Opening! · Find Collars (8: "Dog", 12: Christine, 14: Dean Domino) · Fires in the Sky · Strike Up the Band · Mixed Signals · Trigger the Gala Event · Put the Beast Down · Last Luxuries · Curtain Call at the Tampico · Heist of the Centuries · Big Winner, Sierra Madre
Honest HeartsA Family Affair · Arrival at Zion · Bighorners of the Eastern Virgin · Chaos in Zion · Civilized Man's Burden · Crush the White Legs · Deliverer of Sorrows  · Departing Paradise · Flight from Zion · Gathering Storms · Gone Fishin' · Happy Trails Expedition · Prisoners of War · Retake the Bridge · River Monsters · Rite of Passage · Roadside Attraction · Sanctity of the Dead · The Advance Scouts  · The Treacherous Road · The Grand Staircase · Tourist Trap
Old World BluesAll My Friends Have Off Switches · A Brain's Best Friend · Coming Out of Her Shell · Field Research · He Came... And Went · Influencing People · Midnight Science Fiction Feature! · Old World Blues · On the Same Wavelength · Picking Your Brains · Project X-13 · Sonic Emitter Upgrade · Welcome to the Big Empty · What's in a Name? · When Visitors Attack! · X-2: Strange Transmissions! · X-8 Data Retrieval Test · X-8: High School Horror! · X-13: Attack of the Infiltrator!
Lonesome RoadThe Reunion · The Silo · The Job · The Launch · The Tunnelers · The Divide · The Courier · The End · The Apocalypse
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