In Fallout: DUST, there is only one objective: escape the Mojave Wasteland.
The problem is that you have no quest markers. You actually have to find your own way out of the Mojave and to safety, using information you find scattered about the wastes.
Keep your eyes peeled, and don’t miss any details. Furthermore, use common sense. Think about vanilla New Vegas and the locations within it. Don’t be afraid to explore on a hunch. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING.
Beyond this point are spoilers to the escape routes and how to access them. If you want to discover all the escapes yourself, DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT.
Option #1: Airplane!
This is the most obscure of the endings to DUST, and arguably the least rewarding. Many areas of the Mojave have aircraft, but only two can be made operational.
Go to Searchlight Airport in the south. Avoid Fort Searchlight itself, as there is a heavy Brotherhood of Steel presence there, and they will shoot on sight. There is a large population of radscorpions on the tarmac. Avoid or kill them, then make your way to the intact plane on the runway.
At the plane, you will find a deceased Brotherhood Scribe who attempted to repair the aircraft. Next to the plane, you will find a workbench with a clipboard on it. This clipboard is, in fact, a List of Materials. Picking up the list will add the Airplane Parts recipe to the workbench recipes.
Requirements for the parts are as follows:
- 75 Repair skill
- 1 Conductor
- 48 Flamer Fuel
- 6 Scrap Electronics
- 8 Scrap Metal
- 2 Sensor Modules
Once these requirements are met, you will be able to craft the Airplane Parts at any workbench. Once you have the parts, interact with the fuselage on the plane, just behind the cockpit. You can then repair the plane and flee to Camp Adytum in California. Walk down the street, and the game will end with you having found safety.
Alternatively, there is one more airplane near Jean Sky Diving. While you have to walk there, there are no radscorpions nearby (there are hostile survivors, some centaurs, and sometimes a tunneler or two).
Option #2: Big Mountain Research Center
The objective in DUST is to escape the Mojave. So why not try Big MT? It can’t be any worse, right? The only problem is that the Midnight Science Fiction Feature ended 20 years ago. Getting into the Big Empty won’t be so easy this time.
Follow the train tracks south of Burned Bulls Camp until you reach the train tunnel. The tunnel will require a hefty amount of Lockpicking skill to open. Alternatively, there is another entrance hidden inside the old Legion Safehouse (which is also one of the starting locations) if you don't have 50 lockpick. Once inside, you find a pile of debris to the left of a crashed train car. Removing this debris will require 5 bricks of C4 (no detonator required).
In vanilla New Vegas, C4 charges are rather hard to come by. In DUST, this is worsened tenfold, but there are ways to obtain 5 charges. The lost-and-confused Vendortron may have charges in stock, albeit for exorbitant prices. The caves near Guardian Peak house a rather substantial amount of C4, sometimes all 5 charges. Other caves can also contain plastic explosives within, with the caves on the trail to Jacobstown being a good place to start. Vault 19 should, in theory, have charges scattered around if you know where to look. Finally, you will be able to loot C4 off of corpses at higher levels. Return to the train tunnel south of the Burned Bulls Camp once you have all 5 bricks of C4.
Upon interacting with the pile of debris, you will be given a pop-up allowing you to remove the rubble. Traveling through the tunnel will take you to Big MT. However, it has fallen apart since the Courier visited. The Sink artificial personality has flooded most of the crater in an attempt to scrub it clean. If that wasn’t enough, Tech Scavengers are warring with the Brotherhood of Steel over control of the crater’s technologies.
There are two routes to safety, both of which require obtaining a hand-held device named "Tampered Transportalponder":
- For the first one, you must make your way to what was once The Cuckoo’s Nest but is now a shrine to the Toaster. Enter the cave there, and prepare to die. In a rather cruel move, Naugrim placed a toaster mine directly at the entrance to the cave, which will likely kill any Survivor who enters. Use whatever means necessary to avoid this (for example running in a straight line away from the entry right after entering) and the many other mines dotting the cave. On a pedestal, there is the Tampered Transportalponder. Take the Transportalponder and find a location outdoors and outside of combat.
- The second one uses a second copy of Transportalponder available as loot. To get it, either go on foot to Little Yangzte or try to leave the map (unlike in the vanilla game, you will be teleported near the camp). Once you do, you will be attacked by a group of tech scavengers. One of them, namely one wielding a Shishkebab, will have the device you need.
Using the Transportalponder will teleport you to a seemingly random canyon. Walking forward, you will notice a slope to the left. Climb it, then follow the walkway down to the tunnel. Trying to jump down directly from the ledge, instead of using the walkway beginning at the top of the slope will almost certainly result in you breaking your neck.
At the other end of the tunnel is Grand Staircase and safety.
Option #3: Get to the Choppa!
Most survivors who pass near the now barricaded entrance to Camp McCarran likely notice the prominent Vertibird parked on a landing pad within the confines of McCarran’s walls. There is also graffiti nearby pointing to the Vertibird encouraging readers to “RUN. GET OUT OF HERE.” If it wasn’t obvious by this point, the next escape plan involves the Vertibird in Camp McCarran. However, there is a slight problem: the entrance, as was stated, is barricaded off. Have faith, for hope, is not lost. There is another way to reach McCarran.
But what is this method of entering McCarran? The solution lies in the McCarran-LVB monorail system, which is, amazingly, still operational. The hard part is reaching the monorail.
To reach the monorail, you must first reach the ruins of the New Vegas Strip. This can be done in any of four ways:
- The first method of entering the Strip requires opening a Hard locked door on the exterior wall of the Strip. This door leads to the interior of the Tops casino. WARNING: this method is a one-way trip. There is a drop-off from one of the elevator shafts in the Tops that cannot be climbed back up.
- The second option necessitates entering the Strip through Freeside. Freeside is plagued with an abundance of feral ghouls and the occasional trigger-happy survivor. If that wasn’t enough, the gate to the Strip is locked and requires a key. The key can be found on one of the NCR Rangers indoors at Camp Golf. Raiding Camp Golf is an exceptionally difficult task, as it has an abundance of NCR troopers and Rangers.
- The third option is the hardest and the most dangerous one. You need to enter the Sewers (you should make a manual save before you do) and find a master key. The key is located in The Thorn, right under The Monument. Then, you need to head to the part of the Sewers connected to North Vegas. There is a ladder that leads to the Strip. This way is not a good one, as the room with a locked ladder is heavily irradiated (over 30 rads/sec) and when you enter the Strip, you're in the middle of the poisoned streets full of enemies, plus you need to go through the Sewers. There is another way to the Strip which is also in the Sewers but you need a special key card (you can get it by killing one of the scientists at Camp Golf). It's a hidden door that leads to The Lucky 38.
- Finally, the last option to enter the Strip requires that the player character be insane. Once you are insane, get attacked by a hallucination and enter a fugue state. Explore the room you are taken to carefully. There is a trapdoor that takes the player to the Gomorrah suites.
If one of the two latter options is taken, you must enter the middle section of the Strip via a route connecting the Gomorrah cashier’s room with the Tops. This is because a truck crashed into the gate leading from the first to the middle section. There is also a path into the Strip via the sewers, but this option is not recommended. The sewers are arguably the most dangerous area in Dust and should be avoided.
Next, reach the NCR Embassy on the Strip. Eliminate the occupants. One of the NCR members inside will have a key to the monorail. Take the key, enter the monorail, and go to Camp McCarran.
Inside McCarran, there is an absurd number of ghouls and NCR troopers. Avoid them (or kill them, if you’re some kind of suicidal maniac), and run for the rear of the Camp. Go through the main building for the fastest results. Run to the location climb the ladder, and go up to the Vertibird. You will be given a prompt asking whether to stay or go. Obviously, just go (If you decide to stay, you get about 2000 exp, but you can't change your mind later). There’s no point in backtracking. You then enable the Vertibird’s autopilot. Sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Unfortunately, you have not won. Not yet, at least. The Vertibird’s autopilot lead to skies filled with the Cloud. The Cloud gunks up the intakes, and the chopper crashes in the last place you’d want to end up: the Sierra Madre.
Run to the Villa Fountain. Avoid/kill ghost people. Loot the Father (a now-deceased Elijah) for his key. Backtrack to the crash site, and keep going until you find a sewer grate the key can unlock. Go to the bottom of the sewers, to a ladder. This ladder leads to safety in the form of Camp Adytum.
Option #4: Nightmare in Zion Canyon
Not into flying or swimming?
Then Zion National Park is your route. Pick up a shovel, go to the Northern Passage, dig up the passage gate key, also grab the map, enter the passage, kill an old friend, open the gate and you'll be met with an almost impenetrable greenish fog, NCR expeditionary forces, Spore Carriers, and the Wendigo.
Good thing you read the Tactical Considerations in the Zion National Park article because otherwise, you might have come without something to scare Wendy off and be shred to pieces during your first meeting. Because killing that monstrosity is not an option.
Sadly, as most of Zion, Pine Creek tunnel is not only guarded by hordes of Spore Carriers (and of course Wendy popping in to say hello and try to murder you occasionally), but in addition also requires a key to be accessed.
Make your way to the Sorrows Camp in The Narrows up north, and fetch the Pine Creek tunnel key off one of the NCR expedition members in White Bird's Cave. Incidentally, this trooper will also carry the Auto-Materiel Rifle, but since you're in a hurry and likely not drowning in vast amounts of .50MG, you'll probably have to skip it. Picking up A Light
Cheating Shining in Darkness instead is an option.
Now, go to Pine Creek tunnel. Spore Carriers and other abominations can follow you into Pine Creek Tunnel, which, in addition to the vast amount of booby traps present in the tunnel, will only add to the difficulty of your escape if not dealt with.
Take the door to the left at the end of the tunnel, and the next door will take you to The Long Dark.
Once inside The Long Dark, you'll notice a door labeled "Authorized Personnel Only", to be opened with a key. That's your exit to safety - now you need the key, which is in the Overseers Office of Vault 74 at the end of The Long Dark.
The Long Dark, just as Pine Creek tunnel, is devoid of life, but also contains some rather perfidious traps, so switch your Pip-Boy light on, and proceed with caution.
Unlike the tunnel, The Long Dark is a propper maze. Keep taking left turns (backtracking*, if you end up in front of an inaccessible door), to reach some stairs leading down.
Follow the long walkway after taking the stairs down, and enter the first accessible door to the left into a cave. The cave ends in the broken wall of the Overseers Office of Vault 74. Right in front of you, you'll now see a Filing Cabinet, half buried in rubble, marked with a white hand.
Take the key out of the cabinet (or, optionally, continue through the Vault for having a go at The Divide), and make your way back to the door you saw right after entering The Long Dark.
Unlock the door and the second one following to enjoy the safety of Grand Staircase.
*Backtracking here means, to turn your back to the inaccessible or dead end door, and continue taking left turns from there.