The Next Piece is a main story mission in Krom's Canyon to retrieve the Vault key fragment from Krom and hand over it to Tannis.
- "You want my alien doo-dad? It was stolen from me by one tough-ass bandit, a bastard by the name of Krom. If you're stupid enough to take him on, you'll find him northeast, in Krom's Canyon. Just follow the river north and past Flood Lock. If you get it back from him, you and that Tannis woman do whatever you want with it. I'm done with it."
- Retrieve Vault Key from Krom and return to Tannis
- Kill Krom
- Collect his Vault Key Piece
Krom's Canyon is located at the northern end of Rust Commons East just past the flood lock (point number one on map above). There is a switch at the flood lock that opens the gate allowing a vehicle to pass. This also awakens some spiderants in the riverbed.
The connection to Krom's Canyon is heavily guarded by bandits, including two automated turrets and another manned one. The two automated turrets can be eliminated from the flood lock with long range attacks and the distance is too far for them to retaliate.
Inside the canyon, the left fork at the beginning leads to Krom along the bottom ground level. Alternatively, upon entering, the stairs and catwalk to the right of the vending machines lead to a higher path to Krom's area of the canyon through a series of elevated encampments.
Krom's presence in the final area of the canyon is announced by an introductory cutscene, and Krom's cannonfire can reach most of the area beyond this point (number two on map above) other than obvious points behind cover.
One can stay back at the entrance to Krom's area and shoot at him from a great distance without taking much damage from his machine gun. The problem is that he also fires rockets which can drain a character's shields, and pressure a retreat for cover, during which time his health replenishes.
Long-range attacks from the entrance to the area can eliminate Krom quickly, although players must still reach Krom's position to collect the Vault key piece. If killing Krom is not a viable option (in cases where the players or characters are better suited to short-range fighting), then they must fight their way up the narrow bridges while coming under fire from the turret. In this case it is highly recommended to stay close to cover and stay away from unexploded barrels. Bandits will harass from various angles during the ascent.
The Soldier class can deploy their Scorpio turret as a distraction. Krom will focus his fire on the turret while attackers run up to his back and acquire the Vault key fragment freely.
- "This artifact fits together with the one you brought me earlier, like puzzle pieces. I've seen other Eridian artifacts that worked like this. Apparently, those aliens really liked puzzles. Once all of the pieces are brought together, the object activates. You should find more pieces like this one, so we can put them together. Together."
- Occasionally, destroying Krom's turret doesn't kill him. This appears to be a bug, and thankfully he remains in a seated position, as if the turret still existed, unable to attack. Simply continue firing at him until he's dead to get credit for the mission.
- Although Crazy Earl offers this mission, the key fragment is taken to Tannis for the reward.