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True Purpose? In the Cargo Hold of Mothership Zeta, sections are devoted to housing hundreds of Buttercup toys, as well as assembly, examination, and testing areas. One of the tests appears to have involved several abducted wastelanders killing each other over who gets to ride Buttercup.
The NPC Paulson responds to many of the situations with amusing and curious dialogue, having never seen metal horses before.
Alien Captive Recording Log 21 has the NPC Sally expressing delight over seeing a Buttercup, to which her alien inquisitor seems oddly pleased.
It is possible that the aliens have been performing tests on why the Giddyup Buttercup has such a strong effect on humans, in order to understand our psyche. Another theory suggests that they may have long been using the Buttercups to influence us as part of some unknown scheme.