Hidden Valley computer virus
Hidden Valley computer virus
Yeah, some Pre-War jackass with too much time on his hands apparently decided to inflict his misery on those around him.”— Ibsen
The Brotherhood of Steel found a holodisk while searching the wastes for technology. When it was put onto the system, it infected their database terminals with a virus. The virus was originally put on a holodisk by "some pre-War jackass with nothing better to do", as said by the annoyed Scribe Ibsen. The computer virus infected a few computers in the bunker, and the Courier is asked by Ibsen to 'partition' the virus for Ibsen.
The Courier must find the virus on three terminals in 60 seconds to wipe it from the system. To do so, quickly enter each terminal and choose the only option you can. Then, if the text that shows up seems like a random string of letters and numbers, proceed to the next terminal. If you get a taunting message on the second screen, choose the option to isolate the virus. The infected terminals are almost always in a row or close together in a group. The virus usually has one per section (such as one in the middle). If you do not get all three terminals in the time limit, you will have to speak with Ibsen again. You will get a new 60 second time limit and the terminals that the virus has infected will randomize.
If you have a Science skill of 70, you can suggest partitioning the terminals when the virus jumps to it, giving read only access to the kernel administrator. This isolates the virus on that terminal permanently and leaves you with one fewer terminal to find should you fail.
The virus can be partitioned easily by saving immediately after Ibsen tells you it has jumped and after finding and isolating the virus. The terminals the virus jumped to will be consistent when you re-load the saved game.
Behind the scenes
The behavior of the virus is similar to the world's first computer virus "creeper" created in 1971. The first real computer virus was released by an employee of a company working on building ARPANET, the Internet's precursor. Creeper looks for a machine on the network, transfers to it, displays the message "I'm the creeper, catch me if you can!" and starts over.
Prior to version 18.104.22.1684 (update 3), the quest can get stuck into a state where it's rendered impossible to complete after using the Science (70) option, and isolating the virus on 3 consoles by partitioning over multiple runs. If the problem was originally triggered in an older version, the update won't make the quest completable, and the problem should be fixed by other means: loading an earlier savegame, using the G.E.C.K. or a mod.
- a standalone mod, so it can simply be activated through the launcher. It has also been incorporated in the Community Bugfix Compilation Patch. Fix: The G.E.C.K. fix below has been made into
- Fix: In the G.E.C.K., find the entry HVHuntingVirusScript. Open it and change the line "if VirusTimer > 0 && NumberFixed==3" (without the quotes) to "if VirusTimer > 0 && NumberFixed >= 3" (again, without the quotes). Save the file to your Fallout: New Vegas/Data folder, and load it as you would any mod/DLC from the launcher. Talk to Ibsen to start the virus count, and check one of the already partitioned terminals. Ibsen will then announce the virus is purged, and the terminals will work.
- Although it may be a glitch, it could be considered a rapid solution to purging the virus. If you find a computer with the virus on it, rapidly isolating it three times will result in the virus being purged. Ibsen will say the virus had gone and you will gain access to information stored in the database.
After several tries a scenario arose where all three terminals had been found and isolated. This however did not cause Ibsen to react, and merely stated the virus had jumped again a few seconds later. The next try was confusingly won after only two terminals had been isolated. The save exploit had not been used either.
- Possible fix: Help with the virus problem without the science check, did one round of trying to find the infected terminals, saved, brought up the science dialogue, then got all the terminals partitioned in two rounds of trying.
- When in conversation with one of Scribe Ibsen about getting rid of the bunker virus, if you use the science option the quest becomes glitched and impossible.