Forced Evolutionary Virus

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A vat full of FEV at the Mariposa Military Base, circa 2162

The Forced Evolutionary Virus, or FEV, is an artificial virus created by West Tek's NBC Division. Its ability to force changes in both the genotype and phenotype made it one of the most important mutagens in the wasteland, harnessed by different organizations and individuals for their own purposes both before and after the Great War.

The version responsible for creating regular super mutants is called FEV-II[1][2] and represents the pinnacle of pre-War research into the virus. A different, unfinished FEV strain is the source of the super mutants infesting the Capital Wasteland, intellectually inferior to their West Coast cousins. Yet another was created by the Institute to create their distinct super mutants, in the process of developing third generation synths.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Recursive growth patterns in action: a healthy human with a low radiation count has been dipped; this level of exposure to the virus causes changes to manifest within seconds of immersion

FEV is a megavirus, with a protein sheath reinforced by ionized hydrogen. It is capable of absorbing neutrons without becoming radioactive, i.e. it cannot be sterilized by radiation. In terms of functionality, FEV is a shifting-absorptive virus, copying DNA patterns much like RNA and storing these patterns in exons. These exons, combined with the FEV, are re-injected into the host cells in typical viral infectious fashion. This causes the host cells to "regenerate" their DNA with FEV's corrections that eradicated recessive genes.[3] FEV comes pre-loaded with introns of corrected DNA that eradicate recessive genes responsible for ailments and alters RNA strands for greater transmission of signals.[4] DNA altered by the virus renders the subject immune to biochemical weapons, radiation and common diseases. Cellular division rate is increased, with mitosis occurring at 115% of normal human rate. Normally non-regenerating tissue, such as neural tissue and non-somatic cells also begin to replicate, allowing for real-time regeneration.[4][2]

Changes to DNA are expressed phenotypically by recursive growth patterns integrated in the FEV and require prolonged immersion in the virus: in Mariposa this has been achieved by a twenty-four hour exposure to FEV-II in the vats, achieving a severe overdose of the virus.[5][2] In Vault 87, infection took place in sealed chambers, where an aerosolized virus was introduced. The exposure was relatively brief, compared to the Mariposa procedure.[6][7] In the Institute, exposure to their own version of the virus took place in sealed tubes, where the subject was immersed for a prolonged period of time, allowing for observation of the transformation results.[8]

A notable feature of FEV is that it partially relies upon the DNA of the individual coming in contact with it. Coupled with portions of its own recursive code, effects of exposure can be unpredictable,[3] particularly when non-humans are exposed to the virus, or multiple organisms are placed into the same vat (vide centaurs).[9]

Since FEV does not store an unaltered copy of the subject's DNA, the changes are generally impossible to revert. Theoretically, the mutation process could be reversed by infecting the subject with a secondary virus that contained a copy of the subject's original DNA and replaced the FEV's modified strands, then forced recursive growth again. However, it would also be necessary to neutralize FEV itself to prevent mutation from reoccuring. It was not possible with pre-War technology.[10] However, further research by the Institute's FEV laboratories made this possible. The only person known to have created such a cure is Dr Brian Virgil, a renegade Institute scientist who created one as a failsafe to revert his change into an Institute super mutant.[11]

Mariposa strain (FEV-II)[edit | edit source]

FEV-II super mutant
Main article: Mariposa super mutant

In humans, phenotypical changes brought upon by the Mariposa strain are substantial, accomplished by recursive growth patterns integrated in FEV. In order for the mutation to succeed, the subject needs to have a low level of radiation-induced damage[3] and should not have been exposed to the mutated FEV in the wasteland.[12][13] Subjects that do not meet these criteria will suffer a massive overhaul of the body's systems, leading to organ failure and an extremely painful death.[3][14]

The average super mutant is 3.2 meters tall and weighs in excess of 350 kilograms. Muscle accounts for over 75% of body mass, while bone and tissue are 10% each. Fat mass is exceedingly low, accounting for between 3-5% of body mass.[2] The increased muscle and body mass lead to a change in posture: FEV super mutants have a characteristic, hunched stance. The skin tone changes substantially and becomes gray with tints of light green, though as the mutant ages, it may become more green or even olive. The skin becomes much thicker and resistant to trauma, including cuts, bruises and damage from fire, acid or even gunfire.[2]

These changes are uniform across mutants, due to the aforementioned growth patterns and pre-programmed DNA loaded into the virus. This also has the effect of removing secondary sexual statistics, in favor of a pre-programmed masculine body shape. Primary sexual characteristics, such as the penis and testicles in males and the uterus and ovaries in females are unaffected.[15] However, super mutants are sterile, as FEV perceives gametes as damaged DNA and corrects them, resulting in sterility.[2][3]

Increased size of neural transmitters and synaptic receivers in the body give super mutants acute reflexes and heightened senses.[2] However, these changes are usually not accompanied by a similar rise in intellect. The FEV strain in Mariposa has a chance of modifying intelligence: while most people retain their pre-dipping intellect,[16] a majority of the remaining group experiences a loss (typically by 30%),[2] while the remaining minority of exceptional individuals may even experience an increase.[16] The loss is the result of damage caused by recursive growth and increase in brain mass, which may be accompanied by disfigurement and damage to existing neural patterns, causing loss of memory.[3]

The most stunning effect is practical immortality. Although theorized to only bring an approximate 10% increase in life expectancy,[2] the FEV strain in Mariposa results in a cell regeneration rate that exceeds cell death rate and prevents DNA degeneration through aging. The Hayflick limit is believed to have been completely overcome. This allows a super mutant to live for centuries, though if care is not given to exercising one's intellect, elder mutants may suffer from onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.[17] Death is made even more unlikely by the fact that super mutants are immune to common diseases[18] and radiation.[19]

EEP strain (FEV derivative)[edit | edit source]

FEV batch 11-111 super mutant
Main article: Vault 87 super mutant

The modified, inferior FEV strain used at Vault 87 retains the recursive growth patterns characteristic to FEV, but has a different effect, which may be also linked to how infection was performed in the labs. Testing began in 2078,[20] where test subjects were exposed a single time to FEV in isolated chambers, where the virus was deployed with an airborne aerosol. Phenotypical changes occur within three days and include increased muscle mass, changes in skeletal structure and atrophy of sexual characteristics, both primary and secondary (including body hair). At ten days, skin pigmentation becomes a mixture of yellow and green, while its thickness and resistance to radiation and other environmental hazards rapidly increases.[21][20]

However, a key problem was that the mutation did not stop. Within fourteen days of initial exposure, test subjects regress to an almost feral state, exhibiting extreme aggression at every non-mutant. While some semblance of cognition is retained, exhibited by the ability to speak, operate machines and use basic tactics in combat, super mutants of this type are typically characterized by significant mental retardation.[21] This result is most likely brought upon by the same factor as with FEV-II: Damage to existing neural patterns caused by rapid changes in the phenotype. The effects typically cause significant damage to long term memory, again, a shared characteristic.[22] The traumatic nature of the transformation is also a factor. The excruciating pain that accompanies it can and will cause the subjects to become insane.[23][20]

Another unforeseen side effect is that the unfinished virus strain codes the body for continued growth. If a super mutant of this type eludes death for prolonged periods of time, they may become a considerable threat, reaching the size of a small building.[20]

Institute strains[edit | edit source]

The super mutants of the Commonwealth are a different strain from either Vault 87 super mutants or Mariposa super mutants. While they possess the imposing musculature and resilience of the former, they have a level of intelligence on par with the dumber examples of the latter. They are capable of following a chain of command, erecting fortifications,[24] and even setting up traps and ambushes - such as at Trinity Tower, where Fist deliberately used Rex Goodman as bait to lure humans and weed out the weak super mutants among his host. They are also capable of speaking like normal humans, unlike their practically feral brethren from the Capital Wasteland, and consider themselves the superior race of the Commonwealth.[25]

FEV Curling-13 strain[edit | edit source]

Main article: FEV Curling-13

Based on the original FEV-II recovered by the Enclave at Mariposa Military Base's ruins, FEV Curling-13 was a viral agent tailored to reach maximum levels of lethality with minimal exposure levels required to achieve the result. It was being developed under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Charles Curling of the Chemical Corps since 2236, to provide the means for the Enclave's genocide.

Just a .0001% aerosol solution exposure was enough to kill Arroyo villagers in under one hour, as massive hemorrhaging and inflammations start, leading to a complete failure of the victim's organs within sixty minutes. Significant radiation-induced mutation may thus be beneficial – humans with a lower radiation count suffer a much worse fate. Unmutated Vault 13 dwellers exposed to the virus expected subdermal hemorrhaging and convulsions within sixty minutes of exposure, but their agony lasted much longer – 14.5 hours on average. No test subject survived the tests on Control station Enclave.[26]

Interestingly, in the event of worldwide release, only humans and human-based mutants would be eradicated, however – FEV was engineered to bond only with human glycoproteins, leaving other animals and plant life alive and quite kicking.[27] FEV Curling-13 is also unique in that it is the only known FEV strain for which an inoculation was developed that granted total immunity from its effects.[28]

Deathclaws[edit | edit source]

Main article: Intelligent deathclaw

In 2235, the Enclave captured many deathclaws and, after the discovery of Mariposa Military Base, exposed them to FEV.[29][30] This boosted their intelligence, giving them the ability to talk with varying degrees of erudition and articulation. While the Enclave hoped that the deathclaws would be intelligent enough to obey orders without being so intelligent as to question them, the Enclave's deathclaws began to doubt the morality of their masters. Due to a different mutation with FEV some of the deathclaws are albinos.

Albino mole rats[edit | edit source]

Main article: Albino mole rat

Before the destruction of West Tek Research Facility, lab rats were exposed to FEV. In the turmoil of the facility's destruction, they escaped into the wasteland.[31] Similar to deathclaws they gained intelligence and ability to talk, along with a long vitality.

Fire ants[edit | edit source]

Main article: Fire ant
Fire ant.png

The fire ants of the Capital Wasteland were created by Doctor Weston Lesko, a scientist who was attempting to return giant ants to their normal size through genetic manipulation. Dr. Lesko's ambition was to make the ants exponentially smaller through generations, meaning the offspring is born smaller than its parents for generations to come. But as he reasons, one small tweak of an error has left the ants with a completely different mutation. The fact that Lesko used F.E.V. in his experiments in order to produce a quicker result may also help explain the "error". Lesko further explain in very technical terms that the ants breathe fire by expelling flammable venom from what was their venom sacks, then igniting it with a spark made by clicking their mandibles. He calls this process "pyrosis".[32][33][34]

Background[edit | edit source]

Main article: Pan-Immunity Virion

The Forced Evolution Virus originated from the Pan-Immunity Virion Project, a project originally dedicated to discovering a cure for New Plague, was established in September 2073 in response to aggressive use of biochemical weapons by China. In order to combat the newest biological weapons, the decision was made to create a viral defense that would alter uninfected DNA to render it immune to standard viral infection.[35]

Batch 10-011[edit | edit source]

Following the seizure of PVP assets, the Pan-Immunity Virion batch 10-011 was renamed as Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV) and used in further research. The key difference was that instead of Pan-Immunity Virion's quad-helix DNA structure, the batch became a shifting-absorptive virus. This was a deliberate choice by Major Barnett, who considered the unwanted side effects of the quad-helix structure to outweigh the benefits of replicative stability afforded by the design.[36]

The first experiments took place in March 21, 2075 on single celled organisms. While their base metabolism appeared unchanged, their immunity to infection and radiation exceeded all earlier expectations. Research on FEV effects on plants proved unsuccessful. The next stage included flatworms. Infected on May 9, 2075, they exhibited a 28% increase in size and resistance to 9 separate viral contagions within hours. The new DNA structure was successfully passed to progeny, though only asexual reproduction was possible.[36]

June 30, 2075 saw the next stage of experimentation: several lab strains of white mice have been infected successfully with FEV. Within hours they exhibited increased growth, stabilizing at a 31% size increase after nine days. The most increase in size occurred in striated muscle tissue and certain internal organs, including the liver, heart and kidneys. An increase in intelligence was also noted, allowing mice to run mazes in less than half the time required by normal mice.[36]

The final experimentation with FEV batch 10-011 occurred with rabbits. On November 9, 2075, 218 rabbits were infected, half of which were implanted with electrodes to monitor changes in EEG activity. Increased electrical activity was noted 3.2 seconds after infection, accompanied by the typical increase in size. A new effect was noted, namely an increase in aggression and posturing, particularly among males. Dissection of the brains showed increased dendritic connection, particularly in the limbic system and frontal cortex (areas responsible for behavior, senses and higher mental functions).[36]

Batch 11-011[edit | edit source]

The new virus batch featured improved mitotic cycle efficiency by a factor of 43%. As part of the test, 53 raccoons were infected with the new strain. Along with the expected size increase, behavioral tests confirmed an increase in intelligence and manual dexterity by 19 points on the Schuler-Kapp index. Unfortunately, subjects escaped confinement and had to be hunted down. Two pairs were unaccounted for.[36][37]

Further development occurred after several new gene sequences, supplied by Major Barnett's advisory team, were spliced into FEV batch 11-011. Designated batch 11-101a, this batch was used to infect 23 dogs of pure and mixed breed on May 13, 2076. The results included nearly immediate growth, accompanied by increased aggression and no notable increase in intelligence. All subjects were terminated after 14 weeks of study. 92 allele pairs were chosen for splicing with batch 11-011.[36]

Batch 11-111[edit | edit source]

The new batch, designated 11-111, was used to infect 15 chimpanzees. Growth and immunity levels were unprecedented: attempts to induce cancers through radiological and chemical agents were not successful. Increased aggression led to isolating the subjects by the science team, while violent epileptic seizures caused two subjects to expire. The rest was terminated after all data was mined successfully.[36]

Despite protest from the science team, on January 7, 2077, FEV research was transferred to the Mariposa Military Base,[36] to continue under the lead of Leon VonFelden and Robert Anderson. Batch 11-111 has been chosen as basis for further development and human experimentation, with a near 100% success rate on lab animals, granting an approximately 60% increase in size and potential 200% intelligence increase.[35]

A separate research effort was set up by Vault-Tec Industries in Washington, D.C. Vault 87 was established as an independent research center for Dr. Wayne Merrick, cooperating with the team at Mariposa. Despite his efforts, he was unable to improve batch 11-111 enough to reach satisfactory effects. Humans subject to his strains produced in the Vault 87 labs exhibited superior physical developments, such as increased size, strength and endurance to environmental factors, but were also characterized by significant mental retardation and extreme aggression to non-mutants.[21]

By comparison, the science team at Mariposa reached a full success, creating the FEV-II strain, able to create powerful super soldiers, exhibiting superior physical prowess, resistance to combat damage, aging and disease, as well as negligible loss of intelligence.[2] In certain cases, intelligence could even be increased by the virus. However, before the testing could begin in full, soldiers under the command of Roger Maxson rebelled and executed the science staff. With the Great War destroying the United States, Mariposa and research within was sealed by the soldiers and abandoned.[38]

The Master[edit | edit source]

Main article: Mariposa super mutant

The vats were rediscovered in 2102 by an expedition led by Harold, a major Hub merchant. Accompanied by Richard Grey, a brilliant exile from Vault City, he managed to crack the Mariposa base security and infiltrate the lower levels. However, within the vats, the automated crane crashed into the two, knocking Harold out and flinging Grey into the vat with FEV. Harold woke up in the wastes outside the base, mutating due to exposure to FEV fumes, but becoming a special type of a ghoul-like mutant, rather than a super mutant. Grey, on the other hand, underwent extreme mutation due to prolonged exposure to the virus in the vat. His intellect grew exponentially, allowing him to comprehend even the most complex issues easily (or so he thought).[39][40] Grey methodically researched FEV, experimenting with animals and eventually, captured scavengers that strayed into the facility. It wasn't until a few failed mutations that he discovered radiation count to be a deciding factor in the success of the change, leading him to pick subjects more carefully.[40][41] When his Lieutenant was created, he suggested a secondary reason for possible incompatibility. Reviewing available evidence, he concluded that failed mutations in relatively non-radiated humans are caused by the inoculating effect mutated FEV had on humans with which it came into contact.[42] Such exposure was not enough to cause phenotypical changes, but enough to cause conflicts when the pure FEV in Mariposa attempted to change the DNA, resulting in the death of the subject.[43]

By carefully selecting his test subjects, he managed to create the first real super mutants in January 2103.[44] Through a combination of willing converts and abductions, the Master slowly builds up the foundations for his army between 2103 and 2130.[45] The impact of the Great Winter of 2130 results in him stepping up his operations and spreading them out into the wasteland, attacking caravans to gather human stock for transformations. The string of attacks between 2131 and 2135 boosts the size of his army. The attacks are blamed on desert monsters in the Hub.[46] Due to reliance on wastelanders, only 20% of the dipped population survives the dipping and of that number, only half seem to last and become a part of the Unity. Regardless, it continues to grow.[47]

By 2152, the Unity's influence has spread through the wastes and the Master recruited a group of doomsday cultists under Morpheus to act as spies, rather than stock for transformation.[48] Four years later, the cultists would form the Children of the Cathedral to act as a front for the Unity, proselytizing, recruiting, and preparing munition dumps for the coming super mutant offensive.[49] Between 2155 and 2156, the Master makes another important discovery: His forces intercept a caravan of Vault dwellers, leading him to discover Vault-Tec Industries' demonstration Vault. He moved his command center to the Vault, using the cultists to set up the Cathedral, and launched a campaign to discover Vaults to gain prime subjects for his super mutant army.[50] At least one installation, Vault 17, was discovered and its inhabitants transformed into super mutants. The success rate is far higher than when using regular wastelanders. Even the elderly Lily Bowen was successfully transformed into a super mutant at the age of 75 - and a nightkin no less![51]

Apart from transforming humans into super mutants, the Master and his staff experimented with FEV by injecting it into the brains of the subjects (usually the pineal gland, but also the amygdala or medulla), triggering changes in brain chemistry.[52] These experiments had limited success: four extremely powerful psykers were created, capable of theoretically wiping out the human race.[53] By 2161, the Unity was on the verge of achieving total military superiority over the human inhabitants of New California. All that was needed was Vault 13 and its inhabitants.[15] Ironically, all FEV development and experimentation by the Master was abruptly halted by the Vault Dweller, of the very Vault the Master needed to dominate the New West.[54]

The Institute[edit | edit source]

Commonwealth super mutants are the result of The Institute's research into FEV,[55] which has continued since the early 2220s in a dedicated facility. The original goal was the creation of a successor to second generation synths by creating a new breed of super mutant that would serve The Institute as laborer and soldier. Due to a lack of success with mutants, efforts were refocused with the goal of creating third generation synths. The organic synth project was spun off from the FEV research initiative around 2227 (the acquisition of Shaun), while the FEV research effort continued for several more decades.[56][57] Both women and men were abducted from the Commonwealth and submerged in The Institute's modified FEV, their mutations carefully tracked. Successful mutations would be monitored to ensured survivability, then tagged and discarded.[58] In layman's terms, The Institute was simply releasing super mutants into the wild, creating a scourge on the Commonwealth that lasted for years.[59] When Brian Virgil succeeded Dr Syverson as head of the project in April 2286, it became evident that FEV experimentation ran its course and served no useful purpose, not with the availability of third generation synths.[60] Eventually, as Virgil's conscience took its toll, the scientist lodged a formal complaint with the Directorate.[56] When no reaction came, Virgil rebelled and escaped the Institute after transforming himself into a super mutant, destroying as much of the project as he could.[61]

The Enclave[edit | edit source]

Main article: FEV Curling-13

Seeking the means to achieve their plans of global genocide, the Enclave excavated Mariposa from July to August 2236, in search of surviving samples of FEV-II. Using slaves captured in towns across California, they managed to uncover the vats and secure the necessary scientific material. However, slaves exposed to the raw virus in the ruins of the base mutated, creating second generation super mutants.[42] The uneven nature of exposure, coupled with a significant radiation count meant that those that survived the change suffered from significant mental damage. Retreating from the base, the Enclave blasted the only remaining entrance, trapping the mutants inside.[42][62]

Enclave's Chemical Corps proceeded to work on the acquired samples of the virus, creating a staggeringly effective killer, tailored to provide maximum lethality with minimal required exposure. However, two weeks before the virus' deployment, the Enclave and the virus stockpiles were destroyed. However, copies of research were transmitted to Raven Rock, providing the newly created John Henry Eden with an opportunity to achieve plans of genocide. However, due to unknown reasons, the ZAX unit decided that rather than an effective airborne toxin, a localized infection of the water supply would be somehow more effective.[63][64][65]

FEV in the Capital Wasteland in 2277[edit | edit source]

Despite Vault 87 being the main research facility it evidently wasn't the only one, as Dr. Weston Lesko had found another source, which he used to try to de-mutate the giant ants of the Capital Wasteland.[66] As of 2277 his efforts culminated in the creation of fire ants.[67] Also as of 2277 the levels of said toxin where low in the vault,[68] so the super mutants where actively searching for it in the surrounding areas.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit source]

  1. The Vault Dweller: "{133}{}{I happen to know that your mutants are sterile.}"
    Master: "{135}{Mast11}{Preposterous! The FEV-2 virus doesn't destroy the reproductive organs of those it mutates.}"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Vree's autopsy report
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 The Vault Dweller: "{120}{}{How does the Virus work?}"
    ZAX 1.2: "{157}{}{My research into the Forced Evolution Virus, or FEV, indicates that it is a shifting-absorptive virus. It copies DNA patterns much like RNA, storing these patterns in exons.}"
    "{158}{}{These exons, combined with the FEV, are re-injected into the host cells in typical viral infectious fashion. This causes the host cells to 'regenerate' their DNA.}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{159}{}{How do you catch FEV?}"
    ZAX 1.2: "{162}{}{FEV is not 'caught', per se. It is not air-transmittable. Typically, infection is through injection, or direct physical contact with an FEV sample.}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{164}{}{Why isn't FEV affected by radiation?}"
    ZAX 1.2: "{166}{}{The FEV is a megavirus, with a protein sheath reinforced by ionized hydrogen. It is therefore capable of absorbing neutrons without becoming radioactive.}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{168}{}{If the FEV re-infects the host with its assimilated viral patterns, how does it make a 'better specimen'?}"
    ZAX 1.2: "{169}{}{The FEV is pre-programmed with introns of corrected DNA appropriate to the proper type of species. It therefore attempts to correct the DNA of the individual.}"
    "{170}{}{However, as the FEV is partially reliant upon the DNA of the individual, and also includes portions of its own recursive code, the effects can be unpredictable.}"
    "{171}{}{When inoculated into an individual with significant genetic damage, such as through radiation, it will cause the body's systems to suffer massive overhauling, leading to organ failure and death.}"
    "{172}{}{In a genetically viable individual, it re-writes portions of DNA, causing accelerated mutation, usually leading to recursive growth due to the FEV's own patterns.}"
    "{173}{}{This recursive growth leads to an increase in muscle and brain mass, but is often accompanied by disfigurement and damage to existing neural patterns, causing loss of memory.}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{174}{}{What potential long-term side effects exist?}"
    ZAX 1.2: "{178}{}{As the FEV causes constant regenerative update to DNA, it would effectively render the subject largely immortal, as cell death would be offset by augmented growth.}"
    "{179}{}{Additionally, as the gametes of the reproductive system consist of 'half-cells' using split DNA, they could be perceived as 'damage' by FEV, which would 'repair' them, rendering the subject sterile.}"
    "{180}{}{However, as my laboratory facilities are damaged beyond repair, this is conjectural. I cannot offer physical proof. You will have to, in human terms, 'take my word for it.'}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{181}{}{Could FEV mutation be corrected with a counter-virus?}"
    ZAX 1.2: "{184}{}{No. FEV does not retain unaltered original copies of the subject's DNA. Only a virus which re-infected the subject with original DNA could reverse the effects. Additionally, there is no known way to remove the FEV itself.}"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Delta experiment disk
  5. The Vault Dweller: "{142}{}{What is the current status of the patients?}"
    Vats Control Computer: "{143}{}{Current status on patients as follows: FEV batch #23872-A consists of four male units and two female units. All individuals suffering from FEV exposure. Vital signs are within normal parameters. FEV process on all subjects is approxiamtely 50% complete. Expect full FEV transformation within 12 hours.}"
  6. The Lone Wanderer: "A friendly Super Mutant. Well, now I've seen everything."
    Fawkes: "Ugh. Must you use that vulgar term? Yes, I was born in the F.E.V. Chambers but a Super Mutant I certainly am not. I prefer the term Meta Human. Suits me better don't you think?"
    (Fawkes' dialogue)
  7. Vault 87 exposure chambers.
  8. Institute FEV lab
  9. Fallout Bible 0: "3. Are the radscorpions a product of the FEV virus? When you talk to the doctor, Razlo, in Shady Sands, he tells you that they were once American Emperor Scorpions but that he has no idea how they mutated because radiation alone couldn't have done it. For that matter, what about all of the other creatures of the wasteland? Which ones have been mutated by FEV and which ones haven't? Maybe in the bestiary each creature could have a stat that shows it's level of FEV infection."
    • The radscorpions are a result of a combination of radiation and the FEV virus, and Razlo in Shady Sands is correct - they were originally Emperor Scorpions that have grown... big.
    • FEV-Infected Critters in the wasteland include almost all the ones you've seen in F1 and F2:
      Most species of rats.
      Gecko lizards.
      Various varieties of plants, including the Venus Flytrap.
      Rumor has it some dogs were affected, but no one's seen any, so for now that's just rumor. Of course, the centaurs are a mash of human, dog, and various other parts... but hey, who knows how that mutation came about. Grey was probably messing around in one of his labs.
    • Creatures not mutated by FEV probably did not survive the aftermath of the Great War, with the possible exception of cockroaches... and perhaps normal ants, though there are FEV-infected versions of these species.
    • No one knows where those bird noises in Vault City came from.
    • I'll try to include a chart of FEV-infected creatures in future additions as well as other critters that you may not have seen in F1 and F2. Most likely a great majority of insects were affected (they tend to breed much faster, and their mutations tend to become evident pretty quickly as the generations advance), possibly beetles, some spiders, cockroaches, and other creatures."
  10. ZAX
  11. See Brian Virgil for details.
  12. The Vault Dweller:"{188}{}{Why am I a prime human ?}"
    Lieutenant: "{194}{LIEUT30}{The FEV was mutated by the war radiation. Those living in this desolate wasteland have been exposed to this mutant FEV, essentially inoculating them from the full effects.}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{195}{}{So?}"
    Lieutenant: "{197}{LIEUT31}{So, you're from a Vault and have limited exposure to this mutated virus. The original FEV in the Vats should work quite well on you.}"
  13. Fallout Bible 0: "6. According to Chris A., the ghouls in V12 were exposed to radiation and FEV. I know Harold said the Vault door opened early or something, so the radiation bit makes sense. My question is, how were the ghouls of Vault 12 exposed to FEV? Harold was a special case, since he went to the Vats with... er... someone, whose shall remain nameless... and got dipped. How do you account for the others? - Richard Grey"
    "When the West Tek research facility was hit, it shattered the FEV storage tanks on levels four and five and released the FEV into the atmosphere. Through some means, perhaps propelled by the explosion, the virus was able to reach the ghouls quickly and the mutation process began even as the radiation was rotting away their bodies. How the virus was able to survive the blast without being sterilized is unknown... it would depend on what type of warhead cracked the West Tek facility like an egg.
    Actually, Harold never said he got dipped (although it's possible). He was exposed, however - being in close proximity to FEV is enough to cause mutations, as the Enclave slaves mining Mariposa discovered. I imagine the shield between the vats and the control room in Mariposa was meant to keep the virus contained."
    Note: The West Tek Research Facility is an underground bunker, which although was directly hit by a nuclear weapon did not release the Forced Evolutionary Virus. The FEV was moved to the Mariposa Military Base (a bunker under a mountain) before the Great War.
  14. Fallout Bible 8: "Peter Hopkins asks:
    I was reading version 5 of the Bible, and found a bit of a conflict with current knowledge... In one of your anwers, it was said that it was random whether the FEV increased intelligence or not. However, as far as I know, FEV increases the growth and integrity of ALL cells consistently, by doubling the amount of genetic material in the cells. In this case, an increase in brain size (assuming a healthy brain to begin with) and intelligence should be regular. Another theory could be that, as the mutant's brain grows, the mass of the mutant's body increases exponentionally and the brain would not be big enough to control the whole body and sustain the throught process of a human body. Also, it is possible that while intelligence does increase initially, the brain does not gain the resistance to radiation that the body does, and the mutant develops brain damage and shows reduced intelligence. Are any of the above true? PS There is a very good report documenting the effects of FEV and how it was developed on the No Mutants Allowed message board ( PPS I don't know about any so called 'purists', but i am hugely interested in the fallout world and would love to FOT background in the Bible.
    About FEV:
    That might be why some of the super mutants (such as the Lieutenant) are smart (or remain smart) - but generally, for some reason (I don't know off the top of my head, nor do I know if it's spelled out anywhere), they're about 30% dumber than a normal human being, if Vree's research disk in the Brotherhood of Steel is accurate. I wouldn't be surprised if the dipping process caused brain damage in dipped subjects - it's a hell of a shock to the system.
    Furthermore, everyone's favorite introspective machine intelligence, Zax, has the following to say about it:
    When inoculated into an individual with significant genetic damage, such as through radiation, it [FEV] will cause the body's systems to suffer massive overhauling, leading to organ failure and death. In a genetically viable individual, it re-writes portions of DNA, causing accelerated mutation, usually leading to recursive growth due to the FEV's own patterns. This recursive growth leads to an increase in muscle and brain mass, but is often accompanied by disfigurement and damage to existing neural patterns, causing loss of memory.
    Other possible factors that might be causing the super mutants' stupidness:
    - Most mutants have some degree of radiation poisoning, which may cause problems and brain damage, as mentioned above.
    - The process is unsafe - the mortality rate on "dippees" is pretty high. This is likely due to radiation poisoning.
    - Memory functions are "sometimes" impaired by the dipping, and intelligence loss may occur as well. Harold's memory wasn't in the best of shape after exposure.
    From the Pre-War experiment tapes, it looks like some mammals did display consistent increased intelligence (raccoons), while others didn't (the dogs) or even suffered brain damage (the chimps and the seizures). However, in an old Scott Campbell doc, there was a note that later subjects injected with the FEV (especially the chimps) hid their enhanced intelligence from their captors (or in the case of the raccoons, made a break for it).
    Furthermore, the FEV tests at West-Tek were done through injection, not dipping, so it's possible the dipping process itself that causes the brain damage. Possibly with the increased brain mass in the skull, the brain is "squeezed," and all that tasty juice runs out the ears.
    Still, on the other hand, a lot of the animals Grey talks about in his experiment tapes that were running around the Military Base were getting smarter from the FEV, and he himself became supra-intelligent.
    So there's a long-winded series of random answers. Moving on!"
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Vault Dweller: "{132}{}{You can't possibly take on the entire world.}"
    Master: "{134}{Mast10}{I'm not after the world, yet. When I turn your fellow vault-dwellers into mutants, my forces will be too strong for any to stand against! But don't worry, you won't care. Care! Care!}"
  16. 16.0 16.1 Fallout Bible 5:
    "5. In F1 the Lieutenant said that the FEV raises intelligence. There are, however, very many dumb mutants. What can you say about it? And what do you think of my theory, which i've been using in my Fallout PnP campaign?
    Sorry, Pawel, for two things: I wasn't able to personally respond to your email because I kept getting bounced, and two, I wasn't able to comment on your FEV theory (as a reminder, I can't read fan-created material, so just send questions, comments, or facts if you can).
    As for the FEV enhancing intelligence, the original Pre-War FEV at West Tek did, and more consistently than the Fallout-era virus.
    The current Fallout-era FEV does enhance intelligence - in some people. Just not many. The Lieutenant was one of the lucky ones who didn't become a knuckle-dragging, butt-scratching moron after being dipped (and it may not have raised his intelligence, he may have been that smart before his dipping, but no records of his past exist to verify this).
    The FEV that was released out in the wasteland was mutated by radiation, so its effects changed. As for the FEV at Mariposa, the Lieutenant says the super mutants are smarter than humans ("We are highly intelligent and immune to disease"), which is only half-right, and he also says that the virus can also interfere with a person's memory, causing them to forget things. Obviously, the Lieutenant keeps forgetting that most of his super mutant forces can barely form complete sentences.
    Basically, the FEV in the vats only has a small chance of raising a being's intelligence (or even keeping it intact). The Master was one of the lucky ones. More often than not, it causes brain damage. It's also possible that the crude dipping procedure in Mariposa also caused imperfect mutations as well, reducing the chance of heightened intelligence.
    But to answer your question: the FEV at West Tek before the war caused increased intelligence in its subjects, but the FEV at Mariposa after the war rarely enhanced the intelligence of humans who were dipped. The reason for this is unknown.
    Chris Taylor says:
    Chris Taylor: Actually, a dip in FEV has a chance of modifying Intelligence, but it doesn't always increase it. Some people do gain increased intelligence, a larger majority lose intelligence and most people remain the same. It also depends if people have enough radiation damage to be turned into ghouls or super mutants."
  17. Broken Hills mutants (Mutant miner, Old mutant), and those appearing elsewhere, are long lived, but some show signs of impaired cognitive function.
  18. The Vault Dweller: "{141}{}{How are you more advanced?}"
    Lieutenant: "{149}{LIEUT14}{Intuitively obvious to the most casual observer. We are highly intelligent and immune to disease. The strong survive! It is our goal to improve the human race.}"
  19. The Master: "{168}{Mast27}{Your humor will not save you now. Do you accept my offer, or not? Not! Accept!}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{169}{}{Not.}"
    The Master: "{171}{Mast28}{Radiation has no effect on us. The FEV virus makes us immune. Your argument is weak, and so are you.}"
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.42: "Super Mutants"
    "The Super Mutants that infest the urban ruin of Washington D.C. originated in Vault 87. Those unlucky enough to have reserved space in Vault 87 soon found themselves forcefully taken to a secure part of the vault, where they were locked in airtight chambers and exposed to a concentrated form of the F.E.V. The Overseer and his security force had no real idea what to expect; they were simply following the "plan." When the exposed vault dwellers started transforming into Super Mutants, nearly the entire vault population had been exposed. Those who hadn't yet metamorphosed knew what was coming, and, didn't end well for humanity.
    The dwellers of Vault 87 were turned into Super Mutants in 2078, and have been a presence in the Capital Wasteland ever since. Most of those original Super Mutants have long since been killed. But whether it's because of the nature of the F.E.V. they were exposed to, or a simple underlying human instinct, the Super Mutants of the Capital Wasteland are obsessed with the preservation of their own species. Super Mutants are asexual and incapable of procreation, so their only way of reproducing is to kidnap other humans, drag them back to the Vault 87 chambers, and infect them with F.E.V. And so they have done, for nearly 200 years.
    Super Mutant society is loosely hierarchical, with the weaker (most recently transformed) Super Mutants generally giving way to the stronger. The Super Mutant hierarchy, as defined by the Capital Wasteland contingent of the Brotherhood of Steel, is as follows: Grunt, Brute, Master, and Behemoth. Generally speaking, the Super Mutants of the Capital Wasteland get bigger, stronger, and dumber as they age. The Behemoths are so strong and savage that they’re the only thing feared by the other Super Mutants."
    (Fallout 3 Official Game Guide faction profiles)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Chief Physician's Terminal
  22. The Lone Wanderer: "Do you remember who you were?"
    Fawkes: "I don't remember enough to tell you everything about my former self. My metamorphosis destroyed a good deal of my long term memory. However, I can recall being in this place when it wasn't the macabre laboratory that it's become. I remember walking around this place and seeing other humans in white lab coats and blue jumpsuits. I wish I could find out more, but the personnel information for the Vault wasn't in the mainframe for some reason. I feel like my identity is so close to me... I can almost see myself as a human but can't recollect the details. It's maddening."
    (Fawkes' dialogue)
  23. The Lone Wanderer: "So, tell me more about yourself."
    Fawkes: "I was born here, in this place. I don't mean that in the literal sense of course. All I can remember is the excruciating pain that tore through me as my body underwent the rapid physical changes. For most, this moment is what severs the grip on their minds. They become barely a shell of their former selves. I was different. When I spoke to them, they immediately branded me "another failure" and had me placed here as a curiosity."
    (Fawkes' dialogue)
  24. Prydwen terminals; Scribe Neriah's Terminal, Entry 0769-CM22
  25. Fallout 4 loading screen hints: "Super Mutants are stronger and more resilient than humans, and consider themselves the Commonwealth's superior race."
  26. The Project
  27. The Chosen One: "{209}{}{I still don't understand how that's *perfect.*}"
    Charles Curling: "{211}{}{The F.E.V. toxin will only attack to humans, leaving everything else alive, better still, within a month all the mutants will be dead and the F.E.V. toxin will die out as soon as it runs out of hosts. }"
  28. The Chosen One: "{237}{}{What about my people? Or me? Or you, for that matter?}"
    Charles Curling: "{238}{}{I can release the antidote into the air-system for all the cells. The detention level is served by a separate air system from the rest of the Enclave. Everyone will think that I'm just running another test. You, I can inoculate directly, here and now. (he reaches for you with a syringe)}"
  29. Fallout Bible 0: "2235 The Enclave experiments on deathclaws, attempting to create special fighting units for waging war in hostile environments."
  30. The Chosen One: "{126}{}{What can you tell me about the deathclaws here?}"
    Goris: "{147}{}{These aren't your average deathclaws, as I'm sure you noticed. They've had their intelligence enhanced by some means not understood by them. It was done by a group of humans known as 'The Enclave.' It seems this Enclave needed an army and they chose deathclaws because of their ferocity, physical prowess, and... well, you get the picture. Anyway, the only thing lacking in deathclaws was their intelligence. They needed to be smart enough to understand complex commands, but not so smart that they'd be a threat to 'those in charge.'}"
    "{217}{}{So, the Enclave started messing with a virus, or some such thing, and injected the deathclaws with it. This virus was known to mutate humans into some sort of super beings, so the Enclave wanted to see what it would do to deathclaws. Well, the result was a breed of deathclaws so smart that they could see they were destined for slavery. So, they played dumb until they could gain their freedom. And here they are!}"
  31. The Chosen One: "{310}{}{You’re sure you want to consign all the citizens of both cities to a slow death?}"
    Brain: "
    "{360}{}{You humans have such limited tolerances. I would have remained a normal rat if you humans hadn’t done your best to destroy the world. If it weren’t for the radiation, I wouldn’t be what I am today.}"
    The Chosen One:
    "{361}{}{And what’s that, exactly?}"
    "{380}{}{I was just one of many normal rats in a advanced research lab. Then, one day, there were explosions. Our cages were broken open, and we were doused with some sort of fluid from a huge vat.}"
    The Chosen One:
    "{381}{}{Then what?}"
    "{390}{}{I crawled outside. As I began to heal, I noticed that I had changed. I tried to communicate with people, but they all just tried to kill me. Humans are just too violent to survive under their own leadership -- but that's another story. The first step is to repair the reactor.}"
  32. The Lone Wanderer: "So, what's gone wrong?"
    Weston Lesko: "Well. I'm afraid I've made slight miscalculations in the mutagen. Instead of lowering their size, the brood hatched with a new biomechanism. I call their genetic abberation pyrosis; the ability to emit flame from their bodies. I may be able to correct this error, but I can't get near my equipment."
    (Weston Lesko's dialogue)
  33. Doctor Lesko's Terminal
  34. Doctor Lesko's Terminal
  35. 35.0 35.1 FEV research
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 36.5 36.6 36.7 FEV experiment disk
  37. Fallout Bible 0: "2076 January 26 Using batch 11-011, experiments are conducted on raccoons. Same results are noted, but the attempted escape of several infected raccoons causes Major Barnett to terminate the escape... and the test subjects. Two pairs of raccoons, however, are unaccounted for."
    "Note: Scott Campbell and Chris Taylor intended these escaped raccoons to form an intelligent animal community NW of the Glow called the "Burrows." This location was never implemented."
  38. History of the Brotherhood of Steel
  39. Fallout Bible 0: "2102 May 22 Increasing mutant attacks on Harold's caravans cause Harold to get so pissed he finances one of the first adventuring parties of Fallout to try and find out where these dagnab mutants are coming from. Consulting with a scientist and doctor at the Hub, a man by the name of Grey, the two of them decide to join forces.
    2102 June 23 Richard Grey's Expedition [including Harold] finds the Mariposa Military Base and the Expedition is scattered and defeated by mutants at the base. Grey is knocked into one of the vats of FEV by a robotic arm, and Harold is knocked unconscious, only to awaken later out in the wasteland.
    2102 June 27 Harold, already mutating, is found by traders and taken back to the Hub. His former caravan partners and employees, horrified by his condition, abandon him and he is soon left without even two bottlecaps to rub together.
    2102 July Richard Grey, now horribly mutated by the virus, crawls from the Vats covered with FEV and in terrible pain. Barely able to think or perceive his surroundings, he crawls into the Vat control room and begins his audio log. He fades in and out of consciousness, sometimes for days or weeks at a time.
    2102 July-Nov Richard Grey begins to acclimate to his condition, and begins his first tests of animals by exposing them to FEV. These experiments and his growing awareness lay the foundation for his plans for the Unity and the master race. He takes the name, "the Master.""
  40. 40.0 40.1 Richard Grey's audio diary
  41. Fallout Bible 0: "2102 Nov The first human victim wanders into Mariposa, and Grey consumes him.
    2102 Dec
    Grey continues his experiments on wanderers that enter Mariposa... with no success. The creations are flawed (due to the radiation counts in their bodies), making them big but incredibly stupid, and Grey consumes them rather than letting them live."
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Military base level 4
  43. The Vault Dweller: "{1001}{}{FEV}"
    Lieutenant: "{1104}{LIEUT60}{The Vats are where the FEV is stored, and where you normals become one of us. Of course, some die horrible, excruciatingly painful deaths, but well, those are the breaks.}"
  44. Fallout Bible 0: "2103 January The Master discovers the problem with the influence of radiation on his mutations, and he begins to choose his subjects more carefully. The first classic super mutants are born, butt-scratching animations and all. He begins his plans to build an army."
  45. Fallout Bible 0: "2103-2130 Throughout this period, the Master begins slowly gathering test subjects, willing or unwilling, from local human stock. The Great Winter of 2130 and the scarcity of human subjects make building his army difficult."
  46. Fallout Bible 0: "2131-2135 The Master begins ordering his super mutants to gather human stock from caravans. For many years, the caravan disappearances are blamed on monsters in the desert, and even when the abductions begin to occur on Hub caravans, the deathclaws are blamed. The super mutant army grows."
  47. Fallout Bible 0: "2137 Master begins to mass-produce super mutants. Only about one in six or one in five attempts are successful, and of these successes, only half seem to last to go on to be part of his growing army, called the Unity."
  48. Fallout Bible 0: "2152 As their influence slowly spreads throughout the wastes, the Master finds humans, doomsday cultists, and rather than dip them in the vats, he demands their obedience as spies - their leader is a man named Morpheus, and he pledges his followers to the Master. Morpheus and his cultists form the future core of the Children of the Cathedral."
  49. Fallout Bible 0: "2156 The Master sees advantages in establishing a benevolent "religion," the Children of the Cathedral, and using them as spies in settlements throughout the wastes. Missionaries from the Children of the Cathedral spread slowly across the wasteland, acting as eyes and ears for Morpheus and the Master."
  50. Fallout Bible 0: "2155-2156 After capturing a caravan of strange-garbed travelers (vault dwellers), Master learns the location of the Boneyard Vault, the future site of the Cathedral. He conquers the inhabitants and sets up operations there, and the human cultists begin to use the Vault as their powerbase. Within the Vault, the Master learns of other Vaults, and realizing their human occupants are ripe for transformation, begins to send out patrols to Vault locations in search of these other Vaults."
  51. The Courier: "Where did you come from?"
    Lily Bowen: "I grew up in Vault 17. I never even saw the sun until I was 75 years old - that was when Super mutants raided the Vault and carried a lot of us off. Yes, Leo, I'm getting to that part! They made me one of them, and they put me to work in an army that was going to conquer California."
    (Lily Bowen's dialogue)
  52. Mad scientist: "{101}{}{Good evening, brother. What brings you to our little corner of heaven?}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{103}{}{I'm here to check on your progress.}"
    Mad scientist: "{112}{}{It's not going well. I've been injecting the FEV directly into the pineal gland, but I'm not getting the results I'd hoped for.}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{113}{}{Why don't you try injecting it directly into the Amygdala?}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{114}{}{Why don't you try injecting it into the Medula?}"
  53. Fallout Bible 3
  54. Fallout events.
  55. FEV lab
  56. 56.0 56.1 The Institute terminals: "2287.2.10
    Entered By: Virgil.B
    Nothing new. Always the same. Have entered formal complaint with Directorate; these tests are not bringing in any valuable information. The organics project was spun off decades ago. Why do we insist on continuing this?"
  57. The Institute terminals: "2277.7.10
    Entered By: Syverson.C
    Latest round of testing complete. Results are all within expected parameters. Informed Dr. Zimmer directly, as he had ordered the tests personally. He seemed annoyed with the results; unsure what he was looking for. He declined to specify why he wanted the tests run to begin with."
  58. The Institute terminals: "Baseline: Male, early 30s. Moderate overall health.
    Post-submersion results: Physical condition consistent with standard results. Mental acuity charting slightly higher than average.
    Subject Status: TAGGED, DISCARDED"
  59. Preston Garvey (?): "Those Super Mutants have been raiding across the Commonwealth for years. I'm glad to have the Brotherhood's help clearing them out."
  60. The Institute terminals: "2286.4.10
    Entered by: Virgil.B
    I have officially assumed the lead role on the project after Dr. Syverson's passing.
    Latest round of subjects show results similar to previous test runs over last 5 years. No statistical deviation noted.
    Synthetic organics continue to perform well; the necessity of further tests is unexplained."
  61. Brian Virgil Personal Log 0176
  62. See this article for references.
  63. The Lone Wanderer: "My father's work? How is that relevant?"
    John Henry Eden: "The purifier your father helped create has the ability to provide clean water to the whole of this "Capital Wasteland". With a simple modification, it can be used to distribute agents that destroy mutated creatures upon ingestion. In time, we could eliminate all mutations in the Wasteland at the same time the good people of the world regain their health. I need you to make the modification necessary for this to succeed."
    (John Henry Eden's dialogue)
  64. The Lone Wanderer: "I'll do whatever I have to if it means getting rid of mutants."
    John Henry Eden: "I was hoping you would see it my way. If the water purifier can be activated, it can be used to distribute toxins that will eliminate any mutated creatures upon ingestion. The longer it runs, the cleaner the world becomes. I need you to see that it starts running, and that the necessary modification is made."
    (John Henry Eden's dialogue)
  65. Take It Back!
  66. The Lone Wanderer: "Something isn't right. You shouldn't have gotten results like these so quickly"
    Weston Lesko: "Well... ummm, I may have used a few... ahem, shortcuts. Yes. I was told that the FEV works wonders when used under controlled circumstances! Apparently I was wrong, but I know my mistake. I'm certain I can get it to work!"
    (Weston Lesko's dialogue)
  67. Those!
  68. Vault 87 super mutant
    (Vault 87 super mutant's dialogue)