Order of Mysteries

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Order of Mysteries
F76 Order of Mystery Insignia.png
Overview
TypeSecret order
GovernanceCouncil
LeadershipHeadmistress Shannon Rivers
Tech. Specialist Frederick Rivers
Territory
Notable LocationsRiverside Manor
 
Gametitle-F76.png
Gametitle-F76.png

I never thought I would be a part of something like this. All my life, I was just an actress, playing the part of a hero on the radio. But everything changed after the war. There were so many people in need, you girls most of all. Frederick and I were glad to adopt you, to share what we could. Food, shelter, and training - my old acting turned survival skills.

But this world needs more than survival. It needs heroes. It needs you. And these past few years, you have shown me that, together, as sisters, you can accomplish things that even the Mistress of Mystery could never have imagined.

Shannon Rivers, the Mistress of Mystery

Order of Mysteries was a secret organization founded in Appalachia shortly after the Great War.

Background[edit | edit source]

The Order's origins go back to 2077 and the decision to put the Silver Shroud on the small screen. Expecting Shannon Rivers to be picked for the role, her husband, Frederick Rivers, the fortune they amassed into replicating the gear and lair of the Mistress of Mystery, in a year-long secret effort. Together with Kent Connolly, a die-hard fan who provided input on nearly every design decision, Frederick built an entire, functional lair beneath the Riverside Manor.[1][2] He's also hired the best stunt actors, martial artists, military trainers, a cavalcade of experts, one after another, to make sure she would master every technique she would need for the screen. Regardless of who would play the Shroud, the Mistress of Mystery would be ready for her debut after months of intense training.[3]

Although the Great War erased Hubris Comics - and with it the humiliation Shannon suffered when the executives decided to pick a younger, far less talented actress for the role - the Mistress would live on. On July 8, 2078, when the Rivers were accosted by raiders intending to rape Shannon's daughter, Olivia Rivers, her mother reacted instantly. Months of constant drilling and exercise with Frederick's hired trainers gave her a tremendous advantage over the attackers. They didn't expect her attack and were laid low in under a minute with no hesitation, several dead.[4]

Olivia was instantly taken by her mother's heroic defense and asked her for training as a Mistress. Although Shannon was hesitant at first, she realized that the world changed and their daughter needs to defend herself. Shannon decided to fight herself as well - and pick up the mantle of the Mistress.[5] A month later, she started to venture out regularly, donning the regalia created by Frederick, comprising a fully functional set of combat gear. The costume disguised her well and allowed her to fall back on her training. Her first major success was when she saved a caravan of refugees near Lewisburg from a raider attack. Shannon wouldn't know what to do. The Mistress did. An added benefit was that the training helped Shannon bond with her daughter.[6]

However, that was a band-aid on a bigger problem. The Mistress couldn't be everywhere or help the countless orphans filling Appalachia. In November 2078, she started taking in orphaned girl, starting with three: Clarissa, Eve, and Amy, found rifling through the garbage in the Rivers' garage. The sole boy, Brody Torrance, was sent away, causing no small amount of strife between Olivia and her mother.[7] Together, they survived the winter, but the situation only worsened. By 2079, caravans passed outside the house constantly, with a few coming up to the manor. Shannon decided to keep taking orphans in, focusing on the most vulnerable: Girls. Together with Olivia and Frederick, they converted the Manor into an orphanage. However, something more was needed.[8]

Thus, the Order was born around 2079, as Shannon, Frederick, and Olivia took girls in, gave them food, shelter, and training. They decided to also give them something more, an idea to fight for. The girls would become heroes Appalachia needed. The Order of Mysteries was founded as a sisterhood dedicated to upholding the virtues exemplified by the Mistress of Mystery: courage, cunning, and compassion. Under Headmistress Shannon Rivers, the Order would fight in the shadows to protect themselves, one another, and the people of Appalachia from any threat to their lives or liberty.[9]

Conflict with the Raiders[edit | edit source]

The new Order prospered and training intensified over the next several years. By February 2082, training has been going well and the Headmistress risked sending the older girls out on supply and data collection runs in pairs. Although she kept the more dangerous missions to myself, they're at the point where they could handle themselves with ease. The situation seemed stable, with raider activity at an all time low since the Great War, except for the organized gangs hiding in the Savage Divide.[10] Everything changed in December, when David Thorpe's gang blew up the Charleston dam and flooded the city, nearly wiping the Responders out. The Headmistress, shocked by the savage act, decided that the raiders were more of a threat than anyone suspected and decided to focus the Order on extirpating them from the Divide.[11]

She spent the winter of 2082/2083 reconnoitering raider positions in the mountains and having her pupils intercept Responder radio communications. The challenge was daunting: Raiders had multiple bases, dozens of checkpoints and sniper posts fortifying the region, and their numbers kept steadily growing. It was time to let the Mistresses loose against the raiders.[12] The training regimen established by Olivia and Frederick, coupled with the secrecy of the organization, allowed the Order to strike hard and fast, then disappear into the shadows. By September 2084, the campaign was in full swing, with her daughter demonstrating immense competence... And hubris. She regularly went above and beyond the call of duty. In one instance in September alone, she performed a flawless raid against the Garrahan Outpost, then went on to clear four sniper nests, a half-dozen beast dens, and a derelict military bunker before finally returning three days late. She dragged her Initiate, Rachel West, along for the ride to boot, on her first time in the field. Shannon found herself unable to deal with her ornery personality, mirroring her own.[13] For her part, Olivia was sick of having to continue playing the role of good little girl, the perfect, obedient little soldier and role model for the rest of the Order. She didn't mind the Order at first. But after six years, she was sick and tired of her mother's schemes, as well intentioned as they were.[14]

The campaign continued and the Order had a flawless performance record for nearly three years, until the first death. Clarissa, a Mistress, was found dead on February 7, 2086.[15] Her death had a profound impact on the organization, leading some of the members to question the total secrecy and isolation that the Headmistress mandated. Although an alliance seemed wise, Rivers ruled any such action out to keep the Order invisible. Revealing its existence risked giving away the location of the Riverside Manor and opening the Order to attacks. In the Headmistress' words, "The Mistress of Mystery's greatest strength was always the element of surprise. A lone woman can do anything, because no one expects her to be a threat. If we were exposed, if the raiders knew we existed, they could fight back. They can't fight a shadow."[16]

Collapse[edit | edit source]

However, soon the Headmistress made a fatal mistake. In May, she appointed a new Mistress of Novices, and rather than choose her own daughter, she selected Eve Devoir. Dependable and organized, she was the perfect fit for the position to handle training and mission assignments. Olivia did not take the decision well, treating it as a slight - an insult - by her very own mother.[17] Denied a position of power, she decided to abandon the Order and join the raiders instead, to join a faction that she believed could make an impact, rather than cower in the shadows.[18] She buried herself in work, taking far more than her share of missions and staying away from the Manor for most of the time. The Headmistress believed it to be an excuse to avoid her, rather than dedication to her work. At any rate, Olivia's missions combined with the success of the Battle of Huntersville by the Responders and the Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel suppressed raiders in the mountains. All seemed to be going well.[19]

That was merely the calm before the storm. Olivia was actually using the missions to track the raiders and find an opening into the organization. When she tracked down a checkpoint manned by Brody Torrance, of all people, she knew she found one. She attacked them on June 8, effortlessly taking out everyone but Brody, sparing him, save for a nick to the leg. The two agreed to meet again at a remote cottage at the Whitespring, meeting every couple of weeks. By July 12, they had a plan ready. As Thorpe was dithering,[20] Olivia offered him a token of her trustworthiness: Intel on the location of Allison Long. Although he had difficulty convincing the raider warlord, Thorpe ultimately relented with an ultimatum: He better bring the Mistress' head or be relieved of his own.[20]

Sure enough, on July 24 Allison was killed at Summersville, and by Olivia to boot. As a veteran Mistress on a supply run, she was too much for the raiders to handle, breaking the ambush and nearly killing Brody. Allison intervened to save Torrance and with him, her opening into the organization. Brodybrought back her head to Thorpe, while Olivia brought Allison's headless body all the way back to the Manor.[21] To secure the inroads, she traded intel on Order operations to the raiders. The Siphon holotape she recovered from Sugar Grove during the very first mission she ran allowed her to put the entire Cryptos mainframe on a single holotape, which she handed over to the raiders at a meet on September 20, 2086.[22]

The casualties suddenly started mounting. In three years between March 2083 and July 2086, the Order lost three Mistresses. Olivia's intel caused the Order to lose seven in just three months, between July and October. Raiders were waiting for the Mistresses at every mission site, killing them with ease. Shannon ordered Eve to accelerate the training program and automate the promotions, but it was too late.[23] The raiders had the upper hand. With Cryptos and the experience gained in the previous three months, they could ambush the Order in any location they wished. The Headmistress locked down the manor as a last resort, limiting excursions to only the four most senior mistresses: Herself, Eve, Amy, and Olivia.[24]

It didn't help. The data from Cryptos contained all the missions for the next two months, allowing raiders to pick them off one by one. Olivia just watched, waiting.[14] The raiders were preparing for the final battle, rallying at Summersville, but instead of their attack, the death blow came from the least expected direction. Around November 13, the Mistress of Novices and Seeker Rachel West caught up with Olivia's plan. Backed into a corner, Olivia fought back. As the greatest of the Order's assassins, she slaughtered her way through the ranks of the Order - killing even her father, Frederick Rivers - before finally leaving her mother a parting message, inviting her to one last meeting in the Savage Divide, in their special place.[25] After leaving a last message to any survivors, Shannon Rivers buried the bodies and departed for the last meeting with her fallen daughter.[26]

Confronting her atop the Appalachians, the two assassins squared off, fighting each other in an epic battle on November 16. In the end, all of Shannon's training and equipment put her a single step behind her daughter, decades her junior. Although the Headmistress received a mortal wound, she, too, managed to wound her daughter. Her mother passed from her wounds, but Olivia did not enjoy the victory for long. Her raider ally turned on her the moment he realized her state, gunning her down in the Divide, ending the Order.[27]

That is, until the Vault 76 dwellers happened upon it...[28]

Organization[edit | edit source]

The Order of Mysteries was organized in a simple fashion:[29]

  • Initiates were the newest members of the Order. Initiates worked full-time with their mentor to learn basic skills and mission tactics. When they have proven that they are capable of handling missions independently, their mentor would approve their promotion to Novice.[29]
  • Novices continued to train under their mentor and the Mistress of Novices, working to master the tools and techniques of the Mistress of Mystery. In order to advance to the rank of Seeker, they had to complete a series of capstone missions to earn the elements of the Mistress' regalia.[29]
  • Seekers studied advanced combat tactics as they prepare for their final test: a mission worthy of the true Mistress of Mystery. After completing their mission, they may apply to the Headmistress for promotion.[29]
  • Mistress of Mystery was a full member of the Order, a master of stealth, infiltration, combat, and tactics, capable of handling herself in any situation.[29]
  • The Mistress of Novices was the second in command of the Order, responsible for organizing and assigning missions and coordinating training programs.[29]
  • The Headmistress (shannon Rivers) was the leader of the Order of Mystery. The first among equals, she inspired and guided the Order in achieving its goals.[29]

Members of the Order of Mysteries undertook missions commensurate with their skills and experience. Missions were either assigned by a more senior member of the order, or accepted from the Cryptos Mission Board.[30]

Initiates reported to their mentor, who reviewed and assessed their progress, and approved their promotion to the rank of Novice. As Novices, they could accept missions from the Mission Board. Except for the automated missions associated with their regalia, they reported to their mentor and the Mistress of Novices. Finally, Seekers and Mistresses reported directly to the Headmistress, or to the Mistress of Novices if the Headmistress is unavailable.[30]

Members[edit | edit source]

Roster reflects the status as of January 6, 2086, before the destruction of the Order.

Headmistress
Mistress of Novices
Mistresses of Mystery
Seekers
Novices
Initiates
Technical specialist

Technology[edit | edit source]

The equipment of the Order was, unsurprisingly, patterned after the Mistress' own regalia, on top of the Order of Mysteries bunker buried below the Riverside Manor. Frederick Rivers collaborated heavily with Kent Connolly, a devoted fan of Hubris properties, who provided feedback on the process. The base was a replica of the Mistress' lair from issue #102, featuring automated fabrication facilities (using Frederick's proprietary fabrication techniques), a modular training area capable of fashioning itself into any kind of combat arena (the Hall of Trials), and support facilities like the infirmary and even a nuclear shelter combined with Pulowski Preservation Services tubes.[31] At the heart of the facility was a Cryptos mainframe, procured by Frederick from Zack Hayes at great expense after the DIA cancelled its order at the last minute. Cryptos

The most important gear was directly based on the equipment featured in the series, and included a Garb of Mysteries woven from ballistic fiber (much to Kent's chagrin, Frederick went with the practical, dress-like design planned for the TV series, rather than the traditional full-length gown).[32][33] The Phantom Device combined the functionality of a Stealth Boy with HalluciGen Inc.'s proprietary gas.[34] As a high-tech smoke bomb, it was designed for use with the Veil of Secrets, providing a tight seal and protecting the Mistress from the effects of the gas thanks to a multilayered asbestos liner.[35] The greatest challenge came with the Voice of Set, a plot device used by Mistress writers to extricate themselves from various narrative conundrums. Frederick settled on creating a hybrid .44/EMP pistol, after the contradictory properties made both his and Kent's heads spin.[36] In this context, the Blade of Bastet, created by combining an historic sword with a swing analyzer to create custom blades tailored to the individual Mistress' fighting style were child's play.[37]

The greatest limitations for the Order was the lack of expertise in certain critical areas. Medical care was the most noticeable, as none of the members had real medical training, and members were expected to account for that.[38] Furthermore, without alliances, they had to rely on what they could scavenge from the wasteland. Supply runs could only help so much and the availability of critical items, such as antibiotics, waned with time. As Headmistress Rivers was against reaching out to the Responders for help, the situation grew dire with time, especially after a dysentery epidemic wiped out the Order's stockpile.[39]

Notably, the use of chems for performance enhancement was strictly forbidden. Chems promoted dependency and addiction, while recovery could be long and painful in the absence of Addictol, hampering mission readiness. Any chems recovered in the course of a mission were to be turned over to infirmary staff for safekeeping.[40]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Order of Mysteries features in Fallout 76.

References

  1. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 6/29/77"
  2. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 6/26/77"
  3. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 6/29/77"
  4. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 7/8/78"
  5. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 7/8/78"
  6. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 7/8/78"
  7. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 11/11/78"
  8. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 4/29/79"
  9. Riverside Manor terminals: "Mission Statement"
  10. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 8/2/82 "
  11. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 12/25/82 "
  12. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 3/5/83 "
  13. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 3/5/83 "
  14. 14.0 14.1 Riverside Manor terminals
  15. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 2/8/86 "
  16. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 2/14/86 "
  17. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 5/22/86 "
  18. Riverside Manor terminals
  19. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 6/1/86 "
  20. 20.0 20.1 Pleasant Valley Ski Resort terminals
  21. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 7/24/86 "
  22. Riverside Manor terminals: "From Olivia"
  23. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 10/7/86"
  24. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 10/7/86"
  25. Riverside Manor terminals: "From Olivia"
  26. Riverside Manor terminals: "Personal Journal, 11/18/86"
  27. Holotape of the fight acquired at the end of the quest
  28. Order of Mysteries arc in Fallout 76
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 29.5 29.6 Riverside Manor terminals: "Ranks and Promotions"
  30. 30.0 30.1 Riverside Manor terminals: "Missions and Mission Reports"
  31. Riverside Manor terminals: "From Kent"
  32. Riverside Manor terminals: "RE: Garb of Mysteries"
  33. Riverside Manor terminals: "RE: Garb of Mysteries"
  34. Riverside Manor terminals: "RE: Phantom Device"
  35. Riverside Manor terminals: "Veil of Secrets"
  36. Riverside Manor terminals: "Veil of Secrets"
  37. Order of Mysteries - The Blade of Bastet
  38. Riverside Manor terminals: "Emergency Care"
  39. Riverside Manor terminals: "Emergency Care"
  40. Riverside Manor terminals: "Chem Lockup"