Sugar Grove is a location in Fallout 76.
Background[edit | edit source]
Sugar Grove was officially designated Naval Radio Station Sugar Grove, billed as simply just another installation supporting the war effort. However, beneath the veneer of legitimacy, the concrete walls of the installation concealed one of the most important intelligence facilities in the United States: A black site focusing on homeland security using any means necessary. This meant monitoring the miners in Appalachia for seditious sentiments (such as calls for unionization and anti-automation, considered "mostly harmless), complex investigations of money trails for Chinese connections, and as the situation in Appalachia escalated following the increase in automation and the Free States' secession, investigating strikers for communist connections and keeping tabs on the secessionists. The Free Staters were considered to be a minor problem, as long as they stayed in their bunkers. All collected intelligence was documented and deposited in the facility's vast archival system. Naturally, the facility's commander had a vested interest in keeping everything that took place within Sugar Grove secret. Gould implemented a strict policy concerning outside communications: All inquiries or requests for information from outside sources had to be cleared by either him or Captain West, to protect the incredibly sensitive nature of the work.
It goes without saying that Sugar Grove played a role in suppressing dissent and opposition, going beyond just watching. In just one instance, Edgar Aarsen, a random Appalachian, attracted attention for his union attendance in March 2075. A surveillance warrant was issued on August 13, with an arrest warrant following just two days after New Year's. Within three months Aarsen was dead, with his children, Martin and Olivia, adopted within a month. He was hardly the only American to meet this fate. The facility was also experimenting extensively with a variety of surveillance technologies through the Advanced Research Projects Division, many of which were ethically challenged. Perhaps the most notorious of these projects was the Somnus Initiative, an initiative that used hypnosis and drugs to turn willing folks into sleeper agents used by the Navy. Disguised from other analysts as external contractors, the initiative started in late August 2077 and numerous Appalachians were abducted and processed, with a rather spotty success record that included maiming, mind damage, and accidental creation of superhuman martial artists.
Other projects were less successful. These include BR-04, Project LOCUST, which sought to develop a self-directed Vertibot swarm capable of covertly accessing enemy installations, hacking into mainframe systems, and extracting data of interest. It was abandoned after engineering estimates indicated that Vertibots equipped with Project LOCUST technology would be approximately the size of a consumer sedan, making covert actions by a swarm of such robots infeasible. RD-68 BARRIER attempted to develop an electromagnetic suppression field capable of dampening gamma radiation, providing a counter to radiation weapons and enabling operations directly after a tactical nuclear strike. Although initial tests were promising, the field emitter required exponentially more power to operate at scale: Shielding an area 20 feet (6 meters) in radius would require three industrial nuclear reactors. It was also scrapped. KM-41 SPOTLIGHT was an attempt to develop a neutrino pulse emitter capable of remotely scanning enemy installations and reconstructing an internal map of the facility. A field test of conducted on a civilian office building on June 22, 2077 resulted in mass civilian casualties following a sudden mass psychotic episode. The project was scrapped, though its potential usefulness for military applications was noted.
The two semi-successful projects were CX-15 or Project SIPHON, an attempt to develop an automated data exfiltration holotape, capable of scanning hostile networks, detecting data sources of interest, compressing the data, and extracting it for later analysis. By June 2077 it achieved a successful data compression ratio of 200:1, but the cost of iridium-infused magnetic tapes ($15 million per), and multiple personal use issues resulting in two lost tapes, forced the project to be put under tight control. Access was strictly limited to covert operations specialists of Grade-V or above with prior authorization, with the head of the SigInt Analysis team forcing the system to log every check-out of the holotapes. After all, a single SIPHON was twice the annual budget of the entire SigInt Analysis division.
However, while SIPHON was a siphon for resources, it was dwarfed by Kyle Lockhart's EX-72 PULSAR, attempting to develop tactical electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons for use by agents in disabling or destroying turrets, robots, and other electronic security systems. Although the project called for extensive testing and analysis, progress was slow. A test cycle required the analysts to fire the weapon, break down the robot, analyze the damage, reset and recalibrate, then wait for a new robot. Even with a fabricator on-site, they could only perform four tests in a day, at best. October 4, 2077, represented that peak capacity. As a talented engineer, Lockhart soon managed to create a workaround: He can set up the fabrication pod to assemble a robot, pipe the fabricator's steam release into a hydraulic actuator to trigger the weapon, and then have the fabricator disassemble the robot and save off the results. The whole cycle took about eight minutes. Lockhart took the next week off for a well-earned vacation, leaving the testing on automatic.
This lack of discipline quickly started to affect Sugar Grove operations, especially since Lockhart neglected to inform his colleagues about the experiment. By the 9th, auxiliary generators had to be brought online. By the 11th, the routine started to consume runaway amounts of storage and forced the facility to tap into the Monongah power grid after the tests burned out eight generators. The tap siphoned enough power to cause brownouts. By the 13th, the routine consumed all available space, forcing a secondary tape drive to be brought online. Then the third. And fourth. It capped out at 58, i.e. all the available storage in the facility.
Lockhart returned to work on the 18th, to a mound of garbage data filling up the drives and no way to sift through it all. Worse yet, General Thomas McAllen, responsible for oversight at the facility, took notice of the impact Lockhart's test had and threatened to sack Lockhart for interfering with a facility crucial to the war effort. Lockhart was given a week to provide a report and an explanation for the incident.  In his own words, the automated test routine has eaten all the data storage on the base, enough power to run Watoga for a year, and more raw materials than the 81st Armored. And he had to dig a golden needle out of it in less than a week.
He realized the futility of the work by the 21st, with less than four days to go. The test data was fragmented across the mainframe and the system couldn't handle the volume, leaving him with no means to access the data, much less analyze it. His only hopes lay with the SIPHON holotapes, but ever since the project was taken out from under his jurisdiction, he was not on the list of people permitted to access the holotapes. The strict controls instituted after repeated misuse also made "borrowing" it impossible.
Mercifully for Lockhart - less so for the entire humanity - the Great War prevented General McAllen's visit. The operatives apparently used the base for a length of time, even preparing to destroy the intelligence they've gathered using gas cans, turning the whole archives into a bonfire. However, they never seemed to complete the task by throwing the lit matches on the pyre, allowing the robotic staff on-site to preserve it and the system operations. In 2102, MODUS would target the facility, seeking to reestablish its severed connections and tap into the vast Appalachian surveillance network...
Points of interest[edit | edit source]
- The facility is nested on the side of a hill, easily recognizable for the concrete walls surrounding it and the massive bunker attached to an otherwise welcoming office building. The parking lot is densely packed with derelict cars, making it a rather hazardous choice of a combat arena (though with explosives it graduates to a lethal trap against enemies and especially other players).
- The office building contains offices, as one might expect, and a reception area, together with a number of robots and a turret. Killing them is relatively easy, as long as the player doesn't do something foolish, like fight among the wrecked vehicles. Access inside the facility and the bunker is through the door in the back.
- The interior is divided into three distinct sections. The first one entered is the office area where analysts tried to crack the secrets of the intel provided to them. The main feature is the pile of once secret documents in the center of the room, surrounded by gas cans and ready for a send-off. The adjacent rooms are mostly empty, save for minor loot and piled-up furniture. The corridor in the back leads between two derelict conference rooms down below.
- At the bottom of the staircase, through low-level robots, lies the security checkpoint and more offices to the side. The offices contain traces of habitation and wrecked office equipment, as well as an intelligence dispenser (used in eg. One of Us). The checkpoint contains a hallways covered by a pair of ceiling-mounted turrets. They can be disabled from the booth in the landing area.
- Through the checkpoint is the heart of the facility, with broken DEFCON indicators welcoming newcomers to the black site. To the right is a hallway leading up to the Sugar Grove director's office, with a terminal and loot. To the left is a hallway that leads to the aforementioned Advanced Research Projects laboratory, filled with rogue robots courtesy of Lockhart's fabricator and the ARP terminal. Down the center lies the SigInt hall. Note that robots prowl the area and can be quite dangerous.
- The SigInt hall contains signals intelligence analysts' terminals (where the player has to upload MODUS' holotape during One of Us), interesting holotapes about cryptid sightings, a conference room to the left, and the archives chamber - mostly spotless, save for radroaches - to the right. The archives chamber contains a safe at the far end, so it's worth checking out.
Notable loot[edit | edit source]
- Cryptid Sighting: Wendigo 10/25, Cryptid Sighting: Grafton Monster 9/27, Cryptid Sighting: Snallygaster 10/4: One the signals intelligence analysts' desk in the main SigInt hall.
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Appearances[edit | edit source]
Sugar Grove appears in Fallout 76.
- Sugar Grove terminals: "6-16-77: Mining Chatter"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "8-9-77: Mama Dolce's"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "9-20-77: Grafton Communists"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "10-13-77: Free States"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "9-10-77: Intel Preservation Directive"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "10-18-77: Unauthorized Communication Policy"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "ARCHIVES: Index"
- See Somnus Initiative for references.
- Sugar Grove terminals: "BR-04 "LOCUST" - Vertibot Bugging Network"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "RD-68 BARRIER - Radiation Suppression Field"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "KM-41 SPOTLIGHT - Neutrino Pulse Emitter"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "CX-15 SIPHON - Data Exfiltration Program"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "9-22-77: SIPHON Holotapes"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "EX-72 PULSAR - EMP Weapons Development"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "Research Log: 10/4/77"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "Research Log: 10/7/77"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "10-9-77: Power Use"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "10-11-77: Mainframe Storage"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "10-11-77: RE: Power Use - URGENT"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "10-13-77: Disk Write Errors"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "10-18-77: Project PULSAR"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "10-21-77: RE: SIPHON Holotape"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "Research Log: 10/18/77"
- Sugar Grove terminals: "Research Log: 10/21/77"
- One of Us