Colonel Ellen Santiago was the leader of a large unit of soldiers stationed at Washington D.C. on the eve of the Great War. When the bombs started dropping, she led her unit to safety, then looked for a way forward, out of the horror they were now experiencing. With no sensible alternatives, Santiago led her men away from the still smoldering remains of Washington D.C. to Appalachia, following rumors of the Whitespring Congressional Bunker and eventually arriving at Thomas Eckhart's doorstep with minimal casualties (losing only five men on the way). The Secretary was elated to have a veteran at his disposal and lured her into service with promises of revenge against the Reds. Santiago tried not to show interest, but she was caught up in the want of revenge.
Agent Grey, the secretary's right-hand man, had his suspicions as a long-time intelligence operative. He found it suspicious that the Colonel managed to reach Whitespring while taking such minimal casualties, and the way she rebuffed his attempts to inquire about the state of the capital did not help. Grey finally relented when Santiago explained that they went for the Whitespring because these rumors were the only thing they had to go on. Their families were scattered to the winds or dead, the White House was hit with a thermonuclear weapon, and the only place where they thought they could find any remnants of the government was the Whitespring. Grey did not pursue the topic.
With an influx of veterans, the work towards Eckhart's plan to eradicate communism advanced at a rapid pace. The experiments with mutations continued in parallel with work on accessing the nuclear arsenal, resulting in many working serums, as well as the first scorchbeasts, accidentally created when Enclave scientists exposed irradiated bats to biochemical experiments the previous year. Eckhart ordered further study of the creatures in controlled habitats at the abandoned AMS mining complexes while keeping the officer corps in the dark. Just three months later, in January 2083, Eckhart's men completed reprogramming the Appalachian election machines. Although General Harper expressed reservations about mobilizing men to vote for Eckhart, granting him the title of President, the Secretary believed it was necessary to give the men of the Enclave an authority to look up to. They only knew two: God and the President, and there was no way to create the former.
Eckhart wasted no time in asserting his newfound authority over his subordinates, Colonel Santiago in particular. In one notable instance, he revoked a sergeant's permission to leave the bunker and search for his wife in the region, berating the colonel for giving special leave in wartime and potentially leading an outsider to learn about the bunker and join the Enclave as a "little housewife." Santiago had no choice but to accept Eckhart's stance. However, the President's heavy-handed approach started to make the colonel reconsider her decision to join without full knowledge of what was going on at the Whitespring.
The situation deteriorated in late 2083, when General Harper died of heart failure brought on by radiation poisoning, derailing Eckhart's plan for nuclear retaliation. With his plans threatened, Eckhart salvaged the situation by sending Santiago to Camp McClintock and making her earn an automatic promotion to general by exploiting the same system that gave him the Presidency. Santiago succeeded, although the way in which she earned the stars disgusted her.
Still, it worked for Eckhart. Not only did he have a general and thus the means to access the silos, he could also offload the task to seek out nuclear launch codes to her and her men. The search was complicated by the way in which the codes were distributed, assigned to aides de camp to carry on their backs or delivered by automated cargobots, but also the fact that even with the key and codes they couldn't launch without somehow tricking the automated system into raising the alert level to DEFCON 1. Eckhart and Grey already had a plan in motion for this occasion, aiming to use the Liberators, Huntersville mutants, and the mighty scorchbeasts to unleash hell upon Appalachia and trick the system into believing an invasion was underway. Although all wanted to win the war, putting Appalachia through hell was making many reconsider - especially Major Ragnarsdottir, who explained the situation to Santiago.
As the soldiers struggled with their consciences, Eckhart took time to order an assassination of former Senator Sam Blackwell, remembering the threat he posed before the Great War. The senator's sudden appearance at Harpers Ferry and subsequent elimination of an Enclave operative left the President furious, while the petty retaliation just alienated Santiago further.
Believing all the cards to be in his possession, the President ordered the attempts to raise the DEFCON levels to begin. Liberators and super mutants were unleashed on Appalachia, but all they managed to achieve was barely a tick on the DEFCON counter. Angry with the half-measures and lack of success, Eckhart planned to move ahead with even more radical attempts. However, his single-minded pursuit of nuclear capability and the sheer amount of bloodshed in the process finally broke the straw. General Santiago realized that revenge against the Reds was not worth paying such a steep price and confronted Eckhart in July 2084, threatening to leave with her men. The President tried his usual flattery and playing on Santiago's thirst for revenge, but she remained adamant. Realizing that he was in danger of losing, Eckhart instead chose to incapacitate her with a knock-out agent and keep her in an artificially-induced coma until he had need of her clearance.
She was kept in this coma until June 2086. With nobody to oppose him, Eckhart unleashed the scorchbeasts on Appalachia, with the terror and destruction brought down by them successfully raising the alert level to DEFCON 1. Dismayed and demoralized by the brazen disregard for American life, Santiago's loyalists and members of Eckhart's officer corps staged an open revolt. Fighting off robots and Eckhart's troops, Jackson and one-time Eckhart supporter Major Ragnarsdottir revived Santiago, who gladly assumed leadership of the uprising.
However, while Eckhart was placed under arrest, ultimately the uprising failed. Santiago's decision to blow MODUS up backfired and the AI turned on all human members of the Enclave. After an explosion tore out a large part of MODUS' memory, the damaged AI retaliated with an explosion in the weapons lab that killed General Santiago and ruptured a toxin tank that leaked into the air circulation system. MODUS promptly sealed the bunker, dooming all within, including Santiago.
Ellen Santiago is mentioned only in Fallout 76.
- Whitespring surveillance recording 5.2.4
- Whitespring surveillance recording 5.3.1
- Whitespring surveillance recording 5.4.8
- The Whitespring bunker terminal entries - Meeting Transcript - Entry 5.7.2 (Partial)
- Whitespring surveillance recording 6.1.0
- Whitespring surveillance recording 6.2.1
- Whitespring surveillance recording 6.2.4
- The Whitespring bunker terminal entries - Accessing the Silos
- The Whitespring bunker terminal entries - The Code Pieces
- The Whitespring bunker terminal entries - Tricking DEFCON
- Whitespring surveillance recording 6.6.1
- Whitespring surveillance recording 6.9.7
- Whitespring surveillance recording 8.5.2.
- Whitespring surveillance recordings; Assaultron