Frederick Rivers was a noted inventor and architect in Appalachia before the Great War. He was the husband of Shannon Rivers, a famous pre-War actress, and father to their daughter, Olivia. The two met at a benefit dinner for Frederick's engineering institute. She was supposed to be a celebrity guest, but before her career really took off, no one knew her. Frederick found her in a corner, started babbling on about his work on fabrication algorithms and to his surprise, she actually cared and was interested. A casual conversation blossomed into a lifelong close relationship. Shannon had the brilliance and vision to not only understand his work, but also the value in exploring new ideas and designs, without being subject to some giant corporation trying to exploit people for a quick profit. As such, the two agreed that thanks to Shannon's lucrative acting career and the royalties, Frederick would be free to pursue his projects regardless of their profitability. It suited them both just fine. He could dream, experiment, and build things beyond her wildest imagination, and then they would share them. Her reaction and approval, meant more to him than any profit or prize ever could.
When Hubris decided to put the Silver Shroud on the small screen, Frederick poured the fortune they amassed over the quarter of a century into replicating the gear and lair of the Mistress of Mystery, in a secret year-long effort. Together with Kent Connolly, a die-hard fan who provided input on nearly every design decision, Frederick built an expansive, functional lair beneath the Riverside Manor, including a custom-built mainframe that he bought from RobCo after the DIA canceled the project it was built for. He showed the entire setup to her on June 6, 2077, bolstering her confidence just as the TV series pre-production was slowly wrapping up. The family did not need the money, but Shannon wanted to keep acting. She loved it, and Frederick provided.
However, the preparations took their toll on the family. The stress and Shannon's anxiety had an adverse effect on their daughter, Olivia, who grew sullen and withdrawn. Her mother was busy flying to Boston and back to prepare for the filming, while Olivia was forced to get by with an army of private tutors. Even her father had trouble keeping up with them all. However, Olivia could, and her parents wanted to keep fostering that potential. Olivia felt neglected, with her mother's acting career taking precedence over her needs. The cancellation of their traditional camping trip to Seneca Rocks in June earlier in the year, due to her mother's packed schedule, weighed on her heavily.
Frederick supported both of the most important women in his life as best he could, especially in the wake of the Great War. The Rivers family survived for months, using their supplies and then foraging from the area, and utilizing the Mistress base as a bunker. The routine they established lasted until July 8, 2078, when the family went to Charleston to replenish supplies. On the way back, they were accosted by a group of raiders. Frederick tried to pay them off with freshwater and now-worthless money. They laughed, wanting something else. When they put their hands on Olivia, Shannon 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.
Olivia was instantly taken by her mother's heroic defense and asked her for training. Although Shannon was hesitant at first, her daughter's insistence and Frederick's calm rationale that the world had changed and their daughter needs to defend herself worked. Shannon decided to fight and pick up the mantle of the Mistress again. 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. An added benefit was that the training helped Shannon bond with her daughter.
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 girls, starting with three: Clarissa, Eve, and Amy, found rifling through the Rivers' garage. 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.
The Order of Mysteries was founded, with Frederick acting as the sisterhood's technical specialist, outside its normal hierarchy. As the resident gearhead, he focused on maintaining Cryptos and the facilities of the bunker, processing upgrades and intel, and so on and so forth. He also fostered the potential among the wards of Shannon, looking for candidates to take over his post in the future. There were plenty, especially Rachel West, former Initiate of his daughter. He reprogrammed the computer system from training his wife to supporting the Order by automating initiation, mentor assignments, and mission assignments. He maintained the computer system, along with Rachel West and Janet Tyler, who mostly took over the programming while Frederick continued to tinker. He also created a fabrication machine to automate the creation and repair of the equipment so he could have time to work on new projects.
Frederick took a backseat in Olivia and Shannon's conflict, preferring to give them both space and believing in the potential of her daughter, that the two should talk it out.
Frederick's exact fate appears to be unaccounted for and is not mentioned in any of the tapes during or after Olivia's betrayal.
Frederick Rivers is mentioned only in Fallout 76.
Behind the scenes
The Harland's up to no good holotape features a single line attributed to Frederick Rivers, though based on the context of the holotape, and the fact that it has the same voice actor as Harland McClintock, it seems that this was a mistake and not indicative that Frederick was present at a raider meeting.
- Cryptos terminal entries; About Headmistress Rivers
- Riverside Manor terminal entries, Personal Journal, 6/27/77
- Order of Mysteries - Production log 209
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Personal journal 6/29/77
- Riverside Manor terminal entries, Personal Journal, 6/26/77
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Personal Journal, 10/6/77
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Personal Journal, 6/28/77
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Personal Journal, 7/8/78
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Personal Journal, 11/11/78
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Personal Journal, 4/29/79
- Order of Mysteries - Production log 212