|Unmarked Quest: Hidden Valley Computer Virus|
|Talk to Scribe Ibsen|
|Locate the virus on three of the terminals in the room in under 60 seconds. (Actually only 50).|
|Reward: Access to the Hidden Valley database|
The Brotherhood of Steel found a holotape while searching the wastes for technology. When it was put onto the system, it infected their database terminals with a virus. The virus was originally put on a holotape by "some pre-War jackass with nothing better to do", as said by the annoyed Scribe Ibsen. The computer virus infected a few computers in the bunker, and the Courier is asked by Ibsen to 'partition' the virus for Ibsen.
The Courier must find the virus on 3 terminals in 60 seconds to wipe it from the system. To do so, quickly enter each terminal and choose the only option one can. Then, if the text that shows up seems like a random string of letters and numbers, proceed to the next terminal. If one gets a taunting message on the second screen, choose the option to isolate the virus. The infected terminals are almost always in a row or close together in a group. The virus usually has one per section (such as 1 in the middle). If the player character does not get all 3 terminals in the time limit, they will have to speak with Ibsen again. One will get a new 60 seconds and the terminals that the virus has infected will randomize. One can try taking some turbo to gain a few extra seconds. Note that the virus can jump to the terminal Ibsen is standing in front of.
With a high enough Science skill (70), one can suggest partitioning the terminals when the virus jumps to it, giving read only access to the kernel administrator. This isolates the virus on that terminal permanently and leaves the player character with one fewer terminal to find should they fail.
The virus can be partitioned easily by saving immediately after Ibsen tells the player character it has jumped and after finding and isolating the virus. The terminals the virus jumped to will be consistent when you re-load the saved game.
Behind the scenes
The behavior of the virus is similar to the world's first computer virus "creeper" created in 1971. The first real computer virus was released by an employee of a company working on building ARPANET, the Internet’s ancestor. Creeper looks for a machine on the network, transfers to it, displays the message “I'm the creeper, catch me if you can!” and starts over.
Prior to version 188.8.131.524 (update 3): the quest can get stuck into a state whereas it is rendered impossible to complete after using the Science (70) option, and isolating the virus on 3 consoles by partitioning over multiple runs. If the problem was originally triggered in an older version, the update will not make the quest completable, and the problem should be fixed by other means: loading an earlier savegame, using the G.E.C.K. or a mod. [verified]
- Fix: In the G.E.C.K., find the entry HVHuntingVirusScript. Open it and change the line "if VirusTimer > 0 && NumberFixed==3" (without the quotes) to "if VirusTimer > 0 && NumberFixed >= 3" (again, without the quotes). Save the file to your Fallout: New Vegas/Data folder, and load it as you would any mod/DLC from the launcher. Talk to Ibsen to start the virus count, and check one of the already partitioned terminals. Ibsen will then announce the virus is purged, and the terminals will work.
- After several tries a scenario arose where all 3 terminals had been found and isolated. This however did not cause Ibsen to react, and merely stated the Virus had jumped again a few seconds later. The next try was confusingly won after only 2 terminals had been isolated. The save exploit had not been used either. [verified]
- Although it may be a glitch, it could be considered a rapid solution to purging the virus. If one finds a computer with the virus on it, rapidly isolating it three times will result in the virus being purged. Ibsen will say the virus had gone and one will gain access to information stored in the database. [verified]