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- In Fallout, Mariposa Military Base can be found thirteen squares west of Vault 13.
- In Fallout 2, the base can be found ten squares east and twenty-seven squares south of Arroyo.
The FEV Project
In 2076, the NBC division of West Tek achieved breakthrough results in the Pan-Immunity Virion Project. The United States Defense Department, in fear of international espionage, moved a military team under the command of Colonel Robert Spindel and Captain Roger Maxson onto the site to secure and oversee the project, now dubbed the FEV (Forced Evolutionary Virus) project. On January 7, 2077, all Californian FEV research was moved to the newly-constructed Mariposa Military Base from the West Tek facility to commence testing of the virus on human subjects. The security team was transferred to the newly constructed base as well, to provide protection for the research going on within the facility. They were not informed of the nature of the research.
This secrecy backfired shortly before October 10, 2077, when soldiers stationed at the base discovered the human testing that was going on at the base, made worse by the fact that the scientists were using military prisoners as test subjects. Colonel Spindel suffered a nervous breakdown, locking himself in his office, leaving Captain Maxson to handle the deteriorating situation at the base. The soldiers were screaming for blood and became increasingly aggressive. When two days later, on October 12, the captain stopped a soldier from murdering a scientist, he ordered the scientists to be interrogated.
The first scientist to be interrogated by Captain Maxson was Robert Anderson, chief researcher of the research team at Mariposa. Anderson explained that the testing at the facility was sanctioned and, in fact, ordered by the government, as he outlined the experiments to the captain. When Maxson refused to believe him, the scientist lost his nerve and started screaming how he was just following orders and that he was also a military man. In response, Captain Maxson killed him.
This established Maxson as the leader of the rebellion. His position was further reinforced on October 15, when Colonel Spindel committed suicide as his men broke into his office. Subsequent scientist interrogations invariably ended in executions. Erin Shellman held out the longest, almost convincing the captain that the experiments were really ordered by the government. On October 20, 2077, Captain Maxson declared his unit in full secession from the United States, attempting to force the government to respond to the situation at Mariposa. No response came. Two days later, he ordered the families of soldiers under his command to take shelter within the facility.
On October 23, 2077, the Great War struck. As Maxson was halfway through prying the story from Head Researcher Leon Von Felden, the facility lost contact with the outside world as nuclear weapons started to drop. Spared the nuclear devastation, Mariposa protected the inhabitants from nuclear fallout flooding the wasteland. Fearing that China would soon make up for the oversight, on October 24, Maxson ordered his soldiers and their families to prepare to vacate the base the next day.
On October 25, Sergeant Platner volunteered to take atmospheric readings outside the base. He reported no significant amounts of radiation in the atmosphere, and final preparations for the exodus were undertaken. On October 26, Maxson ordered the remains of the scientists to be buried in the wastes outside the base. A day later, on October 27, former US servicemen and their families left the base under the leadership of Captain Roger Maxson, heading for the Lost Hills government bunker in the south.
The Rise of the Master
The base was left sealed, but over the years, it slowly fell into disrepair, and eventually, various creatures made their way inside, mutating due to F.E.V. exposure and infesting the surrounding area, attacking fledgling human settlements and caravans. The problem was becoming increasingly severe, to the point when Harold, a caravan master from the Hub, mounted an expedition in 2102 to locate and destroy the source of mutants.[Non-canon 1]
Dr. Richard Grey was one of the explorers who were part of the expedition. Harold led the party into Mariposa, but failed to account for the automated defenses, which were still online, and promptly attacked the explorers. Taking heavy casualties, they made their way to the deepest, fourth level, the F.E.V vats, where a crane smashed into the two surviving explorers, Harold and Richard Grey. The former was knocked out, the latter landed in one of the virus vats, succumbing to a severe overdose.
In agony and horribly mutated, Grey crawled into the control room. But just as his body was changing, his intellect had begun growing. In a few days, he was neurolinked to the base computer, drawing upon its sizable data banks. As he created the idea of the Unity, wanderers began to enter the facility. Grey patiently captured and dipped them, hoping to create beings as perfect as he believed himself to be. When the first true super mutants were created, he set out to create a mutant army, at the same time deciding to look for a permanent base of operations. In 2155, one of his patrols located a group of vault dwellers from the Los Angeles vault, and he made the decision to transfer himself there, occupying the vault.[Non-canon 2]
The base was entrusted to the Lieutenant, one of the greatest super mutant minds yet created. Mariposa was rebuilt and cleaned up, once again becoming the magnificent military base it was before the war. Super mutants roamed the halls, restocking the armories and medical bays and soon it became the staging area for their conquest of the wasteland, as well as the only super mutant production center.
The existence of the Mariposa Military Base was listed in Enclave records, which enabled the Enclave to find the base and begin their excavations.[Non-canon 3] On July 20th, 2236, Enclave scouts (re)discovered the ruins of the Mariposa Military Base.[Non-canon 4] The Chemical Corps and other scientists began to scour the base, while assault squads began gathering slaves to use for excavating the base.[Non-canon 5] In the process, they captured Melchior from the town of Redding.[Non-canon 6] Excavations began in September. The slaves and construction crews dug into the collapsed base, removing tons of rock. Unprotected wastelanders were exposed to low levels of FEV in the ruins, released after the base self-destructed and mutations began to occur. At the same time, Frank Horrigan was exposed to the virus and sent to Control Station Enclave for study.[Non-canon 7] By October, Melchior (now mutating) realized that the Enclave would execute him and the others as soon as they recovered the FEV and virus data. He began secretly stashing away weapons for the mutants in anticipation of the confrontation.[Non-canon 8] The excavations were complete in January 2237. Shortly after Enclave scientists managed to obtain a pure sample of FEV and left the base, the mutants rose up against their Enclave overseers. After suffering heavy casualties, the Enclave forces fell back and sealed the mutants in. The remaining first and second-generation super mutant slaves remained in the base, and the group formed a new community under the leadership of Melchior, whose magic talents had allowed them to hide the weapons.
- Square footage: 30,000 ft
Mariposa was a reinforced military base, constructed in the middle of nowhere, in the side of a mountain. The exterior had a characteristic white lining and a massive air conditioning vent, which provided fresh air for the complex. Inside, it consisted of four levels, stretching across a mile of depth.
Stronghold Level 1
- Square footage: 40,000 ft
The first level of Mariposa housed the gear needed for any excursions, as well as a staging area for patrols. The main control computers for the base's force fields and robotic guardians were located here, allowing any infiltrator to considerably sabotage the base, just by altering the pest control setting for the robobrains, in addition to altering the force field status remotely. Apart from that, guard barracks were located on this level, for off-duty surface security teams.
Stronghold Level 2
- Square footage: 60,000 ft
The primary soldier living quarters, medbay and armory were located on this level. The quarters were spacious, although spartan in design, with a large stockpile of weapons just around the corner and a well-equipped sickbay, stocked chock full of medical chems, surgical equipment and medical beds with integrated life support systems.
Stronghold Level 3
- Square footage: 80,000 ft
The third level was divided in two, one was the general access area, where the assembly room and elevator to the commander's office were located, the second a military prison with an elevator going directly to the vats. When Mariposa was operating under government jurisdiction, experimenting with FEV, only scientists and their security staff were allowed into the prison area and the vats; soldiers under Colonel Spindel and Roger Maxson were barred from entry.
- Square footage: 60,000 ft
Divided in two as well, the deepest level housed the massive FEV vats, together with their control room, scientist living quarters as well as the base commander's office. As with the third level, access to the FEV research area was strictly limited, with only scientists being allowed to enter. A special containment squad, the super mutant Vat Team 9, was stationed in the room near the cell block access elevator, to deal with any potential disturbances. It was composed of three soldiers.
The vats control room was where the base's mainframe was also located, holding personnel logs (Boyarsky, Roger Maxson, Richard Grey etc.) as well as the self-destruction initiation subsystem. Encrypted behind a firewall, these were nonetheless accessible for a skilled hacker. Alternatively, just blowing the console up would trigger the self-destruct sequence, but the base would be set to alert status, powering up the force fields.
Mariposa Encryption Codes
17652-1028-1285362 - 1 minute silent self destruct sequence
67209-5574-7805564 - 30 second self destruct, set base to alert
55658-8678-1251533 - set base to alert status
31914-1041-1251514 - 300 second silent self destruct sequence
53478-2565-7763929 - 300 second self destruct sequence, set base to alert
The layout of the base is very similar to that in Fallout, although there are some tents (in one of them is the Military base holodisk 5) outside the base, wolf packs and the entrance to the base is blocked by rubble. To get in the base the player character will need to find the metal pole and put it on the rail cart ("Use on"). Next, they need to put some dynamite (can be found in the little shack right from the entrance to the base) on the rail cart (right-click and hold on the cart, and then choose the "bag" option; after that, simply click on the dynamite from the menu) and push it down. Doing this will net the player character 5,000 XP.
Stronghold Level 1
When the player character arrives at the first level of the base, the first thing they would notice are the Enclave soldiers and mutant bodies lying around. The player character can loot these for holodisks and a plasma pistol.
The level is mostly filled with mutated rats (which can poison the player character if they bite), which can be easily dispatched. However, in one of the halls, there is a super mutant, Grundel, who will attack the player character if they try to talk to him. He is wearing spiked knuckles.
In the southwest corner (in the hall leading to the elevator), there is a broken power generator, which can be repaired for 1,500 XP (this can be easily done if one has Vic in your party). Doing this will also turn on the lights in the base.
Stronghold Level 2
The second level of the base is filled with super mutants, about 15 of them, but for an experienced player character, they shouldn't pose a large threat. Mutants are usually wielding power fists and flamers, although few of them use laser rifles and plasma rifles. In most of the lockers, the player character can find money, stimpaks, some ammunition and in the east corner of the map, a suit of T-51b power armor.
Stronghold Level 3
Like on the second level of the base, the third level is also inhabited by super mutants that use laser rifles, plasma rifles, and flamers. Also, there are some mutated beasts (pig rats) which are weak, but the player character can get poisoned if they bite them. There are super duper mutants on this level, which have greater HP than "normal" mutants. As comes to the loot, the player character should pay attention to the first room after exiting the elevator. In the room is the locker, in which the player character can find a green memory module, which can be used to expand ACE's medical library, thus allowing the player character to increase their Perception by 1. Finally, in the southeastern corner of the map, there is an elevator that takes the player character to the final level of the base, the vats.
The deepest level of the base houses one of the tougher enemies in Fallout 2, Melchior. He is standing in the northwestern corner of the map, surrounded by goo which has remained there since the Vault Dweller destroyed the FEV vats.
Melchior himself is not that tough, but his abilities are unique. From the vats (or more precisely, the goo), he can and will summon deathclaws, fire geckos, floaters and mutated mole rats. They are summoned in that descending order, and if the player character is strong enough to survive several waves of them, they are rewarded with some funny lines. He can have 4 summoned allies at a time, which can be bothersome, so it is best to dispatch him first, and then his "pets." This is quite challenging, even for experienced player characters with a good party, so they should be very cautious and prepared to leave the scene of battle with 1-2 fewer companions. Melchior also guards a locker containing a PPK12 Gauss pistol.
- The background music is "Vats of Goo", which was originally used for the intro in Fallout. The music is the same in both Fallout and Fallout 2 and is used for Broken Hills as well.
- In 2241, there are some super mutants named super duper mutants. One of them can talk about their recipe: rat surprise. The recipe is told as to when the rat is caught, it's hung on a wall by its tail until it detaches from its tail. Once done, it is needed to be eaten quickly, else "the surprise would crawl out and fly away."
The Mariposa Military Base appears in Fallout and Fallout 2. It is mentioned in Fallout 3 by Harold in Oasis. The base is also mentioned in a terminal located in Vault 87. It is also mentioned in the personal journals of Maxson I, which are stored in the Citadel archives. It is mentioned on a Fallout: New Vegas loading screen saying that the super mutants in the Mojave are the remnants of Mariposa and in its add-on Dead Money by Dog in his idle dialogue. It is mentioned in Fallout 76 and its updates One Wasteland For All, on Vernon Dodge's terminal, and in Steel Dawn, in Leila Rahmani's dialogue.
Behind the scenes
- According to Chris Taylor, Mariposa Military Base is based on Fort Ord, a defunct military base in the Monterey Bay, California region.[Non-canon 9] It was called Base Omega in early design documents.
- Fort Ord closed in 1994. The land was repurposed for several uses, including the establishment of the Fort Ord National Monument, a public nature reserve created in part to protect the endangered Smith's Blue Butterfly. In-game, the base is named mariposa, which is the Spanish word for butterfly. This connects to the metamorphosis that occurs in a caterpillar turning it into a "better" creature, in this case, a butterfly. When pure humans are dipped into the FEV vats they transform into a "better" creature, in this case, a smarter/faster/stronger super mutant.
- The in-game base is further north and east than the real world location of Fort Ord. The closest correspondents are the San Luis Reservoir and the city of Los Banos, CA.
- In a few cases the yellow force fields' device cannot be deactivated by the use of a tool. If that happens it's only necessary to simply use the Repair skill directly into the force field device. [verified]
- In Fallout, in Mariposa level 2, there are some super mutants locked in a room. Loading a previous save will result in their death, or make them disappear entirely. [verified]
- Military base holodisk 5
- Military base level 1
- Military base level 2
- Military base level 3
- Military base level 4
- Fallout Bible 0: "2102 May 22 Increasing mutant attacks on Harold's caravans cause Harold to get so pissed he finances one of the first adventuring parties of Fallout to try and find out where these dagnab mutants are coming from. Consulting with a scientist and doctor at the Hub, a man by the name of Grey, the two of them decide to join forces."
- Fallout Bible 0: "2155-2156 After capturing a caravan of strange-garbed travelers (vault dwellers), Master learns the location of the Boneyard Vault, the future site of the Cathedral. He conquers the inhabitants and sets up operations there, and the human cultists begin to use the Vault as their powerbase. Within the Vault, the Master learns of other Vaults, and realizing their human occupants are ripe for transformation, begins to send out patrols to Vault locations in search of these other Vaults."
- Fallout Bible 0:"Unknown. The Mariposa Military Base was constructed for the purposes of FEV experimentation on human beings, and considering the nature of the "volunteers" (military prisoners who didn't have their brains scooped for use in brain bots) and the lack of any shred of ethics in the experimentation procedures, it is possible the Enclave had something to do with the experiments at Mariposa. In Mariposa records, however, the Military Base is never mentioned as under the direction of any organization called the "Enclave," and Colonel Spindel, head of the military squad stationed at the base, never indicated any Enclave allegiance... nor did Chief Scientist Anderson in the last few minutes before Maxson put a bullet through his skull."
"Still, the existence of the Mariposa Military Base was listed in Enclave records, and this enabled the Enclave to find the base and begin their excavations, so it is possible that some elements of the Pre-War Enclave had their fingers in the horrors taking place at Mariposa. They held the site for many years, but abandoned it after obtaining the FEV samples... and noting the high incidence of mutation among the worker slaves and some of their soldiers, including Frank Horrigan."
- Fallout Bible 0: "2236 July 20 Enclave scouts discover the remains of the Mariposa Military Base and find it partially destroyed."
- Fallout Bible 0: "2236 July–August Enclave scientists and chemical corps scour the remains of Mariposa, while assault squads comb the desert for slaves they can use to mine the military base and get to the Vats. One of the squads includes soldier Frank Horrigan, 25 at the time, recently removed from duty on the President's secret service to take some RNR time in the wastes after some undocumented psychotic blunder or another."
- Fallout Bible 0: "2236: August Melchior is captured by an Enclave patrol and becomes part of the slave mining force at the Military Base."
- Fallout Bible 0: "2236: September Enclave construction crews and super mutant slaves begin excavations. They uncover the FEV virus, and mutations begin to occur in the human workers. Frank Horrigan comes into contact with the FEV and is sent to the Enclave labs for study."
- Fallout Bible 0: "2236 October Melchior begins to mutate... but keeps his intelligence and cunning in the wake of the transformation, making him pretty smart for a super mutant. Realizing that the Enclave will kill the super mutants after they get the FEV data, he begins to use his magician talents to secret away weapons for the mutants to defend themselves when the Enclave decides to dispense with them."
- Fallout Bible 6: "According to Chris Taylor, Mariposa Military Base is based on Fort Ord, IIRC. That's an old military base that has been shut down near Monterey Bay."