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Explore the ATLAS Observatory with Scribe Valdez

Mother of Invention is a main quest in Fallout 76, introduced in the Steel Dawn update.


After interviewing the petitioners for Knight Shin, the Vault Dweller is granted provisional access to the interior of Fort Atlas, along with directions to Scribe Valdez. She requires help in investigating some of the mysteries of ATLAS Observatory.


The quest starts automatically after the previous one completes. Scribe Valdez is located on the upper level of the fort, overlooking the main ATLAS device. She will reveal that she does have some work she needs done: The bowels of the observatory have not been thoroughly inspected and she could use the dweller's help in investigating the substructure. After accepting the assignment, she will ask the player character to head on into the substructure and meet her there.

Inside the substructure, she will explain that the goal is to find documentation that can shed light on the state of the project and its mission. An Intelligence 4+ option allows for remarking that reading the plan is the first step of any good work, which she agrees with (and remarks that good work ethic like that is a way to ingratiate one with her).

To complete this assignment, the player character has to locate three parts of the ATLAS decommission reports:

  • On the cart just down the corridor immediately after descending the ruined staircase.
  • By the skeletal remains near the core.
  • On the work table behind the core.

After delivering them to Valdez, she will remark on the state on the project and reveal a portion of what the facility was doing before the War, before catching herself. With Charisma 8+, the player character can convince her to reveal the whole truth and learn about the atmospheric experiments. The scribe will then ask for help performing a hardware inspection on the facility.

The release valve will trigger an explosion when turned, the wiring at the base of the ATLAS core is chewed through by rodents and spawns a horde of them, while the diagnostics terminal offers a breakdown of the status: Core processing unit is defunct, intake valves are ruptured, ion focus is misaligned, and the induction loop has a flux disruption detected. The scribe will summarize the damage in the after-inspection talk, and ask questions as to their status. Correctly answering will earn points with her towards a positive recommendation.

After the pop quiz, she will ask the dweller to extract some components for analysis at the lab. These are:

  • Ion focus, located at the base of the machine. Requires Agility 8+ to remove intact by detaching all the cables and taking out the whole thing in one go.
  • Pressure gauge, in the upper chambers, mounted on a yellow machine. Requires Strength 4+ to remove the screws and fight through the rust.
  • CPU, in the upper offices. Requires Intelligence 8+ to perform a proper CPU ejection procedure on the terminal.

Once all three are collected, Valdez will ask for one other component: The induction coil at the base of the ATLAS device. Once removed (cutting both or one of the wires), a mysterious component will pop out. The player character can either remove it by gently lifting it out, swapping it for something heavy, or remove it using the player character's equipped weapon as a lever.

ATLAS security finally takes notice when that component is removed and a group of robots - Protectrons with a pair of Robobrains - attacks. After defeating them, all that remains is to talk with Scribe Valdez. She will assess the state of components (if recovered through attribute checks, they are in the best possible shape), and will be surprised at recovering the mysterious component: An Ultracite power cell that provided the ATLAS device with all the power it needed to operate. She will give the player character her letter of recommendation to pass to Paladin Rahmani, access to a terminal with recovered ATLAS logs, and a custom weapon, the Fact Finder.

Quest stages

Quest stages
DescriptionLog Entry
Speak to Scribe ValdezI've earned the grudging acceptance of the Brotherhood of Steel's Knight Shin. If I keep helping out, I should be able to work my way into the ranks of the Brotherhood. Shin said I should go speak to Scribe Valdez if I'm looking to do so.
Enter the Fort Atlas substructureScribe Valdez wants me to meet her in the substructure of the Brotherhood's base in Fort Atlas to help her investigate some old technology. She said I could go on ahead and she'll meet me there.
Wait for Scribe ValdezI've entered Fort Atlas' substructure. I should wait for Scribe Valdez to arrive.
Speak to Scribe ValdezScribe Valdez has met me in Fort Atlas' substructure. It looks like she has something to talk to me about.
Learn about the ATLAS Project
Collect ATLAS documentation (#/#)I spoke to Scribe Valdez in the Fort Atlas substructure. She said the first step in our investigation of the area should be to collect any documentation the scientists may have left lying around.
Speak to Scribe ValdezI've collected all the documentation I can find in the Fort Atlas substructure. I should regroup with Scribe Valdez and discuss their contents.
Run a diagnostics checkI spoke to Scribe Valdez about the documents we found in the Fort Atlas substructure. They paint a grim picture of the state of Project ATLAS. Next, we need to run a diagnostics check, test the release valve, and examine the wiring box.
Test the release valve
Examine the wiring
Speak to Scribe ValdezWe've done some checks on the ATLAS machine in the Fort Atlas substructure. I need to speak to Scribe Valdez again to discuss our findings.
Extract components from the ATLAS machines #/#)All evidence points to the ATLAS machine in the Fort Atlas substructure being broken beyond reasonable repair. Scribe Valdez has asked me to extract some key components for her to look at in the future: the core processing unit, ion focus, and pressure gauge.
Extract the induction coil from the ATLAS machine coreScribe Valdez has asked me to extract some components from the ATLAS machine in the Fort Atlas substructure for her to examine. I've extracted three key components already, but she also wants me to extract the induction coil.
Extract the mysterious componentExtracting the induction coil from the ATLAS machine in the Fort Atlas substructure seems to have jogged another component loose. Maybe this mysterious component will be useful in our investigation? I should try extracting it.
Speak to Scribe ValdezScribe Valdez and I have fought off the ATLAS Project's dormant defense systems. I need to speak to the Scribe and see if she's ok.
I helped Scribe Valdez investigate the Project ATLAS machine in the substructure of Fort Atlas, and uncovered a powerful Ultracite battery. Scribe Valdez held up her end of the bargain and wrote me a letter of recommendation to take to Paladin Rahmani.

Behind the scenes

  • The quest name is based off of the phrase "necessity is the mother of invention."
  • When extracting the mysterious component from the Atlas machine core, the player character is given the option to quickly swap it out with a heavy sack of dirt. This is a reference to what Indiana Jones does in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, while stealing a golden idol from a temple in Peru.


After entering the substructure, Scribe Valdez will be found standing in her underwear and completely unresponsive. Leaving the substructure and returning will solve the problem.[platforms tag needed][verification overdue]

A stage of the quest is to enter the Fort Atlas Substructure. But when one does so, the quest stage doesn't complete; one is still tasked with entering the substructure. When in the substructure, the quest marker points back to the main part of Fort Atlas, where the Brotherhood of Steel chapter has its headquarters. It is also possible that this bug results from the quest completion not registering.