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The West Tek Corporation, colloquially referred to as West-Tek, was a major United States defense contractor and research corporation, involved in strategic defense projects of the Department of Defense, such as power armor and FEV research.
West Tek was founded in 2002, consisting of two divisions: Advanced Weapons and Biomedical Sciences Research. Its early projects included the X277 magnetic rail cannon. Although powerful, the cost of fielding such a weapon on a mass scale were considered too extreme and the project was shelved in 2044. In 2055, following the emergence of the New Plague, the company focused its biomedical research efforts on developing a cure for the contagion. Although unsuccessful, it would lead to West Tek being chosen to develop a general immunity virion nearly twenty years later.
In 2065, West Tek joined the power armor research initiative. Although the early prototypes proved to be unworkable in the field, they paved the way for breakthroughs in other fields, military and civilian. The key achievement of the project was the creation of the first portable fusion cell in 2066. Bolstered by this discovery, West Tek immediately began work on the ambitious T-51 power armor project. However, the invasion of Alaska by Chinese forces a few months later forced the military and participating companies to improvise and speed up their schedule. West Tek was the first to beat its competitors to the punch by developing the power armor frame and the first practical series of power armor, the T-45 model D. The first mechanized infantry units equipped with T-45d power armor were deployed to the Alaskan front less than a year later. Although lacking in mobility, they were effective in stemming the Chinese onslaught, thanks to their ability to carry heavy ordinance into battle with ease. West Tek also developed portable, military-grade laser weapons, paving the way for industrial giants like Wattz Electronics.
In 2073, West Tek was contracted to develop a general immunization agent against the New Plague and biochemical weapons used by China. Their viral research efforts from 2055 onwards played a major role in the selection process. This generalized immunity virion was designated the Pan-Immunity Virion Project and formed on September 15. Early experiments with the virion resulted in effective immunity to genetic damage or disruption of protein synthesis, thanks to the new quad-helix structure created by the PVP in affected cells. However, the side effects (increase in muscle mass and induction of replication even in normally non-replicating or slow replicating cells) attracted the attention of West Tek's military liaison, Major Barnett, who immediately ordered further experiments in that direction in March, 2075. Subsequent successful experimentation on flatworms and small mammals confirmed the viability of PVP as an evolutionary mutagen, now designated the Forced Evolutionary Virus.
The last attempt to continue the PVP line of experimentation was the Greenhouse Initiative, which attempted to use the mutagenic potential of PVP to create edible plants and vegetation that could greatly increase food production and combat the shortages that led to the food riots rocking the country. The town of Huntersville was selected as the test site, resulting in an economic boom. Although the company would purchase test rights from local farmers as late as December 2075, the project was at an end.
On January 6, 2076, the military secured West Tek research sites in the name of national security. Among others, a military detachment under the command of Colonel Robert Spindel was deployed to the West Tek Research Facility, bringing it under military control. West Tek was effectively nationalized, and the development of FEV continued apace, with support from the military's own advisory teams. New genetic sequences were spliced into FEV, gradually turning it into a shifting-absorptive virus that had little in common with the original Pan-Immunity Virion. It did, however, result in increased intelligence, dexterity, muscle mass, and resiliency to pathogens and cancer. The Greenhouse Initiative was scrapped and the researchers reassigned to other projects as West Tek decided to use its Appalachian branch to focus on experimenting with FEV to determine its practical limits, with Huntersville as proving grounds for low-level FEV exposure experiments and source of test subjects.
The Advanced Weapons and Laser Development divisions completed their own projects by the end of the year, resulting in the T-51 power armor being put into production after testing and further iteration by the Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Strong.
In January 2077, the FEV project was nearing completion. All Californian FEV research assets to the newly constructed Mariposa Military Base, including a significant portion of West Tek's research staff, ignoring recommendations against human testing from the personnel. In Appalachia, where human testing was already ongoing, advanced mutation experiments continued around the clock for the duration of 2077. While the Mariposa team perfected an operational strain, Appalachian researchers focused on experimental ones that would test the limits of the virus. Apart from numerous nightmare-inducting results, the experiments created stable mutations that would become known as the snallygaster and the Grafton monster, after Thomas Eckhart unleashed them and the super mutants on Appalachia as part of his sinister plans.
The Californian branch fared less well. While the Appalachian facility was abandoned and the FEV neutralized, by October 23, most of West Tek's personnel in California were dead, either executed by the mutinous soldiers during the Mariposa Rebellion or killed in the nuclear strike on the research facility north of San Diego.
Pan-Immunity Virion Project/FEV
In 2055, the West Tek research facility started working on a new virus to kill the New Plague. The ZAX 1.2 computer was brought in to regulate conditions in West Tek. It calmly calculated data and played chess with the scientists. Many scientists claimed that ZAX cheated and drew the game out too much for a computer of his considerable abilities.
As China became increasingly aggressive with their use of biological weapons, the federal government felt that a countermeasure was needed. The Pan-Immunity Virion Project was officially formed on September 15, 2073 and plans were made to begin experiments at West Tek.
After a series of experiments, the pan-immunity virion was renamed FEV - the Forced Evolutionary Virus in March 2075, as increased size, muscle density, and intelligence are noted among test animals.
On January 3, 2076, a military team under the command of Colonel Robert Spindel was sent to the West Tek research facility to monitor the experiments in the interest of national security. Captain Roger Maxson, future founder of the Brotherhood of Steel, was amongst the team personnel.
In October 2076, large progress was made in FEV research, and the government preferred to move the project to a location under military supervision. On January 7, 2077, Major Barnett ordered a transfer of all FEV research to the newly-constructed Mariposa Base, despite objections by the research team. Along with the scientists, Spindel's military team was sent to Mariposa.
In August 2075, West Tek also began experimenting on FEV in West Virginia. FEV was deliberately added to the drinking water of the town of Huntersville without the residents' knowledge, resulting in the creation and proliferation of super mutants.
Advanced weapons research
Head of Laser Development: Charles Ringhold
The primary research goal of this division was the creation of the power armor. After years of painstaking research, the first suits were created and deployed on the Anchorage Front Line to reclaim it from the Chinese. Although lacking the mobility of future versions, the T-45d suits performed at the height of specifications. The pinnacle of research was the T-51b powered combat infantry armor, though it was later re-engineered into the Enclave advanced power armor.
Additionally, West Tek focused resources on energy weapons research, and while it was private companies that manufactured the weapons themselves (Wattz, Winchester, Yuma Flats Energy Consortium, Glock), it's not a far fetched assumption that West Tek provided the necessary scientific foundation for the creation of energy weapons.
West Tek was instrumental in the creation of multiple projects that redefined the battlefield and biomedical science as we know it. Their products include:
- X277 magnetic rail cannon (canceled 2044): An abortive Gauss rifle project, canceled after cost overruns and the realization that fielding it would be prohibitively expensive. The public and museum authorities exhibiting the remaining prototypes would incorrectly designate it as a railgun or rail cannon.
- Power armor frame and T-45 power armor (completed 2067): The first practical variant of power armor, combining a universal chassis with plating and combat systems utilizing current generation technologies. Although intended as a stop-gap solution until the deployment of T-51 power armor, it became the workhorse of the U.S. military, serving with distinction across the frontlines of the Sino-American War for over ten years.
- Laser weapon technology.
- T-51 power armor (completed 2076): The pinnacle of released power armor development before the Great War, providing a balance of mobility, survivability, and firepower. The ten year development cycle was not spent in vain, as the T-51 was able to decisively shift the odds in favor of the U.S., limited only by supply problems overseas.
- Pan-Immunity Virion (renamed 2075) and the Forced Evolution Virus (completed 2077): The most important mutagen in the history of the wasteland was crafted in West Tek laboratories under government oversight.
West Tek's facilities appear in Fallout and Fallout 76, while the parent company is only mentioned in Fallout 3. The company is also mentioned in Fallout 4 by Sturges when he tells the Sole Survivor about components in power armor that were manufactured by West Tek.