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The Y-17 trauma override harness is a unique enemy type encountered in the Big MT in 2281.


One of the inventions created in the Y-17 medical facility of Big MT, the Y-17 trauma harness is a full body suit designed to automatically retrieve injured soldiers and return them to their home base by automatically taking over their motor functions and "walking" them to the base. A complex network of artificial muscle and fibers encases the user and enables this functionality (rather than the crude hydraulics that dominated military technology circa 2077). The suit can also effectively "learn" new behaviors by recording neuro-auto-muscular movements, up to and including shooting and fighting reflexes.[1] The suit tracks the vital functions of the user and, once a certain injury threshold is reached, it takes over the motor functions of the user and walks them to the designated home base out of harm's way.

However, as the Big MT research teams soon learned, the harness design had several design problems that precluded it from entering general production, at least, until the issues were rectified. The primary problem was that calibrating the injury threshold that would trigger the suit was problematic, leading to unpredictable behavior. The harness is also unable to identify whether the occupant expired and will continue to function, even if they are completely dead. This functionality was quickly considered a "feature," as autonomous corpse retrieval would also be useful on the battlefield.[2]

The enthusiastic approach to this new technology was premature. If no home base was designated for the suit, suits would enter an unpredictable wander state. Completely lacking any IFF software and with no way to identify friendly targets or respond to shut-down commands, this would be equivalent to a berserk mode should a harness unit be able to replicate combat behavior.[2] This is exactly what happened when, amid the chaos caused by malfunctioning technology and the Great War, scientists, soldiers and even test subjects would die and trigger the wander state, using the replicated combat behavior and attacking everyone in sight. One of the first such incidents occurred at the X-8 research center. The situation only went downhill from there.[3]

With no defined home base and no ability to detect the death of the users, the suits acted as mobile coffins: soldiers and researchers trapped inside had no ability to shut them down and were forced to suffer a slow, agonizing death. Even after two centuries, the suits continue to function, still carrying the rattling bones of their original wearers as they attack any and all intruders; some have even been known to continue manning labs like the Y-17 that created them.[4]

If the Courier installs the personality chip of the Sink Auto-Doc and also discovers the location of the Y-17 medical facility, then at some point after the ending of Old World Blues, the Auto-Doc works out a way to disable the suits and release their long-deceased occupants.[5]



The Y-17 trauma harnesses resemble walking skeletons clad in red rubber suits, heads encased in spherical glass helmets. The suits have oxygen tanks on their backs, which is in turn attached to additional armor plating around the neck and shoulder area, the area in which the helmet is hermetically sealed to.

Gameplay attributes[]

The basic harness comes in several different varieties that have a Damage Threshold of 20 and are calculated to match the Courier's level. Their armaments may also vary quite a bit depending on the player's level. Although they have exactly the same medium-to-high amount of Hit Points as lobotomites, on balance Trauma Harnesses are much more dangerous opponents, since they have much better armor as well as a wider variety of weapons available. At higher levels they can be seen wielding heavy incinerators, Gatling lasers, Tesla cannons, Gauss rifles and even plasma casters.

Interactions with the player character[]

Interactions overview[]

38 Paradigm of Humanity
This character has no special interactions.



Notable trauma harness[]


  • Their armor is equivalent to a suit of combat armor, reinforced mark 2 or Ranger combat armor.
  • With the exception of the Y-17 master trauma harness, all Y-17 trauma override harnesses carry high-end energy weapons.
  • The harness is coded in the game as a humanoid non-player character and it is wearing non-playable armor. Also, all harnesses are coded as female, and are affected by the bonus damage from the Lady Killer and Cherchez La Femme perks. Despite their semi-mechanical nature, they are not considered to be robots or power armor, and thus do not take EMP damage from weapons like the pulse gun or sonic emitter.
  • Although the suit contains a skeleton with no living tissue, limb dismemberment will display the same visual effects as dismembering any standard humanoid non-player character, including white flesh and red blood. It is also possible to eat the corpse if the Cannibal perk has been taken. Also, the harness may contain human flesh, blood sausage or thin red paste upon death if the player character has the Them's Good Eatin' perk.
    • When decapitating one with a helmet, the helmet will break, but the skull will not come out. Gibs may include eyeballs.
    • It is even possible to cripple them and they will display the usual animations if their heads are crippled.
  • If using the Living Anatomy perk it can be hard to tell its HP and DT, due to this non-player character's very long name which causes the HP and DT values to be pushed past the bottom edge of the screen.
  • The harness has a very similar appearance to the space suit, but without gloves. Sometimes, it even has a helmet.
  • Despite the lack of gloves, the suit is somehow able to manipulate the hands of its dead occupant and use them to operate weapons. The skull will also track the player within the helmet despite not having any visible means to move.
  • If the Courier stays close enough to a Y-17 trauma override harness, one can hear the occupant's bones rattling when it takes damage. This is even subtitled as "Small number of bones rattling." and "Large number of bones rattling" upon its death.
  • Standing in the X-12 research center long enough could cause one harness to glitch up into the player's area, transporting several others (all from the X-12 facility) with it. This can cause a dangerous firefight.


Y-17 trauma override harnesses appear only in the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Old World Blues.

Behind the scenes[]

With the Wild Wasteland trait, the Y-17 master trauma harness will say "Hey, who turned out the lights?!" This is a reference to the Doctor Who episodes "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" when a group of microorganisms called the "Vashta Nerada" ate a character (Proper Dave) during one of the episodes. Said character had been wearing an environmental suit that shares a passing resemblance to a space suit, and his skull had been pressed to the visor on his helmet while the Vashta Nerada inside the suit made it walk around, similarly to the helmet-wearing trauma harnesses. The suit also had a thought based communication system that tended to retain echoes of the user's consciousness known as "data ghosts" that deteriorated into repeating single sentences, "Hey, who turned out the lights" being the sentence repeated by the suit after Dave's death.


  • PCPC Xbox 360Xbox 360 They may not respawn after completion of Make up Your Mind or after completion of Old World Blues. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 A head shot on the variation without the glass dome over the skull may still result in graphics of glass shattering from the skull. [verified]



  1. Y-17 medical facility terminal entries; terminal, Y-17 Trauma Harness Testing Results
  2. 2.0 2.1 Y-17 medical facility terminal entries; terminal, Y-17 Trauma Harness Action Items
  3. X-8 research center terminal entries; X-8 observatory terminal, X-12 Request for Assistance
  4. Patient log: Y-17; Patient log: Y-17.0: "This is Christine Royce. Knight of the Brotherhood of Steel... the Circle. Not going to make it through this, hope someone finds this message, gets it to the Brotherhood in the West. Tracked a rogue Brotherhood Elder, Elijah, here, to the Big Empty. Place is more than it seems, there's a crater hidden deep inside. Junkyard of Pre-War labs scattered across the crater's surface, all still running... like this one. Elijah's dissecting these centers, one by one... tracked him to an old Chinese-American internment camp. Survivors, Ghouls, have bomb collars. Robots moved in when I tried to intercept him... Elijah sent the camp Ghouls against us both, like walking bombs. Got hit by the explosions, woke up here. Guess the medical robots were programmed to bring wounded victims from the camp to this center. Some kind of Auto-Doc prototype lab... manned by corpses trapped inside suits that keep them moving, no idea why. Not sure how long I'm going to last... cut open my head like a lot of the humans I've seen here, feel strange, can talk, but can't hack the term... <sound of an explosion> ...wait, an explosion outside. Someone's here... someone's... <static cut off>"
  5. Old World Blues endings - Sink Auto-Doc