There's something that's been bothering me for years now regarding nukes. Specifically: how much they irradiate am area. In short, it's not consistant. Some nukes seem to produce a heck of a lot more radiation and… well… fallout than others do, and the ones that produce a lot of rads are always associated with sights related to the FEV.
We get to explore several cities during the game: San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Vegas, and DC. I'm going to set aside Boston for now. We know for a fact that LA took direct hits due to the descriptions of the blast effects. Shockwaves capable of reducing skyscrapers to nothing but their steel skeletons cannot propagate very far, and for LA to have been decimated to the point that it was nicnamed the Boneyard due to how many buildings were reduced to such a state pretty clearly proves that it took multiple direct hits inside the city limits. However, none of them are terribly radioactive. we don't need any special protection to walk around San Fransico or the Boneyard at all. DC's radiation tends to in isolated pockets like the White House, and even then it's not really any worse than it is anywhere else in the Capitol. This indicates that most atomic bombs chucked at the US didn't really produce super-high levels of radiation when they detonated. This is supported by the radiation levels around Megaton should you destroy it, which range from 11-26 rads. Not insubstancial, but there are far worse areas out there. I'm going to leave out the Nukes in Fallout 76, as they're American and not Chinese.
Speaking of which, there are three areas of extremely high radiation in the Fallout games, each of which were the sight of a direct hit by a nuke. The first is the Glow, the sight of the WestTek research facility, the second is Vault 87, and the third is the Glowing sea. Vault 87 is the most radioactive of the three, however all of them generate more rads and are more dangerous than Megaton's blast zone, the only other confirmed ground zero in the games (at least that I can think of). In other words, they are uniquely dangerous places in the world. Additionally, the Mojave and central California have no equivallent location. Remember that. It'll be important later.
These locations have something else in common: all three are also associated with the FEV. The WestTek Research Facility is the place where the FEV was first invented, and Vault 87 was designed to be a testing facility that could survive a nuclear war. The Glowing Sea was created by the nuke intended for Boston, and in the center of Boston is the Commonwealth Institute of Technology, which was also conducting FEV research.
The only other FEV facility was the Mariposa Military Base, which survived the war unscathed. However, it doesn't really fit in with the rest of the facilities. All of the other facilities were private ventures visible to the public, and thus Chinese spies, and Vault 87, being a vault, was actively promoted to attract dwellers, and by dwellers I mean test subjects. Mariposa, however, was a top-secret military base in the middle of nowhere which was built for FEV research. It would be far less exposed to Chinese spies, and given how the Enclave were able to keep their existance a secret for decades, I suspect that the US Military had better security than WestTek, Vault Tek, and CIT and was thus unknown to the Chinese when the war started.
Which brings us to the main point. I think the Chinese knew about the FEV and aimed special neutron bombs at any facility they knew was developing it to make the research unrecoverable by whatever elements of the US government survived the war by saturating the areas with overwhelming quantities of radiation. This would explain why the Glow, Vault 87, and the Glowing Sea are so unique and dangerous. It would also explain why Vault 87 has such rediculous amounts of radiation around the door compared to anywhere else. Vault 87 would be far more survive than the other facilities due to it being a Vault, so the Chinese decided there was only one way to be sure no one could ever, EVER access the vault's interior again and went all in with excessive, overwhelming force. It would also explain why the Mojave and Northern California don't have any equivalent sight. With no FEV research being conducted there, there was no need for the Neutron bombs.
We know Chinese submarines operated freely off the US coast. The Shee are the decendents of the crew of one such sub, another was just hanging out in the middle of Boston Harbor, and a third was sunk off Point Lookout. Additionally, we know that there were extensive Chinese spy networks inside the US, due to the presense of the Chinese remenant in DC, the spy in Point Lookout who was supposed to destroy the sunken sub, and the sets of Chinese stealth armor inside Hoover Dam. I find it likely that at least some of these submarines were used to coordinate and deploy spies.
It is possible that the Chinese provably knew about US bioweapons manufacturing, but it requires taking information from Van Buren which may not be canon. According to the outline of the story, Hoover Dam was supposed to have been militarized and used as a development sight for the New Plague, but Chinese agents broke in and released the disease to the public. The stealth suits in New Vegas do prove the Chinese infiltrated the Dam, but there's no other information about the incident and no references to the New Plague, so their significance is questionable at best.
Regardless of the whole Hoover Dam thing, with such extensive spy networks, I think it's not unreasonable to conclude that the Chinese found out about the FEV in some form and tried to destroy it. Every FEV research facility except for the recently-constructed and top secret Mariposa Military Base was directly targetted, and the effects of the nukes that hit them do not match the effects of the nukes that hit San Francisco, the Boneyard/LA, or the Megaton bomb, which indicates that they were specifically singled out and targetted with a special type of bomb to ensure that the job was done.
So… there you have it. My fan theory about why the Glow, Vault 87, and the Glowing Sea are so unique. What do you think?
- None Found
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