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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Fallout 3
Littlehorn and Associates is just another branch of Wolfram and Hart
Wolfram and Hart is a demonic, multidimensional law firm. Well, they're a law firm in our dimension, not in all dimensions. The founders are implied to be Old Ones, although small players back in the day, and they're The Wolf, The Ram and The Hart. With the Dunwich Building, it's obvious that the Old Ones are also a fact of the Fallout universe. As Buffyverse alternate dimensions, can be as bad as hell dimensions, as odd as a world without shrimp (and a world that is only shrimp), and as good as heaven dimensions, there's a good likelihood that "a world that stayed as the 1950s saw everything in the future to be" would be one that would exist. After it got nuked to rubble, Wolfram and Hart decided that the universe wasn't worth their time. However, some of the employees decided to set up their own operation. One of the co-founders was a devil (kinda like both a job title and a race in the Buffyverse) that had once been employed in the LA branch of the main dimension of the Buffyverse, and was a fan of the song Little Horn. Deciding to go by one of the many names of a fictional antichrist, he used magic to look human and do stuff. That's why there's an evil law firm in a world without lawyers, or rule of law.

Stiggs (Broken Steel) is actually Whitley (New Vegas) in disguise.

Far fetched, I know, but both seem to be good with robots and Stiggs (Whitley) may be lying about being a Wastelander to trick you into letting him get out alive. I mean, are you telling me the Enclave would really need the help of a Wastelander? So if you let Stiggs live you may have just freed one of the few good Enclaves out there to start over, and possibly even meet ED-E again.

The Mysterious Stranger is Satan.
There exists three versions of an unfinished Mark Twain work, which had two different titles. It is called The Mysterious Stranger. The plot is simple: a charming teenager comes up to three boys and claims to be an angel named Satan. He proceeds to show them what a horrible world we live in. It's other title? No. 44. In the Fallout games, The Mysterious Stranger wields a .44 Magnum. Perhaps, in Fallout, God and Satan exist, and Satan Is Good and God Is Evil. After all, we have no idea who started the war. God promised not to flood the Earth in the Bible, but he said nothing about causing humanity to nuke themselves almost to oblivion. So, Satan is pretty much trying to salvage the mess God made and sees that you're the most useful person around. As for the outfit? Well, according to the Bible, angels are pretty freaky looking, so Satan would likely be the same. Trying to make sure not to push you over the edge, he takes on a new look.
  • Who's to say this Satan is good? Sure, he helps the Lone Wanderer, but he'll help kill good guys as well, and The Devil is known well for giving someone an easy way out of their problems for a price. Not much of course, a bobble head, a snowglobe, your mortal soul.

G.O.A.T was a satire of the tutorial in The Elder Scrolls games..
Like Morrowind, you're given a 10-question quiz about what you do would do in everyday situations, and this determines some of your skills. But look at what happens in Fallout 3: the students are given results completely contrary to what they thought they were good at, the teacher thinks it's a load of rubbish to the point where he's surprised if you got what you really wanted, and you have the option to cheat on the test. Now consider that this this quiz system vanished in Oblivion and Fallout: New Vegas and probably won't show up in Skyrim, either.
  • Considering that the skill system has been so heavily modified that discrete classes no longer exist, it's a given that it won't exist in Skyrim.
    • Ha. Like classes really existed in Morrowind and Oblivion.

Homosexuality is illegal in Vault 101
Just a thought that occurred while I was reading the Les Yay subtext some people see between Amata and a female LW. The population of the vault is low enough, and dwindling fast, so presumably there would be some sort of enforced programme to ensure continued survival. This extends to others in that they would probably be forced into having children, but it gives any relationship between Fem/LW and Amata an added hint of tragedy.
  • Not to mention the fact that in the Retro-Futuristic 1950's style atmosphere that Fallout evokes, Homosexuality would be seen as a mental illness.
  • Support for this theory? One of the responses to Amata waking you is "I was just having a dream about you..." Her response is mild disgust.
    • That's not really support. If your same-gender childhood best friend tells you they just had a sex dream about you, and you're straight, it's kind of understandable to be a little grossed out. The phrase "like a sister" comes to mind.

The aliens caused The Great War
One of the tracks on the alien mothership details the mental breaking of a US bigwig who knows the access codes to the nuclear stockpile. The audio cuts out just before he breaks. Given that the aliens have been observing far before 2077, well, maybe they'd gotten enough information on this stage of civilization from our species. "Let's see how they react to near extinction."
  • This is assuming that Mothership Zeta is actually considered to be canon. Every Fallout game (including Fallout 3 prior to Mothership Zeta) has exactly one crashed alien ship. Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas definitively mark this encounter as non-canon. The Fallout 3 crashed ship is a reference to the same encounter found in both older games. Mothership Zeta adds nothing to the storyline and is never acknowledged by anyone not involved with it, which makes it highly questionable, even for being actually canon in Fallout 3 (let alone the series)
    • The Shi's Emperor ( or, rather, the logs of the captain of the Shi-huang-tsi stored in the Emperor) indicated the Chinese probably started the nuclear phase of the war, or at least were moving into position to do so when the nukes were launched. Mind, that doesn't rule out alien interference, or that the USA did get in first.

The (Capital Wasteland) Brotherhood's records about the Enclave incident on the West Coast are faulty
The 'Enclave Tactical Assessment' entry in the Citadel's terminals after Project Purity is occupied explicitly identifies the armor used by the Enclave as Advanced Power Armor Mark II, and notes that the Enclave forces are nearly identical to those encountered on the West Coast in 2241. This, of course, makes little sense, as not only does the 'Enclave Power Armor' of Fallout 3 look different from the APA Mk. II of Fallout 2, but it also is nowhere near as powerful as it should be... but it has been more than thirty years since the Oil Rig was destroyed, and even the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood members old enough to remember that time might not actually have seen APA Mk. IIs back then. The records available are probably vague enough that Rothchild and the other Scribes are misled into assuming that the Enclave's matte black power armor is the same matte black power armor as was used back in 2241. As to what it actually is, one theory is that it a power armor designed specifically to be cheap and simple to make - the Enclave has lost most of its resources, and might simply not have the capability to maintain production of APAs, but even relatively weak power armors gives one a great edge over forces lacking power armor...
  • Bethesda overlooked a lot of details from the older games when they made Fallout 3. If they could completely ignore Washington D.C. was leveled and vertibirds used oil based fuel, then confusing mark numbers of power armor is hardly surprising.
    • It goes beyond confusing mark numbers - the APA Mk. I was not matte black, and was superior to every power armor but the Mk. II - but really, this WMG is all about trying to hand wave away at least one of their mistakes.
  • All power armor is weaker than it is supposed to be due to Gameplay and Story Segregation. If it wasn't anyone in power armor would be completely immune to most of the weapons in any Fallout game.
    • The point isn't really that Power Armor is weaker than the fluff says, the point is that Enclave Power Armor is relatively weaker compared to the other power armors than what it is supposed to be - it is barely better than the T-45d, when it should be significantly better than the T-51b.
      • You are comparing numbers of vastly different game mechanics. A large number difference in Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 isn't as significant as fairly minor differences in Fallout 3. The defense numbers were much more important in the first two games because of burst fire, which effectively allowed certain weapons to fire substantially 10-40 rounds, and depending on AP, it wasn't necessarily any slower than firing one round at a time. On the other hand, most of the power armor in Fallout 3 basically put you at the DR cap already, so having more DR on it made little difference. The Enclave armor significantly outclasses T-45d solely because the higher HP is more important overall. The Enclave Tesla and Hellfire armor did also maintain their traditional power armor advantage.
      • Also, T-51b power armor being better in Fallout 3 makes sense. Both sets of T-51b were pre-war, unused suits that were properly stored in sealed bunkers. T-51b armor in other games was armor that has been used for decades and repaired multiple times.
      • The T-51b should still be inferior to newly-constructed suits of armor taking advantage of decades of technological advancement (after all... the Enclave's Power Armors were superior to hardened T-51bs). They are not... at least, if one takes the Brotherhood's analysis at face value (obviously, the point of this WMG is not to). In any case, regardless of attempts to hand wave the power (even if DR gets less important at a certain point, that still doesn't excuse T-51bs having higher DR), there is still the 'does not look like the armor it is supposed to be' thing (New Vegas showed that there was no inherent problem with Gamebryo and models looking much, much more like Fallout 2's Advanced Power Armors). Thus, this WMG providing a hand wave that explains both the power discrepancy (be it smaller or lesser) and the odd appearance.
      • The Remnants armor in New Vegas is still overall inferior to T-51b power armor and even the T-45d is arguably a better overall choice. Despite the slightly higher DT, the bonus attributes on Remnants is worse than T-51b in every category (except Strength where both provide +1) and is extremely fragile. Not fragile for power armor, either. The amount of damage it can take is equal to the most fragile medium armor and quite a few sets of light armor are far more durable.
      • Higher tech does not always mean better in every way. For a very marginal increase in DT, the advances made the Remnants armor worse in every other way compared to T-51b.
      • Light weight metal and ceramics should compose Remnant armor making it tougher than Titanium and lighter than combat armor. In the game I'd attribute the fragility of the armor due to the countless missiles, grenades, and lasers that damaged it over the years of combat with the BOS and NCR. Without the proper resources from the oil rig repairs were probably pretty shabby if any were made at all I.E. metal from out dated T-51 suits of armor instead of space age ceramics and metal which could no longer be produced. In fallout 2 it was harder, more resistant to radiation, and gave more special stat bonuses but I could believe like the Bozar it was pretty fragile hard like glass but just as brittle in comparison to other power armors.

Harkness is based on Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood.
When Zimmer's android was going to get his facial reconstruction, he found an abandoned U.N.I.T. fort to the north of DC. There he learned about U.N.I.T., the Doctor, and Torchwood, and he decided to have his memories and appearance replaced with those of Captain Jack Harkness. Essentially, even if you restore his memories as an android, he still has the memories of Captain Jack, and also has a desire to reunite with the Doctor. He's also heard rumors of a mysterious alien artifact at the U.N.I.T. fort. It's said to have taken on the form of a British police box.
  • The problem is that beyond the superficial similarity of sharing a fairly common last name, there is absolutely no connection. The entire quest is one gigantic Blade Runner reference and there are absolutely no similarities between Captain Jack Harkness, Harkness, A3-21, or the personality, actions, or memories of either entity.

Bethesda Developers really hate Canada for some reason...
  • In the Fallout back story, Canada is annexed by the United States. In FO 3: Mothership Zeta, you're able to launch a death ray right at what was once Ontario, Canada.
    • Maybe it's because BioWare is based in Canada (Though, not in Ontario).
    • The Canada annexed by the USA thing doesn't prove anything about Bethesda hating Canada: it was established back in Fallout 1.
    • Most Canadians want to launch a death ray at Ontario anyway. My new WMG: Bethesda did this as a LOVING GIFT to their Canadian fans.

You died in Vault 101.
  • Amata couldn't get to you in time. The Overseer's guards did and the whole game is a Dying Dream of what could have been...
    • The Wasteland Survival Guide which the Lone Wanderer and Moira made exists in Fallout: New Vegas.

You never existed in the first place.
  • Alternatively, the entire game is the drug addled fantasy of depressed scientist (James) who couldn't get any action, envisioning himself not only as a Hero who helped save the world, but having a child who would do so as well. His wife dying is a combination of the desire for a co-worker and loathing because she won't look at him.

The Mole Rat is the "invasive animal species" weapon mentioned in a Pentagon computer, and Moira stumbled on the formula for the cleanup agent also mentioned in the same entry.
The little vermin are everywhere it seems, and they die in a spectacular fashion when exposed to the "repellent" that Moira formulated.

East cost super mutants (the yellow ones)will soon die off
After the devastation caused by the combined efforts of the the Lone Wanderer, the Brotherhood Of Steel, Talon Company and Riley's Rangers the population would have taken a serious hit. Add to that the fact they are running out of Forced Evolution Virus and can't breed naturally, they could be wiped out inside a decade.
  • Add to that the Lone Wanderer being fairly likely to get around to telling someone that the East Coast super mutants are Vault 87 super mutants. Much easier to clean out an infestation if you know where it is coming from...
    • In the Broken Steel DLC, you can tell the Brotherhood that the super mutants are originating from Vault 87.
  • The issue is that the Enclave was completely obliterated and the Super Mutants almost completely wiped out before Fallout 3 took place and then they sprang up again, more powerful and better armed than ever before because otherwise Bethesda might have needed to think up a new antagonist group rather then rehashing old ones. Bethesda, for all their merits, has a bad track record of reusing the same antagonists in all of their games, even when they logically should no longer exist. If another game takes place in the Capital Wasteland, it is probably a safe bet that the Enclave and Super Mutants will both be present.
    • The East Coast Super Mutants had never been "almost completely wiped out before". Remember, they are a completely separate thing from the Super Mutants from Fallout and Fallout 2.

The Lost Hills Elders cut off the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood from reinforcements because they couldn't do much more.
  • The game indicates that the reason for letting Lyons keep his status and rank, but cutting him off from reinforcements were a matter of compromise after no consensus on how fitting his actions were to the Codex could be reached. Fallout: New Vegas reveals there is a war between the main Brotherhood and the NCR, and although no starting date is given, what we are told means it must have been a while before 2277... quite possibly, before the breach between the Capital Wasteland and main Brotherhood occurred. The Lost Hills Elders might simply not have had the resources to spare to help or punish Lyons (they could have told him he was deposed, but if his subordinates were uncooperative to that demand that wouldn't have done much). So, cut them lose and put off a proper decision until the war is over.

Three Dog is God.
  • Think about it, he always knows every good or bad thing you do without ever leaving his studio. The "Three" in Three Dog is the Holy Trinity, and Dog is "God" spelled backwards. Also, he calls his audience his "children".
  • Was this WMG written before or after the Dead Money DLC came out for Fallout: New Vegas?
    • IIRC I wrote it before New Vegas was even released, based on an in-joke. Dog being God backwards isn't exactly a new concept.
  • Plus, he always refers to himself as "your ruler, your master"
    • The "your ruler" was a Take That against the pompous Vestigial Empire claims of Enclave Radio, and the "your master" was from "your master of ceremonies", from which we get the term "MC" in our world. Neither are too out of the ordinary for a radio DJ to be saying.'
  • Though he does refer to himself as "the all-powerful", though whether this is self-parody, drug-induced delusions ("And I may have been experimenting with Jet at the time..."), or simply being a Large Ham for the show is anyone's guess.
  • Alternatively, the Capital Wasteland is Hell on Earth, and Three Dog sees himself as Cerberus (Mythological dog with 3 heads, guarding the entrance to Hades), but more as a watchful guardian rather than a bouncer.
  • Three Dog really wants help spreading his Word.

Colin Moriarty is only half right about Billy Creel.
Moriarty believes, as indicated by his terminal, that Billy killed Maggie’s parents and the girl as a trophy – but only half of Colin’s musings are true. Billy really murdered Maggie’s parents for supplies (it’s a rough wasteland) but couldn’t bring himself to kill a little girl. . . or leave her to die in the wasteland.
  • The information on the terminal is almost definitely false.
    • There is absolutely no evidence beyond Colin's terminal about Billy killing Maggie's parents, but any NPC that talks about Billy completely contradicts that.
    • Colin Moriarty is a blackmailer and he is probably grasping at straws. Billy mainly worked as a caravan guard until he helped defend Megaton from a bandit raid. Colin also flat out does not like Billy, while everyone else, including Maggie, does.
    • On a meta level, Billy Creel is karmically good.

The Lone Wanderer's mother's (Catherine?) family was involved in the creation of FEV

No real proof but she does seem come from a scientific background (as does James, the Lone Wanderer's dad) so it isn't that hard to imagine she inherited the genes/legacy of the people who made FEV.
  • Might even explain the Lone Wanderer's rather extra ordinary abilities. A little tinkering with the FEV, self experimentation and viola! A Tyke Bomb. Too bad it kills the mother though.
    • The extraordinary abilities could also be explained by every other Bethesda RPG, justified or not, making the PC absurdly overpowered without explanation.
  • That would mean Catherine is well over 200 years old before the game starts. The FEV was developed before the Great War. Even in the sometimes contradictory lore of Fallout 3, the East Coast strain was still developed prior to the Great War.
    • Tinkered with the OP. She inherited the research.
      • The Fallout series has never brought up "genetic memory," so even if she had the genes of the people that developed the FEV, it would be meaningless.
      • There has never been a mention of her ever going to any area where anything related to FEV research is found.
      • The most likely origin for her is being from Vault 101, since that would give the most plausible explanation for how James found the vault, why he went there, and why the isolationist Overseer let him in even though he wasn't originally from the Vault. Otherwise he stumbled blindly through miles of Super Mutant and Raider inhabited terrain, ignoring at least two potential safe havens, and allowed in solely because he was a physician even though he also had massive potential to disrupt the Overseer's plans.
      • If she is from Vault 101 it completely disrupts her ability to have anything to do with the FEV as some sort of "family legacy."
The Washington Monument was renovated to protect it from a nuclear war because of its historical value
  • There are steel bars on the inside of the Washington Monument which isn't accurate to real life as it is made entirely out of Masonry Stone. I say that the American Government decided to crack the monument open and reinforce its interior with a steel frame so that in the event that Washington D.C wasn't totally annihilated in the nuclear war that the monument would still be standing and available for its historical value when the Government took back control of D.C. Only problem is it took 200 years for the Enclave to get enough of its power back to even attempt to retake the Capital, the Washington Monument stands as an old beaten up reminder of the old world that the Enclave were trying to bring back. Not quite Ragnarok Proofing but it certainly explains why an solid obelisk made of stone didn't collapse the moment a gaping hole appeared on its exterior.
    • There's another more plausible, if also more mundane reason to reinforce the monument: it's massive height makes it double as a navigation aid. The landscape has been horribly altered from all the nuke strikes, and anything more complicated than a compass is rather hard to come by post-apocalypse. Stick some lights on top and you've got a beacon for vertibird pilots too.
How the heck are computers still functional after 200 years?
  • The issue of no data cable is no biggie; wireless communication, duh. But how are they powered? Simple. The stand-alone 'computers' you interact with are merely dumb terminals with fission batteries for power sources. They do very little 'thinking' - all they do is send your keystrokes to a server and display things on the screen - and thus need very little power, plus going on standby when not used. If fission batteries are still good in 200 year old robots (as demonstrated when you fetch one to power the elevator for Riley's Rangers), then they should well be able to power a typical terminal.
    • There is also an alternate explanation. The computers you find are all manufactured by Robco, and in Fallout: New Vegas, you meet Robco's CEO: Robert Edwin House. Spend enough time talking to Mr. House, and you'll discover that he's quite the technophile. Therefore, it's likely that he actually researched how to Ragnarok Proof computers, since it wouldn't be guaranteed that he'd be able to manufacture more of them after the war happened.

There is a Bigger Bad behind the Raiders, the Talon Company and Littlehorn and Associates
There are two (of several) problems with Fallout 3's setting, one is 'why are there so many Raiders and where do they come from', and 'why are organisations (Littlehorn and Associates and Talon Company) who are so evil for no reason. How about this: somewhere close to the Capital Wasteland, there is a Big Bad, Bigger than the Super Mutants, who drove out a large group of Raiders from their borders a few years (a few being up to 50) ago. These Raiders settle in the Capital Wasteland and think that its a better place to be, even with the B.o.S and Super Mutants. The reason as to how this Big Bad is evil, is that Littlehorn and Associates is a front, used by the Big Bad to weaken the Capital Wasteland by killing nominally 'good' characters. Equally, Talon Company is somehow involved: either they are refugees from the Big Bad, who banded together to survive and are now employed by Littlehorn to weaken the Capital Wasteland even further, or they are actually a military formation from the Big Bad as a vanguard to destablise the region. We can even guess who this Big Bad is: we know they are close, otherwise why are the Raiders, Talon Company and Littlehorn there, and we also know that they cannot be between Washington and Pittsburgh, otherwise they would have intercepted the slave shipments from the Capital Wasteland. My guess is that they are a faction from Baltimore.
  • Add the Super Mutants to the list of collaborators. As Uncle Leo and Fawkes have shown, intelligent and sane mutants are viewed as freaks by their kindred; However, the not-so-sane, idiot mutants have managed to do many things that they logically shouldn't be able to figure out: They understand trench warfare, how to build fortifications, and how to cobble together Scary Impractical Armor and clothing for themselves. They aren't learning how to do these things themselves, the Big Bad is teaching them how to do them somehow.

Mothership Zeta is the result of The Lone Wanderer getting the Wild Wasteland trait at some point
  • Just as The Courier can only meet aliens if they have the reality warping power of Wild Wasteland, the Lone Wanderer only went on their extraterrestrial adventure because of it. However, it manifested in creating a whole DLC rather than just various small instances of oddness.

The Saintly Lone Wanderer and Sarah Lyons will eventually raise a family together.

For a good Karma character, its likely she's the obvious choice.

The goal of Vault 87's experiment was not to test FEV.

All of the FEV strains that Vault 87 was given had already been rejected by Mariposa (for obvious reasons). Instead, Vault 87 was the initial test in a controlled environment for the Vault Experiments themselves. Vault 87 was sealed before the bombs even fell. All of the non-scientific and half of the non-security personnel (including the Security Chief) had been heavily drugged and taken from their homes in the middle of the night. When they came to, they were told that the war had happened and that the Vault Door had sustained a direct hit from a nuclear bomb (to fake this, they set off a dirty bomb just outside the Vault Door). The scientific personnel and the other half of the security force (all security guards assigned to the EEP) were told part of the the truth- That the war hadn't happened yet, and that the Vault's residents were to serve as test subjects for FEV. Truth is, the game was rigged from the start. The Vault's "backdoors" in Little Lamplight caverns were meant to mislead the scientists and their secret police into thinking that they would someday leave the vault; However, the EEP was eating up most of the reactors power capacity, all of the FEV strains they were testing were producing unfavorable results, half of the Vault's authority figures didn't know the truth about what was going on, and the Vault's population was slowly but steadily shrinking; All of the above factors combined to ensure that the Vault's "test population" would inevitably discover the EEP's dirty little secret. That was exactly what Vault-Tec wanted; Vault 87 was meant to determine whether a Vault's experiment could continue if it was discovered by it's residents. In short, the first Vault Experiment. They were hoping that the Overseer could put down the inevitable coup and finish testing the FEV; If not, they'd use the data they'd gathered and retool another vault for a modified version of the same experiment. However, the war happened before Vault 87's experiment could run its course. So unfortunately (for the Capital Wasteland), the Enclave had to abandon Vault 87. If the mutants had taken over before the bombs fell, the Enclave would have ensured that they'd never leave the Vault alive.

Fallout 3 takes place only 90 years after the war

Perhaps the Overseer added an extra 100 years to the time clocks in Vault 101 in an effort to exaggerate the dangers of life outside the vault and control the population. This may be a way of accounting for the ridiculous amounts of Ragnarok-Proofing in the game world, the standing wooden pre-war structures, and why Capital Wasteland is no more civilized than the California wasteland 120 years prior. Mutants had only been driven east from that area since the end of Fallout 1, so they have also had plenty of time to arrive at D.C.
  • most mutations at that time were busy being eliminated ahem purged by Terminator bots, T-51, and Enclave armor wearing BOS members (Midwestern BOS look as if they're actually enclave O.O) Until Vault 87 the Mutants were on their last legs and even then I'm sure that the FEV vats are going to run out soon enough...or the BOS could nuke em like the 4th-5th time again.

Raiders are a result of a disease.
  • Why are there so many raiders? Their weapons are practically non functional and their minds are insane. Without the knowledge needed to grow food or repair weapons all raider settlements need to have been "fresh". Groups of poorly fed chem addicts wouldn't exist for long evidenced by how easy it is for them to be killed or repelled en masse. Megaton has dealt with entire bands of raiders. And YOU the lone wanderer can kill hundreds if not more. The FEV virus could mutate humans rapidly but these mutations could also be adverse IMO. Maybe there's a mutated version of mad cow disease that could affect humans. Maybe the reasons why BOS members or other survivors don't want to wipe raiders out isn't because they're particularly dangerous wearing rags and fielding subpar arms but instead people avoid raiders more so because they're afraid of catching the "Raider" disease.
    • Every other Fallout game has extensive backstory explaining how the various bandit groups function, how they sustain themselves, and doesn't make them completely insane. The more plausible explanation is Bethesda was lazy and slapped random bandits around the world to create enemies with lootable equipment and never gave it a second thought why they are there, like they do in the Elder Scrolls series.

Mothership Zeta was all a dream
The Lone Wanderer got knocked out at the crash site and dreamed the whole thing up. But then why was there an Alien Crash Site in the first place? Well...

The Alien Crash Site is actually...
From Big MT. The Think Tank was trying to get new subjects from outside the southwest. So they fired a bunch of beacons out. One happened to land in Maryland. Had the Lone Wanderer not been knocked out before the beacon could abduct them then they'd likely have become another Lobotomite.

Mister Burke works for Littlehorn & Associates
While there is no real solid proof chances are that "Littlehorn & Associates" are the employers which Mister Burke so vaguely speaks of. Mostly due to that blowing a settlement certainly seems like something "L&A" would do. Given that they give you the task of collecting the ears of "the good folks" of wasteland just for the sake evil.
  • Um, no. Burke works for Tenpenny, and Tenpenny wants the town blown up because it ruins his view.

Col. Autumn slaughtered his way through Little Lamplight to steal the GECK.
The only access points to Vault 87 that haven't been nuked into oblivion both start in Little Lamplight, and the cutscene that plays when you get knocked out clearly shows Autumn coming from the same direction you did. It stands to reason that he was following you, and went through the same pathway you took to avoid the hassle. Along the way, he and his soldiers shot up the place.

Now, as for how you can still talk to the Lamplighters if you go back? Simple: they're the Lone Wanderer's hallucinations. S/he couldn't cope with the horror of slaughtered children (a moral line the Wanderer would never cross), so they repopulated the caverns in their mind. When you're trading with Eclair? You're rooting around in his fridge for food, and stealing caps from his corpse. Lucy? Same thing, put pharmacy cupboard. And if you're giving Zip any Nuka-Cola? You're just emptying a bottle out on the kid's cold, lifeless face, then rooting around in his pockets for something, anything, that he might have given you in life.

  • Look, I know it's popular to hate on Little Lamplight and all, but this is a pre-tty big Diablos Ex Machina for a revenge fantasy. If the LW is willing to nuke an entire town, small children PROBABLY isn't beneath him. Just sayin'.

Mister Burke is an agent for the Enclave
His shadowy persona would fit the Men In Black theme that an Enclave agent would have, and his gleeful eagerness to watch nuclear explosions would make sense if he came from the government that started World War 3 to wipe all of it's opposition off the face of the planet. At the very least, it makes more sense than him being a Caeser's Legion scout all the way from the Midwest...

FalloutWMG/Video GamesFallout: New Vegas

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