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Fallout

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

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Mesa Verde

map marker: Mesa Verde
sections: Canyon
Caves
Village
Mesa Top
leaders:
doctors:
merchants:
factions: Ciphers
quests:
The following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

Mesa Verde is a small cliff dwelling set high in the side of a mesa, somewhere in the American southwest. The people there, called the Ciphers, seem like any other group of tribals. In reality, they're quite skilled in science. They hold onto their secret knowledge in preparation for the day they are once again worthy to use it. The schematics for many a forgotten device is painted all over the village walls, but the few travelers that visit the village are unaware of the significance, dismissing the scribblings as "tribal art".

History

In the weeks following the War, a group of scientists and soldiers from the atomic laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico, who were lucky enough not to be in the facility itself when the surrounding area was hit by bombs, wandered north with a band of other survivors (looking a bit like the group in The Stand), looking for a place of relative safety. They assumed that they were the only "civilized" people left, since everyone else they encountered attacked them, trying to take their food, water, and clothes. When they discovered one of the ancient pueblos at Mesa Verde, they decided to set up camp there.

The group carried only a limited amount of technology with them. The soldiers had pistols and rifles, and the scientists carried one barely working computer, enough parts to build several water makers and a crude wind turbine to power them, several lead-lined boxes containing enriched uranium, and a small supply of medicine. The rest of the band had a variety of miscellaneous gear which most contributed for group use.

A decade later, the computer began to fail. Fearing that the technology of the Old World would be forever lost, the scientists began painting and carving electronic schematics into the walls of the pit (called a kiva by the builders of the pueblo). At the same time, they insisted that mathematics be emphasized when educating the village children so that their descendants would understand how to use the schematics. Because they were steeped in math from a very early age, the villagers tend to use a lot of math terms to express themselves. This occasionally confusing, cryptic way of speaking caused them to be dubbed "Ciphers" by educated wasteland dwellers who thought they might be speaking in some type of code. The Ciphers merely shrugged and accepted the name.

As the years passed, the Ciphers forgot their disciplined, scientific roots and became more concerned with everyday survival rather than meaningless scientific theories. When it comes to electronic devices and weapons, the Ciphers know more about how it works than why it works: "The symbols say put this and this together, and then this happens. Why? Who knows? As long as the numbers are right, who cares?"

The emphasis on mathematics in their culture has led to Ciphers to assign an almost mystical significance to specific numbers. It's the closest thing to a religion they have. Each Cipher is believed to have a personal number, determined by the Nemonik at their birth. Ciphers will take their personal number into consideration when doing almost anything, from heading out to hunt on the sixth day of the month to choosing whom to marry. It's all very confusing to outsiders.

The village at Mesa Verde was tiny to begin with, having barely enough room to house all the scientists, soldiers, and other survivors. Nearly a century later, the descendants of the original settlers had outgrown the space and resources available. Many families chose to adopt a nomadic lifestyle to avoid the perpetual thirst and hunger. Only those families with very young children or those Ciphers too old and feeble to travel remain full-time in the village.

Both Cipher men and women are capable fighters, and even the children are taught how to fight as soon as they're able as a matter of practicality. A typical Cipher nomad band consists of two to three families traveling together. They usually have at least one type of electronic device like a cattle prod or an ultrasonic generator to ward off wild animals.

At the top of the mesa, the Ciphers have an array of water makers which condense moisture from the air and produce drinkable water. They have a wind turbine which generates a small amount of electricity, enough to power the water makers. However, it's not a very quick operation, and barely enough water is produced each day to serve the village's needs.

Appearances in games

  • Mesa Verde did not appear nor was mentioned in any of the published games, but was to appear in the cancelled Fallout 3 project by Black Isle codenamed Van Buren. It is not certain if it will appear in any future Fallout game.
  • Mesa Verde means "Green Table" in Spanish.

Sources

Van Buren (Black Isle's cancelled Fallout 3)
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This article uses material from the "Mesa Verde" article on the Fallout wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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