[Discussion] If the water chip hadn't broken down... Part One: 1. The Vault 13 water chip never breaks down (or the Chosen One never travels back in time to break it) and the Vault Dweller never leaves in search of a replacement. 2. The Unity conquers the wasteland. Smaller settlements are taken over by the super mutants. Necropolis is destroyed and the Hub disperses. The Brotherhood of Steel resists but the Lost Hills bunker is ultimately overrun. Vault 13 is raided and its inhabitants are dipped in FEV. 3. The Unity proceeds to build a new society in accordance with the Master's plans - intelligent super mutants run the show while irradiated humans and ghouls are corralled into monitored settlements where no mating is allowed. 4. The hunt for vaults containing "prime" humans that are suitable for dipping in FEV continues. The Unity enters into conflict with the Big Circle settlements. New Reno is overrun. Vault City is taken over and its residents are turned into super mutants. Tribals and the inhabitants of smaller settlements are likewise relocated to controlled areas as their counterparts were in the south. 5. Possibly the Unity branches into the east as well, encountering the denizens of the Mojave Wasteland. With House in a coma, Las Vegas is overrun much like New Reno. Vault 3, Vault 21, and Vault 34 are raided for their inhabitants. Perhaps there is even some effort to harness the power from Hoover Dam. 6. Eventually, the Master realizes that his super mutants are sterile. This could be as early as the taking of the Lost Hills bunker if Vree's Autopsy Report is discovered, or it could be much later when super mutant sterility is blatantly obvious. In either case, the most likely outcome is that he kills himself like in Fallout 1 because he now believes that all his efforts and the suffering he's caused "for the greater good" will in the long run amount to nothing. That's the result that most closely resembles canon at least. Whether he uses the nuke or not is a toss-up, it really depends on what kind of day he's having (besides the whole finding out that super mutants are sterile thing). I mean, he's not exactly the most mentally stable guy in the wasteland. 7. At that point I imagine what happens is that the Lieutenant becomes the leader of the Unity. I have no doubt that the Lieutenant would be aware that the super mutants are sterile, but he is by and far not the same person that Richard Grey was. While he is one of the most steadfast believers in the Unity, I also get the sense that there's some narcissism and self interest thrown into the mix as well. He's also a lot more cool and collected. I do not think that he would dissolve the Unity. Most likely what would happen is he would attempt to further modify the FEV in order to find a strain that creates super mutants that can successfully produce offspring. However, even if this venture is successful most of the "prime" humans in the Core Region might have already been used up. If that's the case then the chances of reversing the damage that's been done are slim. 8. I'm guessing that the Lieutenant would introduce a human breeding program in an attempt to maintain the population for further experimentation - irradiated humans are better than no humans. How successful this is of course depends on the age of the humans that are still alive. Depending on how desperate the Unity is for human breeding stock the Lieutenant could send more patrols further out east in search of more vaults and more humans in general. 9. So, around the turn of the century the Unity is in more or less good shape. It encompasses a territory at least as large as the NCR in Fallout 2 and possibly has a sphere of influence as far north as Vault City and as far east as Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. Scouting expeditions range even further. In terms of military might the Unity is unparalleled in the Core Region and has no rivals to halt its progress. However, population is an issue and there are imminent concerns about the preservation of the super mutant species. Research is being conducted to amend this issue and science particularly relating to biology becomes a point of emphasis. Unity society is a hierarchical caste system with humans and ghouls at the bottom, botched-up super mutants such as Harry in the middle, and intelligent super mutants such as Marcus at the top. The Master is dead but perhaps the Children of the Cathedral cult (now super mutants) continue to worship him as a god and have updated their theology accordingly. The Lieutenant rules in the Master's stead, probably as some kind of military dictator. Part Two: 1. At the same time that the Unity comes into its own, the Calculator enacts the Exodus protocol and deems all life in the wasteland should be sterilized. Robots emerge from Vault 0 in Colorado and begin setting up an industrial base. 2. At this point it becomes more difficult to predict exactly how events will unfold because there are several possibilities concerning the interaction of the Unity and the Calculator. The two factions could remain unaware of one another, in which case the Calculator sends its robotic army east across the Great Plains as it did in Fallout Tactics. However, there is no Gammorin's Army and no Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel to counteract the inundation. The robot army pushes east unimpeded and eventually reaches locations on the East Coast, wiping out everything in its path. 3. On the other hand, if the super mutant patrols have made it as far east as Colorado in search of vaults and humans there could be a run in with the Calculator's robots. In this case the Calculator would likely opt to go directly after the Unity and send its robot army west - resulting in the destruction of the New Caananites and any other surviving humans between Colorado and New California. 4. If the super mutant patrols in Colorado were completely wiped out, the Calculator would be mounting a surprise attack and the Unity would suffer tremendous losses against a foe that does not require food, water, or rest. However, if the Lieutenant played his cards right and had his soldiers fall back to fortified positions their sheer grit and high tech weaponry might be enough to hold off the Calculator's robot army and prevent total annihilation. After this the Unity may be capable of retaliating but having been so severely crippled it is unlikely that the super mutants would be able to rebuild and repopulate their society even after a military "victory" in Colorado. 5. If members of the super mutant patrols in Colorado managed to survive and return to the Core Region then the Unity would know ahead of time that the Calculator is sending its robot army to attack. In this case, the Lieutenant would likely move sensitive parts of the Unity such as human settlements and research to more protected areas. Meanwhile he would have the super mutants prepare fortified positions to hold off the assault and might also bolster the super mutant ranks by dipping irradiated humans in FEV to create second generation super muants - dumb but viable soldiers all the same. 6. In the event that the Unity is prepared for an attack I can see the super mutants emerging victorious and relatively unscathed. The Calculator's initial assault would fall flat on its face (I mean let's face it, in Fallout Tactics the Calculator lost to a relatively small force of Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel paladins and their various recruits) at which point the Lieutenant would retaliate and attack Vault 0 in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. Assuming the Master didn't use the nuke to commit suicide it would likely be used to break into Vault 0, whereupon the Calculator would be destroyed. 7. Taking the goldilocks option, I would say that a conflict between the Unity and the Calculator would occur relatively soon after the Calculator's robots emerge from Vault 0. The Unity would ultimately be victorious although it would sustain more significant damage than all previous conflicts combined - but not enough to prevent a total recovery within several years. 8. Since the Calculator never sent its robot army to the east the Reavers, Beast Lords, raiders, and tribals survive to fight amongst each other. Locations such as the Pitt and the Capital Wasteland have the same history as canon prior to their interactions with the Brotherhood of Steel. Part Three: 1. All this time the Enclave has remained stationed at the Poseidon Oil Rig developing its vertibird and power armor technology as it would have prior to the events of Fallout 2. 2. Through its access to the Vault-Tec network the Enclave undoubtedly knows about the super mutants on the mainland, and that they are hostile. The Enclave does not know the details however given its knowledge of pre War military installations and research projects it is likely that they would recognize that Mariposa Military Base is the source of the super mutants. 3. Anti mutant sentiment within the Enclave develops in much the same way that it would have prior to the events of Fallout 2. However, the members of the Enclave are not idiots. They are well aware that a direct invasion of the mainland would be disastrous because they are outnumbered. Again, as it was prior to the events of Fallout 2 the Enclave conceives of the Project in order to kill all mutants from a safe distance in one fell swoop and avoid the conundrum altogether. 4. However, the Enclave lacks access to the FEV that will be necessary to execute out the Project. That being said, the Enclave's position on the Poseidon Oil Rig is entirely unassailable given that they have a monopoly on vertibirds and the PMV Valdez. Furthermore, the Enclave is totally unknown to the Unity up to this point and they have the element of surprise. 5. The Enclave determines that it needs access to Mariposa Military Base in order to extract the FEV. Senior members anticipate heavy super mutant resistance and recognize that this will be a massive and risky operation. That being said, the Enclave believes that this is the only plausible alternative to stagnation and eventual annihilation and as a result Navarro is established at approximately the same time it would have been prior to the events of Fallout 2. 6. Throughout construction the Enclave would work rigorously to keep Navarro's location and therefore their existence a secret from the super mutants. Preliminary fly overs of Unity territory would be conducted for reconnaissance purposes. Radio transmissions would likely be intercepted by both parties, which would naturally arouse the suspicion of the super mutants and put them on guard. However, the Lieutenant and the Unity would still be in the dark as to exactly what is going on and it would be very difficult for them to determine where or how or even if it was necessary to mount a rock solid defense against an attack. 7. Once they were firmly established on the mainland and had the lay of the land so to speak the Enclave's next step would be to mount a full scale lightning attack on Mariposa Military Base in order to secure the FEV samples and destroy the remaining reserves. This operation would include the greater part of the Enclave's vertibirds, power armored soldiers, and perhaps even the nuke from the Poseidon Oil Rig. All troops and equipment would be transported entirely by vertibird and the goal would be to conduct the mission as quickly as possible before the super mutants can react and send reinforcements. 8. The stakes that the Enclave faces is that should the operation fail then they would lose a vast portion of their fighting force and military capability, to the point where recovery would be basically impossible. An Enclave loss at Mariposa Military Base would virtually ensure that the Unity emerges as the one great power in the wasteland - but an Enclave victory would all but guarantee long term victory for the human race. 9. Assuming that the Enclave operation is successful, it is likely that the Enclave would suffer many casualties cracking into Mariposa Military Base - one of it not the most heavily defended Unity installations - all the same. Upon having secured samples of the FEV the Enclave would immediately retreat and blow up Mariposa Military Base using either the self destruct mechanism or their own nuke. I like to think that the Enclave would use the nuke, leaving a token force behind to draw as many super mutants as possible inside the blast radius before detonation. 10. Following such a success the Enclave withdraws to the Poseidon Oil Rig and begins work on the Project in much the same way that it did prior to the events of Fallout 2. Testing the modified FEV would be more difficult given the lack of available human subjects, but perhaps several captured super mutants and some lower ranking Enclave members would manage to suffice. In any event the modified FEV would eventually be perfected (or become close enough to perfected) and launched into the jet stream as the Enclave had planned in Fallout 2, resulting in the sterilization of all mutant life on the planet and an all-out Enclave victory. 11. Almost. On the off chance that the Calculator never came into contact with the Unity and sent its robotic army east, the Enclave would still need to eventually contend with the Calculator. Perhaps the Enclave has a trick or two up its sleeve regarding Vault 0 that would make such a struggle easier, and they would have access to areas such as Hopeville and Ashton. A full scale war against the Calculator would be difficult for the Enclave but I can see them coming out on top by means of superior (nuclear) firepower. Then, with their most powerful enemies out of the way the Enclave would be well on its way to bringing back America with all its baseball, apple pie, and mom. And fascism. 12. That being said, should the Enclave operation at Mariposa Military Base fail then several things could happen to the Unity. A new strain of FEV that does produce super mutants capable of reproduction could eventually be developed and the Unity would flourish as a result, eventually wiping out the Enclave remnants on the Poseidon Oil Rig. Their interactions with factions that are east of the Rocky Mountains are too difficult to properly predict from this point on although being the most powerful faction in the wasteland I expect that the Unity would do well should it ever expand that far. 13. On the other hand should the Enclave operation at Mariposa Military Base fail but the super mutants also fail to discover a new strain of FEV that can create super mutants capable of reproduction, the Unity will eventually fall apart. The intelligent super mutants will die first, having been the first to be created. Out of desperation more super mutants might be created from irradiated humans but eventually the Unity would devolve into something resembling the Vault 87 super mutants in Fallout 3. Even if that occurs the FEV reserves will eventually be depleted and all the super mutants will eventually die out. If there are any human survivors at this point, they would inherit the Unity's remains. Although, having been treated as little more than animals and slaves for so long, they would probably not be the greatest stewards of the Core Region and its technology. They would likely favor more tribal societies over anything that we would recognize as "civilized" but with the twist that instead of spears they have plasma rifles and miniguns. 14. tl;dr just because one water chip broke down the lore and character of the entire Fallout universe was altered massively from what it would have been otherwise. Seriously, that water chip is a million times more critical to the plot than the Platinum Chip could ever hope to be. That being said, just thinking about this alternate Fallout history has been very cool and I have to admit that it would be really interesting to see the series written from this perspective. Imagine being part of a super mutant expedition exploring Big Mountain, or fighting the Calculator's mechanical hordes in the Pitt, or invading Mariposa Military Base with the Enclave. The possibilities are endless. There are some really awesome ideas that open up with this divergent (double divergent?) timeline and even though we'll never see them it's still a lot of fun to picture.