50 Vault-Tec C.E.O.
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They say that when a warrior has finally finished their purpose in life, and as they lie there breathing their last, that their spirit is seen streaking across the sky as a fallen star.

— Isolde Valen

Hell's Descent is a Fallout 3 quest in the Verisimilitude add-on.

Detailed walkthrough

A meeting with fate - part I

Once arriving at the coordinates given by Commandant Aix, the Lone Wanderer and Isolde Valen will talk briefly, agreeing that she should wait outside and to hold off on sending the signal to any allies made prior to arrival. Heading into the depot, a small room will be entered, in which the Commandant will be awaiting. Approaching him, it is seen that the room he is looking into is a test cell holding Enclave scientists for interrogation. After setting them on fire, the Commandant will turn and depending on the Lone Wanderer's actions up to this point, will react in different ways:

  1. Should every contract have been taken care in favor of the Talon Company, including the Burden of the Beast contracts, the Commandant will offer the Lone Wanderer the chance to join him at the Cocoon as his right-hand man.
  2. Should every major contract have been taken care of in favor of the Talon Company, but none of the Burden of the Beast contracts, a Speech of 80 will be required to convince him of the Lone Wanderer's loyalty should they choose to join him. Alternatively, bringing him Isolde will bypass the Speech check entirely.
  3. If even one of the major contracts were completed in opposition of the Talon Company's goals, Commandant Aix will have discovered the treachery, and a nearby wall will open up, revealing a squad of heavy Hellions, forcing the Lone Wanderer to fight their way out.

Whether the Lone Wanderer joined the Talon Company or killed Commandant Aix, it is discovered that the supply depot is in fact not the entrance to the Cocoon. Coordinates either given by the Commandant or looted off his dead body shows the entrance located within the National Archives.

A meeting with fate - part II

Before heading out to the National Archives, talking to Isolde will open up the option to send the signal out to the possible allies made while infiltrating the Talon Company. After sending the signal out, the varied allied factions will be seen assaulting the National Archives:

  1. If Sonora Cruz and the Regulators were spared and convinced to go into hiding previously, they will have gathered their forces and are seen keeping the Talon Company mercs busy at the entrance to the Archives. Talking to Sonora, she will express concern over how long her group can hold out, and will remain behind as the Lone Wanderer heads inside.
  2. Should Reilly's Rangers still be alive, they will join in on the fight once the signal has been sent out, and will fight alongside Sonora and her Regulators should they have been spared and convinced to fight. Speaking with the Rangers, they will recognize their small numbers in comparison to the Talon Company, and will agree to stay outside and help mop up the survivors. If the Regulators were not spared, only Reilly will still be alive and fighting when the Lone Wanderer arrives.
  3. If the Beastlords were allied with, they will be seen assaulting the inside of the National Archives. Down in the Cocoon, the remaining Beastlords will be fighting a three-way battle with the Maddog and his super mutants, as well as the Talon Company vanguard.
  4. Storming in to the surprise of the Talon Company mercs, the Maddog and his super mutants were the first to make it down into the Cocoon, and are seen fighting in the lower sections of the research facility should they have been allied with.

Regardless of whether or not the Lone Wanderer made any alliances, they will be forced to fight through the Archives until reaching the elevator that takes them down into the Cocoon. Fighting through guards, scientists and traps alike, it can be discovered through a terminal found in the central research and development labs that the Cocoon was not only a research installation, but was also a secret weapon that was going to be originally used against the Chinese before the Great War halted all progress. Hacking this terminal requires a Science skill of 75. Reading further, it is discovered that its purpose as a weapon was to act as seismic trigger, essentially allowing for controlled earthquakes to be propagated at designated coordinates. Looking through pre-War phials found nearby, the second solution needed to fully cure Isolde's hemophilia can be picked up and given to Isolde.

After leaving the labs and heading to command central, a series of events can be witnessed while traveling through the tunnel network depending on alliances made:

  1. If the Beastlords were allied with, Urchin will be seen standing over the body of Commandant Aix. Upon questioning him over how Commandant Aix is in the Cocoon, Urchin will run off into the next room; dying as he gets trapped in an irradiated room that had been quarantined off. With a Science and Medicine skill of 50, a nearby HAZMAT suit can be taken and worn to loot Urchin's corpse. If Isolde was trained by Dr. Preston, both skill checks can be bypassed. If the Beastlords were eradicated, Commandant Aix will still be alive, and will have to be killed again to proceed further.
  2. Should the Maddog have been allied with, he will be seen again while approaching the experiment pens. Inadvertently releasing the test subjects while attempting to open the doors leading into the next area, the pens have been locked down internally, and the Lone Wanderer can only watch as the super mutants are killed one by one, until only the Maddog is left. Seeing the Lone Wanderer, the Maddog will use the last of his strength to bust down the door, allowing for them to fight alongside each other. Once the creatures have been dealt with, the Maddog will succumb to his wounds and die. If the Maddog was killed, the Lone Wanderer will have to discover which controls open the pens, and which ones open the door into the next area. With a Perception of 8, it can be assumed that the button with the most wear must be the one to open the doors, and not the pens.

Reaching the final level of the Cocoon, Isolde will be forced to remain behind as the Lone Wanderer deals with increasing levels of defensive measures that have become active due to the security breaches. Upon reaching command central, a vault suspended in the middle of a vast data core, Commandant Aix will be seen yet again, this time utilizing a strange suit that reacts with two nearby energy conduits. After brief dialogue, the Commandant will begin powering his suit through the two conduits, creating a forcefield of sorts around him, and allowing him the ability to fire large blasts of electricity from his hands. With a Speech of 100, Commandant Aix can be taunted before powering up his suit, causing him to go into a rage and allowing the Lone Wanderer a few brief seconds to deal with him before his suit begins powering up.

After dealing the the mad Commandant once again, the Lone Wanderer can finally enter the command central vault, and using a nearby terminal, overloading the nodes set in place to keep the installation from collapsing upon itself from the Earth's pressure around it. With a Science skill of 100, Commandant Aix's personal research notes will also reveal his usage of a special modification of the FEV, which gave the Commandant the ability to regenerate upon death, essentially giving him immortality.

As the Lone Wanderer and Isolde escape from the collapsing installation, a gas leak will ignite, causing an explosion that mortally wounds the Lone Wanderer. After dragging the Lone Wanderer a short ways, the two will reconcile, with Isolde reluctantly leaving the Lone Wanderer behind so she may escape.

A meeting with fate - part III

Earning the Commandant's trust, the Lone Wanderer will be sent to join him at the actual location for the Cocoon, explaining that their current meeting was to make sure of their loyalty to the Talon Company's cause. Upon leaving the depot, Isolde will be gone, if she was not already handed to Commandant Aix.

Upon arrival to the National Archives, it is discovered through one of the Talon Company mercenaries that the Enclave became interested in the Talon Company's agenda after seeing the fall of the Maddog, and are now assaulting the Cocoon which they had been keeping tabs on for quite some time. Approaching the Archive's entrance, the Brotherhood of Steel will begin a separate assault, after tracking the Enclave's massive movements to that area. Caught in a quickly-brewing war, the Lone Wanderer is forced to fight their way through to Commandant Aix.

Making it to the labs, Isolde Valen can be found curing her Hemophilia with the second solution of specialized FEV needed, either having sneaked into the Cocoon on her own accord, or having escaped her holding cell during the chaos. After a falling out between the two, Isolde will escape on her own, leaving the Lone Wanderer and the Talon Company to their fates. Traveling further in and fighting through the released mutant experiments due to damage caused by the BoS and Enclave, the Lone Wanderer will finally reach command central, where Commandant Aix is waiting for them.

Approaching Commandant Aix, an Enclave officer will be seen standing over the corpse of a BoS Paladin; now aiming his gun at the Commandant. Before being able to reach the Commandant, the officer will shoot him, and will rush to the command central vault; locking himself in and inadvertently setting off the self-destruct sequence. Speaking with Commandant Aix, he will reveal that the escape tunnels are crawling with Enclave shock troopers, and that the only way out is back the way the Lone Wanderer came in. The problem is: electro-magnetic bulkheads have now sealed off the elevator leading back up to the surface, and the only way around it is to create an EMP bomb and overload the generator keeping the bulkhead closed. The parts needed to create the bomb are as follows:

  1. Nitroglycerin - Located in the personal offices of Commandant Aix, the Lone Wanderer will have to fight and kill the Chimera before being able to obtain the sample.
  2. Electrolytic capacitor - Left behind in the experiment pens, the Doctor now has the capacitor on his person, and needs to be killed to retrieve it.
  3. Ion gel - The final component for the EMP bomb, the last known location for ion gel is inside of a derelict defense droid left behind from before the Great War. Its security measures activated by the battling going on around it, AX-0 is the final boss when siding with Talon Company. With over 1000 health and with a DR as high as wearing a set of T-51b power armor, AX-0 is one of the toughest and lengthiest bosses to fight, and is nearly impervious to small-arms fire.

Using the EMP bomb on the bulkhead, Commandant Aix will show up, oddly no longer hurt from being shot earlier. Taking the elevator up, an explosion will cripple the Lone Wanderer, only staying conscious only long enough to see Commandant Aix walking away with a strange vial in his hands.

An end to all things

Good endings

  1. If all 12 affection points have been earned, Isolde Valen is sided with instead of the Talon Company, and her hemophilia cured, Isolde will be seen lying on her back with Misha nearby, just as a falling star streaks across the sky.
  2. With 5 to 8 affection points earned, Isolde Valen sided with, and her hemophilia cured, Isolde will be seen heading off into the wastes, making a new life for herself, and drawing strength from the Vault Dweller that gave their life to make sure she had one to look forward to.
  3. With less than 5 affection points earned, Isolde Valen sided with, and her hemophilia cured, Isolde will stand over the empty grave of the Vault Dweller that saved her life, never understanding their true motivations, but knowing fondly that she wouldn't be alive if not for their sacrifice.

Bad endings

  1. With all 12 affection points earned, the Talon Company sided with, and her hemophilia cured, Isolde will think back to her time with the Vault Dweller, and never forgiving their actions, wanders off into the wastes disillusioned and bitter.
  2. Less than 12 affection points earned, the Talon Company sided with, and the solution needed to cure her smashed by the Lone Wanderer, Isolde, betrayed and alone, spends the rest of her now short life at her parents' graves, mourning their sacrifice for a lost cause and never forgiving herself.
  3. Killed or told to wait while evacuating the Cocoon, Isolde becomes just another casualty with everyone else left behind, never knowing what the future might have held in store for her.


  • When finished with this quest, the game will end, with a saved game made right before going down the elevator into the Cocoon.
  • Before going down into the Cocoon, it is advised to be top level with high-tier weaponry. Not only are there numerous enemies, but the Cocoon also sports the toughest bosses seen in a DLC.
  • Whether the Lone Wanderer joins the Talon Company or Isolde Valen, their ultimate fate is to die while possibly giving Isolde Valen a chance at life. There is no way around this, without skipping the final quest.

Behind the scenes

Liberty Prime was originally meant to be kept in the Cocoon, still under construction, but was later removed from the DLC concept and added to the vanilla game as a plot device for the Brotherhood of Steel's fights against the Enclave.