The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
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For other characters in the Fallout universe named Thomas, see Thomas.
Thomas Hildern
FNV Thomas Hildern.png
Biography and appearance
RaceHuman, Caucasian
AffiliationFollowers of the Apocalypse (formerly)
New California Republic
Office of Science and Industry
RoleDirector of Operations, OSI East
LocationCamp McCarran, terminal building
Dialogue FileThomas Hildern's dialogue
QuestsThere Stands the Grass
ED-E My Love
You Can Depend on Me
Editor IDThomasHildern
Base ID000e8f6bRef ID000e8f67
ActorJude Ciccolella

To be frank, I have no idea. I leave the fighting to Colonel Hsu, and I expect him to leave the science to me. Too many people have opinions on things they know nothing about. And the more ignorant they are, the more opinions they have.

Doctor Thomas Hildern is a Californian who is the Director of Operations of the Office of Science and Industry (OSI) East at Camp McCarran in Fallout: New Vegas.


Hildern is an intelligent man, who received a complete education from a Followers of the Apocalypse center of learning,[1] although he did not agree with their egalitarian views.[2] In fact, his disagreement resulted in him joining a group of like-minded people and the formation of the Office of Science and Industry, a splinter organization of the Followers focusing on finding practical application for knowledge, rather than research for knowledge's own sake. However, Hildern is dissatisfied with the end result and considers executives at OSI Central in Shady Sands to lack direction. For him, it'd be best to establish strong leadership, stop coddling "free spirits" and keep everyone in line focusing on certain, well-defined goals.[3]

As Director of the Eastern division, Hildern supervises his team on optimizing the power output of Hoover Dam and other local energy production facilities[4] and supervises various contributions from the OSI to Republic-funded projects, such as the NCR sharecropper farms.[5]

As a side project, Hildern also oversees research into the problem of projected food shortage in the Republic. Currently, the food shortage is not a problem, but from conducted studies, it's been projected that the NCR's population will grow significantly in the next decade and would lead to mass food shortages as production can no longer meet demand. The NCR has been granted permission to Hildern preemptively research a solution.[6] Officially, they are making little progress, though Hildern has identified a potential breakthrough: Vault 22. However, since any expeditions to the Vault would need to be sanctioned by the OSI and risk undermining Hildern's career prospects, he does it under-the-table, without any official authorization from the Office and filing the necessary paperwork.[7] He sent in total about eight to ten people to their deaths in the Vault, with the final contractor being Keely (although Hildern personally believes she wages a personal war on him and the Office[8]).

It is unknown if Hildern actually does any research.[9] He is, however, known to take credit for the work others do.[10]


Although Hildern puts on the facade of a calm, rational researcher, he is in fact quite ambitious, hoping to prove himself to President Aaron Kimball and earn a promotion to an OSI Central executive.[3] He shows his more violent side, when he reacts with fury and overt threats should the data from Vault 22 be destroyed,[11] as he considers it NCR's best bet to avoid the projected famine in Republic lands, though he is apparently more concerned about his unofficial pet project as a guarantee of advancement in the OSI ranks, rather than salvation for the Republic.[8][12]

However, his confidence in himself, the OSI and the government freely enters the realm of total arrogance.[13] To make things worse, he is quite careless with the lives of OSI outside contractors, contrary to his claims of putting great value on them and significant benefits.[14]

Others describe him much less positively. Apart from taking credit for the work of others, he is also considered by at least one scientist contractor, Keely, as a politician, not a scientist, and one that more often than not stands in the way of true discovery. His subordinate, Angela Williams, also compares him to a deathclaw, when he goes up against Keely, who also has a habit of embarrassing him in front of important people.[15] Arcade Gannon, a Follower of the Apocalypse, looks at what Hildern is trying to achieve as objectively good but espouses that his "big picture" mentality puts him at odds with what he's trying to achieve. Especially when people he's meant to be helping are simply another number in a ledger.[16]

Interactions with the player character

Interactions overview

This character starts quests.
Perk empathy synthesizer.png
This character is involved in quests.


  • There Stands the Grass: Hildern offers the player a mercenary assignment: Bringing back the data on cultivation and plant husbandry from Vault 22.
    • Note that completing the quest will render dialogue options to access ED-E's logs or give feedback to Arcade on Hildern unreachable.
  • You Can Depend on Me: The player is asked to deliver an invoice to Hildern.
  • ED-E My Love: Hildern's dialogue is one of the triggers that can trigger ED-E's first log.

Notable quotes

  • "Imagine, if you will, the wasteland in bloom... vast fields of corn that grow from seeds and produce their bounty in the space of a month... ...orchards of trees, their branches weighed halfway to the ground, hung with fat, ripe oranges. A harvest that could feed a city... or a nation. And all this... all this... requiring no more than a few of drops of precious water, and the efforts of only a handful of human farmers. Impossible?"
  • "To be frank, I have no idea. I leave the fighting to Colonel Hsu, and I expect him to leave the science to me. Too many people have opinions on things they know nothing about. And the more ignorant they are, the more opinions they have."


Icon armored vault suit.png
Scientist outfit
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Icon briefcase.png
Carried items
Icon male severed head.png
Drops on death


Thomas Hildern appears only in Fallout: New Vegas.


  1. The Courier: "So who *did* train you?"
    Thomas Hildern: "Before the bombs, I might have studied at any number of colleges, universities. They gave a man a chance to advance himself... or so I've heard. But after the bombs - until a few years ago - anyone with half a brain had one choice. The Followers of the Apocalypse. Didn't matter if you agreed with them or not. You either played along or you were turned away."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  2. The Courier: "And what do the Followers believe?"
    Thomas Hildern: "Knowledge for knowledge sake. A society of equals. They purport to be intelligent people, and then they spout this old-world dogma."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Courier: "Doesn't sound like a good place for a person of ambition."
    Thomas Hildern: "[SUCCEEDED] Exactly right. Imagine what the Followers could have accomplished if they were properly motivated... if they had a unified purpose! Those of us who founded the OSI... we wanted to put our knowledge to work. And we have, to some degree. But the execs at OSI Central... they're still bound to the old ideas. Society of equals, and all that. There's still too little direction. If I can make real breakthroughs here... show the President what can be done when junior researchers are kept in line... kept focused on task... Who knows. Maybe I'll be sitting in OSI Central, in a few years time. And there'll be no more coddling of "free spirits" like our friend, Williams."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  4. The Courier: "You said you were the Director of OSI?"
    Thomas Hildern: "Director of the entire OSI? Me? If I didn't know better, I'd say you were trying to plant seditious ideas in my head. Ha ha ha. No, I direct our eastern operations. I've been responsible for squeezing unprecedented levels of power from the Dam. I'm also confronting the problem of food production, in what little spare time I have. But I've found some promising leads."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  5. The Courier: "What other responsibilities does this office have?"
    Thomas Hildern: "We aid some programs the Republic has sponsored involving sharecropper farms in the area, but those haven't panned out too well from what I hear. There've been complaints about the amount of water we're supplying, but those are just excuses for lack of diligence, I'm sure."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  6. The Courier: "NCR has a food shortage?"
    Thomas Hildern: "Not yet. But our government understands the value of proactive thought. Our studies project an imbalance between production and consumption. Or, for a layman such as yourself - not enough food, too many mouths to feed. Mass starvation. In a decade or so."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  7. The Courier: "What contract? You cut an under-the-table deal with me."
    Thomas Hildern: "[SUCCEEDED] You're saying that I didn't file the proper paperwork, is that it? I suppose you're an expert on NCR procedures?"
    The Courier: "Then it wouldn't matter if I mentioned our deal to the colonel?"
    Thomas Hildern: "All right. Fair enough. No need to bring the military into this matter - it's between the two of us, after all."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Courier: "Believe whatever you want. It's the truth."
    Thomas Hildern: "Keely. It was Keely, wasn't it? Who else would fail to give a fuck that thousands of people are going to starve, without that data? And for what? So Keely can wage her selfish little war against me and the OSI."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  9. The Courier: "He seemed focused on results. Maybe not so much on people."
    Angela Williams: "[SUCCEEDED] He's not what you'd call... warm. Unless he wants something from you. And even then, it's kind of a cold warm. Most of the time, I focus on the science and try to forget him. He doesn't get mixed up in any actual work. Though he tells people that he does."
    (Angela Williams' dialogue)
  10. The Courier: "So Dr. Hildern takes credit for your work?"
    Angela Williams: "He sure does. Everyone knows it. I've just got to endure this job until the project is finished. But abandoning Keely... he crossed a line. Taking credit for other people's work is one thing. Sending people to die in the waste is another. If Hildern tries to recruit any more mercs, I'm going to warn them. What can he do to me? I'm the only one who can run this lab."
    (Angela Williams' dialogue)
  11. The Courier: "The plants in that vault were dangerous. We destroyed the data."
    Thomas Hildern: "We? We?! You were a part of this? After we made an explicit agreement, you have the fucking gall to destroy priceless scientific data? The authorities are going to hear about this. They're going to know your name, they're going to know your goddamn face."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  12. The Courier: "No problem. I can wait."
    Thomas Hildern: "I think... Williams' decryption algorithms seem to be working... Yes... here it is! The data is mostly uncorrupted. This will make the board of directors finally sit up and take notice... Here, then... as promised. An agreeable sum, payable upon delivery of the data. You've more than done your part."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  13. The Courier: "I'd be careful with that data. You didn't see those plants in the Vault."
    Thomas Hildern: "{{Tooltip|Your concerns are perfectly understandable, but I assure you, they're entirely misplaced. We would never use a technology that wasn't fully tested. We aren't some motley band of Vault alchemists. We're with the government, for goodness sake. Have a little faith in us!"
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  14. The Courier: "I'll think about it, and maybe I'll be back."
    Thomas Hildern: "I assure you, the OSI places considerable value upon our contractors. We will take good care of you, should you decide to accept our offer."
    (Thomas Hildern's dialogue)
  15. The Courier: "How do Keely and Hildern get along?"
    Angela Williams: "Like a brahmin and a deathclaw. Though I'm not sure which would be which. Bad analogy, maybe - they're both deathclaws, in their way. Keely hates Hildern. She says he's more politician than scientist, and gets in the way of true discovery. And Hildern hates Keely because... well, because every time they meet, she makes him look like an ass. In front of important people, usually."
    (Angela Williams' dialogue)
  16. The Courier: ""
    Arcade Gannon: "Hildern is a good example of "big picture" obsession gone too far. At some point he became so fixated on large scale results that he lost the concept of "the common good" along the way. It's an inhumane kind of public service when people and the basic resources they need become numbers in a ledger."
    (Arcade Gannon's dialogue)
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Fo2 NCR Seal.png