After lots of research and thinking, here’s my most comprehensive theory about Deacon

fallout 5 - After lots of research and thinking, here's my most comprehensive theory about Deacon

There's a few things I'd like to argue in this post:

  1. Deacon was in Capital Wasteland, where he learned about the Lone Wanderer
  2. Deacon knew about Father and how he relates to the Sole Survivor
  3. Barbara's story is true
  4. Deacon is John D. He runs the Railroad, but he did not found it.

Deacon and the Lone Wanderer

First of all, Deacon is a spy. He's always in the shadows, changing faces and outfits, changing stories. He is good at gathering intel, as exemplified by him
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, which I'll explain later.

When traveling with Deacon, we will hear him talk a lot about Capital Wasteland

Did I ever tell you about the time I was in Capital Wasteland? Now there's a tale.

I miss Capital Wasteland. You can actually drink the water there.

Back in Capital Wasteland the Brotherhood was a force to be reckoned with. But them plus a giant airship…

Capital Wasteland. Exports: purified water, some decent tech, oh, and an insane suicidal cult that worships radiation. Thanks, guys.

I'm convincing the next raw recruit I'm actually President Eden. Think I can pull it off?

The Brotherhood… well, I met them on an op in Capital Wasteland a few years back. But now with Elder Maxson… Let's just say, not a fan.

It's pretty clear he knows about Capital Wasteland. I don't think there's any purpose for him to lie about this, and the conclusions he makes about Capital Wasteland and the Brotherhood make sense if you played both Fallout 3 and 4. And it'd be much harder to come up with these conclusions unless he visited Capital Wasteland himself.

Now, if that's the case, we have to figure out when and why he visited it. It's more likely he visited it after / during the events of Fallout 3 based on his comments about purified water. According to Railroad HQ terminal entries, we can construct the following timetable of events related to Deacon

2266 November
Massacre at HQ. Only survivor – runner by the name John D.
Wyatt is now in charge of Railroad.

2267 February
John D. has been finding new tourists. Railroad is getting restructured as a pyramid (probably was more flat before).

2273 March
John D. developed a dead drop system.

2273 December
The new HQ is attacked. Deacon (that's what he's calling himself now) had an escape route planned. Wyatt dies, and Pinky Thompson becomes Railroad lead.

2273 June
Deacon is kicked out of HQ, after lying and face-changing, spending a month as a ghoul.

2277 August
Events of Fallout 3 begin

2277 December
After making lots of mistakes, Pinky Thompson steps down. Desdemona becomes the leader. Deacon is back.

P.A.M. joins Railroad and gets convinced to help by Glory. Deacon jokes P.A.M. has a crush on Glory.
Institute takes on Mercer Safehouse, Deacon kills the infiltrator.

P.A.M. makes strange predictions, and Deacon wants to math-ball her.

P.A.M. is trying to locate the Institute. Deacon thinks the solution lies in the past, not the future. Deacon knows the Big Secret: who was in charge of Railroad before Wyatt. Desdemona thinks Deacon might be the Johnny D… Deacon has been digging into Institute sightings from years, even decades before.

Deacon was barely there all year, he is chasing ghosts.

Deacon working on secret project. Code-name Wanderer. Deacon has a wild theory and an even wilder plan (Tea Party). Desdemona agrees there's something strange there.

If Deacon was in Capital Wasteland, the most likely time was 2278 – 2281, since he wasn't mentioned in the terminal notes at the time.

It's also likely, as he says himself, that he went there for an operation, which could have been linked to helping A3-21 or, in my opinion, dealing with high-ranking Institute member Dr. Zimmer, who, after all, went missing after visiting Capital Wasteland.

Now, how likely is it that he went to Capital Wasteland and not learned about the Lone Wanderer? Since he knew about water purity and the role of the Brotherhood, it is quite reasonable to assume he gathered intel on the Lone Wanderer too. Not to mention, Lone Wanderer could have been involved in helping the Rairoad (or Zimmer). It is possible that one of his sources was
Moira Brown, who later mentioned the Lone Wanderer in her later (2297) note according to
Afterword - After lots of research and thinking, here's my most comprehensive theory about DeaconFallout 3 official game guide

People can't even agree on whether the Wanderer was a man or a woman, much less a saint or a monster. But they all agree on one thing: the Lone Wanderer changed the Capital Wasteland.

It's likely he learned about the Lone Wanderer and his / her father. How he / she pursued their lost relative and, in the process, destroyed
the Enclave and completed
Project Purity.

Now, I wouldn't be so sure about that, unless I saw these comments in the aforementioned terminal entries (most importantly, the bolded parts):

Deacon's convinced the solution lies in the past, not future.
Deacon's been digging into Institute sightings from years, even decades before.
Deacon working on secret project. Code-name Wanderer. Deacon has a wild theory and an even wilder plan (Tea Party).


Now, why code-name Wanderer? It could be a coincidence. As Oxhorn replied to my theory, it could simply be related to the fact that Deacon was wandering the wasteland in search of Institute's sightings at the time. However, let's think a bit more about it.

Deacon returns from Capital Wasteland, likely after learning about the Brotherhood and the mysterious Lone Wanderer, whose father ran away from the vault, and who later saved the Capital Wasteland by purifying its water. He knew about how strong family bonds can be, once separated they may do anything to get back together.

He comes back to the Commonwealth, and he begins looking into Institute sightings over the years to find out its location. He learns that Kellogg was sighted in Vault 111 six decades before. Perhaps he visits the vault and reads the journal entries, and learns that the child was missing. He also learns that the Institute left no survivors except for Nora or Nate, and asks himself, why?

His wild theory is that the missing child was taken away by the Institute, and became its member. Perhaps he even gathered intel on the Father (through Zimmer?) and put 2 and 2 together to learn who that child is.

Deacon makes a parallel between the Lone Wanderer and Sole Survivor. Just like the Lone Wanderer tried to reunite with his father, the Sole Survivor will try hard to reunite with Shaun. Hence, he names the project, Wanderer.

If his theory that the missing child is the Institute member is true, then Sole Survivor is likely to be welcomed to the Institute. He constructs a wild plan: wake the Sole Survivor up, recruit them to the Railroad and find institute by helping them reunite with Shaun. Only when he gets to Vault 111 to do this, the Sole Survivor has already left. That's when Deacon decides to spy on them and make sure they're eventually going to join the Railroad.

Another reason why I think the name Wanderer refers to the Sole Survivor, and not Deacon is because Wanderer is the Desdemona's choice for Sole Survivor's codename.


When you reach high affinity with Deacon, he will tell the story that he was married to Barbara, who turned out to be a synth. When she was killed, he joined the railroad. I believe this story is true, whether or not it had anything to do with UP Deathclaws, because it turns out there's unused texture RRBarbaraGrave01, which shows that initially her existence was supposed to be confirmed in the game.

He also mentions her from time to time when you go to a beautiful place:

She would've liked this.

I don't think a genuine and spontaneous comment like this can be dismissed as a lie.

The Big Secret

In my opinion, Deacon is John D. A few reasons for it:

  1. Pinky's terminal's comment "that's what he's calling himself now". It means that he started calling himself a different name before his appearance changed.
  2. Desdemona's hunch in another terminal entry.
  3. Terminal stops mentioning John D. at the same time as it starts mentioning Deacon.

Now, Deacon makes remarks that make it seem like he is older than 60 years old. He reveals the Big Secret to the Sole Survivor by claiming that he runs the railroad. I believe this is possible. However, when they ask,

You really founded it?

Deacon replies,

Sure. Me and Johnny D and Watts. Hell, that was 60? 70 years ago? After awhile you lose count. We've come a long way since the beginning. We've done a lot of good. Saved a lot of synths.

That's not the only time he makes a remark like that. When you visit the Castle, he says,

When I was here last, oh, sixty or so years ago, this whole place was just crawling with Minutemen.

However, if Deacon founded the Railroad in 2220s, that makes him at least 80 years old in 2287, probably closer to 100. No wonder Tinker Tom makes a list of conspiracy theories in his terminal, one of which is

  1. Deacon / Time Travel Conjecture*

But Deacon doesn't look, sound or act like 100 years old. Facial surgery can do a lot, but it cannot actually make you younger by making you sound and act young.

One possibility is that he is a ghoul. Perhaps facial surgery can make you look like a human. One of the terminal entries say that he spent a month as a ghoul, so maybe his face changes back from time to time. But I don't believe this theory. Firstly, he doesn't like radiation:

You know that staticky sound. It means we should get the hell out of here.

Ahh, radiation, you unbelievable bastard.

That's not a good sound. Let's move it.

We're sucking up rads here.

Unless you want me to stick you on top of the Railroad's christmas tree, let's go.

Great. I didn't need to have more children.

Secondly, it's not required to explain this. We don't have to believe John D. founded the Railroad. In the terminal, it says that in 2266, i.e. 21 years prior to Fallout 4, John D. was a runner. He was not in any leader positions, he was only a runner, which means he could have been recruited just a few years prior. I think, after he proved himself to be resourceful, he and Wyatt decided to reorganize the Railroad so that it works like a pyramid, where they run it, yet nobody knows who truly runs it. This gives them extra security and makes the official Railroad leader more disposable, in case shit happens. Telling Sole Survivor that Deacon is the founder serves extra security, because it bunches together a possible truth (Deacon runs the Railroad) and an impossible lie (Deacon founded the Railroad).

With regards to his comment on the Minutemen, remember he's a spy who is good at gathering intel and learning about things. He could have learned it from someone, perhaps Ronnie Shaw or anyone else who knew. I don't think this was a big secret.

Since I believe Barbara's story to be true, it's possible that he joined the Railroad in his twenties, making him 40+ year old in the game. No age explanation required.

That's it

I think that's my best guess about Deacon. Did I tie up all the loose ends, or did I miss something? Let me know your thoughts.

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