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Entrance to Vault 101.

A Vault is a hardened subterranean installation designed by Vault-Tec Industries on commission from the U.S. government to protect a selected fragment of the United States population from nuclear holocaust in a secure underground bunker, so that America could be repopulated. Commonly claimed to have a chance to fail equal to 1,763, 497 to 1, reality was usually far cry from this bold claim.[1]

For a list of known Vaults, please see this article.

Description

A Vault corridor: Concrete, steel reinforcements, and SimuSun lighting.

A typical Vault is built deep underground in a geologically stable area (typical choices include mountain ranges[2] and remote areas away from population centers),[3] but Vaults have also been built below the foundations of modern cities.[4] in order to survive the effects of a nuclear blast.[5] Vault-Tec method was patented as the Triple-S Technology (Safety, Survivability and Sanitation),[6] to provide a maximum of comfort to the inhabitants without compromising their safety. Vaults were typically built using reinforced concrete and solid metal sheeting to ensure durability and longevity of the shelter construction.[7] The primary protection came in the sheer amount of earth covering: Vault 13 was shielded by 3,200,000 tons of soil, at 200 feet (60m) of thickness.[8]

Entrance into the Vault was controlled by a Vault blast door and an airlock. Different types were utilized across the United States, with the Seal'n'Safe No. 343 model and a single corridor airlock being more popular in the western United States, while those on the eastern seaboard and the Mojave desert relied on an inward-opening door and an airlock with an integrated control and decontamination station.[9] The vault doors had a projected 2% failure rate in case of a direct hit by a nuclear missile.[10] The only known vault to have been hit by a nuclear weapon is Vault 87 and the blast damaged the door beyond repair.[11]

The total number of inhabitants could be as high as 500 (1000 with hot bunking)[12] in installations like Vault 13[8] and Vault 76[13] and as low as 100.[14] As the government only commissioned 122 Vaults as part of Project Safehouse, only a fraction of the U.S.' 400 million citizens would actually be accepted into the Vaults.[15] The duration for which the Vaults were sealed varied. Some were only intended to stay sealed for ten years (Vault 13, though this directive was overridden),[16] while others were designed for 38 years and more, like Vault 108.[17]

It is important to note that the Enclave (or rather, the powerful and wealthy that would form it after the War) never intended for the Vaults to save anyone. They used Project Safehouse and the Vault-Tec Industries' network of shelters for a grand social experiment, to test the occupants in unique circumstances.[18] However, the Enclave eventually abandoned their goal of settling on another planet, and decided to resettle the one they already had. Vault monitoring and research continued as the Vault Behavioral Project. In order to monitor the populations being experimented upon, the Enclave's oil rig possessed a great deal of equipment that allowed them to observe and control the vaults. For example, the Enclave sent the all clear signal to Vault 8 shortly after the War, prompting them to leave their Vault and build their city. These monitoring tools also let the Enclave see that the population of Vault 13 was largely intact, although this wouldn't become important until much later.[19][20]

Infrastructure

Infrastructure is designed for durability, but also for convenience. Critical elements are usually hidden behind wall panels so as to keep them out of harms way.

In order to power the entire installation, Vaults were provided with a variety of power sources. The largest of them, like Vault 13, required nearly 3.98 MWh/day for continued operations for its 1000 occupants. In order to meet the demand, the Vault used a geothermal power plant as primary source, with General Atomics nuclear power as backup.[8] This was the usual go-to solution was geothermal power, in areas where it was practical. If not, the usual fallback option was the aforementioned General Atomics nuclear power plant, often used as the primary power source due to its reliability and scalability.

Vault Number of occupants Primary power supply Secondary power supply
Vault 8 Unknown, estimated at 100-200[21] Nuclear reactor[22] None
Vault 13[8] 1000 Geothermal General Atomics nuclear power
Vault 76[13] 500 LightLife geothermal General Atomics nuclear power
Vault 87[23] Unknown General Atomics nuclear power Versicorps fusion power
Vault 92[24] 245 General Atomics nuclear power None
Vault 106[14] 107 Rok-Solid Brand geothermal General Atomics nuclear power
Vault 108[17] 475 General Atomics nuclear power (designed to fail after 240 months or 20 years) Steam Whistle mini geothermal
Vault 112[25] 85 Sure Power geothermal X-Tra Sure Power geothermal

All of that power was necessary to power the facilities necessary to sustain the people living within. Apart from air filtration systems required to keep the air breathable, Vaults also included hydro-agricultural farms, water purification systems (able to take even sewer waste and convert it into up to 15,000 gallons of drinkable water each day with no loss of output for 250,000 hours of operation),[26] and other necessary amenities, like a Vault-wide intranet allowing instant access to any entertainment, social, and educational files from any terminal in the Vault.[27] Security was provided by heavy duty doors (which could be sealed by security in case of disturbances) and an extensive network of Eye-On-You surveillance cameras.[28] The entire Vault was typically managed by a single, centralized computer system. The most common brands were Brainpower and Think Machine.[29][30]

Allegedly, all of the systems were rated to function without failure for nearly 900 years,[31] though the uneven quality of components would prove this claim untrue. For example, the water chips were manufactured by a low-bid contractor, resulting in poor quality and a high failure rate. Such was the case with Vault 13 in 2161, exacerbated by the fact that the process was too complicated for a workaround system.[32] For resettlement of the surface, Vaults held complete construction equipment[8] and preselected installations received one or two G.E.C.K.s, intended to help the inhabitants create a viable civilization in the post-nuclear world after the All Clear signal is sent.[33][34]

Vault dwellers

A typical living room in a Vault.

Pre-selected segments of the population accepted into the Vault would enjoy a very high quality of life, though it would be completely different from the free market consumerism experienced on the surface. As a closed system, the Vaults were designed to recycle and reuse[35][36] as much as possible and implement a completely planned economy that would maintain the system for the planned duration of the Vault. Everyone would be provided with a unique 11 digit Vault Identification number (or VID)[37] and wclothing, bedding, and other accommodations necessary for their life within the Vault.[38] The only exception was food and water, as these could only be procured with the proper ration coupons.[39] Luxury, non-essential goods were available for purchase in exchange for work credits, a form of currency earned through performing work for the Vault.[40]

It is important to note that Vault dwellers would be unable to use their own clothing in the long term. While dwellers could arrange to have their belongings sent to their Vault quarters in advance, there was a strict policy disallowing bringing baggage into the Vault in case of an emergency entrance.[38] The uniform Vault jumpsuit would replace regular clothes. Manufactured inside the Vault, it was designed for utility and comfort. Enterprising Vault dwellers could, however, customize theirs to add a bit of individuality to the generally conformist design.[41] Planning and conformity also extended to other areas. For example, trash disposal would only be permitted in designated receptacles on pre-set trash burning days. These receptacles would also be used for the disposal of corpses, as there was no space for proper burial in the confined environment of the Vault.[42] Children would also be assigned their first work duties starting with the day after their tenth birthday,[43]

In exchange for these sacrifices in life style, Vault dwellers would receive private quarters provided with the latest in home appliances, including Floorsuck Autocleaner Systems to minimize sweeping,[44] Culinator 3000 Kitchen Systems for cooking,[45] and access to complete libraries of social and entertainment files[8] together with the public Entertainotron Room.[46] A standardized education would be received by all Vault dwellers, including schooling in arithmetic, chemistry, biology, history, and other sciences.[47] Tertiary education would also be provided and Vault-trained specialists would be highly sought after the apocalypse and count on a stable career in their chosen field, like Dr. Mitchell from Vault 21, who opened a practice in Goodsprings after the Vault was opened.[48]

Their health would be assured by well educated doctors with the access to the latest in medical technologies. Auto-Docs capable of performing a broad variety of procedures and manufacturing medical drugs[49] were standard issue of the Emergency Medical Labs (which were equipped well enough to rival clinics).[50] Some Vaults were also equipped with facilities for cloning replacement tissue and organs[51] To avoid the development of medical problems, Vaults were lit using a SimuSun Lighting simulating natural sunlight.[52] It was estimated that living in a properly maintained Vault would result in an average lifespan of 92.3 years.[53] Of course, prolonged isolation, even in generations born inside the Vault, took its toll. Vault Depressive Syndrome was a common problem, manifesting as intense depression that could be debilitating. The usual recourse was to prescribe and treat it with anti-anxiety medication.[54] Furthermore, those who exited successful vaults seem to have a heightened chance of suffering from xenophobia (fear of strangers) and/or agoraphobia (fear of open places).[55]

Security inside the Vault was provided by its dedicated security force, usually hand-picked by the Overseer. A typical Vault was provided with enough firearms and armor to arm ten men.[8] Surface monitors and communications systems were designed to facilitate connecting with other Vaults,[8] though this functionality was either never implemented or failed soon afterwards.[56][57]

Layout

Vault-Tec advertisement showing the internal layout of Vault 13.

Due to the nature of the Project, Vaults were provided with standardized facilities and layouts. Some Vaults were built according to an uniform design plan (like Vaults 8, 12, 13, and 15), while others had to be adapted to local geological features. The following section attempts to summarize the most common design features.

A schematic of a common Vault design used in mountainous areas.
1 - Natural bedrock
2 - Reinforced concrete that creates the outer shell of a Vault
3 - Entrance area
4 - Living quarters
5 - Command center

Entrance

A standard entrance level layout.

The primary access route into the Vault, the most striking element of this entrance is the airlock and the blast door. The door can be operated and locked remotely from within the Vault[58] or from a control pod nearby, using the appropriate entry codes.[59] A common choice was the Seal-N-Safe Vault door Model No. 343[60] or an alternative design where the door was opened inwards. In both cases, it had an iconic, gear-shaped look and was operated using heavy duty hydraulics. Four feet of thickness ensured ample protection from a nuclear blast.[61]

The airlock provided the means for decontaminating entrants and further regulating access, as the reinforced doors leading into the Vault were a secondary barrier. Some Vault models included a full decontamination station, where prospective Vault dwellers would be sprayed upon entrance to remove any traces of hazardous materials.[62] Finally, some Vaults were provided with a secondary external blast door, providing additional protection against the blast.[63]

Living quarters

Standard living quarters layout.

Living quarters were typically located deeper into the Vault and their design varied from installation from installation. The standard approach was to provide discrete apartments to Vault couples, provided with a private sanitary compartment, terminal, and a bed, on top of any additional amenities they may require.[64] However, different philosophies were implemented depending on the designer and the purpose of the Vault. Some did away with apartments in favor of separate dormitories for genders, where multiple dwellers would occupy the same room, or for apartment blocks composed of a bedroom (with one or two beds, the former typically utilized under hot bunking) and a living space, with common lavatories accessible in the corridors.[65] A standard level had 20,000 square feet of usable area.[66][67]

Other facilities typically located in living quarters include diners, classrooms, and even cigar lounges.[65]

Emergency Medical Lab

Typically found on the entrance level, the EML is one of the most important places in the Vault. Despite its name, a typical EML is a fully featured medical clinic allowing Vault dwellers to undergo medical procedures in a safe and sterile environment. A medic is expected to be present on site 24 hours a day, to respond to any emergencies immediately.[68] The EML typically varies in size from Vault to Vault. Some installations abandon the moniker entirely and simply refer to it as the Clinic.

Command center

A standard command center design.

The nerve center of the Vault was typically located in the deepest levels of the Vault, separated from the rest of the Vault by rock and reinforced walls. The intent is to ensure that even in the case of damage or a catastrophe, Vault systems would continue to function. This wasn't a hard rule and indeed, many Vaults were built in a way that merged the Atrium with the command center area.[69]

The nexus is, of course, the Overseer's office, which could take the form of a regular office with the mainframe access console and systems overview, or a discrete hall with the command post taking the form of an elevated seat outfitted with CZ-53 miniguns as a last line of defense. The Overseer's workplace would connect to the operations center, responsible for monitoring the systems of the Vault as well as the security center with the armory and detention cells.[70] In some Vaults, the Overseer's command post would be replaced with a regular office, equipped with a secret tunnel beneath the desk.[71]

Other features of the command center also include the main storeroom, meeting hall, as well as the computer core housing the central mainframe, and main library, allowing Vault dwellers to study the immense records of the Vault in peace and quiet.

Atrium

The Vault 101 atrium

Vault designs that forgo the inclusion of a command post typically utilize an atrium, a central hall with the Overseer's office overlooking it. It is effectively the nexus of a Vault and the first area prospective Vault dwellers come to after entering the Vault.

Summary of design differences

  • East Coast vaults and Mojave vaults (3, 11, 19, 21, 22, 34, 87, 92, 101, 106, 108, 112) use a different, older door mechanism (as evidenced by extensive rusting and meager safety precautions). These vaults employ an opening mechanism that is contained entirely within the vault itself, pulling the door inwards and simply rolling it to one side. The doors seen on West Coast vaults, however, pull the seal outwards and use an external clamp to slide it aside.
  • East Coast and Mojave vaults lack storage rooms in the overseer's office; they are instead located near the Atrium.
  • Vault 12 had its Overseer's room sealed due to the fact that the main door of the vault was doomed never to close.
  • Gray paragraphs are based on Fallout Tactics and were not confirmed by primary sources Vault 0 had an entirely different layout than other vaults.
  • Gray paragraphs are based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and were not confirmed by primary sources The Secret Vault also had an entirely different layout than other vaults.
  • Gray paragraphs are based on Van Buren and were not confirmed by primary sources Vault 29 (Van Buren) was outfitted with a ZAX AI, which replaced the Overseer.

History

Vault construction timetable
Number Construction begins Construction ends
Vault 13 August 2063 March 2069
Vault 76 2065 2069
Vault 87 May 2066 May 2071
Vault 92 May 2062 May 2068
Vault 106 May 2064 December 2069
Vault 108 March 2061 December 2069
Vault 112 November 2068 June 2074

The origins of the Vault network date back to early 2050s, when the Euro-Middle Eastern War, the New Plague, and the collapse of the United Nations resulted in a nation-wide scare. In response, the government set Project Safehouse in motion in 2054. This massive national defense endeavor was intended to create shelters that would protect the population in the event of a nuclear war or plague. Breakthroughs in construction technology allow for these gargantuan bunkers to be constructed at a rapid pace.[72] The impoverished government is forced to finance the project with junk bonds and even then, only commissions 122 of these shelters nationwide, allowing less than 0.1% of the population to save their life in the event of the holocaust.[15] The sheer costs of a single Vault are staggering: The intended budget for Vault 13 was $400 billion dollars, and by the end of its construction the total costs reached $645 billion, well over 150% of the initial figure.[8] As crucial elements of national defense, much of the project was classified and protected under the New Amended Espionage Act, encouraging embezzlement and corruption.[73]

Following the success of Vault-Tec Industries' demonstration Vault built near their headquarters in Los Angeles at the time,[74] the company won the bid for construction the shelters. The building of the shelters proceeds rapidly and most are completed by 2063. The construction of several Vaults is delayed, particularly Vault 13 (which only started construction in August 2063) and the network surrounding Washington, D.C.[75] Some are delayed due to work stoppage.[17] Ongoing drills in completed Vaults slowly create a Cry Wolf effect: Turnouts for the drills fall as the years go on, further limiting the Vaults' role in ensuring the survival of humanity.[75]

Additional problems are caused by the consistent mismanagement, corruption, and embezzlement that seemed to define Project Safehouse before the war. Yet for all these problems, Vault-Tec was able to create a number of miracle technologies and develop shelters that really protected the inhabitants... As long as they worked properly.[76] Vault-Tec even advertised Vaults in newly annexed Canada, though these were in the early stages of completion.[77] Of course, it was also a tremendous success for the company, allowing it to relocate its headquarters to Washington, D.C.[74][78] and even sponsor a large exposition at the Museum of Technology in the capital, designed to promote their shelters and explain their functionality.[79] Promotional tours and awarding of prizes like the Pressed Vault Suit Award were also used to promote a positive image of the company, regardless of the numerous problems associated with it.[80]

True purpose

The real problem with the Vaults is that the conspiracy never intended for them to be shelters for preserving humanity.[81] After it established control over Project Safehouse, it subverted it for its own ends. Rather than act to save humanity, Vaults were built to test their population as part of the Societal Preservation Program.[82][83] Only 17 of the Vaults were designed to work properly as control Vaults.[13] The 105 other Vaults were featured a variety of scenarios, ranging from annoying to downright lethal, to gauge how humans acted in these scenarios for their own, nefarious purposes.[84] Some were not provided with enough food synthesizers for their population, others had only men in them, or were designed to open prematurely. The purpose of this experiment was to gather data for the Enclave's own projects, the exact purpose of which is unclear.[85]

The Great War

On October 23, 2077, the Great War came. The Vault-Tec air raid sirens blare, but the Cry Wolf effect results in few people going into the Vaults. They are sealed and the experiments enter their decisive phase. The control Vaults function as intended and protect their populations. Others... Are not so lucky.[86]

Within the next few decades, many Vaults would fail as a result of their experiments. The few that did survive would often prosper. In 2091, after receiving the all-clear signal, Vault 8 opened and Vault City was founded.[87] A year later, the demonstration Vault in the ruins of LA opened. The inhabitants founded Adytum in what became known as the Boneyard.[88] Almost thirty years later, in the spring of 2121, Vault 15 opened.[89][90] While a large portion of the Vault inhabitants that left the overcrowded Vault would band into raider tribes as the winter of 2121 came (marking the beginning of the Khans, Vipers, and Jackals),[91] the remaining vault dwellers would found Shady Sands in the spring of 2122. The town used its G.E.C.K. well.[92] No one expected that these humble beginning would eventually culminate in the formation of the mighty New California Republic.[93]

However, there would be a darker side to the Vaults. As protective as they were, they would also ensure that the population within would be kept put for whatever purpose someone with less-than-stellar intentions might have for them. Such was the case in 2155, when the Master's forces captured a caravan of vault dwellers from the L.A. Vault. He learned the location of the Vault and moved his base of operations there. Learning of other Vaults in the area, he realized their occupants were perfect subjects for dipping. The super mutants began to scour the region for the Vaults, boosting the output of the Mariposa vats tremendously.[94][95]

Eighty years later, Vaults would serve another nefarious purpose, as the Enclave, the architects of the original experimentation program, raided Vault 13 on March 16, 2242; the Vault's inhabitants were taken to the oil rig, so that the inoculation rendering humans immune to the FEV-based toxin could be tested.[96][97]

By 2281, there most likely were no more active Vaults in the Wasteland. All of them have either failed or opened and released their populations into the world.

Behind the scenes

  • The vault experiment was an idea created by Tim Cain during the initial stages of Fallout 2 development.[84]
  • The developers intended for the player to first encounter information about the Vault Experiment as they read the Vault 8 records in Fallout 2. They could discover a classified file (opened with a successful Science skill roll) explaining the purpose of Vault 8 was to be a "control Vault," designed to hold 1000 people and open at a designated time. This file was intended to foreshadow the discovery of the true and sinister purpose of the Vaults.
  • The player was also intended to apply his Science skill to the central computer in Vault 13 to obtain a history of Vault 13, the Overseer's involvement in the Vault Dweller's expulsion, and even worse, the true purposes of the Vaults. The Overseer was conscious of the true purpose of the Vaults as social experiments on a grand scale, and consequently drove out the Vault Dweller because of fear he would ruin the experiment... or uncover it.[98]

Gallery

Concept art

Fallout

Fallout 3

Appearances

References

  1. Vault 101 PA system: "Did you know - the odds of a Vault-Tec shelter failing are 1,763, 497… to 1?"
  2. Vault 13
  3. Vault 106
  4. Vault 12
  5. Fallout manual: "Vault-13 is designed to provide protection from the effects of a nuclear blast."
  6. Museum of Technology vault system tour: "Triple-S Technology is Vault-Tec's convergence of the three most important parts of apocalyptic endurance: Safety, Survivability and Sanitation!"
  7. Vault appearance in the games.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide p.1: "Important Vault statistics
    Vault Number ............................13
    Starting construction date .........August 2063
    Ending construction date ..........March 2069
    Starting Budget .........................$400,000,000,000
    Final Budget, with interest ........$645,000,000,000
    Total number of occupants .......1,000 (at capacity)
    Total duration ...........................10 years (at capacity)
    Number of living quarters .........100 (hot bunking required if at maximum capacity)
    Door thickness ..........................4 yards, steel
    Earth coverage .........................3,200,000 tons of soil, at 200 feet
    Computer control system .........Think machine
    Primary power supply ...............Geo-thermal
    Secondary power supply ..........General Atomics Nuclear Power backup systems
    Power requirements .................3.98mkw/day
    Stores .......................................Complete construction equipment, hydro-agricultural farms, water purification from underground river, defensive weaponry to equip 10 men, communication, social and entertainment files (for total duration)"
  9. Vault appearance in Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, and Fallout: New Vegas.
  10. Museum of Technology vault system tour: "Sleep in quiet comfort knowing that our impenetrable vault doors can withstand a direct hit by an atomic bomb with only a projected 2% failure rate."
  11. Cut contentIcon cut.png Vault 87 Overseer's terminal: "The main door to Vault 87 is damaged beyond repair and we are detecting extremely high levels of lethal radiation outside and in the entry tunnel.." Cut contentIcon cut.png
  12. It should be noted that due to scaling, the size of vaults in games shouldn't be taken at face value. None of the explorable vaults in the games have enough space or facilities to actually house 1000 people (or rather 500, as hot-bunking is used at maximum capacity).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Citadel terminal entries: Vault 76
  14. 14.0 14.1 Citadel terminal entries: Vault 106
  15. 15.0 15.1 Fallout Bible 0: "Basically, the Vaults were never intended to save the population of the United States. With a population of almost 400 million by 2077, the U.S. would need nearly 400,000 Vaults the size of Vault 13, and Vault-Tec was commissioned to build only 122 such Vaults. The real reason for these Vaults was to study pre-selected segments of the population to see how they react to the stresses of isolationism and how successfully they re-colonize after the Vault opens."
  16. Fallout manual: “Vault-13 comes prepared with the latest in survival equipment. The items in your storage containers will last 1,000 people over 10 years in comfortable and modern surroundings. When it is time to leave the Vault, and return to rebuild America, your friends at VaultTec have provided you with everything that you will need.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Citadel terminal entries: Vault 108
  18. The Chosen One: "{221}{}{What do you mean?}"
    Dick Richardson: "{222}{prs35}{We had a number of sanctuaries that would enable the glorious American civilization to endure. These facilities - the vaults - were part of the great plan.}"
    The Chosen One: "{223}{}{Those damn vaults didn't work the way they were supposed to. A lot of people in them died.}"
    Dick Richardson: "{224}{prs36}{Actually, they worked almost exactly the way they were supposed to. You might call it a social experiment on a grand scale. }"
    The Chosen One: "{225}{}{An experiment?}"
    Dick Richardson: "{226}{prs36a}{The vaults were set up to test humanity. Some had not enough food synthesizers, others had only men in them, yet others were designed to open after only 6 months. They each had a unique set of circumstances designed to test the occupants.}"
    (Qhprzrch.msg)
  19. Fallout Bible 0: "Vault 13: Intended to stay closed for 200 years as a study of prolonged isolation, the broken water chip forced the Overseer to improvise and use the Vault Dweller as a pawn. Later study of the Vault 13 records by the Enclave led them to their current plan to end the war."
  20. PoseidoNet in Fallout 2 identifies the Oil Rig as "Control Station Enclave" along with many other sites named "Enclave".
  21. The total size of the Citizen population is 103 in 2241, when it's nearing capacity. Adding in the Outsiders and servants, this is the likely figure.
  22. The Chosen One: "{221}{}{Broken Hills? Where are those?}"
    John: "{230}{}{Broken Hills is where we get all the uranium that we need for the atomic reactor from. From what I understand, the uranium is mined by mutants down there. But they have humans trade the stuff for them.}"
    The Chosen One: "{231}{}{Why do they have humans trade the stuff for them?}"
    John: "{250}{}{Well, because they trade uranium to Vault City, too. Vault City treats anyone that’s not a pure strain human just like lepers. So, Broken Hills uses human traders. Some guy named Chad, I think.}"
    (GCLUMPY.MSG)
  23. Citadel terminal entries: Vault 87
  24. Citadel terminal entries: Vault 92
  25. Citadel terminal entries: Vault 112
  26. Vault locations v34.129: "Vault 12
    Under the sprawling metropolis of Bakersfield, lies the technological magnificence of Vault 12. Built with every amenity in mind for the prospective Vault Dweller, Vault 12 was given the "Pressed Vault Suit" award for attention to preparedness. Buried far underground, the protection that Vault Dwellers will receive will be unprecedented. Much like all other Vaults, Vault 12 has been fitted with the newest in Vault Water Purification Systems. Able to take even the waste located in the sewers of Bakersfield, this system is able to deliver over 15,000 gallons of pure, refreshing drinking water every day.
    Vault 13
    Located in a scenic mountainous region northwest of Vault 12, this Vault offers an endless supply of pure water to the inhabitants. The rumors that the water table in the area could easily be contaminated in the event of a Nuclear War have been found by the Department of Water and Power to be completely unfounded. In the event that the water in the area were to become tainted, remote even though it may be, Vault 13 has been fitted with the government approved Vault Water Purification System. Rated to work without significant loss of output for over 250,000 hours, prospective Vault Dwellers should have nothing to fear.
    Vault 15
    Due east from Vault 13, construction on this Vault has gone extremely smoothly. Much work was done to reinforce the walls of the third level of this Vault, to make all the future Vault Dwellers more secure in the knowledge that in the event of even a major earthquake, the regulatory computers of the Vault would continue to function. Recent tours of the newly constructed Vault, have had many a potential Vault Dweller walking away with a new found awe of the improvements done to this already impressive Vault."
  27. Vault networks are referred to in Fallout and other games.
  28. Museum of Technology vault system tour: "Concerns about security? Our Eye-On-You Cameras enable the Vault's leader to watch your every move. You'll never be alone again!"
  29. Vault-Tec Terminal: "Equipment Issuances"
  30. Fallout manual
  31. Vault 101 PA system: ""Did you know - Vault-Tec water and life support systems can sustain a vault for over 900 years, without failure?""
  32. The Vault Dweller: "{105}{}{Do you have a water chip?}"
    Paul: "{134}{}{A Water Chip? The ones from the old Vault-Tec shelters?}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{135}{}{Yes!.. Do you have one?}"
    "{136}{}{No. Those things were junk, they were prone to failure. We don’t deal with purifying our own water here. We have water delivered by caravans from the Hub.}"
    (PAUL.MSG)
  33. Vault City central computer: "{238}{}{According to the archives, there is no GECK currently in stock at Vault City's Amenities Office. The people of Vault City seem to have used the only one they had to help establish the place when they came to the surface.}"
    "{239}{}{Scroll through the remaining information.}"
    "{240}{}{From what you can make out in the archives, two GECKs were part of every Vault's standard inventory package. Only one was shipped to Vault 8, however.}"
    "{241}{}{Cross-reference the GECK shipment information.}"
    "{244}{}{Due to a shipping error, it appears Vault 8 received a box of surplus water chips intended for another Vault. The other Vault most likely received Vault 8's second GECK.}"
    (VICENCOM.MSG)
  34. Overseer's Terminal: "Letter from Doctor Stanislaus Braun"
  35. Vault 101 PA system: “Remember - Your Pip-Boy is not a toy. Proper cleaning and maintenance will ensure the device's operation for this, and future, generations.
  36. The Lone Wanderer: "It's all right. Seems kind of old, though."
    Stanley Armstrong: "Of course it is. Just like everybody else's. They don't make 'em any more now, do they? That one I've been saving just for you, though. The A series is a bit heavier than some of the fancier models, but it won't let you down. I bet you could drop a bomb on one and it would still work. As a matter of fact, I know you could."
    (Stanley Armstrong's dialogue)
  37. Fallout manual character bios.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Letter from Vault-Tec: “Vault-Tec provides all clothing, bedding, and accommodations for residents. Personal belongings must be reviewed and approved of by an authorized Vault-Tec hermetics technician before such belongings can be delivered to your reserved quarters within the Vault. In the event of an emergency entrance to the Vault, no personal belongings will be permitted beyond the main door of the facility.
  39. The Lone Wanderer: "You do look hungry. What, your mom drank up all the ration coupons again?"
    Butch DeLoria: "Don't you talk about my mom, you little punk!"
    (Butch DeLoria's dialogue)
  40. Vault 92 terminal entries: "Intra-Vault Mail 000482
    To: All Vault Residents
    From: Gordie Sumner
    I am pleased to announce that we now have strawberry pudding available at the Vault Store for 10 work credits. The supply is very limited of course, so hurry down and get some before it's all gone!"
  41. Vault suit appearances.
  42. Vault 101 PA system: "Remember - A clean vault is a healthy vault. Please place all trash into the appropriate incineration receptacle on your scheduled burning day."
  43. Alphonse Almodovar: "Congratulations, young man/lady! I don’t have to tell you how special this day is, do I? Down here in Vault 101, when you turn 10, well, you’re ready to take on your first official Vault responsibilities. So here you are. As Overseer, I hereby present to you your very own Pip-Boy 3000! Get used to it. You’ll be getting your first work assignment tomorrow. Ha ha ha ha ha!"
    (Alphonse Almodovar's dialogue)
  44. Museum of Technology automated vault system tour: "The living sections make use of our revolutionary Floorsuck Autocleaner System for those darned messy kids. Never sweep again!"
    (Vault-Tec exhibit messages)
  45. Museum of Technology vault system tour: "Moms will love how our Culinator 3000 Kitchen System makes cooking a breeze. Mmmmm, I can smell the muffins baking now!"
  46. Museum of Technology automated vault system tour: "Bored? Don't be! Step into our Entertainotron Room and watch the latest holotapes or perhaps listen to a symphony. Another Vault-Tec innovation!"
    (Vault-Tec exhibit messages)
  47. Future Imperfect
  48. The Courier: "Tell me about yourself, Doc."
    Mitchell: "Well, I already told you I came from a vault. After that, was a traveling doctor for a spell. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Most folks out here ain't educated, so people with medical knowhow are hard to come by. Found that I could help a lot of people with what I knew, and that was all right with me. Eventually, I went back and married my childhood sweetheart and that was the end of my traveling days. Didn't miss it none then. Still don't."
    (Mitchell's dialogue (Goodsprings))
  49. The Chosen One: "{209}{}{I think endorphine blockers could be used to neutralize Jet once it's in someone's system. I can't test it without some endorphine blockers, though.}"
    Troy: "{212}{}{We don't have endorphine blockers here, but I could program the Autodoc to manufacture some. Would you care to explain to me your theory?}"
    The Chosen One: "{213}{}{Well, you see Jet's chemical addiction is probably the hardest thing to shake, so I was thinking that if we introduced endorphine blockers into the body we could...}"
    (VCDRTROY.MSG)
  50. The Courier: "Where would I find a diagnostic scanning module?"
    Caesar: "It's been said that Auto-Docs were standard equipment in the underground Vaults where mankind survived when the bombs fell centuries ago. You can search the Vaults, but every Auto-Doc my Legion has run across has been stripped for parts long before we found it. Some of my scouts did report an abandoned Vault near Nellis Air Force Base. Overrun by ghouls, they said. Maybe the infestation has been there long enough to keep scavengers out. Why don't you go and see?"
    (Caesar's dialogue)
  51. The Chosen One: "{290}{}{You mentioned before you were a doctor... I'm something of a doctor myself.}"
    Troy: "{124}{}{You are? It's a pleasure to meet you. If you have the time, perhaps we could compare notes? It is not often that I get the chance to speak to another physician.}"
    The Chosen One: "{125}{}{Absolutely. I'd love to learn some of the medical techniques you Citizens use.}"
    Troy: "{128}{}{Excellent! Well, first, let me take you on a tour. Over here, we have the monitoring systems...}"
    "{130}{}{... and that is how we can clone cells to make replacement limbs. We have to be careful that the tissue cultures don't get contaminated, but... in any event, I think I've talked enough... hope it was informative.}"
    The Chosen One: "{132}{}{Thanks for the tour, Doctor Troy. It's been very educational.}"
    (VCDRTROY.MSG)
  52. Museum of Technology vault system tour: "Being underground got you down? Smile! Our SimuSun Lighting mimics the feeling of being outside with only a fraction of the sunburn potential."
  53. Vault 101 PA system: "Did you know - the average life expectancy of a resident in a properly maintained vault is 92.3 years?"
  54. Vault 101 Medical Data System: "Freddie Gomez
    Freddie's VDS is getting worse. Most days, he can't even get out of bed. When he does manage to function, Freddie hides his insecurities, and low self esteem behind a bully's mask.
    Vault-Tec medical protocols dictate the prescription of an anti-anxiety medication when Vault Depressive Syndrome is involved, but do I really want to string the kid out on Chlorpromazine for the rest of his life?"
  55. Examples include Michael Angelo, who doesn't dare leave his workshop even for inspiration, the Boomers who shoot artillery at anything that comes close to them, and the Vault 101 security, who still don't exit the vault even after the Lone Wanderer opens its door. (Escape!)
  56. Fallout manual: “Yeah, right. Who wrote this? What budget did they get? We already used most of the equipment on failed attempts to contact an outside civilization. And we’ve been in here a lot longer than ten years. We have little left to give you, but we will give you what we can. -O
  57. Fallout Bible 4: "7. When thebombs dropped, all communication between the vaults where severed, so if their was no way to communicate with the vaults how did the Enclave send a massage to Vault 13 telling the people its time to go?"
    "Communication between Vaults was never in place (it might ruin the experiments), but communication with the government/Enclave/Vault-Tec was a different story... they needed some way of monitoring the vaults."
    "The Enclave, having access to the Vault-Tec construction plans (not too surprising, considering the fact that the Vaults were funded by the government) had a way of monitoring events taking place within the Vaults... not only could they access their computers and systems remotely, (including PIPBoys and the personal logs of the Vault Dwellers), but the early Overseers of most of the Vaults knew of the ties to the government, and it was part of their duties to download information on the citizens and the Vault into an computer archive that the government could easily access."
    "Their tie to the Vault computers also gave the Enclave the ability to override any Vault locking mechanism and send an "all-clear" signal to sealed Vaults, coaxing the inhabitants to come outside."
    "Again, almost no Vault Dwellers were ever aware of this. For some Fallout 2 relevant information on the matter, here's what the player says in Fallout 2, and here's what Lynette says in response:"

    Note: As evidenced below, keep in mind that Lynette's archives are suspect, and they should not be treated as

    truth.

    Player: "How did you know *when* to leave the vault? I heard the vaults were isolated from the outside world."

    Lynette: "What you heard was incorrect. Our archives are quite clear: our vault received the all-clear signal two

    years after being sealed."

    Player: "The "all-clear" signal? From where?"

    Lynette: (Confused) "Why... from surface monitors, I suppose. I am certain there were sensors monitoring the

    environment. How else would the Overseer have known when it was safe to leave?"

    Player: "So... the order to leave the vault came from the Overseer?"

    Lynette: "Yes..." (Thinking, uncertain) "...at least, that is what I remember from the archives. (Confidence

    returns) However, I am certain many Citizens were responsible for monitoring the surface sensors."

    Player: "Really? Do these monitors still exist? Can I see them?"

    Lynette: (Angry, not certain where the player is going with this, but doesn’t like it.) "Quite likely they were

    disassembled and used as upgrades for other systems."

    "And that's all she wrote - it is a dark foreshadowing to what was really going on in these cauldrons of evil."
    "In

    any event, I remember having a conversation with the designers about the Overseers roles in the Vaults, and the early

    Overseers were the ones tasked with supplying information to the government... although when the world blew up, there wasn't really anyone to supply it to anymore, since the Enclave took some time to get back up and running."
    "In any event, enough blather. Hope that helps."

  58. Fallout and Fallout 3 both have remotely locked entrance doors.
  59. PRO SCEN.MSG (Fallout): “{17101}{}{This computer controls the large vault door. You have to enter a specific access code for the computer to work.}
  60. Fallout, Vault 15 townmap
  61. See Vault door for references.
  62. Vault appearances in the game
  63. Vault 8
  64. Fallout and Fallout 2 Vault design.
  65. 65.0 65.1 Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas Vault designs.
  66. Fallout manual
  67. Vault 15 worldmap
  68. Fallout, upon entering the Vault 13 EML for the first time
  69. Vault design differences between the games.
  70. Vault design in Fallout and Fallout 2
  71. Vault appearances in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.
  72. Fallout Bible 0: "2054 In light of the Euro-Middle-Eastern conflict and the plague scare, the United States sets Project Safehouse in motion. The project, financed by junk bonds, is designed to create shelters, called Vaults, for the populace in the event of a nuclear war or deadly plague. Construction begins late in 2054 and proceeds rapidly due to advances in construction technology."
  73. Vault Dweller's Survival Guide: "This document contains information affecting the national defense of the United States within the meaning of the New Amended Espionage Act, 50 U.S.C., 31 and 32. Its transmission or the revelation of its contents in any manner to an unauthorized person is prohibited by the law."
  74. 74.0 74.1 Chris Taylor interview for Vault13.net:
    Saint Proverbius (SP): "Which vault number was the Master's base?"
    Chris Taylor (CT): "The Master was in the Vault-Tec private vault. This was the demonstration model built for the federal government, it was also very close to the Vault-Tec headquarters."
  75. 75.0 75.1 Fallout Bible 0: "2063 August The construction of most Vaults completed, except for Vault 13, whose construction finally gets off the ground... heralding a development cycle that seems plagued with problems. Drills begin in the other cities with completed Vaults, but the increasing frequency of the drills has a "cry wolf" effect, and the turnouts for drills trickle off as the years go on."
  76. Fallout Bible 6:
    "1b. What may be suitable for planting in the present may not be suitable in 20 yrs. This is esp true I would think in theFO universe with its rather unstable ecosystem. I mean if one really wanted to be certain that what one was panting would grow the best thing to do would be to collect the seeds, spores etc from already growing food sources - these have a guaranteed fertilization rate. After all those corn seeds that were put in the GECK 50 yrs ago now have not sufficiently mutated to endure the new Wasteland (even in a "normal" ecosystem, the only strains of plant that survive are those that mutate)."
    "You're absolutely right. The GECK builders had no idea what the post-nuclear world would be like, and they had no real way to anticipate it, despite their "thorough tests" (it's doubtful they gave it much thought, to be honest, considering how badly organized the Safehouse project alone was, not to mention the experimental nature of the Vaults) - still, it seems as if the seeds present in the GECK were viable for Vault 8."
  77. Rejected letter from Vault-Tec: "For a full list of Vault-Tec facilities with available accommodations, in exciting locales such as Oklahoma and newly-annexed Canada, contact your local Vault-Tec representative!"
  78. Chronologically, the first Vault was constructed in L.A., near their headquarters, so they simply relocated to the capital afterwards.
  79. Museum of Technology vault tour
  80. Vault locations v34.129
  81. One Man, and a Crate of Puppets, panel 1: "The Vault
    Experiments were never designed to rescue the people that lived inside them. They were a vast social experiment designed to study pre-selected segments of the population."
  82. Bloomfield Space Center design document/1: "In November, 2076, the Enclave seized control of Bloomfield Space Center. They knew nuclear war was just around the corner, so they tried to refit the Hermes-13 and convert it into a vehicle that would take selected personnel (mainly themselves) off-planet, destination yet to be determined."
  83. Reactor Maintenance and Repair Robot control terminal: "{360}{}{Active PoseidoNet Stations: Atomic Powerplant #5, Navarro Refinery, Control Station ENCLAVE, ENCLAVE Vault-Research Control…AccessDenied}"
  84. 84.0 84.1 Fallout Bible 0:
    "I read the start thing of the bible thats on the net. One thing I don't agree with in the fallout universe is that the vaults were just a bunch of "social experiments". I mean why. Even though the enclave were a bunch of assholes, why would they want to purposely see their own country men die when the vaults were societys last chance at a good survivial. I like to think that lots of people died because the vaults just didn't work. Like in FOT there is a terminal that says that money had been diverted from much needed common sense things to an underground game hunting facility or whatever it was. experiments was a bit over the top, but corruption is far more believable. thats what i think anyhow. and Fallout 3, is it a possibility or not?"
    "Michael"
    "Answer: The vault experiments were an idea created by Tim Cain, and I don't really know the reason behind them, but I can offer some speculation."
    "First off, thematically, it's pretty creepy, and we all know that developers will pull all sorts of crazy shit to try and mess with players' heads. It's possible that Tim had just finished watching an X-Files episode and had conspiracy theories swimming around in his subconscious. As to your comment about the experiments being a bit over the top, well, yeah. We're guilty as charged."
    "Secondly, as proven time and again in Fallout 2, the Enclave isn't a particularly rational bunch of fellows. Thematically, they embrace a paranoid view of the world and a heightened sense of superiority over everyone else in Fallout."
    "Third, the federal government (or whatever branch of federal government was responsible - it was not necessarily the Enclave) may not have ever considered the Vaults as society's best chance for survival - the government may have considered themselves the best candidates for rebuilding the world and already had their asses covered in the event of a nuclear or biological war by relocating to other remote installations across the nation (and elsewhere) that weren't necessarily vaults. The Enclave certainly didn't seem to be devoting much effort to digging up any other vaults and trying to use the human stock there to rebuild civilization."
    "Fourth, a lot of people did die because the vaults didn't work. Some suffered worse fates."
    "Nonetheless, even members of the Enclave probably could not answer the question of who created the Vault experiments and their reasons, as many of the people responsible for the creation of the Vaults died long ago, and many records were lost in the great static of 2077. President Richardson was familiar with the purpose of the Vaults, but he never saw them as more than little test tubes of preserved humans he could mess with."
  85. Dick Richardson: "{220}{prs34}{Well, no. No... not quite. You see, we had planned ahead. We were ready. }"
    The Chosen One: "{221}{}{What do you mean?}"
    Dick Richardson: "{222}{prs35}{We had a number of sanctuaries that would enable the glorious American civilization to endure. These facilities - the vaults - were part of the great plan.}"
    The Chosen One: "{223}{}{Those damn vaults didn't work the way they were supposed to. A lot of people in them died.}"
    Dick Richardson: "{224}{prs36}{Actually, they worked almost exactly the way they were supposed to. You might call it a social experiment on a grand scale. }"
    The Chosen One: "{225}{}{An experiment?}"
    Dick Richardson: "{226}{prs36a}{The vaults were set up to test humanity. Some had not enough food synthesizers, others had only men in them, yet others were designed to open after only 6 months. They each had a unique set of circumstances designed to test the occupants.}"
    The Chosen One: "{227}{}{What about Vault 13? What was it's purpose?}"
    Dick Richardson: "{228}{prs37}{Ahh. Vault 13 was a special case. It was supposed to remain closed until the subjects were needed. Vault 13 was, in scientific parlance, a control group.}"
    The Chosen One: "{229}{}{But they would all have died if my ancestor didn't get them a replacement water chip. That doesn't seem to fit in with your plan.}"
    Dick Richardson: "{230}{prs38}{An unfortunate, and unforeseen, accident. However, as it turns out, a rather fortuitous one.}"
    The Chosen One: "{231}{}{What do you mean?}"
    Dick Richardson: "{232}{prs39}{As it turns out we needed test subjects from untainted, pre-war, human stock - your ancestors in Vault 13 - and some freshly mutated stock - the villagers from Arroyo.}"
    The Chosen One: "{233}{}{Why?}"
    Dick Richardson: "{234}{prs39a}{For the Project. It's almost ready. Humanity's salvation is almost at hand and the United States of America will be the progenitor of that rebirth.}"
    The Chosen One: "{235}{}{Rebirth? What do you mean?}"
    (Qhprzrch.msg)
  86. Fallout Bible 0: "2077 October 23 Great War: Bombs are launched; who struck first is unknown... and it is not even known if the bombs came from China or America. Air raid sirens sound, but very few people go into vaults, thinking it is a false alarm. The Vaults are sealed."
  87. Fallout Bible 0: "2091 Vault 8 opens, and they use their GECK to create fertile ground for their city. This eventually becomes Vault City."
  88. Fallout Bible 0: "2092 LA Vault opens, the Boneyard is founded and attracts survivors."
  89. Fallout Bible 0 Timeline repair Second strike:
    Fallout Bible 3 Timeline repair: Second strike: "2141 Spring Vault 15 opened."
    Note: This date is incorrect and does not follow, as Shady Sands is specifically stated to have been founded by Aradesh's ancestor in the game. If it was founded in 2141, then Aradesh would be the founder. There is also no mention of the people of Shady Sands coming out of a Vault, which is inconsistent with the relatively recent founding date. Finally, as the Vipers, Jackals, and Khans emerged out of Vault 15 together, it's impossible for them to raid the Hub in 2125, sixteen years before their emergence. Given that Katrina specifically states the opening took place during her lifetime (and she's sixty years old), 2121 is the estimated moment of opening.
  90. The Vault Dweller: "{108}{}{Tell me a bit about the town.}"
    Jarvis: "{111}{}{Well, Shady Sands was founded by a great ancestor of our current leader, Aradesh. He could tell you more of the story. We have a well and irrigation, so we do well for ourselves.}"
    (JARVIS.MSG)
  91. Fallout Bible 0: "2141 Winter Raiders begin to form in the region as food supplies run low. The Khans and the Vipers begin terrorizing local settlements."
    Note: This date is incorrect and does not follow, as Shady Sands is specifically stated to have been founded by Aradesh's ancestor in the game. There is also no mention of the people of Shady Sands coming out of a Vault, which is inconsistent with the relatively recent founding. Finally, as the Vipers, Jackals, and Khans emerged out of Vault 15 together, it's impossible for them to raid the Hub in 2125, sixteen years before their emergence.
  92. The Chosen One: "{117}{}{Do you have a GECK?}"
    Mikey Frazier: "{119}{}{A GECK? Well, that's old history, so what the hell. You mean the old Garden of Eden Kit. We had one - I mean our grandparents had one. Used it when they came out of Vault 15. Got this place started, they say. It's all used up now.}"
    (Scmikey.msg)
  93. Fallout Bible 0: "2122 Spring Shady Sands founded, wall erected against the raiders."
    Note: This date is incorrect and does not follow, as Shady Sands is specifically stated to have been founded by Aradesh's ancestor in the game. If it was founded in 2141, then Aradesh would be the founder.. There is also no mention of the people of Shady Sands coming out of a Vault, which is inconsistent with the relatively recent founding date. Finally, as the Vipers, Jackals, and Khans emerged out of Vault 15 together, it's impossible for them to raid the Hub in 2125, sixteen years before their emergence. Given that Katrina specifically states the opening took place during her lifetime (and she's sixty years old), 2121 is the estimated moment of opening.
  94. Fallout Bible 0: "2155-2156 After capturing a caravan of strange-garbed travelers (vault dwellers), Master learns the location of the Boneyard Vault, the future site of the Cathedral. He conquers the inhabitants and sets up operations there, and the human cultists begin to use the Vault as their powerbase. Within the Vault, the Master learns of other Vaults, and realizing their human occupants are ripe for transformation, begins to send out patrols to Vault locations in search of these other Vaults."
  95. Fallout Bible 5: "2155-2156 After capturing a caravan of vault dwellers, Master learns the location of the Boneyard Vault, the future site of the Cathedral. He conquers the inhabitants and sets up operations there, and the human cultists begin to use the Vault as their powerbase. Within the Vault, the Master begins to send out patrols to Vault locations in search of these other Vaults."
  96. Fallout Bible 0: "2242 May 16 Less than a day later, Vault 13 is opened, only to be greeted by two Enclave verti-assault squads. The squads kill three of the citizens who were "resisting capture," and storm the Vault, kidnapping all the inhabitants."
  97. The Chosen One: "{141}{}{That sounds nasty. Why are they using your people for a test?}"
    Martin Frobisher: "{142}{}{They took us all from our vault because they wanted test subjects for the antidote. They needed people from outside the Enclave, and who were still pure-strain-humans. So they took us.}"
    (QCMARTIN.MSG)
  98. Fallout Bible 0: "The player was also intended to apply his Science skill to the central computer in Vault 13 to obtain a history of Vault 13, the Overseer's involvement in the Vault Dweller's expulsion, and even worse, the true purposes of the Vaults. The Overseer was conscious of the true purpose of the Vaults as social experiments on a grand scale, and he drove out the Vault Dweller because he was afraid that he would ruin the experiment... or uncover it. Of course, the Overseer himself caused problems not long after this, according to Martin Frobisher, the leader of Vault 13 in Fallout 2:
    "There used to be an overseer, many years ago, but he did a bad thing and many of our people left the Vault. Only to die in the Wastes, I'm sure. He was tried and sentenced to death for his crime. We haven't used the title since."

    Martin did not see the Overseer executed, however... his information comes from the Vault 13 records passed down by his ancestors."
Vault-Tec Vaults