When America descended into nuclear devastation on October 23rd, 2077, Vault 88 was still under construction near a rich deposit of uranium to provide a steady supply of nuclear material for the Vault's many purposes. Vault-Tec's failure to complete the project on time led to countless lost lives. In what was perhaps one of Vault-Tec's greatest construction mishaps, the entrance to Vault 88 became buried in rubble as soon as the bombs fell during the Great War. It was only recently uncovered, thanks to the efforts of some curious raiders. They encountered resistance while trying to enter the Vault through the door, which was designed to withstand a direct hit from a nuclear payload. Overseer Valery Barstow, though ghoulified, was very much alive after 200 years. Surrounded by feral brethren, she nonetheless refused to let the raiders inside, defending her life's work against them.
What was her life's work? Under Doctor Stanislaus Braun's directive, Vault 88 was not assigned any particular experiment. Instead, it served as the proving ground intended to test a variety of prototype devices with the aim of rolling them out through the rest of the Vaults. Once Vault 88 was fully operational, the company expected to roll out new devices every fiscal quarter. Unlike other Vaults, Vault-Tec would send test subjects before any disaster scenario, starting in early 2078. Human lives were considered irrelevant, with quick iteration time given a priority. The Vault was never completed due to consistent delays and setbacks. By August 29, 2077, only the entrance section and the reactor were installed, with the remainder of the Vault still being excavated. By October, the situation changed little. The construction crews were consistently slacking off, using the finished entrance as a dog and pony show to distract any guests, especially the visit by the VIPs planned for October 23. A brief visit that turned to permanent residence as a horde of ghouls sealed underground with Overseer Valery Barstow...
Vault 88 is absolutely massive after the North, East and North-East sectors have been activated, easily covering the area of Sanctuary Hills (the largest settlement in the Commonwealth) five times over. There is an abundance of scrap materials available within the cavern, including steel, concrete, wood, and even nuclear material in the uranium caves. There is a steel supply in excess of 2000 pieces from the abandoned construction teams throughout the cavern, and cavern walls provide more than 500 units of concrete.
The entire cavern is suitable for agriculture, but once an actual vault is built in the cavern, a space will need to be set aside specifically for growing crops. In addition, there is a flooded cavern to the east of the main atrium that can be used for high scale water production. Because of where the Vault is situated, it is not uncommon for it to be raided; still, the settlement has a complete bottleneck with only one hallway leading into the vault, meaning there is no guesswork when it comes to erecting defenses.
Vault 88 is a small, unfinished Vault. The entrance area is hidden at the lowest level of Quincy quarries, accessible through an excavated tunnel. It leads to the Vault's door, with a typical fortified door arrangement: The access pod on the gantry, with the door in the distance. Raiders are trying to gain entrance. Once they're disposed of, the pod can be activated and the first quest is completed. Inside the Vault, the entrance section is completely finished and has two wings. The left-hand one leads to the reactor, with Security Chief Andersen and the Vault-Tec control board for the workshop nearby. The right-hand corridor leads to the security station with the terminal needed to lift the lockdown.
The corridor next to the station, blocked with rubble that can be cleared in workshop mode, leads to the main construction area and Overseer Valery Barstow. At this point, it should be obvious that apart from her, the whole Vault is infested with ghouls of various types. The central area is a rail-yard with ancient freight trains sitting there, filled with supplies that were to be used to build Vault 88, including prefabricated modules that would be used to make the Vault.
Once A Model Citizen progresses to the point where the player builds the Overseer's desk, they will be tasked with exploring the Vault. Beyond the central area, there are three other sectors: North, East, and North-East. The exploration starts with the North sector, which after breaking down the rubble leads down a molerat-infested tunnel(s) into a derelict metro station, where the North sector control board is located. Behind the boarded-up barricade the player can later tear down is an exit into Quincy.
Down the next tunnel (not the one you entered through) lies the North sector itself, with the Vault workshop in plain sight. Heading deeper brings you to the North East workshop, but to activate it, one needs another control board yet. It's located down the tunnel located on the ledge near the trailer. Down that tunnel lies the basement of a shop, with the control board located at the bottom of the stairwell. The store above is the University Point pharmacy. The tunnel eventually loops back into the main chamber.
The East Sector can be accessed after removing the rubble in Workshop mode. It leads down to a smaller cavern filled with mirelurks (left-hand) and a small room with ghouls (right-hand), which also contains a control board for the sector's workshop. The mirelurk cavern is host to a mirelurk queen and its court, including a potential legendary mirelurk. Activate the workshop and complete the quest.
Vault 88 appears only in Vault-Tec Workshop.
- Valery Barstow: "Don't fret about the nuclear material, by the by. We chose this site for Vault 88 because our surveys indicate that there's a rich source of uranium deeper inside the caves."
(Valery Barstow's dialogue)
- Vault-Tec Workshop loading screen hints: "When America descended into nuclear devastation on October 23rd, 2077, Vault 88 was still under construction. Vault-Tec's failure to complete the project on time led to countless lost lives."
- Vault-Tec Workshop loading screen hints: "In what was perhaps one of Vault-Tec's greatest construction mishaps, the entrance to Vault 88 became buried in rubble as soon as the bombs fell during the Great War. It was only recently uncovered, thanks to the efforts of some curious Raiders."
- Barstow: "My name is Valery Barstow and I was to be the Overseer of this Vault. But, please, follow me. I have a proposal for you. It's been a hard 200 years. I was giving a tour of what was to be my pride and joy. My Vault. Then the earthquakes. Sirens. Many died. Perhaps they were lucky... The radiation... Somehow, I was spared."
(Valery Barstow's dialogue)
- Vault 88 terminals: "
CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL
OVERSEER EYES ONLY | VIOLATION VTP-01011
Vault 88 is designed to test a variety of prototype devices with the aim of rolling them out through the rest of the Vaults. Once Vault 88 is fully operational, we expect to roll out new devices every fiscal quarter. The initial prototypes are admittedly rough, so do the best you can with them.
Unlike other Vaults, we'll send test subjects before any disaster scenario. Best estimate is early 2078 you'll have your first batch. Use each batch as long as feasible, but we are prepared to replace personnel if there are complications. Quick iteration time is a must.
If the Vault goes on lock down, the urgency of the time table diminishes. So you'll have to keep the test subjects docile and in-line. We have every faith you're up for the task, Doctor Barstow."
- Vault 88 terminals; Security Terminal, August 29, 2077: "Finally got a real security system. I know the entrance is window dressing, but if Barstow keeps bringing the top brass around it's my ass if something goes wrong.
The construction crew keeps griping about the new security measures. They can complain all they like."
- Vault 88 terminals; Security Terminal, October 22, 2077: "Barstow's coming tomorrow. Another dog and pony show. Entrance is finally properly done. So if she brings VIPs, as long as they stick to that section, it'll feel like a real Vault.
Turns out the construction boys aren't so bad. Been having a friendly poker game. From the way things are going, they're going to be here a good long while yet. Got invited to some Halloween party. God knows we could use a little excitement around here."
- Vault 88 terminals; Security Terminal, October 23, 2077: "!!!AUTOMATED SECURITY LOCKDOWN!!!
NUCLEAR DETONATION EVENT DECTECTED
AUTOMATED VAULT-TEC EMERGENCY LOCKDOWN PROCEDURE INITIATED"