Top 9 Most @#$%ed Up Vault-Tec Experiments in Fallout | @ArcadeCloud
War, war never changes. What does change though is the depravity du jour, the fiendishly evil Vault-Tec Corporation, the fictional firm whose high-tech underground shelters are key setting in the Fallout series of post-apocalyptic RPGs. For those not in the know, Vault-Tec created a system of vaults to protect citizens of the United States in case of nuclear holocaust. They had the ability to sustain populations for years and years without any contact from the outside world and also radiated denizens. It seems like a pretty sweet deal, but before you sign up, there’s something you should know. Vault-Tec isn’t really interested in protecting anyone. Each one of their vaults was designed to house a sinister science or social experiment for research, and when the bombs fell, they ushered in their test subjects and got to work. The end of the world was the best thing that ever happened to Vault-Tec, and somehow, even worse than nuclear fire for all of their test subjects. One of the pleasures of this venerable franchise is knowing that sooner or later, you’ll stumble onto yet another dilapidated vault whose hapless denizens were doomed to play ant to Vault-Tec’s magnifying glass.
I’d love to have been a fly on the wall, the Vault-Tec board meetings where human blood was presumably served in brandy snifters and kickable puppies were passed around while the executives dreamed up new test protocols, but the best you can do is read about the aftermath in all those wonderfully, hackable computer terminals. So, pop open a fresh Nuka-Cola, heat up a plate of crispy squirrel bits, and settle in for the nine most @#%*! up Vault-Tec experiments in Fallout. Number nine, Vault 81, Clinical Trials & Tribulations. A vault is really the perfect setting for a clinical trial. You’ve got a completely isolated population cut off from outside information and dependent on a strictly controlled food supply in a self-contained ventilation system. In Fallout 4’s Vault 81, Vault-Tec took advantage of those assets by hatching a scheme to expose the dwellers to horrific diseases, then sit back and watch what happened. You know, science. After initial stages using Petri dishes and mole rats, the diseases would then be released in unsuspecting populace using propellant nozzles hidden in their rooms. And hey, nobody can say Vault-Tec wasn’t meticulous about keeping the experiment neat and tidy. In the event of a vault evacuation, the overseer was instructed to “Dispose of residential population by incineration.” How efficient? Fortunately, the overseer had a crisis of conscience and refused to go through with the plan, leaving the one of the rare happy endings in Vault-Tec storied history.
Number eight, Vault 75, Children Are The Future. If World War III is imminent and you’re putting the seed of a future human resurgence in an underground vault, you’ll want to make sure they’re up to the job. Why blow the chance to create a new and better tomorrow under the guidance of the best and brightest, the sort of master race, if you will? That was the idea behind Fallout 4’s Vault 75, located underneath Malden Middle School, take a population of children, and subject them to brutal physical and psychological testing, weeding out the losers each generation and harvesting the genes of the winners. According to the Vault’s computer logs, side effects of the tests included, “Cardiac arrest under heavy duress and psychological breakdowns due to stress. And the children who didn’t make the cut were graduated. Logan’s Run style at age 18. Well, you know what they say about omelettes and eggs.
And the first generation’s parents whacked in secret by security staff, just as well, they probably have coddled the little brats. Number seven, Vault 114 Class Warfare. Never let it be said that big brains behind Vault-Tec didn’t have a sense of humour. Designing a special home for the wealthy elite of Fallout 4’s Boston setting, they not only made the accommodations as spartan as of those of any other vault, they chose for overseer a delusional homeless man named Soup Can Harry whose favourite delicacy was a Abraxo cleaner, who had an aversion to wearing pants, and who firmly believed government taxes were used to fund Illuminati Free Mason sex parties by “Taking away the luxury and authority these groups saw in surface life.” Vault-Tec management wrote to the Vault’s social science division, “We hope to study the reactions to stressful situations.” Vault-Tec personnel were asked to follow any and all of Soup Can Harry’s orders and instructions without questions or hesitation, no matter how embarrassing, uncomfortable, or dangerous.
Score one for the 99%. Number six, Vault 101 Isolation Nation. Why make things complicated? Vault-Tec’s plan for Vault 101, the starting location of Fallout 3, and the home of its Lone Wanderer player character was simplicity itself. Just don’t open the door, like ever. Why do this? Apparently, Vault-Tec thought it would be interesting to study the role of the overseer in a perpetually close vault, fake radio transmissions designed to trick the population into believing the surface world was totally uninhabitable helped maintain the illusion and keep the locals in line. As the decades rolled on, the dwellers kept themselves busy with cake bake offs and games of Hunt the Mutant. Apparently, oblivious to the danger of inbreeding from a stagnant gene pool, the vault eventually came under the control of Alphonse Almodovar, a control freak overseer who has opressed communication with the outside world and maintained a separate clique of residents who deliberately deceived their own children about the state of the outside world. Yep, that’s a recipe for a healthy society. Probably for the best that the Lone Wanderer got the hell out of there to go in search of his lost pop. Number five, Vault 108, Attack Of The Clones.
Why settle for one bizarre wrong-headed experiment when you can get two for the same price? Fallout 3’s eerie Vault 108 was the setting for a double dip of twist depravity. For starters, the vault was designed with certain unusual parameters like the overseer deliberately being chosen because he suffered from terminal cancer and would be dead within four years of taking over and the power supply designed to purposely fail after 20 years, and the storage hold stock with three times the normal number of weapons and none of the standard entertainment. As a great man once said, “No TV and no beer make Homer something, something.” What could possibly go wrong? Meanwhile, under the auspices of Dr. Peterson, a dweller named Gary was cloned over and over again for no apparent reason. Unfortunately, Gary’s clones got crazier and crazier and became hostile toward anyone except their fellow Gary’s. Wander through Vault 108 and you’ll still find a few of these aggro Gary clones shambling around ready to pick a fight. Their one word vocabulary consists of, you guessed it, “Gary.” Number four, Vault 19, Manufactured Dissent.
As if a nuclear holocaust in the fall of civilization weren’t enough to put you on edge, Fallout New Vegas’s Vault 19 was designed to breed paranoia and division among the dwellers. One of Vault-Tec’s seller efforts, Vault 19 was split into two sections, Red and Blue, each with its own overseer and used subliminal techniques to put both populations on edge, strange noises, air vents, inexplicably turning on and off, and faked medical records implying dwellers of the other group had family histories of insanity. By the time you stumble upon Vault 19 in Fallout New Vegas, it’s totally abandoned. So there’s no telling what ultimately happened to the population, but it’s nothing good. Number three, Vault 87, Mutant Mayhem. Home to the evolutionary experimentation program, Vault 87 gave birth to the Fallout series’ super mutants. Those bad tempered, green skinned knuckleheads who think they’re God’s gift to Darwinian natural selection and seem to be squatting in every other abandoned building in the wasteland.
Every time one of these irritable pituitary cases rushes at you wielding a spiked club or a portable nuke, you can thank the forced evolutionary virus which was used to dose Vault 87 dwellers under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Merrick AKA psychotic Vault-Tec scientist number 3,487. The tests subjects grew thick skins and massive muscles, which is just what you’d want in a super soldier.
Pity about the “Severe bouts of rage and anxiety”, which weren’t quite what the deranged doctor ordered. Number two, Vault 112, Tranquillity Lane. Sure, living in a virtual reality paradise sounds great, but before you sign up, you might want to do some due diligence on the guy who is running said Paradise. The dwellers of Vault 112 willingly plug themselves into tranquillity lounges, pods there, suspended their bodies while their brains were stimulated with immersive VR universes. When the world above is turned into a radioactive hell escape, jacking into the ultimate Oculus Rift seems like a viable life plan. Problem is, the overseer Dr. Stanislaus Braun eventually went mad with boredom. To keep himself entertained, he started virtually killing Vault 112’s dwellers over and over again, kind of like we all do when we play The Sims. It’s safe to say, computer generated eternity of horrific deaths and sudden rebirth is more than these dwellers bargained for when they climbed into their stasis pods. Still, it’s hard to have too much pity for Dr Braun’s victims. Didn’t any of them ever watch The Matrix? In Fallout 3, you step into this virtual world and get to make a decision, help Braun killed the residents for his amusement or destroy the simulation by killing everyone one final time.
So some real fun stuff there. Number one, Vault 11, The Lottery. If you’ve ever read Shirley Jackson’s supremely creepy story, The Lottery, Vault 11’s dark secret will have a familiar ring, as told in Fallout New Vegas, the poor saps herded into Vault 11 received an edict from the controlling computer. One dweller each year would have to be put to death or the computer would kill the whole population. Little did the dwellers know, the computer was secretly programmed to reward them for refusing to carry out this barbaric commandment. If they just said no, the computer would have spared them all and opened the Vault doors to the outer world, but human nature being what it is, they dutifully slaughtered one hapless scapegoat after another until the population descended into factionalism, mutual suspicion, and murder.
That will teach Vault-Tech to bet on the better angels of our nature. I can’t wait to see what the life of Vault-Tec experiments future Fallout games will bring to light. Playing a never ending loop of Rick Astley’s Together Forever on the PA system, gluing all the furniture to the ceiling, rigging the smoke alarms to beep incessantly even if you change the batteries. Just saying, “To hell with it,” and setting everything on fire as soon as they walk through the door.
The possibilities are endless. Thanks for watching, and be sure to subscribe to ArcadeCloud for more Top Nine lists. Also, be sure to leave a like on our Facebook page. There’s a link in the description. And I’ll see you next time.
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