- "This Vault's gone downhill since the Great War, but it's not like we can all complain. At least we've got fresh water down here."
- ―Richard Pawkins
|Establishment:||October 23rd 2077|
|Notable events:||October 23rd 2077 (Great War)
January 12th 2134 (Reactor Leak) May 30th 2214 (Survivor Resettlement)
Vault 42 is a large, semi-subterranean construction by Vault-Tec as a part of Project Safehouse in the California wastes built around 2073, both near and beneath the nearby town of Swallow Hills, before being occupied on the eve of the Great War. The Vault survived the Great War, but was nearly destroyed by an intentional defect that the construction crew and Vault-Tec had implemented as a part of Project Safehouse's unethical Societal Preservation Program when it's nuclear core nearly detonated. Though the catastrophic possibility of a nuclear blast was avoided by the quick actions of a few brave souls, the radiation leaked into most of the Vault and forced the majority of the residents to evacuate to safer areas within the vault, away from the now heavily irradiated reactor room and surrounding residential bocks. Those unfortunate enough not to escape were transformed into Ghouls, killed by the high amounts of radiation and some even becoming Feral Ghouls from the intense radiation. After the majority of residents left the Vault, and years of an increasingly stagnant gene-pool leading to inbreeding becoming apparent, the Vault was finally opened to wastelanders 2214, some of these wastelanders being descended from old residents who had left the Vault years prior. Infighting quickly became common among many of the older residents of the Vault and the younger, hardened arrivals from the harsh wastes, and the Ghouls inside of the irradiated Vault Reactor attempting to attack Human residents in the relatively safe area of the Vault meant that the safety of both groups was put in danger.
Construction of the Vault began in 2071, during the tense years of the Battle of Anchorage, with healthy funding from local community programs, the most notable of which came from the nearby town of Swallow Hills, due to fear of the war reaching the rest of the US. The Vault was built to be made up of 278 living quarters, 50 main offices, 35 eateries and diners, 10 security stations, and 4 administration and control areas, and was designed not only to be one of the largest Vaults, but also to be an advertisement, of sorts, to the surrounding area. The majority of the Vault was built into a mountain range and below, but some of it, namely the reactor areas and some living quarters, ended up slipping underneath the suburbs of Swallow Hills, ostensibly due to an oversight on Vault-Tec's part. After extensive surveying, the area was declared safe, though reports of sinkholes in the local area did cause concern for the local populace and Vault-Tec, mainly down to the perhaps over-thought fear that the whole town would collapse down on top the Vault.
The Vault itself was designed with the same build as many of the regular Vaults, but differed slightly when the size of its main reactor was brought to the table. Alongside smaller, back-up cores designed to prevent blackouts and brownouts within the Vault, the Vault also made use of a large nuclear reactor that Vault-Tec had advertised as 'the future of fusion power', and used as yet another promotional feature for it's Vault program. The addition of such a large reactor rose concerns with local contractors, mainly about safety, though Vault-Tec smoothed these worries out. However, Vault-Tec had intentionally intended for the reactor to indeed be a massive safety hazard, owing to its Societal Preservation Program has taken up recently with the Enclave, a secret, shadowy organization set up by the US government to ensure the survival, somewhat, of society's elite. A planned defect, designed to cause an explosion which would be triggered upon over-use of the reactor, was left within the Vault to see what effect it would have on the people within the Vault and whether or not they would attempt to remain in the, potentially, radioactive confines of their Vault or venture out of their domicile in search of better living space. On October 23rd, 2077, the start of the Great War was signaled by alarms and frantic Vault-Tec holotape calls to the residents, advising the residents to get to the 'safety' of Vault 42. As the last few arrivals gathered in the atrium, fewer than expected due to the lack of forewarning, and the giant steel door of the Vault sealed shut, the first explosions sounded. Once the bombs had done their damage, once all the explosions were silenced, the Vault dwellers finally realized that they were a part of the lucky and privileged few who had survived the apocalypse of the Great War. In the first few days following the Great War, the Vault's systems were maintained by a dedicated robotic force, maintained themselves by a smaller, human force, whilst the survivors recovered from their loss. The Overseer and former mayor of Swallow Hills, Johnathan Dennison having been appointed by Vault-Tec prior to the Great War, conscripted numerous men and women for the Vault's security force, directly in contrast with his liberal values, and set about giving instructions to the residents to begin submitting to various health checks and psychology exams, so as to determine their occupations for the Vault's benefit. Those still younger than 16 years old were to be educated within the Vault, and all 16 year olds were required to take the General Occupational Aptitude Test so as to determine their occupations. Any elderly, toddler or infant residents were to be looked after by the rest of the Vault, and to help out where it would allow them to help out, usually book clubs for the elderly and toy collections for the infants and toddlers. The Overseer planned to get the Vault operational as quickly as possible, as per demands from Vault-Tec prior to the nuclear holocaust, in order to remain on time for the Societal Preservation Program's study to be effectively carried out.
As the days turned into weeks, the months turned into years, and the years turned into decades, the Vault residents began to settle into their new lives. The life of the average resident became a blur of Vault endorsed pro-creation, occupational work and the occasional after-work leisure at the numerous diners hosting the even more numerous clubs and activities. This mundane way of life, occasionally intruded on by the odd interesting activity and event that was uncensored by the many Overseers and his or her administrations, kept the residents docile and complacent, friterring away their days, months and years through bake sales, reading clubs and community reading activities. To them, life outside the Vault was not just improbable, but non-existent. Their world was underground, and completely cut off from the harsh realities of the topside world ravaged by the nuclear war decades ago. A century came and went, and still the Vault's residents kept up their complacent existence, all the while still unaware of the Societal Preservation Program's goal that threatened their lives and their safety. The reactor core was now entering the stages where minute traces of radiation were beginning to leak into the utility rooms and surrounding residential areas. Despite this, the engineers and the Overseer kept the problem of the reactor secret, until January 12th 2134.
On January 12th, 2134, the reactor finally gave way. Earth tremors created by the reactor alerted the Vault residents to the horrifying truth: that their Vault was in danger. Hours of rioting began as the Vault descended into chaos, some people rushing to the entrance, desperate to be let out, whilst the rest of the mob descended on the atrium of the Vault, demanding that the Overseer prevent the catastrophe that was about to befall them, despite this unrealistic expectation. The Overseer, after consulting his finest engineers and realizing that he would also be killed as a result of Vault-Tec's program, ordered numerous people within close proximity of the reactor to attempt a desperate quick-fix of the reactor that would, hopefully, save the Vault. These wretched residents weren't given much choice, as they found themselves sealed within the areas immediately next to the reactor. Their desperate attempts to stop the impending disaster of a nuclear explosion did succeed, but only after a high amount of radiation leaking out of the damaged reactor, now unable to generate power due to the extensive leakage. The area was sealed off permanently, and the survivors left behind in the irradiated quagmire of the reactor area.
Meanwhile, the Overseer was faced with a rebellious populace that now wanted to escape the Vault entirely. This was only made worse when several of his own administrative staff revealed Vault-Tec's original plan to the many residents, who now felt that they had been both betrayed and abandoned by Vault-Tec, further enforcing their belief that their life would have to be moved to the surface if they had any hope of survival. Unable to rely on his own security force for protection, the Overseer, reluctantly and begrudgingly, ordered that the Vault doors open for 24 hours on 14th January 2214. Those who wanted to leave the Vault, a good half of it's populace, left and walked off into the wastes, confident of their decision and the new lives that awaited them. Those who stayed did so out of a fear and xenophobia of the outside world, either because of a fear of the intense radiation, local wildlife or native populace, human or otherwise. The then Overseer stepped down, abandoning his post, and leaving the stage set for a potential power struggle. This power struggle played out for over a year, with two parties, the Vault security chief and chief scientist, slandering each other, their own factions engaging in bitter infighting. An eventual successor to the position was acquired in the form of the Vault's chief scientist, with the agreement that a joint coalition of power hungry scientists and security officers would have a say in the Vault's affairs.
Meanwhile, in the isolated and irradiated area of the Vault now cut off from the general populace, the Ghoul survivors, some Feral, some not, remained alive. Some committed suicide days after their mutation, others stayed in disbelief, dismissing their mutations and abnormalities as bad dreams, and others simply went insane, acting as though nothing had happened. Some, however, accepted their fate. Whilst an altogether large minority sought revenge on their former friends and colleagues who had abandoned them in the radioactive husk of the reactor levels. One of the survivors declared himself in charge of this mass of disaffected survivors and, after numerous claimers to the contrary were brutally murdered or silenced in other, similarly violent ways by him, he assumed his position as the leader of this group of Ghouls. His real name no longer mattered to him or his followers, some of whom began to revere him as a Messianic Savior. He renamed himself accordingly to 'Prophet', and his followers also began referring to him as this. Passionate speeches about the evils of his former colleagues, referring to them at first as cowards and fools, soon became even more passionate rallying cries of the evil of these Human brutes, calling out the Vault residents above them as demons and monsters. This veritable powder-keg of tension and rage flared continuously, but was largely ignored by those above them in the relatively safe Vault upper levels. They didn't care about the Ghouls down below. They had far more pressing things to worry about.
As a century passed, the generations of Vault residents still residing within their Vault found their gene-pool shrinking ever more with each passing generation. For the science team, it came to a grim climax when on, May 30th, 2214, they were forced to inform the Vault's administrative council and the general population that they faced a crisis that not many people within the Vault could appreciate: their gene-pool would stagnate, and inbreeding would become rife within only a two year period. Though most, if not all, Vault 42 residents were uninterested in this fact, the higher echelons of Vault society knew that such a disaster could ruin the Vault entirely and leave the Vault devastated. Unable to comprehend leaving the confines of their Vault, they instead took a great gamble. They sent out scouts into the wastes, wearing their conspicuous Vault Jumpsuits, to advertise the Vault to any wastelanders they came across in the hopes of avoiding mass-inbreeding. They didn't have to look far, as it turned out. A group of squatters, many in number, had gathered outside the Vault, hoping to enter. They had established a small community above the Vault that had lasted the centuries, despite the large sinkholes that now dotted the land above the Vault. Now that they were, essentially, being offered free entry to the Vault, these wastelanders jumped at the idea. As these wastelanders settled into the Vault and gathered inside of it, the original Vault dwellers viewed these new arrivals with a mixed view of disgust and arrogant snobbery. These Vault dwellers shared the view, rather unknowingly, as the Enclave: that these outsiders had been degraded by their years on the surface. To them, these wastelanders were already inbred, even though most were far from related. The science team had a hard time attempting to convince the security team that these new arrivals were necessary, a problem shared with the upper echelons who tried to convince their underlings of the benefits of a revived gene-pool. The wastelanders themselves had their own feelings of animosity, disgusted with the Vault dwellers luxury and how they seemed to crave more. They viewed those who hated them as little more than arrogant, snobbish people who had barely ever seen the sun, let alone been outside their Vault.
- Entrance Level: The entrance level is comprised of a relatively small accommodation block, 10 of the 35 eateries located in the Vault being scattered amongst this block, a few administrative offices, a small engineering area and several back-up power generators which, following the reactor meltdown, act as the main power supply for the Vault, leading to subsequent blackouts and brownouts throughout the Vault. Most new arrivals find themselves sleeping in the corridors, engineering areas and store rooms that dot this area.
- Main Accommodation Level: This is where the majority of all the residential areas, offices and eateries are located, making this is the largest level within the Vault. Most new arrivals, as with the entrance level, sleep within the corridors and hallways, marking their sleeping areas with chalk and graffiti. The lucky residents of the Vault get to stay within one of the comfortable, albeit cramped, living quarters. This level also houses the Overseers' quarters and offices, complete with nearby security station. The main security station is located on this level as well, next to the science labs. Both the science and security offices are the largest areas in the Vault. After the reactor leak in the Vault, the science labs were dedicated to engineering and general maintenance alongside other such things.
- Reactor Level: The reactor level houses, rather obviously, the main reactor core and engineering sectors, though after the Vault reactor leak it has gone under decades of degradation. The entirety of the populace down in this level are Ghouls, Feral or otherwise. Feral ghouls tend to remain around the reactor itself and the engineering areas, bathing in the radiation around it, whilst the more sane inhabitants are relegated to the small dormitory section located on the level, where the majority of them follow the words of Prophet inside of a small, cult-like sect that compares their survival and abandonment by former colleagues to the struggle of good against evil, usually in poetic and half-crazed speeches. Those who do not subscribe to this way of thinking carry out a quiet existence in the irradiated area of the level, loitering in the corridors or reminiscing about the days prior to the leak.
Residents Of Note
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