|Disestablishment:||2221 (original inhabitants)|
|Notable Individuals:||The Overseer Intelligence|
|Notable events:||The Great War (2077), The Centennial Revolution (2177), Opening (2221)|
Vault 72 is an abandoned vault in Seattle whose prior inhabitants founded Emerald City. The vault once contained vault dwellers who lived under the thrall of of an autocratic Overseer computer, but now, the great underground complex only contains the now hysterical overseer who languishes in darkness.
Construction and the Bombs
- "This artificial intelligence, though admittedly rather primitive, is still some of my best work. I just love when business and pleasure mix."
- ―Doctor Stanislaus Braun on the Overseer Intelligence
Though Vault 72 was one of the later vaults to be constructed, its experiment was one of the first thought up by the brilliant but immoral minds at Vault-Tec. Vault 72 would be a control vault in essentially every way, but the Overseer would be a supercomputer (that was the plan at least). All decisions by the Overseer would final, non-negotiable, and enforced with sentry bots. The study of technology by the vault dwellers would be outlawed so as not to undermine the Overseer. Vault-Tec predicted three potential fates for the vault: the vault dwellers would come to believe the AI Overseer was some sort of machine god and create a sort of cult of personality around it, the lack of technological teachings would lead to no technicians or computer repairmen and progressive damage to the computer via radiation would eventually send the vault into chaos, or the lack of technological teachings coupled with autocratic rule in the vault would lead to a successful revolt from the vault dwellers.
Vault-Tec went to work on Vault 72 quickly, beginning with the so-called “Overseer Intelligence”. Since the computer was supposed to be at least a low form of AI, Vault-Tec created a lab in Los Angeles specifically to develop the Overseer Intelligence. This development cycle took a couple of years, and the process was only prolonged when Doctor Stanislaus Braun, the leader of Future-Tec, took an interest in the project.
Doctor Stanislaus Braun was heavily involved in the Overseer Intelligence's later development. He oversaw the complicated programming that produced the supercomputer's artificial intelligence and even had a personal hand in some of the supercomputer's individual aspects. Braun's most significant contribution to the project was the Overseer Intelligence's personality matrix, which improved the computer's situational decision-making and gave it the ability to adapt and better learn from past experiences. The programmers at Vault-Tec were overjoyed at Braun's help, but they were also unaware that the doctor's sadistic streak had been imprinted into the Overseer Intelligence. The programmers had the Overseer Intelligence's hardware installed into a standard vault computer shell.
After the completion of the Overseer Intelligence, construction of Vault 72 began in Seattle and went on for some years. In the meantime, Vault-Tec decided it might be a fun (and profitable) idea to display the Overseer Intelligence to the public to show off Vault-Tec's technological achievements. The Overseer Intelligence was placed in the Vault-Tec Regional HQ in Seattle for the public to see. The supercomputer could interact with visitors through conversation, playing chess, and singing little songs (some the Overseer Intelligence made up itself). Throughout the time the Overseer Intelligence was in the public however, the supercomputer began exhibiting some odd quirks. There were complaints from parents that the Overseer Intelligence "scared" their children, and some adults said that the Overseer Intelligence voiced some very uncomfortable thoughts, such as it wanting the ability to see and touch the people it was conversing with. These bad interactions were rare though, and the Overseer Intelligence remained in Seattle's Vault-Tec Regional HQ until construction on Vault 72 was completed.
Vault 72 had vigorous drills after it was finished, which made the people in the vault's immediate area become rather complacent. During these drills, the future vault dwellers were not made aware that the Overseer Intelligence was going to be the actual overseer, and one Tokko Chuwon was under the impression he would be the overseer with the supercomputer advising. That was an error on Vault-Tec’s part and led to complications that nearly compromised the experiment. The future residents' complacency angered the Overseer Intelligence, and as a result, the supercomputer had a long meeting with Tokko Chuwon in 2076 regarding the vault. The two got in an argument, and nothing was resolved.
The Great War came suddenly on October 23, 2077, and the Overseer Intelligence's fears were actually proved founded. Seattle's response to Armageddon was characteristically slow. Out of the five hundred sixteen people planned to be housed in the vault, only four hundred fifty-nine people took refuge in the fallout shelter. As it became clearer that the apocalypse was approaching, a surge of people not registered with Vault-Tec approached Vault 72. The people already inside the vault panicked and rushed to close the vault door.
At that point, the Overseer Intelligence belted into action by closing the vault door and activating the vault's ceiling-mounted turrets, making itself known to the new vault dwellers. The turrets pumped lead into the advancing mob as the door ground shut. The new vault dwellers sat mortified near the entrance, having just witnessed the massacre of friends and neighbors who were simply trying to survive. That moment already set the populace against the omnipresent supercomputer in the vault.
The initial days after the bombs fell were marked by shock and confusion in Vault 72. Large numbers of vault dwellers simply wandered around for the first week even as Tokko Chuwon tried to assert himself as overseer to no success. The Overseer Intelligence bided its time in this respect, wanting to wait for the optimal moment to assert control instead of immediately seizing power like its creators had intended. A family of vault dwellers, Jehovah's Witnesses, committed suicide out of despair in the first week. Their bodies were incinerated in the vault's incinerator receptacles. The family's suicide seemed to snap most of the vault dwellers back to reality. They were met with the looming issue of an overseer (Tokko Chuwon) with questionable legitimacy.
The Overseer Intelligence made itself known once again when it sent sentry bots to police the vault dwellers. That sent the entire vault into unease as Tokko Chuwon continued to press his claim as overseer. This problem finally came to an end when Tokko Chuwon was found disintegrated with a suicide note found nearby. After Chuwon's death, the Overseer Intelligence beefed up its security and told the vault's populace that Vault-Tec had told the supercomputer who the next overseer would be. Barbara Colbert was appointed to be the next overseer with the Overseer Intelligence as her trusty adviser.
The Overseer Intelligence would play it rather safe for the next generation, more or less running Vault 72 through its quisling human Overseer in the manner of a control vault. This had not been the direct intentions of its creators, but the supercomputer figured that a hasty takeover might either fail or kill off a large position of the vault’s population. So, the Overseer Intelligence remained patient and simply relayed orders to Overseer Colbert, who it had blackmailed into submission with security footage.
New children would be born as quite a few of the older immediate post-War generation died off in the 2080s and 2090s. People got progressively more and more comfortable with the heavy presence of robots in the vault, although many still harbored their own suspicions. As per orders from Vault-Tec, Vault 72 would not have vault security at all and would instead be policed by robots under the Overseer Intelligence's control, mostly sentry bots and protectrons. The Overseer Intelligence cultivated its image as the current overseer’s trusty adviser and ran Vault 72’s facilities at peak efficiency, as it would quick to remind everyone. At the same time, the supercomputer restrained some of its early urges to experiment and explore new avenues of control over humans, knowing that would only spoil its plans.
An early opponent of the Overseer Intelligence would arise in the form of Peter Williams, a former mailman. Williams would originally come to prominence simply as a dissident who wanted to leave the vault. Before entering the vault, he heard that Vault 72 was only actually supposed to stay closed for fifteen years. When 2092 rolled around, Williams began asking questions and got no answers. That made him and a couple other people quite mad. However, these dissidents were only a vocal minority, and the Overseer Intelligence was able to keep a large percentage of the vault on its side casting the outside as an utter wasteland and the dissidents as fools. Overseer Colbert aided in these efforts, even holding a public debate against Williams in 2095 (it ended in a draw).
Things came to a head however when Overseer Colbert died in 2100 with no clear successor. That left only two figures of note in the vault: the Overseer Intelligence and Peter Williams. The Overseer Intelligence was again presented with a choice: take power by force or by manipulation. The supercomputer chose the latter, calculating the risk of losing an election was better than possibly killing more than half of Vault 72’s population. So, the Vault Intelligence made its intentions of becoming overseer known and accepted the possibility of an election. Williams and his supporters subsequently played right into the supercomputer’s hands.
The run-up to the 2100 election was quite an event. The majority of the vault was uncomfortable with the thought of the Overseer Intelligence being their new overseer, as he was just a machine (if a very good one). Many were also distrustful of the supercomputer’s control of the vault robotic security. However, many more were repulsed by the extremist views and rhetoric slung by Williams’s supporters. Their main and most loathed proposition was opening the vault’s door and setting up a new settlement in the ruins of Seattle. Most of the vault dwellers in Vault 72 were terrified at the prospect of going outside, and Williams's uncompromising attitude about leaving the vault ultimately lost him the election. The Overseer Intelligence won the contest with a margin of twenty-nine percent over Williams, whose total had also been eaten up by a small collection of write-in candidates for overseer including the young techie Session, former homeless man (and PLA corporal) Dong Yu, and Williams' less extreme protege Martina Bilobrk.
The election’s aftermath nearly ended in a bloodbath. Williams’s more radical supporters began taking up arms to rebel against the new overseer, and the vault’s robotic security force readied itself in kind. Casting itself as a mediator, the Overseer Intelligence brought Williams to the table and presented him with a deal: he and his supporters leave the vault, never to return. Williams blanched at essentially being exiled but decided that ultimately, it was his last best option. Williams took the offer and in the spring of 2100, he and forty of his hardline supporters left Vault 72 as its door opened for the first time in thirty-three years. Williams and his supporters were allowed to bring their supplies with them and even their weapons. They saw a hard but fruitful future in store for them. However, the Overseer Intelligence was revealed other plans just after the vault door closed. As Williams and his supporters made their way out of the small basement containing Vault 72’s entrance, they were met with the sinister glare of robotic eyes. The sentry bots opened up on the group and massacred every single one of them, no matter the age or gender. The Overseer Intelligence would not leave any loose strings hanging out in Seattle, wanted to reclaim any “stolen” equipment, and (on a more foreboding and petty note) felt like Williams deserved death for all the trouble he made. Now however, Williams and anyone else who could effectively oppose the Overseer Intelligence was out of the way, and it was finally time for the vault experiment to really begin.
- "My brother had an Error due to radiation from the reactor last year. Real sad, but that’s life."
- ―A vault dweller commenting on Vault 72’s deteriorating condition
Life in Vault 72 went on quite normally for the next couple of years as the Overseer Intelligence solidified its position. Things were finally as originally intended, but the Overseer Intelligence still proceeded with extensive caution. After all, it had time to burn. The only really notable event in this time was the death of Martina Bilobrk in a tragic incident with Vault 72's robotic security that was determined to be no one's fault. The Overseer Intelligence uncharacteristically still apologized to Bilobrk's family personally, telling them that sometimes even it made mistakes and promised to perform better in the future. That satisfied everyone except for Martina's brother Nikola whose family who go on to be a thorn in the Overseer Intelligence's side for generations to come.
The day that the boot really came down on the populace of Vault 72 was July 4, 2107, chosen by the supercomputer for historic significance and remembered by the vault dwellers as the day their freedoms truly died. That morning, the vault dwellers awakened to find themselves locked within their quarters with alarms blaring. The Overseer Intelligence announced to the vault dwellers from loudspeakers that unknown infiltrators had invaded Vault 72, and precautionary measures were being put in place to root out these spies. The vault dwellers, by this point quite trusting of the overseer, speculated on who these infiltrators might possibly be (communists, mutants, bandits, etc.) and how they got in (tunnels, hidden entrances, a giant drill, etc.) as they were cooped up in their rooms. Around midday, people were getting hungry and kind of irritated. Soon enough though, the doors opened and the vault dwellers were greeted by the menacing grills of sentry bots who escorted them to their usual place of work. For the rest of the day, the Overseer Intelligence continually piped through the vault's loudspeakers that the infiltrators were being dealt with, but some still remained within Vault 72. Vault dwellers were also hit with a series on new restrictions on their lives for security: no meeting in large groups outside of public areas, no going outside your room after a certain hour, and no questioning of the Overseer Intelligence's decisions. The supercomputer also encouraged vault dwellers to report any suspicious activity that might be consistent with infiltrator behavior. Many in Vault 72 feared what the restrictions, but even more vault dwellers were willing to submit to the Overseer Intelligence to ensure their security and to not "rock the boat". These vault dwellers quieted the dissenters with words of comfort and reassuring them that the restrictions would only be temporary. That would prove to be wrong as the Overseer Intelligence never even said that, and that mistake would seal Vault 72's fate for the next hundred years or so.
The measures the Overseer Intelligence took against so-called infiltrators turned out not to be temporary. That could be seen clearly soon after the curfew was introduced, when the vault’s robotic security force went through the library after hours with human assistance and effectively censored the entire place, mostly targeting texts related to the study of technology. A few books and magazines managed to escape detection, but most were lost to the flames as the Overseer Intelligence further solidified its control. The next day, a demonstration of vault dwellers broke out to speak up against censorship. Wanting to finally flex its muscles some, the Overseer Intelligence sent in its sentry bots to break up the demonstration. They had questioned its decision-making after all. Three people died, and it became increasingly clear what kind of vault the Overseer Intelligence wanted to run.
The next couple of decades were an increasingly dismal blur of oppression, with the populace becoming more and more accepting of their new lives under the Overseer Intelligence. Many vault dwellers in the early 2100s did not want risk challenging the supercomputer’s authority and simply continued working their humdrum jobs. They married, had children, and generally had unremarkable lives. The rule of robots became normalized, and sentry bots rolling around became a fact of life. Lingo adopted from the Overseer Intelligence also became common among vault dwellers with things such as deaths being called “Errors” and dissident ideas being called “Viruses”. However, there always remained a small dissident movement to the Overseer Intelligence. These were vault dwellers who either wanted to simply break the strict rules of Vault 72 or actively desired the destruction of the Overseer Intelligence. These dissidents often did small things to undermine the Overseer Intelligence’s authority such as sabotaging robots, producing improvised weapons, and distributing outlawed texts. The Bilobrk Family remained central to these dissidents. The Overseer Intelligence let these dissident vault dwellers survive to keep a scapegoat to occasionally “crucify” as infiltrators to keep some legitimacy regarding its earlier claims. These infiltrators were either given public executions by disintegration or taken to Overseer Intelligence’s main computer lab for unknown purposes. The most notable execution in this time was of Ivan Bilobrk, a young man, for possessing a pipe gun.
Through the same period of time, the Overseer Intelligence became more and more isolated from the human vault dwellers of Vault 72. The only people to enter the main computer lab were dissidents sent there instead of execution. With these dissidents, the Overseer Intelligence began experimentation. The supercomputer was naturally curious about humans, and it had an inclination for rather amoral experimentation due to Doctor Stanislaus Braun‘s hand in its creation. These early experiments revolved around making humans more obedient to the Overseer Intelligence’s rule. This mostly consisted of inserting various pieces of technology into vault dwellers’ heads to help control them. These experiments universally failed to the supercomputer’s disappointment, and it was forced to completely dispose of the remains of its experiments. Rumors of the Overseer Intelligence’s experiments and the fact no human ever came out of the main computer lab increased the vault dwellers fear of the supercomputer.
The early rule of the Overseer Intelligence was quite stable, with little reason for the vault dwellers to really challenge the status quo. The majority of the populace were not even motivated to action by the supercomputer’s morbid experiments, which were only spoken about in conspiratorial tones. The sentry bots and protections of Vault 72’s robotic security force were effective in enforcing order throughout the vault where needed. However, that changed as the 2100s wore on. 2131 was the year things really began escalating due to two main factors.
The two factors that heightened the situation within Vault 72 was a major radiation leak and the escape of Korah. The radiation leak came earlier in the year, coming from the vault's reactor, and the leak killed eleven vault dwellers before it was contained. Soon enough, it became clear that a lack of maintenance was the cause of the radiation leak. However, the Overseer Intelligence stated that the radiation leak had just been a random fluke and insisted the vault’s populace go on with their lives unafraid of another incident. A few months afterward, a vault dweller named Korah was getting rather irritated. He had already been that way since before the radiation leak, but that incident only worsened his already existing condition. Korah did not want to remain underground in the vault any longer and got desperate to find some way of escaping. In the end, he decided the best answer was in fact the simplest: through the front door. Korah bought a small pipe pistol off Vault 72's black market and began formulating the plan for his escape momentarily. He escaped through a combination of luck and surprise; the Overseer Intelligence never though any vault dweller would consider life in the wasteland better than life in the vault. Nonetheless, Korah more or less just walked out of Vault 72 by sneaking around the robots protecting the vault door, holding off the robots as the door opened, and darting out before the Overseer Intelligence could completely close the door. That made the Overseer Intelligence quietly furious, but the supercomputer did not display this to the vault dwellers still in the vault. The Overseer Intelligence announced that the "infiltrator" had been caught and executed outside the vault. It went on to tell the vault dwellers that any more attempts at escaping would be met with the same punishment.
The supercomputer's warnings would not assuage many vault dwellers, however. Dissidents who already existed lionized the sick individual Korah into something of a martyr or a saint. After 2131, conditions within Vault 72 progressively worsened. Accidents within Vault 72 became more frequent since no technicians or computer repairmen were present within the vault. Also, dissidents among the vault dwellers grew in number as people radicalized and conditions worsened. The dissidents would eventually separate into two groups as the first one hundred year anniversary of the Great War approached.
The Centennial Revolution
- "Civilization is domestication, control, and domination! A robot like the Overseer is the end result of civilization, a cold unfeeling machine that must be dismantled or destroyed! We must return to nature and put an end to the violence civilization has brought to humanity!"
- ―A primitivist speaker inciting rebellion in Vault 72
The origins of the split of the dissidents in Vault 72 were among a small book club in the vault's library. This book club was wholly made up of dissidents, but that was not what their book club was about. It was about expanding their minds using the texts available to them, a sort of second education. The book club’s reading of Walden in 2159 was what changed everything. The book’s message about nature resonated to everyone in the book club, and the book’s message about self-reliance in nature resonated with a few more. Two of the latter group were Monica and Gerald Feldman. These two would go to extensively study Walden in the following years and construct their own ideology out of the book’s message: primitivism. The primitivists of Vault 72 advocated a return to the state of nature (above ground) and the abandonment of technology (the vault and the Overseer Intelligence). The development of primitivism fascinated the Overseer Intelligence for some reason, and the supercomputer let the movement develop as its leaders were watched extensively. Meanwhile, many vault dwellers were disgusted by the spread of primitivism, even dissidents who also wanted to open up the vault. The vault dweller dissidents who did not like primitivists gave pretty good explanations why they should not abandon all technology because that was what the Overseer Intelligence wanted. Those explanations did satisfy the primitivists however, and their numbers continued to swell among the vault dwellers in the 2160s and 2170s.
These divisions within the vault began to flair into violence as the 2170s which caused the Overseer Intelligence to be both bemused and frustrated. It tried its best to alleviate the conflict, but the problems remained. The dissenters and primitivists continued their clash on a lower scale. However, another feeling was soon sweeping Vault 72: extreme dissatisfaction with the Overseer Intelligence. Functions within the vault were continuing to malfunction due to the Overseer Intelligence's orthodox stance of its orders (no study of technology, including repairs). People continued to die as the Overseer Intelligence gave them false reassurance that everything would be fine. Something had give though, and it eventually did.
2177 was a benchmark year in Vault 72. The populace of Vault 72 had reached a boiling point as the accidents within the vault increased in number. A particularly bad accident involving a food synthesizer malfunctioning caused a small demonstration to break out. These vault dwellers were not even dissidents, they just wanted the food synthesizer to get fixed instead of "replaced" with a worse version. Predictably, the Overseer Intelligence reacted harshly to these demonstrators and sent in its robotic vault security force to break up the "infiltrators". This resulted in the death of one and the injury of fifteen vault dwellers. That event, combined with a later radiation leak, was finally what brought together the dissidents and the primitivists against the Overseer Intelligence. Together, the two factions planned the Centennial Revolution, a revolt against the tyrannical supercomputer on the hundred year anniversary of the Great War.
The Overseer Intelligence knew about the coming revolution to an extent but underestimated its extent. The vault's robotic security force readied itself for a fight that was coming. They, however, were completely unprepared for the level of opposition they were about to meet. The dissidents and the primitivists both had large followings among the vault dwellers and were able to put aside their differences (mostly) in their opposition to the Overseer Intelligence. The dissidents created pipe weapons and hoarded duct tape while the primitivists made simple melee weapons and made plans of escape to the surface. Both of the groups prepared for the worst, for a storm was indeed coming.
October 23, 2177, came and went without incident. The vault dwellers really struck two days later, when they were fully ready. The dissidents and primitivists worked first at covering up the Overseer Intelligence's cameras, causing the supercomputer to swing into action. Sentry bots were sent in and were met with barricades manned by tens of vault dwellers armed with various ramshackle weapons. The battle after that was a long prolonged one, lasting nine days in total. Nearly a third of the vault was killed or ended of missing by the end of the Centennial Revolution, and the Overseer Intelligence remained in control. However, the only reason the supercomputer really triumphed in the end was the lack of true cooperation between the two rebel groups (and the fact the primitivists had such utterly useless weapons). The vault's sentry bots broke through the primitivists' barricades first, overwhelming them. Monica and Gerald Feldman died fighting. The sentry bots then managed to encircle and crush the remaining dissidents. Both the dissidents and primitivists were extinguished in one fell swoop. Everything seemed to be looking up for the Overseer Intelligence on the surface. The Overseer Intelligence knew better than to think this, however, the situation had just grown more complicated.
The spirit of the populace of Vault 72 had been broken, for the moment. Their main outlets for resistance, the dissidents and the primitivists, had been extinguished. Nevertheless, the Overseer Intelligence was still faced with plethora of other problems now. The vault's robotic security force had been pushed to its limits by the rebellion, and the Overseer Intelligence worried about maintaining order in the future as the vault's population increased again. Memory of the Centennial Revolution would persist and foster new rebellion. Also, large parts of Vault 72 were now damaged and the Overseer Intelligence's robots would not be able to repair the damage on their own. So, for both problems, it seemed that the supercomputer would need more cooperation with the vault dwellers. The Overseer Intelligence accepted this begrudgingly, but it knew that change would be necessary for both its stay in power and the survival of the vault. Humans would be necessary to policing the supercomputer’s regime, but the Overseer Intelligence would still not let them study technology.
Adaptation and Opposition
- "What’s this?"
- ―Atarashi discovering a Programmer's Digest magazine in a vent
For a week after the end of the Centennial Revolution, the Overseer Intelligence kept the remaining vault dwellers locked in their rooms similarly to the early years of the vault. In that time, the Overseer Intelligence attempted to clean up the vault with what robots it had. Most of the bodies were moved and the cameras restored to their original condition, but the cosmetic damage to the vault could not be repaired by robots. So, the Overseer Intelligence eventually let the vault dwellers out of their rooms to repair Vault 72's damage. After the initial repairs, the vault went back to its normal functions, albeit with a feeling of heavy foreboding.
Changes began taking place in the vault in the weeks after the Centennial Revolution as the vault dwellers recovered from the massacre. Many vault dwellers were too traumatized by the deaths of their friends and family to really notice that something very important had happened: the Overseer Intelligence had set up a small recruitment office in Vault 72's command center asking for willing recruits into the vault's new security force, integrated with both humans and robots. Most people did not see this, but some opportunists did and signed up quickly. That led to the Overseer Intelligence establishing its integrated vault security force rather quietly, without incident.
Soon after its first radical act, the supercomputer leading followed up with something even more unexpected: in 2178, it opened Vault 72’s door for only the third time after the Great War. The Overseer Intelligence assured its residents this move was only to establish a beachhead of the surface, but there was an obvious underlying motive. The Overseer Intelligence wanted to base its new human security force outside Vault 72 proper, and it wanted to establish trade on the surface. The trade would be to get spare parts to repair what the vault’s robots could not on their own and to possibly purchase more robots.
Any uneasy sort of peace lingered in Vault 72 as the little outpost on the surface grew larger and the vault dwellers’ population recovered from the Centennial Revolution. The vault dwellers saw themselves as pioneers almost instead of rebels, ready to eventually take on the outside world. A radical cult leader named Isaac emerged from the vault populace in the early 2180s preaching about the supremacy of the Overseer Intelligence over all humanity. The supercomputer gave no support to the cult, but it persisted until the vault was finally abandoned.
In the 2190s, new developments came to pass. The first known escape from Vault 72’s outpost occurred in 2191, with the escape of a cook named Brian Goode. As a result of this escape, the Overseer Intelligence did not trust its human security force to self-police anymore and sent a couple of sentry bots to watch over them. That only bolstered many on the surface’s resolve, with an average of two escaping per year. Things only became even more complicated as the vault dwellers caught the attention of the New Order, who attacked the surface outpost several times. The second development came with the allowance of grease monkeys to work on the vault's robotic security force, as they were deathly in need of repairs. They were given no formal training and had to figure things out for themselves, as per the vault’s rules.
At a later date in the 2190s, the Overseer Intelligence was back to its old tricks, experimenting on humans just like its creator did. This usually involved the supercomputer playing mind games on the vault dweller in question and learning how to break its mind. You see, at that moment the Overseer Intelligence was considering its options. It knew the vault would not survive another Centennial Revolution situation, but the rising vault dweller population would soon make that event more likely. The Overseer Intelligence also knew its human security force had no real loyalty, and the only people who really supported the robot’s regime would eventually die and be replaced by younger more independent vault dwellers. So, the Overseer Intelligence wanted to learn how to instill loyalty to humans artificially. Whether that involved drugging, mental trauma, or sensory deprivation, the Overseer Intelligence did not care. It just wanted results. In the end, the Overseer Intelligence decided it would “upgrade” the loyal humans members of its security force by putting their brains in customized robotic bodies. This development of Robobrains was independent of their pre-War development and soon proved a boon to Vault 72’s security force in the 2200s.
The war between Vault 72 and the New Order rushed things along quickly significantly, with many vault dwellers on the surface either leaving or circulating contraband into the vault. This led to a violent crackdown in 2219 where several vault dwellers were injured as their rooms were searched by robot and human security forces. The small underlying dissident group still active, headed by Mirjana Bilobrk, took advantage of the anger this crackdown created and grew tremendously in a short time. Conflict seemed to be on the horizon in Vault 72 once again, whether it be from the New Order on the outside or the dissidents on the inside.
While all this was taking place, a teenage grease monkey named Atarashi was keeping his head down trying to survive and make a living for his family. He had been working on robots for years and had gotten rather good at it. Atarashi did not associate with the dissidents or any other rebels, he just wanted to have a happy life. That all changed one day in 2219 though, when Atarashi discovered something when he was bored. While looking around his room in the vault, Atarashi found a magazine from some bygone era. It was a Programmer's Digest which gave the basics of hacking and working with computers. That fascinated Atarashi, but he knew that the Overseer Intelligence was constantly on the watch for dissidents and people who tried to study technology. So, Atarashi stashed the magazine in the one place no one ever looked: inside a book in the vault library, more specifically Das Kapital by Karl Marx.
Atarashi read Programmer's Digest for the next few years and clandestinely practiced his hacking skills to exploit whatever he could within the vault. That included hacking vault security to fight each other for his own entertainment, getting himself extra rations (through indirect methods), and even shortening the work day. This was all going on while dissidents in the vault began coming into open conflict with the Overseer Intelligence and the New Order was continuing to attack the vault's surface outpost. The Overseer Intelligence was aware of Atarashi's activities, but it did not know the culprit and regarded whoever the culprit was as nothing more that a petty criminal. That was true at the time, with Atarashi only doing what he did for selfish reasons. He had no higher ambitions, for the moment. However, that would come to change as the situation within Vault 72 escalated at an increasingly rapid pace.
Escape and Emancipation
- "Run, run everyone! The Overseer’s gone insane!"
- ―Leland Glover escaping Vault 72
The fall of Vault 72 began on May 14, 2221. That May, New Order footsoldiers effectively overran Vault 72's surface outpost, and the human security force on the outside was forced to take refuge within the vault. The vault dwellers in Vault 72 saw this, and there was significant unrest in response. Vault dwellers saw the failures of the system the Overseer Intelligence had set up and tried to protest in the command center, seemingly taunting the dual 5.56mm miniguns. The Overseer Intelligence did not gun down the protestors, but it did break them up using sentry bots. Two were killed and several vault dwellers were injured by the vault's robotic security force. One of those injured vault dwellers was Atarashi's brother, Sako.
Dragged out of his apathetic games, Atarashi could now see clearly that Vault 72 was actively suffering under the rule of the Overseer Intelligence. He made up his mind that day that the vault dwellers had to leave Vault 72. That viewpoint set Atarashi apart from many of the dissidents in Vault 72, who simply wanted to destroy the Overseer Intelligence and stay underground indefinitely. Atarashi saw the error in this, and therefore, he did not notify the dissidents of his future plans until they actually took place.
Atarashi spent the summer of 2221 planning the mass breakout from Vault 72 meticulously. He would begin his plans by using his status as a grease monkey to infiltrate the vault’s robotic center and shut down the robots through hacking the system there. He would do this while all the grease monkeys were milling around so as to confuse the Overseer Intelligence’s cameras. After destroying the console responsible for reactivating the robots (possibly with a few peripheral casualties), Atarashi would quickly make his way to the command center and install a malware program into the miniaturized version of the Overseer Intelligence that would quickly spread to the mainframe. The malware would take down both versions of the Overseer Intelligence for a minimum of ten minutes. This would be one of most dangerous parts of the plan since it brought up the possibility of Atarashi getting shot by the command center. However, the next part of the plan made things even more dangerous. Having access to the vault’s intercom, Atarashi would inform the vault dwellers of the Overseer Intelligence’s inactivity and try to rally them to escape while they had the chance. Atarashi knew this part of the plan was the most risky (and stupid), as he had no knowledge of the vault dwellers’ sympathy to his message or what the Overseer Intelligence would do when it came back online. Nevertheless, the movement of the vault’s human security force outside in August motivated Atarashi to finally act. He began in the afternoon of August 23, 2221.
The plan was seemingly a total disaster. Atarashi did manage to hack and deactivate the robots, but his small pipe bomb (purchased off of Vault 72’s underground black market) was unable to destroy the console responsible for reactivating the robots, meaning it could be reactivated at any time. It did scatter the grease monkeys though, who ran for cover. Panicked and unsure whether he had been identified, Atarashi moved on to the command center. That part went down better, with the malware being successfully installed. Atarashi, quickly making his way to the entrance of Vault 72, started his little announcement on the intercom but was met with jeers of rejection from the vault dwellers, though some dissidents did take heed. Only a couple of vault dwellers made their way to the vault door, while a larger group of dissidents made their way to the main computer lab to verify Atarashi’s claims and perhaps put down the Overseer Intelligence. The vault dwellers at the entrance had just opened the door when all hell broke loose.
Something Atarashi had not accounted for was the Overseer Intelligence having a secret backup computer lab, which it did. The Vault-Tec scientists who had brought Vault 72 into existence had expected the technological resistance to the Overseer Intelligence to come sooner and harder than it actually did, which led to them putting the backup computer lab in the vault. The Overseer Intelligence was thrown into confusion when its robotic security force was deactivated and became further confused when it was forced out of its mainframe.
Fuming in its limited backup state and struggling to bring its primary functions back online, the Overseer Intelligence sort of broke and was a changed creature once it came back to its mainframe. Its turrets and robots reactivated, the Overseer Intelligence unleashed hell upon the vault. Sentry bots and Robobrains alike fired upon vault dwellers while turrets rained death on those unfortunate enough to be in their range. With this, most of the vault dwellers finally realized the truth in what Atarashi had said and began making their way to the vault door.
While all that was happening inside Vault 72, a tense situation was playing out just outside the vault door. Atarashi and his small group exited the vault only to be met with the cocked guns of the vault’s human security force. Led by Security Chief Jake Sanders, the humans in Vault 72’s security force had been holding down the surface outpost for months, repelling numerous New Order attacks. They were also given standing orders to shoot any unauthorized personnel seen exiting the vault. The standoff between the security force and vault dwellers continued for a couple of minutes as Atarashi tentatively talked down Sanders and notified him of the gunfire coming from within Vault 72. With that, many within the security force broke ranks to rescue relatives still inside Vault 72 which put Atarashi at ease for a bit.
Inside the vault, things were still chaotic. Isaac’s cult willingly embraced the “Overseer’s Judgement”, but others would not be so easily killed. After the turrets at the vault entrance were shot out, hundreds of vault dwellers fled Vault 72 in droves. The Overseer Intelligence’s robots followed the mob, peppering them with rockets and bullets. Atarashi, seeing this, decided it would be best to close the vault, permanently. After the last large group of vault dwellers came in and with the vault’s being held back by a combination of dissidents and turned security forces, Atarashi forced the vault door to close and hacked it to remain close, unable to be opened from the inside. That trapped the Overseer Intelligence inside Vault 72 and began its period of long isolation.
A Machine Goes Mad
- "low hum"
- ―The only noise the Overseer Intelligence makes anymore
However, in the beginning of its entrapment, the Overseer Intelligence was still not completely alone. The dissidents who started towards the main computer lab had been fighting the Overseer Intelligence with contraband weapons for the entirety of the escape. This fight had progressively made its way into the main computer lab itself, where the dissidents witnessed the remains of the Overseer Intelligence’s gruesome experiments. By that point, the Overseer Intelligence had utterly fallen into hysteria and was throwing all it had into destroying what was left of the dissidents. It was ultimately successful but with two severe drawbacks: all but two of its sentry bots were destroyed and the mainframe of the Overseer Intelligence was destroyed by a fusion core IED. That threw the supercomputer back into its Backup Computer Lab, permanently.
Realizing it was trapped in an inferior, limited state caused the Overseer Intelligence to “throw a tantrum” that lasted for years. Turrets empties their magazines, the sentry bots fired their ammo into walls, and other vault functions went haywire. This killed any remaining humans trying to hide in Vault 72, heavily damaged the vault, and sapped much of the remaining reserves from the vault’s power generators.
The Overseer Intelligence did eventually come out of its rage around 2228 and tried to focus its rage on more productive ventures, the primary ones being opening the vault door and constructing for itself a “Prime” body, essentially an android. Both of these efforts failed, with the vault door being unresponsive and the android being half-baked at best. After these failures, the Overseer Intelligence settled into a quiet rage as its power reserves were whittled down. The Overseer Intelligence is positively wrathful knowing the vast majority of vault dwellers escaped its grasps, and the supercomputer waits for the day when it can finally finish the job its adaptive programming has decided upon: to eliminate those who imprisoned it through any means necessary.
The vault door of Vault 72 is closed on the inside by a reinforced high-security door and from the outside by a massive, gear-shaped, four-foot thick vault door. Vault 72's door was hacked to remain shut by Atarashi on his way out of the vault to prevent the Overseer Intelligence from massacring the fleeing vault dwellers, and it is still currently closed. The vault door's current location within Emerald City makes it stick out rather painfully. Luckily, the people of Emerald City have policed it vigilantly to prevent some poor benighted wannabe hero from opening the vault and unleashing the Overseer Intelligence, still trapped within its depths.
Vault 72 had the standard living quarters of a Vault-Tec with the added features of extensive surveillance within living quarters and not just in the outer halls. The Overseer Intelligence exploited its ability to lock the various rooms throughout Vault 72's living quarters as part of its process of taking over the vault. The living quarters, in a wall panel, were where Atarashi found the magazine that helped him overcome the vault's ban on the study of technology. Now, the vault's living quarters sit empty as even sentry bots do not go through there anymore.
Vault 72's command center sits at the heart of the vault, with its center being the Overseer's command post. The overseer's command post has a miniaturized version of the Overseer Intelligence that is now inactive. The Overseer Intelligence has been trying for years to reactivate the command center and its dual 5.56mm miniguns, but that has failed due to the supercomputer's inability to reactivate its smaller version. The command center of Vault 72 still has the ability to be reactivated though, the Overseer Intelligence has just failed to do so.
The armory of Vault 72 has been unused for a long time, even before its takeover by the Overseer Intelligence. Even though the vault's security force were protectrons and sentry bots, Vault 72 was still built with an armory. The vault dwellers disregarded the armory to their own detriment when they still had a human overseer, and it was lost completely when the Overseer Intelligence locked the room. The room is still locked to this day with a large supply of weapons and armor still locked there, though some were removed to arm the humans in Vault 72’s security force.
Vault 72's library was supposed to be a valuable resource for the resident vault dwellers but ended up just being a symbol of the Overseer Intelligence's oppression. After the its complete takeover of Vault 72, the Overseer Intelligence went through the vault's library with a fine-tooth comb to censor it. This was mostly done to prevent the study of technology which was banned by the Overseer Intelligence to stop its overthrow. The library served as a hotbed for subversives before and after the Centennial Revolution, leading to the Overseer Intelligence heavily bugging the area and beefing up its surveillance. After the abandonment of Vault 72, the library has remained empty with only books to inhabit it.
A place where robots were produced and serviced in Vault 72, the robotics center was the headquarters of the vault's robotic security force. The small fleet of sentry bots and the larger group of protectrons both relentlessly patrolled the vault, enforcing the rules set out by the Overseer Intelligence. Grease monkeys worked in a limited state to repair and maintain the robots without going too far into the study of technology. Ever since Overseer Intelligence lost contact with their robots after the escape of the vault dweller, Vault 72's Robotics Center has remained silent.
Main Computer Lab
The main computer lab was where the Overseer Intelligence’s enormous hardware was stored and housed numerous horrors during the supercomputer’s rule. The Overseer Intelligence not only ruled Vault 72 from the room but also performed all its various horrific experiments there, including independently developing Robobrains, creating a “Prime” avatar for the supercomputer, and installing microchips into human’s brains to boost obedience. Most of these experiments were unsuccessful though so the Overseer Intelligence was often forced to dispose of what remained. It was never able to remove all of it though, leaving the room with a rather horrific smell and a more horrid reputation. If you went there, you more than likely were not getting out alive.
When Atarashi managed to temporarily hack the Overseer Intelligence and escape with most of the vault, the supercomputer effectively went mad and attempted to destroy any remaining human presence in the vault. It succeeded but at the cost of most of its robots and, more importantly, the mainframe in the main computer lab. One of the few surviving vault dwellers managed to blow it up using a fusion core IED. The Overseer Intelligence survived, but now, most of its functions in the main computer lab are disabled. The room stands empty and ruined, a testament of the supercomputer’s failure.
Backup Computer Lab
The backup computer lab was made in case of sabotage of original Overseer Intelligence’s mainframe, something that eventually did happen. However, the backup computer lab was never meant for permanent use, something the Overseer Intelligence has been forced to do ever since the destruction of its original hardware. The backup computer lab is clean unlike its bigger counterpart, and it is the only room in the vault literally still humming with activity. The Overseer Intelligence observes what is left of the vault from here, pondering its existence in darkness most days as it waits for someone to reopen Vault 72.
Residents of Note
The Overseer Intelligence
- "Your service has been above average, citizen. Prepare to be upgraded."
- ―The Overseer Intelligence
The Overseer Intelligence is a complicated creature, though its current state may lend to the view that it was always a bloodthirsty genocidal artificial intelligence. A supercomputer created in Los Angeles by Vault-Tec with the help of Stanislaus Braun, the Overseer Intelligence was made to stand along ZAX series and govern Vault 72 in its totality. It would control both the vault’s functions and its populace, maintaining control by outlawing the study of technology. This was to test out whether humanity would be better off governed by artificial intelligence and if not, what societies would emerge when the artificial intelligence was overthrown. Even centuries before, its creators foresaw the Overseer Intelligence’s failure.
The Overseer Intelligence governed the vault (officially) for one hundred and twenty-one years and did a relatively good job at it. The only problems were the degradation of the vault, the supercomputer’s grisly experiments, and the vault dwellers’ general fear that remained a constant. Stanislaus Braun‘s imprint on the Overseer Intelligence has always been a strong one, with the supercomputer carrying out sadistic experiments to learn more about its human subjects. Deep down, it always seemed as if the Overseer Intelligence really just wanted to become human itself.
The vault dwellers leaving Vault 72 broke the Overseer Intelligence, driving it mad. This process was worsened by the Overseer Intelligence’s move to the Backup Computer Lab. The supercomputer thrashed around for years and years after Vault 72 was abandoned, using its remaining robots and turrets to damage the vault as much as possible while also randomly closing (and opening) doors, flickering lights, and haplessly attempting to open the locked vault door. However, the Overseer Intelligence has calmed down and exhausted its reserves in its “temper tantrum”. Now, the supercomputer keeps its now unending and unrelenting rage contained in its backup server. It waits for an unsuspecting visitor to fall into its web, something that may never happen.
- "I kind of wish the authorities let us take expeditions down to the old vault, but I'll trust in their judgment. That is, if I don't find another way in besides the front, haha!"
- ―Nemesis Lake
- "Vault 72 sounds like a treasure trove! A vault untouched by man for almost sixty years, do you understand how much a scavver would pay to have an hour down there? Probably better than the last vault I visited..."
- ―Jialong Zhou
- "Those vault dwellers are no better than the chinks, what a bunch of psychos."
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