The last “report” got a bit heavy hearted, so this one will be a lighter snack, and more like an actual report. You may think that I’m endorsed by Vault-Tec after reading this, but I assure you, the seemingly over positive spin is nothing but the unvarnished truth. Vault 88 is just that great.
After having fussed around confused for a few days, I finally managed to find the much talked about vault. It was well hidden in a cave beneath a quarry surrounded by raiders. The raiders leave on daily raids, and the only remaining guard drugs himself down when they leave, so sneaking into the cave was not hard.
Not far into the cave there’s a huge vault door
making sure no one gets in or out unnoticed and unchecked. Approaching the door I was met by a rusty female voice over the intercom. She asked me some questions and told me to state my purpose. I told her I had supplies for the vault. Seems that was the magic word. Supplies. Getting in was surprisingly easy.
As soon as I was inside, a band of raiders rushed to the vault door. They must have been sneaking behind me and waited for the door to open. A heavily armored guard with a minigun walked staunchly towards them while serving a barrage of lead. The vault door closed shortly after the raiders were converted into mongrel food.
Man, how I looked forward to get a break from the surface. This was most certainly the place to be.
Vault 88, all about safety
Inside the vault I had to go through screening, a rather invasive process. A guard with heavy armor and a minigun made sure I didn’t do anything I wasn’t supposed to. A lady in a radiation suit took a few tests and led me through an x-ray field or something. I felt nauseated. My stomach turned. She told me it was normal. Probably why she wore that suit. A few more tests followed. She took security seriously and was not impressed with my attempts at humor to loosen up the tense atmosphere.
After the screening I was escorted to the local authorities, a peace keeping police-military hybrid of sorts. They made sure i didn’t have any harmful items, like weapons and propaganda. The latter was especially important to them. Their defensive capabilities could easily neutralize anyone with a weapon, but someone with convincing ideas would be a graver threat to the hermetically sealed society than weapons ever would. The paranoia over any outside influence affecting the easily shaped minds in a vault is understandable, I guess.
Next stop was the clinic to get checked for contagious diseases, mental issues and general health mapping. I met a well kept, clean and modern clinic that offered free healthcare to all residents of the vault. They even offer corrective eye surgery and facial reconstruction. They removed my accumulated radiation for free, and offered to fix my deviated septum too if I decided to stay in the vault permanently.
With the various contaminations of the wasteland removed from my body and some over the counter pick-me-up drugs in my system, I skipped happily along to the Overseer’s office, the head of the vault.
The bridge leading to the Overseer gives of a humbling impression, solidifying the supreme leader’s position.
The Overseer is a ghoul, named Valery Barstow. A professional lady that’s all about keeping the vault in order.
As I wanted to apply for citizenship in the vault, I had to go through a series of questions. The Goat-test, I think she called it. The questions didn’t seem too relevant to my stay here, and quite frankly were a bit weird. The test wanted to know my position on moral choices regarding confrontations, killing and stealing. It was. luckily for me, a multiple choice test, so I just dotted something on there.
I passed and got a pip-boy!
Another provisioner was waiting for an audience with the overseer. As I left the Overseer’s office marvelling at my pip-boy, I heard him apologizing for losing a shipment. The door closed behind me. Poor dude.
A proud society
Finally I was free to make the grand tour of the vault. It’s massive. Apparently this underground city was built by someone called “The Sole Survivor”. Where that person found the time to build this is anyone’s guess. The rooms are modular, but still, Vault 88 was clearly not built in a day.
When done with screening and navigating a couple confusing hallways (I had to go through screening again), you will be greeted by a huge atrium. It’s role is connecting the various spaces, rooms and compartments together. It’s well furnished and the embellishments show an exceptional, patriotic spirit.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that everyone uses these blue skin tight suits. All permanent residents are required to wear them, except for people with specific jobs like doctors, scientists and guards.
They do have some creative liberties in choosing their own headwear to express their individuality, although in a somewhat suppressed sense.
Provisioners and other visitors can wear what they want, but have to comply with regular pat-downs by the guards.
The prime goal of Vault 88 is to keep all it’s inhabitants satisfied and entertained (to avoid a revolt perhaps?).
Take a look at what Vault 88 can offer (Click to enlarge):
Despite being almost hermetically sealed to minimize outside influence, they are surprisingly open to strangers. Still very cautious compared to other communities though.
Pretty much every wall has a poster reinforcing tribal values. The importance of staying together, helping each other and to be wary of outsiders are reinforced at every opportunity, through propaganda and the school system.
The school is a bit heavy on the propaganda, but other than that, it seems like a good place to learn. Well supplied and serious about educating the populace.
I am not entirely able to pinpoint their political views, but I know communism isn’t very popular here, despite not exactly being free market capitalists themselves. The over 200-year old leader, the overseer of Vault 88 is a ghoul that isn’t going to die of age anytime soon, so it’s not exactly a democracy either, but it works. They’re patriots with strong socialist legislations. “All for one, one for all” is the vibe I’ve gotten so far.
But enough of that. I’ll write an analysis once I figure them out.
The cornerstone in a balanced and durable society is keeping hunger at bay, and starvation non-existent. They grow their own food and allow provisioners and traders to sell their wares to keep the diet interesting. And what’s a better place to serve food and drinks for everyone? A big, classic American diner.
(Click images to enlarge)
A small digression here, but i gotta tell you about an episode that left me a bit perplexed, and slightly embarrassed.
The Overseer gave me the keys to the storage room, so I could take some pictures. While I was in there, a woman strolled up to me, turned away and said:
“We’re alone. Grab it.”
A bit puzzled by her request, I hesitated for a few seconds.
So I reflexively grabbed her butt.
She turned her head, looked at me with resignation and pointed at the Mentats. She meant ‘grab the box of Mentats‘, not her butt, obviously. Honest mistake.
I slowly let go of her bottom, picked up the box and gave it to her. She put the Mentats in her hat, while I pretended to be very interested in an unlabeled aluminum can, long enough for her to leave the room.
Evidently Vault 88 has it’s black sheeps too. Maybe she knew I would totally misunderstand this ambiguous situation, grab her butt and be too embarrassed to report the theft to the overseer. Clever girl.
Vault 88 is a hyperproductive society able to sustain itself without any outside help. Food is produced in a controlled environment, and a water purifier pumps water and removes radiation. Excess production is stored, and any excess above storage limits will be sold or repurposed. They even have a food processor making interesting variants of different kinds of crops and meats.
Tools, weapons, ammo, mechanical parts et cetera, are made in the workshop. If something brakes, the Overseer orders someone to repair or make new parts for it. Effective AF (as fuck), as the kids say these days.
To keep things running smoothly, an automated system monitors and controls pretty much every function in the vault. The room in which this incredible system runs, is filled with state of the art servers and run by one guy, personally trained by the Overseer. He has a strict clause in his contract not to share any information from these servers to anyone.
Everything is powered by a big reactor. This is where I have my only complaint with this place. They could have diverted a bit more power to the lights. It’s a bit dim in here. But there’s probably a good reason for it. And also, I’m not an electrician, so what do I know.
( Update: Museum Article)
This place is basically an underground fortress. Thick walls, automated turrets, a huge metal door, and an army. Yes, you read correctly. An army.
All permanent residents aged 16 and above are required to undergo regular weapons training, security exercises and emergency drills (many of them with weapons). Once in awhile, the Overseer opens the vault door (unannounced) to let in raiders for live training. I’ll try to get in on one of their live drills and make a report for you.
Weapons and armor are sold in designated shops, where residents (not visitors) can buy whatever they want. Weapons and weapon-modifications is an encouraged hobby, and armor is fashion. It’s like sports to these people. If you’re a good shooter, you’re a reputable person and in high standing.
Everyone has their own weapon locker to store their appointed and self-owned, which are strategically placed around the vault. All lockers have electronic locks that open in the case of an attack. Whenever someone wants to fire away a few rounds at the shooting range, they will be escorted by a guard until the weapon is in its locker again. Probably a safety mechanism to avoid anyone going haywire with, say, a gatling gun.
The place to be
If all of this isn’t convincing enough to relocate to Vault 88, then a raiders life is probably more your thing. Here you’ll be protected from the dangers on the surface, while all your needs are taken care of. Sure, some compromises has to be made, but hey, beats being eaten by a deathclaw.
So, if you don’t mind living underground in an autocratic and somewhat fascist, oversized steel container, this is the place for you.
As for me, it seems this hangout has enough going on for itself to write a few articles about, and besides, it’s the most comfortable place I’ve been in a while, so I’ll go with the flow and see where it takes me.
Click here to read the previous one.