A Vault is a type of subterranean installation. Officially, they were designed for the sole purpose of sheltering dwellers from a nuclear holocaust.
Commissioned by the government, vaults were built across the country. However, when the storm of nuclear war came, the vaults were sealed without many of their dwellers due to the “Cry Wolf” effect training drills had on the populace.
The first vault was built intended to demonstrate the viability of such a facility. The demonstration vault was built beneath the city, within its limits.
The vaults were one of the most expensive shelters in the pre-War world. The intended budget for each particular installation was 400 billion dollars, and by the end of its construction reached $645 billion. The vaults were located in various locations, and little information is available as to why those particular sites were chosen.
Each vault was designed to hold occupants at any given time, although hot-bunking was required at maximum capacity, and equipped with all facilities and supplies needed by them to survive in isolation for the designated time.
The life support system could work for over 900 years without failure. The facilities and supplies for included complete construction equipment, hydro-agricultural farms, a water purification system, defensive weaponry to equip 10 men, communication systems and surface monitors, social, and entertainment files (for total duration). Waste management was conducted by burning trash on scheduled “burning days”. Larger incinerator receptacles were used for the destruction of human corpses. In addition, some vaults received technology, intended to help the inhabitants create a viable civilization in the post-nuclear world after the All Clear signal is sent.
Different types of power sources were utilized for the vaults. Some relied primarily on geothermal energy, with backup power available from a nuclear power generator, enough to sustain the vault for two hundred years. Some, on the other hand, relied on an inefficient nuclear reactor, which could only support a relatively small, highly advanced settlement, and, in time, was nearing its capacity, after which further growth would be impossible.
All vault dwellers wear jumpsuits, although the design varied between different vaults. The typical vault dweller living in a properly maintained vault could expect to live an average of 92.3 years.3
Needless to say, most vaults in the experiment failed and had results completely different than those advertised. Many who exited successful vaults seem to suffer from xenophobia (fear of strangers) and/or agoraphobia (fear of open places).
The entrance houses the Vault’s only connection to the outside world – the airlock.
It is closed from the inside by a reinforced high-security door and from the outside by a massive, gear-shaped, four-foot thick vault door. For most vaults this is the only means of entering or leaving. Most vaults have consoles located on both the inside and outside, either of which requires a security code to open the outer door. These codes are usually only known to a handful of people within the facility so as to prevent unauthorized exits.
The vault doors had a projected 2% failure rate in case of a direct hit by a nuclear missile.
Most vaults use a Seal-N-Safe Vault Door Model No. 343 to secure the airlock. Some older vaults use a different, cruder blast door model. The control vault, had also a second, much larger, blast door built, securing the entry hallway leading to the entrance to the vault.
The entrance level also houses the Emergency Medical Lab complete with an Auto-Doc. A vault medic was required to be present at the EML 24 hours a day. The lab had the equipment to treat nearly all injuries and illnesses, ranging from simple bruises to radiation.
Standard pre-War design of the living quarters was that of a single room with a sanitary annex. Some had one hundred living quarters, and at maximum capacity, ten people would be assigned to a single living quarter, in a hot- bunking system. A standard level had 20,000 square feet of usable area.
The lights in the vaults used Simu-Sun technology, making it feel just like the outdoors, with only a fraction of a sunburn risk. The lights in were kept on all the time to prevent a radroach infestation.
Vault dwellers were known to play holotapes, and used slide projectors in the classroom.
The command center was the heart of the vault. The operations center, apart from the seat of power, included the computer lab, where the water purification system was located, and an armory, where the vault’s weapons, ammunitions and armor were stockpiled. A security guard was posted in the command center at all times, to ensure that the armaments were properly secured and handed out only to people possessing the proper clearance.
Apart from that, the level also contained the computer core (with the vault’s AI monitoring the shelter 24/7), housing data processing units, a library playing an important role in educating vault dwellers, a common meeting room, and the primary store room, where the most important supplies would be stored.
From the command center, one could also be able to see anyone inside the vault with the surveillance cameras.
Equipped with dual 5mm miniguns in some vaults, the command post can be considered the last line of defense in case vault security is breached.
In the Secret Vault, there are several command posts for the various sections. The command posts mainly contain buttons to control things like locking of doors and laser protection.