The Vaults
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An ad by Vault-Tec Industries.

During the mid-twenty-first century, global anxiety concerning an impending nuclear war began to rise as several nuclear conflicts wiped out vast areas of the Middle East. In response, the United States started Project Safehouse, a multi-billion dollar program designed by Vault-Tec Industries. Vault-Tec was commissioned to build 122 huge underground shelters, each with the ability to house, sustain, and protect one-thousand citizens. Since the United States had a population of nearly 400 million at the time, competition to get into the vaults was extremely fierce.

Unbeknownst to the citizens who bought or were awarded vouchers from Vault-Tec, the true purpose of the shelters was to carry out a massive, sinister experiment in which pre-selected segments of the population could be studied. Many of the vaults were designed with intentional flaws or highly unlikely group makeups (for instance, one vault was populated with 1 man and 999 women). Since the Enclave had its own self-concerned plans for surviving the apocalypse, they wanted to be able to see the results of the experiment from a distance to determine the survivability of each group, and to see what kind of difficulties could be overcome… and which would result in the total failure of a community.

Needless to say, the average vault-dweller was completely unaware of any such circumstance upon their inception into the shelter. In some cases the Vault Overseers were aware of the specific 'challenge' in their vault if their assistance was considered necessary to ensure it was properly implemented, but this was not always the case.

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