Fallout 4's missed opportunity to explain everything about vaults:
MIT’s role in the creation of vault experiments
I am here to propose an idea. Obviously, this can’t exactly be considered canon, since Fallout 4, as stated in the title, did not go in this direction with its lore, yet the game gives us the perfect opportunity to explain all the sinister stuff that has been going on in vaults all over America.
“What was it all for?” is a question anyone who has played any Fallout game must have asked themselves at some point. As I am writing this, people are posting their vault ideas for this year’s Fallout Week. But hey. What was it all for? Why did they do it? The way vaults are presented in the game, it seems like Vault-tec. just consisted of a group of psychopaths with too much free time on their hands. But. Consider this:
- Vault-tec. is just a cover
- vaults were part of the Enclave’s plan to create the perfect human
- the residents of the vaults were never meant to survive
- the MIT formed the scientific core of the organization and continued
to work on the plan after the Great War, which eventually led to the creation
of synths and the goal to “redefine humanity”
Before Fallout 4 came out, I was reading up lore, trying to piece together some information. I stumbled upon an article about Vault 0 – the vault that is supposed to harbor the brightest minds and the most influential politicians of pre-war America. Vault 0 was built as a command center, it was designed to connect all the vaults together and when the right time came, it was supposed to activate the Exodus Protocol that would help to reunite the vaults. Vault 0 was run by a supercomputer. The brains of the residents were put into cryogenic stasis and linked to the supercomputer. When I read it, I thought that Bethesda took the idea from Fallout Tactics and developed it further in their own game. I mean, the parallels are a bit staggering. Cryogenic stasis, artificial intelligence, the brightest minds of the Old World – those are all details that were used to create Fallout 4’s world.
We know that the Overseers were collecting data. We also know that they were sending it… somewhere? We have never been told where this data went, we have no idea who the Overseers communicated with. The obvious answer is – with Vault-tec. But let’s be real – What is Vault-tec. even?
How was it created? Who is working for it? There are supposed to be researchers working for it, but Vault-tec. isn’t an institute, and it’s a young organization, so they must have employed researchers from well-known universities. We know that the Enclave was behind the creation of the vaults – but even they must have had a plan when they built them.
One thing about the Enclave: they were obsessed with the idea of making the perfect human being. This is why the FEV virus was created. Officially, it was the work of West Tek, but this company was a private contractor of the U.S. government that was also responsible for the creation of the power armor, as well as laser and plasma weapons. The FEV virus was supposed to turn normal humans into superhumans, who would be stronger, faster, unaffected by diseases and radiation. This, obviously, didn’t exactly turn out well, but it exemplifies the Enclave’s goals quite well.
Now, don’t you find it suspicious that the Institute’s motto is “Humanity, redefined”?
The Institute is so obsessed with creating the perfect synthetic being. They spent two centuries working on this project, pouring almost all their resources into it. WHY? Why were they so obsessed with it? They researched this with an almost religious dedication. Even after decades and centuries of failed experimenting, they were unable to give up, to change directions. No, they stubbornly held onto this idea. Why was it so important to them?
As I mentioned earlier, Vault-tec. needed researchers to build the vaults and plan the experiments. Enclave researchers worked for Vault-tec., you could say – but the Enclave was a shadow government, and not a scientific facility. They as well had to find researchers to work for them. They had plans, visions and ideas, but they needed educated people to make these ideas come to life. They most probably looked for people all over America, and given the state of people’s minds at the end of the Old World, there were probably more than enough who were more than happy to create vault experiments like the ones we see in the games.
Now, where do we have a lot of bright scientists? The MIT.
The Institute wanted to recreate a human being. To do that, you need a good idea of how humans work – both body and mind. And this is what explains the social and biological experiments in the vaults. This explains the need for data collection. The vault experiments put human subject in extreme situations to strain the body and the mind, so that the researchers could a) learn how exactly humans work and b) advance the artificial humans.
The residents of the vaults were never meant to survive. The researchers just wanted to see how far the human body and mind can be pushed.
The collected data were likely used in the research on the synthetic humans.
This is why the vaults are the way they are.
We also have to consider how exactly the whole system worked. We have the Enclave, West Tek, Vault-tec. and the MIT, as well researchers from other institutes (most probably). ALL of them are part of this. The Enclave is behind everything, but the one who we constantly think and talk about when we discuss vaults is Vault-tec. Because Vault-tec. is just a cover, a farce, an empty name – something that has been created to hide the truth behind layers and layers of lies. Researchers from the MIT are the actual Vault-tec. but this cannot be known, and their plans must be hidden from the public – hence, this fake organization and its mascot. Researchers from the MIT, again, are working for the Enclave, who is working with West Tek. This cannot be known either. In fact, the most important thing is probably to hide the involvement of the Enclave and of West Tek. West Tek is such a shady organization, I think I may even lack the ability to describe just how shady I find it. West Tek played a huge role in creating the Fallout universe as we know it, and yet we know virtually nothing about them. NOTHING. They worked on the FEV virus, called themselves “private contractors” even though they are most obviously just part of the shadow government, doing whatever the Enclave deems right. They were there every step of the way while the world got closer and closer to total nuclear annihilation. And yet they remained unseen. What do we see instead? The flashy, funny, noisy Vault-tec.
It is a complex system where one thing covers the other thing, and where this other thing is, again, covered by something else.
It’s best described by this image.
The Enclave is the one pulling the strings, controlling the situation. It must be protected from the public backlash, if someone ever found out what they were planning. The stick of the umbrella is West Tek. Having some fabric over your head is nice but without something holding it it’s useless. MIT and other researchers are part of the core that holds the umbrella, and they also need protection from the storm, which is also why they are under the umbrella. Finally, Vault-tec. is what draws the attention towards itself and away from the other players.
The Institute, were Bethesda to write it with this in mind, should be an analogue of Fallout Tactics’ Vault 0. It makes sense to assume that the MIT was turned into a Vault after the bombs dropped, or that they prepared for the nuclear war and built a vault (they were doing it all over America, for heaven’s sake) for themselves – and for all the other people mentioned above. For the Enclave politicians. For the West Tek researchers. For everyone who participated in this grand plan.
Think about it. First of all, the Institute, as is, already resembles a typical vault in many aspects. They have a Director (instead of an Overseer), a dress code, food supplements, no democracy whatsoever, you cannot choose whatever job you like, you cannot leave, you have to be obedient… the list goes on. Additionally, this theory finally explains why the Institute has FEV samples. If the MIT was working with the Enclave and West Tek, who created the FEV strain, it makes absolute sense for them to have it.
If all these people ended up living in one vault, it also explains why the Institute was so obsessed with one single idea for several centuries.
It also makes sence to establish such a base in close proximity to the capital, as opposed to the original Vault 0 that is located in Colorado. Washingto D.C. wasn’t a good place to stay in in case of a nuclear war, since it’s a capital, but you can evacuate relatively fast to Boston if you have vertibirds.
Take it as you will. For me, this is the biggest missed opportunity of the whole Fallout franchize. Fallout 4 had the chance to explain everything. And it didn’t.
Still, I believe that the things I talked about - the scheme - are true. It’s just that we will never see it implemented in a game.
@red-king-4 here is your answer!
Also, this post is accompanying this art I have made for the Fallout Week!