Here is a story of survival. A tale of one man’s life changing journey in an unchanging world.
War. War never changes. Since man first came into this world he has soaked it with the blood of countless lives. Whether it be in the battle for survival, glory, or riches; the legacy of mankind has been callously written on the bones of the fallen.
In the year 2077 man’s capacity for destruction would overtake him. The world who bore humankind was torn asunder and made anew in the cleansing light of nuclear fire and radiation. One would think that’s where our story ends, but the stubbornness of man knows no bounds, and he rose from the ashes to resume his struggle. For man had nearly succeeded in destroying himself- but war, war never changes.
In the early days, many were spared the horrors of the fallout by taking refuge in enormous underground shelters, we call them Vaults. Vault 13 is where you have lived all your life. Life is good here. Better than the hellish landscape outside the Vaults great metal doors. You have a roof of steel protecting you from the horrors of the wastes. You have unirradiated food and water. A luxury few now know. Vault 13 is your world, and your world is about to end.
The Water Chip. This single device regulates the water purifier for an entire Vault. A Vault is like an oasis in a barren land, what sets it apart is its ability to provide an abundance of life giving water, so when the Water Chip in Vault 13 broke, the leader of the Vault, we call him the Overseer, chose to come to you.
150 days, he tells you, 150 days and life in the Vault would be over. The broken Water Chip is too complex to replace, the only way this sanctuary is going to survive is if one of their own leaves, and searches for a replacement chip. The Overseer has on record that there is a neighboring Vault that has been equipped with a spare Water Chip. Saving the Vault will mean sending someone to collect the device.
Armed with your trusty Pip-Boy and meager supplies, you dare venture beyond the confines of safety. For better or worse, you stumble into the unknown, to brave the wasteland- and you do it, for the good of the Vault.
The Wasteland. Its name implies a vast nothingness. If only that were true. It feels like everyone out here in the real world- or what’s left of it- is living on borrowed time. In your quest to find the Chip, you see horrors that would break lesser men. Out here it’s kill or be killed.
After fighting your way through the wastes, you beat all odds and return to Vault 13 battered and bruised. Clutched in your hands, is- well I guess you can call it the gift of life. The Overseer takes the Water Chip from your trembling hands, and balance is restored- or so the Overseer thinks, until you tell him the horrible truth.
You see, while you were out in the wastes, fighting for the survival of your Vault, you did the worst thing you could do in a world now run by desperate people. You attracted attention to yourself. In your efforts to get water back to the Vault you revealed the existence of Vault 13. Blissful isolation, can no longer be assured.
In your report to the Overseer you also tell him of a new threat facing the Vault. A group of mutants are working together, and their numbers are growing at a most dangerous rate. Within 400 days the Super Mutants will be so great in number, they will overrun the Vault with overwhelming odds.
The way the Overseer sees it, your mission is clear, the Super Mutants must be dealt with, and you’re just the one to do it. The Super Mutant population is growing much faster than is possible, which means someone somewhere is creating them. Somewhere out in the endless wasteland. Once again you volunteer to step out into an unforgiving world- and you do it, for the good of the Vault.
The Overseer was right, someone is creating Super Mutants. You slay one of these abominations out in the wastes, only to have two more take its place. What you didn’t realize was the sheer scale of the threat. After months of searching and scouring for clues in the wasteland, you uncover a conspiracy that transcends the petty problems of a single Vault. You find yourself standing face to face with the leader of the Super Mutant army, and he isn’t what you had expected.
You wouldn’t have believed it had you not seen it with your own eyes. It calls itself, “The Master”, the horribly mutated brain behind the Mutant Army. Its followers worship it as the “New God”, but in your eyes it is just another twisted evil you encountered in the wastes.
This abomination is the mastermind behind not only the Mutants threatening your Vault, but also the creation of new Super Mutants through a movement called “The Unity”.
The Unity sought to force humans to take a virus called the FEV, consequently turning people into the same abominations you’ve been fighting since you left the Vault a year ago. It is then you realize, your mission is no longer for the safety of a single Vault, but for the continued survival of mankind. As fate would have it, at this moment in history, you are the only thing standing between survival and extinction. Without a second thought you draw a pulse grenade, determined to put an end to this threat to humanity once and for all, that was, until the Master chose to speak to you:
“The Unity will bring about the master race. Master! Master! One able to survive, or even thrive, in the wasteland. As long as there are differences, we will tear ourselves apart fighting each other. We need one race. Race! Race! One goal. Goal! Goal! One people… to move forward to our destiny. Destiny.”
“…mutants are best equipped to deal with the world today. Who else? The Ghouls? Please. Normals? They brought nuclear death to us all. This will be the age of mutants! Mutants.”
His words actually meant something to you. In a world of Super Mutants there would be Unity. You could say, the Master’s rationale actually made, “sense”? No. No. There was no future for the Mutants, even in a post-nuclear world such as this. You carry a holodisk with proof that the FEV virus destroys the reproductive organs of those it transforms into Super Mutants. You tell the Master that his plan is doomed to fail. He is betting the future of mankind on an infertile race who will die after but one generation.
“I must digest this information. One Moment… But it cannot be. This would mean that all my work has been for nothing. Everything that I have tried to… a failure! It can’t be. Be. Be. Be.”
“I…don’t think that I can continue. Continue? To have done the things I have done in the name of progress and healing. It was madness. I can see that now. Madness. Madness? There is no hope. Leave now, leave while you still have hope…”
Those were the last words the Master spoke as he initiated the self-destruct sequence for his Mutant operation. You run to safety and watch as his Cathedral falls down around him. The death of the Master was like cutting the head off of the snake, or better yet, a bullet to the brain. Without their leader the Super Mutant army lacked direction, and soon they fled to the east, beyond the no-man’s land.
With safety ensured you make the long trek back home, back to the Vault. As you approach Vault 13 the Overseer steps outside to greet you. He thanks you for everything you’ve done for the Vault, and recognizes that if it weren’t for you Vault 13 would have fallen to the wasteland long ago.
However- as you go to step inside he stops you, and tells you that although you’ve saved everyone, the wasteland has taken its toll on you. With a heavy heart the Overseer tells you that if you are allowed back into the Vault the people will see you as a hero, and the children will want to emulate you, and leave the Vault for themselves one day, and he will not allow that to happen. With a voice full of remorse, the Overseer tells you to leave Vault 13, and never return. He tells you to leave- for the good of the Vault. As the Overseer turns to leave something stirs inside you.
A couple feet away from you the bloodied body of the Overseer is breathing his last, and slowly you realize that what he said was true. When you left the Vault all those years ago, part of yourself died out there in the wasteland, and although the wasteland had changed you- war never changes.