FALLOUT Lore: Prologue – Great War

The discovery of the atomic bomb in the 1940s has given humanity a question the FALLOUT series has strived to answer.  If ever there would come a day when mankind possessed the capacity to destroy himself, what would come of us? Some predict that’s where our story will end, but what if it was only another bloody chapter of human history? You’ve experienced the FALLOUT series in your own way, but want to learn more about its story. Well- to get to the heart of the story- you have to go back to the beginning…

Change comes to all nations…

In the early twentieth century the great powers of the old world thought that their rule would never end.  The Czars of Russia met their downfall at the hands of a bloody revolution.  Western Europe fought a great war against fascists who sought to build a reich that would last a thousand years.  It crumbled in less than a decade.  The Japanese believed their Imperial rule was eternal, yet they were the first to have their pride seared away by atomic fire.

The United States of America emerged as the world’s great power by the nineteen fifties.  Vast nuclear arsenals ensured that open warfare was a thing of the past, and soon after, America entered a cold war with their enemies.  It was a long uneasy peace – a perpetual status quo as though the world were freeze dried and sealed in a vault for a century.

Those wandering the wasteland today might find it hard to believe that only two hundred years ago the richest nation in the world existed here.  No deathclaws, no super mutants, no ghouls…

Most folk back then didn’t have to fight for survival, or scavenge supplies.  Factories produced everything a person could want – by the millions.  Walking into a store with a stack of paper money, they could buy as much food, ammo, or clothing as they could carry.  In fact the biggest “problem” people faced was finding a place to keep it all.

Fallout 4 Lore & History

Highways stretched three thousand miles from coast to coast with roadside diners selling fresh burgers made from something the Old World called a “cow”.  Riding in gas-guzzling Chryslus cars, and drinking ice-cold soda pop, the Americans enjoyed their prosperity for generations.  Secure in their belief that their way of life would never alter.  That they would never be forced to evolve.

Change came slowly at first.  And it was welcomed. People weren’t satisfied just having a house where fresh water came right out of a pipe in the wall.  No, they wanted more.  Always more.  They wanted robots to do their work for them, and they needed electronic computers to do their thinking for them.

Companies like RobCo filled the demand for domestic robots so that citizens didn’t have to lift a finger.  A robotic Mister Handy could walk the dog, do the laundry and watch over the kids too, leaving mom and dad free to spend an evening on the town, or to watch the latest show on the old Radiation King television set.

Fallout 3 RobCo Mr Handy

If they got lost on the road, an American consumer could use the new Personal Information Processors to see where they needed to go without ever needing to open a map.

Of course all of these new-fangled technological wonders needed power to run.  Gasoline had been plentiful for over a hundred years, but the Earth had started to run dry by the middle of the twenty-first century.  More and more of the power came from atomic energy and, thanks to companies like General Atomics, there were atoms to spare for decades to come.

Cities lit up, robots kept on humming and computer monitors kept glowing.  Some factories even started turning out atomic-powered cars with fuel cells that still have some juice in them today – so don’t go using those rusted old Corvegas for target practice.

Factories churned out toys for the kids, teddy bears, tricycles and comic books by the ton.  Dad could mix his rum with a bottle of Nuka Cola, and mom had new spring fashions every year.  Shelves were filled with snack cakes, canned meats and sugar-coated cereals – all of it pumped full of preservatives so that it would stay fresh forever and mom wouldn’t have to take so many trips to the grocery store. You see, when it came to consumption- the Americans were the best.

Yet even with the increased use of atomics, there wasn’t enough energy for the billions of people across the world.  Oil was more precious than ever and the petroleum rich countries of the middle-east sold their dwindling supplies at ever-higher prices.

Eventually the wells ran dry in most of the world.  The uranium mines were scraped clean, but no one wanted to give up their shiny new technology.

Change had come and with it, war.

The Middle East could have used their limited uranium stock to power reactors for a few decades, but instead they squandered it on weapons to settle old scores.  The European Commonwealth had been  proud of how they had joined together in one glorious unified state, but it didn’t take long before they turned on each other, scrambling for the last drops of oil within their borders.

Alaska, with its abundance of natural resources, remained the source of America’s power, and the only place on Earth where oil still flowed.  The far off territory was a tempting target for a desperate China.  The Americans foresaw invasion and fortified Alaska, but nothing could deter China from capturing Anchorage.

With the two remaining superpowers at war, Canada was trapped in the middle and soon annexed by their neighbors to the south.   Allegedly this was so that the entire continent could be one continuous  nation allied against the Chinese invaders, but Canadians viewed it as a ruthless bid for America to retain control of the world’s remaining oil supply.

The Resource Wars had come to American soil.

In a resource war, the winner will always be the side that fights most efficiently.  China used the greatest minds of the East to create stealth technology that allowed their recon teams to infiltrate and assassinate while remaining completely undetected.  Taking down high value targets with a single shot.

Fallout New Vegas Stealth Suit

America had its own brand of eccentric genius.  With the power of the atom at hand, unbridled American engineers created scientific marvels the rest of the world couldn’t have imagined.  The glut of consumer electronics that had flooded American stores were only the beginning of the wonders created by the likes of RobCo and Poseidon Energy whose true focus was the development of new weapons that could replace the inefficient tools of warfare used in past decades.

Combat robots, energy weapons and cybernetics entered the war as America sought to retake Anchorage.  Battles were fought by daring men who fire nuclear warheads from shoulder-mounted crossbows.  Cyberdogs with the brain of a loyal hound encased in an unyielding titanium body.  Even robot butlers hovered across battlefields, armed with plasma guns and flamethrowers.

There was even a plan to engineer a new breed of mutant super soldiers, but it was the creation of power armor that ensured American victory.

Power armor combined the mobility of an infantry soldier, with the resilience of a tank, and the firepower of an entire squad. Fueled by microfusion cells, these elite troops could inflict crippling strikes on Chinese military assets using a fraction of the resources of conventional military units.  Early models of power armor were devastating enough, but after a decade of refinement the T-51b power armor represented the height or pre-war combat technology.  With the aid of these perfected armored suits, America quickly liberated their territory from the Chinese.

In the modern day the T-51b has become a symbol of the Brotherhood of Steel, but centuries ago it was the final majestic icon of American Exceptionalism.

Fallout Power Armor T51 Blueprint

By autumn of 2077 the overt conflicts in the Pacific were finished, and most Americans were so tired after a decade of war that they genuinely believed peace had arrived.  The paranoid, or perhaps just perceptive, began stocking their bomb shelters, knowing that China would not simply slink away across the ocean in defeat.  A final confrontation was coming.

In an effort to preserve at least part of humanity from the inevitable end that approached, a secret enclave of America’s elite set about ensuring survival at all costs.  Victory?  Rebuilding?  No longer viable options.  Their full intent is lost to history, but documented plans include taking refuge within a mountain, or an oil rig, and even launching a ship into space to find a new planet to colonize.

The modern Enclave claim to be the descendants of that last group of America’s elite.  That might be true although many residents of the wasteland would argue that it takes more than a flag and a squadron of vertibirds to be a government of the people.

Regardless of whether or not the Enclave’s claims are true, the majority of America’s population did not have access to off-shore bases, or secret mountain top fortresses.  Fortunately for a hundred thousand of them, the Vault-Tec corporation provided access to radiation-proof shelters that could each keep about a thousand people safe while waiting for conditions on the surface to calm down.

No where near enough to save everyone, but it offered hope and kept the public from panicking.

Most of the Vaults were stocked with everything their inhabitants would need for years.  Even some of RobCo’s latest gadgets like the Pip Boy 3000 which hadn’t hit the mass market yet.  Some vaults even had enough supplies to keep their inhabitants and their descendents alive for generations to come.  A few vaults had some “unexpected” conditions though.  Maybe it was bad luck, maybe administrative troubles at Vault-Tec headquarters.  Or it could have been something more sinister, but at least the people who made it to those vaults were still alive the day after.

Pip Boy 3000

On October 23rd 2077 alarms rang across the United States, signaling an attack.  There had been plenty of false alarms and training drills over the years and it isn’t hard to imagine war-weary citizens shrugging their shoulders and going on with their day, unaware that this was really the apocalypse they had feared.

Perhaps people laughed when they saw their neighbors racing to Vault-Tec facilities.  The lucky and privileged few who had been assigned a place within one of the Vaults might have felt silly when the massive doors rolled shut, but they were among the tiny fraction of humanity that could still feel anything at all when the bombs landed.

Historians still don’t know much about what happened outside the vaults that day.  People weren’t concerned with writing in their journals. Hard as it is to believe, there are still ways to hear first hand accounts of the pre-war times.  The sources aren’t exactly reliable, though.

A few rotten old ghouls claim to have been alive back then. Most of them are just telling tales, hoping to get someone to talk with them for a while.

There were a few scientists who managed to preserve their brains in jars before the war, too.  Some of those old brains are still alive today and might be able to discuss the old days, assuming that any of them are still sane after being a disembodied brain for two centuries. The right medical equipment has kept at least one person alive since before the war.  Trouble is, a man with that kind of will to live isn’t going to take chances by chatting with strangers.

Knowing how people lived before the war can help the wasteland tremendously.  Scavengers and research teams dig up all sorts of things that can’t be identified.  Any rusty old box could hold an ancient secret to providing clean water or fresh food or limitless electricity to the wasteland.  At the very least the modern world can learn from the mistakes of the past.

The Americans never truly believed that their way of life could come to such an abrupt end.  But change comes to all nations, to all people, all ways of life.  The only constant in man’s struggle for survival is war, because war- war never changes.

1 comment

  1. David November 15, 2013 6:19 pm 


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