What history will say about Vault 575 is something I cannot control. Time has a way of sucking the soul from events, removing the nuance, erasing the intent. People stop asking why, eventually; they just look at the facts, the bullet points, the cheat sheets, the “whats” of it all. Before they call me a monster, I want the truth to be known. So I toss my testimony into the time capsule that is my last 24 hours of Fallout Shelter.
575, a number randomly assigned, was to be built entirely in my image. I chose which of the available rooms went where. It was my task to make sure there were enough diners to feed the dwellers, enough power to run the diners, enough space for sleeping and social commiseration. I chose the layouts, and who amongst the denizens were most appropriate to work in the right spots. I managed the caps being spent to do all of these things. In truth, the level of responsibility that was thrusted on me was dizzying at times. This isn’t a plea for sympathy, mind you. Base building is hard, but I accepted that the Vault’s collapse will ultimately be pinned on me. As Overseer, I understood that I would be both hero during the good times, and scapegoat during the bad.
But no one will talk about Stephen Moore. That must change.
Before I do, though, a word about the people in general. When they are kept content, the dwellers of the Vault are some of the most efficient and progressive communities you’ll find. Keep their stomachs full, their water clean, and their bodies free of radiation, and they will bend over backwards to keep the vaults many wheels turning. That said, they are not a very adaptive people. Should something go wrong, they are poorly equipped to deal with the issue.
Mentally, that is. A suit of power armor and a scoped magnum makes even a baby well-equipped physically, but they lack the will to do what’s necessary with these tools. A small fire related to an accident when crunching to meet supply constraints are one thing; generally, the dwellers are quick to grab fire extinguishers and settle the issue swiftly. If the problem can fight back, though, they generally crumble under the pressure of battle, no matter how well equipped. A radroach infestation is an extinction level event to these people. They lack the drive (or the AI) to chase problems past the confines of the rooms they’re in, which becomes a huge issue when their problems extend throughout the Vault.
That’s what makes Stephen Moore such a bastard. He was the best of them. He excelled in many things, but had a keen eye for the details that made him most appropriate for work in one of the Vault’s several Power Stations. He had a relationship that was as near to a marriage as post-war living can provide with one Daisy Jenkins, 575’s most brilliant doctor, who kept a steady stream of Med-Kits in stock while carrying Stephen’s baby.
Stephen often took trips out to the wasteland to trade with settlers and scavenge things of value for us. He’d leave for long stretches of time, which would worry Daisy. But would always come home, rushing to replace the scraps in his arms with his wife. Eventually, he would dawn the Vault’s best armor and weapons, and we eagerly accepted him as our greatest champion. Our protector. Our lifeline.
Then the raiders came. A pack of them, rabid with radiation poisoning and bloodlust. With makeshift blades, they broke through the Vault door with relative ease. Stephen and a few others, armed with the few weapons they could find, were mustered to the gate to defend us. They fought for what seemed like mere seconds, before the group ran deeper into the compound, without any interference by our militia.
I personally dragged the men with my fingertips to the diner, where the raiders were terrorizing poor Emil Stewart—a man with quick hands for dealing out chow at high speeds, but not much else. One of the militia men, Howard Sanders, was slain in the melee. Only two remained, Stephen and Donald Brown. Donald’s BB Gun did little more than annoy the tyrants, and he would be slain in this room, too. The raiding party would leave, and Stephen would give no chase.
How could he not be compelled to follow these brigands and give them the justice they deserve? How could he just stand watch as they slaughter his community? It’s at that moment where I realized that his trips to the wasteland must have changed him, somehow. They turned him into a man that accepts the chaos of incivility as foregone conclusion. He saw something out there that made him the sort of man who can freeze in place with a smile on his face as the world he knew and helped build was covered in the blood of his allies.
When the raiders finally finished with the helpless ones, they came back for him. He finally would put up a fight, but it would be too late. When the radroaches came to pick at the dead, I knew that this couldn’t have been my fault. I did everything I could, and the only reason I wasn’t in the corridors fighting with them was because I physically couldn’t. It was up to the people we trusted to do what we needed them to do, and the best of us was just another victim of the Bomb. Psychological trauma (or terrible dweller AI) aside, the fall of Vault 575 is Stephen’s fault.
Even with everything in order—dwellers sorted into their proper roles based on S.P.E.C.I.A.L, caps being made at a steady rate, resources being balanced—the fall of civilization always starts with the frail human mind (AI). History will forget my contributions, but may it never forget that simple fact.