Vault-Tec's most notable product was the vault. Officially, the vaults were part of “Project Safehouse”, designed to protect the American population from nuclear holocaust. In actuality, they had a more sinister purpose, a project known as the "Societal Preservation Program"
The vaults could not possibly have saved the citizens of the United States from the ravages of a nuclear war or a viral pandemic. With a population of almost 400 million by 2077, the U.S. would have needed over 400,000 Vaults to protect every man, woman and child. Vault-Tec was commissioned by the American government to build only 122 such vaults.
The true reason for the construction of the vaults was to allow the government to secretly study pre-selected segments of the American population, observe how they would react to the stresses of isolation, and how successfully they would re-colonize the devastated Earth and stars after the vault opened.
In addition, most vaults were designed to conduct often immoral experiments on live human test subjects. The purposes and experiments carried out in each vault varied. They included: the use of the FEV on an unwitting test population (Vault 87), the development of super soldiers (Vault 92), the creation of an entire population of human clones (Vault 108), Vault 101 was subject to a "Never to be opened" policy: the inhabitants were never going to be allowed to leave, the frequent use of psychoactive drugs (Vault 106), the extended use of a virtual reality simulator on a population (Vault 112), and so on.
This project was the work of the Enclave, a secret shadow organization of federal officials and corporate executives that used the Vault-Tec company to set up this sinister experiment. The Enclave considered themselves prime candidates for recolonizing the world after a nuclear holocaust and to this end commissioned the construction of their own shelters, isolated from the vault network. The results of the vault experiments were intended to help prepare the Enclave for either re-colonizing Earth or colonizing another planet if Earth turned out to be uninhabitable.
The experiments were monitored by Vault-Tec researchers in separate facilities. Sometimes select vault inhabitants (frequently the overseer) were aware of the nature of the experiment and also gathered data.
The experiment may be considered a success in terms of the data collected: data that was much more important to the Vault-Tec and Enclave scientists than a few hundred thousand lives. Perhaps they felt that the trade-off was mutual, as most of the vault dwellers would have died anyway if not for the vaults.
Although the vaults were supposedly designed with longevity in mind, many vaults had insufficient resources and are in dire need of repair. It is uncertain whether or not the Vault-Tec vaults were actually supposed to malfunction as many did, or whether they were deliberately ill-constructed. It seems that the company may have focused its resources primarily on the experimental vaults, leaving the control vaults with inferior materials and little chance of survival. This may be why there were recurring problems with water chips. Or it may be that over time, certain pieces of technology simply wore out and broke. In many cases, such as Vault 3, the community's fate is decided by a single malfunction.
The only known vaults to continuously function successfully are Vault 101 and Vault 112. Their vault experiments were intended to continue indefinitely.
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