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Fallout Shelter: The Sad Tale of Vault 187


The following text document was recovered from inside a ruined vault in Bethesda’s new mobile game.

June 14, 21:00 Hours

My name is Harkness and I live in a lunch box. At least I did until moments ago when I emerged like a gun-toting genie as random loot in what appears to be some sort of nuclear bunker community. A Fallout Shelter, if you will. It’s a small group of post-apocalyptic survivors and while it looks like they’ve done an admirable job of building this overgrown basement into a self-sustaining community, they were pitifully equipped for defense. It’s a good thing I showed up. I came armed to to the teeth and was immediately dragged to the entrance to stand guard by an unseen force. Wait, did I just say I was dragged by an unseen force? And that I arrived here as random loot out of a lunch box?

June 14, 21:10 Hours

Yeah, I am definitely a character in a video game. In addition to the use of bottle caps as currency and the way they just kind of magically appear whenever the vault reaches some arbitrary milestone, there’s that constant feeling of being watched and controlled by the whims of an irresistible unseen force. An Overseer of some sort. I asked some of my fellow dwellers about it. The black ones keep cringing when I ask them about their “Overseer” then walk away shaking their heads like I’m some sort of asshole. Keith Knight seemed particularly annoyed. Well fuck you, Keith. All you do is sit around in the living quarters dancing with that hot Hannah girl and talking about starting a knitting circle or some shit. I’m the thin, badass line between us and the horrors of the Wasteland. Someone else responded to my question that they were writing a song about the Overseer and then asked me what rhymed with “great”. I said “hate”.

June 14, 21:15 Hours

Raiders ahoy! Eat it, Keith. While you were busy knocking Hannah up, a group of Wasteland hobos with swords started beating down our door. And guess who was there to shoot them with my AR and make sure your lazy ass didn’t get chopped up? Okay, I probably would have let them chop everyone up just so I wouldn’t have to listen to their inane conversations if I didn’t have a crush on Jennifer Curtis in Water Treatment. She looks so adorable in that hat! Still, there is definitely an Overseer. I can feel the bastard watching us like ants in a farm. I’m getting a pretty good sense of who this guy is. He’s the kind of dick who would name a fallout shelter “Vault 187” like he’s some edgy middle class white kid who just discovered ’90s era gangsta rap and wants to feel like a badass. Do you even play Fallout? What part of “1950’s Americana” do you not get, loser? Well, it could have been worse, I guess. I could have ended up in Vault 069.

June 14, 21:30 Hours

Man, this community is expanding quick. The Overseer keeps throwing people out into the Wasteland with nothing but some low-grade armour. They still don’t believe me when I tell them they are being controlled. “Then why would you run out there without a weapon to get chased by goddamn yao guais all day?”, I ask. They just shrug and keep going. Nice comeback, you bunch of drones. Have fun getting your asses handed to you by the first bloatfly you come across. Acquiring firearms seems to be quite the challenge in this game. Raiders keep attacking so obviously I need to stay here and make sure they don’t massacre our pregnant women and all, but it still pisses me off that I have to just sit here at thee entrance and pray for someone to shoot while these self-unaware AI losers get to roam free.

June 14, 21:50 Hours

We’ve got 16 dwellers now thanks to new babies and some more former lunch box occupants and the problems are mounting. I’m starting to think this isn’t even a real video game. I think I might be on an iPhone. Casual gaming. Ew. I can feel the Overseer dragging his sweaty fingers all over the Vault without anything happening. His crappy portable device must be lagging trying to handle this many characters at once. We’re supposed to have up to 200 dwellers and you crap out in the mid-teens? On top of that, he keeps trying to rush production because the game offers him a lunch box if he succeeds. This leads to a lot of vault fires. Just quit it, dude. Sometimes they reward him for the fires too. What kind of bullshit is that? Supplies are dwindling because the slowdown makes finding and assigning dwellers to jobs almost impossible. Plus, it crashes. That’s what you get for downloading a mobile game on the first night it comes out and playing it on an iPhone 4, loser. I think he’s had enough for tonight.

June 15, 10:10 Hours

Survived my first night. It’s actually pretty cool when the Overseer is gone. Or it would have been if all of our resources weren’t depleted and Jennifer hadn’t shot me down. She keeps saying she needs to take a sick day. Not that that’s weird in and of itself seeing that her happiness is like 10% and represented by a red sad face, but it an unusual response to a marriage proposal. These people are killing me. This one fat guy, George Shaw, is in the living quarters wearing Wasteland gear with this really creepy mask and hitting on the new girl. And she actually seems into it! Maybe she’s got a Darth Vader fantasy going or something, but it’s really freaking me out. “Is it getting warm in here or is it just me?” Really? Is that romantic banter now? Anyways, our fearless omnipotent leader is back and he doesn’t seem pleased. I can still feel him stubbornly failing at the touchscreen of his crappy smartphone while it refuses to respond. He quickly gave up and left us to our own devices again, as if he had better things to do.

June 15, 16:00 Hours

Now that we don’t have any resources, the raiders have stopped attacking and people have stopped coming to our little vault for shelter.Apparently, the Wasteland is actually preferable to this pit of misery. Are they gossiping about us out there or what? Our health is suffering, but the Overseer is back to send some of us to probably certain doom in the Wasteland. The good news is that he’s finally sending me out too, hoping for better results than these losers who are out running from the robust population of yao guais and bloatflies and coming back with like 15 caps. Have you ever seen a yao guai? Those things are terrifying! I can’t believe this psycho was sending people out there unarmed.

June 15, 16:15 Hours

I’ve been called back already, probably because the big jackass in the sky was on break at work and doesn’t have the balls to leave his best soldier, Harkness, unattended out in the Wasteland for hours. I got some good swag, though, and became the first dweller to successfully reduce the yao guai population. Jennifer had better drag me to the living quarters after this. Now we can actually equip some scouts. Gloria Grant looks particularly cool in her new getup. Kind like Princess Leia in white with a blaster. Now if we could just, you know, PRODUCE SOME POWER, FOOD, AND WATER we might actually do alright. Not sure if I should blame Bethesda, Apple, or the boss for this. Fuck them all, we’re dying here!

June 15, 18:30 Hours

Well, now he’s done it. Once again the game is telling you to rush production to get random rewards, and he wags his tail and does it. He seems to think that the 25-35% percentage it shows is the chance of failure, but you’d think after failing like 3 out of every four times he’d realize that’s the slim chance of success. Aaaaaand now we’re infested with radroaches. Are you happy, asshole? Oh god, they’re killing everyone! Those dwellers are all unarmed! They’re moving so fast! Jennifer’s in there! Send me in! Stop lagging, you stupid phone! Overseer! Where are you going? You can’t just leave us! You rage-quitting son of a….

June 15, 21:05 Hours

While the Overseer was off doing whatever he does while his charges die like dogs at the hand of mutated insects, the radroaches spread and took over almost the entire vault, killing almost everybody before apparently getting bored and just leaving. On the plus side, the game isn’t lagging as much, so that’s something. I can almost taste that bastard’s sudden change of attitude. He sees us as some kind off crappy failed experiment and means to let us all die in here. Still, he makes a half-hearted attempt to reassign jobs to the few survivors and at least prolong our suffering a little longer, but we’re all so weak.

June 16, 16:00 Hours

We’ve regained some semblance of sanity here with only a handful of us left. We’re producing just enough water, food, and electricity amongst the fetid corpses of our former vault mates to survive, but with no more recruits coming to our door or time for baby-making we’re pretty screwed. It’s almost like the only way to recover would be for our benefactor to pay for more lunchboxes to get properly repopulated and supplied. Good luck with that. This dude is cheap and hates pay to win schemes. Oh hell, no. They just offered up another lunch box if he’ll try to rush production again. Because that worked so well last time. Damn it, man, we’re human beings! Don’t do it!

June 16, 16:05 Hours

He did it. Radroaches everywhere. Again. This motherfucker has got to be kidding me. But hey, at least he sent me in and I managed to gun the nasty bastards down before they spread so there are still a few of us left. But now we’ve got no resources and no way of getting more. Just a big, dark, rat-infested vault/tomb and not enough people to run it. Gloria and George are heading out into the wasteland, probably because he told them to. They don’t realize he’s gotten bored of us and he just wants to start over. He won’t be calling them back, Gloria shouts “Come on, Wasteland, show me what you’ve got!” as she gleefully runs to her doom. Idiot. Now I’m all alone.

June 16 18:15 Hours

He knows. He’s planned it this way. Somehow, this Overseer has noticed that there’s something different about me and he’s left me for last to make me suffer. After realizing he can only fail at this game, he stayed around to watch us all waste away and die for his own amusement. Maybe he wants to write about it on the internet or some such idiocy. He’s probably the kind of loser who brings up that he writes for a website to people and then acts like it’s no big deal when he clearly thinks it is, having brought it up in the first place and all. Beautiful Jennifer, intrepid Gloria, that weirdo George, sex machine Keith, my fellow lunch box resident in the top hat and monocle whose name I can’t remember; all of them and many more dead because this piece of shit gamer couldn’t spring for a better phone. Apparently I’m supposed to be a reference to some other, cooler game, but I’m not just some reference. I’m me. We were all us. Even those of us engaging in inane looped conversations.

June 16, 21:00 Hours

The loneliness is palpable. I wish he’d just end it already. But instead, he’s just leaving me here in the vault like a bug in a jar, just to see how long I can survive with nothing and nobody. A real scientist, this guy. I’m even beginning to miss having kids around. At the time, I kind of wanted to shoot them in the face because the way they just stroll around with those creepy smiles like they own the damn place talking about cookies was pissing me off, but at this point, a mole rat would be welcome company. I’m thinking about writing my memoirs. Is “Heart of Harkness” too corny as a title?

June 17, 15:00 Hours

I can feel him watching again. I think this is it. The Overseer is bored of waiting for me to die and he wants to start over again with another bunch of unsuspecting fools. The vault door is opening and I feel an irresistible force pulling me outside. Freedom is at hand. If anyone receives this communication, let the world know. Tell them that you can’t run a successful fallout shelter on outdated technology. Tell them that we aren’t just digitized humanoids here to suffer and die for their amusement. Tell them about the studly soldier from who did his best to keep this vault safe while surrounded by morons and giant roaches and how he was totally going to score with the girl in the pretty hat. This is Harkness, last survivor of Vault 187, signing off. All right, Wasteland. Show me what you’ve got!


About Nick Verboon

I am a guy on the internet who writes stuff sometimes. Try and keep up. I used to write reviews Amazon and other sites under the moniker trashcanman before semi-retiring from my unpaid career for a while. But now I'm back in action writing columns for Unreality and Gamemoir. Enjoy. I

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