Amata (Possible during Trouble on the Homefront)
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Vault 101 is one of the Vault-Tec vaults in Fallout 3. It's located in the center of the Capital Wasteland near Springvale and Megaton. The vaults were an experiment set up by Vault-Tec and the Enclave, they were used to prepare the future generation of humanity for life after the Great War.
The purpose of Vault 101 was to be sealed and never open to see how humans reacted to long term captivity from the outside world. It was also used to see how the Overseer coped with leading the vault, they had to make the residents believe the Capital Wasteland was in a much worse state than it really was to stop anyone from trying to leave. The Overseer received messages that were created before the war from another fictional Vault that oversaw other Vaults. As the years went by and more of the adults were told about the true purpose of the vault to help keep the secret from future generations.
Various terminals around the Capital Wasteland will tell you that the vault has been opened a few times in the past. Moira Brown of Megaton has a Vault 101 suit behind the counter in Craterside Supply. If when you first enter her store and ask her about it she will say she made this for another Vault dweller who wandered out, but then quickly left Megaton to go to the Wastes and never returned. The overseer before Alphonse went into the Capital Wasteland one day and never came back. This lead to Alphonse to take over. His parents believed the Vault should be sealed and he saw that other people had died so he permanently sealed the door and the residents refused to ever talk about it again.
Shortly after the vault was shut again, James, with his newborn child asked for access to the vault after his wife Catherine died. The Overseer made an exception to the rules and allowed him in because the vault was in desperate need of a doctor. Alphonse told him, that if he told any one in the next generation that the Wastes were fine to venture in he would banish him.
19 years later the vault rules were broken once again when James left without telling anyone, sending the vault into chaos. Sadly though many Vault dwellers were killed by the Radroach infestation and by the Overseer's men. The Lone Wanderer was also forced to escape from the vault to avoid the Overseer's wrath.
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