You see, the world that we used to live in is far off from a memory. Not a single person knew about how much better it was. And as for others, they don’t even know that a world existed before this. Things used to be much more simple in the past. Then the bombs fell and so did humanity. Almost all life seemed to of been wiped out from the barren waste land people endure today. Creatures have mutated to withstand anything that tries to take it down. And as for us humans? Well, most of us stayed in the vaults since the war… But for those who couldn’t find refuge in a steel box cramped up underground? They learned to withstand the forces of the outside world. Some of them could live on their own. The ones who couldn’t either formed a group or found one to join. Some of those societies built in the wasteland meant no harm in one another, but it was more common to see corrupt civilizations. Those groups were called raiders. They are mean, nasty guys with the wit to point their gun at anything that moved in the wasteland, I was unfortunate enough to encounter a group of these so called raiders. Heck, I was unlucky from the time I left that vault. This point is where it all started.
Vault 213… One of hundreds in the Black Hills of North Dakota, A place where we wouldn’t have to worry about what things dwelled outside. Nor was it a place of troubles or fear. At least that’s what the overseer wanted us to think. That oversized cell had too many problems in it. People would thrash at the walls and other members due to the madness that devoured their brains. No one could take it in there. It seemed like everyone had claustrophobia, and there was no way to control it. I knew how risky it was to attempt leaving because Mrs. Parsons told me she was going to leave about a week before she disappeared. No one seemed to notice she was gone though, because this whole time I was asking other residents where she was, not a single person knew who I was talking about. I had to get down to it. I was told that when I cleaned Gale Feral’s office, that I couldn’t log onto his terminal, otherwise consequences would take place. Gale was the Overseer of this underground prison. He was a nice guy but didn’t like anyone digging into his personal information on the terminal. But I knew how to hack into a terminal within minutes. Dad had an old terminal that he successfully fixed from the old storage unit by the vault commons. No one ever walked by there, so the guards stopped taking shifts. They were barely awake when I entered Gale’s office. Who’d think that It would be a good idea to put an eighteen year old boy to clean the overseer’s office? But then again,,, it was my choice to not pay attention on how to complete the G,O,A,T (General Occupational Aptitude Test). This test would be taken by any vault dwellers that reached the ripe old age of ten. The test would reveal where a person would work best in the vault. They would also receive their very first Pipboy 3000. This “mobile” device wrapped around the user's arm and all it ever did so far was tell the time and provide a remote shift clock in sequence. I had no use for it really. The things only good use was to tell you if your leg got blown off (as if you would need help knowing that) and V,A,T,S (the Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System) which we would totally need in the “danger free vault”... But then about three weeks ago when I found a command prompt that allowed me to disable any security systems on a terminal. I, Shane Bishop was the first to find out what horrible experiments they were performing on the Vault 213 residents. This insanity? It wasn’t genetic… It was the works of Vault Tec’s “geniuses”. Meaning they set chems in the air vents to see what effect it would displace on us. And apparently there are many more vaults with these experiments spread out in the wasteland. I knew I had to get out. And it wasn’t even difficult to find out how. The “master mind” of these vaults put a remote door access on the main screen of the terminal. Then Overseer Gale unlocked the door as I frantically closed out of the terminal.
“Hey champ, you almost done? I think I need to have a word with you for a minute. Is that alright with you?”, Overseer Feral always called me champ. It seemed that he never got along with anyone else in the vault as much as he did with my family. It probably was because of the sanity we still held onto, unlike the others’ whose insanity consumed them.
“Uh, yeah… sure. Is there something wrong Mr. Feral?”
“No, no, no. Not at all my dear boy. Actually quite the opposite. I’ve been thinking… You’re eighteen right now - almost a grown man. I can tell this cleaning job can be quite a bit boring for you. Would you be interested in possibly taking on the job as a guard? I could have you trained in a couple weeks”, Gale described.
“I’d like to thank you for the offer, but I think I’d like to ease it back a little before I handle anything like that”, I told him.
“ Alright then. If you change your mind, you know where I’ll be”, Gale said as I began to walk out of the room.
I lied to him… Well, I would say partially. I did want to keep the job. But that was only for one reason. I was going to leave the vault. I stayed up all night conjuring up a plan to escape (alive). I waited to tell my parents the next day because I wasn’t sure if they would agree. I had to wait to be back in our “suite”-it was anything but-to ask them on their thoughts because of the monitoring that went on in the dull pipe-lined steel corridors. Surprisingly, they agreed. I thought Dad would hit me across the face, but apparently his love for this place was only a facade. That night, we gathered what we could to get ready for the escape. I was ready to leave, almost as much as Mom and Dad. Then we waited for another two days so they could do their weekly behavioral check up on me while I was cleaning. Overseer Gale trusted us enough to go check on the others in the meantime. I hurriedly ran to the terminal and began the sequence to open the doors. The Overseer’s desk began to rise up from the ground and a tunnel opened beneath it. We crawled in and began our quick journey out. The musty smell of mold lined the walls but it was over once we got to the entrance. A loud alarm activated just as the gear like vault door slid open. I couldn’t tell whether it was the door, or if the Overseer found out about our departure. Either way we ran out into the dark, star-lit sky. I never knew what it looked like out here. A quick glimpse all around then we heard the guards yelling. We took off again and I couldn’t stop thinking about Gale and how much I would regret lying to the kind man. But that regret would soon fade off as fast as the guard’s voices faded in the distance.
We got a far distance out from Vault 213 when the doors closed. Now the question arose: what now?
We were outside in the middle of the night with almost nowhere to go and the danger of wildlife - human or animal. We never realized that we’d been on a different time schedule than out here. So we’ve been sleeping when it was day out here and working at night. Bright lights shown off in the distance in multiple directions. This was our first idea that civilization was out here. We were too overwhelmed to move on for long, so we had to rest. We found an old abandoned shack with holes in every wall and a rusted metal sheet roof that was half gone. Dad and Mom tried comforting me with all the good things they heard about the wasteland and the plans they had for the time ahead of us. It didn’t last long because they both fell asleep about an hour into it. All was silent that night. Not even Dad was snoring. But then I heard some sort of a growl to the far right. I was too afraid to look because the sound grew louder and louder. Soon enough, the low murmur the creature let out was probably no more than eight feet from the shed. I gained the strength to take a peek out the corner of the window on the right side of the shed. There was this thing just outside that seemed to be devouring what little was left on a deformed corpse of a cow. I never really caught the smell until I saw it in the moonlight. I tried not to gag, but I couldn’t help it. There was something about the cow’s two heads and its decaying stench that forced me to let out a little bit of a heave. I heard the swift head movement and then I paused out of fear. I knew I screwed up because the creature thudded its feet towards the shed. I try not to move because I thought I might have had the chance to live. Red eyes peered around the broken glass on the side of the shed. The thing’s focus was now on me. It just stood there staring at me, waiting for movement. The creature’s silhouette resembled a large alligator standing on two hind legs with muscular arms and massive horns on it’s head. At the end of each arm was a hand that had claws about the size of my forearm. It was about as still as I was. A gunshot went off in the far distance and must have attracted the thing because it was out of sight in seconds. I couldn’t tell where the gunshot came from because It was almost covered up by the creature's growls.
I got to see the morning sun rise for the first time ever. It blinded me because I looked at it for a few seconds then realized that we hadn’t learned anything about it in the vault. It felt like hundreds of years had passed before it came up. And that was because I was too scared to sleep after the incident last night. That was the first time I ever felt complete fear drape over my joy. Now that the day has begun, we had to make the choice of which way to go because we didn’t know if the lights came from friendlies or those bad guys we joked about in the vault. Dad went scouting for any signs of a path towards life. Mom and I sat in the shade of the weathered shed. Then she asked me a question.
“Shane, baby… do you trust your father and I? I meant with this whole plan. I knew you brought it up and we went with it. But did you ever second guess the choice we’ve made?”
I hesitated to find the right words.
“Mom… I know we are all on the same page. We know almost nothing about anything out here. But I think we can make this. It will be tough to adapt to the stuff that goes on around here. And chances are that there is someone we can find to keep us under good watch”
“I really hope so, Shane.”
A long pause occurred. Then I gained the courage to tell mom what happened last night.At this point, Dad had already been gone for an hour.
“Mom? I wanna tell you so-”
I got interrupted by Dad yelling at the both of us about two hundred feet away.
“Shane! Jannet! Come take a look at this!”
Mom and I got up when she said,
“Shane, let's go see what your dad is up to. You’ll just have to tell me later what you wanted to say”
We caught up with Dad when he told us to follow him. About two miles away from where we stayed, there set a sign in the ground. It was next to all these rusted up cars. We could barely make out the words “ Mo-nt R-shm-re ½ a mil- a-ea-”. Dad said this was the road to Mount Rushmore; the monument that idolized North Dakota.
That day, creatures crossed our path that we never knew existed - ones we wished we hadn’t seen.
We got to a large structure of rock with four faces carved into it. I didn't know who they were or why they were there. But there were these guys standing at the top with makeshift armor. You could tell they were something else rather than a civilized group of people. They wouldn’t stop yelling at one another and they use language I haven’t even heard of. At this point I’m not sure if we wanted to talk to these guys or not. But somehow, they noticed us from all that way at the top of this mountain.
“Hey! Come here! Whatcha got in that bag, huh? I bet you’ve got a crap load in there”, the guy with the makeshift rifle said.
“Yeah… If you can help us, we can negotiate a deal”, I said.
Dad looked at me in frustration as the guy came down in a construction elevator after about fifteen minutes of waiting.
“Hey kid… The name’s Cage. Boss man inside wants to see ya”, Cage said.
We went inside to see this amazing structure turned into shelter for these people. Then we met the boss of this whole deal. After some talking, we got introduced to our first family outside the vault. Mom and Dad hated the idea at first, but they slowly came to understand how important it was that we found these people. After all these years of waiting, this is what we came to. This is the family that we joined and after many years, we’ve developed a family and a different mind set towards those raiders; a different mindset towards our friends. Sure things have changed for us. Now we hunt and look for trouble… remember when I said I made the mistake of meeting this group? Yeah… I kind of lied. That's the kind of stuff you hear from those who hate our kind. But with the way the world is today, you better hope you find someone who’s got your back. Otherwise you’re dead out here. We are raiders, and that’s what we’ll always be… One big crazy family. This is how I came into my family of trouble makers.