Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fictional AltHistory #4: Five Fallout Things That May be AltHistory

I can't keep my mind off of Fallout right now. I have no idea why.

Okay, maybe I do. Because I'm playing Fallout 4 still, and still working on my Fallout fanfic. So, yeah, that makes sense.

I was going to do something about Star Wars again, like what if it was never made, but, well, it will need more research before I feel comfortable trying to write that. So, Fallout it is!

This time, instead of a scenario based on the games, I want to try to pick a few things in the backstory that I think are different, even if it's not implied in the Fallout Bibles, the games, or any other material. Just a quick run down of a few points that I feel would make sense in regard to the games and the lore. Basically, none of these points are canon, and more just "head canon," things that make more sense to me.
Please remember to take your blue and yellow vault suit and please proceed to the orientation session in the atrium

And after this I'll stop talking about Fallout. Maybe. If you want a refresher, and don't have hundreds of hours to play the games through, check out the wiki!

1: The USSR and China Switch Places: This is a fairly simple point, and I think a few things in the game would back this up. In our timeline, the USSR utterly and totally collapsed in 1991 after Premier Gorbachov's reforms failed, but the People's Republic of China managed to allow a more capitalist and market oriented economy without sacrificing the Communist Party after Mao died and his hardliner supporters were eased out of power. Or shot. However, I think in Fallout, the reverse happened: the USSR managed to reform into a more capitalist economy and eased tensions with the USA to the point where they became unofficial allies, but China remained the hardliner, command driven market right up until the bombs fell in 2077.

Go forth and destroy the capitalist pigdogs! Giant Mao will protect you as long as you have a lot of red flags!

In Fallout 1, one of the pre-made characters you can select is Natalia Dubrovhsky, the descendent of a Soviet diplomat that served in a consulate in Los Angeles. Even in the OTL Cold War, the Soviets never had consulates in major cities, just the Embassy in Washington, D.C., so I'd think that relations between the US and the Soviet Union would have to get a lot better before that takes place. I wouldn't even know where to place the POD where the USSR becomes more moderate and the Chinese more hardline. At the very earliest, after the first Sino-Soviet War in the late 1960s, but even right up until the 2020s or later is a possibility.

2: Canada and The US Fought a Major War: I always had one major sticking point with the Fallout timeline, and it involves my home and native land, the True North strong and free. In the timeline, the first mention of the Annexation is 2066, when it's said that increasing tensions as Americans march and fly to reinforce Alaska from the Chinese threat sets the stage for the Annexation in 2076. Okay... but then in 2069, more and more resources are being demanded, and Canada resents that, especially "the vast timberlands." What is the US doing with all the Canadian trees? Biofuel? Construction boom? Just spite? And also this line: "Many Americans refer to Canada as Little America, and Canadian protests are unheard." So... is the annexation already begun by now, or is it just Manifest Destiny rearing it's head?

And unfortunately it couldn't be resolved with a Hockey game. 
But finally in 2072, sabotage of the Alaska Pipeline gives the US the excuse it needs to invade and annex Canada. So, was Canada being quietly taken over before this, or is this the start date? But finally in 2076, it's said that the Canadian annexation is complete, but that protests and riots still occur, and the military shoots on sight, and the atrocities make their way back home. You see it in the intro to the first game, as soldiers in power armor shoot someone to "keep the peace" in Canada. So what happened between 2072 and 2076? There is no real confirmation about it, but my guess is that the Canadians fought back against the US, despite their lack of power armor, the destruction of the government, etc. etc. Mostly likely the bloody occupation and repression of a resistance/freedom fighter/terrorist movement is still going on as the bombs fall. So, I say there was the "Canadian Resistance" taking place between 2072 and 2076, and possibly longer.

3: Jet Was a Pre War Drug, Just Rediscovered: There is a lot of controversy over this point, especially considering that within some of the games it's kind of all over the place. It's said that Byron, a child prodigy and possible companion in FO2 found Jet when you take vats of... uh... Brahmin dung and cook it. But then Mrs. Bishop, also in Fallout 2, says her husband got her high on it years before. And in FO3, New Vegas, and 4, it can be found in places that were closed when the bombs fells, such as Vaults (Vault 95 especially). It could be handwaved away as a game thing, but no, I'm not buying it this time.

Plothole? Nah, just a minor bump in the road. Nothing a lot of BS can't fix!

What's so hard to say that maybe a limited run of Jet was made before the war? If anything, if the effects are similar to the old world drug, it would give the name to the post-apoc version. After all, Jet is named after flying and that... and they don't have much in the way of aircraft after 2077, except for airships and that. So why would they name it after something that had already been gone for over 100 years, and most likely only a few ghouls ever knew what it was like to fly?

4: The Pip-Boys are Glorified, Bulky Apple Watches: Okay, okay, nitpicking here. But, here's the thing: the Pip-Boy 2000 and 3000 models that have been seen in all the Fallout games are, really, just wrist mounted computers. They should not be able to allow you to focus your attacks like in FO3, NV and 4 (with the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or VATS), and it shouldn't be able to accuratly monitor your body to determine what limbs are crippled and that, and unless your player character is not only a world class hoarder, but also a diligent record keeper, it really shouldn't be able to keep track of every Fat Man, 10mm pistol, 5.56 round, tin can and Wonderglue you pick up in the wasteland.

Then again, you shouldn't be able to carry nearly 400 pounds of stuff on your person, including possibly THOUSANDS of bullets and a dozen different guns...

Your not playing a Bethesda RPG right when you aren't overloaded after you pick up a flower.

Yeah, I'm really nitpicking. All of this stuff is in for gameplay reasons, and not story lore. But, you know, at least keep it in mind that not everything you see in a game, such as VATS, or a level 100 door that is half broken and falling off the hinges, or a door that is just like any door, but you absolutely need the key to continue on because you can't just lock pick it... it's really just gameplay.

But I wish we had a chance to just shoot the locks off. Would save a lot of time.

5: Vault-Tec Started the Great War: This really is not as crazy as it may sound, as when Interplay, the original producers of Fallout, were considering making a movie, this was the plot. But that movie was never made, and all we got is the film treatment.

The scenario I have in mind is basically that, after Anchorage is reclaimed in 2076, the US invasion of China bogs down, and the war basically turned into a stalemate as oil and uranium resources fully dried up, civil unrest is reaching all time highs in the US (and theoretically China as well), this basically means that the Resource Wars that have been fought for over two decades is now over. With fission powered cars and robots finally starting to be mass produced, millions of lives lost in war, disease and civil unrest, maybe the US and China have decided to end the war.

When Vault-Tec, with their contacts in the Enclave, hear of this, they are outraged. They just spent decades, trillions of dollars, innumerable work hours and resources to build 122 Vaults, most with a specialized social experiment to test the human condition. And now... for possibly nothing. If the war ends, that means the government bonds would dry up, the Vaults would loose their reported function of keeping segments of the American people alive, and the experiments would fall apart, not to mention the possibility of the true purpose being revealed. That is perhaps the scariest thought in the minds of the head of Vault-Tec: if the true purpose is revealed, they would all face the wrath of the American people, and the Enclave wouldn't be able to help them.

Behind their smiling, thumbs up mascot lies a deranged, Machiavellian, insane mastermind... 

So, with the help of the Enclave, Vault-Tec get's their hands on a nuclear weapon or two and fire them on the US and China, the biggest powers. With tensions still high even as the peace process is beginning, both superpowers take the bait, and soon the bombs are flying, and the Great War begins.

Vault-Tec, however, is prepared. Hours before the stolen nukes are launched, they warn the overseers and support staff of the Vaults, and tell them to report to their stations and be ready for those selected for their vaults. This is why in FO4, the Overseer and science staff are already there to welcome you to Vault 111, even as the bombs and missiles rain down on Boston. It's even implied on the terminals in 111 and in 81 that the Overseer and most of the security and science staff was notified hours before the sirens went off.

So, Vault-Tec got the war, the Vaults were sealed, the experiments could begin. But maybe it worked too well. It's implied that the instructions for Vault 111, for instance, was that Vault-Tec HQ would give the all clear six months after the bombs fell, and the staff could come and go at their pleasure. But that signal never comes. Maybe the nuclear war was so destructive that it actually resulted in Vault-Tec loosing contact with most of their vaults and experiments, so to them, it still failed. After all, what good is science if it can't be monitored?

So there are the five possible AH things just in the lore of Fallout. There could be other ones, of course, but these are the five big things that I've been thinking about a lot, especially as I'm writing a Fallout fanfic that requires a lot of research, and in some cases the info just isn't there. So, I do the next best thing: I make it up.

Anyway, that's enough Fallout for now. Maybe I'll come back later, when I get the fanfic done. But for now... back to Fallout 4!


But what do you think? Is anything I just said go against your head-canon with Fallout? Or if you have a topic or idea you would like me to talk about, please leave comments below, email me at, or tell me on Twitter @tbguy1992.

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