“Alert! Alert! Communications grid offline, external operatives in dormant mode. Calculated neural net collapse in three, twoooo, onnnnnnnneeeeeeee... End program.”
The Calculator is the nexus of Vault 0, controlling its every aspect, designed to spearhead humanity's reemergence into the post-nuclear America. Designed before the ZAX series entered the field, the Calculator is not an actual artificial intelligence, but a supercomputer using organic human brains for processing power.
To coordinate the effort and control the functioning of the Vault, the Calculator was created as an advanced supercomputer using an electro-organic terminal to link its central processing unit to brain stored in pseudo-cryonic conditions, fed specifically formulated nutrients to sustain suspended life. This scheme was intended to assist the Calculator in Vault management, including life support, food production and distribution, pacification robot protocol, and Vault 0 defenses. Ultimately, it would also aid in executing the Exodus Protocol when outisde temperatures, radiation levels and poison particle counts returned to normal.
However, these lofty goals were compromised. Before the Great War broke out, the committee responsible for managing the construction of Vault 0 introduced budget cuts (by a 30-3 majority, no less), reducing the sum allocated for computer backup systems from 24 billion dollars to 2.3 billion, to cover pay increases of senior committee members. Additional plans called for a modification of compartments that were designated for backup computer and life support systems into senior vault personnel leisure facilities, including several top quality restaurants with 10,000 square feet of cold storage, seven smoke rooms with piano bars and two subterranean hunting grounds stocked with rare animals purchased from world renowned zoos. The renovation had a projected cost of 12.4 billion dollars. All due to a "dwindling" chance of nuclear war ever taking place.
On October 23rd, 2077, history proved them wrong. As the nuclear devastation reduced the United States of America to ash, the Calculator ended up in what can be best called a slumber. It did not react to the nuclear holocaust, instead silently remaining hidden beneath Cheyenne Mountain, along with its robotic servants and pre-War charges slumbering in cryonic suspension. It slept for over a century.
It all changed in 2196, when a group of super mutants from Gammorin's forces breached Vault 0's perimeter. This action activated the Emergency Pacification Protocol, designed as contingency in the event of substantial foreign military presence on US soil, dangerous mutations or breach in the Vault's defenses. The Calculator promptly introduced the invaders to a behemoth and began executing routines included in the protocol. The awakening of the Calculator also exposed the blunders made by the committee overseeing its construction. The lack of backup computer systems impaired its functioning and damaged the electro-organic linking terminal resulting in 63% of Vault 0's population dead, with a further 15% suffering from severe brain damage, to the point of being unable to care for themselves. Among the dead were First Scientist Napstarsky and Second Scientist Jones, the only people able to repair the damage. Constrained by its inflexible programming and lack of actual intelligence, the Calculator coldly executed the Pacification Protocol, expanding its operations into the Buena Vista nuclear reactor complex and industrial facilities in Canyon City and Great Bend to augment the Vault's own production capabilities.
Soon, the Chicago region was full of rumors of a Menace from the West, coming to exterminate all life, clashing with raider tribes, settlements and super mutants in its march east of the Rockies. The Calculator discovered a useful ally in a captured Brotherhood of Steel General, Simon Barnaky, who was transformed into a humanoid robobrain and began his service to the Calculator as its adviser and guardian.
Although the Calculator had begun rapid expansion and had attempted to eliminate the Eastern Brotherhood of Steel, Vault 0 was breached by Brotherhood forces led by the Warrior. There, the Warrior defeated the robots and Simon Barnaky's new form, and entered the Calculator chamber. The eight brains crucial to the Calculator were destroyed, so the Calculator required a new brain to continue to function. From here on, the Warrior had three choices, which determined the game's ending.
Merge with the Calculator, taking control of it and using its resources for the Brotherhood.
Allow Simon Barnaky to merge with the Calculator, which would result in a new Brotherhood of Steel and anti-mutant regime.
Do nothing, allowing the Calculator to shut down forever, or destroy it entirely.
"Greetings. I am the Calculator, overseer of the Vault Network. You have proven to be a statistical anomaly that crashed my logistics programs time and time again. It is my admiration of your adaptation and ingenuity that brings you to me. I assume that you would agree that ten Behemoth robots would terminate you and your squad? I have the resources to make such an offensive, but it is not in my interest. After all, you are quite the remarkable human and, more importantly, you have something I need."
"It is the organic portion of my mainframe that has become corrupted. The degeneration of my symbiotic brains has corrupted eighty-five percent of main protocol programming. It would take only one brain to bring my organic subsystems back online, but finding a feasible brain has become a problem. I would use a brain from one of Vault 0's residents, but I compute that my CPU would only become less efficient."
"However there is another solution. Yours is a brain that can bring balance to my organic neuro-network. I am offering you what you humans call a "dream come true." You can shed your mortal shell and join with me. You will share my power and resources to save humanity and restore civilization from the smoking ruins of the wasteland. Your name will never be forgotten and be synonymous with the word "hero.""
"What say you, warrior? Will you continue to fight me? Destroy me and continue to carve some small, insignificant niche for the Brotherhood? While the Brotherhood may tame a region, they will never have the lasting impact I alone can. The machinery you see before you has the capacity to remove your brain from its mortal vessel. It is in this machine that your journey to save mankind will truly begin. You must hurry, human. My systems cannot function long without a symbiotic brain."
“Incidentally, the story of Tactics went through a lot of revisions. For example, my original concept for the main villain, the Calculator, was for it to be a completely unfeeling automated system, not even a computer so much as an engine designed to tick over and perform certain tasks after doomsday. Totally implacable, and therefore the fault of everything bad that happens is still in the hands of the humans.”— Ed Orman
“The Calculator was designed before the ZAX series, to control and regulate the vault network. Originally, it was supposed to do just that, but it eventually grew to the point where it could control the vaults individually (had the connections with each vault remained constant).”— Ed Orman
“As far as I know the Calculator was completely unique, and unrelated to Zax, but can't find any documentation to support either side of the theory. I think it's fairly safe to assume Zax and the Calculator have very little in common.”— Gareth Davies
↑Fallout Bible 8: "As we all know that the Vault Project is a great experiment. So what is vault 0 used to study? And the second question is, is The Calculator one of the ZAX series? If not, which company or organization designed it? Well, Kane, here's what two Microforte guys had to say (well, one Microforte guy - Ed's too busy counting the sweet, sweet cash he made working on Freedom Force for Irrational Games): Ed Orman, the Thunder from Down Under, says: 1. Vault 0 is designed to repopulate the continent if the other vaults fail. It contains the biggest "brains" of the time, and their genetic data. 2. The Calculator was designed before the ZAX series, to control and regulate the vault network. Originally, it was supposed to do just that, but it eventually grew to the point where it could control the vaults individually (had the connections with each vault remained constant). And Gareth Davies said: 1) "The sturdy Vault 0 was to be the nucleus of the vault network. Housing the greatest leaders, artists and scientists, the inhabitants of Vault 0 were to reunite the vaults and lead the people to a new life, a new world. But, after the bombs, the world would be a harsh one. To ensure the creation of a post-nuclear utopia, the Vault Dwellers would need help. Machinery was constructed to tame a land hardened by the ravages of war, then tempered by nuclear winter." 2) As far as I know the Calculator was completely unique, and unrelated to Zax, but can't find any documentation to support either side of the theory. I think it's fairly safe to assume Zax and the Calculator have very little in common."
↑Canyon City terminal entries: "...good question, Dr. Jones. I would be happy to explain why we're taking "the path less traveled" when compared to mundane computer systems.
One advantage the Calculator has over normal computers is the electro-organic linking terminal. Our tests conclude that the CPU can share tasks and receive data from pseudo cryogenic stored brains that are maintained in an oxygenated tank.
These brains are currently that of lab rodents, but our calculations indicate that human brains can be preserved in the same fashion. The brains will be fed specifically formulated nutrients to sustain suspended life. In turn, they will assist the Calculator's CPU in Vault management, including life support, food production and distribution, Pacification-Robot protocol, and Vault-0 defenses.
This neural network will also assist in Vault-0's primary function: To initiate Mankind's post-war rebirth. When outside temperature, radiation levels, and poison particle counts return to acceptable levels, Vault-0 will remotely activate the Exodus Protocol, which will initialize the integration of all Vault Dwellers onto the planet's surface.
The brains are to be harvested from a select group of geniuses that were chosen, by committee, for their skills and their cute haircuts... (fade to static)."
↑Canyon City terminal entries: "Committee rules 30 to 3 in favor of streamlining Vault-0's computer backup system costs from 24 billion dollars to 2.3 billion. These cuts will take place immediately.
This ruling was based on the dwindling chance for actual nuclear war taking place along with much needed pay increases to senior committee members.
Furthermore, the subterranean Vault compartments that were designated for backup computer and life support systems will now be renovated for senior vault personnel leisure facilities.
The committee has a construction agenda that must be finalized by mid March.
The new facility options are as follows; several top quality restaurants with 10,000 square feet of cold storage, seven smoke rooms with piano bars and two subterranean hunting grounds stocked with rare animals purchased from world renowned zoos.
All of these are feasible but require an additional 12.4 billion dollars which can be acquired by... *click*"
↑Journal of Sir Latham: "Journal of Sir Latham, Entry 1.4.5.
Today is a day filled with absolute horror.\n\n
Only one mutant returned from a scouting trip that was ten soldiers strong. He staggered back to camp and collapsed without a sound. He died in my arms while trying to hold back the blood pouring from his mouth.
Before I had a chance to close his eyes, the menace was upon us! Metallic death machines entered the camp undetected by my sentries! I have never seen creatures such as this before, but they seemed unstoppable. It was only the sheer power and, more importantly, our numbers that allowed us to defeat these three machinations of death.
Our losses were staggering."
Note: The date format is y/m/d, basing on other entries.
↑Buena Vista terminal entries: "...our lands are filled with foreign soldiers, dangerous mutations or breach of the Vault's defenses, the Calculator will initiate the Emergency Pacification Protocol. This will trigger the starting sequence for the Pacification Systems and the operations...
...Or we could choose mutations to be targeted first to ensure human DNA will not be at risk of contamination. Our goal of surviving pure blood human or otherwise...
...some time after the robots have pacified the surrounding area, construction of the Hellion will begin. Once assembled, the Hellion will increase Vault-0's pacification range to five times the previous distance. It is built for vertical take-off and can reach air-speeds in excess of four hundred miles
per hour. The armoury includes five anti-tank bombs, eight surface-to-air missiles, and dual sixty-millimeter cannons. The Hellion uses standard issue JP-5 fuel and can fly for 8 hours or longer than you will ever have to nee...\n\n\n"
↑Vault 0: "(Static fading) ...is Third Scientist Lewis with the report on the cause for the perimeter alarm.\n\n
Late last night, a heavily armed group of mutated humans attempted to force their way into the vault. I have never seen such creatures. The smallest one was over seven feet tall and must have weighed at least four hundred pounds!\n\n
I believe that this group has seen fighting recently. Each one was carrying enough firepower to arm a small platoon, but the real shock came when a security camera was able to get a close up.\n\n
These poor creatures are severely mutated with the majority of their features only vaguely resembling that of human beings. I don't know if they are a product of nuclear radiation - they seem to share too many similarities with their muscle bound frames to credit a random mutation.\n\n
Their intrusion in the Vault has fully woken up the Calculator and the Emergency Pacification Protocol has been initiated. I don't believe the invading mutants were expecting to combat a Behemoth but the results were... (Fade to static)."
↑ Vault 0: “(Static fades out) ...is Third Scientist Lewis.
Things are going from bad to worse. We should have installed more backup systems for the Calculator. The irony is that the committee members that voted on Vault 0's backup system budget cuts are now all dead, but it gets worse.
Sixty three percent of Vault 0's population is now dead, while fifteen percent of the living are now severely brain damaged and can no longer care for themselves.
My frustration builds with the fact that I can't even get into the Calculator's chamber anymore, due to lack of authorization!
If only First Scientist Napstarsky or Second Scientist Jones had survived instead of me. They might have been able to repair the electro-organic linking terminal, and who knows, they even might have saved Vault 0. I will do what I can, but... (Fades to static).”