On the morning of October 23, 2077, Nate was preparing to go to an event at the Veteran's Hall in Concord. While getting ready, a Vault-Tecrepresentative visits the family with pre-approved admission into Vault 111.
Mere moments later, a news bulletin warns of an imminent nuclear attack, which forces Nate, Nora, and Shaun to rush to the vault prior to a nuclear bomb detonating nearby, leaving their Mister Handy, Codsworth behind at the House of Tomorrow. After entering the vault, the family, alongside the other admitted residents are placed in cryo-sleep under the guise of decontamination before entering the main vault by Vault-Tec scientists
If Nora was selected as the player character she is forced to watch as her husband, Nate is murdered by Kellogg while trying to prevent Shaun's kidnapping by the Institute. If Nate was selected she will be murdered instead.
If she is selected to be the Sole Survivor, then the player chooses her name, appearance, and SPECIAL stats.
Even if she is not picked to be the player character, it is possible to edit her appearance before finalizing whether to play her or Nate.
If she is selected to be the Sole Survivor, when she goes near the USS Constitution and is approached by the lookout, the lookout will mention that according to their pre-War records, her profession is a lawyer.