Do overseers know they're going to die doing the experiments, or do they think they'd never be subject to the threat Vault-Tec makes their dwellers go through? Why do they choose to follow Vault-Tec to their doom, and why does Vault-Tec expect them to allow themselves to die?

Some examples:

  • Vault 11 (he knew about the sacrifice)
  • Vault 81 (the overseer didn't go through, but she could have been killed if she did, and Vault-Tec intended for her to go through)
  • Any vault having anything to do with FEV
  • The sleeper agent in Vault 95 (technically not the overseer, but living in a vault full of junkies will get hairy real fast)
  • To a lesser degree, Vault 13 and Vault 101 (if they're not supposed to leave, why give them the option)

1 Answer 1


The overseers usually were themselves subjects of the experiments. They were only told what they had to be told so they would cooperate with the experiment.

For example, Vault 11:

Of the original residents, only the overseer entered the Vault knowing they would be asked to sacrifice one of the dwellers, however he was unaware of the true outcome if no one was sacrificed. Shocked and disgusted with the situation they found themselves in, and resentful towards the overseer for neglecting to share the information before sealing the Vault doors, the residents chose the original overseer as the first sacrifice.

Considering that VaultTec lied to this overseer, they probably lied to other overseers as well. Not just before the experiment but during the experiments as well. For example, in case of the "control group" vaults, they could have manipulated the instruments of the vault to trick the overseer into believing that the outside world was a lot more hostile than it truly was.

But what about cases where it was crucial to have a collaborator who would stick to their task, like the inside agent in vault 95 who had to put drugs into circulation after exactly 5 years? We have to remember that the true forte of VaultTec was psychology. They probably carefully screened people for such roles to ensure that they were the kind of person who would go through with the plan. In the Vault 95 case, for example, they probably picked someone who demonstrated a particularly optimistic outlook on drug rehabilitation who genuine believed they would prove their own hypothesis that 5 years of abstinence and group therapy will cure any addict.

  • well they didn't lie to the vault 11 overseer to the point where he could reasonably believe he was safe from the sacrifices, how long did he know about them? he could have blown the whistle or insisted on a different vault, they never considered the possibility one of their own could be willing throw Vault-tec under the bus even if it means their own death. I find it hard to believe they could find a enough people with both a disregard for human life yet be loyal enough to throw themselves in the atrocities they're committing
    – Dave
    Commented Jan 15 at 16:53

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