Beginners Guide to Wasteland Survival #1: The Fallout Shelter

So you’ve survived the apocalypse (probably nuclear or a giant meteor) by living in a fallout shelter. Or to be more accurate some ancestor of yours was lucky enough to be one of those selected to go live in one just before the apocalypse struck, and the next few generations have simply hidden out here until it was ‘safe’ to come out again.

The question is, is it safe? Lets weigh the options here.
You’re several generations down the line from the original inhabitants of the shelter, so this obviously means the fallout shelter has done its job and is working. You’ve clearly got some kind of working power supply. In fact this is probably nuclear, what else is going to last that long? Except perhaps for geothermal, but that does limit the number of shelters. You can’t have solar panels because for one the world is liable to be covered by a giant dust cloud, they won’t gather much power, and may well get buried beneath various detritus anyway (do you really want to have to send people outside to potentially clear these things? Especially if its a nuclear apocalypse!) Also they’re kind of obvious, other people/zombies (assuming anyone survives) could well find them and then you’re in trouble cause now they know there’s something near by.
You’ve got hydroponics to get you’re 5 a day. Meat might be awkward, cows, sheep they take up space. So perhaps you’re breeding rats. Or perhaps recycling waste products into ‘meat’ or is it just fake meat? (Soy perhaps.) Who knows. Who cares. You’ve got food.
You’ve also got water, maybe the shelter was built near an underground water source and you have some kind of water purifier. The water purifier here is essential, especially if its a nuclear apocalypse, do you really want to be drinking irradiated water?! Either that’ll kill everyone off slowly or people will start to mutate. Or again is it being recycled out of waste products. (Yes I know it sounds disgusting, but you’re surviving aren’t you?)
Also the structure of your fallout shelter is sound. It’s been built far away from any pesky fault lines, it’s a solid underground bunker that is also appropriately lined to protect against any nuclear radiation. It doesn’t leak, so no chance you’re going to all drown horribly in some flash flood, nor is there damp, so there’s no mould growing to make people sick. The air is properly ventilated, and the temperature is never too hot nor too cold.
And of course it’s big enough to house the number of people required to make sure you aren’t all now completely inbred. Or maybe you all are now? But you’ve survived I guess, and isn’t that what counts?
Finally the government in question didn’t originally decide that fallout shelters would be the perfect place to experiment on people. You’re shelter wasn’t set up to open ‘early’ in the nuclear apocalypse (like say a few years into it so that you all get affected by radiation and crap.) Nor did they try and affect your food supplies in weird and wonderful ways to see how you’d mutate, or perhaps pipe strange music in at all times of the day to slowly drive everyone to madness. No crazy rules about how you HAVE to sacrifice someone every so often in order to keep your shelter safe. Or maybe they did and you’re one of the lucky ones whose ancestors were housed in a control shelter where everything was set up properly.
So to sum up, you have food, water, shelter, you’re not inbred and you’re not insane, life should be pretty good right? You’re safe here. Outside, well you have no idea what the world outside is like. (What, is someone suggesting that you could have camera’s outside your home base? Or perhaps a link to the satellite system? The first one could well draw attention to yourself, seriously do you want some kind of super smart zombie(s)/gangs of humans finding your shelter? Also who’s been maintaining those satellites eh?) Whatever the situation is you probably have no clue as to what its like outside. So why on earth do you want to leave?
Could it possibly because you’re going to be stuck in the same giant concrete box for the rest of your life? At some point someone (maybe it’s you) is going to argue that it’s time to venture back out into the outside world. After 100, 200,300 etc years some of the horrors of the apocalypse will hopefully have died down. Less radiation, less dust etc. Its human nature to want to explore the unknown.
Still it’s going to be dangerous out there, and there are a lot of things you need to consider before you brazenly step outside. Things you need to do to protect your home and yourself, we shall look at those in part 2.

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