The armor vault is constructed with meter-thick walls of concrete and fused local rock. Its doors are made from reinforced magnetically actuated titanium alloy. The roof is constructed of three-meter-thick reinforced concrete with a surface layer of glassified local rock. Its specifications are believed to be sufficient to resist physical assault by the largest known Pandoran megafauna. (Read more)
For that reason, the first expedition was equipped with no weapons more powerful than 20th century elephant guns, large caliber rifles with a slow rate of fire that may have been effective against Earth’s extinct pachyderms but were utterly useless against fast-moving Pandoran carnivores such as thanators, vicious packs of viperwolves or even massive armored herbivores such as hammerhead titanotheres. The small contingent of SecOps forces assigned to protect the landing force carried light automatic sidearms; these and two fifty-caliber machine guns mounted on two SA-2 Samsons were the only automatic weapons available to the initial expedition.
Fortunately the SecOps force included a number of engineers and artificers – it had been expected that they would join the civilian mining and engineering forces once the base had been established but as events transpired, personnel flow ran in the opposite direction, with many civilian workers drafted into SecOps duty.
Much of the armor vault was originally designated for mining equipment stowage, civilian vehicle parking and maintenance, and additional recreational facilities. Instead the fabricators brought out for mining equipment maintenance were repurposed to make ammunition and razor wire, the mining machines themselves were used to dig defensive earthworks or fitted with armored cabs and giant knives and sent to engage Pandoran megafauna.
By the time the colony was reinforced with heavy weapons, the armor vault had become the defensive center of Hell’s Gate and the key to the colony’s survival. Eight executive promotions and sixty-eight senior promotions (43 of them posthumous) were awarded by RDA to the SecOps and civilian forces considered most responsible for constructing and defending the facility.