Dr. Collins was one of only three Vault-Tec scientists who made it into the secret, hermetically-sealed research area of Vault 81 on the day of the Great War before the doors were sealed. This was despite the efforts of the overseer, Dr. Olivette to sabotage the call list in an effort to prevent the planned experiments on the unsuspecting vault dwellers of the main vault. The other two who made it in were Dr. Jim Flint and the younger Dr. Burrow.
Despite being understaffed, the scientists began the initial phases of their work. Before the Phase III human testing could begin, however, the vault's overseer, Dr. Olivette, suffered a crisis of conscience. She deactivated the disease/cure distribution system and sealed the secret vault's exits, ensuring the residents' safety but condemning the scientists to a certain death, including Dr. Collins.
Dr. Collins modified the Contagions Vulnerability Robotic Infirmary Engineer, a Mr. Handy based lab assistant, to take on greater responsibilities due to the staff shortage. He gave it some custom personality settings, giving it the personality of Liza, someone close to Dr. Collins and his "grad school fling from Versailles back in '46", and naming it Curie (the same as the model name and probably as a nod to the scientist Marie Curie also, some of whose work was loaded into it's databank)
- In the initial Research Comm Terminal dialogue between Dr. Collins and the overseer Dr. Olivette she refers to him as Kenneth, however in the next entry on the day of the Great war, she refers to him as Kevin. He is otherwise recorded as K.Collins in the terminal entries and only as Doctor Collins by Curie. Given that Kenneth was the first forename used and that Kevin was used on the day of the Great war with all the panic and confusion, it may be considered that the first name is the more probable.
- "Overseer, there are just three of us over here. What's going on?"
- "Damn it, Olivette. You can't be such a hypocrite that you'd condemn us to die in the name of your personal sense of morality. I know your politics, but I never thought you'd actually leave men for dead. Please reconsider this."
- "Truly, she is my greatest work. I only hope that one day she can see more of the world. If only I could be there to witness her reaction to the blue skies and butterflies she's only heard me sing about." (referring to Curie)