Notes: I do not own Fallout 3 or any of it's affiliates. This is hardly original, but it's really fun for me!
Also, I know several people have already created stories such as this that basically chronicle the story of Fallout 3. I'm sorry for being redundant, but I couldn't help myself. I was going crazy with ideas! This story will basically be a narrative of the main story line, omitting the extra quests and what have you. Well, thanks for clicking on this link anyway, and I hope you enjoy it at least a little bit.
Fallout 3: I am Alpha and Omega
Chapter One: Escape!
In Vault 101, you're born in the vault, you die in the vault. In her world, there was no worse truth. Ana sat upon the knocked over locker, tinkering with her BB gun while she thought of the Overseer's laws in his vault. She spent a lot of time in the reactor level when Amata or her father weren't available to console her. Lately, she had felt empty, as if a piece of her was missing all along, but she had only realized it after the damage was irreparable. Ana tilted the gun and peered up the chamber, lightly blowing into it. Only moments before, she had been practicing her aim on the targets her father and Jonas had set up for her on her tenth birthday when the lever jammed. Light in the Reactor level was dim, so trying to find the culprit behind the jam was nigh impossible. After a few moments of trying to force her eye vision to see the inside of the gun, she sighed, resting it on her lap again.
The door directly in front of her groaned as the gears were turned and opened slowly. The hinges creaked as well—which reminded her again to oil them down, so they didn't make noise when she crept in at night—and through the slightly ajar doorway, her father's head stuck through. In the low light of the room, she could just make out his smile. "I thought I'd find you down here."
James stepped into the room, then closed the door behind him slowly. He still wore his white lab coat, which hinted to Ana that he had just come from the doctor's office. Ana scooted over on the locker to give him room to sit, and placed the BB gun on the floor next to her. She folded her hands together, and rested her elbows on her knees, looking at her boots rather than at her father's knowing eyes.
"You've been coming here a lot lately," James said to his daughter as he sat down carefully on the locker, "but it's not to shoot targets, is it?"
"Not all the time," Ana replied lightly, nudging the gun with her boot, "it's getting pretty old, actually. Stops working periodically."
"But I've never seen a better repairman for the job," James said, laughing lightly, "you must have fixed that thing a hundred times!"
"Well, you know what I mean, sweetheart." James leaned forward, mimicking Ana's position, and peered into her down turned face. "Now, tell me what's wrong."
"I'm not sure," Ana replied, studying her gloves, trying to avoid looking at him, "Maybe it's the job. I mean, I love working with Stanley, don't get me wrong. It's just... empty, I suppose."
"Didn't take the G.O.A.T. seriously enough?"
"No, I answered honestly on that test," Ana lied, thinking back on the infamous G.O.A.T., "I like to tinker with Pip-Boys. I can't imagine working in the engineering department. That's where I would have been if Mr. Brotch didn't—"
Ana cut herself short, blushing briefly. Her father didn't know she "cheated" on her test. "...Anyway," she continued, "I like my job, but there's something depressing about the fact that that's all I'll be doing for the rest of my life; I'll be doing the same monotonous and mundane tasks until I'm too old to be useful."
"There's nothing depressing about that," James replied, squeezing her shoulder gently, "doing what you love is the most fulfilling thing in life. Your mother would be proud of you."
Ana swallowed noticeably, and turned her head slightly towards her father. "Dad," she said cautiously, "can we... you know... talk about Mom?"
James's hand slowly slipped from his daughter's shoulder, and he was silent for a moment. "Your mother, she... she was beautiful. But beyond the beauty you've seen. She was passionate about life, about love. But most of all, she was passionate about you. After she became pregnant it was the happiest I had ever seen her. She was so excited to meet you, to get to know you. She had great things in mind for you."
Ana turned her head back towards her feet, and her shoulders seemed to slump further. "Is that what's bothering you?"
"I don't know... maybe," Ana replied, kneading her palm on her knee. "I wish I could have met her, too."
"Ana," James said quietly, patting her knee, "I know things are hard down here, and that life isn't perfect. But it's a hell of a lot better than a life out there. All your mother and I ever wanted was for you to be safe, and you're safe in here."
"I'm not saying I want to live on the outside," Ana replied, motioning with her hands to the ceiling, "but I wish there was more to look forward to. I feel like I've got a long road a head of me, but I've already found the dead end."
They were quiet for a while. "Your road is one you have to discover on your own," her father said kindly, "you have to know these things. I won't be around to hold your hand forever."
Ana laughed shortly, "Oh come on, Dad! You're not that old, you don't look a day over thirty!"
James laughed at her joke, almost hesitantly, and patted her shoulder. "Come on, let's go grab a bite to eat. I hear they're serving cheeseburgers tonight, it's your favourite."
"I suppose that would cheer me up," Ana replied. "Just let me put Ol' Faithful back in our quarters and I'll be right behind you."
James smiled at her kindly, and Ana finally met his eyes, returning the smile. They were near reflections of each other, and while Ana was proud to resemble the man she held so dear, part of her wished she inherited her mother's looks as a reminder that she truly existed, and wasn't just a faint memory.
James stood slowly, his aged knees giving him grief for the minor strain, and started towards the door to Ana's private shooting range. She leaned over to pick up the BB gun again, and brushed some dust off of it, admiring the old gun. In a way, she felt a connection with the item; both of them were handy, but in need of some repair. Ana sighed at the thought, and rose to follow her father.
Her dreams were calm at first, but then they were filled with fear and terror. Ana tossed and turned in her sleep, calling out faintly. When she had all but submitted to fear, a prevalent memory flashed in her mind, bringing her peace. Her father's voice filled the dark void of her sleep, and she clung to the sounds and sights of the dream:
"See this? It was your mother's favourite passage. It's from the Bible: Revelation twenty-one six: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life, freely. She always loved that...."
Ana suddenly felt pulled, and she fought to hang onto the dream longer, but sleep was suddenly stolen from her. She opened her eyes slightly, and Amata's blurred face dominated her vision.
"Wake up, Ana! Come on, you've got to wake up!"
Ana's eyes flew open, and she jumped upward from her bed quickly, meeting Amata's frantic eyes. Her ears suddenly caught on to the sound of the alarm blaring throughout the vault, and she felt dread. The alarm never sounded; emergencies didn't exist in the vault. Ana tried to sort out her awakening brain, and confronted her friend: "Amata, what's going on?"
"You've got to get out of here! You're father's gone, and my father's men are looking for you!"
Ana's brow knitted with immediate confusion. The fact that Vault security personnel were on the look out for her bothered her little, for the strong implications behind Amata's words alerted her. "What do you mean my dad is gone?"
"He's left the vault! I don't know how, but he's gone, and my father's kind of gone crazy!"
"You have to know these things. I won't to be around to hold your hand forever."
How? How could her father have left the vault? We're born in the vault, we die in the vault. So how did her father leave the two hundred year sealed door? "Dad really couldn't have left the vault, that's impossible...."
"I thought so too, but it's true: he's gone, Jonas is dead, and now they're looking for you!"
Surprise and anger suddenly burst forth in her heart, and battled her mind for her logic. "What? They killed Jonas? What the hell is going on?"
Amata folded her arms, looking down and speaking more softly. "My father's men think Jonas helped your father escape. They brought him to my father's office and they..." Amata's voice began to thin, and she clutched her arms as her voice wavered. "Oh my God...."
Ana did not reply, for she could not. She clenched her fists and averted her gaze from her friend. Her head tried to keep her reason, but revenge bloomed within her veins, and she wanted nothing more than to avenge his death.
"I'm sorry you had to find out like this. I know Jonas was your friend." These words from Amata were able to calm Ana to an extent, and she returned her gaze to her friend, relaxing her clenched fists. Amata seemed to return to the severity of the situation as Ana visibly calmed. "But we have to go now," Amata stated more forcefully, "my father's men will be here any minute!"
"You're right, I obviously can't stay here," Ana admitted with a nod, "but where can I go?"
Amata's face was tainted with a flinch of pain. "I'm sorry, but I think you'll have to follow your Dad. You have to escape the vault."
Ana sighed, squeezing her eyes shut momentarily, and nodded quickly. "Listen," Amata added, "I know it's not any of my business, but... didn't your Dad tell you he was leaving?"
"No." The reply was short and quick, like the jab of a dagger.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sure he had his reasons, maybe Jonas was supposed to explain everything to you.... But it doesn't matter now! I can help you escape, I have my own plan!"
Ana ran her hands through her short black hair, closing her eyes. She wasn't always fond of Amata's plans, and her anger and frustration were boiling over her limits of patience. Despite all that, she knew she had no choice but to take her friend's advice, for she had none for herself. "Tell me."
"Listen: there's a secret tunnel that leads directly from my father's office to the exit. You'll have to hack the computer to open it. Use these to get into his office," Amata pulled two bobby pins from her hair, and shoved them into Ana's hand, "that's how I always get in."
"Alright," Ana replied hard, pocketing the bobby pins. Anger still raged inside her internal cage, and she had to fight to keep it in check. She was afraid that if she spoke any more words, she would take her emotions out on Amata.
"Oh, one more thing. I stole my father's pistol. I hope you don't need it, but you'd better take it just in case."
A gun. Ana looked upon the pistol as Amata pulled it from the back of her belt and held it before her in both hands. It was a ten millimeter, a good enough weapon for protection. But Ana was sure she would kill someone out of rage if she had the gun. "No, you keep it. You may need it more than I do."
"Well... okay. It may come in handy if I run into any of my father's men," Amata said. Ana felt fear for her friend at this statement; even Amata's father would have his men attack his own daughter if she was caught. She felt the gun would be better off in Amata's hands. "All right, I'll try to meet you at the exit. If I'm not there, don't wait for me. Good luck!"
"Be safe, Amata!" Ana called after her friend as the girl ran from the room. Ana looked around her room, feeling a wave of thoughts and emotions come over her. Her father had left her behind in the vault. Why did he leave? And why did he leave her there? Along with the frustration of her father's disappearance, Jonas's murder filled her with hate and scorn. She was afraid that if she took the gun from Amata, she would surely kill her friend's father if she came across him.
The alarm continued to buzz consistently in the small apartment, and it reminded Ana of her situation. She had to act quickly. Lunging forward, she grabbed for her baseball bat and her BB gun (it would do no damage to the guards, but it would act as deterrence), then she whipped open the medical kit and took all the supplies inside. Ana then lifted the Pip-Boy that was attached to her arm, as was it on every vault dweller's, and she punched in the commands to storing equipment. A small green laser shined out from the top of the Pip-Boy, and Ana scanned each item, feeling them disappear in her hand as the Pip-Boy stored them as data.
Her Pip-Boy was different from every one else's in the vault; working with Stanley, the Pip-Boy mechanic, had proven to have it's advantages, including learning the tricks of how to make the best out of the biologically attached Pip-Boy. Most people could store data and a few items in their Pip-Boy, including pencils and notebooks, but Ana could carry as much weight in the Pip-Boy as her body could carry. Every time an item was entered into the Pip-Boy, the weight was redistributed over her body through the mechanism, making itself the most useful pack anyone could have.
Ana kept her baseball bat, holding it in her hands with a firm grip. Six years on the American Argonauts vault baseball team had given her an impressive striking arm, with a three hundred plus home run career under her belt. Her slightly calloused hands felt at home across the bat, and she squeezed it firmly. She would be protected well enough without a gun. Ana looked around her room once more for items, then dashed into the living room to find other useful provisions. As she whipped her head around the room, her eyes fell upon the framed photograph of her and her father nine years before. He had just given her the BB gun for her birthday, and Jonas took their picture. What better days those were.
"I'll find you, Dad," Ana muttered to herself, "please be safe."
Taking a deep breath, Ana rushed out from her quarters, and turned right down the hall. She gasped lightly as her eyes fell upon a silhouetted security guard at the end of the hall. "There she is! Don't move!" he called, pointing at her intently. Ana gripped her baseball bat, and shifted her footing offensively, staring the man down.
Suddenly, two radroaches flew at the guard from the adjacent hallway, and a third attacked him from behind. The giant mutated insects must have found their way into the vault after her father had broken the barrier between the inside and the outside. "Shit!" the guard exclaimed, swiping at the ferocious insects with his baton, "get 'em off!"
Ana surveyed the situation, and rushed forward, slipping past the battle that waged between man and insect, feeling remorse at leaving the man behind to fight off the predators alone. Deep down, Ana knew that he would turn on her once the radroaches were dead. Ana was the most hated enemy of the vault now, and saving the people would not save her from their wrath. She picked up her pace when she heard the security guard's voice boom from behind her as he continued to fight off the insects. "You won't get away! You won't get away from this!"
Suddenly, as Ana came across the next T-intersection of the hallway, someone leapt out from the corner, stopping dead in front of Ana. She planted her feet firmly, and held her bat at the ready. If the authoritative members of the vault weren't her worst enemy, Butch was. The arrogant-ignorant greaser had been Ana's rival since infancy, and her hate for him boiled at the bottom of her soul. Her father had always told her hate was a strong word, and she agreed, reserving it only for Butch.
"You gotta help me! My mom's trapped in there with the radroaches!" he blurted.
Ana did not budge, and her feet stayed planted on the floor, her eyes burning holes into Butch. The boy looked genuinely frightened and in need of help, but it did not motivate Ana to change her ways for him. "Butch, asking for help. If only you knew what 'irony' meant," she said, her voice dripping with hate.
"Yeah, I'm asking you. So what? Look, I'm sorry for the way I've always treated you. You know I didn't mean it, right? This is my Mom, you can't leave her in there with the radroaches!"
For all she hated Butch, she knew he was right. She could not leave Butch's mother to an ill fate because of her extreme distaste for her son. As Ana motivated herself to step forward and help the woman, the security guard behind her beat off the last Radroach, and bellowed after Ana as he started to chase her.
"Here, take my BB gun," Ana said quickly, punching a few commands on her Pip-Boy and grabbing the gun from her back as it materialized from the downloaded data and handed it to Butch. She hated to part with her prized possession, but she was left with little choice.
"Oh, hey, thanks! I think I can take on those radroaches now!" Butch said, rather oblivious to Ana's need to escape the security guard. A pack of fifty pellets were attached to the gun, and she handed the entire thing over to her rival, and dashed quickly from the scene without looking back. She only hoped Butch would be competent enough with the weapon to save his mother.
"Come back here!" the security guard roared behind her, and Ana pumped her long legs faster. As she passed the Cafeteria, he growled in frustration as another Radroach scuttled forward into his path. Ana did not stop running until she reached the staircase.
As her legs carried her up the flight of stairs, the PA system activated over the alarm, and Amata's father, the Overseer, relayed a message over the intercom:
The Radroach infestation is under control. Do not interfere with Vault security personnel. Any resident found outside his or her quarters will be dealt with severely.
Ana bolted to the top of the stairs, and rounded the corner. The hallway appeared empty, until a bolt of fire suddenly blasted forth in Ana's path, causing her to flail herself backwards. She looked to her left from where the fire came, and saw the Mister Handy bot, Andy, (whom she had worked by with Stanley for several years) blasting fire towards a small horde of radroaches. Officer Gomez stood behind the floating robot, attacking the radroaches that ran beneath it. A Radroach suddenly jumped towards Ana, and she growled fiercely, swinging her bat downwards at it in mid air. The exoskeleton of the insect crumpled beneath her swing, and the corpse smashed against the ground, sending white goo flying in different directions.
"Ana!" Officer Gomez called as he batted at a Radroach trying to reach him from beneath Andy, "You're lucky it was me who found you, the others won't be so forgiving!"
"Nor would I," Ana said angrily, then forced herself to carry a softer tone as she called over the sounds of the Radroach slaughter, "but thank you, Officer Gomez. You were always kind to me."
"It's a real shame it's come to this," he replied to her, grunting as his baton crunched the head of another Radroach, "It's unbelievable what they did to Jonas. Officer Mack was just out of control!"
Ana said nothing, but covered her eyes from the heat as another flare of Andy's flamethrower killed the last of the radroaches.
"Ana," Officer Gomez said as Stanley emerged from her dad's medical office behind him, "Go find your dad, if you can."
"I'll try," Ana said, her voice still strong with determination, but a falter of sadness affected her words. "Thank you both. Goodbye."
Ana turned from them quickly, and ran down the hall towards the Atrium door. Her hand slapped the switch to open the lock, and the door slid upwards, granting her access.
"It's our only chance! Don't you see?" a voice rang throughout the atrium as soon as Ana stepped in. "We're getting out of here, just like the Doctor! I'm not gonna let anyone stop us!" It was Tom Holden.
Ana stepped around the corner, lowering her bat as she approached. She knew from his words that Tom would be on her side. But as she came into view, Tom bolted towards the door to the Vault control room, where the Vault's door to the outside would be.
"Tom, be careful!" his wife Mary called. Ana stepped forward, her hand held outward and her jaw open to shout after him with Mary. Gun shots burst out from the hallway, and Tom screamed as his body hit the floor. Ana's eyes grew wide, and Mary shrieked, "Tom, no!"
Mary ran down the hall after Tom, and Ana called after her. "No, wait!" Ana tried to chase after her to stop her; if she could not save Tom, she would save Mary. As soon as Mary rounded the corner, her head snapped back as a bullet embedded itself into her skull, and she fell to the floor dead next to her deceased husband.
Ana squeezed her eyes shut and gritted her teeth. She ducked low next to the hallway's opening, and contemplated her next move. She then saw the door to the next floor propped open by a locker; someone must have shoved it under the sliding door before the Overseer's override on the automatic doors could seal the third floor off from the rest of the vault completely. Standing tall and readying herself, Ana dashed across the hallway's opening, catching the guards by surprise as she ran through the open door and up the staircase.
Ana walked cautiously along the open catwalk, peering into the round window of the Overseer's office from across the large room. On any other day, Ana would find him standing in that room, overlooking the people of the vault. He was not there. But where was he? Ana shoved off the thought, and jogged quickly across the room to the other side, towards the maintenance department.
"Hold it right there!" Chief Hannon called as she rounded the corner inside. She gasped, ducking as the man swiped at her head with his baton. Ana turned towards him, holding her bat before her in a defensive position. She was doomed now; there was no possible way she could escape a fight with the Chief of Vault security. They circled each other, holding their weapons at the ready.
"Give it up, Ana," Hannon threatened, "just hand yourself over now and all this can be put behind us."
Ana opened her mouth to reply, and Hannon swept his baton towards her arm. Ana ducked down and let the baton swipe over the hairs of her head. With swift movements, she gripped the bat, and swung it forcefully into Hannon's kneecap.
"Agh!" he called, his side crumpling as he reached for his wound. He limped sideways from Ana and fell over onto the floor. "You, you—"
Ana stood slowly, looking over Hannon with frightened eyes. After a moment of him cursing her, she pressed a key on the green screen of her Pip-Boy, and held her hand out in front of her as the command created a stimpak to materialize in her palm. She threw it down towards Hannon, avoiding his eyes. "I hope you know how to use it," she growled, and turned to continue towards the Overseer's office.
"I told you, I don't know anything!" Amata's dim voice called from behind the walls. Ana froze on her step, feeling fear grip her. Oh no,she thought, they found her.
"Please, Amata, Officer Mack might enjoy this, but I don't."
Ana's head buzzed with rage at the Overseer's flimsy words, and her hands wrung the grip of her baseball bat. She approached the window of the security office area, and peered into it from the corner.
"She's my friend, I was worried about her. What does she have to do with any of this anyway?"
"Probably nothing, which is why you should tell us where she is," Amata's father cooed. He stood in front of her with Officer Mack, and the two men towered over the young woman in her chair. Ana knew she would have less luck fighting off Officer Mack and the Overseer compared her fight with Chief Hannon, but she willed her feet forward, and she made a move to open the door and ambush them to save Amata.
"Watch out sir, she's got a gun!"
Ana paused in her step again, and peered through the window. Amata had jumped from the chair and backed herself into the corner, holding her pistol at the two men.
"Amata, where did you get that gun?!" her father hissed.
"Just get away from me! I don't want to shoot you, but I will! I swear, I will!"
Ana gripped her bat, and kept herself hidden behind the window. No, Amata, keep calm, keep calm.... Ana wished that Amata had never found the gun in the first place.
"How dare you threaten me!" The Overseer growled at his daughter, "and with my own gun! I'm your father, damn you, you show me some respect!" The words were spoken with such venom, that Ana herself felt her bravery waver slightly. "Officer Mack, don't just stand there!"
Ana watched in horror as Officer Mack made his way around the chair towards Amata. "Don't make me take that gun away from you girlie, just hand it over, nice and easy now."
"No!" Amata shrieked as her finger squeezed the trigger over and over, pelting bullets into the man, "Get away from me!"
Officer Mack fell dead to the floor, and the three remaining people looked upon his body in utter shock. Ana's grip on the bat loosened, and her mouth slowly parted.
"Oh my God, Amata! what have you done?" the Overseer cried, eying his daughter down. Amata sobbed once, holstered the gun on her belt, and dashed past her father. He did not stop her as she fled the security office and exited the hallway.
"Amata, wait!" Ana called, but the other woman continued to run, her head in her hands as she dashed towards her father's office. Ana looked through the window again, and caught the Overseer's eyes on hers. With a glare of total contempt, she stepped slowly towards the security office door, and approached the Overseer, her bat held at the ready.
"I hope you're here to turn yourself in young lady, you're in enough trouble as it is. Don't make it worse for yourself."
Ana shook the bat, baring her teeth. "You loathsome sack of shit! How dare you! Amata's your daughter! If you ever threaten her again, I swear to God I'll make you regret it!"
"I place the good of the vault above everything, even my own paternal feelings." Ana spat at him. His eyes closed momentarily before opening again as he continued his speech. He didn't bother to wipe the spit away. "We must not allow sentiment to cloud our judgment! I do admire your protective instincts, however. Therefore, I promise not to harm Amata again over the affairs of the vault."
"And Jonas?" Ana growled, "what about his affairs with the vault? He had nothing to do with my father's leaving, and nor do I!"
"I wouldn't go so far as to presume Jonas's involvement, young lady," the Overseer retorted, "your father's actions has placed everyone's safety in jeopardy! Now you must face the consequences!"
"You're nothing but a murderer and a thug," Ana replied viscously, "these people don't have a leader, they are all enslaved by a scoundrel!"
"My dear girl, had you paid attention to Mr. Brotch in class, you would have learned that history is invariably written by the victor, and I intend to be victorious!"
Ana's hands flexed, and she readied her body to swing the bat forcefully into the Overseer's head, but she stayed herself. Despite her desire to end the miserable man's life, he was Amata's father, and Ana knew that her friend still needed him, no matter how psychotic and illogical he became. But beyond that, she felt she would be ruining her father's name and her own by spilling the Overseer's blood upon it.
"Guards, she's over here!" he called. Ana glared him down once more with ice cold eyes before backing out of the room and jogging off towards the office area before the security personnel could arrive.
Ana ran the short distance to the doorway that led to the offices, where the Overseer's office and secret tunnel would be. As she rounded the corner through the doorway, she could see Jonas's body laying on the floor, a lamp shrouding him in a spotlight as if enunciating her guilt. Ana's guard lowered, and she relaxed her grip on the bat. She walked forward slowly, free of worry of any intruding security guards, her only concern being the mourning of her friend. Jonas had been like a brother to her over the long hard years of adolescence under the pressure of bullying and solitude. She knelt down softly beside him, looking over his peaceful face. It was almost as if he was sleeping, and hadn't really been beaten to death.
Out of the corner of her eye, Ana caught the tip of a holotape sticking out from Jonas's pocket. She looked from the tape to Jonas's face, almost as if expecting an answer, then plucked the item from his pocket, and sliding it into her Pip-Boy. Her fingers were hasty as she tapped her commands on the screen, and played the recording. Her father's voice emitted from her Pip-Boy, and Ana nearly gasped out of surprise at the sound of his words.
"Hold on Jonas, I need to record this first. I... I don't really know how to tell you this. I hope you'll understand, but I know you might be angry. I thought about it for a long time, but in the end, I decided it was best for you not to know. So many things could have gone wrong, and there's really no telling how the Overseer will react when he finds out. It's best if he can blame everything on me.
"Obviously you already know that I'm gone; it was something I needed to do. You're an adult now, and you're ready to be on your own. Maybe someday things will change and we can see each other again. I can't tell you why I left, or where I'm going; I don't want you to follow me. God knows life in the Vault isn't perfect, but at least you'll be safe. Just knowing that will be enough to keep me going."
"Don't mean to rush you, Doc, but I'd feel better if we got this over with."
"Okay," her father seemed to say apprehensively, "go ahead. Goodbye—I love you."
Ana's face was hard as she contemplated those words of her father. She understood the logic behind his reasoning for leaving her in the vault perfectly, however, she was most obviously not safe left in the vault, and the fact that he hadn't the trust to bring her along stung as if it were an implication of her incompetence. Her father was the most important man in her life, and he had left her behind in his trail of guilt and injustice.
Suddenly, an involuntary sounding sob filled Ana's ears, and she pivoted on her toes from her squatted position on the floor, looking towards the doorway where the sound came from. Ana slowly stood, her jaw flexing in uncertainty. Amata was in that room.
Ana walked slowly and gently into the room, afraid that quicker movements would somehow insult Amata in her fragile state. The poor girl had just killed a man. Amata sat in a chair by a table in the dark room, her head in a hand, and her father's pistol shaking in her other. She cried again, less muffled this time, as Ana brushed her shoulder with her fingertips sympathetically.
"Oh my God," Amata stuttered through tears, "I had no idea my father would... and Officer Mack, I—I had no choice, I..." she stumbled over her words, and cried hard. With her hand shaking noticeably, she handed the gun towards Ana: "here, take it. I don't want it anymore."
Ana felt guilt for not taking the gun in the first place, for not sparing Amata from this horrible ordeal. Her fingers gently grabbed the gun, and pulled it away from her friend's tight grasp. "You had no choice, you did only what you had to do," Ana stated in a voice tinted with sympathy.
"I don't know," Amata replied shakily, shaking her head, "I don't know."
As Ana watched her troubled friend cry, she realized that she was just as guilty as her father for causing the vault such distress. There was so much she could have done to prevent people from getting hurt or killed, and she didn't do any of those things. Her father may have opened the door, but Ana felt she only fed the fire of chaos that it had started. Ana squeezed Amata's shoulder, then turned from the room, holstering the ten millimeter on her utility belt. Straight across from Amata's small sitting room was the Overseer's personal office. With an angry heart, she approached the door, picking one of Amata's bobby pins from her pocket.
Ana surveyed the situation, and decided that she would need something to act as a torque in order to pick the lock. Looking hastily around the room, she caught a glimpse of a screw driver sitting on a nearby desk. She placed her bat against the wall haphazardly, and she snatched up the screwdriver, sticking its slotted head into the base of the lock's opening. With cautious movements, Ana inserted the tip of the bobby pin into the lock at a slight angle, then turned the screw driver slowly clockwise, twisting it as she turned. The lock clicked upon her success, and she smiled triumphantly as the door slid open, granting her access.
The room was empty and simple, yet intimidating. Even though Ana was careful under her father's advice not to pick fights with Wally Mack or Butch DeLoria on a regular basis (though it was so easy to do), she still found herself standing in the Overseer's office as she grew up because of her rivalry with the boys. Pushing away the brief wave of fright, Ana approached the computer behind the desk, and entered in the command to login. The cursor blinked at her as it requested the password, and Ana drummed her fingers impatiently on the sides of the computer. She had no idea how much time she had before the security guards showed up, and she only had four attempts to find the correct password. Taking the most obvious guess, Ana typed in Amata quickly and hit the return key, almost expecting the password to be rejected. The Overseer couldn't care that much about his daughter to use her name as a password, could he?
The terminal blipped as the password was accepted, and Ana laughed shortly in surprise. A few extra commands appeared below the computer's listed serial number, and before she could highlight Open Overseer's Underground Tunnel, a section caught her eye. Ana's brow furrowed slightly before she selected it, and three more documents appeared: a text document from a scouting party in the wastes, and two pictures. Ana felt her jaw open wide, and tried to collect herself as she opened the document. The Vault had not been sealed shut for two hundred consecutive years; the Wasteland was a known territory of the Overseer. Ana's life had been a lie.
As she read over the document, Ana gasped and faltered, reading the words over and over. Mutated wildlife. Settlements. People. How could it be true? Did the Overseer lie to them all? Did her father lie to her for nineteen years?
Ana tapped the "notes" option on her Pip-Boy, and folded out a small data disk from the left side and plugged it into the computer's port. She saved a copy of the scouting report and the two pictures (one of a large mutated ant, and the other of the settlement Megaton as mentioned in the document) and returned the disk to her Pip-Boy. The information was processed quickly, and the picture of Megaton was automatically loaded and downloaded onto the green screen of the Pip-Boy. Megaton, Ana thought, if it's anywhere he'll be, it's there. Ana was determined to find her father and set the situation right, no matter what the obstacle. She would convince him to come home to the vault. They could fix this mess still.
Ana returned to the main screen of the Overseer's terminal, and entered the command to open the tunnel. Metal gears seemed to creak and groan as she hit the return key, and she straightened slowly and turned as the desk began to rise up from the ground. Ana walked around the complicated device, nodding in her approval of the mechanics of the entrance as the hydraulic pumps held the desk above the mouth of the tunnel and the floor slid backwards to reveal a staircase down. Ana descended it quickly, the sounds of radroaches and infuriated security guards behind her encouraging her to pick up her speed.
Ana rushed through the door at the end of the tunnel, and ran through a red-lit hall. She ran past a few radroaches, finding her time cut short to deal with any enemies. She reached the end of the hall, and her hand slapped against the control pad to open the door. The large cement block slid slowly into the ground, revealing the Vault door control room. Ana's jaw hung open as she surveyed the place. She had never been in the room before, for it wasn't permitted to non-Vault-tec personnel. Ana walked along the computer station into the main open room, and approached the control panel that would activate the door. She looked it over briefly before she discerned the mechanics of the board, then she pressed a few buttons hesitantly, and hit execute.
A yellow caution light began to spin and illuminate the room, and a loud blaring alarm filled Ana's ears. She stepped back from the control panel and watched the Vault door pod drop down from the ceiling and align itself with the door's laser recognition bay. She heard muffled shouts from the door behind her as the two security guards realized the vault door was opening. A body banged against the hard steel, then one of them cussed. "Open this door right now!" one muffled voice commanded, and Ana watched the vault door nervously as it slowly rolled to the side, presenting a frightening cave-like tunnel. As the large circular door came to a slowing halt, the caution light and the alarm ceased, leaving Ana to her silent awe.
"Oh my God, you actually opened it!" Amata said suddenly from behind her, and Ana whipped her head around in surprise to face her friend. "I almost didn't think it was possible!"
"Nor did I," Ana said pensively, staring into the tunnel beyond. Fingers of light poured in through cracks at the end, beckoning her forward. Ana looked upon the tunnel with an angry disposition, and Amata recognized it right away.
"If anyone can survive out there, it's you," Amata reassured, and placed a hand on Ana's shoulder.
Ana turned her gaze back to Amata, and searched her eyes for a moment. "Why don't you come with me?" she asked, yet somehow she knew it would be a rhetorical question.
"It's tempting, but... my place is here. The vault needs me more than you do. Besides, I'm the only one who has a chance of talking some sense into my father."
Amata's eyes then shifted to the floor, guilt possessing her features. "If you do catch up with your dad, tell him I'm sorry for... you know, for Jonas and everything.
"Good luck, Ana, and goodbye."
"Goodbye, Amata." Ana felt sadness sting her like a crack from a whip as she then realized the possibility that she may never see her friend again. She held Amata's gaze with her hardened eyes, trying to hold on for a moment longer.
The door behind them swung open forcefully with a kick, and the two security guards burst forward with batons in hand.
"There she is! I'll need some help with this one!"
Ana looked to the coming security guards, and without a second glance she bolted towards the vault door, and Amata turned back through the control room towards the secret tunnel again. Ana let her legs burn as she forced them to run beyond their ability. She jumped from the top of the small staircase and landed on the dusty cement floor nimbly, making her way towards the light at the end of the tunnel, towards her future and inevitable fate.
"I'm not crazy enough to go out there!" the other security guard shouted, and Ana threw a glance over her shoulder to see the two security guards hovering at the vault door entrance. She slowed her dash to a slow jog before pausing in the dirty cave path. She leaned forward on her knees, squeezing her eyes shut and panting lightly. She had only been awake for half an hour, but the world had drastically changed beyond belief.
The light and the alarm came to life again, and Ana shot up and turned to see the vault door rolling shut behind her, closing her off from her past for good. As the door came fully across the entrance, Ana looked ahead in the cave, and promised herself she wouldn't look back again.
Before her was a shabby door with what looked like holes in it, for light was spilling through at odd places. Ana approached it apprehensively, and studied the door. She couldn't see the outside; the light coming through the cracks was too bright. But the door was so strange—it wasn't like the other Vault-tec doors in the Vault. There was no mechanism to open it, and the material it was made from was not metal, but from some inefficiently constructed boards bolted together to cover the opening of the cave. Ana considered beating her way through, but she realized her father must have found his way out without breaking the door, for it seemed unharmed by touch (though it seemed to have been harmed by time). Looking it over carefully once more, Ana tentatively pushed it, and the door opened easily and slowly forward, creaking as it went like the door to her private shooting gallery. At this comparison, Ana felt immensely more at home. Then, the intense light hit her eyes.