Disclaimer: I do not own Fallout in any way, nor do I own any of the music in this story. They belong to the developers that made the game, and the artists who made the songs. I am not making any money from this. I write this because I love Fallout 3.
War never changes.
In the year 2277 a young man emerged from Vault 101 to face the horrors of the Capital Wasteland. A sheltered soul seeking the father who had gone before, for the greater good of mankind. This young man became known as 'The Lone Wanderer', a figure of legend, a hero that would roam the wastes leaving an impact on the world that would be felt for generations to come. From Megaton to Rivet City, to Vaults 112 and 87, Raven Rock and the Citadel, Project Purity and Adams Air Force Base; the Lone Wanderer changed the world in ways that no person before him ever had before. It was a long and expansive journey, visiting countless locations, meeting countless people, and performing countless deeds to rebuild the shattered human race. The untested youth that became a hero.
But for all the exploits of this legendary figure, what isn't as well known are the fates of those he left behind. For the Lone Wanderer was not the only soul sheltered by the walls of the Vault. There were others; a living, thriving community; hidden, contained from the harshness of the wastes. This is the story of that community, and its young leader intent on opening the great door of Vault 101 to the outside world.
These are the things she sees in him at this moment. Emotions barely veiled, hidden to all but her: the one who knows him best. It scares her to her very core when he acts this way, frightens her in a way she can't believe.
This is her father! The Overseer of the Vault!
Sure she had seen him... upset before, but it was different then. He had always treated her coldy, distantly; he would yell at her, even hit her on occasion; but he never acted anything like this. She had always attributed it to the stress and responsibility of his position, but now? She had to wonder if he had completely snapped!
The last time she had seen him this upset had been that fateful day... a year ago, a year that seemed like a lifetime... the day her best friend escaped from Vault 101 and went to find his father, the day the Vault had forever changed. She could remember the terror she had felt that day, seeing her father's psychotic rage for the first time.
Jonas... she still shudders at the memory. Hiding beneath the desk, watching in horror as her father and his guards beat him senselessly with their clubs, again and again, ignoring his screams of pain and agony. She could remember staring into his lifeless eyes for what seemed like an eternity, before she had stolen the gun and ran. Later he and his goons had almost done the same to her, to his own daughter, and probably would have if it hadn't been for him... the one who had started all of this... the boy who had been the first to defy her insane father, the boy that had returned as a man, the man who was now standing before her father, defying him... protecting her yet again.
His presence overwhelms everything else in the Vault, inspiring fear in the heart of the Overseer and all of his corrupt cronies! He radiates a sense of pure strength and confidence unlike anything she had ever felt before. He had the look of a man who had been through hell, tempered himself with its fire, and emerged even stronger. She could hardly believe this... being and her old friend were even the same person. It was incredible!
He had changed completely from the timid, quiet young person he had once been. The kid who had thrown himself into his books, his studies with Mr. Brotch, and the science and mechanical projects with Stanley and his father.
He's wearing a brown trench coat of some kind, with leather boots and gloves, a sawed-off shotgun at his side and an old bolt-action rifle strapped to his back. He has a rough beard on his face, with unsettler hair, eyeglasses, and all the grime and filth of the wasteland clinging to him. Certainly a sharp contrast to the clean, well groomed, jumpsuit clad youth she could remember... and yet he was still much the same... he still had a deep level of intelligence, inner strength, and courage; with a drive for fairness, freedom, and justice. There was no doubt that the Wasteland had changed him, but it filled her heart to know he was still in there somewhere.
He was just standing there in front of her, not saying a word, completely unfazed by all of the guns the guards had trained on him. He was looking past them all, his eyes glaring straight through the Overseer; as if penetrating his very soul with a sense of calm, cold resolve. That calm... it was as if these guns meant nothing at all to him.
Amata slowly crawled back, nursing the broken nose she had taken from her father's pistol whip. The room had gone completely silent upon his entrance; her father, the guards and rebels alike, every eye was fixed on this man, completely stunned by his reappearance in the Vault. He gazes down with a concerned expression and suddenly kneels down beside her. Still ignoring the guards he reaches into his coat and produces an old rag, placing it against her nose and wiping the blood away. Then he digs around in his pack, pulling out a thin bandage that he applies to her nose. He then looks at her for a moment, before pushing a strand of hair behind her ear and rising to face her father.
"H..how did you get in here?" the Overseer demands, his voice breaking, "how did you get into this Vault!"
The younger man has returned to that penetrating stare. Ignoring the question, he starts walking calmly towards the Overseer, paying no mind to the guns that were still trained on him.
"Stop right there!" her father shouts, raising his own sidearm. It has no effect, he doesn't stop.
"I said stop!" her friend still advances, his gaze still piercing through him, ignoring the gun aimed at his head.
The Overseer begins to panic as the former Vault dweller walks towards him, slowly, so slowly. He cocks the 10mm pistol as the man draws closer. Everyone in the room watches in tense silence, waiting for the situation to explode, as the Lone Wanderer reaches the Overseer.
"This is your final warning!"
In the blink of an eye the younger man explodes into action, grabbing the end of the pistol and forcing it up as her father fires the weapon, sending the bullet harmlessly into the ceiling. He maintains his hold on the gun and twists her father's arm, dislocating the shoulder and freeing the gun from his grasp. He quickly removes the magazine and kicks it away from the Overseer, who is yelling in pain.
"GUARDS OPEN FIRE, KILL HIM NOW"
The Wanderer advances again as the guards watch in stunned silence. He lands a crushing right to the Overseer's face that sends him to the ground with a bloodied nose. The older man tries to back away in fear, holding his nose as the Wanderer moves towards him again. He reaches down and pulls him up to mid level, driving a pair of hard knee blows right into his face, before grabbing the Overseer's suit and throwing him across the room, sending him over a table and shattering the glass that was on it.
He again moves towards her bloodied father, once again paying no mind to the dozen guards that surround him. He reaches out to grab him again but backs away quickly, dodging a slash from a broken piece of glass in her father's hand.
"Dad stop!" she yells at him, but he's far to gone in his rage to listen to her. He moves in again, slashing wildly at her friend with the glass shard. But once again the slashes are dodged, this time with a series of hand to hand combat counters that keep the weapon from making contact. The Overseer pulls back and stabs forward with all his strength but the strike is dodged by a slight move to the left; her friend reaches out with his right arm, grabbing her father's weapon hand and pinning it to his side; then he pulls the Overseer to him and lands three straight headbutt strikes that daze the bloodied man; he then knees her father in the crotch, flooding the older man with overwhelming pain. He takes advantage of this and lands a bone crunching kick to his knee that bends his leg backwards at a sickening angle. Her father screams in extreme agony, his weight giving out from the crushing pain of his shattered leg. The Lone Wanderer holds him up though and viciously slams him face first into a nearby desk, sending the Overseer into bloody unconsciousness.
"DADDY!" she screams, running over to her father. She holds her unconscious father upright, sobbing as she sees his mangled leg.
The guards are completely stunned by what they have just seen, shocked and amazed that the youth they had once known was capable of doing such things. They looked at each other for a moment, then back at the Lone Wanderer, his gaze was now fixed on them as he reaches for his sawed-off shotgun. The guards immediately take off down the hall, as fast as they can to get as far away from him as possible. The rebels just watch him in amazement.
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HIM?". She screams up at him as she cradles her father's head. Her friend looks down at her with part sympathy, but mostly satisfaction.
"He'll live, which is more than that crazy bastard deserves."
"He is still my father, you didn't have to do this to him!"
"Do what to him Amata? Make him face the justice he deserves? Hold him accountable for his murderous deeds? He's getting off easy for what he did to Jonas."
"That doesn't make it right, that's not how we do things here!"
He looks at his old friend for a moment, weighing her words in his mind. He thinks back to happier times in the Vault, growing up with these people... with the father he had just lost at Project Purity. He remembered his youthful days with Amata, facing down the Tunnel Snakes, getting the BB gun from his father and Jonas on his tenth birthday, taking the GOAT... the good memories of a life that was no longer his own. A life before the wasteland, before the trials that had changed everything. He realized that there was no going back, no undoing what had been done. His time in Vault 101 had been great, easy in a sense that none of these people would ever understand. The Wasteland... fighting, killing, scavenging... that's who he was now, that was where he belonged.
"Amata... I'm not the person you once knew and I never will be again. The Wasteland... it... it changes you, it tries your soul in ways you can't even imagine. The horrors out there... the violence, the death, the starvation... sifting through garbage for your next meal, drinking irradiated water, fighting for your life on a daily basis! You people have no concept of the hardships they face! How could you, sheltered in this Vault as you are? You have clean water down here, clean food to eat, safety from the threats of the Wasteland."
He pauses to consider his words, glancing over them before speaking again.
"It's a world where your very existence is determined by the amount of bullets in your gun. That's what justice is out there! The Wasteland way would have your father's brains splattering the floor right now Amata! And you... rebels... you call yourselves... want to open the Vault? None of you know what's out there, none of you are ready, and you look to her for leadership? She has no fucking clue either!"
"Because out there... survival is a war in itself. And you... with all of your pistols and batons and your pitiful security force; couldn't even handle a small radroach infestation, the smallest fucking threat in the Capital Wasteland! What will you do against Raiders? Or Super Mutants? Or the Enclave? Even the Brotherhood of Steel can't handle these threats alone, what do you think you can do coming out of your little cave? Amata I care for you, I always will, but you need to wise up or you'll get all these people killed."
"What's more, they are saying I should be the new Overseer. It's all so sudden."
"That's the way these things go. Now do the right thing for your Vault."
"I will, believe me. We can open up trade with nearby settlements, and see the world we've been missing. But I still have to protect our Vault, and keep the people within it safe from the dangers of the Wasteland. Even when those dangers have helped us. And that makes the rest of this even harder."
"You saved us. But that doesn't change the fact that you attacked one of us to do it, and I can't let that sort of thing stand here. I guess it's a bit familiar. You've already been forced out of the Vault once before. At least now you know what's out there."
"I'm sorry. You're a hero... and you have to leave."
"Overseer this isn't necessary!"
"Look we still don't know what's out there. We don't know what we'll be facing, we don't know where the settlements are, we don't even know if it's safe to open the Vault."
"You don't need to go with the survey teams. The Vault needs you, it is your responsibility now."
"My responsibility is to protect these people and ensure their safety. I can't just lead them out there blindly, I have to know!"
"You must stop this Amata! If you open the Vault you'll kill us all!"
"We can't stay down here forever. This just isn't life."
"I won't let you undo everything I worked for as Overseer!"
"It's not your call anymore... father."
"None of you know what's out there, none of you are ready, and you look to her for leadership? She has no fucking clue either!"
"Amata I care for you, I always will, but you need to wise up or you'll get all these people killed."
"you'll get all these people killed..."
The ear shattering screech of metal grinding against metal... an overwhelming... ominous sound. The sound of the thirteen ton door slamming shut behind her, sealing her off from the Vault she had lived in her entire life.
The dirt she was now standing on, the dust in the air, the slight breeze in the tunnel, it was all so... foreign... alien... life changing.
Amata looked down at the skeletons littering the Vault entrance, their bony fingers still grasping the signs they had carried here in their final hours. She couldn't help but wonder what their stories were, who they had been, what they had seen out there, what... desperation had driven them here. She turned her gaze to the end of the tunnel, seeing the wooden door and the bright light beaming in through the cracks in its boards. The small rigidity gate gave her a sense of freedom she had never felt before, and with it a sense of dread at the same time. A feeling that there was no going back, only... forward, into the unknown.
Was this what he had felt? Standing here as she was now? She remembered the way he had changed in both personality and appearance, the wasteland had taken a great toll on her friend, and she couldn't help but wonder if the same would happen to her. Deep down she knew that it would... that there was no going back, at least back to the way she had lived... comfortable, sheltered. This would change her life profoundly, maybe forever. She could only hope she wouldn't lose her humanity.
She turned to the others, seeing similar thoughts playing across their minds. The five man survey team was comprised of Vault Security Officers Gomez, Wilkins, Wolfe, Taylor and herself; armed with police batons and 10mm pistols. They were all clad in Vault security armor except for Amata who was wearing her usual Vault 101 jumpsuit. The Security Officers were assigned for her protection, but she didn't trust any of them. She had had way too many bad experiences to ever trust them again, and had no way of knowing if they were still loyal to her father or not. But she was the Overseer now and by right she had the command of the Vault security force. She had only allowed them to come because she didn't want to risk anyone else in the Vault, and the Officers were the only ones with any form of combat training. She wasn't going to lower her guard around them for a second though.
Amata pulled out her own sidearm and checked the clip once more, then with a final glance at the Vault she had called home, she moved forward into the darkness and pushed open the wooden gate.
This is set after the main quest and the DLC Broken Steel. The Lone Wanderer is a level 30 good character, Amata is level 1. The fic is set about 2 months after the Wanderer returned and was banished from the Vault. Trouble on the Homefront happened before Vault 87 where the GECK was recovered.