So ends the legend of the Wandering Pair from Vault 101, who rose from the ashes of obscurity and left history in their wake. The waters of life, the vision of the late Catherine Freeman, had been fully realized through the efforts of her husband, their child and his companion, as well as countless others who supported them. As the irradiated waters slowly became purified, life began to return to the earth around them. Dedicated supply caravans brought barrels full of clean water to every corner of the Capital Wasteland, allowing for more advanced forms of agriculture, irrigation and plumbing to be established. But the constantly-running Project Purity had brought something much more important to the people: hope.
That was to be the legacy of the Wandering Pair and their efforts. The word of hope spread with the clean water, healing souls as assuredly as the water healed the earth. Those who had woken up each day only to fall asleep not knowing if they would do so again now looked to tomorrow with a brighter vision, one supported and defended by the Capital Alliance. As the various communities and groups across the land joined its charter, the vision of the Enclave was ironically brought to fruition: a wasteland united, with Project Purity paving the way for the future.
But the ones responsible for Project Purity and its rebirth did not bring this salvation without costs of their own. James himself was now in suspended animation and Amata was similarly unconscious with no signs of waking up. No doctor, human or android, could offer any certainty of her condition or its end. This left Lloyd himself seemingly alone, and in his quest to hunt down the man responsible for Amata's injury, he isolated himself more and more from the friends they had come to make in their journey. But Burke left no traces of himself behind, leaving Lloyd to wander aimlessly, chasing rumors and false leads.
Everywhere he went, he was reminded of what he had lost. From people coming to thank him, to seeing the effects of Project Purity on the land, all he could do was despair in the fact that while the rest of the wasteland was able to move on, he simply could not. Any satisfaction he received from the realization of his parent's vision was meager compared to the hollow emptiness he felt from the fact that his love would receive no justice. He distanced himself from the Brotherhood and the ongoing war against the Enclave; with Autumn dead, he had no personal stake in the fight any longer. He dedicated himself fully to chasing Burke, but he might as well have been chasing a ghost. Burke was gone.
There was a time when he would have remained to help fight purely out of the goodness of his heart, but that time had passed. Others, such as Elder Sarah Lyons, attempted to reach out to him but were turned away. This land that had been his home, his birthplace, was now anathema to him, and so in time, this lone wanderer came to leave the Capital Wasteland, lured by his desire to help others but also to not remain where he was. He spent much time before he left at Amata's side, apologizing for his failure in finding the one who had done this to her and promising that in some way he would find a way to make up for it.
Lloyd left the Capital Wasteland two months after Project Purity had been activated, alongside a man named Wernher, an escaped rebel from a tyrants' rule. He began journeying northwest towards a desolate place known as the Pitt. Convinced that he could find a way to do good elsewhere and in doing so atone, even if just slightly, for his failures, he left Amata behind, convinced that she would never awaken, much like his father.
But what he could not know is after three months and twenty-three days of uncertainty, three days after confirmed reports of Burke's current whereabouts reached the Brotherhood of Steel, at which time Lloyd himself had already reached the lands of the Pitt and begun aiding the resistance there, that in the halls beneath Project Purity, against all probability and uncertainty, Amata woke up.
This story shall also be told, along with many others. Because although one small corner of the world may have become a bit brighter, the world at large is still struggling to survive in a war of attrition. And war…
War never changes.
I've fallen out of this habit, but it seems appropriate, here at the end, to address the readers directly. Five years ago, I downloaded a mod for Fallout 3 that allowed Amata to come with the Player as they left the vault. To the mod author's credit, it had a little bit of fluff text, some questing, some dialog, but as I sat in school and thought, and I mean really, really thought, it wasn't enough for me, as I realized that this would change everything. Three Dog still calls the player character the Lone Wanderer, nobody ever references her, she might as well not even be there. Now, of course, this is beyond the scope of a simple mod, but not a story, a story that I was willing to write.
So I wrote the beginning of one. I had little experience when I was starting out, only a few stories here and there that I've removed as time has gone by, but nothing successful, or at least what I would consider satisfying to me as an author. I wanted to hold myself to a standard that I felt I hadn't been reaching. As I looked on and continue to this day to look on at many of the other stories in this category and beyond, I found a trend: a very high chapter count, but often short chapters. So, I laid out the ground rules for my story early on: no chapter would be below twenty pages long and I wouldn't consider a chapter finished until I had accomplished what I wanted to accomplish with it. Quality versus quantity.
In the end, I believe this benefited the story, along with my planning and personal ideas. As I moved away from just copying dialog, I found that I really enjoyed simply making it up as I went along, and I'm glad that the latter portions of the story contain almost none but my own dialog (save for things like Liberty Prime, which I felt very important to leave in unaltered). Five years is a long time for it to have finally been finished. In that time, I've been to school, college, through a relationship, started another one that is still going, worked two jobs and joined the Army where I am writing from my station in South Korea. There was a point where I took the story down and rewrote every chapter, adding or changing details to better fit in with the direction the story took. It's been a very long journey with a lot of ups and downs and there are a few people I'd like to thank.
Firstly, to anyone whose mods managed to work their way into my story, I thank you for the work on them that inspired me to include them. Highlights include, of course, the Follower Amata, Marts Mutant Mod, follower mods for Harkness, Lucy West, the Outcast Follower Nitro, Malika the Gypsy who featured prominently in Chapter 14 and many others that fail my immediate memory.
Next, I'd like to thank my readers. When I said that I feel that quality versus quantity benefited the story, I meant it, and I'm proud to have been able to write the (as of this time) second-most reviewed, most followed and most favorited non-crossover Fallout story on the site. I've never been a big fan of numbers as bragging rights, but it's still something that I am happy about. It tells me that people share my feelings that this story was something more than a simple novelization of the game (though I admit that is what it started out as before I started wildly diverting). It tells me that I was able to successfully reach an audience and that I'm proud of the fact that I finished this story, not just for myself, but for everyone who ever read it and wanted to know what would come next.
What comes next… well, I've got a lot of ideas. I don't know when I'll revisit them, but they've been with me for the last five years of planning and putting the story together. Sequels, prequels, sidequels, spinoffs; there'll always be room for more and I like to think that I'll keep going with them, but I'm a very busy person and I've made a lot of commitments. I wanted to finish this story so that I could move on to other things, other projects. It's always been stressful, in a way, to have this story not finished for so long. I can't say that anymore, and I'm glad.
To those who have been with me from the beginning, I have to thank you again. Someone in particular deserves my thanks, and that is Rubrik079, who contributed art to the story a long time ago and who I could never thank enough. It might seem so small a thing, but coming from someone who can't draw and never could, it meant a lot to me to see some of the characters and moments in the story come to life. I always appreciated it, and I'm not sure if you're still around on the internet or not, but if so, thank you again for being a fan and a friend. Strange how it seems like only yesterday we had our first conversation over a portrait of Amata. Good luck to you and all of your endeavors and I sincerely wish you well.
I used to leave notes and such at the ends of all of my chapters. I don't like to do that anymore, and this all seems a bit much now, so I'll just bow out and leave things as they are. I'm happy with the story, I could go on and on about all the things I like about it, the things I don't like about it, ideas I had, ideas that changed, the life I lived during its five-year completion process, but I don't want to bore. Thank you again for reading my story. If you like, please let me know, via review or personal message, how you felt about it now that it is done. You've my word that I'll get back to you.
Until Lloyd and Amata meet again, I'll see you next time, readers.