Note from the Author: The first paragraph about the Lone Wanderer is from the character's perspective, and it is not a clam to how the main character in Fallout 3 should be, nor is it intended to bash the fanfictions of others. The Capital Wasteland and all its inhabitants, save for the original characters depicted in here, are property of Bethesda Studios, Ltd., as well as all the other third party developers involved in the creation of Fallout 3. I would list them, but my memory sucks. It bears mention that, unless you want a crack at the wages of an underpaid, part-time French fry pusher under the thumb of the McD corporation, don't waste your time and money taking me to court over this shit. Not like I'm making any money out of this or anything.

~Chapter One: Good Time, Just In Time~

My name is Matthew Scott, but this is not my story.

There are many stories out there about the Lone Wanderer, the individual that escaped Vault 101 to single-handedly save the Capital Wasteland from its many woes. Personally, I have no clue how so many variations of the story came into being. I met the Wanderer myself, and most of the bullshit I've heard about her are just straight-up lies. But I guess people just remember what happened differently. Or want to remember it differently. I guess she did make some enemies out there.

But you know that, most likely. I remember the first day I met her. It was the day Burke finally lost his patience. Mr. Burke came to Megaton looking for someone who cared so little about the place that they wouldn't mind taking a detonator to the bomb in the center of town. Naturally, everybody he met either ignored him completely or told him to fuck off. That's what I did at first. But he seemed to pick up on the fact that I had only moved into town less than a month ago and tried to use my lack of funds against me.

I woke up that morning with the decision that I would have to go out and scavenge for weapon parts to sell to Moira and whatever caravan showed up today. As I was making my rounds around town in preparation for the journey, Mr. Burke saw me as he was leaving Moriarty's Saloon.

"Little early for boozing, isn't it?" I made the mistake of asking.

"Everybody has their own morning rituals," Mr. Burke said nonchalantly. He made a good point, but that's not where the conversation ended, unfortunately. "Have you reconsidered my offer?"

I remember sighing after hearing that. "I gave you my answer," I responded disappointedly. "It's not about to change."

"You disappoint me," Mr. Burke sighed. "I had you pegged as a man of reason."

I shifted my gaze in search of the town sheriff, Lucas Simms. Great guy that he was, he tended to frown on weapons display in town no matter what the situation was. Out of sight, out of mind, my hand reached for the Scoped .44 Magnum I had hidden in my trousers behind me and glared at Mr. Burke. "Reason doesn't demand the lives of innocent people just because your employer doesn't like the view," I snarled. "No amount of money will change that."

"You misunderstand," Mr. Burke cooed. "This is nothing more than a real estate venture. 'Out with the old, in with the new,' as they say."

The tip of the revolver's barrel had a pleasant conversation with the right side of Mr. Burke's face. "This is nothing more than a gun," I mocked him. "What would 'they' say if I pulled the trigger right about now? 'Another one bites the dust,' perhaps?"

"You would not dare!" Burke growled, although the twitch in his cheeks from what I figured was fear told me he wasn't sure.

"Try me." I retorted maliciously.

If he was hoping I was going to blink, he was in for a bad day. Lucky for him, he could tell I was perfectly willing to rid the wasteland of a worthless bag of douche like him. As he stammered, trying to find a matching analogy, I hit him where it hurt.

"Listen closely. If that bomb goes off, the same thing would happen if this gun went off. Only it would be happening to you. And I promise you, if I so much as catch a glimpse of someone trying to attach anything to that bomb, this gun will go off. Repeatedly. And I'll make sure your employer is there to see it. Catch my drift?"

"The security team at-" Mr. Burke tried to say.

"-will be the first to die," I interrupted. "Now, why don't you go back where you came from before I start disturbing the peace all over your skull?"

His escape was rather calm, I'll give him that, but I knew it would be a cold day in hell before I'd seen the last of that prick, and I'd bet Pre-War money to caps I hadn't heard the last bit of drivel from his lips. But it's because of him that my first meeting with the Lone Wanderer was one of misunderstanding. I was getting ready to leave town when I noticed a bright blue and yellow jumpsuit standing right next to the bomb. It was hard to miss in the brown and gray of the surrounding landscape.

I had sheathed my hidden magnum by then, but already I was contemplating pulling it back out. I could practically feel its weight in my hand, and since I was focused on that, it didn't occur to me that Mr. Burke didn't have time to recruit her.

"Some people never learn," I sighed when I leaned against the bomb. When she looked up at me, I swear it felt like catching a kid with her hands in the cookie jar. Both of her hands were embedded in the bomb's propeller, and her eyes shined with naiveté.

"Huh?" she asked calmly, clueless to my meaning.

"I told him to leave that thing alone or bad things would happen. Some people never learn." I shook my head.

"Who, the sheriff," she asked as her eyes returned to her work. "It's not that hard to defuse a bomb."

I looked up at the sheriff, who was staring down at both of us, and felt absolutely horrid. I couldn't help but wonder what he must have thought about my little intervention. Whatever itch was in my trigger finger at that moment faded instantly.

"My mistake," I managed to say before a large clanking sound the bomb emitted scared the shit out of me. I can't exactly play the vengeance card when I'm dead, after all. Fortunately, the sound was caused by the bomb's defusal. The Lone Wanderer raised an arm in the air in a celebratory gesture after stepping away from the dreadful thing. For whatever reason, the religious fanatics standing a few feet away didn't even seem to notice.

"Good job," I retorted in an effort to regain my composure.

"Told ya," she winked before walking off.

I didn't see her for a while after that. Not until I left for the day's scavenger run, anyway. My favorite places to scavenge are raider hideouts. For all their sadism, they're not hard to kill. But despite their many victims, they seem to recruit even more. I went to the ruins of the old Fairfax suburb hoping a new gang had replaced the one I slaughtered a few weeks before, and I was right. What's more, they repaired the turret I busted up last time, because it saw me before I got there.

Between the hill north of Fairfax Ruins and the ruins themselves is open wasteland, so I had nothing to hide behind. As such, my only recourse was to keep my head down and make a mad dash toward the building. Why the raiders didn't expect that, I don't know, but they probably were planning on my dying before I got to safety. Never ask a group of raiders what their strategy is. With derelict wall as my safety, my heart pounding with a combination of fear and an adrenaline surge, I pulled out my Combat Shotgun and waited for the first raider to rush out of the door. Predictably, that's exactly what happened. After feeding that raider a buckshot sandwich, I peeked into the door and saw a second one coming at me. Nothing a little double-barrel surprise to the face couldn't fix.

I replaced the shell drum for good measure before proceeding. The second floor held, aside from the repaired turret, three raiders, two men and a woman, who almost immediately took notice of my presence once my shotgun wen t off. The woman drew a combat knife and ran at me, stupid bitch that she was. Her male escorts pulled out a hunting rifle and a sawed-off, respectively, and sought cover. After detonating the woman's skull with two shells, I followed my enemy's example and ducked behind a wall. We took turns exchanging shots, but that didn't last long. I made sure to violently disable the turret after the carnage ran its course.

The first thing I noticed after that was over was that the raiders had neglected to refill the ammunition crates that the previous gang left behind. I didn't let that bother me, though, since the corpses the new gang left behind carried their fair shares of the stuff. The weapons weren't worth the parts they were made of, but I took them anyway, since I came here for merchant fodder in the first place. I left the building then and calmly walked out to the crossroads at the center of the suburb where, as expected, three more raiders crawled out of the woodworks and hauled ass at me. I giggled at the superior weapons they carried-a 10mm SMG, a Combat Shotgun, and a Flamer-and replaced my shotgun with my Sniper Rifle.

The raider carrying the shotgun was the first to go down. Those things have limited range, after all. The one carrying the Flamer didn't show any signs of fear from seeing his comrade hit the floor, but his still-living friend hid behind a Pre-War subway map and sprayed bullets in my general direction. Fortunately, his aim sucked, and his friend had to dodge the spray as well. "HEY!" the one flaming me shouted before turning to his friend, a tactic that shoved a bit of laughter up my gullet. "STOP SHOOTING AT ME!" he roared before turning, giving me ample time to put a bullet in his ear. The spray of blood and bone that erupted suggested that the bullet came out the other. The last one alive must've ran out of bullets, because he started charging me after that. Another dumb, fatal move.

I grabbed the guns and the ammo and started walking toward another building. This one wasn't guarded, however. As I went through it, I was starting to think that this one wasn't occupied until I heard a familiar voice plead for mercy. I instinctively popped on a Stealth Boy and scooted up to a nearby wall. This first thing I saw when I looked around the corner was the familiar face of the Lone Wanderer.

She was in a pretty tight spot, although I couldn't for the life of me imagine how she got into it. Her blue and yellow jumpsuit was in shreds, buried underneath her naked body. The raiders had her arms and her long, bright red hair tied behind her back and one of them had her bent over, his boot on her back and his hand in his pants. Her bare bosoms bounced from the force of the kick. The two other raiders were fondling themselves in anticipation.

"Ohhhh yeah," the leader moaned as the mushroom of flesh, blood, and other bodily fluids slipped out into the open. "We're gonna have a good time."

As the subordinates laughed in approval, and their victim whimpered in fear, the sound of an explosion ripped through the air. Before the leader knew it, his severed manhood was bleeding out in his palm, and his subordinates were freaking out. My Sniper Rifle fired again, ripping off the arm of one of the subordinates. Naturally, that's when the raiders started to return fire. They couldn't see me, though, so of course, their aim was pathetic. I switched to the quieter scoped magnum and had my fun.

Last time I was here, I raided the ruins in pretty much the same fashion. By the time I got to this point last time, my pack was pretty much full, so I had to leave some stuff behind. That's why the Lone Wanderer was able to find the folded-up leather armor on the nearby bookcase. I looked away to give her some privacy and noticed something else I left behind. It was just a knife, but I was sure she wouldn't have an easy time changing clothes with her hands tied behind her back, so I grabbed it and slid it toward her. At first, she froze, but I made no effort to give away my position further, so she eventually took the gift to be a blessing of God for all I knew. I heard the sound of rope being carved before I knew it.

My Stealth Boy wore out just after she emerged in her leathers, and she did what I would have probably done in her situation, which is to say she screamed her head off and reached for her 10mm pistol.

"I'm not one of them," I said calmly, fighting off the laugh that was building up in my throat for some reason. Thankfully, she believed me.

"You…" was all she could say at first, between gasps for air. "You… you did that…"

"You mean that," I replied, pointing to the corpses and the discarded knife. "Yeah."

I have to say, I wasn't expecting the hug. Granted, I saved her from a traumatizing situation, but hugs are something of a rare thing out here in the big bad Wasteland, at least from what I've seen of it. "You're welcome," is the only retort I could come up with when it seemed like she wouldn't let go. I still hope I didn't come off as a douchebag with the way I said that.

"I can't imagine what would have happened if you didn't…" she trailed off. When the tears came, I was utterly without response. I didn't dare wrap my arms around her after what she went through. I felt like I should have said something to console her, but I was struck speechless.

"I'm sorry…" she sniffed. She let go of me so she could dry her eyes. "I wasn't prepared for that. What would my father say if he found out this had happened…"

I rubbed the back of my neck. I didn't have an answer to that, either. "C'mon, let me take you back to Megaton," I offered, finally reclaiming the gift of speech.

"I…" she started to protest. "I'm sorry, but I'm looking for someone."

"Nothing but dead raiders here," I told her. "Besides, there are worse things than raiders out there." Sounds harsh, I know, but it really is true.

She smiled at me in a way I rarely saw back then. "Thank you," she said. Fortunately, I would be getting to see that smile more in the days to come.