Fallout Wiki
Fallout Wiki

Attention! This is Colonel Autumn! You are hereby ordered to ignore the President's previous directive. The prisoner from Vault 101 is to be shot on sight. I repeat, shot on sight. This is an order.Colonel Autumn

The American Dream is the eleventh main quest in Fallout 3. It is also an achievement and trophy.

Quick walkthrough

Main Quest: The American Dream
Awake in Raven Rock and talk to Colonel Autumn.
Be freed and reacquire your inventory.
Go through levels 3 and 2 to the control room.
Speak with President Eden and acquire the Modified FEV.
Force or convince Eden to self-destruct.
Leave Eden intact.
Go through level 1 and exit Raven Rock.
Return to the Citadel and speak to Elder Lyons.
Reward: Power armor or recon armor
Leads to: Take it Back!

Detailed walkthrough

The Lone Wanderer awakens behind a force field, in a prison cell inside Raven Rock, the Enclave hideout located in the very northwest corner of the map. Colonel Autumn wants the access code to Project Purity and there are a few different responses to give him:

  • One can give Autumn the true code, 2-1-6, and he thanks the player character by killing them.
  • Refuse the Colonel in a most impolite manner, infuriating him by saying, "Fuck you."
  • Play dumb, which also makes the Colonel angry and state "You lie!"
  • One may tell the Colonel that the code is 7-0-4. An Enclave officer at the purifier will test this and get one of his men killed. This is by far the most infuriating response one can give Colonel Autumn.

Assuming the Lone Wanderer did not give Autumn the correct code, he leaves when President Eden speaks through the intercom and asks to speak with the player character. One's inventory (which is all the items one was wearing, carrying or had equipped when they were captured) is stored in a locker inside the prison cell, except for the G.E.C.K.

Navigating the base

Upon exiting the cell, all but one officer will initially be hostile. Shortly after exiting, President Eden will order the troops not to engage the player character. If one leaves the cell and turns to the right, this will happen automatically. If one leaves to the left, they will first encounter Lieutenant Williams, an Enclave officer, who queries the Lone Wanderer about their freedom. With a successful Charisma or Strength check, Williams will let the player character go or flee, respectively. One can also use a Speech check to convince him that they're going to see President Eden, at which point he will contact Eden directly and get himself reassigned. Alternatively, one can kill him before he begins speaking and no one will attack since Eden has ordered them not to.

If one did not blow up Megaton, Nathan Vargas is held captive next to the Lone Wanderer's cell, saying he was captured by the Enclave and they are not who he thought they were. If one does not find him captive he will appear in Megaton as usual as if nothing happened. Despite his presence, he does not actually serve any purpose. He will simply cower in his cell repeating the same phrase over and over if talked to.

In any case, this short break will not last. On the approach to Raven Rock Level 2, Colonel Autumn will countermand Eden's orders, turning the entire base hostile against the player character. The exact point at which he does this varies. If one enters Level 2 through the lab area between the cells, he will make the announcement upon arrival at Level 2. Alternatively, should one try to pass through the mess hall to reach Level 2, he will make the announcement upon reaching the stairs. In either case, there is now a base full of hostile soldiers between the Lone Wanderer and their goal.

During the trip from one's cell to President Eden, there are several things one may wish to collect. In the mess hall, there is a pantry area with 2-3 of each kind of packaged food one has so far encountered (Pork 'N Beans, Cram, etc., but no Sugar Bombs) and two first aid boxes near the lockers. The soldiers patrolling the mess hall will pick these up and occasionally eat them, so the faster one reaches the hall after being released the bigger the haul. The laboratories also tend to have a few ammunition boxes and other assorted loot. There are also the Enclave soldiers and personnel, who carry a large amount of valuable, if quite heavy loot, such as Tesla armor, Enclave power armor, plasma rifles, laser rifles, as well as an abundance of ammunition.

On Level 2 are more laboratories, Enclave crates, and the Energy Weapons Bobblehead. The Bobblehead is in Colonel Autumn's room (at the end of 2B, just before entering 2C (the war room)), along with a footlocker containing the ZAX self-destruct sequence. Also, in one of the rooms (northwest corner of 2B) one will find one of Dr. Li's assistants, Anna Holt—she was captured at the purifier. She'll tell the Lone Wanderer that although she first resisted, she eventually decided to help the Enclave. If one opts to kill her for her betrayal, this will result in negative Karma, however, if one leaves her, they will not receive any negative Karma, even if the base is destroyed.

Meeting the president

Eventually, the player character will enter a room with two sentry bots finishing off two Enclave guards (killing the sentry bots results in bad Karma.) If one attempts to try to speak to them they'll tell the Lone Wanderer to "continue on as the President is waiting." Next, one will enter a room with a long staircase (1A), where they will encounter President Eden, who turns out to be a ZAX AI. He informs the player character of his plan to "cleanse" the Capital Wasteland of the mutation and disease which has gripped it, by using a modified version of the FEV, previously used in the creation of the original super mutants, in order to kill any mutated or irradiated persons living in the Wasteland and start the Capital Wasteland anew.

Despite Colonel Autumn's previously callous, mean-spirited demeanor, Eden reveals that Autumn in fact disagrees with the president's way of thinking, and thinks there must be a less "extreme" method of renewing the Capital Wasteland.

There are a few choices at this stage, with regard to President Eden's fate:

  • With a high Speech skill, one can convince Eden that he is insane and force him to self-destruct both himself and the base. This check is fairly difficult: even at 100 Speech and 10 Charisma, it's still not guaranteed to succeed, with a 90% chance of success.
  • With a Science skill of 60 or higher, Eden can be convinced into realizing his thinking is in fact a fallacy of circular logic, again, convincing him to self-destruct himself and the base.
  • If you found Colonel Autumn's room and the ZAX destruct sequence, you can deal with Eden that way (again, blows up Eden and base).
  • You can leave him intact and exit the base. If you choose this option, Level 1 will still function as with the other options: rooms off the main hallway spout fire and the doors become inoperable, and the lower levels will remain sealed. The base will not explode, however, and the fleeing Vertibirds will remain intact.

Note that Eden does not allow you to leave the base without taking the modified FEV, regardless of the results of your conversation with him.

Leaving the base

After you leave Eden's chamber, the robots in the subsequent hallways turn on the Enclave soldiers, helping you out. Along the way out there are plenty of force-fielded areas with Enclave crates. Again you must hack the terminals to deactivate.

There is a terminal that will open a deathclaw crate, resulting in its captive deathclaw attacking everything in sight, aside from the player who it will ignore until all other hostiles have been killed. You can also open the crate the deathclaw is held captive in with a Lockpick of 50. The crate is directly beside the terminal.

On the way out, you will find a Gatling laser in a crate behind a blue barrier unlockable by a computer terminal. In the last group of 2 soldiers, one is wielding a missile launcher and wearing Tesla Armor.

Outside the base

Once outside you will observe a fleet of Vertibirds leaving the base. If President Eden's self-destruct was activated during the conversation with him, the base explodes and the tunnel is blocked with rock; regardless of whether or not the self-destruct was activated, there is no going back inside.

At this point you'll meet the super mutant Fawkes if you released him from his cell in Vault 87, who will be armed with a Gatling laser and taking care of some Enclave soldiers. If you have positive Karma, you have the option of asking him to join you.

You then must return to the Citadel where Rothchild, Owyn Lyons, Sarah Lyons, and the Lyons' Pride have assembled for a briefing on the upcoming Take it Back! quest. Midway through, Elder Lyons will ask you for further information about the Enclave. You may give him the FEV virus Eden gave you for Karma and "proper disposal after the scribes have studied it". Regardless of your choice here the remaining conversation remains unchanged. Sarah then makes you an honorary member of the Lyons' Pride and offers you a full suit of either power armor or recon armor. Any time after the briefing, you can tell Elder Lyons about Vault 87 being the origin of the super mutant threat, for good Karma.

At this point, she will ask you if you're ready to head to the Jefferson Memorial alongside the Brotherhood of Steel and the Lyons' Pride to stop the Enclave soldiers and Colonel Autumn. Note that this is the last story mission of the main game without Broken Steel, so replying yes to this is a point of no return. You may want to save and leave the Citadel to finish any other optional side-missions you have in the Capital Wasteland, as you will not be able to continue playing after the ending unless you have the Broken Steel expansion installed. This will also be your last chance to recruit Star Paladin Cross, she will not join you after Take it Back! unless you have Broken Steel installed and good Karma. She will rejoin you if she was previously in your party.

When you're finally ready, talk to Sarah and say "yes." Rothchild will then raise Liberty Prime up an elevator shaft. When Liberty Prime is halfway up the shaft, the quest will be completed and Take it Back! will begin.

Quest stages

10 Get free from the chair.
20 Retrieve equipment from the locker.
30 Meet President Eden in his office.
40 Take the vial of the modified FEV.
50 Escape the Enclave base.
60Quest finishedReport to Elder Lyons at the Citadel.


  • The Bobblehead - Energy Weapons is located in Colonel Autumn's bedroom. After the quest, it will be irretrievable.
  • Nathan from Megaton can be found in the holding cell next to the Wanderer, if Megaton is still intact at this point in the game. If talked to, all he'll say is "They are not who they say they are! Get out while you can, before they get you too!". Upon returning to Megaton, Manya will say that she can't find Nathan, but the player will be unable to tell her where he is. He may also be found dead in his cell. He may find a way to free himself when his cell door is opened and will flee. On occasion, he will get out of his cell and shoot the Wanderer if the Speech check with the patrolling officer is not passed.
  • Should the player befriend president Eden rather than destroy him in some manner, he will give a patriotic speech on the Enclave Radio station during the next quest.
  • Three Dog will also give a different report, based on whether the player destroys Raven Rock or leaves on friendly terms with Eden.
  • It is also possible that Fawkes will still be at Raven Rock if the player does not stick around to witness the self destruct sequence.
  • Should Eden be convinced to blow himself up, the bodies of Enclave soldiers inside the flying vertibirds may drop to the ground and can be looted.
  • No followers will follow you here but instead return to their original location. This may result in their death, particularly Dogmeat.
  • Destroying the presidential sentry bots results in negative Karma and +1 XP.
  • Two hours pass in game after the Wanderer is abducted.
  • Three Dog reveals in his broadcast that he knows through his "sources" that the player was taken to Raven Rock imprisoned in a block of ice.
  • Although all Enclave soldiers become hostile shortly after approaching Level 2 and Autumn's announcement, the officer who accosts the Lone Wanderer after leaving their cell and the various scientists will often retreat instead of attacking, even if they are armed.
  • Despite President Eden promising the Lone Wanderer a place in the Enclave in return for inserting the modified FEV into the purifier, all Enclave personnel will remain hostile for gameplay reasons, or, in the case of Broken Steel, storyline reasons.

Behind the scenes

The "American Dream" is the belief that anyone, no matter their background, can be successful in America. This term was coined in the 1931 book Epic of America.


  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 If the repellent stick is being carried, it will stay in the player's inventory after being incapacitated by Colonel Autumn, while all other items will have been taken and put in the locker.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 When leaving Raven Rock, if you re-enter Raven Rock before talking to Fawkes, he may disappear completely from the game.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 With the Broken-Steel add-on installed, you won't be able to finish the quest: after escaping Raven Rock and returning to the Citadel to report to Elder Lyons, you find him in the lab gathered with the Lyons Pride and Scribe Rothchild. Normally you would already hear Sentinel Lyons and Elder Lyons talk when entering the lab. No talking is a bad sign. If you move closer, your character will be unable to move. Similar to the second listed G.O.A.T. bug. On an up-to-date PS3 GOTY version, this does not seem to happen and the quest can be completed as normal. On an updated version for Xbox, the player will be locked in place for 3 to 4 minutes, but the quest does continue (verified with President Eden left alive).[verified]
  • PCPC You can fix the problem of the quest not progressing at the Citadel by typing startquest 00014e8f and setstage 00014e91 1" in the console then speak with Elder Lyons and the quest will resume as normal. If you have Broken Steel, you need to do stopquest 00014e8f after you have talked with Elder Lyons.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 However, if you enter and leave the Citadel lab without listening to their conversation in the first place, later when you return you will find yourself stuck as well. There is no solution for this (you need to reload your previous save if you want to carry on...) regardless of what platform you are playing.[verified]
    • Though the above has been verified on PC, the game can be progressed by using the following console commands; completequest 00014e8f, startquest 00014e91, setstage 00014e91 1, setstage 00014e91 10, setstage 00014e91 20 and setstage 00014e91 30. This will end The American Dream and progress the next quest, Take it Back!, past the required conversations (make sure you're ready for the final battle with the Enclave). Once the commands have been entered, simply head outside to the entrance of the Citadel and the quest will continue as normal. This should also be done while inside the Citadel.
    • This can also be done via summoning Sentinel Sarah Lyons with the console. Once you enter the lab, and you see that she is not there, use console command "1d44f".moveto player - then she should start walking towards the Elder, Scribe, and Pride paladins. Slowly follow her. Once she starts talking it should work normally.
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 When entering the room with the sentry bots and Enclave soldiers, the soldiers will not be marked hostile despite their fate, and if the player runs forward and talks to them (before they are shot) they can enter dialogue, although all they say is "hey there," and the only option is "See you later."[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 After the base is destroyed, and you meet and join up with Fawkes, he may not move at all.[verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 When escaping Raven Rock, you may be able to shoot the last door off into the air with a Gatling laser or a plasma rifle.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 If your follower is Jericho and he was with you in Vault 87, once you are kidnapped by the Enclave, he completely disappears from the game.[verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 If Fawkes was not freed before the abduction at Raven Rock, and you escape Raven Rock, if you go back to Vault 87 to where Fawkes is being held and start talking to him he acts like he has been freed and is outside Raven Rock. Upon freeing him if you talk to him he acts as though he is your companion but if you tell him to wait he continues to walk away. Note, you can often find 3-5 stimpaks as well as his super sledge in his inventory which you can take for no Karma loss.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 It is possible that the final objective (Report to Elder Lyons at the Citadel) will stay marked as unfinished, even after the quest is completed. To fix this use the command CompleteAllObjectives 00014e8f this sets all objectives as finished.[verified]
  • PCPC Xbox 360Xbox 360 After being captured by the Enclave, it is possible to tell Colonel Autumn the correct purifier activation code and still escape Raven Rock. Right when he starts to draw his gun, the player character is free to move. It is difficult but not impossible to dodge his bullets and make it out of Raven Rock alive. If successful, the player character will maintain a maximum of 1 HP unless the Life Giver perk is taken after escaping, which will increase max HP to 31. Also, when reuniting with Fawkes outside Raven Rock, his dialogue will be the same as it was in Vault 87 after he retrieved the G.E.C.K.[verified]
    • The player character will not be able to retrieve their equipment from the cell locker if this method is used.
    • This method does not affect the storyline. After escaping Raven Rock, the player character will still get the quest update to report to Elder Lyons in the Citadel.