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Stop right there! I don't know how you got in here, but... Hold on...Officer Gomez after seeing the Lone Wanderer enter the vault

Trouble on the Homefront is a side quest in Fallout 3. It is also an Xbox 360 and PC achievement and a PlayStation 3 trophy.

Quick walkthrough

Side Quest: Trouble on the Homefront
Receive the distress signal and reenter Vault 101.
Side with the overseer.
Side with the rebels.
Sabotage the Vault.
Kill Amata.
Persuade Amata.
Kill the overseer.
Persuade the overseer.
Purge the water chip.
Reward: Evil Karma
Reward: Good Karma
Reward: None
Reward: Good Karma and modified utility jumpsuit
Reward: Evil Karma
Reward: Modified utility jumpsuit
Butch as possible companion.
Reward: 300 XP

Detailed walkthrough

This quest will be available 14 days after completing The Waters of Life and is initiated by picking up the Vault 101 distress signal on the radio. Note that if one elects to find the G.E.C.K, there may be issues picking up the signal. To find it, simply wander near Vault 101. The signal is only active for a limited time; if the quest is not started before the signal stops, the only way to start it is through the console.

The radio signal is a repeating message from Amata asking the Lone Wanderer to return to Vault 101 to help stop her father, the overseer. If Alphonse Almodovar was killed while escaping from Vault 101, Allen Mack will be the new overseer; however, the radio message changes to "...the new Overseer is insane. If you can hear this, please stop looking for your dad and help save us."

Since the player character and their father escaped from Vault 101, the Vault has been divided into two major factions. The faction led by Amata, holed up in the clinic, wants to open the vault and interact with the outside world. The other faction is led by the overseer and he wants to keep the vault closed permanently, in accordance with its mission. Butch wishes to abandon the vault entirely and live on the surface; however, the rest of the rebels simply intend to remain living in the vault, with the freedom to make excursions into the wasteland when necessary.

One of the essential reasons for having access to the wasteland and the remainder of humanity, apart from the obvious need for supplies and parts for the vault's aging life support apparatus, is to avoid collapse due to genetic stagnation and inbreeding. The number of Vault 101 residents has fallen significantly in the two centuries since it was sealed, implied heavily by various conversations and other means (such as a message encouraging procreation) prior to the Lone Wanderer's initial escape. If they successfully persuade the overseer to allow exterior access, then the overseer himself will finally accept and openly admit that without external input, the vault's population will not remain genetically viable for more than a generation or so.


Although there are only three different outcomes, there are plenty of ways to finish each, but regardless of the path the Lone Wanderer chooses they will ultimately be banished from the Vault.

Keep the Vault closed

There are essentially two ways to keep the vault closed; one way is to ignore the problem and leave. The downside to this is no quest-related rewards will be given.

  • Simply ignore the radio message. The signal will cease after a while and the opportunity to gain XP (plus the modified utility jumpsuit) dissipate.
  • Just enter Vault 101 once, talk to some people and/or take items (such as opening the safe in James' office) and then exit the vault. After leaving, it will not be possible to reenter the vault as it has been locked again.
  • Kill the rebels. Killing Amata should break them up; however, the other rebels may have to be killed as well. This gives bad Karma even if the plan is trying to keep the vault closed. If one is seen taking this approach, the whole vault may turn hostile, including the overseer; they may become docile again after hiding for a period of time.
  • Persuade Amata to stay in the vault because the outside is too dangerous (this grants good Karma.) There are two ways to achieve this:
    • Pass a Speech check.
    • Hack the overseer's computer and discover the attempts by the Enclave to gain entry into Vault 101, and the overseer's refusal to admit them. This provides proof of the dangers outside and of the overseer's attempts to protect them and will allow convincing Amata without the Speech check.

After dealing with the rebels, the Lone Wanderer may talk to the overseer, who will ask them to leave. If asked about a G.E.C.K. he will reply that Vault 101 never had one and will offer the modified utility jumpsuit instead, whether or not violence was used. Alternatively, he can be asked for food and ammunition to get 13 Cram and 350 5mm rounds in place of the suit.

Open the Vault

  • Kill the overseer.
  • Convince the overseer to step down, one of two nonviolent solutions, neither of which work on Allen Mack (the new overseer if Amata's father died in Escape!.) Any attempts to try to reason with Mack will only result in combat.
    • Pass a Speech check. The overseer will realize that the vault will not survive more than a generation or two no matter how many supplies they may receive.
    • Show that security is planning an assault against the overseer's orders. Access the computer in the security office either by hacking into it (Average difficulty) or by obtaining the password (either from the body of Officer Wilkins or from a locker on the other side of the room). This will also allow Mr. Brotch (who also knows of the plan) to be freed from the jail cell. Telling the overseer about the assault convinces him he has failed his mission as overseer, and he will surrender without the Speech check.

If the overseer lives, he will step down, and Amata will take on the role of overseer. This nets positive Karma; the same will occur if the overseer dies. Amata will show regret and sorrow if either Alphonse or Allen was killed or excitement and amazement if her father was persuaded to step down without violence. If she is spoken to she will then 'ask' the Wanderer to leave the vault permanently, in which she will echo the famous phrase from Fallout: "I'm sorry...you're a hero and you have to leave." Upon her saying this, the player character will not be able to engage in conversation with anyone else except Officer Taylor on their way to the exit. He will only say "Good riddance. Get out," and will immediately exit dialogue. Attempts to re-enter dialogue will just have him repeat his previous statement.

This result will stay the same even if the overseer was persuaded to stand down peacefully which will provide the modified utility jumpsuit (in the case of peaceful actions.) Later, Susie Mack can be encountered in the wasteland. Speaking to her will provide purified water, however she will say that the player character still cannot return. Butch will end up in Rivet City at The Muddy Rudder.

Destroy the Vault

Hack the (Hard) computer in the sub-basement or steal the Vault 101 maintenance password from Stanley, the maintenance man, who can be found wandering around the cafeteria/dorm level. Go into manual override mode and perform a flush and a purge. This will flush the water chip, resulting in a catastrophic system failure (if Stanley is performing maintenance on the system, as he tends to do, the resulting explosion will kill him.) Everyone is now forced to evacuate the vault (triggering negative Karma.) Unless patch 1.1 is installed, one can even complete the quest with another method and then flush the chip, although this will render anything done prior in the quest meaningless.

  • The passcode only unlocks the terminal and does not enable unlocking any extra areas of the vault.
  • Amata may be lied to that was the overseer's plan and he lied to that the rebels were responsible. In the latter case, he will stay where he is, ashamed at what he has caused, which results in him taking his own life.
  • If Amata finds out the Wanderer did it, either by telling her or failing the Speech check, she will say they are worse than her father and threatens to kill them if she ever sees them again. As she is running out of the Vault, she can be engaged in conversation but will follow through with her threat as promised.
  • As of patch 1.1, the option to destroy the vault is lost after completing the mission through interaction with either Amata or the overseer. Back at the filtration room computer, the option "Begin Water Chip Service" now returns the message "Service Disabled - See Vendor" when selected. This applies even if Butch has given the optional task to Sabotage Vault 101.

Obviously, life in the vault is no longer feasible. A random encounter may occur where Amata is being interrogated by the Enclave. If she gives up the location of Vault 101, she will be executed. If saved, one can try talking to her, but she will scold the player character for what they have done. She does not have a destination and will eventually be killed by one of the horrors of the wasteland. Butch can be found at The Muddy Rudder bar in Rivet City and can be recruited, provided the player character has neutral Karma. In the random encounter Trapped Outside, dead residents can also be found (provided they lived through the vault visit.) In order: Freddie Gomez, Pepper Gomez, Herman Gomez. All of the other vault dwellers are not seen again.

Doing this nets no rewards of any kind except bad Karma.


Killing the overseer and Amata after getting the vault either open or closed results in failure of the quest itself. This also causes the vault to be left open and one can come and go as they please, however, all residents will be hostile. A message will appear explaining that Vault 101 has been "thrown into chaos." If it is once again returned to, the place will become infested with radroaches if all inhabitants are dead.

  • It is possible for this to happen accidentally - if the rebels are convinced to stay and then the overseer visited when Officer Wilkins is nearby he will make the overseer attack as well because of faction loyalty. This will not instantly cause failure unless the overseer actually dies.

Quest stages

Side with the rebels

10 Return to Vault 101.
20 Learn what happened to Vault 101.
30 End Vault 101's troubles.
40 Stop the Overseer.
80 (Optional) Sabotage Vault 101.
90 (Optional) Leave Vault 101 forever.
140 Talk to Amata.
160 Evacuate the Vault
190Quest finishedLeave Vault 101 forever.

Side with the overseer

10 Return to Vault 101.
20 Learn what happened to Vault 101.
30 End Vault 101's troubles.
60 Stop the Rebels.
80 (Optional) Sabotage Vault 101.
90 (Optional) Leave Vault 101 forever.
160 Talk to the Overseer.
180 Evacuate the Vault
190 Leave Vault 101 forever.
190Quest finishedEveryone in Vault 101 has been killed.


  • Any companion asked to wait inside the vault will remain inside, as reentry to the vault will be forbidden. There are two methods to regroup with them:
    1. Use of mods or console commands
    2. Wait for a few in-game days or travel to DLC locations like the Pitt and Point Lookout until a message saying that they returned to their own place such as "Fawkes has returned to the Museum of History" is received.
  • Bringing a companion on entry into the vault may lead to no peaceful settlement with the overseer as the companion may attack him on sight. With all the problems they might cause, it may be safest to have them wait outside.
  • After getting inside the vault, the first thing noticeable is the corpse of Jim Wilkins.
  • If the player avoided killing Officers Kendall, Mack, and Hannon in Escape! they will appear in this quest patrolling the vault.
    • Officer Richards originally had this effect as well, but it was cut for an unknown reason.
  • This is the last time the Bobblehead - Medicine can be obtained from James' office in the clinic if it was missed before. Also, be sure to open the (average) locked safe behind the framed Bible quote in the same room, as it contains a schematic for the Rock-It Launcher and the Home sweet home voice recording by James, as well as 300 caps.
  • Regardless of whether Vault 101 was opened, sabotaged, or sealed (which would logically preclude his appearance elsewhere), Butch gets out and will be an available companion.
  • If the purifier was activated, it might void starting this quest.
  • Missing the chance to start the quest and the distress signal fades, setstage 00014ea3 10 can be entered into the console. This will initiate the quest and follow as normal. Going to The Pitt and returning also helps, if it is installed. Going to other DLC locations (Mothership Zeta, Point Lookout, Operation: Anchorage) may possibly work too, though unconfirmed. Otherwise, the quest is once again incompletable.
  • Killing the overseer will leave a finger on his corpse without Karma loss (the latter holds true for Andy as well).
  • If Officer Wilkins lives after he became hostile in Escape!, he will try to find the Wanderer throughout the vault. If any vault citizens see him as a hostile, they will join him in combat as a result of faction loyalty. The overseer is nearby and will likely become hostile before the chance to talk to him is given, forcing a battle. With a good enough Sneak skill or a Stealth Boy, Wilkins can be killed silently to avoid combat. Remaining hidden long enough will allow the overseer to become non-hostile again, restoring the ability to speak with him.
  • Wilkins will also appear in the sub level (where the radroaches were found earlier in-game). Killing him here will obviously not make anyone hostile unless Stanley is there and witnesses it.
  • Here is another chance to obtain a Tunnel Snake jacket from Freddie Gomez (Butch has one too, but it will not be present in the inventory). Be sure to take another item of clothing (raider armor works well) to reverse pickpocket him, leave the area and come back to see him wearing the new armor. This allows taking the Tunnel Snake outfit.
  • Leaving any items in any containers inside the vault should be retrieved before leaving the vault forever, they will otherwise be permanently locked in.
  • If the signal which starts this quest cannot be received, and The Pitt is installed, once that is finished, the Vault 101 distress signal should be triggered upon traveling near Vault 101.
  • This is the only point in the game where Butch's Toothpick, a unique switchblade, can be retrieved via pickpocketing Butch.
  • Should Alphonse die after the conversation where he agreed to abandon the title of Overseer over to Amata, everyone in the vault will be hostile or step back in terror.

Behind the scenes

Fallout reference: Portions of Amata's speech to the Lone Wanderer when they leave are strikingly similar to the speech given to the Vault Dweller at the end of Fallout, even the number of ellipses used in each (bold quotes specifically).

Vault 13 Overseer's speech to the Vault Dweller:
You've done it! That's . . . wonderful. Amazing! I'm so proud of what you've accomplished, what you've endured.
There's no way the people of the Vault can ever thank you enough for what you've done. You've saved all our lives. Who knows, maybe even saved the human race. [The Overseer sighs.] That makes the rest of this even harder.

Everyone will want to talk to you. Every youngster will look up to you, and want to emulate you. And then what?
They'll want to leave. What happens to the Vault if we lose the best of a generation? What if we are the only safe place in the world? You just gave us back all these lives . . . I can't take the chance of losing them.
I've made a lot of tough decisions since I took this position. But none of them harder than this one. You saved us, but you'll kill us. I'm sorry. You're a hero . . . and you have to leave.

Amata's speech to the Lone Wanderer:
Amata: I... I just heard. the Overseer... My father is dead. What's more, some of the people are saying I should be the new Overseer. It's all so sudden.

Lone Wanderer: That's the way these things go. Now do the right thing for your Vault.

Amata: Oh, I will, believe me. We can open up limited trade with nearby settlements and other areas, and see the world we've been missing.
But it's still important that I protect our Vault, and keep the people within it safe from the dangers of the Wasteland. Even when those dangers have helped us in the past. And that makes the rest of this even harder.

Lone Wanderer: I've got a bad feeling I know where this is going.

Amata: You saved us. But that doesn't change the fact that you killed the overseer in cold blood 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.

NOTE: The above dialogue appears only if the overseer is killed as a solution. Resolving the problem diplomatically results in a different dialogue that does not reference the first Fallout.


  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 If you choose to end the vault troubles by sabotaging the vault, the vault door will remain open, allowing you to come and go as you please. If you inspect the vault for any present dwellers, you will notice that Beatrice Armstrong is no longer present at the surgery table (but Andy is still present), and Mr. Brotch is no longer held up in the jail cell (if you decided not to free him in the quest). The jail cell door remains locked. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 When attempting to reason with the overseer and convince him to step down, he refers to the player as a "young man," regardless of the Lone Wanderer's actual gender. [verified]
  • PCPC Xbox 360Xbox 360 It is possible that the final objective (Leave Vault 101 forever) will stay marked as unfinished, even after you've completed the quest. [verified]
  • PCPC After convincing the overseer to step down, it is possible to get to Amata before he does. Speaking to Amata will have her talk as though the overseer has already spoken to her, and after the player finishes talking to her the overseer will arrive and their conversation will proceed normally. [verified]
  • PCPC When you enter the vault and ask Officer Gomez to lead you to Amata, following Freddie into the room he goes in after having been shot at by Officer Taylor will result in him disappearing. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 After completing the quest, Butch will travel to the Muddy Rudder but cannot be recruited by the Lone Wanderer. This can happen if the player sides with the overseer. Since it's irrational that he appears after closing the vault, allowing no one to leave, thus, cause him to have no dialogue. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 Sometimes you will not get the distress signal, and cannot start the quest.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 If the player character walks into the small shooting range area (where James gave the BB gun and shooting lessons at the beginning of the game) and then positions themselves behind the swing-arm targets, when fired upon, they will spin in the wrong direction. [verification overdue]


  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360When you throw the vault into chaos, Butch will disappear and will be waiting at the Muddy Rudder bar in Rivet City. Butch will order you to leave like the vault residents do, but you can still hire him to be a companion. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 It is possible to kill the leaders of both sides without failing the quest. Resolve the situation, killing people if you want, but spare the acting overseer (whether it is Amata, her dad, or Mack). Attack the overseer and make them pursue you to the entrance of the vault but don't kill them. After the vault door closes and the quest is deemed completed, you can revel in the joy of slaying the previously "critical" non-player character and getting away with it. You won't receive the message about the vault being thrown into chaos if you achieve this.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 It is also possible to finish the quest and have the vault door stay open indefinitely. Enter the vault and don't talk to anyone - ignoring Officer Gomez, Amata, and the overseer isn't critical but there's no real point in talking to anyone else (except perhaps Butch, to get the optional "Sabotage Vault 101" subquest on your Pip-Boy, but it isn't necessary). Head to the reactor area and purge the water chip. This will cause the vault to evacuate. Wait about 2–3 minutes real-time and then go through the overseer's tunnel. (If you can't avoid the overseer here, lie to them.) Leave the vault when it says the quest is completed (when the vault door would normally close). The door will remain open forever, and the vault will be empty of people. [verified]
    • You cannot shut the vault door using this method. Method confirmed on Xbox 360.
    • If you avoid the overseer when leaving they may remain in the vault, alive and with no dialogue options.
    • If you kill the overseer and then kill Amata when she tells you to leave then the vault door will stay open indefinitely.
    • Note: Waiting does not work.
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 If Officer Wilkins is aggressive while on your way to confront the overseer, and you do not kill him, he will follow you into the lower levels of the vault, slowly turning everyone in the vault hostile, including the overseer and Amata, making finishing the quest impossible. [verified]
  • PCPC If you destroy the Vault without Butch notifying you, Butch will be in the Muddy Rudder but will not be recruitable as a companion.