When you reach The Citadel, Owyn Lyons and his daughter will be preparing for an assault on the purifier. After informing them of the situation, Sarah's squad is mobilized and Scribe Rothchild, after some initial reluctance, will activate Liberty Prime.
Prime is launched in a rather stereotypical way for super weapons as seen in movies and TV shows, in which the lead researcher (Scribe Rothchild, in this case) demands it not be used and declares "...it's not ready for field tests, let alone live fire situations - the weapons haven't been calibrated, the navigation detection system is offline..." Despite his warnings, Prime is launched and used without any malfunctions.
To begin the advance on the Jefferson Memorial, the player must speak with Sarah Lyons. Note that once the order to attack has been given the green light, all functions and services in the Citadel will cease. All non-player characters will spout encouraging phrases such as, "The purifier is as good as ours!" if spoken to. If the player has anything to do in the Citadel, he or she must complete their task before commencing the attack.
Following the order to attack, Liberty Prime will be hoisted out of the Citadel on a crane and the Lyons' Pride will follow it, as should the player. Prime actually crashes his leg on the wall in the Bailey on the crane, however it does not heavily damage him. Once outside the Citadel, Prime will begin stomping his way to the fallen bridge, killing everything in its path. Liberty Prime will take down the photonic resonance barriers set up by the Enclave by walking into them.
Once on the bridge, the Enclave will desperately throw everything it has at the Brotherhood's machine: soldiers, Vertibirds, and artillery. Their efforts are entirely for naught, and Liberty Prime will decimate everything thrown at it. It is scripted to miss a few of the troops in the confusion, however. Liberty Prime will destroy any incoming Vertibirds, so the player only needs to worry about ground troops. Targeting the ground troops can be a pain due to all the screen-shaking occurring (Mini-Nuke and artillery shell explosions) so V.A.T.S. is a good alternative to freehand aiming. The Lyons' Pride soldiers will also do a fair job of mopping them up. However, keeping all of them alive will be difficult. The artillery shells tend to arc in from both sides of the bridge, but are notoriously inaccurate. Exploding vehicles are very deadly, so the player should find cover either behind Liberty Prime, or behind previously exploded vehicles. The player may feel intimidated by the concussive blasts, but will rarely take damage from them.
Instead of trying to aim at all, the player can also use a Fat Man and any Mini Nukes they may have saved up to this point. The very long ranges involved (in both enemy engagement and Fat Man free aim range) and the large blast radius of the Fat Man make it the simplest choice of a support weapon. The wide battlefront at the Jefferson Memorial makes it a good candidate for a volley with the MIRV.
Liberty Prime cannot be stopped, and will inexorably clear a bloody path to the Memorial. The player and Lyons' Pride can come under attack from targets on a catwalk between buildings after clearing the bridge from the Citadel. It is possible to hustle to the near building, enter the door, run up several flights of stairs, and emerge beside the enemies on the catwalk, but this is a very impractical way of doing the job: a ranged weapon will work just fine. Melee and Unarmed characters can simply let the Lyons' Pride finish up these troops, but they take quite a while. Either way, Liberty Prime will continue carving his way though the resistance, past the irradiated Metro and onwards to a second bridge. At the end is where Liberty Prime stops, and holds his position along with the rest of the Lyons' Pride while Sarah Lyons and the player dash inside the Jefferson Memorial through the Gift Shop. Note that, if you hesitate, a significant force of Enclave soldiers will be deployed nearby, either from the bridge or the catwalks around the memorial. Liberty Prime will destroy them.
There is light resistance inside the Gift Shop, usually three or four Enclave soldiers. The player as well as Lyons should be able to clear the room. Grenades work well in these quarters.
After entering the Rotunda, the doors seal shut. Not locked, nor pickable, completely sealed. There is no leaving the Rotunda after entering it. Colonel Autumn is waiting for the player and Lyons in the Rotunda, and locks the player in dialogue. He seems unsurprised at the player's arrival at the purifier. The player has two choices at this point:
- Talk Colonel Autumn out of attacking. This is a rather difficult speech check, even with 100 Speech (around a 50/50 chance assuming 5 Charisma). After conceding defeat, he will leave the player to their fate. After this, Sarah Lyons will give a short remark on the player's decision, depending on his or her karma. (NOTE: If Raven Rock was destroyed in the last quest, you will have the option to use an easier speech check.)
- Fight Colonel Autumn. The Colonel isn't terribly hard to defeat, but his bodyguards are tougher: They are two standard Enclave soldiers, at least one of whom is usually equipped with Tesla armor. It is possible to attack the Colonel and kill him before the dialog begins, though the soldiers are still hostile.
After resolving the situation and heading up the stairs to the control room, a panicked Dr. Li will key the intercom: Project Purity has sustained severe damage in the battle, and has become overloaded. It will soon self-destruct if the purifier isn't finally started, but the control room has become heavily irradiated.
- NOTE: Those with Broken Steel installed have additional options in completing this quest, as detailed in the second decision option.
Now, the game has the player make one final decision: who will activate the purifier. The radiation levels are fatal once the purifier is activated, so whoever goes in isn't coming out (RadAway, Rad-X and Radiation resistance do not matter, as it is a cut-scene).
Decision 1: Sacrifice yourself or Lyons
The obvious choice is that either the player or Sarah Lyons must sacrifice their life to get the purifier going and prevent the destruction of Project Purity. If the player hasn't figured it out from James' notes and recordings, the purifier password is 2-1-6 (referring to the verse from Revelation which Catherine loved). If the player follows James to the purifier when he first enters the Memorial in The Waters of Life, James points out the code and repeats the passage. The player is supposed to infer it from James' dialogue about the Lone Wanderer's mother, and the picture hiding his safe in the Vault 101 clinic. If the player chooses to convince Sarah to do the job, the Lone Wanderer will tell her the code in dialog. If the player has the Broken Steel add-on, the player's Karma will be raised by 1000 if he/she decides to activate the purifier themselves. No Karma is gained if the player sends in Sentinel Lyons or one of their companions.
Without Broken Steel, the relevant section of ending video ends with Sentinel Lyons looking at a shining pile of goo at the control chamber's bottom - which is, presumably, all that is left of the player.
Contaminating the water
If you choose to activate the purifier yourself, this is the time to insert the Modified FEV created by President Eden into the water filter, assuming you want to and didn't give it to Elder Lyons. As in Fallout 2, the only creatures spared by the Modified FEV are pure strain humans who are still within vaults or the Enclave and possibly the Brotherhood of Steel. This would reverse a great deal of genetic damage done by the nuclear apocalypse, but at the cost of complete eradication of nearly all life on the wasteland. This decision is actually listed in the player's Pip-Boy 3000 as a separate quest called Project Impurity; however, it cannot be completed if the player turned in the Modified FEV to Owyn Lyons before departing the Citadel.
Inserting the Modified FEV lowers Karma by 1000. Inserting the Modified FEV has a long-term game impact if you have downloaded Broken Steel. The aqua pura thus created by purifying the water is now infected by the virus, and as your character is not a pure-strain human as Eden believed, it will cause a negative effect on your SPECIAL stats and kill you if four or more are consumed in quick succession. A warning will come up that reads Continued consumption of FEV-laced water will be fatal to remind you of this fact.
Decision 2: Have your radiation-resistant companion do it
Without Broken Steel installed, your companions will refuse to do the job. Naturally, of the seven, four would die just as easily as you, and they aren't willing to do it. Even Fawkes, Sergeant RL-3, and Charon who are highly resistant or outright immune to radiation, will simply decline. With Broken Steel, however, the latter three will now agree to do the job, as they can do it safely.
Fawkes, one of the companions the player may take with them, has great radiation resistance (or possibly immunity) as a result of being a super-mutant. However, like any other companion character, his dialog option has him refuse to enter the chamber, mysteriously claiming it is the player character's "destiny."
I'm sorry, my companion, but no. We all have our own destinies, and yours culminates here. I would not rob you of that.”
Whether this is because Fawkes believed himself unable to survive, or if he had other reasons for declining the player (such as feeling that the debt had been repaid, or having a genuine belief in destiny) is not explained. Regardless, Fawkes turns out to be a red herring: the player is forced into a decision to either sacrifice themselves or make a true hero (Sentinel Lyons) make the sacrifice for them. Fawkes may nonetheless follow the player into the chamber if his following distance is set to "close".
If the Broken Steel add-on is installed before beginning Take it Back!, Fawkes will agree to enter the chamber, stating this.
"Ah, of course! My immunity to radiation makes me a far better candidate for surviving in there."”
Fawkes will be briefly staggered when the purifier activates, but does not collapse like the player or Sarah Lyons would. He will instead walk around the chamber as the screen fades to white. The end will show him as "A True Hero" instead of Lyons.
As intelligent as the canine may be, there is no option to have Dogmeat activate Project Purity. Instead, a new dialog option opens up, wherein the Lone Wanderer can say some final words to his or her canine companion, stating: "I think it's time for us to say goodbye, old buddy. Take care of yourself, okay?" Dogmeat whines in response.
- Sergeant RL-3
Soldier, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. This is your fight! You gotta finish what your daddy started! Stand strong and get your ass in there!”
There is no Robotics Expert dialogue option in the conversation.
Like Fawkes and Charon, if Broken Steel is installed before starting Take it Back!, RL-3 can be ordered to go into the control chamber and activate the purifier. He will state that his "superior design and programming" will be able to withstand the hostile environment, followed by an exclamation that "This will mean a battlefield commendation for sure." After starting the purifier, he apparently cringes from the radiation spike, but is otherwise unharmed. The ending will show him as "A True Hero" instead of Lyons.
Charon will not activate the purifier for you. The dialog is as follows:
Come on, we both know I've saved your ass enough times already. This one's on you.”
Just like Fawkes, if Broken Steel has been installed before this quest, Charon can be told to enter the control chamber and turn it on. The player will remind Charon that he must obey whoever holds his contract, then order him to enter the control chamber, to which Charon grudgingly agrees. Unlike with Fawkes or RL-3, no mention is made of the fact that Charon, being a ghoul, should be unaffected by the radiation in the chamber. If Charon is used to start the purifier, he will replace Sarah Lyons as "A True Hero" in the ending movie.
Butch, understandably, will refuse out of fear of dying and of becoming a ghoul, stating:
That chamber? Right there? With all the radiation? Man, no way. I'll end up dead. Or worse. I could be one of them ghouls! Ain't gonna happen.”
- Star Paladin Cross
She respectfully refuses, of course:
My friend... It's been my pleasure accompanying you, but we both know this is your fight to finish. Stay strong, and honor your father's memory.”
Apparently, there are limits to Clover's mental conditioning and slave collar. She refuses as well:
Honey, you are out of your mind if you think I'm going in there. Find yourself another guinea pig.”
Jericho also refuses, stating simply:
Fuck that. Do your own dirty work.”
Decision 3: Do nothing.
If the player chooses to, they may simply not go into the purifier. This results in Project Purity quickly exploding, along with any chance of pure water for the entire wasteland or to introduce the Modified FEV into the water supply. An ending sequence will still be played, and it will count as an ending (obviously completing the quest and unlocking the "Take it Back!" achievement/trophy). The last thing the player will see is the destruction of the purifier. Just like all other endings, this does not result in free-play. Even if the player has Broken Steel installed this option ends the game. With no purifier the events of Broken Steel could not happen.
Without the Broken Steel add-on, the regular ending will be shown and game ends here. However, if Broken Steel has been installed and assuming the player activates the purifier instead of allowing it explode, the player will wake up two weeks later at the Citadel.
As you wake up, you encounter Elder Lyons, who explains that you and Sarah Lyons were both knocked unconscious due to an energy spike in the purifier and were found and brought back to the Citadel. Sarah has not yet recovered from her coma. (Note: If you make Sarah start the purifier she will be dead at this point.) Elder Lyons also explains the consequences of your actions, including the destruction of Raven Rock or the insertion of the Modified FEV into the purifier. The first Broken Steel quest, Death From Above, starts here.
- Warning; If companions manage to make it inside the chamber along with you, and you have the Broken Steel add-on, Broken Steel will not begin, and the game thus ends, as it would normally. An example of this bug would be to run around to the furthest side from where you entered, and your companions should have glitched through the wall, and be behind you, unless they were told to wait.
- With Broken Steel installed, the myriad of expensive items that can be looted from the fallen Enclave (power armor, energy weapons), will fetch a large amount of caps if the player searches the battlefield and collects them. (Easier with multiple followers to help carry the heavy equipment.) In addition Enclave soldiers may be equipped with Hellfire Armor. Note that should the player fast-travel away from the area after clearing out the Enclave forces, all Enclave corpses and associated equipment—even those items looted from corpses and dropped—will disappear; items in containers will not be affected.
- Before talking to Sarah Lyons (if you have Broken Steel), reverse-pickpocket her a Tesla armor and tri-beam laser rifle. She will be more effective as the armor increases her Energy Weapons skill and she never runs out of microfusion cells. However, she loses all items given to her when she picks you up in a Vertibird in Who Dares Wins if you activated the purifier yourself.
- The combined artillery assault and Mini-Nuke blasts, along with the troop movements by both the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave can cause varying degrees of lag, depending on a player's hardware setup. This climactic ending is probably the most visually intensive part of the game, putting heavy strain on the machine's components. It is advised to save before beginning the attack on the Memorial to avoid data loss from a possible crash...
- If you delay entering the Memorial after Liberty Prime has finished his work, a "second wave" of Enclave attacks after a couple minutes: a Vertibird lands on the bridge you just crossed, and several Enclave Troops approach along the rounded walkway north of the Memorial.
- There is a chance that when moving on the bridge just outside of the Citadel, an artillery shot can hit a car, resulting in a large explosion and killing all the Lyons Pride that are capable of death.
- Any members of Lyons' Pride killed during Take it Back! will not appear in Broken Steel. After the Broken Steel DLC begins, surviving members of Lyons' Pride can be found either inside the Citadel, or at Project Purity on their way back to the Citadel. The only exception is Paladin Vargas, who does not appear in Broken Steel even if he survives the final battle of Take it Back!
- The Lyons Pride will only follow you from Citadel into the end of the bridge. After that, they will just wait for you there.
- Killing a member of the Lyons Pride will cause Liberty Prime to become hostile. This will promptly result in the players death.
- The artillery strikes will not actually come from any sort of cannon, but from the rocks overlooking the Potomac; and the Potomac itself.
- "Leaving the Battlefield" as it were, will cause Liberty Prime to look around as if searching for something; or someone. Continued separation will cause Prime to disappear completely.
- Be wary if you see a caravan merchant enter the battlefield: Prime will treat them as hostile and they will not survive his onslaught. This goes for any other follower wandering this area (Fawkes, Charon, Dogmeat, etc.) Liberty Prime will treat them as hostile and they will be murdered without a warning or fair fight. This may be avoided if they have a Stealth Field, if you used a certain Chinese stealth armor glitch.
- There is a place where it is possible for Liberty Prime to attack and kill you. After the bridge on the Eastern side of the ramp there is an Enclave soldier that Liberty Prime is scripted to attack, even if the soldier has already been killed. Standing or walking through this spot will cause Liberty Prime to attack and almost instantly kill you.
- If Fawkes is in the party and is dismissed while in the vicinity of Prime, he then becomes a hostile to Prime, and will almost immediately be killed.
- After you pass out, you may lose Fawkes. You will get him back after Who Dares Wins.
- Although you lose Karma for inserting the virus, you will still gain Karma for activating the purifier.
- Telling Elder Lyons than Vault 87 is the origin of Super Mutant give you positive Karma.
- It is possible for Fawkes to spawn randomly in front of the Citadel, towards the bridge crossing the Potomac River. Should this happen, Fawkes will be killed when Liberty Prime launches his first attack, as can be found when finding bits and pieces of him.
The ending varies depending on how the player plays the game, and some of the largest differences are seen depending on what the player has done during Take it Back! See Fallout 3 endings for more info.
Behind the scenes
- Liberty Prime in Take it Back! is an example of the plot device known as Chekhov's gun, because it is introduced as a background element early on in the story, but its purpose and reason for existence are not revealed until needed.
- pc xbox360 Liberty Prime may not appear at all during the battle, simply disappearing from the bailey of the citadel. This can make the battle against the enclave extremely difficult as artillery will still pound the bridge.
- pc xbox360 If a player causes the opening cut scene to start but leaves, (i.e. by leaving once their conversation is started, but before the player is immobilized) there is a chance that when the player returns to allow the cutscene to play out, none of the controls will work and the game will act as if Elder Lyons and Sarah are speaking, therefore barring the player from starting Take It Back! or beginning the Broken Steel expansion.
- pc xbox360 When Liberty Prime is crossing the Potomac bridge, depending on the bombardment, it is possible for him to get stuck on the bridge after being hit by a blast. Liberty Prime may also get stuck by the Enclave's drop ships on the bridge. Firing a few mini nukes from the Fat Man at the drop ships will clear the road so Liberty Prime can resume its path. Fast traveling to another location and back may also dislodge Liberty Prime, allowing him to continue.
- ps3 At one point, all members of the Lyons Pride kept shooting at an Enclave corpse (as did Charon) and the player was unable to interact with the body. Charon will simply stop and follow the player once again if the player walks too far away, but there is no known way to get the Lyons Pride to continue.
- pc ps3 xbox360 After leaving the Citadel, Liberty Prime may just stop moving altogether. If this happens, reload an earlier save and he should start to move.
- pc ps3 xbox360 It's possible for the game to randomly freeze during initial invasion, it could be caused by moving too far away from the Pride.
- pc It is possible for Sentinel Lyons to not follow you into the Rotunda, leaving you with no way to enter the purifier and no way to leave the Rotunda. If this still isn't fixed after restarting Fallout 3, use the console command "1d44f".moveto player. This may solve the problem. It can also be solved by quick-saving on the PC in the Rotunda and then quick-loading.
- pc ps3 xbox360 Liberty Prime may stand in place and not commence his attack. It is possible the Lyon's Pride cannot be assembled if Paladin Vargas was killed earlier in the game. If so, his body will be in front of the Citadel entrance; you will need to carry him over to Prime's feet to get him to initiate his attack. Or if you can't find the body then use the console Command player.placeatme 0001d44e. Another alternative is to use Stealth Boys or Chinese stealth armor and attack Liberty Prime. He won't be able to find the player, but will follow the shots, and can be led to the first barrier. From there he should continue on as normal.
- xbox360 If you download the Broken Steel expansion, Sarah Lyons may sometimes ask to make sure the room is clear after she talks to the Doctor, despite no enemies being in the room. This will make it impossible for the player to activate Project Purity. This glitch can be fixed if one downloads the V1.5 update/patch. This glitch can also be fixed be clearing the Fallout 3 cache (separate to the system cache), when you click "play game" keep hold of the left bumper, right bumper and X until the "Press Start" text appears, after loading the game this should be fixed. Another way is by making a save when Sarah closes the chamber door (possible if you haven't yet installed Broken Steel, if you have then delete it from the hard drive). Now after you have saved the game you install Broken Steel.
- ps3 If the player continuously walks into Lyons it is possible to trap her inside the Purifier. If you push her in far enough and shoot her until she turns aggressive and then push the airlock button she will run out as it's closing and run down the stairs. The game then freezes for a few seconds and the screen turns white with the radiation bar still showing.
- xbox360 The multiple blasts and fireworks may cause some screen & textures problems, displaying strange effects in the sky and on the ground during the battle, causing the game to eventually freeze. This could force you to restart your console. If experiencing this kind of problem, save the game when bugs are starting and then reloading it right after may resolve it.
- xbox360 If you start the Head of State quest, you may see the brahmin from the Temple of Union. If you kill it, then either continue or go away from fast travel, Liberty Prime may find Hannibal, Caleb, and the rest of them hostile and kill them. You will get the message saying "Hannibal and Caleb have died" and failed the quest.
- xbox360 Sarah Lyons may not be killed, and a glitch may occur where you knock her out, and drag her into the Purifier. If you close the door, she will wake up non-hostile, and you can talk to her and tell her to turn it on, or you will do it.
- pc ps3 xbox360 If you tell your companion to wait in the rotunda while the purifier is activated, they will not be there on return trips to the rotunda (due to the area being instanced), nor will they have returned to their usual meeting place (where they go after they are fired). PC players may reacquire companions by using the console command player.moveto <Reference ID>, instructing your companion to follow you, then exiting the monument. On any platform, players can leave the Capital wasteland via The Pitt or Point Lookout, which will result in your companions being fired and returning to their usual spot, where they can be re-hired on return to the Capital Wasteland. If you have Mothership Zeta DLC, it may also be possible to go to Mothership Zeta and have the follower on the ground upon your return but there is no sure way of knowing. Lastly, if you just wander around the Capital Wasteland long enough, your followers will eventually leave your employ and return to their default locations.
- ps3 xbox360 The entire fight can be avoided by simply going to the Jefferson Memorial before you start the fight, and doing some trick jumping to get inside the blue fences. Once inside continue inside the Jefferson memorial and to the Rotunda where you will see Colonel Autumn pacing the room where Dad was killed. Wait until Autumn enters inside the room where you originally will end up putting the G.E.C.K. and go to the switch and close him in the room. In which the other door will open and will start the confrontation. Results of Broken Steel are unknown.
- ps3 Upon exiting the Citadel through the main entrance, Liberty Prime will remain behind the small metal bridge next to the entrance. The Lyon's pride (excluding Sarah) will eventually spawn and proceed as normal with the robot, until on the main bridge where after a series of Prime's missile attacks and the destruction the vertibirds, the screen (but not and functions) will black out whenever facing the same direction as Prime, to the sides and in the opposite direction are normal and V.A.T.S can still be entered. However this will severely hinder the player's ability to contribute to the battle. It appears to wear off when in front of Prime at the Jefferson Memorial. This glitch does not affect the story ending or Broken Steel.
- xbox360 A bug concerning Fawkes has been noted if you have the DLC, Broken Steel installed. It is possible that just before you enter the rotunda room and if you have Fawkes as a companion, he may disappear after you have completed the quest and will never return to the Museum of History or alternatively, he may be found 'stuck' outside the Jefferson Memorial in an inaccessible area and cannot be spoken to or reached in any way as the railings prevent you from doing so. This has been noted to happen regardless of whether Fawkes enters the rotunda room with you or if you fire him and ask him to return to The Museum of History, just before you enter the rotunda. This bug may be resolved by either loading an earlier save prior to entering the rotunda or if you have any of the other DLC installed; entering a DLC area should force him return to The Museum of History. A more successful known way of preventing this bug is to load a save before undergoing 'Take It Back!', by asking Fawkes and any other companion to return to their waiting spot before leaving the citadel with Sarah. This way none of your companions will interfere with the quest, therefore preventing the bug and any of the other bugs above. It should also be noted that other companions such as Dogmeat have also been known to disappear after completion of this quest and do not return to their usual waiting spot. However, if you simply wait or sleep for several days and then return to their usual waiting spot you should find that your companion has returned despite not receiving the message indicating that they have done so.
- xbox360 After activating the purifier the screen will turn white. If you decide to pause the game at that moment, navigating through the menu will not generate any sound as it normally does.
- xbox360 It has been noted that occasionally, if you run past Prime towards one of the barriers, at some point Prime will disappear completely.
- pc Around the far side of the catwalk the player may encounter two friend Enclave troops standing in place. They can be engaged in conversation, but the only speech option is "See you later", which ends the conversation.
- pc If the player is able to see Autumn by carefully edging along the wall to avoid conversation, and kills him with a single hit, the other two Enclave troops in the room will remain friendly. The option to speak to them appears, but they say nothing. The final part of the quest to activate the purifier will not trigger however, and the player must kill them to proceed.