Main Quest: The Waters of Life

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Quest Note

We're going to assume that you looted the Jefferson Memorial when you were there before during the main quest Scientific Pursuits. If you didn't, then please refer to that quest to see what items you can pick up. We're only listing items here that weren't available then.


When you return to Rivet City, you'll find your father in the science lab discussing Project Purity with Dr. Li. He'll keep trying to convince her to continue on with the project, but she'll sound reluctant. However, when you talk to your father, he and all of the Rivet City scientists will leave for the Jefferson Memorial, and they'll ask you to come along. It doesn't matter if you do or not.

When you arrive at the Jefferson Memorial, you'll either find the scientists at their stations or huddled near the entrance (Exit A). If they're near the entrance, that means you haven't killed all of the super-mutants in the memorial yet, and you'll need to do that first. You can also use this grace period to talk to the scientists, including newcomers Daniel Agincourt and Alex Dargon, but if you take too long then your father will come out and encourage you to get moving.

When you talk to your father in the control room (#1), he'll quote Revelation 21:6 to you, and the passage will go into the Notes section of your Pip-Boy. Then your father will tell you about the flooding problems in the memorial, and he'll ask you to take care of it.

Draining the water from the memorial will require you to complete several steps:
  • You'll need to enter the sub-basement and turn on the power to the flood control pump (#3).

  • You'll need to return to your father (#1) and pick up three fuses. Your father might take this opportunity to comment on some of your activities in the wasteland.

  • You'll need to replace three fuses in the auxiliary power fuse box (#4). This will restore power to a door above you (#5).

  • You'll need to boot up the mainframe (#6).

  • You'll need to talk to your father over an intercom. You'll find one in the room with the mainframe, on the southern wall.

  • You'll need to head to the pump control pipe (#7). Optionally, you can talk to you father again using the intercom right next to the pipe entrance.

  • You'll need to go through the pipe and activate the pipe controls. When you do, a vertibird will land in front of the memorial, and some Enclave soldiers will storm inside.

  • Finally, you'll need to head through the sift pump (the only exit available to you) to arrive back in the sub-basement (#7a).
If at any point during this sequence you get lost or confused, you can contact your father over an intercom, and he'll give you further directions.

When you re-enter the sub-basement, you'll find an Enclave soldier there, and he won't be happy to see you. You'll then encounter a few more Enclave soldiers in the museum and gift shop, and when you return to your father, you'll find him locked in the control room (#1) with Colonel Autumn, Janice Kaplinski, and two Enclave soldiers.

Autumn will demand information about the project from your father, and, to show that he's serious, he'll shoot Janice in the head. Your father will then cause an overload in the control room, causing a "lethal" amount of radiation to escape, and he'll yell for you to run before he collapses to the ground, presumably dead. (We say "presumably" here because Colonel Autumn will somehow survive the radiation leak, and you'll meet him again later in the campaign.)

Next up in the quest you'll need to escort Dr. Li and the remaining scientists to safety. When you leave the control room, Dr. Li will tell you about an escape tunnel (Exit D), and that's where you should head next. Inside the tunnel you'll find Dr. Li, Daniel Agincourt, Alex Dargon, and Garza (but no Anna Holt -- hmmm). Agincourt will accept a pistol if you have one; otherwise, you'll have to do the bulk of the fighting yourself as you make your way through the tunnels. As a precaution, you can tell Dr. Li to wait for you while you scout ahead, and then all of the scientists will hold their ground, allowing you to clear the tunnels of Enclave soldiers and feral ghouls without endangering anybody.

About halfway through the tunnels (#12), if Garza is still with you, then you'll learn that he has a heart problem, and that he won't be able to continue unless he receives medical attention. You'll have a few ways to deal with this: you can kill Garza, you can stall until Garza dies on his own, you can convince Dr. Li to leave Garza behind, you can convince Garza to stay behind, you can give Garza five Stimpaks, or you can convince Dr. Li that three Buffouts would work just as well.

Eventually you'll run into a Brotherhood of Steel barricade (#16) -- but be careful! Feral ghouls, including two glowing ones, will take this moment to attack, and you'll have to put them down before continuing. This battle should not be too difficult, and you can just run away if you want.

When you exit the tunnels (via Exit F), you'll find yourself outside the Citadel (aka the Pentagon), the home base for the Brotherhood of Steel. Dr. Li will walk up to the front gate and demand admittance -- "you open this [%&$*] door right now!" -- and the soldiers at the gate will grudgingly allow everybody to pass through. When you follow Dr. Li inside, the quest will come to an end.

1 - Control Room

2 - Staircase

You should try and remember where this staircase is, because you'll need to run up and down it a few times during the quest.

3 - Flood Control Power Switch (Lower Level)

4 - Auxiliary Power Fuse Box (Lower Level)

5 - Closed Door (Upper Level)

You won't be able to open this door until you've restored auxiliary power (#4).

6 - Mainframe (Upper Level)

7 - Pump Control Pipe

During the quest you'll need to enter the pipe from the museum and gift shop (#7) and then exit it into the sub-basement (#7a).

8 - Blocked Tunnel

Piles of radioactive barrels will block your way here.

9 - Overflow Door

If you can beat the "very hard" encryption on the terminal next to the door, then you'll be able to open the door on your own, which will allow you to skip the battle in the room to the south (#10).

10 - Battle Room

You'll face several Enclave soldiers in this room. The easiest way to beat them is to enter the room, shoot at them, and then run back into the hall. The soldiers will undoubtedly chase you into the hall, probably one at a time, allowing you to gun them down easily. Once you've killed enough of the soldiers in the room, the overflow door (#9) will open, and Dr. Li and the scientists will run up to the overflow door (#9), and maybe all the way to the tunnel exit (Exit E), even if you've told them to wait.

Also in the room, on a table on the western side, you can pick up a Chinese Assault Rifle, a Chinese Pistol, a Dirty Chinese Jumpsuit, and the Chinese Army: Spec. Ops. Training Manual.

11 - Workbench

12 - Medical Emergency

Somewhere around here is where you'll learn about Garza's heart problem.

13 - Picnic Bench

On top of the picnic bench you'll find a bottle of Nuka-Cola Quantum.

14 - Locked Door

You'll have to pick the lock on the door to get it open.

15 - Safe

16 - Brotherhood of Steel Barricade

Besides the Brotherhood of Steel initiate patrolling here, you'll also find some shelves with three ammunition boxes, a first aid box, and more.

  1. Exit to the wasteland (The Jefferson Memorial).
  2. Doorway between the museum and gift shop and the rotunda.
  3. Doorway between the museum and gift shop and the sub-basement.
  4. Grate to the Taft Tunnels. You'll only be able to go through this grate when you're supposed to escape from the memorial.
  5. Doorway between the Taft Tunnels and the Taft Tunnel.
  6. Exit to the wasteland (The Citadel).