1) The National Archives
Since we’re already in the Mall, we might as well finish up the quest “Stealing Independence” . Head east to find the National Archives building. Once inside head north around a wall to find two terminals, one being the “National Archives Guess and Win!” terminal, and the other being the “Prize Redemption” terminal. Answer the eight questions correctly on the “Guess and Win!” terminal and you’ll be able to get a special fruit-flavored type of Mentats. If you continue to go north you’ll find a woman named Sydney behind a barricade. This is the way to go if you want to complete the “Stealing Independence” quest, but why not explore the rest of the building first?
2) Super Mutant Smiting
Head through a door to the west and through a small room into a larger room that is doubtlessly inhabited by Super Mutants. Kill them and head south, go through a door, and go up some stairs to the south until you reach a room with more Super Mutants. Eliminate them and search the room for some RadAway, a Stimpak, two grenade boxes, two mine boxes, and a first aid box. Once done, drop down the hole in the floor and loot this room as well, where you’ll find a rigged terminal, a Stimpak, two ammo boxes, and a box of Mentats, as well as an Archival Strongroom we can’t access yet. Once done head north to get back to the room we previously departed and explore the bathrooms to the west, each of which has a first aid box on the wall. Once that’s done travel north down some stairs, stopping to grab a Combat Shotgun and some Shotgun Shells off a bookshelf.
3) The Library
Book - Duck and Cover!
Continue north down a hall way, stopping to search each of the two classrooms on your left. Both have school desks with minor loot in them, as well as normal desks with significantly better loot on them. Disarm the tripwire between the two classrooms to avoid becoming better acquainted with an engine than you want to be. At the end of the hallway you’ll find a door to the east, opening into a library. Go into the room and explore the north-western corner to find a school desk half-buried in rubble, on top of which is a copy of Duck and Cover! . Explore the rest of the room, being wary of landmines as you go. Ignore the door to the south (it only contains a trap) and search one of the leaning bookshelfs in the center of the room to find four Pre-War Books on a shelf.
4) Sub-Basement Detour
Go east past a door to The Mall and disarm the tripwire between two bookshelves. Explore the rest of the library and grab the loot therein, including two ammo boxes, a first aid box, explore some cabinets, and open a locked [Average] safe. Continue east and loot some tool boxers, a refrigerator, and a vending machine before exiting into a hallway. Head down a hallway to the south until the path splits. If you turn east, then north you’ll find a door leading to the Memorial Sub-Basement [Easy], which we might as well explore.
5) Archives Sub-Basement
Sheet Music Book
This first room can be brutal if you don’t take care of business quickly. Mess around, and the Super Mutant below is liable to get a good bit of a backup. Unless the thought of fighting a couple of Overlords and several Masters at one time appeals to you, do your best to ensure that you kill whatever might be lurking in the first room without alerting everything else. To this end, Paralyzing Palm comes in handy once again. On a shelf along the western wall you can find a Sheet Music Book .
6) Gas and Super Mutants
Book - Duck and Cover!
Head through the doorway to the south into a gas-filled room. Needless to say, discharging firearms in this room is not a good idea. That said, there are as many as a half-dozen Super Mutants lurking around, depending on if you met any resistance in the first room. Across the room to the south you’ll find another room with three ammo boxes and a first aid box inside. Head down some stairs (or fall down the hole) in the central room, head throudh a door to the north, then go up some stairs to reach the door leading to the Archival Secure East Wing. Near it is a locked gate [Very Hard], beyond which is a shelf with some Metal Armor, a Metal Helmet, a Mini Nuke, a Stealth Boy, and a copy of Duck and Cover! . If you head through the door to the Secure Archival East Wing you’ll be in the area within which the Declaration of Independence is stored… or you can finish up the National Archives and talk to Sydney.
7) Defending the Rotunda
Once back in the National Archives, explore the room south of the entrance to the Sub-Basement. Continue south up some stairs, go across a hallway to the west and go up some more stairs to reach a small office. Inside you’ll find Administrator Berkeley’s Terminal [Average], with which you can unlock a wall safe [Average]. Inside of the safe you’ll find five more Archive Prize Vouchers, which will let you nab all the fruity Mentats you want… or five more, in any event.
Now that we’re done with the National Archives, head into the rotunda room, carefully disarming all the mines Sydney has placed around. Once you’re far enough into the room a quest notification will pop up, “Defend the Rotunda”. Cue a group of Super Mutants to bust in. Despite their appearance and gear, they are all unleveled, and quite easy to dispose of… Never end a sentence in a preposition! It’s easy to dispose of them. That’s better.
When the fighting is over, talk to Sydney and she’ll tell you that Abraham Washington sent her to find the Declaration before you, and that you need her help to get down the to Declaration… it’s not strictly true, but there’s no harm in cooperating. When you’re ready activate “Sydney’s Remote Terminal”, select the “Unlock Rotunda Cargo Life” option and ride the Secret Elevator to Archival Secure Wing East.
8) Archival Secure Wing East
Sydney is fair in a firefight, and you can heal her by giving her Stimpaks as you go, but it’s better to just tell her to wait back while you go destroy the robots crawling around this level. If she does bite the big one, it’s no big deal. Just be sure to grab her SMG off of her. Of course, there’s also no reason to kill her for it, as you can obtain it through legitmate means later on. Head north to find a room with a utility gate to the north and a hallway running west. If you have a high enough Science score (67 points, in this case), you can make a check to repair the faulty capacitor in the door release mechanism and open the utility gate. In any event, there’s plenty of incentive to head west.
9) Bypassing the Utility Door
Going west in practice is just a way to bypass the utility door, but that doesn’t mean there’s not loot down here. You can defeat the robots patrolling around with a bit of ease if you have the Robotics Expert perk, as with a bit of patience you can sneak up on them. The door to the right [Average] is just a shortcut to avoid looping around.. which kind of defeats the purpose of exploring this area. In the first room to your left you’ll find a skeleton near a mine box with a remarkably intact Laser Rifle nearby, as well as some Microfusion Cells and a Stimpak. In the second room on the left you’ll find another skeleton with a Laser Pistol nearby, as well as a Pulse Mine, an ammo box, and a first aid box. Loop around to the east and you’ll get access to the room beyond the utility gate.
10) Bill of Rights
Book - Lying, Congressional Style
Go down some stairs to find a door to the north, beyond which you’ll have some options. Go through the doors [Average] to the west to get access to a small area defended by some turrets. It’s worth the trouble to destroy those turrets, since this room contains five ammo boxes, a first aid box, a mine box, a grenades box, and copy of Lying, Congressional Style on a table near the Archives Security Safe, which itself contains the Bill of Rights.
11) Magna Carta
There’s a door [Hard] to the east, but there’s no real purpose to unlocking it, as it just provides an alternative route to areas you can already access. Go to the north to find a room with some yellow crates in it. Go down some stairs to the west to find a small room with a dead Mercenary inside. Now head to the unexplored area to the north. Ignore the door to the Archival Strongroom for now and explore the area to the east. You’ll eventually stumble upon another locked door [Average], beyond which are some turrets guarding three ammo boxes, a mine box, a grenade box, and another archives security safe. This one contains the Magna Carta. You can now circle around to the locked door [Hard], or go back to the Archival Strongroom.
12) Archival Strongroom
Book - Tales of a Junktown Jerky Vendor
As soon as you enter you’ll be approached by a barmy robot who thinks it is Button Gwinnett. Succeed at an [Intelligence] check and you’ll identify Button as the second signer of the Declaration of Independence. If you do that you can use Robots Expert to shut down the silly robot and end its shennanigans. Or you can convince the machine (with a Speech challenge) that you’re Thomas Jefferson and the war is over. If none of those are live options for you, you can always try to work with Button to “trick the redcoats”, which will requires you to loot the “Restoration Supplies” in Arlington Library to obtain an “Ink Container”… which you should already have.Failing all those options, you can just kill the robot and his turrets.
Either way, once that’s done loot the room. Button’s Supply Desks and Supply Wardrobes contains various ammo. You can also use the Strongroom Security Terminal to unlock the doors in this area, and in the east wing. Head through the door to the north and open the three safes to find various loot including the Declaration of Independence. There’s also a copy of Tales of a Junktown Jerky Vendor on the table. Head through to door to the west when you’ve got everything you want and take the Elevator to The National Archives. It’s time to head back to Rivet City and collect your reward.
13) Selling Independence
Schematic - Railway Rifle
Abraham Washington is suprised-but not unhappy-to see you. Give him the Declaration of Independence and he’ll reward you with the promised Schematic - Railway Rifle . You can also sell the Magna Carta for 100 Caps, and the Bill of Rights for 125 if you wish. In any event, this quest is done.
Now to deal with the remaining two side-quests in the main game, “Agatha’s Song” and “Reilly’s Rangers” . Both inevitably require us to travel to Vernon Square, one to find Vault-Tec Headquarters, and the other to find Our Lady of Hope Hospital. Before we deal with that, lets grab the loot from the Ranger Compound.
Completed "Stealing Independence"