This is a sequel to Isolation, my previous story. I'd recommend reading that story first before starting this one, but if you'd rather not then at least read chapter 11 of Isolation (Journal of the Defender) as that could be considered the 'official' first chapter of Isolation: Legacy. Enjoy.
War never changes.
Alexa read and reread those three words on the decrepit monitor, dirt and finger marks muddled the glass but the light glowing from behind made them shine out. She thought about their meaning, but meaning is only given by a mind, and her meaning may be different from the man who wrote them. The man, she had been told, was her father; The Lone Wanderer. It's been almost two decades since The Wanderer walked The Capitol, only his legacy remained. Alexa thought, if you asked any citizen what his legacy was, they'd answer it was The Capitol he helped start, the plants that were allowed to grow, the pure water that flowed through the land and the safety that had not been felt in centuries.
But Alexa thought, and hoped, if The Lone Wanderer was asked this same question, he would say it was her.
Alexa sat at the desk she was told belonged to her father, inside the room that she was told her father slept in, which resided in the house she was told where he lived. Everything she knew about him she had been told. She was told about this story, heard about that adventure, overheard rumours of this or that Godhood. It infuriated her. How could she believe any of it now? Everything happened before she was even born, all her life she lived in the peace he supposedly started, she knew nothing about before.
Alexa reminisced about her childhood, when she wasn't training she was studying. When she wasn't studying she was recovering. When she wasn't recovering she wondered about her family of which she only knew two. Her grandfather, Owyn Lyons, was once The Elder of The Brotherhood of Steel. When Alexa turned five years old, old enough to start training and studying, he stepped down as Elder and passed the title to his daughter, Sarah, Alexa's mother. Officially her grandfather declared that he wanted Sarah to learn how to be an Elder during times of peace, but when she was old enough to know better, Alexa suspected it was so he could teach his granddaughter himself. The old man deserved to be selfish for once.
Alexa learnt everything she needed to learn from her mother and grandfather. When they had nothing left to teach, she studied under others. The Scribes, the Paladins, foot soldiers, merchants that passed through, Alexa was so determined to learn everything she could about the world. Her mother once said she was just like her father in that respect, it was the only thing she told Alexa about her father before yesterday. It was what she revealed that brought Alexa here, to Megaton, to the house where The Lone Wanderer lived.
Alexa was brought back to the present by the glow of the screen fading. She lazily slapped the side of the machine; the screen flickered and then glowed as brightly as before. For what must have been the hundredth time she read that same line.
War never changes.
She frowned and leant back into her chair. Her hand stroked her chin in a manner that anyone watching would assume was deep thought. But the truth was Alexa's mind was completely blank, she was utterly stumped by the meaning in these words. Her mannerisms were the result for the need to keep up appearances. Soldier or not, she was the child of the Elder and grew up with that burden. She was forced to always look ready, always know what to do and always be willing to do what's necessary. Her mother helped her build this façade, as she told Alexa that she to had to grow up with the burden of important parents.
Alexa was stubborn, so she decided to break this sentence down into parts. She started with the first; war. She thought to herself, what does she know of war? In reality, she knew nothing. She had never killed a human being, never engaged in a battle that the older soldiers spoke of. The biggest thing she ever shot was a feral mole rat, which were now endangered ever since The Wasteland Survival guide was first published. But there was one thing Alexa did know of, she knew much of pain. She's received deep cuts and angry bruises on every part of her body, she broke several fingers when a super sledge landed on her hand at twelve years old and knew what it felt like to be helpless.
But did she really? The thought often plagued her conscience, was she simply overestimating what she had experienced in her short life? Her father, this Lone Wanderer knew of war, so he knew of pain. She was told, again, about how young he was when he first appeared from Vault 101. How must he have felt entering such a dark world from a more sheltered life than she ever experienced? Whatever she felt, whatever she experienced, her father had experienced many times before. Perhaps, she thought, she could find some meaning from his life. His armor was stored under this building, along with every manner of weapon she would ever need. She could do what he did, see what he saw, feel what he felt, live as he lived. This was, after all, why he left it all behind. He knew he couldn't stay forever, but she was here now to take his responsibilities up.
But there was one question that slowed her, one doubt that prevented her from taking up his armor then and there and go gallivanting around The Capitol. Why does she want to do this?
Alexa was shown to this room and to this computer to read what her father left for the world. Everything below this building was left for her, but she needed to see the bigger picture. Her father did so much for everyone in the Wasteland, not just for her. The Lone Wanderer travelled to all corners of the Wasteland and righted wrongs everywhere he went. Why? Were his reasons for justice, for what is right? Or were they more selfish, were they so he could feel like he had a purpose in life. Alexa wondered if perhaps he simply felt a need for adventure, to build the legacy that would be his life.
She would have believed it was the latter before she heard her father speak for the first time. Now, after everything he said, she realised it was never as simple as one answer or another. Alexa looked out the dusty window and saw the sun rising in the distance. She had been up all night looking at this screen, pondering her future. She marvelled at the view and wondered if her father did the same. She stood up from her chair and made her way downstairs, being quiet as to avoid waking up her hosts.
The answer was there was no answer. She didn't need an objective purpose to do anything; neither did her father, because no such thing exists. Life has no inherent meaning except for what we make of it. Meaning is a human construction; meaning is whatever she chooses it to be. Here and now she realised the greatest gift her father left her, it wasn't the guns or the armor or even his message. His gift was for her to be free to do what she chooses, to go out and make meaning in life, not find it.
That was why she wanted this. That is why she descended the stairs, walked through the underground passage and emerged once more into the armory. She looked at the armor he once wore and realised it represented a chance to make the most of this life, to do something in her short, insignificant blip of an existence. And maybe, hopefully, she could do what her father did and give others that chance. To give the world a choice and in that choice make, not find, meaning.
A/N: Hey everyone, back again to deliver my next fan fiction after spending a few months brainstorming (and studying for university of course) and I can promise I've got some big things planned for this story. This chapter is rather short I admit, but my next ones will be about the same length as the chapters from Isolation. I hope my regular readers enjoy this story as much as I will writing it, as always any comments or criticisms are appreciated and if you have any questions feel free to PM me. Thank you for reading.